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CMU Info
Top Stories
Online music piracy continues to grow - oh, what to do
In The Pop Courts
Universal takes FBT dispute to Supreme Court
Awards & Contests
Jessie J named BRITS Critics' Choice
New Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductees announced
Charts, Stats & Polls
Last.fm announces most scrobbled artists
Spotify announces most played tracks
Artist Deals
FatCat signs Jóhann Jóhannsson and Dustin O'Halloran
Syco signing all X-Factor finalists
Release News
Gay For Johnny Depp announce new album
Books News
Belle And Sebastian frontman to publish diaries
Gigs & Tours News
Katy B announces headline dates
Festival News
Glade festival to return in 2011
Festival line-up update
Live review: The Human League at Royal Festival Hall in London on 10 Dec
The Music Business
Festival Republic to organise third crime summit
!K7 reopens London office
The Media Business
RAJAR releases internet listening stats
And finally...
New Ke$ha sex photos surface online
Does Olly Murs track sound a bit Dodgy to you?

Of all the artists in our Artists Of The Year rundown, Janelle Monáe is the only one I've actually seen paint. Not that this has pushed her further up the chart, you understand. Actually, she wasn't particularly good at it, if I'm honest. No, she's at number two in this list because both on record and live she is exceptional.

A protégé of Outkast's Big Boi, Monáe released her debut single in 2005 and appeared on Outkast's 'Idlewild' album the following year. It was after this that Sean 'Diddy' Combs personally signed her to his Bad Boy Entertainment label. To his credit, he also recognised her as a long term artist, and rather than lining her up with a quick hit single, allowed her to develop at her own pace.

Her debut EP, 'Metropolis: The Chase Suite', was released in 2007 and formed the first part of a messiah story that stars her as female android Cindi Mayweather in the year 2719. Influenced by Fritz Lang's 1927 silent film 'Metropolis', the second and third parts of the story make up Monáe's debut album, 'The ArchAndroid', which was released in July this year. Here Mayweather realises she is the ArchAndroid who will free the android community from the Great Divide, a secret society using time travel to suppress freedom and love throughout the ages.

I fear I may be losing some of you now. It's okay, this isn't some overblown high concept prog album; it's a great pop record with a loose theme tying it together. Over eighteen tracks and 70 minutes, Monáe and her assembled collaborators - who include Big Boi, Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes and Saul Williams - bring together and endless array of smart ideas and brilliant songs.

Musically she draws upon numerous sources, with a distinct mix of old Motown, James Brown and late 70s Michael Jackson in there. But while many of her influences may be apparent, she stamps her own mark firmly on the lot of it. 'Cold War', the second single from the album stands out particularly and stretches the power of her voice furthest. 'Faster', 'Tightrope' and 'Wondaland' also show off different areas of her immense talent as well as the diversity of the album.

But with such an ambitious recording, with a great deal of vocal gymnastics and additional musicians, not to mention the visual style that accompanies it all, comes the challenge of translating it all into a compelling live show. This could so easily be her undoing, but thankfully Monáe more than delivers here, too.

I finally got to see her perform live earlier this month at the Shepherds Bush Empire. Having heard that her show is excellent, I went in with high expectations. I know that's never a good idea, but she completely exceeded them all. Although the show may not yet have quite the budget she needs to fully realise her ambitions for it, it's nonetheless a highly choreographed performance, kicked off with a video introduction of the album's concept and, most importantly, the announcement that we all need to "dance or die". It also included that previously mentioned attempt at painting.

And with the amount of energy she throws into her performance, the flawless vocals that pour out of her mouth and her gravity-defying hair, you could believe she really is an android from the 28th century.

Website | iTunes | Amazon | Spotify

Calling themselves "enlightenment activists", Japanese (and now London-based) psyche-rock band Bo Ningen make sounds like what you might hear if you dropped a load of acid and played albums by Black Sabbath, The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Polysics simultaneously.

Though I'm not recommending that you actually try that. It could go horribly wrong. You're better off just getting hold of these guys' eponymous debut album, which was released earlier this year, or catching them live. Expect long hair, garish colours and an overwhelming feeling that, while brilliant, what you're hearing could actually be damaging your brain in some way. All the best music comes with a health warning.


Illegal downloading is on the up, people. Or so says UK record label trade body the BPI, which reckons 7.7 million Brits continue to access music from unlicensed sources, with an estimated 1.2 billion tracks - 75% of all the digital songs acquired - being illegally downloaded in the UK last year.

And while the number of people using conventional P2P file-sharing software to illegally access music is steady, there has been a rise in people using links to music stored in cyberlocker services like RapidShare, and people accessing free MP3s from dodgy unlicensed websites that exist outside the UK.

And it's got to stop, soon, OK? Well, that's what the BPI says in the press blurb sent out with its Digital Music Nation 2010 report which carries all these piracy stats, as well as a review of the 67 legal digital music services currently operating in the UK. BPI top man Geoff Taylor says the continued growth of online piracy is a "parasite" stopping the legitimate digital music sector from achieving its real potential.

The solution? Well, in the short term, Geoff says, the government needs to get its arse into gear with regards the copyright provisions of the Digital Economy Act, and work out just how those warning letters are going to be sent out by internet service providers to their file-sharing customers, when and how net suspensions will be used against those who fail to heed the warnings, and at what point file-sharing kids can be legally culled. That was all in the DEA, right? I can't remember, it's a while since I read it.

While the record industry scored a big victory in getting most of the copyright proposals in the Digital Economy Bill through parliament before the last General Election, the labels are now starting to get tetchy about just when the anti-piracy system the DEA proposes will spring into operation. They fear plans for warning letters to start going out in early 2011 will not now be met, partly because of delays in OfCom's review as to how the three-strikes system should work, and partly because of BT and TalkTalk's decision to take the whole copyright section of the DEA to judicial review on the basis it violates European rules.

The Geoff man told reporters: "Digital music is now mainstream in the UK, with much to be proud of - nearly 70 legal services and a further increase in the numbers of digital singles and albums set to be sold online in 2010. Yet this growth is a fraction of what it ought to be. Illegal downloading continues to rise in the UK. It is a parasite that threatens to deprive a generation of talented young people of their chance to make a career in music, and is holding back investment in the burgeoning digital entertainment sector. As the internet becomes central to many aspects of our lives, including how we access our entertainment, we must decide whether we can afford to abandon ethical values we stand by elsewhere - that stealing is wrong; that creativity should be rewarded; that our culture defines who we are, and must be protected".

He continued: "The creative industries employ two million people in the UK and are the fastest growing sector of the economy. Urgent action is needed to protect those jobs and allow Britain to achieve its potential in the global digital market. 2011 must be the year that the government acts decisively to ensure the internet supports creativity and respects the basic rules of fair play we embrace as a nation".

Of course, as I'm sure we've said before, copyright owners like the BPI's members should stamp their feet every so often when their intellectual property rights are being infringed, if only to guilt the honest majority into at least investigating the plethora of legal music services that are out there. And reports like that being published by the BPI today, with the accompanying press coverage, can be valuable as part of that feet stomping effort.

That said, copyright owners also have to accept they can only protect their rights to a point, after which it's just not commercially viable to enforce your right to compensation. The question, I suppose, is where you draw the line. Even if the copyright section of the DEA was implemented in its entirety tomorrow, online piracy would continue and, even if it did decline to an extent, there's no guarantee that would result in an uplift in record sales. We at CMU still believe that, while illegal downloading is an issue worth shouting about, it can also be a distraction, removing attention from bigger issues.

Issues like: Perhaps recorded music had been overpriced for years, and the record industry needs to adapt to new pricing structures, capitalising on the cost savings enabled by the digital age. Perhaps as big a hindrance to the growth of the legitimate digital music sector as piracy is the fact that digital start ups can't get one blanket licence, like a new radio station can, and instead must pay large deal sweeteners to the big labels to open negotiations. And perhaps the real challenge for the wider music industry is how to redirect revenue streams other than record sales into the pot that then invests in new talent.

Of course, many people in the music industry - including some execs at BPI member record labels - know that these challenges are at least as big as the piracy issue, and some are even looking at ways to deal with these other areas. And none of this necessarily means the BPI is wrong to carry on banging on about file-sharing and the DEA.

Except sometimes I think there are some major label bosses who do genuinely believe that the DEA is their panacea: if only we could get three-strikes underway everything will be fixed. If those people do exist, well, they're going to be very disappointed. And probably out of business.

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Universal Music doesn't want to let this one lie, does it? Perhaps the wider implications of the ruling are more significant than the company is prone to admit.

Universal's Interscope division has appealed to the US Supreme Court over its dispute with FBT Productions, the US production house that has a stake in some of the early Eminem recordings. As much previously reported, FBT argues that digital sales of Slim Shady's music should be considered a licensing arrangement rather than an equivalent to traditional record sales, which is an important distinction because the company earns a considerably bigger cut of revenues on licensing deals than record sales.

FBT is not the first beneficiaries of a pre-internet record deal to argue that iTunes-style downloads should be considered a form of licensing rather than record sales, a distinction that would result in the artist's cut being bigger. However, most other claims to this effect have not been successful in court. But earlier this year the US's Ninth Circuit court sided with FBT, and then refused Universal's call for judges to rehear the case. The major has now filed a motion with the Supreme Court asking for FBT's lawsuit to be reconsidered anew.

Universal insists that FBT's claim is based specifically around the wording of its contract with the major, and therefore the production company's victory in this case does not set a precedent that other artists could use to reinterpret download sales as licensing arrangements and demand a higher royalty cut as a result. That said, the major clearly wants to win this case and is willing to pursue every avenue of appeal before writing the FBT team a cheque for past digital sales of Eminem's tracks.

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British music critics have decided that Jessie J will be the big new artist of 2011. She was picked ahead of James Blake and The Vaccines to be named the BRITS Critics' Choice Award winner. Previous winners are Adele (2008), Florence And The Machine (2009) and Ellie Goulding (2010).

The singer said of her win: "This is epic! It has been a dream since I was a little girl to win a BRIT. I can't believe it's happened!"

Jessie will now perform at the BRITs nominations launch on 13 Jan at IndigO2 in the O2 Dome, which will be broadcast on ITV2 the following evening.

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The US Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has announced that Neil Diamond, Tom Waits, Alice Cooper, Dr John, Darlene Love, Jac Holzman, Art Rupe and Leon Russell will be the latest artists to be inducted into the music history museum next year.

Diamond told QMI: "I'd like Elvis Presley [to induct me], but he's not available. [But] I think it's great to be recognised".

Musicians are eligible for entry into the Hall Of Fame 25 years after their debut release.

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Last.fm has announced the top ten most played artists by users of the musical listening tracking service. The chart was compiled based on plays logged - or scrobbled - for tracks on albums released between 1 Oct 2009 and 31 Oct 2010, excluding live albums and greatest hits collections.

This year Ke$ha came out top, with just under sixteen million track plays from her debut album 'Animal'. She takes the top spot from Lady Gaga, who last year managed to rack up eighteen and a half million track plays from her 'The Fame' album.

The complete top ten is as follows:

1: Ke$ha (15.9 million plays)
2: Mumford & Sons (11.6 million plays)
3: Arcade Fire (11.1 million plays)
4: Gorillaz (10.5 million plays)
5: Vampire Weekend (10 million plays)
6: Eminem (9.6 million plays)
7: 30 Seconds To Mars (9.5 million plays)
8: Rihanna (8.9 million plays)
9: Katy Perry (8.1 million plays)
10: The National (7.3 million plays)

To see the full top 40 and for some cool stats on each artists (particularly if you're a last.fm user), go to www.last.fm/bestof/2010/.

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Spotify has announced the top ten most played tracks and albums on the service so far this year. I'm not sure there's much to be learned from them, other than that popular music is popular, but why not have a look anyway?

Most played tracks

1: Lady Gaga - Telephone
2: Bob feat Hayley Williams - Airplanes
3: Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
4: Mumford & Sons - The Cave
5: Rihanna - Rude Boy
6: Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man
7: Florence And The Machine - You've Got The Love
8: Jason Derulo - Ridin Solo
9: Usher feat Will.i.am - OMG
10: Iyaz - Replay

Most played albums

1: Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster
2: Florence And The Machine - Lungs
3: Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
4: The xx - xx
5: Rihanna - Rated R
6: Jason Derulo - Jason Derulo
7: Ke$ha - Animal
8: Black Eyed Peas - The END
9: Alicia Keys - The Element Of Freedom
10: Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3

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FatCat has announced that it has signed Jóhann Jóhannsson and Dustin O'Halloran to its 130701 imprint for new releases in 2011.

Icelandic musician, composer and producer Jóhann Jóhannsson has previously released through Touch and 4AD, as well as writing numerous scores for film and theatre. He is due to release his first album for 130701 in May and will also appear live as part of The Barbican's Steve Reich weekend in 7-8 May.

Meanwhile, pianist Dustin O'Halloran, who scored Sofia Coppola's 'Marie Antoinette' in 2006 and William Olsen's 'An American Affair' this year, and has released two solo piano albums via Bella Union, will release his new album, 'Lumiere', on 28 Feb.

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I think Simon Cowell's contract with ITV should state that he's only allowed to sign the winners of the 'X-Factor' competition, and contenders on the show should be forced to accept a life of stacking shelves in Tesco if they lose, otherwise, well, what's the point of the entire phone vote thing if he's going to sign everyone anyway?

Either One Direction, Olly Murs and JLS should report to the check out at their nearest Sainsburys, or Cowell and co should be forced to return the millions they've earned from X-Factor final phone votes over the years.

Anyway, according to reports, Cowell's SyCo record company is in the process of signing all four finalists from this year's 'X-Factor' show, so that's winner Matt Cardle, the Cowell created boy band that is One Direction and the two lady finalists, Rebecca Ferguson and Cher Lloyd. Place your bets now which one will be this year's Gareth Gates.

A source told the Daily Star that "Simon's always said he wants feisty characters who know what type of artist they are. And he certainly has that in Cher, Rebecca and One Direction". The tab adds that Cher Lloyd's contract will allow for a certain Will.i.am to have a creative role in her career. Whether that means a debut album full of songs illegally sampling other tracks, I couldn't possibly say.

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Hardcore band Gay For Johnny Depp have announced that they will release their second album, 'What Doesn't Kill You, Eventually Kills You', on 14 Feb through Shinebox Recordings. They will also be heading out on a three week UK tour in February and March.

Announcing the release, the band said in a statement: "The record is the sound of children being thrown from a carney carousel. A caffeinated, incorporated cog in the machinery... naked aggressive, nightly news-ish and stress-related. Album Of The Year (1989)".

Here's the tracklist:

Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny And Artistic Integrity
She Has The Hottest Limp (It's All Noize)
Humility Is For People Who Don't Comprehend Their Own Mortality
We Are The World? Burn It Down!
Rod Don't Surf
Nine Inch Males (Born To Hate)
No, I'm Married to Jesus. Now Keep Your Fucking Hands Off Of Him.
Pink Flag
What Doesn't Kill You, Eventually Kills You
Cum On Feel The Boize

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Belle And Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch will publish a collection of his diaries, entitled 'The Celestial Café', in February, it has been announced.

Described as "a poncy sort of book" with its main focus on 2002 to 2006, it's apparently very light on rock n roll debauchery, but does feature his musings on herbal tea, sunsets, church choirs, John Peel and acupuncture, as well as a list of his favourite mathematicians and an account of the time he decided to buy extra-soft slippers so as not to disturb neighbours living in the flat below.

One of it's racier moments comes in the form of this exchange between Murdoch and guitarist Bobby Kildea:

"'When are we going to get a string of number ones, like Abba?' I asked".
"'When you grow a pair of tits', said Bob".

Although not available on general release until 22 Feb, you can buy the book direct from publisher Pomona Books now at www.pomonauk.com/shop/store.php.

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Katy B's good, isn't she? Yes, she is. Now we've got that cleared up, let's all rejoice in the news that she's announced some headline live dates to follow her February tour as Tinie Tempah's support act.

Tour dates:

29 Apr: Oxford, Academy
30 Apr: Bristol, Thekla
1 May: Cardiff, Millennium Music Hall
5 May: Glasgow, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut
9 May: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
10 May: Birmingham, Academy
11 May: Norwich, Arts Centre
12 May: London, Koko
4 Jun: Manchester, Academy
6 Jun: Newcastle, Academy
7 Jun: Leeds, Cockpit

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Having been called off this year, partly due to spiralling policing costs, Glade Festival will return in 2011, it has been announced. The dance music festival will also move to a new site with a smaller capacity, which will delight many fans who were displeased by the recent expansion to the old Homelands site.

Organiser Anselm Guise said: "We are thrilled to be able to say that the Glade will be back in 2011. The festival is being revolutionised yet stripped back to its shiny grass roots... half the capacity that it was in the last few years and getting back to its original spirit but with a big step forward creatively, musically and artistically".

He continued: "We've been dying to let everyone know that it is definitely here again and with everything that's happened we've had to ensure that we've got something to excite, that we can make happen and that will be a true celebration of life, music and art. We now can. Half the battle was finding the right home for the festival and we really have. We've found a belter - proper English parkland where we can do our thing... trees everywhere! The Glade is back!"

The festival will take place from 11-13 Jun, with earlybird tickets going on sale on 25 Jan.

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BLOC WEEKEND, Butlins, Minehead, 11-13 Mar: Magnetic Man, Jamie xx, A Guy Called Gerald and a full Modeselektion line-up featuring Ben Klock, Modeselektor, Apparat, Ramadanman, Ikonika, Siriusmo and Daniel Meteo have all just been added to the line up for this holiday camp festival, joining a bill that already boasts Aphex Twin, Vitalic, Claude Von Stroke and LFO. www.blocweekend.com

OXEGEN, Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare 7-10 Jul: Blink 182 have been announced as headliners for the Irish fest, which makes everyone assume they'll also headline T In The Park the same weekend too. But if you assume you make an ass out of you and me. But they almost certainly will. www.oxegen.ie

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LIVE REVIEW: The Human League at Royal Festival Hall in London on 10 Dec
If 'Credo', the League's forthcoming album, is indeed a return to their original aesthetic, as promised by Phil Oakey during this gig, then the brutal modernism of the South Bank somehow feels like an apt venue for the group's futurist pop.

Opening the set with a new song (the pulsating 'Electric Shock') is a brave move, as for that matter, is Phil Oakey's decision to wear a black hoody for his stage entrance (which he soon sheds for smarter couture, but for a time he looks like a cross between Kenny from South Park and an unsavoury local teenager). And whilst both said track and brilliantly daft new single 'Night People' are greeted with polite applause, it's the hits the crowd inevitably go wild for; ultimately everyone is here for the exercise in nostalgia that this was always going to be.

All the group's synth-pop classics are wheeled out - 'Mirror Man', 'Love Action', 'Tell Me When' et al and there are few surprises, though League purists are appeased with crunchy renditions of 'Being Boiled' and 'Empire State Human', whilst the appearance of 'Heart Like A Wheel', from 1990's under-rated 'Romantic?' album, is also very welcome.

The stage design's stark white minimalism adds to the sleekness yet the films on the backdrop are a little bit hit and miss, which is a surprise given the League have always projected a strong visual identity, understanding its power as the MTV-era took hold in the 80s. But footage of US marines and explosions in The Lebanon is just awkwardly unsubtle.

That said, it doesn't take the edge off a riotous romp through a back catalogue that, with electronic pop the defining sound of the last few years, has finally become ageless, even though these songs have always felt like an intrinsic part of our pop history. Phil and The Girls seem to have enjoyed themselves too, let's hope's the new album (out in March) proves to be worth the wait. MS

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Festival Republic has confirmed it will next month host another Crime At Major Music Festivals conference, where festival promoters, security companies and police forces meet to discuss how they can further step up crime prevention at major music events.

This is the third time Festival Republic has organised such a conference, and its top man Melvin Benn has told Music Week that he believes the past meetings have proven "invaluable in terms of sharing intelligence and communicating a strong and cohesive message to criminals that their actions will not be tolerated".

A key topic to be discussed at next month's event will be how festival promoters and police forces around the corner can better share intelligence regarding criminals who tour the festival circuit.

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German indie label !K7 has announced it is opening a new London office, having coordinated its UK operations from their Berlin HQ for a few years now.

The new east London base will undertake A&R, promotions and marketing activity with two staff, Phil Howells and Tess Kendall. Quinton Scott, a UK rep for !K7 imprint Strut, will also work out of the new office.

!K7 boss Horst Weidenmueller told CMU: "London was always the A&R hub for the !K7 label group and we are happy know to finally re-open our office and give our A&R's Quinton and Phil a proper base to develop their A&R visions from".

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Radio ratings thingy RAJAR has released its latest internet listening stats based on research undertaken in November. And according to the research 2.2 million people have now downloaded a radio app to their smartphone, 16.3 million listen to radio on the internet and 17.7 million have made use of a listen again service. Meanwhile 8.1 million adults have downloaded at least one podcast, and that's before the launch of the CMU podcast, imagine how much those figures will sky rocket once that happens next month.

Commenting on the latest set of internet listening stats, RAJAR's Christel Swift told reporters: "Listening to radio via smartphones has grown rapidly over the past year or so and this is reflected in the number of people who claim to have downloaded a radio app, which now stands at just over a quarter of smartphone owners. This development is excellent news for radio on the go and represents a real opportunity for the radio industry".

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Perez Hilton has posted two pictures seemingly showing that Ke$ha chick getting it on with an unnamed bearded man, the second showing the tedious American pop type receiving oral sex. Um, not that we've looked.

With similarly explicit photos of Ke$ha surfacing online earlier this year, Perez asks readers of his Unrated site: "A new scandalous photo of Ke$ha was just leaked and we don't know what's worse: Looking at cum all over her tits or seeing a pic of her getting eaten out".

Missed opportunity for a reader poll there, surely.

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According to The Sun, Dodgy have claimed that the current single from former 'X-Factor' loser Olly Murs, 'Thinking Of Me', sounds a little bit too much like their most famous song 'Good Enough' and, the tab says, they have sound experts analysing the two tracks, presumably to see whether there is enough similarity to justify a copyright action.

It's not entirely clear how seriously the Dodgy boys are taking this, it's possibly just an excuse to post a mash-up of the two songs on their Soundcloud page - soundcloud.com/dodgyuk. Personally, I think the Murs track sounds more like that UB40 song. You know, every song UB40 have ever recorded.

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Business Editor &
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