CMU Daily - on the inside 4 Mar 2003
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
• More sale gloom in US,
• Pundits not optimistic on Robbie in USA,
• Bowie’s Ziggy finale to be released,
• Britney on boys,
• Rhode Island investigation latest,
• Telewest plan TV channel rebrand,
• Homelands line up latest,
• Caroline free on digital radio system,
• Anastacia talks about her cancer treatment,
• Cable music channel plans controversial cartoon show,
• The Boss has record sell out,
• Madonna turns to fiction,
• Pop gossip galore

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MORE SALES GLOOM IN US
Even more doom and gloom for the US music industry as another set of figures, this time from PricewaterhouseCoopers, show record sales continued to slide in 2002, and that the slumps last year were generally higher that in 2001. CD shipments, for example, were down 8.9% - they went down 6.4% in 2001. Total unit shipments (ie including other formats) were down 11.2% - they went down 10.3% in 2001. Total dollar value of CDs sold was down 6.7% after a 2.3% drop last year.

Needless to say the Recording Industry Association of America lay the blame with virtual and real world pirates – outgoing chairman Hilary Rosen: "A major cause of the decline in 2002 includes the ongoing problem on online and physical piracy. As we have seen piracy rise, we are responding aggressively online and have dramatically upped the activities of our Anti-Piracy Unit, increasing our seizures of counterfeit and pirate CDRs by 90% in 2002."

Piracy – especially bootlegged CD-R based piracy – definitely plays a part in declining sales and the increased action against the bootleggers by the RIAA and its sister organisations around the world (which has doubled in some places) should be welcomed. But, as reported ad infinitum, some in the industry feel the only way to overcome the doom and gloom longterm is for the record labels to find new income streams, and new ways of engaging with music fans other than through just CD sales.

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PUNDITS NOT OPTIMISTIC ON ROBBIE IN USA
Those in the know in America are pessimistic about EMI's chances of breaking Robbie Williams in the US big time. A key part of the £80 million deal between Robbie and EMI was finally breaking Mr Williams in the USA – both sides keen to see his fortunes change there. But after a lukewarm receptionat a pre-Grammys show last week the editor of one US music magazine – Blender – reckons Williams has only a 40% chance of making it over the Atlantic. "He has a couple of strikes against him. He does everything with a layer of irony that doesn't translate well." Sean Ross, Group Editor at Airplay Monitor, which has a crucial role in deciding US chart positions, added that it was too early to say whether Williams could make it in America. Talking to the New York Times he said: "There are certainly records that are too British to translate over here, or are perceived as too British to make the cut, but Robbie Williams isn't one of those."

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BOWIE'S ZIGGY FINALE TO BE RELEASED
David Bowie's final ever performance as Ziggy Stardust from way back in 1973 will be released on CD and DVD later this month. Bowie billed the one-and-a-half-hour gig at London's Hammersmith Odeon as his last ever gig, though he later explained he meant last ever gig as Ziggy. The concert features 16 songs, most from the Ziggy Stardust album but also some from 1973's 'Aladdin Sane' and 1971's 'Hunky Dory', along with covers of the Rolling Stones' 'Let's Spend The Night Together' and the Velvet Underground's 'White Light/White Heat'. It is released on 24 Mar.

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BRITNEY ON BOYS
Britney Spears has been talking to Glamour magazine about her rumored romance with Fred Durst and Justin's much talked about video to 'Cry Me A River'.

On whether or not she had fallen for the Limp Bizkit frontman she said: "I think him for me, but not me for him. He's said some pretty amazing things about me. But, um, I think he leaped in too deep, too quick."

On Mr Timberlake she said she was "shocked and disappointed" that her former boyfriend of four years had released what was presumed to be a semi-autobiographical video with regards the couple's much hyped split.

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RHODE ISLAND INVESTIGATION LATEST
More on the Rhode Island club fire. It appears local building and fire inspectors hadn't picked up on the use by the clubs owners of a highly flammable foam for sound proofing. Authorities reckon sparks from pyrotechnics landing on the foam caused the tragic fire. The owners had put the foam, intended as packaging material, onto the walls of the venue after neighbours complained about noise.

Although clearly playing a part in the fire local authorities have said the foam is a secondary issue – they are still primarily concerned with the question of whether or not the venue management gave the band permission to use pyrotechnics in their show.

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TELEWEST PLAN TV CHANNEL REBRAND
Telewest chief Charles Burdick has told the Media Guardian he is no longer considering selling his TV company Flextech (who own Living, Bravo, Trouble and half the UKTV network), and is, in fact, planning to bring his TV arm closer to the heart of the company through a series of new measures, including a possible name change. Insiders reckon Burdick is interested in boosting awareness among Telewest cable customers that the company also runs some of their favourite channels, in the same way Sky cross-promotes its channels and satellite network operations. Whether any Telewest Television umbrella brand would include the UKTV channels, which have just invested in marketing its own umbrella brand, remains to be seen, but expect the other Flextech channels to be incorporating heavy promotion of Telewest's cable and broadband services very soon.

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HOMELANDS LINE UP LATEST
Early news about the all star line up for this year's Homelands Festival – The Streets, Chemical Brothers and Groove Armada have all be confirmed to play alongside DJ sets from Pete Tong, Sasha, Roger Sanchez, John Digweed and, on the Radio 1 stage, Dave Pearce, Judge Jules, Seb Fontaine and Fergie. Homelands takes place on 24 May – full line up and ticket details are yet to be confirmed.

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CAROLINE FREE ON DIGITAL RADIO SYSTEM
Radio Caroline, which now broadcasts a subscription service via the Worldspace digital radio network, is broadcasting for free during March in a bid to win new listeners who, the station hopes, will then pay the £5 a month subscription. The offer will be promoted by other stations available via the Worldspace network. Caroline is also now broadcasting via Sky Digital – though it's not on the electronic programme guide so you need to tune your receiver in. As far as we can make out the Sky broadcasts are always free, so then you wouldn't need to buy a Worldspace set or pay the £5 subscription. More info at www.radiocaroline.co.uk

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ANASTACIA TALKS ABOUT HER CANCER TREATMENT
Anastacia has been talking to reporters about her breast cancer, which was diagnosed earlier this year, just before she starts six weeks of radiation therapy: "To all the people that have reached out to wish me well, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And in return, if there is anything that I've learned from this experience it is to get a mammogram early. Even if not covered by insurance, give up that pair of shoes, don't go out for that expensive dinner - get a mammogram." Confirming this message, the singer's surgeon said her cancer would have been very serious had it not be diagnosed early: "Although what Anastacia has is serious, she is very lucky. Due to the aggressive nature of her cancer, she was months away from a more immediate life-threatening condition. However, her prognosis is good, as are her spirits, which figures into any successful recovery."

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CABLE MUSIC CHANNEL PLANS CONTROVERSIAL CARTOON SHOW
Canada based cable network Muchmusic USA is likely to get bosses at VH1 and many record labels a little hot under the collar with its new cartoon show - Behind the Music That Sucks. Word is the South Park-styled parody includes a whole load of made up stories from pop including Garbage singer Shirley Manson's ill-fated love affair with Star Trek’s James 'Scotty' Doohan, the revelation of Trent Reznor's true identity as TV handyman Bob Vila, the story of a movie collaboration between Jon Bon Jovi and Ed 'Kookie' Byrnes, and the stories of Dr Dre and Eminem presented as Peanuts characters.

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THE BOSS HAS RECORD SELL OUT
Bruce Springsteen has broken another record in the America when all seven dates for his US tour in July sold out in a day. A little like Eminem's UK gigs, the dates sold out so quickly extra shows had to be added immediately – taking a three date show up to seven performances. According to Ticketmaster it was the quickest selling show in the company's history.

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MADONNA TURNS TO FICTION
Madonna is turning her hand to children's fiction after signing a deal with US publisher Callaway Editions. She will produce five illustrated children's books to be distributed by Penguin in the US, and by imprint Puffin internationally. The first book, 'The English Roses', will be published and distributed worldwide in September.

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POP GOSSIP GALORE
Today's pop gossip. Firstly Gareth Gates has told The Sun he is aiming for a more r'n'b sound on his next album. He told the paper: "The new tracks I am working on have much more of an R'n'B feel. I want to move away from pop - well, not pop as a whole but I want to get away from the cheesy side of it."

Meanwhile former popstar Kym Marsh was somewhat underwhelmed when just one fan showed up outside Aberdeen radio station Northsound where she was making a personal appearance to plug new single 'Cry'. A bit of a come down from her Hearsay days when over a 100 fans amassed outside the station. But talking to Scottish paper the Daily Record Kym was excited about her forthcoming solo album: "I think everyone will get it. On my album I'm doing stuff that I really believe in, that I really like listening to. It's very guitar-based which enables me to have a band which is much more live sounding. It goes right across the board from every age range and I know that every song on there is a song that I really believe in."

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