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  MySpace has been sold, everyone. I know you didn't think it was possible that a buyer could be found, but you just hadn't considered quite how much Justin Timberlake would want it.

OK, Justin didn't go in on his own, the ailing social network was bought by ad company Specific Media for a reported $35 million on Wednesday - nowhere near the $100 million MySpace boss Mike Jones was bandying around earlier this year, and way off the $580 million News Corp bought it for in 2005.
 

But Justin is a stakeholder and, seemingly, is being brought in to be the new figurehead of the company. The new Tom, if you like. Specific Media CEO Tim Vanderhook told Billboard that the singer "is going to be the creative force behind MySpace and will help us drive the strategy of what the tools need to be for artists and what the community should look like".

It's not clear if Timberlake has sunk any of his own cash into the purchase, despite now owning a chunk of the website. Vanderhook says that Timberlake was top of Specific Media's list of celebrities who might be able to help get MySpace back on the straight and narrow. After all, he did do a very good job of playing someone who helped a social network get up on its feet in a film. But Timberlake won't, it was stressed, be a token famous person. He'll have an office, staff, and perhaps most importantly, be the person everyone remembers when the whole thing goes tits up. OK, no one involved has said that out loud.

Specific's grand plans are yet to be unveiled. They will apparently come at a press conference in two months. Though Specific has spoken in terms of the advertising opportunities available through such a large and established website. It has millions of user profiles, plus video and music content, all of which is exploitable. It's reckoned by the new owners that there are still 70 million people visiting the site each month, too.

Which all sounds nice, but MySpace had all those things last week, as well. The fact remains that its traffic is dwindling, and it has ceased to be the place where every band in the world has to have a profile. New bands don't necessarily sign up, and many of those already there are closing their accounts down. The challenge of bringing people back is going to be a big one, one that might be too big for even Justin Timberlake.

That it lost half a billion dollars in value in six years should be a warning. There's more to MySpace than just several million pages ripe for advertising on. There's the clunky technology platform on which the entire site is built the really needs rebuilding from the ground up. There's lost brand loyalty. There's the increased competition. Not that these aren't problems that can't be overcome, but it'll be a heck of a job.

MySpace, of course, is a big topic of discussion on this week's CMU podcast. As are Beyonce's toilet habits and what she might have done to Tricky at Glastonbury. Elsewhere, Chris and I also chat about HMV finances, the chance that the 'on air, on sale' single release system could "die on the cross of self-interest", plus the Motion Picture Association's attempt to force BT to block access to copyright-infringing Usenet group Newsbin2, and what that might mean for the music industry.

See you next week,

Andy Malt
Editor, CMU
 

 
 

  This week's biggest stories and developments in the world of music making...

MySpace news...
MySpace sold
New MySpace owners speak
Former MTV chief who failed to buy MySpace says he's smiling

HMV news...
HMV sells Canadian stores
HMV profits down 61%

Complaining news...
FAC and MMF call for renewed commitment to 'on air, on sale'
German labels criticise GEMA over YouTube
Drake hits out at Universal for blocking links

Newsbin2 injunction news...
Movie industry asks court to force BT to block infringing index
BT says MPA injunction would be "the thin end of the wedge"

Bold move news...
David Gray releases live album via Groupon
U2 to sell off stage as separate venues
Dave Grohl reveals secret Nirvana reunion
Lou Reed says his Metallica collaboration may be "the best thing done by anyone, ever"
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  Imogen Heap
Having already built a strong following with her debut album, 'iMegaphone', and Frou Frou, a duo with producer Guy Sigsworth, the real tipping point in Imogen Heap's career was having 'Hide And Seek' the first single from her second album, 'Speak For Yourself', used in the closing scenes of the second series of 'The OC'. The self-released track, featuring just Heap's vocodered voice, subsequently shot up the iTunes charts in the US and later the UK.
 
In the following years, Heap has become known as an innovator in music, particularly in her use of social media and technology. Her fourth album, which is currently a work in progress, sees her push these ideas yet further. The album will see her work on a different track for a two week period every three months, before releasing it via her website.

The first track, 'Lifeline' (originally titled 'Heapsong1') was created using sounds, videos and artwork submitted by fans. The second, currently still known as 'Heapsong2', is now in the final stages of completion, and will be premiered via www.imogenheap.com (where you can also read progress updates ahead of the release) on 5 Jul, before going on general sale on 17 Jul.

In the midst of all this, we managed to catch Imogen during a break from the studio and asked her to compile a Powers Of Ten playlist for us. Here's what she came up with.
 
IMOGEN HEAP’S TEN
Click here to listen to Dengue Fever's playlist in Spotify, and then read on to find out more about her selections.

01 Vector Lovers - Last Day Of Winter
Reminds me of a beautiful moment in bed with someone.

02 Apparat - Hailing From The Edge
Sunshine, top down, Mustang, Hawaii, just passed my driving test.

03 The Knife - Like A Pen
Exploded in excitement. In music, in motion.

04 Baths - Lovely Bloodflow
Heard this for the first time recently. It gets me all excited about getting into the studio again

05 Jamie Lidell - A Little Bit More
Awesome live performer, brings back memories and sets a high bar for my own live show.

06 Avril - Urban Serenade
On the London Underground, the hum drum of daily life writes its own film.

07 Jon Hopkins feat Tunng - Seven Gulps Of Air
Just beautiful.

08 Fever Ray - When I Grow Up
Hark, the stirring voice of a dark angel.

09 Eskmo - Cloudlight
Fresh, organic life forms peer through a digital matrix.

10 Dizzee Rascal feat Calvin Harris and Chrome - Dance Wiv Me
It makes me want to dance my ass off and brings back great touring memories of much fun in the bus (sometimes with a two foot lion's head mask).
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  Artists, tracks, videos, tour dates, release updates and other online nonsense to check out this weekend...

This week's Same Six Questions interviews...
Fink
Dirty Vegas
London Elektricity

This week's CMU Approved acts...
Björk
Toddla T and/or Roots Manuva
Gang Gang Dance
Plans & Apologies

Some videos...
Watch Jarvis Cocker talking about his new book of lyrics
Watch a film about last month's Independent Label Market
Watch a video about a Japanese pop star who doesn't exist
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  #69: Beyonce v Tricky?
Last weekend's Glastonbury Festival reached its climax on Sunday night with a headline performance from Beyonce. There was much anticipation for the show, and the talk both on and off site as it drew closer revolved around what she might pull out of the bag.

Clearly she'd have some guests, but who? Jay-Z, definitely. And Chris Martin. Maybe even her former Destiny's Child bandmates. Who know, she might even convince Lady Gaga to fly in for a rendition of 'Video Phone' and/or 'Telephone'.
 
When Ms Knowles' first two songs were the big hits 'Crazy In Love' and 'Single Ladies', the expectation grew yet further. How would she top that? Who would join her on stage?

Then the moment came. "I want you all to welcome my special guest", she said as the opening bars of 'Baby Boy' rang out. "His name..." Yes? "Is none other than..." Yes?! "Tricky". Oh.

I mean, don't get me wrong; I like Tricky. I like Tricky a lot. But if I had to write a list of people I thought would be the only guest to appear on stage with Beyonce as she headlined Glastonbury, Tricky wouldn't have been on it. Not unless it was near the end of a really, really long list and I'd started just writing down any name I could think of. He's not an obvious choice, is he?

Still, if he'd stormed it, it could have been quite a moment. But he didn't. He muttered a few of the lyrics along with Beyonce, jiggled about a bit, and then disappeared to let the pre-recorded voice of Sean Paul handle the actual rap section of the song.

Where did he go? That's what everyone wanted to know. There was much speculation on the internet, with guesses growing ever more unlikely. He'd got stage fright. He couldn't handle having Beyonce dancing near him. He wet himself.

But there's another theory. And it's a delightfully simple conspiracy theory. It turns out that ahead of Beyonce's husband Jay-Z's Glastonbury headline slot three years ago, Tricky made some negative comments in an interview with Canadian newspaper The National Post.

Asked what he thought about the controversy around Jay-Z headlining the festival, Tricky said: "I can understand in some ways, because an American artist headlining Glastonbury is probably a bit weird for people. And the fact that it's an urban artist - and he's not actually that good. If it was like, Public Enemy or Rakim, you might get away with it, because Rakim's an extreme talent, and Public Enemy changed the face of music. People in England would probably relate to that more".

He continued: "But the 'bling-bling, I'm God' sort of bullshit, English people ain't into that. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets bottles thrown at him, to be honest with you. Kids in England ain't into that. It's going to be him on stage talking about himself for an hour, and how cool he is, and how great he is, and how he's the best thing since sliced bread and how good he looks and shit. People really ain't into that shit. Not for a headliner at Glastonbury".

Now, let's ignore the fact that Tricky thought that Public Enemy or Rakim, great as they are, could have headlined Glastonbury in 2008. Let's instead agree that those are some strong words. Words that maybe came to the attention of Mr and Mrs Z, who, when the latter bagged the same slot three years later, hatched a plot to get their revenge on the pesky Bristolian. It seems so obvious now. That's probably the only reason Beyonce wanted to play Glastonbury.

But, come on, let's think about this for a second. Of all the people to get revenge on for being down on Jay-Z's Glastonbury show, why would you pick Tricky? It's not like he was the only doubter - the ringleader, of course, was Noel Gallagher. And surely Jay-Z opening his set with 'Wonderwall' did the job in terms of addressing all that.

And if you want to get revenge on someone for comments very few people were even aware of, why would Beyonce choose to do it in a way that could damage a show she was clearly very excited about? How would she even ensure that Tricky looked bad? All she did was invite him on stage and let him sing, it's not like she tripped him up and pulled his pants over his head, or anything.

Actually, watching it back again, there are no signs of stage fright and he's dancing towards Beyonce as he sings. Then, when Sean Paul's vocal comes in, he walks off like he's done all he was supposed to. OK, it's still strange, but the re-telling of it as a fear-gripped man freaking out and then storming off stage doesn't appear correct at all. How boring.
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Andy Malt
Editor
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Co-Publisher
Caro Moses
Co-Publisher
           
Eddy Temple-Morris
Columnist
Paul Vig
Club Tipper
Zane Lowe
Backtracking Officer

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