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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Lammy talks up his Rights Agency idea
Macca Coachella set could result in $50k fine
Idlewild about to release fan-funded album
Rihanna asks LAPD to give back bling
In The Pop Courts
Prince sued by literary agent
Snoop fan sues over gig altercation
Aerosmith settle lawsuit with free gig in Hawaii
Obituaries
Barron Knight dies
In The Studio
Madonna happy with Oakenfold collaboration
Cheryl Cole has solo plans
Release News
Download The Heavy's Noisettes collaboration
Sean Paul releases new track
Eminem makes new website
Gigs N Tours News
De La Soul's 20th anniversary tour
Reviews
Album review: Lenka - Lenka (Sony/Columbia)
The Music Business
William Morris to merger with Hollywood rivals
The Digital Business
Project Playlist boss to head up MySpace
Amazon and Apple profits up
Seeqpod is offline
Idolator scales back operations
Geocities to shut down
The Media Business
Michael Grade may leave ITV completely
ITV loses out on Boyle incomes because of a lack of YouTube deal
Amstell leaves Buzzcocks
Chart Of The Day
Chart update
And finally...
Madden forced to cover tattoos by British Airways
Bon Jovi on lasting marriage: Fear is the key
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts
 
MONDAY 27TH APRIL


AN UPDATE ON ALL THINGS CMU!

Hello everybody! It's been a while since we did one of these CMU catch ups here in the Top Bit, and there's so much going on in the world of CMU and UnLimited at the moment that seems like something of an oversight, so let's catch up shall we? Where to start? Well, here's three things things to be getting on with...

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1. THE MUSIC BUSINESS IN 2009: AN INSIDE GUIDE
Presumably you've all noticed that this is an ever changing beast, this here music business. Well, for those that haven't been keeping track of every single development reported on here in the CMU Daily, fear not. Next month we'll be providing an overview of the UK music business in 2009, reviewing the role of music companies old and new, big and small, rich and poor, live and online, and explaining how music gets made, marketed, discovered and sold in 2009. And all in just sixty minutes, oh yes.

This is a new CMU seminar aimed at newcomers to the industry - aspiring bands, artists, producers, label execs or entrepreneurs - or anyone currently working in the industry wanting a refresher on the state of play, or a quick insight into bits of the music business other than their own. You can check out The Music Business In 2009: An Inside Guide at The Great Escape in Brighton on Thursday 14th May at midday, and at Liverpool Sound City on Friday 22nd May at St George's Hall, also at midday.

2. CMU INSIGHTS
Now this is exciting, a brand new event from Team CMU. Next month we will be staging CMU Insights at both The Great Escape in Brighton (on Friday 15th May at midday in the Thistle Hotel) and at Liverpool Sound City (on Friday 22nd May at 2pm at St George's Hall).

So what's this all about? Well, we'll be presenting three leading music business people from different parts of the industry, and talking each of them through their careers to date, finding out what they've done, how they did it, and who they did it with, as it were. Plus we'll find out their opinions on the music industry in 2009, and how their jobs have changed in recent years.

Keep an eye on your CMU Daily for news of who we have lined up!

3. GET NOTICED WITH CMU
Did you know that the CMU Daily is now read by over 15.5k people every single day? That's pretty much all the people who matter in music - everyone working in the label, publisher, promoter, management, agency, PR and studio sectors, all the key journalists and editors and producers and presenters and DJs and heads of music, and thousands of musicians, songwriters and key opinion formers in the grass roots music, media and student communities. The people who make, champion and cherish good new music, and who initiate all that 'word of mouth support' marketers strive for.

Why is this relevant? Well, if you have an album or a tour or a branded music programme to promote, or a digital or mobile music service or product to sell, or you provide services to the music, entertainment or media sectors, among the CMU readership are all the decision makers and opinion formers you should be talking to. And how do you talk to them? Well, advertise in the CMU Daily, obviously.

We have various great ways to promote your companies or releases or products or events in CMU, and for May we are offering banner adverts at the special rate of just £100 a week - so £20 a day. Plus, for the first time, we are offering the chance for music companies to become official supporters or section sponsors of the CMU Daily. For more details on all this, follow these links...

Advertise in the CMU Daily

Become an official CMU Daily supporter

Sponsor a section in the CMU Daily

Anyway, that's enough CMU plugging, except to say that if you need an independent comment on anything to do with music or the music business, or you're looking for quality music content, or you need advice on a music business venture, then check out our company website at www.unlimitedmedia.co.uk to find out how we can help, and then give us a call.

Chris Cooke, Co-Editor, CMU Daily

PS: Are we on your mailing list? Don't forget, keep us up to date on all your projects and releases by sending press releases and random gossip to musicnews@unlimitedmedia.co.uk. This is the only address you need to email, and this is the email box that our news gathering team check daily. There is no need to email personalised emails, or the made up CMU or UnLimited email addresses some people use!

 

 


 

 
INTERNSHIP AT UNLIMITED MEDIA
UnLimited Media is seeking an intern to begin working with us this Spring/Summer. The successful candidate will work primarily on CMU projects, helping process and manage review CDs, update databases, expand the CMU Directory and assist on upcoming marketing programmes. These are unpaid positions, but interns will get an unrivalled introduction to the music and media businesses, editorial, administration and marketing experience, and the opportunity to make great contacts.

To apply send a CV and a short note telling us what you'd like to get out of an internship to recruitment@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.

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INTRODUCING LEYLINE PUBLICITY
Leyline Promotions - better known as one of the capital’s leading independent promoters (The Remix, Kill All Hippies, Insomniacs Ball, Twisted Licks, Breaking Ground) - have created a new publicity department headed up by Nick Bateson and Adrian Leigh. The pair have worked on major campaigns including a-ha, Glade Festival, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Standon Calling Festival and Hervé amongst others.

In addition to their wealth of experience in the live arena, Leyline Publicity now specialise in bespoke PR services including online and offline music and lifestyle press, radio plugging, brand development, digital marketing and blogging. For further information please contact: nick@leylinepromotions.com or adrian@leylinepromotions.com t: 020 7575 3285

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ADVERTISE WITH CMU - classifieds £120 per week, job ads £100 per week, banner ads £150 per week, leader box £200 per week - call 020 7099 9050 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk for information or to book.

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LAMMY TALKS UP HIS RIGHTS AGENCY IDEA
Following on from a PPL organised event in London last Thursday to discuss the future of good old copyright in this here digital age, the Guardian have been speaking to the ministerial type currently charged with the task of making copyright laws work in the context of the internet, that David Lammy chap.

As previously reported, while the UK's Culture Minister Andy Burnham has done much to woo the music business since taking over the creative industries brief in January 2008, Lammy, who, in his role as Intellectual Property Minister, actually has more control over issues of copyright, has been less keen to pander to the music industry, stressing on numerous occasions in the debate around extending the copyright term for sound recordings that it's the interests of musicians over music companies that are of primary interest to him.

Meanwhile on the big issue in relation to copyright and the internet - proposals that the internet service providers be forced to take a more proactive role in policing piracy - Lammy has previously said he thinks the system preferred by some in the music industry, the so called three-strike system that would see persistent illegal file-sharers cut off, would not be workable. He and his colleague Stephen Carter, Communications Minister and the man behind the recent 'Digital Britain' report, advocate the creation of a Digital Rights Agency to liaise between content owners and net firms. Record companies reckon that's just a distraction to put off making difficult decisions that could lead to copyright infringing users losing their net access.

Referencing to the 1709 Statute Of Anne, arguably the first copyright legislation in the UK, Lammy told the Guardian: "I am not sure there has ever been consensus since 1709 in the family that is copyright, but there have been critical moments in that long history: the birth of the printing press [this actually happened a long time before 1709, but let's not lose sleep over such things], difference in perception between us in Europe and our US colleagues over book copyright... even the advent of analogue TV brought certain hurdles. But what we have seen in the past three or four years is a massive acceleration in the need to deal with this different frontier. What we are keen to do in the UK is to establish a more shared view on the importance of copyright to our creative and economic future".

Observing that "consumers today are saying, 'we want access to content at a time we want it'", but that "without the creator there is nothing to talk about", he says that one of the problems with copyright is that it is so bloody complicated (I'm paraphrasing slightly) and that in an age when people can and do access content in all sorts of ways, and then move that content between devices and share it with friends, the whole concept needs to be simplified so that the average man of the (virtual) street can access content in simple ways safe in the knowledge they are on the right side of the law.

Lammy: "It would be wrong to suggest that copyright has been largely something in our history that has been in the public domain. Copyright has largely been the domain of lawyers and of creatives, or professionals like teachers. We are moving into an environment where so many people have to be aware of being on the right side of the law, but at the moment accessing those rights is not a straightforward process for the consumer".

Because internet technologies develop so fast, and the nature of content access and distribution changes rapidly with it, Lammy says that excessive new copyright legislation - and in that he's including the three-strike system - is not the solution. Such new laws, he reckons, would quickly become out of date and, as a result, just further complicate things.

Which brings Mr Lammy back to that Digital Rights Agency proposal of Comms man Carter. The agency will "facilitate proper working together" between content owners, net firms and consumers, he says, because, he reckons, "in the end, the solutions are going to be commercial solutions. They are going to be solutions that are about ensuring people pay for content, but the ease of paying is there".

He concludes: "My view is that intellectual property may have been in the past a technical legal issue important to the economy but slightly in the backwaters. It is not going to be that in future. If Britain is to be the knowledge economy that it absolutely has to be in the 21st century, then intellectual property will be centre-stage".

While many in the industry would agree with some of what Lammy says, most major label bosses would probably argue that negotiations between content owners and net firms and digital service providers have been ongoing for years. Talks to create new services have been generally more productive than those looking for ways to combat piracy. In the latter domain the record companies are not convinced further talks - even with the facilitation of some specialised government agency - will result in any consensus between content owners and net providers, and that only new laws will persuade ISPs to take a more hard line approach to tackling illegal file sharing on their networks.

You can read the Guardian interview here.

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MACCA COACHELLA SET COULD RESULT IN $50K FINE
Paul McCartney may have cost organisers of the Coachella Festival $54,000 by overrunning. Macca headlined the Californian festival earlier this month, and played for nearly an hour more than planned.

Which is all well and good for the audience, but it took the event 54 minutes past the curfew enforced by local authorities, and in theory the event could be fined $1000 for every minute they go past the shut down time stated in the festival's licence.

Add in the fact that previous day, The Killers and The Cure also overran, by 30 and 33 minutes respectively, and promoters Goldenvoice could be facing a substantial bill.

The curfew is in force to placate local residents who have previously complained about the late night noise that comes from the festival site. A police spokesman, Ben Guitron, has confirmed to reporters that all three headline sets ran past the curfew, though says that it's for the local authority and not the police department to decide whether fines should be enforced.

He added that Prince performed passed the curfew at least year's Coachella, but that he couldn't remembered whether the promoters were fined.

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IDLEWILD ABOUT TO RELEASE FAN-FUNDED ALBUM
Idlewild have been talking about their fan-funded album, which is now finished and about to be posted out to the fans who paid up for it last year.

The Scottish band were one of the victims of the collapse of Sanctuary Music. They'd only released one album via Sanctuary imprint Sequel when the struggling music firm was bought by Universal Music, who promptly closed down the cross-sector music firm's UK record labels (having bought Sanctuary primarily for its management and merchandising operations).

Rather than shopping round for a new label, they invited fans to pre-order the album before it was even recorded, providing the fifteen grand the band needed to record the new long-player. Those fans who pre-ordered the album will get a priority copy of it, and have their name listed in the CD booklet.

Talking about the fan-funded album model, the band's Roddy Woomble was quoted by the Daily Record thus: "Our old label Sanctuary folded just as our last album was coming out, which was pretty frustrating. So we had to look for new ways of getting a record out. The industry is changing and lots of bands are looking at different approaches. We had a think and wrote some songs. We got a few record deal labels but the deals these days are modest because not so many people buy albums. We decided to do it ourselves and asked our fans to pay £15 up-front so that we had enough money to record the album. We asked them to buy it before we recorded, it was a bit strange".

He continued: "In return, they get access to exclusive video footage on our website and will be the first to get the album, which is now finished. We think we are among the first of many bands who will do it. Doing it this way means that we keep all the copyright of the songs and we can license it to another record label at a future date. Everyone who pre-ordered the album will get it next week and it has worked particularly well in countries like Japan and America, where our past albums weren't being released. There are a lot of people who follow the band through our website and the principle was that people who are loyal buy up-front anyway, without hearing our albums. People from as far apart as Paraguay and Israel have all paid and pre-ordered".

Of course, a number of new bands have tried the fan-funded route, often using websites designed to help artists raise fan-based funding, though in some ways the model works best for established bands with an existing fanbase. As previously reported, Patrick Wolf has funded two new albums in a similar fashion utilising the Bandstocks website.

Elsewhere in Idlewild news, the band were last minute additions to this weekend's Camden Crawl. They were brought in to replace The Enemy, who had to pull out at the last minute because frontman Tom Clarke had lost his voice.

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RIHANNA ASKS LAPD TO GIVE BACK BLING
Rihanna has reportedly asked Los Angeles police to give her back jewellery that was seized as evidence the night of her much previously reported, one might even say now notorious altercation with then-boyfriend Chris Brown. The pair of earrings and three rings, which are said to be worth around £965,000, don't actually belong to the singer; the items were loaned to her to wear at the pre-Grammys party she attended that evening.

Brown, as previously reported, is awaiting trial on charges of making criminal threats and felony assault over the incident, which left Rihanna badly bruised.

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PRINCE SUED BY LITERARY AGENT
Prince is facing legal action from an unnamed US-based literary agent who claim he cut them out of a deal for a book documenting his 2007 O2 residency at the last minute, despite them having an exclusivity arrangement in relation to the book.

In legal papers filed in the LA County Superior Court last week, the literary firm says they were engaged as the "exclusive agent with respect to the negotiations of a publishing deal". However, once a publisher had been found the singer, they say, stopped returning their calls. They then discovered he'd done a deal without them.

They are suing for the 15% commission which they say they are due for their role in setting up the deal which, TMZ reckons, would amount to about $200,000.

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SNOOP FAN SUES OVER GIG ALTERCATION
A court hearing began last week regarding allegations made by a US man against Snoop Dogg and his entourage in relation to an altercation at a 2005 gig in Seattle.

Richard Monroe Jr claims that, after he'd jumped on stage at the gig and tapped the hip hopper on the shoulder, Snoop himself hit him with his microphone. An not entirely unreasonable spur-of-the-moment response to a sudden stage invasion, you might argue, though Monroe also claims that he was then taken backstage and given a brutal beating at the hands of Snoop's security team.

Monroe, who is seeking a massive $22 million in damages in his civil case against the rapper, told the court on Friday: "I was getting punched, kicked, kicked, punched. It was brutal. I was really in shock. I couldn't believe it". The court was also shown a video of some of the altercation.

Snoop's lawyer justified his client's own response by saying that when Monroe jumped on stage the hip hopper believed he was being attacked, rather than being tapped on the back by a fan. As for the backstage beating, he argued that the claimant's injuries were not "evidence of someone who was savagely beaten".

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AEROSMITH SETTLE LAWSUIT WITH FREE GIG IN HAWAII
Aerosmith will play a free concert in Hawaii after they were sued over a gig they cancelled there in 2007.

Lawyers representing some of the fans who missed out when the band cancelled the 2007 show on the Hawaiian island of Maui said the rockers had done so because more lucrative deals - a corporate shindig on another Hawaian island (Ohau) and a bigger gig in Chicago - had come up at the last minute.

They said that the 8300 people who missed out had, between them, spent up to three million dollars in travel arrangements to get to the show, and launched a class action lawsuit on their behalf.

As a result of that lawsuit, the band have now agreed to play a gig on Maui later this year to which all those who missed out in 2007 will be invited. It's not clear if the band will also contribute to lost travel expenses and/or legal fees.

However, confirming that a gig would be played as part of a settlement in relation to the cancelled concert, Aerosmith's lawyer Jay Handlin told reporters: "The band is about the music. So they are glad to be able to resolve this in a way that really focuses on connecting or reconnecting the people of Hawaii with the band and its music".

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BARRON KNIGHT DIES
It's emerged that Duke D'Mond, formerly lead singer of The Barron Knights, died back on 9 Apr at the age of 66. He had been taken to hospital following a heart attack and there developed pneumonia.

D'Mond, real name Richard Palmer, was a founder member of the Bedfordshire based group, which was formed in 1960 as a straight pop group. It was their humorous and satirical songs which brought them to public attention, however; their first hit, 1964's 'Call Up The Groups' parodied a number of contemporary groups, including The Beatles, The Searchers, Freddie and The Dreamers and The Dave Clark Five. The band continued to produce hit singles throughout the sixties and seventies, achieving their biggest hit in 1978 with 'A Taste Of Aggro', which sold more than a million copies. The group still perform, albeit with a changed line-up. Only one founding member, Peter Langford, remains.

Langford told BBC news that Palmer stopped performing with the group four years ago following a fall. He said of his former bandmate: "We missed him such a lot. He was the guy who sang all the serious stuff. He had a great voice and he was part of the team for 46 years".

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MADONNA HAPPY WITH OAKENFOLD COLLABORATION
According to reports, Madonna is sounding pretty pleased with material she has been working on with Paul Oakenfold, the singer apparently Twittering something about it via manager Guy Oseary's account. WENN says that the singer wrote: "Paul Oakenfold is running around the studio naked...because I won't put the air on...it's hot in here...but the music is hotter - M".

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CHERYL COLE HAS SOLO PLANS
Girl Aloud Cheryl Cole is planning to record solo material later in the year, according to reports. The group as a whole are taking a break after their current UK tour, and are all planning individual projects from "music to acting to beauty to fashion", said a spokesman.

The spokesman added, with reference to Cole's plans: "Cheryl is going to work on some solo music - there is no release date set for this yet as she has not recorded any music. Her A&R people have approached various producers with the view to working with her. Until she has recorded music, we can't say who will be working on the record as we can't say at this stage what will make it past the idea stage".

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DOWNLOAD THE HEAVY'S NOISETTES COLLABORATION
Garage-punkers The Heavy's decision to invite Noisettes frontwoman Shingai Shinwa to provide guest vocals on the first single from their new album has turned out to be quite a shrewd move, now that her band are tearing up the charts.

What does it sound like, you may ask? Well, you can find out for yourself by going here and downloading it for nowt: www.counterrecords.com/ohnonotyouagain/

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SEAN PAUL RELEASES NEW TRACK
Sean Paul premiered a new track from his new album on his website over the weekend. The track, 'So Fine', will appear on upcoming long player 'Imperial Blaze', the singer's first new album in four years, which has been produced by Stephen 'Di Genius' McGregor, son of reggae veteran Freddie McGregor, and is out in August.

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EMINEM MAKES NEW WEBSITE
Eminem has launched a website for a pretend rehab clinic as part of promotions for his new album 'Relapse'. An advert for the fake facility, Popsomp Hills (say it out loud, if it's not already clear to you), appears on the rap star's official website, and uses the tag line "we remade you", which is a line from the hip-hopper's single 'We Made You'. It's here if you want to have a gander: www.popsomphills.com

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DE LA SOUL'S 20TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR
De La Soul have just begun a tour of Australia in celebration of the collective's 20th anniversary. The group are joined on the ten date jaunt by DJ Cut Chemist, and will shortly move on to Europe, where they are are performing a number of UK Dates, which are as follows:

2 Jun: Exeter, Lemon Grove
3 Jun: Cambridge, The Junction
4 Jun: Bristol, Academy
5 Jun: Edinburgh, Picture House
6 Jun: Glasgow, The Arches
8 Jun: Nottingham, Rock City
10 Jun: Leamington Spa, The Assembly
11 Jun: London, Camden Centre
12 Jun: Brighton, Concorde 2
16 Jun: Manchester, Ritz Ballroom

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ALBUM REVIEW: Lenka - Lenka (Sony/Columbia)
Despite this being her debut LP, Lenka is far from new to this business of show. Following in the teeny-tiny stiletto clad footprints of Kylie Minogue, she is another Australian small screen siren turned musician. Hardly a radical move, this is a path that has been well trodden over the years of course though most Aussie soap-to-pop stars spend at least some time on Ramsey Street, unlike Lenka who came to mainstream attention in Australia through the TV show 'GP'. The success and credibility of Australian telly to music stars varies greatly of course, though I'd put this girl in the same camp as Natalie Imbruglia and Delta Goodrem who, surely, have succeeded in becoming known as serious musicians despite their soapy beginnings, or certainly artists who can genuinely add 'songwriter' to their CV. Lenka probably has even more credibility than those two, having earned some indie credentials by providing vocals and keys for fellow Aussies Decoder Ring, who soundtracked the critically acclaimed art house film, 'Somersault'. Sound wise she's a bit like a female Jack Johnson, but Australian, and with a piano. Her vocal stylings are consistently sweet but never saccharine, making her eponymous album feel like the perfect soundtrack to the type of day that's filled with little else but sunshine. Even when the tales she's telling are of unforeseen, wretched hands doled out by the great dealer in the sky, she hits back with humour and glorious melodies that radiate positivity. We've all been there; broke, dumped, ill, unemployed, depressed or all of these woeful things together. Lenka's breezy sun-soaked simplicity and general good vibes could be the light at the end of your tunnel. MB
Release Date: 1 Jun
Press Contact: Columbia IH [All]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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WILLIAM MORRIS TO MERGER WITH HOLLYWOOD RIVALS
Two major US talent agencies - the William Morris Agency and Endeavor - are expected to confirm that they are merging today, which would create a talent agency powerhouse second in size only to the Creative Artists Agency. It's thought the merged company will be called WME Entertainment and will include some 300 agents around the world.

Endeavour mainly represent actors and movie producers, whereas William Morris boasts a substantial music roster too, representing the likes of Diddy, Eminem, 50 Cent, The Killers, Weezer, The Flaming Lips, Britney, Prince, Lil Wayne, Ne-Yo, MIA, Duffy, Rihanna and Estelle.

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PROJECT PLAYLIST BOSS TO HEAD UP MYSPACE
Well, we all know that Facebook is about eighty seven times better than MySpace, and the decision of the latter to put an exec from the former into its top job is presumably proof of that.

Yes, MySpace has announced that, having successfully pushed out (by "mutual consent" of course) founder Chris DeWolfe last week, they have recruited Owen Van Natta as their new CEO. The former Facebook exec is currently CEO of Project Playlist, the online music service which was at one time sued by all four majors for enabling users to stream unlicenced music through their social network profiles, though which has since reached licensing deals with both EMI and Sony.

In his new job heading up MySpace, Natta will report directly to Jonathan Miller, the Chief Digital Officer of parent company NewsCorp. Miller presumably hopes that Natta, who headed up revenues and operations at Facebook and previously had a business development role at Amazon, can quickly turn round the fortunes of the social networking firm, which is yet to deliver much return on NewsCorp's considerable investment when it bought the web service in 2005.

The problem, of course, is that MySpace is now an outdated platform compared to most of its competitors in the social networking market, in particular Facebook, and bringing it up to speed would probably require scrapping everything and starting again. And while MySpace remains the default social network for musicians, even that status is threatened as more and more artists start to communicate with fans via Facebook and Twitter, and while rivals like Pandora and Spotify gain more ground in the streaming music domain. As previously reported, MySpace's enhanced music service in the US, designed to take on the Pandoras and Spotifys of the world, has yet to capture anyone's imagination.

Back at Project Playlist, which Natta only joined six months ago, MTV co-founder John Sykes has already been appointed as a new CEO.

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AMAZON AND APPLE PROFITS UP
So, I've got some digital style financials for you.

First up, Amazon has reported a 24% rise in first quarter profits, which is ahead of market expectations. Actual sales in the etailer's international division, which covers the UK, Germany, Japan, France and China, were up 15% compared to the same quarter last year. The web firm says that the UK launch of its MP3 download service and sales of its proprietary Kindle electronic book reader - the gadget that some reckon could lead to serious growth in the still fledgling e-book market - all helped in the revenue and profit boosts.

Second, Apple last week reported it had had another record breaking first quarter (of the calendar year, the second quarter of its financial year), posting a net profit of $1.21bn on revenues of $8.16bn, up a massive $7.5bn on the same quarter last year, despite all the economic doom and gloom. iPod and iPhone sales continued to aid that boom.

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SEEQPOD IS OFFLINE
So, Seeqpod is offline, after the company behind the music search service applied for bankruptcy protection earlier this month in the face of major label lawsuits.

As previously reported, Seeqpod was a special search engine which specifically searched and linked to audio files on the internet, meaning a search for any given artist provided links to their music as stored on servers and websites all over the world. The music could then be played through a little player widget on the Seeqpod website. Much of the music linked to, of course, was unlicensed, which is why Warner started legal proceedings against the people behind the service early last year, and why EMI following suit with their own, erm, suit, earlier this year.

The site went offline on Friday, though no official comment about the service's future have, as yet, been given. More when we get it.

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IDOLATOR SCALES BACK OPERATIONS
Idolator, the US music blog, has become a one-man outfit after some major budget cuts.

The site was last year bought by Buzznet, now Buzz Media, the music-based social network company that, having raised millions in investment, has bought up a number of other music sites, including another high profile US music blog Stereogum.

However, the initial budgets boost that came about as a result of the purchase has seemingly come to an end. The site's Managing Editor, Maura Johnston, posted on the site last week this message: "As you might have noticed, this is a bittersweet week around here; because of budget cuts, we've had to say goodbye to pretty much all the Idolator contributing writers, from columnists to daily bloggers".

She continues: "The site is going to go on as a solo project of sorts, although the news cycle might run at a slightly slower pace. I just wanted to take a moment on this crappy day to thank everyone who's contributed to the site during my tenure, from the people who helped me sift through the news cycle every day to the columnists, each of whom expanded the focus of the site".

Idolator is the latest of a number of music blogs to have gone through a period of expansion after being bought by blog-based media companies looking to build an advertising funded business around a network of blogs, only to be closed down, stripped back or returned to independent ownership as said companies struggle to make their business model pay.

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GEOCITIES TO SHUT DOWN
Geocities, a sort of forerunner of the social networking phenomenon in that it was, in theory anyway, a platform through which non web literate people could have a web presence, is to be closed down.

The platform, which had visions of creating a 'virtual city' where users all lived in some virtual street, was one of the first internet phenomena, launched in 1995 and bought by Yahoo in a multi-billion dollar (albeit stock based) deal in 1999. It had considerable take up over the years, though I suspect that, as with many internet phenomena, stats were boosted by users who signed up, never quite figured out how to use it, but nevertheless kept dormant accounts for years.

That said, the site was still scoring nearly 19 million unique users a month in 2006, and still got 11.5 million unique users last month. Nevertheless, Yahoo! never successfully found a good way to monetise all that traffic, and as part of its ongoing streamlining the company announced last week that they will close Geocities down later this year. Users will be offered the option to upgrade to Yahoo!'s paid for web-hosting service.

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MICHAEL GRADE MAY LEAVE ITV COMPLETELY
Michael Grade, who last week announced he would step back as Executive Chairman of ITV, and become the much less time consuming Non-Executive Chairman of the telly firm, may, in fact, leave the broadcaster altogether, or so say some in the investment community.

Officially Grade will find a new recruit to become Chief Executive and head up the struggling telly firm on a day to day basis, but continue to chair the firm's board of directors. But reports suggest he may depart the company altogether once a CEO is found.

That said, most city types say that they are not pushing Grade out, and that, while they welcome the announcement that a new CEO will now be found, add that they didn't even insist on that development, suggesting the decision comes from the ITV chief himself.

He always said he'd appoint a CEO and take a back seat role eventually, but some hadn't expected him to do so quite so soon. But some city types said last week that Grade's main job was to persuade government to lift many of ITV's public service obligations, and that given that it looks likely that will happen later this year the time is right to bring someone new in. Grade has also overseen considerable cost cutting, and it arguably makes sense once the downsizing is complete to bring in a new guy to take the streamlined broadcaster forward.

Among those already being touted for the ITV CEO job are former Channel 4 boss Michael Jackson, former BSkyB chief Tony Ball, and current Communications Minister Stephen Carter.

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ITV LOSES OUT ON BOYLE INCOMES BECAUSE OF A LACK OF YOUTUBE DEAL
Perhaps the new boss of ITV can sort out the broadcaster's online presence outside of ITV.com. There's been much talk about how the broadcaster won't earn a penny from the whole Susan Boyle phenomena, despite her performance on their 'Britain's Got Talent' show being the big YouTube story of the year, and the video of her audition have racked up some 100 million plays on the video site.

It seems ITV, like many other content owners, doesn't currently have an active deal with the Google owned video site because neither side has managed to agree terms on royalty rates, with the telly company pushing for more than Google is willing to offer.

In some ways it was good of ITV not to insist Google pull the Susan Boyle clip from YouTube, which was also available via their own website, though doing so would have no doubt scored some negative coverage for the TV firm, and the video's YouTube enabled exposure has presumably boosted the profile and therefore sponsorship/advertising value of the 'Britain's Got Talent' franchise.

Still, ITV could really do with getting a YouTube deal in place. Whether the Susan Boyle phenomenon will give them any more power at the royalty negotiating table remains to be seen.

Elsewhere in Boyle news, Simon Cowell has hit out at the recent media coverage of the wannabe singing star's looks, personal life and recent new hair do and eye-brow pluck, saying they should concentrate on her singing. Though, of course, it's only because of Boyle's original appearance that her singing became big news, and with the contender not due back on the ITV show until next month, the media are going to have to look for other angles if they want to keep the Boyle story going in the meantime.

Anyway, here's what Cowell told The People: "The problem is with all the substories about the cat and how she looks. I'm tired of hearing about the way she looks or the kissing, or this or that. Susan mustn't become a gimmick".

Given that Cowell's in the business of monetising gimmicks, presumably his real concern is that public interest in Boyle will burn out before he has chance to get out a debut album of Susan's show tunes.

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AMSTELL LEAVES BUZZCOCKS
This is no fun. Simon Amstell has quit BBC comedy pop quiz 'Never Mind The Buzzcocks' after just three series to concentrate on his stand up and another TV show he has in development. The plan is to have a guest presenter system next series, as the show did between original presenter Mark Lamarr's exit and Amstell's arrival as host.

Whereas last series the show had guest team captains to replace Bill Bailey, on the next series the second team captain will be Noel Fielding throughout. He, of course, filled in for Bill Bailey for three episodes the series before last.

On Amstell's exit, a source told The Sun: "Simon is a funny guy who can think on his feet but he has decided it is time to move on. He is working on a new project that has been commissioned by the BBC and feels he wants to concentrate on that".

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CHART UPDATE
Getting to number one can't be as simple as calling your single 'Number 1', but it's worked for Tinchy Stryder. Maybe it's the combination of the title and having N-Dubz as guests that's the key to hitting the top spot. We'll just have to wait and see what happens next time someone does it. But, yeah, Tinchy Stryder is at number one in the singles chart with this week's highest new entry. La Roux, meanwhile, sits at two, while Calvin Harris is pushed down to three.

This week's second highest new entry is 'Rubber Love' by Marmaduke Duke, while 'Warrior's Dance' by The Prodigy is up from 56 to 12, and Keri Hilson is up from 83 to 20. Interestingly, 'Return The Favor' by Hilson is the 573rd single this year to feature guest vocals from Justin Timberlake. And what else has happened of any interest in the singles chart this week? Nothing. Nothing at all.

So, let's just move on to the album chart. Unfortunately, there's no change at all in the top there. When I started out on this campaign of not naming the woman who currently occupies the number one slot, I never thought she'd be there for more than two weeks. Who knew the British record buying public had such poor taste? If this carries on much longer she'll think a second album is something worth having. Everyone stop buying Lady GaGa's album right now.

Okay, sorry, rant over. This week's highest new entry in the album chart is Depeche Mode's new effort, while Noisettes go straight in at seven, and Pink's 'Funhouse' is back in the top ten at number ten, up from 21 last week. Fightstar are another new entry at 20, as are Camera Obscura at 32, Asher Roth at 38, and 10CC's new best of at 39. Bat For Lashes is down five places to 16 this week. This displeases me.

The charts are compiled by the Official Charts Company.

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MADDEN FORCED TO COVER TATTOOS BY BRITISH AIRWAYS
Joel Madden of Good Charlotte was ordered to cover his tattoos if he wanted to get on a British Airways flight at the weekend. As you might expect in this day and age, he documented it all via Twitter.

His first post read: "Was just told by a British Air person I can't get on the plane till I cover my tatts. Should I fight the power?" A second added: "I am actually in shock he won't let me on the plane till I put long sleeves on and other BA rep is disagreeing".

Following the incident he added a number of comments, here neatly stuck together for your reading pleasure: "I can't believe Brit Air discriminated me for tatts. Unheard of. The guy was literally disgusted by me. I'm gonna write a letter. I did end up covering my tats. Its not my style to cause a scene. I just had a convo with the BA guy told him how it was discrimination. Yes I covered up to board the BA flight. I didn't want to miss it. And honestly, I was embarrassed all the people were staring and laughing".

Later, he added: "It's not in the rules that I can find. My tatts aren't offensive. Looking into it. I haven't felt this small since the first time I asked Nic [partner Nicole Ritchie] out".

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BON JOVI ON LASTING MARRIAGE: FEAR IS THE KEY
Jon Bon Jovi claims that his marriage has lasted for twenty years because he's scared of his wife. Well, I think it might have been a joke.

The singer wed his highschool sweetheart Dorothea Hurley back in 1989 and the couple, who have four children, have made sure that their relationship stays out of the public eye. Bon Jovi is quoted as saying: "Let's get that right here, right now. I'm afraid of my wife", adding: "Trust me, she is the best. I am very happy".

So that's all lovely.

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