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Job ads
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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Anti-LiveMaster campaigners launch TicketDisaster website
Borders could be gone by next week
In The Pop Courts
Court blocks Love from contacting daughter
Charts, Stats & Polls
Lady Gaga tops Last.fm listens
More RATM v X-Factor chatter
Ziggy Stardust named gayest album
In The Studio
Florence to try before she buys on next album
James Blunt promises "fun" album
Release News
4AD release free compilation
SSS release Christmas song
Gigs N Tours News
Gallows cancel gigs
Beach House announce UK tour dates
Reviews
Live Review: The Mars Volta at The Forum on 14 Dec
The Music Business
EMI buy LoudClothing
US VP holds IP protection conference - though some key stakeholders not invited
The Digital Business
YouTube might enter the subscription domain
The Media Business
C4 and TalkTalk join Canvas
Cowell tops telly chart of the year
Fuller launches yet another wannabe format
UTV shut down Preston station
Xfm swap breakfast and drive
Chart Of The Day
This week's Student Radio Chart
And finally...
Evans covers for George's "fucking"
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts
 
THURSDAY 17TH DECEMBER


PHONAT
Originally from Italy, Phonat, aka Michele Balduzzi, is fast becoming one of the most respected dance producers in the UK. At just 21, Michele was spotted by MofoHifi Records on MySpace, who were so impressed they convinced him to move to London in late 2007. He subsequently released three singles through the label in 2008 - 'Incredible Sound', 'Ghetto Burnin' and 'Learn To Recycle' - all to critical acclaim, with support coming from DJs such as Radio 1's Annie Mac, Annie Nightingale and Rob Da Bank. Phonat recently released his self-titled debut album on MofoHifi records, so we caught up with him to find out some more.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
It was an excuse to hang out and smoke with my mates, as well as an excuse for not being good at football: "It's because I'm creative".

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
The album is inspired by the fact that I've been listening to many different kinds of music and by not belonging to a specific scene. This gives me the freedom to develop in any direction I want.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
It's quite different each time. But to start there's always a massive amount of having fun, just messing around with sounds involved and trying different things. Then I have been known to trash everything and start back from scratch.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Daft Punk and AC/DC. Lately, I've also been really enjoying Excision.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I strongly believe it's better to just let your work do the talking...

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
I'd like to become a millionaire, then a billionaire in the near future. Maybe then I'll be able to afford to pay for public transport in London!

MORE>> www.phonat.net and www.myspace.com/phonat

 
CMU ALBUMS OF THE YEAR: 80kidz - This Is My Shit
As we head towards the end of the year, we'll be revealing, in no particular order, our ten favourite albums of 2009. Today, 80kidz - 'This Is My Shit'.

Formed in Tokyo in 2007, 80kidz's Jun, Ali& and Mayu originally came together as DJs, but really started turning heads, including ours, when they began tweaking records for a series of increasingly impressive remixes. Original music soon followed, and their debut album, 'This Is My Shit', arrived this year. In the UK, it was only soft released on iTunes through the band's own Kidz Rec label, meaning the album largely went unnoticed, though has received a boost after their track, 'Miss Mars', was featured on a Kitsuné Maison compilation earlier this year.
 
From the moment the synth riff on the opening track, 'Go Mynci', kicks in, it's apparent that 'This Is My Shit' is not going to be just another run-of-the-mill electronic album. The riff is too good to be a fluke, and the band follow it up with plenty more across sixteen tracks, making it one of the few albums of such length released this year that isn't bulked out with unnecessary filler tracks.

Although the trio themselves are an instrumental outfit, they do draft in vocals from autoKratz, Ghostape, Hey Champ and The Shoes, drawing them more towards a pure pop sound. On 'She', in particular, autoKratz frontman David Cox offers a soft vocal that works wonderfully at odds with 80kidz's upbeat, synth-heavy sound, and makes the sudden burst of the previously mentioned 'Miss Mars', which follows it, all the more effective.

With music that is endlessly energetic and exciting, I really hope that 2010 will bring 80kidz, now a duo following the recent departure of Mayu, to a much wider attention. They truly deserve it.

iTunes
 
So, for the last few weeks we've been collecting your votes for Track Of The Year 2009. They've been coming in thick and fast, so throughout December. Voting is open until 5pm this Friday and the overall winner will be revealed in the CMU Review Of The Year next week. Each day this week we'll hear some thoughts on the matter from one of you fine people.

La Roux - Bulletproof
Likeable, bouncy synth-pop that doesn't lose its edge after a million plays.
Lyle Bignon, Asst Press & PR Manager, Town Hall & Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Cast your vote here.

 

 
 

 

MAIL ORDER / ONLINE SALES PERSON REQUIRED
Domino Recordings the UK's leading independent label needs a dynamic person to run its UK mail order and online sales operation. A couple of years of relevant music retail or online/mail order experience is desirable and a passion for the artistes on our label - from picking and packing through to pursuing and creating online initiatives we need someone to come and lead our ideas and thinking in this increasingly important part of the record label.

Apply to vacancy@dominorecordco.com ref Mart. Closing date for applications 8 Jan.

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Advertise your jobs here: £100 for five editions - ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

 

 

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SHOREDITCH OFFICE, 764 SQUARE FOOT (15-20 DESKS), £1000 PER MONTH
Self-contained office space available in the centre of Shoreditch, on the corner of Shoreditch High Street and Great Eastern Street, next to the CMU HQ. 5-8 minutes walk from Liverpool Street and Old Street tube stations. A top floor workspace with plenty of natural light in an exciting neighbourhood that is home to numerous music, media, PR and creative companies. 764 square feet, with room for 15-20 desks plus its own kitchen area and adjacent toilets. £1000 per month plus service charge and business rates (£275 per month and £600 per month respectively). Includes heating. Available now. For more information contact ashka@unicornjobs.com.

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ANTI-LIVEMASTER CAMPAIGNERS LAUNCH TICKETDISASTER WEBSITE
I'm sure these guys felt very satisfied with themselves the moment they came up with their campaign's name and realised the web domain was available. A US ticketing industry trade body, basically the trade association for more business-like ticket touts, and the US National Consumers League have teamed up to launch a new website specifically designed to persuade American authorities to block Live Nation and Ticketmaster's much previously reported attempts to merge. The website is called TicketDisaster.org.

With support from other consumer rights groups and some political types, the site's home page lists five reasons why allowing the LiveMaster merger would be a very bad idea indeed. The reasons are as follows...

1. Ticketmaster and Live Nation dominate the live entertainment industry and any further integration will allow the new company unprecedented control over pricing and access, thereby relinquishing consumer purchasing power.

2. Ticketmaster uses multiple means to take advantage of consumers and increase the price of tickets and services, a practice that will grow with increased control over the market.

3. A Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger will guarantee the new company full and exclusive access to competitively sensitive live entertainment information.

4. Ticketmaster has a track record of initiating anti-competitive practices to block competitors from accessing their events.

5. Blocking the merger outright is preferable to approving it with conditions.

While for many in the music industry it's Live Nation who are the dangerously dominant big player, it's clear this campaign is motivated more by a long held hatred of Ticketmaster. Presumably the ticketing giant would deny any allegations of past anti-competitive practices, while the other claims regarding the negative impact of the merger have already been countered by submissions by the two live entertainment giants.

Point five is perhaps most interesting, given approval with conditions seems the most likely conclusion of both the US and UK authorities' investigations into the merger proposals. Competition authorities hope measures, such as forcing the merged entity to sell off some divisions, or to commit to use the services of third parties, will placate those who oppose the merger. This campaign wants to make it clear from the start that it wants the proposed deal completely blocked.

Helping launch the site at a press conference in Washington, congressman Bill Pascrell told reporters: "All of us agreed that it was time to take this fight to the seats. That's where the fans are, and they are the people who have had virtually no opportunity to represent their interests in the pending merger of these two companies - until now. This website will give the fans, the ticket buyers, the information they need to understand how they will be affected by the proposed merger, as well as giving them the chance to voice their opposition to the pending deal to the US Department Of Justice's antitrust authorities".

All four of the key US congress members supporting the website are Democrats, which is possibly important, given this merger has been positioned by some as a test as to how willing the still newish Democrat regime at the White House are to stand up to big business. Presumably the Congressman have some useful contacts in this regard.

Neither Ticketmaster nor Live Nation have responded to the new website as yet.

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BORDERS COULD BE GONE BY NEXT WEEK
Oh, I better go do my traditional "try to buy everyone's Christmas presents in one trip to Borders" escapade sooner rather than later - there might be less choice than usual, but hopefully there'll be some bargains.

Administrators overseeing the collapse of the UK version of the books and CDs company say that the Borders chain is likely to close next Tuesday unless a serious buyer emerges. Administrators MCR say they are in ongoing negotiations with people interested in acquiring certain stores or assets from the chain, but it seems no one has come forward to takeover the company as a going concern. Unless that happens, most of the firm's 1150 employees will be out of work as of Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

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LADY GAGA TOPS LAST.FM LISTENS
Lady Gaga is the most popular artist of 2009, according to Last.fm, who saw the singer wrack up just under 18.5 million track plays by just over 755,000 of its users since the start of the year. In terms of track plays, she easily saw off her main rivals, The Killers, who came in at number two with just under 12.5 million plays, although those came from over 1.2 million listeners, which is either good for them because more people wanted to listen to them, or bad because fewer people wanted to listen to them repeatedly.

Here's the top ten in full:

Artist (track plays/listeners)
1. Lady Gaga (18.5m/755k)
2. The Killers (12.5m/1.2m)
3. Lily Allen (10.5m/645k)
4. The Prodigy (8.9m/550k)
5. Franz Ferdinand (8.8m/930k)
6. Beyonce (8.6m/574k)
7. Animal Collective (7.6m/365k)
8. Green Day (7.6m/796k)
9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs (6.9m/683k)
10. Kanye West (6.6m/691k)

See the full rundown here: www.last.fm/bestof/2009

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MORE RATM V X-FACTOR CHATTER
Hey, guess what, since yesterday there's been yet more yabbering about this whole Rage Against The Machine v 'X-Factor' winner Joe McElderry Christmas number one thing.

First up, RATM guitarist Tom Morello has again come out in support of his band. Which is big of him. He's also said that he'll donate some of the money he receives from the boost in sales 'Killing In The Name' has received this week to charity.

Speaking to BBC 6music about the campaign, Morello said: "This shouldn't be misinterpreted. This is a grass roots effort. It's nothing against the candidates or the guy that runs the show ['X-Factor]. A little dose of anarchy for the Christmas holidays is good for the soul. I love the independent spirit of the British rock fans. Your country has a great rich history of cutting-edge, exciting rebel music. Whether it's the early Stones and The Who, or The Clash and The Sex Pistols, or Prodigy and Muse, I think that people are just fed up with being represented every Christmas holiday, being spoon fed some overblown, sugary ballad that sits at the top of the charts. That top spot doesn't belong to anybody - any TV show or any 90s political rock band. Let the people decide".

He added: "The one thing about the 'X-Factor' show, much like 'American Idol', if you're a viewer of the show, you get to vote for one candidate or the other but you don't really get to vote against the show itself... Until now!"

Well, apart from all the other times. But, yeah, this is for charity, so we'll let him off. Morello revealed that he will be making a donation to a UK-based children's music organisation in the near future in the hope that some of the kids it supports will follow in his footsteps. He explained: "Me personally, I am going to donate part of my proceeds from the sales to an organisation in the UK called Youth Music, which is the UK's largest children's music charity. My hope is that one of the results of this whole thing is that there will be a new generation of rockers who will take on the establishment with the music they write".

In addition to that, the official Facebook-based campaign group to get RATM to the top of the chart has raised nearly £40,000 for Shelter, and now online retailer Recordstore.co.uk has also announced that all proceeds from the sale of 'Killing In The Name' on its site will go to the same charity.

Recordstore manager Steve Wheeler explained on the company's blog: "This isn't about money. It's about the statement it makes: that millions of pounds in TV exposure may make a powerful tool but when dissenting voices join together they can make an equal impact. Some may scoff that this is hardly an important cause for people power to suddenly take effect but if the members of the public who have joined the Facebook group that began this quest take a minute to check out Rage Against The Machine and the views they hold then maybe we'll see some real changes in the world".

Which all sounds like battle lines have been firmly drawn. So, what message would Morello like to send to Simon Cowell? He said: "I bear him no ill will. He's going to be fine either way".

That's all good, then. But what stage is this race at now? Well, as we reported yesterday, while Rage took an early (and substantial) lead, the band and their supporters were dealt a potential blow by the release of the CD single of the 'X-Factor' song yesterday. Hmm, it's the physical CD single release that might make the difference, not words I have to type very often these days.

Official Charts Company boss Martin Talbot explained: "Joe McElderry's single will do disproportionately well physically. The single's market now is 98-plus per cent digital. The physical market doesn't really exist for most releases, but for releases of this status and ones that are going to cross over to the gift purchase market as well, is going to sell significantly on CD".

However, bookmakers Ladbrokes are backing the underdog, having slashed the odds on RATM making it to number one on Sunday to 8/11, making them the favourite. The move comes just days after they said that RATM had no chance and closed the book on Christmas number one bets. The company's Nick Weinberg, said: "Joe's loss of favouritism is a landmark moment in Christmas number one betting. It was inconceivable just a few days ago, but the gamble on Rage Against The Machine has taken us completely by surprise. For so long the battle for festive supremacy has been a procession for the 'X-Factor' - not any more".

The bookies' decision is unsurprising given then RATM are still way ahead in this morning's midweek chart figures - though Saturday could be the big day for Joe's CD sales.

In other related news, stars of both 'X-Factor' and 'Britain's Got Talent' have come out in favour of Rage Against The Machine, sort of (www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2AYUqVNSsY) and others are just wondering why they can't all get along (www.rathergood.com/climb).

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ZIGGY STARDUST NAMED GAYEST ALBUM
David Bowie's 1972 album 'The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars' is the gayest of all time, according to a new poll conducted by Out. The magazine asked over 100 gay celebrities, including Boy George, Rufus Wainwright, Cyndi Lauper, Perez Hilton, Jake Shears, Junior Vasquez and Janis Ian, to name the album most important to their lives.

The full list is as follows:

1. David Bowie - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
2. The Smiths - The Smiths
3. Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman
4. Indigo Girls - Indigo Girls
5. Judy Garland - Judy At Carnegie Hall
6. The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
7. Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
8. Madonna - The Immaculate Collection
9. Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual
10. Antony And The Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now

What, no hip hop or dancehall?

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FLORENCE TO TRY BEFORE SHE BUYS ON NEXT ALBUM
Florence Welch has said that she'd like to try out a number of producers before settling on one with whom to record her second album. She'd already got that ball rolling, having worked with Paul Epworth, Simian Mobile Disco's James Ford and former Pulp bassist Steve Mackey on Florence And The Machine's debut, 'Lungs'.

Speaking to Steve Lamacq on 6music, Flo said: "I think I would like to go and work with quite a few people, do loads of demos and then probably record it with just one person. The first album was a real experiment. I'd like to have one that's more of a whole. The 'Lungs' album was kind of a scrap book about all the different things I was getting excited about from moment to moment".

She added that she's already got a few ideas of how she'd like the next record to sound: "I've almost been doodling songs, having little phrases and ideas going around and they keep popping up in sound checks. I've got a lot of ideas floating around and I think I've got an idea of how I want to do it as well".

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JAMES BLUNT PROMISES "FUN" ALBUM
James Blunt's third album will be fun. That's what he says, anyway. I'd probably concentrate harder on making it really, really good, if I were him, as last week he came sixth in Billboard's Top Ten One Hit Wonders chart. He reckons he's got that covered, too, though.

He told The Daily Star:"I have a few musicians I'll be collaborating with, not famous but phenomenal. I've been playing some of the stuff live and it's a fun album".

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4AD RELEASE FREE COMPILATION
In celebration of what has been a rather good year for the label, 4AD have released a free download compilation featuring twelve of the best tracks added to their catalogue in 2009, including tracks from The Big Pink, Camera Obscura, Future Of The Left and Deerhunter.

Go and get it here: 4ad.com/features/2009/

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SSS RELEASE CHRISTMAS SONG
Thrash metallers SSS have gone to the trouble of recording a Christmas song, which they're giving away for free as a little festive gift.

Explaining the decision to write the song, frontman Foxy said: "We are following in the footsteps of some of the greatest Christmas songs ever written from yesteryear - Slade, Wizzard, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Shakin Stevens, FEAR and Band Aid - that have all placed themselves firmly in our hearts and on cheap Christmas compilation CDs at this time of year. Now here's our meagre festive rattler that will be played for years to come at family discos and shake the false teeth from all our nans' heads".

Download the track here: rapidshare.com/files/321679834/SSS_-_Merry_ChristmaSSS.mp3

And, just in case you missed the lyrics, here they are too: earacherecords.com/myspace/SSS_MerryChristmaSSS_Lyrics.jpg

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GALLOWS CANCEL GIGS
Gallows have been forced to cancel a number of gigs over the next few days, as guitarist Steph Carter has fallen ill. This includes tonight's show in Watford, although that particular gig has already been rescheduled for 8 Feb.

In a statement, the band said: "Steph is still unwell and has been told that he will not be able to play any more shows this year and so this has forced us to pull out of these shows. We're really sorry to disappoint all our fans who were looking forward to seeing us in 2009 but we promise we'll come back better and stronger than ever in 2010 and we hope you'll join us next year".

The affected shows are as follows:

17 Dec: Watford, Coliseum
18 Dec: London, Village Underground
22 Dec: Newcastle, Legends

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BEACH HOUSE ANNOUNCE UK TOUR DATES
Beach House release their third album on 25 Jan, via Bella Union, and will be over in the UK and Ireland for a headline tour in February. They will also support Grizzly Bear on their upcoming UK tour in March.

Here are the headline dates:

10 Feb: Glasgow, King Tut's
11 Feb: Manchester, Islington Mill
12 Feb: Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
13 Feb: Dublin, Whelans
14 Feb: Belfast, Speakeasy
16 Feb: Cardiff, Arts Centre
17 Feb: London, Bush Hall

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LIVE REVIEW: The Mars Volta at The Forum in London on 14 Dec
Rules play a vital role to humanity. But as this year's Christmas number one (hopefully) tells us, rules sometimes need to be broken. Breaking those rules tonight: The Mars Volta.

Upon stepping into the venue, my attention is immediately drawn to the giant backdrop stretching across the main stage wall. On first appearance, it boasts a patchwork of decorative Aztec designs that are elegantly blended together. The opulent banner is a visual hallmark for the band's experimental approach towards sound, and when they arrive on stage, they dispense with formal introductions and break straight into 'Halo Of Nembutals'.

Rather than sticking to a setlist of more recent recordings, the band deliver a wealth of tunes across the 'Bedlam In Goliath' and 'Deloused In The Comatorium' LPs; their cardinal bodies of work. The cumbersome headlamps flanking each side of the stage are suddenly taken up to full glare, and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez begins to assume a series of pseudo tribal bodily postures as he churns out the almost overbearing opening chord of 'Goliath'. The crowd fluidly sways to the meandering notes echoing from Rodriguez-Lopez' fret board. The banner above burns brightly, and I am captivated by the fragmented patches of phosphorescent pink bleeding into brightly swirling traces of nuclear green.

This lavish light display unites with the energy emanating from the frantic bodies in the mosh pit, as the band tie off the evening with the mighty 'The Haunt Of Roulette Dares'. Overcoming the need for staple rules with fervent shakes from their flamboyant maracas, a sonic eruption explodes as Cedric Bixler-Zavala screams the words "trademark amoeba lands-craft!" With a lively glint in their eyes the audience trips the psychedelic fantastic. SG

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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EMI BUY LOUDCLOTHING
EMI, like Universal, are very interested in expanding their merchandising operations, and they have done so by buying Loudclothing.com, Europe's largest independent music merchandise distributor. So that's nice. Terms of the acquisition have not been revealed, though given EMI's current financial performance, they presumably promised the firm's previous owners, Leicester-based Completely Independent Distribution, a few buttons and some fluff they found down the back of Guy Hand's sofa.

EMI began boosting its interests in the music merchandising sector earlier this year by striking up deals with the merchandise divisions of live music congloms Live Nation and AEG Live, deals which mean they now distribute the two live company's merchandise products to non-venue based retailers and etailers. Most of the majors have shown an interest in the increasingly lucrative merchandise (and especially t-shirt) market in recent years, Universal buying the mess that was the Sanctuary Music Group mainly to secure ownership of its primary success story, the Bravado merchandising company.

Confirming the Loudclothing.com deal, EMI Music Services boss Ronn Werre told CMU: "Expanding our merchandise capability is a key part of EMI Music's strategy of providing artists and labels with a range of services that deliver real value. Combining the great team and assets of Loudclothing.com with rights from Live Nation and AEG Live gives EMI a stellar product range and a world class, full-service retail merchandise business that delivers first rate services to consumers, retailers and our artist and business partners".

As part of the deal, Loudclothing.com and CID founder Nic Wastell will run EMI's European merchandising operations. He said this: "We're very excited to be joining [the merchandising] team at EMI. They have successfully built a strong merchandise operation within a major music company, a textbook case of how to develop and scale up this capability alongside other music services. With this new partnership we have created a competitive new player in this important market and have the finance and resources to grow and develop our business".

I'm a bit confused about what the acquisition of Loudclothing.com and the appointment of Wastell to a role within EMI means for the future of Completely Independent Distribution. Seemingly Wastell will continue to head up that company too, which will continue to operate independently from EMI, though it will provide services to the major as well as, presumably, continuing to run its second main business Bandstores.co.uk. Either way, given the alliance with major music firm EMI, I'm not sure CID can really claim to be 'completely' independent any more.

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US VP HOLDS IP PROTECTION CONFERENCE - THOUGH SOME KEY STAKEHOLDERS NOT INVITED
US Vice President Joe Biden yesterday convened a meeting in the White House involving the leaders of various American government agencies and top music, movie, TV and publishing industry bods to discuss intellectual property issues. According to Billboard the content business types were told the US Justice Department has a "reinvigorated" task force charged with the job of tackling IP crime, while the Feds will be given more money to crack down on major level counterfeiting. Biden also committed the US government to harder lobbying on international copyright and IP agreements.

I don't think many specifics were discussed, except for one specific operation to stop people taping films at the cinema on a camcorder, which is apparently more of a problem than I realised. The content industry men also had a chance to air their IP concerns. It's not clear whether online piracy was discussed in any major way, though assuming it was some of those interested parties outside the content industries expressed their disappointment at not being invited to the table.

The boss of US Consumer Electronics Association, Gary Shapiro told reporters yesterday: "We urge that other stakeholders be consulted and brought to the White House to continue this important dialogue and to ensure that American consumers are not treated like criminals. Too often the Recording Industry Association Of America and other groups advocate an overly aggressive vision of intellectual property that discourages innovation and limits lawful consumer conduct. The resulting environment of excess litigation and disproportionately high statutory damages and other penalties discourages entrepreneurism and burdens America's innovation future".

Meanwhile, Ars Technica quote Gigi Sohn of consumer rights group Public Knowledge thus: "Although the meeting with Vice President Biden purports to bring together 'all of the stakeholders to discuss ways to combat piracy in this rapidly changing technological age,' some stakeholders are noticeably missing. Many representatives of media companies will be there. No consumer or public-interest groups, technology companies, technology associations or internet service providers are on the guest list. No one who questions the need for draconian governmental policies on behalf of the privileged special interest group for whom this meeting is being held is on the guest list".

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YOUTUBE MIGHT ENTER THE SUBSCRIPTION DOMAIN
Google may consider a subscription model for YouTube. The once mainly user-generated (or user-stolen) content website has, of course, been busy signing deals with various content owners over the last few years so to become the home of official video content online, as well as the hub for all videos involving people falling down stairs or dancing in an amusing way. In the UK deals have been done with both Channel 4 and Five in this regard.

The specifics of the deals between YouTube and the broadcasters are not known, though to date Google has planned to cover any content licensing costs with advertising revenue. But, as YouTube's dabblings in the music space has demonstrated, ad revenues rarely get close to covering the sorts of licensing fees the content owners want to charge, even those content owners willing to slash the prices they were demanding eighteen months ago.

Which is presumably why Google are now considering charging a subscription fee for users who want to access full-length properly-licensed TV programmes on demand. Such an arrangement would put YouTube into more direct competition with US web-TV platform Hulu, which has global expansion plans.

Google exec David Eun admitted subscriptions were being considered in an interview with Reuters, in which he said: "We're making some interesting bets on long-form content; not all content is accessible to us with the advertising model".

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C4 AND TALKTALK JOIN CANVAS
Channel 4 and internet firm TalkTalk have joined Project Canvas, the previously reported collaboration of TV and net firms aiming to standardise the way TV-over-the-internet set top box type contraptions work. That means that the BBC, BT, ITV, C4, Five and TalkTalk are now all on board. Just watch Sky come along with something totally different and completely takeover the market.

Canvas bosses reckon the project will cost £115 million over four years, so obviously the more companies there are to share the cost the better. The project aims to facilitate the introduction of video-on-demand and internet-based services to Freeview-style set top boxes, providing something similar to what BT Vision are already doing.

Confirming C4 and TalkTalk's involvement, Canvas boss Richard Halton told reporters: "The potential for innovation [here actually] goes far beyond bringing video on-demand to the TV set and there's a huge opportunity for a wide range of new commercial models to thrive. We always wanted all the UK's public service broadcasters and at least two ISPs to be involved in the venture at launch, so we're delighted that Channel 4 and TalkTalk have joined the project".

As previously reported, the BBC's involvement is still reliant on the venture getting BBC Trust approval. Some - well Sky mainly - feel that the BBC throwing its weight behind one standard is a misuse of its privileged position. Presumably they'd think differently if they threw their weight behind a standard that Sky endorsed.

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COWELL TOPS TELLY CHART OF THE YEAR
If Team Cowell do lose the race for Christmas number one, the Si-ster can nevertheless sleep at night knowing that he still leads the way when it comes to British television, with his two shows topping the telly ratings charts for 2009.

It seems unlikely that any of the big Christmas shows will beat the 15 million who tuned into the 'X-Factor' results show in the middle of November when Jedward-mania was at its height, and certainly not the 18 million rating scored by the final of this year's 'Britain's Got Talent' when we all tuned in to see whether Susan Boyle would have a nervous breakdown live on air. The only new show not to appear in this list likely to compete with either of them is last weekend's 'X-Factor' final.

The list of the ten most watched TV shows of the year will make for pretty depressing reading if you hate soap operas and reality/talent shows. It seems that if you want to compete with that lot you either need a doctor or deprived children, and arguably the doctors should be looking after the kids rather than competing for TV viewers.

Anyway, here's the most watched ten TV shows of the year, with channel, ratings and audience share. I should add the usual proviso that the margin of error in the way TV Ratings are calculated is significant, we never really know who watches what.

1. Britain's Got Talent Final Result (ITV1) 18,294,000 (68.1%)
2. The X-Factor Results on 15 Nov (ITV1) 15,019,000 (48.4%)
3. EastEnders on 2 Apr (BBC1) 11,457000 (49.2%)
4. Coronation Street on 2 Feb (ITV1) 11,456,000 (41.0%)
5. Dancing On Ice Final (ITV1) 11,313,000 (43.8%)
6. I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! on 21 Nov (ITV1) 10,861,000 (41.7)
7. Doc Martin on 8 Nov (ITV1) 10,285,000 (33.6%)
8. Strictly Come Dancing on 14 Nov 10,101,000 (37.1%)
9. Children In Need (BBC1) 10,085,000 (38.8%)
10. Doctor Who 'Waters Of Mars' (BBC1) 9,942,000 (35.3%)

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FULLER LAUNCHES YET ANOTHER WANNABE FORMAT
The other Simon, Idol-creator Simon Fuller, who is arguably to blame for the domination of talent shows in the telly ratings these days (though to be fair 'Popstars' wasn't his), has a new plan for the next generation of reality TV. He is launching a new programme in the US, though a big chunk of it will happen online, so presumably this is international.

Called 'If I Can Dream', it will see five wannabes - an aspiring musician, model and three actors - plonked into a Big Brother-style house in Hollywood. Viewers will then be able to watch as all five try to make it big in their chosen industry, sharing thoughts and advice with the wannabes via the web interface. Or something like that.

Footage from the venture will be available via web-based, mobile and radio formats, and MySpace, Hulu and US radio giant Clear Channel are all on board as partners. Twitter and Facebook will also be part of the mix, obviously. If any wannabe drops out - presumably due to either success or failure - another one will be shipped in, maybe picked from the online community watching the show. No TV output is planned just yet, though it seems that might be a future spin off.

Look, here's the man Fuller speaking about it all: "I am determined to continue challenging convention and pushing the boundaries of mainstream entertainment. The next frontier is the video world of authentic real-time interaction. It is time the public got to see the truth behind what it takes to launch the careers of young artists who have a dream that one day on pure merit they can be professional entertainers and gain the recognition they crave. This is the dawning of a new age".

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UTV SHUT DOWN PRESTON STATION
UTV Radio is shutting its Preston-based radio station Central Radio and handing the licence back to media regulator OfCom. It only won the licence three years ago, and launched the station in September last year. The station will go off air on 24 Dec, which is a nice Christmas present for its staff and presenters. It's the third licence UTV have handed back to OfCom in the last year.

As previously reported, other smaller radio firms have done the same, some arguing that excessive OfCom regulations stop smaller stations from succeeding in the ever more competitive world of regional media. Until a few years ago radio companies handing back FM licences to OfCom was unheard of. Though arguably that was because there were less to be had overall.

Commenting on Central Radio's demise, UTV's local radio chief Calum Macaulay told reporters: "We won the licence against strong competition, but unfortunately had to launch the station in the middle of the worst recession in memory. We have been looking closely at the station's viability and unfortunately given the economic climate we have taken the difficult decision to close the station".

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XFM SWAP BREAKFAST AND DRIVE
Xfm have announced they are swapping their London drive time and breakfast shows, so that Dave Berry will move to breakfast and Ian Camfield to the late afternoon slot. Although Xfm have been positioning their prime time morning programme as a "no nonsense" more music breakfast show since Alex Zane left the station back in April, Berry is a more conventional choice for that slot.

The swap will happen in the middle of January at the same time as a rejig of the station's overall schedule, which will see a switch back from four hour daytime show slots to three hour ones. Between the breakfast and drive time slots there will be two presenters, Dan O'Connoll in early afternoon and the continuing Xfm anomaly that is Richard Skinner, who will continue to confuse the station's listeners between 10am and 1pm.

Confirming the rejig, Paul Jackson of Xfm owners Global Radio said this: "Dave's consistent listening figures clearly demonstrate how well he connects with his rapidly growing audience. With Dave's cheeky wit, great sense of humour and love for Xfm's music, together with Ian Camfield on Drive-time, we'll certainly have the best combination to continue to push the station forward with our goal of music that matters in the London market!"

I'm assuming Pete Mitchell and Clint Boon will continue to present the prime time slots on the Manchester version of Xfm, Manchester-based programming airing at those times. And presumably the Manchester outpost will also rejig its daytime programme timings between breakfast and drive, given it carries London-based programming in those slots.

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THIS WEEK'S STUDENT RADIO CHART
The songs most rated by student radio stations around the UK. The Student Radio Chart is compiled by the Student Radio Association and aired on student stations across the country, hosted by a different affiliated station each week. More at www.studentradio.org.uk/chart

1. Chase and Status - End Credits
2. Ou Est Le Swimming Pool - Dance The Way I Feel
3. Ke$ha - Tik Tok
4. Arctic Monkeys - Cornerstone
5. Lady GaGa - Bad Romance
6. Florence and the Machine - You Got The Love
7. Black Eyed Peas - Meet Me Halfway
8. Calvin Harris - Flashback
9. Cheryl Cole - Fight For This Love
10. Britney Spears - 3
11. Biffy Clyro - The Captain
12. Deadmau5 - Ghosts And Stuff
13. Jason Derulo - Watcha Say
14. Jamie T - The Man's Machine
15. Dizzee Rascal - Dirtee Cash
16. Little Boots - Earthquake
17. Shakira - She Wolf
18. Ellie Goulding - Under The Sheets
19. Mumford & Sons - Winter Winds
20. Passion Pit - Little Secrets

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EVANS COVERS FOR GEORGE'S "FUCKING"
Yeah, this story might not live up to the headline. Chris Evans, nearing the end of his stint in the Radio 2 drive time slot, had to apologise for guest George Michael yesterday when the singer said, after being asked if he'd ever guest on 'Top Gear' in the Star In A Reasonably Priced Card segment, "I'd be afraid of coming last on that fucking [programme]".

The druggy pop man claimed he thought there was a delay on the show whereby producers could bleep out his swearing. It's all been captured on Radio Fail (radiofail.wordpress.com), though Evans being the pro he is it's not as funny as it could be - these things are always more amusing when the presenter crumbles as a result of the swear.

Evans takes over from Terry Wogan on Radio 2 breakfast in the New Year, of course.

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