CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 21st December
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Procol man wins song claim
- Ten die after post-gig stampede in Indonesia
- Lennon FBI report papers released
- Doors get lifetime achievement award
- Cowell nicks Beeb's reality show idea and secures rights to Grease
- BBC want Ross' agent for new talent show
- Aussies challenge Pink's woolly stance
- Melua is best selling European female
- Star Spangles album
- Brett Anderson solo album
- Sinead O'Connor's Christmas tracks
- Arctic Monkeys to collaborate with Dizzee?
- iLiKETRAiNS announce single and stuff
- Special Goose, new Goose, free Goose
- Coldplay Xmas message
- Trivium dates
- Babyshambles dates
- HMV say trading conditions remain tough
- Ticketmaster buy into networking site
- Creative groups welcome EC announcement on iPod tax
- Radio 3 announce new schedule
- Digital households now in the majority
- Opik helped Cheeky Girls stay in UK
- UK band will do anything for a single sale

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

VOTE FOR THE CMU TRACK OF THE YEAR - FINAL 10
So, it's the last CMU Daily proper for 2006, and your last chance to vote in the CMU Track Of The Year thingimy. As you can see, the votes continue to come in thick and fast for Misty's Big Adventure, so much so that they have just sneaked ahead of Simian and Justice in the overall running. But 'We Are Your Friends' plus Jarvis Cocker's 'Running The World' are also proving popular, so there is still everything to play for. So go on, pick which of the following is your favourite and email the artist's name in the subject line to this here email address: 2006@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk. Here's the finalists, in current order of votes received, most votes first...

Misty's Big Adventure - Fashion Parade
Simian v Justice - We Are Your Friends
Jarvis Cocker - Running The World
Amy Winehouse - Rehab
Nelly Furtado - Maneater
Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
Arctic Monkeys - When The Sun Goes Down
Hafdis Huld - Tomoko
Jim Noir - Eanie Meanie
The Rapture - Get Myself Into It

You can vote until 3pm today. Then we'll then add up everyone's votes and publish the overall winners in our Review Of The Year edition tomorrow.

FAVOURITE ALBUM OF 2006 #10: Coldcut - Sound Mirrors (Ninja Tune)
We suggested the other day that three years was a long time to wait for a new album from Amy Winehouse, but actually it was no time at all when you consider that we'd been waiting the best part of a decade for new Coldcut. But then in late 2005 we got word that the dynamic duo behind some of dance and pop music's greatest tracks of both the late eighties and nineties, the men behind the wonder that is Ninja Tune, and the pioneers of all things audio-visual, were coming back with another long player - needless to say we were pretty excitable about it all this time last year. And when 'Sound Mirrors' dropped at the start of this year we got even more excited, because this was a long player well worth the wait, an album somewhat removed from Matt Black and Jonathan More's past work, and more user friendly than their most recent releases, but at the same time as refreshing, musically innovative and lyrically significant as you could possibly ask for. And with some really good collaborators - including Saul William, Robert Owens, Mike Ladd and the mighty Roots Manuva. The latter featured on my personal stand out track 'True Skool', an incredibly infectious piece of work that I have discovered appeals to a very wide audience indeed, whenever I manage to play it in others' company. As we'd surely expect (or at least hope) the release of 'Sound Mirrors' was followed up by a hugely innovative Coldcut live show, complete with all sorts of audio visual shenanigans and interactive fun. Having chatted to the always busy Black about this year's return to the public domain, it's the live shows that he seems most excited about, so much so we can expect a lot more where that came from in the coming year and, hopefully, as a result of the public attention those live shows get, it will persuade Matt and Jonathan to keep all things Coldcut at the top of their priority list so we won't have to wait another decade for the next long player. In the meantime, I'm going to go and put the sound system in the room next to this one into full effect with a bit of 'True Skool', my favourite song on one of CMU's very favourite albums of 2006.

Read our interview with Coldcut later today at:
http://www.thebeatsbar.co.uk/albumsoftheyear

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CLASSIFIEDS>>

INTERESTED IN SELLING YOUR RECORD LABEL?
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CMU FESTIVE TIPS

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: The Bays at Jamm
The Bays troop into South London tomorrow for some seasonal festivities, with keyboardist Jimpster's Freerange Records label also doing some damage. So The Bays are on first then there'll be DJ action from Jimpster, Palm Skin, Matt Masters, Pash Ostovar plus special guest: Global Comm's Tom Middleton who will be spinning proper house and deep, minimal techno. Wicked wicked stuff.

Friday 22 Dec, Jamm, 261 Brixton Road, London, SW9, 9pm-5am, £12 on door, £10 paying guest list if you email your names in advance to guestlist@freerangerecords.co.uk, info at http://www.brixtonjamm.org

VIGSY'S NEW YEARS EVE TIPS (all taking place Sunday 31 Dec)

MR SCRUFF LIVE at The Music Box, Manchester 9pm till late, £20
Andy Carthy - Stockport's finest jazz-hop-funk-soul type man - livens up Manchester on NYE. He rocked the Forum last year, something I witnessed first hand so can confirm for certain. This one should be good, and a 650 crowd is intimate for seeing old Scruffikins these days.
Info: http://www.mrscruff.com

ROY AYERS LIVE at The Jazz Cafe, London, 7pm till late, £35
Actually, this is a bit of a regular thing now, and is just one night of a seven day post-Christmas residency for Uncle Roy, possibly the world's most celebrated jazz, soul and funk composer. The NYE show is selling fast, so how about a £17.50 ticket for one of the other shows from 26 Dec to 1 Jan?
Info: http://www.jazzcafe.co.uk

BEST KEPT SECRET at Medicine Bar, London, 9pm -4am, £10 adv
Two rooms here in one of Shoreditch's better venues. In the basement (main room) will be Spiritual South seeing in the chimes, with Nick Matthews (Best Kept Secret) and Dom Servini playing a mix of styles from Braziliance to Disco! Then upstairs there's Riley, Scrimshire, Marky Mark (Push FM) and Earl Gateshead (Trojan Sound System). Different and no massive price hikes.
Info: info@bestkeptsecret.uk.com

CO-OP LIVE: BUGZ IN THE ATTIC LIVE at Cargo, London, 8am till 6am, £35
The future-soul night comes back to Cargo for a broken-beat all nighter, celebrating five years of the club this month, NYE sees Bugz In The Attic play tracks from latest album 'Back In The Doghouse'. DJ's will be regular stalwarts IG Culture, Afronaught & Daz I Kue, with Phil Asher and my old fave Marc Mac (one half of 4Hero) with MC MG on toasting duties.
Info: http://www.cargo-london.com/event.php?id=680

REVEILLON at Guanabara, London, 8am til 5am, £30
This all-the-rage Brazilian bar, off Drury Lane, will be spinning cutting edge Latin beats, from DJ Limao, Mark Robertson (Spiritual South) and resident DJ Nina, with Basil on percussion and, live on stage, Brazilian rhythm and groove from 'Exilados' and live Bateria from the London School of Samba. Apparently wear white to enter into the true spirit of a Brazilian New Year...
Info: http://www.guanabara.co.uk

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PROCOL MAN WINS SONG CLAIM
Procol Harum founding member Matthew Fisher yesterday won his High Court battle to win a stake in the publishing copyright of the band's most famous song 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale'. As previously reported, Fisher, who played the distinctive organ melody on the song, claimed that he also wrote that bit, and was therefore due a cut of any publishing royalties stemming from the hit, which would be quite a lot.

The band's frontman, Gary Brooker, who has a co-credit on 'Whiter Shade' alongside lyricist Keith Reid, denied that Fisher had a role in writing the organ score. Brooker claimed that he and Reid had devised that part of the song, and Fisher had simply played it. But Fisher said that while Brooker had provided an initial piece of music, he had made substantial chord changes and other alterations so that the organ melody fitted with the rest of the song, and therefore the final melody that actually appeared in the released version of the hit should belong to him. Brooker also questioned why it had taken his former bandmate so long to stake his claim to the melody - suggesting that the fact Fisher only made the claim after leaving the band, decades after the song was released, weakened his case. Fisher countered that he had always assumed that Brooker allowed him credits on other Procol Harum songs as a kind of compensation for him not having the credit he felt he deserved for 'Whiter Shade'.

Yesterday in the London courts Mr Justice Blackburne, who, conveniently, studied music as well as law when at university, sided with Fisher, although he said that he felt that given the keyboardist only wrote the organ melody he should only have a 40% stake in the overall song. He also denied Fishers' claim to back royalties - which could have been in excess of £1 million.

Needless to say Brooker, who still earns royalties off the song, and more so of late because it has proved to be a popular mobile ringtone, was not impressed with the ruling. He told reporters: "If Matthew Fisher's name ends up on my song, then mine can come off! It's hard to believe that I've worked with somebody on and off since 1967 whilst they hid such unspoken resentment. I'm relieved the trial is over, but my faith in British justice is shattered."

Fisher said: "I think I can assume that from now on I'm not going to be on Gary and Keith's Christmas card lists but I think that's a small price to pay for finally securing my rightful place in rock and roll history. I'd just like to say that it's a great pity that this matter could not have been resolved amicably".

The judge granted Brooker, who will have to pay much of Fisher's legal fees, the right to appeal. It is unclear as yet if he will do so, although his lawyers are already saying that Blackburne's ruling will set a dangerous precedent that could see numerous musicians who made alterations to songs during recordings seeking royalty cuts in retrospect.

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TEN DIE AFTER POST-GIG STAMPEDE IN INDONESIA
Ten people have been killed and dozens more injured during a stampede at a pop concert on the Indonesian island of Java. The incident occurred at a stadium in Pekalongan after native guitar band Unga had played. The stadium was reportedly packed out, with as many as double the venue's 6000 capacity having been allowed in. Police say the stampede occurred as the crowd attempted to leave through two narrow exits, and that most of the casualties were teenagers. The band's management have confirmed that the gig was sold out, but deny that the venue was over full. Local police, however, claim that thousands of people had entered the stadium without tickets, and that the problem began as the excessive number of people poured out of the limited exits onto already crowded streets. A BBC reporter in Jakarta has told BBC Online that it is a common complaint in the country that flagship concerts are overcrowded because of the number of non-ticket holders who get in - and that such overcrowding has led to injuries at other recent Indonesian concerts.

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LENNON FBI REPORT PAPERS RELEASED
Final pages of an FBI surveillance report on John Lennon containing details of the late Beatle's links to left wing and anti war groups in the early seventies have been released following a long legal battle pursued by historian Jon Wiener.

Wiener first requested the documents back in 1981, shortly after deciding to write a book about Lennon's murder the previous year. Some files were released, but the FBI claimed that others were exempt from freedom of information laws. The historian was given a number of additional files back in 1997 after he sued the government and came to a settlement with the FBI, but the final ten pages of the report were withheld by Justice Department until now, when a federal judge ordered their release.

The FBI had maintained that making that information public could lead to political, diplomatic or economic retaliation against the US. Speaking to the LA Times, Wiener responded to those claims, saying: "I doubt that Tony Blair's government will launch a military strike on the US in retaliation for the release of these documents. Today, we can see that the national security claims that the FBI has been making for 25 years were absurd from the beginning."

Talking about the content of the pages, Wiener explained that they showed that Lennon had refused requests from a body of UK leftists to fund a bookshop, and note an interview with leftist publication Red Mole, plus his support for Cambodia in the wake of US attacks in the country. The papers admit that Lennon "apparently resisted the attempts of any particular group to secure any hold over him".

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DOORS GET LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
The Doors are to receive a lifetime achievement Grammy at next year's awards event, which just goes to show that, in the case of one of the band's members, you don't have to be alive to get a lifetime achievement gong.

Also proving that rule are The Grateful Dead, who, despite their assorted deadness, will also get a lifetime achievement at the ceremony, which, as previously reported, takes place in LA on 11 Feb next year. Other honours are expected to go to Joan Baez, Booker T And The MGs and saxophonist Ornette Coleman.

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COWELL NICKS BEEB'S REALITY SHOW IDEA AND SECURES RIGHTS TO GREASE
Where does that Simon Cowell get his genius ideas from? Listen to his latest stroke of innovative thinking - he's going to produce a reality TV show where wannabe musical stars audition for the lead roles in a revival of Grease. I wish I could come up with such original ideas.

Actually, this latest Cowell project is especially cheeky because not only is it pretty much a direct rip off of the BBC's 'How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria', but the Beeb themselves are already co-producing a version of the show in the US based around the stage show version of Grease. But Cowell has managed to secure the reality TV rights to the musical for the UK market, meaning he will be able to pitch the show against the BBC's previously reported new musical reality TV project which will stage a search for a new cast for Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Given how popular Grease remains with the teenage audience, an important demographic in any of these reality programmes, Cowell's rival may be a real ratings spoiler for the Beeb.

But Cowell denied he had "stolen" the show off the BBC. Confirming he'd secured the UK rights to Grease, he told reporters: "As with anything you want to buy, you have got to pay a lot of money. These things don't come cheap and rightly so. I think it's good the BBC haven't got it so it isn't coming out of licence fee payers' pockets. I think we have done a great service".

He continued: "In my opinion, Grease is the best musical on the planet. These two parts [leads Sandy and Danny] will be the most sought-after roles in the West End. It will work beautifully for us as a reality show. There will be a lot of twists".

Cowell will not play an active onscreen role in the new project - theatre producer David Ian, who was a judge on the Beeb's Sound Of Music talent search, will be the chief judge on the Grease show, as well as co-producing the resulting West End production.

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BBC WANT ROSS' AGENT FOR NEW TALENT SHOW
Talking of talent shows and judges, the BBC is signing up talent agent Addison Cresswell to be the main judge on a new Graham Norton fronted talent show which has a working title of Saturday Showdown (not to be confused with the aforementioned 'Joseph' talent search, which will also be fronted by Norton). Cresswell represents the likes of Jack Dee, Lee Evans and Jonathan Ross for his Off The Kerb agency, and was the man who secured Ross his much reported, slightly controversial and undeniably excessive £18 million deal with the BBC. Ironically, Creswell has appointed one of his main rivals, Richard Allen-Turner of Avalon, to negotiate his deal with the Beeb for the new show and while it won't be worth anything like the Ross deal, you can expect loads of stupid and pointless demands to be made - including a reported £1000 per show clothing budget.

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AUSSIES CHALLENGE PINK'S WOOLLY STANCE
The Australian government has challenged Pink's campaign to boycott wool from the country due to farmers' continued use of the practice of mulesing. There's no pretty way to explain what mulesing is, so here goes: it's when they cut away wrinkled skin from lambs' perianal area down to the top of the hind legs, meaning that as the cut heals, the non woolly skin around the anus (and vulva, in ewes) is pulled tight, leaving a smooth area that does not accrue debris. Well, poo and wee, really, to not be coy about it. The 'operation', in which a portion of the tail is also removed and the remaining stump skinned, is generally completed using adapted shears, and is performed without anaesthetic or painkillers.

So, Pink thinks this is a sadistic process, and has said as much in a video she's made for animal rights body PETA. The singer says: "I am calling on consumers to check labels on sweaters before buying them, and if they're merino wool or made in Australia, to leave them on the racks."

However, Australian Treasurer Peter Costello says that the practice stops sheep dying from maggot infestations - aka fly-strike, or myiasis. He says: "Pink is entitled to her views but at the end of the day would Australia's farmers take advice from Pink? Sheep are at risk of being fly-blown and dying... it's not a pretty sight. Mulesing is not a pretty sight either but it's a damn sight more humane than letting a sheep die fly-blown in a paddock."

PETA argues, of course, that there are humane alternatives, but Aussie farmers say it's necessary. It's a practice that's illegal here in the UK, however, and, according to Wikipedia, representatives of the Australian wool industry met in 2004 and voted to phase out the practice by 2010.

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MELUA IS BEST SELLING EUROPEAN FEMALE
This will cheer you all up, I'm sure. Katie Melua has been confirmed as the best selling female artist in Europe during 2006, with her second album, 'Piece By Piece', having sold over 3 million units across the continent since its September 2005 release. Here's what her manager/label boss Mike Batt has to say: "We are extremely proud to have helped Katie to this high level of achievement particularly in light of the independent structure of our company and the hard work and expertise that has been brought to bear by our fantastic independent distributors throughout Europe. Katie will hear about this tremendous achievement just before her sell-out concert at the Olympia in Paris, an appropriate venue for such an exciting announcement and a wonderful way to round off another superb year".

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STAR SPANGLES ALBUM
New York band The Star Spangles have announced the tracklisting for their new album, 'Dirty Bomb'. which features contributions from Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan. Here it is:

Take Care Of Us
Tear It To Pieces
Make Yourself Useful, Babe
This Side Of The Sun
Gangland
I'm On A High
Gimme An Answer
Tell Lies
Nother Weight To Hold Me Down
Revolver
I Told A Lie
Bash Your Brains
Someone In You

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BRETT ANDERSON SOLO ALBUM
Brett Anderson has announced that he'll release his new solo album, which I think may be eponymous, on 26 Mar via Drowned In Sound. Here's what the former Suede man says of his new work: "In the past I've hidden behind characterization and vignettes, but I've not done that here. Essentially I have taken a knife to myself and am showing the world my insides. The songs are a comment on how I really feel, whether it be the death of my dad, my hatred of consumerism or just the loneliness of life."

Speaking of one particular track on the album, he adds: "'Love Is Dead' is one of those rare songs that you manage to write every ten years that explains how you feel in exactly the right way. The last time that happened was with 'Trash' ten years ago. It seems right that it should happen again now. It's a very important record for me to have made. No guests, no gimmicks, just me and the music"

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SINEAD O'CONNOR'S CHRISTMAS TRACKS
Two Sinead O'Connor tracks have been released in time for Christmas via eMusic, and will be available to download for free until 31 Dec. The tracks, 'If You Had a Vineyard' and 'Jeremiah (Something Beautiful)' are taken from the singer's upcoming new album, due out in April next year. You can get the tracks here (I think you need to be an eMusic subscriber, or trialling the service): http://www.emusic.com/album/10983/10983544.html.

O'Connor says: "I'm so excited and proud of my new record. I didn't want to wait until April for it to be heard, and I want as many people as possible to hear it for free. The song 'Jeremiah (Something Beautiful)' talks about Christmas; so it seems appropriate given the time of year. And 'If You Had A Vineyard' is a protest song I guess, but it's more of an anti-war song".

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ARCTIC MONKEYS TO COLLABORATE WITH DIZZEE?
According to The Sun, Arctic Monkeys are in discussions with Dizzee Rascal regarding work on their new album. A 'source' told the tabloid: "The Monkeys wanted to surprise people with the album. It was the lads' idea to see Dizzee in his studio to speak to him about working on a few tracks. The band have always done whatever they wanted - the record company have been really good at giving them pretty much a free rein. If Alex thinks it will work then why not give it a go?"

The 'source' added: "From what I've heard so far the album is going to blow away all the critics. The new material is a lot more mature than their first album".

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ILIKETRAINS ANNOUNCE SINGLE AND STUFF
iLiKETRAiNS have announced they'll release a new single, 'Spencer Perceval', in March. They play the Music In Mind Festival in Brugge on 23 Feb, followed by gigs at Cockpit in Leeds on 28 Mar and Dingwalls in Camden on 29 Mar, to follow the release of the aforementioned single.

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SPECIAL GOOSE, NEW GOOSE, FREE GOOSE
Those rather good Goose boys will release a special edition of their debut album 'Bring It On' via Skint on 5 Feb, featuring a special five track bonus disk. New single 'Low Mode' will follow shortly after, on 19 Feb. Meantime, there's free Goose for everyone at http://www.skint.net/goose.

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COLDPLAY XMAS MESSAGE
Coldplay have posted a special Christmas message on their website featuring the band dressed up in Victorian garb and dancing to rave versions of their songs. It concludes with Martin proclaiming "I predict that railways will be big in the future". So don't even begin to suggest we didn't tell you.

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TRIVIUM DATES
Trivium will play the following UK dates as part of their 2007 The Crusade World Tour. Tickets went on sale yesterday.

8 Apr: Dublin Ambassador
9 Apr: Dublin Ambassador
11 Apr: Bradford St Georges Hall
12 Apr: Manchester Apollo
13 Apr: Glasgow Academy
14 Apr: Newcastle City Hall
15 Apr: Liverpool University
17 Apr: Nottingham Rock City
18 Apr: Cambridge Corn Exchange
19 Apr: Portsmouth Guild Hall
20 Apr: Plymouth Pavilions
22 Apr: Newport Centre
23 Apr: Wolves Civic Hall
24 Apr: Ipswich Regent
25 Apr: London Hammersmith Apollo

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BABYSHAMBLES DATES
Babyshambles meanwhile will play the following UK dates. They were announced at the same time as the band revealed they were pulling out of all their other European gig commitments for reasons not too clear.

17 Feb: Manchester Apollo
18 Feb: London Brixton Academy
19 Feb: Glasgow Barrowlands
20 Feb: Glasgow Barrowlands

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HMV SAY TRADING CONDITIONS REMAIN TOUGH
HMV have said trading conditions remain tough, meaning that their end of year profits are likely to come in at the bottom end of forecasts. Bosses there say that recent efforts to improve sales are "working effectively", but nevertheless like-for-like sales across the group for the twelve weeks following 28 Sep were down 1.3%. The company's recently appointed CEO Simon Fox commenting on the latest figures: "We recognise that we face very tough and rapidly-changing markets and have to work hard to offset this".

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TICKETMASTER BUY INTO NETWORKING SITE
Ticketmaster has bought a 25% stake in Seattle based music biased social networking website iLike.com, part of a bid to boost the company's profile and credibility among independent music fans.

Although specifics of the deal are not known, Ticketmaster top man Sean Moriarty told reporters: "With our investment in iLike.com, we look forward to a series of integrations that will introduce live events and ticket-purchase opportunities within the iLike music discovery process".

iLike boss Ali Partovi added: "Closing the gap between the online music experience and the real-world concert experience will benefit both consumers and artists".

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CREATIVE GROUPS WELCOME EC ANNOUNCEMENT ON IPOD TAX
Needless to say, various groups representing artists, songwriters and publishers have welcomed that previously reported decision by the European Commission to put off making a ruling on copyright levies charged on CDRs and MP3 players in most countries within the European Union (but not the UK). As previously reported, the electronics industry are trying to have such levies, which are designed to compensate artists for private copies consumers make of their music, abolished, and the EC was due to reach a decision on the future of such levies last week. But instead the EC said more time was needed to consider the arguments for and against the levy system, so levies currently in place would stay for the time being.

Responding to that decision, Culture First, a cross-industry coalition representing creative bodies who benefit from the levies told reporters: "We salute the Commission's determination to address intellectual property and cultural issues with all appropriate consideration and proper debates. Remuneration for private copying entails no significant extra costs for the hardware industry that markets copy-enabling equipment or media and makes high profits from these sales. It is currently the only mechanism that allows the creative sector to be compensated for the widespread copying of their works for domestic use. Crucially, in exchange of a legitimate top-up to the income of rightholders, it enables consumers to make copies for their private use."

As previously reported, the trade body representing the electronics industry criticised the decision, accusing EC President José Manuel Barroso of giving in to French demands to keep the levies.

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RADIO 3 ANNOUNCE NEW SCHEDULE
BBC Radio 3 have announced the appointment of a new breakfast show presenter as part of its previously reported schedule revamp. The breakfast show, currently hosted by Penny Gore, will be renamed the Rob Cowan Show, which is probably why they've moved existing Radio 3 presenter Rob Cowan into the slot to present it.

Other schedule changes include the extension of complete recitals and opera performances included in daytime, which should please those critics of the changes who were worried that the station would reduce its commitment to full performances. However, the extension does mean the axing of some existing popular afternoon programmes, including Stage And Screen, Voices, The Light Programme and Jazz Legends.

Another new show includes one called The Essay which will look at various cultural themes in depth - the first week will feature four 'essays' on Auden, each by a different writer.

The new schedule will go live in mid-February following a special week of programmes which will include the airing of the complete works of Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky.

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DIGITAL HOUSEHOLDS NOW IN THE MAJORITY
Almost three out of four UK households now watch digital television, according to media regulator OfCom, which will presumably provide the government with some encouragement that they will be able to start their planned turn off of analogue TV signals as early as 2008 - though with the issue of the plethora of second and third sets in most households still accessing analogue, coupled with issues around videoing digital services, 2008 still seems incredibly optimistic to me.

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OPIK HELPED CHEEKY GIRLS STAY IN UK
Slightly odd Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik who, as you probably all know, recently confirmed he had dumped weather girl fiancé Sian Lloyd in favour of one of the Cheeky Girls, apparently intervened earlier this year when their were threats that the Cheeky pop duo would be deported back to Romania. Opik's party confirmed yesterday that the MP had acted when the Home Office denied Cheeky Girls Gabriela and Monica Irimia further leave to remain in the UK back in the summer. Opik contacted the girls' own MP, Michael Foster, about their case, and also spoke to a Home Office minister himself about the matter, albeit during a chance meeting in the House Of Commons. But the Lib Dems say: "Lembit acted with total propriety with regard to this matter. He did what any MP would do, and referred the matter to the appropriate Member Of Parliament. At no stage did he lobby anybody on this matter. He simply referred the issue through the relevant and proper channels". Opik confirmed he was dating Gabriela Irimia last week, leading to much tabloid coverage when weather presenter Lloyd spoke to the press about the end of her engagement to the MP.

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UK BAND WILL DO ANYTHING FOR A SINGLE SALE
UK band Ist, who released a double A side single 'The Wreck of the Eddie Fitzpatrick/I Am Jesus (And You're Not)' on 11 Dec, are now going to enormous lengths to make sales, offering to do pretty much anything (that's anything) for people willing to buy the single.

Lead singer Kenton Hall explains: "It's not so much a marketing technique as it is a determination to break through the public's apathy towards trying new things. You buy a single, we do what you ask. No questions asked. That could mean us buying another band's single or skydiving naked. It's up to the individual. We've made breakfast for someone's grandmother, we've cleaned out someone's gutters, we've sung birthday wishes in drag for stag parties. And willingly. I'm waiting for that one big offer."

And all you have to do if you want the band to do what you want is email a copy of your receipt (you'll have to buy it, clearly) to kenton.ist@gmail.com. Also see their page for updates: http://www.myspace.com/ist

And God bless them, every one.

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