26 NOV 2012

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It's another busy awards week, with FAC and MMF's Artist & Manager Awards on Tuesday night at The Troxy in Whitechapel, followed the next night by the Record Of The Day Awards just up the road in London's glamorous Shoreditch. In CMU this week we'll have an interview with Japanese post-rock/classical hybrid band Mono, plus there'll be the latest edition of our podcast to get your ears around.
By day Steven Carr is a producer, who lately has been working particularly with the Luv Luv Luv label. By night he is a live sound engineer for artists such as Marina And The Diamonds, Spector and Katherine Jenkins. Somewhere alongside all that, he also finds time to be singer-songwriter Francis Neve. He released his debut album in 2010 and his latest single, 'Calls', is out today more>>
- Stones fans shun overpriced touted tickets, while Mumford fans discover their resold tickets are fakes
- We7 likely to relaunch as Blinkbox Music
- Dotcom says he could sue US government for $2.6 billion
- Andrew WK appointed cultural ambassador for US
- Rihanna equals Madonna's album chart record
- Psy vid now most streamed on YouTube
- Pogues favourite for Christmas number one
- Warner signs One Pound Fish Song man
- Dum Dum Girls/Crocodiles couple unveil new band
- Friendly Fires dedicating charity gala to late friend
- Clinic touring in 2013
- Skaters set live date
- Festival line-up additions
- Sony debt rating downgraded to 'junk'
- Bieber hits back at Mail criticism of his medal-receiving attire
- Fans raid naked Gaga's garage
- Menswe@r guitarist fakes platinum disc, hilarity ensues
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Fast growing Music PR agency is looking for a sharp Online PR account executive who loves the web and takes pride in doing a superstar job. You will require solid music online experience, with a proven track record of working high profile releases. You must also have exceptional writing ability. Superb training and support provided.

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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...

Independent Label Market. It's so nice that they are now forced to do it twice - the Independent Label Market is back at London's Old Spitalfields Market this weekend with a two day event featuring stalls manned by the bosses of indie record companies including Bella Union, One Little Indian, Soul Jazz, Rough Trade, Infectious, !K7, No Pain In Pop, and Planet Mu.

Record Of The Day Awards. Winners of this year's Record Of The Day Awards for music PR and journalism will be presented their gongs at an awards event at Shoreditch's Victorian Vaults on Wednesday night. Three lifetime achievement prizes will also be dished out, this year to Regine Moylett (for PR), Miranda Sawyer (for journalism), and Jill Furmanovsky (for photography). The award for the best student music journalist will again be presented in conjunction with CMU (that's us), offering the unique opportunity for a bright, fresh-faced enthusiastic music journo of the future to be recognised alongside the bitter and jaded current crop.

Artist & Manager Awards. It's the second Artist & Manager Awards tomorrow night, put together by the Featured Artist Coalition and the Music Managers Forum. Most of the prizes are still a closely guarded secret, but it has already been revealed that Amanda Palmer, Zane Lowe and Kylie manager Terry Blamey will win this year's Pioneer, Industry Champion and Peter Grant lifetime achievement prizes respectively.

Wall Of Sounds Conference 2. Taking over the Band On The Wall venue in Manchester this coming Sunday, CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke will provide up and coming musicians with an overview of the music industry in 2012, plus ten tips for getting an artist career kick-started. Also on hand to offer tips and insights will be PRS For Music Foundation's Vanessa Reed, Tri-Tone's Simon Duffy, Humble Sound's Howard Mills, Fanfare Media's Owain Kelly, Band On The Wall's Gavin Sharp and musicians Anif Akinola and Martin Sutton. Free tickets are available in advance from here.

Vice UK tenth birthday. Vice UK will mark its tenth birthday with a party at Cable in London this Thursday. Helping the celebration along, there'll be live music from austere Canadians Crystal Castles, rap types Wiley and Danny Brown, hard partyer Andrew WK and Odd Future's hardcore BFFs Trash Talk. Mark Ronson, Klaxons and Actress will also DJ play sets, so that's extra special.

Ja Ja Ja third birthday. Scandiphile live night Ja Ja Ja is celebrating its third birthday in style, and has arranged a party at London's The Lexington on Thursday to do so. Special guests playing on the night are Danish post-R&B soloist MØ (who's the new Grimes, apparently), Finland's Sin Cos Tan, and power-pop Norwegians HighasaKite. And there may be cake. And balloons. I don't know, whatever Scandinavians do for birthdays.

New releases. It must be nearly Christmas, because this week's big releases smell decidedly of stocking fodder. There's Girls Aloud's tenth anniversary greatest hits collection, the 20th anniversary boxset edition of Rage Against The Machine's eponymous debut album (both of which look pretty good), Bryan Ferry's instrumental jazz reworkings of some of his biggest hits (which we're reserving judgement on), and a new Mumford & Sons live DVD (which is a Mumford & Sons live DVD). Singles and EPs-wise, there are some treats out too, with new releases from Solange, Dels, Novella, Pandr Eyez and, er, author Ian Rankin.

Gigs and tours. Right, one-off shows this week then. Let's start with The Rolling Stones at the O2, which isn't technically a one-off show, but the first one has now already occurred. Meanwhile, Evelyn Glennie and Talvin Singh will be improvising over a silent film, Neurosis and Godflesh will co-headline The Forum, Zammuto will play Birthdays, Susanne Sundfør will play St Pancras Old Church, and Pandr Eyez will play The Victoria in Dalston. As well as that, various artist will gather at the Islington Assembly Hall to pay tribute to singer-songwriter Terry Callier, who died recently. And off on tour this week are Elbow, Martha Waintwright, Beth Orton, Foals, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Rancid, Mono, Wild Nothing, Matthew Dear, White Fence, oh, and Steps.

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There was no shortage of tickets for the Rolling Stones first 50th anniversary show at the O2 Arena in East London last night, according to the Telegraph, providing you were willing to pay a hiked up rate.

The paper noted that just hours before doors were due to open yesterday for the first of a limited run of shows in London and New York to celebrate the band's five decades in business, various secondary ticketing websites were still offering tickets for the concert.

Primary tickets for the Virgin Live-promoted event were already pretty pricey, starting at £106 including booking fees, and going up to £1140 for a premium package. During the show last night Mick Jagger joked about the pricing, asking, "How's everyone in the cheap seats?", before adding: "The problem is they're not so cheap!"

And even less so if acquired via a resale site, where cheap seat tickets were on sale for several hundred pounds. Though many fans seemingly shunned those offers, leading to speculation there'd be some prolific touting outside the venue before the show last night, as touts tried one last time to recoup on the primary tickets they snapped up when they first went on sale, originally believing that, with so few gigs, Stones fans would pay anything to ensure access into the Dome.

The Telegraph quoted a spokesman for the band as saying: "It's a real shame that fans have been prevented from buying tickets at the original price and that secondary marketing agencies are attempting to profit. The band does not participate in anything of this nature".

While Stones fans were seemingly unwilling to pay out for overpriced tickets on the secondary market, about 100 Mumford & Sons fans did pay hiked up prices to access a gig in Portsmouth last week, only to discover the tickets they'd bought were fakes.

The BBC reports that about 100 people were refused entry to Portsmouth's Guildhall to see the band because their tickets weren't the real deal, with one affected fan saying she'd paid £200 for her two tickets. Many of the fake tickets seem to have been sold on Viagogo, though Seatwave may have been used too.

The former has said it holds on to monies paid to touts until after the gig, so will be able to provide refunds to those affected, and is also planning to offer disappointed fans free tickets to another Mumfords show or vouchers. Seatwave also said it would provide refunds to any fans who acquired fake tickets via its service. Both will also likely assist the police in any investigation into the people selling the fake tickets.

Meanwhile the band themselves said on their Facebook page: "We sincerely hope that not too many of you good honest Mumford & Sons fans have been affected. If you have purchased tickets from any secondary vendors then we would urge you to seek your money back immediately. Remember to always purchase tickets from official vendors only".

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Tesco is to reposition We7, the streaming music service it acquired earlier this year, under the brand of its video-on-demand platform Blinkbox, according to reports.

We7, once seen as a direct Spotify rival, but which has been more focused of late on its 'interactive radio' offer akin to US-based Pandora rather than full on-demand streaming, was bought by the supermarket giant back in June. Tesco acquired the majority of film streaming service Blinkbox a year earlier, and it was always assumed that the retailer would look to closely align its two streaming content platforms (three since it acquired ebooks service Mobcast in September).

According to Marketing magazine, Kate Simon, Marketing Director for Tesco's VOD company, has now been promoted to a new role overseeing the marketing of all of the retailer's digital content services, and it's thought that will lead to We7 and Mobcast becoming music and book channels within Blinkbox in due course.

The first major marketing campaign for Blinkbox was launched earlier this month, and insiders say Tesco sees it as the strongest of its acquired brands in the digital content space. Though it's not known quite how quickly We7 and Mobcast will be relaunched as Blinkbox services.

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MegaUpload founder Kim 'Dotcom' Schmitz has threatened to sue the US government after the revelation that some of the pirated content listed as being on his former company's servers by prosecutors had been left there at the request of the American Department Of Justice.

MegaUpload, of course, was shut down at the start of the year by the US authorities amidst allegations of money laundering, racketeering and copyright infringement against the company and its management, four key members of which, including Dotcom, are living in New Zealand and are currently fighting efforts to extradite them to America.

Amongst other things, prosecutors claim that MegaUpload operated a deliberately shoddy takedown system for removing copyright material once made aware of it, whilst also encouraging users to upload unlicensed music, movies and TV shows, because doing so ensured the wider Mega platform had a constant supply of popular content, driving traffic, ad sales and subscriptions, even though rights owners were never paid a penny.

But Dotcom and the Mega team insist their company operated within US copyright law, removing unlicensed content in line with America's Digital Millennium Copyright Act. And even more than that, it was revealed earlier this month that the company itself occasionally assisted the DoJ when it was investigating other companies accused of piracy which stored and distributed illegal content via the Mega platform.

One such piracy operation was NinjaVideo, and, now say Mega's legal team, some of the content prosecutors have listed in their case against Dotcom actually belonged to that venture, and was not deleted by MegaUpload because of a request from the DoJ, which wanted the unlicensed files to remain accessible while it continued to investigate Ninja's activities.

According to reports, prosecutors say that's no excuse, because some of the content stored in NinjaVideo's locker on MegaUpload was also available elsewhere on the Mega platform, and, now knowing for certain that that content was unlicensed because of the Ninja investigation, the digital firm should have removed the additional copies. But Mega's lawyers say that their clients were cautious of doing platform-wide deletions of that content, in case it impacted on the NinjaVideo content that formed part of the DoJ's case.

Quite how relevant the NinjaVideo content is to the wider MegaUpload case isn't clear, but that didn't stop Dotcom telling his Twitter followers that the DoJ was "a gang of rogue US attorneys out of control", before revealing that he'd been advised: "We can sue the US govt or MPAA members for $2.6 billion in damages for the destruction of our businesses".

Although access to MegaUpload's fortune has been frozen since the US government shut down the Mega business in January, Dotcom says he soon hopes to have financial backing to allow a lawsuit against America.

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Andrew WK has been appointed as a Cultural Ambassador to the Middle East by the US Department Of State and, taking all the skills he gained while delivering a motivational address to fans of My Little Pony earlier this year, will now visit schools and music venues in Bahrain to promote "partying and world peace".

Maybe they should send him over to Gaza afterwards - it's a long-shot obviously, but imagine how marvellous the history books would be if it was Andrew WK who ended the millennia of conflict in Israel and Palestine.

It was the US embassy in the Bahraini capital of Manama that seemingly invited WK over to speak at the city's schools, university and music spaces, and he is due in the country next week.

Says WK on his website: "This is a tremendous invitation. I'm very thankful to the Department Of State for giving me the opportunity to visit a place I've never been before. I feel very privileged and humbled by the chance to represent the United States Of America and show the good people of Bahrain the power of positive partying. I can hardly wait for this adventure!"

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Rihanna has now equalled Madonna's UK chart record of having three consecutive number one albums in a row, proving beyond doubt that holding a pack of journalists hostage in a metal tube for a week is a sure fire way to sell records.

'Unapologetic' went top yesterday, and is the singer's fourth number one album in the UK overall, and third in a row following chart topping long players 'Talk That Talk' and 'Loud'.

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Elsewhere in music stats today, Psy's video for 'Gangnam Style' is now the most watched item on YouTube, out-streaming the 2010 pop promo for Justin Bieber's 'Baby'.

As of Saturday, the Bieber's vid had been watched 803 million times, while Psy's wacky dancing had been viewed 805 million times. And it only went online in July this year. "It's been a massive hit at a global level unlike anything we've ever seen before," said YouTube this weekend.

Psy, of course, has been signed up by Bieber's manager Scooter Braun to his Schoolboy Records label, so a dance off to the death between the two of them could easily be arranged to be 2013's YouTube mega-hit.

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The Pogues' classic festive hit 'Fairytale Of New York', famously deprived the Christmas number one spot after its original release in 1987 by those pesky Pet Shop Boys, is favourite to be at the top of the singles chart on 25 Dec this year following confirmation of a 25th anniversary re-release.

The Kirsty MacColl featuring song often features in the Christmas chart these days thanks to its constant availability on iTunes, but this year a re-release and accompanying marketing campaign could push it up to the top.

Christmas number one chart races in recent years, of course, have been seen as a battle against the 'X-Factor' machine after the ITV show decided to release the debut single from the talent show's winner each year in Christmas week.

Though, after various anti-X campaigns, most notably the one that saw Rage Against The Machine's decidedly radio un-friendly 'Killing In The Name' beating whatever it was that Joe McElderry released after winning 'X' in 2009, last year producers of the show decided to stage their final a week earlier, meaning that winners Little Mix topped the singles chart the week before Christmas.

Though, as 25 Dec was on a Sunday last year, the girl group was technically at number one for most of Christmas Day, even though the Military Wives were crowned the official Christmas number one at 7pm with 'Wherever You Are'.

It's thought 'X-Factor' bosses will again release their winner's single the week before the Christmas number one race this year, despite earlier rumours that the 'X' machine might re-enter the festive chart battle by making the winning song a charity release. That puts The Pogues at 25-1 favourites for the Christmas number one, though they are expected to face tough competition from Girls Aloud and the charity cover of 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother', released in aid of the fund to help families of those killed during the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy in their legal fight for justice.

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Warner Music has signed up the East London market stall holder who became a YouTube star after footage of him singing what has been dubbed the 'One Pound Fish Song' was put online, or so says The Sun.

The video of a singing Muhammad Shahid Nazir, who was rejected by the 'X-Factor' panel when he put himself forward for the talent show, has now been watched more than 3.6 million times. In it the market stall man sings "Come on ladies, come on ladies, have-a, have-a look, one pound fish. Very very good, very very cheap, one pound fish".

A dance mix of the fish song is now apparently in the works, though what Warner plan to do with their new signing beyond that isn't clear. I mean, all the majors have been diversifying in recent years, but I'm not aware that Warner UK has as yet set up a fish products division.

Though it's probably only a matter of time. And once Nazir's 'One Pound Fish' is stocked in every Asda in the land, 'Bruno Mars Mackerel' can be sold to Sainsburys and 'Michael Buble Bass' to Wetherspoons pubs. And what fish and chip shop worth its weight in vinegar wouldn't want to sell 'Plan B Plaice'? Here ends our pop star fish product suggestions.

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Dum Dum Girls' Kristin Gundred and her husband, Crocodiles' Brandon Welchez, have shared details of what's to be the debut single from their marital collaboration Haunted Hearts.

The two-track set, titled 'Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feels Good/House Of Lords', will be released on 5 Feb 2013 via the couple's Zoo Music label.

Talking about it all to Coup De Main back in August, Welchez was heard to say: "It sounds like a 50/50 split between our bands to be honest. We're aiming to record an LP this winter, time permitting".

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Friendly Fires will headline a special charity show at London's XOYO on 12 Dec, to "raise awareness and funds to prevent male suicide". The event was arranged after the death earlier this month of the band's friend, 29 year old Adam Connolly, who went missing on 14 Nov and whose body was discovered on Hackney Marshes.

The 'For Adam' Facebook page reads: "Perhaps it sounds a tad predictable in these kind of circumstances, but we wanted to do something that celebrates Adam's life, his amazing creativity, and his beautiful warm, kind soul, as well as showing how much we deeply love and miss him".

The show will also feature a live performance by Cheatahs and other tba guests, plus DJ sets by Erol Alkan aka Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve, The Horrors, Trailer Trash Tracys and Chapel Club.

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Masked post-punks Clinic have just advance-booked four dates they're going to play in the name of their new record 'Free Reign'. Simultaneously, they've also shared a Peaking Lights remix of LP track 'Miss You', which you can listen to while looking at those live dates:

28 Feb: Newcastle, The Cluny
1 Mar: Glasgow, Stereo
2 Mar: Manchester, Deaf Institute
7 Mar: London, Corsica Studios

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Strokes-esque trio Skaters - who were, says their PR, the talk of this year's NYC-based CMJ festival - have just set themselves a first ever British show. They'll play at London's The Social on 4 Dec, and the set in question will probably feature the band's single 'Schemers'.

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GRASPOP METAL MEETING, Boeretang, Dessel, Belgium, 28-30 Jun: Iron Maiden.

ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL, Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight, 13-16 Jun: The Stone Roses.

OPEN'ER, Gdynia-Kosakowo Airfield, Gdynia, Poland, 3-6 Jul 2013: Queens Of The Stone Age.

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Following the news earlier this month that credit ratings agency Moodys had downgraded Sony Corp to a debt rating of Baa3, one above the rating that is officially termed 'speculative' but colloquially known as 'junk', rival credit raters Fitch have gone one step further, plonking the Japanese conglom into a very tricky position for raising funds.

Both Sony and also-Japan-based rival Panasonic have been moved into a 'junk' rating position, with Fitch saying that both companies face major challenges after a number of tricky years, during which rivals have stolen ground in the consumer electronics domain. The strong yen also remains an issue. Fitch's Matt Jamieson told the Financial Times: "This wasn't an easy decision, but [both companies'] reputations have been hit so much that it will take a long while to crawl back'.

Quite what impact the Fitch switch will have on Sony's ability to raise money in the coming months remains to be seen, and may depend on whether the other rating agencies follow suit. But continued talk of Sony's woes in the consumer electronics space will only add to speculation the firm is considering selling its more successful US-headquartered entertainment division, even though such rumours have always been denied by the corporation's top guard.

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Take that Daily Mail journalist Hayley Peterson, who called out Justin Bieber for wearing stripy dungarees and a baseball cap when being presented with a Diamond Jubilee Medal by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa recently. Asking the question in the headline to her story on the award "Would a suit hurt, Justin?" Peterson reported that the blogosphere was outraged at Bieber's choice of attire when being presented with the medal for his achievements away from home, dubbing the pop teen the 'White Trash Prince'.

But, the Bieber quickly responded via Instagram, this wasn't a formal medal presenting occasion, Harper had presented the medal to him backstage at the arena where he was performing that evening, and the presentation happened right after a fan meet and greet, hence the clothes. Wrote the Biebster: "The pic of me and the Prime Minister was taken in a room in the arena where I was performing at that day. I walked straight from my meet and greet to him. If you, 'Hayley', expect me to have a change of clothes, let alone a suit, at that specific time, that's crazy. It wasn't like I was going into his environment, we were at a hockey arena. Wow, am I ever white trash Hayley Peterson LOL!"

The Mail did edit its online story overnight to include the Bieber's response, though despite her getting a specific name-check in the Instagram posting, Peterson modestly chose not to boast that the pop star's dissing was aimed directly at her.

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Lady Gaga's garage (and Thanksgiving larder) was raided by a crowd of her Little Monsters in the early hours of Friday morning. Perhaps they just wanted to taste the 'ARTpop' star's Thanksgiving stuffing, but who can say?

A startled Gaga, who was staying in a property in Peru when her garage was raided (she being on tour there), live-tweeted the bizarre break-in thus: "#MONSTERFACT when Gaga is asleep try to break into the garage, sing loud as possible, and ring the doorbell repeatedly #happeningnow #badkids. Thanksgiving story".

And: "Woke up for leftovers in kitchen (naked), stumbled on security camera revealing 35 monsters in my garage".

She added: "I should be mad I guess, except I tried to figure out how to slide stuffing under the door, but there's no cat-flap".

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So, here's a late contender for the title of my favourite music news story of the year. Last week former Menswe@r guitarist Chris Gentry mocked up a platinum disc he'd bought on eBay to look like it was for his band's 1995 debut album 'Nuisance'. He then posted pictures of himself with it on Instagram and presumably chuckled about it for a few minutes and got on with his day.

What he didn't do was tell anyone that it was a joke. For a week. Possibly because he didn't think anyone would believe it was real, though I'm listening to Menswe@r's singles on Spotify right now and time has been kinder to them than you might expect.

Anyway, some people did think that seventeen years was a reasonable amount of time for it to have taken for 'Nuisance' to sell 300,000 copies. And said people tweeted congratulations to Gentry, leading - says Holy Moly - to the band's frontman Johnny Dean starting to accuse people of stealing his money.

Various media outlets also reported the fake announcement as fact, including the NME, although the article on its website did at least come with a suitably dubious quote from Menswe@r-drummer-turned-6music-presenter Matt Everitt, who said: "To be honest, the idea that 'Nuisance' had sold 300,000 copies worldwide seems rather suspect to me, but Twitter appears to be very keen on the idea, so who am I to argue?"

He added: "Although now I come to think of it, my annual royalty cheques (approximately £83) would suggest something is amiss here. However, I'm currently expecting our long-delayed Led Zeppelin style reunion at the O2 and fifteen CD/DVD/Blu-ray boxset retrospective of our lengthy and critically acclaimed career to become a reality, just in time for Christmas".

Hey, that's a point. Rather than a big 'get an old song to Christmas number one' campaign this year, can we actually try to get Menswe@r's album to go platinum by Christmas Day? I presume there aren't very many physical copies still in branches of HMV, so we'd would need to convince Universal to release the album digitally (because, while the singles are available, the album isn't), but I reckon this is still a goer. Someone start a Facebook group, quick!

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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 or

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