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INFORMATION
Jobs
Classifieds
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Digital Economy Bill reaches committee stage
In The Pop Courts
Morrison sues over baby claims
Tenenbaum pushes for cut in damages and all out appeal hearing
Obituaries
Willie Mitchell dies
Awards & Contests
Muse cover wins artwork award
Voting opens in Xfm New Music Award
Nemone to host MPG Awards
In The Studio
Solange records with Midnight Juggernauts
Release News
Kravitz confirms Jacko track
Christopher Lee to release symphonic metal album
2manydjs to relaunch Radio Soulwax
Films & Shows News
Mastodon discuss Jonah Hex score
Books News
Ono to write Lennon biography
Festival News
Stones not playing Glasto
Reviews
Single review: Hurts - Wonderful Life (Arthur Baker Remix) (Vier Musik)
Brands & Stuff
Lady Gaga partners with Polaroid
The Music Business
File-sharing operations go east to avoid the server police
The Digital Business
CES kicks off tomorrow
And finally...
Devin Townsend on moving on


 
WEDNESDAY 6TH JANUARY
DELPHIC
First brought to our attention by the always-on-top-of-things Eddy Temple-Morris via a demo of their song 'Counterpoint' a good two years ago now, our interest in Delphic was reaffirmed early last year when the song got a proper single release. Hailing from Manchester, their sound is steeped in their home city's musical history but they're taking it forwards like no one has managed for quite some time. Their latest single, 'Doubt', is out this week, and their debut album, 'Acolyte', follows on Monday. Ahead of that, we caught up with guitarist Matthew Cocksedge to ask our Same Six Questions.

 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
We started when we were young, playing in local bands. We just wanted to make music, but got bored of the bands we were in, as we found we were writing for other people. We decided to change and do something we wanted to do - and that was to write for ourselves.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
We were inspired musically in the sense that there was a lack of much going on in music, and in what we were hearing on the radio. It was a reaction against that, and against bland guitar music in general. Lyrically, it was inspired by that feeling of stepping out into the world and finding a place. It's an exciting feeling. It was a juxtaposition of excitement and fear clashing that inspired all of the emotion and ideas of the record.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
We start out with an idea, whether it's a lyric a melody or a chord sequence. We take the idea and put it on our laptops and play around with it and see what comes out. We choose a path to go down, build it up on the laptops and then take it to the practice room where we add drums and guitar and build up the song properly til we have the final product.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Lots and lots - it's hard to pinpoint. We're inspired by lots of genres of music, from minimal techno to Xenomania pop.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
It sounds better at higher volume.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
We just want to grow and develop as a band and keep challenging ourselves.

MORE>> www.delphic.cc

 
CMU TIPS FOR 2010: NEWISLANDS
Formed in March last year by former Departure frontman David Jones and producer Luke Shoesmith, NewIslands' first six month's in existence seem to have run on fast forward. Holed up in a studio housed in a barn in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the Midlands, fully formed songs began bursting out of them right from the very first recording session. Capitalising on this momentum, they recruited themselves a band - Thomas Neal, Raife Hacking and son of French singer Patti Lane, Bogart Giner - and quickly began performing live, heading out on their first UK tour by May, as well as picking up a slot at the Offset Festival and gigs supporting the likes of Dan Black and Miike Snow.

They're set to release their debut single, 'Out Of Time', in March. A simple pop song, put together with deceptive complexity and led by intertwined synth melodies and David's insistent vocals, it's exactly the sort of thing which has earned the band comparisons to Depeche Mode, Animal Collective and The Cure.

www.myspace.com/newislands




 
  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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Heidi Fleiss courts controversy with abortion comments
New Gurinder Chadha film to premiere at Sundance
Ant and Dec lead nominations for National TV Awards
 
FT subscription revenues to pass print ad revenues this year
BBC begins PR fightback
Advertising body opposes produce placement proposals
 
New Gurinder Chadha film to premiere at Sundance
European Festival Awards, second stage of voting starts today
Big names confirm for Sonisphere
 

DIGITAL ECONOMY BILL REACHES COMMITTEE STAGE
The much loved (right?) Digital Economy Bill will enter the committee stage later today following two readings in that there House Of Lords. The Lords committee will spend about a week considering various aspects of the new legislation which, of course, includes some proposals for protecting copyright online, including a variation of the often controversial three-strikes system that could lead to file-sharing kids having their net connections suspended.

The committee is expected to start at the beginning today and consider clause one of the bill, which deals with the responsibilities of media regulator OfCom in the digital domain. Though the clause expected to be most fiercely debated is number seventeen, which is the one that gives the Secretary Of State with responsibility for the internet to introduce new copyright rules more or less on whim.

That proposal is justified by the bill's drafters, working under Peter Mandelson, on the basis that internet technology moves so fast that lawmakers need to be in a position to change copyright rules as new kinds of piracy materialise. But those who oppose the bill say the clause could be used to sneak in more draconian measures to be benefit of the content owners without any parliamentary debate.

Another issue due to be considered by the Lords committee is the responsibilities of the internet service providers, which are set out in clause four of the bill. They, of course, are generally keen to avoid any liability for tracking or stopping any piracy undertaken by their customers via their services.

In related news, the ISP which is most against the three-strikes proposals in the DEB, good old TalkTalk, have hit back at Bono following his previously reported piece in the New York Times blaming the net firms for the rise in file-sharing and the negative impact that has had on the content industries. As reported yesterday, Bono called on the net providers to do more to track online piracy, arguing that efforts to stop the distribution of child porn on the net proved that, when they wanted to, ISPs could track and stop the sharing of illicit content.

Deliberately misunderstanding Bono's point, TalkTalk's head of regulation Andrew Heaney responded yesterday by telling reporters: "It is outrageous to equate the need to protect minors from the evils of child pornography with the need to protect copyright owners. As a society we have accepted that it is appropriate and proportionate to intrude on people's internet use by blocking access to sites that host child abuse images. To suggest that sharing a music file is every bit as evil as child abuse beggars belief".

Heaney did continue by providing a more convincing argument against Bono's suggestion that if you can stop child porn sites you can stop file-sharing, stressing that such a claim is something of a simplification. He said: "Bono obviously does not understand how simple it is to access copyright protected content without being detected. P2P file-sharing can be spotted (albeit at great cost) but there are dozens of applications and tools out there which allow people to view content for free and no amount of snooping can detect it".

Of course, everyone agrees that any new rules to cut off or suspend the net connections of file-sharers need to be backed up by (or, the ISPs would probably say, should be replaced by) an education effort to convince young people that file-sharing is not a victimless crime that, because everyone does it, isn't really a crime at all. Some say such educational efforts are already underway, though others say much more work - by both government and the content industries - is needed to help young people understand what copyright is, why it is arguably a good thing, and why we all have a duty (whether that be legal or ethical) to help copyright owners protect their rights.

In an interesting piece in The Scotsman this week, looking at the way copyright issues are (or, rather, are not) taught in Scottish schools, one John McGhee, IT integration manager with Glasgow City Council and a teacher of computing at the city's Holyrood school, reckons that teachers - certainly North of the border - are provided with little ammunition for teaching the rights and wrongs of internet file-sharing, other than the mantra "file-sharing is wrong".

McGhee: "There's no national steer that this needs to be part of the curriculum. If a child admitted they were taking drugs, there would be child protection or child welfare procedures that would kick in very quickly. If they admitted they were downloading content illegally, I suspect nothing would happen, other than a teacher saying: 'You should not be downloading'. Some adults think it's a victimless crime, but there's no such thing. [Of course] with drugs, you see the harm to the child, rather than society. It is immediate harm to the child, whereas downloading songs is not immediately harmful, but it's still illegal behaviour. There should not be a different response to these subjects, so how do we address that?"

McGhee calls on government to provide more guidance on copyright education. He concludes: "More than 40% of teaching staff in Glasgow are over 50 years old. They are playing catch-up on a number of fronts, like cyber bullying and social networking. My view is you could end up with a lot of children getting involved and caught in illegality. Probably as a country we need to start to look at that. Why is it [file-sharing] seen differently to other illegal behaviour? File-sharing has become the norm, rather than exception. Personal and social education is such a wide area that no teacher really has that scope of expertise. The challenge is to bring teachers up to speed and a confident level. You need a capacity for an ethical debate and a technical debate".

You can read the full Scotsman article here: news.scotsman.com/education/Pupils-struggle-to-take-piracy.5958006.jp

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MORRISON SUES OVER BABY CLAIMS
Van Morrison has announced that he is launching legal action against the Mail On Sunday after the paper claimed the singer had recently fathered a child with business associate Gigi Lee.

As previously reported, Van Morrison last week denied news that he had become a father again aged 64, claiming that a hacker had posted a fake statement on his official website and insisting that he still only has two children, both with his wife Michelle. However, this was followed by further reports in the MoS at the weekend, claiming that he has had a long relationship with Lee, who is co-director of a number of his publishing and production companies. Meanwhile Lee's brother confirmed to the Belfast Telegraph this week that she has recently given birth.

In a statement, Morrison said: "I have instructed my solicitors to institute immediately proceedings against the Mail On Sunday and will take all appropriate action to prevent repetition of these allegations".

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TENENBAUM PUSHES FOR CUT IN DAMAGES AND ALL OUT APPEAL HEARING
Joel Tenenbaum yesterday filed a motion to the US courts in a bid to reduce the $675,000 in statutory damages that he was ordered to pay after losing his legal fight with the Record Industry Association Of America last year.

As much previously reported, Tenenbaum was one of the few of the thousands of US file-sharers sued by the RIAA who decided to defend himself. Even though the RIAA has ended its self-harming sue-the-file-sharers campaign, it has decided to see ongoing legal claims to their conclusion, which is why Tenenbaum ended up in court last summer to present his defence.

He was represented by a Harvard law professor who promised a watertight defence that would bloody nose the arrogant music industry. But, in the end, the prof presented the same old arguments that had been dismissed in other courts before, and Tenenbaum promptly lost the case, to the tune of $657,000. That figure was based on statutory provisions under US copyright law that allows damages of anywhere between $750 to $150,000 for each copyright infringement - Tenenbaum was accused of sharing 30 named tracks.

Maths experts will quickly work out that the RIAA were awarded $22,500 per infringement in the Tenenbaum case. His new motion says that, while well within the statutory damages range, that figure is wholly "disproportionate to the offence and obviously unreasonable", citing a constitutional responsibility on the courts to be proportionate in any sanctions they issue. Of course proportionality is an intangible concept, and many US judges would argue that in the case of statutory damages anything within the parameters set down by American lawmakers is, by definition, proportionate.

Tenenbaum cites some US cases where damages awarded by one court were considered disproportionate on appeal. Like that other famous file-sharer - who is similarly fighting the $1.92 million in damages she was ordered to pay after losing in her attempts to fight an RIAA lawsuit - one key case cited is BMW v Gore. In that case the US Supreme Court ruled that punitive damages awarded to Gore in the initial case were too high, adding that the lower courts had to "bear in mind actual damage and the severity of punishment" required when awarding punitive damages.

Which is all well and good, but BMW v Gore was dealing with punitive damages, not statutory damages. I won't bore you with the difference, but it's an important distinction. And, as previously reported, just last year a US court - in the case of Verizon v OnlineNIC - specifically said that the principle in BMW v Gore did not apply to statutory damages (more on that here: http://newsblog.thecmuwebsite.com/post/New-US-court-case-could-impact-on-Thomas-and-Tenenbaum-appeals.aspx).

Elsewhere, Team Tenenbaum are pushing for an appeal hearing, claiming that the defence's fair use arguments and the fact the file-sharer had made a nominal out-of-court settlement offer to the RIAA (to pay $500 in damages) were not properly considered in the first trial. The latter is unlikely to have made any difference even if it had been considered in court, though the fair-use arguments were expected to play a much bigger role in the first court hearing.

Though even there the defence are on dodgy ground with little legal precedent to rely on. Though some argue that there is grounds for claiming that because the record industry refused to sell their music online in the early days of the internet - obsessed, as they were, with propping up the CD market - that those who accessed music illegally on the net during that time were justified in doing so.

Of course, there is no legal onus on record companies to sell their music via the net, though some reckon copyright owners have an unwritten responsibility to provide fairly priced access, to the material in which they have rights, to the public, and in all the ways the public might reasonably want to access it. And, of course, in some domains, like radio and public performance, such responsibilities are, in fact, written in the law.

The judge in the Tenenbaum case, Nancy Gertner - who is known to be personally critical of the RIAA's response to file-sharing - has let it be known she is open to hearing these kinds of arguments. Though many legal experts doubt such arguments would actually enable Tenenbaum to win his case. Not least because the file-sharing Tenenbaum has admitted to took place in 2004, ie after the launch of the iTunes Music Store, the first major effort by the wider record industry (and in particular the major record companies) to make its music available legitimately online.

Therefore the so called fair use argument only applies here if you are willing to say that the alleged duty of copyright owners to provide access to their content "in all the ways the public might reasonably want to access it" means providing it online without digital rights management - ie in the MP3 format. While some might argue that it should, it seems unlikely Gertner's court would ultimately agree.

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WILLIE MITCHELL DIES
Willie Mitchell, musician, record producer, owner of the Royal Studio in Memphis, and a former chief of the city's Hi Records, has died aged 81.

Trumpeter and bandleader Mitchell began his record producer career with the Home Of The Blues record label, before moving to Hi Records as both a recording artist and producer. He took over the running of that label in 1970 and oversaw its most successful period, during which the company and Mitchell himself worked with numerous artists, perhaps most notably Al Green.

Although his period running Hi Records ended at the end of the seventies, he continued to produce and head up the Royal Studio complex until his death, working with the likes of Rod Stewart, Keith Richards, Bob Seger and John Mayer along the way. Last decade he started to work with Green again, producing 2003 album 'I Can't Stop' and 2005's 'Everything's OK'.

Mitchell's son Lawrence confirmed his father died yesterday morning, having suffered a cardiac arrest on 19 Dec.

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MUSE COVER WINS ARTWORK AWARD
Muse or, rather, London-based designers La Boca have won the Artvinyl award for best album artwork of the year. The annual award is presented by the Art Vinyl Gallery, and this year goes to La Boca for their artwork for Muse's 'The Resistance' album. The artists behind the artwork for the Manic Street Preachers 'Journal Of Plague Lovers' and Fever Ray's eponymous debut (Jenny Saville and Martin Ander respectively) were runners up.

Art Vinyl's Director Andrew Heeps told reporters the artwork award is "a great way to celebrate the unsung heroes behind the art and design of some of our favourite bands and artists. 2009 has been a particularly fantastic year for the award as we have seen lots of new talent mixing with some of the well known names of the sleeve design and the art world such as Damian Hirst and Jenny Saville".

He added: "With CD sales losing their importance, the canvas that a vinyl record sleeve provides is really adding value for the owner, as they are also purchasing a piece of collectable art. Also, both the majors and indie labels are investing money in really stand-out sleeve art".

Fifty designs were shortlisted for the award, and they will be displayed at The Art Vinyl Gallery in Selfridges London, the Snap Galleries in Birmingham and the Georges House Gallery in Folkestone.

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VOTING OPENS IN XFM NEW MUSIC AWARD
Xfm has opened the voting for its annual New Music Award, which goes to a debut album released in the last year. Listeners are encouraged to vote for their favourite three debut albums of 2009, and then a panel of pundit types will pick the overall winner. Past winners of the prize are Glasvegas and The Enemy. You can vote via the Xfm website at www.xfm.co.uk.

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NEMONE TO HOST MPG AWARDS
Organisers of the CMU supported Music Producers Guild Awards have confirmed that 6Music DJ type Nemone Metaxas - or just Nemone by convention - will again host the producer community's big bash this year.

MPG Chairman Steve Levine told CMU: "Nemone did a fantastic job of hosting our inaugural Awards last year and we are thrilled that she has agreed to be part of this year's ceremony. As a radio presenter who is renowned for championing a broad spectrum of talent, her obvious love of music makes her the prefect host for an event that rewards creativity".

The MPG Awards take place on 11 Feb at the Café de Paris in London. Table tickets are all sold out, but balcony tix are still available as I write at www.mpgawards.co.uk. See you there!

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SOLANGE RECORDS WITH MIDNIGHT JUGGERNAUTS
R&B singer Solange Knowles is currently in the studio with Australian indie-disco boys Midnight Juggernauts. The collaboration has apparently been in the pipeline for some time but has taken a while to actually set up. It's not entirely clear how many songs they are working on, or what for, though it seems that at least one track will appear on Solange's next album. She also appeared live with the band during their set at the Falls Festival in Tasmania on New Year's Eve.

In other Solange Knowles indie collaboration news, Beyonce's sister will also appear on a track on the currently-in-production new album from Of Montreal, according to Stereogum.

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KRAVITZ CONFIRMS JACKO TRACK
Lenny Kravitz has confirmed that the collaboration between him and Michael Jackson which surfaced on YouTube is genuine. In a short video he said that he didn't know how the unmixed snippet of the track had appeared online, adding that his copy of the song has been "locked up in a vault since we recorded it".

He explained: "The song was recorded by Michael and myself. I produced it for him, I wrote the song and played all the instruments on the track. It was one of the most amazing musical experiences I've ever had. It was done by two people who respect each other and love music. That was it".

He also added that he would like fans to be able to hear the full, finished song "the way Michael and I intended it to be", promising "that's all being worked out".

Watch the full video here: www.twitvid.com/EED87

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CHRISTOPHER LEE TO RELEASE SYMPHONIC METAL ALBUM
Yes, we do mean that Christopher Lee and, yes, we did say symphonic metal. The legendary star of films such as 'Lord Of The Rings', 'The Man With The Golden Gun' and numerous Hammer horror films has recorded an album with composer Marco Sabiu, who has previously worked with the likes of with Kylie Minogue, Take That, Pavarotti and Ennio Morricone. Lyrics for the album were written by Marie-Claire Calvet and tell the story of King Charlemagne, who was the first Roman emperor and often referred to as the "father of Europe". It's like learning, only fun.

You can hear extracts from the album here: www.myspace.com/charlemagnemusical

'Charlemagne' is set for release on 15 Mar.

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2MANYDJS TO RELAUNCH RADIO SOULWAX
David and Stephen Dewaele, the brothers behind Soulwax and 2manydjs, have announced that they will launch a new Radio Soulwax website, resurrecting a project which began as a series of DJ sets for radio stations and included the album, 'As Heard On Radio Soulwax Part 2'.

The new site will operate as an online radio station, playing a collection of mixes put together by the pair. David explained to 6music: "We're making 24 compilations that will rotate. Each hour is themed in a way and they are going to rotate in such a way that you would never hear the same thing twice. We will launch it as an online radio station so people could have it for free. It'll have all the visuals as well and be regularly updated".

He added: "For us, it's a step forward is because we've been doing this, playing in clubs and releasing remixes and making dance music for the better part of the last six years. It's great and it works, but it can be limiting in certain ways. When I come home I don't listen to Boys Noize. We've spent the last 20 years of our lives raiding record stores and finding these beautiful, hidden gems. What this project allows us to do is spread the musical spectrum a little bit more and there's these incredible things that we've found".

Asked if there were any plans to record a new Soulwax album, he said that while the band have written new songs, they are still unsure how they will be released: "There are new tracks and I think they really work well when we play them live. The way things should work is you should put out a new record when you have something to say. I'm just not one hundred percent sure about the medium of albums anymore. Something will surface, but I'm not sure if that's going to be a CD".

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MASTODON DISCUSS JONAH HEX SCORE
Never ones to take things easy, Mastodon took two weeks of a break from their hectic touring schedule to record a score for upcoming movie 'Jonah Hex', based on a DC comic of the same name. The film, due for release in June, stars Josh Brolin and Megan Fox.

Mastodon bassist Troy Sanders told Paste: "[Director Jimmy Hayward] played scenes for us and gave us all day long to create music that matched the emotion of the scene. It was flattering to be given 100% creative control in this movie. It was very pure, it was real creative and totally spur of the moment. We wrote variations on themes for each character, different variables for a bunch of riffs: faster, slower, heavier, lighter. It's the Darth Vader approach. Some of it was heavy, some of it was very moody. A lot of it was spacey, Melvins B-sides, Pink Floyd-like, surreal outer space, like Neil Young's Dead Man. Swirling, nausea music".

As for any potential criticism that band might come up against for rubbing up to Hollywood, Sadners added: "[The movie's budget] covered our studio fees, but it was a break even deal. [John] Malkovich, Brolin and Megan Fox all took pay cuts to be a part of this movie - that alone speaks volumes about how much people care about this film. I guarantee an incredibly popular misconception will be, 'Oh my god, they're selling out doing a fucking comic-book movie. They probably got a huge paycheck and don't give a shit about integrity'. The fact is the exact opposite. We sacrificed another two weeks away from home to give away an album's worth of material for nothing in return but satisfaction in being a part of something incredible".

There's no official word yet on whether or not the soundtrack will be released as an album. It probably will be.

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ONO TO WRITE LENNON BIOGRAPHY
Yoko Ono has announced that she will write an autobiography about her life with John Lennon. Previously she has said she wouldn't write such a book for fear of hurting the feelings of those also involved in the story, but this week she told Bang Showbiz: "I would love to do it. I just have to find the time. It will be my next book, which will be written in the next five years".

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STONES NOT PLAYING GLASTO
The Rolling Stones have denied rumours that they are lined up to play this year's 40th anniversary Glastonbury Festival. U2 have already been confirmed for the event, with a second headliner booked but not yet revealed.

In a statement, the band said: "Following recent UK media speculation, The Rolling Stones would like to make it clear there are no plans at the moment for the band to tour in 2010".

Earlier this week, the festival's Emily Eavis told BBC 6music: "We are working on it full time and we're trying to get our third headliner at the moment which is quite exciting. A lot of bands really want to play but because we've only got three nights to headline, I think a lot of people are going to be doing secret sets. There will be a lot of surprises, more than we've ever had".

She added that some bigger acts might show up in some unexpected time slots: "It's really interesting booking it because a lot of bands are saying, 'We really want to do it but how about we open the Pyramid Stage rather than close it?' And it's like, 'That's a good idea'. There's quite a lot of stuff going around, so that's exciting".

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SINGLE REVIEW: Hurts - Wonderful Life (Arthur Baker Remix) (Vier Musik)
It's ridiculous to start talking about singles of the year this soon into the new one, but I'd be surprised to hear a much better single than this in the next twelve months, frankly.

Hurts are a Mancunian duo - Adam Anderson and Theo Hutchcraft - both of whom used to be in a group called Daggers, and before that, Bureau. Third time lucky then, they've struck on a winning formula - arty, serious electronic pop that should see them (along with fellow Manc electro-poppers Delphic) clean up this year, if we assume that, after the success off Lady Gaga, Little Boots and La Roux, the men and their machines will be the flavour of 2010.

Ultra stylised and impossibly chic and sleek (and that's just the duo themselves, with their impeccable suits, immaculate hair and razor sharp cheekbones), 'Wonderful Life' is a lush, melodramatic angsty synth-pop classic that recalls New Order and Pet Shop Boys at their late 80s imperial best. Arthur Baker's subtle tweaking gives the song the slightest nod to club culture without it being overbearing, but it still remains a deliciously dance-floor friendly slice of electro-melancholia.

An 'Enjoy The Silence' for our times, this is simply reason-for-living perfect pop. MS

Physical release: 18 Jan
Press contact: Bang On [O]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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LADY GAGA PARTNERS WITH POLAROID
Camera makers Polaroid have announced a partnership with Lady Gaga, who will be given the title Creative Director atop a new line of products, which will be made in the spirit of Gaga - so presumably they'll be much talked about, rather garish, quite popular, but really rather mediocre.

Confirming her partnership with the snappy people, Gaga told reporters: "I am so proud to announce my new partnership with Polaroid as the creative director and inventor of specialty projects. The Haus of Gaga has been developing prototypes in the vein of fashion/technology/photography innovation -blending the iconic history of Polaroid and instant film with the digital era - and we are excited to collaborate on these ventures with the Polaroid brand. Lifestyle, music, art, fashion. I am so excited to extend myself behind the scenes as a designer, and, as my father puts it, finally, have a real job".

Stephen Miller, co-CEO of the Polaroid company added: "Lady Gaga's broad creative talents and the way she connects with her fans in her own, unique manner made her a natural choice for Polaroid. Polaroid has had a special connection with its customers for years, we are delighted to be partnering with Lady Gaga to continue with that tradition and bring new and exciting products to the next generation".

If nothing else Gaga will presumably bring a bit of faded pop glamour to Polaroid's event at this week's Consumer Electronics Show, where their partnership will be formally launched. More on CES in a minute.

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FILE-SHARING OPERATIONS GO EAST TO AVOID THE SERVER POLICE
As European courts and governments start to get tougher against those who enable online piracy, the people behind file-sharing services are reportedly shifting their web hosting into those countries associated with more traditional kinds of music piracy, ie Eastern Europe and China.

Some European jurisdictions have been slow to tackle companies who enable illegal file-sharing - so The Pirate Bays and Limewires of this world - with some judges saying existing copyright laws are not written in a way that enables law enforcers to target online pirates in the way they do those who produce and distribute bootlegged CDs. However, landmark cases like last year's Pirate Bay ruling in Sweden, and moves elsewhere to hone copyright laws to better target those who aid online piracy, have persuaded file-sharing enablers to look outside Europe and North America to base their services.

Key to any Pirate Bay type operation are the servers on which the service is based. Companies who provide servers and net access to copyright infringing (or any illegal) operation are said in the trade to offer "bulletproof hosting". As said hosting becomes less bulletproof in Western Europe, file-sharing service providers are looking to the likes of the Ukraine and China for servers less likely to be seized by the authorities.

In a report on the trend in The Guardian, Rob Holmes of the Texas law firm IP Cybercrime says that providers of bulletproof hosting are not exclusively in the business of providing server space to illegal services, but that "some of the more popular ones have become more strongholds than they were previously". He adds: "It's an industry and it always will be. When you think about it, bulletproof hosting is just a data version of money laundering".

Meanwhile John Robinson of web traffic trackers BigChampagne confirms bulletproof hosting in the Ukraine is increasingly attractive to file-sharing outfits, adding: "Ukrainian communications law, as they paraphrase it, says that providers are not responsible for what their customers do. Therefore, they feel no need to speak about or defend what they do".

The Pirate Bay used hosting in the Ukraine for a while, though are reportedly back on Western European servers at the moment, being hosted in the Netherlands. That said, it's predictably China where bulletproof hosting is most on the rise. The Guardian quote Richard Cox of spam monitors Spamhaus, who says: "At the moment there are a number of individuals who are setting up bulletproof hosting sites in China. No matter how big a part of the Chinese network we block, the administrators there just do not care".

You can read the full Guardian article here: www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/jan/05/internet-piracy-bulletproof

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CES KICKS OFF TOMORROW
The digital industry's traditional January junket, the Consumer Electronics Show, kicks off in Las Vegas tomorrow. Though while CES was dominated by musical innovations on a number of occasions in the last decade, other gadgets and bits of computer kit are expected to capture the headlines this time round.

Bigging up this year's bash, Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association told reporters that over 20,000 new products will be on show at the event this year, adding: "With a record number of new exhibitors, scores of new product introductions and a dynamic line-up of keynotes sessions, the 2010 International CES will be our best show yet. Innovation is flourishing within the technology industry and the 2010 CES is the only place to see it all".

Various announcements by Microsoft are expected to stand out at this year's conference, though that is partly because Apple, as usual, are not participating in CES and will make their big start-of-the-year promises elsewhere. Traditionally Apple have made their big launch announcements at the Macworld conference, which always comes after CES, though the IT giant doesn't even plan to particularly participate in that event this year either. Google will also make its big announcement, regarding its Nexus One phone, outside of the CES.

Talking of Apple and Google, the former looks set to buy a US-based mobile advertising agency called Quattro Wireless, who sell advertising on thousands of mobile websites and iPhone apps. Assuming these reports are true, it's interesting because Quattro are competitors of AdMob, the ad agency Google announced its intention to buy last November. Apple had also been mooted as a possible buyer of AdMob.

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DEVIN TOWNSEND ON MOVING ON
Underground metal legend Devin Townsend, who recently released his latest solo album, 'Addicted', has been telling Blistering why he decided to bring his former band, Strapping Young Lad, to an end, at the same time summing up why everyone needs to move on eventually.

He said: "The reason Strapping came to an end is because I'm no longer in my mid-20s. The reason Strapping resonated with people is because it was passionate and honest about my circumstance that I'm no longer engaged in. And it's not because of a choice. The things that made me artistically satisfied when I was 27 years old have been resolved. ... People don't understand why I can't do it is because the reason you like it is the reason I can't do it. If I was to be untrue to something that meant so much to you, it would be this parody. I would rather dig ditches than be a parody of the music".

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