Pop: Sleevenotes

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THE ENTIRE music industry decamped to the In The City music festival in Manchester this week. With venues like The Castle being without a stage and a viewing point right next to the band, A&R men, record label bosses and talent scouts have quite literally found themselves in the backroom. The general idea of going to In The City is to visit as many venues as possible (and with six on one street, you're looking at a messy picture), do the walk, talk the talk and, as a result, get an idea of the next big thing. There are over 50 unsigned bands to digest. If the crush to see the Twisted Nerve Records showcase with Badly Drawn Boy is anything to go by, the real buzz, however, is around established acts. Otherwise, the unsigned bands are looking to emulate previous In The City success stories, such as Welsh trio Stereophonics, Kula Shaker, Catatonia, Oasis and Idlewild.

So much for "being real". All Saints' lawyers are currently putting together an out-of-court settlement with a couple of American singer-songwriters that may or may not include pounds 200,000 of their "Never Ever" royalties. Sean Mather and Robert Jazzieri have claimed they wrote the music for the song with Shaznay Lewis back in 1996. The band have also coughed up to Minder Music over songwriting credits for the track "Let's Get Started".

Nominations for the Music of Black Origin (MOBO) have been announced. Media coverage has picked up from last year's understated Carlton broadcast with a Channel 4 screening on 14 October. Plus they have scooped Spice Girl Mel B to co-host the show with Bill Bellamy from MTV. Nominees range from Stardust's "Music Sounds Better" to Beenie Man's "Who Am I".

Meanwhile, as R&B powerhouse Motown enjoys it's 40th- anniversary, its staff are wondering whether it will survive the merger between Universal Music and Polygram (which owns Motown). Despite its library of hits, it continues to falter in the face of competition from LaFace, Bad Boy and RuffHouse Records.

The sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle isn't satisfying all pop stars. After not acting in Australia for a decade, Kylie Minogue is to star in two privately-financed local films.

While over in New York, grunge-hopster Beck has been doing something called "Fluxus". "[Fluxus] means stationary non-movement. It also means art without any kind of faggy artist's intentions," said Beck. With his mother, Beck shot cap guns at paper planes while shouting random phrases into a knee-high microphone.

One of our own mad geniuses, Julian Cope, has released his third book, called The Modern Antiquarian. It includes poems, thoughts and fantasies inspired by the 400 megalithic sites around Britain.

Wall of Sound, phat beat pioneers, has signed an international licensing deal with Virgin Records. Label guv Mark Jones signed it at QPR's Loftus Road where Virgin has reserved an executive box for him.