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INFORMATION
Jobs
Classifieds
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
French report includes a whole lot more than just the Google tax
In The Pop Courts
Jacko doc facing criminal charges
Buju Banton pleads not guilty
Lloyd Banks arrested for assault
BMI sue T-Mo over ringback tones
Charts, Stats & Polls
Take That top music DVD chart for 2009
Artist Deals
Spirit sign The Bergmans
Gigs & Tours News
George to guest with Gaga
Soul Heaven celebrates tenth birthday
Festival News
Ellie and Marina to play Next Big Thing
Talks, Debates & Conventions
Eurosonic Noorderslag kicks off on Thursday
The Music Business
PRS appoint new CEO
Live Nation and Ticketmaster shareholders back merger proposals
The Digital Business
Omnifone expand Gracenote partnership
The Media Business
Radio 1 recruit Edmondson
Cowell coy about his American Idol future
More speculation about The Independent
Chart Of The Day
Chart update
And finally...
Sisqo ordered to pay child support to alleged son


 
MONDAY 11TH JANUARY
A EUROSONIC NOORDERSLAG SELECTION
This week sees all manner of European music industry types head to Groningen in the Netherlands for the mighty Eurosonic Noorderslag convention, which kicks off on Thursday. The first music business convention of the year, this one is especially big in the live music community, with many a festival booker there to check out the sort of new talent that will be filling up the lower echelons of their line ups this summer.

 
As you'd expect, there's conferences bits alongside all the band showcases, and this one even incorporates two award ceremonies, including the all new European Festival Awards.

To mark the occasion we're having a Eurosonic Noorderslag week here in the CMU Daily. We'll have SSQ interviews with four of the bands playing, and will have some insider quotes from delegates taking part in the conference part of the proceedings.

But today we kick things off with a special CMU-Tube selection, with videos from ten of the bands playing the event who we're particularly excited about. Read about them here, then check them out ahead of the convention itself on CMU-Tube here.

01: I Was A King - So Shy
Getting things off the starting blocks in something of a sedate fashion are Norwegians I Was A King, with an acoustic performance of their song 'So Shy'.

02: Name The Pet - American Boys
While it would be difficult to argue that this video doesn't contain scenes that are anything but gratuitous, these Swedish popsters' songs have a naivety that's so often missing from pop these days.

03: Marina And The Diamonds - Mowgli's Road
This year's big hope for slightly odd mainstream pop is surely Marina And The Diamonds. I'm sure you've heard. Look! She has bendy blue legs!

04: Broken Records - Until The Earth Begins To Part
A bit of baroque pop melodrama now, just what your Monday morning ordered. Building from piano ballad to orchestral freak out, this song is quite lovely.

05: Post War Years - World On Its Head
Over to The Fly's courtyard now, where we find former CMU Social stars Post War Years performing 'World On Its Head' live, which is delightfully hi-tech and lo-fi at the same time.

06: We Were Promised Jetpacks - Quiet Little Voices
We like a good, solid, Scottish rock band in the CMU office, and We Were Promised Jetpacks are a good, solid, Scottish rock band. So we like this.

07: Ellie Goulding - Under The Sheets
You've heard of Ellie Goulding, I don't need to say anything here. Ignore the hype and the looming backlash and just enjoy what is simply a good pop song.

08: Ou Est Le Swimming Pool - Dance The Way I Feel
Back to The Fly's courtyard now, where we find Ou Est Le Swimming Pool recreating 'Dance The Way I Feel' with acoustic guitar, toy piano and tambourine.

09: The Leisure Society - We Were Wasted
Oh look, it's The Fly's courtyard again. This time, The Leisure Society get down with some nice eyes-closed harmonising.

10: The xx - Basic Space
Either the most amazing thing you've ever heard or insultingly dull, The xx always cause a reaction more dramatic than their laid back music.

Check out all these videos at www.theCMUwebsite.com/tube. There is more about Eurosonic Noorderslag at www.theCMUwebsite.com/eurosonic2010 and at www.noorderslag.nl

 
TIPS FOR 2010: EMIKA
Causing much excitement in the CMU office at the end of last year was Ninja Tune's latest signing Emika. The title track of her debut EP, 'Drop The Other', sounds like a squeaky clean R&B song that's been taken out on a heavy night and then left alone in a strange town to find its way home at 4am. In the rain. It's catchy and definitely has pop in its heart, but it also sounds damaged and subdued. Glitchy piano flicks in and out of frame, drums skitter along underneath and Emika's soft, effortless-sounding vocals drift quietly over the top of it all.

It's not out til later this month, but Ninja Tune are already giving away a Scuba remix of 'Drop The Other', which holds the essence of the original but gives it a bit more kick, right now. To download it, click the link below.

www.ninjatune.net/emika




 
 

WORLD CIRCUIT LTD, ROYALTY MANAGER
World Circuit Ltd is urgently seeking a part-time Royalty Manager. We are a small, friendly company home to the likes of world music superstars including Buena Vista Social Club(r), Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté.

The successful applicant will be responsible for the accurate and timely processing of our record and publishing royalties. This crucial role is a one-day-a-week position that would suit someone with solid royalty experience and meticulous attention to detail. For more information please contact Naomi Moran on 020 7749 3222 / naomi@worldcircuit.co.uk

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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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New play programme for Sky Arts
Nominees announced for last South Bank Show Awards
Essex musical to transfer to London
 
More speculation about The Independent
Cowell coy about his American Idol future
Radio 1 recruit Edmondson
 
Edinburgh International Festival announces theme and dates
NAYO cancels Festival of British Youth Orchestras
Survey says Edinburgh Fringe chair should stay for limited time only
 

FRENCH REPORT INCLUDES A WHOLE LOT MORE THAN JUST THE GOOGLE TAX
It was widely reported on Friday (in CMU and everywhere else) that a report commissioned by the French government had proposed the taxing of Google's ad revenues to help fund the creative industries of the future.

That somewhat radical proposal actually sits inside a much wider report exploring the future of the French creative industries in the digital age, that being the 'Creation & Internet Report' we previously reported on back in September when Naïve Records boss Patrick Zelink, one of the report's co-authors ran a brainstorming session at the AGM of pan-European indie labels trade body IMPALA to get some input from independent music entrepreneurs from across the continent.

The other big proposal in the report is the introduction of collective licensing in the digital domain - an increasingly talked about topic in a number of camps within the music and internet industries. While the music publishing sector generally currently licenses its rights to digital service providers via its collecting societies, there is no legal obligation on the music industry to do so, and therefore the record industry - and that really means the major record companies - have chosen not to.

This means any digital music provider must do individual deals with all the majors plus any of the aggregators and agencies representing independent labels, which amounts to at least five separate deals. Each major will drive a hard bargain, exercising their power of veto in the knowledge that no digital music provider really wants to launch with any one major record company's catalogue missing. Those bargains have generally involved large upfront cash payments and equity deals for the majors, a prerequisite which puts more grass-root less-cash-rich start ups in the digital sector at a disadvantage, and arguably lumbers any new digital music operation with an impossible hole in their budget before they have even opened for business.

There's an argument that there is only a finite number of big upfront cheques and attractive equity deals that the major record companies can expect to come their way, and that once the majors are convinced they have got everything they're ever going to get they'll eventually gravitate towards a collective licensing system - licensing their music to both download and streaming music services through a collecting society like PPL - because long term that's simpler for everyone. But while there is the chance of another multi-million dollar cheque from a venture capital rich start up - cheques which have been filling the record companies' own budgetary holes in recent years - the majors will resist going the collective licensing route.

But the Creation & Internet Report seemingly recommends the French government get involved to speed that process up, possibly by threatening to force collective licensing through legislation if the record industry can't come up with a voluntary solution, akin to that adopted by the publishing sector. In return for a simpler licensing system, and more level playing field in terms of royalty payments, the digital service providers would be obligated to agree and stick to friendly payment terms, passing revenues onto labels, via their collecting society, within sixty days of sale or stream.

Government pressure of this kind on collective licensing would affect the majors more than the independents, because the report proposes an open market for collecting societies, and specifically suggests that Merlin - which already represents many of the bigger indies in the digital licensing domain - could become one of these digital collecting societies. However, upfront advances and equity deals from digital providers would be barred as part of any collective licensing system, which would hit Merlin as well as the majors, given they have been pushing for these arrangements in some of their negotiations with digital start ups.

The report also includes proposals for a number of measures to encourage file-sharing kids to go legit in their digital music consumption, as well as schemes to aid the grass roots music sector. Both of these would presumably be funded by the much reported tax on advertising income of web giants like Google, and a proposed increase in VAT on internet access. Among the proposals are a state subsidised pre-pay card that 15-24 year olds can use to pay to use licensed online music services, a government-owned website linking to licensed music platforms, and a five million euro PR campaign promoting the use of legit music services online. An extra ten million would be made available to the IFCIC, the French body which provides funding to small-scale music companies.

Although advocating an increase in VAT on internet services, the report specifically does not support the idea of a copyright levy being applied to all ISP bills, something supported by French collecting society SACEM. Some see such a thing as a logical replacement to the levy that used to be applied to the sale of blank cassettes and CD-Rs, to compensate rights holders for the private copies of copyright music it was known many consumers would make with such recordable media.

While some sort of copyright levy applied to ISP accounts - or to devices like iPods - has been much discussed, there is disagreement as to whether such a levy should simply provide compensation to rights holders for consumers making private copies of digital music files (so, transferring MP3s from your PC to your iPod), or whether it should be used to give an across-the-board green light to file-sharing.

While some do advocate the latter, few have come up with a convincing way as to how such a levy could be distributed to the labels and publishers whose music is then shared. And while many simply advocate the former - whereby the levy might just be handed to collecting societies to cover their costs or fund educational initiatives - critics argue that if you introduce a levy to compensate for private copying, the public will interpret that as industry approval of file-sharing.

Zelnik and the other authors of the Creation & Internet report seem to support France's current three-strike plans to combat file-sharing, rather than supporting any sort of licensing of P2P via an ISP levy.

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JACKO DOC FACING CRIMINAL CHARGES
Gossip site TMZ say that an anonymous source in the LA Police Department has told them Dr Conrad Murray - the doc who administered the propofol shot that killed Michael Jackson - will face criminal charges in relation to the late king of pop's death. The police are said to be close to completing their investigations and are ready to press charges.

Murray, of course, has been subject to LAPD investigations ever since Jacko's demise last June. Murray has reportedly hired the services of lawyer J Michael Flanagan, who represented Britney Spears in her 2007 hit and run case, because he has previously worked on a case involving a death caused by propofol. Murray has in the past insisted he did not act negligently in administering the drug to Jackson, who seemingly insisted he be given the medication to help him sleep.

In related news, an updated version of Jacko's death certification has appeared online, which has been amended to show his death was homicide, and that he died of "acute propofol intoxication". The documentation was previously non-committal on the cause of Jackson's death.

Finally in Jackson news, one from the comedy lawsuit file. An LA resident is suing the Jackson family for £2 million to cover the costs of policing the Jacko memorial event that took place at the city's Staples Centre shortly after the singer's death.

The costs to the city caused by the event have proven controversial ever since it took place, with some calling on Jacko's estate and/or Staples Center owners AEG to pay for policing, street cleaning and the like. LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has always insisted that the city expects for large events of that kind to take place on occasion, and is therefore able to cover the costs itself.

However, LA resident Jose Vallejos disagrees and, this being America, he is suing the Jackson family in his capacity as a local taxpayer.

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BUJU BANTON PLEADS NOT GUILTY
Buju Banton pleaded not guilty to drugs charges in Florida last week. As previously reported, the Jamaican reggae star was arrested at his home in Tamarac on 10 Dec on suspicion of attempting to buy five kilos of cocaine, which police claim he intended to re-sell. He'd certainly struggle to claim that amount was for personal use. If convicted of intent to deal the drug, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

He has been in prison since his arrest, choosing not to seek bail as he would simply be handed over to and held by immigration officials if it was granted. He is expected to still be in there on 31 Jan and so will miss the Grammy Awards ceremony, where his latest LP, 'Rasta Got Soul', is nominated in the Best Reggae Album category.

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LLOYD BANKS ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT
G-Uniter Lloyd Banks has been arrested on suspicion of assault in Canada after a run in with a promoter who had booked the rapper to DJ at his club.

According to AllHipHop.com, Banks arrived late for the gig at Ontario's Club NV, and then played just one record before leaving the stage. When club promoter Chris Hines refused to pay him, a fight reportedly broke out.

Hines was admitted to hospital, while Banks and three of his associates were arrested. They reportedly now face charges of assault, robbery and forced confinement. And, if the one song DJ set is to believed, of taking the piss, presumably.

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BMI SUE T-MO OVER RINGBACK TONES
It's been revealed that US publishing collecting society BMI launched a lawsuit against T-Mobile last month regarding their ringback tones service, the thing where by when you phone someone you hear a song they have selected (possibly just for you) rather than the traditional ring ring. Ring-back tones never really took off over here, partly because the telecommunications regulator insisted the ring ring still be heard on top of the song that played.

As previously reported, royalty payments on ringtones and the like have proven controversial in the US where so called performance and mechanical publishing royalties are controlled by different collecting societies (rather than two divisions of the same society, as they are in the UK).

Really, if there is a download of a track, where a mechanical copy is made, the primary royalty should be mechanical. However, if a public performance occurs as part of the transaction as well, often performing rights societies BMI and ASCAP claim they are due some money too.

Though ASCAP recently lost a legal attempt to get a royalty from traditional ringtone sales. They argued, somewhat dubiously, that while a mechanical royalty was paid when the ring-tone was first downloaded, they should also get a fee because there was a public performance of the track every time a user's phone went off. The US court hearing the case did not concur.

What the deal is with ringback tones though, where the song plays from the tel co's server rather than downloading to and playing from the user's mobile handset, I've no idea. In that scenario it sounds like a performance royalty would be due, and BMI's argument seems to be that all of T-Mobile's competitors have been paying them royalties, so they should too.

BMI told IT website The Register that "despite extensive BMI efforts spanning several years, T-Mobile has not signed a licence agreement".

The lawsuit was filed on 19 Dec. T-Mo are yet to respond.

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TAKE THAT TOP MUSIC DVD CHART FOR 2009
Take That's 'The Circus - Live' was the biggest music DVD of 2009 according to new stats from the Official Charts Company and British Video Association. So no surprise there then. The Take Thaters shifted 574,000 copies of their concert DVD.

Following just behind them was Michael Jackson's 1988 film, 'Moonwalker'. I say "just behind", it only sold 305,000 units, though if I remember rightly most retailers completely sold out of the DVD in the weeks after Jackson's demise, and had the king of pop had the decency to warn Warner Bros about his impending death they could have pressed more copies and shifted many more units - there being relatively few Jackson DVD-based products to choose from until the 'This Is It' doc is released later this month.

Other big selling music DVDs in 2009 were the Cliff and The Shadows' reunion collection, The Killers live at the Royal Albert Hall and an Il Divo flim flam recording in Barcelona.

The BVA says that overall music DVD sales for the year were up 14.1% on 2008, despite the demise of two of the sector's key sellers, Woolies and Zavvi. The wider DVD industry saw sales decline, however, with sales of traditional DVDs down 7.3%, and the sector as a whole down 5.6% when the boom in Blu-ray discs is taken into account.

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SPIRIT SIGN THE BERGMANS
Indie music publisher Spirit has entered into a two-strand deal with Oscar-winning songwriting couple Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Firstly they have acquired the duo's existing catalogue by buying the Threesome Music publishing company. Secondly they have entered into an administration deal with the couple and their Alamar Music company regarding all their current and future works.

The Bergmans have written songs for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughan, Celine Dion, Luciano Pavarotti, Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand, and wrote title songs for movies like 'Tootsie' ('It Might Be You'), 'A Star Is Born' ('I Believe In Love') and 'Shirley Valentine' ('The Girl Who Used To Be Me').

Confirming the deal, Sprit Music Group CEO Mark Fried told CMU: "Alan and Marilyn Bergman's legacy of work represents some of the most beloved and enduring songs of the last five decades. Their gift for crafting the perfect lyric, working alongside such famed composers as Michel Legrand, Marvin Hamlisch, Johnny Mandel and Dave Grusin, has given the world a collection of classy, evocative, life-affirming songs which continue to charm generations of fans and serve as a master class in song craft. We are thrilled to be working closely with Alan and Marilyn in promoting their standards and the new classics they are creating".

The Bergmans add themselves added: "We are delighted to join this forward-thinking and energetic company. Songs need a loving and nurturing home and we feel Spirit is such a place".

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GEORGE TO GUEST WITH GAGA
Boy George is set to guest at Lady Gaga's O2 Arena dates next month.

The popstress has previously said Boy George was something of a childhood hero of hers, providing, as he did, a freak the freakish Gaga could aspire to be like. Or something. She previously told reporters: "I didn't fit in at high school, I wanted to be like Boy George and I felt like a freak. So now I like to create this atmosphere for my fans where they feel like they have a freak in me to hang out with, and they don't feel alone".

George, who has been appearing in the media with increasing frequency of late, is set to duet with Gaga at her O2 dates. A source is quoted in the tabs thus: "Gaga has always been a fan and now he's got his life back on track it's the perfect opportunity to do something with him".

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SOUL HEAVEN CELEBRATES TENTH BIRTHDAY
Legendary house night Soul Heaven returns to the place of its birth, Ministry Of Sound, later this month to celebrate its tenth birthday. As well as this, the man in charge, Louie Vega, has put together a three-disc mix featuring some of the tracks which have poured from the speakers at the club over the last decade as well as some fresh sounds.

The party takes place on 23 Jan, with the album following on 1 Feb. More info at: www.soul-heaven.com/2010/01/soul-heaven-10th-anniversary/

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ELLIE AND MARINA TO PLAY NEXT BIG THING
Organisers of the all new Next Big Thing festival have announced that both Ellie Goulding and Marina & The Diamonds will play their inaugural event, which will take place around London next month. This is news because the two acts topped the BBC's Sound Of 2010 poll last week. As previously reported, the point of this here festival is to give punters the chance to see the acts that all the pundits are bigging up in their tips for the year lists. So, job done then.

Confirming her involvement, Marina told reporters: "[Next Big Thing provides] a brilliant way for the public to see artists who are hopefully on the tip of something great, in an intimate setting very early on in their careers. It's also great for the artists, as it provides a platform to perform to a new range of fans, who will have never heard of them before, let alone seen them live".

Ellie Goulding will also play the BRITs nominations launch next Monday, which has just been confirmed, though I suspect her appearance was a given, given she is the winner of this year's Critics Choice gong. The winner of that journo-selected BRIT is always announced early so the winner can play the launch party. La Roux and Pixie Lott will also perform at the bash at the IndigO2 venue, which will be hosted by Fearne Cotton, with Chris Moyles and JLS in attendance. Hmm, think it'll be better checking out Ellie at the Next Big Thing rather than this, don't you?

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EUROSONIC NOORDERSLAG KICKS OFF ON THURSDAY
With Vegas' Consumer Electronics Show now done and dusted for another year, it's time for the music business conventions to kick off for 2010, and the first one to come along is traditionally the CMU supported Eurosonic Noorderslag, which is really rather exciting.

With a skew towards the live sector, this offers an impressive array of industry talks, seminars and debates, not one but two award events, plus a mind-blowing array of band showcases where a disproportionately high number of agents, promoters and festival bookers will be in the crowd. And given how important all things live are these days, playing to this audience is more important than ever.

You can check out some of the bands playing this year via this week's CMU-Tube selection at www.theCMUwebsite.com/tube, and we'll have SSQ interviews with some of our favourites later in the week.

Meanwhile we spoke to the event's Ruud Berends about what we could expect, and he told CMU: "It's going to be an action packed event this year, with the addition of the European Festival Awards, the second European Border Breaker Awards show, which has an amazing line up and has been picked up by many TV stations in Europe already, as well as all the showcases presenting the best new acts Europe has to offer, and a strong conference programme focusing on digital, copyright and live issues with 100 panels and meetings. We're almost sold out too, so it's a nice start of the new year!"

More at www.eurosonic-noorderslag.nl

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PRS APPOINT NEW CEO
Publishing collecting society PRS For Music has appointed a new CEO - former Sony exec (electronics, not music) Robert Ashcroft. As previously reported, Jeremy Fabinyi has been the society's acting CEO since Steve Porter quit the job somewhat suddenly last year. Fabinyi will continue to work for the body, working closely with the new top man.

Confirming his new role, Ashcroft says this: "I'm very excited to join PRS for Music, an organisation which plays such a necessary and valuable role in the music industry. I look forward to working closely with the team to continue the work of supporting songwriters, composers and music publishers and protecting the value of creative content in a rapidly changing world".

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LIVE NATION AND TICKETMASTER SHAREHOLDERS BACK MERGER PROPOSALS
Given both companies have gone to considerable and, presumably, costly efforts to get their proposed merger through the regulatory process I think we all assumed it was a given that the majority of Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment's shareholders backed the proposed deal. But just in case there was any doubt a vote on the matter was taken by both firms last week, and that confirmed that, should the deal get regulator approval, it's not going to be blocked by either company's investors.

Live Nation told reporters on Friday that the owners of over 99% of the company's stock were in favour of the merger with Ticketmaster, while the owners of 98% of their shares are seemingly pro the deal. This is despite reports shortly after the two companies' boards agreed a deal early last year to the effect that some key Live Nation shareholders were concerned about the power Ticketmaster chairman Barry Diller would have over the merged enterprise.

As much previously reported, while the UK's Competition Commission has already OK-ed the merger, their US counterparts are still reviewing the proposals. Despite reports last week that US approval was imminent, some sources close to the regulatory review have told reporters that actually the US's Department Of Justice is looking for more concessions from the two merging companies before giving the deal the green light. If said concessions are not forthcoming, insiders say anti-trust chiefs are willing to fight the merger in the US courts.

Among the concessions already rumoured to have been offered to the US regulator by Ticketmaster is a commitment to licence its ticketing software to Live Nation rivals AEG allowing them to handle their ticketing in-house (AEG are concerned about doing business with Ticketmaster if it merges with their main rival), the all out sale of some of their ticketing contracts and software to a firm backed by US cable giant Comcast, and the sale of its US-based secondary ticketing service Tickets Now, which has caused all sorts of PR problems for the ticketing giant since it acquired it in 2008.

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OMNIFONE EXPAND GRACENOTE PARTNERSHIP
One more announcement for you coming out of last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and digital music service provider Omnifone has announced it is expanding its partnership with music classification people Gracenote, in a bid to provide consumer electronics firms with the tools to enable them to offer compelling music recognition, recommendation, streaming and download services.

Omnifone, of course, provide the back-end to numerous digital music services around the world, delivered both via mobile (their original specialism) and the net, and usually bundled in as part of a mobile or internet service provider package. For the last year a key area of growth for the company has been to encourage consumer electronics firms to enable their portable devices to connect to Omnifone's MusicStation service, and the partnership with Gracenote makes doing so more attractive.

Confirming the expansion of the two companies' partnership, Omnifone top man Rob Lewis told CMU: "Omnifone now provides digital music services with Gracenote technology in 20 countries across the world, and will be live in over 30 markets in 2010 including the US; providing a wider global reach than iTunes. With this announcement we believe a much wider range of device manufacturers will be able to differentiate their services by providing embedded state-of-the-art music experiences into their devices, and on a global basis".

Gracenote's Jim Hollingsworth added: "By utilising Gracenote's identification and recommendation products along with its own award winning unlimited music licensing and delivery capabilities, Omnifone is able to deliver next generation music solutions to customers globally".

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RADIO 1 RECRUIT EDMONDSON
Radio 1 have recruited Matt Edmondson, a sort of Simon Amstell lite who you may have seen celeb-taunting for the video strand of the Holy Moly website or fronting Sony Ericsson's Popworld-style Pocket TV YouTube channel. He will initially work as an entertainment reporter on the Fearne Cotton show, though one can only hope this will demonstrate to the numpties who run the nation's favourite station that that presenter-reporter relationship should really be the other way round - ie Matt presenting daytime, Fearne doing tedious celebrity gossip. Actually, just Matt presenting daytime.

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COWELL COY ABOUT HIS AMERICAN IDOL FUTURE
Simon Cowell remains non-committal as to whether or not he will renew his deal with US TV network Fox to stay with the 'American Idol' franchise after its upcoming ninth season. Cowell's mega-bucks deal with the show is up for renewal after the next series, and rumours that the pop talent show guru plans to launch a US version of 'X-Factor' next year has led to speculation he will leave 'Idol' so to appear on his own new show.

Speaking to USA Today last week, Cowell wouldn't be drawn on his plans for 2011, other than to insist 'American Idol' could survive without him on the panel of judges. He told the paper: "I've had conversations [with Fox about the future]. As you know, there's been speculation for months and months. I'm very grateful [to 'American Idol']. I've had the best experience in my life since I've been on this show. I really like working in America. [But] whether I'm on it or off it, I think the show will flourish without me. I genuinely do".

Of course when Cowell launched 'X-Factor' in the UK it basically killed off the British version of the 'Idol' format, though that was as much to do with ITV politics as the show's Mr Nasty being busy on his other project.

In related news, Australia's Network 10 has announced it is axing 'Australian Idol'. Well, the official line is that the show is being "rested". The Aussie version of the show has been losing viewers year to year, though Network 10 had originally announced there would be a 2010 season. The broadcaster says it may as yet bring the show back in 2011.

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MORE SPECULATION ABOUT THE INDEPENDENT
Staff of The Independent, who felt a little relief late last year when bosses at Irish parent company Independent News & Media resisted calls by one key shareholder to closedown the UK broadsheet, are now bracing themselves for a change in ownership.

Evening Standard owner Alexander Lebedev has been negotiating to buy the struggling title since last month, and some seem to think the takeover is now a done deal. Conveniently the Indy is already based in the Daily Mail's West London HQ, where the Evening Standard is also housed. The big news this weekend was that if the deal does go through journalist and former Today programme chief Rod Liddle would be appointed editor of the paper.

The Guardian's Roy Greenslade writes this morning that that news has gone down very badly at the Indy. He writes: "One senior journalist told me: 'This is a further example of disappointing editorial appointments [here]. There was the calamity of Janet Street-Porter [formerly editor of the Independent On Sunday] and, despite some good qualities, [current Indy editor] Roger Alton has been the wrong choice too. But Liddle would be much worse. It's like replacing George Bush with Dick Cheney'".

Some are saying Liddle's appointment would be commercial suicide for the Indy, but given only about 47 people currently read the paper, surely a radical change is needed?

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CHART UPDATE
Everyone's being very careless of late and only managing to hold on to the number one slot in the singles chart for one week. I'm not sure it should really count if you're not going to hang around for at least two.

Still, the exciting news is that Iyaz is now at the top with 'Replay'. So that's nice. And best of all, he's blocked Sidney Sampson feat Wizard Sleeve from getting to the top position with their atrocious single 'Riverside (Let's Go)'. A song so bad it actually makes me yearn for DJ Casper's 'Cha Cha Slide'.

There are no other new entries in the top ten but that Justin Beiber is new at fourteen with 'One Time', Lostprophets are in at 32 with 'Where We Belong', and Alicia Keys is at 35 with 'Empire State Of Mind (Part II)'. Florence And The Machine's 'Dog Days Are Over' is back in the chart at 23, although you don't really need to buy it in order to hear it fifteen times a day at the moment, and La Roux's 'In For The Kill' is also a re-entry at 28, thanks to the Skream remix being used in some advert or other.

In the album chart, Paolo Nutini is still at number one for some reason (the reason is discounting, I believe) and Elvis' 75th birthday compilation is new at eight, because you can never have too many Elvis compilations. Moving down the chart, The Noisettes and Seasick Steve are both re-entries at 35 and 36. And that's basically all that's happened this week.

The charts are compiled piece by boring piece by the Official Charts Company.

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SISQO ORDERED TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT TO ALLEGED SON
Sisqo, newsworthy again because of his 'Celebrity Big Brother' stint, has reportedly been ordered to pay monthly child support payments to the mother of his alleged son.

This is a good tabloid story partly because when the sexual encounter that created the child occurred in 1999 he was a 20 year old pop star and she was a 14 year old fan. The Swiss girl seemingly slept with the singer after he performed a gig with his band Dru Hill in Zurich in 1999. I'm not sure if Sisqo accepts the boy as his son or not, he has reportedly avoided taking paternity tests.

The unnamed mother has told reporters: "After the concert Sisqo was standing with his band at the bar. We went over and talked to them. Then everything went very fast. I was so young, but I wanted to enjoy my life. Ian [the son] often sees his father on TV. He's very proud of him. It's up to his father to prove he's right to be proud".

According to the News Of The World, the mother sued for child support last year, and a judge has now ordered Sisqo start making payments. Presumably his 'CBB' fee will help with that.

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