CMU Daily - on the inside Monday 9th January
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- 2005 a good year for UK record industry, no really
- Chirac comments on French P2P debate
- Microsoft announce Sky partnership
- Google announce video plans
- Sony chief on the rootkit fallout
- SonyBMG face more lawsuits over copy-protection
- Musictank tackle DRM
- Ms Dynamite ms behaves
- Jackson sued over vet bills
- Daltrey says Glitter needs help not gunfire
- Vital launch new indie partnership company
- Chart update
- Former !!! drummer Gius dead
- Hadley has appendix removed
- Streets new album chat
- Cocker solo album
- Timberlake album near to completion
- Billy Bragg reissues some early stuff
- Slash says Chinese Democracy may be incoming
- Brit acts revealed
- Kapranos calls Liam a girl
- Pink and Hart tie the knot
- Spears guests on Federline album

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TOP BIT>>

NOW WITH ADDED BEATS
Now, the point of the CMU Daily isn't to just plug all of our other projects. Though that is one of the points. Anyway, we are in the process of launching our new music news service for music fans. Like CMU this will provide insightful, extensive and independent coverage of everything happening in the world of Pete Doherty - I mean music - with a daily e-newsletter and monthly web-mag. So if you know people who don't actually work in music (apparently they exist), but who love their music all the same, then tell them to check out http://www.thebeatsbar.co.uk. While you're at it, why don't you check it out and let us know what you think? And while we're plugging our other ventures, we've got a rather fine interview with the Infadels in this week's Remix Update, the weekly guide to boots, breaks and remixes from CMU and Xfm's Remix Show. If you want it, you should email subscribe@remixupdate.co.uk right now to make sure you get a copy. Anyway, enough of the blatant plugging...

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2005 A GOOD YEAR FOR UK RECORD INDUSTRY, NO REALLY
Some of that good news stuff was coming out of the BPI on Friday as the record companies' trade body released its end of year sales round up for 2005.

Starting from the top, sales of artist albums were up to 126.2 million units last year, a 1.4% increase on 2004 , which was in itself a record breaking year. Aided by strong sales in the last few weeks of the year, this meant the UK record industry again bucked the global trend and achieved an increase in sales. Commenting on that fact, BPI chairman Peter Jamieson told CMU: "The rise of compilations and the Pop Idol phenomenon led some to suggest the days of the great artist album were numbered. On the contrary, strong investment in new talent means album sales are flourishing."

The BPI also confirmed that singles sales recovered somewhat last year, though this is down primarily to boom in single track download sales. 26.4 million downloads were sold in 2005, a massive 357% increase on the previous year, all of which boosted overall singles sales by 48%.

In fact the only bit of bad news appearing in the end of year stats was that relating to compilations, sales of which were down 15.7%. Then again, with artist albums in demand and more people making their own compilations via the download platforms, that is no real surprise.

The BPI also confirmed the best selling albums and singles of the year as follows:

2005's Top-Selling Albums:
1. James Blunt - Back to Bedlam (Warner/Atlantic)
2. Coldplay - X&Y (EMI/Parlophone)
3. Robbie Williams - Intensive Care (EMI/Chrysalis)
4. Kaiser Chiefs - Employment (B Unique)
5. Gorillaz - Demon Days (EMI/Parlophone)
6. Westlife - Face to Face (Sony-BMG)
7. KT Tunstall - Eye to the Telescope (EMI/Relentless)
8. Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway (SonyBMG/RCA)
9. Eminem - Curtain Call - The Hits (Universal/Interscope)
10. Faithless - Forever Faithless - The Greatest Hits (SonyBMG/Cheeky)

2005's Top-Selling Single Tracks:
1. Tony Christie featuring Peter Kay - (Is This The Way To) Amarillo (Universal)
2. Shayne Ward - That's My Goal (SonyBMG)
3. Crazy Frog - Axel F (Gut/Gusto)
4. James Blunt - You're Beautiful (Warner/Atlantic)
5. Pussycat Dolls ft. Busta Rhymes - Don't Cha (Universal/A&M)
6. McFly - All About You/ You've Got A Friend (Universal/Island)
7. Akon - Lonely (Universal)
8. Madonna - Hung Up (Warner/Maverick)
9. Westlife - You Raise Me Up (Sony-BMG)
10. Sugababes - Push The Button (Universal/Island)

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CHIRAC COMMENTS ON FRENCH P2P DEBATE
French President Jacques Chirac has added his opinions to the somewhat confusing debate on illegal file sharing that has been doing the rounds in French political circles in the last few weeks. At the end of last year in bizarre sequence of events a government drafted bill that proposed tougher punishments for people who illegally share music online was amended by the country's parliament so that P2P file sharing would become legal.

The amendments came from politicians who want France to adopt a system whereby the sharing of music online becomes legal, but with internet service providers forced to pass on a standard levy per user to the content owners as a blanket royalty for any files shared by their customers. Basically it's an online version of the levy that exists in some countries on blank CDs and cassettes, paid to the music industry as a royalty for the duplicate copies of albums customers inevitably make at home. While adopting this principle to the digital domain has been discussed many times before, it hasn't been adopted anywhere as yet. The proposal is not popular with the content owners, but if it were to become law in France it would gain more legitimacy as a possible system elsewhere.

But chances are it won't actually become French law, given that the country's government opposes the move, and is backed by numerous French media and entertainment companies, including the massive Vivendi Universal.

Commenting on the ongoing debate last week, Chirac himself was a bit vague, simply saying that the rights of both content owners and internet users needed to be balanced. Reuters quote the President as saying: "It's with creative people that we will win in the battle over content. We should guarantee their rights and their fair payment, by finding a balance between the fight against piracy and user freedom".

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MICROSOFT ANNOUNCE SKY PARTNERSHIP
Back to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which wrapped up yesterday, and more from Bill Gates, who has been busy talking up Microsoft's new developments in the entertainments space. Following on from his update on Microsoft's joint venture with MTV in the music space, Gates has also revealed a partnership with BSkyB which will see Sky offer its customers video downloads using the Windows Media Centre software.

The new venture, which will offer a range of video on demand services via the net, in particular film and sport, is part of BSkyB's mission to get into broadband bigtime - it follows their acquisition of UK internet service provider Easynet last year.

Confirming his company's partnership with Sky, Gates told the CES audience: "They've got over eight million subscribers in the UK who will be able to do those downloads and use those great capabilities. 'Sky by broadband' will include hundreds of movies and hundreds of sports clips to download or stream".

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GOOGLE ANNOUNCE VIDEO PLANS
Microsoft and Sky weren't the only ones using CES to talk about video services. Google also announced its intention to launch a video on demand platform sometime soon, with CBS, NBA, Greencine.com, Classic Media, ITN and WGBH among its long list of content partners.

Google are said to be planning to include music on their video platform. According to Digital Music News only SonyBMG are in place as a partner on that bit so far, although insiders say they expect deals with the other majors to follow soon.

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SONY CHIEF ON THE ROOTKIT FALLOUT
Sony Corp chief Howard Stringer was also bigging up his company's innovations at CES last week, though some of those naughty media types were more interested in questioning him about the problems his group's record label has been having with piracy-protection software on CDs released in the US - the previously reported SonyBMG rootkit debacle, of course.

Speaking at a CES news conference Stringer said: "Clearly the perception out there is that we shouldn't be doing too much of that copy protection stuff. We have to walk the line at Sony between the needs and technology of the customer and the rights of the artist, which we feel fairly strongly about".

But Stringer admitted that he did fear that the bad press surrounding the use of the rootkit software by SonyBMG might reflect badly on Sony's electronics company, even though they had nothing to do with the copy-protection technology. Stringer: "Every headline was about Sony, as if Sony Electronics was behind all of this and we took quite a beating, but it was a SonyBMG copyright protection tradition and this was a bad situation. We obviously retreated from that position. Sony as a company took a bit of a beating for it, which was somewhat unfair".

But let's not dwell on all that, because Stringer wasn't at CES just to go over recent traumas. He was there to give the conference's audience a brief glimpse of the upcoming PlayStation 3 system, which, he confirmed, will have pretty damn good graphic capabilities and will support those hi-tech Blu-ray disc thingys. It all looked rather good, though Stringer wouldn't be drawn on when PlayStation 3 will come to market, instead telling everyone how well PlayStation 2 was still doing.

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SONYBMG FACE MORE LAWSUITS OVER COPY-PROTECTION
Tell you what, let's dwell on SonyBMG's rootkit problems a bit more, shall we? While the major label is discussing out of court settlements with some of the people who sued at the end of last year over the major's use of the dodgy copy-protection software which made users' computers more susceptible to virus attack, two new lawsuits last week arrived with the major's legal department.

The first comes from the Canadian law firm the Merchant Law Group and is reportedly seeking damages for everyone in Canada who bought a CD containing either the initial rootkit software made by First4Internet, or the other problematic copy-protection technology made by SunnComm. That's $100 million in damages in total. Phew.

The second comes from a Mississippi law student called Mark Lyon who claims his PC was damaged by the rootkit software that came on a SonyBMG CD he bought.

The latter seems likely to be resolved with the aforementioned out of court settlement that SonyBMG is already negotiating with other claimants. The Canadian case, however, may require some more involved legal shenanigans on the part of SonyBMG's legal team. Perhaps they could bribe the lawyers at Merchant Law Group with the promise of a free PlayStation 3 ahead of release.

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MUSICTANK TACKLE DRM
And as if by magic, MusicTank will be tackling all of these issues surrounding the use of copy-protection software by the record companies at a ThinkTank event on DRM in London next week. Richard Gooch, Deputy Director of Technology at the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has been confirmed as Mr Keynote Speaker, joining a panel which already boasts !K7 owner and IMPALA board member Horst Weidenmueller, Motion Picture Association European General Counsel Ted Shapiro, National Consumer Council Director Of Policy Jill Johnstone, eMusic VP of Content Acquisition Ray Farrell and Gregor Pryor, Associate at international law-firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP. It's a hot topic, and should be a particularly good Think Tank event. All takes place on 18 Jan at Bertorellis in Soho, kicking off at 6.30pm. More info, as you'd expect, from http://www.musictank.co.uk/

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MS DYNAMITE MS BEHAVES
Ms Dynamite has been charged with disorderly conduct and with assaulting a police officer, after an incident that led to her arrest in the early hours of Friday morning. The singer, real name Niomi McLean-Daley, was detained after police allegedly saw her kicking the front door of the Paragon Lounge nightclub in West London. She is said to have been abusive towards officers who questioned her, and is alleged to have punched a female officer whilst in custody.

Ms Dynamite had apparently been out with brother Kingsley Daley celebrating her 25th birthday, accompanied by a third individual, Carlene Godwin. All three were bailed to appear at Bow Street Magistrates' on Friday, Mr. Daley charged with obstruction of police, Ms Godwin charged with a public order offence.

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JACKSON SUED OVER VET BILLS
A veterinarian in California is suing Michael Jackson over alleged unpaid bills. Martin Dinnes, who owns Dinnes Memorial Veterinary Hospital, says the singer owes him $91,602. Dinnes helped Jacko to acquire pets for his Neverland ranch menagerie, which includes giraffes, elephants, orang-utans and flamingos, and Dinnes has continued to care for the animals since Jackson relocated to Bahrain.

A court hearing for the case has been set for 2 May in Santa Maria, where Jackson's child molestation trial took place last year. His lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, said he was unable to comment as he had not yet seen the complaint. Jackson, of course, has not returned to the ranch, or his animals, since his acquittal in the aforementioned trial.

Mr Dinnes' lawyer Brenton Horner said that his client "filed the lawsuit with great reluctance", and added: "He has a lot of admiration for Michael. This is just a business matter."

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DALTREY SAYS GLITTER NEEDS HELP NOT GUNFIRE
Roger Daltrey has said in an interview with Mojo Magazine that people like Gary Glitter need help, expressing a degree of sympathy for the shamed glam rocker, charged last week in Vietnam with committing obscene acts with two young girls. The Who man said: "It's hard, because as much as I abhor it, I can only as a human being think it must be awful for these people to be trapped in that head"

He continued: "I don't know what the answer is. I don't know if the way we treat it in this society is the right way to treat it. Can you imagine what it might be like? It's not a choice to them. There's a lot of gunfire, but not a lot of help. And let's be honest - that's what these people need - help."

Daltrey may be correct, but he may also be playing with fire, given the number of publications who'll probably be happy to quote the rocker out of context, and especially given his recent comments in defence of bandmate Pete Townshend who was arrested for accessing child porn on the internet back in 2003. Townshend, of course, admitted using a credit card to access such pornography on one occasion, but stressed that it was only because he was researching child sex abuse for a book he was working on at the time.

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VITAL LAUNCH NEW INDIE PARTNERSHIP COMPANY
Vital Distribution and PIAS UK have announced the launch of a new company, Integral, which they hope will enable independent labels to secure their artists big releases or licensing deals without having to rely on a partnership with a major label - a route an increasing number of indies have taken in recent years in order to reach a mainstream audience.

Integral, to be run by Vital's Labels Director Ian Dutt, will offer strategic marketing support to partner independents, as well as working proactively in the licensing business looking to secure indies the best possible revenues from synchs, compilations, PPL and VPL. The new company's first project will be with Jose Gonzalez, who is signed to independent label Peacefrog. His new single, 'Heartbeats', is released today.

Commenting on the new company, Vital Group MD Pete Thompson told CMU: "It's been apparent now for some time that whilst it is officially "an exciting time for independents" it's also still very hard for new and developing independent labels to fully establish themselves and to be able to compete at the highest level. While Integral may not be an answer to all these problems we hope to be able to offer a solution to a number of them. Marketing is a pretty nebulous business at the best of times but at Vital we are privy to a wide range of different experiences and contacts and if we can use some of these to help develop the Dominos, XLs and Warps of the future then Integral will have fulfilled its role. We want to enable new labels to develop at a realistic pace and if an artist of some significance emerges then we want the label to be able to utilise the functions of Integral to firstly keep the artist and secondly sell as many records as possible."

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CHART UPDATE
No moving that Shayne Ward off the top of the singles chart, oh no, the X Factor bloke is still top with his ditty 'That's My Goal'. No moving that Nizlopi from the second position in the singles chart, oh no, the quirky folk duo are still second with their strangely infectious 'JCB Song'. No moving Madonna from the third position in the singles chart, oh no, the Abba sampling 'Hung Up' is still number three.

I'm dwelling on the top three because there are so few new entries in the singles chart this week - the first week of the year traditionally a quiet one, of course. You have to go down to ten to find a new entry, though it is the re-release of Editors' 'Munich', so at least it's a guddun. This week's other two new entries come from Aaron Smith ft Luvli with 'Dancin' at 20 and Naughty Boy with 'Phat Beach (I'll Be Ready)' at 36. Lovely.

Albums wise, The Strokes go straight in at number one with the only new entry of the week - but hurrah for that. Label mates Arcade Fire get a re-entry with 'Funeral' at 38 for reasons I can't quite work out, though I'm sure someone will tell me at some point today.

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FORMER !!! DRUMMER GIUS DEAD
Former !!! drummer and founding member Anthony Mikel Gius, died last month during a traffic accident. Police in California have confirmed that Gius was riding his bike on 17 Dec and was struck by a motorist who did not see him crossing lanes. He was then thrown on to the vehicle's windscreen and subsequently died from his injuries.

!!! guitarist Mario Andreoni has written on the band's website: "I met him when I was 8 after a mutual friend told me I 'had to meet the other guy in the neighbourhood with more Kiss posters than you'. We quickly became best friends and went on to share the most significant times of our lives together...family vacations, puberty, crushes, loves, mixtapes, illicit activities, dancing, air guitar/drums, actual guitar/drums, bands, US tours."

He continued: "He was a straight prodigy on the drums; we played "tom sawyer" and "for whom the bell tolls" from start to finish the first day he got them...spoiled me for life. He had a unique, occasionally overwhelming style that coincided with the way he lived his life. No matter what you thought of him, he made bands, some ordinary, some not so, worth paying attention to."

He finished: "We grew apart as our passions led us down different paths. I still love him like a brother and miss him terribly."

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HADLEY HAS APPENDIX REMOVED
Ueeghh. Surgery. Tony Hadley has had his appendix removed after he taken to the Whittington Hospital in north London with stomach pains. The former Spandau man is now recovering from the operation. His manager John Glover said: "He will be in hospital for a couple of days and he will have to cancel a series of shows in Holland."

Hadley will also apparently have to reconsider his involvement in a planned charity trek in Venezuela on 30 Jan.

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STREETS NEW ALBUM CHAT
Mike Skinner has been talking to NME about the new Streets album, revealing that the new long-player, set for release on 11 Apr, is to be called 'The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living'. Skinner says the new album, like 'A Grand Don't Come For Free', is loosely based on his own life.

He said: "It isn't a narrative. But to be honest I don't think I could write an album without feeling like there are plots going on. Actually this album is a true story. After 'A Grand Don't Come For Free' I was like, 'What am I going to write about?' I can't moan I've not got no money any more, but then it gradually dawned on me that my life is so crazy! You'd never believe some of the stuff that's happened to me along the way in countries far away."

Skinner also said that he wanted Snoop Dogg and Gwen Stefani to guest on the new LP, saying: "I've spoken to loads of people - it could prove difficult. Maybe on the next album we'll do it, but it's definitely an idea I'd like to pursue."

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COCKER SOLO ALBUM
Jarvis Cocker is to release a solo album this summer, according to reports. The Pulp frontman has apparently been consistently working on new material since his band decided to take a break back in 2003. Cocker reportedly thinks that the new tracks aren't suitable for Pulp, so is releasing them by himself.

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TIMBERLAKE ALBUM NEAR TO COMPLETION
Justin Timberlake is apparently close to completing his second solo album, and has revealed that he and producer Rick Rubin have laid down more than ten tracks. On how his collaboration with the former Johnny Cash producer came about, Timberlake explained to MTV that he approached Rubin after it was suggested to him by comedian Chris Rock.

Timberlake said: "I never thought about it myself... And then I saw him at Coachella. I was standing in the middle of the crowd and I went up and approached him. He's a nice guy and cool and humble and obviously a genius, and I'm looking forward to hearing myself do something I've never done. He was like, 'I'm not going to influence you. I want you to do what you do.' And that's such a comforting thing as an artist."

The album is expected to be released in the summer. Meanwhile, Timberlake will be hitting the silver screen in no less than three movie releases in the coming year, 'Edison', 'Black Snake Moan' and 'Alpha Dog'.

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BILLY BRAGG REISSUES SOME EARLY STUFF
Billy Bragg is to release a special box set containing four of his earliest albums together with three CDs and two DVDs of bonus material, featuring rare and previously unreleased tracks.

The box set comprises 1983 debut 'Life's A Riot With Spy Vs Spy' plus bonus CD, 1984's 'Brewing Up With Billy Bragg' plus bonus CD, 1986's 'Talking With The Taxman About Poetry' plus bonus CD, and 1990's 'The Internationale', now combined with his
'Live & Dubious' EP and five bonus tracks and a bonus DVD.

Each of these four album re-releases can be purchased separately, but the full box set comes with an exclusive bonus DVD, 'From The West Down To The East' which features the South Bank Show's 1985 profile of Billy Bragg and a film of his Aug 1986 concert in East Berlin.

The individual albums and the box set are all out on 6 Mar.

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SLASH SAYS CHINESE DEMOCRACY MAY BE INCOMING
One from the 'I'll believe it when I see it' file now. Slash has said that he reckons former bandmate Axl Rose might finally finally finally release long awaited new album 'Chinese Democracy' this March. Those suggestions come from a podcast reported on Metal Hammer's website, in which Slash says the following...

Slash: "Axl's got got a record coming out, Guns, I guess you call it, I think in March. Which is sorta cool, you know it's gonna be interesting to hear it. After all this time and after all this talk what's going on with him".

DJ: "So wait, 'Chinese Democracy' is gonna come out?"

Slash: "Yeah, it's coming out in March..."

DJ: OK.

Slash: "That's what... I've been told a lot of things over the years, but it definitely sounds like it's coming out in March."

We'll see, I guess.

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BRIT ACTS REVEALED
Brit organisers have revealed that the line up of acts set to appear at this year's ceremony includes Paul Weller, Coldplay, the Kaiser Chiefs, Kelly Clarkson, KT Tunstall and Kanye West. Weller is to receive an award for his outstanding contribution to music of course, and will therefore finish the show. A spokesman said of that award: "It is reserved for those whose influence, longevity and creativity put them in the very top ranks of UK artists. Paul Weller is an artist who scores on every measure and typifies the range and quality of British music at its best."

Elsewhere in Brits news, Noel and Liam Gallagher are rumoured to be appearing at the awards event and are expected to play with the aforementioned Weller, but are also reported to be falling out over who gets to sing. According to The Mirror's 3am girls, a source said: "It's hilarious. They're both really keen to perform but they're at each others' throats over who gets to sing. Noel is insisting on singing whatever song they choose to perform and then Liam kicked off because he said he doesn't want to stand at the back of the stage while Noel steals the limelight."

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KAPRANOS CALLS LIAM A GIRL
And elsewhere in Oasis news, Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos has called Liam Gallagher a girl. You may remember that Gallagher once compared Oasis-fan Kapranos to Right Said Fred chap Richard Fairbrass. So a backlash is probably fair enough.

According to The Sun Kapranos said: "He knows he can get in the papers by being as obnoxious as he can. When I read the press that surrounded them earlier in 2005, it sounded like an extremely anxious, neurotic young girl at a high school who thought that she had younger, better-looking competition and was just bitching about everything about her."

He continued: "I think everybody, the Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party, every contemporary band was at the end of some form of vitriol from him. I'm not particularly bothered by him. It just seems like bitchery from cheap neuroses."

Blimey. That was a bit insightful.

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PINK AND HART TIE THE KNOT
Pink has married motocross racer fiancé Carey Hart in Costa Rica. According to People magazine, the singer's wedding took place at the Four Seasons resort, attended by over one hundred guests. "We just love the beach, so we knew we wanted it to be at the beach," said Pink. Looks like she got her wish, then.

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SPEARS GUESTS ON FEDERLINE ALBUM
Oh dear oh dear oh dear. According to reports, Britney Spears has guested on husband Kevin Federline's debut album, singing backing vocals on several tracks. Federline has told a Los Angeles radio station that Britney sings, but doesn't rap, on his hip-hop album.

The first single 'PopoZao' (Brazilian slang for 'big butt', apparently) is available to download from Yahoo! Music, allegedly. The as-yet-untitled, widely-believed-to-be-rubbish album has not been given an official release date, but K-Fed hopes it will be out in the spring.

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