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So, here we go people, it is Great Escape week, with the CMU-programme TGE Convention kicking off at 10.30am this Thursday in Brighton, with a strand of sessions on the 'DIY' model plus PRS For Music's always acclaimed day of panels and interviews. You'll find a convention overview on theCMUwebsite.com, plus registered delegates should check the latest update for them here. And lookout for updates from Thursday on all the topics and issues discussed this year. And if you haven't got your ticket yet, there's still time (just!). See you in Brighton.
The first thing that struck me when I walked into The Macbeth in Shoreditch last night was Trippple Nippples' homemade stage backdrop. Somewhat optimistically they'd daubed their name across a length of cloth about five feet high and 30 feet long. As a result, only the second part of their name just about squeezed onto the stage behind them, while the rest disappeared down a corridor more>>
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- Tributes paid to MCA
- CMU to launch new training course on social media
- MegaUpload chief releases diss track against New Zealand MP
- Will Stone Roses reunion go ahead minus Reni?
- Adam 'MCA' Yauch 1964 - 2012
- Run, Walk! still releasing debut album, despite break up
- Live Nation to work with Sony on new Shakira releases
- Kylie releasing 'Best Of Kylie' compilation
- Rick Ross holds Maybach press conference, sets date for LP
- Bat For Lashes playing low-key date
- The Wanted may tour or record with Chris Brown
- Festival line-up update
- HMV losses set to be higher than predicted
- Universal appoints new GM for Verve in US
- Grooveshark disappears from Facebook
- Facebook store providers announce distributor alliances
- Knight not arrested over Tupac murder, whatever Twitter says
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Tributes galore were made over the weekend to Beastie Boy Adam 'MCA' Yauch, who lost his battle with cancer on Friday. The rapper was first diagnosed with the disease just under three years ago, and his treatment had since curtailed the hip hop group's activities somewhat, though he remained positive he could fight the illness throughout, and the outfit was still able to release 2011 record 'Hot Sauce Committee Part 2'.

When the rap group were inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame last month it was initially hoped that the three rappers would be able to perform together at the induction show, but at the last minute Yauch had to withdraw from the awards bash because of ill health, and his fellow Beastie Boys decided to simply accept the honour with a short speech rather than perform without their bandmate.

A statement on the group's official website posted on Friday said: "It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam 'MCA' Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys and also of the Milarepa Foundation that produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, and film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer. He was 47 years old".

Meanwhile, writing on the Beastie Boys Facebook page, Yauch's bandmate Mike Diamond wrote: "I know, we should have tweeted and instagrammed every sad, happy and inspired thought, smile or tear by now. But honestly the last few days have just been a blur of deep emotions for our closest friend, bandmate and, really, brother. I miss Adam so much. He really served as a great example for myself and so many of what determination, faith, focus, and humility coupled with a sense of humour can accomplish. The world is in need of many more like him. We love you Adam".

Third Beastie Boy Adam 'Ad-Rock' Horovitz, paid his tributes via the group's blog, writing: "As you can imagine, shit is just fucked up right now, but I wanna say thank you to all our friends and family (which are kinda one [and] the same) for all the love and support. I'm glad to know that all the love that Yauch has put out into the world is coming right back at him. Thank you".

A plethora of celebrities and music types also paid tribute over the weekend, among them Madonna, who the then fledgling Beastie Boys supported on tour in 1985. She wrote this weekend: "The Beastie Boys were one of a kind! And so was Adam! They were all an important part of my musical history and integral to the musical revolution that was happening at the time. I'm very sad to hear about Adam's passing. God bless him and his family".

Coldplay, playing the Hollywood Bowl on Friday night, performed a musical tribute in the form of a chilled out sung version of one of the Beastie Boys' most famous hits, '(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)', with Chris Martin ending the performance with the lyric: "We're sending all our love to the Beastie Boys".

Meanwhile Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, one of the first to report on Yauch's death via his GlobalGrind.com blog, wrote: "One of our heroes, Adam Yauch aka MCA of the Beastie Boys, has passed this morning after a long bout with cancer. Adam was incredibly sweet and the most sensitive artist, who I loved dearly. I was always inspired by his work. He will be missed by all of us".

And finally a spokesman for the Dalai Lama also paid tribute to MCA, who had long practised Tibetan Buddhism and worked in support of the campaign for Tibetan independence. The Dalai Lama's spokesman told reporters: "Adam had helped us raise awareness of the plight of the Tibetan people by organising various freedom Tibet concerts and he will be remembered by his holiness and the Tibetan people".

The exact cause of Yauch's death isn't yet clear, though it is thought to be linked to the cancer that was first diagnosed in July 2009.

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The CMU Training team today announce a brand new course due to launch later this month, which has been developed based on input provided in a recent readers' survey.

The new one-day course will focus on social media, and how it can be used to engage and grow a fanbase for both established and new artists. It will look at the key social media platforms available and other useful digital tools, the importance of interaction and content, how to manage an artist's social media presence on a day-to-day basis, advertising on social media platforms, how to measure social activity, and how social media fits in to a wider marketing and communication strategy.

Confirming the new course, CMU Publisher and Business Editor Chris Cooke says this: "Our Promoting Music course includes a beginners guide to social media, but it's become clear from both people attending that seminar, and our recent CMU Training survey, that with social media now becoming a crucial part of the marketing mix for all artists, from the biggest to the newest, that many labels, publicists and managers are looking for something more in-depth. This new course will tell you what technologies are worth the time investment, how to get the most out of them, and how social media should be integrated with your other marketing and fan communication work".

The first edition of Social Media & Fan Engagement will take place on 23 May in Shoreditch, East London, and places can be booked now via theCMUwebsite.com/training. Places are also now available on the next editions of CMU's acclaimed courses on music rights, promoting music, and music business models and artist deals.

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Well, we knew that since being let out of jail, but with no MegaUpload empire left to run, Kim 'Dotcom' Schmitz had been spending some time in Neil Finn's studio in Auckland working on a debut album, and now a track has surfaced online, though it's not clear whether it will appear on the final record. Possibly not, as, in fine hip hop tradition, it's more of a diss track.

The subject of the recording is New Zealand politician John Banks, who has been in the news in his home country recently after it was revealed he received a NZ$50,000 donation to his campaign funds from the controversial MegaUpload founder.

Now that the MegaUpload enterprise and its directors face criminal charges in the US, Banks has been busy trying to distance himself from the donation, which was made towards his unsuccessful 2010 campaign to be re-elected as mayor of Auckland. The donation was seemingly made in two halves so that it was under the amount where the source of the money has to be declared.

Since Schmitz told reporters about his past financial support for Banks, the politician, now a member of the New Zealand parliament, has denied he knew that the Mega chief was behind the 50 grand donation in 2010, a claim that Schtmitz says is untrue.

The diss track, called 'Amnesia', includes a sound bite of Banks saying "I don't know who gave me money, I can't remember now", a female vocalist singing "That politician got amnesia again", and Schmtiz's artistic collaborator Printz Board rapping "He's the majority, so he's all right, He is John Banks, he got the vote, and that's why Key keeps him afloat, on his cabbage boat?"

The Key referred to is New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, while the last line refers to a statement made by Banks along the lines of "I did not come up the river in a cabbage boat", which it's thought basically means "I wasn't born yesterday", though most New Zealand journalists say they've never heard the somewhat bizarre idiom before either.

Dotcom himself does not appear in the new song, though it is thought he will rap on many of the tracks he is creating for the promised album. The US government continues to go through the motions, of course, to try and extradite Schmitz to face charges of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering in relation to his role in running MegaUpload. Meanwhile, you can, erm, enjoy 'Amnesia' here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CvRSZxqk_I

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The Stone Roses have been rehearsing for their upcoming reunion without drummer Reni, or at least that's what Matthew Priest of Dodgy has told Xfm. The Dodgy drummer reckons that Reni has had to step back from rehearsals due to illness, and might not be fit to perform at the band's much hyped reunion shows, which would disappoint many, Priest reckons.

Says the Dodgy drummer: "I bought tickets because The Roses were one of my favourite bands and Reni was playing. But I've heard rumours that Reni might not be playing - he's not well apparently and they're rehearsing with another drummer. They've sold a lot of the 250,000 tickets because of Reni - I'd want to see them with Reni".

However, a representative for the band has denied the rumours, saying all four members of the group are currently rehearsing and are still due on stage for the big comeback shows in Manchester's Heaton Park from 29 Jun-1 Jul, and, presumably, for the various festival dates scheduled for both before and after those concerts.

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ADAM 'MCA' YAUCH 1964 - 2012
Adam Yauch, best known as a member of Beastie Boys, died on Friday. He was 47.

New Yorker Yauch taught himself to play bass while in high school, and subsequently formed a hardcore punk band in 1979 with his friend Michael Diamond. Over the next few years that band released a series of seven-inch and twelve-inch records, one of which, 'Cooky Puss', saw them experiment with the then still emerging hip hop genre.

Following the addition of guitarist Adam Horovitz in 1983, and with the success of 'Cooky Puss', the group started incorporating more rap into their tracks, as well as adopting hip hop style monikers, MCA, Mike D and Ad-Rock. They also recruited a DJ for their live show, in the form of then New York student Rick Rubin, who, within a couple of years - as a rising producer and founder of Def Jam Recordings - was encouraging what was now the Beastie Boys rap trio the world came to know and love to record for his new label.

Support slots with Public Image Limited, Madonna and Run DMC helped build profile for the group, preparing the world for their debut album, 'Licensed To Ill', released by Def Jam in 1986. The best selling rap album of the 1980s, and the first record from the genre to top the Billboard chart, the release secured the group worldwide attention and acclaim, and the sort of moral critics that are compulsory to assure credibility in the hip hop world, particularly with the accompanying and somewhat raucous 'Licensed To Ill' world tour.

While there was an element of novelty to the Beastie Boys' debut long player, and their deliberately over the top live show, the group subsequently proved their musical credentials with follow-up albums like 'Pauls Boutique', 'Ill Communication' and 'Hello Nasty'. Having parted company with Rubin and Def Jam and forged an alliance with EMI's Capitol Records, they formed their own imprint Grand Royal that worked with various artists as well as releasing their own output. A Grand Royal magazine also followed.

While the Beastie Boys were busy selling over 40 million records worldwide, Yauch also took up a number of other projects. A keen film-maker too, he produced a number of Beastie Boys videos using the alias Nathanial Hörnblowér, and also founded independent film company Oscilloscope Laboratories, which, amongst other things, released his 2008 directorial film debut, the basketball documentary 'Gunnin' For That #1 Spot'.

Having practised Buddhism since 1994, Yauch also become a proactive supporter of the Tibetan independence movement, founding the Milarepa Fund to raise money for those efforts, and staging the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park in 1996. His charitable fund also gave funds to the New York Women's Foundation Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Association For New Americans in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on his home city.

Yauch was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, though he remained hopeful he could fight the disease, and continued to work with the Beastie Boys on new album 'Hot Sauce Committee Part 2'. However concerns were raised recently when Yauch was forced to pull out of a planned performance to celebrate the group's induction into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame due to ill health.

He is survived by his wife Dechen and his daughter Tenzin Losel.

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Noise rock pairing Run, WALK! have announced the release of their long-awaited debut album, whilst at the same time deciding to split. Alas, they giveth, and they taketh away. The LP, at least, will be released on a limited basis, with Holy Roar having pressed only 200 twelve-inch vinyl copies for issue on 16 Jul.

A statement from the band explains all: "I can't believe I'm sat here writing this. About three and a half years ago Run, WALK! first come into fruition. We had the common goals of travelling as far as we could, touring as much as possible, playing super loud and having fun".

It continues: "Sadly as time went on our common goals became harder to maintain. Real life began to take its toll as we grew up, however, as long time best friends and being devoted to playing our music we made it work for a long time but sadly it can't go on forever".

The first of the band's farewell dates falls on 12 May at The Great Escape, with a tour with DZ Deathrays and further festival appearances at Brighton's NWFA and Cheltenham's 2000Trees also booked.

In the mean time, listen to fated album track 'Black Dreams' here: runwalk.bandcamp.com/track/black-dreams-3

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Live Nation is likely to work with Sony Music on Shakira's forthcoming new releases, which means the Latin pop superstar will maintain her career long relationship with the major.

Shakira, of course, was one of four major league artists to sign a mega-bucks 360 degree deal with Live Nation back in 2008. The ten year partnership with the live music giant covered all aspects of the singer's career, including recordings, though some aspects of the deal didn't come into being immediately because of existing contractual commitments.

When Live Nation first negotiated its multi-million dollar multi-revenue stream deals with Shakira, Madonna, Jay-Z and Nickelback, there were grand plans at the live firm for a new division called Artist Nation, that would work with the company's new signings on their non-touring activity once those aspects of the new deals went live. However, those ambitions were in the main dropped when the executive leading Artist Nation, Michael Cohl, was pushed out of the Live Nation business.

As a result, rather than competing with the major labels in the music rights space, Live Nation has in the main struck up partnerships with the big record companies to market and distribute releases by their 360 degree signed artists. A partnership was announced late last year with Universal to release Madonna's upcoming records, while according to the New York Post an alliance with Sony will soon be announced regards Shakira's new recorded output.

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Pop poppet Kylie Minogue is to release a collection of 21 of what are deemed to be the 'greatest' hits of her career. She last released such a compilation in 2004, and has since accrued several extra hits in 'All The Lovers', 'Wow' and 'In My Arms'. As well as those, the new LP has that Robbie Williams duet and 'The Loco-motion', though no 'Where The Wild Roses Grow', which is a shame.

Still, life must go on. Featuring a respectable eighteen UK top five singles and five number ones, 'The Best Of Kylie Minogue' will be available to purchase in all good record stores and supermarkets as of 4 Jun. A DVD featuring music videos to match all 21 tracks will also be released on that same day.

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Maybach Music mogul Rick Ross has at last appointed a date for the release of his much postponed new album, 'God Forgives, I Don't'. As previously reported, the LP (and Ross' health) have stood various complications, not least the two seizures the rapper suffered - he says, due to lack of sleep - last October.

Ross appraised the long player whilst appearing beside label affiliates P Diddy, Wale, Meek Mill and new signing Omarion at a Maybach press conference last week, saying: "This is my best body of work yet. It's a very dark story, it's extremely lyrical. The music is next level".

'God Forgives, I Don't' will be released on 30 Jul. And meanwhile, Rozay will also be collaborating with Reebok Creative Director Swizz Beatz on a 'big and tall' line for the sportswear brand.

Says Swizz: "You have someone that's into fashion like Ross... instead of just doing regular sneaker, we give Ross his big and tall line to express all his fashion, all his fly, and keep it popping... Ross has the open portfolio to do whatever he wants to do with that".

This topic, and others besides, are kept popping in Pitchfork's highlights of the aforementioned Maybach conference, so watch those here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfiHkqMfisM

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Bat For Lashes' Natasha Khan has announced a new live date, her first UK appearance in over a year, at The Cambridge Junction on 13 Jun. The show will serve as a preamble to Bat For Lashes' various festival bookings, which include slots at Latitude, Bestival and Ireland's Electric Picnic.

Provided they haven't sold out, tickets for the Cambridge Junction date are available here. www.junction.co.uk/artist/4541

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When The Wanted aren't busy making antagonistic remarks about sundry female pop stars, they can customarily be found saying nice things about Chris Brown, with whom they may or may not be recording/touring with soon.

The band alluded to an alliance with the rapper during an on-air interview for Capital FM last week, saying that Scooter Braun - manager of serial Brown collaborator Justin Bieber and now also seemingly representing the British boy band in the US - had been in talks with Breezy as to potential duet opportunities.

Says The Wanted's Max George: "We met Chris Brown - he came in and saw us at the studio when we were rehearsing - and he was actually really sound. He said he liked our music and stuff. He'd spoke to Scooter since then and said he'd love to do a song with us so who knows? If it's the right song then we'll do it".

Bandmate Tom Parker then said: "There's talk about us, he's got his American tour coming up in July, maybe we'll go on that for a few shows which will be cool. Hitting that urban market - The Wanted go urban".

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ATP'S I'LL BE YOUR MIRROR, Alexandra Palace, London, Alexandra Palace, London, 25-27 May: A Storm Of Light, Blanck Mass, El-P, Umberto and Can's own Irmin Schmidt & John Podmore form the latest five additions to I'll Be Your Mirror's Mogwai-curated spring billing, existing features of which include Slayer, The Afghan Whigs, Dirty Three, Mudhoney and Death Grips. www.atpfestival.com

BEACHED, Castlefield Basin, Manchester, 2 Jun: Having played the Camden Crawl this past weekend, The Futureheads will next month appear as headliners of Manchester-based fest Beached, joining The Whip, Hey Sholay and Kid British on the line-up at large. www.beachedfestival.com

COCKROCK, Wellington Farm, Cockermouth, 20-22 Jul: Fun Lovin Criminals and Lower Than Atlantis head a raft of new additions to CockRock's 2012 programme, joining the afore announced Tinchy Stryder, Buzzcocks, The Subways and Doctor & The Medics. www.cockermouthrockfestival.com

OFF THE TRACKS, Donington Park Farmhouse, Leicestershire, 25-27 May: ZZ Birmingham and gypsy pop lot Moulettes are last (but not least) main stage amends to this year's Off The Tracks roster, as has hitherto hosted Wilko Johnson, Hawkwind, Dub Pistols and many more. www.offthetracks.co.uk

STOP MAKING SENSE, Tisno, Croatia, 2-6 Aug: Electric Minds, Bridging the Gap, Deviation, Finger Lickin, Secousse, Trouble Vision, Warm, Secretsundaze, Dalston Superstore and Durrr will host a fleet of this Croatian beach fest's infamous boat parties, and bolster an overall line-up featuring Lil Louis, Jimmy Edgar, Adrian Sherwood, A Skillz, Benji B & MC Judah, Deetron, Move D and Steffi. www.stopmakingsense.eu

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HMV has warned investors that it is likely to record a pre-tax loss of £16 million for the last financial year, which ended on 28 Apr. That's a higher loss than previously expected, with previous predictions pegging the flagging retailer's losses at closer to £10 million. Year end net debt, however, is slightly lower than expected, at £168 million (£180 million had been forecast).

The entertainment retail firm blamed a "weak new release schedule" for its fourth quarter failing to live up to already pretty low expectations, which is the excuse the major labels always used to use for disappointing financial results before "we actually performed well in the context of the wider record industry as it battles with online piracy" became the standard get out.

Despite the disappointing year-end results, the retail firm's management said it remained positive that its current strategy - including the much hyped headphones and gadgets push - will help turn things round within the next twelve months, so that the group could go back into profit in a year's time. Analysts in the main were not so optimistic, though they too did reckon losses for 2012/3 should be less than in 2011/12.

Said HMV boss man Simon Fox: "The last year has been a difficult and challenging one for HMV and this will be reflected in our annual results. However, we are confident that the actions we have taken will enable us to significantly improve our profit and cash generation in the year ahead".

As much previously reported, HMV is currently in the process of selling its profitable live division, the MAMA Group, as part of an ongoing bid to reduce the firm's debt liabilities, much of which were run up by Fox's previous diversification strategy.

As also previously reported, despite the wise logic of that diversification plan, it proved too costly to achieve as core high street revenues slumped, forcing management to refocus on the main HMV retail business, even though the future of any high street retail, let alone one based on physical gaming, movie and music product, remains pretty bleak. Still, the recent crash of the Game retail network, and resulting closure of many of its stores, may well bring some breathing space for HMV bosses as they continue in their bid to turn the ship around.

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Universal's Verve Music Group in the US appointed a new GM last week, in the form of Robert Smith, who was most recently Senior Vice President of A&R for Concord Music Group, and previously had a marketing role at another Universal division, Geffen. Smith will be involved in expanding out the musical remit of the traditionally jazz-based label.

Confirming the appointment, Verve Chairman David Foster told reporters: "As we continue to expand Verve into the adult contemporary and pop music markets, Robert is the perfect choice to oversee our day-to-day operations. He possesses a real track record of success and his marketing talents are among the most innovative and forward thinking in the industry".

Smith added: "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to work with David Foster, one of the industry's most talented and creative producers, in expanding the Verve label. I'd like to thank Concord and the amazing, legendary artists I had the chance to work with there. We were fortunate to be able to implement creative marketing initiatives to further feature our artists in non-traditional areas of media and retail, ideas which I hope to expand upon at Verve".

As previously reported, the UK version of Verve Music was recently closed down, with its roster of artists being swallowed by Decca, the British Universal division of which Verve UK was an imprint.

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Various online commentators noted this weekend that Grooveshark's presence on and link with Facebook has now been down for a week, leading to speculation the social network has cut the rogue streaming music service loose, possibly under pressure for the major record companies who are currently suing the Groovey digital firm.

It seems that Grooveshark's official page and app have been deleted from the Facebook platform, and that users therefore can no longer automatically share listening data from the streaming site with the social network. Meanwhile, over on the Grooveshark site itself, you can no longer login using your Facebook identity. Users can manually link to tracks on Grooveshark via their Facebook timelines, but the automated hook ups that have proven so valuable to other streaming music services in terms of generating new traffic seem to have been shut off.

When Grooveshark first disappeared from Facebook at the end of April, the digital music service posted a message on its blog insisting an error had occurred. The blog post read: "Grooveshark's Facebook app integration and our Facebook page were disabled by Facebook [last] Saturday afternoon. We believe they were disabled in error and we are in communication with Facebook to try to understand exactly what's going on, so we hope to see a resolution to these problems soon".

However, a week on, and with the issue not resolved, the 'error' explanation seems less likely (assuming, that is, that Grooveshark has a direct link with the social network - if the company is talking to Facebook's online customer support, it could be 2020 before it hears anything back).

Grooveshark, of course, faces litigation from a plethora of rights owners, even though the US-based streaming platform does have deals in place with some artists and labels, and insists that its 'users upload the music' approach is legal under US copyright law, even if it results in a lot of unlicensed tracks appearing in its catalogues at anyone time.

Founder Sam Tarantino recently gave an interview to Evolver.fm in which he defending his company's approach, insisting artists benefited from his platform even if over-demanding major record companies couldn't see that. Though it's unlikely Tarantino's arguments will win over any of those labels or artists who increasingly see Grooveshark as the enemy. See what you think here: evolver.fm/2012/04/19/6-reasons-groovesharks-ceo-thinks-recorded-music-should-be-free/

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ONErpm, a US digital firm that provides a 'social commerce platform', has announced new partnerships with music distributors INgrooves, Naxos and IRIS Distribution, which will see the three distribution firms offer the facility to their labels and artists to operate Facebook-based music stores utilising ONErpm's technology. Music represented by the three distributors will also appear in ONErmp's own online download store, which sells music in both MP3 and WAV formats.

ONErpm CEO Emmanuel Zunz told CMU: "Labels often face technical and legal barriers when selling their music directly on Facebook. By partnering with their distributors, we have overcome these hurdles so that labels can immediately start selling music on the world's largest social network".

Confirming their deal with ONErpm, INgrooves' SVP & Managing Director Of International Alex Branson added: "We are impressed with ONErpm's ability to provide our clients with the flexibility and ease of use to install an unlimited number of Facebook stores and manage everything from one place".

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Twitter can be first with the breaking news these days, of course, though we all know it has a habit of prematurely killing off most famous people at least once a month. And it seems crime updates that circulate on the micro-blogging platform can be as unreliable.

Rumours emerged online yesterday that one time hip hop mogul Suge Knight had been arrested in relation to the still ongoing investigation into the murder of Tupac Shakur.

The homicides of both Tupac and rival rapper The Notorious BIG, that took place in 1996 and 1997 respectively, remain unsolved of course, and in the various theories that have circulated over the years Knight has previously been accused - in books and articles, rather than in court - of having an involvement in either or both killings. Investigations are ongoing, though interest in Tupac's murder, in particular, has perhaps been spiked by his recent holographic return to stage at Coachella.

Either way, rumours that Knight was in a Los Angeles jail facing charges over Shakur's slaying are not true. A spokesman for the LAPD told Eonline.com: "I don't have any information that Suge Knight has been arrested. We picked him up on some traffic warrants back in February and that is the last arrest [our records] show for him".

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