SO, THAT'S WHAT THEY'VE DONE WITH THE HMV CASH: EMI have just bought Mute, ending one of the longest-running indie labels in the country. The home of Depche Mode has become just another imprint. EMI, you'll recall, were cutting dozens of artists not long back after making some pretty stupid decisions, and you have to wonder if this is a purchase designed to build back catalagoue rather than one interested in developing new music. In other label news, internet rumours are starting to get a lot noisier about the possibility of the fucked Vivendi-Universal buying Abbey Road studios off EMI. If they had any sense, they'd sell it to property developers and close the place down - after all, there's so much surplus studio capacity in places where its cheaper to put bands up while they waste time smoking dope and trying to get into girl's pants; it's simply an emotional attachment which stopped Abbey Road being scrapped years ago.