CMU Daily - on the inside 28 Jan 2003
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
• US retailers enter race for download dominance,
• At The Drive in definitely no more,
• Scottish radio group buck ad slump trend,
• Dedbeat line up latest,
• Review: Turin Brakes – Pain Killer,
• Britney looks for restraining order against millionaire fan,
• Beeb back in running on saturday morning race,
• ADF dates confirmed,
• Musicians’ silent protest about licencing proposals,
• Kraftwerk steal the big day out,
• Anger Management UK dates confirmed,
• PJ Harvey’s new album nearing completion,
• Review: Aphex Twin – 26 Mixes For Cash, • Supreme court go against Mattel’s Barbie Girl claims,
• Majesticons announce UK dates,
• Romeo to front Kiss In The Snow,
• Kylie on that pant range

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Which Stones track did the BBC ban in 1967 because it extolled the values of a hippy life?

Answer tomorrow

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US RETAILERS ENTER RACE FOR DOWNLOAD DOMINANCE
The major music retailers in the US have joined together to enter the legitimate digital download business. Best Buy, Tower Records, Trans World Entertainment, Wherehouse Entertainment, Virgin Entertainment Group and Hastings Entertainment have together acquired a controlling stake in an LA-based download subscription service called Echo Networks which has been trying to build an online customer base through internet radio stations. The retailers will now attempt to secure licences with the major labels to sell their music via the service, which will operate in its own right, and as part of the existing online activity of each partner company.

It is another development in what is likely to become a very competitive market place – because while media attention is focused on the battle against illegal download services, the number of legitimate download sites is on the increase with various parts of the music industry hoping to cash in if and when legitimate downloading becomes big business.

The record labels themselves have invested in such services – Pressplay and MusicNet. A number of media outlets have added retail dimensions to their online activity with a bid to moving into the download business. And of course there are the survivors of the dot.com era – Vitmanic and Peoplesound – whose long term ambitions surely involve utilising their large lists of music fans to sell MP3s.

But the music retailers, who will lose more than anyone if digital music takes off, are hoping that if they can get the technology up and running and licences signed with the record labels they can take over the new market, utilising the high profile of their brand names among consumers aided by their physical presence on every high street.

"The Echo consortium was established to create a viable business strategy that combines physical and digital music distribution," the group’s Dan Hart told reporters. "With competitive licenses, music retailers can utilize their long history and expertise in building customer relationships, marketing music and breaking new artists to provide a digital music experience that truly serves the consumer."

The record labels would love, of course, to cut out the retailers in a digital age and sell direct to the consumer via their own download services. But the retail sector still has considerable control over the music industry and should be able to negotiate licences with the major labels that will put it in a good position to dominate the download market when it truly takes off (if the 'pay to download' market ever truly takes off).

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AT THE DRIVE IN DEFINITELY NO MORE
Jim Ward of At The Drive In has told Aussie website Undercover that his band are officially no more. When members of the band split off to create two new outfits - Sparta and Mars Volta – the official line from their record label was that the band were on 'hiatus'. But in his latest interview Ward says the band is over.

"That is bullshit. That is big company bullshit. We had a meeting - Cedric and Omar said they didn't want to be in the band - there was no more band. Big business doesn't know as individually or personally. They just see the massive money machine that is about to start. They don't want to say "break-up". They want to say "it might happen, it will be magical". I don't know if I was never meant to talk about it any more or if I'm allowed to use the word break-up but it was my band. I can use whatever word I want to use. And I have deep, loving respect for the guys I played with. I still love them and respect them and I would never say a bad word against them. We were a band of brothers and it was awesome".

Talking about the new bands he says: “Cedric and Omar formed Mars Volta straight away. Three months later the other guys gave me a call and said they wanted to form a new band. It wasn't like we split into two. The band broke up. We came back together to switch things around and start something new. It wasn't premeditated at all".

You can read the full interview at www.undercover.com.au

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SCOTTISH RADIO GROUP BUCK AD SLUMP TREND
More mixed messages about the state of radio advertising in the UK. While the industry at large continues to talk of doom and gloom, Scottish Radio Holdings have joined Chrysalis Radio in announcing a rise in revenues. SRH, whose stations are mainly in Scotland and Ireland, saw revenues rise 6% in the last quarter of 2002. That growth goes up to 30% if you add proceeds from acquisitions into the figures.

"While it is still too early to tell how the full year might develop, we are pleased with the start to our new financial year and remain confident about the group's inherent strengths," SRH chairman told his shareholders.
Last November Chrysalis Radio announced a rise in revenues, mainly thanks to the growth of its Heart 106.2 station. However other key players in the radio industry, most prominently the Capital Group, have seen income fall with bosses airing caution with regards a short term recovery.

The SRH figures will be good news for the Scottish Media Group – Virgin Radio’s parent company which owns a 30% stake in SRH. SMG’s share price took a battering last year after it took a loss in the sale of its less than successful outdoor advertising division. The Group has indicated it will sell its stake in SRH to the highest bidder when new radio ownership legislation becomes law, and these latest performance figures will considerable increase any asking price.

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DEDBEAT LINE UP LATEST
More additions to the line up of the rescheduled Debeat Weekender, which takes place from 28 Feb – 2 Mar. Capitol K, The Majesticons, Infinite Livez, Ceephax, The Bug, and DJ Rubbish have now been added to the bill which already includes Boom Dip And DoseOne, Earl Zinger & the Les Battersby Cubano Orchestra, Pitman, Mike Paradinas, Luke Vibert, Super_Colllider, Andrew Weatherall, and Keith Tenniswood. Despite rumours of a sell out promoters tell us tickets are still available – more info at www.dedbeat.net

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REVIEW: Turin Brakes – Pain Killer (Source/Virgin)
There was something inextricably North London and frappuccino about their debut album, and while that didn’t necessarily detract from it, there was an overriding sensation of Hoxton Square self-importance that frankly grated. Well, at least they now don’t just sound like they’re all about haircuts. Only problem is this reeks of Pledge, and the result is it sounds so polished there is absolutely nothing interesting about it. Eminently forgettable, you’ll find yourself winding the track back to remind yourself of what you’ve just heard. With repeated listens, you realise what they need to do: turn their amps up to 11 and seriously wig out. I’m telling you – if they did this as a balls out rawk number then, by jingo, they’ll grab your attention. Come on lads, show some cojones and we’ll have our lighters in the air. TO
Release date: 17 Feb
Press contact: Virgin IH [CP, CR, RR, NR] APB [RP, NP]

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BRITNEY LOOKS FOR RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST MILLIONAIRE FAN
Britney Spears will find out on 28 Feb if she’s been successful in her attempt to get a restraining order against a Japanese millionaire she claims is stalking her. Spears alleges that computer expert Masahiko Shizawa has been stalking her since last September – sending her love letters, turning up at her homes, following her, and even sending a note saying: "I'm chasing you."
But lawyers for the 41-year-old millionaire says it is "a cultural misunderstanding". He added: "He is a VIP in Japan. He had no intent to disturb her." An LA court will rule on February 28.

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BEEB BACK IN RUNNING ON SATURDAY MORNING RACE
Since Ant & Dec went prime time we’d kinda stopped paying attention to Saturday morning TV (come to think of it, of late we’ve stopped paying attention to Ant & Dec). But BBC bosses have been continuing their fight to regain the upper hand on the key slot in childrens’ TV, and last weekend they got very close. Initial viewing figures suggest both ITV’s SM:TV and BBC’s The Saturday Show each had 1 million viewers and a 17% audience share on Saturday.

The Beeb relaunched its show last Autumn, dumping presenters Dani Behr and Joe Mace, and adding a Top Of The Pops segment to the programme in a direct copy of ITV’s CD:UK. Current SM:TV presenters Brian Dowling and Tess Daly remain popular, but without Ant, Dec and Cat the show has lost its sparkle and that, as much as the BBC’s revamp, may explain the equalling out in performance. Expect both sides to step up the fight later in the year.

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ADF DATES CONFIRMED
Asian Dub Foundation, who released a new single this week and whose new album hits the stores next Monday have announced some tour dates for February:

19 Feb: Oxford Zodiac
21 Feb: Shepherds Bush Empire
22 Feb: Bristol - Anson Rooms
32 Feb: Manchester University
25 Feb: Leeds - Metropolitan University
26 Feb: The Junction, Cambridge
27 Feb: Warwick University
28 Feb: Liverpool University

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MUSICIANS’ SILENT PROTEST ABOUT LICENCING PROPOSALS
Billy Bragg and Jools Holland joined 500 protestors outside the Houses of Parliament yesterday to protest about those changes in licensing laws which will make it harder for pubs to stage live music. Musicians reckon the new rules will close down an important live music circuit. The protestors wore gags in a silent protest over being silenced.

Despite culture minister Kim Howell’s attempts to belittle worries about the new legislation many musician’s aren’t convinced. The Musicians' Union's Hamish Birchall, a jazz drummer, told reporters: "This Bill is proposing to criminalise virtually all public performances of live music unless it is licensed. The process of getting a licence is not going to be simple and a lot of pubs and bars that currently put on music will simply not want to be bothered with it any more. A lot of people who make a living doing small solo or duo gigs will be seriously affected. Traditional folk music really is in danger."

The proposals have prompted some members of the Union to call for its 80-year-old ties with the Labour Party to be severed, while more than 40,000 people have signed an online petition.

The new legislation, lumped in with moves to allow pubs and clubs to open 24 hours a day, has been through the Commons and is now being heard in the House of Lords.

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KRAFTWERK STEAL THE BIG DAY OUT
According to Aussie music website Undercover Kraftwerk stole the show at this year’s Big Day Out. Describing the electro innovator’s set Undercover’s reviewer tells us: “Their performance was startling and it is hard to know why. It's certainly not the lyrics. It can't be the musicianship. These are just four guys standing in front of computers. It certainly isn't their look. Four guys in their mid 50s. So it must be their innovation. Their Big Day Out set was short but didn't leave out anything. The highlight was certainly the complete version of 'Autobahn'. It was compelling”.

Kraftwerk, meanwhile, have confirmed they will release a new album this year, a follow up to 1999's 'Expo 2000', a limited release that didn’t get much attention outside of Germany.

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ANGER MANAGEMENT UK DATES CONFIRMED
Eminem will be back in the UK this summer as the Anger Management Tour works its way around the world. Two dates have been confirmed - Milton Keynes Bowl on 21 Jun, and Glasgow Hampden Park on 24 Jun. The show will also visit Punchestown Racecourse, not far from Dublin, on 26 Jun. No news of exact line up though the US dates saw Ludacris, Papa Roach, Xzibit and the X-ecutioners support Mr Mathers. Tickets go on sale on Saturday.

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PJ HARVEY’S NEW ALBUM NEARING COMPLETION
PJ Harvey has confirmed her next studio album is close to completion and that she intends to give new tracks an airing at Glastonbury this year. Describing the new material she told Radio 1: "With every album I tend to react against the previous one in an effort to find new ground, with this record, it's pretty ugly really. Quite an ugly sounding batch of songs. Quite disturbing, quite dark, quite bluesy. At the moment it's feeling good. I just go by how my guts feel."

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REVIEW: Aphex Twin – 26 Mixes For Cash (Warp)
[Where to start?] There is no way of understating Aphex Twin’s importance, vision, notoriety or genius. The man (in the broadest sense) has influenced and informed dance music more dramatically than anyone else since Larry Levan. For ten years Richard D. James has been twisting beats, noise and sound into macabre future music – and this is his [remix] legacy. The first listen re-affirms why he is one of the most revered producers on the planet [literally – metaphorically speaking he is far off the planet] – no one has ever made the eccentric, the dark and the ugly sound so beautiful. The first CD errs towards the more mellow remixes, including those of Jesus Jones, Saint Etienne, the Gentle People, and a superb mix of Phillip Glass’s take on Bowie’s ‘Heroes’. The second CD showcases the more gritty, uptempo moments with reworks of Wagon Christ, Mescalinum United and his own infamous ‘Window Licker’. One could wax lyrical for hours ruminating on the subject of distorted beats, acid lines and 303s. Instead I will just suggest that if you have ever even heard of Aphex Twin, you buy this collection of unrivalled genius.
Release date: 24 March
Press contact: Warp [all]

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SUPREME COURT GO AGAINST MATTEL’S BARBIE GIRL CLAIMS
Toy makers Mattel were back in court again yesterday in its continued lawsuit against Universal Music over the mid-nineties track Swedish popsters Aqua named in their honour – Barbie Girl. A Federal Court ruled that their claims the song infringed their trademark were rubbish last July, yesterday the US Supreme Court agreed.

California based Mattel argued the song could confuse consumers and dilute the power of the Barbie brand. Aqua’s label in the US, Universal label MCA, defended the song as "social commentary," saying the album that included the song also featured a disclaimer noting the song was not sanctioned by the maker of Barbie dolls. They described the song as “a classic form of parody in a light-hearted pop song that poked fun at one of the most famous and ubiquitous 'cultural icons' in the world."

Ironically the legal case has rumbled on much longer that the career of Aqua, who split up in 2001. Chances are Mattel’s lawyers earned more than the band along the way too! Don’t you just love America.

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MAJESTICONS ANNOUNCE UK DATES
The Majesticons have announced some live dates in the UK next month. Confirmed so far:

19 Feb: No Fakin, Liverpool.
20 Feb: Satellites, Newcastle
21 Feb: Lava, Aberdeen.
22 Feb: Glasgow Art School SU
26 Feb: 93 Feet East, London.
28 Feb: Hustler, Cardiff
3 Mar: The Gloucester, Brighton

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ROMEO TO FRONT KISS IN THE SNOW
Well snow is the new sun – as the two up coming snowboard / music festivals (ChamJam and Snowboarding) confirm when Ibiza is on winter season the clubbers go skiing. With this in mind Kiss 100 are sending So Solid Crew’s Romeo off to Austria to front their own mini-dance festival - ‘Kiss In The Snow’ in Mayrhofen in the Austrian Tirol, a ski resort recently described by Mixmag as "the winter Ibiza”.

Listeners can buy packages from Radical Escapes, a company that specialise in holidays for clubbers, and join Romeo and DJs like DJ Swerve and Chris Phillips for a winter clubbing break. More info at www.kiss100.com. Press info from Radical Escapes PR department on 020 8367 8777.

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KYLIE ON THAT PANT RANGE
Kylie Minogue has given more info on her new underwear line which goes on sale in Selfridges next week. The ‘Love Kylie' range will include satin, lace and fishnet designs with names like Diva, Vamp and Fever. The range has been on sale in Australia for two years now and Kylie’s people assure customers she herself wears the pants. Asked to described them Kyle says, simply, they are: "fashionable and flirtatious."

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Answer to Monday's pop quiz:

Why was the Kinks’ classic ‘Lola’ originally refused airplay in the US back in 1970 – and what change did they make to get it on air?

Because the lyrics made reference to Coca Cola, which contravened brand naming rules. They changed all references to Coca Cola to Cherry Cola.

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