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The New Ginger Spice

The face of Chester Cheetah has been hailed as a potential replacement for Ginger Spice. In an advertisement for Walkers Cheetos, Chester Cheetah will take the fifth Spice alongside Posh, Scary, Baby and Sporty. Does Chester Cheetah have the big boots and in-yer-face front to equal Geri? The future for Spice promotional links is uncertain. However, retailers worldwide are happy that Geri's absence has initiated a sales surge in Spice merchandise. Walkers, one of the main companies to use the Spice Girls has said: "Walkers relationship with the Spice Girls has been extremely successful. For the launch of Cheetos we wanted to link up with the coolest band of the 90s and we are looking at other activities which may arise before our contract with them ends at the end of the year." But the suits at Virgin Record label are at a loss. Since the announcement, its parent company EMI made a stock drop of approximately 3 per cent.

Stoned Temple Pilots

Scott Weiland, ex-leader of Stone Temple Pilots and solo artist, has been arrested for possession of 10 packs of heroin while in the lobby of a Manhattan housing development. It will put an end to his current American tour and could mean a jail sentence of up to two years. Previously, Weiland has been caught with cocaine and heroin, for which he was ordered to spend six months in a drug treatment centre. In June's edition of Vox magazine, Weiland told Andrew Mueller: "It [heroin] seemed like part of the romance and the lifestyle of being a rock star, that writing and performing and the drugs were all one, all part of the same ball of wax. I'm learning now that this is not actually the case." He added: "I've stopped a few times, but now it's been over seven months without anything."

Internet Break

Dotmusic magazine has become the first UK website to use music clips legally. The ground-breaking deals with EMI Music and Warner Music represent an important step in the music industry's battle against internet piracy. Steve Redmond, editor-in-chief at Dotmusic, says: "Although there are thousands of Internet sites featuring samples of music, virtually none of them have bothered to seek official licenses and are illegal."

Dotmusic was the first online music magazine in the UK, but resisted using sound samples without permisssion. "We were determined that we would not use sound until we had a proper licensing deal," says Steve. "As copyright owners ourselves, we are adamant that the value of copyrights must be preserved."

It is a sentiment welcomed by Jeremy Silver, EMI International Vice President of interactive media. He says: "We are very keen to establish proper business terms for the use of our music and graphics on commercially run sites."

In Brief

Music Direct: Spiritualized frontman Jason Pierce will be chatting live on the NME website at 4pm today. Live Pride: Gay Pride Festival on 4 July at Clapham Common will be broadcast live on Radio 1. This will be the free part, for the first time Pride is charging pounds 5 to see rumoured acts; Boy George, Texas, D-Ream and The Pet Shop Boys. Tupac Mystery Deepens: The man who Tupac Shaker's mum named as her son's killer, has been murdered. The prime suspect, 23-year-old Orlando Anderson was shot dead at a Compton car wash over an apparent monetary dispute. Songwriting Awards: Last week, the 1997 Ivor Novello Awards were held in London. Presented by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, song winners included "Candle In The Wind 1997" and Radiohead's "Karma Police". Richard Ashcroft of the Verve won Songwriter of the Year (making a rare appearance, after snubbing the Brats and Brits), Texas got Best Song Collection and Morrissey was honoured with the Oustanding Contribution to British Music.