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INFORMATION
Classifieds
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Increased focus on P2P lawsuit experts following Which? complaint
What do ACS's legal letters say about three-strikes?
In The Pop Courts
Aerosmith uncertainty might go legal
In The Pop Hospital
Man falls at Prodigy gig
Ronnie Wood checks into rehab
Awards & Contests
Beyonce gets highest gong count at Grammys
Artist Deals
The Drums Island deal part of Moshi Moshi partnership
Syco pass on X-Factor finalists
Books News
Hey, Morrissey, isn't it about time you wrote a book?
Gigs & Tours News
Fuck Buttons are going on tour in April
Reviews
Single Review: Esben And The Witch - Lucia At The Precipice (Too Pure)
The Music Business
Delonge hopes free A&A album will prove Modlife proposition works
Combined LiveMaster to try to control emerging 'fan engagement' market
The Digital Business
Microsoft may be planning a Zune phone
Nokia to rebrand music store as Ovi
Universal do deal with Netbiscuits
The Media Business
Radio 1 to air midweek chart
Undercover merges with two other Aussie entertainment firms
New north west chief at Bauer Radio
Chart Of The Day
Chart update
And finally...
West hits out at PETA, sort of


 
MONDAY 1ST FEBRUARY

STILL TIME TO PICK A PANEL TOPIC FOR LIVERPOOL SOUND CITY
As those of you paying attention will already know, organisers of the brilliant Liverpool Sound City have set aside one conference session at this year's event in May for you, the CMU readership, to control.

For the uninitiated, Liverpool Sound City consists of four days of talks, debates, gigs, showcases and parties, aimed at everyone working in music, from the grass roots to the biggest corporate operations, from the artist, songwriter, producer, label, management, promoter, agent, A&R, digital, publicity and media communities. And, in the case of the showcases, every music fan within earshot.



 
This year, the European edition of the mighty MUSExpo will help form the main conference strand of the Sound City event. The Sound City team, assisted by MUSExpo, will together compile an excellent line up of panels, keynotes and debates, covering the hot topics and issues in the music industry in 2010, and involving an array of leading industry practitioners.

But if you're the sort of person who always leaves these kind of events saying "but they didn't discuss the topic I care about most", then you're in luck, because as a CMU reader you can propose what should be discussed in our session. And here are some of the topics already proposed:

Simon Cowell has killed music, how can you kill him?
Can young artists achieve 'X-Factor' level success without going the 'X-Factor' route?

Why won't artists just bloody well take control?
Given all the DIY tools now available to young bands, why do so many still aim for that record label deal?

Is live music really booming?
Is the live industry really in the good health we're always told, and how can the wider industry support grass roots live?

Should major labels be dropping A&Rs rather than bands?
Are current major label personnel really up to the challenge of the digital age?

Music radio will die, and good riddance.
Can real music radio survive, and if not how can web services take its place in promoting new music?

Like any of them? Or have you got something better? If so, let us know what it is. Email your suggestions to soundcity@unlimitedmedia.co.uk by Friday. The person who suggests the panel we go with will get a free pair of tickets to Sound City, plus travel from anywhere in the UK to Liverpool. Hurrah!

Friday is also the deadline for getting early bird tickets for this year's Sound City event. These are just £100 - you'll find more info at www.liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk

Enjoy...

Andy Malt
Editor, CMU Daily

 
8BITCH
Back home in Slovenia, Maya Medvesek is best known as an actress and TV presenter, over here she's becoming increasingly known as Glasgow-based producer 8Bitch, making music which she describes as "a blend of synth-funk, hip hop and techno" and her dad calls "Super Mario jazz". Both are accurate, but one sounds like more fun.

Her tracks have a soulful, warm feel that can be so hard to capture in techno and more minimal production in general. Tracks like 'Heart Bit and 'Safari' don't just make you want to dance, they'll bring a smile to your face and a wobble of bass to your heart, too. Catch a whole host of tracks and remixes on her MySpace page. Numerous releases across various labels are apparently planned this year, but are currently being kept under wraps. For now, you can find her (not playing any music) in the 'DJ Hero' videogame, in which three of the female characters were modelled on her movements.

www.myspace.com/thisis8bitch




 
  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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Royal Opera House to create jobs for young unemployed
Lee Mead to join 'Wicked' later this year
Hairspray to close
 
Former TalkSporter can take OfCom ruling to judicial review
London Weekly to launch next month
ASA criticise fashion ad run in NME
 
Merton criticises film festival for allegedly dropping him
Zellweger to judge at Berlin Film Festival
Tim Burton to lead Cannes jury
 

INCREASED FOCUS ON P2P LAWSUIT EXPERTS FOLLOWING WHICH? COMPLAINT
There was increased media attention last week for a London-based legal firm called ACS:Law, who proudly proclaim themselves to be "the only law firm in the UK actively pursuing through the civil courts identified copyright infringers on file sharing networks", ie they are overseeing legal action against suspected file-sharers akin to that pursued by the Recording Industry Association Of America for much of the last decade, and by the UK's BPI between 2003 and 2006.

It's not clear what content owners ACS represent, nor whether any of its clients are actually from the music industry, even though it cites 'music' as being one of its areas of expertise. It seems it sent out a stack of legal letters to suspected file-sharers last November, threatening to take said file-sharers to court unless they agreed to pay an out of court settlement, so similar to the infamous RIAA letters. A statement on the legal firm's website suggests that a second round of letters is due to be sent out anytime now to those who have failed to respond to their November correspondence.

The law firm is in the news because it has been singled out for criticism by consumer rights group Which? in its contribution to the file-sharing debate, and the copyright proposals in the government's Digital Economy Bill. They told reporters they had been approached by over 150 people who say they have been falsely accused of illegal file-sharing by ACS, and who were looking for advice as to how to respond to the legal letters they had received.

Which? quoted a letter from one such person, which perhaps gives us an indication of what companies ACS represents. It reads: "My 78 year old father yesterday received a letter demanding £500 for a porn file he is alleged to have downloaded. He doesn't even know what file-sharing or BitTorrent is so has certainly not done this himself or given anyone else permission to use his computer to do such a thing".

ACS's own website admits that it has "reviewed" some of the file-sharing actions it launched late last year and has decided to not proceed with any further action in some cases, possibly because of a lack of evidence of copyright infringement. Though the company's Andrew Crossley insists the methods for tracking file-sharing activity used by his clients are sound, and it seems that those net users who will not now be threatened with court action will still get a stern letter warning them to never file-share again. Meanwhile, the other actions launched last November continue to progress.

But Which? Technology Editor Matt Bath remains concerned about ACS's ongoing file-sharing litigation activities, telling the BBC: "Innocent consumers are being threatened with legal action for copyright infringements they not only haven't committed, but wouldn't know how to commit. Which? is concerned that many people will be frightened into paying up rather than facing the stress of a court battle". Especially, presumably, if the files they are accused of illegally downloaded are pornographic.

ACS have been subject to scrutiny by a number of consumer rights and pro-file-sharing groups ever since last summer, when they took over a number of file-sharing cases from better known London legal firm Davenport Lyons. Crossley insists that his legal activity in this domain is totally legitimate and fair, while also claiming that Which? have grossly exaggerated the total number of letters his firm have sent out to suspected file-sharers, which he says is under 500.

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WHAT DO ACS'S LEGAL LETTERS SAY ABOUT THREE-STRIKES?
Which? have raised ACS's legal letters as part of the debate over government plans to introduce a three-strikes system for combating file-sharing. Though, actually, such direct infringement litigation can be used as an argument both for and against three-strikes.

As previously reported, Which? says it would prefer to have an anti-piracy system operated by a government agency and involving the ISPs, as is proposed in the three-strikes provisions of the Digital Economy Bill, as opposed to faceless law firms sending out unregulated and threatening letters to suspected file-sharers, some of whom will inevitably be innocent (because anyone truly IT literate will tell you that no technical system for tracking file-sharing is 100% accurate).

Of course, three-strikes wouldn't, in itself, stop content owners and their lawyers from pursuing direct legal action, though it is hoped that if the three-strikes route was available, and was both a quicker and cheaper way of combating file-sharing, most content owners would choose to use that system over hiring the likes of ACS.

But then, some argue that the confrontational methods of ACS and their clients, and the arrogant confidence such legal men and content owners have in their file-sharing tracking technology is evidence that a three-strikes system is open to abuse by the content industries, possibly resulting in innocent parties having their net connections suspended.

As previously reported, Google have previously claimed that a disturbingly high number of the take-down notices they receive under US copyright law - where content owners claim their copyrights are being infringed - turn out to be invalid claims, while Edwin Collin's manager complained last year about how a Warner Music take-down claim had stopped her from putting Collin's best known tracks on his own MySpace, even though Warner no longer controlled his recordings.

Certainly, there is a need for any three-strikes system to have a rigorous appeals procedure to ensure that those falsely accused don't lose their net connections, especially if they are accused by heavy handed content owners. Concerns about such heavy handedness will have even more kudos if rumours the accused individuals will have to pay to appeal turn out to be true. That idea appears in a new amendment to the Digital Economy Bill put forward last week, though the specifics of the proposal are very vague.

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AEROSMITH UNCERTAINTY MIGHT GO LEGAL
So, all that confusion regards the immediate future of Aerosmith might be about to get legal. As previously reported, there has been much confusion of late as to the status of Steven Tyler as frontman of the legendary rock band.

When a planned tour had to be canned after Tyler pulled out, seemingly due to ill health, some of his bandmates, most notably guitarist Joe Perry, suggested their frontman was on the verge of quitting. Tyler, though, insisted he was still in the band, most notably following a bizarre impromptu performance at a gig of Perry's other band, The Joe Perry Project.

As the year ended, the Perry camp seemed to be suggesting that they thought Tyler would take a sabbatical from Aerosmith, during which time he and the rest of the band would continue to tour under that moniker but with a different singer. Meanwhile more recent rumours suggested that a search for an alternative frontman was already underway.

But Tyler, it seems, continues to consider himself to be the chief Aerosmither, so much so that his lawyer Skip Miller has sent a legal letter to the band's manager Howard Kaufman insisting he and the rest of the band stop planning projects that don't involve his client. According to Billboard, the legal letter insists that Kaufman "immediately cease and desist from engaging in acts and conduct to the harm and detriment of your own client, Aerosmith, and our client who is one of its members".

Miller has proposed a meeting of the band's "shareholders" - whoever they are - to discuss the future, including proposals for a new album and tour later this year. He told Billboard: "Steven Tyler does not want lawsuits. We do not want to go in that direction. The direction we want is Aerosmith, with Steven Tyler, touring in Europe, touring Latin America, releasing a new album... This is the direction it's all intended to go. It's just amazing to me current management would be taking any other position".

That meeting is proposed for 9 Feb. Whether it results in any clarification on what's going on in the world of Aerosmith remains to be seen.

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MAN FALLS AT PRODIGY GIG
A man was seriously injured after falling from a balcony at a Prodigy gig in Dundee last week. The 24 year old man fell fifteen feet during the band's concert at the Scottish city's Caird Hall. He was taken to a local hospital where his condition is described as serious.

Police are reportedly investigating whether the gig goer fell or was pushed.

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RONNIE WOOD CHECKS INTO REHAB
Ronnie Wood has checked himself into rehab, according to the Daily Mail. It's apparently his eighth stint in a rehab facility, which, providing he's kept his stamp card safe, presumably means next time it'll be free. The latest stint follows that previously reported altercation with former girlfriend Ekaterina Ivanova, which resulted in a police caution and led to the couple splitting.

The paper quotes a source thus: "Ronnie has been in a bad state of mind since his split with Katia. They were in a terrible relationship, but since their break-up he has not been himself. He has been lonely and drinking... [Ronnie's ex-wife] Jo and the entire family are just happy that he is seeking help again".

As previously reported, Keith Richards' recent efforts to give up alcohol were partly put down to his concerns regarding his bandmate's recent OTT boozing.

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BEYONCE GETS HIGHEST GONG COUNT AT GRAMMYS
Well, I was hoping that someone would crash the stage as Beyonce stood up to collect one of her Grammy gongs to declare: "I'm going to let you speak, but I just have to say, Taylor Swift had the best album of the year". Still, the US Recording Academy made that declaration themselves elsewhere in the proceedings, so perhaps no Kanye-style intrusion was necessary. Though, if I remember rightly, MTV had already decided to give Beyonce the best overall video award when West gatecrashed Swift's moment of glory at last year's VMAs, and that didn't stop him from giving a personal big up to Ms Knowles' achievements.

Anyway, it was Grammy weekend this weekend, those two days when the US record industry amasses on LA to dish out about 4007 awards, to the great and the good and the deserving and the very lucky and the consistently overrated. You decide for yourself which of the following fit into which of those categories. Beyonce and Swift stole the show, the former winning six gongs in total, the latter taking home four, including the coveted Album Of The Year prize. The Black Eyed Peas, Jay-Z and Kings Of Leon got three Grammys each, while Lady Gaga and Eminem each won two.

With none of the US pop community feeling the need to beat their girlfriend unconscious during Grammys weekend this year, more attention fell on the main awards show itself, and in particular the posthumous lifetime achievement gong presented to Michael Jackson. His eldest two children - Paris and Prince Michael - collected the prize on his behalf, the latter giving the longer speech this time, thanking his family, the fans and God, of course.

Jackson Junior added: "Our father was always concerned about the planet and humanity. Through all his hard work and dedication, he has helped many charities and donated to all of them. Through all his songs, his message was simple: love. We will continue to spread his message and help the world. Thank you. We love you, Daddy".

The latest gossip regarding the two Jackson children is that they will be somehow involved in the new version of their father's charity song 'We Are The World', which, as previously reported, is being re-recorded in aid of the Haiti post-earthquake relief effort. That recording is due to take place later today.

Meanwhile, back to the Grammys for a moment, and if you want a full list of this year's winners, well, I guess they'll put said list on www.grammy.com just as soon as the hangovers have cleared. It'll be a very long list.

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THE DRUMS ISLAND DEAL PART OF THE MAJOR'S MOSHI MOSHI PARTNERSHIP
Following on from the news on Friday that New Yorkers The Drums have signed to Universal's Island Records, we can confirm today that the deal is part of UK indie label Moshi Moshi's ongoing relationship with the major label division, which began with their partnership around thecocknbullkid. It means the band will continue to work with the Moshi Moshi team as well as Island types on their debut album.

Moshi Moshi Records' Stephen Bass told CMU: "We are excited to announce our second signing in our ongoing non-exclusive partnership with Island Records. Having started to work with the band at the end of last summer things really couldn't have gone any better. Much as we love to think it's all down to us, our suspicion is that the instant and genuine response to the band and their music might actually have more to do with it. Teaming up with Island Records and their marketing muscle and know-how for the album we hope to take the band as far as they can go".

The Drums will appear on the NME Awards Tour, which kicks off in Newcastle on Thursday, and have also been confirmed as support for Florence And The Machine when they go on the road in May. The New Yorkers' next single 'Best Friend' will be out on 5 Apr.

In related news, Bass adds: "Can we also mention the first of our acts signed with Island, thecocknbullkid starts recording her debut album in March after writing sessions with Gonzales and Peter and Bjorn of Peter, Bjorn And John?" Well, you just did.

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SYCO PASS ON X-FACTOR FINALISTS
Simon Cowell's SyCo label has passed on the option to sign any of the other finalists from last year's 'X-Factor' TV show, preferring to concentrate on the career of the show's winner Joe McElderry. The Sony division has the option to sign up any 'X-Factor' finalists, but is only committed to release an album by the overall winner.

Of course, the last series' novelty act Jedward has already been signed to a management deal with Louis Walsh and Global Radio's artist management agency, and will release their 'Ice Ice Baby' cover via Sony.

But the future careers of the likes of Stacey Solomon, Danyl Johnson and last season's runner-up Olly Murs remains unclear. Though they do have the 'X-Factor' tour and then a Butlins residency still to come, so still plenty to look forward to, then.

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HEY, MORRISSEY, ISN'T IT ABOUT TIME YOU WROTE A BOOK?
An editor at publishing house Faber & Faber, Lee Brackstone, has used the company's relatively new blog to send an open letter to Morrissey asking him to write an autobiography. According to Brackstone, this is a project he's been trying to get off the ground for some time, and one which Morrissey has, on at least one occasion, expressed an interest in.

Brackstone writes: "I have been trying to persuade you of the virtues and wisdom of this for some years now. ... We feel very strongly that you belong in this company. To me (and to many of my colleagues) you are already in this company. It would be the fulfilment of my most pressing and persistent publishing dream to see that 'ff' sewn into the spine of your life. Just any other publisher won't do. You deserve Faber and the love we can give you. History demands it; destiny commands it".

Although he admits this may be little more than a fantasy, he does remind Morrissey that he once "responded with interest" to a previous (less public) invitation to write for Faber. And you can see why Brackstone might be eager to secure a Morrissey autobiography. The former Smiths frontman spent years surrounding himself with myth and mystery. But that's probably why he has been reluctant to commit. If he reveals the answers to all those unanswered questions, will it actually serve to spoil the man and his music for the thousands of fans who thrive on wondering what he's really like?

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FUCK BUTTONS ARE GOING ON TOUR IN APRIL
Yeah, Fuck Buttons are going on tour in April, as follows...

20 Apr: London KOKO
21 Apr: Bristol, The Trinity Centre
22 Apr: Manchester Club Academy
23 Apr: Leeds, TJs Woodhouse Club
24 Apr: Glasgow, The Arches

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SINGLE REVIEW: Esben And The Witch - Lucia At The Precipice (Too Pure)
Mixing Underworld exhilaration with the minimalist indie of The xx, all with lush Siouxie Sioux style vocals, smothered in echo and effects, Esben And The Witch know how to create atmosphere.

You can nearly taste that moistened steam on your tongue as 'Lucia And The Precipice' bubbles up a potion of tension, lust and chills. There's a Gothic romance too - more Shelley or Stoker than 'Twilight' - that gives maturity to this young Brighton lot, who, with warrant, should be heading to critical acclaim in a music press enraptured with anything that possesses a clever synth.

An enthralling song, perfectly paced and wrapped in devilish ambience. TM

Physical release: 8 Feb
Press contact: Too Pure IH [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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DELONGE HOPES FREE A&A ALBUM WILL PROVE MODLIFE PROPOSITION WORKS
Blink 182's Tom DeLonge has been waffling some more about his side project Angels & Airwaves' decision to self-release their next album as a free download. He is making the whole album available for free in a bid to drive fans to the band's Modlife website, where they can connect with him and his bandmates on an ongoing basis in return for a monthly subscription. So, the idea is that while people don't pay for the music, the band will earn from those fans who sign up to the online community as a result of getting the free album.

DeLonge reckons it's the future like, speculating that up to 20 million people might download the album (he's got some marketing partnerships in place to help promote it) and that if 5% of those people sign up to Modlife he and his bandmates will make a mint. He told Billboard: "If only 5% of that 20 million came back and interacted with the Modlife platform that powers our website, the revenue would far exceed anything we'd make from a major label, in any way, shape or form. We're redefining the music business. And I honestly think we're going to be ten times bigger because of it".

I don't know whether DeLonge's figures are at all realistic, but it will be interesting to see how the project goes when the album is released on 14 Feb. If it does work, the Blink 182 man will be presumably be doubly happy, given that the Modlife fan-engagement platform is owned by a Mr Tom DeLonge.

Interestingly, I think I'm right in saying Angels & Airwaves are still in contract with Universal's Geffen Records, but that they've let him self-release the next album to promote his Modlife business model anyway. It's possible they're curious to see if it works too.

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COMBINED LIVEMASTER TO TRY TO CONTROL EMERGING 'FAN ENGAGEMENT' MARKET
Talking of "fan engagement", some say we should expect to see that phrase, or a variation thereof, on the business cards of the company about to be created by the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster - LiveMaster - or what we should probably start referring to by its official name, Live Nation Entertainment.

For while much of the coverage of the two live entertainment giants' bid to merge centred on Ticketmaster's dominance of the ticketing industry, some reckon ticketing will be just a sideline for the combined company, which intends to dominate this much talked about, but still only just now emerging, sector of 'fan engagement' - the management and monetisation of fan relationships.

Ticketmaster brings to the table a phenomenal mailing list of music fans, plus, through its Frontline division, management relationships with a plethora of a-list artists. Live Nation, meanwhile, have a venue infrastructure that can give the fan relationship a physical manifestation, a history in negotiating sizable sponsorship deals with non-entertainment brands, and growing expertise in the merchandise market and fan club management. Meanwhile, both companies have been dabbling with the revenue-generating potential of VIP concert packages.

Get all that right, and recording and publishing rights could become a happy add-on for some artists, certainly those with an established fan base. And for Live Nation Entertainment, ticketing will become just one more revenue generating service to offer existing fans, or, perhaps, a marketing tool through which to engage new ones. Hmm, interesting.

In related news, Live Nation chief Michael Rapino is set to get a $3 million cash bonus for successfully negotiating the Ticketmaster merger, while the ticketing giant's top man Irving Azoff could receive a $2 million cheque. Two other Live Nation execs, Kathy Willard and Michael Rowles, are reportedly set for big cash bonuses too as a result of the merger. Nice work if you can get it.

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MICROSOFT MAY BE PLANNING A ZUNE PHONE
Microsoft is reportedly set to launch a Zune Phone in a bid to regain some of its share of the smart phone market, where the growth of Apple's iPhone and handsets using the Google operating system Android has resulted in a reduction in the Windows mobile operating system's market share.

Some reckon the phone could be on show as soon as this month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, though some of the speculation about the device comes from the word 'phone' appearing in an info file that comes with a recent driver update for the PC-based Zune service.

All this has led to speculation that the Zune platform might finally launch over here - Microsoft having never got round to expanding the actual Zune player and its iTunes-Store-style Zune market place into the European market. Whether non-phone Zune devices would then follow isn't clear.

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NOKIA TO REBRAND MUSIC STORE AS OVI
Nokia is planning on applying the Ovi brand to its music store, the name used for its other internet services. The Nokia Music Store already sits within the Ovi platform, but looks set to actually be branded Ovi.

The phone maker said in a financial statement last week: "In Russia, Nokia also launched Ovi Music, representing the first step of its plan to bring Nokia Music Store - our 22-strong chain of digital music stores - into the Ovi stable of services". So that's nice.

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UNIVERSAL DO DEAL WITH NETBISCUITS
Universal Music Group last week announced a partnership with Netbiscuits, a US-based company that specialises in mobile internet publishing, and already powers the mobile content platforms of the likes of Yahoo, MTV, and eBay. The partnership will see Universal launch a load of artist-based mobile internet services, similar to the one it launched for Bon Jovi with Netbiscuits last November. Said services will work with Windows, Android and Apple compliant phones.

David Ring of Universal Music's eLabs division told CMU: "Universal is committed to providing consumers with even more engaging interactive opportunities to connect with their favourite artists and music by personalising their mobile devices. Thanks to the support we are getting from Netbiscuits, we'll be in an even better position to extend these artist opportunities and products across the widest array of available wireless devices".

Netbiscuits MD Ran Farmer added: "We're very excited to help Universal Music in mobilising so many of the world's most famous music artists. All these artists going mobile means to me that the mobile web today really is a mass market phenomenon. Adding the right mobile commerce strategies and technologies to the mix finally paves the way for real revenues coming from the mobile channel".

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RADIO 1 TO AIR MIDWEEK CHART
Radio 1 will start to broadcast highlights from each Wednesday's midweek chart, which will spoil it for those record industry insiders who use the midweeks to make magical predictions about the next weekend's Top 10.

The midweek chart will be revealed on the Greg James show on the BBC station at 3.30pm each Wednesday, with new entries and big climbers getting some airplay. Exposure which might help further solidify early-week high performers' positions in the overall chart the following Sunday.

Official Charts Company MD Martin Talbot told reporters: "The launch of this official chart update will mean that, for the first time, music fans will get a reliable insight into how the race for number one is shaping up, ahead of the announcement of the weekly official singles and albums charts on BBC Radio 1 every Sunday. It will bring the chart to music fans across the country throughout the week".

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UNDERCOVER MERGES WITH TWO OTHER AUSSIE ENTERTAINMENT FIRMS
Three independent Australian entertainment companies - communications firm GoConnect, artist management and production company PLW Entertainment and the outfit behind Aussie music website Undercover - have announced their intent to merge to create what they say will be "the largest independent entertainment company in Australia".

In a press statement, the merging parties say they are combining their operations "with a global vision, providing a range of services and creating products targeting the consumer for the entertainment and advertising markets. The combined businesses will be able to leverage on the strengths and resources of the group in digital media to further enhance their competitiveness in the entertainment industry".

The deal will see GoConnect pump out multimedia content produced by PLW and Undercover via its proprietary web and mobile content platforms, initially in Australia and China. The deal will also see the launch of a Chinese version of the Undercover website.

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NEW NORTH WEST CHIEF AT BAUER RADIO
Bauer Media last week formally appointed Steve King, previously the boss of its Kerrang! and Q radio services, to the job of MD North West, overseeing the media firm's local radio stations in North West England.

King has actually been doing the job since late last year, taking over from Michelle Surrell, who left Bauer last October, however he was only formally appointed to the role last week. He will continue to head up the Kerrang! and Q services as well as the North West pop stations.

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CHART UPDATE
See, Ben Gibbard? You've spent so long not recording a second Postal Service album that someone's come and tried to fill the gap. And not only has he used an awful lot of Auto-tune in the process, but Owl City has now spent two weeks in a row at the top of the UK singles chart. I hope you're happy. Actually, 'Fireflies' is a nice enough song, and certainly better that 'Replay' by Iyaz, which it replaced in the chart top spot, if not as infuriatingly catchy.

Owl City also gets the thumbs up for stopping the cast of 'Glee' from getting to number one with their persistent cover of Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin', which has now crept up to two, while the original has slipped down one place to eight.

The singles chart is a little light on new entries this week. At seventeen, there's Timbaland featuring Katy Perry with 'If We Ever Meet Again', which is no good at all (and not a patch on Perry's other recent collaboration with 3OH!3), at 28 it's Rihanna with 'Rude Boy', and just sidestepping in at 40 is Young Money with 'Bedrock'.

At number one in the album chart this week, Paolo Nutini's 'Sunny Side Up' returns to the top for a third time. I was stumped as to how he could be getting such high chart positions of late, but last week someone informed me that people do actually like his music. Some even thought his stint on Jool Holland's 'Hootenanny' at New Year was good and not massively embarrassing. You learn something every day.

Commenting on Nutini's latest return to the album chart summit, Official Charts Company MD Martin Talbot told us yesterday: "It's a great example of an enduring album, which sustains its popularity long after the initial promotion around its release".

In terms of new entries, the album chart fares slightly better than the singles chart, with four. Hadouken! are in at nine with their early-Prodigy-esque second album 'For The Masses', Del Shannon has a new best of in at 25, Dolly Parton's 'Live From London' is in at 33, and the very twinkly new effort from Four Tet, 'There Is Love In You', comes in soon after at 35.

The charts are compiled by The Official Charts Company, even though this means regularly thinking about Justin Bieber.

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WEST HITS OUT AT PETA, SORT OF
It's quite unusual for a celebrity to publicly take on animal rights charity PETA. Normally you either sign up to one of their high profile anti-fur or anti-meat ad campaigns, or you give them a wide berth and just pray they won't cover you in red paint the next time you wear an animal skin to an awards show. But Kanye West never lets convention get in the way when it comes to having a good rant.

Though it should be said this particular online rant is a bit abstract, but seems to be a response to PETA hitting out at him and his girlfriend Amber Tose wearing animal pelts during a recent Men's Fashion Week show in Paris. The animal rights people called the hip hopper a "pathetic idiot" for donning an animal skin at the event.

In a post on his website on Friday, which has since been removed, West reportedly rambled thus: "When it's all said and done, remember the fearless, remember the dreamers, remember those who represent the ghetto. The fairy tale of nothing to something. I'm briefly saddened by negative comments, but I have to remember those people are scared, incapable or just plain idiots. We are the fucking rock stars baby. It's funny to me when fashion bloggers down our outfits and then super jock outlandish shit on the runway but they dress mad prude and don't live fashion".

He continued: "Very few human beings are strong enough to take constant hate. If we don't do what you feel is the shit, you beat us up verbally and mentally. At the end of the day, who are we hurting? Since Barack is president, blacks don't like fur coats, red leather and fried chicken any more? Remember, clothing is a choice. We were born naked! Fresh is an opinion, love is objective, taste is selective and expression is my favourite elective".

So, there you go. By the way, those charges against West and his manager Don Crowley relating to that pap scuffle at LAX airport last September have been formally dropped because the pair have fulfilled community service obligations committed to in a plea bargain with an LA judge. I look forward to seeing what kind of scuffle occurs when PETA get round to targeting Kanye with the red paint.

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