CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 14th February
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Braxton settles dispute with former manager
- Doherty disqualified from driving
- Hallyday's Belgian citizenship due
- Labels might sue Google over AdSense partners
- Wham! reunion rumoured
- The Futureheads launch label
- Maryland students not impressed by Rhymes cancellation
- Biggie murder anniversary marked with best of
- New Hanson album
- NIN tracklisting revealed
- Brett Anderson album news
- Little Man Tate gigs
- Fopp unsigned winners play Fopp
- The View cancel North American dates
- Art Brut support Maximo Park
- Jamie T announces new dates
- Police to headline Bonnaroo festival
- London investment fund invests in The Prodigy
- MTV lets bloggers post their video clips
- First MTV job cuts made
- Yahoo Music men step down
- Universal sign up to BT Vision
- Warner go eco-friendly
- Air America up for auction
- Grammy TV ratings up
- Rabbi tells Britney to smarten up
- Morrison: I'm not Blunt

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TOP BIT GOLD>>
Here's what I said about the Brits last year - look, it all still stands!

So, it's Brits day, and those bits of the music industry that participate in these things will be amassing in Earls Court tonight to pay tribute to the best and the biggest in the British music industry. Will any of us agree with any of the decisions made by the Brits Academy or, in the case of some of the gongs, the voting general public? Probably not. Does it matter? Probably not.

After all, all awards are arbitrary - often telling us more about the people doing the awarding rather than the people being awarded. And in the long run, it doesn't really matter. Awards are good for short-term sales boosts, and look nice on the CVs of those who win them, but do they have any effect on what music takes on legendary or classic status long term? After all, we could all quite easily write a list of our favourite artists and albums of the last twenty years, but could you say for sure who the Brit winners were?

But that's not to diss the Brits, or any of the other many awards ceremonies out there. In our celeb obsessed world glitzy awards events are a good way to capture the attention of the mainstream media and general public, for a few minutes at least, and if that platform can be used to promote British music in general, or one or another lesser known act in particular, then surely that's a good thing. As is anything that gets the general public discussing the relative merits of Coldplay, Kaiser Chiefs, Hard-Fi, U2 and Springsteen - even if I don't agree with their conclusions.

Of course awards are also a good excuse for a piss up, which will presumably be the main aim for most of those in attendance this evening, but even if you're not there, and even if you disagree with every decision made, don't knock the Brits outright - they have their role, and they perform it well.

PS: Don't try telling me none of you other editors out there don't regurgitate content from time to time. And I stand by everything I said there - though you might want to update the artists name checked to Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, Gnarls Barkley, Arctic Monkeys and Muse. Obviously the Brits performs its promotional role better if the TV ratings are good - so let's hope the decision to make the show air live helps improve on last year's slightly disappointing viewing figures, and that the decision to do it all on Valentines Day doesn't turn out to impact audience size negatively.

PPS: Anyone interested in franchising the Top Bit Gold format, usual contact details apply.

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JOBS N STUFF>>

JOB OPPORTUNITY AT VIRTUAL FESTIVALS
A rare chance to get paid to schmooze backstage at Glastonbury and other major festivals, gigs and industry shindigs, the Virtual Festivals.com guys are seeking a new online sales person to sell promotions, ad campaigns, ad space, advertorial, pitch for sponsorship and develop new business opportunities for the website. As well as being a great ligger, the role requires a proven ability to canvass, conduct meetings and manage campaigns. You will need to keep an eye on both the festival and online marketplaces and "work" anti-social hours meeting brand managers, agencies, PR and event/gig organiser types. You will be a key member of a small team in a great location, working for a very exciting, fast growing company. Salary negotiable, depending on experience. Email CV and covering letter to steve@virtualfestivals.com

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CMU RECOMMENDS>>

REMIX NIGHT FEBRUARY
It's another great Remix Night this Friday. First up Transmission, the band that features former Verve bassist and ongoing Damon Albarn collaborator Simon Tong, former Killing Joke members Youth and Paul Ferguson, and Dreadzone's Tim Bran, will be playing live. Given the all round busy-ness of these guys, this is likely to be you're only chance to catch them live before the summer - so get in there. Next you'll get Manchester boys Keith, who have been doing the live circuit for a while now, and who are getting even better with time. And as if that wasn't enough, DJing will be Mr Go Home Productions who is celebrating the long awaited release this week of his debut album 'Mashed'. All this plus, of course, Remix host Eddy TM, making for one hell of an evening. It all takes place on 16 Feb at Cargo in East London.

BASICS: Friday 16 Feb, Cargo, London, 9pm - 3am, tix £10. Press info from Leyline.

More recommends: http://www.thebeatsbar.co.uk/cmurecommends

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MYSPACE OF THE DAY: BRETT ANDERSON
Brett Anderson has announced the release dates for his upcoming debut solo album and single, as you will read later on in this Daily, if you get that far. The reason I'm nominating his MySpace today is because you can preview that single there at present. Not only that, you can view the video, directed by Russell Thomas, plus a taped home rehearsal of the track. There are only two tracks on here, the single, and a second track from the new LP called 'Scorpio Rising'. They're both good though. Plus, if you're an unsigned music act, there are details in the blog section of a contest Huw Stephen on R1 is running to find a support act for one of Anderson's sold out Bush Hall shows. Either way, take a look.

http://www.myspace.com/brettandersonofficial

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BRAXTON SETTLES DISPUTE WITH FORMER MANAGER
US singer Toni Braxton has settled a multimillion dollar lawsuit with her former manager, although there is some confusion regarding what has been agreed.

Braxton began legal proceedings last month claiming that her former manager, Barry Hankerson, had used "fraud, deception and double dealing" in order to ruin her relationship with BMG's Arista Records, so that she would instead sign to Hankerson's own label Blackground Records, which she subsequently did. Braxton wanted out of her contract with Blackground, as well as compensation for Hankerson's failure to protect her interests as an artist. Hankerson, however, disputed Braxton's claims, and was reportedly demanding a $1 million payment in order to let the singer out of her contractual obligations to his label.

Braxton's representative, Michael Sitrick, yesterday confirmed the singer had reached an out of court settlement with Hankerson, which will allow her to work with other labels, providing she returns a $375,000 advance that she had received from Blackground. Sitrick claimed the agreement was a good deal for Braxton because Hankerson had previously demanded a million dollars to let her out of her commitments, and even then with conditions regarding what companies she could subsequently work with.

However, Hankerson's attorney Samuel Chilakos denied yesterday that Hankerson had ever demanded the $1 million figure, and also claimed that the deal that had been reached also included some restrictions on what companies Braxton could work with in the future. Chilakos also says that Hankerson will receive a cut of royalties from Braxton's next album as part of the deal.

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DOHERTY DISQUALIFIED FROM DRIVING
Well, the streets will feel a little safer, if only for a few weeks. Pete Doherty was disqualified from driving and fined £300 at his most recent appearance at Thames Magistrates' to answer charges of driving without insurance or a licence in November last year. As previously reported, police stopped the Babyshambler after he was seen driving erratically near his home in east London.

Our old friend Judge Jane McIvor, fining Doherty £200 for driving without insurance, £100 for driving without a driving licence, plus £55 costs, warned the singer that he could face a prison term if he drives without a licence again. Doherty's lawyer, Sean Curran, explained that his client was eligible for a licence, but had not actually applied for one after having passed his driving test. Curran explains: "Mr Doherty accepts that he was driving with no licence and insurance. He had left the task of getting an insurance policy in the hands of one of his managers, who hadn't done so".

Two others arrested alongside Doherty on that occasion also appeared in court - Michelle Breeze, a retail manager, charged with two counts of possessing heroin, and Peter 'Wolfman' Wolfe, a songwriter, charged with possessing cocaine. Breeze's case was adjourned until 6 Mar, Wolfe was fined £300 and ordered to pay £55 costs.

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HALLYDAY'S BELGIAN CITIZENSHIP DUE
French rocker Johnny Hallyday is set to find out later this month if he will be granted Belgian citizenship. The singer, whose father was Belgian, applied to change his nationality back in 2005, and now a government panel is to rule on his case on 27 Feb. If they decide to grant his request, Hallyday, real name Jean-Philippe Smet, will then need to have his case ratified by the Belgian parliament, though a spokesman for the Belgian House of Representatives said this was essentially just a formality.

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LABELS MIGHT SUE GOOGLE OVER ADSENSE PARTNERS
This is interesting. The Wall Street Journal says the major record companies might sue Google over their past partnership with two websites which are accused of distributing a BitTorrent client and P2P search system used primarily to illegally share music and film content over the net.

The two websites in question, EasyDownloadCenter.com and TheDownloadPlace.com, generated much of its revenues between 2003 and 2005 by subscribing to the Google AdSense service, which gives Google's advertisers access to participating website's audiences in return for a cut of ad revenues. The WSJ reckons the two sites generated more than $1.1 million via the AdSense programme over the two years.

Both sites are now facing legal action over the distribution of the aforementioned file sharing software, and, because they generated most of their income through Google (and possibly because the software websites aren't that cash rich at the moment), the WSJ says industry lawyers are looking into the possibility of suing Google in relation to this case - because they profited from adverts that appeared on sites which allegedly encouraged copyright violation.

Suing Google in that way would probably be a 'by association' too far to really apply the current legal precedent for making the distributors of P2P technology liable for the copyright violation they enable, and the WSJ is a bit vague about exactly who is considering this kind of legal action or when any lawsuits may be launched. But it would have some interesting implications for online ad syndication programmes if any legal action was taken.

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WHAM! REUNION RUMOURED
Now, here's a reunion to get excited about. Word has it that George Michael is in talks with Andrew Ridgeley about staging a one off Wham reunion. The rumours, reported in the Mirror, follow other reprots prior to Michael's recent UK tour that he had asked Ridgeley to guest on one song at those shows (in fact one rumour said Ridgeley was going to do a guest spot, but chickened out at the last minute). The current chatter says Michael is keen to stage a one off Wham! show at the new Wembley Stadium. Whether Pepsi and Shirlie have been consulted about the proposed reunion is not yet clear.

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THE FUTUREHEADS LAUNCH LABEL
Having parted company with 679 Recordings last November, The Futureheads have announced they are now launching their own label - Longest Mile - which will release new material from the band themselves and, they hope, other bands too. Guitarist Ross Millard explains: "After doing the band for so many years you realise how the cogs of the [music industry] machine work. People are so naive about how it works - we're just trying to facilitate some younger bands". Those young naive people really should attend a CMU Beginners Guide To The Music Industry workshop - then they'd know how it all works. Though signing to The Futureheads' new record label might be more fun, I suppose.

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MARYLAND STUDENTS NOT IMPRESSED BY RHYMES CANCELLATION
Students at the University Of Maryland Eastern Shore are kicking up a fuss after college officials pulled an on-campus gig that was due to be headlined by Busta Rhymes, citing concerns stemming from a 'police intelligence report' as an excuse for cancelling the event.

Students at the university, which traditionally attracts a high proportion of black students, are hoping to meet college officials later today to discuss the specifics as to why the 21 Feb gig has been axed. The The President of the college's Student Government, Mauresha Spencer, expressed the student community's anger at the decision, telling ABC: "We pay an activity fee every year, and every year it becomes more and more that the administrators try and take from us. Now we're tired of it, not gonna stand anymore. It's our money and it's our choice, we believe".

Rumours suggest that the police reports that caused college officials to cancel the gig relate to the rapper's previously reported refusal to participate in police investigations regarding that fatal shooting that took place outside a Busta Rhymes video shoot this time last year. As previously reported, police want to talk to the rapper about the incident, in which bodyguard Israel Ramirez was killed, believing that Rhymes was a crucial witness in the case. But so far he has successfully avoided having to give evidence to the investigation.

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BIGGIE MURDER ANNIVERSARY MARKED WITH BEST OF
Wow, it's nearly ten years since the murder of the Notorious BIG - I am feeling very old. To mark the sad anniversary of the rapper's still unsolved murder, Warner and Bad Boy Records are releasing a greatest hits compilation.

On the anniversary release, Bad Boy boss Sean 'Diddy' Combs says: "Christopher Wallace was more than an artist, he was my friend. The Notorious BIG, as most knew him, was a rapper, a story teller, and a prolific poet. However, many didn't have a chance to see the Father, Husband, and Man that I knew. Through his words, persona, life, and music, he was able to open doors and create opportunities for Hip-Hop as a whole. I wanted to celebrate his legacy, life, and work as we mourn his senseless death 10 years ago. The release of 'Greatest Hits' makes it clear to the world why the Notorious BIG is the greatest rapper of all time".

The hits album will be released on 6 Mar, with the following tracks included (two of which are previously unreleased - we've marked them with a *).

Juicy
Big Poppa
Hypnotize
One More Chance (remix)
Get Money
Warning
Dead Wrong
Who Shot Ya
Ten Crack Commandments
Notorious Thugs
Notorious B.I.G.
Nasty Girl
Unbelievable
Niggaz Bleed
Running Your Mouth*
Want That Old Thing Back*
Fucking You Tonite

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NEW HANSON ALBUM
Hurrah. We like Hanson. It's official. So it's good news that they've announced the release of a new album, 'The Walk', on 30 Apr. It'll be preceded by a new single, a ballad, apparently, entitled 'Go', out on 16 Apr and available as 2 CD singles, a DVD single and 2 digital download bundles. The band will also be touring the UK in April, which is excitamating. Don't know the dates yet, but will let you know when we do. Press info from Cooking Vinyl.

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NIN TRACKLISTING REVEALED
The tracklisting has been released for the previously reported new Nine Inch Nails album 'Year Zero', out 6 Apr. Here it is.

Hyperpower
The Beginning Of The End
Survivalism
The Good Soldier
Vessel
Me, I'm Not
Capital G
My Violent Heart
The Warning
God Given
Meet You Master
The Greater Good
The Great Destroyer
Another Version Of The Truth
In This Twilight
Zero-Sum

Have we told you, by the way, about NIN's upcoming tour dates? We must have. Ages ago. But here's a reminder:

25 Feb: Manchester Apollo
26 Feb: Manchester Apollo
28 Feb: Glasgow Academy
1 Mar: Glasgow Academy
3 Mar: Nottingham Arena
4 Mar: Birmingham Academy
5 Mar: Birmingham Academy
7 Mar: London Brixton Academy
8 Mar: London Brixton Academy
10 Mar: London Brixton Academy
11 Mar: London Brixton Academy
12 Mar: Wolverhampton Civic Hall

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BRETT ANDERSON ALBUM NEWS
Brett Anderson has confirmed details of his previously reported solo debut. His eponymous first album will be released on 26 Mar, preceded by the release of a single. 'Love Is Dead' on 12 Mar. Anderson says of the single, available on two CDs and 7" vinyl: "'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."

Anderson's three night residency at London's Bush Hall - on 5, 6 and 7 Mar - is completely sold out, by the way.

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LITTLE MAN TATE GIGS
I feel we should be supporting Little Man Tate, though whenever I send one of their CDs to one of our college correspondents for comments they send back a full-on slating, so I'd be hard pushed to say they're favourites among the wider CMU family. Still, you might like them, and if you do, I'd suggest putting one of the following gigs in your diary.

19 Feb: Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
20 Feb: Cardiff The Point
21 Feb: Bristol Fleece
23 Feb: Manchester Academy 3
24 Feb: Leicester Charlotte
26 Feb: Stoke-on-Trent Sugarmill
27 Feb: Nottingham Trent Un
28 Feb: Leeds Met Uni
1 Mar: Glasgow QMU
2 Mar: Aberdeen Moshulu
4 Mar: Middlesbrough Cornerhouse
5 Mar: Liverpool Academy 2
8 Mar: Newcastle Newcastle Uni
9 Mar: Sheffield Plug

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FOPP UNSIGNED WINNERS PLAY FOPP
Have I said how much I like that bar in the basement of Fopp's Tottenham Court Road branch? I meant to. It's possible I did. I can't remember. Anyway, if you've yet to check it out, how about calling in next Wednesday, 21 Feb, to check out two of the bands who won the last bit of the much talked about (here anyway) Fopp Award For New Music? Morton Valance and Olympus Mons (the latter of whom also won last year's 3 Student Music Awards) will both play, kicking off at 7pm.

The other two winners, Conrad Vingoe and The Dials, will play the Brighton branch of Fopp on the same night at 7pm. I don't know if there's a nice bar at that branch. Probably not. But you should go anyway. And while you're there (at either one) you can buy recordings from all four artists, which go on sale across the independent music chain on Monday.

All four bands will also play at London's Dingwalls next Thursday, 22 Feb, at an industry showcase type thing which is essentially invite only, though a limited number of tickets for punters will be available at the aforementioned London and Brighton Fopp stores.

You'll get press info on all this gubbins from Press Counsel.

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THE VIEW CANCEL NORTH AMERICAN DATES
The View have cancelled their upcoming North American tour dates due to visa and immigration problems. The band were due to play seven shows in March, in Brooklyn, Toronto, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, LA, New York, and in Austin for SXSW. There's no indication as to whether the shows will be rescheduled.

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ART BRUT SUPPORT MAXIMO PARK
Oh, lovely Art Brut. They're supporting Maximo Park on their upcoming tour. I want to go, but as I'd be going for Art Brut and not Maximo Park I might feel a bit of a fraud. Fortunately, Art Brut will be undertaking their own tour in the summer, to coincide with the release of a new album, I think. Unfortunately for me, there are some pretty valid reasons why I might not be able to attend.

Anyway, here are all the Maximo Park dates:

23 Apr: Cardiff University
24 Apr: Leeds University
25 Apr: Nottingham Rock City
26 Apr: Manchester Ritz
27 Apr: Liverpool University
30 Apr: Bristol Academy
1 May: Southampton Guildhall
2 May: Norwich UEA
3 May: Birmingham Academy
5 May: Glasgow Barrowlands
6 May: Aberdeen Music Hall
7 May: Sunderland Manor Quay
8 May: Northumbria Stage 1
11 May: London Shepherds Bush Empire

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JAMIE T ANNOUNCES NEW DATES
He's only just finished a tour, but now he's got another one planned. Jamie T's spring tour dates are as follows:

21 Apr: Southampton, Guildhall
22 Apr: Norwich, UEA
24 Apr: Liverpool, Carling Academy
25 Apr: London, Kentish Town Forum
27 Apr: Glasgow, ABC
28 Apr: Sheffield, Octagon
29 Apr: Manchester, Ritz
1 May: Wolverhampton, Wulfrun
2 May: Bristol, Academy
3 May: London, Shepherds Bush Empire

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POLICE TO HEADLINE BONNAROO FESTIVAL
The Police are to headline Tennessee's four-day Bonnaroo Music Festival. The full line-up is to be announced today, apparently, but the aforementioned newly reformed Police are set to appear, as are the likes of White Stripes, Wilco, The Roots, Franz Ferdinand, Regina Spektor, Manu Chao, and the Flaming Lips.

How about some stats? Taking place on a 700 acre farm, sixty miles south of Nashwille, Bonnaroo 2007 will feature performances from around 100 bands and 20 comedians across 13 stages. Last year's fest was attended by around 80,000 music fans. There, that was fun.

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LONDON INVESTMENT FUND INVESTS IN THE PRODIGY
London based music investment company Ingenious yesterday announced that two of its 'venture capital trusts' had made a joint investment of £2 million into the upcoming fifth studio album release by The Prodigy.

As previously reported, Liam Howlett et al recently announced that they would release their new album via a partnership with independent Cooking Vinyl, ending a previous record label relationship with Beggars Group imprint XL Recordings. The Ingenious deal will see the creation of a new JV company between Cooking Vinyl and the investors which will focus exclusively on The Prodigy release.

The latest investment means the first of the Ingenious managed VCTs is now almost fully committed, while the second has less than £10 million left to invest. Meanwhile, Ingenious are currently raising funds for the previously reported third investment fund which will invest primarily into live music ventures.

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MTV LETS BLOGGERS POST THEIR VIDEO CLIPS
MTV parent company Viacom are planning on doing that thing where you can post video clips that appear on their websites on your own website or blog. You know, that thing. That thing where people allow you to post video clips that appear on their website on your own website or blog. This follows the news that Viacom have demanded YouTube remove 100,000 video clips of their shows that had unofficially uploaded to the video sharing site. Which is possibly related. I don't know. I don't really care. And I suspect no one at MTV especially cares either, given they're all about to be fired.

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FIRST MTV JOB CUTS MADE
OK, I'm exaggerating slightly, but following the rumours that started circulating yesterday that 500 jobs were about to be axed globally at the music broadcaster, the first high levels cut were made yesterday.

Eric Sherman, GM of VH1 Classic in the US, is out, as are several of his team. A number of MTV2 US employees are also out - although there seems to be differences in opinion as to whether than includes the MTV2 US GM David Cohn.

In the internal memo confirming the first US redundancies, MTV boss Judy McGrath confirmed 250 jobs would go in North America, which, given that reports yesterday suggested 500 would go globally, presumably means an additional 250 will be lost outside the US. How the cuts will affect UK based MTV operations remains to be seen.

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YAHOO MUSIC MEN STEP DOWN
The two men leading Yahoo's music efforts have announced they are leaving the internet company, citing a personal desire to "go back to their entrepreneurial roots" as the reason for why they are quitting.

David Goldberg and Robert Roback joined Yahoo as part of the internet firm's acquisition of LAUNCH Media in 2001. They continued to lead the LAUNCH platform within Yahoo, later overseeing the rebranding of the music service as Yahoo Music. Goldberg in particular enjoyed a high profile in his Yahoo Music position, especially as one of the digital music sector's most vocal supporters of making music available without DRM protection.

Yahoo's Head Of Entertainment & Games, Vince Broady, will oversee the online portal's music operations moving forward, with Goldberg and Roback staying on for a short transitional period. It is not clear if the duo have a specific new business venture in mind, or if they are simply looking to develop something new in the near future.

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UNIVERSAL SIGN UP TO BT VISION
Hadn't Universal Music already done a deal with BT regarding their video on demand BT Vision service? Or did I dream that? Well, anyway, Universal Music yesterday announced they've just done a deal with BT's video on demand BT Vision service, so I must have dreamt it. The deal means that videos from top Universal artists like McFly and Matt Willis (they do have other artists too I think, but those are the two that come to mind) will be available to view on demand via the BT TV platform, and also to download via the spin off web download platform.

Here are some words about it from BT Vision top dog Dan Marks: "We are delighted to announce this agreement and our new partnership with Universal Music UK. We believe that the combination of BT Vision and the world's leading music company will deliver a better service to music fans than they have ever experienced. We look forward to bringing Universal Music's roster - which includes many of the biggest artists in the world and spanning many genres - to our customers".

Universal top digital man Rob Wells added: "This collaboration between Universal Music Group and BT will provide the BT consumer with access to the world's best and largest roster of bands and artists. Universal has always been at the forefront of the digital revolution and this deal with BT proves once again that we strive to allow access to our music through any legitimate digital service."

BT Vision already have similar deals with Warner and SonyBMG, which is possibly what I was thinking about when I thought we'd already reported on Universal signing up.

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WARNER GO ECO-FRIENDLY
Warner Music Group have announced moves to make their physical releases more eco-friendly, by changing the way they package CDs and DVDs. Reports suggest that from March the label will use "ecologically-enhanced paper packaging" for new releases rather than traditional plastic boxes.

The move is part of a number of initiatives at the major that aim to make the company more environmentally friendly, including reducing paper usage and stepping up recycling activity, and rejecting paper products from regions where the destruction of trees is proving particularly harmful to the environment. They also made their recent Grammy party "carbon neutral", as is becoming the norm in trendy circles these days. That's where you make some kind of donation to wind and solar energy systems to make up for the evil carbon producing electricity you burn up at the event. Or something like that.

Commenting on the eco-initiatives, Dr Allen Hershkowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a partner in Warner's eco-friendly projects, told reporters: "By committing to protect the southeastern forests that comprise the Cumberland Plateau BioGem from being cut down to make disposable paper products, and by committing to use post-consumer recycled paper instead, Warner Music and WEA are leading the charge to stop global warming and to preserve the cultural and ecological home of country music, the region that literally gave birth to rock and roll".

Commenting on the initiatives, WEA CEO John Esposito told reporters: "Environmentally responsible behavior is good for corporate America: it's smart ecology and smart economics. There is no downside to being friendly to the planet".

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AIR AMERICA UP FOR AUCTION
Liberal web talk radio station Air America, which filed for Chapter 11 protection last year, has now entered full on bankruptcy proceedings, and will go up for auction via the bankruptcy courts this Friday. Real estate mogul Stephen L Green and current Air America supporter and Real Networks founder Rob Glaser are both expected to bid.

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GRAMMY TV RATINGS UP
TV ratings just in suggest that the Grammy Awards attracted its largest TV audience in three years after a slump in viewing figures last year. Last year it got 17 million viewers, whereas this year 20 million tuned in. Then again, last year it aired on a Wednesday against American Idol, whereas this year it went out on a Sunday without any music based competing show up against it, so a ratings boost was surely to be expected. Not that I'm wishing to take away anything from the show's producers' ratings achievement or anything.

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RABBI TELLS BRITNEY TO SMARTEN UP
A New York rabbi has addressed an open letter to Britney Spears, calling her on her recent party lifestyle and telling her that it will damage her children.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach writes: "Once you become a parent, Britney, life gets really serious... We can all pretend that life is one big party devoid of responsibility. And rarely being home, or coming home drunk, or letting your kids see you in a degraded state, will permanently scar your kids. Soon your boys will be surfing the Internet. They'll see a lot of photos of you in poses that no son should ever see their own mother. Try and be home with your kids... Cover up... Limit the visits to the nightclubs."

Boteach concludes: "I know you can get your life together, Britney."

Well, that's her told.

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MORRISON: I'M NOT BLUNT
I'm sure that it's not the first time James Morrison has talked to a tabloid about the fact that he in no way resembles James Blunt. Comparisons have been made, of course. It may be because one is a singer-songwriter peddling ballady pop songs. And so is the other.

Yeah, but Morrison's better. That's what he says. Well, he's basically saying that their style is 'different' - but we all know what that means. Judge for yourself, here's what he told The Sun: "James Blunt gets on my nerves - we are not alike. The main thing that worries me is people don't like James Blunt any more. I can handle people not liking my music but if people stop liking you as a person that's not great. I kind of think James Blunt did a good album. It sold well but it's not my style - it's a bit wet for me. I try to be tougher than him".

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