CMU Daily - on the inside 5 Sep 2003
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
• BMG WMG merger talks - extended but shaky
• Trufest moves venue at last minute
• Courts put US media law changes on hold
• Kylie single release date confirmed
• Review: Franz Ferdinand - Darts of Pleasure (Domino)
• Britney on that kiss
• Coldplay have post VMA boost
• Timberlake on the Big Mac deal
• Good Charlotte back in studio
• Healy on upcoming Travis album
• Crow records Cat Steven track for best of
• Starsailor tour, in-store and gossip
• EMI chief mounts a defence in online 'Major Labels are Evil' debate
• Guest line up for Sharon Osbourne’s new show announced
• Amnesty benefit line up announced
• Paradinas plans jungle nostalgia compilation
• Review: Oceansize - Effloresce (Beggars)
• Retailers await Majors’ reaction to Universal price slash
• Inane gossip

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BMG WMG MERGER TALKS - EXTENDED BUT SHAKY
More on the old Warners / BMG merger talks - with some insiders expressing doubts any agreement will be reached, despite both sides agreeing to extend the 'exclusivity period' of their talks. Two main sticking points remain.

Firstly valuation. It is unlikely either side with settle for less than a 50% stake in the merged company - but this is problematic because Warners have recently sold off their $1 billion manufacturing division, while BMG last year acquired a $2.7 billion label (the Zomba empire). Some reckon that, despite BMG's first half year accounts being a little disappointing, this gives the German major the upper hand valuation wise.

Second, personnel. AOL Time Warner are pretty adamant that WMG boss Roger Ames should head up a merged record label - but insiders at BMG say WMG will have to find a good role for their boss Rolf Schmidt-Holtz to get buy in from Bertlesmann.

It doesn't help that Warner's parent company - who WMG will have to convince of any merger - are already sour to Bertlesmann after they pulled out of merger talks with regards the two conglom's book publishing companies earlier this year. All this leads some to say its only a matter of time before talks fizzle out, exclusivity periods end and EMI bosses book a meeting with WMG management.

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TRUFEST MOVES VENUE AT LAST MINUTE
Organisers of new dance festival Trufest have had to move their venue at the last minute after police expressed concerns that staging the event alongside an existing community festival could make the event impossible to manage.

A spokesperson for the festival explains: "The Police do not have a problem with TruFest at all, in fact they approve the event and have praised our organisation. However they are concerned with what will be going on outside of TruFest at the Brick Lane Festival, where in recent years local gangs have been known to cause trouble late at night. The Police asked us to shut down TruFest at 7pm rather than the pre-approved time of midnight, which we agreed to do. They have now said that they would prefer TruFest to be held on a completely different date to the Brick Lane Festival. For obvious reasons, it is not possible to change the date this year."

When police suggested the event should finish at 7pm organisers booked the warehouses around the old Kings Cross Freight Depot for their evening events. That site will now be used for the whole event - with a bus running from Brick Lane to ferry any people not aware of the last minute change.

The event was, of course, due to take place at Brick Lane's Truman Brewery - hence the name!

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COURTS PUT US MEDIA LAW CHANGES ON HOLD
Far reaching changes to media ownership law in the US, due to kick in this week, have been postponed at the last minute by the US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. The relaxations in media rules - masterminded by the FCC and its chairman Michael Powell - would have allowed media congloms to own more media in anyone region - a bit like media ownership legislation currently going through the motions here in the UK. There was little surprise when the congloms got the relaxations they wanted earlier this year - so this last minute pull back by the courts will be a shock to the big media owners. It will be interesting to see how the FCC respond - and how the major media report on the story!

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KYLIE SINGLE RELEASE DATE CONFIRMED
The first track from Kylie's up coming ninth album will be released on EMI Parlophone on 3 Nov. According to Kylie's website the new album is almost finished after recording sessions in London, Ireland and Spain. The single, called 'Slow', was written by Kylie, Emiliana Torrini and Mr Dan, and was produced by Torrini and Mr Dan.

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REVIEW: Franz Ferdinand - Darts of Pleasure (Domino)
When I picked up this disc I had no idea who Franz Ferdinand was (apart from being the Archduke whose assassination kicked off the First World War of course) but as soon as I played it I realised I'd heard this song loads of times on the radio. The Glasgow based band are certainly different. They're as refreshing as being thrown in a swamp as soon as the thermometer hits ninety. They sound vaguely art rocky and fun in an XTC/B52's type of way with kooky vocals and a top tune. JW
Release date: 8 Sep

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BRITNEY ON THAT KISS
Questioned about that kiss, Britney Spears told a press conference yesterday it was her first kiss in a long time, that she had been surprised at the media response to the routine, and, when asked if she would be kissing women again, said: "I hadn't kissed anyone in a long time, so that should last me for a while."

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COLDPLAY HAVE POST VMA BOOST
Good news for EMI - Coldplay saw a 25% increase in sales of their album 'A Rush of Blood to the Head' after their appearance on the VMAs last week. The UK band got a lot of exposure on the show - which topped US TV ratings - with their three awards, a live performance and much adoration from Justin Timberlake. If only Timberlake would start championing Robbie Williams...

The sales boost news comes as EMI announce the release of a live DVD/CD called Coldplay Live 2003, a two-discpack featuring highlights of the band's concerts at Sydney's Horden Pavilion plus band commentary, documentary footage, a tour diary and an edited audio CD. The package will be out in November just in time for the Christmas market.

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TIMBERLAKE ON THE BIG MAC DEAL
Talking of Justin Timberlake and endorsements - talking about his McDonald's advertising campaign which started this week, JT told Radio 1 yesterday: "I'm excited to be involved in the McDonalds campaign, I think it's a cool partnership. We've kinda got the same crowd, those that like to have fun. You know I love the ads, I think the music is cool, I think it's a new look for McDonalds. These ads are gonna be in like, 100 countries, I mean that's nuts. That's probably more countries than my record has made it to so, that's nuts."

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GOOD CHARLOTTE BACK IN STUDIO
VMA winning Good Charlotte have said they will return to the studio to work on a new album once their upcoming US tour is over. So now you know.

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HEALY ON UPCOMING TRAVIS ALBUM
Fran Healy has been rambling on about some of the inspirations behind upcoming fourth album '12 Memories' - and the impact of both personal and world events on the band: "In the past Nora, my fiancée, inspired a lot of the songs about love. But we're solid now so I felt it I could move on. September 11 was the start of something. I can now see how fragile the world is. We hadn't anticipated the success of 'The Man Who' and by the time of 'The Invisible Band' little cracks were beginning to appear. Suddenly we weren't this little band in Glasgow any more. We desperately needed to take a step back and re-evaluate. Neil's accident was devastating and almost the end of Travis. This band would not exist without one of the four members. Neil's recovery was amazing, we were all given another chance."

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CROW RECORDS CAT STEVEN TRACK FOR BEST OF
A cover version of Cat Steven's 'The First Cut Is The Deepest' will be among three new tracks recorded by Sheryl Crow for her best of album, due out this Autumn. The track will surfaces as a single to coincide with the greatest hits release.

As for the best of, tracks set to appear include:
All I Wanna Do (from Tuesday Night Music Club, 1993)
Soak Up the Sun (from C'mon C'Mon 2002)
Favorite Mistake (from The Globe Sessions, 1998)
First Cut Is the Deepest (new)
Leaving Las Vegas (from Tuesday Night Music Club, 1993)
Strong Enough (from Tuesday Night Music Club, 1993)
Light in Your Eyes (new)
If It Makes You Happy (from Sheryl Crow, 1996)
Every Day Is A Winding Road (from Sheryl Crow, 1996)
Picture (duet with Kid Rock from his Cocky album, 2001)
Difficult Kind (from The Globe Sessions, 1998)
Steve McQueen (from C'mon C'Mon 2002)
Change Will Do You Good (from Sheryl Crow, 1996)
Home (from Sheryl Crow, 1996)
There Goes the Neighborhood (from The Globe Sessions, 1998)
I Shall Believe (from Tuesday Night Music Club, 1993)

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STARSAILOR TOUR, IN-STORE AND GOSSIP
Starsailor's guitarist Stel has been talking to Jo Whiley about rumours that he used a part of his body other than his fingers to strum his guitar while recording with Phil Spector last year.

Stel: "That was me, unfortunately. I said it to a journalist after a few beers. But it wasn't in front of him, I was actually in the live room. It wasn't disrespectful to Phil, it's just that it was so hot I took my clothes off and I was just messing about and the journalist just took it quite wrong. So, I want to extract that comment from history to be honest."

Elsewhere in Starsailor news the band have announced they will play an after hours set at the Oxford Street HMV on 15 Sep on 15 Sep to promote new album 'Silence Is Easy'. Tickets will be given away via radio competitions, and to customers who buy the album on day of release.

The in-store precedes a UK tour:
19 Sep: Glasgow Academy
20 Sep: Manchester Apollo
22 Sep: Birmingham Academy
23 Sep: Leeds University
24 Sep: Nottingham Rock City
26 Sep: Cambridge Corn Exchange
27 Sep: Cardiff University
28 Sep: Bristol Academy
30 Sep: Southampton Guildhall
1 Oct: Norwich UEA
3 Oct: London Brixton Academy

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EMI CHIEF MOUNTS A DEFENCE IN ONLINE 'MAJOR LABELS ARE EVIL' DEBATE
EMI vice-chairman David Munns has responded to a BBC Online debate about the music industry - in which the major labels got quite a bashing from the music fans participating.

On the accusation major labels shun good new music: "Thousands of new albums and singles are released every year in every conceivable genre. We use our best judgements on what we think people will like. Sometimes we're right, sometimes we're wrong, but no one can force anybody to like or dislike something, and that includes us."

On the accusation record labels make excessive profits: "EMI is a business which means that yes, we are trying to make profits, but what business isn't? Our financial statements are all publicly available for anyone who wants to look at them, and no one could say they show excessive profitability. We love music too, but without some profits we won't be able to invest in more music in the future."

On the accusation major labels are messing up their online activities: "When it comes to the internet, EMI has made the vast majority of its music available online, and we're working hard to add more all the time. We also now sell singles online as soon as they appear on the radio."

On the accusation records are too expensive, and that that is driving illegal downloading: "I sometimes wonder if it's because music is intangible that people forget that there are many more costs involved than merely manufacturing a piece of plastic. There's a lot that goes into the retail price - VAT, retailer's cut, distribution costs, advertising and other marketing costs, producers' fees and studio time, not to mention the artists and songwriters who need to be paid. Manufacturing a CD is only one very small part of the total cost yet that is the one that people focus on. And besided, is it okay to shoplift if you disagree with the prices a shop charges? Would you steal a Mercedes and justify it by saying it was because you couldn't afford one?"
Music fans are now responding at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/3079908.stm

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GUEST LINE UP FOR SHARON OSBOURNE’S NEW SHOW ANNOUNCED
The people behind Sharon Osbourne's new chat show, which will be launched on national syndication in the US on 15 Sep, have announced some of the first week's guests. Justin Timberlake and Wynonna Judd will guest on the first show with Macy Gray and Keanu Reeves all booked for the first week. Son Jack will be on hands for a "frank discussion about addiction and recovery" while that other N Syncer Lance Bass will be interviewed in bed in a feature called 'Under the Covers' (presumably someone on the production team used to watch the Big Breakfast).

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AMNESTY BENEFIT LINE UP ANNOUNCED
The Thrills, The Music and Hundred Reasons are among the bands lined up to play at a week long Amnesty benefit at London's ICA next month. The DJ Saved My Life programme sees a different DJ each night hosting a line up within their genre of choice. Line up to date includes:

14 Oct: Zane Lowe presents Hundred Reasons, The Nextmen (DJ Set), 'News Of A Particular War', 'City Of God'
15 Oct: Tony Wilson presents 'The Ones That Got Away', The Music, Crank
16 Oct: Fiona Talkington and Verity Sharp present Nils Petter Molvar & DJ Strangelove
17 Oct: Jo Whiley presents 'Jamaica: Communities In The Crossfire', The Thrills, 'SPUN' (exclusive preview screening)
18 Oct: Dreem Teem present Big Brovaz, Lemar, Nio, 'Shottass'

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PARADINAS PLANS JUNGLE NOSTLAGIA COMPILATION
For those feeling nostalgic towards a time when drum & bass wasn't so damn intelligent, look out for the 'Sound Murderer' album - an collection of remixes from original junglist Remarc presenting some of the classic tracks that stormed AWOL, Thunder and Joy back in the day. The album is being released on Mike Paradinas' label Planet Mu and hits stores on 13 Oct - more at http://www.planet-mu.com/

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REVIEW: Oceansize - Effloresce (Beggars)
With a running time of 70 minutes (for 12 tracks), and guitars that wail, probe, meander, crunch and strike (usually all in one track), Oceansize fully encapsulate in sound the vastness their moniker evokes. Songs follow a quiet/loud/louder formula that encompasses musical debts to early Verve, My Bloody Valentine, Muse, grunge, emo, prog and more. A typical voyage maintains a dreamy, tranquil pace, before hitting stormy seas and exploding with violent rage. 'Massive Bereavement', for example, sounds like Radiohead's 'Airbag' (with a better title), elongated to ten minutes, half of which comprises essentially an intense guitar pyrotechnic-tastic coda. It's undoubtedly big, but is it clever? Whilst 'Effloresce' undeniably sounds impressive (and you can't fault the Mancunian quintet for ambition), the complex structures and myriad time, mood and volume changes often feel like an attempt to paper over a lack of tunes. Nonetheless, it remains a promising debut; however increased confidence and maturity could see Oceansize fully bloom the way their album title suggests. MS
Release date: 29 Sep
Press contact: Beggars IH

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RETAILERS AWAIT MAJORS' REACTION TO UNIVERSAL PRICE SLASH
The US music industry is waiting to see how the other majors will react to Universal's announcement they are slashing CD prices there by up to 30%. With figures suggesting Universal need less than a 20% increase in sales to win financial kick backs from the price slash, others may well follow. Following those decisions most closely will be the US's smaller music retailers - who some reckon could suffer bigtime as a result of the price cuts.

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INANE GOSSIP
OK, let's get all the serious news out of the way before the weekend. Hip-hop producer Jermaine Dupri is said to feeling down after girlfriend Janet Jackson dumped him over the phone hours before they were due to attend a party. J-Lo and Ben Affleck have apparently set 14 Sep as their wedding day - or so rumour has it. And former S Club girl Rachel Stevens has said it's back on with her fiancé, Holby City star Jeremy Edwards - the latter apparently bombarding the former with calls begging for a reunion after their split last month.

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