CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 13th December
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- US mechanical rights agency withdraws stream licence proposals from Musicnet
- Evel Knievel sues Kanye West
- Busta Rhymes in court
- Foxy Brown back in court
- Atlantic founder in coma
- Mariska Veres dies
- Karen O demos leaked on internet
- Latin American benefits announced
- Kylie to celebrate New Year with Wembley show
- New Editors EP
- Slade catalogue reissue continues
- New Tangerine Dream
- Quincy Jones gets Harvard honour
- Velvet Underground buyer hasn't come good
- Album review: Mira Calix - Eyes Set Against The Sun
- Camden Crawl news
- Diana concert sells out
- McFly tour sells out fast
- Euros Childs tour
- The Bluetones tour
- OCS Christmas tour
- Playmusic bash this Friday, OK?
- Chinese introduce new regulations over digital music
- German trade bodies merge
- EU invests in border controls to cut piracy
- Napster mobile reaches Europe
- EMI partner with Last.fm on recommendation service
- Xfm launch interactive thingimy
- Grammys get their counting wrong
- X Factor judges hit back at Jamelia
- Kasabian defend Noel Gallagher

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IT'S THE END OF THE YEAR AS WE KNOW IT>>

FAVOURITE ALBUM OF 2006 #4: Plan B - Who Needs Actions When You Got Words (679)
Now is not the time to start up that old chestnut about how much good UK hip hop there is around at the moment, or that the home grown hip hop scene really deserves to get more mainstream attention, especially when you consider how much better much of it is compared to the big name hip hop that reaches us from across the Atlantic. But what I can say is that if we'd wanted to make half of CMU's favourite albums of the year UK hip hop based, it wouldn't have been hard to find enough contenders. But even without such quota systems, the genre is represented, here in the shape of one of the year's most impactful album releases, Plan B's 'Who Needs Action When You Got Words'. Impactful in the musical sense, because Plan B, aka Ben Drew, is a genuinely musical guy, and with eclectic tastes, making his album incredibly rich musically. And impactful too in its language. And not just because of the high amount of swearing Drew includes (which is quite a lot, even by hip hop standards), but because of the gritty issues he delves into, and the world he describes. These are just stories, Drew tells us, but they are based on his real life experiences, and you can't help thinking his underlying motivation is to document a world he feels the mainstream ignores. Either way, he demonstrates again that hip hop is at its best when it has an agenda, and especially when that agenda can be explored through tracks that are both lyrically and musically strong. 'Who Needs Actions When You Got Words' enjoyed considerable critical acclaim when it was released in June, leading to the predictable 'British Eminem' labelling. But Plan B has probably more in common with earlier more political hip hop legends, in terms of what he wishes to communicate at least, and that will probably prevent him from enjoying quite the mainstream success of the likes of Slim Shady. But the mainstream is missing out, because 'Who Needs Actions When You Got Words' is as entertaining as it is thought provoking. And as such is a definite album of the year.

Read our interview with Plan B here:
http://www.thebeatsbar.co.uk/albumsoftheyear

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CLASSIFIEDS>>

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HOT OFF THE PRESS>>

NEW PLAYMUSIC - OUT NOW
On the 1st day of Xmas my true love gave to me, Playmusic magazine. Blah blah for 12 choruses, 25 most wasted rockstars, 19 pages of live gigs, 12 track free CD, 5 old things (re-issues), 4 members of
The Automatic, 3 knackered shoes, 2 'celebrity' buskers and only three pounds. And fi-i-fty pence!

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CMU RECOMMENDS>>

REMIX NIGHT DECEMBER
And so to the final Remix Night of the year, another special one, taking over Cargo in East London this Friday, 15 Dec, from 9pm to 3am. Live this time round are Matt and Aston of The Freestylers - who surely need no introduction. And you'll all surely know that, while these guys are behind one of the best breaks albums of the year, it is the live Freestylers show that is most exciting. Matt himself puts it this way: "the sound we get together can best be described as a 3D effect to our albums". Remix Night is your last chance to catch The Freestylers live before they head off for a World Tour, beginning in the sunny sunny Southern hemisphere. Supporting The Freestylers' live show will be top production duo Nightbreed on the decks, plus Richie and Matt from Infadels will also join Eddy TM in spinning top tunes through to 3am. Press info from Leyline.

More info>> http://www.leylinepromotions.com/remixnight

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MYSPACE OF THE DAY: THE MULES

I've been hearing about The Mules for a while now, but hadn't got around to checking them out until very recently, but am glad I did, because they've got an interesting, lo-fi sort of sound. They describe themselves on the MySpace page as rockabilly/experimental/pop, so that probably explains what I was trying to explain in the previous sentence. Actually, it probably doesn't, as I certainly wouldn't have used those three terms to categorise them, so I'll tell you what - why don't you actually go to the MySpace page and listen to the tracks? The truly great thing is that there are special Christmas tracks on there, and you know how I feel about special Christmas tracks. If you like what you hear, you'll be just in time to catch one last live date before Christmas, I believe. Go on, go make friends.

http://www.myspace.com/itsthemules

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US MECHANICAL RIGHTS AGENCY WITHDRAWS STREAM LICENCE PROPOSALS FROM MUSICNET
Brace yourself, this story is about mechanical copyrights, and as we all know, only fourteen people in the whole world really understand mechanical copyrights. Let's hope none of them are reading this, because I'm not entirely sure I've got this completely right. But still, let's have a go.

Billboard is reporting that the Harry Fox Agency, the US's largest mechanical rights agency, has told digital music service provider MusicNet that it is withdrawing its proposed licence for 'interactive streams' because of a potential industry-wide dispute as to what kinds of licence are required on such services.

HFA have been renegotiating their licence agreement with MusicNet ever since the digital music company was acquired by investment firm Baker Capital in April 2005, at which point HFA claimed MusicNet's existing licence, which was based on a 2001 agreement between the royalties agency and the Recording Industry Association Of America (because MusicNet was originally co-owned by three of the major record companies), was no longer valid. Those negotiations were thought to be reaching a conclusion until the new setback, which has seemingly been caused by the wider discussions regarding mechanical rights and streamed music.

Many in the digital music space argue that streamed music should be fully covered by performing rights licences (which are provided by the likes of BMI and ASCAP in the US), and that there shouldn't be a need to acquire a mechanical rights licence too. Needless to say, organisations like HFA don't agree. They say a mechanical right is required because, technically speaking, a 'copy' of their members' music is made when music is streaming in the same way as when a download or physical CD is sold. That debate is due to go before the US Copyright Royalty Board, and the DiMA, the industry association which represents MusicNet and other digital companies, has declined to suggest a figure for the mechanical royalty on streamed music, raising speculation they plan to dispute that such a royalty is due at all.

With that in mind, HFA say they are unwilling to enter into a new deal with MusicNet, though the specific reasons as to why they have reached that conclusion is unclear. It is also unclear what the decision means for MusicNet's interactive streaming services which, with active negotiations on hold, could be said to be unlicensed.

Nevertheless, MusicNet remain optimistic that their ongoing licence negotiations with HFA will still be successful. Cindy Charles, the company's General Counsel, told Billboard yesterday: "We expect to resolve this matter with Harry Fox quickly and amicably. I can't respond to the specifics since these discussions are private and ongoing, however I can say that we have enjoyed a successful relationship with Harry Fox for many years and are confident that our mutual success will continue."

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EVEL KNIEVEL SUES KANYE WEST
Ah, Evel Knievel - remember him? To be honest, I didn't know he was still alive, but presumably he is because he's suing Kanye West. The litigation relates to the pop promo video for 'Touch The Sky' in which West takes on the persona of 'Evel Kanyevel' (oh, so clever) and you see him attempting to jump a canyon in a rocket powered motorcycle.

Knievel, real name Robert Craig Knievel, says the video infringed his trademark and likeness, as well as damaging his reputation, because it was both "vulgar" and "offensive". The lawsuit says that the video, which features Pamela Anderson playing West's girlfriend, contains "vulgar and offensive sexual images, language and conduct involving 'Evel Kanyevel' and women apparently trying to gain his sexual interest". Despite the fact Knievel himself once had a bit of a reputation as a hard-partying womaniser, he says the nature of the video damages his reputation because he has "spent years espousing good values to young people and developing a clean image that helped sell millions of dollars worth of toys, merchandise and memorabilia".

Commenting on the litigation himself, Knievel told reporters: "That video that Kanye West put out is the most worthless piece of crap I've ever seen in my life, and he uses my image to catapult himself on the public".

Evel Kanyevel is yet to comment.

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BUSTA RHYMES IN COURT
Busta Rhymes appeared in court on Monday, charged with criminal possession of weapon following that incident when a machete was found in his car back in August. The rap star, real name Trevor Smith Jr, is also charged with assault and harassment after police searched his vehicle and found the ten inch knife. Smith's lawyer Scott Leemon said that the knife was "a prop" and therefore the criminal charges against his client were not warranted.

As you might remember, back in October, a judge dropped the weapons possession charges, but those charges have been reinstated after the DA's office filed a misdemeanour charge of criminal possession. Rhymes will next appear in court on 20 Feb.

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FOXY BROWN BACK IN COURT
Rapper Foxy Brown was back in court on Monday to answer claims that she had violated her probation in relation to those charges of assaulting two nail salon workers in New York in 2004. According to the City Department Of Probation, the hip hopper, real name Inga Marchand, has not kept appointments with her probation officers, has failed to submit drug tests and has not attended the prescribed anger management classes.

Brown has told reporters that she has, in fact, taken drugs tests, and that they came back negative, and protested that she missed her probation appointments because she was not prepared to attend the Brooklyn probation office with other criminals and no security, saying, "my safety was in jeopardy. I didn't think they were going to throw me in with the wolves."

The judge warned Marchand that she could end up in jail for breaking the terms of her probation, but would not let the rapper speak until her next court appearance when her lawyer will be present.

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ATLANTIC FOUNDER IN COMA
According to reports, Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun is in a deep coma, and his neurosurgeon says that his chances of making a "meaningful recovery" are now unlikely. As previously reported, Ertegun, who is 83, was treated for a brain injury back in October, after he fell whilst attending a Rolling Stones concert, and the initial prognosis was optimistic. Now, however, his doctor, Howard Riina, is quoted as saying "He's in a deep coma and in a critical condition."

Asked when a decision would be made regarding the question of whether or not to continue providing life support, Riina said: "It's not clear at this point. He remains critically ill. He's still very sick."

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MARISKA VERES DIES
Mariska Veres, frontwoman of Dutch pop group Shocking Blue, died last week at the age of 59 from cancer. Shocking Blue were most famous for their 1970 hit 'Venus', later covered with great success by girl band Bananarama of course. The group split in 1974, reuniting briefly in 1984. In the intervening years, Veres pursued an eclectic solo career, which included a period of jazz singing with the Shocking Jazz Quintet.

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KAREN O DEMOS LEAKED ON INTERNET
The contents of a CD of 16 demos by Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O has been leaked onto the internet. The disc was apparently found at the old apartment of TV On The Radio member Dave Sitek. According to reports, Sitek has responded to whoever uploaded the tracks as follows: "What motivates you? As far as I can see, you haven't turned a profit... You are a tired and confused animal who has no grasp on consequences... You gained NOTHING... Now please put the brakes on this before you hurt someone you DO care about."

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LATIN AMERICAN BENEFITS ANNOUNCED
Musicians, artists, intellectuals and business people from across Latin America have come together to create Latin America Solidarity Action Foundation, launched this week, and they've also announced a series of Live 8 style benefit concerts in a drive to help reduce poverty in the region. The gigs will feature sets from the likes of Colombian singer Shakira and Panamanian salsa singer Ruben Blade, and will take place in five cities in the US and South America.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who is is the honorary president of the foundation, said "Latin America has some devastating statistics," referring to the 350,000 children under five who die each year from poverty related causes, and the 40 million children working the streets. Singer Shakira, speaking prior to the launch, said: "We all have to do our part to fight against inequality".

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KYLIE TO CELEBRATE NEW YEAR WITH WEMBLEY SHOW
Now if it wasn't for my long held tradition of doing nothing on New Year's Eve, I think I'd be wanting to go to this. Kylie Minogue will make her comeback to the UK stage following her much reported fight against breast cancer with a one off show at the Wembley Arena on 31 Dec. The show will kick off at 8pm and run until after midnight, with the venue open until 1pm. And if you're worried about being stranded in North London with no way home, the good news is the tube will be offering free services until 4.30am on News Year Day. Confirming the show, Kylie told reporters yesterday: "I've been to some great New Year's parties over the years and I can't wait to host what will be the biggest party of all".

Tickets for the Kylie show are £65 and go on sale tomorrow.

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NEW EDITORS EP
Editors, who, as previously reported, are working on their second album, have confirmed that they will release an EP of remixes of tracks that appeared on their debut album 'The Back Room'. The 'Remix EP' will be available exclusively from US iTunes, and features the following:

Camera - Sebastian Remix
Munich - Ghislain Porier Remix
All Sparks - Prince Language Remix
Blood - P Nice Remix

Elsewhere in Editors remix news, the band's US label are encouraging fans to submit reworkings of the group's track 'Bullets', with the best entries being featured at http://www.editorsofficial.com. Submissions need to be, er, submitted to http://www.acidplanet.com by 9 Jan.

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SLADE CATALOGUE REISSUE CONTINUES
The previously reported reissue of Slade's back catalogue will continue in the New Year with three album releases - re-issues of two of the band's critically well received but less commercially successful mid-seventies albums, 'Slade In Flame' and 'Nobody's Fools', plus a b-sides collection. All three will come out via Salvo Records on 27 Feb. Press info from PPR.

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NEW TANGERINE DREAM
Krautrock pioneers Tangerine Dream celebrate their 40th anniversary next year, and will celebrate with the release of brand new album, 'Madcap's Flaming Duty', which was recorded in October. Led by Edgar Froese, as you'd expect, collaborators on this one included Edgar Froese, Thorsten Quaeschning, Chris Housle, Bernhard Beibl, Linda Spa, Gynt Beator, Thomas Beator, Iris Camaa, and Vincent Nowak. It will be released in April, and will be dedicated to the late Pink Floyd guitarist Syd Barrett, who died back in July, of course. Press info from Noble PR.

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QUINCY JONES GETS HARVARD HONOUR
Legendary producer Quincy Jones will receive a special honour from Harvard next month when he becomes the first recipient of the University's brand new 'Mentor of the Year' Award.

Associate Dean of Harvard School Of Public Health Jay Winsten explains why Jones has been selected for the honour: "Through his spirit, insight, inspiration, and caring, Quincy has touched and transformed many lives - ranging from celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith to former gang members in South Central Los Angeles. Through his work with UNICEF and other international agencies, he has served as a role model for using the power of celebrity to improve the lot of humankind."

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VELVET UNDERGROUND BUYER HASN'T COME GOOD
The seller of that rare Velvet Underground acetate that fetched $155,401 says that the top bidder has turned out to be fake. Warren Hill said: "It seems to have gone badly at the end... I just don't really feel like talking about it", but added that he was "still interested in selling the acetate."

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ALBUM REVIEW: Mira Calix - Eyes Set Against The Sun (Warp Records)
Just as in museums and art galleries there are pictures that explicitly resemble things and others that don't, so, too, in music there are records that use conventional forms of language, harmony, instrumentation and structure, and others that don't. 'Eyes Set Against The Sun' is, emphatically, the latter sort. It's pretty far out by conventional standards. As a recorder, a compiler, and a manipulator of sounds, Ms Calix is a maverick - an artist willing and eager to take risks and delve into sounds (or, perhaps more accurately, noises) that many composers would eschew or never even consider including in their musical palette to begin with. Therefore, to orchestral strings and horns, a children's choir (as well as her own voice), piano, drum programmer, synthesiser, and marimba, she adds texture with the sounds of broken or actively breaking instruments, leaves rustling, birds chirping, water plashing, things that go 'thonk,' and things - instruments by default - which wheeze, whirr, moan, flap, rattle, scrape, ring or otherwise resonate in strange, haunting and utterly atmospheric ways. Mira Calix's pieces are like aural equivalents of Abstract Expressionist paintings in that the deceptively composed clutter, the sheer, frenetic activity contained within, is both a barrier and a bridge to a synesthetic experience depending on the orientation of the beholder's eye or, in this case, ear. Ultimately, Mira Calix's work isn't for everyone - not least this reviewer - and it will never, ever be heard blasting out of a car stereo, but it will certainly strike a select few as brilliant, and deservedly so. BH
Release date: 15 Jan
Press contact: Hermana PR [CP, RP, NP] Warp IH [CR, RR, NR]

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CAMDEN CRAWL NEWS
The Camden Crawl is set to grow next year into a two day affair, which will take place on 19 and 20 Apr at fifteen venues across Camden, where 62 bands will perform, 40 of which will perform on both days giving you two chances to see them. A limited supply of discounted 2 day passes are now on sale for £37.50 from http://www.timeout.com/tickets and http://www.gigsandtours.com. Full price tickets, and one day tickets, will go on sale next month as the initial line up is announced. More info and all that stuff is at http://www.thecamdencrawl.com. Press info from Gilotti PR.

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DIANA CONCERT SELLS OUT
No surprise really - the previously reported Wembley gig being staged in memory of the late Princess Diana has just sold out in 20 minutes. So, let the eBay bidding begin.

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MCFLY TOUR SELLS OUT FAST
Talking of sell outs, tickets for McFly's previously reported 24 date Up Close & Personal Tour sold out in a matter of minutes on Saturday after slightly obsessive fans spent the night queuing up outside ticket agencies around the country (somewhat foolishly, given they could have queued up inside next to their PCs and booked online, though that's not quite so exciting). Fans who missed out will have to make do with the chance of winning tickets for a charity gig in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust taking place in London next Tuesday, 19 Dec. Apparently you can win tickets at http://www.mcflyofficial.com.

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EUROS CHILDS TOUR
Former Gorkys Zygotic Mynci frontman Euros Childs will play four dates around Wales next March to promote the release of his second solo album. Dates as follows, tickets on sale today, press info from Plug Two.

1 Mar: Central Station, Wrexham
2 Mar: The Bay, Aberystwyth
3 Mar: The Railway Club, Bangor
5 Mar: The Point, Cardiff

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THE BLUETONES TOUR
Hurrah, The Bluetones are going on tour ahead of the release of their new single 'Surrendered', out on 19 Feb, taken from their current eponymous album. Dates as follows, press info from Cooking Vinyl.

30 Jan: Edinburgh, Cabaret Voltaire
31 Jan: Aberdeen, The Tunnels
1 Feb: Glasgow, Abc 2
2 Feb: Sheffield, The Plug
4 Feb: Colchester, Arts Centre
5 Feb: Southend, Chinnerys
7 Feb: Southampton, The Brook
8 Feb: Cardiff, Barfly
15 Feb: Liverpool, Barfly
16 Feb: Wrexham, Central Station
17 Feb: Bury, Met Theatre
18 Feb: Preston, 53 Degrees
20 Feb: Northampton, Soundhaus
22 Feb: Penzance, The Acorn
23 Feb: Exeter, The Phoenix
24 Feb: Norwich, Arts Centre
27 Feb: Birmingham, Barfly

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OCS CHRISTMAS TOUR
Ocean Colour Scene's seven date Christmas Tour kicks off tomorrow, and the plan is to use the gigs to showcase some of the band's new material. Here's what frontman Simon Fowler says: "The Christmas Tour is going to offer us the opportunity to showcase our new album. We've been locked up in the studio working on this for the past year and it's going to be great to finally get out there so the fans can get to hear the new material and see our brand new show. We're all incredibly pleased with the album and it's incredibly important that we showcase our new tunes to our fans first before the album is released"

The dates are as follows:

14 Dec: Dublin Olympia
Sat 16 Dec: London Astoria
Sun 17 Dec: Birmingham Academy
Mon 18 Dec: Newcastle City Hall
Wed 20 Dec: Glasgow Barrowland
Thu 21 Dec: Glasgow Barrowland
Fri 22 Dec: Manchester Apollo

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PLAYMUSIC BASH THIS FRIDAY, OK?
Which idiot was it that said the PlayMusic magazine's Christmas party was last Friday at the 333 Club in London, when it's this Friday coming? Oh, it was me. Yep, the mag's festive bash is this Friday, from 10pm to 3am, and bands set to play include Dustins Bar Mitvah, Shotgun Suzzy, Ebony Bones, Morton Valence and Magnetic. Info from rob.hunt@just-play.com

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CHINESE INTRODUCE NEW REGULATIONS OVER DIGITAL MUSIC
China's Ministry Of Culture has said that all "imported network music" distributed in the country must be approved by them, which sounds a bit ominous. Basically it means any organisation involved in the distribution of music via download or mobile platforms need to register with the ministry. The move will also restrict the rights of "foreign-funded providers of digital entertainment" to operate in the country. The Ministry says the new rules are designed to protect citizens from "obscene or inappropriate content" and to "protect domestic companies". Those already operating in China have until 1 Mar to get registered.

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GERMAN TRADE BODIES MERGE
Some stories from CMU's European news desk now. Because we have one. No, really, we do. Well, London's in Europe, isn't it?

First of all, two industry associations that both represent the German record industry have announced they will merge next Spring. The respective general meetings of both labels body BPW and the German division of the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry approved the merger proposal on Monday.

Michael Haentjes, boss of Edel Music, and now chairman of both the BPW and German IFPI boards, said the merger would mean "we reach a more transparent and efficient representation of our interests and a homogeneous mouthpiece for the German music-industry".

In reality, the merger won't have too radical an impact on either organisation, as each one's agenda generally complements that of the other (BPW are mostly concerned with statistics and charts, IFPI Germany with lobbying, anti-piracy and international activity), and the two bodies were already based out of the same Berlin office.

The name of the new combined organisation will be announced in the Spring.

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EU INVESTS IN BORDER CONTROLS TO CUT PIRACY
Next up the European Parliament over there in lovely Strasbourg has announced a six year 324 million euro programme to fight the fraud and counterfeiting that goes on at the borders of the European Union. The initiative aims to strengthen border control procedures in a bid to cut the smuggling of counterfeit products, including CDs, DVDs and software, into the EU, mainly by introducing a sophisticated new IT system that will aid co-operation and information sharing between different customs organisations around the border (which probably means it will be a disaster, given that that's what tends to happen when politicians commission IT based projects).

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NAPSTER MOBILE REACHES EUROPE
Napster yesterday announced it would launch its first European 'Napster Mobile' service through a collaboration with O2 in Ireland. Napster's mobile download service is already available via mobile networks in the US and Japan.

Confirming the launch, Napster president Brad Duea told reporters: "The European launch of Napster Mobile on O2 Ireland is a significant achievement for Napster, as it will mark the introduction of a comprehensive Napster mobile experience in a country where Napster does not currently offer a PC-based service. We're very pleased to be partnering with O2 on the European launch of Napster Mobile, and are excited to give music fans in Ireland the ability to enjoy the Napster music experience".

The news of the Irish service follows an announcement last month that Napster will launch a similar platform in Portugal via the country's TMN phone network.

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EMI PARTNER WITH LAST.FM ON RECOMMENDATION SERVICE
OK, read this: "EMI Records today launches 'tuneglue-audiomap,' an extensive online music mapping mechanism which utilises relational data from Last.fm to make focused and accurate music recommendations to music fans". Get that? No, me neither.

I think it means EMI are launching a music recommendation service which will utilise the Last.fm platform in some way. The service will allow music fans to discover new artists based on their current favourites. It won't be limited to EMI artists, but those signed to the major will have additional content included, other than just a listing.

EMI Records Digital Media Manager Eric Winbolt explains: "tuneglue-audiomap offers music fans easy visual cues for the discovery of new music. Most important, however, is the complete trustworthiness and relevance the service provides - being based entirely on Last.fm's powerful 'scrobbling' data - a media player plug-in which reports users' listening behaviours - of daily personal track recommendations. The cross-pollination of EMI Music UK's portfolio of labels and non-EMI artists alike is designed to give consumers access to a wealth of new artists, drive traffic to EMI artist websites, and generate affiliate income from retail partners such as Amazon".

Last.fm's Martin Stiksel added: "We are glad to see that tuneglue-audiomap is tapping into the power of Last.fm's music recommendation engine and is connecting bands and artists based on what the Last.fm users have chosen to listen to. Last.fm's mission is to connect people with the right music and tuneglue-audiomap is helping people do just that in a very intuitive, visually interesting way. You can pick any band as a starting point and before you know it you are discovering artists you have never heard of before".

If you're interested you might want to check http://audiomap.tuneglue.net, though it wasn't live when I checked, but it might be by the time you read this.

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XFM LAUNCH INTERACTIVE THINGIMY
Talking of online music initiatives, Xfm have announced they are launching a new interactive service a little bit like Yahoo's Launch which will allow listeners to prioritise or ban tracks from an Xfm style playlist, and to then listen to their amended playlist via an online stream. There will be four playlists to play with, Xfm Chill, Xfm Loud, Xfm Hits and Xfm's X-List. The service will launch on 15 Dec and will be sponsored by X-Box for the first two months. If popular with listeners and potential sponsors alike, the plan is to launch similar interactive services on the websites of other GCap stations.

Xfm Marketing Director Richard Mintz said this: "We are extremely excited about the launch of Mi-Xfm as it demonstrates Xfm's continuing commitment to cutting-edge innovation and enhanced interactivity with our listeners. Mi-Xfm also represents the first phase of a significant and ongoing strategy to deliver personalised and interactive radio services across the GCap Media Network."

Talking of Xfm, did we tell you that Mancunian comedian Jason Manford will be taking over the breakfast show on the station's Manchester outpost when current host Paul Tonkinson moves to their London operation? Did we tell you that? Well, now we have - he starts on 3 Jan.

Here's what Xfm's Network MD, Nick Davidson, had to say: "We are really excited to have Jason joining our team and think that he will deliver a fantastic show that our listeners will love. Jason is really into his music and is an extremely sharp witted comedian - two things that really made him stand out from the crowd when we hired him. Many of our listeners will already know him from his regular stand up gigs in the North West".

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GRAMMYS GET THEIR COUNTING WRONG
Grammy organisers have had to admit that they made a couple of mistakes in the press release they issued last week alongside the short lists for next year's awards bash. Firstly they missed Ludacris off the list of artists who had received four nominations overall but, probably more embarrassing, they said that music composer John Williams had got five nominations, when actually he'd only got four. Still, with four and half thousand categories to work with (around about), it's understandable a few counting errors might take place. As previously reported, the Grammys take place in LA on 11 Feb.

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X FACTOR JUDGES HIT BACK AT JAMELIA
Now, our X Factor coverage isn't great, I know that, but there are two good reasons for that. [1] CMU Daily's readers are all far too cool and on it to be bothered about some silly pop reality show. [2] No one on the CMU team can watch any show hosted by Kate Thornton for more than three minutes without feeling nauseous.

As I understand it only two artists are left in the running - Leona Lewis and Ray Quinn - both assigned to Simon Cowell for coaching purposes. I also understand that the increasingly mouthy Jamelia has been having a pop at the former, describing her voice as "Mariah Carey circa 1990".

Those comments have angered the aforementioned Cowell, who told reporters this week: "Jamelia's been fantastic. She's a one-hit wonder and she's got all the advice. My advice to her would be to have a second hit then have an opinion."

In an unusual show of solidarity, Cowell's fellow judges joined in, with Sharon Osbourne saying: "Can I just ask something? Who is Jamelia? This is all going over my head", and with Walsh adding: "She's had one hit. There are much bigger stars than Jamelia."

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KASABIAN DEFEND NOEL GALLAGHER
I used to think Kasabian weren't so bad, but after this latest news, I may have to rethink my position. Not, I hasten to add, because I'm a massive fan of Elton John, or anything. It's more to do with my relationship with the Gallaghers, which, as you may have gathered, is somewhat strained.

So, what's happened is this. Kasabian's Serge Pizzorno has backed Noel Gallagher in his recent verbal spat with Elton John. You may remember that Gallagher said Elton John wasn't capable of buying his own milk, and Elton responded by calling Noel "an absolute tosser who looks like Parker from 'Thunderbirds'". Which to be fair, he does a bit.

Pizzorno says: "Elton's just a fat man in a tracksuit. Whereas anything that comes out of Noel's mouth is absolute genius. Noel is the last man you want to start with. He's so quick he can destroy anyone. Elton John needs to watch out."

Yeah, if I were Elton John, I'd be positively trembling.

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