CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 5th December
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Music managers propose secondary ticketing levy
- Runrig MP calls for copyright extension
- Judge dismisses LimeWire countersuit
- Pimp C found dead in hotel room
- Mexican singer shot dead
- Heat apologise over Harvey sticker
- Akon pleads not guilty over fan throwing charges
- Weiland denies DUI allegations
- Kershaw bailed again
- Wall Of Sound chief on Reverend making it free
- Bono on new U2
- Kim Deal on new The Breeders
- Danger Mouse on new Gnarls Barkley
- Green Day on new Green Day
- Me on new Adam Green
- Nutini gives away Led Zepp tickets
- Bonnaroo deny headline rumours
- MAMA reopen Garage
- MAMA launch brand partnership thing
- Nokia and Universal deal means phones can come with music
- UBC launch radio download service
- Melua tells X-Factor to get charitable
- Take That top Google poll
- Mrs Usher hits back at critics


Not wishing to make you all panic about just how close Christmas now is, but this, ladies and gentlemen, is actually the final proper Top Bit of 2007, because there are only ten more editions of the CMU Daily after this one before the Christmas break (well, eleven if you count the War & Peace-esque epic that is the CMU Review Of The Year on 20 Dec).

And that means from tomorrow our Top Bit slot will be dedicated to the CMU Albums Of The Year, the ten albums we got most excited about in this thing called 2007. As always, we'll reveal a different album each day, tell you why we think it was so damn fine, and then point you in the direction of an interview with the artist behind it, which will be housed somewhere on the good old CMU website.

All very exciting. Which reminds me, I must ask SonyBMG to send me a photo of Scouting For Girls. Oops, let that one out of the bag. Ah well, any one who's been paying attention this year won't be surprised to know they appear on our Best Albums list for 07. Stay tuned to find out who's behind the other nine.

Meanwhile, tell us what you think songs wise with the Track Of The Year poll whatnot, details on which in a minute. Now, where did I put my tinsel?



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Yes, it's December everybody. Which means it is time for the CMU Track Of The Year thingimy thing - where the great and good that are the CMU Daily readership have the opportunity to big up the tracks that got them most excited in 2007.

If you haven't voted yet, there is still chance to get your votes in - you can pick a single, album track, b-side, bootleg, remix, demo, anything that first surfaced this year. You should email the name of your fave track and a couple of sentences on why it's great to

Meanwhile, here's some votes already received...

Late Of The Pier - Bathroom Gurgle
"In a strong year for singles (Girls Aloud, Leona Lewis, Plain White T's, Gallows Ft Lethal Bizzle, Band Of Horses, Amy Winehouse etc) and some genuinely exciting new talent (The Ghost Of A Thousand, Foals, The Xcerts, Adele, Ghost Frequency, Ting Tings etc) the track of the year for me combines both of these, bringing an incredible debut single from a band I know very little about. 'Bathroom Gurgle' by Late Of The Pier mixes up Arthur Russell, Queen, The B52's, Roxy Music, dodgy 80's indie and a killer organ hook that transforms the whole thing into a lead track from a horror musical. Pure, unadulterated genius".
Matt Hughes, Hungry Media

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - Thou Shalt Always Kill
"This brought in a new era in hip hop, intelligent musings and a beat that makes my body wobble".
Andrew Gains, 739Mobile

Vote for your track of the year - email the name of your fave track and a couple of sentences on why it's great to


The artist management community yesterday seized the initiative on all things secondary ticketing by proposing the launch of a Resale Rights Society to regulate the whole damn thing.

As much previously reported, 'secondary ticketing' is essentially ticket touting, where people buy up tickets to events and then resell them for profit. The whole thing has become a bigger issue in recent years, of course, because where as touting used to involve standing outside venues on cold windy nights buying and selling tickets, people can now resell tickets easily online weeks ahead of an event, using their own websites, or auction sites like eBay.

The live music industry ain't a big fan of secondary ticketing. Partly because with in-demand sell-out events it means that music fans who didn't get through to the legit booking sales line on the morning tickets went on sale are forced to buy them at hiked up prices off online touts who bought up tickets with the sole plan of reselling them. And partly because they see large mark ups going to touts rather than themselves, and arguably that mark-up cash is money the fan may have otherwise spent on merchandise or refreshments.

Of course the whole issue gets talked about most either when promoters like Glastonbury's Michael Eavis introduce extensive measures to stop the resale of tickets, or when people start reselling tickets to high profile charity events like the Concert For Diana, because in those cases the touts are arguably profiting at the charities' expense. In a handful of cases auction sites like eBay have stopped the resale of tickets to such events on their site, though generally such sites aren't keen to prevent ticket reselling, partly because such reselling isn't illegal, so why should they, and partly because ticket reselling is good business for the online auction services. And especially those that have been specifically built for ticket reselling like Viagogo, Seat Exchange, Seatwave and GetMeIn.

The government too has shown an interest in and expressed concerns about secondary ticket sales and has put pressure on the live industry to do something about it. Though the industry has generally said in the past that it is pretty powerless to do anything, and that the government should look to regulate ticket touting in music and entertainment in a similar way to the regulations that exist in the football industry. Four 'government summits' have addressed the issue so far, and a select committee of the Department Of Culture, Media And Sport is currently investigating it further.

Meanwhile the Music Managers' Forum has decided to make its own proposals. They yesterday announced that a coalition of artist managers, who manage over 400 artists between them, including The Verve, Robbie Williams, Arctic Monkeys, KT Tunstall and Radiohead, are launching a new body called the Resale Rights Society which will aim to [a] provide music fans with some protection if and when they buy tickets from resellers and [b] ensure some of the profits of the secondary ticket market go back to the artists and live sector.

The Society aims to do this by persuading the likes of eBay and the aforementioned ticket reselling sites to sign up to a 'kite-mark' scheme which would force them to make certain commitments to consumers (eg to have a refund policy if a gig is cancelled) and to commit to pass on a portion of their own profits to the Society, which would distribute the monies to artists, songwriters and promoters. In return the ticketing sites would be legitimatised by the industry (or those parts of the industry signed up to the Society).

The new Society, which will be a not-for-profit membership organisation run by and for artists, managers and promoters, will be chaired by Marc Marot, a former Island Records chief and now manager of Yusuf Islam and Paul Oakenfold, who said yesterday: "The secondary ticketing market offers benefits to music fans and the live music industry alike. It does not make sense to try and criminalise it. On the other hand there are not only real issues of consumer protection here, it is unacceptable that not a penny of the estimated £200m in transactions generated by the resale of concert tickets in the UK is returned to the investors in the live music industry. This is a problem that should be resolved through self-regulation. The online ticketing exchanges have consistently claimed that they wish to work with artists and the live music industry. This Society presents them with that opportunity. Where this trade is fair to consumers, we propose to authorise it by agreeing a levy on all transactions".

MMF chair Jazz Summers, manager of The Verve, who Viagogo recently announced were the band whose tickets increased the most in value when resold on their site, added: "The industry needs to stand together and ensure that our artists and the fans are not exploited by operators of online ticket exchanges".

The scheme also has the support of songwriter/publisher collecting society MCPS/PRS, whose top guy, Steve Porter, added this: "Live performance is a significant source of income for PRS's 50,000 songwriter and publisher members, yet they - and many other industry stakeholders - currently receive nothing from secondary sales of concert tickets. PRS welcomes the RRS as an exciting and innovative industry solution to this problem and looks forward to working together with them on the issue".

The obvious absences from the RRS coalition are the major players of the live sector itself, the primary ticket sellers like Ticketmaster, and promoters who have been vocal critics of secondary ticket sales like Harvey Goldsmith. However, Marot said that informal discussions with promoters and ticket agencies had been positive.

He also said that similar informal discussions with some of the secondary ticketing firms themselves had been positive, though the boss of one of them, Seatwave, didn't seem too positive. Responding to the RRS proposal he tried to spin the new body as advocating a tax on music fans saying in a statement: "This is a direct attempt by a few music managers and promoters to line their pockets at the expense of consumers. Everyone in this value chain has already been fully paid for their work - this proposed tax is like BMW asking car owners for a cut every time someone resells a car. It's laughable that rock managers and promoters are holding themselves out as consumer champions".

Marot et al, of course, would dispute that allegation, presumably arguing the levy for the industry should come from Seatwave's profits, and not by increasing commissions paid by consumers. It remains to be seen if Seatwave's rivals are more positive about the proposals. We should find out soon, because Marot hopes to properly launch RSS next month, and have deals in place with the auction sites by the end of March.


Former Runrigger, and current MP for Perth, Pete Wishart, has announced he will this week put forward a Private Members Bill in Parliament proposing an extendsion in the copyright term on recordings or, as the official statement on the matter puts it, "to end the discrimination against musicians".

As much previously reported, the copyright term on recordings in the UK is currently fifty years. Someway behind the 95 year term that exists in the US and, more to the point, someway behind the life plus seventy years enjoyed by songwriters (and all writers for that matter). As also previously reported, the record industry has been busy lobbying the government to amend copyright laws to boost the recording copyright term, not least because the copyright on all sorts of rock n roll songs from the late fifties is about to run out. Although there has been some support in political circles for the term extension, the Gowers Report on intellectual property, commissioned by then Chancellor Of The Exchequer Gordon Brown, ruled no extension could be justified.

But Wishart is hoping to get an extension through Parliament nevertheless. Giving the rationale for what could be seen as a somewhat self seeking Bill (Wishart being a former musician himself), the MP said in a statement: "This Bill is all about parity and fairness for musicians. Why should writers, composers, even the guy that designed the record sleeve secure royalties for life, plus 70 years for their creations, but musicians receive nothing beyond 50 years? After the amazing boom in UK recorded music in the 1950s and the 1960s, many of these recording artists are still alive and face the prospect of having the income from their work stop and even face watching others gain from what they created. The UK's music industry is the envy of the world. Our creative industries are now taking over from financial services as a mainstay of our economy. To remain successful we have to re-invest and prepare the stars of the future. On copyright term, the UK is already at a competitive disadvantage to the United States. We must send out the signal to the world that we value our artists and we are prepared to reward investors".

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the boss of record industry trade body the BPI, Geoff Taylor, welcomed the private members bill, telling reporters: "We are delighted that Pete Wishart has chosen to make sound recording copyright the subject of his Private Member's Bill. His proposal highlights the continued unfairness at the heart of music copyright, in which recording artists and record companies are not treated equally with other creators. Whilst the debate on reform continues in Brussels, Pete's Bill will keep the issue front of mind for policy-makers in Westminster. It also underlines the cross-party support there is for this measure. We wish him every success with it".

Meanwhile Fran Nevrkla, boss of recorded royalties body PPL, added: "Musicians and record labels have for too long been treated as second class creators. MPs from all parties, including the Culture Select Committee, are now recognising this inequality and Peter Wishart's Bill is the first step in closing the copyright gap. We welcome this Bill and look forward to a time when performers and producers can enjoy an equal footing in copyright along with other creators".


And so back to P2P, with the news that a US judge has thrown out an antitrust lawsuit launched by P2P firm LimeWire against the major record companies.

LimeWire, of course, are currently defending a copyright infringement launched against them by the record industry last year. It's the first lawsuit against a P2P maker in the US since the landmark 2005 MGM v Grokster ruling which made it harder for file sharing software makers to sidestep liability for the copyright infringement they enable. While Grokster did leave some room for movement for the P2P firms - mainly in the way you present your product to consumers - many experts reckon LimeWire will not be able to distinguish themselves from the Grokster case, noting that much of their defence relies on legal arguments rejected by the Supreme Court in 2005. That case is still going through the motions and, of course, in the meantime LimeWire's technology continues to provide easy access to lots of illegal content.

After the labels sued, LimeWire did what any good American corporation does when faced with litigation, they countersued. In was the countersuit that was being considered by a Federal judge in New York this week. The P2P firm claimed that the record companies colluded in a bid to stop them launching a licensed file sharing business by collectively deciding not to licence LimeWire their music. They also claimed the major record companies had damaged their business by price fixing in the download domain, that they had hacked LimeWire's file-sharing network, and that they had defamed the corporation by alleging it enabled the distribution of child pornography.

But Judge Gerard E Lynch was having none of it. He said LimeWire had failed to show that the labels' decisions to not licence their music to the P2P company was anything but "independent decision-making by each company to refrain from doing business". On the other allegations, he said the P2P firm couldn't demonstrate how any of those things - if they did happen - had actually damaged their business. As a result, he dismissed the countersuit.


Rapper Pimp C, one half of hip hop duo UGK, was found dead in his room at the Mondrian Hotel in LA yesterday morning. Details of the death remain sketchy, though it seems he was discovered by hotel staff who checked his room after family members of the rapper called to say they were having trouble contacting him. Pimp C, real name Chad Butler, was last seen in public on Saturday night when he performed at the LA House Of Blues just next door to the Mondrian.

Butler, and his UGK partner Bernard 'Bun B' Freeman, have been making acclaimed hip hop for fifteen years. The duo went on hiatus between 2002 and 2005 when Butler was jailed over an aggravated gun assault charge, but they regrouped last year after Butler's release from jail and released a comeback album earlier this year which included the hit single 'International Player's Anthem (I Choose You)', a collaboration with Outkast. With UGK back on the hip hop radar, word had it Butler was also starting work on a solo project prior to his death.

Paying tribute to Butler yesterday, his manager Rick Martin told "This morning saw the loss of a man that was not only a client, but a very dear friend at a time when he had the most to live for. Right now, my number one concern is the well being and livelihood of his family who are the ones most deeply affected by this loss. All efforts will be made to ensure that they are properly cared for in this tragic time and beyond".

Meanwhile, Barry Weiss, boss of Butler's label, SonyBMG's Jive, said in a statement: "We mourn the unexpected loss of Chad. He was truly a thoughtful and kind-hearted person. He will be remembered for his talent and profound influence as a pioneer in bringing southern rap to the forefront. He will be missed and our prayers remain with his family and Bun B. I've known Chad since he was 18, and we loved him dearly and he was a cherished member of the Jive family".


A Mexican singer called Zayda Pena was shot dead on Monday as she lay in a hospital bed recovering from a previous shooting on Friday night. She is the fourth performer of a popular form of accordion-based music called gruperso, which is especially popular in North Mexico, to have been killed in the last year. She was killed in a hospital in Matamoros, a town close to the US/Mexico border. Many gruperso performers' songs deal with the country's drug trafficking community, and drug gangs are thought to be involved in the killing of Pena as well as Valentin Elizalde (killed last November), Javier Morales Gomez of the band Los Implacables del Norte (killed last December) and four members of group Banda Fugaz (killed in February).


Heat magazine has published an apology over that previously reported sticker, given away in a set of 50 c'leb stickers last week, which mocked Jordan's disabled son. As previously reported, the sticker featured a picture of the son with the line "Harvey wants to eat me!".

The Press Complaints Commission received thirty complaints from members of the public while Jordan, real name Katie Price, of course, and her husband Peter Andre let it be known they planned to make a formal complaint to the PCC on the grounds the gossip mag had breached PCC clauses 6 and 12, which cover the treatment of children and discrimination.

Heat editor in chief Mark Frith quickly apologised for the sticker last week, telling reporters: "I would like to unreservedly apologise for any offence caused". A statement in this week's edition of the mag, meanwhile, reads: "We now accept that the decision to include this sticker was a mistake. It was never our aim to make fun of Harvey's disabilities. We recognise that it has caused offence, not only to Katie and Peter Andre, but to a number of readers". It added that the magazine had made a donation to a charity chosen by Price.

Price and Andre, meanwhile, have said they are now happy to let the matter drop, with the PCC confirming yesterday that the couple had told them that they "accepted the complaint was resolved".


Akon has pleaded not guilty to the charges relating to that fan throwing incident back in June. As previously reported, this incident, at a gig in Fishkill, a town North of New York, began when Akon got security guards to bring on stage a fifteen year old fan who had thrown something at him. After some on stage shenanigans Akon threw the fan back into the audience. He landed on another audience member, Abby Rosa, who is considering legal action over allegations she suffered concussion as a result. She also reported the incident to local police.

The R&B star was charged with endangering the welfare of a minor and second-degree harassment, but his attorney denied the charges in court yesterday, saying: "It was never Akon's intent to violate the law. This unfortunate incident was a spontaneous reaction during a live concert that Akon deeply regrets. We are confident that this matter will ultimately be resolved in a manner that does not in any way interfere with Akon's successful career".


Another "not guilty guvnor" plea for you, this one from Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland who, as previously reported, has been accused of driving under the influence of drugs. He was arrested on the DUI charges after being involved in a traffic accident in California on 21 Nov, with police officers reporting that the singer showed "signs of impairment" and failed sobriety tests. However, Weiland's publicist said yesterday: "Scott was not driving under the influence of a drug, legal or illegal. He voluntarily took a breathalyzer test which the defense believes registers well within the legal limit. He is anxious to get to court...and clear this matter up".


More from the pop courts, and BBC DJ Andy Kershaw has been bailed pending further investigations in relation to allegations he again breached the restraining order that prevents him from contacting his former partner. Police told the High Baliff Court in the Isle Of Man, where Kershaw lives, that they needed more time to investigate. Kershaw had been jailed after last week admitting he had breached the bail conditions that stemmed from original arrest on the restraining order breach allegations. He was told he must observe a curfew of 7.30pm to 7.30am and to not enter premises licensed to sell alcohol - it was a curfew violation that got him jailed last week.

Speaking outside court after his week in jail, Kershaw told reporters: "I can't really say very much, other than that I'm relieved to be out. They were really, really kind to me and looked after me and befriended me. It made a week in prison as comfortable as it could be".


Wall Of Sound chief Mark Jones has admitted that there are tensions between him and Reverend And The Makers man Jon McClure after the Rev told the NME that he planned to give away a follow up to his WoS released debut 'The State of Things'; it's an acoustic album that he says he is already giving away at gigs on CDR.

Jones says that why he doesn't necessarily disagree with giving away acoustic tracks, that he wishes McClure had discussed the idea with him first. In an interview that appears in this week's NME, he says: "There's a validity in that [releasing the songs acoustically, free, before doing a full album], but maybe he should have discussed it first, have a plan! I've come so far with this that I feel like it's been taken away from me. I'm passionate about his music. An artist like Jon McClure needs the right platform to deliver what he needs to do to the public and I think we did that really well. He's got to be one of the most important artists in the country, but I feel hugely let down. I had no idea he wanted to do this".

Asked more generally about the new trend of artists giving away whole albums for free (Prince, Radiohead etc), Jones said he thought the industry needed to think about the whole thing quite a bit more, adding: "If all music is free, who will invest in finding new music? It leaves a label like mine in no man's land. It's my house on the line again. I want to talk to the fans and find out how they genuinely feel".


Bono has been talking about his band's new album, which they've been recording with Brian Eno in Morocco in recent months, revealing that it will be a "trance influenced" album which will feature "hardcore" guitars and should go down well in club land.

He told reporters: "Normally when you play a U2 tune, it clears the dancefloor. And that may not be true of this. There's some trance influences. But there's some very hardcore guitar coming out of The Edge. Real molten metal. It's not like anything we've ever done before, and we don't think it sounds like anything anyone else has done either".


Kim Deal has said there'll be a new The Breeders album next Spring. Speaking ahead of their sort of comeback gig in Chicago last night, Deal told VenusZine: "The new Breeders record is scheduled to be released in April 2008. There are 13 songs. Mando Lopez is still on bass, Jose Medeles on drums, Kelley Deal, my evil twin, on guitar and vocals, and I'm playing guitar and vocals. The songs are just songs. But one song Kelley and I did live. She played stand-up bass and I played acoustic guitar while we sang. [Producer] Steve Albini taped it live like that".


Danger Mouse has said he and fellow Gnarls Barkley-er Cee-Lo Green are making good progress on their second album, and that it should be out early next year. He told the New York Times: "It sounds like we're more comfortable with each other and just as uncomfortable with everybody and everything else"


Green Day have said they will begin work on their new long player in the New Year, putting some of the 45 new songs their sitting on onto tape. However the recoding sessions are expected to take place over several months, so you're probably looking at a late 2008 release at the earliest.


Oh, oh, this could be a Best Album Of 2008 for us here at CMU. The wonderful if slightly potty mouthed Adam Green has finished his fifth album and it will be out in March. Hurrah. Hey, let's do a tracklisting.

Festival Song
It's A Fine
Morning After Midnight
When A Pretty Face
Twee Twee Dee
You Get So Lucky
Getting Led
Be My Man
Drowning Head First
Grandma Shirley And Papa
Cannot Get Sicker
Bed Of Prayer
Tropical Island
Leaky Flask
Rich Kids


Paolo Nutini is giving you what is probably the very last chance to get your hands on tickets to next week's Ahmet Ertegun tribute concert - aka the Led Zepp reunion.

Nutini is, of course, one of the support acts at the big show over at the O2, and presumably he hopes that by giving away much sought after tickets to the much hyped event via his website he'll win some new fans - a definite cash in, but a promotion I'm sure Atlantic Records chief Ahmet himself would have very much approved of.

You have till Friday to enter the competition at


And if you're still looking for Led Zepp tickets, you really should go over to Paolo's site now, because I don't think getting early bird tickets for the US's Bonnaroo festival is going to get you access to a Led Zepp show after all. Those rumours that the reformed band would also headline the US fest have been denied. Promoters of Bonnaroo said yesterday: "The rumors that are out there about the Bonnaroo 2008 headliners are inaccurate, [but] we're very excited about the lineup that we're putting together for this year's festival. We'll be announcing the confirmed lineup toward the end of January/beginning of February".


The MAMA Group has announced that The Garage in Highbury and Islington will reopen next March with a whole new look. MAMA acquired The Garage as part of its purchase of the Mean Fiddler venues earlier this year. The venue has been through a £1 million refurbishment, which included the addition of a new staircase meaning the downstairs and upstairs spaces can be used as one club venue.

MAMA Live Operations man Steve Forster told CMU: "In re-opening the Garage MAMA is addressing a gap in the current London live market. The refurbished Garage will be better in every respect than its predecessor - better sound systems, new toilets, better sightlines and so on. The venue will also become fully digitally equipped, so that bands can produce top quality live recordings for on the spot release should they wish to do so. We are looking forward to presenting a broad range of new talent and established artists at The Garage from next March".


More MAMA Group news, and they have also announced the launch of a new venture called Music & Media Solutions, which will be run by Rory Bett, former Agency Sales Director at the Telegraph Media Group. The new company will aim to offer services to brands looking to engage young consumers through music based activity, and will have access to MAMA's other assets, including its venue network and its operations in the artist and producer management sector.

Bett told CMU: "Giving advertisers an experienced single point of contact for all aspects of the business, was the obvious next step. Music is the new 'sport' for brands to leverage, our role is to make the process simple and credible, while delivering confidence to customers that we are focussed on their ongoing success over years of partnership".

MAMA chiefs Adam Driscoll and Dean James added: "With the dramatic growth of the Mama Group in recent months we felt it was important to set up a central point of contact for all commercial sponsorship enquiries in order to give brands clarity on the opportunities there are to work with us. We are delighted that Rory has joined us to head up this new business and are looking forward to developing exciting and commercially valuable campaigns for existing and future clients".


Nokia yesterday announced a deal with Universal Music which will enable the phone maker to offer free 12 month access to music from the major's catalogue. The deal will enable a promotion called 'Comes With Music', and means owners of compliant Nokia phones will be able to download and listen to Universal tracks for a year for free. Details of its financial arrangement with Universal were not revealed, but the phone firm added that it was in talks with other labels. Some insiders reckon Universal will have offered Nokia a favourable deal as part of its mission to support newer players in the digital music space in a bid to overcome the dominance of Apple in the market.


Media firm UBC Media have launched their previously reported download service which is linked to radio stations. Now called Cliq, the new download service will be available via 21 radio stations, including Heart, Galaxy, Magic and Smooth. Listeners to those stations will be able to download copies of the songs they hear on a station at the click of a button. The service will be available via participating station's online simulcast services, plus via mobile phones and as of next year via special digital radio sets being launched by Pure. To be honest I'm not entirely sure how it works, but I'm assuming Pure will send me a free set to play with so that I can tell you. That would be lovely. I do know tracks will sell for £1.25 each - the logic is that people will pay more than with iTunes because of the convenience factor. UBC have invested over a million into Cliq, and that investment took them into an overall loss in the six months up to the end of September. But the company is optimistic about the new service after a pilot with London's Heart 106.2.


Katie Melua has called on 'X Factor' chiefs to donate the profits from the winner's debut single, which is pretty likely to be Christmas number one this year, to charity. Melua has an interest in these things because she has provided vocals to a new contender for the Christmas number one spot, a version of 'What A Wonderful World' featuring her and the late Eva Cassidy, profits from which will go to the British Red Cross.

The chart topping warbler says that the dominance of 'X-Factor' in the Christmas chart has ruined the festive run down, but that bosses at the ITV show could make up for it by making this year's winner-single a charity release. Something that's sure to go down very well with 'X Factor' bosses who have already seen the income from the show's voting slump in the aftermath of the dodgy TV phone-in scandal.

Melua told reporters: "In recent years the whole Christmas number one thing hasn't been focused on the Christmas spirit. I'm not saying 'What A Wonderful World' is a Christmas song, it obviously isn't, but what it's raising money for and awareness for is very much in the Christmas spirit. Maybe this will encourage 'The X Factor' to donate all their money to charity. I think they should. To me Christmas is about families and giving. It should not just be about giving each other the latest iPods and Nintendo games. The reason why the Christmas number one is such a big deal is because that's the song people buy to give each other presents. So if all that money was to go to charity that would be great".

While the 'X-Factor' single - a cover of Mariah Carey's 'When You Believe' - is still favourite to be Christmas number one, the Melua/Cassidy single could be a credible competitor to top the festive chart, especially as Melua/Cassidy fan Terry Wogan has thrown his weight behind it. That said, it is released on 10 Dec so could have its sales peak the week before the Christmas chart.


Despite the Spice Girls and Boyzone reunions being the bigger news stories of late, it seems web users are still more interested in getting the lowdown on those reunited Take That chaps. The boy band have topped the Google Zeitgeist list, they being the most searched entity on the search engine this year. They beat the Dirty Dancing musical and Glastonbury Festival in the most searched item list, which also includes touristy things like Eurostar and London Eye, other musicals 'Lion King' and 'Joseph And His Technicolor Dreamcoat', and other artists Led Zepp, Prince and those Spice Girls.

Take That
Dirty Dancing
Spice Girls
V Festival
London Eye
Led Zeppelin
Lion King


Mrs Usher, aka Tameka Foster, has hit out at journalists and her husband's fans who have slated her over the last year, some of whom have claimed that she only hooked up with the R&B star to get publicity for her fashion company. Foster reckons that she is getting a much harder time because she's black, and says that other black women give her the hardest time.

Speaking to Essence magazine, she said: "We [black women] don't like ourselves. If I were Hispanic, Usher would have the sexiest wife alive. If I were mixed, he'd have the sexiest wife alive. But he has a black girl, and it's like, 'She's horrible and she's ugly!' OK, maybe I don't fit the cookie-cutter standard - 25 and a size two - but this is who he loves".

Commenting on all the media coverage given to her relationship with and marriage to Usher - negative or otherwise - she continued: "There are women getting raped in Darfur, young girls being turned out every single day right here in Atlanta. We have bigger issues to worry about than two people in love with each other".

You know, I've just decided I like Tameka.

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