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Job ads
Classified ads
Top Stories
MySpace close to buying Imeem
In The Pop Courts
Murray to sue over unpaid fees, AEG say no contract
Police speak to N-Dubz in rape inquiry
Aaron Carter hit with $1m tax bill
In The Pop Hospital
Darren Hayman hospitalised after mugging
Jackson Junior suffers from vitiligo
Awards & Contests
Big Chill chief gets special Festival Award
Tartan Clef Awards line-up announced
Charts, Stats & Polls
Jedward better than the Beatles
Reunions & Splits
Velvet Underground members to reunite
Artist Deals
BMG goes all Wiggly
Release News
PiL re-issue old stuff, talk about new stuff
Films N Shows News
Fiddy signs multiple movie deal
Björk writes Moomin song
Gigs N Tours News
Chris T-T announces album and tour
Evile announce European tour
Album review: Various Artists - Kitsune Maison Compilation 8 (Kitsune)
The Music Business
Terra Firma write down EMI investment
Warner Bros appoint new A&R consultant
Kaiser Chiefs drummer launches label
The Digital Business
Shazam sued over patents
The Pirate Bay turns off tracker
The Media Business
ITV appoint new Chairman
Europe-wide satellite radio offer in development
Absolute record loss, as expected
OfCom propose relaxing media ownership rules
Smash Hits back with Take That special
Rappers' mums to host TV show
Chart Of The Day
This week's playlist
And finally...
Lady Gaga having Michael Bolton's baby, or something
Dolly Rockers not dropped, just moving
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts

The driving force behind the creation of Digital Hardcore Recordings and founder member of the band Atari Teenage Riot, Alec Empire is somewhat of a veteran, having released his first records while still at school. After disbanding ATR in 2000, Empire established himself as a solo artist, DJ and producer, and has now been involved in well over a hundred albums, EPs and singles. Influenced by a range of different music styles, he counts the likes of Dave Grohl and Trent Reznor among his fans. Alec's new single '1000 Eyes' is set for release on 7 Dec, and he begins a UK tour on 19 Nov. We spoke to Alec to ask the Same Six Questions.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I had my first radio appearance in Berlin when I was eight years old, playing 'Yesterday' by the Beatles, which seems quite strange now. I started my first band when I was twelve or thirteen, after I won an award as Berlin's best breakdancer. Because we were so young, the music scene back then fell in love with us and we ended up playing with many famous bands. When acid house started around 1988/89, I was really blown away by its power and excitement and started to release my first records. I was still at school back then, but then shortly after became a very active part in the techno scene. Then at the age of nineteen I started Atari Teenage Riot.

Q2 What inspired your latest single?
A personal episode really - it made me write the song. It is about a failed but very passionate relationship. Many critics have compared my undistorted, clean voice to early Lou Reed and Velvet Underground. No surprise, as I am very influenced by them. I use metaphors like Japanese filmmakers use them - "snow" stands for "death" for example, and not for "cocaine", like many think.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
This really depends on the piece of music itself. I avoid routines when I write and also when I record. On '1000 Eyes' we set up our gear in an old and empty warehouse space in Berlin, and recorded it in one take. I was playing electric guitar and [producer and former ATR bandmate] Nic Endo the synths. It was a very dark atmosphere. I loved the natural reverb of the space. This technique is very unusual for me, though, as I do a lot of electronic productions where I create a more artificial atmosphere in the studio. This has led this track to standing out from the rest, I think.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
I think I'm far too deep into it now to day, after having been involved in over 100 releases, and having published over 400 songs. It's hard to track, as I constantly listen to a lot of different styles of music. Main influences have been Lee Perry, the way he used the mixing desk as an instrument, John Coltrane keeps reminding me to be as honest as I can when I perform, The Clash for widening punk as a genre - I could name at least 40 more.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?

Music is a language, I speak it in a different way. It is like when one travels to a strange country, one might pick up pieces that one understands - this is exciting. If you are looking for the same thing you already know, my music might be the wrong thing for you, as it doesn't fit genre definitions. Try to just understand it emotionally. That's the best start, the rest comes later.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Pop music and its subgenres have become so fragmented I don't even pay attention to its trends, which are mostly paid for and very short. I focus on writing and recording authentic stuff. During the making of my new album I read a lot about old German religion, Viking gods, and listened to a lot of Wagner, while at the same time I was getting more into modular synths, which were used in the 70s and black science fiction. This is how I operate: I connect dots that need to be connected. The past dies in the process.

MORE>> and

French pop-rockers The Plastiscines released their second album, 'About Love', in the US earlier this year through NYLON Records (the label set up by US style mag NYLON), with lead single 'Barcelona' picking them up fans including, slightly bizarrely, former Guns N Roses bassist Duff McKagan. In addition to that, the group will appear in two episodes of the next season of US teen drama 'Gossip Girl', which is due to begin airing later this month. This more than the McKagan connection will almost certainly mean they have a new legion of fans ready and waiting for them when the album hits the UK next year.
It's that time of year again, where we ask you to tell us your favourite track of the year. Just let us know your decision via this handy form, along with some details about who you are and why you made your choice. We'll publish some of your responses in CMU Daily over the coming weeks.

Cast your vote here



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MIDEM 2010, Cannes: Intimate club venue available for hire in the Palais du Festival - to showcase your artists and bands.

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MySpace is in the late stages of talks to buy Imeem, the rival music-focused social networking website and streaming music service. According to Billboard, insiders say a deal could be done as soon as this week, though talks could push into next month.

Financial matters relating to the deal negotiations are not known. The Warner Music-backed Imeem - originally developed by a team that included a number of people from the original Napster business - certainly has the better product. They have also made some interesting acquisitions in recent years, not least the purchase of the music-file fingerprinting company Snocap, the other business set up by original Napster founder Shawn Fanning.

However, Imeem have been struggling financially, and earlier this year faced collapse as steep licensing bills from the major record companies started to mount up, while advertising and sell-through revenues weren't getting anywhere near covering the service's running costs. A combination of renegotiated record label deals and new investment kept Imeem in business, for the time being, but chances are the company is now facing another tricky time financially.

Certainly the rumours have it MySpace is likely to get Imeem for a knocked down price. While MySpace's owners - Rupert Murdoch's News Corp - increasingly regret their $580 million purchase of the social networking platform in 2005, and have been busy ordering radical restructuring and downsizing of the operation, they do have access to large cash reserves should the right deal be on the table.

If the MySpace and Imeem companies did join forces, it would be interesting to see whether there would be any attempt to actually merge the two websites. So far MySpace has kept its other recent digital music acquisition, iLike, separate. But, given that the main MySpace service is increasingly dominated by its music offering, and given the numerous technical problems with the entire MySpace system, there would be a definite argument for migrating the MySpace user base over to Imeem, and just shutting down the MySpace servers.

And given that everyone in the social networking and streaming music space is struggling to make their finances add up, it would make sense to consolidate the three music services into one, if the technological challenges of doing so can be overcome.

Either way, with MySpace, Imeem and iLike under one roof, it would give News Corp's internet business quite a hold over the US streaming music market in the US, especially as iLike is in part powering the new Google music search service. Though not even a combined MySpace, Imeem and iLike would assure dominance of the non-a-la-carte digital music space.

Lala, also a partner in Google Music, would remain a sizeable competitor, and there's the ever-growing Grooveshark, which is now seen by many as the main innovator in the US market, a status once held by Imeem. And while YouTube doesn't push its status as the world's biggest video jukebox quite so much these days, it does still fulfil that function in most territories, and, of course, will power Vevo, the Universal and Sony backed music-video-on-demand service in development. And then, of course, there's Spotify's much anticipated arrival into the American market, due for early 2010.

Basically, an Imeem acquisition might help News Corp in its bid to transform the slightly useless social networking platform it rather foolishly bought in 2005 into a serious player in digital music. But nothing is assured.

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Following those comments made by the spokesman of Michael Jackson's former personal medic Dr Conrad Murray, to the effect that the doc was owed $300k by AEG Live, the promoters of Jacko's doomed This Is It show, there was the news yesterday that Murray plans to sue over the unpaid fees.

However, according to TMZ no contract was ever signed by AEG or Michael Jackson, and the original agreement between the doctor and the promoter was that a contract must be signed before any deal became valid. The gossip site says AEG hope to use that fact to get out of paying the doctor anything.

As much previously reported, Murray is under investigation for homicide amid allegations he caused the death of the late king of pop by negligently administering the drug propofol.

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N-Dubz's Dappy and Fazer will give witness statements to Lincolnshire police following allegations of rape and assault at Butlins in Skegness after the group performed at the Naughty Reunion event at the holiday camp last Friday night.

The group's live DJ, and a co-writer of a number of their songs, Junior Edwards (aka Maze), was arrested after a woman claimed to have been raped and a further two accused him of common assault. He has now been released on bail while police gather evidence, and is due to return to Skegness police station on 15 Feb.

According to BBC News, the incidents allegedly occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning in accommodation at the holiday camp, where Dappy, Fazer, Edwards and the three women had returned after the band's show. It's not clear how many others were there, but the group's management is referring to it as an "after-show party" and police are asking three other men to come forward as potential witnesses.

The group's manager Jonathon Shalit told The Mirror: "The three members of N-Dubz were 100 per cent not involved and there is absolutely no suggestion that they were. The police have confirmed that no one else is being treated as suspects. Any suggestion otherwise is totally misleading in its inference. The police have asked people at the after-show party, including N-Dubz, to voluntarily give witness statements in the next few days, which they of course will willingly do".

A spokeswoman for the Naughty Reunion's organisers, 2wentys, also confirmed that that are assisting police with their inquiries.

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Former child pop star turned celebrity reality TV star, Aaron Carter has reportedly got in trouble with the US tax office after forgetting to pay some money to them. I say some money, he reportedly owes $1,010,635, which is quite a lot. Court papers were filed by officials on Monday. On top of that, Carter was recently eliminated from 'Dancing With The Stars'. Deary me.

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Former frontman of 90s indie band Hefner, Darren Hayman has been hospitalised after he was mugged in a car park after a gig in Nottingham on Saturday. He was badly beaten by up to five attackers and left with "the best kind" of skull fracture.

According to The Nottingham Evening Post, Hayman was parking when one man pulled him out of his car and began punching and kicking him. Another man got into the drivers seat and attempted to push David Shepherd (the drummer in Hayman's backing band, The Secondary Modern) out of the passenger seat. When both musicians resisted, the attackers fled, but quickly returned with two or three others. As well as leaving Hayman with serious injuries, the men stole a sum of money from the car.

In a message on Hayman's website, his wife Helen assured fans that he is recovering well, saying: "He was discharged from hospital lastnight and is now safely back in London. There should be no long lastingdamage, but he does have a linear fracture in his skull (this is the bestkind, apparently!), which will keep him fairly quiet for six weeks or so. Healso has a head wound, a bit of bruising, and a very nasty headache. However, they have prescribed a terrifying amount of painkillers to deal with this. He has made huge improvements since the incident".

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Perhaps in a subtle bid to convince the world Michael Jackson was the biological father of at least some of his three children, La Toya Jackson has told reporters that the late King Of Pop's son Prince Michael also suffers from vitiligo, the skin condition Jacko blamed for his changing skin colour. In an interview with Now magazine she said: "Vitiligo is on my father's side and Prince has it, too - on his arms and chest".

There has, of course, been much speculation about the parentage of all three of Jackson's children. While youngest son Blanket does have some of his father's features, many have remarked that Prince Michael and Paris look far too caucasian to have been fathered by Jackson, even if their mother was Debbie Rowe or another white egg donor.

La Toya has also been talking about how Jacko's three children have been bearing up since their father's death back in June. She told the magazine: "Paris' bedroom is covered with posters of her father, Prince doesn't want to speak about it and Blanket is just very sad - he cries". A psychologist has been hired to help the children come to terms with their father's passing.

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It's the UK Festival Awards tomorrow. As previously reported, the UK Festival Conference will take place in the Vue complex under the O2 Dome during the day, while the awards themselves will be presented in the Dome's Indigo2 venue in the evening.

Among the awards to be presented will one for Best Line Up which, unlike most of the other gongs, was chosen by a panel of judges rather than a public vote. Among the judges was CMU Editor Andy Malt, who did know who'd won, but had the information surgically removed from his brain by the team at We're just hoping that when he hears who's won at tomorrow's awards bash it doesn't bring on any dangerous flashbacks.

Another award selected by pundits rather than punters is the Lifetime Achievement Award. With somewhat ironic timing - given the recent demise of the Big Chill company - this year that honour will go to Katrina Larkin, co-founder of the Big Chill enterprise. Of course the good news is that the Big Chill festival is set to live on thanks to a new deal with Festival Republic, and Larkin will remain at the helm, ensuring the quirky mix of music and other cultural nonsense that makes the festival so special will remain.

Larkin is also set to guest on Cerys Matthews' radio show on BBC 6Music tomorrow afternoon ahead of the presentation of the award, and will talk about the development of the Big Chill brand ever since the initial parties at Islington's Union Chapel way back in 1994.

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The line-up for this year's Tartan Clef Award show has been announced, with performances from an eclectic range of artists, including The View, King Creosote and Mott The Hoople, while Lloyd Cole & The Commotions will reunite for a one-off performance.

The Tartan Clef Awards, of course, celebrate the best in Scottish music. This year's event will take place on 27 Nov at Glasgow's SECC Arena.

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Yeah, that headline is a bit misleading. As is this whole poll. Bookmakers Paddy Power asked 1300 people to name the greatest boyband ever. Jedward came in top with 45% of the vote, while The Beatles were second with 33%. Which is interesting, mainly because neither Jedward nor The Beatles really fulfil the usual definition of boyband. Take That, who were certainly a boy band in the early years, came third with 14% of the vote.

Presumably Paddy Power are hoping their survey's headline will cash in on the Jedward phenomenon, causing lots of anger among music fans and generating the sort of media coverage and water cooler chatter that these made up PR surveys are meant to deliver. Oh, and remind people they can bet on the 'X-Factor' outcome on the betting website, obviously. Personally I'm more angry that A1 are nowhere to be seen on this best boy bands list.

Anyway, here's what a spokesman for Paddy Power said: "We're genuinely gob-smacked with this result and would have presumed that the Fab Four would have easily topped this poll but once again Jedward have exceeded expectations and caused yet another upset".

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The Velvet Underground's Lou Reed, Maureen Tucker and Doug Yule are set to appear live on stage together next month, at an event hosted by music journalist David Fricke at the New York Public Library, to discuss the band's music and legacy. They'll not be playing any music, though. Sorry, I probably should have said that sooner.

The event will take place on 8 Dec and follows the recent publication of new book, 'The Velvet Underground: New York Art', which collects previously unseen photographs, artwork, Reed's handwritten music and lyric notes, plus press clippings and other memorabilia. It will mark their first public appearance together since the group's induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1996.

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Aussie kids-targeted musical group The Wiggles have signed an international administration deal with BMG Rights Management. Although globally focused, the deal with the German music rights agency is part of the group's bid to expand their profile in Europe. The deal is between BMG and The Wiggles' own company, Wiggly Tunes, which holds the rights in the group's various songs.

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To cash-in on/celebrate Public Image Ltd's first tour in seventeen years EMI will re-release the band's second album, 'Metal Box', on 14 Dec, in glorious remastered three disc form. Oh, and it'll all come in a metal box, if you were wondering. This is apparently a good thing because the original vinyl, of course, came on three discs and in a metal box. But these are CDs, so I can't see why this is impressive in any way at all. Sorry EMI.

Anyway, maybe you'll be more impressed by the other PiL reissue coming out on the same day, 'Plastic Box', which is a 64 track, career-spanning, four disc set, packed with rarities and session tracks, which comes in a... well, you get the idea.

For those of you not interested in all this old stuff, John Lydon has said that the band will record new material, so long as their upcoming tour nets them enough cash. Lydon told BBC 6music: "Yes, if I raise the money from this, I most definitely will [record new material]. But what you've got to understand with is that every single time we recorded we only had one take, no money".

I'm not really sure if that means he wants to have a go at recording the band with a proper budget, or that he already knows that the tour won't earn him any money. But anyway, here's how he describes the PiL method of making records in the late 70s: "The Jam would pull out of [Townhouse Studios in London's] Goldhawk Road. They're writing their new hit wonderful album because they have lots of record company backing.We knew they'd left so we'd run in, quickly record it, and that's 'Metal Box' for you. That's basically the John Lydon approach to music - wham, bam, thank you mam".

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50 Cent's Cheetah Vision Films production company has entered into a new joint venture with Action Jackson Films to produce and finance three to five movies per year, the first of which will be 'The Gun', a film written by 50 Cent himself. The rapper will also co-star in the movie, alognside Val Kilmer, and filming is set to begin next month with director Jesse Terro.

Speaking to Variety about 'The Gun', one of three scripts he has penned, 50 Cent said: "When you write a song, you need to say it in three minutes or it is overkill, but I like creating stories and going in depth with characters".

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Björk has written a song for the soundtrack of a forthcoming film based on 80s kids TV show, 'The Moomins'. Obviously. Possibly called 'The Comet Song', it was co-written with frequent collaborator and fellow Moomins fan Sigurjón Sigurðsson

Produced by Finnish children's movie company Filmkompaniet, 'Moomins And The Comet Chase' is set for release next autumn.

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Chris T-T will release his seventh studio album, his second for Xtra Mile Recordings, on 15 Mar. Entitled 'Love Is Not Rescue', it was recorded in four days in Norfolk and LA.

In support of the album, Chris will also head out on a UK tour in March. Here are the dates:

6 Mar: Winchester, The Tower
7 Mar: Portsmouth, Eastney Cellars
9 Mar: Bristol, The Croft
10 Mar: Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
11 Mar: Oxford, Jericho Tavern
12 Mar: Cambridge, Portland Arms
13 Mar: Norwich, The Marquee
14 Mar: Nottingham, Bodega
15 Mar: Birmingham, Academy 3
17 Mar: Hull, The Adelphi
19 Mar: Teesdale, Club Cotherstone
20 Mar: Edinburgh, Sneaky Pete's
21 Mar: Glasgow, The 13th Note
24 Mar: London, Slaughtered Lamb
25 Mar: Tunbridge Wells, The Forum
26 Mar: Canterbury, The Farmhouse
27 Mar: Brighton, Freebutt

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Trash metallers Evile have announced a headline tour of Europe for January and February next year. These will be the band's first official shows since the death of bassist Mike Alexander last month. Support will come from Warbringer and The Fading.

The UK leg of the tour looks like this:

14 Jan: Cardiff, Barfly
15 Jan: Wrexham, Central Station
16 Jan: York, Fibbers
17 Jan: Glasgow, Cathouse
18 Jan: Newcastle, University
20 Jan: Manchester, Academy 3
21 Jan: Nottingham, Rock City
22 Jan: Leeds, Rios
23 Jan: Bristol, Thekla
24 Jan: London, The Underworld
25 Jan: Wolverhampton, Civic Hall

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ALBUM REVIEW: Various Artists - Kitsune Maison Compilation 8 (Kitsune)
French label Kitsune hit us up with their eighth trend pre-empting compilation of electro-tinged goodness and my, if this selection hasn't been stirring me out of my winter-induced slumbers.

Where to start with highlights when the quality is consistently high? Well, I guess The Drums with their new whistling classic 'Let's Go Surfing' is as good a place as any. It's pop enough to be included on 'Now That's What I Call Whistling... 17', and yet indie enough not to become annoying after five listens (I can't guarantee this song will never become annoying, but so far, so good).

There's also a new track from Aussies Midnight Juggernauts, which I don't think quite matches up to their 'Dystopia' album but is still alright, while Diesel faves Heartsrevolution keep us dancing till dawn with, er, 'Dance Till Dawn', and Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos remixes Chew Lips to good effect. Delphic are another highlight with their poppy electro adding a smoother edge, while the encore of Crystal Fighters' 'I Love London' gets down and dirty with their Basque take on this type of thing.

I could carry on and list every track on this album because frankly there is little let up and it keeps on giving until the end. I guarantee that you will have a number of new fave tunes if you give this a listen, and that can never be a bad thing. And if previous Kitsune compilations are anything to go by, you can either choose to discover these artists and songs now, or in about nine months time when everyone else does. IM

Physical release: 16 Nov
Press contact: Kitsune IH [all]

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Following the news on Monday that US bank Citigroup had knocked back proposals by EMI owners Terra Firma to restructure the music major's debts, news yesterday that the private equity group has seriously written down the value of its big music investment.

Terra Firma, whose boss Guy Hands has been increasingly candid about what a big mistake it was to buy EMI with a big Citigroup loan back in 2007, has written off about 90% of its investment in the music firm.

The value of Terra Firma's overall investment portfolio has already taken a number of hits because of EMIs woes, and the slow (or non-existent) return resulting from the equity group's radical restructuring of the music major's recorded music division. The fact Citigroup have been unable to share the risk of its loans as a result of the credit crunch hasn't helped, of course.

Terra Firma is also withdrawing its execs from EMI's day-to-day operations. That might be because they feel their work has been done in revamping the EMI record labels. Or it might be because they now consider EMI to be a lost cause, and every hour of Terra Firma executive time spends there is just more wasted money. That said, insiders generally speak favourly of EMI Music big cheese Elio Leoni Sceti, and it's possible the music company will fair better if he's left to run it himself without Terra Firma interference.

All of this has led to more gossiping about EMI's future. An increasing number of people expect Terra Firma to bail in the latter half of 2010, leading to renewed speculation of an EMI/Warner merger.

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Warner Bros Records UK has appointed Ben Durling as an A&R Consultant. Durling previously worked for Lizard King Records where he signed The Killers, and later ran Lavolta Records, working with Kissy Sell Out, The Whip and The Dykeenies, among others. He has also worked in management, and previously collaborated with Warner imprint 14th Floor when he managed Longview.

Confirming the new appointment, Warner Bros' Christian Tattersfield told CMU: "Ben is a first-class talentspotter, who has collaborated with an impressive range of artists. He is a strong addition to our A&R team at Warner Music, where artist development is paramount. We're very pleased to be working with him".

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Kaiser Chiefs drummer Nick Hodgson is launching a new record label with his girlfriend Anna, called Chewing Gum. They haven't yet found any bands to sign, but Kaisers frontman Ricky Wilson has already designed a logo for them, so they have to do it.

Hodgson told Teletext's Planet Sound: "We haven't signed anyone yet, but we're going to a load of gigs looking for potential bands. I hope we can find someone while I've got some time on my hands, now that the Kaisers are on a break".

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Music recognition service Shazam, which has been around for years but seems to gaining new momentum of late, is being sued by Digimarc, an American technology company which claims that Shazam's music recognition system infringes three of its patents. Digimarc's legal papers, filed in the US courts, say: "Applications like Shazam use Digimarc's innovations to provide more intuitive means for users to search for and get delivery of rich internet experiences". So there you go. Shazam are yet to respond.

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In possibly big news, The Pirate Bay has turned off the 'tracker' part of its operations, saying it is no longer needed because of other advances in the peer-to-peer sharing of large files. A statement on the rogue file-sharing-enabling search service's blog reads: "Now that the decentralised system for finding peers is so well developed, TPB has decided that there is no need to run a tracker any more, so it will remain down! It's the end of an era, but the era is no longer up to date. We have put a server in a museum already, and now the tracking can be put there as well".

Digital Music News explains that the people now running the Bay recognise that "BitTorrent clients like uTorrent, Vuze, and rtorrent are starting to migrate towards Distributed Hash Table (DHT) and Peer Exchange (PEX) protocols, a system that does not include a single point of failure". The aforementioned blog post also adds: "With decentralised fetching of metadata [torrents] we don't need to rely on a single server that stores and distributes torrent files. This is the future. And the present".

And if anyone out there didn't follow any of that, then you're just not trying hard enough.

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Former Asda boss and Tory MP Archie Norman has been persuaded to take on the task of Chairman of ITV plc. The third channel broadcaster has been busy trying to find a new Chair ever since Michael Grade confirmed he was stepping down in September. The company was already trying to find a new CEO at the time, Grade having previously performed both roles. The search for CEO was put on hold once it became clear a new Chair was also needed.

Finding a new CEO will be one of Norman's first tasks when he takes on his new job in January. The City responded well to his appointment, with ITV's share price up 4.7% first thing.

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Anyone in the UK feeling that American radio listeners get a better deal because of that crazy thing called satellite radio (ie the Sirius XM service), well, a Madrid-based company is planning on launching a Europe-wide satellite radio service.

The service, from Ondas Media, would offer subscribers a number of channels and programmes, and would provide a new platform through which stations that currently only broadcast on the digital network and/or online in the UK could reach a Europe-wide audience. Jazz FM is already signed up to appear in the Ondas package.

As with Sirius XM in the States, a big part of the sell of the satellite service would be that it would bring a big content offering into the cars of radio listeners. To that end deals to put the satellite radio system into Nissan and BMW cars are expected to be among the first announced by the Spanish media firm.

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Absolute Radio owners TIML have reported a pre-tax loss of £2.7 million for 2008. Though that, management at the station say, was as planned. The national radio station's owners have, of course, been investing lots of cash into new programmes, marketing and digital ventures since acquiring Virgin Radio and rebranding it as Absolute in the middle of 2008.

Adrian Robinson, Absolute Radio's CFO, told reporters: "This is exactly where we thought we would be at the end of 2008. The strategy has been to invest heavily in the national launch of Absolute Radio and in the product. We have made new talent signings like Frank Skinner, made a substantial investment in launching and marketing the new brand and continued innovation in the digital space, such as the recently announced dabbl and initiatives. This up front investment means short-term losses. However, we are building a successful digital company for the long-term".

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Media regulator OfCom has proposed relaxing media ownership rules in the UK, which would both allow further consolidation of the country's radio stations, and for radio, TV and newspaper companies operating in the same part of the country to merge. It's part of efforts to help the flagging regional media to survive the advertising recession and to better compete with new online and digital competitors.

It remains to be seen if the government adopts the proposals, though the Tories have already let it be known they will go that route should they win next year's General Election.

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Following the success of its one-off return with a Michael Jackson tribute issue earlier this year, Smash Hits is now turning its attention to pop stars who are still alive, publishing a Take That special which will hit stores today. It has been overseen by the former bi-weekly pop mag's 1980s editor, Barry McIlheney, who was also in charge of the Jacko spesh.

Speaking about the new issue, McIlheney said: "Take That were the biggest thing in the Smash Hits world of the early '90s. It seems only right that we should salute them in the unique Smash Hits style".

MD of music and film titles at Bauer Media, the magazine's publisher, Stuart Williams added: "There is no bigger act in the UK right now than Take That and we're delighted to be bringing everyone's favourite pop mag back for this very special issue".

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The mothers of R&B singer Ne-Yo and rappers T-Pain and Lil Wayne - H. Loraine Smith, Aliyah Najm and Jacida Carter respectively - are set to launch their own TV show next year, called 'Dinner Table Discussions'.

In a statement, Najm said: "Our vision is to be a premier talk show that delivers a creative and informative format that assists viewers in educating and solving challenging issues. There are situations in our communities, cities, states and even nationwide that people have made us aware of and they want to resolve the issues, but they just don't know where to get help or how to properly handle certain issues".

No announcement of which channel will broadcast the show has yet been made, but hey, here's a picture of the three women sitting round a table to give you an idea of what the show might look like:

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Hey look, people, it's the music videos that are playing this week on the network of video screens in students' unions all around the god darn United Kingdom of Great Britain and whatnot. New additions marked with a *. More info on all things from [email protected].

A List
Britney Spears - 3
Chase & Status - End Credits (feat. Plan B)
Dizzee Rascal - Dirtee Cash
Ellie Goulding - Under The Sheets
Florence And The Machine - You've Got The Love
Jason Derulo - Whatcha Say
Jay-Z - Empire State Of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys)
JLS - Everybody In Love
Ke$ha - Tik Tok
La Roux - Quicksand
Little Boots - Earthquake
Mika - Rain
Muse - Undisclosed Desires*
Panic! At The Disco - New Perspective
Taio Cruz - No Other One*

B List
Alesha Dixon - To Love Again
Alicia Keys - Doesn't Mean Anything
Arctic Monkeys - Cornerstone
Basshunter - I Promised Myself
Bombay Bicycle Club - Always Like This
Chipmunk - Look For Me*
Chris Brown - I Can Transform Ya (feat. Lil Wayne)
Frightened Rabbit - Swim Until You Can't See Land
Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown
Lily Allen - Who'd Have Known?
Newton Faulkner - Over and Out
Noah and The Whale - Love Of An Orchestra*
Passion Pit - Little Secrets*
Pixie Lott - Cry Me Out
Shakira - Did It Again*
Taylor Swift - Fifteen

Tip List
3OH!3 - Starstrukk (feat. Katy Perry)
Bandito - Rockin' At The Disco*
Chuckie and LMFAO - Let The Bass Kick In Miami Girl*
Frisco - Girls
Gallows - Misery*
Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks*
Groove Armada - I Won't Kneel*
Manchester Orchestra - Shake It Out*
The Mission District - Just Don't Feel The Same*
Tiesto - Escape Me

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Michael Bolton has laughed off rumours that he is romantically involved with Lady Gaga, after she appeared on a track on his latest album, 'One World One Love' (his eighteenth studio album, would you believe?).

He told Closer: "I feel like saying: 'Yes! She's having my baby!' I don't know where these rumours come from".

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The Dolly Rockers have denied claims that they have been dropped by EMI. The group admitted that they are leaving the label, but said they are moving to Mercury with their A&R man. I'm not sure if this means said A&R man has been sacked for signing acts like The Dolly Rockers and told to take them with him. I'm sure it doesn't.

Anyway, this is what Lucy Kay from the group said via Twitter: "We haven't been dropped or split up. Our A&R is changing labels and we are going with him. ... This decision was made a few days ago". So there you go.

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