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

In today's CMU Daily:
- BPI plan litigation route to tackle downloaders
- Korn track remixed with added Stern
- Courts side with universal over Jacko royalties case
- Starbucks sign up Ray Charles for music service
- Album Review: 4hero - The Remix Album
- Maverick Warners dispute over valuation
- Listeners mourn death of Birmingham radio DJ
- EMI boss backs mobile music innovations
- Apple postpone euro launch of iPod mini
- Security guard stabbed at Chikinki's SXSW showcase
- Live Review: Polanski At University College London
- Fran responds to Cardiff gig
- Will Young dates
- George unsure of Wham! The musical
- Morrissey bans the burger stalls
- Violinists revolt

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CMU'S FRIDAY TIPS

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: 4hero Album Launch Party At Co-Op At Plastic People
Possibly the most experimental and forward thinking broken beat night in the world plays host to the launch party of the superb 4hero remix album (see review later on in today's Daily). A who's who of future jazz and busted beatz will no doubt be there in mass effect. On the wheels of steel Marc Clair and & Dego MacFarlane (aka the mighty 4hero), I.G. Culture, Demus, Kaidi Tatham, Afronaught with a 'special guest' touted too. Get there early for the Sunday Session - it's a roadblock at the best of times down there. PV
Sun 28 Mar, Plastic People 147-149 Curtain Road, EC1, 8.30pm - 12.30am, £5, press info from Shilland

Put your club night up for the tip - vigsy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

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BPI PLAN LITIGATION ROUTE TO TACKLE DOWNLOADERS
Quick, quick - delete all those dodgy MP3s, they're coming to get you...

Following indications a few months back that they hadn't ruled out following the Recording Industry Association of America in their legal assault on individuals who illegally download music, the BPI yesterday confirmed they plan to go hard line on serial file sharers, issuing a final warning to those who illegally download music that if they don't cease court action will follow.

The move follows BPI research in which 17.8% of 12 to 74-year-olds interviewed said they downloaded music - that is 8 million people. Of those a massive 92% admitted to relying primarily on illegal file sharing rather than legitimate download platforms, meaning 7.4 million people participate in illegal downloading.

This is a problem, the organisation argues, because downloaders spend less money on buying CDs, which is impacting on the music industry's overall revenues.

BPI bosses reckon the bulk of the file sharing problem is caused by a small community of 'serial downloaders' who have illegally acquired huge MP3 collections, often in excess of 10,000 tracks, and who make these collections available to anyone via P2P networks like Kazaa.

It is those 'serial downloaders' which the BPI hopes to target in their legal action. As a first step the group will run an instant messaging campaign designed to spot illegal file sharing and to immediately alert the consumers sharing the files that they are breaking the law and risk facing court action if they don't cease and desist.

Announcing the move BPI chairman Peter Jamieson told reporters: "It is causing real financial damage to everyone involved in the business. There is no excuse whatsoever for music being taken without permission - and we need to act to stop it".

A whole host of industry people were on hand to back the BPI's latest moves. Throwing the backing of the independent sector behind the BPI's scheme, the Association of Independent Music's Alison Wenham told reporters: "We endorse this campaign to warn them of the action they open themselves up to."

John Smith of the Musicians Union added: "People forget that the music industry is not just about the stars, it's about the people we represent, the session players and orchestral players. The stars are nowhere without the backing singers and musicians. It is a business which is very fragile. The whole ecology of the music industry depends on our defeating piracy."

Lucian Grainge, the boss of Universal in the UK, told reporters: "File sharing is illegal and if it is allowed to continue it may wipe out investment in recorded music. Absolutely no one wants that."

Helen Snell of industry analysts UBS said: "Illegal downloading is sucking revenue out of the record industry and threatening its ability to invest in its future. It is essential that it takes firm action against illegal downloaders."

And that's just the start - Music Week have got comments from many more at http://www.musicweek.com.

Not that we like to play devils advocate here at CMU but ... well ... here goes. While we don't condone the illegal copying of music per se we can't help thinking it is useful to put things into perspective, and partake in a little reality check.

Firstly, while 7.4 million people may have illegally downloaded music in the last twelve months, it's not unreasonable to guess some 30 million have taped a mates CD in the last decade. While people's MP3 collections may be larger, and of better quality than all those tapes of friends record collections (and the Top 40 radio show) that we all amassed in our teens, it doesn't necessarily stack that less money is flowing into the industry as a result of the access to free music the internet offers.

The most immediate victim of the growth of digital music (legal and illegal) is likely to be the single which, as we all know, is in chronic decline. Why this is a problem given major labels have been trying to find a way to phase out loss leading singles for years I don't know. There's every chance that when iTunes, Napster and the OD2 backed download services gain momentum later this year the record labels are going to make a mint - it's quite a good business model when you can sell any quantity of any given track without increasing your costs.

The case that says illegal downloading is hitting album sales is less clear cut. But even if we assume album sales are, or will be, hit by dodgy file sharing where do people think the money the kids save by getting their albums for free on the net goes? Where is all the cash coming from that is paying for the £3 a shot ring tones and £1 a request TV jukeboxes? What about all the extra cash that is filtering into the live sector just now?

Which brings me back to CMU's favourite argument. Yes, record labels are going to make less out of selling music in the future. No, that doesn't mean the record industry is dead. It means a change in the relationship between the previously autonomous management, live, publishing and recorded sectors. It means finding new ways to connect with music fans artistically and commercially.

That's not to dismiss the BPI's plans. The 'final warning' campaign is a good idea, and some reckon the RIAA's legal campaign has had some success in educating (or, at the very least, scaring) illegal file sharers. However if it is likely to have long term effect some court action will have to take place - and with the US and Canadian courts not proving completely helpful in forcing internet service providers (who are generally protective of their consumers) to hand over the contact details of customers the labels reckon are illegally file sharing, it will be interesting to see how helpful the judges prove when interpreting the 1988 Copyright, Patents and Designs Act when used against individual downloaders.

And even if a few successful court cases backing a high profile educational campaign does have an effect, it's not going to be the complete solution some seem to expect. Don't forget in the world of the wide web the geeks, and not the smartly dressed lawyers, rule. Next generation anonymity software is already appearing on the underground, so even if the courts do prove helpful it may well become increasingly difficult to identify those naughty downloaders.

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KORN TRACK REMIXED WITH ADDED STERN
Korn have remixed their track 'Y'All Want A Single' to feature some of Howard Stern's recent rants regards the current crackdown by media regulators in the US over, well, anything really. Since Clear Channel axed Stern's show off the six stations in their network that carried it, Stern, always keen to be the guy the establishment are kicking, has found a new lease of life ranting daily about how it's the end of interesting radio in America (he's right as it happens). The Korn track was already an assault on over regulated radio and overly commercial record labels, so the Stern rants fit in nicely.

Korn frontman Jonathan Davis says: "The stuff we show in the video for 'Y'All Want A Single' [is the stuff] the music industry doesn't want kids to know about. Everyone is in bed with everyone in the industry. One corporation owns all the video channels, one corporation owns all the radio stations, and all the venues we play at are also the promoters. It's a whole monopoly. They basically deem what kids are going to hear. [This video] is making a statement to stand up for every artist that's been screwed around. Ultimately, it's the fan getting screwed over (too) - screwed out of a lot of new entertainment. There are those kids that have the energy to go out and look and find underground bands, but the average 14-year-old is fed what is cool by what the corporations are behind."

The remixed track is online at http://www.korn.com

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COURTS SIDE WITH UNIVERSAL OVER JACKO ROYALTIES CASE
Another helping of woe was thrown at Michael Jackson yesterday when the courts sided with Universal Music over the ongoing Motown/Jacko royalties dispute.

As previously reported Jackson is suing Motown's parent company because he claims they have broken a 1980 agreement regarding the Jackson 5 catalogue and the Jackson solo releases that came out on Motown. The dispute is over whether Jacko is owed royalties for tracks recorded during his Motown years, but not released until after 1980. Universal claim those tracks are included in the music Jackson signed over to them for a lump sum in that 1980 contract - Jacko says not.

As part of the litigation Jacko was claiming for lost royalties on those tracks - which have mainly appeared on best of albums and compilations. But the LA Superior Court yesterday said he is not eligible to do so. He will, however, be allowed to proceed with his lawsuit that claims breach of contract - and if successful that would allow him some kind of compensation.

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STARBUCKS SIGN UP RAY CHARLES FOR MUSIC SERVICE
Legendary blues singer Ray Charles is the first major artist to sign up to Starbucks new music venture. As previously reported Starbucks are installing music consoles into their US stores, coffee drinkers will be able to preview music while they sip their coffee, and then buy specific tracks which will be burned to CD at the counter. Having launched their first music consoles at a store in Santa Monica, California earlier this month, the coffee chain has worked with Charles to produce a collection of duets with the likes of Norah Jones - and they will be the first major artist tracks available to preview and burn.

Announcing the Ray Charles deal, Don MacKinnon, Starbucks music and entertainment vice-president, told reporters: "This recording marks the first time that Starbucks will be involved with the creation of music from such legendary icons. We are excited that this new venture will be launched with a renowned artist such as Ray Charles, and with songs that are sure to inspire music fans of all ages."

Charles himself said of the project: "The duets project has been a tremendous experience. I am working with some of the best artists in the business, as well as some of my dearest friends."

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ALBUM REVIEW: 4hero - The Remix Album (Raw Canvas Recordings)
The mighty 4hero return with a 2CD remix and remixed project - and it's got a whole host of gems. CD one features the remixes they have done and is so diverse it's astonishing. Touted as the best remix in the world by Louis Vega - Nuyorican Soul's 'Blackgold Of The Sun' is reworked brilliantly into a modern day drum and bass classic; Courtney Pine's 'I've Known Rivers' gets a d and b lick; Goldie's jungle classic 'Inner City Life' gets a jazz lick; while Focus' 'Having Your Fun' is upbeat and the funk drips from it, twisting the disco styles. Then they drop tempo with a mix of Ultra Nate's beautiful 'Twisted', showing the 4Hero boys really can flip styles at the drop of a hat. 1995's Scarface 'Seen A Man Die' gets a drum and bass gangster rap jungle flava which is superb, while the finale - 4hero's remix of John Coltrane's 'Naima' - is stunning. Disc Two features remixes by others of their work - Masters At Work take the bouncy 'Starchasers' on a chilled vibe, Jazzanova take us into future jazz with the sublime astounding 'We Who Are Not As Others' and Goldie et al as the Metalheadz tighten up the jungle classic 'Universal Love' . The only drawback is that many of these tunes can be found elsewhere (esp Cf. Two Pages Remix Album) so some die hard fans may be disappointed. But it's an album I just can't get out of my discman. Truly great. One of the best albums this year. PV
Release date: Shilland
Press contact: 29 March 2004

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MAVERICK WARNERS DISPUTE OVER VALUATION
The pending legal dispute between Madonna's record label, Maverick Records, and parent company Warner Music is reportedly over the valuation for the imprint. As previously reported, Maverick have an option to end their partnership with Warners after a takeover. There have been conflicting reports over whether Maverick bosses Guy Oseary and Ronnie Dashev would take up that option post-Bronfmann Jnr takeover. The fact the valuation squabbles have gone legal - both sides launched legal action this week - suggests they will part company.

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LISTENERS MOURN DEATH OF BIRMINGHAM RADIO DJ
More than 300 people yesterday paid their respects at the funeral of Birmingham radio DJ Tushar Makwana, who, as previously reported, died after confronting burglars at his home. Makwana, who presented programmes on the Midlands branch of Heart FM, seems to have been killed when burglars hit him in their getaway vehicle as they made their escape.

Among the many people who paid tribute to the DJ was fellow Heart presenter Ed James, who said: "Tushar loved life and enjoyed life. He was a strong character - straightforward, honest, down-to-earth. With Tush, what you saw was what you got."

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EMI BOSS BACKS MOBILE MUSIC INNOVATIONS
The Vice Chairman of EMI has urged the mobile and music industries to work together to make pilot mobile music projects a viable reality sooner rather than later.

Speaking at MobileMusicCon 2004, part of the US based CTIA Wireless Conference, Munns was concerned in particular with the idea of 'caller tunes'. This is the facility - piloted in the UK by T Mobile - to let consumers have their favourite tracks play instead of the 'ring ring' tone when friends phone them.

Munn confirmed EMI were participating in the expansion of the mobile download platform being developed by US ISP Verizon - Get It Now - and said they were planning on making their tracks available to Vodafone's caller tunes platform - 'Ring-Up-Tones' - which is being launched initially in Europe.

Munns: "Last year, in Asia and Europe, we saw the kind of revenues from mobile music sales that make me sit up and take notice. Mobile content is driving a whole new business model and a viable new revenue stream. We expect relatively modest revenues (from mobile applications) for the first few years, but with a nice growth curve."

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APPLE POSTPONE EURO LAUNCH OF IPOD MINI
Apple have announced they plan to delay the launch of the iPod mini over here because they have been swamped with demand in the US. The slimline MP3 player, which retails slightly cheaper than the main iPod, was launched in the States at the start of the year. The plan was to launch it in Europe in April - but that launch has now been pushed back to July at the earliest.

A spokesman for Apple told reporters: "The iPod mini is a huge hit with customers in the US and we're sure it will be the same worldwide once we can ramp up our supply in the July quarter."

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SECURITY GUARD STABBED AT CHIKINKI'S SXSW SHOWCASE
A late night altercation at a South By Southwest showcase in Austin, Texas led to a security guard being stabbed earlier this week. The incident took place after a showcase by British electro-rock band Chikinki.

A spokesman for the Copper Tank venue, where the showcase was taking place, confirmed to reporters: "There was a problem in one part of the bar and a security guard went over to deal with it. It was at that point that he was stabbed." The stabbing was not fatal and the guard is said to be recovering.

Chikinki frontman Rupert Brown told NME: "After the show we were just chilling out and suddenly the police came running in, they closed the place and told us to go home. There was an ambulance and we saw a stretcher being carried out. I think it happened in the kitchen which was also the backstage area.

Of course it's possible Chikini are cursed. Brown continues: "Things like this seem to happen to us all the time. We played at Cargo about a month ago with Kasabian and we got bottled. This guy took offence when I jumped off stage and landed on his girlfriend. She didn't seem to mind but he smashed a bottle and threw it at me. It missed me but hit Steve (drummer) on the shoulder. Later that night he hurt someone really badly and the police turned up to take him away."

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LIVE REVIEW: Polanski at University College London on 19 Mar
There's nothing more exciting than discovering a fantastic new band all by yourself and this was the case with Polanski when their single 'Hate This Music' came through the letter box. I didn't know anything about them but I knew that it was a fantastic song. It's quite a novelty seeing a band this early on in their history playing such a tiny venue, the majority of the audience composed of students who just happen to be in the bar at the time. For such a new band they have already developed a firm identity and a very suave,sophisticated sound. Their songs are beautifully structured and melodic. Singer Simon Pettigrew's distinctive vocals shine amongst the delicate interplay between guitars and keyboards. Si looks the spit of Idlewild's Roddy Woomble which can only be a good thing and the band's keyboard player Robbie Smith could rival the likes of the Strokes in the glamour stakes. The majority of the audience clearly haven't heard the band before but possibly helped along by cheap student union beer, they're vocal in their appreciation and you can bet that the next day they'll be humming one of tonight's infectious tunes. I'm hoping that soon Polanski won't be quite the closely kept secret they certainly are at the moment. Really, who could fail to be seduced by them? JW

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FRAN RESPONDS TO CARDIFF GIG
Fran Healy has responded to reports he reacted angrily when the audience at his band's Cardiff show became restless during a non-amplified solo rendition of 'Flowers In The Window'. As reported yesterday, word is Healy hit out at the "wankers" in the audience who wouldn't shut up, and gave a mini-lecture on the dangers of pelting things at a stage after one fan hurled some coins at him.

In a statement yesterday Healy told fans: "Hey all.. For what it's worth, from where we were standing, we thought the gig was brilliant. Lots of excitement on stage and happy faces wherever I looked. There was the coin throwing, maybe meant as a donation to my busking I think. It was meant in good humour but you should never throw coins at a stage, it's a big no no. When I pulled whoever did it up he was booed into next week. Thank you Cardiff."

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WILL YOUNG DATES
All the closet Will Young fans out there (we know who you are) - well, here are the dates for his first solo tour, a very sedate looking theatre tour.

22 & 23 May: St. David's Hall, Cardiff
24 May: New Theatre, Oxford
25 May: Regent Theatre, Ipswich
27 May: BIC, Bournemouth; May 28, Colston Hall, Bristol
29 May: Pavillions, Plymouth
31 May: Royal Festival Hall, London
1 Jun: Dome, Brighton
3 Jun: Guildhall, Portsmouth
4 Jun: Royal Albert Hall, London
6 & 7 Jun: Bridgewater Theatre, Manchester
9 Jun: Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
10 Jun: Playhouse, Edinburgh
12 Jun: Symphony Hall, Birmingham
13 & 14 Jun: Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
15 Jun: City Hall, Newcastle
17 Jun: Empire, Liverpool
18 Jun: Symphony Hall, Birmingham
19 Jun: Royal Opera House, Blackpool

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GEORGE UNSURE OF WHAM! THE MUSICAL
Is there no stopping those cheeky West End theatre producers? Rumours are circulating that following the success of Mama Mia, We Will Rock You and Tonight's The Night, producers are considering compilation musicals based on the music of Wham! and, get this, Bros!

Admitting he had been approached about a Wham! musical, George Michael told Heart 106.2 this week: "Two or three different producers have approached Andrew and I about this and I'm a bit torn. I absolutely hate the idea on a creative level. But on another level I know that a certain generation of people would love it."

"But those songs are borderline in terms of presentation, and the only reason we got away with the pastiche of them is because they were done with so much conviction and big hair and big teeth, and genuine fun and passion. But the truth is that done on stage there will be no charm and you'll be left with a lot of cheese, so I'm torn. Am I being too much of a snob? I would literally have to avoid the premiere."

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MORRISSEY BANS THE BURGER STALLS
Well, at least one Smiths fan in the CMU office will definitely approve. Morrissey has banned all hotdog and burger stalls from his much anticipated comeback show at Manchester's MEN Arena in May.

He told the Sun: "It would be hypocritical to sing 'Meat Is Murder' amid smells of hamburgers".

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VIOLINISTS REVOLT
Favourite story of the week - violinists in Bonn's Beethoven Orchestra are suing for a pay rise on the grounds that they play many more notes per concert than their colleagues. The lawsuit says they have to work harder because most classical music requires much more involvement from the violin section - and they want an extra £60 per concert or rehearsal to compensate. Laurentius Bonitz, who runs the state owned orchestra, called the claim "ridiculous".

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