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Top Stories
Chris Brown agrees to plea deal - pleads guilty to assault
Perez attacked by Maybe
In The Pop Courts
Irish industry sues leading ISPs over piracy
Team Springsteen make new Ticketmaster attack
Awards & Contests
Doves and Boots already Mercury favourites
Reunions & Splits
More Commodores news
Release News
New SMD single
Gigs N Tours News
Free Ladytron download to celebrate Remix All-nighter set
Festival News
Eavis to retire in 2011
Glade release pre-fest digital album
Album review: Tobacco - Fucked Up Friends (Anticon)
The Music Business
Spanish creative industry step back from three-strike lobbying
German Pirate Party enters parliament
Universal production firm appoints IOW chief to F1 Rocks role
The Digital Business
MySpace staff cuts to reach UK
Spotify to offer 'CD quality' streaming
The Media Business
Bauer do deal with Seatwave
Setanta on the brink
X-Factor auditions to have audience
Chart Of The Day
Total Rock World Album Chart
And finally...
Page and White criticise Guitar Hero
Ditto on new album
Hilson denies dig at Beyonce
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts

Genre-hopping producer Rob Sparx has found underground success under a variety of monikers. His debut album 'Trooper', though, will be released under his real name, next week on Z Audio. It sees him delving into all kinds of genres, in particular dubstep and electronica, albeit with some hints of the drum n bass he's best known for. Following the album release, he'll be DJing here, there and everywhere throughout the summer, while also finding time to run (or in one case launch) three record labels. We caught up with him to find out more.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
My mum's a musician and jazz singer and she wanted to make sure I got a decent musical education. I started playing double bass when I was eight and by the time I was 18 I'd got classical grade eight distinction, played piano and was pretty good at guitar. But by then I was more interested in synths and writing dance music. I started producing when I was 16 using an ancient tracker program on my PC, and also Logic and MOTU Performer at college. It wasn't really until I got my second computer in 2001 that I got anywhere with producing and started getting tunes on wax. In 2004 I began releasing tracks regularly on vinyl writing drum n bass on Grid (Twisted Individual), Formation (DJ SS) and Propaganda (GDub).

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
I wanted to write music without having to worry about the usual bullshit. You know: 'Is this tune the right genre for a label? Will it work on the dancefloor?' I wanted to write something that stands out from the crowd. I'd had over twenty releases prior to working on the album - covering drum n bass, dubstep, breaks and house/techno - and I saw this as a chance for me to use techniques from all these styles on one project, and to mix things up as much as possible with even more styles - there's garage, dub, R&B/hip hop, indie, progressive and old skool influences on there. I wanted to go for a deeper more epic sound than usual, concentrating much more on melodies, harmonies and soundscapes but keeping the basses as loud as possible so the music still works on a large soundsystem. I used guitar and a pogo stick electric double bass on the album too, so there's a more organic feel to some of the tunes. I called the album 'Trooper' due to the ridiculous amount of time I spent writing it - it took me a year to finish in total, or nearly two years when you include the bonus CD, which is a collection of singles written during and after the album, with a much livelier but more aggressive feel than the main CD.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
There's a few different processes - sometimes I start with the drums, and then jam basses/leads over the beat, sometimes I start with just music and build everything around that, making sure I can adjust pitch in case the bass needs transposing later and sometimes I build a bass riff and everything grows around that. I've found that for writing dancefloor singles it really helps to do the drums and music first then add the basses later, but for album tunes there's no rules. I tend to lay out a very basic version of the track full length and fill in the fine details later. Getting the mix right is a bit like putting a jigsaw puzzle together, I'm always switching between headphones and speakers and standing in the spot of my studio with the loudest bass response to make sure the sub is right. I usually smoke weed to start tunes and drink to finish them working in batches so that I start or finish say five tunes at a time - that stops things from getting boring and allows me to constantly drop recordings from one tune into another which saves time and keeps my sound more consistent.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Skream, Mystikz, Loefah, Burial, Todd Edwards/old UK garage, old Metalheadz, Good Looking and Ram, jumpup from early 2000's like Hazard, Baron, Zen, Twisted and Dillinja. Tekky dnb like Noisia, Bad Company, Ed Rush and Optikal etc, also Leftfield, Prodigy, Massive Attack, Trentemoller, epic house like Cafe Del Mar, 80's bands like The Cure and The Specials and dub legends like King Tubby, Mad Prof and Lee Scratch Perry. Plenty more influences but those are the ones that spring to mind.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Get wasted and hear it on a system with plenty of bass! Also, I write lots of different styles of music and it's rare for one person to like everything I've done, so check out my other releases as my sound has many faces.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
I'm hoping the album will get my sound to a wider audience, get me more radio play and show people I don't just write music for freaks - ha! I've been DJing loads recently, so more of that would be good as well, playing in Europe is great but it would be nice to see the rest of the world as well. I'm itching to start work on a second album, and I've just started two labels - Migration and Sour Grapes - plus will be starting a third one very soon - each label has a completely different sound to the others. Artists contributing include Synkro & Indigo, Numbernin6, Tunnidge, Cyrus & Omni (Random Trio), Bar9, Nero and Radikal Guru. I'm also writing trance and progressive house for Armin Van Buren's Armada imprint, and am having a crack at remixing competitions for Sony (for pop stars like Beyoncé), although I've not had anything accepted yet! I'm gonna get back into writing drum n bass eventually. I'm hoping the scene will have a change of direction, as I'm not really feeling what's happening there at the moment. What I think will really improve my music is finding a good vocalist, then I can spend more time writing the sort of music that everyone can appreciate, not just the underground scene.


When Dirty Projectors flitted with noughties r'n'b production on 'Stillness Is The Move' earlier this year, New York's Discovery must have been listening and seeing inroads being made for acceptance in the holier than thou world of indie criticism. Their own songs are based on the genre's jumpy beats, though showered in Nintendo bleeps, undercurrents of chugging synth and swirling electronic sounds that arrive like a lighter Ratatat, or even Passion Pit with half their synthesisers confiscated. Vocally, meanwhile, there's a soothing tone on 'Orange Shirt', leading the listener into thinking that they're e about to hit a hardball chorus when another plateau is just seconds away. Ace stuff.




I think there's an important lesson for young guys all over America in this. If you're going to beat your girlfriend unconscious, make sure you're rich enough to hire the sort of lawyers capable of negotiating you a cushy plea bargain first. Partly because it will mean you avoid any of that tedious jail time, and partly because I'm pretty sure that's what Jesus would want.

Yes, America's top pop thugster Chris Brown yesterday reached a plea deal with prosecutors with minutes to spare before the first formal court hearing regarding those allegations that the R&B star beat up his then girlfriend Rihanna in the street after a post-party row half way through this year's Grammy weekend. Brown pleaded guilty to one count of assault, for which he will be sentenced to five years probation and six months community service. He'll also have to attend a domestic violence class. Presumably so he can do it better next time.

Rihanna's legal man Donald Etra said the singer thought the plea deal was a "fair and just resolution" to the case, and at least the bargain means she won't have to go through the trauma of testifying against her ex. As part of the settlement Brown was also told to stay 50 yards away from his former girlfriend at all times, except at pop star events where such a rule may be impractical, so a ten yard exclusion zone will apply. Meaning that while the pop star may be able to throw a bottle in his ex-girlfriend's direction, he won't be able to throw any punches.

Having confirmed a plea deal had been reached and therefore no trial would now take place, Judge Patricia Schnegg told Brown: "I think it's commendable that you took responsibility for your conduct, sir".

Brown has previously been cautious of admitting to any violence in relation to the Rihanna altercation, saying simply that he was "sorry and saddened" by the incident. Such caution was probably for legal rather than PR reasons. Although he has now formally admitted beating up his former other half, from a career point of view at least he can try and draw a line on the incident, apologise and get on with his life, hoping a previous commitment to get counselling will reassure the public he won't ultimately beat up the next girl he hangs out with.

Though, while his core fanbase have remained loyal throughout, whether Brown's mainstream pop career can ever completely recover from a violent altercation that led the news agenda in the US for a good week remains to be seen.

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Elsewhere in (alleged) pop assaults, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton has claimed that he was attacked by Black Eyed Peas' at the Much Music Awards in Toronto on Sunday night., it should be noted, says he did no such thing.

Perez, real name Mario Lavandeira, updated his Twitter followers shortly after the alleged incident happened, though mainly because he seemed to think that posting messages on Twitter was the correct way to contact the police (which I'm pretty sure it isn't, even in Canada). He said: "I was assaulted by of the Black Eyed Peas and his security guards. I am bleeding. Please, I need to file a police report. No joke". Followed by: "Still waiting for the police. The bleeding has stopped. I need to document this. Please, can the police come to the SoHo Met Hotel".

Both men agree that earlier in the evening Black Eyed Pea Fergie had asked Perez why he'd written negative things about the group's new single, and that later approached him to discuss what was said in the conversation. It was around about then that Hilton got punched. Both have issued lengthy video statements explaining exactly what happened. In Hilton's version of events he is attacked by and his security guards. The Black Eyed Pea says that a group of fans who overheard the conversation did all the punching.

Here's Perez Hilton's statement:

And here's's:

Now, given the high and mighty tone we've just taken when reporting on R&B thugster Chris Brown, it would be hypocritical of us to condone violence. And hitting out is never the right thing to do, even if someone's just slagged off your new single. But surely this can't be the first time Perez Hilton's been punched can it? And if you are going to tagline your website "Hollywood's Most-Hated Web Site!" surely people are going to occasionally slap you? If only for spelling website as two words.

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So, the good old "do something about the piracy Mr ISP" thing is taking an interesting turn in Ireland.

Over here, and in various other countries, the record companies and net firms are taking part in albeit slow going talks about the ISPs voluntarily taking on the pirates, in return for help launching their own all-you-can-eat digital music services, while both sides also lobby government about clarifying in statute an ISP's liabilities (or not) regarding monitoring and blocking the distribution of unlicensed content on the net.

But in Ireland they've all just gone legal. The four majors are suing two telecom companies - BT and UPC, the latter owners of the Chorus and NTL ISP companies in Ireland - with claims that by failing to combat the online infringement of their customers, under Irish copyright law the net companies are themselves liable for infringement claims.

It's an interesting area, of course, because the ISPs have been very keen from the word go to avoid liability for any illegal activity committed by their customers on their networks, and have normally successfully lobbied for exclusion from liability in any new laws that specifically deal with net-based crimes or unlawful acts.

Where copyright laws have been revised since the dawn of the internet, so in the US for example, 'safe harbour' clauses have normally been added to specifically restrict an ISP's liabilities for the infringing activity of their customers. In countries where copyright laws remain unchanged for the digital age, like the UK, the liabilities of the net firms have not generally been tested in court, mainly because few content owners are confident a judge would want to apply such liabilities to ISPs, in fear of opening the flood gates for claims, and in doing so making it impossible for net firms to operate.

But the Irish record industry reckons they have their country's law on their side, and that because the ISPs have turned down the labels' approaches to collaborate on the piracy problem, that a judge may well find in their favour.

Confirming legal action had been initiated, the MD of EMI Ireland, Willie Kavanagh, told Irish paper The Post: ''Under Irish copyright law, failure to do anything about illegal file-sharing makes UPC and BT part of the theft. We have sent both of these companies information which is proof positive that their systems are being used for illegal internet file sharing, and neither of them has been in any way co-operative with us about it. Therefore we have no other option than to sue them".

A spokesman for UPC, meanwhile, told reporters: ''Should proceedings commence, UPC intends to vigorously defend its position in court. UPC will not agree to a request that goes beyond what is currently provided under existing legislation. There is no basis under Irish law requiring ISPs to control, access or block the internet content its users download. In addition, the rights holders' proposal gives rise to serious concerns for data privacy and consumer contract law".

The latest label/ISP squabble in Ireland follows the previously reported out of court settlement between the record industry and major Irish ISP Eircom. Although the legal dispute was over various matters, the result was Eircom becoming one of the first ISPs in the world to agree to the controversial three-strike system which would see persistent file-sharers actually cut off. Insiders say that part of the record industry's three-strikes deal with Eircom was a commitment by the labels to try and make others in the net sector sign up to a similar anti-piracy programme, which may be part of the motivation behind the BT/UPC litigation. As far as I'm aware, while committing to a three-strike system, Eircom is yet to instigate any disconnections programme, though warning letters may have gone out.

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I'm not sure what Ticketmaster regret more, buying secondary ticketing website Tickets Now or bidding to be Bruce Springsteen's primacy ticketing agent. As much previously reported, the two things together have brought the ticketing giant a lot of bad press, just at a time when they could do without being portrayed as anti-competitive, or anti-consumer, what with regulators reviewing their proposals to merge with major league tour promoter and venue owner Live Nation.

As previously reported, Bruce Springsteen hit out after he learned that Ticketmaster were promoting sale of his tickets on their ticket touting website Tickets Now, where tickets are, of course, sold at a considerable mark up.

He was particularly angry because consumers were accidentally sent to Tickets Now to buy touted Spingsteen tickets whenever the main Ticketmaster server was too busy to sell fans official face value tickets - ie fans were being encouraged to buy touted tickets even though official tickets were still available. Some claimed it was in Ticketmaster's interest for touted tickets to be sold, because they earn money twice - one commission on the sale of the primary ticket, and another on the resale of that ticket via Tickets Now.

Ticketmaster apologised for the cock up that sent Springsteen fans to the touting website when the primary site server was busy, offered various refunds to those who'd bought marked up tickets as a result, and pledged to be much more responsible with its promotion of Tickets Now via its main Ticketmaster website in the future, even when all primary tickets had sold out. As consumer groups had been expressing concern about Ticketmaster's ownership and promotion of Tickets Now for a while, Springsteen was seen by many as the champion of the consumer and the normal music fan over a major corporation out of control.

But last week an American newspaper reported that, at the concert around which most of the ticketing cock ups occurred, the normal music fan was at a disadvantage not only because of Ticketmaster's interests in the secondary ticketing market, but also because Spingsteen and his management had kept back 2300 tickets for themselves, including over a thousand of the best seats in the house. While artists, managers and venues often keep tickets aside for friends and associates, the Newark Star Ledger claimed that the high number of tickets kept aside by Springsteen's people made it hard for fans to get good seats at the concert, and fuelled the touting market by reducing the number of tickets available to the public. The paper also claimed Springsteen and his people had broken a New Jersey state rule about the maximum number of tickets for a public event that management are allowed to hold back.

After that story broke, Ticketmaster overlord Barry Diller told the New York Post "[Bruce Springsteen] has been one of our most vocal critics on our ticketing policies and, while he's more than entitled to his opinion, it seems minimally fair-minded to point out that in the concert that created the battle, where Ticketmaster apologised for making a technical mistake, it seems that Mr. Springsteen held back from his fans all but 108 of the 1126 tickets closest to the stage".

Diller probably should have let the matter lie. His comments have led to another attack from the Springsteen camp. His manager, Jon Landau, has posted a long message on the singer's website. He says that he and Springsteen were right to complain about the misdirection of the singer's fans to the Tickets Now service, and that the almost immediate response of Diller's colleague, Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff, who explained about the technical cock up and apologised, was proof of that. The fact the New Jersey District Attorney subsequently got involved and secured commitments from the ticketing firm about its promotion of Tickets Now, and that discussions about the affair took place in US Congress, was, he said, even further proof they were in the right.

On more recent developments, Landau continues: "Last Sunday the Newark Star Ledger ran an article entitled 'Springsteen withheld best tickets from the public at NJ concert, records show'. This is the same article that the Star Ledger runs whenever we do a few indoor shows in New Jersey. It suggested that we were in some way responsible for the Ticketmaster/TicketsNow problem. On Friday Ticketmaster's Chairman attacked Bruce personally in the New York Post. In this article, Ticketmaster's Chairman deploys by implication Ticketmaster's new line: despite their apology, despite the consent decree with Attorney General Milgram, and despite their testimony in Congress, the ticket catastrophe was actually Bruce's fault".

He responds: "The Chairman's spin is that it's flatly untrue. He is merely using the time honored tradition of blowing smoke to distract attention away from Ticketmaster's already acknowledged responsibility for their 'glitches'".

Responding more specifically to the Ledger's story, though sneaking in another attack on Ticketmaster in the process, he continued: "Yes, we do hold significant numbers of tickets when we play New Jersey, New York and Los Angeles, as does every arena headliner. These holds are used by Bruce, his band members, and longtime members of his extended organisation, their families and close relations; by the record label for their staff, for reviewers, and for radio stations; by charities who are provided with tickets for fund raising purposes, such as special auctions; for service people who help us on a year-round basis; and for other similar purposes. Unlike some Ticketmaster managed artists [ie artists managed by the Ticketmaster-owned artist management firm Front Line], no tickets are held for high dollar resale on TicketsNow, or through any other means".

He adds that the Ledger's article is inaccurate in saying that most of the 'best seats in the house' were held back. He explains: "The 2000 to 3500 tickets closest to the stage are on the floor and more than 95% of them go to the public, making the basic premise of the Star Ledger headline inaccurate. Secondly, with regard to seats held in the best sections on either side, we always blend guest seats with fan seats so that there are never any sections consisting entirely of guest seats".

Concluding, Landau says: "These are our ticket practices, as they have evolved over more than 30 years of experience. Does anyone seriously imagine that any element of these practices caused Ticketmaster to redirect ticket requests to TicketsNow for the Izod Center shows? What would our incentive have been? It's not we who earned vastly larger sums when fans paid way over the face value of the tickets. It was Ticketmaster/TicketsNow. We have no interest in having an ongoing conflict with Ticketmaster/TicketsNow or anyone else. But we do get upset when we see fans being taken advantage of. So, when that stuff stops happening (and the Ticketmaster/TicketsNow problems surrounding our recent show in Washington D.C. shows that these issues are far from resolved) we will stop complaining. And when the facts cease to be misrepresented, we will stop explaining".

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The shortlist hasn't been announced yet, but bets are already being placed on what album will win the Mercury Music Prize this year, with Little Boots' debut and the latest Doves offering currently joint favourites apparently. I'm now having to give the latter a second listen because I was a bit disappointed when I first heard it. Both 'Hands' and 'Kingdom Of Rust' have 5-1 odds, while Bat For Lashes's 'Two Suns' is third favourite with 6-1. Debut long players from La Roux and Florence And The Machine are also being tipped, even though they're not out yet (though they have been serviced to press and radio). The nominations for this year's Mercury Prize will be announced next month.

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You may remember that Lionel Richie has been hinting at a reunion of the original line up of the Commodores for a while now. The latest news is that bass player Ron La Pread has flown from his home in New Zealand to Los Angeles to rehearse with the aforementioned Richie, and guitarist Thomas McLary. No mention has been made in reports of the other surviving founding members - two of whom still perform to this day as The Commodores - but I assume that William King and Walter Orange will also be involved. Of course they may not be. Richie's 'reunion' could be a counter-Commodores to the one currently in existence. Perhaps they will do battle.

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Simian Mobile Disco are to release their new single on 3 Aug via Wichita Recordings. 'Audacity of Huge' features Chris Keating from Yeasayer and is taken from the band's new album 'Temporary Pleasure', which is out on 17 Aug. You can see the video for the new track here:

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Ladytron are to play their only live club performance of the year at Eddy TM's CMU recommended Remix All-Nighter at Matter on 17 July, and there's a free download up for grabs in celebration of that fact. It's a Vector Lovers remix of the band's single 'Tomorrow', and is available here.

Also appearing live at the All-Nighter are Japanese Popstars and Burn The Negative, plus DJs Phil Hartnoll, Alex Metric, Punks Jump Up, Matrix and Futurebound, and, of course, Eddy TM, with more to be confirmed. Advance tickets can be purchased at a cost of five of your earth pounds from here. Which sounds like pretty good value, doesn't it?

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Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis has told The Guardian that he will retire from running the festival in 2011. This is five years sooner than previously thought, but given that he'll be 75 then, I think it's fair enough. He'll also have been running the festival for 41 years, which is pretty good going. Taking the reigns will be his daughter Emily, who, of course, already organises the festival with her dad.

He also revealed that he has already physically distanced himself from the festival, having moved out of the main house and Worthy Farm, where Emily now lives with her fiancé, Nick Dewey. Though he admitted he's not that far away and, even after retirement, probably won't quite be able to let it go.

He said: "I'm living on top of the hill now, away from the farm. So [Emily's] taking over the house, which is nice. A new generation of Eavises can live here. [But] I still feel I have an important role to play. Even if I go I'll worry about the drains, the rubbish, the recycling. There will be a gradual process of her and Nick taking it over".

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The Glade Festival yesterday released a digital album package featuring 20 tracks from artists set to perform at this year's event, which takes place next month. You can download the collection from Right about here, in fact.

Here's the tracklisting:

Underworld - Glam Bucket
Tom Real - Bang The Box
James Munro presents Quiet Storm - Curve
Perfect Stranger - Free Cloud
Mutant Clan - Kenesai
NAPT - Gotta Have More Cowbell
Krafty Kuts & A Skills - Happiness
Deekline & Wizard - Bounce and Rebound
Rennie Pilgrem - Rich Rule Us
Drop The Lime - Hear Me
Plump DJs - Beat Myself Up
Beat Assassins - We Run Tings
Far Too Loud - Play It Loud (Broken Robot)
Plaza De Funk - Drop The Bomb
Disco of Doom - The Click (Zombie F*ckers Mix)
Chromatone - Smarty Pads
Tristan - If Only
High Rankin - Escape From The Hood
Shitmat - DJ Got Virus
Sub Focus - Timewarp

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ALBUM REVIEW: Tobacco - Fucked Up Friends (Anticon)
Straight from opener 'Street Trash' it is clear that Tobacco has a wonderful talent. Blurring analogue synth, hip hop beats and Flaming Lips-style vocals with the dirtiest bass lines you can imagine, Tobacco drives the ideas ruminated upon in his other notable band, the wonderfully-titled Black Moth Super Rainbow, to the next level. Taking all the weirdness, psychedelia, and song craft from BRSM, Tobacco then pushes the envelope and winds up at something more recognisable to today's hip hop-fed youth, specifically a Kanye West over-produced and over auto-tuned sound. Indeed the brilliant nature of the album is derived from its distinct multiple sources, leading to some effective and interesting juxtaposition, for instance, the moody, beat driven 'Side 8' sits at right angles to 'Yum Yum Cult', an experimental number that is softer in tone and reminiscent of the haziness of BRSM's 'Sun Lips', yet they work together incredibly well. Sitting like a divider at the centre of the album, and one of its finest points, is the track 'Dirt'. Featuring the talents of Aesop Rock (who has worked with Tobacco on numerous occasions), 'Dirt' combines what works best on the album; Tobacco's unique song writing talents, dirty, scuzzy bass lines, gigantic synths and some of the most melodic vocals to appear throughout. Tobacco is at his refreshing and vital best on 'Fucked Up Friends', it takes a joyous leap from his previous work with BRSM and works in fresh elements to create something quite complex and visionary. SJS
Release Date: 6 Jul
Press Contact: In House Press [All]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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More from the three-strikes file, and a body in Spain representing various creative industries, including record labels body Promusicae, says it now accepts that the disconnection of persistent illegal file-sharers is just not going to happen there.

The Coalition Of Creators & Content Industries, which previously advocated the three-strike approach to combating online piracy like that being developed in France, has said it accepts that the Spanish government is unlikely to take the French lead in forcing the ISPs to actually cut off those who persistently infringe copyrights online. However, it says it will continue to lobby for 'technical measures' to be instigated against unrepentant file-sharers, including cutting net speed, a measure proposed as a possible deterrent against illegal file-sharing in the UK government's 'Digital Britain' report last week.

The president of the Coalition, Aldo Olcese, admitted that the change in policy follows an announcement by the country's ISP trade body which said it would no longer negotiate with the creative industry body on the piracy issue, demanding the government be clearer on its policy on the issue first. Olcese says he wants to concentrate his efforts in tackling BitTorrent tracker services like the Pirate Bay, of which he reckons 200 now exist in Spain, and which, he says, encourage and facilitate wider online piracy.

It's not clear whether that will be done through civil action against the people behind such services, or whether the Coalition hope for legislative clarity on the liabilities of the providers of search services that hone in on unlicensed music content. He did, however, tell reports that he was confident the Spanish government would make some moves in the near future to protect the creative industries from the ever growing amounts of online piracy in the country.

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In sort of related news, the German version of The Pirate Party has got itself a seat in the German parliament, which is an interesting turn of events. It's happened because one existing MP, Jorg Tauss, has quit his political party, the Social Democrats, in a dispute over their policy on internet regulation and censorship. Given the issue that has led to his resignation from the Social Democrats, Tauss has chosen to affiliated himself with the pro-internet freedom party, in doing so catapulting them into the mainstream political system.

As previously reported, the German Pirate Party is similar to that in Sweden which came to mainstream attention during the Pirate Bay trial earlier this year. Although not officially linked to the rogue BitTorrent tracker, the Swedish Pirate Party spoke out in support of its founders. Buoyed by media interest in the trial, and their anti-copyright cause, the Swedish Pirate Party won seats in the European Parliament in the recent Euro elections, standing on a manifesto of wider internet freedoms. Their German counterparts also stood in the European election though didn't get enough votes to get them (anywhere near) any seats in the Euro legislature. Their sudden arrival in the actual German parliament, therefore, is quite a step forward.

What it means for the music industry in Germany, who are increasingly calling on the government there to follow their French counterparts and crack down on internet piracy, I'm not sure. In power terms the Pirate Party still has little, but Tauss' defection will win them some media attention that could hinder the record industry's lobbying efforts.

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Universal's event production company All The Worlds has announced it has appointed Isle Of Wight Festival boss John Giddings to head up F1 Rocks, the previously reported JV between the Universal business and the Formula 1 company to stage music-based events around the F1 race calendar.

Giddings will, according to the press statement, "construct a network of local promoter partners and create highly desirable content to benefit our media and broadcast packages, which will be tailored to maximise results in each territory". Confirming his involvement in the venture, he told CMU: "I've always said something is only worth doing if it's fun. This innovative project and the opportunity it represents to put on amazing shows was too good to pass up!"

Paul Morrison, a partner in Universal's events business, and CEO of it, added: "We are pleased to strengthen the team with John joining us. His wealth of experience and knowledge will be a huge asset to All the Worlds and F1 Rocks and will no doubt contribute towards many memorable and successful events ahead. John is also a huge Formula 1 fan, which helps!"

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The company wide cuts at MySpace have hit the UK. The boss of the social networking whatnot's non-US operations, Travis Katz, is out on his arse, and rumour has it his workforce of 400 will now be cut to 150, who will presumably report directly into the company's new US-based senior management. It is not clear what that will mean for the 40 UK-based MySpace staff. The global cuts follow the axing of 420 jobs earlier in the month at the MySpace US operation, taking their head count below 1000. You do have to wonder what nearly 2000 people did at a company that relies mainly on its users to generate content, but I'm sure they all worked very, very, very hard.

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If last week's rash of adverts voiced by increasingly irritating people didn't get you to move over to Spotify's premium ad-free pay-to-use service, maybe this will. The streaming music platform has announced that those who pay will soon have access to 'CD quality' music.

Premium customers will get their music in the 320kbps Ogg format, which pretty much equates to CD quality, while the everyone else will continue to get 160kbps streams. Initially only popular tracks will be available in the high quality format, with the rest of the catalogue being converted in the coming weeks.

Announcing the new service, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said: "Providing great sound quality has always been an important goal for us. Now, we're taking the next step in offering an unparalleled listening experience".

And he's right, they are, though those of you listening to Spotify through cheapo computer speakers probably won't be able to tell the difference. Which may be the flaw in this method of persuading people to pay for premium Spotify. Unlike with high quality TV, the general population have, for the most part, not yet been convinced that high quality music streaming, and the hardware needed to properly receive it, is something they need to invest in. Possibly because there's more novelty value in being able to see every wrinkle on 'Last Of The Summer Wine' than being able to hear the bassist fart halfway through your favourite song.

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Bauer Media has announced a deal with Seatwave which will see the secondary ticketing firm become the publisher's preferred tout exchange, to be promoted by its music media, which include Q, Mojo and Kerrang!, and by its own primary ticketing website

Confirming the deal, Joe Cohen, CEO and Founder of Seatwave, told reporters: "A partnership with Bauer Media couldn't be a better fit with Seatwave. With an unwavering focus on the fans, together we will provide a safe and secure marketplace for all Bauer's Media's customers to buy and sell tickets with absolute peace of mind".

Bauer's digital ticketing manager Caroline Young added: "Bauer Media recognised the consumer demand for a safe and secure fan to fan ticket exchange, which is exactly what Seatwave offer. is delighted to have them on board".

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We've not reported on it so far, because it's got nothing to do with music, but the now very possible demise of sports broadcaster Setanta is increasingly big news, and has implications across the wider media, as a demonstration that the TV sector is really struggling amid the continued advertising recession, and proof once again of just how hard it is for independent players to take on Rupert Murdoch in areas of the pay-TV sector where Sky wish to dominate.

As you probably know, the Irish-owned sports TV firm Setanta has been on the brink for a while now, its financial woes becoming big news as it began to default on its payments to the Premier League and Scottish Premier League for rights to broadcast live football matches.

Yesterday the Premier League announced it had broken off its deal with the independent channel and had awarded all the live matches previously owned by Setanta to ESPN, who plan to broadcast them in the UK via both the Sky and Virgin networks. The Disney-owned sports operation will not only get the games reserved for Setanta this year, but will also take over the struggling broadcaster's agreement with the English football league from 2010 to 2013. Elsewhere the Scottish Premier League have confirmed they are in talks with other broadcasters, and back in Ireland the island-wide football competition sponsored by the channel, the Setanta Sports Cup, is on hold.

Commentators say that the sports broadcaster will now almost certainly move into administration, with reports suggested Deloitte are ready to move in to review the company's affairs, may be with a view to winding it up.

There had been concerns that if Setanta went down it could take some middle size football clubs with them, given they very much rely on their telly rights money in order to pay their ball kickers their silly wages. It's not clear if the ESPN deal means such ramifications will be avoided.

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'X-Factor' is set to be revamped so that the first stage auditions take place in front of a studio audience, like they do on 'Britain's Got Talent'. The revamp, though, has come a bit late in the day because auditions have already begun. The result of the change is that those who attended recent auditions in Glasgow, and who made it through to the judging panel, may have to re-audition, this time with an audience in place.

Whether judges will have to feign surprise when the picked-because-they're-bad contenders get wheeled in front of them for a second time I'm not sure. Or perhaps producers will pick new freak show contenders from the Glasgow wannabe crowd, to be put through the ordeal of a televised audition and subsequent Cowell slating. After all, which of the hopefuls slagged off first time round would want to go through the process again? Well, the really desperate might perhaps. Or those who believed a studio audience at the audition might play to their advantage.

A spokesman for the show admitted yesterday: "We are still fine tuning our plans, but we aim to be back up in Scotland at the end of the month. We are working out how we are going to do it, but it does look like everyone who auditioned will come and audition again".

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It's this week's Total Rock World Album Chart, as counted down on Total Rock last weekend - New entries and re-entries marked with a *.

1. Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown (Warner Bros)
2. Nickelback - Dark Horse (Warner/Roadrunner)
3. Marilyn Manson - The High End Of Low (Universal/Interscope)
4. Taking Back Sunday - New Again (Warner Bros)*
5. Rancid - Let The Dominoes Fall (Epitaph)*
6. AC/DC - Black Ice (Sony Music)
7. Theory Of A Deadman - Scars & Souvenirs (Warner/Roadrunner)
8. Chickenfoot - Chickenfoot (Edel)*
9. Shinedown - The Sound Of Madness (Warner/Atlantic)
10. Manic Street Preachers - Journal For Olague Lovers (Sony Music)
11. Bruce Springsteen - Working On A Dream (Sony Music)
12. Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know (Warner/Roadrunner)
13. Pearl Jam - Ten (Sony Music)
14. Iron Maiden - Flight 666 (EMI)*
15. Metallica - Death Magnetic (Universal/Mercury)
16. Kid Rock - Rock - N Roll Jesus (Warner/Atlantic)
17. Disturbed - Indestructible (Warner/Reprise)
18. Mastodon - Crack The Skye (Warner Bros)
19. Rise Against - Appeal To Reason (Universal/Geffen)
20. Papa Roach - Metamorphosis (Universal/Interscope)

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Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, and The White Stripes' Jack, er, White, have criticised the pretend-to-play video game 'Guitar Hero' at a press conference in Los Angeles for 'It Might Get Loud', a new documentary exploring the history of the guitar and focussing on the careers and styles of Page, White and U2's The Edge.

White said: "It's depressing to have a label come and tell you that ['Guitar Hero'] is how kids are learning about music and experiencing music". He added that while he would never want to dictate how people consume music, that "if you have to be in a video game to get in front of them, that's a little sad".

Page said that he can't see playing the game can teach anything significant about playing an instrument, adding: "You think of the drum part that John Bonham did on Led Zeppelin's first track on the first album, 'Good Times Bad Times'. How many drummers in the world can play that part, let alone on Christmas morning?"

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Beth Ditto has been talking about her new album to Metro and says it's about gayness. She also she says that she hopes that what she has done will inspire others.

Here's what she said: "This record is much more about gayness. We come from the post-riot grrrl scene, and when you're suddenly in the UK Top 40, it's a really rad platform. We were so isolated as kids - we had to scrape the surface until we found something cool. Without bands like Nirvana and Sonic Youth, we'd have been lost. I just hope what we do inspires some totally nerdy boy with glasses in some remote village, or some fat girl who's been told she's ugly, to form a band. Happiness is so close - it starts when you get the fuck out of school!"

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R&B star Keri Hilson has denied suggestions that a remix of her 'Turnin Me On' single included a deliberate dig at Beyonce Knowles. The lyrics include the lines: "Your vision cloudy if you think you the best, you can dance, she can sing, but need to move it to the left".

The singer told Newsbeat that in fact she was having referencing a number of different people. "I'm not hating Beyoncé or anyone else for that matter" she said. "I was addressing some people who tried to turn me off. I used lyrics from a popular Beyoncé song ('Irreplaceable'). I sampled "to the left, to the left" but it was nothing to her or about her. Now that I listen to it, I understand where it was coming from. The song's really about how long and hard I fought to get where I'm at".

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