18 DEC 2012

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Of all the a-list pop femmes to have released LPs this year, Lana Del Rey is perhaps the most maligned. Thrust to pre-eminence by debut single 'Video Games' back in October 2011, Del Rey basked in a golden surge of press esteem, for a time, but then in January, and in particular post that shaky 'SNL' cameo, came the (in hindsight, inevitable) scythe-like swing in the internet's Del Rey fixation more>>
Ex Beta Band frontman Steve Mason released his first solo album under his own name in 2010. The record saw Mason battle his demons to create an intensely personal record, driven by great songs. While being very introspective, as touring for the album went on, Mason's on stage chat became increasingly political, particularly after the protests and riots of 2011 more>>
- Cable pledges publicity campaign to tackle piracy
- Amy Winehouse inquest to be reheard
- Irish label efforts to block Pirate Bay reach court
- Pirate Party hits out as BPI prepares to sue over proxy
- Steven Tyler calls ex-manager/lawyer litigation a "travesty"
- Odd Future accused of attacking teenager on stage
- Frank Ocean album tops poll of polls
- AlunaGeorge named most blogged artist of 2012
- Frank Ocean might just go and write a book
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs releasing LP in new year
- McVana song to appear on Sound City soundtrack
- Palma Violets name new LP
- Mike Doughty releases $543.09 song
- Delphic share new live listings
- Trust touring in 2013
- Festival line-up update
- Fogel renews with Live Nation
- BBC Introducing shows to all move to the same Saturday night slot
- Spice Girls not searching for Posh replacement
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Vince Cable yesterday said that the UK government would run a consumer-facing publicity campaign in the spring to promote copyright and discourage consumers from consuming unlicensed content and counterfeit goods. The Business Minister was talking up intellectual property at an event in London.

The campaign is being instigated in response to the much previously reported Hargreaves Review of IP laws in the UK. The government is also considering recommendations made by Ian Hargreaves to boost so called fair dealing exemptions in the British copyright system, expanding the scenarios in which people can legitimately use copyright material without licence.

Many in the music industry are expected to oppose those changes, though Cable's commitment to fund an anti-piracy publicity campaign got a better reception. The Business Secretary also announced plans to launch a specific IP Crime unit within the City Of London Police, providing a more formal structure for those members of the City force that already specialise in investigating copyright crimes.

According to The Guardian, Cable said yesterday: "Our creativity, our openness to and talent for innovation, is a key pillar of our return to robust growth. So it is right we work to create the environment in which creative, innovative businesses of all shapes and sizes flourish. A vital part of this is making sure the intellectual property landscape encourages and cements success and growth. The new vision for how we support businesses and consumers is central to achieving this".

The specific proposals set out in Cable's speech yesterday were welcomed by cross-industry trade body UK Music, whose CEO Jo Dipple told CMU: "Something we do in this country better than anyone else is produce raw creative talent. Creative talent is what defines our cultural heritage. Underpinning it is our intellectual property and this must be respected by government and consumer alike. I particularly welcome the Secretary Of State's announcement that a new national consumer campaign will be launched in the spring to help raise awareness about counterfeiting and piracy, and ensure that the rights of creators and innovators are better enforced".

Record industry trade body the BPI likewise welcomed Cable's announcement, though stressed that the government should be willing to spend appropriately to get the copyright message out there. BPI boss Geoff Taylor: "BPI has argued for some time that the Intellectual Property Office should take on a more active role in educating young people about how IP affects them in the digital world. We are very pleased to hear government's announcement today of a new campaign. We hope that it will be supported by significant funding, so that it can make a real difference in boosting the use of legal music services online".

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Camden Council yesterday confirmed that the inquest into the death of Amy Winehouse will be reheard next year, after the coroner who oversaw the original hearing quit last week.

As previously reported, Senior Coroner for inner North London Dr Andrew Reid sparked an investigation earlier this year after it emerged that he had appointed his wife, Suzanne Greenaway, as Deputy Coroner when she was not qualified to hold the position. Greenaway had worked as a lawyer in Australia before coming to the UK, but had not worked here for the required five years when she took on the coroner role. As well as Winehouse's, she worked on eleven other inquests in Camden before the error was identified

Reid was suspended in February and resigned last week, while Greenaway stepped down in November after an investigation confirmed that she was not qualified to work as a coroner in the UK.

The verdict in Winehouse's inquest was originally recorded at misadventure, but the case will now be re-heard beginning on 8 Jan. In a statement her family said: "The family were happy with the way the original inquest was conducted and did not request it to be reheard. This seems to be a matter of procedure and the verdict is not expected to change".

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Efforts by the Irish record industry to force internet service providers in the country to block access to The Pirate Bay have reached the Commercial Court in Dublin, though the judge hearing the case seems to favour the music and net companies reaching a voluntary deal.

As previously reported, earlier this month it was confirmed that the Irish Recorded Music Association, following the lead of its UK equivalent the BPI, had launched proceedings against net firms UPC, Imagine, Vodafone, Digiweb and Hutchison 3G seeking a web-block injunction forcing the named ISPs to stop their customers from accessing the controversial file-sharing website.

The legal action should test a new statutory instrument signed by Ireland's Minister For Research & Innovation back in February which sought to battle online piracy by making it easier to target those web services helping individuals infringe. The last time web-blocking on copyright grounds was considered in an Irish court, during a legal battle between the record labels and tel co Eircom, a judge ruled that he didn't have the power to force the ISP to block websites like TPB (though Eircom subsequently did so anyway as part of a settlement deal). However, IRMA will stress that February's statutory instrument overrules that precedent.

Nevertheless, after hearing opening arguments from both sides in the new legal battle, according to the Irish Times judge Peter Kelly said that that he felt the ISPs were "innocent parties" seeking to achieve a constructive end to the litigation, and therefore he felt that "the best approach may be to have experts for the sides get together to work out a way forward".

A rep for the record companies said such meetings had occurred before without a positive outcome, though he was happy to participate in new discussions. In most countries ISPs have, in the main, been unwilling to instigate web-blocks without a formal injunction instructing them to do so. Nevertheless, reps for some of the ISPs involved in this case indicated a willingness to work with the labels on this one, though added that there were a number of issues that still needed "ironing out".

Kelly said that he would defer issuing any further directions until a meeting between parties had occurred outside of court, though if no deal could be reached, both sides should clarify the areas of disagreement and the matter could return to court in late January.

In the UK, of course, the BPI successfully secured injunctions earlier this year forcing all major ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay, even though the 2010 Digital Economy Act positioned web-blocking as a measure for future consideration after the three-strikes method for combating file-sharing had been tested (which, as yet, it has not). Critics of web-blocks say they censor the internet and, anyway, are always circumventable by those in the know.

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Talking of which, the Pirate Party UK has hit out at record label trade body the BPI over its threat to pursue legal action against five members of its national executive and its head of IT over the proxy link it operates providing easy access to The Pirate Bay.

As previously reported, the Pirate Party set up the proxy earlier this year as all of the UK's major internet service providers were forced to block access to the controversial file-sharing website. The proxy is one of the simplest ways for British file-sharers to circumvent the Pirate Bay blockade.

The BPI wrote to Pirate Party Leader Loz Kaye last month asking that he stop operating the TPB proxy. He refused and now the record label trade body is preparing to go legal.

Assuming it gets to court it will be an interesting test case. The British courts have already claimed the power to force ISPs via injunction to block websites on copyright grounds, but can they then issue injunctions against those who help others circumvent the blocks? The BPI will be hoping the answer to that question is a resounding "yes". Kaye, however, reckons that would be a step too far, and hopes to persuade the courts of his argument.

Although the Pirate Party initially seemed to relish the prospect of being able to present its arguments against web-blocking in court, even though doing so will require raising funds to pay for legal representation, Kaye and his colleagues didn't seem to be expecting to be targeted personally by the BPI's legal action. But in legal letters to six party members last week, the label body indicated that was its plan.

As far as we can see, the BPI has decided to go that route because the Pirate Party does not currently operate as a registered company, so isn't a standalone legal entity that can be pursued through the courts independent from the people who own or run it. The trade body may well argue that this is, in fact, the only route it can go in the circumstances, but that hasn't stopped Kaye from hitting out at the record industry for making the legal battle "personal".

Kaye said late last week: "We had been anticipating legal action ever since I received an email from Geoff Taylor of the BPI. What has taken me aback is that this threat is personally directed. I simply can not see what the music industry think can be positively gained by threatening to bankrupt me and other party officers".

He adds: "Throughout, the party and I have been open to dialogue. Contrary to reports, I offered to meet Geoff Taylor for discussion, but this has been rebuffed, at this point we are talking our legal advisers and will respond to the solicitors in due course. The Pirate Party's political position remains this - site blocking is disproportionate and ineffective".

Fundraising efforts are now underway at the Pirate Party to help fight any litigation by the record industry.

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Steven Tyler has called a lawsuit being pursued by his former management against his lawyer "an outrage and a travesty". A court filing by the Aerosmith frontman and former 'American Idol' judge regards the litigation has been seen by TMZ.

The management firm of US music industry veteran Allen Kovac began legal action against lawyer Dina LaPolt back in October. Kovac claims that he hired LaPolt to work on negotiations with 'Idol' producers when Tyler's contract with the show was up for renewal in late 2011 but, he alleges, the attorney derailed the negotiations by telling 'Idol' producers that the star's reps were overplaying their hand in a bid to up their client's fee.

Then, after Tyler and 'Idol' had officially parted company, the plaintiff's allege that LaPolt persuaded Tyler to sack his managers, cutting Kovac's company out of the commission it was due on the severance fee paid by the 'Idol' production company when Tyler left the show.

But Tyler denies that LaPolt was behind his decision to part company with Kovac's management firm. He says that it was Kovac himself who caused his relationship with the management agency to collapse, accusing the industry veteran of being "disrespectful, rude, and insulting to his fiancé and family".

The rocker adds that he hired the services of Kovac's company because of his respect for other people working there, but when it became clear that he couldn't stop the firm's top man from "inserting himself" into his affairs he decided the partnership had to end.

The litigation is ongoing. Tyler, of course, left 'Idol' earlier this year, officially so he could spend more time on his Aerosmith duties.

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A seventeen year old has threatened to sue Odd Future after being beaten up by members of the group on stage in Texas last week after he jumped on stage during their show. TMZ reports that Chassan Rasagi filed a police report with police in San Antonio after the attack, which was captured on video by audience members. Though exactly what happened is unclear, some of the hip hop posse's fans said that Rasagi punched OF rapper Left Brain first.

Odd Future also claim that Rasagi threw the first punch, and have pointed to screenshots from the teenager's Twitter feed in which he seemingly admitted this and then bragged about how much money he was going to make from suing the group.

Watch a fan-shot video of the attack here.

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In amidst all the gloomy speculation about its very own future, HMV has still found time to tally up all the end of year best album polls that have appeared in the music media in recent weeks for its customary poll of polls.

And it's that rather fine Frank Ocean chap who tops the retailer's best album chart this year. Now, if every single one of the 63,181,775 people now living in the United Kingdom could just nip down to their local HMV store and buy a copy of 'Channel Orange', then perhaps there'll still be HMV in a year's time to compile the 2013 poll of polls.

Or feel free to pick one of the other long players in the retailer's top 25...

1. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
2. Jack White - Blunderbuss
3. Tame Impala - Lonerism
4. Grimes - Visions
5. Grizzly Bear - Shields
6. Jessie Ware - Devotion
7. Kendrick Lamar - good kid, mAAd city
8. Beach House - Bloom
9. The Maccabees - Given To The Wild
10. Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
11. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords
12. Django Django - Django Django
13. Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
14. Cat Power - Sun
15. Killer Mike - RAP Music
16. The xx - Coexist
17. Chromatics - Kill For Love
18. Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan
19. Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls
20. Bob Dylan - Tempest
21. Swans - The Seer
22. Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes
23. Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
24. Richard Hawley - Standing At The Sky's Edge
25. Bobby Womack - The Bravest Man In The Universe

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They've just been shortlisted for the BRITs Critics Choice Award and BBC Sound Of 2013, but AlunaGeorge are already the UK's most blogged about act of 2012, according to research by The Hype Machine for 6music show 'Now Playing @6Music'. CMU's Andy Malt played them on that very show back in September 2011, so that's nice.

You can hear the duo's George Reid talking about coming top of the poll here.

Here's the top ten most blogged about artists, and you can see the full top 25 rundown here.

1. AlunaGeorge
2. Haim
3. Lana Del Rey
4. Pins
5. Alt-J
6. Daughter
7. Savages
8. Jessie Ware
9. Alice Jemima
10. Fear Of Men

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Frank Ocean is pondering his next turn, as someone who has released one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year might. And while he is currently working on new music, he's said that the idea of moving into a completely different media is also appealing.

Speaking to The Guardian, Ocean said: "Some people focus more on sonics. Some people focus more on story. I focus on both sonics and story, but music sometimes, just music itself, can turn into more of a maths problem. I guess everything in life is a math problem, but it can be more about an empirical route to getting the symmetry that you want, and this vibe, sonically. But storytelling's a different thing. Like I said, it's the more interesting part about making music for me, or making albums and songs and stuff. So much so that I might not make another album. I might just write a novel next. I don't know!"

He added: "I don't intend to stop making music. This isn't a faux retirement. It's no bullshit. I was just making music yesterday. But I do think - it would be fucking legendary if I just made Channel Orange last year, then put out a best-selling novel next year, then, you know, designed an arena in Stockholm in 2014!"

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Yes, yes, yes. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are releasing a new LP in 2013, and they're not shy to say it.

Sharing this mystery image via Instagram, a band rep yesterday tweeted: "DNA upgrades, spontaneous evolution and NEW YEAH YEAH YEAHS RECORD ARRIVING SPRING 2013! Finally".

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That new song by Paul McCartney and the surviving members of Nirvana, 'Cut Me Some Slack', given its first airing at last week's 12-12-12 benefit concert for victims of Hurricane Sandy, will appear in its studio version on the soundtrack to Dave Grohl's previously reported documentary about Sound City Studios in California.

The soundtrack will also feature collaborations between Grohl and a number of other artists, including Trent Reznor, Stevie Nicks, Josh Homme, members of Rage Against The Machine and Foo Fighters and more.

The soundtrack album will be released on 11 Mar, while 'Cut Me Some Slack' is available now. You can also stream it here.

And here's the full tracklist for the album:

Dave Grohl, Peter Hayes, and Robert Levon Been - Heaven And All
Brad Wilk, Chris Goss, Dave Grohl, and Tim Commerford - Time Slowing Down
Dave Grohl, Rami Jaffee, Stevie Nicks, and Taylor Hawkins - You Can't Fix This
Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Rick Springfield, and Taylor Hawkins - The Man That Never Was
Alain Johannes, Dave Grohl, Lee Ving, Pat Smear, and Taylor Hawkins - Your Wife Is Calling
Corey Taylor, Dave Grohl, Rick Nielsen, and Scott Reeder - From Can To Can't
Alain Johannes, Chris Goss, Dave Grohl, and Joshua Homme - Centipede
Alain Johannes, Dave Grohl, and Joshua Homme - A Trick With No Sleeve
Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear - Cut Me Some Slack
Dave Grohl, Jessy Greene, Jim Keltner, and Rami Jaffee - Once Upon a Time... The End
Dave Grohl, Joshua Homme, and Trent Reznor - Mantra

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Those much-hyped Palma Violets have given a title to their much-waited-on first LP, and that title is '180'. This new info goes quite nicely with the record's existing release date, which is 25 Feb via Rough Trade.

But first, why not look at the video for 'Best Of Friends'.

Palma Violets
Best of Friends
Step Up for the Cool Cats
All the Garden Birds
Rattlesnake Highway
Chicken Dippers
Last of the Summer Wine
Tom the Drum
Johnny Bagga' Donuts
I Found Love
Three Stars

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Former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty has announced that his latest solo release is a single song, called 'Dogs/Demons'. What's more, it's only available on a digital voice recorder. And it'll cost you $543.09. That might seem expensive, but every recording sold will be unique, you get to keep the digital voice recorder it's recorded on, and you can even choose what key your version is recorded in - C, D, or D-sharp.

Writes Doughty: "I've got a song called 'Dogs/Demons'. It's not on an album; it's not available on the internet, or anywhere else. It's available only on a digital voice recorder - the very one that the song was played into. I'm releasing the song in individual versions: if you order a copy of 'Dogs/Demons', I will record a version for you on the same recorder I recorded it on. You'll be able to plug it into a computer (cable is included), and copy it to your hard drive. It will be an entirely individual performance - you will have the only, repeat ONLY, copy of that performance".

More information on the release can be found here. If I was going to buy it, I'd go for the key of D, a short example of which you can hear here.

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Having last toured in October, Delphic have just added a new set of dates to their 2013 diaries. The nine-stop visitation will begin in February, by which time the band will (probably) have released a new track. But since they haven't done so yet, I'll move straight to the dates:

10 Feb: Leeds, Cockpit
11 Feb: Edinburgh, Liquid Rooms
12 Feb: Cambridge, Junction
14 Feb: Liverpool, Academy 2
15 Feb: Birmingham, Academy 2
16 Feb: Stoke, Sugarmill
18 Feb: Oxford, Academy 2
19 Feb: Leicester, Academy
20 Feb: Brighton, Komedia

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CMU approved Trust, aka Canadian artist Robert Alfons and collaborators, have set three Britain-based dates as part of an extensive live trek they're doing in the new year. This retroactive promotional stint follows the October release of Alfons et al's debut LP 'TRST', the new single from which, 'Heaven, is out via Arts & Crafts on 21 Feb. Look first at its video, and after - if you like - at the dates.

Tour dates:

31 Jan: London, Electrowerkz
1 Feb: Glasgow, Broadcast
2 Feb: Leeds, Brudenell

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So today in brand new festival announcements, Isle Of Wight gains its third headlining act in The Killers, who now share topmost billing plaudits with The Stone Roses and, quite bizarrely, Bon Jovi. The Cornwall-set Eden Sessions, which in 2013 will take the shape of a series of one-day mini festivals, enlists The xx and Kaiser Chiefs as its first-named musical guests. They'll play on 2 Jul and 29 Jun respectivey. Over on the continent, or rather on the Croatian isle of Tisno, Electric Elephant breaks its first wave of artist additions, as features Andrew Weatherall, Miguel Campbell, Ewan Pearson and Horse Meat Disco.

Most intriguing of all, though, is a first-edition festival curated by Michael Gira, and featuring his day band Swans, Mercury Rev's Tettix Experiment and Xiu Xiu. Says Gira of Mouth To Mouth, a live study in 'urgent performance-orientated music, irrespective of arbitrary genres or styles': "This is the first instalment in what we hope to be a yearly festival, focused on disparate music and genres. Artists are chosen based on their ability to resuscitate, set fire to the air, or to mesmerize. All of the performers chosen for this year's festival I find personally to be compelling in this regard. The goal: joy!".

EDEN SESSIONS, Eden Project, Cornwall, full 2013 dates tba: The xx, Kaiser Chiefs. www.edenproject.com/sessions

ELECTRIC ELEPHANT, The Garden, Tisno, Croatia, 11-15 Jul 2013: Andrew Weatherall & Sean Johnston, Heidi, Optimo, Miguel Campbell, Ivan Smagghe, Justin Robertson, Ewan Pearson, Horse Meat Disco, Boston Bun, Unabombers, Late Nite Tuff Guy, DJ Rocca, Chris Duckenfield, Bill Brewster, Frank Broughton & Michael Cook, Kelvin Andrews & Balearic Mike, Krysko, Ben Pistor, Will TRAMP!, Content DJs, High Soul Society, Pablo Contraband, GranTurismo, Balera FM & Futuro Tropicale, Billy Scurry, That Amazing Thing!, DJ Kozmonaut, Chinny. www.electricelephant.co.uk

ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL, Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight, 13-16 Jun: The Killers. www.isleofwightfestival.com

MOUTH TO MOUTH, Koko, London, 4 Apr: Swans, Mercury Rev Tettix Experiment, Ben Frost, Xiu Xiu. www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/OKF0404

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Live Nation's Global Touring chief Arthur Fogel has signed a new five year deal with the live music giant it has been confirmed. And look, here are some quotes.

Live Nation CEO: "We are delighted that Arthur has decided to continue his illustrious career at Live Nation. We look forward to continuing to expand our global touring activity under Arthur's leadership".

Fogel: "Since Live Nation was launched in 2005 the vision and leadership of Michael Rapino has positioned this company as the very best in the live entertainment industry. There is nowhere else I would want to be".

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The local BBC Introducing radio shows across England are set to shift to a new weekend slot of 8pm on Saturday evening.

Currently the weekly new-music championing and locally-produced music programmes air on different days and at different times on different local stations, though some are currently scheduled in a weekday evening slot. In a bid to cut costs, BBC local stations across England will all start airing the same evening show during the week from January.

Some had feared that cost cutting in BBC local radio might affect the BBC Introducing venture, which has often been commended for spotting new musical talent early, with local DJs passing on their tips to music programmers elsewhere within the Corporation's radio network.

Although some might not be so happy with the Saturday evening slot - you could argue many of the show's target listeners will be out on a Saturday night - having a standard place in the schedule for BBC Introducing across the local station network is probably a good thing.

Confirming that BBC Introducing would remain part of the Beeb's local radio mix, and in the new uniform slot, David Holdsworth, Controller of BBC English Regions, told CMU: "Our audiences value the showcase that BBC Introducing offers to local emerging talent. Having all the programmes on at the same time means that we will be able to give the Introducing programmes on each of our 39 stations a higher profile which in turn will benefit the local acts".

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OK, so the Spice Girls are not planning on touring without Victoria Beckham, nor are they planning on asking Sugababe Heidi Range to step in for the group's iconic pouter and pointer on a reunion tour, and nor are they planning a 'Find A Fifth Spice' talent show. No, Spice Girls fans can just make do with that shit jukebox musical that opened last week and shut up. Or they could dig out their 'Spice World' DVDs I suppose.

Following the Mail report this weekend that the Spice Girls were seeking a new fifth member after Beckham let it be known she's not up for another reunion tour, Mel C took to Twitter and said: "It seems there has been some Spice related nonsense written today. None of the Spice Girls would ever or could ever be replaced". Emma Bunton reiterated: "None of the Spice Girls would ever or could ever be replaced - nonsense in the papers!'

Responding to the responses, Sugababe Range then took to Twitter herself sending a tweet to the two commenting Spice Girls that joked "ahh and there was me all getting ready to be Suga Spice, haha". So, take note, the Spice Girls are not searching for a Posh replacement. Though the Suga & Spice co-headline tour, has that been done before? All things nice guaranteed with every ticket.

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