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WEDNESDAY 26 OCTOBER 2011
TODAY'S FEATURE: Q&A - STEVE LEVINE
Steve Levine began his career as a sound engineer and later record producer in the mid-1970s, working with countless artists over the years, including The Clash, Stevie Wonder, Ziggy Marley, Motorhead and, perhaps most notably, Culture Club - he produced their first three albums. Ahead of his appearance at next week's Songfest, CMU's Chris Cooke spoke to Steve about his work more>>
TODAY'S APPROVED: GVB HALLOWEEN MIX
As per a now three year-old tradition, Chris Cantalini at Gorilla Vs Bear has collated another mix of sterling indie selections in celebration of this year's spooky season. Even for those who are sick to death of Halloween's irksome trappings, you might just appreciate the mix all the same. An imperfect soundtrack for a costume rave, but ripe accompaniment for some candle-lit apple-bobbing more>>
TOP STORIES
- Rhythmix charity writes to Simon Cowell in bid to end X-Factor conflict
- Jackson wanted residency so kids wouldn't "live like vagabonds" anymore: Murray trial update
IN THE POP COURTS
- Syl Johnson's daughter comments on Watch The Throne lawsuit
IN THE POP HOSPITAL
- Ailing Gibb leaves sick bed to support Poppy Appeal record
- Aerosmith concert postponed after Tyler falls
CHARTS, STATS & POLLS
- Jackson tops Forbes dead rich poll
REUNIONS & SPLITS
- U2 planning to give up and split imminently
- Noel Gallagher rejects Liam's reunion offer
RELEASE NEWS
- Duck Sauce become genitals
FILMS & SHOWS NEWS
- Metallica: The 3D movie?
GIGS & TOURS NEWS
- Gary Barlow books solo shows
- PJ Harvey to stream Albert Hall show
THE MUSIC BUSINESS
- MPA launch mediation service
- Soundscan may be under reporting US vinyl sales
- Ticketmaster lets gig goers share seating info
THE DIGITAL BUSINESS
- Muve adds Merlin
- Will Google have to crack down on AdWord users to get Sony on board for its download store?
- Rock Band will return, but revamped
THE MEDIA BUSINESS
- Michael Buble to host Magic show
- Westlife add ITV special to farewell itinerary
AND FINALLY...
- Bieber to switch on Westfield Christmas lights
MEAN FIDDLER, DESIGNER
Mean Fiddler are currently seeking a talented designer/e-CRM exec to join our team in East London. You’ll be working alongside our Marketing and Digital teams on a variety of projects promoting tours, gigs and artists. You will need to have strong design skills, and have strong proven experience in Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, HTML, CSS & XML.

Responsibilities: Design high quality print advertising and e-newsletters; Liaise with marketing, digital and other departments to deliver campaigns to brief; Resizing artwork; Working on multiple projects and meeting tight deadlines; Knowledge of latest design trends and technologies.

Requirements: Strong skills in Flash Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, HTML, CSS, XML; Strong communication skills; Mac experience; php, javascript and actionscript experience desirable but not essential; interest in music (desirable).

If your skills and experiences match that of this job description, please send your CV and a few examples of your work (under 5mb) to laura.bailey@mamagroup.co.uk
   
CREAM GROUP, MARKETING CO-ORDINATOR
Cream Group are looking to recruit a Marketing Co-ordinator to join the team. The right candidate will have: a minimum of one to two years experience managing marketing activity and budgets - including print production, supplier management, street marketing, online, social media and radio and will be able to hit the ground running managing campaigns. They will also have excellent communication and organisational skills, commercial awareness and strong attention to detail and will be personable, outgoing, creative and flexible, with natural ability to multi task and manage projects and relationships. Ideally with a background in marketing, events and/or music industry, radio, TV, media or creative industries; educated to degree standard with marketing related degree and proficient in Word / Excel, photoshop / html advantageous.

Apply with CV and covering letter stating what makes you suitable for the job to jobs@cream.co.uk by Friday 4 Nov. Salary: £18-25K depending on experience. Location: Liverpool.

For full job description, click here.
   
NETTWERK MUSIC GROUP UK, PROMOTIONS MANAGER
Nettwerk Music Group in London is seeking an enthusiastic promotions manager to run the PR campaigns for Nettwerk's recording artist releases in the UK. Applicants must be creative, passionate about music, have at least one year's worth of experience in online and print PR with a strong media contact base. Salary negotiable, closing date 7 Nov. To apply email jobs@nettwerk.com.

RHYTHMIX CHARITY WRITES TO SIMON COWELL IN BID TO END X-FACTOR CONFLICT
Children's music charity Rhythmix has written an open letter to Simon Cowell in its continued bid to stop 'X-Factor' from using the same name for one of the acts in this year's competition.

As previously reported, having shoved four women together who had entered as solo artists but weren't good enough on their own, 'X-Factor' bosses bestowed the name Rhythmix upon them. However, the charity argues that because it also works in music there is a risk of confusion.

The charity works with children who have been bereaved, who are disabled, or who have been sent to youth detention centres, using music as a method to aid personal and communicative development. Operating since 1999, it owns the trademark in the name in the educational space, though not music. It's the music trademark which 'X-Factor' bosses are now trying to secure.

However, because music is at the heart of what the charity does, they fear the TV producers' application will hinder their fundraising operations (eg staging music events under the Rhythmix banner) and cause confusion online. But when the charity contacted 'X-Factor' to object to their trademark application, it was simply referred to the show's legal team, who basically said the charity had no legal case and should go away. Morals, you see, don't matter to the 'X' producers.

Now, in an open letter to Simon Cowell published this morning, the charity's chief executive Mark Davyd has asked the show's overall boss to "just change the name", to ensure that his organisation can avoid expensive legal action.

Davyd writes that when Cowell's company Simco applied for the trademark, it was "fully aware that 'Rhythmix' was an existing trademarked name of a music charity that works with vulnerable young people".

He continues: "Rather than seeking any discussion with the charity, considering any of the moral implications of their actions, or checking with the charity whether the pursuit of an exclusive trademark might have a negative impact on the activities of the charity, Simco and their legal representatives apparently sought a way to use the law to circumvent [our] trademark".

Pointing out the work Cowell already does with various other children's charities, Davyd says that, although he does not believe Cowell is unaware of what is going on, he may be acting in a hands-off manner, leaving his team to "manage" the situation. However, this, he adds, is "forcing the Charity to take legal action to ensure it can continue to exist and offer opportunities to young people to create and perform their own music".

"Maybe those young people won't be on your programmes, or your record label", writes Davyd. "But the music they create is important to them".

He adds: "Rhythmix the charity has worked with over 40,000 young people in the last twelve years. All of that work is placed at risk by the actions of your company. Every legal action the charity has to take to protect itself from Simco is a project that won't happen. A project that could make a difference to a vulnerable young person. A large number of the public reading this will see it for exactly what it is; a ridiculously overblown storm in a tiny teacup. Simco are solely responsible for that situation and you can resolve it in a matter of seconds".

He concludes: "Simon, we are personally asking you to sort this problem out in the quickest and simplest way: Just change the name".

Read Mark Davyd's letter to Simon Cowell in full here: www.facebook.com/notes/rhythmix/an-open-letter-to-simon-cowell/249510941762644

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JACKSON WANTED RESIDENCY SO KIDS WOULDN'T "LIVE LIKE VAGABONDS" ANYMORE: MURRAY TIRAL UDPATE
The AEG Live exec who negotiated the deal to bring Michael Jackson to London's O2 Arena in 2009 gave some background to the fated 50 night residency as the defence continued to present their case in the Conrad Murray trial yesterday.

Randy Phillips revealed that it was the finance company who "owned the note" on Jackson's Neverland property that originally initiated talks between the live music giant and the late king of pop. A high profile residency in one venue, which meant no exhausting moving from city to city, appealed to Jackson, Phillips said, adding that the singer hoped his fee from the shows would enable him to buy a new home for his three children so they could stop "living like vagabonds".

Jackson initially agreed to 31 shows, Phillips said, ten more than Prince had performed at the same venue two years earlier, but subsequently agreed to go up to 50 to meet demand. Some have claimed AEG Live pressured Jackson to increase the number of dates against his will, but Phillips insisted Jackson had gladly extended the run, insisting a rep from the Guinness Book Of Records be on hand at the final show, because he was convinced this would be the biggest residency ever.

The 50 night cap was set mainly for visa reasons, and the extension was conditional on AEG providing Jackson with a country estate - with a stream and horses - so his children wouldn't have to live in a hotel suite for too long. Phillips added that London was chosen for the comeback show, rather than somewhere closer to home for Jackson, because it was "the hottest concert market in the world, bigger than New York and Toronto combined".

Earlier in the day the nurse consulted by Jackson about his sleeping problems returned to the witness stand. Cherilyn Lee revealed that Jackson had asked her about using propofol to aid sleep two months before his death. She revealed the pop star told her: "I know this [propofol] will knock me out - as soon as it gets into my vein I am knocked out and I am asleep".

Lee admitted she didn't know much about the drug, but says that she researched it after her conversation with Jackson had learned about its significant side effects, and that it should only be used for surgery in a hospital setting. She told the court that she relayed all this information to Jackson, but that he responded: "I will be OK, I only need someone to monitor me with the equipment when I sleep".

Jackson died, of course, when Murray failed to monitor his patient after administering the drug. Quite how much he administered, and whether Jackson himself added to the dosage, is at the heart of Murray's manslaughter case, though many medical experts presented by the prosecution insisted that giving the late pop star any amount of propofol outside a hospital environment - and Murray has admitted he did - is sufficiently negligent for the doctor to be found guilty.

The defence's presentation so far has been pretty run of the mill compared to some of the dramatic testimonies presented by the prosecution. Defence lawyers are trying to portray Jackson as a man on the edge, partly because of the stress caused by his 50 night O2 booking, and with an insatiable craving for prescription drugs to overcome anxiety, pain and insomnia. They may be successful in these efforts, though it seems unlikely that will be enough to convince the jury that Murray was not negligent in feeding the singer's cravings. It remains to be seen if, like the prosecution, the defence are saving their more dramatic and persuasive witnesses for their finale.

What we do know is Murray definitely won't testify - or, that is to say, the defence won't call him to the witness stand. The defence team confirmed this 100% yesterday. Though judge Michael Pastor said he'd still give Murray the formal opportunity to provide a testimony, even though neither the prosecution nor the defence have requested that he do.

The case continues.

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SYL JOHNSON'S DAUGHTER COMMENTS ON WATCH THE THRONE LAWSUIT
Syleena Johnson, daughter of Syl, has commented on her father's lawsuit against Jay-Z and Kanye West in an interview with Sirius XM presenter Sway Colloway.

As previously reported, Johnson Senior recently sued the two rappers claiming that a sample of his song 'Different Strokes', which features on 'The Joy' from the pair's 'Watch The Throne' album, was not cleared for use. Earlier this year Johnson's label, Numero Uno, said in a blog post that it had been in negotiations to clear the sample for use on a track on West's 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' album, but that no agreement had been reached, and no talks had ever taken place regarding 'Watch The Throne'.

Speaking on Sirius XM, Syleena Johnson said that her father has no issue with either Jay-Z or Kanye West personally, and that they are only named in his lawsuit because they have to be - it being their album at the heart of the dispute. But he actually holds their labels Def Jam, Universal Music and Roc-A-Fella Records accountable. She added that "he just wants his money".

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AILING GIBB LEAVES SICK BED TO SUPPORT POPPY APPEAL RECORD
Bee Gees star Robin Gibb looked noticeably frail when appearing on a TV show earlier this week, he having left his sick bed to promote a cover version of Bee Gees track 'I've Gotta Get A Message To You', which has been recorded by Gibb and military-pop-trio The Soldiers in aid of this year's British Legion Poppy Appeal.

Gibb was recently hospitalised in Oxford after suffering acute abdominal pains and, although now recovering at home, he still looked very unwell, but insisted on attending and performing at the launch of the charity single.

Opting not to comment on his health, Gibb was nevertheless keen to talk about the record, saying: "It's an emotional appeal because when your back is against the wall, human beings tend to think about those things that are most important - home, kids and life in general, and girlfriends... That's why it was so important for me to do everything possible to support this record".

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AEROSMITH CONCERT POSTPONED AFTER TYLER FALLS
An Aerosmith concert in Paraguay has been postponed one day after the band's frontman, Steven Tyler, fell in his hotel bathroom, hitting his face and losing two teeth apparently. Although he needed stitches and dental work, a spokesman for the group said the singer's injuries were "minor" and the show - the band's first in the country - will go ahead 24 hours behind schedule this evening. Tyler, of course, has a habit of injuring himself while on tour, with past injuries - admittedly more serious than this one - resulting in cancelled shows and, almost, the implosion of the whole group.

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JACKSON TOPS FORBES DEAD RICH POLL
Michael Jackson has again topped Forbes' poll of high earning dead celebrities. It's the second year that Jackson has beaten usual poll leader Elvis Presley in the Forbes chart. The magazine reckons the Jackson estate generated $170 million in the last year, aided by continued sales of his catalogue, various licensing deals and the launch of the Jackson-themed Cirque du Soleil show 'Immortal'. Other musicians in the top earning dead celebs poll, behind Jackson and Presley, include John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix and George Harrison.

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U2 PLANNING TO GIVE UP AND SPLIT IMMINENTLY
There might be a bit of wishful thinking in that headline, I'm not sure U2 will ever split up. But Bono has been showing uncharacteristic signs of doubt in himself and his band lately. He's taken to questioning the band's relevance in the modern music world, and is looking backwards as they prepare to reissue 1991's 'Achtung Baby'.

Asked how he reconciles reissue packages with the line "You glorify the past when the future dries up" from 'God Part II' on U2's 'Rattle And Hum' album, the singer told Rolling Stone: "I'm not so sure the future hasn't dried up".

He continued: "We'd be very pleased to end on [most recent album] 'No Line On The Horizon'. I doubt that [will be the last record because] we have so many [new] songs, some of our best. But I'm putting some time aside to just go and get lost in the music. I want to take my young boys and my wife and just disappear with my iPod Nano and some books and an acoustic guitar".

Confirming there might be a gap before the next U2 album (well, sort of) The Edge added: "It's quite likely you might hear from us next year, but it's equally possible that you won't".

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NOEL GALLAGHER REJECTS LIAM'S REUNION OFFER
Noel Gallagher has rejected his brother Liam's suggestion of getting Oasis back together in 2015 to mark the 20th anniversary of their second album, '(What's The Story) Morning Glory?'

As previously reported, Liam recently told Rolling Stone: "In 2015, if we can put our shit aside, [Oasis] can tour and play the [second] album in its entirety for the 20th anniversary. I'd be up for that". He then added that he's "not desperate for it", but has reiterated the offer since. It seems Noel's not keen though.

This week, Noel told BBC Newsbeat: "He's got my permission to go and play it. He can play it if he wants. I don't mind. I left that band for a reason and that reason still stands".

Although Liam claimed in the same Rolling Stone interview that "[Noel] needs to do his solo thing first and realise he's not that good without his brother", Noel's debut solo album went to number one in the UK albums chart last weekend, selling almost double what Beady Eye's debut (which peaked at number three) managed in its first week.

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DUCK SAUCE BECOME GENITALS
You know when people claim to have seen it all? Well next time someone does that, ask them if they've seen other people's genitals replaced with the faces of Armand Van Helden and A-Trak. If they say no, then they haven't seen everything. To be honest though, they're probably better for it.

Yes, Duck Sauce are back with a new single called 'Big Bad Wolf'. For this release, they've adopted the OK Go method - ie released a mediocre song but distracting everyone's attention by coupling it with an impressive video. It's a video you'll either find funny or disturbing. Or possibly both. I was fine with it, but that 'money shot' keeps replaying in my head and I don't like it.

Watch for yourself here: www.rollingstone.com/videos/new-and-hot/duck-sauce-big-bad-wolf-20111024

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METALLICA: THE 3D MOVIE?
Having appeared in the candid (and unintentionally hilarious) 2004 documentary 'Some Kind Of Monster', Metallica are reportedly preparing to fund their own 3D film.

According to Deadline, the band have drafted in producer Charlotte Huggins, who worked on the 3D movie adaptation of Jules Verne's 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth', to assist with the venture. No further details have been confirmed, but one thing is for sure; you'll need to don a pair of silly glasses to watch the film.

Elsewhere in news matters concerning Metallica, 'Lulu', the band's collaborative LP with Lou Reed, is due for release on 31 Oct.

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GARY BARLOW BOOKS SOLO SHOWS
Gary Barlow has announced his first solo shows in eleven years, and it's all for a good cause.

The aptly-titled 'Gary Barlow In Concert' will take place over two nights (5 and 6 Dec) at London's Royal Albert Hall, raising funds for Prince Charles' youth charity, The Prince's Trust, and The Foundation Of Prince William And Prince Harry.

Says Gaz: "It's really important to me that disadvantaged young people get the support they need, especially at the moment. I hope the money raised through these concerts will make a real difference to young lives".

A portion of the monies generated by the shows will also go to the UK City Riots Appeal, which aims to help rebuild riot-damaged communities.

Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Prince's Trust, says: "The Prince's Trust was set up in 1976 following social unrest and high youth unemployment. Today, our work with disadvantaged young people is more relevant than ever - with riots in our cities and the number of jobless young people at a record high. We are enormously grateful to Gary Barlow for helping us to raise funds for such a timely cause".

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PJ HARVEY TO STREAM ALBERT HALL SHOW
Held by way of a live lap of honour for her Mercury Prize-winning opus 'Let England Shake', the second of PJ Harvey's sold-out Royal Albert Hall dates is to be streamed online.

The show, which is due to take place on 31 Oct, will be available to watch in real-time in exchange for a mere £2.99. What a treat. Happy Halloween, everyone!

More details on how to sign up can be found here: www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/oct/24/watch-pj-harvey-albert-hall-live

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MPA LAUNCH MEDIATION SERVICE
The Music Publishers' Association has launched a new mediation service, offering its members the option to use more cost effective mediation rather than costly formal legal action if there are ever disputes over royalties, or other contractual or copyright issues. A mediator doesn't make a ruling like a judge, but tries to help parties in dispute to reach a resolution.

MPA CEO Stephen Navin told CMU: "We at the MPA actively encourage our members to consider mediation as a way of resolving disputes, particularly where it serves to avoid court proceedings which can be both time-consuming and ruinously expensive. Mediation can result in a swift resolution, acceptable to both parties, and also helps to preserve the relationship between those parties".

He added: "We have assembled a panel of individuals with enormous expertise in intellectual property and a vast amount of experience in the field. I believe that access to this service at a beneficial rate is a real advantage to MPA members".

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SOUNDSCAN MAY BE UNDER REPORTING US VINYL SALES
US record sales tracker Nielsen SoundScan, like the Official Charts Company in the UK, is reporting a rise in vinyl sales this year. However, says Vince Slusarz, owner of New York-based vinyl pressing plant Gotta Groove, sales may be even higher than claimed.

Speaking to the New York Times, Slusarz said: "SoundScan only [logs] about 15% [of sales, because] the majority of the stuff we press, it doesn't even have a barcode".

Last year SoundScan reported 2.8 million vinyl sales, up from 2.5 million in 2009. This year the organisation says the increase could be as much as 40%, to just under four million. However, if Slusarz is correct, and the same is true across the entire range of vinyl sold in the US, sales could actually be as high as nineteen million.

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TICKETMASTER LETS GIG GOERS SHARE SEATING INFO
Ticketmaster UK has announced a new bit of Facebook integration which will mean friends on the social network going to the same events will be able to see where their pals are sitting (a service also useful for assassins I guess).

When punters buy tickets via the Ticketmaster website they can already alert their friends to that fact via a Facebook plug-in, and that service - called Event RSVP - will now integrate with the ticketing giant's interactive seating maps system when tickets are bought for seated events.

Ticketmaster UK MD Chris Edmonds told CMU: "Through extending our Event RSVP functionality to our Interactive Seating Maps, we are delivering a social experience for our consumers, extending consumer interaction. Consumers also have full control over the information they're sharing. If they want to tag themselves into seats they can select whether to share that information with their Facebook friends or with the wider community".

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MUVE ADDS MERLIN
Muve Music, the subscription-based mobile music service run by US firm Cricket Communications, has announced a licensing deal with Merlin, bringing the big indies into its catalogue. The platform, which bundles all-you-can-eat downloads (DRMed, so they only work while a subscription is valid) with other mobile services, already has deals in place with the majors.

Says Muve Music Product Development Director John Bolton: "We're pleased to welcome Merlin to the Muve Music family. With the addition of Merlin's amazing roster, Muve Music will expand its catalogue to bring an even richer content experience to our customers".

Merlin chief Charles Caldas added: "Muve Music is a truly exciting development in the US digital music sphere, and we are excited to have our labels represented on the service. With more than 200,000 customers signed up in such a short time, Muve Music has that independent spirit that our artists embody and we are sure that Muve's users will enjoy the access they now have to the many amazing artists and labels that our members represent directly on their handheld device".

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WILL GOOGLE HAVE TO CRACK DOWN ON ADWORD USERS TO GET SONY ON BOARD FOR ITS DOWNLOAD STORE?
According to the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, one of the reasons Sony Music is holding off licensing Google's new MP3 store is because it believes that - despite various "we're tough on piracy, don't you know" statements in recent years - the web giant isn't doing enough to stop copyright infringing websites benefiting from its services. The Journal's sources said Sony was pushing for more resolute commitments on fighting piracy from Google before signing on any dotted line re gTunes.

One area where Google has been criticised before is that websites which some see as being copyright infringers make money by carrying Google-curated advertising via Google AdWords. The web firm pledged to crack down on that last December, but according to Digital Music News - which investigated the matter this week - a stack of websites which record companies believe are infringing their rights, or enabling others to do so, still carry Google advertising.

Of course one tricky issue is, who is to say what sites are and are not infringers without any a legal action in court? For example, DMN notes that Grooveshark, a service which some believe is wholly illegal but which other labels have licensed, takes Google advertising. But some others listed by DMN, including one offering the 'pirate edition' of the LimeWire P2P software, unofficially released after the actual LimeWire company was shut down after losing copyright infringement actions last year, are sites where the case for contributory infringement is strong. Perhaps it will require the speedy removal of such sites from the Google AdWords system to get Sony on board for the new Google downloads store.

DMN's full list of controversial music sites carrying Google advertising is here:
www.digitalmusicnews.com/stories/102411adwords

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ROCK BAND WILL RETURN, BUT REVAMPED
The Rock Band franchise will be "fundamentally reinterpreted" in 2012, according to the boss of the company that makes it, Harmonix.

As previously reported, the games developer, best known for its pretend-to-play title, was sold for next to nothing by MTV owners Viacom last year. Coming close to the announcement by rivals Activision that it was halting development of its 'Guitar Hero' franchise, it led many to predict the demise of the pretend-to-play genre.

However, Harmonix is planning on reissuing 'Rock Band 3', originally released last year, for this year's Christmas market, before overhauling the game in 2012. The company's CEO Alex Rigopoulos told gaming site Giant Bomb: "In the longer term, looking into next year, we're actually considering a fairly fundamental creative reinterpretation of what the 'Rock Band' business is. We're committed to the franchise, but I think that when we do things with it in the future, it's going to be a pretty dramatic departure from what we've done before".

Expanding on that point, the firm's CTO, Eran Egozy, added: "All I'll say for now is that it isn't what you think. You might assume we're going to add saxophone or something along those lines, but no, the kind of direction we're planning on taking 'Rock Band', the kind of innovation we have in mind, is taking it in a different direction - one that's more suitable to the kind of environment we're in, what people are doing now, what they're interested in playing now, versus, say, 2007".

As previously reported, Ubisoft is launching a new variation on the 'Hero' and 'Band' franchises where users plug a real guitar into their console, so that 'pretend-to-play' becomes 'play'.

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MICHAEL BUBLE TO HOST MAGIC SHOW
Do you know what your life has been missing so far? I'll tell you what, a weekly radio programme hosted by that Michael Buble dude. Well, worry not, people, because Magic is coming to the rescue. The station has announced that the Buble will be hosting a weekly show every Saturday afternoon at 1pm from this weekend through to Christmas. And three of those shows - the three closest to Christmas presumably - will have a special festive theme. Good times.

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WESTLIFE ADD ITV SPECIAL TO FAREWELL ITINERARY
Westlife certainly are milking their split for all it's worth. Having originally announced that they would release a new single, their second greatest hits compilation, and embark on a UK tour before actually calling it quits, they've now added an ITV special to that list.

Details have not yet been made available, but Digital Spy reports that the show will probably air before the end of the year, most likely after an edition of 'X-Factor' on ITV1.

And for all of you who still think they're splitting up because they're sick of each other, stop it. The band said via their Facebook page yesterday: "We know it doesn't make for a good story but regardless of what you might read in the papers this was wholeheartedly a united decision. Obviously there is already a huge amount of speculation as to what exactly is next for us all, but until you hear it from us it remains just that; speculation".

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BIEBER TO SWITCH ON WESTFIELD CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
It's not really Christmas until some popstar has turned on some lights in a Westfield shopping centre, that's what I always say. We've had Mariah Carey and Rihanna in recent years, now it's the turn of The Bieber. However, Bieber won't just we showing up in West London. Oh no, he'll also be turning on some lights at the new shiny Westfield nightmare in East London too. Hope he doesn't put his button-pushing finger out in the process.

People who like to see popstars wave and turn on some lights before disappearing off somewhere else can catch Bieber on 7 Nov at 5pm in Shepherds Bush and 7.45pm in Stratford. And if you're also interested in the 'disappearing off somewhere else' bit, and like the idea of going into a small room where Justin will pretend to be interested in what you think, well you can apply to get a wristband to meet him here and here.

Also in Christmas-related Bieber news, the teen popster has revealed a shockingly poor attention to lyrical detail when recording a song that is both very famous and written down right in front of him. And Usher doesn't even pull him up on it. What sort of mentor is he? See what I'm banging on about here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdjxur09jVU

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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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