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INFORMATION
Jobs
Classifieds
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
More trouble for MySpace following Imeem acquisition
In The Pop Courts
Apple win iPod volume court case
Courtney sues Amex
In The Pop Hospital
Sonique on the mend
Obituaries
Avenged drummer dies
Steeleye Span co-founder dies
Former Decca distribution man dies
Vic Chesnutt dies
Awards & Contests
The Quo get OBEs
Charts, Stats & Polls
The decade in music
Reunions & Splits
Klinghoffer to replace Frusciante in RHCP
Soundgarden set to reform
Release News
Lil Wayne album now pushed back to summer
Gigs & Tours News
Child abuse charity criticise NFL's who booking
Reviews
Live review: Devendra Banhart at Shepherds Bush Empire in London on 15 Dec
The Music Business
Hey entertainment people, be more innovative, OK?
Small venue licensing exemption to be considered, yet again
The Digital Business
Warner sign up to Hulu
The Media Business
Central radio saved for the time being
BRMB fire presenter over Queen's speech cut off
Chart Of The Day
Chart update
And finally...
Van Morrison forced to respond after hacker claims new baby
Music types line up for final CBB


 
MONDAY 4TH JANUARY
Hello, and a very happy new year to you. And welcome to the first CMU Daily of 2010. The more observant of you will notice the Daily has had a little refresh over the festive fortnight. Nothing too drastic, but a little touching up here and there. We hope you like it.
 
One thing you'll find scattered throughout the new look Daily is links to the CMU News-Blog, the online news service we launched back in September. This is where every story from the CMU Daily gets archived, making it easy for you to link to new stories and search for older ones. It also provides a platform where you can have your say on any of our stories, so do link through and comment. Especially if you disagree with something we've said. We love a bit of online bickering.

Aside from revamping our e-bulletins a little and expanding our News-Blog a lot, we've got a number of other new and exciting things planned for 2010, which I'll try to remember to tell you about here in the top bit every month or so. But the first thing to put on that list is a series of three one-day music business seminars that we will be staging next month.

These will be led by our Co-Publisher and Business Editor Chris Cooke, a leading expert on the music business, who you'll often find discussing the industry on various BBC news programmes, as well as here in the Daily. These sessions are very current guides to the music business, benefiting from the daily industry analysis conducted here at CMU, as well as Chris' other research and consulting work. They are designed both for those at the start of their music careers - whether that be as a label owner, manager, promoter, artist or songwriter, or as a junior exec in an established music company - as well as more experienced music industry professionals looking for a guide to the very latest trends.

Details of the three events are given below, and you'll find more at www.theCMUwebsite.com/events. I'm biased, obviously, but I've seen what will be covered, and these are going to be some of the most insightful and useful music business training events this year. I think that is what is called a fact. So, do check these out, and then do enjoy today's CMU Daily, and see you here in your inbox same time tomorrow.

Andy Malt
Editor, CMU Daily

CMU SEMINARS

MAKING MONEY FROM MUSIC IN 2010
How artists, rights holders and music companies can raise investment and make money in 2010. This will provide a review of the revenue potential of intellectual property, performance and fan-relationships at different stages of an artist's career, and evaluate new investment and revenue models, including fan funding and brand partnerships. Perfect for artist managers, independent label owners, promoters or music publishers, self-managing artists, junior execs at bigger music firms, or more experienced music people looking for a catch up.
Wednesday 3 February, 11am - 6pm, Shoreditch, East London. Fee: £75. Email your name and number to events@unlimitedmedia.co.uk to reserve a place.

MUSIC RIGHTS INSIDE & OUT
A beginners guide to music copyright: an introduction to copyright law, a review of music rights ownership, and guides to collective licensing, collecting societies and copyright enforcement. Plus a review of online copyright issues and solutions. Perfect for independent label owners or music publishers, self-managing artists, junior execs at bigger music firms, or more experienced music people looking for a catch up.
Wednesday 10 February, 11am - 6pm, Shoreditch, East London. Fee: £75. Email your name and number to events@unlimitedmedia.co.uk to reserve a place.

PROMOTING MUSIC - MEDIA, SOCIAL MEDIA & MORE
The future of music PR; the role of traditional music promotion techniques in the internet age; the rising importance of news in getting coverage; how to make your band/company newsworthy; the role, power and etiquette of social media; building a brand for your band or company; and a web journalist's guide to how to PR a web journalist. Perfect for anyone working in music PR, promotions or marketing, plus independent label owners, promoters and music publishers.
Wednesday 17 February, 11am - 6pm, Shoreditch, East London. Fee: £75. Email your name and number to events@unlimitedmedia.co.uk to reserve a place.

More at www.theCMUwebsite.com/events

 
TIPS FOR 2010: 80KIDZ
In January, we're giving the CMU Approved section over entirely to new(ish) acts we think will be making a big mark on 2010. Let's kick off with the one band who feature both on this list and in our top ten albums of 2009, 80kidz.

Formed in Tokyo in 2007, Jun, Ali& and Mayu (who recently left the group) 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 last year. In the UK it was only soft released on iTunes through the band's own Kidz Rec label, meaning it largely went unnoticed, though has received a boost after their track 'Miss Mars' was featured on a Kitsuné Maison compilation. If a UK label doesn't pick them up to properly release the album this year, then the world is a very silly place and I don't think I like it any more.

www.myspace.com/80kidz



 
  BEGGARS GROUP, FULL-TIME WEB DEVELOPER
We are looking for a talented and enthusiastic designer/developer to join our in-house web development team to design, code and build artist, label and promotional web sites. Required skills: Strong semantic HTML, strong CSS and great design skills. We are looking for a focused and ambitious web developer - someone forward thinking and up to date with current web technology. We are also looking for someone interested and aware of the music industry and how it is developing and changing online, so that they can feed in interesting online ideas and strategies for our artists.

We're an exciting company representing over a hundred incredible bands on four legendary labels - 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade and XL Recordings. Send an introductory letter, CV and examples of work to davidemery@beggars.com. Deadline for applications is 10am Monday 11th January 2010.

       
 

CHUFF MEDIA, REGIONAL PRESS OFFICER
Regional Press Officer needed to hit the ground running in a busy office. We are a small company working a great range of acts and genres and are looking for someone who loves their pop through to their rock. You must be outgoing, love music, going to gigs, meeting new people and have experience within the uk regional press area. You must be web and computer (mac) savvy with a good knowledge of microsoft office. Please send a covering letter and your cv along with references to info@chuffmedia.com and please note we can only respond to those applicants that we wish to interview. Position to start asap.

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  LET THE MAKERS OF CMU DO SOMETHING CREATIVE FOR YOU
UnLimited Creative is the creative services agency owned by CMU publishers UnLimited Media. We work with music and media companies, consumer brands, and other marketing and PR agencies, providing these services:

Marketing & PR: We devise and run marketing and PR campaigns, specialising in the youth and student markets, music and cultural products and marketing partnerships.

Content: We provide entertainment content to brands and media. We develop content strands. We produce original content. We manage content delivery.

Design & Print: We provide design, print and contract publishing services. We create brand identities. We design and produce websites. We produce & print marketing materials and corporate media.

Media & PR Training: We provide PR, media and music business training. We offer a menu of seminars. We develop bespoke courses. We develop out-reach training as part of CSR programmes.

To read about past projects click here. To discuss how we can help your company or project, email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
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John Woo to get Venice lifetime achievement award
New Banksy murals along Regent's canal
US court rejects Polanksi appeal attempt
 
Reputation challenge for Eurostar
Cowell offers rivals PR jobs
NME launches on Digital One
 
European Festival Awards, second stage of voting starts today
Big names confirm for Sonisphere
It's the next big Next Big Thing festival
 

MORE TROUBLE FOR MYSPACE FOLLOWING IMEEM ACQUISITION
So, according to Wired magazine, the fools at MySpace delivered a late Christmas present to bloggers worldwide who had Imeem widgets embedded on their web pages, by replacing the Imeem-powered playlists and streaming tracks with generic untargeted ads for ringtone services and the MySpace Music website. Because presumably what said bloggers really wanted to appear below their editorialised introduction to whatever song they'd carefully selected from the Imeem catalogue was a bright orange banner ad pushing Lady Gaga ringtones.

As previously reported, MySpace Music bought the Imeem user database for a bargain basement price last month as its Warner Music-backed rival spiralled into a gloomy oblivion. The social networking giant wasn't so keen to take on any of Imeem's liabilities, meaning that as soon as MySpace had bought up the usable bits, the rest of Imeem's operations were quickly switched off to ensure no new licensing fees were added to the collapsing company's debts. Such was the need to avoid any new Imeem liabilities there was no opportunity to put systems in place to softly migrate Imeem users over to MySpace's comparable services.

This meant Imeem users were immediately re-directed to a page on the MySpace Music website where they were greeted with the fabulous news that none of their playlists or user data would be available if they chose to sign up for the social networking giant's own already pretty shoddy streaming music service. The holding page says that Imeem users' personal data will be available via their MySpace accounts in due course, though it's not currently clear how that will be done or how long it will take.

Given the Imeem site was switched off overnight, it was inevitable that any Imeem-powered widgets embedded by music fans on their own blogs or websites would stop working too. To be fair, as soon as MySpace had agreed to take over those widgets they were caught between a rock and a hard place. Assuming it was impossible to continue pumping a streaming track or public playlist into the space occupied by the embedded widget, whatever Team MySpace chose to plonk in that spot instead wasn't going to be well received.

The only good solution would have been to utilise another of MySpace's recent acquisitions - iLike - which likewise streams music onto other people's websites via an embedded flash player. But, realistically, getting iLike to match track for track every song being streamed via an Imeem widget with next to no notice wasn't going to happen. Still, surely something better than the bright orange ringtone ads that appeared last week could have been used to replace the old Imeem streams.

All in all, in PR terms MySpace's acquisition of Imeem has been pretty disastrous. Imeem users lose (temporarily at least) their personal data, bloggers get bright orange ads plonked on their sites and, as also previously reported, unsigned bands selling their music via Imeem's Snocap tool won't receive any of the royalties they were owed. And everyone will blame MySpace for these developments. Even though none of it is really MySpace's fault, it was Imeem that fell over leaving all its users stranded. Then again, opting to run bright orange ads in place of the embedded Imeem player was a MySpace decision, and bosses there chose to do the deal with the faltering music service in the first place, which was probably unwise.

True the social networking giant got a large database of email addresses by doing the deal, but how many of those former Imeem users will really become loyal MySpace Music members given the calamities of the transition. Particularly when you consider most of those users had probably already used and rejected all things MySpace before signing up with Imeem in the first place.

Still, all of this adds to the stuff we can talk about when we finally get to write MySpace Music's obituary. Which will be in, well, hey, place your bets people.

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APPLE WIN IPOD VOLUME COURT CASE
Apple won a court case in the US last week over allegations their iPod's were single handily damaging a generation's hearing.

A number of organisations have expressed concerns in recent years that as headphone-based portable music players have gone digital, the volume music can be consumed at has increased, some reckon to dangerous levels. Various measures have been proposed - some technical, some legislative - to control volume levels, and protect consumers from unknowingly listening to music at volumes that could damage their hearing. In Europe, the EC last year introduced new rules on the matter, which will include health warnings about listening to loud music through headphones.

In the lawsuit, which dated from 2006, three plaintiffs claimed that the market leading MP3 players were "defective" because they enabled users to play music above 115 decibels, which I think is generally considered a dangerous level among hearing experts. But when the litigation was originally considered in 2008 a Californian court dismissed the action on the basis no one was forcing users to listen to music at the louder volumes, and if said users chose to do so then they had to accept personal liability for any resulting damage to their hearing. It was a strangely common sense ruling for an American court.

The plaintiffs appealed that ruling, and it was the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth District who heard the appeal case last week. But they upheld the lower court ruling. The judge ruled: "[The plaintiff's] statements suggest only that users have the option of using an iPod in a risky manner, not that the product lacks any minimum level of quality".

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COURTNEY SUES AMEX
Courtney Love has kicked off the year with a lawsuit, which is fun. She's suing American Express in response to their previously reported lawsuit against her, which was launched last May.

The credit card company say Love has run up debts of $350,000 and is refusing to pay them off. But she says that the debts were run up by fraudsters, and is accusing the finance firm of issuing cards in her name without her consent, presumably to the alleged credit thieves.

Her lawyers say private detectives have been hired to try and find the people who have run up the debts on the singer's account, but in the meantime Love is accusing Amex of "bad business practice" for allegedly failing to perform decent checks before issuing new cards in her name. She is suing the credit firm for unspecified damages.

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SONIQUE ON THE MEND
DJ Sonique has seemingly won her battle with breast cancer. As previously reported, the former S-Express collaborator confirmed she had been diagnosed with the disease back in July and that she would have to undergo five months of chemo. Well, that treatment has now been completed, and has seemingly been a success. Confirming that, she told reporters last week: "This is the best news I have ever had in my life".

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AVENGED DRUMMER DIES
Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan, drummer with American metallers Avenged Sevenfold, has died aged 28. He died last Monday, seemingly of natural causes.

A founder member of the band, Sullivan performed backing vocals as well as drumming, while he provided lead vocals and played piano for his side project Pinkly Smooth.

Confirming his passing, Avenged Sevenfold said in a statement on their website last week: "It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we tell you of the passing today of Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan. Jimmy was not only one of the world's best drummers, but more importantly he was our best friend and brother. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jimmy's family and we hope that you will respect their privacy during this difficult time".

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STEELEYE SPAN CO-FOUNDER DIES
Tim Hart, a founding member of UK folk group Steeleye Span, died last month aged 61. He died of lung cancer on Christmas Eve.

Hart teamed up with Maddy Prior and Ashley Hutchings to form Steeleye Span in 1969. He was a member of the band during its most successful period in the early seventies, staying with them up until 1983. After leaving the group he moved away from music, taking up wildlife photography in the Canary Islands.

Paying tribute, John Dagnell of Steeleye Span's record label Park Records told reporters: "It is a sad loss. It came as a shock to us as we did not realise his illness was so far advanced".

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FORMER DECCA DISTRIBUTION MAN DIES
John Roberts, the former General Manager of Decca Record's distribution division Selecta, died just before Christmas, aged 82. Roberts had a long career in the record industry, moving to PolyGram after his time at Decca, and more recently working with Proper/New Note.

Paying tribute, one of his former colleagues at Decca, Bill Holland, told Music Week: "John was one of those people who wanted to stay in the business rather than ever retire. He was a great character and almost wrecked my marriage because I used to go out drinking with him every night!"

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VIC CHESNUTT DIES
American singer songwriter Vic Chesnutt died on Christmas Day following a drug overdose. Reports suggest it was suicide.

Chestnutt was something of a songwriter's songwriter, especially in the US, with his work enjoying more critical acclaim than commercial success, though he did release many records, two for major labels, and had a sizable fanbase.

Chesnutt lived a challenging life, having been left partially paralysed after being involved in a car crash in his teens. While those challenges seemingly ultimately proved too much, he often said that the accident led to a new level of creativity in his songwriting.

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THE QUO GET OBES
Status Quo types Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi were among those awarded letters by the Queen over New Year. They each get an OBE. As did film composer Craig Armstrong. Personally I think I'd be happier if the Queen gifted me an oboe, but then I'm not being offered either.

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THE DECADE IN MUSIC
There have been countless lists of the so-called best music of the last decade compiled by music journalists, taste-makers and insiders over the last few weeks, but we all know that the only way to truly tell which music was best over the last ten years is to look at what the public spent their money on. If there's one thing I know about the general public, it's that they wouldn't ever spend their hard earned cash on any music that wasn't of the absolute highest quality. If it wasn't for the impeccable taste of all those people, we might live in an almost unimaginable world where artists like James Blunt and Will Young and that awful 'Mamma Mia' film sold more records and DVDs than anyone else. Oh, wait...

Yeah, so, the highest selling album of the last ten years was James Blunt's 'Back To Bedlam', followed closely by Dido's 'No Angel' (who also appears at seven with 'Life For Rent'). The number one single of the noughties was Will Young's double-A side debut 'Anything Is Possible/Evergreen', and he's closely followed by the other 'Pop Idol' finalist Gareth Gates with his awful cover of 'Unchained Melody'. The top selling compilation of the noughties was 'Now That's What I Call Music 47' (a classic of the series, I'm sure you'll agree) and the DVD that sold more than any other was 'Mamma Mia'. Excuse me while I weep quietly.

Although, I suppose you can't completely blame the public for their lack of taste when the song that was fourth most played to them in the last decade was 'Love It When You Call' by The Feeling. They never had a chance really. The most played song of the decade, according to PPL, was 'Chasing Cars' by Snow Patrol, which was also named Song Of The Decade in a Channel 4 poll.

Here are the top tens:

Highest selling albums 2000-2009
1. James Blunt - Back To Bedlam
2. Dido - No Angel
3. Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
4. Leona Lewis - Spirit
5. David Gray - White Ladder
6. The Beatles - 1
7. Dido - Life For Rent
8. Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head
9. Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters
10. Take That - Beautiful World
Source: The Official Charts Company

Highest selling singles 2000-2009
1. Will Young - Anything Is Possible/Evergreen
2. Gareth Gates - Unchained Melody
3. Tony Christie - (Is This The Way To) Amarillo
4. Shaggy - It Wasn't Me
5. Alexandra Burke - Hallelujah
6. Band Aid 20 - Do They Know It's Christmas?
7. Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out Of My Head
8. Shayne Ward - That's My Goal
9. Hear'say - Pure And Simple
10. Bob The Builder - Can We Fix It
Source: The Official Charts Company

Highest selling compilations 2000-2009
1. Now That's What I Call Music 47
2. Now That's What I Call Music 50
3. Now That's What I Call Music 56
4. Mamma Mia Soundtrack
5. Now That's What I Call Music 68
6. High School Musical Soundtrack
7. Now That's What I Call Music 62
8. Bridget Jones's Diary Soundtrack
9. Now That's What I Call Music 71
10. Now That's What I Call Music 53
Source: The Official Charts Company

Highest selling videos 2000-2009
1. Mamma Mia
2. Gladiator
3. Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
4. Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl
5. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone
6. Shrek
7. Bridget Jones's Diary
8. The Shawshank Redemption
9. Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
10. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets
Source: The Official Charts Company

Most played songs 2000-2009
1. Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars
2. Take That - Shine
3. Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancin
4. The Feeling - Love It When You Call
5. Sugababes - About You Now
6. Take That - Rule The World
7. James Blunt - You're Beautiful
8. Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot
9. Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out Of My Head
10. Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
Source: PPL

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KLINGHOFFER TO REPLACE FRUSCIANTE IN RHCP
Josh Klinghoffer will replace John Frusciante as guitarist in the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Though that had already been mooted, Klinghoffer reportedly confirmed the news to RHCP fansite Stadium-Arcadium.com on Saturday.

Klinghoffer, who has toured with RHCP, was suggested as a replacement for Frusciante when the latter announced he was quitting the band for a second time last month. As well as playing in a session musician capacity with numerous bands, including RHCP, Klinghoffer also collaborated with Frusciante in the experimental outfit Ataxia.

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SOUNDGARDEN SET TO REFORM
Soundgarden are set to be one of the big reunions of 2010. The band, who have been on hiatus since 1997, posted on their website recently "the twelve year break is over and school is back in session", while frontman Chris Cornell tweeted: "Knights of the Soundtable ride again!" Watch this space, I suppose.

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LIL WAYNE ALBUM NOW PUSHED BACK TO SUMMER
Well, when we pontificated that the release date on Lil Wayne's new album had been cynically pushed back to coincide with the hip hopper's incarceration on gun charges in February, so to benefit from the press that will no doubt come with the jailing, perhaps we were being unfair.

Following news that the long awaited new long player, 'Rebirth', would not now reach shops until February, it now seems that a June release date is on the schedules. Certainly neither iTunes or Amazon are currently taking pre-orders for it, which would suggest a February launch isn't being seriously considered. This is despite the fact Amazon accidentally sent out some copies of the album last month ahead of the record's last provisional release date.

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CHILD ABUSE CHARITY CRITICISE NFL'S WHO BOOKING
An American child abuse charity has hit out at the NFL's decision to let The Who play the high profile half time show at next month's Superbowl.

ChildAbuseWatch.net say they have a problem with Pete Townshend playing the event because of his 2003 arrest and police caution for accessing child porn. As much previously reported, Townshend has always maintained he only accessed the sites as part of research for a book he was writing which would deal with child abuse. He was cleared on a separate charge of possessing indecent pictures downloaded from the web.

But the CEO of the US charity told reporters last week: "The Who is a great band. Pete Townshend is the only issue here". But the NFL are standing by their booking, with a spokesman telling the Associated Press: "UK police cleared him since he was doing research for a project on child abuse".

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LIVE REVIEW: Devendra Banhart at Shepherds Bush Empire in London on 15 Dec
Unfolding within the regal surroundings of the Shepherds Bush Empire, the prince of modern folk Devendra Banhart casually ambles onto the stage with his backing band, The Groggs. Nonchalantly dispensing with a support act, they shuffle onto the stage in single file with the happy-go-lucky swagger of truant school boys.

A swirl of sporadic taps on the snare drum are knocked out by the drummer clad head to foot in a sensationally fluffy yeti costume, and gentle waves from shaking maracas blend with nomadically inspired acoustic melodies as the band set the tone with 'Can't Help But Smiling'. Devendra and the boys beam with their Cheshire Cat grins as they segue effortlessly into an assortment of songs from latest album, 'What Will We Be'.

The sincerely delivered set encompasses everything from rustically woven folk ballads to barber shop harmonies. With the wide-eyed audience in the palm of his hands, The Groggs eventually exit the stage leaving Devendra to play a spate of solo acoustic songs. Sporting slim-cut denim jeans and a cabin boy's woolly hat, he stands up and draws the microphone-stand closer to his torso. Tilting his head towards the microphone with the apprehensive sway of a first kiss, he delivers a sugarcoated monologue about the next song, 'Paints Kismet In Experience'.

This intimate section of the show is brought to an end by thunderous shuddering from the bass drum and the band return to send the audience home with an amped up rendition of 'Rats', bringing to an electrifying close a show built on the unique candour of Banhart's introspective lyrics. SG

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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HEY ENTERTAINMENT PEOPLE, BE MORE INNOVATIVE, OK?
The chairman of the Entertainment Retailers Association has called on the film, gaming and music industries to be just a little bit more innovative in 2010, urging them to rely less on sequels, heritage acts, back catalogue and Simon Cowell.

Paul Quirk noted that 2009 had been a better year for entertainment retail than most predicted, given the demise of both Woolies and Zavvi at the end of 2008, but he points out that most of the big sellers in terms of DVDs and video games were sequels, while music relied on established acts and the Cowell-led telly talent show machine. This, he fears, is not sustainable long term.

Bigging up his own team, Music Week quote Quirk thus: "Despite the collapse of Woolworths and Zavvi a year ago, 2009 was far better than many expected. More than anything that has been down to a renewed investment by retailers in making product available to the consumer. We've seen new entrants to the music market like Game and Waterstones and Peacocks. We've seen HMV investing in pop-up shops, some of which have now become permanent openings".

But turning his attention to the other parts of the home entertainment industry, he continued: "Retail investment on its own is not sufficient. We need suppliers to be more innovative and deliver new product which really excites the consumer. Retailers are certainly not complaining about the success of Simon Cowell or Harry Potter or 'Call of Duty 2'. Customers love these products and we are here to sell customers what they want. But the sheer dominance of a small number of franchises, the narrowing of the range of creativity and the focus on blockbusters raises real long-term issues. The great strength of the UK entertainment business has always been constant innovation, and we need to recognise that it is that innovation which keeps the public interested".

Though just to be clear, all of this is really the fault of those pesky file-sharers. Stressing his allegiances with the record companies, movie studios and games publishers, he concluded: "It is hard to blame suppliers for not being adventurous when illegal file-sharing makes it ever more difficult for them to recoup their investment in new projects. That is why entertainment retailers are working closely with the film, game and music industries to persuade government that tough action on illegal file-sharing is required now".

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SMALL VENUE LICENSING EXEMPTION TO BE CONSIDERED, YET AGAIN
Licensing Minister Gerry Sutcliffe last week announced plans to exempt venues with a capacity of 100 or less from having to get licences for live music events, though grass roots gig promoters shouldn't start celebrating just yet.

As previously reported, proposals to exempt the smallest of venues from live music licensing requirements were put forward as part of last year's review of the 2003 Licensing Act. Campaigners argued that the new licensing rules had put pubs, cafes and village halls off staging live music events, which in turn reduced the opportunities for grass roots musicians to play live.

While the government has seemingly accepted the need for the small venue exemption, it seems another consultation will now take place before anyone is actually exempted. A consultation which seems unlikely to be completed before the General Election, possibly making the whole thing a bit redundant.

Jazz musician and Telegraph blogger Sebastian Scotney, a vocal supporter of the small venue exemption, wasn't impressed with Sutcliffe's announcement last week.

Writing on the Telegraph website, Scotney says: "What Sutcliffe and his head civil servant Andrew Cunningham are doing is to launch yet another consultation on this issue. So that now makes over six years of legislation, eight consultations (this is the ninth), two government research projects, two national review processes and a Parliamentary Select Committee report. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport want 'responses' on this one by 23 Mar. One day it may happen. But, despite this misleading press release, small venue licensing reform is in the long grass until after the election".

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WARNER SIGN UP TO HULU
Warner Music followed EMI into doing a deal with US-based web-TV service Hulu just before Christmas. The deal will see Warner make a number of artist-based channels available via the video-on-demand platform, kicking off with something from Muse. Although currently a US-only service, Hulu's owners NBC, Fox and ABC have plans to launch the service elsewhere.

Confirming Warner's plans to work with Hulu, the major's Exec VP Digital Strategy, Michael Nash, said these words: "We're pleased to be working with Hulu as we expand our premium ad-supported video strategy to provide our artists with a customised and flexible approach to marketing and monetising their music, by leveraging the most powerful partnerships and platforms in the industry. Hulu has been a leader and innovator in this space, and we look forward to working with them on creating compelling, content-rich artist channels that will provide a dynamic experience to their fans, while introducing our artists to new audiences online".

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CENTRAL RADIO SAVED FOR THE TIME BEING
Previously reported plans by UTV Radio to shut down Preston-based radio station Central Radio have been put on hold because talks have begun with a possible buyer. UTV said it would take the fifteen month old station off the air on Christmas Eve and give its FM licence back to media regulator OfCom having failed to make the service commercially viable. However, an unnamed buyer has come forward so the station has stayed on the air while takeover talks progress.

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BRMB FIRE PRESENTER OVER QUEEN'S SPEECH CUT OFF
The most amusing story of the Christmas break has to be this one. Comedian Tom Binns' return to his former employer - Birmingham radio station BRMB - proved to be shorter than originally planned after his live stint on Christmas Day.

Binns, perhaps best known for his comedy character Ivan Brackenbury, a spoof hospital radio presenter, was filling in on the afternoon shift on BRMB over the festive fortnight. At 3pm on Christmas afternoon the station was meant to be taking a bulletin from its news supplier, but started airing the Queens' speech instead, which was presumably being pumped out by the same supplier on a different feed.

Realising the mistake, Binns cut off the speech feed a couple of minutes in, remarking: "two words: bore-ing". He then made a couple of gags at the Queen's expense and concluded the link by saying: "from one queen to another", before segueing into a George Michael song.

Two listeners promptly complained, possibly taking offence at Binn's anti-monarchy jokes, or possibly because I think Her Maj was paying tribute to the troops as she was cut off in her prime. Either way, the comedian's employer, Orion Media Group, was not impressed, and reported plans to give Binns a permanent show on the station were quickly halted.

Orion's David Lloyd told Radio Today: "On Christmas Day, one of our presenters, Tom Binns, made some inappropriate comments surrounding the Queen's speech. We do not condone what he said in any way; whether said in jest or not. We are making contact with the small number of listeners who were offended by Tom's comments and have complained to us to convey our apologies, and have also apologised on air. Tom was a freelance presenter, hosting shows for us on a show by show basis, but will now not be featuring again on our radio stations".

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CHART UPDATE
You probably didn't notice last week's chart. Few people pay any attention to the post-Christmas chart after all the tiring excitement of the previous week's festive number one announcement. But that means you totally missed Joe McElderry getting his number one. Oh well, Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance' is back at the top of the singles chart now, so you'll just have to wait until next time. Assuming there is a next time for the 'X Factor' winner - I've already forgotten what he looks and sounds like.

If you read last week's Chart Update (it was on the CMU News-Blog, you really have no excuse), you'll remember that I said that the first chart after Christmas is the dullest chart of the year. Well, this one is the second dullest, so there's still very little to report. There's just one proper new entry this week - 'Take That' by Wiley. The other two new tracks in this week's top forty have both been there before, them being 'Poker Face' by Lady Gaga at 32 and the most played song of the last decade, 'Chasing Cars' by Snow Patrol at 39.

Rage Against The Machine's Killing In The Name is at 40 this week, a drop of 38 places from last week's number two. This can only mean it's time to take the Christmas tree down.

Over in the album chart, Paolo Nutini's 'Sunny Side Up' is up fourteen places to number one. His debut, 'These Streets', is also back in the chart at 26, which must mean he's done something other than appear on Jools Holland's Hootenanny in the last week, because that was just embarrassing.

Off the back of his appearance at the Royal Variety Performance, Dutch violinist André Rieu is this week's sole new entry in the album chart, with his debut UK album 'Forever Vienna' in at 22.

The charts have their hair combed in an attempt to make them look nicer by the Official Charts Company.

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VAN MORRISON FORCED TO RESPOND AFTER HACKER CLAIMS NEW BABY
Weird story of the Christmas break was Van Morrison being forced to deny news that he had become a father again aged 64. It seems that someone hacked into his website and added a statement to the home page announcing the singer had a new child. Like you do.

The fake statement said a woman called Gigi Lee had given birth to the Van man's latest offspring, who would be called George Ivan Morrison III. But Morrison subsequently issued a statement to the media saying: "The comments which appeared on my website did not come from me [and are] completely and utterly without foundation. For the avoidance of all doubt and in the interests of clarity I am very happily married to Michelle Morrison, with whom I have two wonderful children".

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MUSIC TYPES LINE UP FOR FINAL CBB
So, the latest and last 'Celebrity Big Brother' kicked off last night, which I'm only mentioning because the music world is rather well represented, with Lady Sovereign, Jonas 'Basshunter' Altberg and Dru Hill frontman, the man responsible for 'Thong Song', Mark 'Sisqo' Andrews all in the house this time.

Oh, and Dane Bowers. He's a sort of music person, isn't he? Who could forget the wondrous achievements of the Upper Street project? Though he's in there as Katie Price's ex, of course, one half of a Channel 4 manufactured double act with the former Mrs Andre's current on-off fella Alex Reid.

Also in there as a result of a former other half, and also sort of music related, is Ekaterina Ivanova, until recently Ronnie Wood's girlfriend. Glamour model Nicola T, Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss, actor Stephen Baldwin, actress Stephanie Beacham and footballer turned actor Vinnie Jones are also taking part, the latter currently favourite to win.

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Andy Malt
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