CMU Daily - on the inside 7 Jan 2003
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
• Urban music hits back at ministers remarks,
• FBI report on Murder Inc raids,
• Capital boss optimistic of long term advertising prospects,
• US live industry sales up thanks to higher tickets prices,
• Brits 2003 launch next week,
• New Yardbirds album complete,
• Digital channels fair well in end of year figures,
• Review: Supergrass – Seen The Light,
• ADF to perform at remix night,
• Beatles top VH1 TV moments chart,
• Jackson dropped from Chicago soundtrack,
• Courtney denies rumours of funeral shenanigans,
• DJs race for charity

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Who said: "Be strong, believe in freedom and in God, love yourself, understand your sexuality, have a sense of humour, masturbate"?

Answer tomorrow

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URBAN MUSIC HITS BACK AT MINISTERS REMARKS
The urban music community has reacted angrily to comments made by Culture Minister Kim Howells who said increases in gun crime in the UK were "symptomatic" of developments in rap and garage music, attacking acts like So Solid Crew for "glorifying gun culture and violence". His comments came as the government moved gun crime up the agenda after two young women were killed in Birmingham at New Year after being caught in the crossfire of a gun fight.

1Xtra DJ Iyare was among those working in the industry to hit out at Howell’s comments, saying the media were making a scapegoat of rap and garage music. "The whole gun culture in relation to music is minute. Whatever is hottest on the streets will always attract a small number of idiots. It was the same with dancehall music and rap in the past and garage now. But films and computer games glorify guns far more than music and have a wider impact than music. But Kim Howells is not prepared to take on Hollywood, or Sony and Microsoft."

Talking about members of the So Solid Crew being charged with gun possession he claimed Crew members carried the weapons for protection more than anything else. "Rightly or wrongly, they feel threatened and need to protect themselves. They are kids from council estates and are targets for those making a beeline for them."

Despite preaching a more tolerant message than many of her counterparts, Ms Dynamite also criticised the media comments against the scene. "The media have blown it all out of proportion," she told the Guardian, claiming some rap acts are involved with guns because it was “a metaphor for life in general”.

Radio 1 and MTV presenter Trevor Nelson also defended rap and garage music, telling Radio 5: "If there is a serial killer on the loose, they don't ring Stephen King and start telling him about what he puts in his movies or books because we all enjoy them. We go to the cinema, we know it is not real, we go home. But as soon as this happens with this subject ... they are knocking on every musician's door … from Eminem to whoever."

He argued hitting out at the garage scene was a misled knee-jerk reaction to a serious social problem. "I think it's wrong - it's an obvious problem. Anyone who goes into a club or who is young and on the streets of a city in this country knows there is a problem and is scared witless. It is a big horror story on the streets and people have to do something about it sooner or later."
Other insiders pointed out that flagship rap and hip hop artists in the US have fronted police staged anti-gun campaigns with relatively little affect – suggesting the gun problem was more a social than cultural problem.

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FBI REPORT ON MURDER INC RAIDS
Officials yesterday confirmed they had raided The Crackhouse, a recording studio belonging to New York record label Murder Inc, as well as the label’s offices. As reported yesterday the raids, that took place on Friday, are part of FBI investigations into the relationship between label boss Irv Gotti and a New York drug gang called the ‘Supreme Team’,

According to FBI reports no one was arrested during the raids, which were conducted jointly by the FBI and NYPD, though two men were arrested elsewhere in connection with the larger investigation. The two are suspected to be associated of the drug gang, though it’s not known if they have any connections with the label.

Murder Inc, and parent companies Def Jam and Universal Music Group, are yet to comment on the raids.

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CAPITAL BOSS OPTIMISTIC OF LONG TERM ADVERTISING PROSPECTS
Capital Radio boss David Mansfield has told his shareholders he reckons the British radio industry can increase its share of the advertising pie from 6.5% to 8%. The prediction comes despite poor sales results for most radio groups in 2002, and an equally gloomy outlook for the immediate future. Writing in the group’s annual report he said: "There's a lot of potential for further development and I believe there's every sign that radio is still on target to hit an 8% share by 2010."

However he was less upbeat about the immediate future, admitting the current advertising downturn has hit Capital hard, and that he was unsure when it would end. "We've had a mixed start to the year and so we're still cautious about 2002/3. We're going to run the business on the basis that there will be no material improvement this year. Nobody can say with any certainty when things will get better.”

Mansfield also talked about the company’s expansion plans in the report – keen to capitalise of the forthcoming Communications bill which will let radio groups own more stations in anyone area. "In London we have seven different analogue and digital stations and we'd like to be able to mirror this wherever we operate," he said, "But we will only pursue the right sort of acquisition that adds value to the group at a sensible price”.

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US LIVE INDUSTRY SALES UP THANKS TO HIGHER TICKETS PRICES
Despite mid-year fears of an overall decline in ticket sales, end of year figures for the US live music industry show a rise in ticket sales for the fourth consecutive year. Much of the growth was down to the success of major tours for veteran acts like Cher, Paul McCartney, Elton John and Billy Joel. According to US trade title Pollstar sales across the US and Canada were up about 20% on 2001 figures. However the figures, which represent revenues, not numbers of tickets sold, may be due to hike in ticket prices, with promoters cashing in on the fact gig-goers seem to be willing to pay large sums of money to see the likes of McCartney who haven’t toured for years.

With this in mind Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni remains pessimistic about the future of live music in the US, claiming greedy rock stars are crippling the industry by demanding hefty guarantees from promoters, resulting in high ticket prices and empty seats. "It would be difficult to find an industry insider who could pronounce overall business healthy," he told the BBC.

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BRITS 2003 LAUNCH NEXT WEEK
Ms Dynamite and Big Brovaz will both perform live at the Brits Launch party next Monday (13 Jan) at the Abbey Road Studios. Nominations for this year’s awards will be announced at the event, as well as details of the line up of live acts set to perform at the awards ceremony on 20 Feb. Press info from LD Publicity on 020 7439 7222.

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NEW YARDBIRDS ALBUM COMPLETE
Legendary rockers Yardbirds have finished ‘Birdland’, their first new studio album since 1967, which includes eight new songs and some new versions of classic tracks. A release date is now set for 22 Apr on guitarist Steve Vai's Favored Nations label. Although former members Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton are no longer with the band, original members Chris Dreja (guitar) and Jim McCarty (drums) appear on the new album, alongsdie lead guitarist Gypie Mayo, bassist John Idan, and harmonica player Alan Glen. But perhaps most exciting is the line up of guest guitarists who appear – Steve Vai appears on one track, with other guests including Jeff Beck, Brian May, Slash, Joe Satriani, Jeff Baxter, Goo Goo Dolls frontman Johnny Rzeznik, Toto's Steve Lukather.

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DIGITAL CHANNELS FAIR WELL IN END OF YEAR FIGURES
End of year figures brought good news for digital TV channels. Despite the ITV Digital debackle setting back terrestrial digital TV, a number of digital stations enjoyed record viewing figures last year, with shows like Friends, The Simpsons and digital only editions of Pop Idol pulling in over a million viewers – a key target for cable or satellite stations.

Unsurprisingly the sports channels faired best, though both Sky and Channel 4’s digital channel E4 performed well with their premiers of US hits like Friends, The Simpsons and ER, and for E4 with the extra Big Brother shows.

Given that ITV’s terrestrial digital platform collapsed in 2002, handing the BBC the upper hand through its Freeview system, it is perhaps ironic that the BBC’s main digital channels – BBC 4, BBC Choice and BBC News 24 – all faired badly, while ITV’s main digital station, ITV2, did well, especially with the Pop Idol extra shows that came on the digital station immediately after the main show on ITV1.

BBC 4 – the corporation’s intellectual station – despite some critical acclaim, faired very badly, with some shows pulling in less than 3000 viewers. That said, a station with classical concerts, documentaries and world news was perhaps unlikely to appeal to typical multi-channel households, but might persuade technophobes to buy into the Freeview system.

BBC Choice depended on spin offs from BBC 1 shows – in particular Fame Academy and Eastenders repeats – for its hit shows, but neither got anywhere near a million viewers. Bosses will be hoping the station’s relaunch as youth channel BBC 3 this Spring will help transform its fortunes.

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REVIEW: Supergrass – Seen The Light (EMI / Parlophone)
Not quite as good as ‘Grace’, but still a damn fine tune here comes the second single off ‘Life On Other Planets’, timed to coincide with those much anticipated live dates at the end of the month. ‘See The Light’ is another catchy example of the well honed Supergrass sound. And while that well honed sound might open the band up for criticism of ‘saminess’ in their music, somehow they manage to give each release its own distinct character – so there’ll be no criticism from this corner. I’m informed the actual release comes with a cover of the Neil Young classic ‘The Loner’ – often featured in the band’s live set – and new song ‘The Truth’, but I can’t tell you anything about them ‘cos they don’t feature on the promo. But I’m sure they’re good too.
Release date: 27 Jan
Press contact: EMI IH [CP, CR, RR, NR] APB [RP, NP]

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ADF TO PERFORM AT REMIX NIGHT
With their new album our later this month, Asian Dub Foundation will perform at the first XFM Remix night of the year on 16 Jan at London’s Cargo. Highlights from the show will be broadcast the following night on The Remix Show on Xfm. The new ADF album is set for a 3 Feb release.

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BEATLES TOP VH1 TV MOMENTS CHART
In the latest VH1 Top 100 series – this time the 100 Moments That Rocked TV - The Beatles' debut appearance on American television on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 has come top, with Elvis Presley's 1968 NBC TV Comeback Special in second place and the launch of MTV third.

Also in the chart is the 1985 broadcast of Live Aid at 7, Elton John's performance of ‘Candle in the Wind’ at Princess Diana's funeral at 12, and the infamous Sex Pistols' interview on Bill Grundy's Today Show at 26.
The full 100 will be broadcast on VH1 next week.

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JACKSON DROPPED FROM CHICAGO SOUNDTRACK
Anyone looking for the new Janet Jackson track in the movie version of the musical Chicago will struggle to find it. Jackson recorded the track last Autumn – the movie’s producers wanting an original song alongside those that appear in the stage show so they would be eligible for the best original song category at the Oscars. But the song was dropped at the last minute in favour of a new track written by John Kander and Fred Ebb, the writers of the original show, which is performed by the film’s stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger. No comment from either side on why the Jackson track was dropped.

Chicago opens in the UK next week, though preview screenings in the West End were enough to put the film in the box office top ten last week!

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COURTNEY DENIES RUMOURS OF FUNERAL SHENANIGANS
Courtney Love’s manager has denied stories doing the rounds about the singer’s behaviour at the funeral of Joe Strummer last week. Love knew the Clash frontman after they both worked on the 1987 film 'Straight To Hell'. Rumour had it she caused a scene when initially refused admission to the private crematorium, and then she horrified Strummer’s family and friends by "throwing herself on the coffin".

But manager Jim Barber described the stories as being "definitely crap", pointing out reports were based on the quotes of unnamed witnesses. Barber also denied rumours Love is set to appear alongside Sean Bean in the West End production of Macbeth.

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DJS RACE FOR CHARITY
DJs and club promoters will competing in a go-kart race later this month in aid of London charity Centrepoint. The Race Off The Streets event will see teams of drivers from various areas of the dance music industry taking part in a 150-minute race at the new Raceway go-karting centre in London's Kings Cross. The race will be followed up by a part at The Cross with Ali B, Guy Williams, Mark Westhenry, Harj, Joe Ransom and Shaun Roberts all on the decks.

Profits will help fund Centrepoint's Frederick Street project in Kings Cross, a hostel that supports a diverse client group, including young people leaving care and ex-offenders, aiming to support them to a stage where they are ready to live independently.

The event takes place on 20 Jan – more info at www.raceoffthestreets.org

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Answer to Monday's pop quiz:
Who said: "We want to be the band to dance to when the bomb drops"?
Simon Le Bon (Duran Duran are releasing a remix album later this year – do they know something we don’t?)

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