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ALLEGATIONS STACK UP AGAINST THE DOC IN JACKO DEATH PRELIM HEARING
As previously reported, it was a shot of the powerful anaesthetic Propofol, being used by the singer to help him sleep, that killed the late king of pop. Prosecutors will claim that Murray was negligent in administering that drug, and also that he failed to respond correctly once his patient went into cardiac arrest. The aim of this court hearing is to assess whether there is enough evidence against Murray for a full trial later this year.
Various allegations have been formally made this week, regarding Murray's conduct, by those around Jackson in his final days. Yesterday two doctors from the UCLA Medical Center, where Jackson was taken after going into cardiac arrest, said that Murray failed to tell them about the Propofol shot when they specifically asked him what drugs the singer had received.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Jackson security guard Alberto Alvarez, who was at the singer's home when his heart failed, recalled how Murray had instructed him to remove various medicines from Jacko's bedroom before paramedics arrived. The implied accusation is that Murray knew he had been wrong to administer Propofol to Jackson and that his first instinct, therefore, was to cover it up.
One of the UCLA doctors, Dr Richelle Cooper, was asked about Propofol during her testimony. She told the court that it was a commonly used anaesthetic in hospitals, employed during basic operations such as "fixing a broken bone or dislocated joint", but she added: "I've never seen it used in a home setting".
Other allegations made against Murray by various witnesses who have taken to the stand this week are that the doctor procrastinated before dialling 911 but then told paramedics he called them immediately, that he took and made various phone calls in the hour after giving Jackson the powerful sedative when he should have been monitoring his patient, that he couldn't give UCLA staff any accurate information on what other drugs Jackson had taken when, and that he seemed a little confused as to what to do when it became clear the late king of pop's condition was worsening.
According to CNN, one security man, Faheem Muhammed, recalled how Murray crouched next to his patient "in a panicked state" and asked the various staff members in the room: "Does anyone know CPR?" The implication, of sorts, being that perhaps Murray himself did not. Muhammed told the court: "We knew Dr Murray was a heart surgeon, so we were shocked".
Murray's legal rep Ed Chernoff has provided some possible explanations for some of the allegations being made - for example, suggesting at one point to Alvarez that perhaps his client asked the security guard to bag up various drugs in Jackson's room with the intent of taking them to the hospital with him, rather than to hide them. Though most commentators seem to think that, even if many allegations can be answered with innocent explanations, the amount of claims that have been made this week provide more than enough evidence for a full trial.
With various members of the Jackson family in attendance, including his parents and sisters Janet and La Toya, the preliminary hearing is expected to run for most of next week too.
FRANKLIN SAYS "HEALTH PROBLEM RESOLVED"
But Franklin did tell JET that she began feeling "a very hard pain" in her side during a concert in Toronto last year. Believing it might be a side effect of a recent colonoscopy, she contacted the medic who had undertaken that procedure, who recommended she have a CAT scan. That scan revealed whatever condition it was that required surgery. Says Franklin: "Thank God he said that because that unfolded everything, what the problem was and everything".
Remaining silent on the specifics of the surgery she received, she added: "I know my fans are concerned. Let them know I am feeling great and coming along. The problem has been resolved".
BEASTIE BOY YAUCH GIVEN ALL CLEAR
As previously reported, there are two new albums in the can, including the one that was delayed when Yauch was taken ill, though the way in which those records will now be released is a bit confusing (the second one is coming out before the first one though with songs from the first one on it, or something like that).
Mike D added that the band hoped to tour the new album, though wanted to make sure Yauch was fully fit again before doing so. In the meantime most effort is being put into a "really big video" for one of their new tracks.
FINALISTS ANNOUNCED IN MEGA NEW BANDS COMPETITION
The 24 semi-finalists had been selected by online fan voting, then on Tuesday a panel of four judges, including CMU Publisher Chris Cooke, selected four of the five finalists, with an audience text vote selecting band number five. The five finalists will now play at The Barfly in Camden on 22 Feb where an overall winner will be selected who will win, among other things, and all-expenses paid tour of some key Alpine ski resorts.
The five finalist bands are:
Commenting on the Basecamp Rocks competition, which is now in its second year, the boss of Basecamp, Fergie Miller, told CMU: "One of the main ambitions of BCR as a competition is to provide and grow a platform for young artists to ply their trade out of the commercial limelight. It's an opportunity for them to learn about self-promotion, to develop their own voice and creative style, as well as to perform in front of new crowds at new venues rich in music folklore".
More at www.basecamprocks.co.uk.
MIKE SKINNER ON THE DEATH OF THE STREETS
Rambling to The Guardian last week, Skinner said: "I've been doing it for ten years and I've always tried to do something different with each album. Some [of my work has] been amazingly received and some of it hasn't been, and I've run out of new avenues. As uninteresting as The Streets is to talk about, the most interesting element of anything is its death, so if you're going to talk about The Streets, ending The Streets is probably a good thing to talk about. But it's not interesting really. I haven't really got anything more to do".
Meanwhile, speaking to Zane Lowe on Radio 1 yesterday, Skinner added that his advancing age (he's all of 32) was also a consideration, saying that he doesn't want to be "singing 'Let's Push Things Forward' when I'm 40". He joked that he should have had the forethought to wear a mask when he first launched the project, saying: "If I'd have put on a helmet like Daft Punk... sometimes I think I should have - those guys can go on forever. They're going to be 60, and under that helmet they could be 23".
Skinner also revealed that after touring to promote 'Computers And Blues' he will produce his first film.
WILLOW SMITH WORKING WITH SKILLZ AND JAZZY JEFF
Skillz told BET.com this week: "Me and Jazzy Jeff are ... working on some stuff for Willow Smith's album. I worked with her dad on a few projects before so you know I have a relationship with him. It was just a natural progression like they're doing music so, you know, that door's always open. I'd be crazy not to try to walk through it, so we're working on some stuff".
Despite being a popular ghostwriter in US urban circles, the obvious question for this project is surely: is it a challenge to write from the perspective of a ten year old girl? No, says Skillz: "I can write for anybody. It's just stepping outside of yourself, looking at the market and working out what's missing and trying to fill that void. We all throw darts, sometimes they stick, sometimes they don't. But, you know, you keep going".
Speaking of ghostwriters, elsewhere in Willow Smith news this week, Soulja Boy has claimed to have written the aforementioned 'Whip My Hair', telling his fans on Twitter: "Yes, it's true, I wrote 'Whip My Hair' for Willow Smith. That's why she says, 'hop out the bed, turn my swag on'. We getting $$$ [in] 2011, no games".
This is news to many, not least its credited writers Ronald 'JukeBox' Jackson and Janae Rockwell. Jackson tweeted yesterday: "We'll see who did when those royalties come around ... Soulja wrote 'Whip My Hair?' And Waka Flocka wrote 'Thriller', right? My house must be POPPIN, cuz I had NO IDEA Soulja was in my house when I did that song!"
Though we suspect Soulja Boy's tweet was more about accusing Jackson and Rockwell of nicking one of his lines rather than about claiming to have written for Smith. Soulja Boy did release a single called 'Turn My Swag On' in 2009, which does indeed also contain the line "hop out the bed, turn my swag on".
STROKES ALBUM CHATTER
Speaking to Radio 1, Fraiture said that the album sees the band return to their "classic sound", adding: "Sonically, I feel it's the album which should have been made between 'Room On Fire' and 'First Impressions Of Earth". Definitely.
ROBERTA FLACK TO RELEASE LOVELY COMPILATION
Here's the tracklist:
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
DAMON ALBARN TO SCORE SHORT FILM
Directed by Luke Losey, the film will be narrated by Jude Law and produced by Alcove Entertainment, which was responsible for Harmony Korine's 'Trash Humpers' last year. Though I'm pretty sure this film won't be like 'Trash Humpers'.
Artwork from the book will also be on display at Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road in London from 17 to 28 Jan.
FIXERS ANNOUNCE DEBUT SINGLE AND TOUR
15 Jan: Oxford, O2 Academy 2
WOLF PEOPLE ANNOUNCE FIRST UK HEADLINE TOUR
13 Feb: Nottingham, Bodega
K-X-P ANNOUNCE UK AND IRELAND SHOWS
For a taster, download yourself a free track, which goes by the name of 'Pockets', here: www.melodic.co.uk/ihp/K-X-P-Pockets.mp3
19 Jan: London, The Lexington
GINUWINE FLOGGING BOOZY MILK
In an ad campaign for the drink, Ginuwine plays a milkman. His new single is also called 'Drink Of Choice', but I think that's just coincidence.
LEE RYAN DENIES TESCO ALBUM DEAL
A statement on behalf of the Blue singer said: "Contrary to reports today Lee Ryan has not signed an exclusive album distribution deal with Tesco. Lee is not aware of any deal to release his solo album 'Confessions', and is currently concentrating on recording with Blue for their new album due for release later this year".
ITUNES PAYING THE BEATLES DIRECT
This is as opposed to the usual system whereby the wholesale price for every Beatles download sold would go from Apple to record company EMI, whoich would then pass on the mechanical royalty to Sony/ATV (usually via a collecting society) and pay the artist any royalty they are due.
iTunes paying out directly to Apple Corps and Sony/ATV will mean they see their cut of the money quicker, and presumably, certainly in Apple Corps case, will mean they get a much bigger cut of revenues than the norm, whereby a premiere league artist could probably expect to receive up to 25% of wholesale price. Other rumours suggest Apple Corps could be getting half of the wholesale fee for each download, possibly after Sony/ATV takes its cut.
Also interesting is Billboard's suggestion that this kind of set up looks more like a 'licensing deal' than a standard 'record sales arrangement', though EMI insists it was not a licensing agreement that got The Beatles onto iTunes.
In some ways how you refer to whatever deal was done is just semantics, though, as previously reported, for artists and record companies whether digital music arrangements should be classified as licensing or conventional record sales deals is important because an artist's cut has traditionally been higher in the case of the former. Some artists still on pre-internet contracts argue that when labels sell music via iTunes they are actually licensing music to the Apple download store and should therefore pay a higher royalty to artists.
Attempts by a handful of artists to enforce that interpretation of the digital domain in the US courts have in the main not been successful. Though, of course, the dispute between Universal Music and FBT Productions, the royalty-share-holding producers of Eminem's early recordings, which centres on this very issue, is ongoing.
PRS COMPLETES LIVE ROYALTY CONSULTATION
The Concert Promoters Association, Festival Republic and the Glastonbury Festival are among the organisations to have inputted on the review, the deadline for which was extended several times to allow everyone time to put their thoughts into writing.
Confirming he was pleased with the response to the consultation, PRS's Director Of Public Performance Sales Keith Gilbert told CMU: "We're pleased with the level of response and engagement we have had. The debate has been hugely constructive and it was right to have this official extended consultation period, allowing everyone to share their views on this vitally important topic. We all want to see the continued success of live music in this country, and we will be taking all comments on board in this review process".
The results of the collecting society's review should be published in the spring.
BMG HIRES BILLY MANN
Confirming the new appointment, BMG's Chief Creative Officer Richard Blackstone said this: "Billy is one of the few people in our industry who has experienced the creative journey from all sides. Artists and their managers who have worked with him know they have a trusted advocate in Billy and industry executives know they are dealing with someone who has successfully combined entrepreneurial independence and creativity with stamina and ambition".
IMAGEM MAKES NEW PRODUCTION MUSIC ACQUISITION
Imagem CEO André de Raaff told CMU: "5 Alarm Music is a great acquisition for Imagem Music Group as we look to expand and grow our production music business. They are a well established successful agency in America with the 5 Alarm catalogue having a strong footprint in many territories around the world".
Lord added: "We are very excited about joining the Imagem Music Group. André's dynamic world view on music publishing and the music industry is truly inspiring, and I know that the great team we have here in Pasadena looks forward to working alongside our new colleagues in New York, London and the Netherlands".
TONI BRAXTON CONSIDERING PLAYBOY SHOOT
Braxton told her fans via Twitter: "New Year, New opportunities. So I have been considering taking up Playboy's offer to feature me on their cover this year. I would love to pose with Hugh Hefner though. He's the sexiest guy I know over 30".
She added that it would be totally tasteful and everything, saying: "Don't expect full nudity, just a lil T and A. They have asked me about three times before".