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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Burnham says "technical measures" will be employed against "persistent filesharers"
Ticket touting illegal in New York again, for now
Oasis's Heaton show beset by technical difficulties
Eminem confirms Bruno stunt staged
Jacko happy with 50 shows, say AEG
Chris Martin not going solo
Awards & Contests
Polka Grammy Award dropped
Charts, Stats & Polls
Jay-Z tops Source's power list
In The Studio
Adele begins work on second album
Release News
MGMT release new video
The Clean announce new album
Incubus Vault launched
Gigs N Tours News
Bells galore at the British Music Experience this weekend
Reviews
Single review: Soulja Boy Tell 'Em - Kiss Me Thru The Phone (Universal/Polydor)
The Music Business
Canadian copyright to be reviewed
The Digital Business
Are ad funded services really viable?
Sony onboard for Vevo
Steve Jobs may return to Apple top job
The Media Business
More TLRC execs step down
And finally...
Gene Simmons raises money using kidney
Mortimer reveals Kray song
Christian Metaller to wed Jesus' hooker
Beth Ditto's alien encounter
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CMU Credits + Contacts

 
FRIDAY 5TH JUNE


INFADELS
Describing themselves as a "song and dance band", CMU favourites Infadels formed in 2003 with the intention of releasing one single and then splitting up. Which they did. But then it turned out that said single, 'Leave My Body', had become something of a success, selling all 500 copies, getting played on Radio 1 by John Peel and even getting the band a nomination for Best Electronic Act at that year's Diesel-U-Music Awards. So, they decided to reform. Six years later and with two albums in the bag, the band are still going strong.

They headline the Insomniacs Ball tonight at Corsica Studios, where Everything Everything will also be playing - you can read their SSQ answers here. Also on the bill are Late Of The Pier (DJ set), Wave Machines, Bear Hands, Chik Budo and Hook And The Twin. More info is online here.

Meanwhile, we spoke to the keyboard end of the Infadels operation, Richie Vernon.

 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I started the day Matt [Gooderson, guitar] asked me to join the Infadels! I hadn't even attempted playing before and it was only because he felt so bad that I had wasted all my money trying to launch his previous band Balboa that I got the opportunity in the first place. Talk about baptism of fire...

Q2 What inspired your most recent album?
Looking back on 'Universe In Reverse', we were inspired by bands such as Spiritulized and Doves. We had also been ripped off for a fair amount of cash, which in its own odd way was an inspiration too. It's weird that that album only came out last summer, because its seems like light years ago. At the moment we're digging the current wave of modern electro bands such as The Bloody Beetroots and Proxy. The dancefloors are very much where it is at for us right now.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Every album we've done has been approached in a different way. It's our effort to keep things different/difficult for us. Our first record came from a bit of a free-for-all attitude, with everyone chiming their bits in here and there. The second album was mostly written on guitars before going through the Infadels production machine. Our new stuff is now much more electronic and homemade sounding than before, mostly coming from being in the studio, pushing buttons and twiddling knobs until something catches our ear. Out of all of the above, the last method is without doubt the most fun.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Ooooh... well it changes from album to album. At the moment, electronic bands like The Bloody Beetroots, Yuksek and A1 Bassline grab me the most. Personally, I'm pretty much over indie music. It bores the crap out of me, but I still have love for Late Of The Pier and Operator Please. We dusted off the Add N to (X) album 'Avant Hard' recently and we've taken a fair bit of influence from that.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
If you like dancing and loud music, then I think we are going to get on just fine.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your album, and for the future?
I think we've been around long enough to know that your ambitions can get the better of you if you're not careful. We tend to take each day as it comes and so far each day has been amazing. Some bands would come out with something along the lines of "our ambition is to be the biggest band in the world", but we have no desire to become U2 thank you very much.

MORE>> www.infadels.co.uk and www.myspace.com/infadels

 
VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Oneblood Events Presents Subfusion Rollers at the Mass
Some really phat drum & bass beats will be demonstrated at the Mass tomorrow where some of the finest DJs and MCs in the business will take to the stage. The Mass is an old church and a great sizable venue - I remember seeing the Valve Soundsystem in there back in the day - and is especially cool in the summer because the dawn light floods in behind the decks through a stained glass window as the night reaches its conclusion. And it'll be a rocking night, this one, because the One Blood crew are promising a 30K sound rig, while the DJs to feature include Friction from Shogun Audio, Original oldschoolers Randall (Metalheadz) and Doc Scott from 31 Records, up and comers Bailey from 1Xtra and Lynx from Fabio's Creative Source. Meanwhile resident Iron Nox goes back to back with DJ Rips from Drumandbassworldwide, and MCing will be Lowqui, Rhymes, Deefa and G Flex. A top line up that should result in a top night of Brixton bass ballistics.

Saturday 6 Jun, Mass, St Matthews Church, Brixton Hill London SW2, 10pm-6am, £10 before 1am more thereafter, £6 limited tickets from TicketSellers, students £8 all night (ID required), more at www.onebloodpromotions.com.




 

 

 

BURNHAM SAYS "TECHNICAL MEASURES" WILL BE EMPLOYED AGAINST "PERSISTENT FILESHARERS"
The government's culture monkey Andy Burnham told a Music Week conference yesterday that there will be some measures in next week's final draft of the 'Digital Britain' report to force internet service providers to act against those who persistently access unlicensed music on the net, though he was a bit vague on specifics, except to say that those measures will fall some way short of the 'three-strike' disconnection system being introduced in France and favoured by some in the music industry.

Speaking at Music Week's 'Making Online Music Pay' conference, Burnham said that 'Digital Britain' would make it a requirement that ISPs notify suspected file sharers that their activities infringe copyright and that they may be sued for infringement by content owners - basically making what many net firms are already doing on a voluntary basis a legal requirement.

But, of course, warnings are all well and good but will only really work if backed up by a serious threat. With the UK record industry keen not to follow its American counterparts into a campaign of litigation against individual music fans - partly because of the expense and PR challenge of doing so, partly because thousands of lawsuits in the US didn't prove to be a deterrent - the content owners really need the government to introduce some sort of statutory sanctions against those who fileshare. This is where some advocate the French-style three-strike system where file-sharers who fail to heed two or three formal warnings can be cut off the internet.

Burnham's colleague who looks after these things, IP Minister David Lammy, has made it clear he doesn't see three-strike as a viable solution - and given such a move would be unpopular with many web users, it seems unlikely the Labour government would seriously consider it this side of a General Election. However, Burnham said yesterday that the government would draft legislation that would give rights to communications regulator OfCom so that they could force ISPs to apply "technical measures" against the "most persistent of file sharers".

OfCom has been expected to play a role in policing piracy since Communications Minister Stephen Carter, the man behind 'Digital Britain', admitted he was dropping his proposals for a special Rights Agency, an institution many content owners saw as a distraction, because the creation of it would delay any real action being taken against file-sharers and the ISPs who enable their file-sharing.

Needless to say, Burnham was not especially clear on what "most persistent" or "technical measures" would really mean. Some speculate that file-sharers might have their bandwidth cut, or be banned from accessing websites or IP addresses associated with illegal file-sharing, such as The Pirate Bay. All out disconnection is not likely, with Burnham reiterating yesterday that the government considers such a measure to be too "draconian".

Although Burnham's comments gave some music business execs in the audience at 'Making Online Music Pay' a little more optimism about next week's publication of the 'Digital Britain' report, which had been expected to say very little of use on the file-sharing issue, some remained pessimistic, fearing that the latest vague commitments from the government were not being backed up by specific information on what kind of file-sharer will be targeted by whom, under what jurisdiction, and with what penalties. It's also worth noting that past commitments made by Burnham have subsequently been downplayed by the aforementioned Lammy, who would presumably have to push any new laws through parliament.

According to the Guardian, the boss of record label trade body the BPI, Geoff Taylor, responded to Burnham's speech at 'MOMP' by saying: "That type of 'graduated response solution' needs to be put in place now, not in a few years' time. The long-term harm that will be done to the UK's outstanding creative industries - and the new jobs they create - will be enormous if government puts off hard decisions now. This is no time to fiddle while Rome burns".

Feargal Sharkey, the boss of cross industry trade body UK Music, meanwhile, said: "The government threw down the gauntlet to the music industry on this twelve months ago [calling on us to negotiate with the ISPs]. We have done everything in our power to tackle the problem head-on so we can make sure we protect artists and keep producing amazing music. Now we are incredibly keen to see the government in the 'Digital Britain' report reciprocate their side of the bargain".

Elsewhere, Burnham urged the music business to keep talking to the internet service providers about developing alternative "legal models" for the digital music space. As previously reported, the ISPs have basically said they will only act on piracy if the music industry works with them to launch new music services that the net firms could offer their customers, bundled in with their existing monthly subscriptions. By "works with them", they really mean give the ISPs bargain basement royalty rates.

The logic is that you can't expect punters to stop accessing illegal services until the industry is providing compelling legal options. That logic is increasingly flawed, however, because there are now a number of compelling legal digital music services on the market (albeit with some holes in their catalogues), and even if there weren't, I think we all know that the exciting, engaging and consumer-friendly music services of the future aren't going to be created by the geeks and accountants that run the ISPs, however good a licensing deal they could negotiate from the majors.

Finally, just to make sure we represent all bases, we should point out that not everyone in the music business supports the three-strike system that the government is resisting. The Featured Artists Coalition has spoken out against any system that involves disconnecting web users, the Music Managers Forum's recent survey of artist managers showed they preferred some kind of 'access to music' levy over any disconnection programme, and, representing the indie label community yesterday, Charles Caldas of independent digital rights body Merlin said, according to the Guardian: "I haven't met an indie label that wants to see its customers prosecuted. Yes, we need to protect artists but first there has to be a compelling commercial offer for users. A system of educating users and encouraging them to move towards an efficient legal model would be more effective".

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TICKET TOUTING ILLEGAL IN NEW YORK AGAIN, FOR NOW
So this is interesting, online ticket touting is all but illegal in New York State just now because an amendment to old ticketing laws has reached the end of its pilot period and legislators have failed to renew it.

The State used to have very strict rules about the resale of tickets at a marked-up prices, capping the price that could be charged for resold tickets to just two dollars above face value. That restriction was lifted in 2007 in an amendment proposed by former State Governor Eliot Spitzer, who thought ticket resale prices were a matter for the free market not lawmakers. But the amendment had a limited lifespan, and needed to be renewed on Monday, which it wasn't.

Of course the 2007 lifting of restrictions on ticketing touting, or scalping as it's known in the US, was handy for the online secondary ticketing market that has grown in recent years, and where tickets for in-demand live events regularly sell for two or three times their face value. In theory the failure to renew Spitzer's amendment makes the use of such services in New York State illegal.

Although the free market amendment has lapsed, that doesn't mean local politicians are all against the secondary ticketing market, despite criticism of it by some in the live music industry, and concerns being raised by political and consumer groups that rampant online ticket touting rips off consumers.

In fact talks are ongoing regarding a new State law which would allow ticket resales, but which would put some restrictions in place over the way resale services are promoted, and in the way primary ticket sellers transfer people to any secondary ticketing services they are involved in. The latter measure, of course, is a direct response to ticketing giant Ticketmaster controversially promoting its secondary ticketing service TicketsNow via its main official ticketing website.

But some are glad that, for the time being at least, ticketing touting is essentially not allowed in New York. One local politician, Richard Brodsky, who has called for resold tickets to be capped at a 25% mark up, told Billboard this week: "For better or worse, ticket scalping is illegal again, thank goodness".

Meanwhile, commenting on the revamped laws currently being negotiated on the issue, Russ Haven of the New York Public Interest Research Group also called on current New York governor David Paterson to put in place limitations on secondary ticketing. Referencing recent public investment in two local sports venues in NYC, he said: "This is an opportunity for the governor to stand up for fans across New York. He can make sure they can afford seats for events at arenas like Yankee Stadium and Citi Field that New York taxpayers paid to build".

A spokesman for Paterson told reporters: "The governor's office is working with the legislature on this bill and will review the final legislation once it has been delivered to his desk".

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OASIS'S HEATON SHOW BESET BY TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES
The first of Oasis's huge gigs at Heaton Park in Manchester suffered from a series of technical difficulties last night, to the extent that the band offered the crowd a refund. The group were forced to leave the stage whilst generator troubles were fixed firstly during their opening song, and then again during their second, causing a ten minute delay on the first occasion, and a forty minute delay on the second.

On the band's return to the stage, Liam Gallagher reportedly told the audience: "Really sorry about that. This is a free gig now. Everyone will get a refund". Brother Noel added: "The curfew's 11, but we'll play 'til they kick us off. Keep your ticket and you'll get your money back".

They seemed to get cold feet about the refund thing later on, however, Noel saying "We're not sure how its gonna work with getting the money back. Be on a website or summat. We're not getting paid for this so buy a t-shirt on the way out. Credit crunch and that, keep my kids in sweets. Kind of regret offering you your money back now. Apply for it back if you wanna be a cunt, we do our best for you".

They finally wrapped it up at 11.20pm. The band play Heaton Park again tomorrow and Sunday.

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EMINEM CONFIRMS BRUNO STUNT STAGED
So, just in case there was any doubt, which I don't think there was, but just in case, Eminem has confirmed that he was in on the stunt at Sunday's MTV Movie Awards which saw him receive a semi-naked Sacha Baron Cohen to the face.

As previously reported, the stunt saw Baron Cohen, in his gay Austrian reporter persona Bruno, making a dramatic but deliberately fucked up entrance on wires above the auditorium half-dressed as an angel. The routine ended up with Bruno falling onto Eminem, so that the rapper-with-an-album-to-sell ended up with a naked arse in his face. Slim Shady and his D12 mates then dramatically stormed out of the auditorium, though, and this is why it seemed staged from the start, without first beating Baron Cohen to a pulp. Hey, why not just watch it.

Speaking to RapRadar.com, Eminem confirmed that everything about the stunt, including him storming out, had been rehearsed beforehand. He said: "Sacha called me when we were in Europe and he had an idea to do something outrageous at the Movie Awards. I'm a big fan of his work, so I agreed to get involved with the gag. I'm thrilled that we pulled this off better than we rehearsed it".

He also says that after storming out of the event, he went back to his hotel room and laughed for three whole hours, which would suggest that he has on overly high opinion of how funny the Bruno routine really was, and also that those reports that the rapper found his room had been ransacked by thieves after the awards show were not true. In fact they weren't. In a separate interview he told reporters that while it is true he lost a rather valuable watch while staying at a hotel near the MTV Film Awards show, there was no break in, no sixty grand necklace missing and no laptop stolen. Mathers: "The only thing was that I lost a Nike watch that we were looking for. The rest of it is made-up like half the stuff out there".

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JACKO HAPPY WITH 50 SHOWS, SAY AEG
The promoters of Michael Jackson's 'This Is It' run of 50 shows at the O2 Dome this summer have said that claims that the star told fans that he only really wanted to do ten shows are untrue.

As previously reported, The Sun reported earlier this week that Jacko made the claim when talking to fans outside the rehearsals for his big O2 comeback show, which are taking place in Burbank, California. He reportedly said: "I don't know how I'm going to do 50 shows, I'm not a big eater, I need to put some weight on", before alleging: "I only wanted to do 10, and then take the tour around the world to other cities. I went to bed knowing I sold 10 dates, and woke up to the news I was booked to do 50".

But in a statement, AEG Live's President & CEO Randy Phillips dismissed the claims, saying: "This is not true; Michael Jackson was thrilled at selling 50 shows. The size and scale of this show would not be possible without an extended run, which Michael has been fully on board with from the very beginning. He has not agreed to a world tour at this point, however, he can at any time".

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CHRIS MARTIN NOT GOING SOLO
Coldplay's Chris Martin has crushed all hopes you might have had of hearing a solo album from him. Well, not all hopes, he did say he might do it if he was desperate for money, which is as good a reason as any.

Asked about the possibility of him going solo, Martin told the Philadelphia Inquirer: "I can't think of anything worse. Hell would have to not only freeze over, but be skated over and completely closed up. The pope would have to declare that it didn't even exist. It [him releasing a solo album] would probably mean that I'd been dumped by my wife and I desperately need the money".

He also added that the next Coldplay album is shaping up to be a bad concept album, but the music will be better than before and will sound less like other people's songs. Or something like that. He continued: "I think the next one will be quite stripped down and based upon this story idea, which I can't talk about because it might be bad. We're being accused of not writing our own music. So it's like, 'Well, I'll just write better music. On my grandfather's life, I promise that I didn't mean to [rip anyone off]'".

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POLKA GRAMMY AWARD DROPPED
Grammy organisers The Recording Academy have announced that they are removing the polka category from their annual nominations list. To those active in the genre, it has come as a major blow. Carl Finch of polka band Brave Combo says: "It's devastating. Polka is so misunderstood, you know, the butt of jokes. Having a polka category was the most important step to legitimacy that we could ever hope to achieve. To have that taken away, it's like it was all for nothing".

The polka category was added in 1986 but has long been a target for criticism because some say the genre is too small a field to justify its own award. The number of albums considered for the shortlist has also dwindled - in 2006 there were just twenty. The Recording Academy's Bill Freimuth says: "When it gets down to around 20 entries, just by entering, you have a one in five chance of being nominated. That's not as competitive as we'd like these awards to be".

Another consideration is the fact that the category has long been dominated by Jimmy Sturr, who has won eighteen of the awards, and who has a non-traditional approach that many consider to be quite far removed from pure polka. Dave Ulczycki, of the International Polka Association explains: "It's basically the same person winning it all the time. I like his music, and I like the person himself. But Jimmy is not a polka band per se".

Other genre category changes are taking place. The best contemporary folk/Americana award is to be split into two separate awards, one for best contemporary folk album and one for best Americana album. Best Latin urban album, meanwhile, has been merged with the best Latin rock or alternative album catergory. There are still shitloads of awards, though; the ceremony will now feature 109 categories. No wonder it takes so long.

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JAY-Z TOPS SOURCE'S POWER LIST
Jay-Z has been placed at the top of The Source's Power 30 list of urban culture movers and shakers. The US hip hop magazine says he's worthy of the top slot because he's a top businessman, what with his clothing, sports and label ventures, as well as being a rapper. Others on the list include Sean Diddy Combs, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne. Barack Obama topped an honorary power list because of his influence on the current generation of rap stars.

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ADELE BEGINS WORK ON SECOND ALBUM
Adele has revealed that she has written five songs for her second album, the follow-up to her 2008 debut, '19'.

Speaking at Glamour Magazine's Woman Of The Year Awards, she told the BBC: "I've still got the same problems... They get worse because I'm away all the time. It gets a bit harder. The littlest things I can write about, it doesn't have to be some drama. The littlest thing's about not putting a cup in the dishwasher. I can write a song about that as well".

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MGMT RELEASE NEW VIDEO
MGMT have released a new video for their quite-old-now track 'Kids' (actually, I'm not sure they ever made one when it was originally released as a single), which of course featured on the band's 'Oracular Spectacular' album. The video looks like a bad 80s horror movie and features a small child being made to cry. What more could you want?

link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid416542555?bctid=24776439001

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THE CLEAN ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM
New Zealand indie royalty The Clean have announced that they will release their first album for eight years later this year. The album, entitled 'Mister Pop', will be release by Merge Records on 8 Sep.

You can download a track from 'Mister Pop', the bizarrely titled 'In The Dreamlife You Need A Rubber Soul', for free right now, right here.

And here's the tracklist in full:

Loog
Are You Really On Drugs?
In The Dreamlife You Need A Rubber Soul
Asleep In The Tunnel
Back In The Day
Moonjumper
Factory Man
Simple Fix
Tensile
All Those Notes

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INCUBUS VAULT LAUNCHED
Sony division Columbia have announced the launch of 'The Vault', an online collection of rare and unreleased Incubus tracks, footage and photos. Fans who buy the band's upcoming two disc hits and rarities album 'Monuments And Melodies' will be given a unique code with which to upgrade their user account at www.enjoyincubus.com, through which they'll be able to download all this rarity material. More than five hundred items will be included in The Vault, including previously unreleased videos and TV appearances, a complete concert, and a banned version of 'Wish You Were Here'.

'Monuments and Melodies' and The Vault, will be available from 16 Jun.

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BELLS GALORE AT THE BRITISH MUSIC EXPERIENCE THIS WEEKEND
So, this is, erm, a bit weird. An event at the new British Music Experience in The O2 Dome will this weekend celebrate the re-release of Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells', which is being re-released on Monday, despite the album being given away in its entirety by the Mail On Sunday just two years ago (there'll be some bonus material on this new version).

Anyway, the event. Yes, The Hand-Bell Ringers Of Great Britain, the largest hand bell and chime orchestra in Europe apparently, will be playing bits of the album, and teaching BME visitors about the wonders of hand bell ringing. Then, in something of a dramatic genre switch, The Orb will perform an 'Orbular Bells' DJ set. This all takes place between 2 and 6pm tomorrow, and can be accessed with a standard £15 admission for the BME museum thingy. Accompanied kids go free. More on the events page at www.britishmusicexperience.com

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SINGLE REVIEW: Soulja Boy Tell 'Em - Kiss Me Thru The Phone (Universal/Polydor)
Every girl loves a bad boy, so they say, and after the release of Soulja Boy Tell Em's debut hit 'Crank That (Soulja Boy)', everyone seemed to assume that's what he was - a bad boy. We even had the likes of Ice-T telling whoever would listen how Soulja had corrupted hip hop and how much garbage his debut was; but low and behold Soulja Boy (aka DeAndre Ramone Way) is about to quash those ridiculous accusations and show us what a softy he really is. With a good 'poppy' R&B tempo which would have the likes of Jamie Foxx swooning, 'Kiss Me Thru The Phone' tells the tale of a guy who's missing his girl and simply wants to do what the title implies. Quite sweet and simple really, though presented in a way which means this song is still stuck in your head for your entire working day. If you're not a fan of the odd soppy R&B track, then stay well clear, but if you don't mind having a nice sing-a-long while bouncing your head from side to side then this credible song is definitely worth a listen. It should definitely do well in the charts, even if Ice-T doesn't approve. SD
Released: 15 Jun
Press Contact: Polydor IH [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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CANADIAN COPYRIGHT TO BE REVIEWED
The Canadian government is expected to start a consultation on the country's copyright laws later this month, with a view to having a reworked Copyright Bill on the table by the end of the year.

As previously reported, Canada's copyright laws have not proved helpful for content owners trying to protect their copyrights online, with some judges saying current laws do not actually make the sharing of unlicensed content online illegal. So much so Canada was recently placed on the US's 'intellectural property watch list' of country's whose laws fail to protect the rights of American content owners.

It's not the first time a review of Canadian copyright law has taken place - but two previous reviews were halted because of elections. The aim this time is to have a new bill in place before Christmas, which would be voted on in the New Year.

That said, content owners shouldn't get too excited too quickly. There is a strong lobby in Canada who oppose tighter copyright laws, especially on the internet, while ISPs will be keen to ensure they are in no way liable for any infringement committed by their customers, meaning there will need to be a lot of wheeling and dealing before proposals can be successfully taken through the country's parliament, not least because the current Canadian government doesn't have an automatic majority vote in there.

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ARE AD FUNDED SERVICES REALLY VIABLE?
Elsewhere at the aforementioned 'Making Online Music Pay' conference staged by Music Week in London yesterday, there were some interesting comments regarding the viability of advertising funded digital music services, and the balancing act some streaming services are currently undertaking as they play off their ad-funded services, which need mass audiences to be attractive to advertisers, against their subscription packages, which arguably offer a service provider a bit more stability.

The discussion followed Last.fm's recent announcement that they would only offer on-demand streaming for free in a handful of markets where they believed there was sufficient ad money to be made to support such an offer. In other territories only subscription services would be offered.

Forrester Research's Mark Mulligan, who chaired the session that discussed this topic, has reported on it on his blog (http://musicindustryblog.wordpress.com). He writes: "Though each of the ad supported guys tried to paint a bright picture for the rude health of [the] ad supported [model], they each in fact highlighted its failings, albeit unwillingly and by implication rather than directly".

He explains: "For example Last.fm talked about the hundreds of markets which had now become subscription markets ie the ad supported business just didn't work in those territories. When I pressed on this issue Last.fm's Miles Lewis cited the example of Poland, which had accounted for about 10% of their streams but where the 'online ad market was worth about three pence' and the affiliate market even less. When I asked whether this was a short term necessity or long term strategic shift he said that it was likely to be the latter unless the online ad market suddenly exploded".

And continues: "Similarly Spotify's Paul Brown emphasised the importance of their premium [subscription-based] models succeeding".

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SONY ONBOARD FOR VEVO
Sony Music is onboard as a partner on VEVO, the new on-demand video service being developed by good old Universal Music. As previously reported, Universal hopes that by launching its own music video service that only includes official artist content they can command higher advertising rates than the likes of YouTube, making the on-demand music video proposition more viable. The major wants to get other labels involved in its new venture, and also hopes to syndicate its content via the likes of YouTube, as well as through its own web portal. Sony is the first major to sign up to Universal's latest digital music venture, though that's not a surprise given that they were partners of their rival's last big attempt at launching their own digital service, Total Music.

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STEVE JOBS MAY RETURN TO APPLE TOP JOB
Gossipers are saying that Steve Jobs will return to the top job at Apple sometime soon, maybe even in time to unveil the new iPhone at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco next week. As previously reported, the Apple Computers chief had to step down from the top job because of ill-health. This was big news because Jobs is seen as being a crucial part of Apple's recent success - both as a creative thinker and the IT industry's best public speaker - and when ever there is talk of him not being well the computer firm's share price wobbles.

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MORE TLRC EXECS STEP DOWN
There have been more executive changes at The Local Radio Company following the purchase of a majority stake in the company by rivals UKRD.

As previously reported, TLRC's existing chairman Tony Gubminer, who works for Hallwood, previously the radio firm's biggest shareholder, stood down once UKRD confirmed it had over 50% of the shares in the company. UKRD top man Trevor Smallwood was subsequently appoint TLRC chairman, and UKRD's CEO and Finance Director were given the corresponding jobs at TLRC.

According to Radio Today, a number of other TLRC execs will now step down, including Head Of Sales Howard Bowles, and Claire Willis and Rachel Barker, who headed up the company's South England and North West/Yorkshire regions respectively. It's not clear if their roles will now be taken over by existing UKRD execs.

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GENE SIMMONS RAISES MONEY USING KIDNEY
Yuck, Gene Simmons has put a kidney stone up for auction on eBay, and someone was willing to pay $15k for it. He says: "I passed a kidney stone and I put it on eBay for charity. (I got) $15,000".

Oh well, I suppose that's okay if it's for charity.

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MORTIMER REVEALS KRAY SONG
Former East 17-er Tony Mortimer has revealed that he wrote a song with East End gangster Reggie Kray before his death in 2000. The pair became friends prior to Kray's death and Mortimer was a pallbearer at his funeral.

Mortimer told STV: "He wrote a poem called 'Falling Rain' and I changed some of the words around and put some music to that. It's a ballad, it's really good. I've never released that, I've got it at home and I've got a copy of it with a Scottish singer called Jinky Gilmore, who's sung it as well. He's done a fantastic vocal on it. I've got it at home, tucked away. If people wanted to hear it of course I'd let them".

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CHRISTIAN METALLER TO WED JESUS' HOOKER
Oz Fox, guitarist with Christian metal band Stryper, is set to wed his girlfriend, former prostitute and founder of Hookers For Jesus Annie Lobért, at a ceremony in Las Vegas today.

Lobért set up Hookers For Jesus, a Las Vegas-based church which aims to help victims of sex trafficking, in 1998 after turning her back on prostitution at the insistence of a regular client. Fox is currently also preparing for the release of a new Stryper album and tour in July. The couple met in February last year.

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BETH DITTO'S ALIEN ENCOUNTER
Beth Ditto played an apparently terrifying 'total reality game', Alien Wars, when she was in Glasgow last weekend. The Arches venue, where Gossip were appearing, is also home to the game venture, and offered Ditto the chance to have a go whilst she was on site. As far as I can tell, what happens is that you get taken into the basement for a 'tour' to see some purportedly alien artefact, and then the power outs, all hell breaks lose, and you've got fifteen minutes to get out.

An insider told The Daily Record: "Beth was screaming and her vocal chords were getting a real work out. She was running as fast as she could and when she came out, she was laughing and out of breath. She might not look like she can move, but she has great stamina and adrenaline from playing gig after gig. She was the noisiest person in the venue and was clinging on to her friend and pushing and shoving to get away from the aliens. Her imagination ran riot and she couldn't stop talking about it".

Ditto herself commented: "You need to go through this experience. It was amazing, very scary. I almost threw up".

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