CMU Daily - on the inside 23 Feb 2004
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In today's CMU Daily:
- Smiths dump CD singles
- Kazaa in court to get search warrant overruled
- Websites plan to hit back over EMI Grey Album ban
- Free-to-air satellite viewing down
- Busta signs to Aftermath
- Koch sign Idol reject
- BBC Manchester move may be off
- Rhode Island club fire one year on
- Missouri casino faces fines after Nelly birthday spree
- Single Review: Skalpel - 1958 
- New dance mag launches
- Suge Knight plans new hip hop magazine
- Bobby Brown in prison over parole violation
- Welsh rockers take on new name to get into charts
- Cowell reportedly interested in signing Jordan
- Busted top the chart
- Americans think FCC investigation into Nipplegate a waste of money
- Lydon was nearly on the Lockerbie plane
- Sex Pistols most influential 70s track
- Cliff ultimate pop star, apparently


Pundits are trying to decide if there is anything significant in the news that WH Smith is going to stop selling CD singles. The retailer, once an important player in music retail, is dumping the single format because of overall poor sales. 

That the single format is under performing is no secret. Likewise it is known that WH Smith is struggling to compete with the cost cutting supermarkets on music and entertainment products - Smiths customers more likely to shop for CDs and DVDs in Tesco than the average independent record shop punter. 

The decision, therefore, could be the first sign that the single is well and truly on its way out, with MP3s likely to become the format of choice for labels keen to promote tracks from forthcoming albums. It could also be a sign that WH Smith is being forced out of the music and entertainment retail space. A spokesman for the retailer was keen to stress the former - "This move does not mean we are cutting back on other entertainment products such as games and DVDs. We are committed to entertainment retailing".


More from the latest battle in the anti-download war - the one down under. 

Representatives of Kazaa owners Sharman Networks were in the Federal Court of Australia on Friday to dispute the court order that enabled the Australian Recording Industry Association's anti-piracy body to raid their offices earlier this month.

As previously reported, the Australian courts granted a so called 'Anton Pillar' order against Sharman on 6 Feb, giving the Music Industry Piracy Investigations group the right to seize documents from a number of offices belonging to Sharman and their associates. Immediately after the raids Sharman demanded the courts reconsider that order - claiming the MIPI failed to disclose "significant information" when applying for it in the first place. 

Key to Sharman's case are quotes attributed to Judge Murray Rutledge Wilcox, the man who awarded the 'search-right order', who Sharman says has now said he suspects he was not told the full story by MIPI and their representatives.

The hearing was adjourned so more evidence could be submitted this week - a decision on whether the order stands should be made next week. While the order is being questioned the MIPI is not able to access the documents it seized.


This should be fun. Over thirty websites are planning on protesting against EMI's attempts to block a limited edition bootleg album by producer Danger Mouse by putting the whole thing online this week. 

As previously reported, Danger Mouse combined the vocals from Jay-Z's 'Black Album' with the beats of the Beatle's 'White Album' to create the 'Grey Album'. Described by the producer as an "art project", the unauthorised limited edition pressing proved hugely popular and soon caught the attention of concerned record label bosses.

The legal department at EMI, who own the rights to the Beatles recordings, earlier this month issued Danger Mouse with a 'cease and desist' letter ordering him to stop distributing the album. Although the producer himself is seemingly willing to comply, copies are now in circulation and up to thirty websites are planning on hitting back at the major label by making extracts available online on what they are calling 'Grey Tuesday'.

The owner of one of the websites involved in the protest told IT website The Register: "Jay Z's record label, Roc-A-Fella, released an a capella version of his 'Black Album' specifically to encourage remixes like this one. Danger Mouse's album is one of the most "respectful" and undeniably positive examples of sampling; it honours both The Beatles and Jay Z. Yet the lawyers and bureaucrats at EMI have shown zero flexibility and not a glimmer of interest in the artistic significance of this work. Their actions are also self-defeating: good new music is being created that people want to buy, but the major labels are so obsessed with hoarding their copyrights that they are literally turning customers away."

Meanwhile Mr Mouse has issued his own statement about the whole 'cease and desist' thing:

"Ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on bah,
Lala how life goes on,
Ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on bah,
Lala life goes on."


The number of homes watching so called free-to-view digital satellite dropped significantly at the end of last year after the BBC stopped funding the service. 

As previously reported, all terrestrial TV networks (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five) used to encode their satellite outputs. Viewers needed a decoder card to access those channels - thus allowing broadcasters to control where their programming was accessed (ie not outside the UK). The cost of administering that decoder card was paid for by the BBC. But last year the Beeb decided to unscramble their signal - meaning no card was required - and as such withdrew their funding of the scheme.

Although the other terrestrial broadcasters - who still encode their outputs - joined together to subsidise a one-off replacement decoder card, each household had to make a small contribution towards the cost. Latest reports from OfCom suggest that the majority decided to not bother applying for a new card - the number of households watching free-to-air satellite fell from 827,000 to 211,000 over the last six months of last year. 

It is not clear if those viewers who have dropped out of the scheme have upgraded to full-subscription-service Sky, or invested in a stronger analogue TV aerial. Most free-to-air satellite viewers went that route because conventional analogue TV signals in their area were pretty poor.


Busta Rhymes has signed a deal with Dr Dre's Universal imprint Aftermath after parting company with BMG division J Records. According to Busta's manager Chris Lighty has said: "We haven't signed the papers yet, but the deal is done." He also confirmed that Busta will work with Dre on the first album for the label: "Busta and Dr Dre have been working together on his new album for the past few weeks."


An American Idol contestant who was rejected in shame for his "gotta-see-it-to-believe-it" rendition of Ricky Martin's 'She Bangs' is gaining considerable support in the US - proving it's not just us Brits who love an underdog.

With a growing fan base online, and multiple talk show appearances, 21 year old William Hung has now been offered a joint recording contract and a video production deal by Koch Entertainment and US music network Fuse in a deal worth $25,000.

Fuse's president, Marc Juris, told reporters: "As the underdog music video network, Fuse instantly identified with William's drive to do his best and 'have no regrets at all.' Every one of us is joyfully guilty of singing our favorite song at the top of our lungs with wild abandon, all the while completely off key and uninhibited. That's what William did and instantly won the hearts of America." 


Plans to move big chunks of the BBC's operations - including 5Live and children's channels CBBC and Cbeebies - to its studios in Manchester are on hold. The plan - supposedly backed by former BBC boss Greg Dyke - was to upgrade the Corporation's Manchester operations, helping to counter allegations that the BBC is far too London centric. Many felt that the move would demonstrate the Corporation's public service commitments - especially while the newly merged ITV plc seems likely to pull the plug on some of its regional operations.

But - with Greg Dyke gone - the proposals seem to have been frozen, with one insider telling the Guardian: "It has still not been ruled out but the momentum has definitely gone. There was some opposition to it, but a lot of people were working on it." 


It is one year since that tragic club fire at a Great White gig in Rhode Island killed 100 people, including the band's guitarist Ty Longley.

A ceremony was held in the town of West Warwick last week for the survivors and their families. Governor Don Carcieri paid tribute to those who died, while local firemen and paramedics rang a bell 100 times to commemorate those who lost their lives. Other memorial events were due to take place over the weekend.

Great White frontman Jack Russell, meanwhile, spoke to Massachusetts radio station WKKB-FM. Once again he reaffirmed his stand that the owners of the club gave the band permission to use the pyrotechnics that started the blaze: "You play these places every single year. That's your bread and butter. Why would you go somewhere and do something that's going to piss somebody off so they're not going to let you play there next year? That's just bad business. I understand why they denied [giving permission], you know what I mean. I could see them trying to cover their ass. But, I mean, something this big, you got to stand up and take your lumps."

As previously reported club owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian deny being informed about the pyros being used in the show. The Grand Jury led investigation to decide who is to blame is yet to reach court. 


A casino in Missouri faces up to $50,000 in fines after management allegedly dodged strict State gambling laws for star guest Nelly. Officials claim that during a birthday bash held for Nelly last November, bosses at the President Casino in St Louis allowed the rapper and his entourage to enter without getting an electronic identification card - the State insists all gamblers carry such a card to control the amount they spend in any one session (the max is $500). They also allege an employee later on pretended Nelly had only just arrived - allowing him a higher spend. The Missouri Gaming Commission last week confirmed action was being taken against the casino, but added that Nelly himself would not be liable for any broken laws - because the onus falls on the casino not the customer.


SINGLE REVIEW: Skalpel - 1958 (Ninja Tune)
A brilliant slice of sampled, spliced and programmed big band bop with thundering Buddy Rich fills, Lee Morgan horn stabs and a sweet meandering Astrud Gilberto vocal. The 12" comes replete with Quantic remix (more four to the floor jazz house), the Skalpel remix (twisted Hammond funk and more drums than a shop on Denmark street), the extended version and 'Low', a skyscape soundtrack like 'Albatross' played by Charlie Mingus and Kid Koala. JG
Release date: 22 Mar
Press contact: Ninja IH [all]


After that long-term decline in the dance music media, a new dance mag has been launched - though publishers hope to ensure success by opting for a wide definition of dance music and club culture. The magazine - Klub Kulture - hit newsagents over the weekend and issue one has a diverse line up of acts featured, including Junior Jack, Bob Sinclair, Dimitri from Paris, Usher, Pink and the Black Eyed Peas. The monthly magazine also features articles from DJs like Roger Sanchez (House), DJ Hype (Trance), Billy Nasty (Techno), Mark Moore (Electro) and Steve Sutherland (Urban) and nationwide club listings. More at


Talking of new magazines, word is Death Row Records boss Suge Knight - currently serving a prison sentence for parole violation - is planning on launching his own magazine when he is released later this year. The tabloid style title will apparently cover "rap, sports and lifestyle" and may well come with limited releases of special albums made by Knight's associates.


Talking of prison, which we kinda were, Bobby Brown has been sentenced to one month in prison after violating his probation from that 1996 drink driving conviction that he finally faced in court last summer. No word on what the violation was and, although the punishment is officially one month, reports say the singer should be out of jail next week. Brown's latest brush with the law is not thought to be linked to those charges last December after he had an altercation with wife Whitney Houston - he is due in court on those charges in May.


Ageing Welsh rockers The Alarm have admitted that a record from a seemingly new band that appeared in the singles chart last week was there's. 

The Alarm, best known for their 1983 hit '68 Guns', recorded the new track under the pseudonym The Poppyfields. They then hired a young unknown Chester band called The Wayriders to mime to the track in the accompanying video. Coverage of the track secured the band enough sales to get them to number 28 in last week's UK singles chart.

The Alarm's Mike Peters told reporters they staged the stunt to show that radio stations shun his band for image rather than musical reasons: "We wanted the song to be judged on its merits and stir up the water a little bit. We decided we would do something where it was judged purely on its own musical value. The Alarm as an entity have been going for 20-odd years and history can go against you - we wanted to break the barrier down".


Simon Cowell is apparently interested in masterminding a pop career for Jordan after the model revealed her music ambitions during 'I'm A Celeb Get Me Out Of Here'. A friend of the model told the Sun: "Katie has spoken to Simon about her singing career and he said he is prepared to help. He really likes her, thinks she is funny and he realises her potential. They met up recently at a TV awards party and they were discussing it then. Simon is in Los Angeles filming American Idol at the moment but they're going to have a meeting when he gets back. Katie has a strong voice and she's always wanted to be a pop star. But she's going to ditch her tarty image and re-establish herself as a more upmarket product."

Meanwhile Peter Andre has told Radio 1 that: "Jordan has got a great voice, I promise. I promise she's got a great voice. If she focuses on it she could do really well. A strong voice, a bit like Anastacia - she's got that kind of grit in her voice. She's really good." Of course, the say love is blind, and there's a chance it may be tone death too.


Former CMU favourites Busted (yeah, we're fickle when it comes to pop) topped the single charts yesterday for the third time with new single 'Who's David'. The news ends off a good week for the Busted boys who picked up two awards at the Brits. 

Elsewhere singles wise, not-quite-Pop Idols Sam & Mark dropped to number two with there version of 'With A Little Help From My Friends' while buzz band Keane got a much deserved high new entry - 'Somewhere Only We Know' went in at three. Slightly lower down the chart good news for Belle & Sebastian - their track 'I'm A Cuckoo' went in at number 14, the band's highest ever chart position.

Albums wise the Brits effect was there to see. Duran Duran's timely re-released Greatest Hits went in at number four, while The Darkness' 'Permission To Land' went 17 places back up the chart to number 5. Jamie Callum - who also performed at the awards event - saw his album move fifteen places up the album chart again, back to number 14.


As Michael Moore keeps saying - most Americans aren't as insane as the ones who get on the TV. Just to prove it, an Associated Press survey in the US into the whole Nipplegate affair has found that while 54% felt the Jackson Timberlake routine was in bad taste, nearly 80% reckon it is a waste of time and money on the part of media regulator the FCC to "investigate" the Super Bowl half time show. 

One 50 year old mother surveyed by AP summed up a common feeling when she said: "I can see how parents wouldn't want their children to see it. But an investigation is a waste of money. Sure it wasn't very nice, but they're using our tax money for this." 

For those that like stats, with regards support for an FCC investigation, more women were in favour than men, more whites than blacks, and more Republicans than Democrats.


Doing the post-jungle media circuit, John Lydon has revealed that he should have been on the Pan Am flight which exploded above Lockerbie back in 1988. Speaking to the Scottish Sunday Mirror the former Sex Pistol said: "[My wife] Nora and I should have been dead. We only missed the flight because Nora hadn't packed in time. We had a big row and then took the next flight out. The minute we realised what happened, we just looked at each other and almost collapsed."

Lydon says that ever since that incident he has worried about his wife when she flys alone, and that it was the need to know that Nora had arrived safely in Australia (she was flying in half way through the series) that made him quit 'I'm A Celeb' half way through. He claims producers of the programme wouldn't confirm Nora's safety.


Talking of Lydon, the Sex Pistol's 'Anarchy In The UK' has topped a poll in Q Magazine as the most influential record of the 1970s. Beating Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and the Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love', the 1976 Pistol's track tops the survey in Q's seventies special.

A spokesman for the magazine told reporters: "The 1970s are often remembered for disco, flares and platforms. The Sex Pistols unleashed themselves on an unsuspecting world, giving birth to a whole new musical movement which will continue to inspire musicians for generations to come."


Talking of surveys, Cliff Richard topped Channel 4's poll to find the 'ultimate pop star' last night. The survey was based on total overall record sales in the UK - so didn't hold too many surprises for anyone already in the know on these things. Elvis, The Beatles and Paul McCartney on his own all followed closely behind Cliff in the survey.

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