CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 14th December
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- EMI and Universal reach conditional settlement with Napster investor
- EMI buy Toshiba out of Japanese business
- Songwriter says Petty track just too similar to his
- Auction sites respond to critics and stop Diana ticket sales
- Morricone to get honorary Oscar
- The Knife release Christmas track
- Ozomatli on art and their new album
- Jose Gonzalez North American EP release
- BRMC tracklisting
- New TTC
- Mike Skinner to give away a grand, for free
- New DIY compo
- Bloc Party video podcast launched
- Townshend to keynote SXSW
- Scissor Sisters announce UK dates
- 36 Crazyfists tour
- Arctic Monkeys announce big gig
- Archie Bronson Outfit stuff
- Horrors gig cancelled
- Shitdisco cancel shows
- Apple dispute declining sales report
- eMusic pass a million downloads
- Warner publishing chief takes group level role
- Universal recruit Still as consultant
- Stones score biggest tour of the year
- Simon Cowell is evil, official, well, sort of
- Doherty won't be fined for smoking
- Brandon Flowers on nearly losing an eye
- Paris defends Britney

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

FAVOURITE ALBUM OF 2006 #5: Max Sedgley - From The Roots To The Shoots (Sunday Best)
The dance music genre probably gives us more one hit wonders than any other (I've not done the maths on this, but let's assume it does) which means that when a brilliant dance track by a new name comes along you don't necessarily start anticipating the debut album. Said albums sometimes never materialise and, if they do, can be a bit of a disappointment. But for reasons I'm not entirely sure of, ever since I first heard the modern club classic that is 'Happy' by one Max Sedgley, I was hotly anticipating his debut album. As I say, I don't know why - my love for all things Sunday Best came after my discovery of 'Happy', and I didn't experience Sedgley's fabulous live show until the Bestival pre-Christmas bash at the end of last year - yet somehow I knew this was a dance music producer who wouldn't disappoint when it came to following up his hugely acclaimed debut. Of course I didn't know I'd have to wait three years for said album to finally land in my hands. Actually, technically I didn't, a rough cut CDR found its way onto my desk at the end of last year, but it wasn't until this Spring that the completely finished goods were on my CD player. Max admits much of the delay was down to his own perfectionism, but it was perfectionism that paid off. 'From The Roots To The Shoots' is a hugely imaginative, very accessible and wonderfully funky long player, full of the kind of infectious beats that give away Max's passion for the drums. Featuring the aforementioned 'Happy' and the subsequent single release (and still my personal favourite) 'Devil Inside', it's a great album which, while mostly programmed, translates brilliantly to the stage when Max teams up with his band and proves once and all that live music and dance music can be one and the same thing. Max promises that album number two will be ready more quickly, but for the time being I am happy to continue enjoying 'From The Roots To The Shoots', another CMU favourite album of the year.

Read our interview with Max Sedgley 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: HOW TO CURE DYSLEXIA

I've got a headache today, and I feel a bit peaky. So, frankly, there was no way I was going to go nominating some punk band for MySpace Of The Day. And for the same reasons, I'd probably be avoiding anything loudly electronic too. No, what I am seeking today is comfort, the aural equivalent of lying down on the sofa under the duvet with a mug of hot Vimto, and How To Cure Dyslexia have, this morning, provided that very thing, with the four gentle meandering tracks streaming on their MySpace page. Interestingly, the upcoming album 'The Tempo Of Bicycles And Boats', which will be out via download only in the new year, was recorded over the course of a week at the Spaceshift Gallery in King's Cross - so the recording of the album was basically an art installation. You may remember this actually, because we did report at the time on the fact that it was happening. Anyway, the music is lovely, so check it out, and put the album release date, 5 Feb, in your diary.

http://www.myspace.com/howtocuredyslexia

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EMI AND UNIVERSAL REACH CONDITIONAL SETTLEMENT WITH NAPSTER INVESTOR
EMI Music and the Universal Music Group announced yesterday that they have reached a conditional settlement with investment firm Hummer Winblad over its investment in the late nineties in the original Napster.

As previously reported, the finance firm invested over $13 million in the then P2P company ahead of its ultimate bankruptcy. The major labels claimed that the investment enabled the P2P network to stay alive longer, and therefore enabled an extra period of copyright infringement which the financiers should be liable for. Hummer Winblad disputed that they had any liability for the copyright infringement, pointing out they were funding work by Napster to develop a legitimate digital music business model, and countersued, claiming that the majors at the time acted anti-competitively to stop such a model being established because in the late nineties they had stakes in rival digital music companies MusicNet and Pressplay.

The latter allegations aren't new, and were investigated by the US Department Of Justice several years ago - an investigation which cleared the record companies of any wrongdoing. However, Hummer Winblad alleged certain documents covered by the client attorney privilege in that investigation, and therefore not shared with investigators, backed their allegations. As part of the litigation between the majors and the finance firm, US Judge Marilyn Patel ordered those documents be handed over, using a 'crime-fraud exception' rule to sidestep client attorney confidentiality. The majors are still in the process of appealing that ruling, so no documents have as yet changed hands.

The new settlement between the majors and Hummer Winblad, the financial details of which are undisclosed, are conditional on Judge Patel withdrawing that order, and a filing by both parties this week says that EMI and Universal have asked the Appeal Court, currently considering their appeal of the ruling, to send the issue back to Patel and request she 'vacate' the ruling herself now that the legal dispute has been resolved.

It has to be said, I don't think you have to be too cynical to wonder why exactly the majors are so keen to keep the previously confidential documents confidential - such secrecy doesn't mean they are guilty of anything of course, but it does mean they have something to hide. That said, it can't be assumed that this week's agreement means the majors have gone as far as to just drop their action against Hummer Winblad in order to maintain the secret. You might have thought that, given the majors' obvious unease about what is contained in these secret documents, the finance firm would have had a very strong hand at the negotiating table. But they too were probably keen to stop the case going to court after another judge ruled in May that the dispute could be viewed in light of the Supreme Court ruling in the much reported MGM v Grokster case, even though Hummer Winblad's investment came some time before it. That ruling expanded the liability of third parties in online copyright infringement, and would have damaged the investment company's defence somewhat.

Anyway, this isn't necessarily the end of all this. Judge Patel is not obligated to revoke the order, so the deal between the parties will remain conditional until she makes a decision, which isn't expected until early next year.

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EMI BUY TOSHIBA OUT OF JAPANESE BUSINESS
The ever trusty Financial Times reports that EMI is to buy out its joint venture partner in Japan - Toshiba - raising speculation that a takeover deal with private equity firm Permira is now imminent. Reports say that certain 'change of control' conditions in EMI and Toshiba's long term JV relationship were potential stumbling blocks in the Permira negotiations, so investment types reckon the $178 million arrangement with Toshiba is designed to remove those blocks.

As previously reported, Permira have been in takeover talks with EMI for a few weeks now with bosses there seemingly in favour, in principle at least, of the proposals, if only because it will protect them from a hostile takeover by Warner Music. In the Toshiba deal EMI will regain the 45% stake the Japanese electronics firm has in their recorded music operations in Japan - with the deal reportedly due for completion in the second quarter of 2007. EMI are still being tight lipped on their negotiations with Permira, although insiders tried to play down rumours that a deal was almost done earlier this week.

Elsewhere in EMI news, word has it the ongoing Permira talks are confusing other negotiations between the major and producer Jermaine Dupri. As previously reported, Dupri recently quit as the boss of EMI's US based Virgin Urban division, but word had it bosses at the major were planning on giving him his own new venture within the group. However, word now has it that EMI bosses don't feel they can commit to any new major venture while the Permira talks are ongoing leaving Dupri, who can't take up offers from other majors because of his contractual commitments to EMI, somewhat in limbo. Or so the gossipers say.

PS: Oh, possibly scratch all that talk about "imminent deals" - the latest news is that EMI have broken off talks with their "possible buyer". More on that tomorrow.

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SONGWRITER SAYS PETTY TRACK JUST TOO SIMILAR TO HIS
You know how it was claimed that Red Hot Chili Pepper's recent single 'Dani California' was based on a Tom Petty song (albeit, not claimed by Tom Petty)? Well, now a singer songwriter called Jim Wagner is claiming that Tom Petty essentially ripped off one of his songs. I say 'now' - I think this is a long running dispute, but Wagner has just produced some new evidence, which he's shared with Aussie music website Undercover.

The songs in dispute are Petty's 2002 'The Last DJ', and a song Wagner says he wrote in 2000 called 'The Last Great Radio DJ'. Wagner's song was written about KLOS radio presenter Jim Ladd, who is a friend of Petty, furthering Wagner's claims of unfair play.

Now the singer songwriter has produced a dossier of reports from various academics who all comment on just how similar the two songs are, implying somewhat that they are just "too similar" to have been created independently.

A musicology professor called Katherine Powers says "there are certainly some striking similarities, both on the level of overall artistic design as well as the level of specific events", while Dr Chuck Tumlinson, a director of Jazz Studies, says: "I do suspect that Petty appropriated some of your material". Meanwhile Dr Gerald Eskelin, who calls himself somewhat unwisely methinks, a 'Petty musicologist', has told Wagner: "I agree with you that it would appear that Petty knew of and likely heard your song before he wrote his".

I'm not entirely clear on whether Wagner has ever gone legal on this, and if not what he is seeking from Petty in circulating the dossier. Though Undercover are promising more reports, so perhaps they'll tell us.

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AUCTION SITES RESPOND TO CRITICS AND STOP DIANA TICKET SALES
So, it turns out that before I'd even suggested in yesterday's CMU Daily that you all head to eBay to bid for tickets to that very-quickly-sold-out Concert For Diana, the auction site had already banned the sale of the tickets via its website, presumably predicting media outrage at people profiting from an event designed to commemorate the late Princess.

After garnering considerable bad press after they took some time to respond to ranting by Bob Geldof regarding the sale of Live 8 tickets on the auction site last year, eBay were quick off the mark yesterday morning after official sources of tickets for the concert sold out in just twenty minutes. A spokesman for the company said: "In view of the unique and commemorative nature of the Concert For Diana event and as a mark of respect for the memory of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, eBay has decided to not allow the re-sale of tickets to this event on the site".

Other auction sites continued to make tickets available, though at least one other subsequently stopped the bidding taking place on its website. My Ticket Market initially hoped to justify allowing the auctions to go ahead by promising to pass any profits on to London based youth charity Centrepoint, but bosses at the charity turned down their offer. Centrepoint boss Anthony Lawton told the BBC: "It's absolutely not in the spirit of this concert. We are not going to give succour to the idea of a secondary market and people making money out of the tickets". My Ticket Market promptly cancelled bidding on Diana tickets once the charity had confirmed its standpoint.

Of course the live industry has for a while been trying to tackle the growth of online ticket touts who sell tickets for sell out events at considerable profit via eBay and other websites. Despite support from many politicians for the campaign against such online ticket touting, with the exception of high profile and emotive events like this one, eBay et al have been generally unwilling to stop the auction of tickets meaning the only way to stop it is to introduce tough ticket ID systems like those employed by the Glastonbury Festival or, possibly, the use of new mobile ticketing systems.

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MORRICONE TO GET HONORARY OSCAR
Ennio Morricone, the composer most famous for providing film scores for the likes of 'The Good, The Bad And The Ugly', and 'Cinema Paradiso', is to receive an honorary Oscar when the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences holds its annual ceremony on 25 Feb next year.

Morricone, who has composed more than 300 scores during the course of his forty five year career, has received five previous Academy Award nominations - for 1978's 'Days Of Heaven', 1986's 'The Mission', 1987's 'The Untouchables, 1991's 'Bugsy' and 2000's 'Malena' - but never actually won the Oscar, which seems like something of an oversight, really.

Anyway, the Academy are apparently ready to address that oversight with the honorary award recognising "his magnificent and multi-faceted contributions to the art of film music". Academy president Sid Ganis said: "The board was responding not just to the remarkable number of scores that Mr. Morricone has produced, but to the fact that so many of them are beloved and popular masterpieces."

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THE KNIFE RELEASE CHRISTMAS TRACK
Hurrah, a special Christmas track, from The Knife, who we like. And it's free. It's called 'Christmas Reindeer', and is a belled-up version of 'Reindeer', a track that appeared on their eponymous debut back in 2001. You can download the track from the band's official website until 6 Jan - go here: http://www.theknife.net.

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OZOMATLI ON ART AND THEIR NEW ALBUM
Los Angeles band Ozomatli have been talking about how an installation they created at a local gallery became the inspiration for songs on their fourth album 'Don't Mess With The Dragon', out 27 Mar in the US.

The collective's Wil-Dog Abers said of the exhibit: "Visitors came in and each of us got a chance to show how we create music, individually and collectively. That environment gave birth to these songs. I think we created our most cohesive album yet."

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JOSE GONZALEZ NORTH AMERICAN EP RELEASE
Jose Gonzalez, currently working on his second album, has released a live EP in North America, which includes performances of three tracks from the singer's debut album, 'Veneer'. The tracklisting is as follows:

Lovestain
Hints
Suggestions
Storm
Crosses

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BRMC TRACKLISTING
The tracklisting is out for the new Black Rebel Motorcycle Club album, expected in March. The band's Rob Turner says of the new, as yet unnamed and self produced long player "We're doing the final mixes and putting the icing on the cake. It's the first album where we went into the studio knowing exactly what we wanted and we've been able to record when we feel it, instead of when we're supposed to feel it, which is a nice luxury."

Here's that tracklisting:

Cold Wind
Killing the Lights
American X
Window
Berlin
All You Do Is Talk
Lien On Your Dreams
The Snow's About to Begin
Am I Only One of You
Weapon of Choice
666 Conducer
Not What You Wanted

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NEW TTC
The press release call TTC "the most innovative, risk-taking and outrageous hip hop act to come out of France in the last decade". Normally I'd ignore such statements, but with TTC they might just be right. Anyway, the Big Dada signed hip hop outfit will return next month with their third album, to be called '3615', and it features the trio's resident DJ Orgasmic plus Para One, Tacteel, Modeselektor and TTC member Tido Berman on productions duties. It's out on 8 Jan, press info from those Ninja Tune people.

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MIKE SKINNER TO GIVE AWAY A GRAND, FOR FREE
Mike Skinner is planning to give away a grand (or so) that he won at a casino. Having accrued the cash during a night out with the Mitchell Brothers, Skinner has decided to give it away in a competition - to someone who can explain what the Mitchells' new song is all about.

Skinner explained how he came by the money: "After a long day last Thursday talking to the Mitchells about their new song, it was The Beats' Christmas dinner. I decided to have it at a casino when I saw the James Bond film. So Magic Mike was saying he would take it easy but, as each beer flowed, he seemed to be taking on strange powers. He's not just a pretty sound engineer, he had this thing that he called 'the vibe' and by the time he was hammered he was always right. Then I got into an argument with one of the bankers who thought I'd been stealing from this Russian dude, which I thought might escalate into me getting polonium in my drink, but the security cameras were on my side. Anyway, I walked away with £1,025 cash (I woke up with £1,020 due to a lady taking £5 on the way out to work)."

See Skinner's blog at http://www.myspace.com/thestreets for how to enter.

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NEW DIY COMPO
Now this is an interesting sounding compo - 'DIY: The Rise Of The Independent Music Industry After Punk' celebrates the trend of artists self-releasing their early work which really began in the late seventies - ie around about 30 years ago. The album includes twenty tracks that began life as such limited edition pressings, either released by artists themselves, or by tiny independents, often run by their mates. The tracklisting runs as follows...

1. Buzzcocks - Boredom
2. Kleenex - Ain't You
3. A.P.B. - All Your Life With Me
4. Fire Engines - Everything's Roses
5. The Naffis - Slice 1
6. Swell Maps - Let's Build A Car
7. Thomas Leer - Tight As A Drum
8. The Last Gang - Spirit of Youth
9. Patrick Fitzgerald - Babysitter
10. Glaxo Babies - Shake (The Foundations)
11. The Flys - Love And A Molotov Cocktail
12. Blurt - The Fish Needs A Bike
13. Scritti Politti - Skank Bloc Bologna
14. The Frantic Elevators - Every Day I Die
15. Icon A.D. - Fight For Peace
16. Artery - The Slide
17. Throbbing Gristle - Distant Dreams (Part Two)
18. Windows Creation Rebel AKA Creation Dub
19. Tom Lucy - Paris, France
20. Red Lorry Yellow Lorry - Paint Your Wagon

The album is out on 26 Feb, press info from Coalition.

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BLOC PARTY VIDEO PODCAST LAUNCHED
That previously reported Bloc Party video podcast has been launched, the first episode following the band's activities in an Irish studio whilst recording forthcoming album 'A Weekend In The City. See here: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa /wa/viewPodcast?id=208001469

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TOWNSHEND TO KEYNOTE SXSW
Initial details about next year's South By Southwest conference in Austin Texas have been released, and The Who's Pete Townshend will give the keynote speech. He will also perform at the event with longtime partner and artist Rachel Fuller. Next year's SXSW will take place from 9-18 Mar.

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SCISSOR SISTERS ANNOUNCE UK DATES
Scissor Sisters have announced they'll play three UK dates in July following their European tour in April next year, two of which will take place at the newly O2'd Millenium Dome. Dates as follows:

26 Jul: London The O2
27 Jul: London The O2
30 Jul: Manchester Evening News Arena

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36 CRAZYFISTS TOUR
Following a joint headline tour with Atreyu earlier this year, Alaskan metallers 36 Crazyfists will return to the UK next spring for another tour, dates as follows, press info from Roadrunner.

1 Apr: Birmingham Barfly
2 Apr: Manchester Academy 3
3 Apr: Newcastle Northumbria Uni
4 Apr: Glasgow King Tuts
6 Apr: Dundee Reading Rooms
7 Apr: Aberdeen Tunnels
8 Apr: Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
9 Apr: York Fibbers
10 Apr: Nottingham Rock City
12 Apr: Leeds Cockpit
13 Apr: Sheffield Leadmill
14 Apr: Northampton Soundhaus
15 Apr: Cardiff Barfly
16 Apr: Oxford Zodiac
18 Apr: Colchester Arts Centre
19 Apr: Bristol Bierkeller
20 Apr: Exeter Lemon Grove
21 Apr: Yeovil Ski Lodge
22 Apr: Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
24 Apr: London Islington Academy
25 Apr: Brighton Concorde 2
26 Apr: Liverpool Stanley Theatre
27 Apr: Dublin Music Centre
28 Apr: Belfast Spring & Airbrake
30 Apr: Leicester Princess Charlotte
1 May: Stoke Sugarmill

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ARCTIC MONKEYS ANNOUNCE BIG GIG
Arctic Monkeys have announced that they are to hold "their own special event" at the 50,000 capacity Lancashire County Cricket Ground in Manchester on 28 Jul next year.

The show will follow the release of their second album, set for a late spring release, and the band promise to play their longest set to date, with support from their favourite music acts. Tickets for the event go on sale tomorrow at 12.30pm - registered fans, however, can buy tickets as of 12.30pm today - see http://www.arcticmonkeys.com for info.

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ARCHIE BRONSON OUTFIT STUFF
Yay, news of Archie Bronson Outfit, whom we doth love. The band are playing at the JD Sessions show at London's Barfly on 18 Dec (Monday), but they've also announced three dates in March. They're really great, so you should check them out, if you can. Here are the spring dates:

19 Mar: Sheffield Leadmill
20 Mar: Brighton Audio
21 Mar: London Scala

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HORRORS GIG CANCELLED
The Horrors had to cancel the last night of their tour at Newcastle University Student Union last night. Not sure why they had to cancel, but they did. The band will announce a rescheduled date shortly.

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SHITDISCO CANCEL SHOWS
More cancellations. Glasgow band Shitdisco have had to cancel two dates in Glasgow and Edinburgh scheduled for last night and tonight. We do have a reason for why they've cancelled, however.

The band said in a statement: "We're gutted but it looks like we won't be able to play the white heat shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh tonight or Thursday. Doc says Joel is suffering from nervous exhaustion and although he managed to play last night he's not in a good way and can't travel. We're really gutted as this was one of the best line ups we'd been set to play all year. We'll try and make it up to yous somehow..."

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APPLE DISPUTE DECLINING SALES REPORT
Apple has disputed a report which claims that sales of tracks via iTunes fell by 65% in the first half of 2006.

The report by research firm Forrester didn't make great reading regarding the performance of the flagship digital music store. It suggested that while sales of iPods boomed, sales of downloads via iTunes were down considerably, possibly because the initial boom where early adopters bought up back catalogue via the iTunes platform had come to an end, and newer iPod owners preferred to acquire music from other sources as MP3s, or to rip them off CD, thereby avoiding the restrictive DRM that comes with music bought via iTunes itself. Although Forrester admit it is too soon to draw any real conclusions about iTunes buying trends, the research firm says it can't see how the venture can be especially profitable for the computer firm.

But Apple say that Forrester's findings are "simply incorrect". They never divulge any specifics about iTunes sales or profitability, so Forrester's findings were based on the buying habits of iTunes users on their consumer panel. While Apple still wouldn't release any specifics about the performance of their download platform, they told reporters yesterday that iTunes made a profit in the quarter up to the end of September.

Forrester's research follows other research from Neilsen Soundscan that suggested all music download services had seen flat or declining sales this year.

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EMUSIC PASS A MILLION DOWNLOADS
Despite that fact, things do seem to be still going well over there at independent download platform eMusic, probably because they sell music in consumer friendly MP3s. They have just passed their millionth download landmark and, as previously reported, the purchaser of that track will now get a special song written for him by the Barenaked Ladies. Said purchaser was a Michael Brennan from New Jersey who downloaded Mississippi Fred McDowell's 'Diamond Ring'.

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WARNER PUBLISHING CHIEF TAKES GROUP LEVEL ROLE
Major label appointments now, and Richard Blackstone, currently CEO of Warner's Warner/Chappell publishing empire, is moving to a new role as 'senior advisor' to group CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. Blackstone will still have a primarily publishing focus, and it is thought his main task will be to spearhead a number of acquisitions of other publishing firms.

Confirming the appointment, Bronfman said in a statement yesterday: "Richard has been an important part of our team. In the time that he's been here, he's laid the groundwork for renewed growth at Warner/Chappell, implementing the unit's restructuring program, making strategic investments to drive long-term growth, signing artists and forming innovative new publishing ventures".

Warmer Music Exec VP and General Counsel David H Johnson will fill in running Warner/Chappell until a full time replacement for Blackstone is found.

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UNIVERSAL RECRUIT STILL AS CONSULTANT
More appointments, and Universal Music Group International yesterday confirmed they had appointed Ray Still, previously president of Warner Vision International, as a consultant to their board. He will advise on the development of UMGI's audio-visual catalogue, and in global marketing initiatives.

Universal Music Group International top bloke Lucian Grainge told CMU yesterday: "Ray is the best in the business, as well as being a winner. We like winners".

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STONES SCORE BIGGEST TOUR OF THE YEAR
It will presumably come as a surprise to more or less nobody that The Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang tour, recently named the top grossing tour ever, was the top grossing tour of 2006 according to Billboard Boxscore.

The tour, which began in Autumn 2005, has taken in an estimated $437 million, making it by far the biggest tour of the year. Commenting on the achievement, promoter Michael Cohl told Billboard this week: "Not bad eh? And [we're] not done. There are still a lot of cancellations in Europe that the band feels obligated to try and make up. So I wouldn't be surprised if it keeps going next year".

The rest of the top ten grossing tours of the year were Madonna ($195 million), Bon Jovi ($131 million), U2 (who completed their Vertigo tour this year with $96 million), Tim McGraw/Faith Hill ($88.8 million), Cirque du Soleil's Delirium ($78.5 million), Barbra Streisand ($76 million), Kenny Chesney ($66 million), Dave Matthews Band ($58 million), and Aerosmith ($58 million).

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SIMON COWELL IS EVIL, OFFICIAL, WELL, SORT OF
Back to eMusic, and the independent download platform today revealed the results of a survey that says that Simon Cowell and his X-Factor has had the "worst influence" on the UK music industry in the last twenty years. Perhaps unsurprisingly for a survey of the kind of music fans that eMusic has a relationship with, over half of the people who took part in the survey cited either Cowell or X-Factor as being the bad guys of British music, with Stock, Aitken & Waterman, Steps and The Spice Girls all runners up.

Perhaps also unsurprisingly, the late great John Peel was voted as having the most positive influence with 61% of those surveyed commending the former Radio 1 DJ. Other good guys voted for included Alan McGee, Jools Holland and Michael Eavis.

Elsewhere in the survey, almost half of those questioned said they thought that the UK's taste in music was becoming too similar, with the rise of reality TV and manufactured music artists, similarity of radio playlists and an industry driven by money not creativity all blamed for that trend.

Commenting on the survey eMusic boss David Pakman told CMU: "The X-Factor may be entertaining television, but it does not produce important or lasting musicians. The moguls throwing cash behind reality-TV artists only create short-term phenomena and make it harder for truly talented acts to break through. The results indicate that we could be seeing a backlash against these over-hyped and over-manufactured artists. In the long run, authenticity and integrity will win the race."

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DOHERTY WON'T BE FINED FOR SMOKING
It's emerged that Pete Doherty will not be fined for breaking Scottish anti-smoking laws by lighting up on stage in Inverness recently. As you may know, recently passed laws in the country dictate that no smoking is allowed in indoor public places.

Authorities made the decision to waive the £50 penalty, issuing a warning instead, and annoying anti-smoking campaigners, who think he got off lightly because he's famous. Politician Stewart Maxwell said: "If taxi drivers can be fined for smoking, then the idea that celebrities can get away with it is outrageous".

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BRANDON FLOWERS ON NEARLY LOSING AN EYE
The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers has told NME how he nearly lost an eye one Christmas after playing with an air pellet gun. He said: "I got a BB gun once, it's a gun that shoots little pellets. It was during the first Gulf War, and my dad brought back pictures of Saddam Hussein for me to shoot at. So I was shooting at one of them one time and I ran forward to it immediately after I'd fired to see how good a shot I was, but it ricocheted off the shed and came back at me square in the head. I learnt my lesson. I almost lost my eye that Christmas."

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PARIS DEFENDS BRITNEY
Needless celebrity personality vacuum Paris Hilton has nobly jumped to the defence of her new friend Britney Spears after the pop star was accused of neglecting her kids in order to spend time partying.

Hilton says in her MySpace blog: "Britney loves her kids to death, and I know for a fact that it truly hurts her when she sees these cruel things being written about her. She goes home every night to her babies and partying has not come in the way of her parenting. For people to call out her parenting skills on behalf of her partying ethics is appalling."

"On behalf of"?

She continues: "Anyone who has called her out on this should really be ashamed. She's young, and if she wants to go out and have some fun, let her. Just because she does these things does not mean she doesn't care about her children. There are thousands of mothers out there who like to go out and have a good time. But, you do not see people out there calling them 'bad parents'. For the sake of Britney and her kids, be kind."

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