CMU Daily - on the inside 12 Dec 2003
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Independents hit out at alleged payola deal
- Bobby in court with Whitney
- Jackson's parents defend Michael
- Radio Authority turns down newspaper owner's radio plans
- Ozzy nearly died
- Simon Cowell: apologies, criticism
- Rappers' family members sue Suge
- Funeral For A Friend release single to coincide with NME tour
- Busta apologises for wheelchair gaff
- Legendary guitarist recovers from brain sugery
- Anti-war groups hit out at Pop Idol song choice
- Accounting switch helps make Interscope the biggest seller
- Vaughan / Van Outen vehicle to take on Ant & Dec



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IMPALA, the European body for independent record labels, ain't impressed with a reported payola deal that has been allegedly struck between between Universal Music and German music TV station Viva. 

The alleged deal was revealed by German newspaper Der Spiegal last weekend. According to the paper Universal have secured a guaranteed fifty slots in Viva's 'newcomer rotation playlist' during 2004. They will pay €18.000 per video plus € 0,20 per album sold for the privilege. Universal bosses will liase with the network to decide which artists should appear in the slots to ensure the label has promo videos ready.

The paper claims the deal came to light after a Universal A&R told a band he could secure them Viva airtime if they signed to his label. The paper reckons Viva offered a similar deal to EMI, but that no contract was signed.

In a statement yesterday IMPALA told reporters: "The alleged agreement between Universal raises the sensitive issue of payola - a practice which is outlawed and universally condemned throughout the music business. It also highlights the dangers of anti-competitive behaviour in the market place. It illustrates how difficult it is for independent record companies to get access to Viva's programming - the most popular music television channel in German speaking territories. This type of deal produces an unfair advantage when it comes to signing new talent. It is not possible for smaller companies to compete on a level playing field. Impala sees this as an illustration of the dangers of market concentration and the fact that an additional merger of the majors will only worsen the situation. It is concerned that similar agreements could exist elsewhere."

Neither Universal nor Viva have commented on the alleged deal or IMPALA's statement. 


Well, Bobby Brown appeared at Fulton County Magistrate's Court in Dunwoody, Georgia late Wednesday with wife Whitney Houston on his arm - he was there to face charges for hitting Houston during a domestic last weekend. As reported yesterday, Houston called police to her home on Sunday after Brown lashed out during an argument. Brown reportedly took off to LA (though some new reports suggest he never actually left his home state), with the police in chase. Because of the Georgia law on domestic-violence police could now press charges even if Houston doesn't want to. Brown was released on bond and will return to court on 7 Jan. 

Very little comment from the Brown or Houston camp, though a spokesman for Whitney told reporters: "Bobby Brown is very apologetic about what happened and hopes his wife forgives him."


In a new interview with Joe and Katherine Jackson, which will air in both the US and UK later this month, Michael's parents say their son is innocent of the latest round of child abuse allegations, that prosecutors are trying to "humiliate" their son and that they will adopt his children if he loses custody. 

In the interview Mrs Jackson said the allegations were "wicked", adding there would be a "big mess" if her son's children were taken away from him. "I don't want to think that. To take his children from him like that for nothing. It's not right." 


The Radio Authority may be on its way out (its operations will be taken over by OfCom any day now) but they are making one last stab at power. They have turned down an application by regional newspaper group Midland News Association to buy Telford FM, a local radio station that broadcasts in the area of one of their main publications, the Shropshire Star. The news group hoped the new Communications Act, which is more leniant on cross-media ownership, would mean the move would get the green light. But the Radio Authority used a 'not in the public interest' clause added to the Act at the last minute as justification to overrule the takeover. If that interpretation of new radio ownership legislation is taken on by OfCom it could mean the big newspaper companies with radio ambitions, in particular the Daily Mail & General Trust, may have an uphill struggle on their hands. 


Sharon Osbourne has told reporters Ozzy's quad bike crash almost killed him. In an interview with the Daily Mirror Sharon said the singer stopped breathing and his heart stopped beating for nearly two minutes after the accident at their Buckinghamshire mansion on Monday. It seems he was saved by the actions of his security guard who happened to be with him at the time.

Sharon: "He had stopped breathing and the guard spotted it immediately. He had stopped breathing for a minute and a half and there was no pulse. But thank God the security guard was there to revive him. He resuscitated him and got him breathing and his pulse going again. We are so, so grateful to him."

Ozzy is still on a ventilator in intensive care at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, after undergoing emergency surgery for his injuries. Sharon says doctors are still to confirm if there will be any lasting damage or how long his recovery will take. 


In related news, Simon Cowell has had to apologise for publicly saying that Ozzy and Kelly may shift more records following Osbourne's accident last weekend. Although probably true (the bookies seem to think so!) Cowell yesterday said he didn't realise how bad Ozzy's accident had been and admitted it was an inappropriate remark given the circumstances. 

Elsewhere in Cowell news, Duran Duran's Andy Taylor has said the Pop Idol judge and BMG A&R is a "joke" and accused him of helping to ruin the British music industry. Taylor told reporters: "If the world thinks Simon Cowell and Nicky Chapman are representative of people in the music industry, they're wrong. Simon Cowell is the guy that discovered Sinitta. I rest my case. It's a joke."

Taylor was more generous to the contestants on the reality pop shows. On Gareth Gates he said: " Gates probably could have been George Michael if he had been handled properly. He's got a good voice and a great look. But what do they do? They make him sing 'Unchained Melody'. It's not a good thing."


Family members of two high profile rappers have started an interesting lawsuit against Deathrow Records boss Marion "Suge" Knight. The lawsuit relates to Knight's song 'Tha Row' which appears on the soundtrack to the movie 'Dysfunktional Family'.

The lawsuit has been brought by Beverly Green, Snoop Dogg's mother and Maria Watkins, the wife of rapper Daz Dillinger. In the song Knight alleges he has slept with both women, and that he fathered Watkin's unborn child.

Both women deny having relationships with Knight, and in addition Watkins claims the lyrics caused her marriage to Dillinger to fall apart. They reckon Knight made the claims to 'get back' at Dillinger, who had previously successfully taken the rap mogul to court. Suing Knight, his record label Tha Row, his publishers Warner Chappell and the film's makers Miramax, the two women are seeking damages for slander and intentional infliction of emotional distress. They have also applied for a restraining order against the defendants, claiming that agents of Knight have threatened them over the telephone. 

No comment yet from any of the defendents on the case, though Knight himself isn't in a position to comment directly as he is currently serving a ten month prison sentence for violating his parole and striking a Hollywood nightclub valet. 


Funeral For A Friend have confirmed they will release a new single on 2 Feb to coincide with their headline spot on the NME Awards Tour. The single - 'Escape Artists Never Die' - comes from the band's debut album 'Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation', and will be backed by two new tracks - 'You Want Romance?' and '10 Scene Points To The Winner'.

Dates for the NME Awards Tour, which also features The Rapture, The Von Bondies and Franz Ferdinand, are as follows:

25 Jan: Northumbria University 
26 Jan: Glasgow Academy 
27 Jan: Birmingham Academy 
29 Jan: Sheffield University 
30 Jan: Liverpool University 
31 Jan: Manchester Academy 
2 Feb: Leeds University 
3 Feb: Nottingham Rock City 
4 Feb: Norwich UEA 
6 Feb: Portsmouth Pyramid 
7 Feb: London Brixton Academy 
8 Feb: Cardiff University 


Busta Rhymes has apologised for an embarrassing moment at a recent gig in Copenhagen. The rapper picked on a member of his audience who was sitting down. He told the crowd: "I didn't come from the other end of the world to see people sit on their ass. Everybody get up", and proceeded to pick the man up. Unfortunately it turned out said man was in a wheelchair! Post gig a spokesman for his label BMG told reporters: "Busta is very sorry for any offence and did not know the man was disabled."


Legendary guitarist Scotty Moore, best known for his collaborations with Elvis, was yesterday in a serious but stable condition in hospital following brain surgery. Hospital officials confirmed that Moore, 71, had been admitted last week after doctors found he had a subdural hematoma. 

In a statement on the guitarist's website a spokesperson told fans the surgery had been successful and that doctors believe he'll be able to continue to play guitar after some physical therapy.

Moore played with Presley from 1954 to 1968, and continues to work in the industry. He was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.


Well, we questioned the choice of song, and it seems anti-war campaigners agree. John Lennon's 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over)' may make a good ensemble song for the finalists of the Pop Idol show to record, but given current world affairs it's subject matter may be a little inappropriate. 

Massive Attack's 3-D, one of the leading figures in the UK's anti-war movement, certainly agrees. He yesterday hit out at 19 Television and BMG's decision to release a version of the song for the Christmas market. He told NME: "This is a new low - it is utterly repugnant as a choice of song by anyone right now. US planes bombed and killed children in Afghanistan this week, US troop deaths since May have topped 200 and there have been thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties since Bush declared the war to be over."

3-D's objections are backed up by anti-war group CND. Their chair, Kate Hudson, told reporters: "This move is both insensitive and offensive to those that have lost friends and family in the war." Stressing their objections were with the companies behind Pop Idol, and not the individual contestants, they called for all profits from the single to be donated to humanitarian organisations working in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Australian pop star Delta Goodrem has also recorded a version of the track for the Christmas market there. However she got the permission of Yoko Ono to subtlety change the name of the song the 'Merry Xmas (Let War Be Over)'. 


According to the LA Times there is some objections in the US industry regarding a decision by the Universal Music Group to assign sales figures under the Dreamworks label to Interscope. 

Although the major only recently acquired the Dreamworks label proper it has always overseen its distribution duties. Previously the imprint's end of year sales figures were credited to Universal label Geffen. But this year the major has assigned the figures to Interscope instead. This is only important because it makes Interscope the top-selling label of the year. 

One insider told the paper: "Interscope's annual figures are artificial. It's make-believe. It's not accurate. This is everything that's wrong with the record business." 

But Universal's Jeff Leeds said the decision to assign Dreamworks sales to Interscope had been made months ago, and not so overall annual figures could be tweaked to their advantage.


According to the Sun the much talked about BBC prime-time show fronted by former Big Breakfast double act Johnny Vaughan and Denise Van Outen will become the Beeb's big Saturday night vehicle in the New Year, charged with the task of taking on Ant and Dec's 'Saturday Night Takeaway'. The show, needless to say "a mix of games, entertainment and celebrity guests", will be the BBC's last attempt to make good its expensive deal with Vaughan. The presenter has struggled to find a hit format since joining the Corporation.

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