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TODAY'S NEWS

More on the EMI Music restructure

Procol Harum dispute goes to the Lords
Police must charge or release suspect in Hudson case
Amy to divorce Blake?
Prince ordered to pay unpaid fees to video editor
Las Vegas PD on Mos Def arrest warrant
Doctors optimistic about Deftones bassist
Madonna reassures David's dad, in light of divorce
Pete Wentz on Proposition 8
Single review: Stars And Sons - In The Ocean (Alcopop)
Alesha Dixon signs publishing deal with Sony/ATV
Thom Yorke celebrates Obama victory with free download
Ex-Pipette to play CMU Xmas party
Kravitz cancels tour dates
Rihanna is fine
Album review: Kelli Ali - Rocking Horse (One Little Indian)
If we can track, can we license? Music Tank digital debate continues
MySpace might launch iPod competitor, but probably won't
The Firm founder quits to set up new agency
Lots more Sachsgate nonsense
Simon Mayo lined up for Radio 2 slot
Absolute lose programme manager, launch new web player
Chart update
Total Rock world album chart
Sub.tv playlist
Liam is a gay icon
Ashlee Simpson's baby made her grow up, says dad
Katona admits alcoholism
Peaches denies divorce
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CMU Daily Archives
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CMU Directory
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MONDAY 10TH NOVEMBER

WELCOME BACK TO UNSIGNED MONTH
Welcome, to week two of Unsigned Month at CMU. As you probably remember, we here at CMU have teamed up with our good friends at MUZU TV to discover and champion some of the best unsigned and self-releasing artists in the UK and Ireland throughout November, with a view to unearthing the future buzz bands of 2009.

 

Each day this month we will be tipping another unsigned band which has truly impressed the CMU team in our always popular SNAP Of The Day slot right at the top of the Daily. You'll be able to hear what we think, and then check out the bands for yourself by clicking through to their MUZU TV channel, or checking out their videos in a special Unsigned Month playlist on the CMU-Tube. So far, we've tipped Escape Act, Subsource, Panama Kings and The Crane Brothers, all of whom set a high standard for the next three weeks to live up to.

Later this month we'll also be throwing the platform over to our college correspondents and student music journalists all around the UK who will be tipping their favourite unsigned bands and sending you in the general direction of their MUZU channels.

If you are an unsigned or self-releasing band you can still put yourself forward for consideration. All you have to do is set up a MUZU channel, and then become a 'friend' on our MUZU channel at www.muzu.tv/cmutube. Setting up a MUZU channel is free and easy to do - and not only might you get tipped here in the CMU Daily, but you'll have your very own web TV channel which you can use to showcase you videos and music, connect with fans, and earn from your content.

There is full information on all this at www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk/unsigned, and look out for more bands championed here in the Daily each day throughout November.

 

SNAP OF THE DAY: GORBACHOV
Presumably named after, well, you know, that rather important Russian bloke, Ireland's Gorbachov furthered their USSR credentials recently by playing at a festival in Latvia. I note this here because it was there that their set apparently impressed Fat Boy Slim enough for him to declare himself a fan. Makers of brash, pumping dance rock, there are similarities between them and the laddish tones of Hard-Fi and Reverend And The Makers, but there's more intelligence behind the song on their MUZU page, 'Friends', which is accompanied by a bizarre video of the entire band in cartoon masks - Gorillaz on a budget-style. Pay them a visit at the link below.

Check www.muzu.tv/gorbachov or in the Unsigned Month playlist on the CMU-Tube at www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk/tube

 
 

 



Don't forget you can now check out CMU favourites old and new on CMU-Tube, our online music video service powered by MUZU.

Set up your own MUZU channel, select tracks from the MUZU catalogue, and embed your own MUZU Player on your own website or blog - simple. Sign up here.

 

 

OFFICE SPACE IN SHOREDITCH, AVAILABLE FROM JANUARY
Self-contained office space available in the centre of Shoreditch, on the corner of Shoreditch High Street and Great Eastern Street, next to the CMU HQ. 5-8 minutes walk from Liverpool Street and Old Street tube stations. A top floor workspace with plenty of natural light in an exciting neighbourhood that is home to numerous music, media, PR and creative companies. 764 square feet, with room for 15-20 desks plus its own kitchen area and adjacent toilets. £1000 per month plus service charge and business rates. Includes heating, water and electrics. Available from January 2009 for minimum of six months. For more information contact ashka@unicornjobs.com.

 

 

MORE ON THE EMI MUSIC RESTRUCTURE
So, EMI Music CEO Elio Leoni-Sceti has begun a series of presentations to staff around the world explaining the latest bit of restructuring at the major's recorded music company. As we already knew thanks to a Financial Times preview of Leoni-Sceti's speech last week, the company will now consist of three primary divisions: New Music, Catalogue and Music Services. We now know a little more though, partly thanks to leaks made to Billboard of the EMI chief's internal presentation.

Staff wise, Leoni-Sceti himself will be President of the New Music division, heading up a team consisting of the major's two main A&R chiefs, London-based Nick Gatfield, who oversees North America and the UK, and New York-based Billy Mann, who oversees the rest of the world. The major's top digital man, Douglas Merrill, will also sit in this team, where he will now also serve as Chief Operating Officer.

As revealed last week, the Catalogue division will be headed up by Ernesto Schmitt, who joins the major from DSG International, the company behind Currys and PC World. Although coming to the job from outside the music business, Schmitt has some experience of the sector and specifically EMI - he was the major's VP Of Strategy And Business Development in 2001 and 2002.

The last division - Music Services - will be headed up by Ronn Were, previously the major's Exec VP Of Music Licensing & Sync. This makes sense because licensing and sync rights will sit in this division, as will sales, brand partnerships and a team looking to develop new services for artists and music providers.

My assumption that EMI's centralised marketing departments would sit in Music Services is, I think, wrong. The major's centralised marketing teams will sit between New Music and Catalogue, which counts as a fourth division if you ask me, but to be fair to Leoni-Sceti, so far he hasn't, which is presumably why he still counts just three.

It's not clear how EMI's primary and imprint labels fit inside all of this. The company is no longer structured around EMI, Parlophone and Virgin Records in the UK (or Capitol and Virgin Records in the US), but presumably artists are still signed to specific label roster. Whether A&R staff within the New Music and Catalogue divisions, and product managers and publicists in the marketing units, will be attached to a specific imprint or whether such imprints will be irrelevant except with regards what logo appears on a CD case, we don't yet know. It's also unclear how niche imprints like Mute will be split between the New Music and Catalogue divisions.

What we do know, however, courtesy of Billboard again, is that in addition to all that restructuring nonsense, Leoni-Sceti will also tell his staff that the major's four key strategic aims are consumer focus, innovation, strengthening artists' relationships with fans and digital. Though given those are presumably the strategic aims of every record company, I'm not sure that needs saying.

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PROCOL HARUM DISPUTE GOES TO THE LORDS
The Procol Harum copyright case is heading for the House Of Lords.

This relates to that much previously reported dispute between Procol Harum frontman Gary Brooker and the band's original keyboardist Matthew Fisher over who wrote the famous organ music that appears in their biggest hit 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale'.

Brooker claims that he and lyricist Keith Reid wrote all of the song, and for nearly four decades that claim went undisputed with the duo receiving all the royalties generated by the track, including those generated by frequent appearances on compilations and more recent success as a ringtone.

But in 2005 Fisher began legal proceedings claiming he wrote the organ bit of the song, arguably the most famous bit, and that he should therefore receive a share of the royalties. Brooker argued Fisher had merely played music he provided, but Fisher countered that he had radically altered Brooker's original score in the studio to create the song's distinct organ melody.

He also claimed that his role in creating the song had previously been recognised by Brooker and Reid, and that there had been a gentleman's agreement that the duo would look after Fisher despite him not being officially credited on the song. That, Fisher said, is why he took no action at the time.

At first instance, the London court found in Fisher's favour, ruling he did write the organ music in the song and that he was therefore due 40% of the money generated by it, albeit only from the point where he filed his initial lawsuit in 2005. Brooker promptly appealed, and earlier this year the appeal court ruled that, while it accepted Fisher did contribute the organ melody to the song, because he had taken so long to make his claim he shouldn't be given any royalties past, present or future.

Fisher is now appealing the appeal and last week was told the House Of Lords would accept his case. Given that Fisher's contribution to the track is no longer of question, the Lords ruling will be interesting because it could set a precedent on how long after the release of a record uncredited contributors can still make a royalty claim. If 38 years is deemed to be an acceptable delay, then presumably any within-a-lifetime claim will be deemed possible.

Confirming the case would now proceed to a second appeal stage, Fisher told reporters last week: "I'm delighted that the House of Lords have decided to take my appeal, and I remain hopeful that my claim will be allowed in full". A schedule for the Lords hearing is tbc.

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POLICE MUST CHARGE OR RELEASE SUSPECT IN HUDSON CASE
William Balfour, the chief suspect in the tragic murders of singer Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew, is due to appear before Illinois State Parole Review Board at 9am this morning in Chicago, and if the police department haven't come up with conclusive enough evidence to charge him with either murder or parole violation by then, Balfour will be set free. He is the only 'person of interest' to have been named in the case.

As previously reported, Hudson's mother Darnell Donerson and brother Jason Hudson were found shot dead at their Chicago home on 24 Oct. Hudson's nephew, Julian King, was discovered to be missing, and a reward was offered for his safe return, but his body was found in an abandoned car three days later. Balfour, the estranged husband of the star's sister Julia, is presently on parole, and previously spent nearly seven years in prison for attempted murder. He was arrested at 6pm on the day of the murders, and has been in custody ever since. Some sources are reporting that Balfour admitted his involvement in the murders to his girlfriend.

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AMY TO DIVORCE BLAKE?
The Daily Mirror claims that Amy Winehouse is seriously considering divorcing her husband Blake Fielder-Civil, who, as previously reported, got out of prison last week, and proceeded straight to rehab as part of a deal with prosecutors for his early release. As you will remember, he was convicted back in July of causing actual bodily harm and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Anyway, The Mirror says that Winehouse hasn't seen him yet, and doesn't think she wants to, as she may want to make a clean break. The tabloid claims she's told friends: "I don't know if I want to be with him. Everything has changed. I'm trying to move on and I can't take the pain any more. I'm still thinking about whether to see him".

Additionally, a 'source' says that Winehouse senior, Mitch, is anxious to keep his daughter away from Fielder-Civil, saying: "Amy is his priority. All he cares about is her. Everything else is a distraction - especially Blake". The source adds: "Things are really bad between her and Blake. She doesn't know any more if he's 'the one'. It is really sad but this could be the end".

Well, it's not that sad, is it? I mean, they're clearly a terrible influence on each other.

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PRINCE ORDERED TO PAY UNPAID FEES TO VIDEO EDITOR
Back to the pop courts, and an LA judge has ordered Prince to pay a video editor $58,000 in a dispute over unpaid editing fees. Ian C Lewis sued Prince and his company Paisley Park Enterprises last year claiming he was owed fees by the singer, and that equipment he had loaned him had been broken and unreturned. Although finding in Lewis' favour over the fees, Judge Gregory Alarcon turned down his claim for $1 million in exemplary damages, and also rejected a claim regarding an allegedly broken $25,000 computer because the editor was unable to produce a receipt.

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LAS VEGAS PD ON MOS DEF ARREST WARRANT
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has revealed details of that previously reported Mos Def arrest warrant to AllHipHop.com.

The Clark County DA's office want to prosecute the rapper, real name Dante Smith, on two counts, one of felony robbery and a second of malicious destruction of private property. It all relates to that incident back on 26 Aug, and the previously reported altercation between Smith and Volker Corell, a photographer hired by the Men's Apparel and Garment Industry Convention, during which the hip hop star allegedly removed a camera from Corell's possession.

Public Information Officer Ramon Denby is quoted as saying: "The initial report was taken by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor's Authority. By the time we arrived, the property, which in this case was a Nikon camera, had been returned. Detectives then took statements from witnesses and spoke to the victim and proceeded to gather the necessary evidence to turn the case over to the District Attorney's office".

Explaining the time lapse between the incident, and the issuing of the warrants, Denby said: "We have to have a certain amount of evidence to present a case to the DA's office, who then makes the determination to move forward. This was just a standard investigating time".

The LVMPD are now waiting for Mos Def/his lawyers to contact them and arrange a 'self surrender'.

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DOCTORS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT DEFTONES BASSIST
Deftones bassist Chi Cheng is still on the critical list, and still in a coma, following his previously reported car crash last week, but according to drummer Abe Cunningham, doctors are optimistic about his chances of recovery.

Cunningham issued a statement which said: "I spoke to Chi's mother this morning, the neurosurgeon treating Chi says the first 72 hours are critical, and as of now he is fighting the good fight and the doctors remain optimistic. We are seeing your prayers in action. The family asks that all the prayer warriors out there continue to pray for Chi, and keep sending out your positive energy! Today's good deed for Chi is to call someone you love, remind them of that love by saying "I love you", and like yesterday remind them to buckle up".

Lead singer Chino Moreno has voiced similar sentiments, saying: "I am back from up North visiting our brother Cheng. His condition remains the same - serious, but stable. We, along with the entire Cheng family, would like to extend our gratitude to everyone that's said a prayer or sent out their positive thoughts to Chi. Your support means more than you know. During his recovery process, Chi's mother has asked that each day we spread a little bit of good in his name. So each day Deftones will be posting what you can do to help Chi recover. Today, she has asked that you all remember to buckle your seat belts, and remind those you love to buckle up. By doing something so little in his name, you will be helping him find the strength to recover".

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MADONNA REASSURES DAVID'S DAD, IN LIGHT OF DIVORCE
Madonna has been in touch with the natural father of her adopted son David Banda, to reassure him that his son's welfare is a top priority, despite the singer's split from husband Guy Ritchie. Madonna didn't go herself, but sent the sentiments via Philippe van den Bossche, the executive director of her Raising Malawi charity.

Yohane Banda, who had a meeting with van den Bossche last month, told reporters: "Philippe told me that Madonna herself will come soon to explain to me everything, but that for the time being I must stay calm because the welfare of David will be well looked after. I welcome the opening of lines of communication between me and her because I believe they will help iron out a number of concerns that I have had for some time".

Reports speculate that Madonna wants Banda on her side, given her current, previously reported dispute with Ritchie over where their children should live. If that is her motive, then her plan is working; Banda is further quoted as saying: "I would want my son to go to Madonna".

Elsewhere in Madonna news, the singer was joined on stage in LA last week by Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, although they didn't perform together. Spears appeared three songs into the set at the Dodger Stadium for a performance of 'Human Nature', whilst Timberlake appeared about an hour later to help out with a rendition of '4 Minutes'. During the course of the gig, Madonna also celebrated Barack Obama's presidential win, and lamented the passing by public vote of proposition 8, which, of course, restricts the definition of marriage to a union between heterosexual couples in the state of California, overturning an earlier ruling recognising gay couples' rights to same sex marriage.

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PETE WENTZ ON PROPOSITION 8
Talking of which, Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy has also been talking about Proposition 8. He says: "Many people were intimidated on this issue due to the scary misleading communications on the other side. I believe that this is, and has always been, a civil rights issue. We should not allow inequality like this in America". Wentz also admitted that he voted for Barack Obama, so, a big surprise there, then.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Stars And Sons - In the Ocean (Alcopop)
Noah And The Whale offered up their take on the indie pop anthem earlier this year with '5 Years Time' giving Mighty Boosh fans a few new dance moves to show off at their underage discos. The band's contrived image though, with tweed, trilbies and waistcoats galore, made it all just a bit too hard to stomach. It's good news then that Stars And Sons, aka Mike Lord, has created something as equally joyous in its three-minute pop ways, yet without any smug pretension to mire its good intentions. Citing both The Flaming Lips and Amiga classic, videogame 'Monkey Island', as equal influences, it's no surprise this single revels in its fun attitude, not once getting above its hand-claps and 'ooh-oohs'. Mike won't be wearing sunglasses indoors any time soon. TM
Release Date: 17 Nov
Press Contact: Scruffy Bird [all]

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ALESHA DIXON SIGNS PUBLISHING DEAL WITH SONY/ATV
Alesha Dixon's pop comeback post-Strictly Come Dancing continues with the signing of a publishing deal with Sony/ATV. The deal includes Dixon's songwriting contributions to her comeback album 'The Alesha Show' which will be released in the UK through Warner's Atlantic label later this month.

Confirming the signing of the former Mis-Teeq girl, Sony/ATV UK MD Rak Sanghvi told CMU: "Alesha is an incredible artist; very talented, but also professional and extremely disciplined. Her songwriting talent is another string to her bow that few people were aware of. Poised for success in her own right, the album is a major priority for her record label and we're thrilled she chose to find her new home with us".

Confirming the deal, Alesha herself said: "I'm very excited to be joining Sony/ATV. There's a real buzz around their offices and it's a fresh new start for me within a company who really believes in me as a songwriter and is going to take an active role in my solo career".

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THOM YORKE CELEBRATES OBAMA VICTORY WITH FREE DOWNLOAD
Thom Yorke has called Barack Obama's election victory "the dawn of a new era in politics in the USA", and is offering a remix of his solo track 'Harrowdown Hill' as a free download to mark that occasion, as well as other exciting events that occurred last week - Radiohead bandmate Johnny Greenwood's birthday and bonfire night. "I humbly donate a remix of 'Harrowdown Hill' that was finished ages ago during the band webcasts, a small reminder of the dark days of Bush".

Everyone is so optimistic about this president elect, aren't they? Just like they were when Tony Blair knocked the Tories from power back in 1997. I mean, I'm not saying it's not good to be rid of Bush, and I'm not saying that Obama will disappoint. But I think it's wise to expect that he might. Especially if you're Iranian.

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EX-PIPETTE TO PLAY CMU XMAS PARTY
Is it Christmas already? Well, no. But it will be soon. Perhaps sooner than you think, because the CMU Social on 9 Dec will be our Christmas party. That alone should be exciting enough, but we've lined up a very special headliner to play for us, too. Former member of CMU Favourites The Pipettes, Rose Elinor Dougall will be joining us to show off some of her rather fine new solo material, including her fantastic debut single, 'Another Version Of Pop Song', which is due for release on 8 Dec, the day before the show. We're very excited.

But, oh my God, we've got another extremely exciting CMU Social happening this very week. Tomorrow, in fact. Playing tomorrow we have the fabulous Tim Ten Yen, who will be playing us songs from his debut album 'Everything Beautiful Reminds Me Of You', and the super-good Matt Finucane, who will be showcasing tracks from his first steps into the world of the solo artist, the 'Episodes EP'.

If you're yet to add yourself to the free guestlist (maybe you were about to do it but then your desk caught fire and it slipped your mind momentarily), all you have to do is email social@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk and we'll see you down at 229 on Great Portland Street from 7pm - come down early to take advantage of the happy hour at the bar and to fill out the pop quiz.

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KRAVITZ CANCELS TOUR DATES
Lenny Kravitz has cancelled his remaining Canadian tour dates because he has a poorly throat. A message posted on his MySpace reads: "It with great regret that Lenny Kravitz has had to cancel the remainder of his Canadian tour. Lenny is suffering from severe throat problems that have resulted in him not being able to sing or even talk".

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RIHANNA IS FINE
Rihanna's reps have confirmed that she is fine, despite the fact that she ran off stage at her gig in Sydney last week, as she performed a duet with her boyfriend Chris Brown. The pair were performing her hit 'Umbrella' when the singer departed the stage, with a hunched posture, before the song finished. Rihanna's people say she just needed a breather, saying: "It was very hot at the venue, so after Rihanna's set was over, she went off stage to sit down, catch her breath and have some water".

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ALBUM REVIEW: Kelli Ali - Rocking Horse (One Little Indian)
Those who are not familiar with Kelli Ali's solo work may remember her as the lead singer of underrated trip-hoppers The Sneaker Pimps, where she provided the vocals for their internationally successful debut album, 'Becoming X'. Since parting ways with the band in 1996, she has gone on to release two solo albums and has collaborated with artists such as Marilyn Manson, The Doors' John Densmore, Brian Ferry and Paul Oakenfold. 'Rocking Horse', Ali's third release, is a collection of yarns inspired by her travels of recent years that brought her primarily to the dusty roads of California and Mexico. Gone is the dub-pop trend of old and in its place is a sound that is noticeably closer to her heart. Rich with the textured, folky harmonies of violins, wind instruments and campfire-tinged acoustics, 'Rocking Horse' is a record that takes the evocative cadence of Ali's vocals to new and spellbinding heights. Stand out tracks include the album's own title song, a rolling acoustic journey with a beautiful violin solo vaguely similar to Patrick Wolf's 'Wind In The Wires'. 'A Storm In A Teacup' is a delicate and playfully titled tune, and yet again it is the use of strings that invoke its gentle melancholy. It is hard to compare Ali to anyone else out there, and difficult again to relate 'Rocking Horse' to another record. Both are in a league of their own and reminiscent of no clear other, and while some listeners may find her difficult to understand, it is her free-spirited quirkiness that makes Kelli Ali so special. TW
Release Date: 24 Nov
Press Contact: One Little Indian IH [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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IF WE CAN TRACK, CAN WE LICENSE? MUSIC TANK DIGITAL DEBATE CONTINUES
MusicTank's four-part debate on the past, present and future of digital music continued in London last week, with a Think Tank debate focused specifically on the merits, or not, of new technical tools out there that may help the music business make a living out of online music platforms that go beyond basic a-la-carte MP3 downloads and streaming jukebox services.

Many such tools were presented and discussed, though as the first of these Music Tank events revealed last month, the digital market is really still too young for anyone to confidently say which of these technologies will really succeed - in terms of both consumer take up and commercial viability. Certainly there is little agreement in the industry that any one app is the undisputed panacea many record label chiefs would desire.

The first tool was presented by keynote speaker Jim Gelcer, CEO and Co-Founder of Harvard start-up Noank Media, who flew in from Toronto especially to join the debate. Noank have a bit of technology that can be installed onto a user's PC and which then tracks what music a user downloads, what music they listen to, what bit-rate they are using and all sorts of other things. The proposal is that you allow consumers to access music how they want to (P2P, download store, social networks, streaming platform), you take revenue where you can, and you use Noank to track what music is generating what interest and is therefore due what money.

Where in that process you take the money is another matter entirely, of course. Though the Noank device could be coupled with the previously discussed ISP music levy, whereby all consumers pay a licence fee to their internet service provider in order to gain blanket legitimate access to all music ever. If the ISPs were willing to charge the levy, and the music business willing to grant the licences, and the Noank device capable of distributing the money, and the money sufficient to keep the record companies in profit, we'd all be happy, yes?

Certainly those P2P advocates who often claim no digital service other than a licensed unrestricted file sharing network can ever really work will be interested. And those ISPs keen for a quick fix to get the record companies (and their supporters in government) off their back may also be keen - certainly panel member Andrew Heaney from Carphone Warehouse admitted such a technology could be of interest to his company and his ISP customers.

However, the record industry remains hesitant of offering such unrestricted blanket licensing directly to consumers, and others argue that a truly workable licensed P2P network is a bit too utopian to ever really see the light of day. Presenting that view on the pane was 24-7 Entertainment's Frank Taubert, who pointed out that a legit P2P system had been tried countless times and never delivered a satisfactory user experience. Vodafone Head Of Music Tom McLennan, meanwhile, thought that launching an anything-goes system into a fledgling digital content market would result in anarchy. A view which, I suspect, is shared by most major label executives, hence their caution when anyone starts discussing blanket licensing for unrestricted P2P.

Certainly Noank do not, as yet, have any major labels signed up, though Gelcer said he had had some positive reactions from within the industry, and that a trial in China had enjoyed the participation of some independents, including Nettwerk.

The next edition of the Music Tank series, on 18 Nov at the MCPS-PRS HQ in London, will look at the same debate from the other side - charged as it is with looking at licensing models under the question banner of 'What's The Way To License Compelling Alternatives To Filesharing?' Artist manager Peter Jenner will deliver the keynote, while Simon Wheeler from Beggars, Jez bell from MCPS-PRS and Tom Frederikse from Clintons will all take part in the debate. More info is at www.musictank.co.uk

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MYSPACE MIGHT LAUNCH IPOD COMPETITOR, BUT PROBABLY WON'T
MySpace may launch their own digital music player to compete with the iPod. Or they might not. Yeah, that's the story really. It's in the news because MySpace boss Chris DeWolfe was discussing the social networking company's new music service at a conference in San Francisco last week and was asked if the firm were considering entering the music hardware market. DeWolfe basically said "no", but managed to say "maybe" in the process, leading to reports a MySpacePod is in development. Tomorrow, news that MySpace may launch a car, a fast food restaurant and a hot air balloon ride. Or they might not.

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THE FIRM FOUNDER QUITS TO SET UP NEW AGENCY
Jeff Kwatinetz, who manages Jane's Addiction and Korn among others, has left The Firm, the management company he founded just over a decade ago, and is reportedly set to launch a new rival management agency.

Kwatinetz's decision to leave The Firm follows the departure last month of his fellow directors Rick Yorn and Dave Baram, who also left the company to set up a new agency, taking a chunk of The Firm's staff and clients with them.

As Kwatinetz will also take both staff and clients with him, it's not clear if there'll be anything left of the once management powerhouse The Firm.

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LOTS MORE SACHSGATE NONSENSE
Another senior Radio 2 executive has resigned as a result of what even I am now calling Sachsgate. The resignation of the station's Head Of Specialist Music And Compliance, Dave Barber, was confirmed on Friday.

His departure follows that of his boss, overall Radio 2 chief Lesley Douglas, who resigned at the end of last month as media interest in the Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross routine, which involved leaving lewd messages on the voicemail of actor Andrew Sachs, reached its peak. As previously reported, Brand also resigned his Radio 2 show while Ross is on a three month unpaid suspension.

It was the "compliance" bit of Barber's job that caused problems - it was his job to ensure no content aired by the station breaches the BBC's own guidelines on taste and decency. It's not clear who in the Radio 2 hierarchy was actually aware of the pre-recorded Brand/Ross phone calls before they aired, but it is now known the matter went higher than the producer Nic Philps, and gossipers are suggesting that both Barber and Douglas were aware of the nature of the pre-recorded show before it aired, even if they hadn't actually heard what aired.

The ongoing internal investigation may reveal more. It's thought that a lot of the mess came about because of confusion during a phone conversation between Sachs and Philps after the show had been recorded but before it aired. Philps made contact with the actor about the answer phone messages, which Sachs says he could hardly make out when he received them on his mobile, but which he thought sounded "a bit off". It was arranged that Sachs would appear on Brand's show the following week, which Sachs understood would air instead of the answer phone messages, whereas Philps seems to have thought it was agreed the actual interview would be a next-week follow-up to the phone message links. Either way, the Mail On Sunday had the story before the actual interview with Sachs could be recorded.

Whoever did sign off the Brand show in the Radio 2 hierarchy may well have had an involvement in the cutting of some even more risque comments made by Brand and Ross as they spoke about Sachs and his granddaughter Georgina Baillie. It's been known since the whole scandal kicked off that some Brand/Ross banter had been cut from the programme that aired, and Brand himself has admitted that was so in an interview with the Observer this weekend. In that interview Brand admitted the whole thing was a mistake, but added that there was no malice intended in what he and Ross said. He told the paper: "What's difficult about the whole thing is that it was completely devoid of malice, and there's been a retrospective application of cruelty and intention to cause offence".

Barber's resignation and Brand's Observer interview came as the BBC broadcast a formal apology on Radio 2 at the start of the programming slots that would previously have carried Ross and Brand's shows. Even that caused problems for the Beeb after Sachs complained the apology didn't specifically mention his wife or his family in the list of people they were apologising to. The station had to quickly re-record the sorry message for its evening airing.

And that's all the Sachsgate news I have for now, you'll be pleased to hear no doubt. Oh, except to say that a Music Week survey has shown wide disappointment in the music industry to the aforementioned Lesley Douglas' departure from Radio 2 as a result of the whole affair. She is popular at many record labels for further expanding Radio 2's position as a credible home for new artists, and for her role in creating the albeit niche serious music station 6Music. 97% of those Music Week readers who took part in a survey about Douglas' departure said the Beeb should not have accepted her resignation, though presumably anyone in the music industry who has to field enquiries from a hostile press from time to time will appreciate why they did.

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SIMON MAYO LINED UP FOR RADIO 2 SLOT
And now some Radio 2 news that doesn't involve Jonathan Ross or Russell Brand. Well, it almost doesn't.

The Mail On Sunday has reported that former Radio 1 DJ and current 5 Live presenter Simon Mayo is being lined up to take over from Ken Bruce when he eventually retires his long running Radio 2 show. The Mail says Mayo has been in the running for Bruce's show for a long time - he often fills in when Bruce is away - but that he had feared Lesley Douglas' departure as a result of Sachsgate may scupper those plans.

But, the tabloid quotes an insider thus: "Simon made some calls last week and has been assured that it will all go ahead and he will still be taking over the Ken Bruce show. This is very big as far as changes at Radio 2 are concerned".

Presumably that other long rumoured Radio 2 plan to line up Jonathan Ross to replace the mighty Terry Wogan if and when he retires from the station's market leading breakfast show is now on ice. Which will please my Mum, who wasn't too bothered about Sachsgate but who is very bothered by the thought of Ross suddenly becoming part of her breakfast routine.

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ABSOLUTE LOSE PROGRAMME MANAGER, LAUNCH NEW WEB PLAYER
Absolute Radio, which is the new name for Virgin Radio, in case you'd forgotten, has announced that programme manager Mark Bingham has left the station. No reason has been given for his departure, nor has a replacement been announced.

Elsewhere, Absolute is set to launch a social network compatible player to allow listeners to stream their online services through their MySpace or Facebook page, presumably in the hope some of those listeners' MySpace/Facebook buddies might tune in too.

Confirming the launch of the new player, Absolute's Brand Director Chris Lawson explained: "It's about going where the audience is rather than expecting them to come to us. If they're spending time on Facebook, we're not going to try to change that. What we want to do is give them the opportunity to listen to some great music at the same time".

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CHART UPDATE
Hello, and welcome to female solo artist week. Yes, this week the singles chart is dominated by female solo artists, although none of them managed to overcome the mighty X Factor Finalists, whose cover of Mariah Carey's 'Hero' remains at number one for the second week.

But with the exception of Guru Josh Project and Jack White, the rest of the top ten is bursting with ladies. The first single from Beyonce's new album, 'If I Were A Boy' goes straight in a number 2, while Girls Aloud (not solo artists but still ladies) drop one place to 3. Britney Spears enters at number 4 with 'Womanizer' and Leona Lewis follows with another new entry at 5. Katy Perry has dropped one place to 7, as has Alicia Keys (with Jack White, who is a man) at 10. And at number 8, former female group member and now female solo artist Alesha Dixon rises to 8 from 84 last week.

Outside the top 10, Christina Aguilera is another new entry at 14 with 'Keeps Gettin' Better'. We'll see if her chart position keeps getting better next week (stop groaning, you would have said that too). We have to go a long way before we get to the next new entries, both of which are by men, letting the bloody side down. First up is Will Young at 35, with 'Grace' and then comes Ti, plodding in at 39 with 'Live Your Life'. A final mention goes to Scouting For Girls, who yo-yo back into the top 40 with 'I Wish I Was James Bond' at number 40.

Over to the album chart now, where there's a less well-attended ladyfight going on, with Girls Aloud's new album, 'Out Of Control', jumping straight in at number 1, knocking Pink's 'Funhouse' down to 2. Behind them are two more masculine new entries from Enrique Iglesias, with his greatest hits collection, at 3, and Razorlight with 'Slipway Fires' at 4. The only other new entry in the top 10 this week is Status Quo, with 'Pictures: 40 Years Of Hits' - I'm not sure that's a strictly accurate title, but at least they didn't go with '40 Years Of Very Different Riffs'.

Just missing the top 10 are Cliff Richard, with '50th Anniversary Collection', and Andrea Bocelli with 'Incanto'. As with the singles chart, it's then a bit of a trek to the next new entry, which is Girls Aloud again, this time with 'Girls A Live', a special live album released at the same time as 'Out Of Control', which has been sold exclusively by Woolworths. And lastly, Paul Weller goes in at 32 with 'At The BBC', a four disc collection of session and live recordings originally broadcast by, well, you can probably guess (clue: it's not ITV).

The chart comes from the Official Chart Company - www.theofficialcharts.com

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TOTAL ROCK WORLD ALBUM CHART
It's the Total Rock World Album Chart, as counted down on Total Rock over the weekend - www.totalrock.com. New entries and re-entries marked with a *.

1. Metallica - Death Magnetic (Universal/Mercury)
2. AC/DC - Black Ice (Sony/Columbia) - new entry
3. Slipknot - All Hope Is Gone (Warner/Roadrunner)
4. Kid Rock - Rock - N' Roll Jesus (Warner/Atlantic)
5. Rise Against - Appeal To Reason (Universal/Geffen)
6. Disturbed - Indestructible (Warner/Reprise)
7. Buckcherry - Black Butterfly (Warner/Eleven Seven Music)
8. Linkin Park - Minutes To Midnight (Warner Bros)
9. AC/DC - Back In Black (Sony/Columbia)*
10. Trivium - Shogun (Warner/Roadrunner)
11. David Gilmour - Live In Gdansk (EMI)
12. Nickelback - All The Right Reasons (Warner/Roadrunner)
13. Queen + Paul Rodgers - The Cosmos Rocks (EMI)
14. Queen - Greatest Hits 1,2,3 (EMI)
15. The Clash - Live At Shea Stadium (Sony Music)
16. Metallica - Metallica (Universal/Mercury)
17. Led Zeppelin - Mothership (Warner/Atlantic)
18. Journey - Revelation (Frontier)*
19. Staind - The Illusion Of Progress (Warner/Roadrunner)
20. The Offspring - Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace' (Sony Music)

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SUB.TV PLAYLIST
Yes, it's the Sub.tv playlist, the videos played on the Sub.tv network of screens in students' unions around the UK this coming week. New entries marked with a *. More info from DavidLloyd@sub.tv.

A-List
Beyonce - If I Were A Boy
Britney Spears - Womanizer
Coldplay - Lost!*
David Guetta feat. Chris Willis vs Tocadisco - Tomorrow Can Wait
Duffy - Rain On Your Parade
Friendly Fires - Paris*
Gabriella Cilmi - Sanctuary
Kanye West - Love Lockdown
Katy Perry - Hot N Cold
The Killers - Human
Lemar - If She Knew
Linkin Park - Leave Out All The Rest (Live at Milton Keynes)*
The Script - Breakeven
The Streets - Heaven For The Weather*
T.I. feat. Rihanna - Live Your Life*
The Verve - Rather Be

B-List
Alphabeat - What Is Happening*
Dan Black - Yours*
Death Cab For Cutie - No Sunlight*
Esser - Satisfied
Frankmusik - 3 Little Words
Howie B - Royale Sound
Ladyhawke - My Delirium*
Mercury Rev - Butterfly's Wing
Mongrel - The Menace*
Operahouse - Change In Nature
The Shaky Hands - We Are Young
Sigur Ros - Oid Spilum Endalaust
Stars and Sons - In The Ocean*
The Tunics - Cost Of Living
Twisted Wheel - Lucy The Castle
The Week That Was - Learn To Learn

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LIAM IS A GAY ICON
Liam Gallagher has been voted a gay icon in a new survey on, well, gay icons. The Oasis man comes fourth in a poll undertaken by dating website gay-parship.co.uk, behind Jude Law, Robert Downey Jr and Colin Farrell, and ahead of Russell Crowe.

It's thought Gallagher's recent reinvention as a family man may have made him more icon-like to the gay community. On his recent "slightly less of a hard man" image, Gallagher recently said: "People who've got any soul will realise there's a day when you go home, put your feet up and cuddle your kids. But when you do show a bit of caring they call you a poof".

Given his new found status as top Mancunian gay icon, perhaps Liam could get a show on Gaydio, the first ever FM radio station aimed at the gay community, which has just won a community radio licence in Manchester.

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ASHLEE SIMPSON'S BABY MADE HER GROW UP, SAYS DAD
Ashlee Simpson's dad Joe says his daughter really grew up as soon as she discovered that she was pregnant. Well, you have to, really, once you're responsible for another person like that. Well, to a degree, anyway.

Anyway, Simpson Sr says of his due-any-day daughter: "The day she found out she was pregnant, she became a woman. She's concerned about what she eats and how she prepares for the child and is the baby's room 'green' enough? It's a transformation you never expect as a parent - you pray for it, but never expect it. She's ready for this baby!"

He adds that dad-to-be Pete Wentz is also shaping up, parent-wise, saying: "Pete is the king of details, so he wants to make sure the baby's room is just right - the right colours, the right sheets, the right look. He's a great parent".

That's right, it's all about the decor, you know. Having the right shade on the walls will minimise night-feeds, crying, colic and vomiting. Oh, hang on, no. It won't.

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KATONA ADMITS ALCOHOLISM
Kerry Katona has said that she is an alcoholic, according to The People.

The former Atomic Kitten told the tabloid: "Four years ago I was diagnosed as an alcoholic after a stay in The Priory clinic. This is not common knowledge as I've never admitted it before. Along with my bi-polar disorder this is an ongoing battle I will face for the rest of my life".

She added that the problem was under control, however, saying: "Yes, I still have a drink when I want to, like any other 28-year-old woman. Some people think that an alcoholic is someone who drinks all the time but in fact it can be someone who drinks twice a month and gets hammered. During my worst drinking bouts I'd easily knock back 10 to 15 shots of vodka or peach schnapps. I can get through days without having a drink but it's hard. I can never promise myself or my family that I can beat this addiction but I'll try bloody hard".

Husband Mark maintains that her recent slur-ry performance on This Morning was not related to her alcohol problem, but, as previously reported, to medication for her bi-polar disorder, and adds that she only drinks twice a month now, if that.

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PEACHES DENIES DIVORCE
Peaches Geldof has denied that she is divorcing her husband of three months, Chester French singer Max Drummey. The News Of The World claimed that she had told friends that the marriage was over but a spokesman has said that the pair are still an item, explaining: "Like most couples, Peaches and Max have their ups and downs, and things might be said in the heat of the moment. But they are still together and they are not divorcing".

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