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CMU Info
Top Stories
Judge knocks back Ticketmaster delivery fees settlement
U2 manager welcomes US ISP agreement, calls for more ISP action
In The Pop Hospital
Babyshambles bassist injured in car crash
Former Motorhead guitarist dies
Argentine protest singer killed
Reunions & Splits
Gallows frontman quits
Black Eye Peas to go on hiatus
Steps reunion would be "silly" says Steps girl
Release News
New Mogwai EP incoming
Gigs & Tours News
The Leisure Society to play with orchestra
Festival News
Festival line-up update
The Music Business
Doug Morris says hello
Portable MiniDisc players to be phased out
AIF launches face value ticket exchange
The Digital Business
Turntable.fm raising finance
Will Facebook Music and Spotify US launches coincide?
The Media Business
Ross possibly involved in Absolute Radio bid
And finally...
Billy advises "never buy The Sun"

Last week, all news, music or otherwise, was overshadowed by the News Of The World phone hacking scandal and this week that story isn't looking like letting up, as the implications and accusations spread further in the News Corp empire. But there is still other stuff happening, I promise. Lots of it. Well, maybe not lots, as we're heading into the music industry's quiet period, but there are a few things happening. Look, I've pulled a few of them together for you...

01: Spotify US launch. After the dummy US launch of music streaming service Spotify last week, which saw the company add a page to its website allowing Americans to sign up to receive invites, now the Wall Street Journal reckons that the service may launch properly some time around the middle of this week. Warner Music is reportedly still a hold out, but may sign a deal to licence its catalogue in the next few days. The three other majors are already on board.

02: MusicTank challenge the 'dinosaur myth', with a half-day mini-conference at the PRS For Music HQ in London, on 14 Jul at 2.30pm. It follows up the recent report by former EMI UK chief Tony Wadsworth on the future of the record company, which was launched at this year's Great Escape. Joining Tony for the debate will be, among others, former Sony UK President Muff Winwood, Universal digital man Paul Smernicki, [PIAS] UK MD Peter Thompson, Cooking Vinyl founder Martin Goldschmidt, Robert Horsfall from Sound Advice, Radio 1 music chief George Ergatoudis, WhizzKid Entertainment CEO Malcolm Gerrie and media analyst Alice Enders.

03: CMU PR training. This week sees your last chance to attend CMU's PR and promoting music training course before September. The one-day course on Wednesday offers advice on how to build a profile for artists, and covers the state of the music media, traditional and new publicity techniques, social media and the future of music PR. The event takes place in Shoreditch, and there are still some places left at £95 plus VAT.

04: New releases. OK, so this week I want all of you to go out and buy 'Dedication' by Zomby. I'm presuming you all like introspective post-rave comedown music, yes? Good. That's post-rave as in, after the rave, I've not invented another of those stupid genre names. Oh yeah, other stuff that's out this week. Well, there's new albums from The Horrors and William Eilliott Whitmore, plus the debut solo LP from Killers drummer Ronnie Vannucci under the name Big Talk. Also, Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor has a book out.

05: Gigs. We're getting deep into festival season now, so how about we start with a festival-related gig. Thursday night will see The Old Queens Head in Islington play host to the final heat of this year's Road To Standon competition, of which I am one of the judges. One more unsigned band will be sent to appear in the final at the Standon Calling festival itself, where they will compete to win a slot on the main stage. Elsewhere in the world of gigs, on Tuesday Primal Scream will be playing Wembley Arena for Orange RockCorps, Ice Cube and Naughty By Nature will be playing IndigO2, and Porcelain Raft will be at Madame Jojos, on Wednesday The Horrors will play an intimate show at the 100 Club, and on Friday They Might Be Giants will play Koko.

If you want to catch up with other recent developments in the music world, don't forget to check out the CMU podcast. And see if you can spot the point at which Chris forgets what podcast he's on (confusing it with another podcast that doesn't actually exist): www.thecmuwebsite.com/podcast

Andy Malt

Editor, CMU

Warpaint earned themselves a place amongst our 2010 artists of the year with their sinuous, multi-faceted debut album, 'The Fool', and, still surfing the wave of that LP's wider critical triumph, the LA quartet have just unveiled a new video for their namesake track.

The abstract, artistic promo sees the band members hold a submerged tea party in a swimming pool, testing the efficacy of their waterproof makeup in kaleidoscopic underwater scenes. Watch Warpaint's 'Warpaint' video here.

And while we're on a Warpaint theme, here's the group's video for previous single 'Undertow', as directed by Hollywood actress Shannyn Sossamon, who, besides being sister to Warpaint bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg, is also a former member of the band herself.

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A Californian judge last week rejected an out of court settlement regarding a class action lawsuit against Live Nation's Ticketmaster, meaning the whole case could now go to trial this autumn.

As previously reported, way back in 2003 two Americans called Curt Schlesinger and Peter Lo Re sued Ticketmaster, claiming the ticketing giant had misled customers by implying in its marketing materials that "delivery fees" added to ticket purchases were simply a cost of sale, ie what it cost Ticketmaster to deliver tickets. In fact, a profit margin was included so the fee was a revenue. Given the size of the delivery fees (up to $25) that was probably a given, but the plaintiffs reckoned the ticketing firm was at fault for not explicitly stating so.

The case, which became a class action last year, was due to go to court in January, but an out of court settlement was reached, in which anyone who believed (and could prove) they had been misled could claim a small refund or discount on future purchases. Live Nation set aside $22.3 million to cover any claims.

But LA Superior Court Judge Kenneth R Freeman last week turned down the settlement, saying it wasn't big enough and that the proposed deal "offered virtually no benefit to the class member" (ie anyone who made a claim). The whole thing is now likely to go to court in October, which is something Live Nation could do without. Aside from the fact that, if they lose the court case, the prescribed pay out could be significantly higher, it will also shine a new spotlight on the add-on fees ticketing agencies and the live sector at large add on to ticket prices, which have been increasingly controversial of late. The live music conglom is yet to respond to last week's ruling.

In related news, the live firm is still suing its insurers Illinois Union Insurance Co in relation to this case after the insurers refused to pay the $4 million in legal fees the live music and ticketing giant has run up in relation to it.

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U2 manager Paul McGuinness, one of the first music industry figures to publicly criticise the internet service providers for failing to combat online piracy in a Midem keynote in 2008, has welcomed last week's news that various net providers in the US have entered into a voluntary agreement with the entertainment industry to start sending 'copyright alerts' to those who access illegal sources of content. As previously reported, American ISPs have committed to send increasingly terse messages to copyright infringers, with the plan to ultimately instigate albeit undefined technical measures against persistent file-sharers if they ignore the warnings.

In an article for the Sunday Telegraph, McGuiness says that the ISP sector has been way too slow to take on responsibility for policing piracy, noting that it is only now as the film, book and news companies start to face the same threats from online piracy as the music business, and therefore step up their own lobbying efforts, that any net companies are taking action. And while he commends the US ISPs for taking voluntary measures, he reckons new legislation like that introduced in the UK, France and South Korea will be needed to force net companies to act in some other markets.

He adds that stepped up anti-piracy systems to combat illegal free content services are needed now more than ever, because the idea the music industry could "fight free with free" has been disproved. He writes: "For some years 'fighting free with free' seemed the answer to all our problems. Today, that honeymoon is over. Spotify, in many countries the champion of the free-to-consumer music streaming service, is now cutting back on its free offering. It is trying to migrate its fans into payers, offering a £10 monthly subscription. That is a huge challenge". For Spotify et al to succeed, McGuinness argues, the stepped up anti-piracy rules are also needed.

He goes on to call for the European Commission to step in here, forcing ISPs across the European Union to step up their anti-piracy measures in countries where the national government is yet to act. He notes: "The ISP agreement in the US is good news for music and the creative industries. It is time now for action elsewhere. In Europe, Commissioner Barnier is reviewing EU copyright enforcement rules for the digital age. This is a chance for Europe to use its legislative clout to get ISPs to cooperate".

As previously reported, the UK's Culture Minister Ed Vaizey last week reaffirmed his commitment to introducing the British take on the three-strikes anti-file-sharing system as described in the Digital Economy Act. He also openly criticised British ISPs BT and TalkTalk for trying to overturn the copyright section of the DEA through the courts.

Although British politicians have talked tough on this issue before, and yet the DEA's version of three-strikes is yet to go live, there does seem to be a swell of political support for the content industries on the piracy issue again at the moment. Last week in a debate on the Hargreaves Review of intellectual property law, a review instigated in response to criticism of the UK's current copyright system by Google, while there was some support for reforms proposed by the report, other MPs used the debate to take a swipe at the web giant instead.

According to PC Pro, MP Thérèse Coffey said: "Dare I say it, but I would like Google, instead of trying to be crusaders for freedom, to work with the creative industries, and with other people such as Microsoft and Apple, to make something like a digital contract exchange work".

She added: "I note that when one tries to get certain sites taken down or content removed, very high-tech Google does not allow people to actually email it - one has to write to it in California. That seems a bit bizarre".

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Babyshambler Drew McConnell is recovering in hospital after being injured in a car crash last week, according to the band's manager.

Specifics of the accident aren't clear, though manager Adrian Hunter passed on a message from McConnell which seems to imply he suffered some pretty serious injuries. The message read: "I have surgery on my spine today and the next day on my knee. Plates, rods and screws going in both spine and knee. They ain't told me what they plan for my shoulder blade and broken ribs yet".

Hunter added that the bassist was "comfortable if a little pained. He had a nasty couple of bumps but his sense of humour is still intact though".

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Michael 'Wurzel' Burston, a former Motorhead guitarist, has died aged 61.

Burston started playing guitar in various bands after leaving the army, before auditioning for Motorhead in 1984. He stayed with the rock outfit for eleven years, appearing on six studio albums during that time. He retained the Wurzel nickname from his days in the army, having been given the moniker for his scarecrow like appearance.

When he left Motorhead in 1995 he was never replaced, and indeed had occasionally rejoined his former band for guest spots at a handful of live shows. He continued to play guitar for some other projects, including his own band Leader Of Down.

Tim Butcher, longtime bass technician for Motorhead frontman Lemmy, announced Burston's death on his Facebook page on Saturday. The guitarist had reportedly been suffering from heart disease, and died of ventricular fibrillation.

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One of Latin America's most famous folk singers was killed in Guatemala this weekend. Argentine singer and novelist Facundo Cabral was gunned down as he made his way to Guatemala's main airport with his tour promoter. The motive for the shooting is not currently clear.

After a difficult childhood, Cabral began singing for tourists in the Argentine beach resort of Mar del Plata in the 1960s. He subsequently rose to national and then international attention, in particular through his song 'No Soy de Aqui Ni Alla' (or 'I'm Not From Here Or There'), which was rerecorded by hundreds of other artists around the world. With politically motivated lyrics, and a reputation as a 'protest singer', he fled his home country when it fell under military rule in 1976 and set up home in Mexico.

He continued to preach peace and elements of a humanist ideology through his music and other creative work, so much so he was named an 'international messenger of peace' by UNESCO in 1996. He continued to tour until his death, most recently playing a concert in the Guatemalan city of Quetzaltenango just last week.

Much outrage was expressed across Latin America after reports of Cabral's killing began to circulate. It is not clear if his death was the result of a robbery gone wrong, or whether there were other motives for his murder.

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Frank Carter has announced he is quitting punk outfit Gallows, though the band are seemingly planning to carry on without their frontman.

Carter said in a statement: "It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce my departure from Gallows. It seems that Gallows have hit a crossroads in our writing process and unfortunately myself and the rest of the boys have different ideas regarding the sound of Gallows going forward. Gallows have decided they are going to continue on without me and I wish the boys the best of luck for the future. Gallows will be fulfilling all of our current touring plans until 1 Aug so please come down to a show and help me make each show a total celebration!"

Carter plans to focus on his new band Pure Love after August, while the rest of Gallows will continue to work on their new album, presumably with a new frontman, though that person is tbc.

Carter's brother and soon to be former bandmate Stephan added: "Frank, Steph, Lee, Stu and myself are all entering the most exciting period of our careers since breaking in 2007. While we wish Frank the best of luck on his new adventure the rest of us in Gallows literally cannot wait to play you the new songs and announce who will be singing with us in the future. We realise Frank is a hard figure to replace so be assured that the decision to continue as a band has been one we've been deliberating over long and hard. We're extremely confident that we won't be letting anyone down when we drop the next record, especially not ourselves or the people who believe in us. Death is birth. Your ears have been warned".

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The Black Eyed Peas will go on hiatus after their current tour ends, so hey, it's not all bad news in today's CMU Daily. Will.i.am says that the group will take some time off after their current 'The Beginning' tour finishes in Madrid this week.

However, this is not the end for the Peas altogether, oh no. Tweets Will: "The BEP will take a break after 'The Beginning', just like we did from [previous albums] 'Monkey Business' to 'The END'... but it doesn't mean we stop creating".

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So, perhaps you should add Steps to that very small group of bands who will never reform (current membership: The Smiths and Stone Roses).

Former Stepper Claire Richards, back on the telly recently on ITV's 'Popstar To Operastar', has told the Daily Mail that a reunion of her former pop outfit would be "a bit silly".

Richards: "We do get offers all the time, which we consider, although up until now it's never really been right for everybody. Maybe it's just my age, but I can't really see myself up on stage in one of those bright costumes doing what we did. It's taken me this long to get to a place where I'm happy with what I'm doing and trying to build a career of my own. To drop all that to go back seems a bit silly".

Sensible girl that Claire. Oh, hang on, she added a proviso of "never say never" at the end of the interview. Silly girl that Claire.

In case any of you are interested, former 'X-Factor' winner Joe McElderry won the second series of 'Popstar To Operastar'. Expect a total flop of an opera career to follow, before he shows up on next year's 'Dancing On Ice'.

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Mogwai have announced they will release a new EP, called 'Earth Division', via their Rock Action Records label on 12 Sep. The EP will feature four brand new tracks, carrying the names 'Get To France', 'Hound Of Winter', 'Drunk And Crazy' and 'Does This Always Happen?' The band will also play at the iTunes Festival at the Roundhouse in London on 23 Jul.

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Ahead of today's launch of new single 'You Could Keep Me Talking', The Leisure Society have announced a very special show for 8 Dec in which the band will play with the 30-piece Heritage Orchestra, which sounds rather groovy. The one-off show will take place at the Barbican, and will follow a more conventional autumn tour.

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BESTIVAL, Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight, 8-11 Sep: Bestival organisers have confirmed a slew of new bookings including The Las, Oh Land, Wolf Gang, Cocknbullkid and Tribes, also unveiling a list of additional DJs that features James Blake and Nero. Headliners at the lively end-of-season soiree are Pendulum, The Cure and Primal Scream, with the likes of Magnetic Man, Robyn, Crystal Castles and Brian Wilson also appearing towards the top of the bill. www.bestival.net

HEADSTOCK, Newstead & Annesley Country Park, East Midlands, 10-11 Sep: Newly crowned headliners Lightning Seeds join the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen, Craig Charles, Tunng, Nick Harper and heaps more on the bill at this non-profit, family-friendly community-minded festival. www.headstockfestival.com

UNDERAGE FESTIVAL, Victoria Park, London, 5 Aug: Restricted to thirteen to seventeen year olds only, the latest acts announced to appear at this year's Underage bash include Ms Dynamite, Spring Offensive, Chimes, RD and Violet. Bombay Bicycle Club, Viva Brother, Janelle Monae, Miles Kane, Crystal Fighters, Florrie and Cocknbullkid feature highly amongst the existing roster of youthful performers. www.underagefestival.com

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Billboard has published an email sent out by Doug Morris on his arrival at Sony Music last week. The former Universal top man joined Sony Music as its CEO on 1 Jul. The email is dated 6 Jul and basically says "hello, you're all brilliant, but these are tricky times, but all will be fine, because I'm brilliant too".

For fans of emails from Doug Morris previously published in Billboard and then republished in full in the CMU Daily, boy, you're in for a treat. Writes Doug: "As I begin my new tenure as CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, I want to let you know how pleased and excited I am to be here, and how much I look forward to getting to know everyone in the days and weeks to come. I know there has been some uncertainty in the last months, but starting now, we begin a new and important chapter in the history of our great company".

He continues: "These are challenging times for our business, but I strongly believe that this is our unique opportunity to make Sony Music the very best in the industry. A company with exceptional artistry and great talent will excel and thrive, and we have the assets and resources in place to do just that. I urge each of you to realise the potential of this moment by committing yourself more than ever to developing great music and creating vital new business models. There is no limit to what we can, and will, achieve together".

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Elsewhere in the Sony empire, the electronics bit of the conglom has announced it will stop making MiniDisc Walkman devices, as the 1990s audio format continues it albeit much slower than you might have expected demise in the age of digital and mega-capacity digital music players.

There is currently only one portable MiniDisc player on the market, and that too is about to be canned. Consumers still using MiniDisc devices will still be able to buy actual MiniDiscs, while a non-portable MiniDisc player will still be manufactured in some markets.

The downsizing of the MiniDisc range follows an announcement by Sony last year that cassette Walkmans would stop being manufactured in the US (where apparently some were still being sold), although they are still being made in China.

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The Association Of Independent Festivals has launched its own ticket exchange for sold out events. Those who have bought tickets for such festivals but can no longer attend will be able to resell their tickets via the new website, though at face value only.

The Ticket Trust, which will be run by a company called Sandbag, will verify tickets are genuine and make sure they get to buyers, who will be given an extra chance to get tickets to otherwise sold out events without having to pay hiked up prices on more traditional ticket exchange websites or risk buying from fraudsters with no real tickets to sell. Buyers will be charged up to a 10% commission.

AIF Vice-Chair Ben Turner, who has spearheaded the new ticket resale service, told CMU: "AIF has pulled together its festival members to collectively make a simple message - AIF festivals DO NOT and WILL NOT play the secondary ticketing market for profiteering. AIF stands for strong principles in the festival sector and we object to the practices of many of the so-called secondary ticketing market companies".

He continued: "I heard Christiaan from Sandbag speak at In The City on a panel about this sector and his anger, passion and vision for change inspired me to approach him on-the-spot to partner with AIF on this project. AIF and the Sandbag board, which includes key members of the Radiohead team, have similar values and a will to help improve the situation by offering an alternative way to exchange tickets for non-profit".

Christiaan Munro of Sandbag Limited added: "In the last decade, we have seen the rise of peer-to-peer secondary ticketing initially with auction sites and now with marketplaces set up exclusively to cater to opportunist individuals. There is a finite amount of money that fans have to spend on music and entertainment and we often see tickets we have sold being sold at more than ten times the face value. The increase in ticket price, with profit siphoned away, can only be to the detriment of the music industry as a whole. Secondary ticketing for profit is not yet illegal for concert tickets, but it's just plain wrong. Fans should not have to pay over the odds for tickets just because one of their peers with no intention of going to the show got in there first".

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Various equity types plus, some reports suggest, Sony, AOL and Facebook, are all clamouring to invest in Turntable.fm, the latest US-based music-sharing social media whatnot. Business Insider reported last week that the start-up had raised $7.5 million in finance, valuing the company at $37.5 million, though co-founder Seth Goldstein told TechCrunch on Thursday that a new investment push is still ongoing, and any reports of final figures were premature.

Turntable.fm, which lets users become virtual DJs and play music to other users in their virtual room, who can in turn chat back through inbuilt instant messaging, has been building quite a bit of buzz since it opened to the public in May, even though licensing restrictions forced owners to shut out any users outside America.

There has been some chatter as to the possible value of the platform for artists looking to promote or get fan feedback on new tracks, though given the tendency of people to be more negative when anonymously posting online, not all artists may want to take part, given the potential for a torrent of abuse.

Diplo tried just that last week, with mixed success, partly because he didn't silence the 'ping' noise the in-built IM system makes, so that that kept sounding over his music. However, the label he owns, Mad Decent, is still previewing other new content via the website.

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Although last week's big Facebook announcement was the rather lacklustre partnership with Skype, and not some big music play as some expected, one programmer has been looking at the code behind the latest upgrade of the social network, and reckons he's come across the foundations of the long awaited Facebook music channel.

According to Hypebot, programmer Jeff Rose has come across some code referring to something called Facebook Vibes. He says the code connects with a "music download dialogue in the page". Hypebot speculates that this relates to the much rumoured integration of Spotify into the Facebook platform, which it reckons could go live at the same time the Swedish streaming music service launches Stateside.

As previously reported, although there have been many reports of Facebook being in talks with Spotify, there have been rumours of talks with a number of other music services too, so that many reckon the new Facebook music channel - Vibes as it seems it might be called - will provide access to various different digital music providers, but within the Facebook interface.

Talking of Spotify, the Wall Street Journal has been citing some sources as saying the streaming music platform could go live in the US this week. Other reports say Team Spot have been telling American advertising agencies they expect to sign up 50 million subscribers Stateside in their first year, which seems ambitious, though might be based in part on the planned exposure via Facebook.

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Jonathan Ross is reportedly in talks with a consortium looking to buy Absolute Radio and relaunch it back under the Virgin Radio brand. Under the deal, Ross would take a minority stake in the new company, and present the breakfast show on the revamped station.

Current Absolute owners TIML Radio reportedly let it be known they were accepting offers for the national music station back in April. They rebranded the station Absolute when they bought the radio franchise from previous owners SMG back in 2008, because they competed with Virgin in India, and the Virgin Group therefore refused to licence them use of the name. But, reports say, the Virgin Group would be another minority shareholder in this consortium, allowing the new owners to restore the radio station's former title.

According to Sky's City Editor Mark Kleinman, Ross met with Richard Branson and the man leading the bid, former Virgin Radio boss John Pearson, last week to discuss possible involvement. Although no agreement has yet been reached, there is seemingly interest. Kleinman says that the majority of the £20 million needed to buy Absolute would come from private equity, with Ross and the Virgin Group both taking only minority stakes in the new firm.

It is thought UTV, owners of Talk Sport, may also bid for Absolute, mainly with a view to launching a second talk station on its national AM frequency. They'd then likely use Absolute's London FM frequency for a music station, maybe maintaining the Absolute brand, though there were rumours they too might try to do a deal with Virgin about licensing use of that name in the radio space once again.

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So, the final ever issue of the 168 year old News Of The World was published yesterday as Rupert Murdoch flew into the UK to assess the damage to his British newspaper business, and his bid to take complete ownership of BSkyB, following the many dramatic developments in the phone hacking scandal last week. And he immediately threw his total support behind his UK chief Rebekah Brooks.

The scandal looks to dominate the UK news agenda for some time yet, as various politicians look to block (or seriously delay) the aforementioned Sky deal, and police investigations and public inquiries move forward. Meanwhile, the story went well and truly global after last week's revelations, though word has it that widespread public anger in the US - the heart of Murdoch's News Corp empire - was short lived, meaning any American dimension of the crisis probably depends on whether allegations the News Of The World attempted to hack the voicemails of 9/11 victims are proven to be true.

But hey, this is an 'and finally' story, let's keep it light. And as Jarvis Cocker pretended to wipe his arse with a copy of the final NOTW at T In The Park yesterday, good old Billy Bragg set the whole scandal to song. Called 'Never Buy The Sun', his lyrics target the Sunday paper's still alive and possibly soon to expand to seven-days-a-week sister title The Sun, noting that the paper has never sold well in Liverpool since its coverage of the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989. Hear the song here.

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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Caro Moses
Eddy Temple-Morris
Paul Vig
Club Tipper
Rebekah Brooks

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