CMU Daily - on the inside 5 May 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Majors input more info in merger mission
- MTV get go ahead for Leicester Square studio
- Former G'n'R members sue Axl
- Single Review: Morrissey - Irish Blood, English Heart
- Gallagher took drugs shocker
- Gallagher not making supergroup
- Labels pledge to pay out
- Maverick man's new project not a departure
- Chikinki man causes bomb scare
- Police seized Jacko memorabilia in investigations
- Emap confirm Kerrang launch
- More Rock Against Bush
- Live Review: Supergrass @ The Astoria
- Radio group plan new digital services to your mobile
- Chris Moyles fairs well in unofficial radio stats
- BBC bosses defend TOTP
- RAJAR consider new approaches
- Britney not quitting tour, OK?
- Live Review: The Stills At The Garage
- Prodigy due in August
- Simon & Garfunkel may play London
- Eclectic Method this Thursday
- Roxio announce Canadian launch
- Prince - "what comeback?"


Major record companies Sony and BMG are expected to submit new evidence to the European Commission today as they continue in their bid to merge and create the second largest music company in the world. A new schedule has now been set for the EU's investigations into the merger bid, with a decision now expected in July.

As previously reported, both companies were asked to submit more information about their respective operations when the merger investigation was paused last month. Such a pause led some to speculate that things weren't looking good for the merger bid, and that EU authorities would block any merger as they did when EMI and Warners tried to merge four years ago.

BMG and Sony insiders point out a key concern in that merger was Warner's recently acquired AOL empire, and that decisions made since then on mergers in other industries suggest the EU will be less against consolidation this time.

However others point out that Sony's move into the digital download sector with Sony Connect may threaten the latest merger attempts. Some fear that combining Sony's electronics and download businesses with an expanded record company and BMG's European media assets would make the merged group too powerful within Europe.

European officials would not be drawn on whether they were more or less favourable to major label mergers now than four years ago, simply telling reporters yesterday: "A few weeks ago we asked the companies for additional information. We are expecting them to send the information this week."


MTV won its long running planning battle with Westminster Council yesterday, meaning the network will be able to open new studios in London's Leicester Square. The local authority has been fighting MTV's attempts to open a West End facility at the site of the former Home night club for the best part of a year. The new studio will include production facilities, studios and a ground floor shop - and will host key MTV shows.

MTV UK MD Michiel Bakker told reporters yesterday: "Not only will it be a significant addition to media facilities in the capital, it will also allow us to launch [flagship show] TRL with the bustling backdrop of Leicester Square - one of our most identifiable and popular London landmarks".

That Leicester Square backdrop for the network's TRL show is more than just a happy added benefit of the new studios. A big motivation for MTV setting up a permanent residence in the West End was its ambition to replicate the Time Square back drop of the US edition of TRL - some grotty back street in Camden doesn't seem to have the same prestige. The concept of swarms of teenagers crowding around the windows of the studio while the show airs (as they do in Time Square) was also the main reason why Westminster Council resisted MTV's planning application for so long.

The Leicester Square base will operate in addition to MTV's existing Camden Lock studios. Sister network Nickelodeon may well use the West End base too.


Having joined forced with former bandmate Axl Rose earlier this year to try (unsuccessfully) to block the release of the Guns 'n' Roses best of album, Slash and Duff McKagan are now suing Axl himself - or at least so says Celebrity Justice magazine.

According to the reports Slash and McKagan are responded to allegations Axl Rose turned down requests to include Guns 'n' Roses tracks in various movies despite the fact he does not have a controlling stake in that music - Slash and McKagan who have equal stakes were not consulted over whether or not to enter into lucrative licencing deals.

Roses' people are yet to comment on the reported legal action.


SINGLE REVIEW: Morrissey - Irish Blood, English Heart (Sanctuary/Attack)
'Irish Blood, English Heart' is exactly what you'd hope for after seven years sans Moz; a short, moody, stern track with beefy production that is a million miles from those Smiths of his. Morrissey, now an LA resident, sings of his passion for the English and his despair for our plight as a nation of royal subjects. "I've been dreaming of time when the English are sick to death of Labour and Tories/And denounce the royal line," he sings in his trademark warble. For such a renowned misery guts, it's a startlingly positive message, and the guitars echo the sentiment with soaring, elated riffs. Along with much of his new album 'You Are The Quarry', 'Irish Blood...' tackles one of Morrissey's most controversial public facades: in this case, his being branded a racist after wrapping himself in a Union Jack at Madstock 12 years ago. But more importantly, the single and its mother album show Morrissey's unmistakeable voice to be in finer form than ever - poetic, graceful, tender yet firm - and his wit to be as acerbic as you'd expect. This, Morrissey is made of. DR
Released 10 May
Press/radio: Anglo [CR, RR, NR]


Prosecutors investigating that much covered Munich brawl involving Liam Gallagher back in Dec 2002 have said the Oasis singer and one of his band mates tested positive for drugs after the incident - it is quite likely they had being using cocaine. That in itself ain't much surprise, of course, and doesn't really add much to the story itself given that German prosecutors confirmed this week they are unlikely to take the case to trial providing the band pay a fine. At the time the band claimed the bar brawl followed an unprovoked attack.


Elsewhere in Oasis news - a spokesman for Liam Gallagher yesterday resolutely denied those rumours from the weekend's press that he was setting up a supergroup with former Stone Roses member John Squire and George Harrison's son Dhani.

A spokesman said yesterday: "The welcome heat of Sunday's weather in London must have got to the editorial staff at The Sun newspaper, so much so that they dreamed up a bizarre story about Liam Gallagher forming a supergroup with John Squire. Liam is already in a supergroup called Oasis, and far from taking a break in London, as the Sun story would have us believe, he is busy and recording and mixing the next Oasis album, due for release later this year."


Thousands of little known American musicians could be receiving surprise royalty cheques from their former record labels following a deal between the five majors and New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer yesterday.

The deal follows a two year investigation led by Spitzer into the ways major record labels report on record sales to current and former artists, and how effectively (or not) they pass on royalty payments. The research followed concern that record labels were able to keep millions in unpaid royalties because artists did not realise what they were due and therefore made no attempt to claim their money.

The labels pledged to make a proactive effort to find former artists they had lost touch with who were due royalties - even going as far as posting lists of artists owed money in trade magazines and online via trade organisation websites. Spitzer said he was pleased that the record labels had been willing to work with him in making a more proactive attempt to ensure artists large and small got the royalties they were due - and had committed to distribute an estimated $50 million in unpaid royalties as quickly as possible.

Commenting on the deal with Spitzer, Steven Marks speaking for the Recording Industry Association of America said yesterday: "Record companies aggressively and proactively search for artists and others who are owed royalties and have not claimed them. In recent years, the internet has made this task easier, particularly where artists have moved without providing updated contact information. When artists cannot be located because, for example, they or their estates have moved without providing contact information, the royalties are held by the company for the artist to claim them."

Of course the 'can't find them guvnor' excuse seems a little suspect when you realise P Diddy, David Bowie, Gloria Estefan and the estate of Elvis Presley were among the artists still owed substantial royalty payments - none of whom of been hiding of late as far as we're aware.


Speculation in the US that one of the co-owners of Madonna's Maverick label - Guy Oseary - isn't holding out for a successful break from major label Warner Music, who they are currently suing, following news he is involved in a new joint venture with a major film and TV management firm. However Maverick insiders say Oseary's new project will compliment his role there and is designed to better leverage his record label's music assets.


As the station PA announcements like to remind us every five minutes - keep your baggage with you at all times. Unfortunately Chikinki frontman Rupert Brown didn't obey those instructions while passing through Paddington Station on his way to his London Metro gig yesterday, and soon after discovered his suitcase was at the centre of a bomb scare that had closed down station. Paddington was shut for two hours after police discovered Browne's bag unattended - they eventually destroyed it, leaving him without clothes for his gig!

Speaking to the NME yesterday, Browne said: "I'd like to apologise to any rail passengers whose journey was delayed today. I have been warned about my foolish behaviour by the transport police and shall be more vigilant (if worse dressed now I've had my clothes destroyed) in future".


A Californian prosecutor yesterday admitted police had seized some of the Jackson memorabilia items held for a time by one Henry Vaccaro as part of their investigations into the ongoing Jacko child abuse allegations. Word is those items included hand written notes, photos and a pair of Calvin Klein pants. No word on if and how they will be used in the case.

As previously reported, Vaccaro acquired a whole load of Jackson family merchandise as part of a financial settlement after Michael's parents went bankrupt. Jacko tried to force Vaccaro to hand back any items that had once belonged to him, on the basis he wasn't part of his parents' bankruptcy and therefore his items should not have been used as payment. However Vaccaro said that, by the time Jacko began his legal action, he'd already sold the vast majority of the memorabilia to overseas collectors.


EMAP will launch its new Kerrang radio station in the West Midlands on 10 Jun. The rock station will broadcast on 105.2FM to an area with a population of 3.5 million adults. It will be the first full time terrestrial radio output for the Kerrang franchise, that already broadcasts more or less nationally on digital radio. The new station is expected to have a similar music policy to the digital station and its sister TV station, though there will be a fair share of speech programming and specialist shows covering hip hop, classic rock and punk.


Following the success of the previously reported 'Rock Against Bush' compilation in the US, a number of premiere league artists are lining up to donate tracks to a second edition. The first edition of the politically-motivated compilation, which included tracks from Bad Religion, The Used, and Yellowcard, sold over 200,000 copies. The second edition - due out in Aug - will include tracks from the Foo Fighters, Green Day and No Doubt.


Live Review: Supergrass at The Astoria on 1 May.
Supergrass can be neatly summed up in one word - "Stunning". I was casually standing at the back - beer in hand, casual banter being exchanged back and forth - when the lights dimmed and Supergrass strutted on. Gaining immediate venue-wide attention, these guys have the kind of presence that could only be gained from ten years of headlining some of the biggest venues worldwide. And then the music. Perfectly timed throughout the whole set and with build-ups that could compete even with those of The Verve, this was proving one hell of a show. Then, around six songs in, they took a small pause for a most noteworthy reason - to haul a sofa in to the centre of the dimly lit stage. The sofa was the centre point for an acoustic session. In the midst of a very raucous night, this was a wonderful touch and very well played, epitomised in the track 'Caught By The Fuzz', which lead to swaying flames flickering around the venue, a breathtaking sight to witness. The therapeutic implications of "sofa time" were strong and, even though I tend to prefer something a bit louder, the looks on the faces of the people in my immediate vicinity would have been enough to sway any sceptic: the acoustic bit worked. And provided a very fine juxtaposition for when the amplifiers kicked back in. All in all, as I originally said, "stunning". Actually, that doesn't do them justice - stunning times ten, which is kinda apt. Happy Birthday Supergrass, long may you continue. BS


One from the slightly dull technology file - though the implications could be very exciting. Media regulator OfCom has given the go ahead for radio giant GWR to use some of its digital radio space to transmit multi-media content that can be accessed via a special chip in some mobile phones. We have no idea how it works, but BT are involved, and if the mobile companies play ball it would mean you could access rich-media content via your mobile phone without having to use 3G mobile internet. The service is likely to roll out in the South East next year, with a UK-wide roll out in 2006. More once we understand how it works!


With the RAJAR radio listening figures out this week, rival research firm Gfk have released their stats. As previously reported at length, Gfk use a more technical system to measure radio listening habits - their research is funded by TalkSport who reckon RAJAR's old fashioned research approach is flawed.
Anyways - if Gfk's figures are to be believed, there will be a sigh of relief over at Yalding House today. They reckon that while Radio 1 continued to lose listeners overall, Chris Moyles has added 17% more listeners to the breakfast show since he replaced Sara Cox at the start of the year, which is the kind of news Radio 1 bosses need to fight off increasing criticism about the nation's favourite.

Elsewhere in the Gfk stats, good news for Talksport (of course!) who come out as the number one commercial station, ahead of Classic FM for the first time. Also good news for Capital which continues to have a bigger weekly reach than competitors Heart and Magic.

More listening figures nonsense when the RAJARs are published later this week - you lucky people.


So, if we can't slag off Radio 1 this week, how about that other BBC music institution? The BBC are trying their best to remain optimistic about their flagship music show Top of the Pops despite news that the show has lost millions of listeners since Andi Peter's much hyped 'turn-it-into-a-CDUK-clone' revamp last year.
Despite a surge in viewers immediately after the relaunch, average viewing figures last month were 2.7 million. Prior to the relaunch it was pulling in 4.1 million, and while figures are always down at this time of year, last April they were still getting 3.1 million.

BBC Head of Entertainment Wayne Garvie put on a brave face when questioned about the show this week: "What's important is that the show looks and feels like a big music show. Audience reach is fine. The ratings are not wonderful - we'd like the figures to be better. But we're genuinely happy about how it's doing".

Clutching at straws given how much damn fine music there is around at the moment, Garvie continued: "The show also depends on what music is around. At the moment there's not a lot of music out there that's breaking through to the mainstream. It's a problem for the music industry as well. In the autumn and at other times of the year it's better, so ratings will pick up."

Of course, to be fair to the TOTP team, recent plot lines in Coronation Street with which it competes for viewers, have been pulling in bigger and bigger audiences, and have won the ITV soap increased coverage in the teen press, which will effect the pop shows ratings. But then again the new format is shit.

I know - stick it on Thursdays at 7pm, use Radio DJs as presenters and stick to a music only format. Perhaps I'm getting old.


Talking of RAJAR figures, which we were for a brief moment, the company that compiles the main radio listening figures has said it is considering four new technology based methods for measuring radio listening habits. As previously reported RAJAR rejected the Gfk method of measurement, opting to continue with its hand written diary system. A decision which annoyed TalkSport boss Kelvin McKenzie big time. However RAJAR has maintained it is still open to finding a more accurate technology based system, and now says that at least two of the four new systems they are considering are in "advanced stages of development".

RAJAR MD Sally de la Bedoyere told reporters this week: "It could be that one of these suddenly emerges as a fully functioning, viable alternative to what we have before us now. Right now, we don't know. What this enlarged review does mean is that we will end up with the best possible solution, perhaps merging some of the best ideas and technologies."


Britney Spears' people have denied rumours that she will quit her current world tour midway through to spend more time with boyfriend Kevin Federline. A spokesman for the singer said yesterday: "She is tired, but anyone would be with that schedule. She will complete her tour as planned."


LIVE REVIEW: The Stills at The Garage on 28 Apr
I initially thought that the Stills were from New York. They're cool, moody and stylish, so they have to be Nu Yawkers right? Actually no - the band are Canadian (and to be honest one of their songs is called 'Of Montreal' so that's something of a clue) and they don't hesitate to mention this throughout their set along with the ever popular "Hey London, England, how you doing?" Despite their melancholic leanings the inter song banter reveals that the Stills are rather more cheery than their music would suggest. The songs are definitely miserable - titles from their current album 'Logic Will Break Your Heart' include 'Love and Death' and a typical lyric from 'Changes Are No Good' runs, "All the world's deranged, I'm left feeling crushed. Will it ruin my lipstick?" But the dark, dingy environs of the Garage - with its walls seeming to seep with dope and sweat - provides a perfect location for such sentiments. Like just about every other band currently worth their salt on either side of the Atlantic, the Stills take their inspiration from the glum-guitar bands who moped about in raincoats in the 80s, Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Divison, et al. Highlights of their set include the morose but melodic 'Still In Love Song' and the shimmering anthem ' Lola Stars and Stripes'. They're a glamorous bunch, they even put their drummer at the front of the stage so we can get a good look, and indeed for their final song 'Yesterday Never Tomorrow' the sticks man takes centre stage and takes over vocal duties for what is their jolliest, poppiest song. JW


That long awaited new Prodigy album should be released in August - hurrah! Liam Howlett has told fansite "The new Prodigy album is finished! We got 11 possibly 12 fist in the air tracks. It sounds sinister, electronic, trashy, sexy and fresh to my ears. This album is about reminding people what the Prodigy was always about - the beats and the music. The vocals on this record are mostly used as an extension of the sound rather than the main focal point."

While admitting that bandmates Keith Flint and Maxim were not involved in the making of the new album, Liam says they will be both joining him on live dates to promote it.


Simon & Garfunkel may continue their recent live reunion with a London date. Word is Clear Channel are currently negotiating with the Royal Parks people to see if they can get permission to stage a gig involving the duo in Hyde Park in July.


Eclectic Method - the DJs that mix the videos as well as the music - will be taking over Herbal this Thursday night (6 May). If you haven't seen these guys then, erm, you should. Kicks off at 7.30pm, more at


Roxio have begun the global expansion of their Napster download service - well, they've moved North slightly. That is to say they have confirmed they will launch in Canada in the summer. The Canadian service is expected to be pretty much a carbon copy of Napster's American platform - offering both a pay-per-download system and an unlimited-preview subscription service.

Confirming his company's Canadian expansion, Roxio boss Chris Gorog told reporters yesterday: "Napster has long-recognized the huge demand for a compelling, legitimate music experience among our Canadian neighbours. We are extremely pleased to respond to this demand by bringing the first on-demand subscription service and the biggest brand in online music to Canada."

Roxio are still tight lipped on the launch of their European service. Gorog told an industry conference earlier this year that complications in securing copyright agreements in Europe had forced them to put back their European launch plans.


Prince talking to the Associated Press's Nekesa Mumbi on his relationship with Sony label Columbia: "They're augmenting the project-they're not the promised land."

On his much hyped decision to play the Grammys earlier this year: "The Grammys? Every year they ask me to play the Grammys. I just said yes this year."

And on his much talked about comeback: "I would ask people who want to call this a comeback, where they think I'm coming back from."

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