CMU Daily - on the inside 22 Apr 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Lawyers prepare as old Napster dispute continues
- Warners reckon Maverick owes them millions
- Classical Brits nominations announced
- Secret Machines track online
- SEC to investigate EMI allegations
- Faith & Hope showcase
- How to count Prince freebies?
- Take That reunion on the cards
- Judas Priest re-sign to Sony
- Audio Bullys launch club night at Fabric
- UBC report revenue rise
- The Cure sign to Universal imprint
- Galaxy stage club nights for listeners
- Pogues man injured during central London assault
- Live Review: Phoenix & The Bees @ The Carling Islington Academy
- Jacko due in court next week
- Darkness Hawkins set for throat op
- Jackass guys at Download
- Weiland given OK to leave rehab to tour
- GLC put on a cabaret during technical hitches

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LAWYERS PREPARE AS OLD NAPSTER DISPUTE CONTINUES
More good business for the legal profession. Music industry lawyers are flexing their expense accounts in preparation for a pretty pointless legal battle between various labels and publishers, major record company BMG and investment firm Hummer Winblad. The legal wranglings centre on BMG and Hummer Winblad's financial support of Napster in the year before its bankruptcy.

Back in 2000 BMG and Hummer Winblad invested $90 million and $15 million respectively in the original Napster (the first high profile P2P network used to illegally share music, in case you'd forgotten). They hoped that the network's founders could find a way of transforming their service into a legitimate music download platform, and in doing so capitalise on the millions of music fans registered with the service. However the rest of the music industry did not share BMG's faith in Napster's intentions and continued to pursue expensive legal action against them on the grounds of copyright theft. When US appeal courts backed an earlier injunction against Napster they were forced to close down their service and quickly spiralled into bankruptcy - leaving the record labels who had sued them over lost record sales without the compensation they desired.

To that end in 2003 various music companies began legal action against the BMG and Hummer Winblad on the grounds their investment enabled Napster to operate for an extra eight months and in doing so lost them (the somewhat phenomenally high sum of) $17 billion in record sales. They are now looking to recoup some of that money from the two investors.

Needless to say lawyers for the two firms deny responsibility, arguing the plaintiffs are misguidedly seeking compensation from those who, in funding Napster, were attempting to create a legitimate service for those labels and publishers' collective benefit. But, speaking for some of the plaintiffs, lawyer Carey Ramos said this week: "Bertelsmann legitimised this company and totally changed the equation. Napster created the piracy we've seen in the last four years that continues unabated worldwide".

All action against the former Napster investors will be heard in San Francisco, even though some cases were filed elsewhere in the US. The case will be overseen by US District Judge Marilyn Patel who, ironically, was the judge who served the injunction in 2000 that started the beginning of the end for the original Napster.

All these legal dealings have nothing to do, of course, with the current Napster service. Roxio bought the Napster name and URL in 2002 as a brand for their legitimate download service.

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WARNERS RECKON MAVERICK OWES THEM MILLIONS
Also from the file marked 'petty squabbles' - erm, I mean, 'litigation' - more details on the dispute between Warner Music and its imprint Maverick after the former's legal case against the latter was revealed yesterday.

As previously reported, Maverick - a joint venture label co-owned by Warners, Madonna, Guy Oseary and Ronnie Dashev - is attempting to break its link with the major label following the takeover by Edgar Bronfmann Jnr. Insiders expected Maverick bosses to simply utilise a clause in their contract with Warners that said they could end their agreement and buy out the major's share if there was a change of ownership. However, despite initial rumours of productive talks between the two parties, Maverick then filed legal proceedings which tried to void their relationship with Warners and seek compensation from them on the grounds that the major had been in breach of contract on numerous occasions in recent years.

Warner Music filed their own sealed lawsuit against Maverick less than 24 hours before the imprint. Details of that lawsuit were revealed yesterday. According to the Hollywood Reporter it states that Warners fulfilled all its obligations to Maverick and, what's more, that the imprint owes the major $66 million relating to losses made by Maverick but covered by Warners, plus an additional $20 million to repay a loan and $6.5 million in unpaid fees. Therefore, the major argues, Maverick will need to pay $92.5 million in addition to 40% of the agreed value of the imprint (ie Warners' share) in order to buy itself out of their partnership. The major is also threatening to take complete control of Maverick in order to recoup that $92.5 million.

Both sides are now awaiting the opportunity to fight their respective arguments in court. While the legal people go through the due process it's unclear how the wranglings will impact on Maverick, and high profile releases such as Alanis Morrisette's new album, out next month. Meanwhile Warners continue to claim the ongoing legal dispute does not affect their relationship with Madonna as an artist.

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CLASSICAL BRITS NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED
It might not have the mainstream popularity of its rock 'n' pop sibling, but at least you're not saddled with Cat Dealey and 400 screaming Smash Hits readers. Yep, the date has been set for this year's Classical Brits - 26 May at the Royal Albert Hall. And while there are always some in the classical industry who accuse such events of being overly populist, most of the big names in the sector should be on hand to congratulate the winners. The nomination short lists were announced yesterday and now the awards' Academy of promoters, journalists, Musician Union members, industry executives and orchestra leaders will vote to decide the winners. Classic FM listeners will be invited to vote on Album Of The Year.

The nominations are as follows:

Album Of The Year: Aled Jones - Higher; Amici Forever - The Opera Band; Bryn Terfel - Bryn; Denise Leigh/Jane Gilchrist - Operatunity; Dominic Miller - Shapes; Hayley Westenra - Pure; Lesley Garrett - So Deep Is The Night; Luciano Pavarotti - Ti Adoro; Ludovico Einaudi - Echoes The Collection; Myleene Klass - Moving On

Contemporary Music Award: Gidon Kremer - Happy Birthday; John Rutter - Distant Land; Phillip Glass - The Hours

Female artist of the year: Cecilia Bartoli, Hayley Westenra, Marin Alsop

Male Artist Of The Year: Bryn Terfel, Sir Colin Davis, Nigel Kennedy

Ensemble / Orchestral Album Of The Year: John Rutter/RPO - Distant Land; New College Oxford Choir/Higginbottom - Bach; St John Passion, Sir Simon Rattle/VPO - Beethoven Symphonies
Young British Classical Performer: Catrin Finch, Colin Currie, Daniel Hope

Critics' Awards: LSO/Jansons - Mahler/Symphony no.6, LSO (Harmonia Mundi); Rattle/VPO - Beethoven/Complete Symphonies; Vengerov/LSO/Rostropovitch - Britten/Walton/Violin Concerto

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SECRET MACHINES TRACK ONLINE
"It's a bit Pink Floyd, a bit Flaming Lips, a bit Velvet Underground. It's beautiful. Emotional, even... There are glorious pop hooks at the heart of every song" ... so say the NME on 679 Recordings' Secret Machines, and who are we to argue? Anyway, you can listen to a track from this exciting new band for yourself come 10 May when they release a download only single - 'Sad and Lonely' - at http://www.thesecretmachines.com

Album 'Now Here Is Nowhere' will follow on 28 Jun with a single release in Jul. Tour dates are also expected for Jun - more when we get it. Press info from Hermana.

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SEC TO INVESTIGATE EMI ALLEGATIONS
More on those allegations that EMI in the US are guilty of false chart reporting - or at least of hiring consultants to false report on their behalf. As previously reported, the allegations have surfaced during a dispute between the major and independent label Avatar. Although EMI deny all the allegations (and originally insisted Avatar hadn't even made them), the New York Post reports that America's Securities and Exchange Commission are now investigating the claims. Commenting on the ongoing allegations an EMI spokesman told reporters this week: "As we have said before, EMI does not engage in these practices. This is another red herring attempt by Avatar to divert attention from a lawsuit EMI filed to recover more than $1 million Avatar owes EMI."

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FAITH & HOPE SHOWCASE
Faith & Hope Records are staging a night at London's 93 Feet East next month to showcase some of their roster. We're not familiar with everyone on the bill, but Los Paranoias are fantastic and worthy alone of your attendance. The full line up on the night includes Beats For Beginners (live); Los Paranoias (live); Morning Runner (live); National Forest (DJ set) and Shirokuma (laptop DJ set). All takes place on 13 May from 7.30pm - tickets are £5 in advance. Press info from Southern PR on 020 7263 7074.

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HOW TO COUNT PRINCE FREEBIES?
Some speculation in the US as to how the 10,000's of copies of Prince's Musicology that are essentially being given away will be accounted for in official sales figures and music charts. As previously reported, everyone who attends one of Prince's current sell out tour dates receives a free copy of the new album, which had its retail release via Sony label Columbia this week. It's not entirely clear how US stats and chart people plan to account for the giveaway albums - if they are not counted it would severely affect Prince's sales figures, but some might argue it dangerous to set the precedent that labels can giveaway records to fans in order to boost a chart position.

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TAKE THAT REUNION ON THE CARDS
Word is Gary Barlow let it slip at a 19 Management party this week that a Take That reunion is being planned for later this year. According to the Daily Mirror, Barlow said: "We're all getting back together this Christmas for something really special. It's not strictly speaking a concert but we're doing something in time for Christmas and Robbie has signed up to do it."

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JUDAS PRIEST RE-SIGN TO SONY
Well, rock truly is back in fashion. Sony have confirmed they have re-signed heavy metal outfit Judas Priest - 30 years after the band was originally formed. It was with Sony that the band had some of their biggest successes and, with what the label are calling the "definitive Judas Priest line-up" of vocalist Rob Halford, guitarists Glenn Tipton and KK Downing, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis, they will be hoping to resurrect those glory years with a new long player. While Sony's press release is a bit OTT - "this long-awaited reunion of will thrill fans around the globe and provide them with the opportunity to see and hear the band that defined Heavy Metal as we know it today" - expect to see the ever-loyal metal contingent flocking to see the band on a European tour and at Ozzfest later this year.

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AUDIO BULLYS LAUNCH CLUB NIGHT AT FABRIC
With their yet-to-be-titled second album in production, the Audio Bullys have announced their intention to launch a new club night called 'Blessed' which is promising to have "a hedonistic edge befitting of their rabble-rousing rhythms". Audio Bullys Simon Franks and Tom Dinsdale will be joined on the decks by Marc Hughes and Johnny Vick, and Simon's brother, Jimmy Franks. Describing the night Simon told CMU: "Blessed gives us the perfect opportunity to try out new tracks, and play them to people we already know are feeling our styles. They get to hear them first, and in the environment they're made for!"

The night launches on 7 May in Room One of Fabric. More at http://www.fabriclondon.com

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UBC REPORT REVENUE RISE
Radio company UBC was in buoyant mood yesterday when it announced it expected its advertising sales revenue to more than double when it reports its year end results in Jun. The company - who run their own Classic Gold stations as well as producing programming for other radio groups - said the general recovery of the radio advertising sector and the performance of its AA Roadwatch service had helped the growth of the company. They also said that the growth in digital radio, and the accessing of radio via digital TV, while not yet impacting on their bottom line was increasing their optimism for the future.

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THE CURE SIGN TO UNIVERSAL IMPRINT
I Am Records - an affiliate of Universal Music's Geffen division - yesterday confirmed it has signed The Cure, and would release their thirteenth studio album in the US on 22 Jun. That album was recorded at London's Olympic Studios with I Am Records boss Ross Robinson sitting in the producer's chair. No word yet on a UK release for that album.

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GALAXY STAGE CLUB NIGHTS FOR LISTENERS
Chrysalis Radio's dance music brand Galaxy is staging a series of club nights in the cities where it broadcasts to give listeners a chance to experience some of the station's specialist show talent for real. Among the DJs involved are Cassidy, 2 Play, Gemma Fox, Jay Sean, Paul Kershaw and Andi Durrant - while Hed Kandi will be championing the best of Funky House together with Galaxy specialists Kareem and The Slammin Boys. Tickets will be given away via Galaxy shows and the station's website. More at http://www.galaxyfm.co.uk

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POGUES MAN INJURED DURING CENTRAL LONDON ASSAULT
Former Pogues man Shane MacGowan was assaulted by two men at a central London pub on Monday. According to the Evening Standard the singer suffered a fractured cheekbone after being kicked, punched and hit with a metal bar. No word on the motive for the attack, though two men were arrested and later bailed.

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LIVE REVIEW: Phoenix & The Bees @ The Carling Islington Academy on 20 Apr
When a PR suggests you watch a gig in the company of some fellow journalists you generally expect an evening of cynical observations that will lean more towards a slating. But not this night - here a consensus that everything was good, and that this was a truly enriching event.

Phoenix trotted onto the blue-lit stage; the lead singer took to the mic and made his first mistake - "Hi we're Phoenix, from Paris!" - when is it ever wise to publicise that you are French? Nevertheless, they played a surprisingly good set, even once I had the knowledge that they are Parisian. Everything was good, with the polite exception of the penultimate song 'Funky Square Dance'. This song opened with a Doors/Jim Morrison attempt to play with the audience, and held weak similarities to 'The End' - by far one of the best songs ever to be recorded. Their unhealthy lean towards this left much to be desired - Morrison style pauses and darkness aren't easily replicated. But despite a low point so close to the end of the set, Phoenix managed to win me back as the song drew to an end with winding guitar lines and a notable lift in the style that moved away from their flirtation with a genre of music that should be left to the big boys. By the finale they were very much back doing what they are good at - music that is full of pop interludes and funk backings, making the most of a singer who could easily put JK to shame.

The Bees were next to take to the boards, with a grace that does not often walk onto the London scene. Their first and only real insertion of dialogue was to announce that their set was to be compiled solely with songs from their eagerly awaited new album, due out mid-June. Then they launched into it. My first assessment of the music was that it was Rainbow-Rock, with Quadraphonia style beats and a very sixties flower power vibe pushing it. But it was much more than that and the range they showed throughout the set was stunning to say the least. They played for a solid hour, though it felt like 10 minutes and when they moved away from the Rainbow-rock vibe a few tracks in, after the stunning (and to quote the very nice guy that stood next to me "weird as a bottle of crisps") track 'Take It Back', they launched into blues tracks that would, could and will without a doubt upon the release of the album be put up there on the level of Mr David Viner and even Muddy Waters on a good day. They belted out some enchanting tracks that relied as much upon the guitar's charming lines as it did the voice that was leading the procession. The evening drew to a close too early for my personal liking, but the feeling of enlightenment lasted all night, and was only surpassed after finding out that Chelsea had been devoured by Monaco.

All in all The Bees provided an amazing show that has without a shadow of a doubt wet my pallet and teased my appetite for the upcoming second album, which, looks and sounds like it will be a piece of genius. We all speak of the need for an artist to grow on that tricky second album - to avoid the temptation to just try and cop off the same ol' stuff... Well The Bees certainly have done that and in doing so, won a loyal supporter in the CMU camp and by the looks on the faces of the other journo's present across the music media at large ... So, I feel the need, as the sky becomes a vortex of grey clouds, to go and wash in the rain... BS.

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JACKO DUE IN COURT NEXT WEEK
The Grand Jury who have been assessing the prosecution's evidence against Michael Jackson on those child abuse allegations have finished their investigations. One of their roles was to test the strength of the prosecution's case, and on that they have ruled there is sufficient evidence for proceedings to continue to a full hearing. To that end Jacko will appear in court next week so the schedule of the full case can be set - which means another media circus around the Santa Barbara court house.

Elsewhere in Jacko news - and there were reports in the LA Times yesterday that conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges were being considered against several associates of Jackson for allegedly threatening the family of the boy who is at the centre of the latest child abuse allegations. A lawyer representing Frank Tyson, Jacko's personal assistant, and Vincent Amen, an employee of the singer's production company, admitted that accusations had been made against his clients. Rumour has it the boy's mother claimed the former threatened to kill her younger son if he gave evidence against Jacko, while the latter held the whole family at Jackson's Neverland estate against their will. Needless to say both are denying all allegations, describing them as "patently false."

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DARKNESS HAWKINS SET FOR THROAT OP
The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins is to undergo throat surgery to try and overcome that medical complaint that forced the band to cancel a couple of dates on their current US tour. Speaking to KROQ in LA Hawkins said: "I'm going to have an operation. [It's on] my oesophagus, because I get acid reflux, which comes into my throat and is the reason why I had to cancel a couple of shows this tour." The surgery is scheduled to take place during the band's up coming month long break - which begins next week.

On the possible risks attached to the surgery Hawkins continued: "Certain people are worried - but they're going to insist on the smallest tube possible for the key hole. They don't anticipate that it'll be any permanent damage but it will take a while to get it back to normal."

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JACKASS GUYS AT DOWNLOAD
Steve O and Chris Pontius from MTV's Jackass have been confirmed as appearing at the Donington leg of the Download festival in Jun. They will perform their new Wildboyz show at the festival.

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WEILAND GIVEN OK TO LEAVE REHAB TO TOUR
A judge in the US has given former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland permission to tour America with his new band Velvet Revolver. As previously reported, Weiland was ordered to undertake six months of live-in rehab after he walked out on another rehab programme which he was obligated to undertake to avoid prison after various drugs charges. That programme was due to run until Jun, threatening Weiland's involvement in the promotion of Velvet Revolver's debut album and planned tour. However, following a previous decision to allow Weiland leave from rehab to record a video for debut single 'Slither', a judge has now given the singer permission to tour with his band during May.

As previously reported Velvet Revolver is the new band featuring much of the old Guns 'n' Roses line up, including Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum. Their first single is released in the UK on 5 May, album 'Contraband' follows on 7 Jun.

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GLC PUT ON A CABARET DURING TECHNICAL HITCHES
Goldie Lookin Chain kept their audience entertained during fifteen minutes of technical hitches at their gig at the Portsmouth Wedgwood Rooms on Tuesday night. The amps at the venue overheated and had to be turned off for quarter of an hour to cool down. Not wanting to leave the crowd un-entertained the GLC boys took the opportunity to stage a version of legendary quiz show 'Catchphrase', a quick session of the GLC break dancing school and even the 'fastest skinning up' event. Sorted

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