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THURSDAY 1 DECEMBER 2011
ARTISTS OF THE YEAR 2011: THREE TRAPPED TIGERS
Three Trapped Tigers' sound is complex. Rogerson described it to us with a riddle, saying: "How do you play Aphex Twin live? Answer: make it sound a bit like Lightning Bolt". But that description doesn't get over how much they've created their own universe of music. True, there are other bands taking instrumental rock music in new directions, but TTT are streets ahead and always the band to beat more>>
BEST OF CMU APPROVED 2011: DIRTY BEACHES
Throughout December, we will be revisiting some of our favourite artists to have appeared in the CMU Approved column this year. First we're going back to June and a feature on Dirty Beaches, aka Taiwan-born and Canada-based musician Alex Zhang Hungtai, and his dirty, grimey, reverb drenched rock n roll. At the time, he was just about to play two UK shows more>>
TOP STORIES
- Spotify announces third party app integration
IN THE POP COURTS
- Tim McGraw free agent after winning legal fight with label
- LA District Attorney may push for harder jail time for Murray
IN THE POP HOSPITAL
- George Michael's condition "improving steadily"
AWARDS & CONTESTS
- Kanye leads, while Adele and Epworth represent the UK in Grammy noms
IN THE STUDIO
- Drowning Pool part company with frontman
RELEASE NEWS
- Mastodon and Feist announce split covers single
- Hanson to flog booze
- Nils Frahm and Peter Broderick to release collaboration
BOOKS NEWS
- George Harrison's sister to publish book
GIGS & TOURS NEWS
- Buzzcocks shows will chart their career in reverse
- Above & Beyond announce UK tour
FESTIVAL NEWS
- Festival line-up update
THE MUSIC BUSINESS
- Hesse's move to Bertelsmann confirmed
- Believe announces partnership with anti-piracy firm
THE DIGITAL BUSINESS
- OpenEMI announces five grand contest
THE MEDIA BUSINESS
- Capital confirms Berry as Vaughan replacement
AND FINALLY...
- Beyonce hits out at fake pregnancy claims
7DIGITAL, ACCOUNT MANAGER
7digital seek an Account Manager to oversee our US based B2B clients. Reporting to the lead of the London HQ account management team with direction and priorities on North American business from the NA market lead and business development team, the focus of the role is to support all B2B API business implementation and provide general account coordination between the London and North American operations. The position is part of a small American team (consisting of: market lead, business development, technical evangelist, and marketing - all based in US; with the Account Manager role based in London).

More information here: www.thecmuwebsite.com/jobs

Please send CV and covering letter to careers@7digital.com ensuring you put Account Manager in the subject field.
   
COOKING VINYL, OFFICE MANAGER
Cooking Vinyl is looking for an office manager to run and maintain our busy West London office.

Successful applicants will exhibit good written skills, ability to problem solve, multi-task, and be proficient on office software packages (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc).

All applicants must be well organised, have a genuine love of music, enjoy going to gigs, and the ability to work as part of a team.

Cooking Vinyl is a successful independent record label and has developed a reputation as one of Europe’s prime artist-focused independent labels, inspiring an enviable loyalty among its artists which include The Prodigy, Marilyn Manson, The Enemy, Roll Deep, Groove Armada and Billy Bragg.

Applicants should send CV and covering letter to jobs@cookingvinyl.com

Closing date 10 Dec
   
THE ZEITGEIST AGENCY, SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER, PRESS OFFICER/JUNIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER
The Zeitgeist Agency is the leading creative communications agency in the festival, brand and music space. We have the contacts, ideas and passion to consistently over-deliver and generate the right buzz at the right time for our premium brands and events.

Want to join our expanding team?

Senior Account Manager – All-rounder with music, brand account management, festival and arts experience. Must have unrivalled contacts and proven record for new business. Experienced, determined and tenacious candidates need only apply.

Press Officer / Junior Account Manager – at least one year’s cross platform experience required and ready to go to the next level.

Send your CV and a tweet-sized covering note to: jobs@thezeitgeistagency.com
   
COOKING VINYL, ONLINE MARKETING AND PR MANAGER
Cooking Vinyl is looking for an experienced online marketeer with proven campaign experience across Social Online Marketing, Search, CRM, PR, retail and creative design and development.

The successful applicant should have a good working knowledge of the following programs and applications - HTML, Photoshop, Flash CSS, PHP(or similar), Javascript, Soundcloud, Topspin, Mail Chimp, etc.

All applicants must be very well organised, have a genuine love of music, enjoy going to gigs, and the ability to work as part of a team. You need to be able to work under pressure and the ability to meet deadlines is crucial.

Cooking Vinyl is a successful independent record label and has developed a reputation as one of Europe's prime artist-focused independent labels, inspiring an enviable loyalty among its artists which include The Prodigy, Marilyn Manson, The Enemy, Roll Deep, Groove Armada and Billy Bragg.

Applicants should send CV, covering letter and current salary to jobs@cookingvinyl.com

Closing date 1 Dec.

SPOTIFY ANNOUNCES THIRD PARTY APP INTEGRATION
So, Spotify's big "new direction" announcement occurred yesterday in New York Town, and founder Daniel Ek got up on stage all casual like (post-Jobs, surely the truly revolutionary IT firm would dress their chief exec in a top hat, tails and monocle for these increasingly tedious press calls) and told us an app store was being added to the Spotify player. Not so much a new direction as the same direction but with more stuff shoved on the roof rack.

To be fair to the Ek-ster, he did prove Spotify can beat even Google when it comes to staging glitzy anti-climaxes. The fact that most of the journalists tuned into the big announcement already knew, by the time Ek took to the stage, about the app store and API that will allow third parties to develop in-Spot apps, possibly didn't help. Though the PR advisors of these tech firms probably need to brush up on their "managing expectations" skills.

But still, the app channel within the Spotify player does address one commonly cited issue with the streaming music platform, that there are few tools to help users navigate the millions of tracks in the service's libraries, beyond the playlist sharing function many users have never really noticed exists. Most of the apps available, certainly at launch, provide curated lists and editorial integrated with music on the streaming service, so users can navigate Spotify's music content with the help of the Guardian review team, the Billboard charts, or playlists quirkily inspired by the big music news stories of the day. They are kinda cool, though whether the average Spotify subscriber will actually use them is another matter.

Possibly most interesting, though, is the fact that Spotify has applied a Facebook approach to bringing editorial and expert curation to the service, ie don't go the expense of creating the content yourself (as a number of Spotify's competitors already do), but get other people to do it for you free, promising "a big new audience of music fans" in return.

The apps will be free to access (certainly initially, reducing the commercial return for app makers of course), and will be accessible to both freemium and premium Spotify users. The apps are presumably available to those using Spotify for free, first to guarantee app makers a much bigger audience, and second because Spotify hopes free users will find themselves listening to more music because of the new content channels, and might run out of their free listening credits and be motivated to upgrade to a premium account.

App partners at launch include Rolling Stone, Last.fm, Songkick, Pitchfork, Soundrop, We Are Hunted, TuneWiki and Moodagent.

And here are the words of Ek: "Once you take a look, you'll see why we believe this is truly the beginning of something game-changing for digital music. We think this will lead to integrations that keep Spotify beautiful and simple, but layer in great musical experiences designed to be social and fun. It's what our users have been asking us for".

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TIM MCGRAW FREE AGENT AFTER WINNING LEGAL FIGHT WITH LABEL
Country star Tim McGraw has won the first part of a legal battle with his career long record label partners Curb Records.

The relationship between McGraw and Curb, which began in 1992, has been deteriorating for some time, but went legal in May when both sides filed lawsuits against the other. At the centre of the litigation was whether McGraw's latest work, an album called 'Emotional Traffic', fulfilled the artist's contractual commitments to the label regards new recordings, whether he was due an advance on it, and whether he was not out of contract with the record company.

In a complicated claim, Curb said the songs on 'Emotional Traffic' were not sufficiently new (the company said recordings started in 2008, he claims the studio work took place in 2009/10), and that McGraw remained tied to the label when it came to recordings. McGraw's lengthy countersuit said the new album was in line with his contract, and that he now considered himself to be a free agent label-wise.

According to the Nashville Tennessean, yesterday a judge ruled in McGraw's favour in regard to the singer's contractual commitments, concluding that the artist had provided Curb with as many recordings as he was obligated to, and that he was now free to work with other labels on or self-release any new material. A separate hearing will take place next July to consider McGraw's claim for damages against the label, which he claims breached his contract by refusing to pay an advance on 'Emotional Traffic'.

Needless to say, McGraw seemed pleased with the ruling, but Curb pledged to fight further on this. The recotrd company's legal rep issued a statement saying it "intends to continue to pursue these claims, including through the appeals process as appropriate in light of the importance of the underlying principles involved".

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LA DISTRICT ATTORNEY MAY PUSH FOR HARDER JAIL TIME FOR MURRAY
According to Sky News, LA District Attorney Steve Cooley may go back to court to try and get Conrad Murray incarcerated in a tougher prison.

The doctor, jailed for four years on Tuesday for causing the death of Michael Jackson through negligence, is currently set to serve his jail term in county jail rather than in the more severe state prison system.

This is because of a recent Californian law designed to deal with the state's overcrowded prisons by placing those convicted of certain non-violent crimes in county jails instead of state facilities, and allowing said felons to spend up to half of their sentence under house arrest. At the sentencing hearing on Tuesday legal reps for the prosecution conceded that this arrangement would apply to Murray.

But, according to Sky, Cooley is not happy with this turn of events, especially the fact Murray could be let out of jail and into home-based incarceration within two years (some reckon it could be even sooner). Whether or not Cooley, or the LA courts, could circumvent this new bit of legislation to ensure a more severe sentence for Murray, isn't especially clear.

Murray's defence team are yet to confirm whether they will appeal his conviction or sentence.

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GEORGE MICHAEL'S CONDITION "IMPROVING STEADILY"
Doctors from Vienna General Hospital, where George Michael is being treated for pneumonia, have issued a statement saying that the singer's condition is "improving steadily".

Professors Gottfried Locker and Christoph Zielinski said: "The latest development in Mr Michael's case - which has evolved from a severe pneumococcal infection - necessitated intensive care due to its severity and extension. We are happy to announce that Mr Michael is improving steadily with an impressive regression of pneumonic symptoms and follows a steady rate of improvement as hoped. As we said previously, complete rest and peace and quiet are mandatory".

They added: "There are no other health issues with regards to the patient other than the underlying pneumonic disorder, and no further measures had to be taken. Michael is receiving precisely the same treatment as any ordinary patient in Austria would receive at the hospital for this disease".

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KANYE LEADS, WHILE ADELE AND EPWORTH REPRESENT THE UK IN GRAMMY NOMS
Kanye West leads in this year's Grammy nomination lists, being up for seven awards in total, while the Foo Fighters, Adele and Bruno Mars are all up for six prizes each, the latter two competing in three key categories, ie album, record and song of the year.

The noms were announced at a special concert in LA yesterday, with the gongs due to be dished out on 12 Feb next year. In the eclectic newcomer stakes, Bon Iver, Nicki Minaj, Skrillex, J Cole and The Band Perry will all compete for the best new artist prize.

Alongside Adele, other Brits up for prizes include Mumford & Sons, while Amy Winehouse could win a posthumous Grammy for her collaboration with Tony Bennett. Meanwhile producer extraordinaire Paul Epworth, as well as seeing a number of his Adele collaborations being nominated, is himself up for Producer Of The Year.

Despite Grammy organisers somewhat controversially cutting back on the number of awards this year (the campaign against the cut categories continues on the side lines), there are still flippin loads of them, so if you want the noms lists we suggest you go visit the Grammys website:

www.grammy.com/nominees

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DROWNING POOL PART COMPANY WITH FRONTMAN
American metallers Drowning Pool are looking for a new lead singer, their fourth to date, after it was confirmed Ryan McCombs, with the band since 2005, was departing.

McCombs took over from predecessor Jason Jones in 2005, he having replaced original frontman Dave Williams who died in 2002. The other band members - CJ Pierce, Stevie Benton and Mike Luce - have all been there since the start.

Confirming McCombs' departure, Pierce said in a statement this week: "We have always been a band who has gained success despite having multiple singers ... maybe we suffer from reverse 'lead singer's disease'. Changing things up has not always been easy, but the band has become re-energised time and time again. We are looking to find a new singer who will give both us and, most importantly, our fans the new adrenaline shot they deserve. We do wish Ryan great success in his future endeavours".

According to reports, work has already begun on a fifth Drowning Pool album, despite the current lack of a lead vocalist.

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MASTODON AND FEIST ANNOUNCE SPLIT COVERS SINGLE
Mastodon bassist Troy Sanders has revealed that his band plans to "throw some hair and dirt" on a Feist song, by which he means they're going to cover something from Feist's new album, 'Metals'. Meanwhile, Feist will return the favour and "pretty up" a Mastodon track. The two acts, who first acknowledged a mutual appreciation for each other's work backstage at 'Later With Jools Holland' recently, will then release their respective covers on a split seven-inch for next year's Record Store Day.

No word yet as to which covers will feature on the single, but Feist has hinted that she'd like to tackle 'Oblivion', taken from Mastodon's latest LP 'The Hunter'. If Mastodon should take on Feist's 'How Come You Never Go There', as represented so very hairily in its accompanying video, they probably need only bring dirt. Just look at this: www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2uVRMBD5RY

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HANSON TO FLOG BOOZE
It seems rock-pop peddlers Hanson are to follow Elbow and The Rifles into the brewery business, having announced that they're bringing out their own signature beer. The band plugged the venture while delivering a talk to Oxford University students, naming the brew, an India pale ale, 'MMMhop', obviously.

Drummer and shameless self-promoter Zac said: "It's vital our fans have trust in everything Hanson do. We are soon going to be selling our own beer. I'm not joking - MMMhop IPA anyone?"

So that's nice. Oh, and FAO Hanson: if she feels well enough to remember the words this time, perhaps ex 'X-Factor' contestant Janet Devlin could sing the MMMhop beer brand jingle? Here's her show-reel: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTY0AtqOhxU

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NILS FRAHM AND PETER BRODERICK TO RELEASE COLLABORATION
German composer Nils Oliver Frahm and multi-instrumentalist Peter Ray Broderick are to release a collection of eight tracks together entitled 'Wonders', on 12 Dec.

Having met through their shared label, Erased Tapes, the duo first worked together to record a cover version of 'Harmonics', a song by Broderick's some-time collaborators Efterklang. From then on, says Broderick, the partnership came about quite organically.

He tells CMU: "We were both really happy and inspired with how easy and fun this process was. Without much preconception we just set up the mics and started recording. We ran through a few fresh musical ideas that each of us had, improvising along with each other, sometimes just improvising entirely. The first official output of what will hopefully be a lifelong collaboration".

Elsewhere in Peter Broderick type goings on, he's all set to release new record 'http://www.itstartshear.com' (yes, really), the full-length follow-up to his acclaimed Bella Union debut, 'Home', on 20 Feb. Produced by none other than Frahm, Broderick designed its title as a "link" back to those things - album art, sleeve notes, and lyrics, for instance - that can often be lost or forgotten when downloading music the digital way.

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GEORGE HARRISON'S SISTER TO PUBLISH BOOK
Louise Harrison, sister of late Beatle George, is to publish a book about her brother in order to "get the truth out" and debunk the "garbage [that] has been written about George and The Beatles".

She told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune: "So much garbage has been written about George and The Beatles. I think it's my duty to get the truth out. Half of the stuff has been written by people who spent maybe an hour on a plane with The Beatles. There's been all kinds of myths and fantasies written about them. At least I have some facts to go on, because I was there - from even before they were The Beatles".

With the book now mostly written, Louise Harrison apparently hopes to have the book published within the next two years.

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BUZZCOCKS SHOWS WILL CHART THEIR CAREER IN REVERSE
Buzzcocks have confirmed that they'll play their two scheduled dates next May - at Manchester Apollo (25 May) and Brixton Academy (26 May) - 'Back To Front'. That is, both sets will begin with the band's newer material and present line-up, before tracking back to their early work and origins.

For the second phase, current members Steve and Pete will rejoin former drummer John Maher and bass player Steve Garvey to play songs from the bands' United Artists era. As previously reported, the show will then close with a further reshuffling as Pete, Steve, and John reunite with former frontman Howard Devoto to run through Buzzcocks' debut EP, 'Spiral Scratch'.

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ABOVE & BEYOND ANNOUNCE UK TOUR
Having trotted out their latest album, 'Group Therapy', across the globe, trance trio Above & Beyond will next year revisit home crowds during a springtime tour, their biggest yet.

A statement from the band reads: "The UK audience is one of the world's most knowledgeable, and the extent to which they have taken us to their hearts has been nothing short of overwhelming". So, at the very real risk of telling you what you already know, here are the live dates:

7 Apr: London, Brixton Academy
12 Apr: Birmingham, Institute
13 Apr: Leeds, Academy
14 Apr: Liverpool, Academy
19 Apr: Newcastle, Academy
20 Apr: Glasgow, Barrowlands

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE

OPTIMUS ALIVE!, Lisbon, Portugal, 13-15 Jul: After emerging as the most-requested performers in a poll undertaken by this Portuguese festival, Radiohead are the lead booking confirmed for this weekender. More acts to be announced shortly. www.optimusalive.com/en

PRIMAVERA SOUND, Parc del Forum, Barcelona, Spain, 30 May-30 Jun: Acts including Death In Vegas, Wilco, Mudhoney, SBTRKT, The Drums and Washed Out are amongst the latest raft added to next year's Primavera array. The existing bill boasts Björk, Guided By Voices, Jeff Mangum, Neon Indian and Yo La Tengo. www.optimusprimaverasound.com/pt/?lang=en

ROSKILDE, Denmark, 5-8 Jul: Leading the Roskilde line-up from the front is 2012 headliner Björk, who's so far its first and only resident. Festival-goers can expect to see her performing songs from her new album 'Biophilia', and presumably, wearing that big orange wig. Say organisers of securing Björk for the Danish bash: "We kick off the new festival season with a true 'Roskilde act'. One of the most distinct profiles and an always surprising musician". roskilde-festival.dk/uk/

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HESSE'S MOVE TO BERTELSMANN CONFIRMED
German media conglom and BMG co-owner Bertelsmann yesterday confirmed it is hiring Thomas Hesse, the former BMG exec who is currently Global Digital President of Sony Music, having joined the Sony record company when it merged with the original BMG record company in 2004. In his new role, which will begin next February, he will oversee global and digital expansion for the whole of the Bertelsmann group.

Confirming the appointment, Bertelsmann Chairman Gunter Thielen told reporters: "In Thomas Hesse, we are gaining a top-notch, internationally renowned executive for Bertelsmann's Executive Board. With his expertise, he will provide valuable impetus for Bertelsmann's further development and help to increase the company's value long-term".

Thomas Rabe, Bertelsmann CFO, who is about to be promoted to the role of CEO, said: "Thomas Hesse knows Bertelsmann very well from his earlier work and is well acquainted with the international media world. He brings to his new position a high level of expertise and a profound understanding of the digital challenges a global media company faces".

Hesse was formerly a close colleague of Rabe, so the former's return to the German media firm as the latter takes the top job there is not really a surprise, especially given the recent departure of Rolf Schmidt-Holtz from the CEO role at Sony, he being another former Bertelsmann exec with whom Hesse enjoyed a particularly good working relationship.

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BELIEVE ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH ANTI-PIRACY FIRM
Digital distributor Believe has announced a new partnership with AudioLock.NET, a company which provides anti-piracy solutions for music firms, including watermarking for pre-release promos of tracks and an adaptable scanning system that alerts content owners when their tracks appear on unlicensed platforms online. The deal will make AudioLock's technology available to Believe's label clients at a reduced rate.

Confirming the partnership, Believe Digital's Lee Morrison told CMU: "Believe Digital is 100% committed to ensuring our users have complete protection from online piracy. This new deal with Audiolock.NET will give the many artists and labels we work with access to state-of-the-art, cost effective solutions to this major problem affecting our industry and is a great addition to the fantastic range of tools and services we already provide".

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OPENEMI ANNOUNCES FIVE GRAND CONTEST
To further celebrate the launch of the previously reported OpenEMI initiative, the music major is offering a prize for $5000 to the best app proposal submitted by 13 Jan.

As previously reported, the OpenEMI initiative sees the music firm collaborating with digital company Echo Nest to make large chunks of its catalogue available to app developers, so they can test music-based apps using music owned by the record company without the usual licensing hassles. The venture also provides a route for app developers to share their ideas with the music company who, if interested, will sort out licensing deals for public release and help market the product. And, with the new competition, put five grand into the kitty too.

Although popular with the tech community, many do fear what will happen to the OpenEMI project once EMI is split up, and Universal takes over the recordings side and Sony/ATV the publishing. With those takeovers still to go through the regulatory process, EMI is likely to operate as normal until next spring, and well past the 13 Jan deadline of this competition, though some developers may nevertheless worry about investing too much time now when the promise of licensing and marketing assistance down the line may come to nothing if OpenEMI is lost during the pending acquisitions.

Still, a five grand prize might motivate some to invest a little time on developing a cool little app idea they may already be sitting on. There's more information on the contest here: developer.echonest.com/sandbox/emi/contest.html

Elsewhere in EMI app news, the major's Head Of Technical & Creative Joshua Saunders was talking about such things at the Apps World conference earlier this week. Among the topics discussed, according to The Guardian, was the pricing of apps, with Saunders reckoning the top price point for most music-based app products was five pounds, despite the recent success of Gorillaz and Björk app releases both initially priced over £10.

They were the exception though, Saunders reckoned, saying: "We're still in an experimental period with pricing for music apps. Maybe somebody will crack the 'iAlbum' concept, but at the moment the consumer appetite doesn't seem to be there for a musical app over five quid".

Read The Guardian's write up of the Saunders sesh at Apps World here:
www.guardian.co.uk/technology/appsblog/2011/nov/30/emi-apps-world-gorillaz

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CAPITAL CONFIRMS BERRY AS VAUGHAN REPLACEMENT
Capital Radio hasn't looked very far for a replacement for Johnny Vaughan on its prime time show, though arguably Dave Berry - former Xfm DJ and current Capital weekend breakfast host - is a very good choice indeed, though whether the Vaughan faithful will agree remains to be seen.

Berry will join Vaughan's former co-host Lisa Snowdon on the Capital breakfast show from January. Confirming the hire, Global Radio's programming chief Richard Park told reporters: "Dave Berry is a massive radio talent, and has already proved himself a huge hit with Capital listeners. I am convinced that the chemistry between him and Lisa Snowdon will make for great radio and that the show will become a must-listen for London every weekday morning".

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BEYONCE HITS OUT AT FAKE PREGNANCY CLAIMS
A video in which Beyonce addresses claims that she is faking her pregnancy has appeared online. As previously reported, the rumour gained real momentum after a video of an interview on Australian TV show 'Sunday Night' in October appeared to show her bump collapse in on itself as she sat down. Though the gossip actually goes back to the previous month when a story appeared in the New York Daily News.

Filmed on the set of her 'Countdown' video, Beyonce holds up a copy of the newspaper, rubs her stomach and says: "Hello, it is 23 Sep. Oh baby, oh baby, oh baby, oh baby. This was on the cover of the Daily News. Right now I'm actually shooting the video for 'Countdown' and I'm six months pregnant, pretending that my stomach is flat in body suits. Thank god you can't tell from the front, but when I turn to the side, oh baby, oh baby".

Watch for yourself here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=OScGccYKSss

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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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