CMU Daily - on the inside 19 Feb 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Wippit question iTunes and Napster's European models
- Diddy in court over 'reporter rough up' charges
- Eminem not buying Neverland, probably
- Apple get ready to launch iPod Mini
- Single Review: Hybrid - Higher Than A Skyscraper
- Corgan gets all honest on Pumpkins split
- Remix tonight
- US mother accused RIAA of extortion
- Von Bondies tour
- Atomic Hooligan play Breakspoll Awards
- Darkness slag off Radiohead
- G'n'R fans petition over unimaginative Best Of
- Single Review: Alfie - No Need 
- Palm Beats night
- Keane tour
- US radio gets cautious as FCC cracks down
- Qotsa Oliveri says he still wants to work with Homme
- RIAA target markets where bootleggers sell
- Outkast plan movie


The boss of a long-standing British digital music service has questioned the European strategies of iTunes and Napster as he confirms his company has signed a pan-European distribution deal with EMI.

The service - Wippit - is built around a Kazaa style P2P network, except that members pay a £30 subscription fee. Many of Wippit's 200 affiliated independent labels make their tracks available to the network's members for free, receiving instead a cut of the subscription revenue. Tracks are supplied as MP3s and members are encouraged to share tracks with other Wippit members - allowing them to become advocates of specific independent acts or labels. 

On top of that service is the facility to deliver tracks is a rights-managed format. That facility is being used by EMI, who have just signed a distribution deal with the company. Wippit will make tracks from the EMI catalogue available to their members - most within their existing subscription, others on a pay-to-download basis. The company reckons that having a more dedicated customer based - because of the P2P aspect of its service - coupled with a subscription based revenue that allows it to make individual tracks free or very cheap to download gives them a lead over iTunes-esque services, who have dumped subscriptions as a revenue stream.

Having done the deal with EMI, and with other major label talks under way, Wippit CEO Paul Myers questions the official line from iTunes and Napster that their European services are being delayed because of licensing complications. "If I can do it, and get world-wide online rights, then I don't see what's holding them up. It's certainly not the red tape and bureaucracy of individual European countries, like they say it is." He reckons the big players fear that they will not be able to compete with the popular illegal file share services in Europe without RIAA-style support from the various industry associations. 

He goes on to question the pay-per-track model, hitting out at the main UK player in that market, OD2. "Business there is slow. There are albums that you can buy for £8.99 ($16) on Amazon that will arrive next day, that if you buy from OD2, by the time you have bought each track and paid for the CD and burnt it yourself, will cost you £24 ($43)." Myers says that model is never going to compete with the free-but-illegal Kazaa style services.


P Diddy was in court yesterday to deny allegations he ordered his security people to "rough up" a reporter after he questioned him about whether or not he contributed to the death of rapper Notorious BIG in any way. Journalist Roger Mills claims he suffered injuries and had equipment damaged when Diddy's people confronted him after a difficult interview back in 1999. He is suing for an undisclosed amount of damages.

Diddy told the Detroit court room that he did not recall much about the interview, except that "I knew it was something just about, as far as if I had any role or any feeling about [BIG's] murder". He added "I just remember ending the interview", stressing no instructions were given to take physical action against Mills.

In a statement Diddy's people told reporters: "This is an example of another nuisance suit seeking to take advantage of Mr Combs' celebrity status. In fact, this individual admits that Mr Combs was nowhere in sight at the time of the alleged altercation. Mr Combs will continue to fight these baseless lawsuits and has not only been successful in the past, but has been awarded costs."


Eminem's people have dismissed a great story in this week's Us Weekly which suggests Mr Mathers is considering buying the Neverland ranch of Michael Jackson. The story follows rumours firstly that Eminem is looking to leave Detroit for somewhere a bit warmer, and secondly that Jacko is considering selling the ranch on the grounds that, following that extensive police search there as part of the current child abuse allegations, he no longer feels at home in Neverland.

But a spokesman for Slim Shady yesterday told MTV: "We don't see him leaving Detroit anytime soon," though they did add a "But you never know."


With Apple's new slimline iPod Mini due to launch in the US on Friday, the company has told reporters they have already received over 100,000 pre-orders.

As previously reported, the new slimline digital music player is an attempt by Apple to compete in the more mainstream digital music player market with a cheaper product. The iPod Mini takes on the cheaper flash based players being developed by the likes of Dell, Digital Networks, Creative Labs and Archos, which use a flash memory card like those used in digital cameras and video game consoles. 

However some have criticised the iPod Mini saying that - at $249 - the player is not economy-line enough to compete in the mainstream market. However Apple have hit back to that line of argument saying that a cheaper model would have to be inferior in some way (Flash players hold less than a tenth of the tracks an iPod Mini holds) and they do not want to launch an inferior player into the market. 


SINGLE REVIEW: Hybrid - Higher Than A Skyscraper (Distinctive)
Produced by New Order's Peter Hook, a man who knows a thing or two about genius dance epics, 'Higher Than A Skyscraper' is yet another classy piece of lush dance music from the Hybrid boys. (I believe it may fall loosely under the genre known as progressive house, but don't quote me on that, dance pedants, alright?) Setting the scene with some moody John Barry-esque strings (which thus suggest the opening credits of a James Bond film are imminent), 'HTAS' promptly launches into a polished club-destined monster of a tune, underpinned by precision-tooled beats and a throbbing, bowel-loosening bass-line akin to the sound of a slow-whirring helicopter propeller being fed through an unfeasibly loud bass amp. Phew. And, as an added bonus, the accompanying Orb remix is one of their better efforts in recent years (ie something you'd actually happily chill out to, rather than the messy and tuneless reinterpretations that have sadly plagued most of their remixes since the good old day of the early 90s). MS
Release date: 8 Mar
Press contact: Excess Press [CP, RP, NP] Distinctive IH [CR, RR, NR]


Former Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has written a vitriolic piece on his website about why his former band split up some four years ago - blaming it all on guitarist James Iha.

He writes: "I am going to share some things with you that you have never heard me say. That doesn't mean I'm rewriting history; that means that I'm going to tell you the truth about who I am and what I believe in my heart. Many times I hid things to protect my band mates." 

"The truth of the matter is that [guitarist] James Iha broke up the Smashing Pumpkins. Not me, not [drummer] Jimmy [Chamberlin], but James. Did it help that [bassist] D'arcy [Wretzky] was fired for being a mean-spirited drug addict, who refused to get help? No, that didn't help keep the band together, not at all."

Describing the Smashing Pumpkins as "essentially my entire life... a dream I still believe in" he continued: "Many friends at the time suggested letting James leave, so Jimmy and I could continue on under the name. But I was too loyal to the man I had started the whole thing with, and so I protected him until the very end. But I won't be protecting him anymore and I won't be protecting a whole lot of other people anymore."

As previously reported, Corgan is now recording his first solo album after his post-Pumkins project Zwan was also canned.


Here's where you should be tonight. It's the latest Xfm Remix night down at Cargo - and this month there are two live sets for your consumption - the excellent Kasabian and the just as excellent Chikinki. The latter will also DJ alongside DJ Riton and the Remix's Eddy TM. Doors open 9pm. 


An interesting case in Morris County USA. One Michele Scimeca - one of the people targeted in anti-download litigation by the Recording Industry Association of America - is hoping to sue the record industry using little used US federal racketeering laws. She argues that the correspondence sent by the RIAA to those suspected of illegally downloading music amounted to "scare tactics" designed to make people pay up an out-of-court settlement no questions asked - which, she claims, "amount to extortions".

Scimeca admits her thirteen year old daughter did illegally share music via her internet account - though she argues her use of the P2P networks was part of a school project. But those specifics aren't really relevant to case in hand - it isn't so much whether or not the RIAA has a case that concerns her, it's the way they are going about threatening suspects. 

Although the RIAA are standing by their conduct, one US law professor, Gregory Mark, told reporters: "It strikes me as a very innovative use of the law. Very innovative". However the consensus is that Scimeca will open up an interesting case if she can get it to a jury - however to do that she needs to convince judges of the viability of her claims. 

Should it reach court, however, it should provide another entertaining chapter in the old download war.


CMU favourites (well, Jane likes them) the Von Bondies have announced a UK tour for April - dates as follows:

19 Apr: London ICA 
20 Apr: Bristol Anson Rooms 
21 Apr: Leeds Blank Canvas 
22 Apr: Brighton Concorde 2 
24 Apr: Liverpool Academy 4 
25 Apr: Glasgow Garage 
26 Apr: Manchester University 
27 Apr: Birmingham Irish Centre 
29 Apr: Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms 
30 Apr: London Astoria 


CMU favourites (well, Vigsy likes them) Atomic Hooligan have confirmed they will be playing at the Breakspoll Awards which take place at the Egg in Kings Cross next week, 26 Feb. The duo are up for Best Remix for their popular remash of Underworld's 'Born Slippy' - you can vote for it, and find more info on the awards, at


Seemingly keen to slag off everyone in British rock, the Darkness have now laid into Radiohead. 

After frontman Justin Hawkins slagged off Oasis in the US press, now bandmate and brother Dan has called the Radiohead boys "boring", telling German website Netzeitung: "Most of these modern bands are so unbearably serious they leave me cold. Radiohead are totally boring. The world needs a showman like Justin who puts on his monkey outfit and entertains people. I haven't bought anything by these modern bands in a while. They're all wet rags."

He continued: "Bands like Radiohead are great for our business, of course, because there's been a total Radiohead-isation of the British music scene. Coldplay, Turin Brakes, Starsailor - all of these groups have put together their selection from the Radiohead menu."

While in vitriol mood, he found time to lash out at the NME: "NME criticised us when we weren't successful. Now we're the biggest band in England and these shits are making fools of themselves by trying to kiss our behinds."


Guns 'n' Roses fans have begun an online petition after the news that new a studio album 'Chinese Democracy' is still no nearer completion, and instead the band will release a greatest hits. 

The petition is hosted at, and hits our at the band and label Universal Music over the continued delays of new material, and what they consider to be a disappointed line up of tracks for the greatest hits album.


SINGLE REVIEW: Alfie - No Need (EMI/Regal)
I'm a new fan. Maybe not the world's biggest; but the eccentric white-boy pop vocals, the jangly busker-strumming, the insipid production interspersed with moments of twisted electronica, and of course the big band horn section are a total winner. It may be a grower - but you realise the potential from the word go, persuading you to keep it in the CD player - as opposed to filing in the propping-the-table-leg-up file. The single comes with the video, and nutty white-eccentrica backwards-Beatles West Coast psychedelic 60's pop songs 'Griselda's Third husband' and 'The Old Man Of The Sea'. JG.
Release date: 23 Feb
Press contact: Coalition [CP, RP, NP] EMI IH [CR, RR, NR]


Palm Picture's Palms Beats takes over London's the Spitz this Friday with the Xploding Plastix (live) and support from the mighty Sonic Dragolgo. Definitely one to check out - press info from Palm Pictures. 


Buzz band Keane have announced a UK tour for Apr/May, dates as follows:

22 Apr: Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms 
24 Apr: Leeds Metropolitan University 
25 Apr: Liverpool Academy 4 
28 Apr: Newcastle University
29 Apr: Manchester University 
4 May: Norwich Waterfront 
5 May: Birmingham Academy 2 
7 May: London Astoria 
8 May: Eastbourne Winter Garden 


Word is that, with the increasing power of the US media regulator the FCC post-Nipplegate, the American media is getting incredibly paranoid about pissing off anyone with anything anytime. With the FCC promising to clamp down, fine at will and revoke licences if necessary word is the main American radio groups are introducing new internal policies. 

Radio group Infinity apparently held a conference call with all its General Managers and Programme Directors telling them to put delays on all interviews, giving producers the chance to cut off any interviewee who says something out of line. Other stations are said to be reviewing all tracks for "obscene" content. 

And word is that stations that carry the ever-unpredictable Howard Stern Show are now putting a delay on the output - just in case!


Queen of the Stone Age's Nick Oliveri has contradicted comments made by former band mate Josh Homme. Following Oliveri's sudden departure from the band Homme told the NME various incidents in the band over the last year had stretched the duo's friendship - and that he didn't want to lose that friendship because of the band.

But writing on an unofficial fan site - - Oliveri yesterday said: "I don't get it. I'm not fighting Josh, he's someone I'd take a bullet for. I'm going to try to talk him into playing music with me".


According to reports in the LA Times, the Recording Industry Association of America were targeting a more traditional kind of music piracy in the courts this week, though by an innovative route.

Although the legal fight against music downloading gets all the press, in many ways the growth of more conventional CD bootlegging, which has grown significantly as CD burning technology has come down in price, is an even bigger threat for the music industry, and is the area where most anti-piracy organisations spend much of their time.

But in the latest case the RIAA have expanded the liability for such bootlegging to the people who run the flea markets where most of bootleg CDs are sold. 

They sued Richard Sinnott, operator of the Marysville Flea Market near the Californian town of Sacramento, after he failed to act against sellers at his market who the RIAA had accused of selling illegal music. 

This week a federal judge ruled in favour of the RIAA saying that, while Sinnott was probably the first flea market owner to have been held liable for copyright infringement, he was, nevertheless liable and could be sued accordingly.

This decision now opens up a new avenue for the RIAA to pursue in their fight against the sale of bootleg CDs. 


OutKast have announced they plan to make a film based around recent chart topping album 'Speakerboxxx/The Love Below'. The film will star both Big Boi and Andre 3000 and will be written and directed by Bryan Barber. Work could begin in May.

Barber told Rolling Stone: "It's a 1930s period piece and musical. A lot of the music inspired the scenes and the scenes inspired other music".

Elsewhere in OutKast news, the company that make Polaroid cameras have said the line in the duo's popular song 'Hey Ya' which says "Shake it like a Polaroid picture" is inaccurate.

Their statement reads thus: "The idea of shaking or waving a Polaroid picture to help the development process dates back to the early days of peel-apart film. After peeling the negative, the image needed to dry before it could be handled, so waving the photo helped it to dry more quickly. But now the image develops and dries behind a clear plastic window and never touches the air, so shaking or waving has no effect. In fact, shaking or waving can actually damage the image".

So anyone basing their photography skills on OutKast lyrics - be warned.

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