19 NOV 2012

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The end of the year is fast rushing up towards us - we're attending our first Christmas party of the season this week and everything - so now's the time to start reflecting on the year just past. Over the last couple of weeks we've been listening back to some of this year's finest albums, and this week we have features booked in with the artists behind two of them. So, look out this week for a playlist from First Aid Kit and an interview with Zammuto, both speaking to us ahead of UK gigs.
Things have changed, sonically speaking, since boy-girl Mute-signings Big Deal released beat-free debut LP 'Lights Out' back in late 2011. Now featuring drum-playing by Melissa Rigby of label associates SCUM, the band's new single, the intentionally misspelt and non-dinosaur-themed 'Teradactol', is the loud and audacious first sign of a new Big Deal record that we'll all be able to hear in the new year. Hear it in real life at at London's 100 Club on 3 Dec more>>
- The Hut reportedly steps up use of Chicago base following end of Channel Island VAT dodge
- More finance firms linked to Fuller's Parlophone bid
- Amy Winehouse's Camden home to be auctioned
- DLT denies wrongdoing as Magic FM show is axed
- Dotcom says it's not his job to "police what people are uploading"
- Bieber leads at American Music Awards
- Matador signs Iceage
- Avenged Sevenfold working on new album
- BRMC back with tbc long player, tour dates
- Amateur Best to release first Double Denim LP
- Tim Burgess releasing 'single' by author Ian Rankin
- Courtney Love working on Kurt Cobain film with Brett Morgan
- Tribute concert for Terry Callier to take place next week
- Amon Tobin details last ISAM live show
- Wiley, Danny Brown, Andrew WK to play Vice UK birthday party
- Male Bonding, Mazes, Novella add Christmas date
- Festival line-up additions
- Global announces deal with Downtown
- All new MySpace previewed to press
- More execs depart Real & Smooth
- Williams' pop legacy just below Westlife's?
Must be experienced in: Wordpress site maintenance and blogging, basic HTML/CSS, Photoshop, YouTube, Social media management, understanding of mySQL, understanding of SEO, building e-flyers and newsletters.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
A new and challenging role to manage the development, delivery and marketing of licensed label catalogue projects, as well as develop projects utilising Warp's 20 years of back catalogue. Ideally you will have experience of record company product management, traditional and on-line marketing and promotion (including the use of social media), and knowledge of music retail.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
The Orchard, a pioneering independent music and video distribution company, has an immediate opening for a Client Relations Manager based out of our European headquarters in London. The position will act as a relationship, content & campaign manager for key frontline & catalogue clients across Europe, covering a variety of musical genres.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
WeGotTickets is the leading ticketing agency in the UK for small to medium sized venues and promoters; and works with thousands of venues and event organisers around the UK, selling close to a million tickets for music, comedy and arts events every year. We’re looking for enthusiastic and driven people to join our growing team of fifteen people based in Osney Mead, Oxford.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Academy Music Group are recruiting for an Assistant Content Editor based at O2 Academy Brixton who will be responsible for the email marketing activity and day-to-day management of website content across Academy Music Group’s (AMG) portfolio of fourteen venues. The ideal candidate will have excellent working knowledge of MS Office, Photoshop, Dreamweaver; good working knowledge of HTML, CSS and be proficient at copy writing, editing and proofing.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Circus Records, a leading independent EDM label, are looking for a dynamic and talented individual to join our team through our Digital Internship. Working directly with the label manager, the role will be to help enhance Circus Records' presence within the digital sphere.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
The AMP group is excited to announce the launch of AMP Printshop, a new in-house facility for t-shirt printing and other artist merchandise alongside its Radio Plugging and Online PR departments.

The addition of a full screen printing press to our studio means we can now produce high quality t-shirts, hoodies, bags and more. Not only a great way to strengthen the image and identity of your band/project, merch is an increasingly important income stream for artists and labels to support recording, video production and touring.
To celebrate AMP is offering 50 super soft 100% cotton t-shirts with one colour design print for just £200 if ordered before 10 Dec. Perfect for autumn/winter tours or promo, for more info visit or email

A round up of music and music business events happening in the next seven days...

Un-Convention. After staging three events in Manchester in the same week, this weekend again sees two Un-Conventions taking place, one in Brisbane, Australia and the other in Preston, England. We know more about the latter, because CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke will be chairing a discussion on 'Practical Strategies For Success In The Modern Music Industry' featuring insights from The Orchard's Scott Cohen, Instinctive Racoon's Jamie Webster, Leaf Label's Tony Morley and MDM Music's Matt Johnson.

New releases. Hey, I don't know if you've heard, but Rihanna has a new album out today. Yeah, I know, she's kept it a bit quiet. Can it really be a whole 363 days since the last one? Yes, it really can. Some other people have also had the audacity to release an album during Rihanna's week, notably Ghostface Killah, Chad Valley, Bad Brains and Allah-Las. Massive Attack and Interpol have re-issued albums too, and Björk has a collection of remixes out. Coldplay meanwhile are releasing a live album and DVD. Oh, and if it's EPs you want, then check out Leatherette and Nadine Shah.

Gigs and tours. So, the O2 Arena will be busy this week with performances from The Rolling Stones and Robbie Williams, who will hold court for two and three nights respectively. On Saturday Charlie Simpson will attempt to break the record for the coldest ever gig when he travels to the remote Siberian town of Oymyaok. He'll attempt to make his fingers play a guitar at temperatures of around minus 40˚C. Meanwhile, back in London you'll find one-off performances from James Blake (well, he'll be doing a DJ set), Austra, Hype Williams, and Tom Vek, Charli XCX and Breton, who'll be playing a Fred Perry-hosted party. Also, it's the Mencap Little Noise Sessions this week, with sets from Jessie Ware, Olly Murs, The Maccabees, Noah And The Whale, Richard Hawley and Karin Park. Touring this week are Mumford & Sons, Ben Folds Five, Crystal Castles, Converge, First Aid Kit, Father John Misty, Hundred Reasons, Purity Ring and Shearwater.

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When the loophole that allowed mail-order websites based on the Channel Islands to sell CDs and DVDs to UK customers without charging VAT was closed earlier this year, many predicted that the main operators of those services would look to relocate to other non-EU countries, where so called Low Value Consignment Relief would still apply.

And now The Guardian has reported that Cheshire-based The Hut Group, having closed its Guernsey base, is using a warehouse in Chicago for some of its UK mail-order operations. The Hut formerly ran parts of Tesco and Asda's online entertainment retail sites, as well as its own services, including the website, it having acquired that domain after the Zavvi retail chain went under.

The Guardian says that The Hut, which postponed plans for an IPO after it became clear that LVCR would be withdrawn from Channel Island-based companies, is no longer working for the supermarkets, but has expanded its enterprise.

It's not clear when the company's Chicago base was launched, and The Hut insists that products shipped from the warehouse there only account for 13% of its overall revenue, though it's not clear what percentage of low-value products (which would benefit from LVCR) are routed via the US base. Either way, The Guardian reckons that DVDs from European suppliers are routinely sent on a 7000 mile round trip via the US and back to UK customers.

Asked for comment on that fact by The Guardian, The Hut said: "We operate a global consolidated stock system mirroring that of many of our e-commerce peers. This allows us to fulfil orders based on immediate stock availability across all of our warehouses. As a result, stock held in the UK fulfils both UK and international orders and similarly, stock held in the US fulfils both US, UK and international orders, with availability of stock the determining factor".

Which may or may not be true, though it is worth noting that many of the companies that had mail-order bases on the Channel Islands, benefiting from the VAT dodge, insisted for years that there were logistical reasons for having warehouses offshore and that the main motivation was not related to LVCR, and yet nearly all those firms have shut their English Channel bases since the UK government ended the tax relief for products shipped from there.

Of course the key benefit of basing mail-order operations on the Channel Islands while LVCR applied was that the geographic closeness of the islands to the UK, and the close links between the UK and the British Crown Dependencies, made having a VAT dodging operation so much easier and cheaper to run, and setting up bases elsewhere beyond the EU is much more tricky, meaning only a few of those previously based on Jersey or Guernsey are likely to try. Though if they get it working, they may try to outsource their VAT dodging infrastructure to others.

UK Chancellor George Osbourne did commit to stop LVCR relief applying to other countries too if further abuse of the system could be shown, so relocated LVCR-benefiting set ups may prove to be short lived. Plus moves are afoot on a wider level to stop online operations exploiting the tax system so to get advantages over high street retailers, though such developments may take some time to take hold.

Either way, those independent entertainment retailers who blame the collapse of indie traders across the UK in part on the VAT-dodging online competition will be watching with interest what the former Channel Island operators, like The Hut, do as the tax relief systems change.

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The Simon Fuller led bid to buy the Parlophone Music Group continues to garner the most interest, following the news last week that nine parties had submitted initial offers for the EMI UK division, being sold by Universal Music as one of the conditions for European Commission approval of its takeover of the wider EMI record company.

Fuller is bidding for various of the EMI units that are for sale via his joint venture with Island Records founder Chris Blackwell. A number of financiers are also linked to their bid. Last week Jacob Rothschild's RIT Investments was said to be considering backing the two industry veterans, while Sky News has now added to the list of potential partners Searchlight Capital, CJ E&M and Claridge Inc.

The latter is headed up by Stephen Bronfman, cousin of Edgar Bronfman Jr, who basically created what is now the Universal Music Group before leading a consortium to buy Warner Music in 2004, which he ran until its sale to Access Industries last year.

Edgar has basically stepped away from active involvement in the running of Warner since the Access takeover, though he still has a seat on the firm's board and was its most public spokesman when speaking out against Universal's EMI acquisition earlier this year. Therefore, with Warner one of the other nine parties to have already submitted a bid for Parlophone, Sky News notes that this could become a Bronfman v Bronfman bidding war.

More initial bids for some or all of the EMI units for sale are expected to be made in the next ten days, including one from long mooted suitor BMG, before more information is shared with bidders enabling them to submit binding offers, probably early in the new year.

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It's been confirmed that Amy Winehouse's former home in Camden, where the singer was found dead in July last year, is to be auctioned by McHugh & Co next month.

At one point intended to be used as an HQ for the charity set up by the Winehouse family in Amy's memory, the Amy Winehouse Foundation, the building was put up for sale in May with an asking price of £2.7 million. A buyer having so far not been found, it will now be auctioned with a guide price of £1.8 million on 3 Dec.

The auction catalogue apparently does not mention the property's famous former owner.

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Dave Lee Travis has denied any wrongdoing after he was arrested and questioned last Thursday by police investigated abuse claims made against Jimmy Savile and those who worked with him. Outside his Bedfordshire home on Friday the DJ issued a "complete denial" of all the accusations, while adding that the incidents he was questioned about were "nothing to do with kids".

As previously reported, when allegations against Savile first hit the headlines last month, and as various female broadcasters recalled how chauvinistic British broadcasting was from the 1960s to the 1980s, two women made allegations against DLT, saying that he had touched them inappropriately.

In his statement, Travis said: "This is nothing to do with kids, alright? That's the first thing. Because that to me is the most important thing in the world and I do not wish to have my name sullied around something that bloody evil, to be honest. The second thing I want is to say, yes, there's a complete denial there, but there's nothing else I can tell you because otherwise I might be stepping on the police's feet and I don't want to do that because it might affect their investigations".

Despite the denials, media firm Bauer took the decision to suspend Travis's show on its Magic network, saying in a statement: "While we can make no judgment on the matters under investigation, we believe it would be inappropriate for him to broadcast until they are resolved. There will be no further comment or statements from Bauer Media".

As previously reported, the BBC also pulled the broadcast of a 1977 edition of 'Top Of The Pops' on BBC Four featuring DLT last week.

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MegaUpload founder Kim 'Dotcom' Schmitz has said that neither he nor his company should be held liable for any unlicensed music or movie files distributed via his former file-transfer and video-sharing website, arguing that the Mega venture was just "a hard drive that was connected to the internet".

As much previously reported, MegaUpload was shut down by the US authorities in January, and Dotcom and his fellow former Mega execs are facing charges of money laundering, racketeering and copyright infringement. Dotcom currently lives in New Zealand, and is fighting efforts to extradite him to the US, while planning the launch of a new version of MegaUpload to be based outside the jurisdiction of the American courts and authorities.

According to Bloomberg, Dotcom told a New Zealand TV show this weekend: "You can't blame me if people upload something to a website we have created for online storage, it's not my responsibility. I'm not doing it [uploading the infringing content] and I'm not providing anyone with links to that content. We are a hard drive that is connected to the internet. What you do with it is your responsibility".

Now, the US is also accusing the original MegaUpload of basically hiring people to upload infringing content to its platform, much of it ripped straight off YouTube, in order to ensure that the sort of content that generated mega-traffic was on the Mega platform, so prosecutors would disagree with Dotcom's claim "I'm not doing it".

But even if those allegations do not stand up in court, Dotcom's defence that "you can't blame me if people upload something to my website" isn't very strong either, not under American copyright law, where generally the courts have ruled that the providers of software or online platforms that enable others to infringe copyright do have a duty to limit such use, or face liability for contributory infringement.

In reality, Dotcom's lawyers are actually likely to fight the case, should it ever reach an American court room, not by saying "you can't blame us if people infringe", but by questioning how far the duty of a digital firm to limit infringing use of its service goes.

That obligation stems from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and US judges have generally ruled that a very basic takedown system, that removes infringing content when a rights owner alerts the digital firm to it, is sufficient for said digital firm to be protected from infringement claims. The music and movie majors will tell you that MegaUpload's takedown system was very, very basic, but Dotcom's lawyers will likely argue that is still sufficient.

Nevertheless, in his interview Dotcom continued with his argument that technology firms just can't be expected to "police what people are uploading", and that therefore copyright owners need to "come up with new solutions that deal with the reality of the world we're living in".

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It was the public-voted American Music Awards this weekend, and Justin Bieber proved he's as popular as ever by taking no less than three of the gongs on offer, including overall Artist Of The Year. The winners in full were as follows:

Artist Of The Year: Justin Bieber
New Artist Of The Year: Carly Rae Jepsen

Favourite Male Artist: Justin Bieber
Favourite Female Artist: Katy Perry
Favourite Band, Duo Or Group: Maroon 5
Favourite Album: Justin Bieber - Believe

Favourite Male Artist: Luke Bryan
Favourite Female Artist: Taylor Swift
Favourite Band, Duo Or Group: Lady Antebellum
Favourite Album: Carrie Underwood - Blown Away

Rap/Hip Hop
Favourite Artist: Nicki Minaj
Favourite Album: Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

Favourite Male Artist: Usher
Favourite Female Artist: Beyonce
Favourite Album: Rihanna - Talk That Talk

Favourite Alternative Rock Artist: Linkin Park
Favourite Adult Contemporary Artist: Adele
Favourite Latin Artist: Shakira
Favourite Contemporary Inspirational Artist: Tobymac
Favourite EDM Artist: David Guetta

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Punk-playing Danes Iceage have just signed to Matador, and on this basis will release their still-untitled sophomore disc - the sequel to last year's 'New Brigade' - via the label on 18 Feb.

The band begin an eleven-date British tour on 21 Nov at Belfast's Limelight, during which time they may be previewing the new LP and/or selling knives. Preferably not the latter.

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Avenged Sevenfold frontman M Shadows has revealed that the band have started working on their sixth studio album, the follow-up to 2010's 'Nightmare'. This will be the band's first album since the death of drummer Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan shortly before that album's release.

Speaking to The Pulse Of Radio, reports Metal Insider, Shadows said: "I try not to say too much about the album because you know how the internet world is, so I'll just say this: we have a direction, we're sticking to that direction, and we feel really very happy writing in these terms that we've laid out for ourselves. The album is coming along very nicely, we're excited to get in the studio, we have about six songs that I'm really happy with right now, and we're continuing to write every single day".

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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's new LP, whatever its name is, has been officially set for release on a tbc date in March 2013.

Fans can credit this half-revelation to the band's Robert Been, who last Thursday said via Facebook: "This album has taken every last ounce of us to bring to life, and if it wasn't for you guys keeping us going, we don't know if it would've ever seen the light of day. It's going to be a joyful day indeed when we get to see you all again and share these songs with you. Peter, Leah and myself are dying to get out of this studio right now and back into the fight. It's taken us a long while getting back on our feet, but the time has come".

Yes, but what time? What date? Alas, no one knows. But talking of dates, BRMC have set a series of live European ones that they're playing in the new year. And the British of those are:

24 Mar: Manchester, Ritz
25 Mar: Glasgow, ABC
26 Mar: Birmingham, Institute
27 Mar: London, Brixton Academy
29 Mar: Nottingham, Rock City
30 Mar: Leeds, Academy

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Professional synth-pop soloist Amateur Best, aka Joe Flory, has just shared the title of his debut LP, 'No Thrills'. When it's released on 4 Feb 2013, it'll represent the first long-playing record ever to be issued via Flory's label, the London-based Double Denim Records.

One of its ten featured tracks, 'Too Much' - as will be sold as a seven-inch single on 14 Jan - sounds like this.

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Crime author Ian Rankin is releasing a single soon via solo Charlatan Tim Burgess' O Genesis label. I say 'single', it's really a spoken-word recording, and comprises a reading (by actor Craig Parkinson) of a short story entitled 'A Little Bit Of Powder'.

Elaborating to the Quietus on its plot - which features a late musician's ashes (at his behest) being "sprinkled into the sound hole" of an acoustic guitar - Rankin says: "I am a sucker for rock biographies and rock movies and decided to tell the story from the point of view of a hardened roadie. Thinking about the ashes, I then realised powder of a different kind might have been behind the breaking up of a band, and also that, by setting the story in winter, I could also add snow (ha!) to the mix. Three different types of powder... And after that all I had to do was write the bastard".

Traces (ie copies) of 'A Little Bit Of Powder' will be available at its grand unveiling party at London's The Lexington on 26 Nov.

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Director Brett Morgan, who is responsible for new Rolling Stones documentary 'Crossfire Hurricane', has revealed that he is working on a film about Kurt Cobain with the Nirvana frontman's widow Courtney Love. In fact, reports the New York Post, they've been working on it since 2007.

Morgan said: "Courtney is the one that brought me into this. We've been trying to find the right time to put this film together and the time is now ... Kurt was not only an amazing songwriter and musician, he was an incredible artist and filmmaker. So we are going to do the movie sort of like a third-person autobiography [as] if Kurt was around and making a film about his life".

Earlier this year it was revealed that Cobain and Love's daughter Frances Cobain actually control's her father's image rights, Love having given them up temporarily in return for a loan from Frances' trust fund. If or how this affects any film project isn't clear.

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A memorial concert will be held next week to pay tribute to the late Terry Callier, the Chicago-born singer-songwriter who first began recording in the 1960s, but is best known over here for his associations with the British soul-jazz scene of the 1990s.

Terry's band will perform selections from across Callier's musical output, with guest appearances from various artists he worked with since his 1990s career revival, including Beth Orton and 4Hero's Marc Mac.

It takes place at Islington Assembly Hall on 28 Nov, with tickets available here.

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Electronic composer Amon Tobin has arranged to do one final British reprisal of 'ISAM', the highly recommended live 'experience' based on his 2011 LP of the same title, at London's Hammersmith Apollo on 25 Feb 2013.

In fact, this time it's billed as 'ISAM 2.0', an evolved and "beyond 3D" sequel to the 'ISAM' shows he played last year. As such, the show will feature new visuals, an all-new soundtrack from Tobin's Two Fingers project, and a physical stage structure of twice the size than that seen in prior 'ISAM' sets.

Basically, it's going to look like this.

Tickets and info here.

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Vice UK will soon mark its tenth year of being... well, itself, so congratulations to it. To celebrate, the media brand is hosting a party featuring live music by austere Canadians Crystal Castles, trans-Atlantic rap types Wiley and Danny Brown, toy pony scholar Andrew WK and Odd Future's hardcore BFFs Trash Talk. Popular DJs Mark Ronson, Klaxons and Actress will also play sets, so that's extra-special.

Win tickets to go to the party - as is happening at London's glamorous Bermondsey Street Tunnel on 29 Nov - via this link.

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Trash-practising Sub Pop signees Male Bonding will on 19 Nov headline a very special pre-Christmas show at London's Sebright Arms.

Mazes and CMU playlist-custodians Novella are also playing live, and promoters are asking just £3 per ticket. Info via this link.

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OPEN'ER, Gdynia-Kosakowo Airfield, Gdynia, Poland, 3-6 Jul 2013: Blur.

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Global Radio's music division has announced a new deal with Downtown Music Publishing which will see the US-based independent publisher administrate Global's publishing rights in the US and Canada. Kobalt previously managed Global's rights in North America.

The publishing side of Global's music company owns the rights in songs released by the likes of Ellie Goulding, Corinne Bailey Rae and Alicia Keys, as well as a number of TV themes. Confirming the new deal, Downtown's Justin Kalifowitz told reporters: "Global has developed and attracted some of the brightest song-writing talents in the UK. We are honoured to be chosen as their partner in North America and look forward to working with their fantastic song catalogue".

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Following that recent unexpected preview video of what the all new MySpace will look like, the current bosses of the one time uber-social-network, Justin Timberlake and Specific Media's Tim and Chris Vanderhook, last week briefed the press a little more about what we can expect from the revamped website ahead of the launch of a limited access beta stint.

As previously reported, the new MySpace has been built from scratch, and will be very much focused on artists looking for somewhere to bring together their online activity, and for fans looking to connect to their favourite acts, and to listen to their music. A music player will sit at the bottom of the page, playing music continuously as users browse around the platform, while on artist profiles there will be charts showing the most played tracks and videos, and the most active fans.

Behind the platform, ramped up analytics will be very much part of the mix. Previous upgrades of the MySpace artist profiles included better stats, and tools that provide analytics, and help artists navigate them, will be very much part of the new platform; indeed, for artists who have long since abandoned MySpace and are currently happy with a Facebook/Twitter/Soundcloud/YouTube/D2F profile combo, the promise of more coherent stats may be what attracts them back to Timberlake's site.

According to Billboard, Tim Vanderbook says: "If you think about today how everyone is obsessed with YouTube play counts, there's no depth behind that. Is it big in LA, is it big in Detroit, is it big in another country? What type of people are consuming the music?"

Commercially advertising will play an important part in paying for the whole thing, that being Specific Media's background. And with plans to still make available for free streaming the vast catalogue of music licensed from the majors and indies by the old MySpace Music, a decent revenue stream will be needed pretty quickly if the all new MySpace is to work as a business.

It's still uncertain whether Timberlake and the Vanderhooks can really make a success of MySpace, given all its past baggage. Though commentators who had long since written off the former social network do now seem a tiny little bit excited about the all new version, and that in itself is quite an achievement. What feedback comes out once artists and fans get to actually play with the new platform will certainly be interesting.

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More execs are departing from the company that operates the Real and Smooth Radio networks, following the networking of daytime programming last week, reducing the amount of local content being produced by Real stations.

As previously reported, the MD of Real Radio Wales, Tony Dowling, recently announced he was departing the company after the number of Welsh produced shows on the station was cut. And now, according to Radio Today, a number of other staffers have been made redundant, including Real Radio Brand Director Mark Matthews, Group Head of Marketing Helen Dickinson and Communications Managers Malcolm Packer and Joe Burton.

Real & Smooth Limited, previously the radio business of the Guardian Media Group, is in the process of being acquired by Global Radio, of course, and many of those jobs being made redundant will presumably cover areas that will be handled by the parent company, assuming that takeover is approved by the regulator. There has also been much speculation that Global may reposition some of the Real and Smooth outposts under another of its quasi-national networks.

Radio Today quote Real & Smooth Limited CEO Mark Lee as saying: "The changes to Real Radio will lead to a restructure within the programming functions and this will inevitably lead to a reduction in staff. It was also an appropriate time to assess the structure of some group functions within the company, and we are also planning to reduce staff within our marketing, PR and administrative teams. These changes are no reflection on the commitment, talent and passion of the people involved but have been part of the long-term business plan for the group and are necessary to increase the efficiency and profitability of the business".

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Robbie Williams, in one of his self-deprecating moods, reckons that his career won't leave much of a legacy to British pop, rating himself somewhere between Steps and Westlife. Which is surely a moment of unnecessary modesty on Williams' part; whatever you think of his solo recordings, he's surely given the world a whole lot more, musically speaking, than Westlife.

These comments, according to The Sun, come from a new Sky documentary in which the pop star chats to James Corden. He apparently muses: "I think I stand somewhere just above Steps and slightly below Westlife. Not far away from there. I think that a lot of people don't like my brand of whatever I do".

He continues: "I have a gigantic ego and need to be at the top of the pile and be doing amazingly well. Also, at the same time, I'm just pleased to be anywhere. Do I think I'm a national treasure? I don't see why not. I don't see why I shouldn't be. I'm a good lad really".

Asked about the Take That reformation before his decision to rejoin the group on one of their reunion tours, he adds: "When the boys first got [back] together, I was pretty much, 'Oh, right, okay'. Then it was, 'They've sold 275,000 tickets... they've done what?!' I was gobsmacked. Gobsmacked in all manner of everything. Sort of, 'Wow, we meant that much to people, that's great. They mean that much to people? Shit!' I think it was confusion more than anything. [I was] pleased for the boys, you know, but not too pleased that I wanted them to take over the joint. It was like, you know, they can have a certain level, just don't smash the living daylights out of it, like they did!"

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