CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 19th December
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Two bands sue Rolling Stone over Camel cartoon feature
- Winehouse arrested and questioned about husband's alleged bribery
- Radio 1 back down on Fairytale censorship
- More X-Factor phone in nonsense
- Joel Dorn dies
- Frontman of Aussie metal band dies
- Stephen Stills battling cancer
- BBC to launch new animated band
- Los Campesinos! tracklisting
- Morrissey hits tracklisting
- Free Fretwell festive tune
- New Alanis almost ready
- Krafty Kuts compiles next Back To Mine - Fiddy plays in Kosovo
- Breeders UK tour
- Plans already underway for Liverpool Music Week 08
- IOW Festival sells out
- Cream do it again for Boxing Day
- De Burgh to play Iran
- Neil Young tour
- Jason Bonham not aware of any Led Zepp tour
- Important grunge venue closes
- BPI confident new budget won't alienate indies
- eMusic appointments
- Sony/ATV appointment
- Congress men propose change in US radio royalty rules
- Rapture appeal OfCom ruling on EPG dispute
- Ditto welcomes Knightley compliment
- Allen, Bowman and sister Spears all expecting
- Spice Girl tensions


This, then, is the final CMU Daily proper of 2007. Tomorrow you'll get our Review Of The Year. The Daily will return on Monday 7 Jan. In the meantime, happy holidays and all that jazz.


It's easy to knock the winners of every TV talent show out there, and to automatically predict a mere fifteen minutes of post-victory fame before a career crash and general disappearance from the public conscience. If we're being honest, we do it all the time, though not because it's easy I should add. No, because it's funny. But let's be honest here - for every Steve Brookstein there's a Will Young, for every Michelle McManus there's a Kelly Clarkson, and for every Hearsay there's, well, these girls. And of course the album chart has recently been dominated not only by last year's 'X-Factor' winner Leona Lewis, but also by her predecessor Shayne Ward for whom nasty music journalist types (OK, me) predicted a mere four months of fame. But forget Lewis and Ward, let's talk about Girls Aloud, not only unusual in being a reality-show-created group who have enjoyed longevity, but also a reality-show-created group who have released consistently high quality pop music. And this year's fourth long player, 'Tangled up', was no exception. True, I suspect Brian Higgins and the Xenomania songwriting/production house have as much to do with the consistent quality-ness of Girls Aloud's output, but kudos to the Girls themselves also - [a] for keeping it together as the frontmen of this top pop machine despite the slightly random way they came together and [b] for performing the twelve tracks that make up 'Tangled Up' with suitable style and panache. And for delivering us pop fans here at CMU with another fine album for our collections. Hurrah to them, and hurrah to the tenth CMU Album Of The Year.



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OK, we've done the counting, and here ladies and gentlemen are the final ten in the CMU Track Of The Year poll - the ten most voted for tracks to date, and what a wonderful bunch. The next bit works like this, you now have until midnight tonight to vote for which of these ten you like best. Just email the name of the one you are voting for to Simple as that. Look out for the final top ten in order of preference, plus the overall Track Of The Year, in our Review Of The Year edition tomorrow.

Arcade Fire - No Cars Go
Biffy Clyro - Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies
Bloc Party - Flux
Cajun Dance Party - Amylase
Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - Thou Shalt Always Kill
Feist - 1 2 3 4
Foals - Hummer
Late Of The Pier - Bathroom Gurgle
Reverend And The Makers - Heavyweight Champion of the World
The Wombats - Let's Dance To Joy Division

Vote for your track of the year - email the name of your fave track (and that's really all you need to do!) to Do it now!



Somerset-based band The Locarnos are about as indie as it gets, citing (perhaps ironically) influences including The Libertines, The Kooks, Arctic Monkeys, The Mighty Boosh and Topman. Yep, Topman. Anyhoo, having supported the likes of The Holloways, they already seem well ingrained in indie dreamland, and have signed a 'deal' with indie label South West records, which specialises in releasing one-off singles. Given all this, it's unsurprising that their songs sound like a summation of the NME stereo 2001-2006 - both Myspace offerings worthy of the 'indie disco' tag oft used by lazy journalists and rarely used by CMU-ers (other than to illustrate such points as this, obviously). A standout choice between the demos of 'Don't Give Me A Hard Time' and 'Stick and Stones' is thus hard to pick, so I suggest you take a good long listen to both. And make sure you play them loud.


The previously reported dispute between certain US indie labels and American music mag Rolling Stone was stepped up this week when two bands - Xiu Xiu and Fucked Up - launched a class action lawsuit against the magazine's publisher, Wenner Media, and one of their advertisers, cigarette makers RJ Reynolds.

As previously reported, the dispute relates to a cartoon feature that appeared in the magazine last month, and which featured cartoons of various indie bands. That's all fine, the problem is the feature was backed by a big advert for Camel cigarettes, and a number of the artists featured in the cartoons claim that readers will have assumed the cigarette brand had sponsored the feature, and that they, the artists, had endorsed that sponsorship.

Wenner have denied that the feature was sponsored, and claim it was a coincidence the cartoon feature was printed back to back with the Camel ad. However, despite that a number of indie labels whose artists appeared in the feature last week published an open letter demanding a retraction and apology from the magazine, while political types have been taking aim at Camel owners RJ Reynolds claiming that the association with a music based cartoon feature breaches a cigarette industry code of conduct regarding not promoting their products to the youth market.

According to Billboard, Xiu Xiu and Fucked Up's lawsuit alleges the publisher and cigarette maker are guilty of the unauthorised use of artists' names, unauthorised use of artist names for commercial advantage and unfair business practices. The legal papers say the two defendants were guilty of "despicable conduct" that was "illegal under settled, unambiguous California statutory and common law".

If the bands win the case all the artists featured in the cartoon piece will be able to claim damages. Assuming the cartoons and Camel ad really did end up together by coincidence, that could prove to be quite a costly mistake for the magazine and their client. Meanwhile we all look forward to the judge calling Fucked Up to the witness stand.


As expected, Amy Winehouse was arrested, interviewed and then bailed yesterday in relation to ongoing investigations into allegations that her husband tried to pervert the course of justice in reaction to assault charges against him. As previously reported, Winehouse is being questioned in the case because it is alleged hubby Blake Fielder Civil tried to bribe the main witness in the assault case, and some assume he would have done so with Winehouse's money. I guess the question is what did Winehouse know about her husband's intentions?

A police spokesman told reporters yesterday: "A 24-year-old woman has been arrested by appointment at an east London police station. She has been released on police bail to return to the police station at a date in early March". A statement issued on Winehouse's behalf, meanwhile, said: "Amy Winehouse attended a London police station today on a voluntary basis at a pre-agreed time. She was arrested, as is common practice, she is being interviewed by police. No charges have been brought".


Radio 1 has backed down after getting all hot under the collar about the use of the words "slut" and "faggot" in the popular Christmas song 'Fairytale Of New York'. The nation's favourite came in for quite a bit of mockery yesterday after it was revealed The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl classic had been edited for airing on the station. Many wondered why the song, which has been played unedited for many Christmases on the station, was suddenly so offensive. The late MacColl's mother called the editing "stupid" while a spokesman for The Pogues said the band found the sudden censorship rather amusing.

With that in mind, Radio 1 overseer Andy Parfitt yesterday confirmed that the unedited version of the song, which, of course, sees Kirsty MacColl and Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan singing insults at each other, would now appear on the station's playlist. He told reporters the decision to edit the track was, with hindsight, the wrong decision, adding: "Radio 1 does not play homophobic lyrics or condone bullying of any kind. It is not always easy to get this right, mindful of our responsibility to our young audience. The unedited version will be played from now on. While we would never condone prejudice of any kind, we know our audiences are smart enough to distinguish between maliciousness and creative freedom. In the context of this song, I do not feel that there is any negative intent behind the use of the words, hence the reversal of the decision".

While most of those posting on Radio 1 and the BBC's website seem to welcome Parfitt's decision to overturn the censorship of the festive song, Peter Tatchell of gay rights group OutRage! thinks the pop station got it right first time. Although admitting that the lyrics of a Christmas pop song shouldn't really be dominating the news agenda, he says that music radio stations shouldn't allow the use of the word 'faggot' in songs, especially when used an insult, as in 'Fairytale Of New York' ("You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot"), when they wouldn't allow the use of words like 'nigger', 'paki', 'yid' or 'spastic' in similar circumstances.

Writing on the Guardian's website, Tatchell says: "I challenge those who defend the use of the word faggot in these lyrics to state publicly that they would also defend the right of white singers to use the n-word as a term of abuse in a song. They won't and that makes them cowardly homophobic hypocrites. It is shameful that Radio 1 and other radio and TV stations are willing to play 'Fairytale Of New York' with the word faggot included, when they would never tolerate the equivalent racist epithets. It shows they don't take homophobic language as seriously as racist language. We queers are yet again being sent to the back of the bus".


Oh, this is all good fun. Media regulator OfCom has now received over 1500 complaints from fans of unsuccessful 'X Factor' finalist Rhydian Roberts who claim they were unable to vote for the singer in the final phone poll because their calls to the vote line number always got an engaged tone. And as an increasing number of print media began to question the legitimacy of the 'X Factor' voting system, even Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan joined in, revealing he had tried to vote for Welsh boy Roberts but had not been able to get through to the voting lines.

As previously reported, OfCom have said they will investigate whether the phone vote that led to Leon Jackson scoring a surprise victory in the pop talent show this weekend was conducted appropriately. ITV maintain that, while their phone system was very busy during the final vote, there were no problems or cock ups, and that while some callers inevitably would not have got through, that problem would have equally effected those voting for all finalists, and so would not skew the vote. They have also said that while voting for Roberts and Jackson was close during much of the final vote - there was only 1% in it at one point - in the end Jackson won by a 10% lead. The broadcaster concluded that Jackson had won "fair and square".

They're probably right of course, but that hasn't stopped hundreds of Roberts fans blogging, ranting and formally complaining, which is [a] very amusing and [b] very interesting because what it shows is that the public's trust in TV bosses has really slumped since it was revealed just how many dodgy rip off phone ins there have been in recent years. ITV, of course, scored something of a PR coup regarding the whole phone in rip off scandal by quickly organising an independent investigation into phone in practices after the first phone in cons were revealed. After that more attention was given to the cock ups over at the BBC - mainly because it's a bigger story when a publicly owned broadcaster deceives its audience. But in reality ITV's phone in crimes were much more serious, and the latest 'X Factor' debacle suggests that bosses there have a lot more PR work to do if they are going to earn the benefit of the doubt off their viewers. And that means more than banning the Comedy Awards from being aired because comedians there were likely to make fun of the broadcaster's phone in failings.

Anyway, back to 'X Factor', and the families of Roberts and Jackson have now got involved in the story. Robert's dad Malcolm has told the Sun that while his son doesn't want to be a bad loser, he is concerned about just how many of his supporters couldn't place their vote. Malcolm told the tabloid: "Rhyd's not a bad loser but he feels the same as us about the result - and we think it's a fix. He believes it's possible he was stitched up. He's disappointed for himself and his fans". Despite Roberts Senior's comments, Rhydian's uncle had previously said the singer's family didn't want to get involved in the dispute, telling reporters: "we don't want to sound as a family churlish or that there's any sour grapes".

On the other side of the debacle, Jackson's mother was keen to tell reporters that she felt her son had legitimately won the pop contest, adding that she knew many people who had tried to vote for her son who had also got an engaged tone - ie that the struggling 'X Factor' phone system would have affected Jackson as much as Roberts. She told Scottish radio station Real Radio: "I even had one person tell me they had tried 300 times to get through to Leon on the landline and they couldn't get through - so it's not just the Welsh folk that the lines were jammed, the Scottish ones were as well".

Ah well, word has it Roberts is about to signed anyway, and could enjoy as much success as winner Jackson. Though he won't have the privilege of getting this year's Christmas number one, of course. Though for a brief moment yesterday we thought Jackson might not be getting the Christmas number one either, when an early week sales chart put current number one, Katie Melua and Eva Cassidy, at the top of the pack. But Music Week has since reported that the Official Charts Company has said the Melua/Cassidy single topped that midweek chart because of "data reporting issues" and that Jackson's version of 'When You Believe' is actually "comfortably ahead". So that's alright then.

PS: Another interesting feature of the whole 'X-Factor' debacle is that one finalist came from Wales and the other from Scotland. I can't help thinking that has helped give this story legs - it being much easier to rally the Welsh and the Scots behind their respective representatives than had one of the contestants been English.

PPS: And what has 'X Factor' host Dermot O'Leary got to say about all of this? That he'd rather the Killers' Christmas track 'Don't Shoot Me Santa' be Christmas number one. Where's your loyalty O'Leary?


Veteran American record producer Joel Dorn, who worked with numerous jazz and pop stars over the years, has died of a heart attack in New York aged 65. Dorn worked for Atlantic Records on mainly jazz releases from 1967 to 1974, and then went on to run his own labels and to produce for the likes of Bette Midler, Roberta Flack, Allman Brothers Band and Don McLean. His work include Midler's debut album and some of Flack's biggest songs, including 'Killing Me Softly With His Song'. Commenting on Dorn's death, Edgar Bronfman Jr, chief of current Atlantic Records owners Warner Music, said Dorn "bridged the worlds of jazz and pop with enormous skill and grace".


The frontman of an Australian metal band called The Red Shore has been killed after their tour bus was involved in a crash. The band were on tour with fellow metal band All Shall Perish, when their bus crashed while in transit to Sydney on the Pacific Highway north of Coffs Harbour in New South Wales. Frontman Damo, and the band's merchaniser, were both killed in the crash, while seven others were reportedly injured. All Shall Perish were not on the bus, and promoters of the tour have announced that "after extensive consultation with all concerned parties" their scheduled shows will go ahead as planned.


Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills & Nash has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Stills' condition was revealed by bandmate Graham Nash, who was being interviewed on the Larry King show about the previously reported death of singer songwriter Dan Fogelberg. He died of the disease, and Nash remarked: "Unlike Danny, who left it too long to be seriously checked, Stephen found his at an early stage". Stills hadn't made any previous comment about his condition, and it isn't clear if Nash meant to make the revelation or did so mistake, though King asked for confirmation more than once that the 'Stephen' he was referring to was indeed Stills. Nash said his bandmate would be receiving treatment for his cancer in the New Year.


The BBC will launch a new children's cartoon series in the New Year which will see a Gorillaz style animated band save the world from a musical enemy of the future - the thirteenth note. Oh yes. The show and the band in it will be called 'Freefonix', and the project is the Beeb's biggest CGI project to date, and is an Anglo-Indian venture with the animation being created in India. The show has been written and produced by songwriter and pop producer Magnus Fiennes, brother of Joseph and Ralph, and will officially launch on 4 Jan, before airing on CBBC in the New Year. I'm not clear on whether songs from the show will be released, though some are already streaming on the show's MySpace page at Press info about the venture from Quite Great.


Tracklistings anyone? Well, first up here is the tracklisting of the debut album from those Welsh indie types Los Campesinos!, 'Hold On Now, Youngster', which is out on Wichita on 25 Feb. The opening track will be released as a single on 11 Feb.

Death To Los Campesinos!
Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats
Don't Tell Me To Do The Math(s)
Drop It Doe Eyes
My Year In Lists
Knee Deep At ATP
This Is How You Spell. "HAHAHA, We Destroyed The Hopes And Dreams of A Generation of Faux-Romantics"
We Are All Accelerated Readers
You! Me! Dancing!
...And We Exhale And Roll Our Eyes in Unison
Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks

Yeah, that 'This Is How You Spell' name is the title of one track.


And now a tracklisting for Morrissey's upcoming hits album, though I'm not sure this has come from an official source so it might be wrong. But whatever, here it is.

First Of The Gang To Die
In The Future When All's Well
I Just Want To See The Boy Happy
Irish Blood, English Heart
You Have Killed Me
That's How People Grow Up
Every Day Is Like Sunday
Redondo Beach
The Youngest Was The Most Loved
The Last Of The Famous International Playboys
The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get
All You Need Is Me
Let Me Kiss You
I Have Forgiven Jesus


Stephen Fretwell and Elbow have got together to record a festive tune - a version of German Christmas song 'O Christmas Tree' - under the moniker Fireside Friends. And what's more, it's free and can be downloaded from


Alanis Morissette is reportedly putting the finishing touches to her next album, and it should be released next Spring. It is produced by former Frou Frou man Guy Sigsworth, and Morissette has told Billboard: "When I heard the song 'Let Go' by Frou Frou, I listened over and over again. I was blown away by it. I called him on the phone myself and after a couple of conversations, I could tell we were going to be on the same page".


Hey, here's something good to start the New Year with. The next edition of the 'Back To Mine' compilation series has been complied by the mighty Krafty Kuts, which has to be a good thing. Tracklisting as follows, it's released by DMC on 24 Jan.

Sharpshooters - Pork Pie Stride
Massive Attack - Any Love (2)
Pete Rock & Cl Smooth - T.R.O.Y.
Incredible Bongo Band - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vada
Powerhouse 3 - Makin A Living
Captain Rock - Captain Rock To Future Shock
Paul Hardcastle - Rainforest
Tyrone Brunson - The Smurf
Who Made Who - Space For Rent
Skool Of Thought & Ed SoloFt. Darrisson - We Play The Music
Nas - Nas Is Like
The Soul Searchers - Ashleys Roachclip
A Skillz & Krafty Kuts - Roll Over Baby
Nu Shooz - I Can't Wait
A.D.O.R. - Let It All Hang Out (Pete Rock Remix)
Black Grass - Toys
Roy Ayers - Searching
Krafty Kuts - Summer Samba


50 Cent has played to a 25,000 sell out audience in Kosovo, making him one of the highest profile Western artists to play in the country. Some thought the gig may be cancelled because of the threat of violence in the region as politicians there prepare to declare independence from Serbia, but Fiddy seemed unworried about those threats (well, he is more experienced than most at dealing with being shot at), telling Reuters: "I haven't missed a show date in my career".


The Breeders have announced some UK and Ireland dates for next April, as follows....

7 Apr: Dublin Vicar Street
8 Apr: Glasgow ABC
9 Apr: Leeds Metropolitan University
10 Apr: Nottingham Trent University
12 Apr: Sheffield Leadmill
13 Apr: Birmingham Academy 2
14 Apr: Manchester Academy 2
16 Apr: London KOKO

The dates will coincide with the release of the band's new album 'Mountain Battles' which is due out on 7 Apr via Beggars' 4AD label.


Organisers of the previously reported Liverpool Music Week, which took over the Merseyside city at the start of the month, have announced that over 50,000 people attended this year's event, which is quite a lot. It was seemingly such a success that plans are already underway for a 2008 event, which will be staged a few weeks earlier to coincide with the MTV European Music Awards which, as previously reported, will take place in Liverpool next year.

Commenting on the whole venture, co-promoter Mike Deane told CMU: "We are absolutely thrilled with the feedback from Liverpool Music Week 2007. We'd like to thank all the artists, the venues and the tens of thousands who braved the appauling weather to pack out this year's festival. Well done to the team for all the hard work that's gone in these last 12 months. Roll on 2008 - which looks set to be a belter!"


Did we mention that the Isle Of Wight Festival has sold out? Well it has, within just a few days of the 50,000 tickets going on sale. As previously reported, the annual IoW bash next year will boast headliners The Police, Sex Pistols and Kaiser Chiefs. Confirming the sell out, the festival's promoter John Giddings told CMU: "All we need now is glorious sunshine again!" The IoW Festival takes place from 13-15 Jun.


This time next week it will be Boxing Day. Scary hey? For those of you somewhere near Merseyside that day, don't forget the Cream team will be doing their traditional Boxing Night thing with Armin Van Buuren, Sander Van Doorn, Remy, Gareth Wyn, Swedish House Mafia, Sander Van Doorn, D Ramirez, Tocadisco and Andy Mac all on the decks. It all takes place at Nation in Liverpool from 10pm through to 6am the next day. Tickets are £28 plus booking fee, with more of that info type stuff at


Authorities in Tehran have reportedly given the go ahead for Chris De Burgh to play a concert in Iran next summer, which will make him the first Western artist to perform there since the country's 1979 revolution. According to Reuters, De Burgh will play with an Iranian pop group called Arian, and it seems to be their management rather than De Burgh's people who have revealed the planned co-headliner concert.

There are, needless to say, strict rules governing commercial music in Iran, with native artists needing licences to record or perform, and most Western music is banned, although some radio stations do play instrumentals of global hits (with all the evil Western lyrics removed). But seemingly De Burgh's brand of soft pop has been deemed sufficiently inoffensive by the powers that be there, who presumably have never heard the singer's best song, 'Patricia The Stripper'.


Neil Young has announced nine live dates in the UK next March (the two later London dates have just been announced this morning), his first live shows here for five years. So that's nice. His wife Pegi, who recently released her own debut album, will support. Dates as follows...

3 Mar: Edinburgh, Playhouse
5, 6, 8, 9 Mar: London, Hammersmith Apollo
11, 12 Mar: Manchester, Apollo
14, 15 Mar: London, Hammersmith Apollo


Jason 'son of John' Bonham has been commenting on persisting rumours that a Led Zeppelin tour may now take place in 2008. Bonham, of course, took his late dad's place behind the drums for the much hyped Led Zepp reunion at The O2 last week.

And no doubt to the disappointment of Led Zepp fans everywhere, he's denying any knowledge of tour plans. He told Billboard: "There's been no talks except to Jimmy [Page] and Robert [Plant] and John Paul [Jones], just to say thanks for the best Christmas present I could ask for. If they do it again, of course I would love to. But that's up to them. Only time will tell. If you'd have asked me a year ago, 'Are they gonna do a date next year?,' I'd have gone, 'No way!' So I was proved wrong once before."

Nevertheless, rumours persist of a Led Zepp residency at New York's Madison Square Garden and of a headline appearance at Glasto, while rumour now has it Cardiff's Millennium Stadium are in discussions about the band playing there. To compensate the Welsh for all that 'X Factor' trauma presumably.


A Seattle venue that played a big role in the city's early nineties grunge scene, and therefore played host to some early Nirvana gigs, has closed somewhat suddenly. The Crocodile Café shut this week after 17 years in business amid reports of financial difficulties. Owner Stephanie Dorgan reportedly told club employees the venue was closing down with immediate effect last weekend. The venue's booker Eli Anderson told the Seattle Post-Intellligencer: "We all knew the club has problems with money, but we certainly didn't think it would be closing right now. I was booking new shows on Saturday, so I was freaking out when I received Stephanie's voice mail".


Fucking BPI fucking favouring the fucking major labels over the fucking indies, fucking wankers. Not my words I should stress and, more importantly, not the words of the UK indie sector either. Got that? Good. The record label trade body has responded to allegations that the independent sector would be angry at the news that budget cuts for 2008 mean that the four major record companies will be contributing up to 30% less to the BPI pot.

BPI bosses revealed earlier this week that the industry association will streamline next year so to reduce the burden on the majors. The decision followed comments by new EMI boss Guy Hands, who criticised how much the major record labels paid to trade bodies, though the BPI stress the streamlining plans were already in place sometime before those comments were published. While the majors' investment into the BPI will fall in 2008, indie labels will continue to pay the same, though the trade body insist that move has the support of the independent label owners, pointing out that the indie label rate for joining the BPI is already pretty damn low (£75 plus 10% of PPL royalties).

Asked if the budget changes would alienate the indies, BPI chief Geoff Taylor told Billboard: "The relationship between the BPI and the indie sector is fantastic, and that's why our membership has grown. And there has been absolutely no protest. The bar on indie subs is already set so low so as many companies as possible can join. That's recognized by our indie membership and that's why it's growing".


Indie download platform eMusic has announced two new appointments. Kip Mogan, formerly of US internet service provider Earthlink, joins as Chief Marketing Officer, while Anna Punsal, also previously of Earthlink, is joining as VP Consumer Relationship Management.


Former BMG Music Publishing GM Ian Ramage has been appointed to the new role of Head Of A&R for UK And Europe for Sony/ATV. So that's nice. Here's what Sony/ATV chief Marty Bandier said: "Ian has had an incredible run of working with and developing successful artists and writers. He is a welcome addition to our growing company and an executive who I can trust to help guide us in our European creative operations".


More on moves in the US to make terrestrial radio stations pay royalties for the music they play. As previously reported, music radio in the US is pretty damn unusual in that radio stations get away with contributing very little to the record industry for the music they feature on their outputs. The situation came about because of the history of the radio and music industries in the States, and because for years the radio sector claimed it helped the music business by providing free marketing for their releases.

But with satellite, cable and internet radio stations - who are governed by different copyright rules and have to pay royalties - claiming that their terrestrial competitors have an unfair advantage, and with record labels who are suffering from declining CD sales increasingly relying on royalty incomes, moves are afoot to change the US radio royalty set up.

Debate on the issue has been rumbling on for much of the year, but things moved on this week when four political types - Senators Patrick Leahy and Orrin Hatch and Representatives Howard Berman and Darrell Issa - two Democrat, two Republican, introduced legislation proposals in US Congress which would see terrestrial radio stations have to start paying a music royalty, though at a fixed statutory rate of $1000 a year for small stations and $5000 a year for big stations. Talk and religious stations would be exempt, even if the former use incidental music.

Quite how those fees would be distributed to the labels, whether the broadcasters will accept such fees as being ultimately inevitable, and whether the record labels would be happy with statutory royalty fees at the proposed levels, all remain to be seen. But expect lots more debate on this issue in the US in 2008.


Youth TV channel Rapture TV has begun a court appeal to a ruling made by media regulator OfCom in relation to the station's appearance on Sky's electronic programme guide. As previously reported, Rapture claimed the satellite network breached its regulatory obligations when it demanded £76,800 off the TV channel to be listed on the Sky system. When Rapture originally complained, OfCom ruled that Sky had reached the rate in a "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" way, even though they were asking for half of the independent channel's annual turnover.

Appealing that ruling at the Competition Appeal Tribunal, lawyer Michael Bowsher, representing Rapture, said: "The question for the tribunal is whether Ofcom did enough. Our ending point is that Ofcom did not do enough. It was happy to accept Sky's position without drilling down on what was being said. It seems that Ofcom have taken undue comfort from the [proposed] charge being between the floor and the ceiling [of Sky's general EPG fees] but it doesn't mean that any price between the floor and the ceiling is fair, reasonable or non-discriminatory. That is the core of our case. It seems that Ofcom's position has been that as long as it is between the floor and the ceiling it is fine".

The case will continue today. The ruling, if it goes in Rapture's favour, could be important because it would force OfCom to change how it investigates disputes like this, and would also provide other smaller TV channels with ammunition for challenging the EPG rates they pay. Rapture has not been available via the Sky EPG since OfCom's original ruling earlier this year.


The Gossip's Beth Ditto has praised actress Keira Knightley after the latter complimented the former for having an "amazing body". Ditto says such statements send an important message to young girls that all shapes and sizes can be sexy.

Ditto told reporters: "The way I feel about Keira Knightley is that even if she has an eating disorder, it's good for people to hear her say something like that. I don't judge women for feeling they have to be thin, because they're conditioned their whole lives to 'hate yourself, hate yourself, hate yourself'. I judge the world for being so anti-female".

It should be noted that Knightley has long denied have an eating disorder, and successfully sued the Daily Mail when they implied she did.


I'm not sure it's anyone's business that Britney Spears' sixteen year old sister is pregnant, but I've written it now, and she is in a Nickelodeon sitcom so is a c'leb in her own right. Bosses on the TV show 'Zoey 101' have confirmed Jamie-Lynn Spears is expecting, telling news agency WENN: "We respect Jamie Lynn's decision to take responsibility in this sensitive and personal situation. We know this is a very difficult time for her and her family, and our primary concern right now is for Jamie Lynn's well being". Word has it the father is student Casey Aldridge, who split from Spears earlier this summer.

Actually, it's a busy day for pregnancy news, with the news that Radio 1 DJ Edith Bowman is pregnant by her partner Editors lead singer Tom Smith, while the Sun is reporting that Lily Allen is pregnant by Chemical Brother Ed Simon. They quote a source thus: "Lily is thrilled to be pregnant and can't wait to become a mum. She's a real family person. Ed's very happy. He is really looking after her".

So that's all lovely, congratulations one and all.


So, lots of rumours about tensions in the Spice Girls camp, mainly about the other Girls getting pissed off with Victoria Beckham, because [a] she's being a bit prima-donnaish, [b] they think she's being treated better back stage and [c] she keeps getting a great reception from fans even though her bandmates reckon she brings the least to the reunion show.

I've no idea if any of this is true, but one of those sources told the Daily Mail: "Silly petty things just got on the nerves of the other girls. And to top it off when Victoria kept getting the loudest applause and cheers, it really grated on the others. The fact Posh probably had the least to do but was getting the best reception was a bit disheartening. It all blew up backstage afterwards and there were some very stern words and evil looks exchanged".

Needless to say, a spokesman for the group has denied the rumours, possibly because they're not true. He told reporters: "All of the others were thrilled by the response Victoria got from the crowd".

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