THURSDAY
13 SEP 2012

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Q&A: GALLOWS
Formed in 2005, in December last year, Hardcore punk outfit Gallows released their first material with new frontman Wade MacNeil (the former Alexisonfire guitarist replacing original vocalist Frank Carter, who left to focus on his other band Pure Love), 'Death Is Birth' EP, before this week releasing their third album 'Gallows', via their own label Venn Records. CMU's Andy Malt caught up with guitarist Lags Barnard to find out more more>>
 
APPROVED: HIDDEN ORCHESTRA - VORKA
Hidden Orchestra release this single ahead of their forthcoming second album 'Archipelago'. Drummers Tim Lane and Jamie Graham form the 'frontmen' of this instrumental outfit, alongside Poppy Ackroyd on violin and piano and Joe Acheson on bass and samples. Since their 2010 debut 'Night Walks' they have toured over 25 countries, and found fans in hip hop heads as well as jazz and classical lovers more>>
TOP STORIES
- Richard Hawley and Plan B joint favourites to win Mercury Prize
IN THE POP COURTS
- Russian prime minister says Pussy Riot three should be freed
- Modest Management sues former X finalist
- Muse respond to rock opera rip off claims
- Joe McElderry wins harassment suit against ASDA stalker
RELEASE NEWS
- Jonny Greenwood streams Master soundtrack
- Diplo keeping back Major Lazer LP until 2013
- Friendly Fires share Late Night Tales tracklisting
- Cee Lo to release Christmas LP
BOOKS NEWS
- Clive Davis autobiography incoming
GIGS & TOURS NEWS
- Paul Banks touring in January
- Chris Moyles, Zane Lowe proclaim solo tours
- Ladyhawke adds new dates
THE MUSIC BUSINESS
- MusicTank report focuses on environmental impact of streaming platforms
THE DIGITAL BUSINESS
- Apple previews iPhone 5 and iTunes revamp - but no iStream
THE MEDIA BUSINESS
- Simon Bates presenting two radio shows at the same time
AND FINALLY...
- Chris Brown flaunts world's worst 'Mexican sugar skull' tattoo
SPECIALIST TECHNICAL DIGITAL MUSIC DELIVERY FREELANCER
Fully experienced and knowledgeable in digital music/media product batch management XML/DDEX product delivery and DMS delivery specs liason capable of updating dms delivery specs and re-coding.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
BANDWAGON - INTERN
BandWagon, the UK's fastest growing live music management tool is looking for an artist & talent management intern to work with us as we undergo an exciting period of growth and development. Working directly with BandWagon's Head of Live, you'll be assisting with a range of tasks from basic admin duties to festival and promoter development, social media and research.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
DOMINO RECORDS - NEIGHBOURING RIGHTS ADMINISTRATOR
Domino is looking for a talented individual to join its growing Neighbouring Rights department. The role requires strong organisational skills, an analytical mind and keen attention to detail. Key duties include data processing, ensuring discographies/performer details are registered at collection societies around the world, dealing with disputes, processing statements as well as general administration.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
SOUND CHANNEL/HIDEOUT FESTIVAL - DIGITAL MARKETING AND PR ACCOUNT MANAGER
Sound Channel is one of the leading companies working in the electronic music industry, working on a number of large-scale music club events, concerts, and festivals in the UK and Europe, such as Hideout Festival in Croatia, Metropolis, Wax:On brands in the UK and the newly launched Canal Mills venue.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
NAME PR - PRESS ASSISTANT
Name PR is looking for a bright press assistant who is a self-starter with great writing ability and interpersonal skills, has a good grasp of the music industry, and has at least a basic working knowledge of PR and journalism, for a part-time role that has the potential to become full-time.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
PROUD2 - CLUB PROMOTIONS MANAGER
Senior level Club Promotions Manager to join London’s largest nightclub. Must have both promoter and agent contacts across a range of music genres... and a finger firmly on the pulse. Building and retaining strong relationships is key in order to preserve the reputation of the venue and elements of programming and booking for various club nights.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
LISTEN UP - PRESS ASSISTANT INTERNSHIP
Listen Up is seeking an energetic and enthusiastic press intern to assist our press department across their print and online campaigns. If you are a budding publicist looking to get your first foot in the door then this could be the opportunity for you.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.


RICHARD HAWLEY AND PLAN B JOINT FAVOURITES TO WIN MERCURY PRIZE
And so, it has been decided which were the twelve best British albums released between July 2011 and September 2012. Yesterday afternoon, Lauren Laverne took to a stage at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden to deliver this year's Mercury Prize shortlist, whittled down from over 250 entries.

On the list, there are the usual lone jazz and folk albums, though there are notable absences of any pop or electronic music at a time when both genres are arguably booming. Plus, as usual, there's not the slightest sniff of any metal or punk. Though it may actually be that these genres are all under-represented due to a lack of entries rather than any snub from the judges - the fact that there were about 250 entries means that the vast majority of British albums released in the last fourteen months were not put forward.

Amongst the nominees, pre-announcement bookies' favourites to win Alt-J appeared as expected, though William Hill has now put Plan B and Richard Hawley in the lead, giving both odds of 4/1 to take the £20,000 prize in November. Alt-J are joint second, along with Django Django at 5/1, no odds go further than 10/1 at this stage. Rupert Adams of William Hill told CMU: "This has been a year of musical excellence with these albums representing a diverse range of styles from UK artists. This quality is reflected in the closeness of the odds we've given to the 2012 Barclaycard Mercury Prize 'Albums Of The Year' - every album here could be a winner".

Meanwhile chairman of the Mercury judging panel, Simon Frith, added: "This year's Barclaycard Mercury Prize shortlist showcases a wonderful variety of musical voices, emotions and ambitions. There are eight debut albums on the list and four albums from more established artists. The sheer range of music here celebrates the abiding ability of British musicians to find new ways to explore traditional themes of love and loss while making an exhilarating soundtrack for life in 2012".

Also commenting on the list yesterday was HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo, who told CMU: "This has got to be one of the most open Mercury fields we've seen for a while. Quite a few of the nominees have a genuine shout of winning, so there's a chance we could have another Antony And The Johnsons moment, with the spotlight shining on something quite new and leftfield, rather than an Elbow one, when an act that's been bubbling under for a while goes mainstream in a big way".

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at The Roundhouse in London on 1 Nov.

And here's that shortlist in full:

Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
Ben Howard - Every Kingdom
Django Django - Django Django
Field Music - Plumb
Jessie Ware - Devotion
Lianne La Havas - Is Your Love Big Enough?
Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again
Plan B - Ill Manors
Richard Hawley - Standing At The Sky's Edge
Roller Trio - Roller Trio
Sam Lee - Ground Of Its Own
The Maccabees - Given To The Wild

So, now you've seen it, why not revisit CMU Editor Andy Malt's earlier look at the top 20 contenders for this year's shortlist.

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RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER SAYS PUSSY RIOT THREE SHOULD BE FREED
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has called for the three jailed members of punk band Pussy Riot to be freed, saying their continued incarceration is "unproductive".

As previously reported, Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich were sentenced to two years in jail after being convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" for performing a protest song against Russian President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral.

Many reckoned that the conviction and sentencing, which was widely criticised by artist and free speech groups around the world, were politically motivated, and the three women are currently in the process of appealing the ruling.

Medvedev is clearly no fan of the Pussy Riot performers, saying that the band's appearance and the "hysteria" accompanying them makes him sick, but in a televised meeting with members of his United Russia party he said he believed the three jailed members should now be given suspended sentences, and therefore let out of jail.

The PM said: "In my view, a suspended sentence would be sufficient, taking into account the time they have already spent in custody".

Medvedev's comments, as well as criticism of the sentencing from other Putin allies, including the country's former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, has increased optimism amongst Pussy Riot supporters that the jailed members of the band could be freed in the next month.

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MODEST MANAGEMENT SUES FORMER X FINALIST
A dispute between former 'X-Factor' runner-up Rebecca Ferguson and Modest Management, the company which has, in the past, had first right of refusal to manage finalists of the 'X-UK' franchise, is heading to the courts, after the management agency filed papers with the High Court this week.

Relationships between the singer and the management company seemingly deteriorated earlier this year, with the dispute going public in July when Ferguson called the Modest team "vile" on Twitter, before tweeting: "Be nice to have a nice new responsible caring management team! Who care for me and my children's wellbeing. See you in court!"

According to the BBC, the previous month Ferguson sent Modest an email accusing them of failing to take her health and wellbeing into account, and requesting to terminate her working relationship with the company. In the lawsuit, Modest is seeking damages, and a percentage of the singer's earnings for the remainder of her original five year contract with the company.

As previously reported, Quest Management recently signed a deal to get the first option rights for signing 'X-Factor' finalists in future.

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MUSE RESPOND TO ROCK OPERA RIP OFF CLAIMS
A spokesman for Muse has responded to that litigation being pursued by an American songwriter called Charles Bollfrass against their label Warner Music in relation to the band's 2009 album 'The Resistance'.

As previously reported, Bollfrass has claimed that the last three tracks on that album, a trilogy under the title of 'Exogenesis', were ripped off from a concept he had devised in 2005 for a rock opera of the same name. Bollfrass alleges that he approached Muse about them collaborating on the project, but that they declined the offer, and then used his ideas for 'Exogenesis'.

Although the lawsuit doesn't list Muse as defendants, the band have responded to the litigation. According to the NME, a rep says: "The claim is complete nonsense and is categorically denied. It appears to be based on a 'screenplay' which the band never received or saw, produced by someone the band has never heard of. It speaks volumes that the album in question was released a full three years ago, and yet this is the first that has been heard of these groundless allegations".

Warner Music has reportedly said it will "aggressively defend" itself in the legal action.

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JOE MCELDERRY' WINS HARASSMENT SUIT AGAINST ASDA STALKER
A 53 year old man from Stockport has been convicted of harassing Joe McElderry and his mother on several occasions in 2011. McElderry confessed to the court he had felt "creeped out" by the attentions of Ennis McBride, who has been issued a five-year restraining order and fined £1915.

Addressing judge and jury earlier this week, McElderry remembered an incident when, having been initially sighted by McElderry's mother Eileen Joyce at a supermarket last 24 Dec, McBride was then arrested outside her house.

He said: "My mum rang and said 'the stalker is back and he's in Asda'. She sounded really upset but she was more concerned where I was and if I was with anyone. After that I went and locked the door. I felt intimidated that someone would be standing in the dark outside my house, and scared because it was Christmas Eve and it was the last thing I wanted to think about".

On a more positive note, McElderry has a new album just out, which is the first to feature his own original 'co-writes'. Here he is talking about that to Digital Spy: http://bcove.me/fy5vdgmp

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JONNY GREENWOOD STREAMS MASTER SOUNDTRACK
Spotify is now streaming the previously mentioned orchestral score Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood has composed for director Paul Thomas Anderson's critically touted new film, 'The Master'.

Nonesuch Records isn't officially releasing the long playing version of the soundtrack until 5 Nov, so why it's on Spotify now, I have no idea. But it is, which is good.

As are Jonny's compositions, as you'll hear by clicking this link.

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DIPLO KEEPING BACK MAJOR LAZER LP UNTIL 2013
Initially set at 5 Nov, the release of 'Free The Universe', the new LP from Diplo's muscular dancehall arm Major Lazer, will now happen on 18 Feb 2013.

Diplo's own label Mad Decent hasn't yet explained the delay, but I'm sure the producer/DJ has an excellent excuse for it. Perhaps he's waiting on final verses from Shaggy, who guests on the record amid all-star cameos by Bruno Mars, Wyclef Jean and Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig.

As consolation for this most crushing of disappointments, have a glance instead at the very good video for the long player's present single 'Get Free', featuring Jamaica, Amber Coffman and lots of just about SFW 'twerking'. Oh, and talking of twerking, you may as well also listen to Diplo talking about it on Kreayshawn's new single 'Twerkin!!!', which is released on Monday as part of Kreay's debut 'Somethin Bout Kreay'. But it's not essential that you do.

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FRIENDLY FIRES SHARE LATE NIGHT TALES TRACKLISTING
Friendly Fires have collated the new and thirtieth ever edition of 'Late Night Tales'. I say 'collate', they picked the tracks, I don't think they then gathered them all up. Amongst their chosen artists are SBTRKT, Laurel Halo, Grouper, Cocteau Twins and Melody's Echo Chamber.

There's also some vintage disco and the trio's own version of Sting and Eberhard Shoener's 'Why Don't You Answer', while the customary spoken word comes from 'Parade's End/Sherlock' thespian Benedict Cumberbatch. It will all be released as a highly collectable CD/MP3/LP set on 5 Nov.

Fast-forward across it now via this partial preview.

Tracklisting:

Junior Boys - Under The Sun
Renee - Change Your Style
Joe Simon - Love Vibration
Dennis Parker - Like An Eagle
Space - Carry On Turn Me On
Iron Galaxy - Attention Seeker
Bibio - Don't Summarise My Summer Eyes
Stereolab - Black Arts
SBTRKT - Hold On
Friendly Fires - Why Don't You Answer?
Sonna - One Most Memorable
Laurel Halo - Embassy
DJ Sprinkles - House Music Is A Controllable Desire You Can Own
Melody's Echo Chamber - Endless Shore
Grouper - Invisible
Cocteau Twins - Cherry Coloured Funk
Slowdive - Shine
Olivia Newton John - Love Song
Nils Frahm - After
Benedict Cumberbatch - Flat Of Angles (Part 1)

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CEE LO TO RELEASE CHRISTMAS LP
Cee Lo Green is at this moment recording a Christmas-themed novelty covers LP, and it's going to feature a duet with Rod Stewart.

The new season of 'The Voice USA', on which Green appears as a celebrity 'coach', has just started, hence his unveiling the project now to assure optimum publicity. He's smart, I'll give him that. But also pretty silly, as the collection's artwork proves. 'Camp R&B Santa Claus' doesn't quite do it justice.

Anyway. Feted as a "soulful take on a host of Christmas classics", 'Cee Lo's Magic Moment' will also host guest artists in rapper BOB and a capella choir Straight No Chaser. Whether they're doing 'Silent Night' or 'You're A Mean One Mr Grinch' is still a Christmas mystery, but one that'll be solved when 'Magic Moment' is released on... 29 Oct.

October, so festive.

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CLIVE DAVIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY INCOMING
US record industry veteran Clive Davis, founder of both Arista and J Records and currently Chief Creative Officer for Sony Music, will publish his autobiography via Simon & Schuster next February.

Co-written with music journalist Anthony DeCurtis, the press bumpf is promising "never-before-heard tales" about Davis's work with the likes of Whitney Houston, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan, and all "the excitements, the disappointments and the triumphs" of his career.

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PAUL BANKS TOURING IN JANUARY
Paul Banks has, in the same succinct style that prompted him to title his new solo LP 'Banks' (out via Matador on 22 Oct), detailed four Irish/British dates. Just four, and here they are:

20 Jan: Dublin, Academy
21 Jan: Glasgow, King Tut's
22 Jan: Manchester, Sound Control
24 Jan: London, Koko

And this is a link to download the long player's very first track, 'The Base', for free.

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CHRIS MOYLES, ZANE LOWE PROCLAIM SOLO TOURS
If you've a penchant for Radio 1 DJs both past (well, almost... Moyles' last ever R1 breakfast show takes place tomorrow) and present, you'll love the fact that Chris Moyles and Zane Lowe are each embarking on their own (solo) tours.

Zane's is a uni-specific, Nokia Lumia-sponsored affair, and will comprise Lowe doing a DJ set at universities around the country. Look, he's even doing two PA's in a single night!

17 Sep: University of Lincoln
18 Sep: University of Leeds
22 Sep: University of Liverpool
24 Sep: Keele University
26 Sep: University of East Anglia
27 Sep: University of Bath
28 Sep: University of Oxford
29 Sep: University of Manchester
30 Sep: University of Birmingham
30 Sep: University of Nottingham
4 Oct: University of Warwick
11 Oct: University of Essex
12 Oct: Bournemouth University
14 Oct: University of Leicester
18 Oct: University of Sheffield
19 Oct: Brunel University

But now to Chris 'King Herod' Moyles who, as retired radio royalty (well, until he gets his next gig), will appear live and laughing amid the "non-stop banter" and "fun and games" of his own off-air jolly. 'Chris Moyles Live' will feature a live band, live singing and live comedy as Chris 'and friends' (presumably his soon-to-be-jobless Radio 1 colleagues) encourage crowds to participate across the nation.

He says: "This is my first chance to get out and see the fans since I left the radio show. It will be a night of singing and laughing and messing about. If you share my same sense of humour and love for bad karaoke, then this is the show for you".

If so, read on:

14 Nov: Birmingham Academy
15 Nov: London, Shepherds Bush Empire
16 Nov: Bournemouth, Academy
17 Nov: Sheffield, Academy
18 Nov: Glasgow, Academy
20 Nov: Newcastle, Academy
21 Nov: Leeds, Academy
22 Nov: Bristol, Academy
23 Nov: Liverpool, Academy
24 Nov: Manchester, Academy

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LADYHAWKE ADDS NEW DATES
FAO lovers of Ladyhawke's Pip Brown and her new LP 'Anxiety'; she's taking it and past pop hits on tour this November, only she's titled it the 'Blue Eyes' tour, after an 'Anxiety' track.

And that's it for now, bar the relevant dates:

5 Nov: Brighton, Concorde
6 Nov: Dublin, Academy
7 Nov: Glasgow, Oran Mor
10 Nov: Leeds, Cockpit
13 Nov: Manchester, Academy
14 Nov: London, The Forum

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MUSICTANK REPORT FOCUSES ON ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF STREAMING PLATFORMS
A report from MusicTank, first previewed at The Great Escape back in May, will be published later today, analysing the environmental impact of the growth in cloud-based content services.

The document, titled 'The Dark Side Of The Tune', asks whether the energy consumption and resulting carbon footprint involved in streaming content online will be sustainable if and when cloud-based services go truly mainstream, comparing the energy used to operate such services with the that required to provide a download, or even content via a physical format like a CD.

The report, authored by music technology innovator Dagfinn Bach, claims that streaming an album over the net 27 times can use more energy than the manufacturing and production of its CD equivalent, meaning that you relatively quickly reach a point at which playing that record over the net will use more energy and have a bigger environmental impact overall than the old CD model.

There are, of course, a lot of variables at play here, and Bach has had to make some assumptions along the way that not everyone will agree with, though the main concerns he raises seem valid, as does the over-arching question posed by the report: "Do ever more complex cloud, mobile and streaming services represent sustainable consumption models or do they present us with an environmentally unsustainable digital future?"

The report hopes to kickstart a debate on the environmental impact of the growth in cloud-based content services and on the possible solutions to reduce energy consumption, ranging from the more obvious, like the increased used of caching, which obviously is already employed by some streaming platforms (not least to reduce bandwidth costs), to other more innovative approaches.

Commenting on the new report, MusicTank Chairman Keith Harris told CMU: "The uptake of smart devices, combined with the advent of mass connectivity and high speed broadband continues to revolutionise our consumption of music. These changes also have considerable implications for the environment. Whereas in the pre-digital era, music fans stuck a needle on the groove or hit a play button, today they are increasingly turning to cloud-based streaming services powered by energy-hungry server farms".

Bach himself added: "Digital music is not distributed in an environmental vacuum. While CD and vinyl pressing plants are becoming rarer, the growth in data traffic caused by digital content services comes with its own risks and problems. I hope this report shines a light on the issue and opens an important debate, both in the music industry and beyond".

This MusicTank report is available for free thanks to sponsorship by HP. Meanwhile, an event will take place to discuss the implications of the report at the University Of Westminster's Fyvie Hall on 11 Oct.

Get the report here.
Sign up for the event here.

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APPLE PREVIEWS IPHONE 5 AND ITUNES REVAMP - BUT NO ISTREAM
Given that the excitement that has traditionally surrounded Apple product launches seems to be waning outside the core gadget-geek community, I wonder if this will be the last iPhone launch that grabs headlines in the music world. Of course the customary rumours of an iTunes streaming service about to launch help raise anticipation in music business circles each time Apple boss Tim Cook takes to the stage, even though you'd think iGossipers had long since cried wolf on that one.

Anyway, the iPhone 5 was debuted at a press event in San Francisco yesterday. It's 20% lighter than its predecessors, has a bigger and better display, ultra-fast wireless technology, improved battery life, an enhanced camera and expanded iCloud and Facebook integration. It's the "thinnest smartphone in the world", apparently, with a lovely maps widget offering turn-by-turn navigation and a 'passbook' thing for managing tickets, vouchers and store cards. Oh, and the Siri voice support thingimy will tell you who won the football.

Pre-orders will be taken for the new Apple smartphone from Friday, with the first devices expected to ship on 21 Sep. It looks likely that the device will be quite a bit more expensive in the UK than the US, initially at least, with talk of a £529 price-point, presumably for the highest capacity model, which will sell for $399 in the US. Obviously some networks may offer better deals if locked to a contract.

In terms of British tel cos, EE, the all new brand from Everything Everywhere, which owns the Orange and T-Mobile networks in the UK, will offer the new iPhone as it starts to roll out its new all-singing, all-dancing 4G mobile network. Though those who prefer the third generation mobile internet will be able to use their iPhone on the existing Orange and T-Mo networks (which will continue to operate under those brands for the time being).

The logo map shown at the Apple launch event yesterday implied that O2 was the only other UK network that would have the iPhone 5 at launch, alongside the EE networks, though both Vodafone and Three have since said they'll also start selling the new Apple smartphone soon too.

Although the iPhone 5 was the headline announcement, Apple previewed a range of other product updates yesterday as well, including a pretty major revamp of its iTunes software and store (mainly changing look and feel), though the mooted streaming music service - rumoured to be in development so many times in the last few years - was not part of the overhaul.

Just rumour of a supposed Apple-owned streaming music platform was enough to cause the share price of US streaming service Pandora to wobble last week, even though there has never been any apparent appetite to launch such a thing amongst the Apple top guard. The logic employed by iStream-will-arrive-eventually speculators is that ultimately so called 'access-based services', rather than iTunes-style 'ownership-based services', will dominate in digital content, and that Apple will therefore have to move into that space eventually to maintain iTunes' market-leader status in digital music and media.

Though, of course, launching a subscription-based streaming service is expensive and risky, even if you can use your market dominance in the downloads market to avoid paying the big music companies large advances. All existing streaming services have launched with a 'loss-leader' business model, and most (if not all) are still operating that model. And while Apple may have been an early pioneer in digital music, it has never been that keen on committing its own money (beyond investments in the technology) to get music services off the ground.

And iTunes was always intended to be a means-to-an-end, to provide the content that would motivate consumers to buy an iPod. And while it's proven to be a rather lucrative means-to-an-end, and Cook may claim that "music is deeply embedded in our DNA", Apple has never aspired to be a digital content company per se. If subscription-based access platforms are the future, you suspect Apple would rather ensure other people's subscription content ventures work best in iOS, so that content fans are drawn to its premium-priced devices, but without taking the risk of launching its own proprietary service. And, of course, it can take a cut of the sale of those third-party streaming services via its app store.

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SIMON BATES PRESENTING TWO RADIO SHOWS AT THE SAME TIME
We always knew that Simon Bates was a versatile fella, but it seems that he is now presenting two radio shows at the very same time.

Bates has hosted the breakfast show on the main Smooth Radio station since the start of 2011, but his voice can now also be heard in the breakfast slot on digital sister station Smooth 70s, which launched at the end of last year.

But this isn't the same show - or the same show but with different songs (as Absolute Radio has done with some shows on its decade-specific stations) - rather it seems Bates has provided some unique links for Smooth 70s, presumably pre-recorded.

Smooth hasn't so far made much of the appearance of Bates on Smooth 70s at the same time as his show on the main Smooth channel, though the station did confirm to Radio Today that the DJ would be providing "a little content" to the digital service.

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CHRIS BROWN FLAUNTS WORLD'S WORST 'MEXICAN SUGAR SKULL' TATTOO
Hey world, 'Don't Judge Me' rapper Chris Brown has a new tattoo, and this is what it looks like.

No, no, it's not Rihanna's face - as in the bruised one created by Brown's fists in 2009 - it's a Mexican sugar skull, or so say the MC's reps, who claim it is "associated with the Mexican celebration of the Day Of The Dead and a MAC cosmetics design he saw" (believed to be this one).

Vindicating the controversial image via the same 'Mexican Day Of The Dead' defence as his people, Brown tweeted on Tuesday: "I'm an artist and this is art. Dia de los Muertos".

Okay, so it does bear a semblance to the MAC image, and it would surely be bizarre (even by Brown's standards) to ink a permanent memento of your own public disgrace on your own neck. But you'd think Brown, or someone else within shouting distance of him, might have noticed how the image could be viewed as inappropriate before he got someone to tattoo it somewhere he can't really cover up.

Meanwhile according to TMZ, Brown bought ice creams for 60 children last week, which apparently means he is a "nice guy". The children were guests of the Back To School Festival, a charity event hosted by the Jenesse Center for domestic violence prevention in LA, where Brown and his mother have been volunteering since his arrest in 2009.

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CMU Editor Andy Malt and CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke are both available to comment on music and music business stories. Together they have provided comment and contributions to BBC News, BBC World, BBC Radios 4, 5, 6music and Scotland, Sky News, CNN, Wired and the Associated Press. Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.

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