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We provide research and consultancy services in youth and music here
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
EMI boss responds to Terra Firma cash injection story
New Beatles exhibitions in Hamburg and Liverpool
In The Pop Courts
Spector jailed for 19 years
Osbourne sues for cut of Black Sabbath name
Ticket reseller says German ruling not significant
Love says Amex debts relate to fraud claims
Pop Politics
Doherty, etc, line up for LMHR
Rise Against release controversial single
Obituaries
Japanese lyricist Ishimoto dies
Release News
New Maximo Park single
Gigs N Tours News
Akon expects Jacko to mime
Morrissey cancels more dates
Festival News
New youth music festival to launch this month
Reviews
Album review: Eels - Hombre Lobo (Universal/Polydor)
The Music Business
People file-share, they shouldn't really, but they do
Phoenix buy assets of struggling reggae label
SPV in administration
The Media Business
New FHM editor appointed
Unsigned bands station launches on Digital One
Two radio stations close
Signal appoint new programme controller
Chart Of The Day
Chart update
And finally...
Diversity win BGT
Idol runner up to come out as gay
Rihanna dropped from Vogue because of nude shots
Leona Lewis too busy for Obama
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts

 
MONDAY 1ST JUNE


Hello everybody

Welcome to June. And welcome to the summer. It's not really my job to welcome you to June. Nor to the summer. But look, I've done it now, and I'm not sure there is much you can do about it really. So there.

 
Time for some more CMU type plugging I reckon, just so you don't all accuse me of not keeping you fully in the loop with what's going down here at CMU HQ, which one person did once. And after I'd so professionally introduced June and summer as well. So, here goes...

1. JOIN US AT THE EDINBURGH FESTIVAL
As you all surely know by now, CMU's sister title ThreeWeeks is the biggest reviewer at the world's biggest cultural festival, the Edinburgh Festival in August. What you might not know is that sitting behind the whole ThreeWeeks venture is an acclaimed and totally unique education programme for students and aspiring journalists.

We basically recruit and train a team of 90 students each year who, together, form the ThreeWeeks review, editorial, podcast and photography teams at the Edinburgh Festival. These students get top quality training and coaching, plus have full-on access to the entire Edinburgh Festival, and the 2000 odd shows that take place there during August. It's a totally unique way to get on-the-ground journalism and media experience while enjoying one of the most exciting culture events on the planet.

Anyway, the deadline for applying to join the ThreeWeeks student team this August is this Friday - so if you know any students or aspiring journalists who would benefit from this programme, or if you are that student, then go check out this webpage now...

www.creativestudent.net/threeweeksedinburgh

2. BECOME AN OFFICIAL CMU SUPPORTER
Did you know that the CMU Daily is now read by over 15,500 music people every single day? That's pretty much every key decision maker and opinion former in music in the UK.

If you're a company or brand operating in the music space this is the very audience you should be connecting with, and now you can on a daily basis by becoming an official CMU supporter. And for just £50 a month!

As a CMU Daily supporter you'll soon have your logo and link at the top of every edition of the Daily. Interested? Well, just drop us an email at ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk and we'll tell you how.

3. SPECIAL ADVERTISING RATES FOR JUNE!
If you would rather promote your products, services, releases or events on a more tactical basis, then you can do so by advertising in the CMU Daily. We have a whole range of great packages available, and you'll find full info and a rate card at the URL below.

But here's the exciting bit - we have a special offer on this month where we'll give you three banner adverts for the special price of £250. That's a saving of £200, and you can use the banner ads at any time in the next six months. If you are interested in this, or any of the other ad packages outlined at the URL below, then call 020 7099 9050 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.

www.unlimitedmedia.co.uk/cmu/#001

Anyway, that's enough plugging for now, let's get on with your daily dose of CMU music news shall we?

Chris Cooke, Co-Editor, CMU Daily

 
MPHO
Another young, lyrically brash solo artist from London, MPHO is thankfully less inclined than most of her contemporaries of slipping into sneering cockney tones, preferring to flit between sweetly cooing verses and a rougher, almost spitting style on her more testing lyrics. First single 'Box N Locks' is something of a up tempo summer mash-up, sampling Martha And The Muffins' new wave track 'Echo Beach' (if you haven't heard it before you'd think it was a song by The Cure) while she sings about the preconceptions people have about the sort of music she makes: "supposed to be this ghetto chick/making all that urban music". If this content sounds nauseating then you're unlikely to appreciate the other track on her MySpace, 'Fix Ya Face', which is also resolutely matter-of-fact, though she seems to have enough musical dexterity and invention to (probably) outlast even the most cynical critics.

www.myspace.com/mphosounds



 

 

 

EMI BOSS RESPONDS TO TERRA FIRMA CASH INJECTION STORY
EMI Music top cat Elio Leoni-Sceti issued a memo to his staff on Friday in response to that previously reported Wall Street Journal piece on how parent company Terra Firma had injected some extra cash into the business to help it meet its loan repayment commitments to US banking giant Citigroup. At least one staff member quickly forwarded it on to Billboard, like you do, which is why we're all talking about it this morning. Fun, fun.

The Wall Street Journal piece, and subsequent re-reportings of it, were "misleading and inaccurate", according to Leoni-Sceti, though presumably he wasn't referring to our report on the new Terra Firma investment, I mean everyone knows we're the kings of accuracy and, erm, correct leading.

Anyway, it seems that the story, which was basically correct, led to speculation that [a] EMI Music was performing somewhat below the expectations of its owners, [b] there was a danger EMI would default on a Citigroup repayment leading to foreclosure, and [c] the whole thing could lead to Terra Firma having second thoughts about their investment in the music company, making them open to new takeover proposals, perhaps from long-time EMI suitor Warner Music. Those who pay close attention to their CMU Daily will remember we idly speculated the latter.

Anyway, Leoni-Sceti's memo denied any of that was the case.

He said that while Terra Firma had injected some extra cash into EMI - via the company through which is holds its EMI equity, Maltby - the money came from a special fund that was set up by Terra Firma two years ago anticipating that additional funding may be required to help the major music company meet its loan repayment deadlines. Not only that, but Terra Firma's deal with Citigroup, which enabled it to buy EMI in the first place, specifically allowed for such additional cash injections, which are apparently known as 'equity cures'. So, while Terra Firma would presumably prefer not to have to keep propping up its music company, Leoni-Sceti wants it to be known that the equity group anticipated it might have to, and put a system in place to facilitate doing so, right back at the time of its acquisition of EMI.

As for Citigroup's loan, Leoni-Sceti told his staff that Terra Firma had negotiated a very good deal with the bank when it borrowed the cash required to buy EMI, and that as a result the loan arrangement was 'covenant-lite'. This makes it easier for EMI to renegotiate its repayment terms, and harder for the bank to claim any assets if the company defaults. It also enables Terra Firma to make the so called 'equity cure' cash injections, which wouldn't be allowed under stricter more conventional corporate loan agreements. All this figures; the deal was, after all, done pre-credit crunch in that era when banks were entering into all kinds of slack corporate deals, mainly because they were being run by a bunch of delusional idiots who really should have paid more attention in maths class. But that's a problem for Citibank, not Terra Firma or EMI.

As for EMI's financial position, the top man concluded in his memo to his staff: "Thanks to your skill and hard work, EMI Music is delivering strong growth in operating profits and cash flow, and we have maintained market share - despite being in a period of major reorganisation. That period is now behind us, and we are looking forward to an exciting new chapter as we roll out our consumer-focused strategy designed to provide the best service to artists and customers".

Storming. And what an incredibly accurate at not at all misleading bit of reporting from CMU there, don't you think? I give it 18 months till Terra Firma bail.

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NEW BEATLES EXHIBITIONS IN HAMBURG AND LIVERPOOL
Not only has Liverpool pretty much based its entire tourism industry around the Fab Four (OK, there's stuff about boats too, but we all know why the foreign tourists really flock to Merseyside), now Hamburg are cashing in on their links to John, Paul, George and Ringo. Not that they have any links to Ringo, but that's not relevant.

Yes, the German city has opened a Beatles museum called Beatlemania, cashing in, of course, on the band's short but significant time based in the city, playing residencies at various early 60s Hamburg clubs. Although starting off with the band's pre-Ringo Hamburg days, the exhibition will take visitors through the band's entire career through to break up. The new facility opened on Friday.

Meanwhile, back in Liverpool, the main Beatles museum there, The Beatles Story, has just launched a new exhibition called 'White Feather: The Spirit Of Lennon', which is basically the story of Lennon's relationship with his first wife Cynthia and their son Julian, told by the wife and son. This one tells the story from John and Cynthia's first encounters at Liverpool's art college to their separation and divorce. Have I ever mentioned that Cynthia sat in front of mum at primary school? Look at me, friend of the stars.

In case you wondered what the title of this exhibition is all about, it relates to a story of coincidence in Julian Lennon's life. He recalls how as a child "one of the things my father said to me was that, should he pass away, if there was some way of letting me know he was going to be OK, or that we were all going to be OK, it would involve, in some way, shape or form, presenting me with a white feather". About ten years ago, while touring Australia, a group of Aborigines by chance presented Lennon Junior with a white feather while asking him if he would speak up for their plight. Because of the link to his father's earlier somewhat vague comments, that incident motivated him to set up The White Feather Foundation, an environmental and humanitarian charity. And hence, also, the name of this show.

Commenting on the exhibition, Julian Lennon told reporters: ''John Lennon is an idol to millions of people who grew up loving his music and ideals, but to me he is the father I loved and lost. I hope this exhibition lets people see another aspect of his life and our time together as a family. This collection represents something of great importance to us as it is part of our history".

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SPECTOR JAILED FOR 19 YEARS
Phil Spector will spend at least 19 years in jail for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson at his Beverly Hills home back in 2003.

As expected, the legendary producer was sentenced in an LA court on Friday. And Judge Larry Fidler endorsed the prosecution's argument that Spector should receive a minimum sentence of 19 years, 15 years for the murder, and four years for related gun crimes. As previously reported, the defence had been pushing for a sentence as low as three years, despite the statutory minimums.

Technically speaking Spector's sentence is 19 years to life, meaning he can't be paroled before 19 years, but could actually spend even longer in jail. Though that would assume he'll live past the age of 88 anyway, which few think he will.

Spector's main hope, then, is a successful appeal. The producer's legal people have already let it be known that he will appeal, with main lawyer Doron Weinberg maintaining Spector was convicted based on wholly circumstantial evidence - mainly the various testimonies from former girlfriends of how the producer could go a bit loopy when alone with women and guns. Spector, of course, maintains that Clarkson shot herself.

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OSBOURNE SUES FOR CUT OF BLACK SABBATH NAME
Ozzy Osbourne is suing bandmate Tony Iommi for a slice of the Black Sabbath trademark. Iommi, the band's only consistent member throughout its forty year history, acquired complete ownership of the Black Sabbath name in the eighties. Until recently this fact didn't seem to bother Ozzy, or manager wife Sharon, too much, even though Osbourne is obviously the most high profile of all the people to have been in the seminal metal band over the years.

That said, Osbourne now claims that he has been trying to negotiate a share of the Black Sabbath trademark off Iommi for the best part of three years, and says he has only launched legal proceedings because out of court negotiations have failed. The lawsuit seems to say that Iommi's original claim to complete ownership of the Black Sabbath name was false, adding that the value of the band's brand in 2009 has a lot to do with the management of it by the Osbourne clan since Ozzy returned as the outfit's (almost) full time frontman in 1997.

The lawsuit is looking for a 50% stake in the trademark, plus a cut of the money Iommi made using the name pre-1997 (from the early 90s era mainly, I think). Despite that fact, Osbourne is reported as saying he'd like the Black Sabbath name to be owned equally by the band's four founder and current members, so that's Geezer Butler and Bill Ward as well as Osbourne and Iommi.

Iommi is yet to respond.

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TICKET RESELLER SAYS GERMAN RULING NOT SIGNIFICANT
The company who own the German secondary ticketing website Ventic, who were last week seemingly ordered by a Munich court to stop the resale of tickets to the upcoming Depeche Mode tour of Germany, have said the court's final ruling is not as significant as was claimed by the tour's promoter, Frankfurt-based promoter Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur, and German live music trade body VDKD.

As previously reported, it was claimed last week that the German court had banned Ventic from reselling tickets to upcoming Depeche Mode dates. The ban was based on the fact the terms and conditions of the original tickets forbid them to be resold. More than that, if and when Ventic or their parent company Smartfox Media deliberately bought Depeche Mode tickets directly off promoters MLK or their approved ticketing agent, with the intent of reselling them, and without admitting that fact to the primary ticket seller, they were guilty of "fraudulent purchase".

However, a spokesman for Smartfox has told Billboard that while a temporary injunction did forbid the sale of any Depeche Mode tickets via Ventic, the final ruling only banned the resale of tickets that could be shown to have been acquired by this process of "fraudulent purchase". It did not forbid Smartfox from enabling third party individuals to resell their tickets, at a mark up, nor to buy chunks of tickets off other third parties with the intent to reselling them via their Ventic website.

Billboard quote the Dutch company's CEO Martin Josten thus: "Smartfox Media is allowed to continue selling tickets for the group Depeche Mode through the Ventic platform. The interim injunction has now been cancelled in some key points and limited to very specific tickets, [so] no longer plays a role in practice".

This means the courts have OKed the resale of tickets by individuals or touts providing the reseller does not "fraudulently purchase" the original tickets in the first place. Although in theory that is limiting, because it means only those who genuinely intended to attend a gig but, for some reason, can't are allowed to put tickets onto the resale market, the fact it doesn't ban the secondary selling of tickets altogether makes the whole thing hard to police. Unless a tout buys unusually high numbers of tickets in one transaction, the effort of proving any one ticket on the secondary market was bought through a "fraudulent purchase" probably isn't worth it.

All of which means the German ruling is not as helpful as it first seemed to those in the live music industry who resent the growth of the online ticket touting sector, and the number of ticket resale agencies and websites profiting from that growth. MLK and VDKD are yet to comment on Josten's claims regarding the Munich court ruling.

As previously reported, Depeche Mode will resume their European tour, previously halted by frontman Dave Gahan's ill health, in Germany on 8 Jun.

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LOVE SAYS AMEX DEBTS RELATE TO FRAUD CLAIMS
Courtney Love has responded to that previously reported lawsuit filed against her by American Express. As previously reported, the credit card company say Love owes them $350,000 in unpaid balances and fees.

As expected, Love says the debts relate to her previous allegations of identity theft against her, her late husband Kurt Cobain, and the Cobain estate. Fraudsters have run up the debts, she claims, and AmEx should accept responsibility for that, because it was their lax security processes that let it happen.

Love's lawyer Keith Fink explained their position in a statement, commenting: "AmEx knows the claim has no merit. We have told them this for a long time. Amex's lax policies allowed fraudulent transactions to be charged to my client's card. I retained one of the country's best private investigators, John Nazarian, who looked at the alleged charges and corroborated they were fraudulent".

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DOHERTY, ETC, LINE UP FOR LMHR
Pete Doherty headlined the previously reported Love Music, Hate Racism festival at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke on Saturday, appearing atop a bill that included the likes of Kelly Rowland, Reverend and The Makers, Kano, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, and Beverley Knight. The show was timed to precede this week's European elections, and to encourage voters to vote for anything but racist parties like the BNP.

Doherty played a four track set which included Libertines track 'What A Waster', in which he changed one line of the lyrics to "you two bob racist cunt" to take in the anti-racism theme of the event. He was then joined by Babyshambles colleague Drew McConnell for a rendition of 'Last Of The English Roses' before going on to perform the tracks 'Albion' and 'Time For Heroes'.

Elsewhere, Jon McClure of Reverend And The Makers, who played songs from his band's new album during their set at the event, told NME.com: "The Britain I know is the one of harmony where we live together and alongside each other, the idea of the BNP repulses me. But there's a feeling here that we can change things, it's exciting times".

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RISE AGAINST RELEASE CONTROVERSIAL SINGLE
Oft-political Chicago punk rockers Rise Against are to release a single questioning the US army's treatment of its own serving soldiers, because, say the band, they want to focus on the issues of the "suicide rate of troops, torture, [and] internal sexual abuse". The narrative of the track, entitled 'Hero Of War', is based on the true story of a soldier who served in Iraq.

Frontman Tim McIlrath explains: "'Hero Of War' is the story of one soldier, not all soldiers, as he battles not just the war around him, but the war that rages within. Inspired by true events, we were given the choice to either document the tribulations of these times as they unfold around us, or ignore them. To ignore these problems, in our opinion, is letting down the brave men and women who risk everything".

He continued: "'Hero Of War' is our attempt to lift the stigma that surrounds everything from the skyrocketing suicide rate of troops, torture, internal sexual abuse, an under-funded VA, and the growing number of military personnel fighting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as they return home. We hope this song and this video help the simmering dialogue about these problems evolve into a rolling boil".

The track is out on 8 Jun in the UK. The video is here.

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JAPANESE LYRICIST ISHIMOTO DIES
Award-winning Japanese lyricist Miyuki Ishimoto has died at the age of 85 in Yokohama, Billboard reports. He had succumbed to heart failure after suffering from diabetes for the last decade.

The writer of around 4000 songs, Ishimoto's career spanned six decades, and his lyrics were familiar to multiple generations. His first hit was 'Akogare no Hawaii Koro', recorded by Haruo Oka in 1948, and he went on to write lyrics for Japanese singing megastar and 'living national treasure', the late Hibari Misora.

It was in the early eighties that his achievements were particularly recognised, when he was awarded Japan Record Awards two years running. In his later years Ishimoto was active in industry organisations such as the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (or JASRAC) of which he was chairman from 1989 to 1994.

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NEW MAXIMO PARK SINGLE
Maximo Park will release the second single from their latest album, 'Quicken The Heart', on 13 Jul via Warp. 'Questing, Not Coasting' will be released on CD, 7" vinyl and via digital download.

You can watch the video for the track now on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqYkiZ4a1oQ&fmt=18.

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AKON EXPECTS JACKO TO MIME
Akon has said that he thinks Michael Jackson will mime when he appears at his upcoming O2 residency. He told the Daily Star: "I'm going to have front row tickets. I will have the best tickets in the house and will be so close to the stage you will think that I am on it. I've got backstage tickets, the works. Michael singing, I'm not so sure about. He will perform but not sing. He hasn't told me what he's got planned. He ain't told anybody. But it's going to be amazing, I can tell you that."

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MORRISSEY CANCELS MORE DATES
Morrissey cancelled his final two dates at Brixton Academy on Friday and Saturday nights because of his ongoing health problems. He had already cancelled the Thursday gig, the first of a three night residency at the venue. It brings recent cancellations to a total of seven, all related to that problem with the singer's throat.

A statement on Morrissey's website read: "Regrettably, the rest of Morrissey's UK tour dates at the O2 Academy Brixton have been cancelled. Morrissey is on continued doctor's orders not to sing. Ticket holders are advised to hang on to their tickets and await further information. Event organizers would like to apologise to fans for the disappointment. Additional information will be issued as soon as possible".

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NEW YOUTH MUSIC FESTIVAL TO LAUNCH THIS MONTH
A new 'urban youth festival', which aims to help develop a new generation of east London talent in the run up to the London Olympics, will launch later this month. Young London: Into Music will consist of five separate events, set to take place in the five so called 'Olympic host boroughs' (that's Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest) between 26 Jun and 2 Aug.

Each event will feature performances from urban names such as Bashy, Ms Dynamite, Roachford and Akala, as well as showcasing lesser known rising stars and providing young aspiring artists, many of whom are socially excluded or lacking in employment and education, with professional mentoring, and time with established artists. The project is a part of CREATE09, a wider cultural festival taking place in the aforementioned Olympic host Boroughs from 22 Jun to 2 Aug in partnership with Biggafish, Continental Drifts, Music Matrix, Rising Tide, and Urban Development.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Eels - Hombre Lobo (Universal/Polydor)
Mark Everett, better known as E, seems unable to sing in anything but the first-person. Sometimes he sings as himself, and the results are heartbreaking and intense, like on previous albums 'Electro-shock Blues' and 'Daisies Of The Galaxy', which dealt with the deaths of various members of his family. When he's not singing as himself, Everett shifts into various characters, like in 2001's 'Souljacker', and in this album - 'Hombre Lobo'. E claims that the album is sung from the perspective of an unloved child who's now grown up, meaning that it deals almost wholly with desire. Tracks like 'The Look You Give That Guy' and 'What's A Fella Gotta Do' treat unrequited love with the passion and fire that the subject deserves. It's only when he strays off-track, in songs like 'Fresh Blood', and starts making werewolf howl noises that the whole thing starts to feel a little forced. If you loved Eels and have lost track of what they're up to, then this isn't the album to return with - dig out 'Blinking Lights And Other Revelations', the twinkly double-album masterpiece of 2006. If you've never listened to Eels, then start much, much earlier with the aforementioned 'Electro-shock Blues'. But make sure that you end up back here eventually, because in the right context it's superb. DG
Release Date: 1 Jun
Press Contact: Polydor IH

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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PEOPLE FILE-SHARE, THEY SHOULDN'T REALLY, BUT THEY DO
As we approach the tenth anniversary of the very original Napster, a new report from the cuddly sounding Strategic Advisory Board For Intellectual Property says it reckons that some £12 billion worth of copyrighted material is accessed illegally online each year.

Well, I think that's what it says. I'm a bit confused about all this, which I think is because, as is often the case, there are a lot of assumptions going on in this research report, conducted by the University College London's Centre for Information Behaviour & The Evaluation Of Research.

They say that on one particular P2P network at midday on a weekday there were 1.3 million users "sharing content" - I think they mean 1.3 million users were online with the relevant P2P client switched on. Assuming, as the researchers have, that each of those people download one piece of content a day, and assuming all that content is unlicensed, and assuming each bit of content is worth approximately £2.50, then that's your £12 billion of stolen content. Which is a lot of money, but also a lot of assumptions.

Still, content owners will be pleased to hear that these stats have got the minister in charge of tackling the ever present P2P issue talking tough. Though they may be less pleased to hear he has adopted the usual policy of talking up how important it is to tackle this issue, in a bid to cover up the fact he's not actually proposing any ways to do so. And certainly not the way many content owners would like the P2P problem to be tackled. This is not the time to bring up three-strikes again, thank you very much.

Anywhere, here's what IP minister David Lammy has to say: "As SABIP's report shows, illegal downloading robs our economy of millions of pounds every year and seriously damages business and innovation throughout the UK. It is something that needs tackling, and we are serious about doing so. However, it is also an international problem that needs an international solution through countries working together. We can't expect 12-year-olds to become copyright lawyers before they can switch on a computer, but we can educate people on enforcement and work towards getting the right people caught and punished - wherever they live".

Thanks for that David. Then again, a suitably wishy washy response to some pretty wishy washy research I suppose.

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PHOENIX BUY ASSETS OF STRUGGLING REGGAE LABEL
The catalogue of JetStar Music has been bought by Phoenix Music International after the seminal reggae label recently went into administration. Pheonix have snapped up both JetStar's recordings and publishing assets.

Music Week quote Phoenix's International Director John Carnell thus: "Phoenix Music International have bought the assets of Jetstar Music. We are looking forward to working with the artists and writers to make the most of an exciting catalogue of music".

Pheonix have bought a number of music companies in recent years, including last year buying up the assets of former UK indie Gut Records.

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SPV IN ADMINISTRATION
Talking of struggling music companies, German indie SPV has gone into administration after declaring itself insolvent. However, the label's founder, Manfred Schutz, and administrator Manuel Sack say they hope to keep the company operating as a going concern in the short term, confident a takeover or refinancing deal can be struck to ensure the long term future of the business. Whether the 25 year old indie, best known as the home to a number of leading metal acts, will manage that feat remains to be seen.

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NEW FHM EDITOR APPOINTED
The former editor of film magazine Empire, Colin Kennedy, has been appointed as editor of another Bauer-owned magazine, men's mag FHM. Confirming his appointment at the title, Kennedy told reporters last week: "Ever since I supplied the odd article to FHM's Reporter section back in 1997, I have waited for a chance to contribute to the worldwide success story of Bauer's flagship men's title. That this opportunity turns out be as editor during such an important time for the brand is genuinely thrilling - and just a little bit scary. Hopefully, some of the things I've learned along the way will help me take the team and the title forward into a new decade of success".

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UNSIGNED BANDS STATION LAUNCHES ON DIGITAL ONE
Interesting idea, if probably a little bit flawed. A new radio station has launched on the Digital One digital radio network dedicated to unsigned music. It's a spin-off from the www.amazingtunes.com website, which enables unsigned bands to provide previews of and sell their music online, and the radio station will play music that has been uploaded to the site. Presumably it's radio on the cheap, because according to the website's T&Cs artists allow Amazing Tunes to use their music on any media once uploaded without recording or publishing performance royalties being paid. Of course if people do tune in to Amazing Radio and hear a track they like, they can then buy it from the website, and the band will get 70% of revenue. Though that assumes people will want to listen to 100% unsigned bands (and that means bands without recording or publishing deals), and while that's a lovely idea, the new station is probably very much a niche interest service. The service will air on the Digital One national DAB network for a six month pilot period.

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TWO RADIO STATIONS CLOSE
Two more local radio stations shut down last week.

First up Southampton-based Radio Hampshire, a local FM station previously owned by Southampton Football Club, but bought by small-time local radio firm Town & Country in 2007. The closure of the station was seemingly very sudden. According to Radio Today, for a time a message on the station's website read: "Without any prior warning to our listeners and to our advertisers Radio Hampshire was forced to switch off on 107.2 & 107.8. Sadly none of the presenters were able to say good bye and thank you to everyone for listening. The station is now been handed over to the administrators". The closure affects local radio in Winchester also because the local station there, Dream 107.2, owned by Tindle Radio, essentially closed last November and had since been syndicated the Southampton station.

Meanwhile, further North, a bid to provide Stoke-On-Trent with an alternative commercial radio service via the area's local digital radio network came to an end on Friday when Focal Radio went off the air. The closure of Focal was less of a surprise, following recent reports that the station had been actively inviting listeners to invest in the flagging company, and that one of its founders, prominent local radio presenter Sam Plank, was paying the rest of the staff's wages out of his own pocket.

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SIGNAL APPOINT NEW PROGRAMME CONTROLLER
Elsewhere in the world of Stoke radio, UTV has announced the appointment of Chris Buckley, previously based at their Preston station Central FM, to manage programming at their local radio outposts in the Potteries, Signal 1 and Signal 2. Confirming his new role, Buckley told reporters: "Launching Central was a big challenge, but one I have relished. The station, though young, is already in great shape and I'm really please by the way the station and team has developed these past six months. However, the chance to work at Signal was too bigger a job to turn down. The stations have so much heritage and goodwill in and around Stoke, but have suffered a dip in form of late. I'm looking forward to building a team that helps the stations deliver the audiences they want and deserve".

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CHART UPDATE
Dizzee Rascal is holding fast at number one in the singles chart with his Armand Van Helden collaboration 'Bonkers' scoring its second week at the top. Black Eyed Peas remain at two also, while number three is a new entry from Swedish singer Agnes with 'Release Me'. Tinchy Stryder's 'Number 1' has slipped to number four and yet somehow the Earth continues rotating. I can only assume that the single's proximity to the top spot is what's keeping us from entering the apocalypse. If it slips much further, we'll all be for it.

Meanwhile, in the album chart, Eminem also sticks at the top for a second week. He manages to maintain his dignity (unlike anyone else in the chart) by fending off competition from some former 'Britain's Got Talent' winners, string quartet Escala, who made it to number two with their eponymous debut album.

The charts are compiled, so I'm told, by The Official Charts Company

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DIVERSITY WIN BGT
So, as you all surely know, in the end global superstardom wasn't enough to ensure Susan Boyle took the 'Britain's Got Talent' gong for 2009. Amid reports Boyle's fans became complacent, so sure were they that she'd win, and therefore failed to phone in, it was rather fab 'street dance' group Diversity who took the £100,000 in prize money and won the chance to perform at this year's Royal Variety Show. It has to be said, however good a singer the unconventionally packaged Boyle may be, the self-choreographed Diversity boys did do a better job of demonstrating undeniable original 'talent', which does sometimes win through in talent contents like this. On occasion.

Nevertheless, Boyle is set to make millions. Simon Cowell's Syco label will sign the Scottish warbler any day now, with a debut album expected to sell millions of copies, not least in the US where the news media's appetite for the showtune singing spinster seems as hungry as ever. A biopic is also being touted, which might be a bit OTT, though some sort of book-based biography is sure to be rushed to market.

Meanwhile, Diversity are coming to terms with the shock of winning the show. Great things are being predicted for them too, though obviously their route to global superstardom is less obvious, and not so much within Cowell's area of expertise, though last year's dancing 'BGT' winner George Sampson has had some success. And if I was promoting Michael Jackson's upcoming O2 residency, I'd be on the phone to Cowell this morning. They'd be a great local addition to what is, after all, expected to be a Jacko-lite show.

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IDOL RUNNER UP TO COME OUT AS GAY
According to reports, 'American Idol' runner up Adam Lambert 'outs' himself in the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone. Not sure he exactly needs to 'out' himself really - coverage of the TV talent contest certainly suggested that Lambert never really tried to conceal his sexuality, though I think perhaps he was a little bit mysterious about it while still competing on the show, so I guess that's what the interview is about.

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RIHANNA DROPPED FROM VOGUE BECAUSE OF NUDE SHOTS
Reports claim that Rihanna has been dropped from doing a cover for Vogue after those previously reported nude pictures, allegedly of the singer, appeared online. I'm not sure where these reports are coming from, though Star magazine do have a source who claims that Vogue's editor, Anna Wintour, did express an interest in featuring the R&B star, but then stopped returning the singer's people's phone calls.

The Source says: "Anna told her Vogue absolutely loves her and really wanted to work with her. Rihanna was ecstatic. [But] Anna hasn't returned any of her calls. Rihanna's so upset... She hopes the people at Vogue change their minds".

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LEONA LEWIS TOO BUSY FOR OBAMA
Leona Lewis has apparently turned down a chance to perform at the White House after being invited for dinner by president Barack Obama, all because she is too busy with her new album.

A source told the Daily Mirror: "Leona was thrilled to be invited to dinner by Obama. She really wanted to meet him and his wife Michelle, who is a big fan and has her 'Spirit' album. They both think she is a strong, inspirational and talented young woman who is a fantastic role model for children. They would love her to get involved in some of their charity projects. But it was really unfortunate that it clashed with her tight schedule to get her second album done. Leona has had studio sessions in LA booked for months and has been working day and night getting things perfect. So there was no way she could make the trip to the White House".

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