CMU Daily - on the inside 29 Mar 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Maverick lawsuit wideranging
- BPI pleased with coverage, Blur man less pleased with BPI
- Homelands additions
- Great White distance themselves from controversial album
- Single Review: Art Brut - Formed A Band
- Recommendations for next BBC chairman with government
- Jan Berry dies
- Big Brovaz try to side step dope stories
- Amplifier dates
- Shifty Disco launch online platform
- Beatles top rock poll
- Chart update
- Single Review: The Belles - Never Said Anything
- Gig sell outs: Madonna and Will Young
- Bobby Brown out of jail - for now!
- Charlatans plan album preview shows
- Radio Forth head of music dies
- Morrissey not so keen on Pop Idol
- Bowie joins in the Mark & Lard praises
- East West confirm Andre signing


Following all that idle speculation (OK, our idle speculation) last week as to the nature of the legal action being taken by Maverick Records (co-owned by Madonna) against parent company Warner Music, full details of the lawsuit materialised on Friday and it transpires that the issues are much more wide-ranging that originally assumed. Despite initial indications that legal wranglings would relate to relations between the imprint and its parent company following the takeover of Warners by Edgar Bronfman Jnr, the actual lawsuit deals with a whole range of longstanding grievances.

In the legal papers filed with the LA Superior Court last week Maverick accuses Warners of both breaking its partnership agreement and underhand business tactics.

They allege the major record company reneged on a commitment to cover $30 million in marketing costs; that they blocked Maverick's attempts to sign an artist allowing Warners Atlantic division to make that deal; that they forced Maverick to settle a lawsuit with artist Michele Branch in order to keep her manager happy because he represented other Warner artists; and that Warner forced Maverick to close down their Latin music division.

They go on to accuse the major label of various accounting irregularities, to question how the major spent $250,000 of their money on the Maverick released / Warner marketed Rugrats soundtrack, and finally to accuse (pre-merger) Warners boss Roger Ames of "engaging in a pattern of false promises and misrepresentations of fact".

Maverick want the courts to award them actual, compensatory and punitive damages, and to pronounce the joint venture between major and the imprint void.

The timing of the lawsuit is, of course, very interesting given the recent Bronfman Jnr takeover. The partnership agreement between the major and the imprint reportedly not only gives Maverick the option to buy out if Warners is taken over, but also Warners the option to buy out Maverick's other owners (Madonna, Guy Oseary and Ronnie Dashev) when the agreement comes to an end later this year.

Some reckon Maverick's bosses fear they may not be able to afford to buy out Warners now, and as a result may be forced to sell out to Bronfman Jnr when the current agreement ends later this year. One way out of that conundrum would be to bring up the partnership grievances through the courts now - either to end the partnership without cost, or to force Warners to sell their share at a reduced rate.

Either way, the interesting subplot to these legal shenanigans is, of course, that while Warners may not be too bothered losing its Maverick relationship, they are keen to keep Madonna herself on their roster. Therefore in a statement issued on Friday Warners stressed that, while they refute all of Maverick's allegations, the Warner / Maverick legal case does not affect Warner / Madonna relations.

However Maverick's lawyer Bert Fields wasn't convinced by that statement. He told the New York Daily News: "[Warner's dealings with Maverick] are a very strange way to make your most important artist happy."


The BPI has said it was pleased with the high profile coverage their planned crackdown on illegal music file sharing received in the British media on Friday. As previously reported the BPI is embarking on a final warning campaign against 'serial downloaders' - if those downloaders to not cease and desist the BPI has threatened to follow its counterparts in the US and Canada in using copyright legislation to sue individuals through the courts.

Of course as the Recording Industry Association of America demonstrated with its similar litigation campaign against individual file sharers - such action is not so much about winning damages as it is about winning column inches. The aim is to either educate or scaremonger the public out of illegal downloading.

To that end the BPI was pleased with the front page coverage of its new campaign in the British press, and considerable reporting in newspapers around the world. BPI consultant Steve Redmond told Music Week: "This is the beginning of a long-running educational campaign. We have to take the message to the public that unauthorised downloading is illegal. It is not a victimless crimes. These people are stealing the future of the British music industry and they have been warned."

The BPI may be less keen about the main story being run by NME this morning. Blur's Dave Rowntree, a long term commentator on the industry's response to downloading, has hit out at the BPI's latest plans. While stressing he does not necessarily approve of file sharing given that he himself depends on record sales for an income, Rowntree told the magazine: "If the BPI wanted to take a stand, then the time to take that stand was a number of years ago and do it in a kind of inclusive and grown-up way rather than now posturing and spitting like a bunch of schoolyard bullies. This will only lead to a bunch of 12 year-olds being taken to court as happened in the States which will serve nobody and nobody will make a penny."

He continues: "The time to have taken action would have been around the Napster time when Napster were holding out the olive branch - we should have taken it and started working with them to get models whereby people who downloaded music from the Internet paid for it so that it became commonplace from early on. Since some bad decisions were taken then - now the whole industry is on the back foot."

He concluded: "It's the musicians who generate the money - the record companies may think it's them but actually it's the musicians - so the will of the fans and the will of the musicians will out eventually, I have no doubt. But if the BPI want the bloody nose along the way fair enough, but as long as everybody's aware that it's not the performers who are doing this - it's the BPI."


Well if, like us, you reckon the festival season starts with All Tomorrow's Parties, then the festival season is here, ATP part one having taken place this weekend just gone.

To that end, more festival news, and this time more additions to that other early season festival, Homelands. As of Friday DJs Mark Ronson and Rui Da Silva plus live acts Loose Cannons, 20:20soundsystem and Stateless were all added to an already bulging bill. Full details at

And don't forget if you're planning your festival coverage that the CMU Media Guide To The Festivals is in the current edition of the CMU Weekly (download your copy here) - you'll find all the ticket, date and line up info you need plus crucial press contact information.


Well, we pride ourselves on having a sick sense of humour here at CMU, but even by our standards this was pushing it!

The management of Great White - the band who witnessed tragedy when over 100 of their fans and their guitarist Ty Longley were killed in a fire during a gig at a Rhode Island club - have distanced themselves from a compilation album of the band's songs called 'Burning House Of Love'.

The inappropriately titled album is a collection of cover versions recorded over the years by Great White - including their rendition of a track originally recorded by a band called 'X' which the album is named after. The album has been compiled and put out by a record label called Horizon Italy and distributed in the US by a company called City Hall Records.

Speaking for the band Obi Steinman told reporters the album had not been authorised or approved by Great White, and that since being aware of the release they had ordered Horizon Italy to stop its distribution. He said moves had already been taken to withdraw the CD from record stores and online music sellers.

He said Horizon Italy had not considered the link between their choice in title and the sad events that surrounded that gig back in Feb 2003, adding that the band's lawyers were now looking into whether the label had the right to release the music in the first place.

Investigations into the fire at the Great White gig on Rhode Island still continue with the venue's owners and the band's former tour manager both facing manslaughter charges.


SINGLE REVIEW: Art Brut - Formed A Band (Rough Trade)
What better way to get a positive review in NME than to mention the publication in your single as these art rockers do? The lyrics on the B side 'Bad Weekend' run, "Haven't read NME for so long, don't know what genre we belong to." Art Brut are maybe too clever by half but it's an interesting record (again from Rough Trade, who it seems can do no wrong at the moment). The A side is lo-fi, no-fi, shouty Fall-esque vocals and jagged guitars, peppered with pop cultural references and self-consciously aware lyrics; "It's not irony and it's not rock 'n' roll". They may not get to perform this "eight weeks in a row on TOTP", as they optimistically sing, but it's certainly worth listening out for. JW
Release date: 29 Mar
Press contact: Cool Delta [CP, CR] Rough Trade IH [RP, RR, NP, NR]


The panel responsible for choosing the next BBC Chairman have made their recommendation to Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell - that recommendation will now go to the Prime Minister and the Queen for approval. Assuming that approval is forthcoming (wouldn't it be great if the Queen refused to approve the recommendation!) the name of the new chairman should be announced within three weeks.

The new chairman will replace Gavyn Davies who resigned in the fall out of the Hutton Inquiry. A reported 79 people put themselves forward for the post - those rumoured to have been considered include former Channel 4 boss Michael Grade and Question Time host David Dimbleby. One of the first jobs for the new chairman will be the task of appointed a new Director General to replace Greg Dyke who, of course, also resigned post-Hutton.


Singer Jan Berry - one half of sixties duo Jan and Dean - has died aged 62. Jan and Dean were part of the same scene that gave us the Beach Boys, and indeed Dean Torrance also worked as a graphic artist and created the artwork for many Beach Boys albums. As a duo they had a number of hits themselves with tracks like 'Little Old Lady From Pasadena' and 'Dead Man's Curve'. Their career was nearly cut short when Berry was left paralysed after a car accident in 1966. However he recovered enough to perform again and they reunited on and off in the seventies and eighties. Berry released a solo album - 'Second Wave' - in 1997.


The manager of Big Brovaz has been defending the two remaining male members of the group after a tabloid newspaper reported they too admitted to smoking cannabis. The story followed the sacking of band-mate Flawless last week after he was caught trying to carry the drug into the US.

Manager Jonathan Shalit told Radio 1: "Yes the paper was correct, that they take a bit of recreational drugs, being cannabis," but added, "Taking a spliff in private is very different to taking a drug through international borders and concealing it from US customs".

When asked how this admission related to a statement by the band earlier in the week condemning all drug use, he continued: "I think the girls are furious at what's happened. The wrath of three women is not going to be a pretty site. I think any penalties the three girls in Big Brovaz give the two boys is going to be far worse than what I can say - they'll probably be far more scared of them than they will be of me".


Newly appointed CMU favourites Amplifier have confirmed they will play a headline gig at the Bar Academy in Islington on 6 Apr before supporting Auf Der Maur and then Span on their upcoming UK tours. The tour will coincide with the release of second single 'Neon' on 12 Apr. Those tour dates are as follows:

Supporting Auf Der Maur:
10 Apr: Leeds Cockpit
11 Apr: Glasgow Garage
12 Apr: Manchester University
13 Apr: London Mean Fiddler

Supporting Span:
16 Apr: Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall
17 Apr: Middlesbrough Empire
18 Apr: Glasgow King Tuts
20 Apr: Manchester University
21 Apr: Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
22 Apr: London Underworld
23 Apr: Redruth Green Room

Press info from Music For Nations IH.


The people behind that legendary singles club Shifty Disco are launching a new online music service called the Shifty Disco Weekly Download Singles Club. Having called a day to their monthly single releases last summer, as of 2 Apr the Shifty Disco team will be making tracks from new unsigned bands available to download each week - to access the tracks you simply need to buy a £12 twelve month subscription. As with the singles club the aim is to profile up and coming new bands to both music fans and an industry audience. In addition to the weekly downloads Shifty Disco plan to launch quarterly CDs which will retrospectively round up the downloads showcased in the previous months. For more info check out


In the latest 'generic music poll', this time conducted by Rolling Stone magazine, a panel of music pundits including Pete Townsend, Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, The Edge, Chrissie Hynde and Moby have voted The Beatles as the greatest rock 'n' roll stars of the last fifty years. The top ten in said survey was as follows:

1. The Beatles
2. Bob Dylan
3. Elvis Presley
4. The Rolling Stones
5. Chuck Berry
6. Jimi Hendrix
7. James Brown
8. Little Richard
9. Aretha Franklin
10. Ray Charles


Talking of charts, which we kinda were, Usher has reaped the rewards of some heavy promotional work and topped both the singles and album charts. The R&B star maintained his position at the top of the singles chart with 'Yeah' while new album 'Confessions' knocked George Michael off the top of the album chart.

Elsewhere in the singles chart DJ Casper kept his hold at two with 'Cha Cha Slide'. A plethora of new entries then followed - Anastacia with 'Left Outside Alone' at 3, Blue with 'Breathe Easy' at 4, The Darkness with 'Love Is Only A Feeling' at 5, OutKast with 'The Way You Move' at 7, Sugababes with 'In The Middle' at 8 and Kayne West with 'Through The Wire' at 9.

Other new entries of note include the best band in the world ever (not that I'd want to exaggerate), Delays, whose 'Nearer Than Heaven' re-release goes in at 21; Missy Elliot whose 'I'm Really Hot' goes in at 22; Divine Comedy with 'Come Home Billy Bird' at 25; and Travis with 'Love Will Come Through' at 28.
Albums wise, after the aforementioned Usher and George Michael comes the Guns 'n' Roses' best of, down one to three, and then the new album from the ever-excellent N*E*R*D, in at four. The only other new entry of note is the Vines, whose album 'Winning Days' goes in at 29.


SINGLE REVIEW: The Belles - Never Said Anything (Eat Sleep Records)
The ways singer Christopher Tolle wistfully sings "It's been a bad day" on the opening line instantly recalls Damon Albarn's more reflective moments from the mid 90s. 'Never Said Anything' sounds curiously British, in fact, which is slightly a surprise given that The Belles hail from Kansas (although the mixing contribution of Coldplay and Gomez producer Ken Nelson may go some way to explaining that). Despite the morose lyrics and shuffly, downtempo beat however, 'NSA' is in fact a lovely lilting, laidback summery pop song; think Badly Drawn Boy after a long hot day at the beach spent gazing forlornly at the sea whilst ruminating on failed relationships. Any song with a chiming bell solo in the middle eight is usually alright with me and, whilst this single sounds slightly innocuous at first, by the tenth listen it's hard not to love it immensely. Along with an amenable cover of The Lemonheads' 'My Drug Buddy', there's also an excellent, dub-tastic accompanying Magnet remix, proving Even Johansen really is a master of atmospheric songscapes. MS
Release date: 5 Apr
Press contact: Ian Cheek [CP, RP, NP] Eat Sleep IH [CR, RR, NR]


Well, we may have jumped the gun last week when we said Madonna's rather expensive Earls Court gig had sold out before, erm, the tickets had gone on sale! But let's just say we were ahead of ourselves. Because, needless to say, despite tickets starting at fifty quid all the tickets for Madonna's 18 Aug gig sold out within minutes of going on sale on Friday, so much so a second date has been added on 19 Aug.

Talking of sell out gigs - Will Young has also sold out his London gigs almost immediately. Both his Royal Festival Hall (31 May) and Albert Hall (4 Jun) gigs have sold out.


It's a full time job keeping up with the life of Bobby Brown just now. Last Tuesday he was let out of prison - where he was serving time for parole violation - early on good behaviour. He was immediately put back in prison as a result of an unrelated case in which he owed sixty grand to a former girlfriend with whom he has two children. Despite the judge threatening to put him away for sixty days, he was let out this weekend after he stumped up the owed monies, but on the condition he fulfilled other maintenance conditions he agreed to ten years ago - that is to set up a life insurance policy and education fund to the benefit of his two children. He has 90 days to do just that in order to avoid more time inside - though of course before then he has his court case over the battery charges he faces for hitting wife Whitney Houston, so he might already be in jail!


The Charlatans will play two shows at the Islington Academy at the start of May to give fans the first chance to hear tracks from new album 'Up At The Lake'. Tickets to the two gigs - on 3 and 4 May - will be sold via the band's website

Of the gig the website says: "The band will be playing a unique set, which will be made up extensively if not exclusively of tracks from the new album. The set will be quite different from the main set that will be played on the main UK Tour."


Sad news North of the Border with confirmation radio DJ Tom Wilson has died following a heart attack. Wilson was a key player in the Scottish dance market as a club DJ, producer and, most prominently, as a presenter and producer with Edinburgh's main radio station Radio Forth. Having presented the main dance show on the station throughout most of the 80s and 90s he rejoined Forth in 2003 as Head of Music.

Confirming Wilson's death, Radio Forth MD Sandy Wilkie told reporters: "Knowing Tom as a broadcaster and a friend for over 25 years, I cannot express my sense of loss in a few short sentences. Tom was immensely popular and the news has shocked us all at Radio Forth. Tom was a consummate professional, quiet, unassuming, with a wicked sense of humour and often the twinkle in his eye said more than words, just as his music did. Tom, we will miss you."


Morrissey has been telling a radio show in LA just how dreadful the whole Pop Idol thing is. Talking to LA radio station KROQ he said: "I think all the contestants should be put in a cage and sent to Thailand. I think it's awful. It's the worst aspects of the music industry and just dreadful."

He went on: "They think all they have to do in order to be an idol is stand up there and sing an old Diana Ross song and suddenly they are a pop idol. I think there's a bit more to it then that, really. I think they're very sad and I feel sorry, genuinely sorry for them. I think they look a bit sad and they sound sad and they're treated in a sad way. The panels are awful. And I think it's very unfortunate."


David Bowie was among the artists who paid tribute to Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley during the very final Mark & Lard Show on Radio 1 on Friday. In a telephone message from Japan he said: "Goodbye chaps, it was all for the best - all of it."

As previously reported Mark Radcliffe is moving from Radio 1 to Radio 2 where he will return to the radio slot where he always strongest - late night. Lard, meanwhile, is joining the BBC's eclectic digital music station 6Music.

Edith Bowman and Colin Murray take over Mark & Lard's mid-afternoon slot on Radio 1.


East West have confirmed they have signed up Mr Peter Andre - which means the jungle pop star will be working with the marketing team who managed his career first time round (given that East West has since acquired his last label Mushroom).

Confirming the deal Andre told reporters: "I look forward to recording some fantastic new songs, and hope everyone will enjoy them as much as I am enjoying this second chance I've been given".


Councillors in the Suffolk town of Lowestoft are considering naming a street in the town after their newly famous sons The Darkness. District Councillor Wendy Mawer told reporters: "I have suggested that we name a road after them because three of the band, including Justin, are from Lowestoft. I don't think Darkness Close would be very popular but I am keen on Hawkins Close or Hawkins Way. Their agent has told us they would be absolutely honoured."

Whether Xfm presenter / Office creator Ricky Gervais will be equally 'honoured' by news his hometown, Reading, want to honour him with a street name we're not so sure!

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