CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 4th January
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Radiocentre report suggests 2015 for analogue turnoff
- Music Zone goes into administration
- Wyclef Jean becomes roving ambassador for Haiti
- Leona tops 7Digital downloads chart
- Dandelion Radio announce Festive Fifty
- Myers to play Moon
- Unsigned band accuse Coke of copying their video
- Court order prompts Whitney to sell off old tour stuff
- 50 Cent's book outfit moves into fiction
- Inspiral Carpets tour, b-sides album
- Idlewild man leads Scottish collaborations album
- Corgan on new pumpkins
- New Maria McKee
- Ignite tour postponed
- The Killers to play V and Diana concert, may be
- Hayseed Dixie tour
- YouTube facing content tracking challenge
- German record industry leading the way in file-sharer lawsuits
- Warner Music to pay dividend
- Prince to launch music mag
- Timberlake and Diaz split rumours
- CBB contestants revealed

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TOP BIT>>
More excitement for you, yes, the first logistical-come-blatant-self-plugging Top Bit of 2007 - you lucky lucky people. First things first, given the ever growing number of spam emails that fill up our servers these days (20,000 to Chris and Caro's personal emails over the festive period!) we've stepped up our spam filtering here at UnLimited, something we've avoid previously because spam filters have a habit of filtering out bulk mailed press releases.

Which means more so than ever you should send press releases to musicnews@unlimitedmedia.co.uk rather than the personal email addresses of any CMU team members, because we have a different filtering system going on with that address (though don't go telling any spammers). The musicnews inbox gets checked daily as part of CMU's news gathering sweep (yes 'news gathering sweep', that's what I've started calling it) so it is the best place to email.

And while we're at it, it would be great if you could all check that musicnews@unlimitedmedia.co.uk is on your press list, or your PR company's press list, because sometimes, because we report on their artists, label types assume we are getting their press releases, when actually we are sourcing those stories from our other news gathering sweeps (yep, now we've got more than one). CDs for review should be sent to the address at the bottom of the Daily.

That's the logistics, here's the plugging. Over 12,000 music business types now receive the CMU Daily every week day, and we've checked, and they are the 12,000 most talented, insightful and lovely people in the music world. But as 2007 is the national year of sharing (it isn't, but it should be), why not introduce a friend to CMU this month? Tell any colleagues, artists or music types you meet that to stay fully in touch with all things music they need to send their name, company or band name and job title to daily.subscribe@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk.

And that's enough self-plugging. Until Monday. Expect more self-plugging on Monday.

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RADIOCENTRE REPORT SUGGESTS 2015 FOR ANALOGUE TURNOFF
A document leaked to the Media Guardian suggests that analogue radio signals could start to be turned off in the UK as early as 2010, considerably earlier than previous estimations which have sometimes suggested such a move wouldn't be possible until 2030. If the document is correct, analogue broadcasts would end between 2010 and 2015, meaning every radio listener in the country would then need to have some kind of digital radio device in order to continue accessing radio services.

The new estimations appear in minutes of a meeting of the commercial radio body RadioCentre, which reports on discussions between the commercial sector and the BBC regarding analogue turn off. According to the MediaGuardian, the minutes say: "Discussions with the BBC on October 4 suggested that an analogue switch-off in 2010 - 2015 was feasible".

The minutes also confirm that the commercial sector recognise the need for more collaboration between themselves and the Beeb to ensure a smooth switchover to digital - although ironically such a collaboration would in many ways be part of a strategy to enable the commercial sector to better compete with its licence fee funded rival. In the radio business, of course, the BBC pose considerable opposition to the commercial sector, with collected BBC services commanded a bigger market share than collected commercial services. But most senior commercial radio execs reckon that they will be able to better compete with the Beeb once a fully expanded digital radio market is properly established, and that will probably be achieved sooner if the commercial stations form some kind of alliance with the Corporation on all things digital. The RadioCentre minutes say: "The relationship with the BBC is a central part of this strategy. The BBC dinner on October 4 has already helped build the 'frosty friendship' that was appropriate."

The RadioCentre has said that the minutes seen by the MediaGuardian "may be" drafts and were "not necessarily" their final report on their digital strategy. RadioCentre boss Andrew Harrison told the paper: "Clearly there is a strong future for radio in a convergent digital world. Converging all of UK radio - both the BBC and commercial - is a clear aspiration for both organisations. I can't speak on behalf of the BBC, but we need to agree with the government and the regulator a plan to facilitate switchover for all broadcasters big and small. Once those plans are in place we can talk about a switch-off date. The BBC makes a fantastic contribution to UK radio. We have a shared relationship on digital switchover, audience measurement, and things like copyright. Clearly they are also our key competitor and we have to balance the interests of the commercial sector with the joint interests of the industry".

The RadioCentre minutes also observed that the radio industry needs to forge a better alliance with the music industry to aid the growth of digital, observing that: "The music industry was probably the area where we had most work to do in order to foster credibility and mutual respect."

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MUSIC ZONE GOES INTO ADMINISTRATION
Music retailer Music Zone has gone into administration after their bank recalled debts and withdrew credit facilities. Insiders at the 104 store chain admit that increasing competition from supermarkets and online mail order services mean their profit margins are ever smaller which, coupled with more general "difficult trading conditions" in the retail sector, makes their operations less and less viable. Bill Dawson, a partner at accountancy firm Deloitte, has been appointed as the company's administrator.

The company said in a statement: "The decision by our bankers to recover debts and withdraw credit facilities without notice and with immediate effect left us and our private equity backers with no real alternative other than to appoint administrators".

Dawson confirmed that he would initially seek parties interested in acquiring Music Zone as a going concern and, in the interim, the chain of stores would continue to trade as normal.

Music Zone began life as a single independent record store in Stockport, founded by Russ Grainger. When he sold out in a £12 million management buy out deal in 2005 the company was rated as the third biggest specialist music retailer in the UK, behind HMV and Virgin Megastore. Following the buy out, which was supported by Lloyds TSB's venture capital division, the chain acquired 41 stores off MVC after they went into administration, and the company's management said they were "gearing up for a major assault on UK high streets" over the following three years. But with ever more competition from the cost-cutting supermarkets and online operations, a trend which has hit both HMV and Woolworths also, those ambitions have proved to be easier said than done.

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WYCLEF JEAN BECOMES ROVING AMBASSADOR FOR HAITI
The Haitian government has appointed Wyclef Jean as a "roving ambassador" in a bid to promote the troubled country's image abroad.

Haitain-born Jean has long been a kind of unofficial ambassador for his home country, despite the fact his family moved to New York when he was just nine. In particular he established the non-political humanitarian organisation Yéle Haiti which aims, in Jean's own words, "to restore pride and a reason to hope, and for the whole country to regain the deep spirit and strength that is part of our heritage".

Crediting the hip hop star with the passage of a trade bill in US Congress which is expected to help create textile manufacturing jobs in Haiti, a bill Jean has been personally lobbying for, the country's government has said that it considers the former Fugee to be "our best asset to promote the country's image around the world and to help attract foreign investors". Meanwhile, the country's Foreign Affairs Minister Renald Clerisme told Reuters: "We wish we could have several Wyclefs as roving ambassadors because the country could have gained so much".

A spokesman for Haitian President Rene Preval also confirmed that Jean would take part in a presidential visit to Jamaica taking place this week.

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LEONA TOPS 7DIGITAL DOWNLOADS CHART
Although download sales played a big part in helping Gnarls Barkley to score the best selling single of 2006, 'Crazy' was outranked by X Factor winner Leona Lewis' 'A Moment Like This' in the end of year sales charts published by download firm 7Digital yesterday. Based on what tracks have sold the most via the 7 Digital download platform in 2006, Lewis came top of the pile, even though 'A Moment Like This' was only available in the last two weeks of the year.

7 Digital's full 'top ten of the year' looks like this...

1. Leona - A Moment Like This (SonyBMG/Syco)
2. Gnarls Barkley - Crazy (Warner/Atlantic)
3. David Hasselhoff - Jump In My Car (Skintight)
4. Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancin (Universal/Polydor)
5. José González - Heartbeats (Peacefrog)
6. Muse - Assassin (Warner)
7. Thunder - The Devil Made Me Do It (Townsend)
8. Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars (Universal/Polydor)
9. Orson - No Tomorrow (Universal/Mercury)
10. The Automatic - Monster (B-unique)

Gnarls Barkley also came in second in the two other end-of-year charts released by 7 Digital - the one for 'ten most downloaded albums' and the one for 'twenty most downloaded artists'. The former was topped by Muse, while the best selling album of 2006 overall, Snow Patrol's 'Eyes Open', came in fourth, and the download only Adam Ant release 'Extra Wonderful' came in seventh. The latter poll was lead by Depeche Mode. Anyway, here are the lists, starting with 7Digital's most downloaded albums:

1. Muse - Black Holes And Revelations (Warner)
2. Gnarls Barkley - St Elsewhere (Warner/Atlantic)
3. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (Domino)
4. Snow Patrol - Eyes Open (Universal/Polydor)
5. James Morrison - Undiscovered (Universal/Polydor)
6. Lily Allen - Alright, Still (EMI/Regal)
7. Adam Ant - Extra Wonderful (EMI)
8. José González - Veneer (Peacefrog)
9. Keane - Under The Iron Sea (Universal/Island)
10. Pet Shop Boys - Fundamental (EMI/Parlophone)

And now the twenty most downloaded artists via 7Digital:

1. Depeche Mode
2. Gnarls Barkley
3. Pet Shop Boys
4. Muse
5. Sugababes
6. Snow Patrol
7. Arctic Monkeys
8. Madonna
9. Girls Aloud
10. Keane
11. José González
12. David Hasselhoff
13. Scissor Sisters
14. Coldplay
15. The Feeling
16. Thom Yorke
17. U2
18. Orson
19. Razorlight
20. Embrace

Commenting on the continued growth of all things digital in 2006, and the previously reported changes in chart rules which will mean all download sales now get included in the overall chart (and not just the download sales of those tracks also available as physical CDs), 7Digital boss Ben Drury told CMU: "The digital music market has exploded, particularly over the past six months, accounting for approximately 79% of all single sales. We have seen Leona Lewis become the fastest selling female artist of all time with over 100,000 digital sales in the first 48 hours. Over 80% of these sales were via our X Factor promotion. Looking forward to 2007, the changes to the chart rules that came into place on Monday will support the future growth of the digital music industry. Increasing numbers of unsigned bands and independent labels now have the ability to secure Top 40 positions, particularly via sites like 7digital's indiestore.com, as they no longer have to release a physical single or secure the backing of a major record label".

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DANDELION RADIO ANNOUNCE FESTIVE FIFTY
Talking of polls and charts and all that jazz, internet radio station Dandelion Radio has announced its Festive Fifty, and you can now hear the full countdown on the station. As previously reported, Dandelion Radio was established last year in memory of the late great John Peel, with a programming and music ethos which they think represents everything Peel stood for. They took over Peel's long established end of year listener music poll this year, and are broadcasting a five hour show which reveals the result of the poll at various times each day throughout January. You can access the broadcasts at http://www.DandelionRadio.com or http://www.dandelionradio.com. More info from info@dandelionradio.com.

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MYERS TO PLAY MOON
It's been confirmed that Mike Myers will play Keith Moon in an upcoming biopic about the legendary Who drummer. Moon's former bandmate Roger Daltrey has apparently personally backed plans for Myers to take the lead in the film, which has a working title of 'See Me Feel Me (Keith Moon Naked For Pleasure)'. The movie's co-producer, Nigel Sinclair, is quoted as saying: "Roger's dream was to have Mike as the creative force to pull the project together".

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UNSIGNED BAND ACCUSE COKE OF COPYING THEIR VIDEO
An unsigned British band have accused Coca-Cola's Argentinean advertising agency of ripping off one of their videos for their latest Coke TV ad campaign. The band are Seven Seconds Of Love and the video they believe has been plagiarised was for their 2005 track 'Ninja'. The pop promo, created by the band's frontman Joel Veitch, featured several animated characters dancing and swiveling to the song. The new Coke ad has a similar look and, the band claim, a soundtrack not altogether unlike their original song. The band became aware of the ad after their fans alerted them to the similarities between the commercial and the video.

The BBC quote Veitch thus: "Whenever someone sees something that looks vaguely like my work, usually it's simply not true. Usually it just looks a bit similar, or [there's] a style reference to something that we did, so I was not overly concerned when people first contacted us about the similarities. [But] after a few weeks they put it online so I actually saw it, at which point I was filled with righteous anger, and realised it was a slightly different case from the usual". He reckons the ad has copied his "entire work", adding that lawyers have advised the band that they have "a clear case" for legal action.

However, Veitch admits that the costs of pursuing litigation against Coke and their ad agency may well mean the band are unable to take action, especially if the UK courts ruled the case should be heard in Argentina where the ad was made and broadcast. Veitch: "It's a bit of a mismatched battle. We haven't got any financial resources behind us and they're an enormous multi-national behemoth. The risk is that if we do take it to court, there's every possibility that they may just drag it out until we're bankrupt. Spending many thousands of pounds on a lawyer on the other side of the world to fight a case in a different language, while we're all trying to hold down our day jobs and pay a mortgage, sounds a bit difficult really. But if we could do it on a no-win, no-fee basis in England, we'd be laughing".

Coke say that their Argentinean ad agency claim no copying has taken place, and that similarities between the ad and Seven Seconds Of Love's promo video are just coincidental. In a statement the drinks brand told reporters: "We have acted in good faith when retaining the agency and deciding to air the TV commercial. Therefore, we are surprised by the alleged claim and deeply regret being associated to this unusual and unexpected debate."

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COURT ORDER PROMPTS WHITNEY TO SELL OFF OLD TOUR STUFF
Whitney Houston will next week sell off a range of clothing, musical instruments and other tour related equipment all of which that has been in storage for some time, not so much as part of an early Spring clean, but more because a US court has ordered the sale in order to pay the storage company who have been storing the goods, with whom Ms Houston now has a number of debts. Nevertheless, Whitney's people have put a positive spin on the sale, explaining that "Whitney is selling off at auction old tour equipment that is no longer in use" and that while "part of the proceeds will go to pay a debt owed to the storage company in keeping with the court order" it is "not unusual for an artist to sell off old equipments and costumes no longer needed". And they're right you now.

Among the 400 items up for sale are a made-to-measure transparent grand piano, keyboards, sound mixing equipment, drum kits, Versace dresses, Armani jackets and even a collection of bras by Dolce and Gabbana. Oh yes, and some unwanted awards, just one careful owner.

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50 CENT'S BOOK OUTFIT MOVES INTO FICTION
Watch out book types, 50 Cent's in town with plans to take over your business. Yep, Fiddy will later today launch five new books via his G-Unit book publishing enterprise, the joint venture with MTV and Pocketbooks which published the rapper's autobiography last year. This time it's fiction, and a collection of "gritty urban stories" no less. The new books, called 'Death Before Dishonor', 'Baby Brother', 'Hood', 'Soldier 7' and 'The Ski Mask Way', have been written by Nikki Turner and K Elliot, and the authors will be joined by Fiddy at a launch event at a New York branch of Borders later today.

Here's what Fiddy's got to say about the whole venture: "Last year, my memoirs, 'From Pieces To Weight' marked the beginning. Now, I'm rounding up some of the top writers, same way I rounded up some of the top rappers in the game, to form G-Unit and take this series to the top of the literary world. The stories in the G-Unit [are] about our life on the streets and no on knows it better than us. Not to mention, when it comes to delivering authentic, gritty urban stories of the high and low life, our audience expects the best".

Given that Fiddy is basing his G-Unit books venture on his G-Unit music outfit, we await with interest to see whether it's Turner or Elliot who fall out big time with 50 Cent, leading to very public and occasionally violent public feuding. Can't wait.

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INSPIRAL CARPETS TOUR, B-SIDES ALBUM
Those most Inspiral of Carpets are back on the road with a UK tour planned for March, preceded on 26 Feb by the digital release of a rarities album to be called 'Keep The Circle: B Sides & Udder Stuff'. See what they did there? For fans of lists, here's the dates of the tour, and the tracks that will appear on the album.

2 Mar: Birmingham Academy
3 Mar: Glasgow ABC
4 Mar: Lincoln Engine Shed
5 Mar: Norwich Waterfront
7 March -Brighton Concorde 2
8 Mar: Leeds University
9 Mar: Manchester Academy
10 Mar: London Shepherds Bush Empire

Keep The Circle Tracklisting:
Garage Full Of Flowers (Debris flexi version)
Commercial Rain
Directing Traffic
So Far
Planecrash
Out Of Time
Move In
Tune For A Family
Seeds Of Doubt
Goldtop
I'll Keep It In Mind
Skidoo
Lost In Space
St. Kilda
The Wind Is Calling Your Name
St Kilda (Instrumental)
I Know I'm Losing You
Boomerang
It's Only A Paper Moon
I'm Alive
Saturn 5 (feat Mark E Smith)
Well Of Seven Heads
Two Cows
Going Down
We Can Do Everything
Inside Of You
Cobra (Satanic Wurlie mix)

The band will also this year release on DVD a recording of a gig recorded at Manchester's G-Mex centre way back in 1990. Press info on all of this from zmiller@mutehq.co.uk.

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IDLEWILD MAN LEADS SCOTTISH COLLABORATIONS ALBUM
Talking of tracklistings, Idlewild frontman Roddy Woomble has put together an interesting album featuring collaborations between some of Scotland's best writers and musicians. The album comes out via Glasgow based Chemikal Underground on 5 Mar, with a concert bringing together many of those involved in the album due to take place at Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall on 30 Jan. A TV documentary about the whole project is also being made by STV. The tracklisting of the album is as follows:

Mike Heron & John Burnside - Song For Irena
De Rosa & Michel Faber - Steam Comes Off Our House
James Yorkston & Bill Duncan - A Calvinist Narrowly Avoids Pleasure
Foxface & Rody Gorman - Dreamcatcher
Lord Cut-Glass & Alasdair Gray - A Sentimental Song
Aidan Moffat And The Best Ofs & Ian Rankin - The Sixth Stone
Norman Blake & John Burnside - Girl
Karine Polwart & Edwin Morgan - The Good Years
Sons And Daughters & A L Kennedy - The War On Love Song
Alasdair Roberts & Robin Robertson - The Leaving
Strike The Colours & Rody Gorman - Message In A Bottle
Aereogramme & Hal Duncan - If You Love Me Youd Destroy Me
Malcolm Middleton & Alan Bissett - The Rebel On His Own Tonight
Trashcan Sinatras & Ali Smith - Half An Apple
Vashti Bunyan & Rodge Glass - The Fire
King Creosote & Laura Hird - Where And When
Emma Pollock & Louise Welsh - Jesus On The Cross
Idlewild & Edwin Morgan - The Weight Of Years

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CORGAN ON NEW PUMPKINS
That Billy Corgan fella has been blogging about the previously reported new Smashing Pumpkins album. In a MySpace posting Corgan writes: "This year for us will see a new album of songs and a world tour of tears, and we truly look forward to playing again for fans young, old, and missed. So yes, tunes are being dusted off, while others are being asked to kindly submit to an upstart millennia and all it's asking. When we opened the lid on this music box, we were pleasantly surprised at the music that played: familiar yet unknown, welcoming but not sentimental ... and that is all we can ask".

It is still not confirmed which label will release the new Smashing Pumpkins album, though insiders reckon it will be one of Warner's US divisions - they having released Corgan's 2005 solo album 'TheFutureEmbrace'.

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NEW MARIA MCKEE
Maria McKee will release her sixth solo album 'Late December' in, erm, late April, via Cooking Vinyl. On it she told CMU: "I suppose some people may be thrown a-back by the new album, especially in light of the fact that maybe longtime fans felt they could breathe easier again after the last one. I like [2005 release] 'Peddlin' Dreams'. I'm proud of it. It is solid. But 'Late December' is current for me. It is an album I love to listen to. It is music I like."

As I can hear you all insisting on a tracklisting, here it is...

Late December
No Other Way To Love You
A Good Heart
Power On Little Star
Too Many Heroes
Destine
My First Night Without You
Scene Of The Affair
Cat In The Wall
One Eye On The Sky (One On The Grave)
Bannow
Starving Pretty

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IGNITE TOUR POSTPONED
Orange County based hardcore rockers Ignite have announced they are postponing their upcoming European tour, but not, as you might think, because they are too depressed to tour after hearing that their home county's TV show, The OC, has been axed. No, not that, although it has. No, the reason is that frontman Zoli Teglas is due to have a number of tests on his stomach which may well lead to surgery. Which actually sounds quite serious. I almost regret the flippant OC remarks.

Anyway, here's the band's official statement: "We are very sad to announce that our upcoming European tour from February 15 - March 10 is going to be postponed. Our singer Zoli Teglas will be undergoing a series of tests on his stomach at that time which will followed by surgery. Obviously the health of Zoli takes precedent over any show that we have booked. As soon as we have any news on when the European dates will be re-scheduled we will post them on our website and MySpace immediately. Thanks to all of our fans for their continued support and for making 2006 the most successful year for Ignite ever! We are very excited about 2007".

A limited tour edition of Ignite's 2006 album 'Our Darkest Days', due for release alongside the tour, will also be postponed, obviously.

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THE KILLERS TO PLAY V AND DIANA CONCERT, MAY BE
Festivals news anyone? Well, here's some. Word has it The Killers will be headlining this summer's V Festival, oh yes. And they might play that Diana concert thingimy too. Sorted. They also play the following arena dates, though most are sold out...

16 Feb: Sheffield Arena, Sheffield
17 Feb: MEN Arena, Manchester
18 Feb: NEC Birmingham, Birmingham
20 Feb: Newcastle Arena, Newcastle
21 Feb: Aberdeen Exhibition Centre, Aberdeen
22 Feb: SECC Glasgow, Glasgow
24+25 Feb: Wembley Arena, London
3 Mar: Brighton Centre, Brighton
4 Mar: Nottingham Arena, Nottingham
5 Mar: Cardiff Arena, Cardiff

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HAYSEED DIXIE TOUR
More dates. The wonderful Hayseed Dixie are going on tour in April, playing the following places:

9 Apr: Brighton, Komedia
10 Apr: Cambridge, The Junction
11 Apr: Norwich, Uea
12 Apr: Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall
13 Apr: Liverpool, Academy
14 Apr: Northampton, Roadmenders
15+16 Apr: London, Islington Academy
18 Apr: Cardiff, St David's Hall
19 Apr: Exeter, Lemon Grove
20 Apr: Bournemouth, Old Fire Station
21 Apr: Nottingham, Rock City
23 Apr: Edinburgh, Liquid Room
24 Apr: Inverness, Ironworks
25 Apr: Glasgow, Abc

Press info from Cooking Vinyl.

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YOUTUBE FACING CONTENT TRACKING CHALLENGE
Speculation is rife as to whether YouTube may have to renegotiate its deals with major content owners because of delays in implementing more sophisticated technology to monitor what content is being uploaded to its servers.

As previously reported, the video sharing site has been busy doing deals with music and media companies whose content has been unofficially uploaded to YouTube in a bid to avoid any major litigation from those content owners. Those deals, with most of the major labels and media companies like CBS, offer the content owner a cut of ad revenues based on the amount of their content uploaded and viewed.

Which is all well and good in theory, but when you have a system as full of content as YouTube monitoring what content is being made available, and who owns the copyright on it, is no easy task. The content owners aren't willing to undertake the monitoring, so that job falls to YouTube. Insiders say the current monitoring system is pretty low-tech, but YouTube has plans to implement a much more sophisticated operation, the promise of which probably figured in most of YouTube's content deals. But, according to the FT and new media mag Red Herring, that new sophisticated system is behind schedule, which Red Herring in particular reckons could affect YouTube's existing content deals, while also weakening their hand in negotiations with other content owners.

How long YouTube's most sophisticated content tracking system will take to implement, and whether it will ever be as sophisticated as the company says, remains to be seen. Some industry commentators point out that few of the content tracking systems that have already been developed, like those being tested by fledgling legit P2P platforms, have actually been as good as their makers have promised (something which is seemingly preventing many of those companies developing legit P2P platforms from actually launching).

Nevertheless, for the time being at least, most of those content companies already in bed with YouTube seem willing to give the video site more time to enhance its monitoring technology, such are the marketing and revenue opportunities of the site which, unlike MySpace, doesn't seem to be floundering technically so much despite high demand for its streams.

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GERMAN RECORD INDUSTRY LEADING THE WAY IN FILE-SHARER LAWSUITS
Germany's record industry is staging an impressive attempt to rival the Recording Industry Association Of America in terms of the number of pointless anti-P2P lawsuits it can launch. The boss of IFPI Germany says his association, which has been increasingly litigious in the file sharing domain in the last 18 months, hopes to pursue 1000 lawsuits a month throughout 2007. Here's what said boss, Herr Peter Zombik, has to say: "This year, the number of German Flaglawsuits [that's his name for file sharing litigation] will increase markedly. We've filed 20,000 cases since 2004, and 10,000 cases in 2006 alone". Actually, given that the mighty RIAA haven't filed much over 20,000 file sharer lawsuits so far, the Germans could well be way ahead in the litigation leagues within a month or so. Well done them. Though, of course, file sharing in Germany continues unabated.

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WARNER MUSIC TO PAY DIVIDEND
Warner Music Group has announced it will pay a quarterly cash dividend of $0.13 per share on 16 Feb, because all that James Blunt / Muse / Gnarls Barkley money has to go somewhere. The company says it plans to pay quarterly dividends on an ongoing basis for the foreseeable future. Hurrah. Though in a statement they did say: "The Board will evaluate whether to pay a dividend on a quarterly basis and will base its decisions on, among other things, our results of operations, cash requirements, financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors the Board of Directors may deem relevant".

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PRINCE TO LAUNCH MUSIC MAG
Prince is reportedly in talks to set up his own music magazine which will be called 3121 Magazine - 3121 being the Las Vegas club where the singer has recently set up a residency of course. He is apparently talking to various Las Vegas money and publishing types about funding the title.

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TIMBERLAKE AND DIAZ SPLIT RUMOURS
Now will you all stop gossiping about Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz and whether their three and half year relationship is at an end? Just because Star magazine has reported that Timberlake has told his friends that "we're through" after spending the festive period apart from Diaz is no reason to join in the rumour spreading. I, for one, won't be.

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CBB CONTESTANTS REVEALED
Well, producers of the latest outing of Celebrity Big Brother managed to keep some surprises for the launch show of this year's series, despite much rumour and speculation regarding who would be taking part. In the end the final line up of eleven participants were, on the music side, Jermaine Jackson, Leo Sayer, former S-Clubber Jo O'Meara, former Stepper Ian 'H' Watkins and Tower Of London's loose cannon Donny Tourette, plus Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, glamour model and WAG Danielle Lloyd, film director Ken Russell, newspaper columnist Carole Malone, former Kenny Everett Show co-star Cleo Rocos and former A-Team star Dirk Benedict. Quite an impressive line up if you ask me. They are expected to be joined by former Big Brother contestant Jade Goody and various members of her family on Friday.

The Towers Of London frontman got off to a great start by jumping in the Big Brother hot tub fully clothed, an exploit which got him the first of what is sure to be many telling offs by the show's producers. The other housemates were seemignly a bit bemused by the clearly out of it Donny, though they later concluded he's probably not as confrontational as he first seems, with former S-Clubber Jo observing (according to Digital Spy's always authoritative Big Brother news service): "When he first came in I just thought 'oh God'. [But] you know what, I reckon underneath it, Donny is very, very shy", to which Leo Sayer, who's met Towers Of London before, added: "Sometimes you have to hide behind masks". Yet more words of wisdom courtesy of celeb TV.

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