CMU Daily - on the inside 26 Jan 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- IDJ man to head Warner US
- Gabriel wants to protect artists in digital era
- Issues need to be resolved before we get a Euro-iTunes
- Argument over mystery Spector evidence
- Single Review: The Von Bondies - C'mon C'mon 
- Brit acts top Euro airplay chart
- Jacko's ex may apply for custody of the kids
- Pop Idol still number one
- Universal jobs cut
- Jon Carter plans MoS compo
- Divine Comedy back
- Plenty of Aftermath releases for 2004
- Hendrix estate plan tribute shows
- Ryan Adams cancels gigs after fall
- Campaign to keep music at Boat Race
- Album Review: Pilot To Gunner - Get Saved 
- BMG on look out for Scottish boy band
- Eminem's mother carjacked
- Pepsi sue illegal downloaders in iTunes ad
- Dash not so keen on being known only as Posh's mate
- American Idol so big NBC have to rejig
- Fame Academy withdraw application to use Highbury house again 


Well, sometimes the rumour mill tells the truth. Latest reports from the US seem to confirm those rumours from last week that Island Def Jam boss Lyor Cohen was being courted by new Warner owner Edgar Bronfman Jr to take a senior role at his recently acquired label. Reports over the weekend suggest Cohen has turned down a new $50 million five-year contract at the Universal division in order to run the rival major. No word on what financial deal Bronfman has offered Cohen, though it is understood the clincher was that Warners were able to offer the executive an equity stake as part of the deal.

Also no word on what Cohen's appointment means for current Warners boss Roger Ames. Despite those statements from both Ames and Bronfman that said both men were looking forward to working together, the rumour machine has suggested Ames will quit once the sale is complete. That said, other rumours have suggested Ames may take on the European side of Warner's operations, which would fit in with the remit Cohen has reportedly been given.

Elsewhere in post-sales Warner news, insiders say publishing division Warner Chappell is likely to be hardest hit by the forthcoming restructuring, with some saying bosses are hoping to cut up to $50 million in overheads in the publishing outfit, which sounds like quite a downsize by any definition. 


It's not just CMU who are obsessed with the challenges facing the growing digital music sector - everyone was talking about it this weekend. Firstly Peter Gabriel took centre stage at the very dull sounding World Economic Forum in Switzerland to discuss copyright challenges in the digital age - with particular concern to music.

Gabriel: "The digital environment will change the way music is made, and here artists need a voice. We have to find a way of giving consumers what they want while securing revenue streams - and artists need to be involved in that process. We don't want to cut out the record labels - musicians need the record industry, because they are good at making music, if not always so good at the marketing. But we need a model partnership where every artist can have a controlling influence in the whole production process - if they want it." 

Talking about artists who endorse the free sharing of music via P2P networks, he continued: "I can't understand big music stars that advocate free music downloads while accepting big cheques from record companies at the same time. Most artists depend on record sales for up to 60% of their income. Only superstars can afford to give away their music for free, because they have other opportunities for making money. Therefore we need to find ways that the legitimate digital sector can compete with the supply of free music some consumers are tapping."

Gabriel went on to say he is planning on launching a new musicians' union to represent artists' interests in the digital music sector. With a working title of Mudda - for "magnificent union of digitally downloading artists" - Gabriel says the organisation is needed to safeguard artists against free file sharing, and to ensure musicians took advantage of the opportunities the digital age offers in terms of increased artistic control. The singer didn't expand on what role Mudda would actually play however, nor how it would relate to the existing UK Musicians' Union, or what its relationship would be to OD2, the UK's leading supplier of legitimate download services which was co-founded by Gabriel. 


Elsewhere, all talk at the opening weekend of MIDEM in Cannes centred on digital music, with particular reference to the challenge of running a pan-European service. 

Apple's VP of Applications and Internet Services, Eddy Cue, admitted his company were facing a number of issues in their attempts to launch a cross-Europe iTunes service - adding that tackling those issues may delay iTune's arrival here until the end of the year. 

Cue: "For starters, pricing differs from country to country and people don't understand why they have to pay more from one country to another. Also, release dates change from country to country. For example, the latest Norah Jones track we promoted in the US was available the day it went to radio. That date changes across Europe and it is something that presents a challenge to us."

John Rose, EMI's Executive Vice President (US), also speaking at MIDEM, backed up Cue's claims that running services across different markets posed numerous challenges: "The current challenge is how to make content available for all markets. As yet, publishing rights are not resolved. When distributing digital content, there are a lot of people who have to agree, not just the record labels."

Rose's colleague Ted Cohen, EMI's VP of Distribution, spoke of even more challenges for the digital music sector across the board. Aside from the cross-Europe issues, he reckons that to truly take off the digital sector needs to tackle the problem of payment systems that exclude those without credit cards, the limited amount of music available legally and the failure of the industry to formally embrace peer-to-peer networks.


An argument has begun over an important but unspecified piece of evidence in the ongoing murder case against producer Phil Spector. As the court case looms over the mystery shooting of b-movie actress Lana Clarkson at Spector's LA home last February, prosecutors say they believe that a crucial piece of evidence against Spector has been found by the defence team, but that they are (understandably I suppose) unwilling to hand it over. 

Prosecutors are demanding the mystery piece of evidence is made public. However defence lawyers say that, even if there was some new evidence that helped the case against Spector, if authorities didn't find it during their investigations then it is not up to the defence counsel to hand it over. 

However LA Superior Court Judge Carlos Uranga disagreed telling defence lawyer Robert Shapiro: "If you do have a piece of evidence that's material to the case you have to turn it over to the people."

Both sides now have until 17 Feb to file papers over the unknown evidence before the court case can continue.


SINGLE REVIEW: The Von Bondies - C'mon C'mon (Warners/Sire)
None of them are called Von Bondie and none of them are related - and oddly enough the press release makes no mention of a certain spat between members of two Detroit bands, even though pictures of Jason Stollsteimer's beaten and bloody face has given the Von Bondies more publicity than they've had thus far in their career. This is actually a rockin' good tune and rather better than, say, the White Stripes. It's short, it's sweet, it's fairly brutal. 'C'mon C'mon' is a simply great rock 'n' roll. Produced by former Talking Heads Jerry Harrison, this is the first single to be taken from the new album 'Pawn Shoppe Heart' which the Von Bondies will be promoting on the upcoming NME tour. JW
Release date: 26 Jan
Press contact: Renegade [CP, CR] Warners IH [RP, RR, NP, NR]


Good news for British music from this year's Music Control survey into pan-European radio airplay. British artists fill all top three positions in the survey of most played tracks in 2003 - Robbie Williams is at number one with 'Feel', Dido at number two with 'White Flag' and Craig David/Sting are at three with 'Rise & Fall'. Christina Aguilera is the highest placed US artist just behind the three UK artists with 'Beautiful'. The survey is particularly good news for Mr Williams - he has two other tracks in the Top 20 - 'Come Undone' and 'Something Beautiful'. 


More bad news for Michael Jackson. According to The Sun his former wife, Debbie Rowe, is about to file for custody of the couple's two children accusing Jacko as being "unfit" to be a father.

Word is Rowe will this week lodge legal papers suing for custody of Prince Michael and Paris - rumour has it she will also offer to raise Jackson's third child, Prince Michael II, whose mother is not known.

Rowe's lawyer, Iris Finsilver, told reporters this weekend: "I cannot make any comment. I cannot confirm or deny it." 

Rowe received a reported multi-million pound payout to give up the rights to the children when she and Jackson divorced. However legal experts say that wouldn't necessarily affect her case to get custody of the children - especially given calls by various child welfare groups in the US, ever since the latest set of child abuse allegations surfaced, for the children to be taken away from Jacko. 

Jackson's people haven't commented on the reports, though those close to Jacko have admitted losing his children would be the worst possible thing that could happen to the singer.


Very little happening in the singles chart this week - with Pop Idol Michelle staying at number one for the third week running, Kelis' 'Milkshake' staying at two and the Boogie Pimps' 'Somebody to Love' sliding up to number three. 

You have to slip down to number ten to find a new entry - though what a new entry. Scissor Sisters' excellent version of Pink Floyd's 'Comfortably Numb' goes straight in at number ten - and better still, it's at number one in the dance chart. 

Albums wise also little to report. Katie Melua's Call 'Off The Search' slides up to number one, knocking Dido's 'Life for Rent' off the top spot. Gary Jules has the highest new entry with 'Trading Snakeoil For Wolftickets' at twelve, and the renewed buzz around Amy Winehouse post-Brit nominations puts her album 'Frank' back into the Top 40. 

Why Queen's Greatest Hits package has sneaked back into the Album Top 40 I'm not sure - though my sister did swap the DVD I gave her for Christmas for a copy last week, so that might explain it. 


Using that fantastic phrase "cost rationalisation", Universal's UK boss Lucian Grainge last week confirmed that 35 jobs will go across the major's UK operations, and that Mercury will give up their News Kings Road home and move into the Group's Sussex Place offices in Hammersmith. No word yet on exactly where the job cuts will come - though insiders say it is hoped most of those in axed roles will be able to be found jobs elsewhere in the Universal Group.


Jon Carter will release a mini-compilation via Ministry of Sound in March. The release furthers Cater's relationship with the Ministry machine - he hosts his Saville Row Records label nights at Ministry's London home and will be appearing on an up coming Ministry tour. More info when we get it.


The Divine Comedy (that is to say Neil Hannon - given that the rest of the band have now gone their separate ways) will release a new album on 29 Mar. Called 'Absent Friends' the album has been produced by Nigel Godrich. First single 'Come Home Billy Bird' - out 22 Mar - features guest vocals from ex-Kenickie singer Lauren Laverne - so expect plenty of play on Xfm!


It's gonna be a busy year down Aftermath way with new D12, 50 Cent, Eminem and Dr Dre albums all planned for the release schedules in 2004. The first of those is most likely to be the new D12 album, which is expected to get an April release, with a single out in March. As you'd expect there is likely to be guests from others in the Dre/Shady empire on the D12 album - word is 50 Cent appears on at least one track. D12's Kon Artis (aka Denine Porter) has done most of the production duties on the new album, helped, we hear, by Eminem himself.


The holding company that oversees the Jimi Hendrix estate - Experience Hendrix - looks like it will be cashing in this year with a compilation of top acts singing Hendrix songs planned for May, and three pilot 'tribute shows' slated for February in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. The tribute shows will see Buddy Guy, Alice In Chains' Jerry Cantrell, Kid Rock, Sheldon Reynolds (Earth, Wind & Fire) and Joe Satriani (among others) performing Hendrix tracks, backed by former Hendrix bandmates Mitch Mitchell on drums and Billy Cox on bass. If successful a bigger tour may follow.


Ryan Adams has had to call off a chunk of his European tour after breaking his arm during a fall at his Liverpool gig last week. 

According to a reporter for music website Drownedinsound: "Ryan fell off the stage during 'Shadowlands' at his Liverpool gig. He landed on the ground and was picked up by security, before leaving, clutching what looked like a badly-damaged arm (his own, not someone else's). The band played the rest of the song before the drummer announced "this might be our last show in a while."

Ryan's people have confirmed forthcoming dates in Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain have been cancelled while Ryan recovers - Feb dates in Brighton, Birmingham and at the Brixton Academy are also likely to be called off. A spokesman told XFM: "It depends how quick it takes for his arm to repair, but I can't see a broken arm repairing in two weeks."


Alternative radio station Radio 209 is running a campaign to pressure owners of the Cambridge Boat Race, one of the UK's oldest pub music venues, to maintain its commitment to live music. The campaign follows news that the pub is about to close for a refit and that a new licensee will take over operations later this year. A spokesman for owners Enterprise Inns was non-commital on what that meant for the pub's music programme: "There will be a new licensee for the pub and we cannot yet comment about the style of operation he/she will choose to adopt and whether that includes live music."

Radio 209's Karl Hartland isn't impressed by that news: "We would like to try and impress upon the new guv'ner that losing the Boat Race as a live music venue would be sad to say the least. Recent times have not seemed kind to the old girl for various reasons but adding to the profusion of eateries in Cambridge would be false economy and a massive loss to the music and arts scenes in the city."

Anyone wanting to support Radio 209's campaign should email their name and address to Your details will only be used for inclusion in a petition to be handed to Enterprise Inns.


ALBUM REVIEW: Pilot To Gunner - Get Saved (Rykodisc/Arena Rock) 
It's any wonder these guys have any teeth left having cut them on a number of trips back and forth across their American home. But with their fricatives intact, the post-hardcore emo punk metal four-piece return to our shores with their second long-player, 'Get Saved'. These New Yorkers may have a silly Iron Maiden name, but their brand of hard rock draws more from American guitar culture than anything British. With Grohl-tweaked drums, Greenday-melodies, Blink 182 muted guitar breakdowns, and the odd mid-range solo, PTG have a solid strain of post everything else rock. Noodly descriptions aside there's energy, musicianship and style. Which is more than can be said for so much disappointing music that comes out of the New York hype machine. This is decidedly unpretentious hard rock for kids in mosh pits, disenfranchised metal fans and weekend punk bankers who drive their Audi TTs at 97mph. JG
Release date: 26 Jan
Press Contact: Hermana [CP, RP, NP] Rykodisc IH [CR, RR, NR]


Presumably fed up with letting ITV viewers choose what pop sensations they should sign (though, come to think of it, it's not done them any harm record sales wise), BMG have announced they are about to begin auditions for a new boy band. But wannabe boy band stars shouldn't get too excited if their not Scottish - the search will be confined to Scotland with auditions planned for Inverness, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and even the Isle of Lewis. BMG's recruitment ad reads: "We are looking for males aged 16-24 who are great singers, dancers and look good!"


Eminem's mother Debbie Nelson is recovering from a carjacking incident on the Detroit street made infamous by '8-Mile'. Nelson was attacked by a sixteen year old while she sat in her car at a gas station. The teenager, carrying a silver hand gun, dragged her out of her car and drove off. He was arrested by police shortly afterwards and the car was returned to Nelson who told reporters: "For this to be a kid -- it broke my heart." Nelson, of course, has a rocky relationship with her famous son so probably isn't be consoled by Marshall after her ordeal. 


This will be a test of the RIAA's sense of humour (have they got one?) - a new Pepsi ad in the US features twenty teenagers who have been targeted by the industry association's lawyers over file sharing. The ad promotes Pepsi's giveaway of 100 million free iTunes tracks and includes one of the illegal downloaders saying: "We are still going to download music for free off the internet." 

A Pepsi spokesman assures us: "It's all in good spirit. This has been a huge cultural phenomenon. It's highly relevant and topical for consumers. We're turning people to buying music online vs stealing it online." 

Meanwhile the stars of another Pepsi ad - Beyonce, Britney Spears and Pink - are expected to attend an official launch in London's Trafalgar Square of that mega-budget ad featuring the three pop divas participating in a gladiator style tournament in front of Enrique Iglesias. More on that when we get it.


Damon Dash has told reporters he is bored as being referred to in the media as simply "Victoria Beckham's friend". He said: "I don't want to be known as Victoria's mentor, Victoria's friend or Victoria's producer. I want to be known as Damon Dash CEO of Roc-A-Fella Records, Rocawear, and films. When you say my name don't just say I'm Victoria's producer because I am way more than that. I am Damon Dash. I'm sick of being called Victoria's friend ... I did what I had to do. She asked me to produce a record and I did. It's not like the relationship has been severed or anything and if she has another project to do maybe I'll work with her again."

Commenting on the recent rape allegations against him he said: " I won't be cutting any cheques over those allegations. It's sad that someone would put themselves out there like that. It's a mis-justice to me. When something doesn't smell right, the rest of the country knows it doesn't sound right. It's just ridiculous. I am not doing to do something that dumb."


The third series of American Idol on Fox has been so successful in the ratings, rival network NBC has been forced to rejig its schedules. Their big show 'The Apprentice' will no longer compete with the pop reality show. NBC's Mitch Metcalf: "Two of the hottest shows on television right now are The Apprentice and American Idol. We think it's a disservice to viewers to have them squaring off against each other. We consider these moves a 'win-win' for NBC and the audience."


Producers of Fame Academy have withdrawn their application to stage another series of the show in that big house in the London suburb of Highgate after those reports last week some locals and council officials were ready to oppose the application. But the show's makers Endemol insist the withdrawal doesn't mean the show will be moving location - they hope after further discussions another application can be made.

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