CMU Daily - on the inside 25 Feb 2003
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
• Jacko saga goes to the courts,
• Did the Grammy's block anti-war messages?,
• Kelly responds to all clear,
• EMI Warners merger reports,
• Clarkson memorial,
• TOTP goes global on the radio,
• Web radio may be the future,
• Lords slow up licencing reform,
• US officials step up club inspections,
• Radiohead confirm Glastonbury set,
• MTV cancel hip hop idol after over crowding,
• Belle & Sebastian front Relief for Africa gig,
• BDB's busking and Kylie's bum: more pop news


More, yes more, on Michael Jackson and that documentary. Jacko is now taking legal action to gain possession of the results of Bashir's filming - including a lot of unseen footage - because, he claims, the show's producer Granada promised him copyright of any footage. He wants the company to hand over all footage to an independent third party while other legal issues (Jackson has made an official complaint to TV watchdogs in the UK) are settled

In a statement Jackson's lawyers told reporters: "Consistently Michael Jackson has argued that Martin Bashir and Granada broke the agreement by which he was permitted to film Michael, concerning ownership of the filmed material and permissions relating to the inclusion of the Jackson children. In particular, Granada has failed to honour an agreement reached earlier this month to deliver up to Michael Jackson unused film footage of his children, where recognisable."

Granada, who say they have no intention of screening other Jacko footage, but that they never agreed to hand any film over, said of the legal action: "This relates to attempts by Michael to claim copyright in our footage. We shall be resisting such claims vigorously".

Bashir himself hasn't commented much on the fall out of the documentary, or on Jacko's own footage which showed the presenter praising the singer on topics on which he was critical in his eventual commentary. But in a chat on the ITV website earlier this month Bashir denied betraying Jacko, saying: "I agreed that we would make an honest film about his life".


While Ms Dynamite's anti-war message became a central part of the Brits, Sheryl Crow has claimed her attempts to communicate an anti-war message at the Grammys were banned by the award's organisers - she had to make do with wearing a 'no war' guitar strap. She has told reporters: "I was going to do something and then the Grammy committee called up my manager... they said they wanted to keep it all neutral."

The claims follow reports in the Drudge Report last week that Grammy producers had threatened to cut off the microphones if anyone attempted a political statement. But Grammy president Neil Portnow, speaking to the website, denied any ban: "No one contacted any artist to talk about content."


Matthew Kelly has told reporters of his relief in being cleared of those child abuse allegations. He said: "After an extensive and thorough police investigation, which included inquiries abroad, it is clear there is no truth in the single allegation that was made against me. I strenuously denied the allegation when interviewed by the police and have given them all possible assistance with the investigation they were under a duty to carry out. I was always confident my name would be cleared in due course. However, it's been a very anxious and upsetting time for me and my family not least because of press coverage at the time of my arrest."

With all charges dropped ITV told reporters: "Now that this matter has been resolved, we look forward to him returning in the forthcoming series of Stars in Their Eyes and the live final."


More merger rumours. As previously reported an EMI Warners merger is once again in the offing, though the position of the two partners has changed since the last time the two entered merger talks. This time EMI is looking to buy a majority stake in Warner Music, rather than the other way round, with Warners likely to consider being acquired rather than acquiring given the financial situation of parent company AOL Time Warner.

A report in the Wall Street Journal said talks had begun between the two majors, but that those talks were at "an early stage" and that any actual deal isn't that imminent. As previously reported industry insiders hope EU officials, who have blocked past major merger attempts on competition grounds, would not be so difficult this time round after the EU courts allowed the travel industry to consolidate into just three major players. EMI may well be forging ahead with merger talks now after its success at the Grammys - with EMI acts Norah Jones and Coldplay dominant on the night.

Neither side would comment on the merger rumours, though an EMI insider told the BBC: "The whole of the music industry is talking to the rest of the music industry and has been getting drunk with each other for the past three nights."

Reports of an EMI and BMG merger still circulate too, though BMG's recent takeover of Zomba may might that merger more difficult. Also EMI would probably have to give up more control in a BMG deal meaning a Warners deal is likely to be preferred.


Friends and family of b-movie actress Lana Clarkson, who was found shot dead at Phil Spector's house earlier this month, held at memorial event in her honour yesterday. About 250 people gathered at the Henry Fonda Music Box Theatre in Hollywood to pay tribute to her - with clips from Clarkson's cult movie Barbarian Queen and home videos of Clarkson horse riding as a child being screened, and especially composed tribute songs sung. No date yet on a court hearing regarding the shooting after police said they wouldn't be ready to present their evidence at the originally scheduled 3 Mar hearing. It now looks pretty likely that Spector will claim the shooting was a tragic accident.


The Top of the Pops brand will be used for a new radio chart show to be aired by the BBC's World Service. The Top of the Pops radio show will be fronted by Radio 1 presenter Emma B and will count down the UK Top 40 on the worldwide radio service from April. Phil Harding, BBC World Service's Director of English Networks and News, told BBC online: "There's a huge potential audience for the programme. BBC World Service has 42 million listeners a week to its English language service".


Just as digital radio takes off, internet radio may well be entering a new phase bringing an unrivalled number of stations from all around the world to the consumer. A new bit of technology will allow consumers to plug a mini-computer direct into the phone line and to access internet radio stations without using a PC. Although internet radio has been growing over recent years, with broadband internet users listening to the radio via their computer while they work, research shows that few listeners would turn on their computer just to listen to the radio, and often their computer is not in the room where they would want to idly listen to a radio show. This new bit of technology may overcome this problem.

The new web radio set classifies stations by 'type' (rock, pop, news etc). Within each type is a list of online stations to choose from. If it takes off web radio could surpass digital radio simply because of the number of stations available. Locally based stations would have a global reach, and the more internet savvy pirate and college radio stations could compete on a level playing field with the big guys.

Gary McCloskey from Mason Communications told Media Guardian: "This is going to fundamentally change the industry. You are going to get thousands and thousands who wouldn't have bothered to listen to internet radio stations on their computer tuning in to thousands and thousands of niche broadcasters - one I came across the other day, for example, plays Broadway musicals all day, it's fantastic. These small stations are so cheap to set up and run that they are going to proliferate and reach out to people with similar tastes. It is going to fundamentally challenge the way that mainstream broadcasters fit us all in to five or six different genres."

The only problem for commercial stations is finding advertisers who are attracted to a potentially global audience, and having different ads on an internet service to a regionally specific service that broadcasts via traditional routes. James Cridland, who has worked on Virgin Radio's web outputs, says: "We're unique in that we already separate our internet adverts from our terrestrial broadcasts, so we can already sell separately. It's something you have to do because, for example, our net listeners are split down the middle between those in the UK and abroad - information an advertiser's going to be keen to know."

It's not yet clear if accessing web radio via the new set will block the phone line it's plugged into, what the running costs will be and whether it can be plugged into an ADSL or broadband line. But if it proves simple and cheap to use (and if it can be developed for car or mobile use) web radio could take over from digital radio before the latter has had chance to really launch.


The House of Lords yesterday forced four amendments on the government's licensing overhaul. The good news is the move is likely to protect some live entertainment in pubs, which musicians feared would become expensive and impossible under new legislation. The bad news is late night drinking licenses, also lumped in the same bill, will now be further delayed.

If the propaganda is to believed the first amendment may have an interesting impact of students' union entertainments. Peers were unhappy that new licenses for public performances would be required by schools putting on plays or orchestra/choir events - adding an extra cost and inconvenience to those in the education sector. The government argued that providing the ticket price for these events only covered production costs schools would be exempt, but peers weren't convinced asking for educational establishments to be exempt altogether. The government claims doing so would allow university based clubs, societies and unions to organise events (including clubs and gigs) without a license - though in reality the Lord's amendment probably wouldn't make licensing law that slack it may allow unions to classify some events as educational and therefore sidestep new licensing rules.

Elsewhere peers said new rules that made pubs apply for licenses for live music should only apply to 'amplified music' - they hope this will reduce the burden on pubs and musicians who worried the new rules would destroy an important live music infrastructure. The other amendments included the introduction of a central authority to administer licensees and the addition of "protecting the amenity and environment of local residents" to be added to local licensing authority's list of responsibilities.


You might be tempted to talk about stable doors and bolted horses, but fire inspectors have been arriving at club venues across the US after the two big club tragedies in Chicago and Rhode Island last week which together claimed 118 lives. Many inspectors attended clubs over the weekend during their busiest periods to assess venues' abilities to clear their spaces should there be an emergency.

Among the action taken over the weekend was the closing of a second floor of a Chicago club where inspectors found overcrowding and blocked exits. In Salem, Oregon a band competition was canceled after an inspection there revealed the venue didn't meet fire and building codes. In Miami officials had to ask some clubbers to leave the Ibiza club after they found 230 people in the 142 capacity venue.

Needless to say the public were much more aware of safety issues this week. An LA fire chief told reporters: "We've seen a sharp increase in the number of reported overcrowdings," though he added that most reported cases did not prove dangerous on inspection.


Radiohead have confirmed via their website that they will be headlining one of the day's at Glastonbury this year. The line up to the flagship UK music festival is normally kept secret until weeks before the event, long after sell out. But now both REM and Radiohead have confirmed they will play.


MTV has put a hip hop version of Pop Idol on hold after trouble among the crowds waiting to audition in New York's Time Square. The freestyle rap contest, part of MTV's Hip-Hop Week, pledged to audition 1000 would-be rappers with a $25,000 prize and Def Jam recording contract up for grabs for the winner. But several thousand people crowded outside the audition venue, some arriving 24 hours early, making crowd control quite difficult. After canceling the audition an MTV spokesman told reporters: "We apologise to anyone who traveled far or waited for a long time for the contest, but we'll provide information soon about future plans."


According to NME Belle and Sebastian will headline a benefit show in Glasgow in aid of food relief charities working in Africa. Frontman Stuart Murdoch told the magazine: "We're really pleased to be able to help out with this initiative. I'm confident that any money we raise will be used 100% for the good. It's maybe not a great time with everyone crapping themselves over Iraq. In the case of Ethiopia, though, it's a relatively simple matter. There are a lot people who are going to die of starvation unless they get help."


Favourite pop stories of the day. Firstly Badly Drawn Boy went busking at London's Waterloo Station yesterday for the video of his forthcoming single. Filmed by hidden cameras few commuters realised who he was, so much so he only managed to earn £1.60 after playing for a few hours. Talking to The Sun he said: "People didn't believe it was me, or didn't know who I was. I sympathise with real buskers, most people just don't care."

Second, a group of Kylie fans have launched a campaign urging Ms Minogue to cover up her famous bum because it is beginning to overshadow her artistic work. In an open letter the fans say: "Kylie, enough is enough. We're all bummed out. Your devoted fans can't take anymore. We're urging you to put your ass to bed once and for all. It's getting beyond a joke. Okay, so the gold hotpants thing was a nifty marketing tool for Spinning Around, but now having a curvy bot is fast becoming all your famous for. And we won't stand for it! It's such a shame to see such a talented star being reduced to such a tacky level. If you're not careful, the press will turn you into the popstar equivalent of busty Jordan. We know it's not really your fault, it's the journos who are to blame for turning your ass into the megastar it's become. But you do encourage it. So, please Kylie, when you return this autumn, promise us that you'll try to get that booty of yours out of our heads. For your sake and ours."

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