The move, long rumoured, has finally been announced as part of plans to raise student numbers

Essay: CDs were built to last, and to throw away

Music isn't special when it comes out of a little silver beer mat.

Pop: The Big Noise: Texas: The Hush Mercury

WITHOUT GOING too far out on a critical limb, it's safe to say that this is the album that will win all the awards this year. Painstakingly designed and faultlessly performed, it fulfils all the criteria to attract what music-industry insiders refer to as the five-albums-a-year punters - those consumers who aren't addicted to music like the rest of us, but limit themselves to just a few high-profile purchases each season. It's those punters who keep The Corrs high in the charts week after week, and it's their attentions that an artist has to attract to achieve crossover success - all the more so during such lean times for the industry as these.

Film: Scott of the arch antics

Jake Scott, son of Ridley, has just made his first feature film, Plunkett & Macleane. It's MTV meets The Scarlet Pimpernel. But that wasn't the plan.

Norway's new nightingale

Thanks to her child-like voice and airy-fairy songs, Anja Garbarek is often compared to Bjork. But her jazz-musician father has been her main influence.

Massive attack

This week, designers sent a fat lad down the catwalk. COLE MORETON - no Jarvis Cocker - spots a cynical stunt

Massive Attack sees off old guard

ANYONE OVER 30 should stop reading here. As the year draws to a close and critics rush to catalogue the events, people and anthems of the year, a poll of Radio 1's listeners to find the all-time top 100 has chosen few of the old classics.

Who's Suing Whom: Music sample strikes a note of contention

MANFRED MANN (real name Manfred Lubowitz), the popular musician and songwriter who found fame and fortune with his eponymous band in the 1960s, is suing the extremely trendy group Massive Attack for alleged plagiarism.

Pop: Lyric Sheets: 1998 - A Drear Year

A brief glance back at a fairly uneventful year in pop music

Going Out: Pop: massive attack

December is marked by several big names going out on arena tours. While some of these (Tom Jones, UB40 and the unnecessary return of Culture Club) are at best nostalgia fests and at worst mere excuses for companies to use their hospitality budgets, Bristol's Massive Attack (right) do offer an alternative. This is the first time that they'll be touring the Mezzanine album, and, while venues of this size are impersonal, their urban sound is rich enough to permeate the entire venue.

The 50 best: Sound investments from a record year

More CDs, records and tapes are sold in the month before Christmas than at any other time of the year. Most, of course, are intended as presents - but what to buy? Here, The Independent's team of music critics picks over the best of the year's releases - from rock and pop to classical and opera, via dance, hip hop, reggae, jazz, roots and blues - and offers suggestions for further listening. Just press play ...

UK trip-hop band makes cyber chart

A CHART in which the trip-hop band Massive Attack appears at No 39 would usually be about music. But instead the trio from Bristol have been picked by Time magazine as among the "50 most influential" names in the new cyber elite.

Mania on Manic Street as Welsh win top prize

THERE WAS finally some good news for Wales yesterday when two of the Principality's biggest bands walked off with the major prizes in the prestige Q Music Awards.

Going Out: Pop Morcheeba

South London-based Morcheeba's second album, the excellent Big Calm, is packed with diverse beats and rhythms, and spent almost six months in the Top 40. Since its release in March, they've been on a constant touring schedule in Europe and the USA.

Arts: Pop: Keep faith with the new church of ecstasy


Network: Making sweet virtual music - on a computer

Why bother using a studio, when computer technology is so cheap? By Hannah Gal
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

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Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
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Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
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BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
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Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

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Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

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Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
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Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

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