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CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
LiveMaster merger ruling could be published next week
Mrs Jackson asks four grandchildren to move out
In The Pop Courts
Rule Of Law man says Viacom need to win YouTube litigation
DMX sues collection agency
In The Pop Hospital
Bret Michaels "critical but stable"
Winehouse hospitalised after fall
Pop Politics
6music announces 'future of music' election debate
Release News
Weezer to re-issue Pinkerton
School Of Seven Bells announce new album
Gigs & Tours News
Skunk Anansie announce November tour
Festival News
Festival line-up update
Reviews
Single review: The Qemists - Your Revolution (Ninja Tune)
The Music Business
STAR reissue dodgy ticket agent warning
The Digital Business
We7 covers free services costs with ad revenues
News Corp back start-up operating in blanket digital levy space
YouTube pull MIA video
The Media Business
Bauer launch revamped online player
Alex Zane joins NME Radio
Cowell might step back from next series of BGT, or might not
And finally...
Bieber has broken


 
WEDNESDAY 28TH APRIL
STEVE MASON
Steve Mason is best known as the lead singer and one of the founding members of The Beta Band. After they split in 2004, Mason went on to release solo material as King Biscuit Time, including two EP's and album 'Black Gold', as well as releasing work under the name Black Affair. Steve's latest record 'Boys Outside' has seen him work with producer Richard X and will be the first album released under Mason's own name. With the LP set for release on 3 May via Domino, we caught up with Steve to find out more.

 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I first started making my own music around the age of ten. I had a pair of drumsticks and two tape machines. I used to tape one beat (played on a pillow) on the first tape machine, then play it back and drum along, recording that on the second tape machine. Very basic two tracking! Loads of hiss. Then I formed a band with my sister called The Crazy Cow Pats - we had one song, 'Pat On A Drum'. I used the same technique recording this. I was really into the drums and eventually got a broken down kit when I was about fifteen, I think. But right up until I met [Beta Band co-founder] Gordon Anderson and he showed me I could sing, it was always drums for me.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Hard question. Nothing inspires me to make an album. It's just what I do. I wake up, eat, smoke fags and make music. Everyday. So, I'm always just trying to stretch myself, my mind and my boundaries. That's what drives me. To keep moving forward and try to be better than anyone else and do what no-one else is doing.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
With this album it was mostly lead by the beats. I would make a beat, then maybe a little melody, something simple. Eventually a vocal melody appears and you get some chords together. Writing lyrics is harder these days as I'm older and travel less in my mind, but I have not traded in my magic carpet just yet.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
As far as I'm aware, no other musician has ever really influenced me. I try not to be influenced at all. That's very important to me. But I am influenced by the feelings I get from hearing the music of others and want to try to bring out the same feelings and emotions in my own music. For this album though, two producers sparked initial ideas, Jermaine Dupri and Darchild (Rodney Jerkins). Both are R&B producers with different styles, but both record great vocals and have great rhythms. I wanted to make an album that, if you stripped the vocals, piano and guitar off, you were left with R&B backing tracks. And if you stripped the beats and bass off, you have a singer-songwriter acoustic album.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?

Have you paid for it??? NO! I would say, throw all your other music away, you don't need it any more. This album will break you heart. Then fix it.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
My ambitions have never changed in twelve years. I want to be a huge success, without betraying my personal beliefs. In the future? Well, I will be a huge success. Finally! As long as I don't go mental again!

MORE>> www.stevemasontheartist.com
 
UP DIED SOUND
It's nearly a month since we featured a band from Brooklyn in this slot, which must be some sort of record. And it's about time we got back on that horse, because there are still a whole load of great bands to get through from that particular New York borough. Today's is Up Died Sound who, while relatively new on the scene, are purveyors of some immense (mostly) instrumental psych rock, which has "future Pitchfork favourite" written all over it (this is intended as a compliment).

 
Streaming on their MySpace page right now, you'll find four tracks, all of which are fine examples of their sound, though if you're in a massive hurry, give 'Emotion Sickness' and 'If Time Is Evident' a go for now. You'll be back for the rest later, mark my words. A self-released album is on the way later this year.

www.myspace.com/updiedsound


 
 

IMAGEM MUSIC, JUNIOR CREATVE ASSISTANT
Imagem Music is looking to employ a Junior Creative Assistant. Duties include: Supporting the Creative/A&R team in areas including the maintenance of databases, keeping up to date gig lists of our acts, liaising with managers, labels, promoters & agents and taking responsibility for the smooth running of the department; Liaising with our international offices on creative matters; and some basic office management.

A sound knowledge of social networking is essential therefore a basic knowledge of HTML, FTP and Photoshop would be useful. This is an ideal first job for somebody who has had work or intern experience at a music company. A basic understanding of music publishing would be preferable as would the ability to communicate positively and organize effectively.

Please send a covering letter and CV to careers@imagem-music.com. Closing date for applications is 21 May.

       
 

SENIOR NATIONAL TV PLUGGER AT ANORAK LONDON
Anorak London, the UK's leading PR company specialising in TV, press, radio and online promotion, are looking to appoint a Senior National TV Plugger with a view to head the department in 2011. The successful applicant will be driven, passionate about music, and have a wealth of TV contacts. You must have at least 3 years experience at national TV promotion.

Please send CV along with covering letter to Emily@anoraklondon.com.

Closing date 23 May 2010.

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  MEET A STAR PR
A Star PR is a dynamic creative arts company, at the forefront of innovations within the music and entertainment industry. The exceptional quality of our past PR, marketing and creative campaigns speak for themselves, with coverage in major print, online, digital and broadcast media outlets. From broadsheets to tabloids; social networks to mobile platforms - A Star PR have it covered.

Our team is comprised of passionate creatives, with unrivalled knowledge and expertise in their particular fields. Be it print press, digital, mobile or marketing consultancy, we are able to offer effective bespoke campaigns to all of our clients. If you are interested in an effective affordable campaign please contact ian.roberts@astarpr.com or ben.allen@astarpr.com or call 020 7836 1122 and quote CMU ad.

       
  INTERESTED IN SELLING YOUR RECORD LABEL?
Music Gain is acquiring record labels and catalogue. If you are thinking of selling, or have a large catalogue you want managed on your behalf, then please contact us. Introduction and spotters fees also paid. Please visit us - www.musicgain.com
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Corrie's Peacocks on their way out
Doctor fans complain about trailer
Alan Sillitoe dies aged 82
 
6music hand over shows to c'lebs
Bearded man launches indie-focused podcast
Rolling Stone relaunches website, puts up pay-wall
 
Music festival line-up update - 27 Apr 2010
Festival Republic again warn of dodgy ticket sellers
Kendal Calling looking for arty types
 

LIVEMASTER MERGER RULING COULD BE PUBLISHED NEXT WEEK
The UK's Competition Commission could rule on the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger as soon as next week, according to a Bloomberg report.

As you might remember, the Commission was one of a number competition regulators around the world to investigate the merger of tour and venues company Live Nation with ticketing and artist management giant Ticketmaster. They approved the merger deal just before Christmas, but an appeal hearing in February ordered the Commission to reconsider.

Objections to the deal in the UK were led by German ticketing firm CTS Eventim, one of Ticketmaster's main competitors on a global level, but who have previously had a very low profile in the UK. Prior to merging with Ticketmaster, Live Nation, a former client of the ticketing giant, was in the process of setting up its own ticket selling division. Outside of the US that in-house ticketing operation would essentially be outsourced to CTS, who would enter the UK market as part of that deal.

Although Live Nation remain contractually obliged to use some of CTS's services and software, obviously the long term potential of the Live Nation/CTS partnership has been hindered somewhat by the former becoming joined up with the latter's main competitor. CTS said that this would stop them from entering the UK market in any aggressive way, and in doing so would reduce competition in the market, to the detriment of consumer choice.

The Commission initially said CTS had presented a compelling argument, but then gave the merger approval anyway. It remains to be seen whether that approval is forthcoming again this time round, now the Commission has been ordered to review everything for a second time.

Of course, while the UK Commission has been reviewing its original decision, the all important US competition regulator has given the merger the go ahead. Given both Live Nation and Ticketmaster are American companies, they have therefore merged. Therefore if the UK authorities were to actually block the merger, that would present an interesting challenge for the British operations of the combined company.

Few think the Commission will actually block the merger. Their original OK-ing of the deal was based on Live Nation sticking to its contractual obligations to CTS, and to its commitment to sell a certain portion of tickets to Live Nation events and venues via third party ticketing agencies. Whether the second ruling will make any more demands on the merged Live Master in a bid to further placate CTS remains to be seen.

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MRS JACKSON ASKS FOUR GRANDCHILDREN TO MOVE OUT
According to TMZ.com, Michael Jackson's mother Katherine has asked her double daughter-in-law to move herself and her four children out of the Jackson family's main Californian mansion, because she is struggling to cope with so many grandchildren running around the place.

As much previously reported, the late king of pop's three children are being cared for by the 79 year old Jackson matriarch. Alejandra Genevieve Oaziaza, who slightly weirdly has two children by Jermaine Jackson and two children by Randy Jackson, also lives with her kids at the Californian property. Having seven grandkids in the house is proving too much for Katherine, understandably so.

TMZ says Oaziaza has been asked to move her and her four kids to another Jackson property nearby the main mansion. It's not clear whether this has caused any tensions. Nor why it's really anyone's business other than the Jackson clan. Which possibly begs the question why we're reporting on it. But you know we're very completist when it comes to our Jackson coverage.

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RULE OF LAW MAN SAYS VIACOM NEED TO WIN YOUTUBE LITIGATION
Ronald A Cass, dean emeritus of Boston University's School Of Law and chair of the US Center For The Rule Of Law, and a former Commissioner of the US International Trade Commission, has warned about the implications of American judges ruling in favour of Google in the much previously reported Viacom v YouTube litigation.

As previously reported, MTV owners Viacom are suing Google-owned YouTube for copyright infringement relating to the early years of the popular video sharing website, both before and immediately after Google's $1.65 billion purchase of the video service. Viacom argue YouTube infringed its copyrights by allowing users to upload all sorts of content ripped off the various MTV channels.

The lawsuit is a test of the 'safe harbour' provisions provided for YouTube-style services in US copyright law. These obligate YouTube et al to operate takedown systems whereby copyright owners can have infringing content quickly removed, but in return say owners of content sharing sites who implement such a system will not be liable for infringement, even if they inadvertently host infringing content between the point of 'user upload' and 'copyright owner takedown'.

YouTube argue they have always operated such a system and are therefore not liable for infringement, even if the video service did host Viacom's content without the broadcaster's permission. Viacom argue that having a theoretical takedown system is not enough, and that the aforementioned 'safe harbour' protection does not apply if a digital service provider deliberately turns a blind eye to copyright infringement on its servers.

They have presented internal documents from the early days of YouTube which shows management there knew the vast majority of the content on their site infringed copyright (and one document shows one founder uploaded some of it), but that management decided to only takedown content when they really had to because they knew the infringing content provided the majority of their traffic, and their business plan was to get as many users as possible so to up any sale price. Viacom also add that while Google were more responsible regards copyright with their own Google Video service, they let YouTube continue to operate its slack approach to piracy for sometime after buying the platform.

Cass, who is obviously very much on the side of the copyright owners in this dispute, writes in an opinion piece for Forbes.com: "Steve Chen chastised fellow co-founder Jawed Karim for putting up 'stolen videos' himself, adding: 'We're going to have a tough time defending the fact that we're not liable for the copyrighted material on the site ... when one of the co-founders is blatantly stealing content from other sites and trying to get everyone to see it". But Chen also reminded his colleagues they couldn't take down copyrighted material without losing about 80% of the traffic they were getting, the essential ingredient for building their business so they could sell the site".

He goes on to allege: "YouTube facilitated massive copyright violations and knew it, and made a lot of money from traffic built on copyright violations. [They could and did monitor infringement] but stopped when it became clear just how much of its traffic and revenue were tied to piracy. Google stepped into YouTube's shoes when it bought the company and turned a blind eye to what was going on".

Until recently the consensus on this long running litigation seemed to be that Google had the stronger case, partly because similar disputes between content owners and YouTube rivals like Veoh have generally gone in the tech company's favour. Though those cases tended to focus on the technicalities of video sharing services and what duty operators had to proactively look for and remove infringing content, over and above blocking access to such content when alerted to it by copyright owners. The Viacom case is more interesting because of the allegations YouTube deliberately pursued a strategy of allowing infringement in order to build its business.

Cass seems to think that makes the MTV owner's case much stronger, and the implications of a ruling in YouTube's favour more damaging for the content industries. He concludes: "The impact of this suit will go well beyond Viacom and Google. Secure property rights and liability rules for intellectual property will support continued investment in developing the shows and other content that have been the engines powering internet sites like YouTube. Absolving site operators from liability for ignoring rampant piracy would be a recipe for putting the internet under a cloud of creative uncertainty that will chill investment the way clouds of ash from Eyjafjallajokull's eruption have chilled travel. The effects of a bad decision, however, would not vanish nearly as fast".

It is worth noting that Viacom's case only applies to infringing content on YouTube pre-2008, which is when the claimant accepts the Google-owned service introduced more proactive systems for blocking pirated content. It means that a ruling in Viacom's favour, while possibly costly for Google, probably wouldn't affect the way YouTube operates today. But in Cass' mind, the precedent set if Google had to write a very large cheque would be important, because it would make other start-ups think twice before employing a policy of 'turning a blind eye to infringement' in order to build market share.

You can read Cass' full opinion piece here:
www.forbes.com/2010/04/21/google-viacom-youtube-media-opinions-contributors-ronald-a-cass.html

For YouTube's other arguments against Viacom's lawsuit, check our previous report here:
newsblog.thecmuwebsite.com/post/Documents-released-from-ViacomYouTube-case.aspx

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DMX SUES COLLECTION AGENCY
DMX has launched a lawsuit against a company he hired to administer the collection of his royalties. The incarcerated rapper says that Rich Kid Entertainment has not paid him any money owed to him in the decade since he signed a deal with them, but that he only noticed this last year, partly due to various changes in his management.

As previously reported, DMX is currently in jail after violating the terms of his probation for various charges.

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BRET MICHAELS "CRITICAL BUT STABLE"
Poison frontman Bret Michaels remains in a critical but stable condition in the intensive care ward of an undisclosed hospital after suffering a brain haemorrhage last week. Though he has now apparently developed hyponatremia, a lack of sodium in the body leading to seizures, as a side effect of the haemorrhage.

In an update published via Michaels' Facebook page, fans were told: "Doctors state Michaels is very lucky as his condition could have been fatal. With further testing and rehabilitation, they are hopeful that Bret will gradually improve as the blood surrounding the brain dissolves and is reabsorbed into his system, which can be a very painful recovery and take several weeks to months. Michaels remains under 24-hour observation in the ICU and is in positive spirits. He is responding well to tests and treatments. Even though today was a minor setback doctors remain hopeful for a full recovery and plan to release more specific information next Monday".

There has been speculation that the bleeding on Michaels' brain relates to that previously reported injury sustained at last year's Tony Awards, where a half-ton prop fell on him as he was leaving the stage following a performance with Poison. At the time, a spokesperson for the event blamed the singer for "missing his mark" and not getting out of the way quickly enough. Though his legal rep said that no warning had been given that the prop would fall, and expressed dismay at the Tonys' flippant response. At the time no legal action was taken.

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WINEHOUSE HOSPITALISED AFTER FALL
Amy Winehouse found herself in hospital again this week after falling over in her home. She was apparently left with a cut above her eye and bruised ribs, though not, as was reported by some media, bruised breasts. I'm sure one day we'll be able to get through an Amy Winehouse story without mentioning her breasts. Not today, though. Breasts are the new heroin.

Anyway, a spokesman for the singer said: "She had an accident and tripped over at her home. She ended up with a cut above her eye and bruised her ribs. She's going to be fine. I don't know if she's still [in hospital]. If she is, it's not because something has happened. It's because it's nice".

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6MUSIC ANNOUNCES FUTURE OF MUSIC ELECTION DEBATE
Politicians from the three main political parties will take part in a live debate on the future of the music industry on Richard Bacon's BBC 6music show later this week. Also in the studio will be UK Music's Feargal Sharkey and there will be contributions from other music industry figures, including Michael Eavis and Melvin Benn.

It all starts at 3pm on Friday. Tune in, if you like, but please try not to shout too loud.

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WEEZER TO RE-ISSUE PINKERTON
Weezer have announced that they are preparing a re-issue of their second album, 'Pinkerton', as they come to the end of their current contract with Geffen.

The deluxe edition of the band's 1996 second album will feature an bonus disc of extras. Bassist Scott Shriner told Billboard: "[The second disc is] a ton of b-sides from a big period of time. Rivers [Cuomo] has been mostly in charge of picking which songs are gonna be on that ... I played on a lot of the songs. Some of the songs were around before I [joined] the band [in 2001]. There's so many cool things that we've recorded that never made the [albums], I think they had to get out there. Finally it's going to happen".

The band have also provided a track for the fourth 'Shrek' film, 'Shrek Forever After', which hits cinemas in May. As you may remember, they previously contributed a song to the second instalment of the movie series. Shriner says of the new song: "[It] was really fun to do. We're all fans of 'Shrek'. A lot of us have kids. It just sounded like a really fun idea".

Meanwhile, the band are reportedly considering their options after their current recording contract expires. Although, says Billboard, they have not ruled out re-signing to Geffen.

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SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM
School Of Seven Bells have announced that they will release 'Disconnect From Desire', the follow-up to their 2008 debut album 'Alpinisms', on 12 Jul.

Guitarist Alejandra Deheza told the NME: "I'm not nervous at all, I just really wanna move ahead with all these new songs. It's like: 'Alright, we're finally done with ['Alpinisms']'. Don't get me wrong, I love those songs, but, you know, if the band don't keep moving I think I'm just gonna lose my mind".

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SKUNK ANANSIE ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER TOUR
Having reformed last year, after eight years apart, to promote greatest hits compilation 'Smashes And Trashes', Skunk Anansie will be back on the road in November. Tickets go on sale on Friday.

Tour dates:

13 Nov: Manchester, Academy
14 Nov: Newcastle, Academy
15 Nov: Glasgow, Academy
17 Nov: Nottingham, Rock City
18 Nov: Sheffield, Academy
19 Nov: Leeds, Academy
21 Nov: Bournemouth, Academy
22 Nov: Bristol, Academy
23 Nov: Birmingham, Academy
26 Nov: London, Brixton Academy

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE

LARMER TREE, Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset, 14-18 Jul: Frank Turner and Babylon Circus have been confirmed to play at Larmer Tree this summer, completing the line up that includes the likes of Newton Faulkner, Martha Wainwright, Tunny and James Yuill. www.larmertreefestival.co.uk

LATITUDE, Henham Park Estate, Suffolk, 16-18 Jul: Frightened Rabbit, Villagers and These New Puritans have all been added to the Latitude line-up, along with Angus & Julia Stone, Lissie, School Of Seven Bells, Rox and John Grant. www.latitudefestival.co.uk

T IN THE PARK, Balado, Scotland, 9-11 Jul: D12, Detroit Social Club, Yeasayer and Corinne Bailey Rae head up the latest acts to play at T in the Park. Other acts added to the bill include 3OH!3, Bombay Bicycle Club, Kids In Glass Houses, Yeasayer and Unicorn Kid. www.tinthepark.com

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SINGLE REVIEW: The Qemists - Your Revolution (Ninja Tune)
"Drum n bass for indie kids" is how I described a previous Qemists single, and I'll stick with that description again for 'Your Revolution. Going for what is becoming known as 'stadium drum n bass', the Brighton-based trio sock us in the face with some wild beats and bass with a minor key vocal, and some power chords thrown loudly into the sonic melting pot.

The Reso remix on the b-side goes off on one. Excessively overdone, it becomes a little puerile with those bass and sirens, but it's admittedly chock full of raw energy, and goes into a breakdown that morphs entirely into some phat dubstep - which is perhaps how they should have entered the remix in the first place.

The Qems are also bringing their soundsystem to the road again this year; the trio of Dan Arnold, Leon Harris and Liam Black teaming up with MC Bruno, and according to many sources these guys can truly rock the live stage. PV

Physical release: 10 May
Press contact: Ninja Tune IH [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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STAR REISSUE DODGY TICKET AGENT WARNING
Following recent warnings from Festival Republic about all the dodgy people selling fake Reading and Leeds festival tickets, now the The Society Of Ticket Agents And Retailers have warned music fans about buying tickets from unofficial websites. STAR are worried that consumers will be ripped off by dodgy ticketing operations, rather than being ripped off by the legitimate ticket agencies affiliated with the trade body. But at least STAR members actually have access to the tickets they are selling, even if they plonk exorbitant fees on top even when you print out your own ticket or pay cash at the venue.

The advice given out by STAR is mainly common sense stuff that has been published by the ticketing sector before. Check an event's official website for details of 'promoter approved ticketing agencies'; only buy from websites that give the operator's physical address; only buy if a website provides all relevant info, including dates, venues, seating type; and look out for payment protection symbols that normally have a padlock in them (and use credit cards rather than debit cards, because you get more protection). And, of course, STAR recommend you only buy from STAR-affiliated agents, before adding that if a ticket offer seems "too good to be true" (eg a website is selling loads of tickets for sold out events), it probably is.

STAR man Jonathan Brown says this: "It's very easy to create a website that looks classy and reputable, but that doesn't mean it's law-abiding or will definitely supply you with what you think you are buying. People need to be vigilant in the run up to the festival season. Look for the warning signs, and if in doubt, make sure you buy from a member of STAR. If you see the STAR mark, you can expect excellent service, transparent pricing and an independent means of redress if anything goes wrong".

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WE7 COVERS FREE SERVICES COSTS WITH AD REVENUES
We7 has announced that last month its free-to-use on-demand streaming music service was fully paid for by ad revenues, ie no subsidy from We7's start up funding was required. Management there reckon they are the first licensed ad-funded on-demand music service to actually break even from ad sales, and they're probably right.

Commenting on the achievement, We7 boss Steve Purdham told CMU: "Making ad-funded music on-demand add up has been our single ambition since We7 first started. We're thrilled to be able to say that We7 can deliver real value to music lovers, rights owners, artists and advertisers alike by making it add up in a fair way. Music matters and should always have value even if consumers choose not to pay. The model is not unique - we have seen it for decades in TV and radio - but for music on-demand it was critical to ensure that the rights owners and songwriters get paid a fair rate whilst stamping-out piracy".

He continued: "Now that we have achieved this momentous milestone we feel confident about increasing scale. Music has never been a 'freemium' model - the key going forward is protecting the value of music with smart economic delivery. It should also be said that we could only make this happen by good support from the major and independent record labels, artists and the PRS For Music".

We7 says it is making its ad-funded model work by demonstrating value to its users, making the on-demand experience very easy, and by having advertising built into its platform in a multitude of ways from day one. Purdham has always been very candid about the business models behind We7, and the challenges his company faces, whereas his biggest rival Spotify have always been rather secretive about their finances, their deals with the labels, and how their business adds up (or doesn't).

Of course, while Spotify remains very popular with music fans, a backlash has begun in some parts of the artist community who have hit out at the royalties they are receiving, which they reckon are unfairly low given the success of the service. However, those royalties are based on deals between Spotify and the labels and PRS, and are being paid despite the streaming music service clearly being in a loss-making part of its business plan.

Arguably artists have to see the bigger picture regards the future potential of Spotify-style services as revenue earners, or at least take out their frustrations with labels and collecting societies who agreed to the current royalty rates. Presumably most of Spotify's rivals are paying similar rates, and the backlash to the Swedish service has, therefore, been more vocal because it is widely perceived as being the most successful, even if that's loss-making success.

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NEWS CORP BACK START-UP OPERATING IN BLANKET DIGITAL LEVY SPACE
Rupert Murdoch dominated News Corp is backing an interesting if, arguably, slightly flawed new digital start-up which is playing around in the all-you-can-eat and blanket licence download space. Sort of. It's all a bit complicated, to be honest.

According to the Financial Times, Adam Kidron's Beyond Oblivion company is aiming to set up a new service which will have some similarities with existing all-you-can-eat download operations like Nokia's ComesWithMusic, though mainly in the way a consumer pays for it - a subscription fee is bundled in with the cost of a phone handset, PC or digital media player, or an internet service provider or tel co account.

The business model behind Beyond Oblivion would, however, be different. The service's software would scan a customer's PC and log all digital music already stored there, oblivious of its origins. Users would be able to add to their digital music collections by downloading additional tracks free of charge, possibly from a Beyond Oblivion platform or, in theory, from any source on the net, including unlicensed file-sharing networks. The software would then monitor when any of that music gets played, and pay a nominal per play licence fee back to the content owners. That licence fee would be billed to the hardware manufacturer or tel co or ISP who charged the initial subscription fee to the consumer.

Of course, in many ways this is not a new principle. Some have long predicted the ultimate future of the record industry is that a levy will be applied to ISP accounts which will allow a user to access all and any music files from all or any source for free, with technology monitoring what tracks are downloaded and shared, and paying a cut of the overall levy fee to each content owner based on how much their music is used. Kidron's system is slightly different in that royalties would be paid based on play rather than download.

Such systems are, however, rather complicated to implement, both in terms of developing technology that can genuinely recognise and track digital content that is mainly stored as MP3s without digital rights management embedded, and in terms of how money is redistributed to record companies, music publishers and collecting societies, and artists and songwriters, and how accurate automated reporting would really be. Although some in the indie community have long advocated this as the ultimate aim for the digital music market, arguably such a system will favour the bigger catalogue owners.

The all-you-can-eat download services, like ComesWithMusic, are sort of a halfway house between the current a-la-carte download/subscription streaming services and the grand one-levy-gets-you-everything-forever system. As much previously reported, ComesWithMusic's great weakness is that, outside China, music sourced via the platform comes with DRM locking it to the device it is originally downloaded to. Apart from Universal, most major and key indie labels remain nervous of DRM-free all-you-can-eat MP3 download services, such as that proposed in the UK by Virgin Media.

Which brings us to the first of three flaws with Kidron's proposal. He is currently in talks with record companies, but it is likely most of them will be rightly nervous that the Beyond Oblivion system, while on one level possibly monetising the billions of MP3s that have been illegally downloaded in the last decade, might destroy those digital platforms that are already making the music industry money, such as iTunes, and those which have real potential to be good future earners, such as the subscription versions of Spotify and We7. And all on the dubious promise that ultimately Beyond Oblivion could pay billions into the music industry.

The second flaw is that the makers of digital music players, and providers of ISP services, might have to take the hit if it turns out users download and play a lot more music than the predetermined subscriptions accommodate. That's an issue for all all-you-can-eat systems. The all-you-can-eat business model is based on the principle most consumers will actually only download or play a relatively small number of tracks a month, even though in theory they could download every song ever, and play songs 24/7.

But if content owners receive a unit price for every download or play, even if that price is nominal, what happens if users access a lot more music than expected, who takes the hit? Tech companies and ISPs will be nervous of taking that risk. And even more so of paying out on tracks in a user's digital music collection that may have been legitimately bought via iTunes and on which no further licence fee is actually due.

The third flaw is Kidron's optimistic revenue projections, which seem at least partly based on those IFPI stats that say that although the digital music industry is currently worth $3.7 billion a year, 95% of downloads are illegal. Some combine those stats to say the digital music market should be making $70 billion a year and therefore the music industry is missing out on $66.3 billion. Kidron told the FT: "Our job is to collect as much of that as we can. To collect $66.3bn would be something of an achievement, but to collect $10bn of it would make people very happy. Those figures are completely within reach".

But, of course, the IFPI figures ignore the fact that if all illegal downloading stopped tomorrow, while digital revenues would likely rise, the rise probably wouldn't be huge, file-sharers would just have much smaller record collections.

Still, it's an interesting idea, and the News Corp's backing will boost the start-up's credibility. You can read the FT's interview with Kidron here: www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4cac402c-525d-11df-8b09-00144feab49a.html

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YOUTUBE PULL MIA VIDEO
The video for MIA's new single, 'Born Free', has been taken down by YouTube after they decided that it contravenes its content rules. Users under eighteen years old had previously been blocked from watching it (well, the 47 under-18-year-olds who don't lie about their age had). The nine minute video, directed by Romain Gavras, shows soldiers carrying guns and executing people with ginger hair.

YouTube said that it does not comment on individual videos, but a spokesperson did say: "On YouTube the rules prohibit content like pornography or gratuitous violence. Our policy is to age-restrict content that has been flagged by the community and identified by our policy enforcement team as content that, while not violating our community guidelines, is not suitable for users under age eighteen".

MIA's label, XL, refused to comment.

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BAUER LAUNCH REVAMPED ONLINE PLAYER
Bauer Media has launched a new online radio player which will be used by all its radio stations, including Kiss, Magic, Kerrang! and local stations in the Big City Network. The radio firm says the new player will make it easier to access its programming online, that content will be available in a better quality, and that sell-through functionality will enable listeners to buy music that appears on its playlists.

Bauer's digital man Bruce Mitchell told reporters: "The new player is a great step forward for Bauer Media's radio brands online. It provides an easy to use interface and at the same time offers music purchase, right from within the player".

The commercial radio sector's online radio platforms, especially those offering listen again content on-demand, have generally lagged along way behind the BBC's iPlayer service, and the Beeb has made its expertise available in this domain for the creation of an industry wide UK Radioplayer which is due to launch later this year (though Radio Today report that launch will now be later than originally thought).

The Bauer player will compete with the UK Radioplayer, even though the radio group's stations will appear on the industry-wide platform.

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ALEX ZANE JOINS NME RADIO
Alex Zane will launch a new show on NME Radio this Friday between 6-8pm. Called Propaganda Radio, the show comes courtesy of London club Propaganda, where Zane is a new weekly resident DJ. He and co-host DJ Dan will apparently be playing indie disco hits and "cutting edge new music".

NME Radio's Matt Priest told CMU: "It's great having Alex Zane on board and we're delighted he's chosen NME Radio to make his return to the medium".

Zane added: "I'm thrilled to be starting the Radio Propaganda show on NME Radio, it's a great station and has the best music policy in the country. I'll be playing the songs I love every Friday evening, it's going to be the place to start the weekend".

The new show sees Alex Zane return to radio as a presenter for the first time since leaving Xfm a year ago.

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COWELL MIGHT STEP BACK FROM NEXT SERIES OF BGT, OR MIGHT NOT
Simon Cowell has said he won't be involved in the next series of 'Britain's Got Talent' until the semi-final stage, because of all round busy-ness presumably. Though Cowell's spokesman Max Clifford has subsequently said no decision has actually been made.

Cowell told Reveal magazine: "I won't be doing the 'Britain's Got Talent' auditions next year. I will join the show at the semi-final stage. I will eventually leave but nothing is decided yet. We launch 'X Factor' [in the US] next year too, which is a huge challenge".

But Clifford told the Telegraph: "I spoke to Simon and absolutely no decision has been made. He's absolutely committed to it and won't be making a decision as to his appearances until the end of June, when he's back in the country".

There has been much speculation what the expansion of Cowell's TV ventures in the US might mean for the UK versions of 'Got Talent' and 'X-Factor', given even Cowell can only be in one place at any one time.

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BIEBER HAS BROKEN
Justin Bieber has said that he's "dealing with" the fact that his voice is breaking, as the sixteen year old finally gets around to going through puberty.

Perhaps fearing a Whitney Houston-style backlash, Bieber revealed in a YouTube video that he's having trouble hitting some of the high notes when performing live because of changes in his voice (and not because he couldn't hit them in the first place, right?). He told fans: "It cracks. Like every teenage boy, I'm dealing with it and I have the best vocal coach in the world. Some of the notes I hit on 'Baby' I can't hit anymore. We have to lower the key when I sing live".

Rumours that he's now planning to work a Delta blues medley into his live set were unconfirmed at the time of going to press.

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Andy Malt
Editor
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Co-Publisher
Caro Moses
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