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CMU Info
Top Stories
Jay Reatard dies
In The Pop Courts
Pressplay and MusicNet allegations could go to court
Ex Clipse manager jailed for 32 years
Incubus DJ gets new restraining order
In The Pop Hospital
Weedeater man shoots himself in the foot
Pop Politics
Jean calls for donations for Haiti earthquake relief effort
Teddy Pendergrass dies
Awards & Contests
Europe's best festivals announced
Artist Deals
Slicethepie band signed up by Warner
Mirrors sign to Skint
Kobalt sign Tiesto
Release News
Newsom album announced
Films & Shows News
U2 musical tickets refunded after opening delayed
Gigs & Tours News
Vampire Weekend play ice rink tonight
Talks, Debates & Conventions
What does the digital year have in store? Eurosonic panel preview
The Music Business
Lucius Yeo joins Anorak
The Digital Business
RealNetworks chief steps down
The Media Business
BBC admit U2 plugging was excessive
Chart Glee
ITV won't move X-Factor to spring
And finally...
"Pop stars" lined up to do opera

Ou Est Le Swimming Pool are an electro-pop three piece hailing from north London. Formed in 2008 by Charles Haddon, Joe Hutchinson and Caan Capan, the band have built up a reputation for their exciting live shows and have shared stages with the likes of Mr Hudson, Cypress Hill and Reverend And The Makers, as well as playing at last year's Glastonbury festival. Their debut single 'Dance The Way I Feel' gained support from Radio 1 and shows off their infectious electro-pop sound, influenced by the likes of Pet Shop Boys and Duran Duran. Ahead of the band's showcase gig at Eurosonic Noorderslaag this Friday, we caught up with Charles to ask the Same Six.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
It all started when a producer friend of ours lent us an old synth. Joseph and I had never really played with anything like it before, but we gave it a go. Within the hour we had an awful cover of Rihanna's song 'Umbrella'. It ended up getting played by a DJ in a major London club, so we thought: "Let's make something good". We wrote a few songs, brought in Caan on some vocals and started from there.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
The album, which is our debut, is based on pretty simple things. It's just "having fun" and "love" really. The two most important things in the world.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
The tracks start in a few different ways. One way is to start with the drum pattern and see what synth lines or chords take your fancy. Then just play around with some vocals/lyrics until it works. Another way is to really go back to basics and write it on the piano. That's where most of the more emotional songs come from.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
There are lots of different artists from different times really. But to name a few: Liasons Dangereuses, Mark Morrison, Cyndi Lauper, Collie Budz, Debbie Deb, Supersystem, Test Icicles, Laid Back, etc.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Don't be scared, it is actually that good.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
To create music that people love and share. And to create an album that fights for world peace.

MORE>> www.myspace.com/ouestleswimmingpool

Daisy Dares You, aka sixteen year old Daisy Coburn, is poised to pounce on the charts and hook her claws in repeatedly this year. The subject of a fierce bidding war nine months ago, she signed to Sony Music's Jive before lying low to work on her debut album. Her MySpace page is bulging (literally) with pictures of the artists she loves - Kurt Cobain, Jeff Buckley, Frank Sinatra, Nick Cave, Robert Johnson and Nick Drake all feature - though the spiky pop sound she's come up doesn't have a huge amount in common with any of them.

She could have gone a little easier on the Auto-tune and that brash singing style can grate a bit, but songs like sweet ballad 'Stuck And Still' and the swirling tones of 'Next Few Minutes' show a real talent beyond the disposable pop that debut single 'Number One Enemy', due out 22 Feb, alludes to.


Get In! is a tried and tested PR agency based in East London serving the GLOBAL electronic dance music industry and beyond. Our expanding roster means we're looking for a Publicist to join our young and dynamic team. You'll be enthusiastic, have a least one-year's experience in PR, a real passion for and knowledge of dance music and that 'something extra' that makes you the right person for the job. An ability to write exciting, engaging copy and generate creative PR ideas is essential. This is an ideal opportunity to work with the best people in dance music. Salary negotiable depending on experience. Interested? Send a creative email explaining why you'd be a great addition to the Get In! team, along with your CV, to: jobs@getinpr.com
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®, Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate.

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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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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Cohen promises innovation from BBC3
Ruth Mackenzie to be Olympic culture director
Jimmy Carr found guilty of speeding
Influential think tank puts C4 privatisation back on the agenda
Central Radio buyer revealed
Google may withdraw from China
Europe's best music festivals announced
Sundance judges announced
Edinburgh International Festival announces theme and dates

Cult indie musician Jay Reatard has died at his Memphis home on Tuesday, aged 29, it has been confirmed. The cause of his death has not yet been announced, although friends have said that he had recently been complaining of flu-like symptoms.

Rumours of Reatard's death began spreading on the internet yesterday evening, before being confirmed by Goner Records, who discovered him as a teenager and released a number of singles and albums from his various projects. In a short statement, the label said: "It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our good friend Jay Reatard. Jay died in his sleep last night. We will pass along information about funeral arrangements when they are made public".

Jay's current label, Matador, later issued it's own statement, saying: "We are devastated by the death of Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr, aka Jay Reatard. Jay was as full of life as anyone we've ever met, and responsible for so many memorable moments as a person and artist. We're honoured to have known and worked with him, and we will miss him terribly".

The company's co-president Gerard Cosloy added: "It is the height of understatement to say I'm upset, confused and deeply saddened by the loss of one of the more amazing people I've been fortunate to know. In record company parlance, yeah, we've lost (let's go down the checklist) a phenomenal performer, songwriter, and insatiable music lover. But we've lost a great friend as well, and that's the part that hurts the most".

Born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1980, Jay Reatard's career began at the age of fifteen when a demo tape caught the attention of Goner Records owner Eric Friedl, for whom he then produced a single, 'Get Real Stupid', and album, 'Teenage Hate', in 1998, with his band The Reatards.

He subsequently recorded with numerous other bands before releasing his first solo single, 'Hammer I Miss You', through Goner in 2006. His debut solo album 'Blood Visions' was released by In The Red the same year, and in 2008 he signed to Matador who released a series of singles. They then released his second solo album, 'Watch Me Fall', last August to critical acclaim.

According to his official website, a memorial is being planned in Memphis. He is survived by his mother Devonna May, father Jimmy Lindsey, and three sisters, Leslie Lindsey, Stephanie Duncan and Gara May.

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The wheelings and dealings of the major record companies in the early days of the internet (well, the first half of the last decade) may go under the spotlight once again, following a US appeal ruling that a lawsuit accusing the music firms of anti-competitive behaviour should be given court time.

In October 2008 the lawsuit - Starr et al v SonyBMG et al - was dismissed by a lower court who said the plaintiffs didn't have a decent enough case against the major music companies - who were accused of violating the US's Sherman Antitrust Act - for the litigation to go to a full court hearing.

The lawsuit centred on the music industry's first major dabblings in digital music - the always terrible Pressplay and MusicNet. The two services, the first backed by Sony and Universal, the latter by EMI, Warner and BMG, were early decade efforts by the majors to combat the then rapidly growing P2P file-sharing phenomenon, while ensuring the record companies got to control everything in the then emerging legitimate digital music market.

It was a disaster. Both services were overpriced, totally unusable and oozing with all that digital rights management nonsense that it took most of the majors until 2008 to wash out of their systems. The whole escapade left a gaping hole in the marketplace, which was nicely filled when Steve Jobs arrived on the scene with a genuinely consumer-friendly alternative.

And so it was Apple Computers who won control over everything in the early years of digital music. Pressplay was sold off to Roxio who picked off some of its technology for their legit Napster service, MusicNet became an independent digital media aggregator, now known as MediaNet.

By late 2005, all of this was already becoming a distant memory, but some of the deals made to prop up the major's two doomed-to-fail digital music ventures have remained, in some circles, rather controversial ever since. Some allege the majors acted in a cartel fashion to give their own digital music ventures an unfair advantage, ensuring any rivals couldn't compete on price and were saddled with the same DRM limitations as Pressplay and MusicNet.

In doing so the majors, it's claimed, also dabbled in some more general price fixing, to keep the cost of digital music artificially high, so that downloads were priced on the same lines as CDs, even though the production and distribution costs of digital were obviously a fraction of those associated with physical music products.

A lot about those early major label digital dealings remain secret, but many involved in independent digital music ventures at the time are convinced that the big players employed protectionist strategies which, on a commercial level, held the legit digital market back five years giving illegal file-sharing services a head start on winning consumer interest, and on a legal level may well have violated the aforementioned Sherman Act.

The Starr lawsuit hoped to get to the bottom of it all once and for all, but in 2008 the Recording Industry Association Of America managed to persuade a US court that there wasn't really any case to answer, and that all this talk of coordinated shady dealings designed to prop up the record industry's collapsing CD market was really just a net fuelled urban myth.

The appeal court haven't offered any opinion on whether the record industry did act anti-competitively in the early days of digital, but say that there is sufficient evidence for the case to be properly considered in court. The appeal judges noted: "The complaint alleges specific facts sufficient to plausibly suggest that the parallel conduct alleged was the result of an agreement among the defendants". It's not clear what the timetable for any new fuller court case would be.

All the big record industry players of the time are named as defendants, including EMI, Sony Corp, Warner Music, BMG owners Bertelsmann and Universal owners Vivendi. Time Warner are also named as defendants - I'm not sure if that's because they owned Warner Music at the time of the alleged shady dealings, or because of their then ownership of AOL, who were also partners in Pressplay.

Some expected the defence in the Joel Tenenbaum P2P lawsuit last year to bring up Pressplay and MusicNet and all the allegations that surround the two services. Although the dates don't totally work in the Tenenbaum case - when he was illegally file-sharing in 2004 the iTunes Music Store was open - some argue that had the majors not crippled the fledgling legit MP3 sector at the start of the decade through anti-competitive protectionist practices, then students like Tenenbaum wouldn't have been forced to go to illegal content sources to get DRM-free digital music files.

It's not a watertight argument, but it's better than any of the other arguments put forward by Tenenbaum's legal team last July.

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Anthony 'Geezy' Gonzalez, former manager of US hip hop duo Clipse, has been jailed for 32 years after pleading guilty to running a $20m drugs ring, the minimum sentence allowed under federal law.

Gonzalez was accused of running the operation out of Virginia nightclub, The Encore Lounge, and of using various companies, including music firms Soul Providers Management and Soul Providers Entertainment, to launder money.

Court papers listed a number of conversations between Gonzalez and associates recorded by the FBI. In one he boasted that he'd not been caught because he wasn't "crazy enough" to be dealing with "hand-to-hand stuff".

The original court documents, filed last April, claimed that those involved made "themselves out as music producers, rappers, entrepreneurs, club owners, clothing designers and other legitimate occupations in order to conceal the true source of their income".

Fearing that they might be thought to be the rappers referred to in that statement, Clipse were quick to distance themselves from all the drugs allegations, saying that any image portrayed in their lyrics that might suggest dodginess on their part had no foundation in reality. They backed these claims up by one half of the duo, Malice, releasing a video showing his unassuming home life with his family.

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Current Incubus DJ Chris Kilmore has taken out a second restraining order against former Incubus DJ Gavin Koppell, aka DJ Lyfe, after claims that the latter made death threats against the former.

Kilmore took out his first restraining order against Koppell, who was fired from the band in 1998, after he reportedly spat in his face in 2003. Koppell is seemingly still bitter about the whole thing and, according to a court filing last week, that led to a recent altercation. Kilmore claims Koppell approached him in a shop on 28 Dec and said "you will get killed if you don't lift that order... people get killed in the street for that" before challenging him to a fight.

Koppell has now been ordered not to come within 100 yards of Kilmore or his girlfriend.

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Given that this has been filed under 'In The Pop Hospital', you should have already worked out that the headline on this piece isn't just a figure of speech. Dave Collins, frontman of sludge metallers Weedeater, really has shot himself in the foot while cleaning a shotgun.

The band had been due to go into the studio with producer Steve Albini to record the follow-up to their 2007 album 'God Luck And Good Speed' later this month, as well as heading out on a brief tour, but all plans have been put on hold while the remainder of Collins' foot heals.

Speaking about the injury, Collins said: "It wasn't my intention to shoot off my big toe. This really fucking sucks and the pain is unbearable".

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Given the magnitude of this week's earthquake in Haiti I felt a bit guilty thinking to myself on Tuesday night, "I wonder what Wyclef's got to say about this?", but as one of the Caribbean country's most famous natives, and an official 'roving ambassador' for the nation, it was inevitable the media would be looking to the former Fugee for comment.

Wyclef Jean took to his website shortly after the earthquake struck, telling his fans that Haiti had suffered "a natural disaster of unprecedented proportion... unlike anything the country has ever experienced. I cannot stress enough what a human disaster this is, and idle hands will only make this tragedy worse".

He later urged people to donate to the charity he founded, the Yele Haiti Foundation, which he said was already on the ground helping with the relief effort. His call for help seemingly went answered, so much so the organisation's online and SMS donation platforms struggling to cope with the transactions.

Jean later confirmed he was returning to his native country to help with his Foundation's relief work first hand, and to support his own family who have been affected by the quake. As you have no doubt seen, tens of thousands are feared dead after a 7.0-magnitude quake struck south of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince on Tuesday.

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US soul singer Teddy Pendergrass has died, aged 59, following surgery for colon cancer. His son, Teddy Pendergrass II, told Associated Press that his father died yesterday at the Bryn Mawr Hospital in Philadelphia.

Born in Philadelphia in 1950, Pendergrass first became known as a member of Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes, whose hits included 'If You Don't Know Me By Now'. He went solo in 1976 and became the first black male singer to release five consecutive multi-platinum albums in the US. He was also known for performing 'women only' concerts.

In 1982, he was left paralysed from the waist down after the brakes failed on his Rolls Royce and he hit a tree. Although he continued to record music, he never achieved the same level of popularity he had enjoyed in the late 70s. However, he was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1993 for his single 'Voodoo', and in 2001 he embarked on his first tour since the crash.

Announcing the death, his son said: "To all his fans who loved his music, thank you. He will live on through his music".

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Ahead of the first main day of Eurosonic Noorderslag in Groningen today, the very first European Festival Awards took place there last night, a pan-European version of the UK Festival Awards staged by VirtualFestivals.com. And judging by the results of the first edition of these punter voted awards, we should all be spending our festival seasons in Belgium. The winners were as follows:

Punter voted awards...
Best Major Festival: Heineken Open'er Festival (Poland)
Best Medium-Sized Festival: Dour Festival (Belgium)
Best Small Festival: Cactusfestival (Belgium)
Best New European Festival: Openfields Festival (Belgium)
Best Line-Up: Rock Werchter (Belgium)
Festival Anthem Of The Year: Coldplay - Viva la Vida
Best Artist Newcomer White Lies
Best Headline Artist: The Prodigy

Judging panel voted awards...
Green 'N' Clean Festival: Öya Festivalen (Norway)
Artists' Favourite Festival: Rock Werchter (Belgium)
Promoter Of The Year: Herman Schueremans (Live Nation, Belgium)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Jan Smeets (Pinkpop, The Netherlands)

Commenting on the inaugural event, VirtualFestival.com's Steve Jenner told CMU: "We are delighted to affirm that the inaugural European Festival Awards has been a great accomplishment for us in terms of the volume of interest and participation generated on a pan-European level by both the public and industry, which surpassed our expectations for year one. We look forward to building on this initial success and taking it to great heights in future with our partners Yourope and Eurosonic Noorderslag".

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A band who launched themselves via fan-funding platform Slicethepie, Scars On 45, have scored a record deal with US-based Warner affiliate Chop Shop Records. Chop Shop discovered the band via the fan-funding website, and its sister artist stats service SoundOut. By signing them out of their existing Slicethepie arrangement those fans that had invested in the band via the fan-funding site will get a cash kick back, so that's nice.

Talking to Digital Music News, Slicethepie CEO David Courtier-Dutton explained how the company had used its band-nurturing infrastructure to filter out and then promote Scars On 45. He said: "What we did was use the SoundOut filter to identify them as a 1 in 1000 band, and then introduce them to seed investors and fans who could give them the opportunity to go all the way". He added: "We are delighted for both the band and their fans who, in this case, have truly been instrumental in their success".

Paul Brown, UK MD of Spotify and also a non-exec director of Slicethepie, who was brought on board by the fan-funding site in part to help build links between it and A&Rs in the traditional record industry, told reporters: "This is significant progress for Slicethepie and demonstrates the potential power of a democratic, fan driven online process to source talent. This deal reinforces the value that Slicethepie and its sister business SoundOut can add to the business of finding and financing talent".

Elsewhere in the world of fan-funding, Japanese rockers Electric Eel Shock, who funded their last album via Sellaband, have announced they will be working with the newest fan-funding platform Pledge to help finance their next project.

Confirming their plans to use Pledge, the band's manager Bob Slayer, who is becoming something of an expert on all things fan funding, told CMU: "Despite still being in beta, Plegemusic.com are already way ahead of other fan funding sites in the functionality that they can offer to artists. We are very excited about what they have planned for the future. By offering these releases only through Pledge we finally have the ability to put together some really great packages for the fans".

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Skint Records has signed fellow Brightonians Mirrors to a long term recording and publishing deal, the company has announced.

Announcing the deal, Skint's Dave Philpot told CMU: "We are always on the look out for great new acts and Mirrors really impressed us as the highlight of The Great Escape festival last year. After meeting with them we realised that we shared the same vision and we are really excited to help them fulfil that vision".

The band themselves added: "Skint have been really enthusiastic from the start and we love their creative, free-thinking outlook. They're a genuine indie label and we share their ideas. Plus they're a Brighton label, which appeals to us".

Mirrors can be found supporting Delphic on their current UK tour, which kicks off tonight in Norwich, and are expected to begin recording their debut album in March.

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Superstar DJ Tiësto (you still get superstar DJs, right?) has signed a global administration deal with independent music publisher Kobalt, covering the activities of his music production business After Midnight Productions, which has its own Music Freedom Publishing offshoot.

And if you don't believe me, perhaps you'll put your trust in Kobalt main man Willard Ahdritz who said earlier this week: "We are extremely excited to have signed superstar artist and DJ, Tiësto. Besides synch and transparent, online administration services, our senior vice president of creative Benjamin Groff will work along with our A&R team in developing collaborative opportunities for Tiësto".

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US harp pixie Joanna Newsom will release a new album next month, her Australian label Spunk has confirmed. The album, entitled 'Have One On Me', will hit Oz stores on 19 Feb.

US label Drag City seem to be releasing it everywhere else on 23 Feb (though we presume the UK will get it on 22 Feb, that being a Monday).

Drag City have confirmed some of this, although they did so with a cryptic comic strip, which is less helpful than actual words but possibly more fun: files.dragcity.com/images/have_one_on_me.gif

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Organisers of the Bono and The Edge-penned musical, 'Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark' have offered refunds to ticketholders after announcing that the production would not be ready to open on 25 Feb, as had been planned. Those of a more optimistic nature are able to hang on and exchange their tickets for another date once a new performance schedule is announced later this year.

The production, which stars Alan Cumming as The Green Goblin, Evan Rachel Wood as Mary Jane Parker and relative unknown Reeve Carney as the lead, has been beset with financial problems, with production shutting down completely last summer when it ran short of cash. In October, an 'insider' told The Hollywood Reporter that the project was "a $45m mess", though insisted that it would eventually make it to the stage.

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Vampire Weekend, who released their second album, 'Contra', on Monday, will play a free gig in the courtyard of Somerset House in London tonight.

Many of you will know that an ice rink currently occupies much of that space, but, sadly, the band will not be donning skates and performing on the ice, rather they'll be playing just in front of it. The first 50 fans through the door will be set loose on the ice, though. If that sounds of interest, get yourself to Somerset House at 5.30pm, or thereabouts.

Oh, by the way, upon further listening, it transpires that 'Contra' may not actually be as bad as we originally suggested last week. Actually, some of it's pretty good. Though I should add that there are at least two tracks on it which make me want to punch myself in the face.

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So, the CMU supported Eurosonic Noorderslag kicks off in Groningen today - right about now - and among the topics being discussed (tomorrow afternoon) is which of these new fangled digital music models and platforms are likely to be big news in the next year.

Included on this particular panel is a rep from the biggest news story in digital music last year - in Europe at least - Niklas Ivarsson from Spotify. Ahead of his Eurosonic gig, we asked Niklas to give us his prediction for the year ahead in all things digital music.

And here it is: "Instant access, discovery and the sharing of music will be more important than ever before. If new services can develop this well, a re-engagement in music will happen where file-sharers will use legal alternatives rather than piracy".

More at www.theCMUwebsite.com/eurosonic2010 and www.eurosonic-noorderslag.nl

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Music PR company Anorak London has announced the addition of Lucius Yeo to its team, where he takes the role of Senior Online PR Officer. He joins the company from Freeman PR, where he was Head Of Online. Daniel Miller has also been promoted to Head Of Press from the position of Senior Press Officer.

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Rob Glaser has resigned as CEO of RealNetworks which is only worth reporting because [a] he's been around the digital media industry for flippin ages and [b] I know some of you will be saying, right now, "oh, RealNetworks, I remember them, do they still exist?" Well, people, RealNetwork's Rhapsody music service is still quite a big player in the US, I'll have you know.

Glaser, who founded Real in 1994, will stay on as Chairman of the company, but step back from running it on a day-to-day basis. He told reporters yesterday: "After nearly sixteen years, I've decided it's time for me to step away from day-to-day operations. I'm grateful to all of our stakeholders - customers, partners, shareholders, and most of all, employees - for the support and commitment they've given to RealNetworks. I remain committed to the company and look forward to continuing to serve in my capacity as board chairman".

The company's VP Corporate Development Robert Kimball will take of CEO duties on a temporary basis.

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The BBC has admitted it breached its own guidelines by throwing over its entire network to Bono The Bore for a whole week when U2's 'No Line On The Horizon' album was released last February.

Well, OK, not the entire network for the whole week, but it felt that way as Beeb bosses - mainly men of a certain age, I suspect - handed over buckets of licence fee-funded telly and radio airtime to a band that peaked in 1987. As part of their free gift to Universal's marketing department, the Beeb also developed a special U2=BBC logo.

Commercial radio trade body RadioCentre submitted a formal complaint to the Beeb about its efforts to plug the lacklustre U2 album, while Tory MP Nigel Evans told reporters: "This is the sort of publicity money can't buy, why should licence fee-payers shoulder the cost of U2's publicity?"

The Corporation's editorial complaints unit has now reviewed the whole thing, and conceded the Beeb's U2 week amounted to "undue prominence for commercial products or organisations" and in doing so breached BBC editorial guidelines.

The unit didn't criticise the whole of the Beeb's U2 output - to be fair any big band with an album to sell is going to crop up on a relatively high number of shows in promo week - but they said the U2=BBC logo "gave an inappropriate impression of endorsement" and that it was wrong for Radio 1 to say the BBC was "part of launching this new album" during an interview between Bono and the station's Zane Lowe. Radio 1 and the BBC's logo chiefs have both promised to read the report very carefully, so that's good.

The complaints unit also upheld another RadioCentre complaint about the Beeb's coverage of another pop bore - Chris Martin and Coldplay. RadioCentre complained that a 'Radio 1 presents Coldplay' website included links to agents selling tickets to the band's tour. The unit agreed that this was "not in keeping with the BBC's guidelines on links to external websites".

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So this 'Glee' thing has properly launched in the UK, after E4 aired the pilot edition of the 'High School Musical' with irony show late last year. The show has grabbed media attention in the US because songs performed in the programme are available for download as soon as each episode finishes, and the franchise has made an impact on the singles charts as a result.

The show's flagship song, a cover of Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin', which appears in the first proper episode and on the programme's E4 trailer, is expected to enter the UK Top 10 this Sunday. Cast covers of Rihanna's 'Take A Bow', Amy Winehouse's 'Rehab' and Kanye West's 'Gold Digger' are also expected to appear lower in the chart.

Official Charts Company MD Martin Talbot says this: "There is no doubting the impact that 'Glee' is going to have on the chart this week, and possibly over the coming weeks. 'Glee' is a new cultural phenomenon - and the music charts are reflecting this, just as they did in the US last year".

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ITV has denied reports it plans to move 'X-Factor' into an early-in-the-year slot next year so to allow Simon Cowell to appear on the US version of the show, which Fox plan to launch in Autumn 2011.

Given Cowell plans to be involved in both the UK and the new US version of the show come next year, some have wondered how that will be possible if both series enter the live-show sing-off stage of the competition at the same time. Even with the time difference it wouldn't be possible for Si to judge on a live Saturday night show in London and then another one a few hours later on the other side of the Atlantic. That led to speculation ITV might be forced to move its 'X-Factor' to a slot in the first half of the year.

But an ITV spokesman said yesterday: "We are absolutely planning for 'X-Factor' to return this autumn and next". Of course 'American Idol' airs on a week night in the US, and it's entirely possible 'X-Factor' will as well, so in theory it will be possible for Cowell to do both shows providing he's up for a carbon-rich Atlantic-hopping few weeks.

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So ITV's latest celebrity talent contest kicks off this weekend and sees a bunch of former and current pop stars, and Darius, all have a go at doing opera.

The popsters will be taught to sing classical by pop-opera star Katherine Jenkins and renowned tenor Rolando Villazon, and will have their efforts judged by both their tutors plus, presumably because of his rock-opera credentials, Meat Loaf, and, seemingly because he has a show on Classic FM, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

The pop stars having a go at opera are Blur's Alex James, Shakespears Sister's Marcella Detroit, The Saturdays' Vanessa White, McFly's Danny Jones, one time Hear'Say member and now Coronation Street star Kym Marsh, Bernie Nolan, Jimmy Osmond and the aforementioned Darius.

Commenting on his involvement, McFly boy Jones told reporters this week: "I'm not bothered about the critics. I'm doing this for the experience and because I think it'll be fun. I don't want to be too serious on this show. I won't start crying if I don't get through. I'm just thrilled to be involved. I think it could introduce opera to a whole new audience. I'm hoping to make opera cool!"

Meat Loaf, meanwhile, denied he would be chief judge on the show, dubbing himself "chief troublemaker" instead. To prove this was so, he subsequently went on to diss all of ITV's other celebrity reality franchises.

Referencing current c'leb contest 'Dancing On Ice' and last month's 'I'm A Celeb', The Mirror quote Meat as saying: "I was watching - and I dunno how - this Skating With The Stars thing. I mean, what the fuck is that? Seriously, what are these people doing? They all take it sooo seriously. And I was over here in a taxi and I said to the driver: 'What happened to that awful 'I'm A Celebrity'?' He said it was still a big show, and I said: 'That is horrifying. It is just a thing for Ant and Dec to make money'. True story - 30 minutes later an email came and asked me to do 'I'm A Celebrity', but I said no. I am picky".

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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Caro Moses
Georgina Stone
Editorial Assistant
Owen Smith
Approval Officer
Paul Vig
Club Tipper

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