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MONDAY 26 SEPTEMBER 2011
TODAY'S FEATURE: FIVE DAY FORECAST
Having spent most of the weekend in the countryside, I readjusted myself to urban life last night by going to see Death Grips. There's nothing like some aggressive hip hop with live drums from Zach Hill performed in almost total darkness to tell you you're back in the big city. It was a great show and dark not just in lighting terms. Let's see if anything happening this week might match up to it more>>
TODAY'S APPROVED: ACHILLES
Having had demos played on Radio 1 and 6music over the last couple of years, Dorset-based quartet Achilles signed to A Future Without earlier this year, releasing a double A-side single in July and an EP a few weeks ago. It's that EP which really peaked our interest, featuring vocals from Boxettes vocalist Alusha Chagrin, whose voice sits perfectly on top of their usually instrumental jazz-influenced more>>
TOP STORIES
- The jury is in place: Murray trial update
IN THE POP COURTS
- US student arrested over Sony hack
- Lady Gaga fails to seize dot org domain
POP POLITICS
- Britney criticised over video shoot in Hackney
OBITUARIES
- Vesta Williams dies
RELEASE NEWS
- Pink Floyd re-releases? Pigs will fly
FILMS & SHOWS NEWS
- McCartney ballet "forgettable and bland"
GIGS & TOURS NEWS
- Black Eyed Peas to play Jackson tribute
- Zulu Winter London gig
- Katy B tour dates
THE MUSIC BUSINESS
- Atlantic Screen Music and Metropolis launch OST label
THE DIGITAL BUSINESS
- Gaga manager says he'd happily give away the singer's next record
THE MEDIA BUSNESS
- Proper Music launches podcast
- Original 106 looks to change format
AND FINALLY...
- Cardle a little pissed off Lloyd and One Direction beat him to release
- Nirvana told fans to get Nevermind via Happy Meal promotion
OUTPOST, ACCOUNT MANAGER
PR Superstar required for busy PR agency, Outpost. Minimum two years PR experience in printed press. Radio and/or online experience an advantage. Salary £20k - £24k + bonus

Fast growing music PR agency is looking for a sharp Account Manager who loves PR and takes pride in doing a Superstar job. You will require an encyclopaedic music knowledge, a passion for clubs and gigs and be obsessed with popular youth culture. Social networking will be second nature, fitting in perfectly alongside your bulging contact book. You must also have exceptional writing ability. Superb training and support provided. You will take ownership of your job and be generously rewarded for the quality and reliability of your work.

Telephone calls only in the first instance - call between 10.15am and 2.30pm, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and tell me why on earth we would be MAD not to take you on for this position. Call David Silverman @ Outpost (outpostmedia.co.uk) on 020 7684 5634.
   
DOMINO RECORDING COMPANY, INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS MANAGER
Domino is seeking an experienced International Promotions Manager who would be responsible for all aspects of international promotion - including press, radio and TV - for the whole of the label roster (including Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Anna Calvi, The Kills and John Cale) and working closely with our international partners around the world. Minimum two years experience with artists, managers, record labels and international media is required. The position is based in our London office.

Applicants should send a CV and cover letter to: internationalpromotions@dominorecordco.com Closing date is 10 Oct.

THE JURY IS IN PLACE: MURRAY TRIAL UPDATE
So the jury is in place and opening remarks are presumably already scripted, as the long awaited trial of Conrad Murray - the medic accused of causing the death of Michael Jackson by negligently administering the dangerous anaesthetic propofol - kicks off properly tomorrow.

Selecting a jury - for the second time, an earlier jury was dismissed after various delays in getting the trial going - has taken much of the month. A pool of almost 400 potential jurors had been cut down to just 84 by last Friday, mainly as a result of the answers said candidates had given to a written questionnaire. On Friday lawyers for both the prosecution and defence questioned the final 84, cutting more candidates out of the equation as they went.

By the end of the day a twelve person jury had been agreed on. The jury will consist of seven men and five women, from an eclectic mix of backgrounds. Ethnically speaking, six are Caucasian, five Hispanic and just one African-American. Unsurprisingly, all admitted to having prior knowledge about Jackson's lifestyle, controversies and death, though they will have to try to put those past preconceptions to the side once testimonies begin later this week.

As much previously reported, Murray, who is pleading not-guilty to the manslaughter charges, will claim Jackson self-administered the fatal shot of propofol, possibly by drinking the liquid drug, either in a misguided attempt to induce sleep, or as part of a suicide bid. While media interest in jury selection has been modest, the full media circus is expected once the trial kicks off proper.

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US STUDENT ARRESTED OVER SONY HACK
Ten years ago tech-savvy students were taking content that belonged to entertainment giants and dishing it out to all and sundry for free. These days they are hacking into the IT systems of said entertainment giants, leaking data and forcing networks offline. If you're caught, the former can result in being forced to pay six figure damages. The latter can get you fifteen years in jail. Come back Kazaa, all is forgiven.

So, yes, a college student from Arizona has been charged over allegations he was one of the hackers who attacked computer systems owned by Sony Corp, though not the big data grab against the entertainment firm's PlayStation and streaming content networks, but another smaller attack against the servers of Sony Pictures Entertainment, during which private data relating to 37,000 customers was taken.

The attack on the servers of the Sony film company was claimed by the LulzSec group, so presumably the authorities believe 23 year old Cody Kretsinger is part of or affiliated to that supposedly now retired network of hackers. He's been charged with both conspiracy and unauthorised impairment of a protected computer, which together could result in fifteen years jail time if he were to be found guilty.

There have been various arrests in both the US and UK this summer of people believed to be part of or linked to LulzSec, or that other notable hacking party Anonymous, while authorities in some other countries have also arrested people believed to be linked to other hacking groups who have together pursued a particularly prolific campaign in the last twelve months designed to take down the IT systems of organisations they believe to be impeaching freedom of speech or to be enforcing copyrights too forcefully.

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LADY GAGA FAILS TO SEIZE DOT ORG DOMAIN
Lady Gaga has failed to take ownership of the LadyGaga.org domain. Team Gaga applied to America's National Arbitration Forum, which hears domain disputes on behalf of the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names & Numbers, claiming that the owner of the dot org domain that uses the pop star's name was acting in bad faith and violating the singer's trademark.

However, in the main domains are distributed on a first come first served basis, and ownership of a name via a registered company or trademark is not usually sufficient to demand related domain ownership over an earlier registrant. In order to take control of an already registered domain you usually need to show particularly 'bad faith' on the part of the original registrant, which might include passing off or extortion, the latter basically enabled Madonna to take control of her dot com domain.

But none of that could be proven by Team Gaga in this case, given that LadyGaga.org is a fan site that makes no claim to be official, which has no commercial objectives, and which exists solely to tell the world how great Lady Gaga is, albeit when she's not going to arbitration to try and steal domain names off fans.

All of which means last week the National Arbitration Forum rejected Gaga's application to seize control of her dot org domain.

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BRITNEY CRITICISED OVER VIDEO SHOOT IN HACKNEY
Some London political types have hit out at Britney Spears for filming a pop video in Hackney which seems to glamorise gun violence.

Some seem offended by the concept of the video in general, others that she chose to film it in East London, and others still that the filming involved the popstress waving a fake pistol around outside Stoke Newington Town Hall. The video is for new single 'Criminal', and has a Bonnie and Clyde theme apparently.

Presumably aware of the damage recent riots did to the reputation of some of London's suburbs, including Hackney, local councillor said of the Britney video to 'London Tonight': "I think she should apologise and make a sizeable donation to a Hackney charity that deals with young people... for the rudeness and damage she's done to this community".

Meanwhile local MP Diane Abbott added: "It is only a music video but it's images like this, with pop stars glamorising gangs, which means that some young people ... get drawn in. Britney should really know better".

Hackney Council, which was in the news last week for turning down an application for a new Channel 4 crime drama set on a fictional housing estate to be filmed in the area, admitted it had given the Britney video the go ahead, but said it did not give permission for a replica gun to be used and that it would be taking the matter up with the production company behind the pop promo.

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VESTA WILLIAMS DIES
American R&B singer Vesta Williams has been found dead in an LA hotel room. According to TMZ, the singer died last week, but an autopsy was inconclusive regards cause of death pending the results of toxicology tests. Sources say prescription drug bottles were found at the scene, and that no foul play is suspected.

48 year old Williams first appeared on a US TV show called 'Jack And Jill' as a child in the 1960s, before beginning a career in music, initially as a backing singer working for various groups and with the likes of Chaka Khan and Gladys Knight. She secured a solo recording contract with A&M in the mid-1980s, and debut album 'Vesta' followed in 1986.

Her singles performed well in America's R&B charts, and that first album scored one UK hit too, in the form of 'Once Bitten, Twice Shy', which went top 20. Meanwhile, in America, what was arguably her biggest hit, 'Celebration', came on album number two 'Vesta 4 U'. That said, the title track of third album 'Special' resulted in her highest position in the R&B charts, at number two, though subsequent albums did not match the first two in terms of sales.

She continued to work with A&M, even after its acquisition by Polygram, until the late 1990s, when the company chose to not renew her contract. Williams continued to work as a vocalist though, albeit mainly as a session singer and recording jingles for brands as diverse as Nike, McDonalds, Diet Coke and Exxon, although another album via an independent label was released in 2007.

By this point, however, Williams was probably better known as a radio personality, especially in Dallas where she co-hosted a morning show on KRNB. In recent years she also became an advocate for the campaign to prevent childhood obesity and diabetes, having dropped 100 pounds herself through a period of dieting.

Various US celebrities tweeted their tributes this weekend, including Grammy nominated R&B singer Shanice who said, simply: "My friend Vesta died... I can't believe this... RIP".

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PINK FLOYD RE-RELEASES? PIGS WILL FLY
EMI will today float a big balloon pig above Battersea Power Station in South London, recreating the cover artwork to Pink Floyd's 'Animals' album in order to celebrate the release of remastered versions of all of the band's studio albums on CD and digitally, plus a special box set contained all fourteen records.

The pig is expected to float above the ruined former power station all day. It's not actually the same pig used in for the cover artwork of the 1976 album - in case anyone thought it might be - though that inflatable was only declared unairworthy a couple of weeks ago. A PVC replica has thus been made for the occasion.

Following the release of the remastered albums today, a best of compilation will come out in November. There will also be special editions of three albums including rarities and previously unreleased extras - the 'Dark Side Of The Moon' special edition is out today, 'Wish You Were Here' will follow in November, and 'The Wall' next February.

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MCCARTNEY BALLET "FORGETTABLE AND BLAND"
So, the ballet for which Paul McCartney has written the score has opened in New York. So should we all be booking our flights to catch the show, 'Ocean's Kingdom'? Erm, probably not.

The New York Times says McCartney's music is "never less than agreeable" but "in no way an important addition to the corpus of ballet music". As for the dance element, "'Ocean's Kingdom' isn't offensive: it's just harmless, forgettable, bland, thin and occasionally incompetent".

Oh well, next to the reviews Bono and The Edge's Spiderman musical received at first, that's high praise.

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BLACK EYED PEAS TO PLAY JACKSON TRIBUTE
The Black Eyed Peas may be on hiatus, but they are getting back together for a one-off performance at that Michael Jackson tribute show that is due to take place in Cardiff next month.

Says Will.i.am: "This show is going to be an incredibly personal and moving evening for me. Remember that Michael's music, his great, great songs, have been an inspiration to my whole life and certainly formed the soundtrack to my childhood... One day about four years ago, with The Black Eyed Peas well established, I got a call from him I will never forget. I then had the great privilege of working with him and getting to know him and his beautiful family. That's why The Black Eyed Peas wouldn't miss being at the Millennium Stadium for this gig on 8 Oct; we all owe Michael such a lot. It seems plain to me that the real star of this tribute to Michael is going to be the music itself. And that's the only way it should be".

Also signed up for the Jackson tribute show at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium are Christina Aguilera, Leona Lewis, Ne-Yo and Cee Lo Green. As previously reported, some of Jackson's family and fans have criticised the timing of the tribute concert, coming in the middle of Conrad Murray's trial over the death of the late king of pop. Some other fans also criticised the price of tickets, though they have reportedly come down in price due to slow sales.

I say the BEP's set at the Jackson tribute will be a one-off return to the stage, the band will also play at a free charity show in New York next Friday. But that's a show postponed from back in June.

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ZULU WINTER LONDON GIG
Recently CMU approved London five-piece Zulu Winter will play their first headline show at London's CAMP Basement on 1 Nov, just ahead of the 7 Nov release of their debut double A-side single, 'Never Leave' and 'Let's Move Back To Front', on Double Denim.

This is all very excited. Tickets for the 1 Nov show are on sale now via
www.seetickets.com/Event/ZULU-WINTER/C-A-M-P-City-Road/

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KATY B TOUR DATES
Want to see Mercury-nominated Katy B live? Well, hey, here you go, some tour dates for next month:

8 Oct: Ipswich Regent
11 Oct: Leeds Academy
12 Oct: Manchester Apollo
13 Oct: Newcastle Academy
14 Oct: Glasgow Academy
16 Oct: Liverpool Academy
17 Oct: Sheffield Academy
18 Oct: Nottingham Rock City
20 Oct: Birmingham Academy
21 Oct: Cardiff Great Hall
22 Oct: Bristol Academy
24 Oct: London Shepherds Bush Empire
25 Oct: London Shepherds Bush Empire
29 Oct: Cambridge Corn Exchange
30 Oct: Bournemouth BIC Solent Hall
31 Oct: Brighton Dome
2 Nov: Plymouth Pavilions

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ATLANTIC SCREEN MUSIC AND METROPOLIS LAUNCH OST LABEL
The previously reported Atlantic Screen Music company, a newish investment fund investing in the production of original music scores for film and TV projects, has teamed up with the Metropolis Group to form a new label, to be called Metropolis Movie Music, which will release soundtracks created by Atlantic's investments, most of which will be recorded at Metropolis's London studio complex.

The new company will be headed up by Metropolis Group MD Ian Brenchley and Atlantic Screen Music's founders and CEOs Tim Hollier and Simon Fawcett, and work with Universal's Fontana on international distribution. The first release will be the official soundtrack to the recent David MacKenzie film 'You Instead'.

Hollier and Fawcett told CMU: "We are currently producing and funding some 40 plus film scores per year, to be able to offer our clients an immediate and hands on soundtrack release coupled together with our close relationship with Metropolis Recording Studios gives us a significant advantage over our competitors, be they major publishers or individual record companies".

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GAGA MANAGER SAYS HE'D HAPPILY GIVE AWAY THE SINGER'S NEXT RECORD
Lady Gaga's manager last week told delegates at the Facebook F8 conference that he'd happily give away the pop star's next album. Given how cheaply Amazon was selling her last record in the US, you might argue that one was basically given away too.

Though, of course, the etail giant took the hit there, with both Gaga and her label Universal getting the wholesale price for the digital record. It's not clear whether Troy Carter would be willing to actually give away the next Gaga record at a loss in order to secure the biggest possible audience, or whether he'd look for the phone firms to pay for it. Because he seems to think free delivery via mobile would be the best idea.

According to NME, Carter said: "What we're looking to do is not just about selling the CD or the digital file. It's how many people can we get the music to. How many people can experience it? If it was up to me, I'd give away the next album and put it on every handset that I can put it on, to get that scale. You can't be scared to fail. Sometimes we're going to get big results, and sometimes you learn a lesson, make an adjustment and move on".

Perhaps Facebook could give away the next record, in return for us letting the social network track, document and share every thought that goes through our brains from birth to death, given that seems to be its current ambition.

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PROPER MUSIC LAUNCHES PODCAST
Independent music company Proper Music has launched a new regular podcast, which sees Trevor Dann talking to various music journalist types about artists and releases coming out via the Proper Music distribution and label business.

The second edition, posted last week, sees Dann joined by Radio 2 producer Mark Hegen, the Guardian's Executive Multimedia Producer Matt Hall and Simon Holland from Proper's own Properganda magazine discussing the latest releases from Nick Lowe, Tom Russell and Jackie Oates.

Dann told CMU: "Proper is a big name in all the musical genres I love - folk, blues, country, jazz, Americana to name but five - and what I love about these podcasts is that don't have to pigeonhole the music. Where some radio stations have a folk show or a country show or rock show, we can mix all the genres together. For us it's all proper music".

The latest Proper Music podcast is available via iTunes and Soundcloud at these URLs.
itunes.apple.com/gb/podcasts/propermusic.com-podcast/id463436857
soundcloud.com/proper-music-distribution/proper-music-mix-final/s-QUqpQ

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ORIGINAL 106 LOOKS TO CHANGE FORMAT
A radio station in Aberdeen called Original 106 has applied to media regulator OfCom for permission to change its music policy so it's less, erm, original. The Original radio station was originally created by a company called CanWest, which briefly dabbled with the British radio industry, launching three stations in total, the other two of which have since adopted the Jack FM name and format.

Original 106 as an album track led music policy, which does make it stand out from most other commercial radio stations. The station's management, who bought out CanWest back in 2009, want to move to a more generic adult contemporary output, albeit with a commitment to still play some album tracks. The new look Original 106 would still aim for the 35-59 age group, but with more classic rock hits than their current format allows.

According to Radio Today, OfCom says that the change would substantially alter the character of the service, so it has begun a consultation of both listeners and competitors before making a decision.

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CARDLE A LITTLE PISSED OFF LLOYD AND ONE DIRECTION BEAT HIM TO RELEASE
Matt Cardle is a bit pissed off that, as winner of last year's 'X-Factor', his album didn't come out before the show's 2010 losers, Cher Lloyd and One Direction, had launched their post-X careers. According to The Mirror, he's a little concerned all the hype surrounding One Direction in particular could impact on the coverage his record gets, though, of course, they are presumably aiming at pretty different audiences. Plus it was Cardle who wanted more time to work on his debut long player.

Cardle told the tab: "[One Direction] are competition and it is shit they got to release before the winner of the actual show. It's also worrying me that if One Direction decide to get slicker and go for more of an older market, then I'm stuffed too. It shouldn't have happened really. Simon's naughty. I just hope I'll be able to cement myself into the charts before that happens. Otherwise I'll be fuming".

But the X winner admits that he was surprised that Cowell and his colleagues at Sony Music have let him take more time on his debut album, which he hopes will "cement" his position, while also "shaking off the X". Cardle continues: "I'm surprised I've been allowed to go away and get on with it. I'm desperate to shake off the 'X Factor' tag now... it's all about shaking the 'X' when it comes to the music I'm about to release. But I can't knock the show for what it's done for me. I've got my break from it and I've got my foot in the door by doing it. Now it's time to move on and just be me".

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NIRVANA TOLD FANS TO GET 'NEVERMIND' VIA HAPPY MEAL PROMOTION
The Letters Of Note website has posted a handwritten message that Nirvana apparently sent out to fans just over 20 years ago ahead of the release of their seminal long player 'Nevermind', which celebrated its 20th anniversary this weekend.

The note joked that the only way fans would be able to get a copy of the new record would be via a McDonalds promotion. The letter reads: "Nirvana, in special conjunction with McDonalds(tm), are proud to announce the Nevermind Happy Meal(tm). The only way to receive 'Nevermind' is when you buy the Happy Meal(tm). It will not be available in stores, just like another project Nirvana has been working on, 'Nirvana Play Chariots Of Fire And Other Hits'. It will only be available through a special TV offer. And, as an added bonus, a book called 'Nirvanas Craft Secrets' will be offered. It will show you all of our special touches for those sea shell macrame plant hangers and spray painted macaroni paperweights and much much more. We are also doing a tour of shopping malls and county fairgrounds to promote out new record and book of craft secrets".

You can see the full note here: www.lettersofnote.com/2011/09/nevermind-happy-meal.html

While you're there, do have a read of the rejection letter Nirvana's original label Sub Pop were posting out to demo tape senders at the time: www.lettersofnote.com/2011/09/dear-loser.html

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CMU Editor Andy Malt and CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke are both available to comment on music and music business stories. Together they have provided comment and contributions to BBC News, BBC World, BBC Radios 4, 5, 6music and Scotland, Sky News, CNN, Wired and the Associated Press. Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.

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