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TODAY'S NEWS

RIAA to end its sue the world policy

YouTube making majors millions
Mindy McCready attempts suicide
Axl Rose hints at legal action over Guitar Hero
Coldplay mimicked Buckley, says Martin
Wainwright was taken out of context on gay marriage
Cowell wants Britney for American Idol
Borrell claims Florence's success
Rob Da Bank does King Kong soundtrack
Jay-Z, Diddy, Santogold on Biggie film soundtrack
Eno to score new Jackson film
Keane and Kanye to collaborate again?
Van Morrison to release live Astral Weeks
Specials would like to play Glastonbury
Brecon mayor hopes to rescue jazz festival
We7 to go ad-free for Christmas
High data transfer fees will hinder growth of mobile content market
Indie distributors confirm Pinnacle replacements
Rough Trade confirm sales increase
MPG speak out about form 696
BBC fined over O'Leary and Blackburn fake phone ins
Camfield returns to Xfm
Century to become Real
Estelle criticises Paxman's Dizzee interview
Jackson and Geller to save the world
ON THE NETWORK...
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Same Six Questions
CMU Directory
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FRIDAY 19TH DECEMBER

KITTY, DAISY & LEWIS
It's nice to see siblings get along, isn't it? Brother-and-two-sisters rockabilly trio Kitty, Daisy & Lewis joined forces as a band around 2000 and their blend of Western blues and rock n roll is impossibly great considering the eldest of the group is just 20. In fact, Kitty, who wrote their latest single '(Baby) Hold Me Tight' is a mere 15.


 

Almost as if they travelled to the 21st century in a time machine, the band never use computers or digital equipment in their recording process, opting instead for vintage recording equipment from the 40s and 50s. If you are wise, you will keep an ear out for double A-side single '(Baby) Hold Me Tight/Buggin' Blues', out on 15 Dec through Sunday Best.

Middle child Lewis has answered the Same Six Questions.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
Well, we started out by going to gigs when we were kids and watching people play, all kinds of music, a lot of it was not really to our taste. But after we got back from one club on a Sunday night, someone would put on the food, then we would jam songs because we were kind of fired up to play music. Then the guy who ran the club asked me to come up and do a song with him. I played the banjo, by learning the piano chords a few days before! Then, when we turned up, there was a drum kit so Kitty joined in on drums. We played 'Folsom Prison Blues' by Johnny Cash. The next time we played, with Kitty on harmonica this time and Daisy on accordion and drums, and I got the guitar out. We did a few songs. We were not a band, we were just making music, being in a band never crossed our minds.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
For our album, we recorded most of the songs from our live set. I don't think it was inspired by anything, it felt good to get all that music recorded and to move onto writing other tunes and making new singles. I prefer making singles, I find them more exciting and they are a lot better for DJing. People don't generally take LPs along to DJ, it's easier to take the 7''.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
When we record a track, we all play in the same room together, everything is mic'd just simply, not multi mic'd, with mostly ribbon microphones. The mic's go into pre-amplifiers, of the valve kind, which then record into an eight-track 1" tape recorder. Then, we will keep recording the track until we get one that rocks, regardless of mistakes. Then we mix through a homemade mixing desk made from a wardrobe door with paint-on silver contact pots. If you look in a modern mixer, or any piece of modern gear, you will find very small very cheap plastic pots, which are made overseas and probably cost under 1p to make. The ones used in our desk are made from solid metal, silver contacts, wire wound resistors, no plastic and are physically big, made in the 1940s. Then we go through 1940/50s RCA pre-amplifiers to make up gain and the mix down onto an Ampex 350 twin track. That tape is then our mix down and that will be used to cut the record and to make the CD. We have tried out modern pieces of equipment in our studio but it never has that bollocksy sound of the old stuff.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
We are influenced by loads of people from different eras. From people like Louis Jordan, Muddy Waters, Wynonie Harris to artists from the 1960s. There's always different kinds of music playing in our house, one minute my sister will be playing Louis Prima and the next track will be UK Garage. We are always messing about when we jam playing all sorts of music from swing to funk!

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Well, I wouldn't say anything, I would let them listen to the record. You can't tell someone what to think.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest single, and for the future?
Our latest single was written by Kitty and features a xylophone for the first time. It's also the first record where I play drums. It's a sort of Dixieland/trad jazz vibe, if you know what I mean. We don't really plan or hope for anything, we just want to make music and enjoy it as much as possible. As long as people dig our music, we'll keep rockin for em.

MORE>> www.myspace.com/kittydaisyandlewis

 

ALBUMS OF THE YEAR: MGMT - ORACULAR SPECTACULAR
While discussing 'Oracular Spectacular' with one of the CMU:DJs at our pre-Christmas drinks last night we decided that if we were both 17 (and he can remember being 17 a lot more clearly than me, him not being several decades on from such teenage abandon) this could have been one of the defining albums of our lives. As a bitter and twisted 33 year old (yeah, OK, not decades) it would take a remarkable piece of musical work to have such 'life defining' status. This album isn't that remarkable piece of work, but it is nevertheless the album that will for me define, while not my life, the year that was 2008. It was CMU's SNAP chief Owen Smith who first alerted me to MGMT sometime in the Autumn of 2007, but I must admit all round busy-ness meant my copy of 'OS' sat in my in-tray for at least two months before I gave it the attention is so obviously deserved. It was only when I realised that 'Time To Pretend' had somehow become my favourite new song in years, despite me never actually putting it in the CD player, or knowlingly hearing it on the radio or seeing it on TV, that I realised MGMT were my new favourite band and that this album needed investigating. I've never been the biggest album listener in the world, a tendency that has increased in the 'rip the tracks you like into iTunes' age, but this is the one album that I have listened to in full so many times this year I couldn't begin to count them - and frequently with two or three repeat plays in one sitting. In a particularly good year for new music, this was one of the very best. Life defining for some, iPod-dominating for many, a real album of the year for CMU.

MORE>> www.myspace.com/mgmt

Check out the CMU team's top ten albums of the year on the CMU website here.

 

 



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.

 

 

VIGSY'S NEW YEARS TIP: WANG AT CORSICA STUDIOS
Wang Promoters Electro Elvis AND Lula are throwing a party with a few dance music legends. Squarepusher (live), Radioactive Man (live), and DJ Alexander Robotnick with Heartbreak (live), plus AGT Rave Crulive too, with big Jim Masters weighing into the roster alongside your hosts Mr and Mrs Wang. Techno, electro, drum n bass, breaks, dubstep, grime, and dub with a no doubt friendly and totally mad-for-it crowd in deep south London. The last one was great - I doubt this will disappoint. It is more of a party than a club and this venue suits it to the ground.

Wednesday 31 Dec, Corsica Studios, Unit 5, Elephant Road London SE17 1LB, 10pm - 6am, tickets £20 adv. Info line 07920 800293 or from Lou at Rocketscience.

VIGSY'S OTHER NEW YEARS TIP: ROY AYERS LIVE AT THE JAZZ CAFE
Actually, this is a bit of a regular thing now, and is just one night of a seven day post-Christmas residency for Ol' Uncle Roy, possibly the world's most celebrated scat, jazz, soul and funk composer, with his Ubiquity band, including funky sax payer Ray Gaskins. The NYE show is selling fast, so how about a £25 ticket for one of the other four shows from 27-30 Dec?

Wednesday 31 Dec, Jazz Cafe, 5 The Parkway, Camden, NW5, doors 7pm, £50 in advance, more on the door at www.jazzcafe.co.uk, press info from Becky TW at Jazz Cafe HQ

VIGSY'S THIRD NEW YEARS TIP: EAST VILLAGE NYE BASH
Ron Trent is a bit of a dance music legend - this Chicagan techster truly goes back in the day and replaces the previously listed Osunlade (a fair swap I would say!). Tonight Trent's joined by none other than Orin Walters - the Afronaught who is part of the West London Busted Beats circuit who is a house producer first and foremost - who I once saw rock this very bar when it was called Medicine. Benji B and East Village resident's Soulsonic guvnor Mr Stuart Patterson will be on mix and blen' duty too joining the dots, ensuring they'll notching out the finest soulful & jazzy house, broken beat, boogie, tech, Latin house around...

Wednesday 31 Dec, 7pm-4.30am, East Village, 89 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3HX, £15-20 www.eastvillageclub.com, press Info: Rosalia at Ferrara PR.

 

 

NO. 6: SHANE MACGOWAN
Okay, this week's Ringo story is perhaps the least surprising of any we've had so far, but it is somewhat festive - the man in question having penned the greatest Christmas song ever recorded, 'Fairytale Of New York'. So, without further a do, here is the Ringo Says Fuck Off Christmas Special.

A reader writes: "I used to be a promoter at a venue in Sheffield. The Pogues did a blinding gig and I went backstage to say how fantastic they were, to which Shane McGowan said 'fuck off'. Ah well, he had impressively colourful teeth at close range".

Have you ever been told to fuck off by a pop star? Perhaps it happened at a New Year party. Email your stories to peaceandlove@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.

 

 

So, today is your very last chance to vote for the CMU track of the year. We will be closing the polls at 3pm this afternoon. We'll then count up all the votes, ready to announce them in the CMU Review Of The Music Year on Monday. So, select your favourite from this list and email it to 2008@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk.

The Final Ten:
Alphabeat - Fascination
Elbow - One Day Like This
Foals - Cassius
Florence & The Machine - Dog Days Are Over
Glasvegas - Geraldine
Hot Chip - Ready For The Floor
Katy Perry - I Kissed A Girl
MGMT - Time To Pretend
Sam Sparro - Black & Gold
Santogold - L.E.S. Artistes

Go on, it's easy, just email the name of your favourite track from this list to 2008@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk - and look out for the announcement of the overall winner in next Monday's CMU Daily, the CMU Review Of The Music Year. Happy voting.

 

 

RIAA TO END ITS SUE THE WORLD POLICY
In a week dominated by the Leonard Cohen classic, can I just say "hallelujah". A year that began with the news all four majors had ended their kamikaze love affair with digital rights management, is ending with the news that the Recording Industry Association Of America is axing its other self-defeating, unhelpful, surely-record-company-execs-cant-be-this-dumb policy of suing individual music fans over their use of P2P file sharing technology to acquire or share unlicensed music.

From the word go the RIAA has been at the forefront of the litigious approach to tackling the piracy threat of the internet, which was good news for lawyers, but bad news for pretty much everyone else, not least the record companies who had to foot the bill for the legal campaign that was destined to fail from the word go, and which destroyed the already sagging reputation of the record industry at a time when it needed public and consumer support, partly because the labels were clearly going to have to develop direct customer relationships moving forward, and partly because it needed enough goodwill to fight for a re-evaluation of copyright systems.

The original strategy was to sue any company making P2P networking possible. But it soon became clear that suing Napster, Grokster, Kazaa et al was not effective because, even when the US courts eventually started to find in the labels' favour, the kids had always transferred their loyalties to newer P2P systems by the time older ones had been sued out of business.

The next step was to sue individuals who file shared. Firstly a small handful - to make an example of them, and try and scare file sharers into compliance. When that didn't work a few more, then a few more, then a few more and then thousands and thousands more until some 35,000 legal letters had been issued. Yes the vast majority of those targeted settled out of court, but the fines they agreed to pay didn't cover the cost of pursuing the legal campaign, and certainly didn't compensate for the bad press whenever cases did go to court. Bad press that escalated as those P2P lawsuits in court hit up this and that legal technicality, making the labels' case anything but clear-cut. Overall P2P usage was unaffected.

Basically, it was a dumb ass policy that cost lots of money, ruined the record industry's public reputation and distracted labels from the real priority - developing new business models and working with new internet services to create new revenues.

To their credit, UK record company trade body the BPI never took the 'sue everything that moves' approach, using individual fan litigation carefully. It subsequently prioritised lobbying the internet service providers for assistance in combating online piracy, a strategy which, while still in its infancy, has much more promise (providing resulting measures are not too draconian).

According to the Wall Street Journal, the US industry has announced that it too now recognises this is the way forward. The RIAA says it has been winding down its litigation programme since earlier this Autumn, and that it anticipates only taking such action against major filesharers in the future. It's not clear what this means for the higher profile, long running and still pending legal cases where the accused infringers entered a defence, sometimes with some success.

Confirming the change of strategy, RIAA boss Mitch Bainwol said that he thought the litigation approach had had some success, but that now was the right time to pursue an alternative strategy. He told reporters: "Over the course of five years, the marketplace has changed. Litigation was successful in raising the public's awareness that file-sharing is illegal, but I now want to try a strategy I think could prove more successful".

Of course, as I say, the ISP partnership approach is not without its problems, but it has so much more potential than the RIAA's self-destructive strategy of the last five years I think this story requires as its conclusion another "hallelujah".

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YOUTUBE MAKING MAJORS MILLIONS
The Exec VP of Universal Music Group's eLabs division has said the major is seeing tens of millions of dollars of income coming in from YouTube, suggesting the video sharing platform that for a time was home to a plethora of unlicensed content uploaded by punters is now becoming a valuable earner for those content owners who have entered into licensing deals with it.

To their credit, after making a few threatening phone calls about copyright infringement in the early days of YouTube, after nearly every music video ever made was grabbed off MTV etc and posted on the site by punters around the world, the four majors quickly agreed licensing deals with the leading video sharing service, scoring upfront payments, equity stakes and ongoing ad revenue every time one of their videos is watched on the service (oblivious of whether they actually uploaded the video themselves).

Commenting on the value of YouTube to the majors, Universal digital man Rio Caraeff told CNet: "[YouTube] is not like radio, where [airplay] is just promotional [which it is in the US where radio stations don't pay royalties]. It's a revenue stream, a commercial business. It's growing tremendously. It's up almost 80 percent for us year-over-year in the US. in terms of our revenue from this category. Doug Morris, Universal's CEO, has led the industry to set up videos as a revenue stream. Since 2005, Universal has gone from making zero dollars on music videos to nearly $100 million [a year]".

Of course that $100 million comes from all the online video services that have sprung up in the last few years, though insiders say YouTube does account for a sizable portion of it. Caraeff's comments follow remarks made by Nettwerk Music boss Terry McBride earlier in the year when he revealed Avril Lavigne could expect to earn two million dollars from her YouTube royalties.

Such remarks offer some optimism for both the web and music sectors in a market and economy more used to doom and gloom. It suggests that YouTube owners Google are successfully establishing their video platform as a viable ad-funded service, and that in doing so the record companies have a valuable new revenue stream to help them overcome the continued slump in CD sales.

Music is by far the most successful content type on YouTube, with Universal and Sony having the biggest channels on the video site, which also means that the content industry which was first hit hard by the threats and fundamental culture-change brought about by internet may be the first to truly benefit from the business potential the net has always offered.

Of course there's the argument that the big and blanket licensing deals between record companies and the likes of YouTube, meaning all music is available on demand all the time, will ultimately hinder the expansion of pay-per-track digital music platforms. And there's the ongoing concern that smaller labels and artists might not get their cut of the action. But hey, let's lead the final Daily proper of 2008 with some optimism shall we. Record companies make millions from the internet. Hurrah.

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MINDY MCCREADY ATTEMPTS SUICIDE
US country singer Mindy McCready has apparently attempted to commit suicide at her home in Nashville. According to Nashville police, McCready was found by her brother after cutting her wrist and taking several pills.

McCready was released from jail in October, after serving 30 days for breaking probation relating to a 2004 charge of obtaining prescription painkillers fraudulently.

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AXL ROSE HINTS AT LEGAL ACTION OVER GUITAR HERO
Axl Rose has said that he's not happy with the fact that Activision have used Guns n Roses tracks in their Guitar Hero game, and says the fact that Slash is involved doesn't justify the use of the songs 'Welcome To The Jungle' and 'Sweet Child O' Mine'.

In a letter to fans, he wrote: "[Slash] being [in] 'Guitar Hero's fine but not when Activision is using '...Jungle' unauthorized. I wasn't broadsided. I read about it as it moved along but Activision continually denied it right up to the release. That's some low life chicanery on all their parts. Yes, Slash was in Guns and on '...Jungle' and he has rights to perform it, but not to be represented in this context in association with Guns. And since they weren't granted the license it'll take some sorting".

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COLDPLAY MIMICKED BUCKLEY, SAYS MARTIN
Chris Martin has admitted that Coldplay were trying to sound like Jeff Buckley on their 2000 single 'Shiver', even if they weren't trying to sound like Joe Satriani on their 2008 single 'Viva La Vida'.

Martin told Chris Moyles: "It's a blatant Jeff Buckley attempt. Not quite as good, that's what I think. We were 21 and he was very much a hero, and as with those things it tends to filter through".

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WAINWRIGHT WAS TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT ON GAY MARRIAGE
Rufus Wainwright has said that a comment on gay marriage he made in a recent interview with the New York Press was taken out of context.

As previously reported, in the interview Wainwright was quoted as saying: "Oddly enough, I'm actually not a huge gay marriage supporter. I personally don't want to get married", though he did add "I don't think any government should encroach on what goes on in the bedroom at all. Frankly, if you want to marry a dog, why don't you go ahead and marry a dog, I don't care".

However, Wainwright has now posted a message on his official website, in which he says: "Recently, a quote from an interview was taken out of context and as these things go, it has appeared on many internet sites. So, to set the record straight (or shall we say gay?), I am not nor have I ever been opposed to anyone's right to marry - straight or gay. I myself just don't want to at the moment and feel a strong tie to the traditional bohemian concept of being a homosexual, ie: the last thing we want is to be like everybody else. But who knows, a girl likes options. Maybe someday I will want to marry! Plus, in terms of practical issues such as citizenship, taxes, inheritance, etc... it is appauling that LGBT couples don't have the same rights and options that other people have and compared with Europe and Canada, the US should be ashamed of how they treat love. I have voiced my strong opposition to Prop 8 on many occasions and will continue to do so until that referendum is reversed. OK? I've got to get back to work now".

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COWELL WANTS BRITNEY FOR AMERICAN IDOL
Despite her less than inspiring performance on this year's X Factor, Simon Cowell is keen to get Britney back for a slot on 'American Idol' when it airs next year.

Cowell told MTV: "She would, literally, be first on the list as far as I'm concerned in any capacity. I would love to see her mentor the contestants, but if she doesn't want to do that, and she wants to come on the show and perform, I would welcome her any time. The buzz we had on ['X Factor'] when she came on was extraordinary. And even with all the stuff that's gone on with her the past two years, there was more excitement and interest in her than I've seen in anyone in years. She would be very, very welcome".

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BORRELL CLAIMS FLORENCE'S SUCCESS
Razorlight's Johnny Borrell has claimed responsibility for the success of Florence & The Machine, who are being tipped by many, including us, for success in 2009 and have just been announced as the winner of the Brit Critics' Choice Award.

Borrell told The Sun: "Florence & The Machine are friends of mine. They've been playing some songs [I've written] in their live set for a while now. But I haven't really talked about it before because the press always get the wrong idea and they're just starting out".

How much of a negative effect this claim will have on Flo is yet to be seen.

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ROB DA BANK DOES KING KONG SOUNDTRACK
Rob Da Bank has put together an alternative soundtrack for the original 1933 film of 'King Kong', which is to air on BBC 4 on 27 Dec. The Radio 1 DJ's choice of tunes will be available to viewers who press the red button thingy that you get. The film opens with Hudson Mohawke's 'Star Crackout' and finishes with The Pixies' 'Monkey Gone to Heaven', and includes tracks from the likes of Flaming Lips, Radiohead, Tunng, Bon Iver, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Black Sabbath, Bruce Springsteen, and Harry Connick Junior.

The 42 song soundtrack will also be broadcast on Rob da Bank's Radio 1 show on 21 Dec. Here's what he says about it: "My soundtrack takes in everything from dubstep to rock and lots of electronica and weird beats."

So, there you go.

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JAY-Z, DIDDY, SANTOGOLD ON BIGGIE FILM SOUNDTRACK
More soundtrack stuff now, with the news that Jay-Z, Diddy and Santogold are amongst those whose tracks will appear on the previously reported Biggie Smalls biopic 'Notorious', out at the start of next year. The soundtrack will be released on 26 Jan, ahead of the release of the film on 13 Feb.

Executive producer Diddy recently said this: "I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the team which brings the story of my friend, BIG, to the big screen. The movie is a mother's story and his mom was instrumental in getting this film made. 'Notorious' is a tour de force".

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ENO TO SCORE NEW JACKSON FILM
And yes, more soundtrack news. Perhaps these things happen in threes. According to reports Brian Eno is to score 'Lord Of The Rings' chap Peter Jackson's new film, and is listed as original music creator in the credits. The film, which I can pretty much guarantee won't be bundle of laughs, is based on the novel 'The Lovely Bones' by Alice Sebold. It stars former popster Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon and Rachel Weisz.

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KEANE AND KANYE TO COLLABORATE AGAIN?
Keane's Richard Hughes has suggested that his band would like to do something with Kanye West again, following that previously reported hook-up in Paris.

The drummer explained: "I think Tim left another song with him that he wrote a little while back. It's got a huge gap in it which is for a guest vocalist and we were hoping Kanye might take a run at that as well".

Joking, he added: "I don't know, maybe we'll do a little EP, call it Keane-ye or something".

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VAN MORRISON TO RELEASE LIVE ASTRAL WEEKS
Van Morrison is to release a live version of his seminal album 'Astral Weeks' to celebrate the LP's fortieth anniversary. It's a recording of the live set which took place at the Hollywood Bowl last month, at which every track from the long player was performed by the original line up of band members who appeared on the original recordings.

The album's out via EMI, who signed a deal with Morrison back in the nineties. Sounds like he's very happy with it too, look what he says: "I brought these records to EMI because they seem to have people with vision, who have 'ears' and who understand the significance of the complex arrangements and the classic essence of recordings like 'Astral Weeks. They're committed to maintaining the integrity of the records I make. That is what it's all about to me".

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SPECIALS WOULD LIKE TO PLAY GLASTONBURY
Terry Hall of The Specials has said that he'd like his band to play Glastonbury as part of their reunion tour next year. Of course, he didn't just come out with it, he was asked if he'd like to, and , speaking to 6Music, responded: "That would be nice. The last time I played at Glastonbury was 1983, 1984 so it would be nice to do it".

Talking about the tour, he explained that the band are happy to revive their back catalogue because the sentiment of the tracks "still applies today". He continued: "Climates have changed slightly but we're still faced with this huge recession, unemployment and racism. It still exists and that's what we dealt with first time round".

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BRECON MAYOR HOPES TO RESCUE JAZZ FESTIVAL
The mayor of Brecon has said he is in talks with "two well known organisations" about them taking over the town's annual jazz festival. As previously reported, the future of the Brecon Jazz Festival has been thrown into doubt after the company who produced it went into liquidation, citing bad weather and resulting poor ticket sales and a decline in sponsorship and broadcast revenues as reasons for their financial woes.

The Welsh town is keen not to lose its annual music event, and Mayor Martin Weale says he is talking to two companies about taking over the event. He has also told reporters the festival's existing sponsor is still interested in being involved.

Weale: "I am in talks with two different but well-known organisations. Both are established in this arena. The organisers of an event next summer would be entirely new and separate from the company which is sadly being wound up at the moment. I am very hopeful that something will happen in 2009. In fact, I'd be disappointed if we didn't have a jazz festival in Brecon next year. The scope of it is something I'm not in a position to comment about at the moment".

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WE7 TO GO AD-FREE FOR CHRISTMAS
Music streaming and download service We7, which gives users access to free music with adverts attached, will be stripping those adverts from their audio files between Christmas and new year. This means many tracks and albums will be available to download with no money changing hands and no one trying to sell you anything while you listen.

We7 CEO, Steve Purdham, said, "2008 has been a sea change year for digital music, with positive support and action coming from the music industry and great growth and acceptance for We7. We7 is fast becoming one of the top UK music destinations for listening to music people want, and we are very optimistic about the prospects for digital music in 2009. We wanted to mark the end of 2008 with a token of thanks to our most important supporters, the music fans who use We7, hence the idea of an Ad-Free Christmas".

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HIGH DATA TRANSFER FEES WILL HINDER GROWTH OF MOBILE CONTENT MARKET
Mobile transaction company mBlox say that UK mobile users who access mobile downloads where the data charge is not bundled into the download fee could pay up to £10 in order to get the content onto their mobile, because pay-as-you-go mobile data transfer fees are still so high.

That off-puttingly large fee does not apply to download services operated by the mobile networks, because they will bundle the cost for transferring data over the mobile internet in with the cost of the track. Mobile internet users with large amounts of data transfer capacity bundled into their monthly subscription fees are also unlikely to be effected. But if you're accessing content from independent (ie non-network operated) mobile download platforms with pay as you go data transfer then you could find a music track increases in cost ten-fold once data charges are taken into account.

mBlox say that the UK mobile networks have some of the highest pay as you go data charges, charging up to five pounds a MB, meaning a 2MB music file would cost £10 to download. Data charges elsewhere in Europe are much more reasonably priced, especially in Germany where many operators charge just 24 euro-cents a megabyte.

mBlox say that if the mobile content market is really going to take off in 2009 then mobile companies need to make data-transfer fees less steep and more transparent. To achieve the latter they'd need to adopt a 'sender-pays' model, where independent content services pay the mobile network directly for the data costs of delivering content, and bundle that cost into the download price, meaning the user pays what they see.

mBlox Chairman Andrew Bud told reporters: "2009 could be a pivotal year for rich mobile content, but for this to happen, consumers need a transparent pricing mechanism to purchase rich content. Content providers need to be sure that their consumers are treated fairly," said Andrew Bud, executive chairman, mBlox. The current hope that flat-rate data will be the total solution is fundamentally flawed as market penetration is not high enough nor is it likely to be for some considerable time".

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INDIE DISTRIBUTORS CONFIRM PINNACLE REPLACEMENTS
Nova Sales & Distribution, another smaller music distribution company who utilised bigger distributor Pinnacle to actually get product into shops, has announced a replacement deal with the independent distribution division of Universal Music.

Pinnacle, of course, went into administration at the start of the month, affecting hundreds of independent labels and tens of smaller distributors. Many of those smaller distributors have already announced deals with other bigger players to takeover from Pinnacle in terms of getting product into shops, with Essential announcing a deal with Cinram almost as soon as Pinnacle collapsed, jazz distributor announcing a tie up with Proper, and Shellshock confirming a deal with Southern Records Distribution earlier this week.

Music Week report that another distributor affected, Kudos, is considering dealing with record stores directly rather than finding a replacement for Pinnacle.

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ROUGH TRADE CONFIRM SALES INCREASE
And now some happy news from the world of music retail. It had to happen eventually. Independent record seller Rough Trade has said it enjoyed a 7% increase in year-on-year sales in the quarter running up to 30 Nov, ie the quarter when the impact of the credit crunch started to be seen elsewhere in the retail sector. Rough Trade says that that shows there is still an appetite for physical product and the record shop experience among some music consumers.

Music Week quote Rough Trade Retail Director Stephen Godfroy thus: "There is certainly a re-emerging importance for exciting, face-to-face music retail in response to the lonesome world of finger-clicking retail. Specifically with Rough Trade East, we've provided music its very own agora, a meeting place where people of all ages can hang out and share their appreciation of music, whatever their taste".

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MPG SPEAK OUT ABOUT FORM 696
The Music Producer's Guild and Musician's Union are teaming up to more formally protest against the increasingly infamous Form 696, the Metropolitan Police created form used by London councils in the live music licence application process which asks for personal information about all musicians due to appear at music events plus specifics about the genres of music to be played.

Anger over the form has been growing in the artist community since UK Music chief Feargal Sharkey raised it at a parliamentary review of the 2003 Licensing Act. Sharkey was arguing that new powers introduced by the Act were being misused by some local authorities, making it harder, and more costly and time-consuming, for promoters of smaller music events to secure licences.

With regard to the 696 form, used by London local authorities since the introduction of the new legislation, he questioned what was done with the personal data of musicians and whether the genre information would be used to discriminate against those types of music associated with ethnic minority groups. He added that the 2003 Act itself does not require such information be collected.

Since then a petition against the form has been set up on the 10 Downing Street website, and the Musician's Union have been formally speaking out about it. And the boss of the Music Producer's Guild this week issued an open letter supporting the Union on this issue.

MPG boss Mike Howlett wrote: "The Music Producers Guild would like to add its support to the Musicians Union's campaign to stop London Metropolitan Police from enforcing Form 696. Our understanding is that Form 696 compels licensees who wish to hold live music events in 21 London Boroughs to report to the police the names, addresses, aliases and telephone numbers of performers, and most worryingly, the likely ethnicity of their audience. Failure to comply could result in fines or imprisonment. In keeping with the Musicians Union and UK Music, we feel this is a gross infringement of civil liberties and a form of racial discrimination. We also feel that this will deter the staging of live musical events, stifle free expression and possibly penalise certain genres of music and ethnic audiences".

Howlett adds that he is encouraging his members to sign the aforementioned petition, and that he'd support any Union activity to lobby for the abolition of the form.

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BBC FINED OVER O'LEARY AND BLACKBURN FAKE PHONE INS
The BBC has been fined £95,000 by media regulator OfCom for 13 dodgy quizzes broadcast on Radio 2 and BBC London in 2005 and 2006, on shows hosted by those kings of corruption Dermot O'Leary and Tony Blackburn.

They were pre-recorded shows but encouraged people to phone in to take part in on air competitions, presumably because at the time the BBC (and other stations) tended to pretend pre-recorded shows were live and didn't want to ruin that pretence by not requesting callers for quiz features.

OfCom said it was "very concerned by the repeated, pre-meditated and deliberate decisions to include competitions in pre-recorded programmes that were broadcast 'as live'", and said that doing so was "wholly unacceptable".

The Beeb says that a policy change since these incidents means such fake phone-ins could not happen again. These, of course, are just one of many 'phone in scandals' that was uncovered at the BBC and other broadcasters.

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CAMFIELD RETURNS TO XFM
Ian Camfield is returning to Xfm with a new daytime show that will be aired on both the station's London and Manchester outputs. Camfield, of course, was an original presenter on the station and presented pretty much every show going in his ten years with them. He left to join New York's K-Rock station last year, K-Rock being similar to Xfm in format. Well, it was at the time. It has since repositioned itself as a classic rock station (which is a crying shame), hence Camfield's decision to return to Xfm.

Camfield told CMU: "I had a great year in NYC, but when K-Rock flipped to classic rock and I was offered to stay and play Bob Seeger, the choice was obvious. I've packed my 4000 CDs and the amplifier that makes my headphones go really loud. I'm excited to be taking them home to Xfm".

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CENTURY TO BECOME REAL
The two Century Radio stations are to be rebranded as Real Radio, fully integrating them within the Real Radio network that already has stations in Central Scotland, Yorkshire and South Wales. GMG Radio, which owns both brands, had already changed the corporate identity of the two Century stations so that they have similar logos and the like to Real, and on-air the Century and Real stations operated the same programming and music policies, sharing some off-peak shows.

Confirming the name change at the Century stations, GMG Radio's Deputy Chief Executive Stuart Taylor said: "As strong brands become increasingly important in the media market GMG Radio will house two of the most powerful networks in the UK. Real Radio and Smooth Radio complement each other perfectly. Listeners will continue to enjoy the same great presenters and music, and advertisers will benefit from bigger and better opportunities".

The arrival of the Real brand in Manchester and Newcastle follows GMG's winning of the new FM licence for North Wales which will enable them to expand their South Wales service to cover the whole country.

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ESTELLE CRITICISES PAXMAN'S DIZZEE INTERVIEW
Estelle has criticised Jeremy Paxman over that interview he did with Dizzee Rascal on Newsnight early last month. She thinks the TV journalist treated Mr Rascal badly, and told The New Statesman: "I was like, 'He is taking you for an idiot right now! Did no-one brief you?' Paxman's not going to get away with asking me, 'Do I think I'm British?'"

Dizzee's response at the time was: "Course I'm British, man - you know me. It doesn't matter what colour you are. It matters what colour your heart is man, and your intentions. I think a black man, purple man, martian man could run the country as long as he does right by the people".

The BBC responded to Estelle's comments like this: "The topics being discussed were race, nationality and identity, and this question was a natural part of that discussion".

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JACKSON AND GELLER TO SAVE THE WORLD
The Sun claims that Uri Geller thinks he can bring an end to the global economic downturn by inserting subliminal messages into pop music to make people think more positively. The tabloid quote a source as saying: "Uri is convinced the power of positive thought can lift us out of economic gloom".

The source also explained that he'd approached Simon Cowell to ask if he'd do it with X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke's first single, with no success: "His offer was politely declined. But he's not deterred. He's vowed to succeed and is determining which releases to target."

It's claimed, however, that Uri's long-time friend Michael Jackson is interested in adding Geller's messages to one of his songs. "Him and Jacko recorded a spoken-word message and want to put it behind the track so it can penetrate people's subconscious", the source says. Surely the recession will be long gone by the time Jacko actually gets round to releasing a new song?

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