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INFORMATION
Jobs
Classifieds
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
75% of UK music journalists against digital promos
CMU says: Labels need to better consult journalists over promos
mflow launches
Type O Negative frontman reportedly dies
Reunions & Splits
Girls Aloud reunion would be "a small miracle"
In The Studio
Winehouse back in the studio following breast scare
Blur urged to record more new material
Release News
Eminem to Recover in June
Gigs & Tours News
Whitney's UK comeback show gets mixed response
Tiga in town
Blood Red Shoes gigs
Festival News
Festival line-up update
Reviews
Album review: Sparrow And The Workshop - Crystals Fall (Distiller Records)
The Music Business
Concord buys Rounder
Sony's country music chief steps down
Disney close down country label
The Digital Business
iPad UK launch delayed
Microsoft announce Kin launch
MySpace unveil ticketing platform
The Media Business
6music axes weekly music news show
6music definitely not becoming 2 Extra, says BBC
And finally...
Footballer to launch new instrument


 
THURSDAY 15TH APRIL
THREE TRAPPED TIGERS
Hailing from London, Three Trapped Tigers are an instrumental outfit, experimenting with electronica and rock. With influences ranging from Aphex Twin and Squarepusher to Lightning Bolt and Battles, their sound is a mixture of noisy guitars, synths, frantic beats and ambient noise. Having already released two fantastic EP's, 'EP1' and 'EP2', last year, they released 'EP3' earlier this month via Blood & Biscuits. Currently touring the UK, we spoke to pianist Tom Rogerson to find out more.

 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
Me personally, I was about three and I was trying to copy my elder sister who was learning the piano at the time. She gave up within a year while I was trying to write down the theme tune to 'Grandstand' on the back of one of my Dad's work folders. Collectively, I met Matt [Calvert, guitar] through other musician friends, and he was living with [drummer Adam] Betts. Matt and I played together for a year in another band, doing improvisation mainly, before I thought we should probably write some material and make it a bit... louder.

Q2 What inspired your latest EP?
Well, we're thinking of it very much in the context of the previous two EPs. It's a kind of branching away from those two, examining different directions, concepts, sounds, tempos etc. Loosely, from my point of view, I wanted it to be something a bit more Autechre-ish: slower, more loop-based, more industrial, more priority to drum sound and general sound than we'd done previously, and less priority to melody and form. I don't know if it comes across, but that was the starting point.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Recently, a lot of agony. It varies, basically. In the early days, I'd write some stuff and bring it in, and the others would discard literally half of it, and then come up with their own parts and we'd kind of squeeze it all together, play it live, mess around with it and so on. Recently, though, I've had an idea or a starting point and then Matt and I will bash our heads against a brick wall for about six months until something happens. On 'EP3', Betts came up with the first drum loop you hear (he programmed it then learnt it live), and then Matt and I jammed around it and eventually a song was written. But the final track is mostly Matt's pre-written material. So, we're becoming more flexible. I ought to say, as well, that there's tons of improv in the gigs that goes into making a track. We pretty much re-interpret every track whenever we play it. That way, no one gets bored.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Most of them. We all like electronica, we all know lots about jazz and improv. Betts has a metal background but used to play in a funk band with Matt, who has a more US-rock background. And I have a classical background, I guess. So there's a lot of reference points. But the obvious starting point was pretty much one question: how do you play Aphex Twin live? And one answer: make it sound a bit like Lightning Bolt.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Try not to think about it. There's lots going on and people sometimes think there's something you're supposed to 'get'. But there isn't. Just bring to it what you want to bring to it. It's the same reason we don't have song titles. If you hate it, that's fine. Also, if you're coming to a show, don't miss the start. The set is one continuous thing.

Q6 What are you ambitions for your latest EP, and for the future?
All along we've just been curious to see how it goes down. The breadth of response is really great, and already people are telling me this is their favourite EP and others are saying it's our worst, and people say different songs are their favourite, etc. So, I suppose the ambition for this one is to release an EP that gets a response from people, and that completes the 'trilogy' in an appropriate way. In that sense, I think we've already kind of achieved that ambition for ourselves. For the future, the main thing is that we carry on making music that is decent and playing gigs that excite listeners as much as they (the gigs) excite us. And there's the small matter of writing an album at some point.

MORE>> www.myspace.com/threetrappedtigers

 
THE REMIX 10TH ANNIVERSARY
It's a whole ten years since Eddy Temple-Morris first appeared on Xfm playing the indie tracks that appeared on daytime nicely reworked for the dancefloor. Over the years, as well as playing thousands of amazing remixes, the show has also become known for being well ahead of the game when it comes to championing new genres, scenes and bands, and especially those genres and artists who crossover between the rock and dance genres.

 
The rise of breakbeat, the whole home-made mash up scene, and the re-emergence of synths in planet indie were all championed and documented by Eddy on The Remix. Meanwhile countless bands, artists and producers got some of their earliest airplay on the show. The Remix club night and all-nighters, and Eddy's various Remix and Dance Rocks compilations, all followed. And there's also a rather good spin-off e-bulletin, obviously.

This weekend, Xfm will celebrate The Remix's tenth birthday by playing some of Eddy's favourite remixes during daytime. There's also a chance to become part of the next generation of bedroom producer talent to feature on the show, as the station is giving you the chance to win a full ProTools set-up, just by voting for your favourite from a list of Eddy-selected remixes from the last ten years.

And if you've never listened to the show before, now is a great time to start - last Friday's show, which Eddy co-hosted with the legend that is Gary Numan, is on the Xfm Listen Again player until tomorrow, and tomorrow night's show will be a special birthday celebration. Tune in from 10pm to 2am for that.

www.xfm.co.uk/onair/shows/xfm-salutes-the-remix



 
  DIVISION PR SEEK NATIONAL PUBLICIST
Division PR is looking for a national print publicist with some online press knowledge. We are looking for a self motivated person who loves all genres related to indie music to join our growing team of fellow music obsessives. Division represents artists such as Gallows, MGMT, Mark Ronson, Enter Shikari, Black Lips, Trail Of Dead, Placebo, Noisia, Pendulum, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Les Savy Fav, Ganglians, Converge, Torche, The Sword, The Walkmen, Mogwai, Black Sabbath, We Are Scientists, Nirvana and many more. A minimum of 2-3 years experience in artist PR is essential and salary is based on experience.

Please contact Zac Leeks - zac@divisionpromotions.com or visit www.divisionpromotions.com
       
  KNOW YOUR BEATLES FROM YOUR BATTLES? MUSIC BUYER NEEDED
Experienced music buyer needed to join a new London-based retail company in a part time role with room to grow. Applicant should have a broad knowledge of genres and be an expert at valuing and pricing used vinyl and proficient in new vinyl and CD as well. Working with passion, loyalty and fearlessness within a small up-and-coming company is essential. Hours flexible and pay negotiable.

Please send expression of interest to Danis at danis@redrosemusic.co.uk
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  INTERESTED IN SELLING YOUR RECORD LABEL?
Music Gain is acquiring record labels and catalogue. If you are thinking of selling, or have a large catalog you want managed on your behalf, then please contact us. Introduction and spotters fees also paid. Please visit us - www.musicgain.com
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National Theatre confirms Afrobeat musical, and other summer season stuff
Penn & Teller to play Hammersmith Apollo
Duncan James to leave 'Legally Blonde' in the summer
 
New MPs will rely more on social media
Ofcom tell off Penk over Jump, let off 5live over RATM
Brown backs BBC 6music
 
Music festival line-up update - 14 Apr 2010
Spiegeltent may be absent from Edinburgh again this year
City Showcase announces classical strand
 

75% OF UK MUSIC JOURNALISTS AGAINST DIGITAL PROMOS
The vast majority of music journalists in the UK are not ready to switch to digital-only promos, according to a new survey of music media people undertaken by CMU.

Following the announcement by Sony Music last month that they intended to phase out all physical promo CDs, so that in future DJs and journalists will only receive advance copies of their releases in a digital format, CMU surveyed 100 music journalists about the way they are 'serviced' by record labels and music PR companies. The first question we asked was how those journalists would prefer to receive advance copies of single and album releases.

75% of those surveyed said their still preferred to receive review and pre-release copies of music in a physical format, ie as a CD. Five main reasons were given to justify this preference.

First, many said that digital preview services that require a journalist to sit at their computer misunderstood how most reviewers go about experiencing new music before writing a review. Those journalists argued that before starting a review they'd listen to an album several times over, normally while at home, or on the move. A CD lets reviewers play albums on home stereos or in the car, or they can rip tracks to an iPod for previewing while out and about.

Second, others, presumably those writing for older music consumers, argued that when they review an album they are not just reviewing a group of stand alone tracks, but the whole package that their readers may or may not wish to purchase. For them, that includes the packaging, artwork and liner notes, and the experience that you get from opening a new CD and putting it in your player for the first time. Digital-only previews do not allow such reviewers to get the "whole experience".

Third, some of those surveyed were review editors, and a number of them said that the system they used to manage the commissioning and publishing of reviews relied on physical product, which can be placed in racks on a desk, and is therefore much easier to manage that processing a plethora of emailed links and digital files in folders on a computer desktop.

Fourth, those running more grass roots music magazines and websites pointed out that their reviewers were not paid for their work, and that a perk of the job was the get a CD in the post which, if they liked the album, they could keep. A digital copy was less attractive, especially if it was a stream, because there is not permanent "gift" to keep in that scenario.

Fifth, a number of journalists pointed out that the PC technology being used by some media - especially regional and local media - is hardly bang up to date, with some still using versions of Windows which first surfaced in the 1990s. For these people many of the digital preview systems simply don't work.

Of course, it is probably inevitable that all record labels will move to a digital preview system eventually, the cost and time involved in pressing and mailing CDs to journalists being an obvious expense for cash strapped record companies to cut. But, while it seems that many reviewers will resist any move to digital previews, there is definitely a lot more resistance to streaming preview services than to MP3-based preview downloads. Of the 25 journalists who expressed a preference for digital promos, 18 said they preferred links to MP3s, while only 7 preferred links to preview streams, ie the kind of digital previews currently being offered by Sony Music and most other labels.

In fact, while some journalists are resistant to any move from physical to digital promos, it is possible some of those hanging onto CDs are doing so because they are unimpressed with the stream-based preview platforms currently being used by record companies, certainly the majors. It is possible that an MP3-based preview platform could overcome many of the concerns raised about the move to digital promos.

But, in the short term, it seems Word magazine boss David Hepworth was probably right when he predicted that Sony will find turning all music hacks to digital promos very difficult and that "within a year, when they want reviewers to take notice of something, they'll start sending out [physical] copies again".

The promo CD debate is just one of several things covered by CMU's music journalist survey. Details of other matters discussed will be revealed here in the CMU Daily in the coming weeks. More information on the survey will also be presented at the next CMU seminar on music PR, which takes place next Wednesday at CMU HQ in Shoreditch. This full day training event reviews the state and future of the music media, offers a beginners guide to music PR and best practice press releases, a summary of the aforementioned journalist survey, and a review of social media and its role in music marketing in 2010. Some places are still available, full info at www.theCMUwebsite.com/events.

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CMU SAYS: LABELS NEED TO BETTER CONSULT JOURNALISTS OVER PROMOS
When Sony Music made its announcement regarding the future of its promo CDs last month, our gut feeling was that the music journalist community was split 50/50 on the move to digital promos, but our research shows there is a lot more resistance to the sort of policies being introduced by Sony Music than we first thought.

One of the problems is the stream-based preview services currently being employed by most labels. We're yet to find any journalists who have anything positive to say about any of the systems being used by any of the major labels, including Share, PlayMPE and the in-house platforms. You get the impression PR chiefs at the labels have briefed digital agencies as to how these preview systems should work, without consulting any actual reviewers.

At the end of the day, the average PR boss simply doesn't know what happens to a promo CD once it has been placed in a jiffy bag, so isn't really in a position to scope out a digital service which will work for journalists. The people operating these digital platforms really need to sit down with the reviewers they are expecting to use their services (and journalists and editors working at all levels on all kinds of media) and find out what they need. Though given the feedback we're getting, when they do, they may find they have to start again.

Another issue labels need to consider is something at least a third of our 100 journalists said: that they'd be more likely to use a digital promo system if there was one platform for all labels.

That's unlikely to happen, of course, and might raise competition law concerns if it did, but perhaps the future is that there will be a number of digital preview platforms which take music from all labels, so that journalists can choose the platform that best suits their needs; ie a platform will succeed not by signing up labels, even though they will be the ones paying a fee, but by signing up journalists. That would certainly provide a commercial motivation for the operators of these platforms to talk to the journalists they are servicing.

But even if all those matters are addressed, there remains one core problem with all the digital preview systems currently operating or being developed - and that is based on the labels' ongoing paranoia that journalists leak pre-release music onto P2P file-sharing platforms, even though we know most albums are available via BitTorrent long before they get mailed out to the press.

It is this paranoia that will stop labels from using and embracing MP3-based preview services which, as noted above, is what might make digital promos work. An easy to use press-only website that gave access to MP3 downloads of pre-release music - perhaps built so only editors have access to all the content, but so they can move relevant tracks to the personal folders of relevant journalists - would overcome many of the issues raised about digital promo systems and might just work.

In fact, we reckon a system of that kind is where we'll eventually end up. But it seems likely that - as with consumer-facing digital music - the labels are going to first invest a lot of time and money into alienating important stakeholders, by clinging onto a digital rights managed system, until eventually realising such systems are expensive to run, frustrating to use and, ultimately, never going to succeed.

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MFLOW LAUNCHES
mflow, the new digital music service that 78% of people are calling "Twitter meets iTunes" (the other 22% are going with "iTunes meets Twitter"), properly launched last night with a shindig at Ronnie Scotts in London. The launch means that the service, previously invite-only, is now open to the public.

As previously reported, on mflow users recommend favourite tracks to their followers via a Twitter style system. Those users' followers can then stream the recommended track in full once and, if they like it, buy the track, all via the mflow platform. The recommender then gets 20% of the download fee as a credit to spend on other music recommended to them by the people s/he follows.

At launch the service has music from Sony and Universal in its catalogue, and a plethora of indies are on board, including Beggars, Domino, PIAS, Ministry, Skint and various indie digital aggregators like Believe, INgrooves, EPM and IODA. Talks are ongoing with EMI and Warner, who will presumably fall in line given the buzz going round about this service, which actually links social networking and streaming previews with some proper sell-through.

Announcing the service's public launch last night, mflow top man Oleg Fomenko told CMU: "We are delighted that after six months of highly successful testing involving 10,000 invited users who have provided us with invaluable feedback and input about our service, we are now ready to remove access restrictions and let the general public use mflow. We are evolving quickly as a company and adding both content and user functionality every day so we are a little reluctant to call this a full public launch. We are, however, very proud of what we have achieved to date and are eager for people to start using the system and discover new music. Moving forward, we are confident that mflow will provide the template for social music discovery".

If you want to follow Team CMU on mflow they are using the following user names. Chris is still trying to decide which McFly track to 'flow' first.

Editor Andy - ieatmusic
Publisher/Business Editor Chris - ChrisUnLimited
Editorial Assistant George - geeyoonit
Publisher Caro - CaroUnLimited

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TYPE O NEGATIVE FRONTMAN REPORTEDLY DIES
The frontman of goth-metal band Type O Negative reportedly died last night from heart failure aged 48. Although there has as yet been no official statement, the news has been announced via a number of sources.

FUSE TV presenter Juliya Chernetsky said via Twitter: "Peter Steele passed today. I loved my friend... our idol... my heart is with his band and family... He passed of heart failure today. Just spoke to Kenny [presumably Kenny Hickey, Type O's guitarist]" Online radio station KNAC.com also claim to have had confirmation of the news through "a source from within the band". It is rumoured that he had been ill for a few days.

Real name Petrus Ratajczyk, Steele first appeared as the frontman of thrash metal band Carnivore in the mid-80s, though came to wider attention through Type O Negative, who formed in 1990. Best known for singles such as 'Black No 1' and 'My Girlfriend's Girlfriend', the band's dark, theatrical songs, laced with tongue-in-cheek humour, and delivered in Steele's low, booming voice, polarised metal fans, but brought the band a large following. Steele also notoriously posed nude for Playgirl magazine in 1995.

This is not the first time Steele's death has been reported, most notably in 2005 when fans were shocked to log in to the Type O Negative website to find a picture of a gravestone eulogising the band's frontman. Rumours that Steele was ill with a variety of possible illnesses, or had committed suicide, had been circulating at the time, and the fake announcement of Steele's death was intended as a joke.

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GIRLS ALOUD REUNION WOULD BE "A SMALL MIRACLE"
Despite claims otherwise by various members of Girls Aloud, Brian Higgins, one half of songwriting and production team Xenomania, the creative team behind the Girls music, has said that if the group were to perform together again, it would be "a small miracle".

Speaking to lifestyle website Ponystep, Higgins said: "I think obviously that the rise of Cheryl Cole as a superstar is a phenomenon in itself, which is great for her. I think that everyone's got to wait and see where that takes Cheryl because it is obviously profoundly altering her life and how she sees her life. If she goes to America and does 'X-Factor' and everything, then that is going to create a situation".

As for whether or not the group would want to continue their relationship with Xenomania, he added: "If they do come back, they may well want to work with other people, or the alternative is that they say: 'We're wedded to Brian and Miranda' and come back automatically ... If the band continues it will be a small miracle, but then, every album was for me anyway. That's why we put so much into it, because we couldn't believe that they'd come back to us. We never assumed they would, ever".

He also pointed out that, in the modern pop world, the length of Girls Aloud's career has already gone far beyond what anyone could or would have expected: "I think that the body of work in terms of released songs is 110 or 120 songs now. It is very rare that that will ever happen again, going forward, that any group coming from any scene will release five or six albums and a whole slew of b-sides and bonus tracks, because careers just don't last that long".

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WINEHOUSE BACK IN THE STUDIO FOLLOWING BREAST SCARE
Amy Winehouse has been given the all clear but ordered to rest by doctors after, as previously reported, being hospitalised last week with chest pains that were being linked to the breast enlargement surgery she underwent last October.

This means she can get on with recording new material with producer Mark Ronson, who told The Sun yesterday: "There'll be something to hear quite soon. That's all I can say. There's something good coming".

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BLUR URGED TO RECORD MORE NEW MATERIAL
Following the news that Blur recently recorded two new songs for an exclusive Record Store Day single release, Parlophone boss Miles Leonard has said that he's hoping to convince the band to make a whole new album.

Leonard told BBC 6music: "They sound as competent and as strong as they've ever sounded before. I just hope that from hearing a song like this that the band feel there's more in them. We certainly do as a label and I'm sure when fans hear this they'll think the same".

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EMINEM TO RECOVER IN JUNE
Eminem has announced that his new album will be called 'Recovery' and that a 22 Jun release date has been pencilled in for it.

Earlier in the day the rap man tweeted that "there is no 'Relapse 2'", leading some to speculate that the follow up to last year's Slim Shady long player - which was expected to be positioned as a sequel to last year's record - had been canned. But later he clarified what he meant, and confirmed the album would be released this summer, but would be called 'Recovery', which has now led to speculation that the new album will be slightly more positive in subject matter than last year's offering.

Confirming the new album will be quite different to the original 'Relapse', Mr Shady said this morning: "I had originally planned for 'Relapse 2' to come out last year. But as I kept recording and working with new producers, the idea of a sequel to 'Relapse' started to make less and less sense to me, and I wanted to make a completely new album. The music on 'Recovery' came out very different from 'Relapse', and I think it deserves its own title".

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WHITNEY'S UK COMEBACK SHOW GETS MIXED RESPONSE
So, many wondered if it would happen at all, but Whitney Houston did belatedly start the European leg of her current world tour at Birmingham's LG Arena on Tuesday. However, as with her recent dates in Australia, many fans were left less than happy with her performance.

As previously reported, the singer was hospitalised in Paris last week with a respiratory infection, leading to the cancellation of several dates in Paris and the UK. Arriving on stage in Birmingham, she told fans: "I'm feeling pretty good myself, thank you so much for asking".

However, things went downhill, with many in attendance later saying that there had been far too much talk and not enough singing during the two hour show. And when she did actually sing, there were complaints that she'd been off-key.

One bit of Whitney banter which seemingly summed up the concert for many came after Houston returned to the stage after disappearing for fifteen minutes while she changed her costume. She told the audience: "I could hear you getting pissed off".

It's worth noting that many people thought she was great, despite the chat, the delays and the off-key notes. As you can hear on this video, there were plenty of cheers and shouts of glee. Though you can also hear some people laughing as she fails, quite spectacularly, to hit the right notes during 'I Will Always Love You': www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-rV9_fVV7Q

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TIGA IN TOWN
Turbo Records boss and musician Tiga will be in the UK at the end of the month for three dates on his Planet Turbo world tour. As well as the man himself, you'll get a load of his mates to entertain you too. Dates and line-ups as follows:

30 Apr: Glasgow, The Arches (Tiga, Boys Noize, Zombie Nation (Live), Riton, Sei A, Thomas Von Party)
1 May: London, The Coronet (Tiga, Boys Noize, Thomas Von Party, Trevor Jackson, DMX Krew, Matt Walsh and special guest)
2 May: Birmingham, Digbeth Festival (Tiga, Boys Noise, Thomas Von Party and special guests)

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BLOOD RED SHOES GIGS
If you're a very organised Blood Red Shoes fan you might be interested to know they've just announced two gigs for October, one at Manchester's Club Academy on 6 Oct and another at the Electric Ballroom in London on 7 Oct. Get them in your diaries, people.

Sooner than all that, the Brighton rock duo have a single out on 10 May, 'Don't Ask', from their excellent new album, 'Fire Like This'.

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE

SLAM DUNK FESTIVAL, University of Hertfordshire, 29 May, Leeds University, 30 May: Moneen, Millionaires, This Time Next Year, Deaf Havana and Futures have all been added to the Slam Dunk line-up, along with Me Vs Hero, Not Advised, L'Amour La Morgue, Sean Smith and Kill Casino. www.slamdunkmusic.com

T IN THE PARK, Balado, Scotland, 9-11 Jul: Echo and the Bunnymen, Julian Casablancas and Ash head up the latest acts announced to play at this summer's T In The Park. Other acts confirmed to play the Scottish fest include Babyshambles, Airbourne, Chapel Club, Example, Laura Marling, Hurts, Mystery Jets and The Drums. www.tinthepark.com

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ALBUM REVIEW: Sparrow And The Workshop - Crystals Fall (Distiller Records)
Sparrow And The Workshop's first full-length record isn't quite as refreshing as it may first appear to be. Yes, there is plenty of the inspired, lust-filled, raw Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell type folk that we found on their two preceding excellent EPs. But by that, I partly mean that a lot of the album is made up of tracks taken directly off those extended-play releases. So, for more long-term fans, there is a disappointingly low amount of new songs on offer on 'Crystals Fall'.

Still, for any newcomer, without the high expectations for new material, this is an excellent record of emotional acoustic rhythms, combining the vastness of American folk, through leading singer American Jill O'Sullivan, with the more grounded folkiness of her Celtic bandmates. The joys of hearing such timeless folk ballads as 'The Gun' or 'Swam Like Sharks' for the first time is something I envy. TM

Physical release: 19 Apr
Press Contact: Create Spark [O]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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CONCORD BUYS ROUNDER
California-based indie music group Concord Group, perhaps best known as Starbucks' business partner in the short lived Hear Music label venture, have bought up another US indie, Boston-based Rounder Records, whose roster and catalogue include music from the likes of Alison Krauss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Béla Fleck, Steve Martin, Madeleine Peyroux, Robert Plant, Raffi and Willie Nelson.

The indie's creative and marketing functions will continue to be based in Boston, with current management seemingly staying in place. The label's founders, Ken Irwin, Bill Nowlin and Marian Leighton Levy, will also continue to have an advisory role.

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SONY'S COUNTRY MUSIC CHIEF STEPS DOWN
The boss of Sony Music Nashville in the US is to step down though, like with Craig Logan at Sony's RCA UK division, will stick around until a replacement can be found. Joe Galante announced his intent to leave the country label yesterday.

Sony Music top man Rolf Schmidt-Holtz said: "I would like to thank Joe for his many years of invaluable service to our company. It has been a true pleasure to work with an executive of his exceptional calibre. Since our days together at BMG, I have admired Joe's remarkable passion and dedication to his artists as well as his unique ability for developing superstar talent and inspiring those around him. He has made an indelible mark on both the country music business and our entire industry and continues to do so".

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DISNEY CLOSE DOWN COUNTRY LABEL
Talking of country music, a country label owned by the Disney Music Group is to be closed down, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Lyric Street Records is currently home to artists like Bucky Covington and Rascal Flatts. The latter will be moved to another Disney label, while a marketing team will be kept in place to work on active Lyric Street releases and campaigns. It's not clear what will happen to the rest of the firm's artists once those campaigns are completed.

The Journal quote Disney Music Group chief chap Bob Cavallo as saying: "Given the changing nature of the music business and the more streamlined priorities of the [Disney] Studios, we need to find alternative ways to create and market new artists and their music to consumers".

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IPAD UK LAUNCH DELAYED
Apple yesterday announced that the rest of the world will just have to wait another month to get their hands on an iPad, because so many of those damn Americans want one they've run out. This is the last straw as far as I'm concerned, and I think war should now be declared on the United States, though given that they're nearer, we'll let the Canadians handle the first assault. After all, it could get a bit messy.

Anyway, the Apple men said this yesterday: "Although we have delivered more than 500,000 iPads during its first week, demand is far higher than we predicted and will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks as more people see and touch an iPad. We have also taken a large number of pre-orders for iPad 3G models for delivery by the end of April".

They continued: "Faced with this surprisingly strong US demand, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the international launch of iPad by one month, until the end of May. We will announce international pricing and begin taking online pre-orders on Monday, 10 May. We know that many international customers waiting to buy an iPad will be disappointed by this news, but we hope they will be pleased to learn the reason - the iPad is a runaway success in the US thus far".

Although you're going have to wait a bit longer to get your hands on the iPad, Vodafone, O2 and Orange have all confirmed they will be selling the tablet computer once it finally arrives in the UK next month.

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MICROSOFT ANNOUNCE KIN LAUNCH
In other gadget news, Microsoft this week announced that they would launch a new smartphone called the Kin (yes, despite that sounding rather like another popular digital content device) in the US next month, with a Europe launch planned for Autumn.

The touch screen handset is seen by many as the mobile phone version of Microsoft's Zune (a phone version of which has been rumoured to be in development on various occasions), and is definitely the IT giant's attempt to move into iPhone territory. The device has music, video, radio and podcast functionality and is described by the IT firm as an "integrated entertainment experience", though some reviewers have said it seems to be more skewed towards social networking functionality than content consumption.

In the US, the Zune Pass subscription music service will be available via the phone, though given the Zune brand has never been launched over here, it remains to be seen if that service is also available via the European version of the phone.

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MYSPACE UNVEIL TICKETING PLATFORM
MySpace has unveiled its ticket sell-through platform which will enable bands to sell tickets to gigs via their profile pages on the flagging social networking website.

Tapping into some of the functionality of iLike, the music platform MySpace acquired last year, and replicating some of the event functionality of Facebook, a new calendar system will alert users to gigs from bands they like and which their friends are attending, and then let their friends know if and when they buy a ticket for a gig, or something like that. Basically, it will be a bit like the event functionality on Facebook, but will include a ticket purchase element, and therefore will not only show if friends intend to go to a gig, but also if they have actually bought a ticket.

The new service will provide MySpace with a new revenue stream in the form of a ticket sale commission, but is also part of the one time social networking market leader's attempt to reinvent itself as a music and entertainment hub. A similar sell-through system for merchandise is also in development.

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6MUSIC AXES WEEKLY MUSIC NEWS SHOW
The BBC's 6music has announced it is axing its weekly music news magazine programme The Music Week, which was hosted by the station's news editor Julie Cullen and her colleague Matt Everitt. However, plans are afoot to expand the amount of music news that appears on the station during daytime instead.

Cullen told Music Week (the trade mag, not her own show): "Myself, Matt Everitt and the team are expanding music news coverage to appear across daytime programming and keeping features, updates, tour dates, industry news and big interviews as always. We're also hoping to include more international news, tour diaries and features on brand new bands, so please don't hesitate to get in contact with all your usual press releases, interview opportunities and anything else that you think might be of interest to 6music and Radio 2 listeners".

Some wondered if the axing of The Music Week was a sign 6 was moving away from bespoke news content, perhaps in preparation for plans to wind the station down next year. But Cullen seems to be saying that, for the time being, it's "business as usual".

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6MUSIC DEFINITELY NOT BECOMING 2 EXTRA, SAYS BBC
Talking of 6music and the Save 6 campaign, as UK music industry chiefs met with the BBC Trust to air their concerns about the 6 closure plans yesterday, the Beeb's head of Stuff And Shizzle Tim Davie denied those resurgent rumours that the Corporation may as yet u-turn on their decision to axe the station but rebrand it as Radio 2 Extra.

As previously reported, those claims resurfaced in a Sunday Times report last weekend, and basically say that BBC bosses are considering saving 6 but renaming it 2 Extra, so that it fits in with plans to only have five national radio brands.

But writing on the About The BBC blog, Davie said: "Firstly, let me make it clear that, while we have proposed rebranding Radio 7 as Radio 4 Extra, there are no such plans for 6music. But I should also explain that the proposals made in the Strategy Review are the first part of a process. The BBC Trust are currently consulting the public on those proposals and nothing will happen until after the consultation is closed".

He continued: "I [have previously] outlined the rationale for the closure of 6music and said that we will reinvest any funds from the proposed closure of 6music in digital radio content. This commitment to digital radio remains and we are looking at a number of ways of doing this. I said we would look at protecting some 6music programming by redeploying it elsewhere and considering how we can also do justice to its legacy in areas like new music development. This commitment also remains. But simply rebranding 6music as Radio 2 Extra is not one of our plans".

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FOOTBALLER TO LAUNCH NEW INSTRUMENT
I always remember former footballer Dion Dublin because, in about 1990, his Panini was impossible to swap because everyone had about seven of them already. But now he's about to be remembered for something else entirely; revolutionising the world of percussion. Well, perhaps. Dublin has invented a new percussion instrument, called The Dube, which he is preparing to launch on the world.

Details are scarce at the moment, but we do know that it's "a stylish cube percussion instrument which comes in four sizes and can be totally customised in colour schemes and tones". More info is apparently coming soon here: www.thedube.com

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