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INFORMATION
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
BMG boss says it's EMI's recordings he wants
Reunions & Splits
Portnoy booted out of Avenged Sevenfold, turned away from Dream Theater
Beecher reform for tenth anniversary
Simply Red split
Artist Deals
Tinie Tempah not ready to sign US deal
In The Studio
Blur to record new album, maybe
Release News
New Scissor Sisters video
New Kode9 album promised
Gigs & Tours News
Winehouse a bit pissed at comeback gig
Seefeel tour
The Digital Business
New all-you-can-eat mobile music service to launch in US
Mastercard and US ad industry make commitments to anti-piracy efforts
New anti-piracy system close to being passed in Spain
The Media Business
OfCom to investigate Christina and Rihanna's X performances
New product placement rules for UK TV and radio - full-blown payola still not allowed on radio
And finally...
Cowell in line for a knighthood, reports claim
Muse in trouble for smoking in Australia
Jedward critique Florence's long term career possibilities


 
TUESDAY 21ST DECEMBER
CMU ARTISTS OF THE YEAR 2010 - #1: TINIE TEMPAH
And so, we reach the end of our list of CMU's ten artists of the 2010, with our number one artist of the year: Tinie Tempah.

Having only officially signed to EMI's Parlophone label in October last year, Tinie Tempah has gone on to be one of 2010's most successful artists. Most of us were focusing on the likes of Ellie Goulding and Delphic this time last year, so the south London rapper featured in only a small number of 'tips for 2010' lists, but by January he was already quietly laying the ground for his explosive arrival into the mainstream consciousness.

 
In December 2009, Parlophone uploaded the video for his debut single, 'Pass Out', to YouTube with little fanfare. But his already considerable underground following - built up through various singles, mixtapes, collaborations and a lot of touring - helped to slowly push that video to prominence, so that he quickly picked up new devotees amongst both mainstream pop fans and those of a more underground persuasion. And as the video's views increased, more and more of the press and radio picked up on it, ensuring that the Labrinth-produced track went straight to number one upon its release in March.

It was at this point his rising fame tripped over the point of no return. P Diddy was on the phone and, along with Tynchy Stryder, Tinie added vocals to a remix of 'Hello Good Morning' by Diddy's Dirty Money project, released in June.

The same month his own new single went to number two in the charts, held back only by Dizzee Rascal and James Corden's World Cup single 'Shout'. Again produced by Labrinth (who himself celebrated the success of the single by becoming the first artist to be signed by Simon Cowell from outside his TV ventures in six years), the single stuck to pretty much the same formula as 'Pass Out', but Tinie was already working on a far more varied album, as exemplified by the follow-up singles: 'Written In The Stars', which features vocals from Street Fighting Man frontman Eric Turner, 'Miami 2 Ibiza' with Swedish House Mafia, and new single, 'Invincible', with Kelly Rowland.

Having been written either side of Tinie Tempah's sudden arrival into the public consciousness, the autobiographical lyrics of the album - 'Disc-Overy' - document his rapid change in lifestyle, from over-confident newcomer to international jetsetter. Working with a variety of producers and guest vocalists, Tinie has created an album that I believe will be assured a prominent position in pop history.

I can think of no album that has so successfully combined underground electronic music with mainstream pop. Of course, grime was ready to merge with the pop genre by the end of 2009, and Tinie wasn't the only person trying to do it. But only he seemed to properly pull it off, creating great pop tracks but which maintained the edgier elements of the grime sound, where previously the likes of Tinchy Stryder had more happily stepped straight over into pop. More will now surely follow, though whether they will match 'Disc-Overy' is another matter. It's a brilliant album, well constructed, and not simply a handful of singles with some hastily knocked off filler tracks.

But what about the live show? With such a rapid rise to fame, was he really ready to take his music to bigger stages. You better believe it. Tinie Tempah's live show had the audience in a frenzy long before he reached the stage, thanks to his DJ, Charlesy, playing records between the long line-up of support acts, to keep things running along, never leaving the crowd to stand bored watching roadies move equipment around.

Though Charlsey's work meant that Tinie Tempah had to be brilliant from the second he walked on stage, because the crowd were more than ready to go. Thankfully, he's a natural performer and is backed by an excellent band. He did bring out a lot of guest vocalists at the London show I saw, which at time felt a little unnecessary (Kelly Rowland's video message especially), but Tinie was still very much the focus, even holding his own alongside Tinchy Stryder, who joined him on stage for a live version of their Diddy Dirty Money remix.

For Tinie Tempah, 2010 seems to have gone perfectly. And with various tours and a second album already lined up the next twelve months, he looks set to continue on this course in 2011.

Website | iTunes | Amazon | Spotify
 
BEST OF CMU APPROVED 2010: ACTIVE CHILD
Having first come to our attention in late 2009 through his brilliant remix of NewIsland's 'Out Of Time', and then an original track, 'I'm In Your Church At Night', Active Child, aka LA-based musician Pat Grossi, continued to build a buzz around himself this year with two extremely limited cassette and vinyl releases, followed by his first full release, the 'Curtis Lane' EP, via Merok in June.

 
Grossi's sound encompasses ghostly analogue electronica, vocals influenced by a childhood spent singing in classical choirs, and a slow-plucked harp. It's a distinct style amongst the current crop of indie electronica. And he's also continued to provide excellent remixes for the likes of Marina & The Diamonds, Steve Mason and School Of Seven Bells this year, as he works on his debut album, due for release next year.

www.myspace.com/activechild


BMG BOSS SAYS IT'S EMI'S RECORDINGS HE WANTS
Isn't it the Bible that foretells how the Terra Firma dynasty will one day fall, leaving a group of Citi elders to distribute the songs of the god EMI to the German King Bertie, while handing over the EMI church's many phonographs to a strange mysterious man called Edgar? I'm pretty sure that's all predicting somewhere in the middle of Revelation.

Anyway, it seems the bible might be wrong on this one too. Because, in an end-of-year Music Week interview with the man atop what has probably been the most acquisitive music company in 2010, it's revealed BMG has its eyes on EMI's recordings catalogue, not its publishing business.

As much previously reported, it has been widely assumed that if - and possibly when - equity group Terra Firma hands over the keys to EMI to Citigroup, unable or unwilling to inject any more money into the flagging music major to keep it within the terms of its multi-billion pound Citi loan, the US bank would likely split the firm into two, selling the EMI record company and music publishing business separately. Warner Music has long been seen as a buyer for the record labels, while it's been thought BMG would buy EMI Publishing.

But, says BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch in his enlightening interview with Music Week: "Integrating EMI's publishing [with the rest of BMG] would be tough, but if you look at the recorded side, it is a different story. We are increasingly moving into representing master catalogues and EMI is the iconic catalogue. We are more confident these days; it is no secret we are more interested in rights to masters than publishing".

Of course, it has always been the plan that the all new BMG - launched after German media giant Bertelsmann sold its old publishing business to Universal and record labels to Sony - would be a truly integrated music rights operation, managing and monetising both publishing and sound recording rights side by side. But, with a few notable exceptions, most of BMG's catalogue acquisitions to date have been concerned with the lyric and melody copyrights of a conventional music publisher, not sound recording copyrights of a record label.

Buying EMI's recordings catalogue would redress the balance and make BMG as important a player in the recordings side of the music industry as it has become in music publishing. Meanwhile, the thought of BMG acquiring EMI Music rather than EMI Publishing opens up whole new avenues of speculation.

BMG has previously indicated that it isn't especially interested in the costly and risky side of running a traditional record company, which might be bad news for the EMI labels as they currently stand. Would a BMG acquisition of the EMI record company turn it into primarily a catalogue operation? God knows EMI, like all the majors, is vastly under using its catalogue.

But, that said, a lot of EMI Music's current successes are in its new artist operations, and its music services division, which also primarily works with new talent. Perhaps Masuch recognises this and would keep much of the existing EMI Music structure in place. The inner workings of the EMI labels are, after all, now much more efficient than those of their major label rivals following all the Terra Firma instigated cut backs of recent years.

On the other hand, if Warner were to buy EMI Music, presumably they'd merge the EMI labels with their existing recordings business. So, perhaps, for the EMI record companies, a BMG purchase would be much more palatable than being absorbed by Warner Music. And would Warner then bid for EMI Publishing instead? Or would that leave the way for Imagem or another equity group to buy EMI's indisputably valuable publishing catalogue?

Of course, all this speculation is based on the assumption Terra Firma will hand over EMI to Citigroup sooner rather than later, and that the bank will decide there is more money to be made by splitting the London music firm up rather than selling it as a whole.

EMI chief Roger Faxon has argued that, with his business plan which, like BMG, seeks to integrate publishing and sound recording operations, it will become increasingly hard to split up the two EMI businesses. And in the long term he is probably right. But talk of integration at EMI has, so far, been mainly just that - talk - and as everyone seems to think the big sale will happen in the first half of 2011, splitting up EMI Music from EMI Publishing won't be all that difficult.

If, when and how this will all happen remains to be seen. Meantime, I'm going to return to the scriptures to see if there are any other metaphorical clues.

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PORTNOY BOOTED OUT OF AVENGED SEVENFOLD, TURNED AWAY FROM DREAM THEATER
Poor old Mike Portnoy, it's not been going so well for the drummer lately.

He announced in September that he was leaving Dream Theater, the band he founded and was the main creative force of for 25 years, but said he would continue performing with metallers Avenged Sevenfold. He joined the latter earlier this year after their drummer, James 'The Rev' Sullivan, died. In one of various statements about his departure from Dream Theater, Portnoy wrote: "I am proud to always be part of the Avenged Sevenfold family and history".

But this, it seems, was news to the rest of Avenged Sevenfold, who seemingly thought of Portnoy as the fill-in guy while they got themselves back together following Sullivan's sudden death. And, according to their frontman M Shadows, Portnoy dragging them into his ongoing dispute with Dream Theater was not something they were comfortable with. So, they have apparently sent him packing, too.

Shadows told The Pulse Of Radio last week: "We were actually a little more shocked. We felt that maybe both parties [Portnoy and his former Dream Theater bandmates] could have handled it a little more internally without being so press release-happy about what had happened between them. Because we're a band that, really, when it comes to news all over websites or this or that about bands, you know, we don't tweet much, we don't try to put ourselves out that much, and all the drama and controversy wasn't something that we wanted at all".

Having seemingly learned no lesson from this whatsoever, Portnoy this week issued a new statement, revealing that he'd recently attempted to rejoin Dream Theater, but to no avail.

Portnoy wrote on his website's forum: "Fairly recently, I reached out to the guys to try and make amends and offered to reconcile for the sake of having peace back in our lives (plus I know how much it meant to a lot of the fans). I figured it was still possible to try and save us because they hadn't made any announcements yet or begun any public activity with another drummer. But sadly, they declined my offer (well, actually their lawyer did, they didn't even tell me themselves)".

He continued: "Sorry gang, I honestly gave it my all... So now the fans on my Twitter and Facebook can please stop asking me to go back to DT. I tried, and the door is now shut, the ball is now in their court, not mine..."

Pre-empting this statement's likely backlash, he wrote: "I'm not crying or looking for mercy by posting this. I am merely trying to set the record straight as that is always the most important thing about my relationship with you guys. No BS, no spins, nothing to hide... and for better or for worse, I tell it like it is".

He added: "I've also recently seen some people accuse my online activity of 'looking for attention or media coverage', or 'looking for sympathy', but it's honestly none of the above. I merely value having an open and active communication with my fans, always have, always will. It is the cornerstone of everything I've done since day one with DT".

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BEECHER REFORM FOR TENTH ANNIVERSARY
Influential British hardcore band Beecher have announced that they will reform for a tour in 2011 to mark the tenth anniversary of their formation.

In a statement, the band said: "Summer 2011 sees the ten year anniversary of the start of Beecher. We disbanded suddenly [in early 2006], during our most active period, playing just one 'goodbye' gig, at which more than 100 fans of the band were rejected at the doors of the already over-capacity venue".

They continued: "Having had five years of reflection time, and considering the aforementioned fact that our tenth birthday is fast approaching, we have decided to reform, playing a handful of shows over the course of 2011 - the first of which will take place on 29 Apr at the Star & Garter, in our hometown of Manchester. The rest are as-of-yet unconfirmed".

Tour dates will be announced on the band's MySpace page as they are confirmed: www.myspace.com/beecherband

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SIMPLY RED SPLIT
At last, Mick Hucknall has carried out his long offered promise to bring Simply Red to an end. The band played their final show at the O2 Arena on Sunday night.

At the close of the show, Hucknall announced to the audience: "Good night, adios, Simply Red are no more".

The singer first announced his intention to stop performing as Simply Red after one more final round of touring two years ago.

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TINIE TEMPAH NOT READY TO SIGN US DEAL
Tinie Tempah has denied rumours that he is preparing to sign to Jay-Z's Roc Nation label in the US, as he's not ready to make the move to the States just yet.

The rapper told M Is For Music: "I've just been here in America doing quite a few things actually, and none of them has been that. You know what - at this moment in time I'm just concentrating on what I'm doing. What Jay-Z has achieved for himself is incredible and if I could achieve something like that I'd be happy. But not at this minute. Only time will tell".

He also commented on the current state of hip hop and rap in the UK, saying: "I think rap is doing just like it did in America, slowly becoming part of popular culture. It's gonna get to a point where rap music, I believe, will have a few prominent figures in the same way that America has the iconic Jay-Z, Kanye West and now Drake. I definitely think there will be a few iconic figures in British music who will have that sort of iconic status and will be able to headline festivals and tours".

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BLUR TO RECORD NEW ALBUM, MAYBE
Damon Albarn recently announced that Blur were planning to do something together again next year. And that thing might be an album. It might not, of course. But it might be. And The Sun has quotes from unnamed sources saying they are at the very least going to record some stuff, so it must be true. Or not true. One of those things.

The anonymous jabberer told the tabloid: "The lads will be getting in the studio next year. There's no concrete plans regarding what they will do with the material, but if they're all agreed it could become the first full Blur album to feature all four members in over a decade".

They added: "When they went into the studio earlier this year [to record one-off single 'Fool's Day'] everyone was really pleased to discover that the old magic was still there. They would have liked to have done more, but Damon could not take part due to his commitments with Gorillaz. Now that he's finished touring with the band he has more time on his hands".

Albarn also recently announced that he would be putting Gorillaz on hiatus for 2011 while he worked on other projects.

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NEW SCISSOR SISTERS VIDEO
The Scissor Sisters have posted a message online thanking their UK fans for turning out into the snow for their recent gigs over here, while suggesting us Brits might want to invest in a new snow plough or two. They've also posted a video for their next single on YouTube which is how this counts as release news, in case you wondered.

Say the Sisters: "It is with triumph and joy that we Scissor Sisters bid ta-ta to our British fans and friends. To say that we enjoyed our UK tour is a massive understatement: we have played our best, looked our best, and were blessed with the best audiences of our career. A huge THANK YOU to all who braved the elements (especially our Glaswegian sisters) and told the snow to sod off - and [we pass on] encouragement to all citizens of the UK to call your local council and MPs and have them invest some money in a snow plough or two. Take it from us New Yorkers: a little snow is nothing to be afraid of, just an opportunity to show off your shovelling skills!"

The video for next single 'Invisible Light', which is due for release in the new year, is a bit crazy and can be enjoyed at: youtu.be/SG4cec5cR78

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NEW KODE9 ALBUM PROMISED
Early dupstepper Kode9 has announced that he will release a new album with occasional collaborator The Spaceape next April, some five years on from last long player 'Memories Of The Future'. It will be called 'Black Sun' and will come out on Kode9's own Hyperdub label. So, that's something to look forward to.

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WINEHOUSE A BIT PISSED AT COMEBACK GIG
Amy Winehouse reportedly slurred and stumbled her way through a recent gig in Russia, which isn't much of a way to start a new chapter in your career.

Some hoped Winehouse's first proper gigs for quite some time, in Russia and Brazil, might see the singer return to form, but that's not how it turned out if the Russian media reports The Sun has been reading are true. The tabloid cites Russian reports that Winehouse arrived in good health for her gig but downed a bottle of whisky backstage and so began her set rather worse for wear.

I'm not sure Winehouse is really earning the $450,000 The Sun reckons she will receive for the current string of gigs.

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SEEFEEL TOUR
Electro-alt-rock types Seefeel have announced live dates for March that will follow the release of a new eponymous album via Warp on 31 Jan, a track from which you can preview online here. There'll also be a London gig on the day of the album release at Kings Place.

The March dates are as follows:

18 Mar: Manchester, Islington Mill
19 Mar: Dublin, Button Factory
21 Mar: Glasgow, The Arts School
22 Mar: Birmingham, Hare & Hounds

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NEW ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT MOBILE MUSIC SERVICE TO LAUNCH IN US
A US mobile operator called Cricket Wireless yesterday confirmed plans to launch an all-you-can-eat music service in January, offering pay-as-you-go customers access to unlimited downloads and a load of other mobile services for $55 a month, which seems quite expensive, but possibly not in the context of the average mobile fee in the States.

It's not clear how much of that monthly fee is actually allocated to the music part of the service, but the idea is that to the customer the extra download subscription fee is hidden.

Although sounding a little like Nokia's Comes With Music, the Cricket Wireless service, to be called Muve, operates more like the original Napster. Downloads come with DRM which means they can only be played while a Muve subscription is active, once a subscription lapses the tracks become unplayable. Also, unlike Comes With Music, the tracks are only downloaded to the mobile, there is no option to also listen to a tune on a PC.

Cricket Wireless bosses say the latter point isn't a weakness because many of their customers don't own a PC or have a broadband connection at home, and therefore use their mobile phone as their primary device for accessing the net. They hope that added benefits like in built Shazam, curated playlists, the facility to share music with other subscribers and super fast downloading will all make the service more attractive.

All four majors and a bunch of indies are on board for the launch next month.

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MASTERCARD AND US AD INDUSTRY MAKE COMMITMENTS TO ANTI-PIRACY EFFORTS
Both Mastercard and America's Interactive Advertising Bureau have indicated to US content industry trade bodies that they are happy to play ball in efforts to shut down websites that exist exclusively or primarily to aid copyright infringement, by refusing to take payments from or sell advertising on behalf of such operations.

According to CNET, the two organisations have made the commitments amid lobbying efforts in Washington by music and movie companies to introduce that previously reported proposed legislation that would empower the US Department Of Justice to shut down websites that commit extensive intellectual property infringements.

As previously reported, the proposed new laws on the table in America are similar to the second part of the copyright section of the UK's Digital Economy Act, and are designed to speed up the process through which content owners can target online operations that undertake or enable copyright infringement. Of course, said content owners can already pursue civil lawsuits against such websites - and have, in the main, been successful when they have done so - but such litigation is expensive and drawn out. The new system would make it much quicker and much cheaper.

It should be noted that this element of the DEA was basically cut at the last minute to ensure three-strikes got through parliament (in that the framework for such a system is still in the Act, but with a 'maybe we'll do this one day, maybe we won't' clause thrown in). In the US this fast-track infringement action system is being considered in isolation, three-strikes is not currently part of the plan in America.

It has long pissed off content owners when they see legitimate credit card companies or advertising agencies helping copyright infringing websites generate revenue. The former have played ball before, it was the credit card firms refusing to work with AllofMP3.com that basically brought the rogue Russian download service crashing down. And in the latter domain, Google recently said it would better vet users of its AdWords system to ensure advertising money wasn't being passed to infringers.

Of course, anti-piracy commitments from credit and ad companies only help to an extent, as many copyright infringing services are non-commercial and don't need to take credit card payments or sell advertising. Though some of those services might want to take donations to cover costs, or may have secret commercial ambitions, or might be seeking investment, and such measures by Mastercard and the IAB may scupper any such plans.

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NEW ANTI-PIRACY SYSTEM CLOSE TO BEING PASSED IN SPAIN
As previously reported, Spain has also been developing new laws to make it easier for content owners to shut down websites that enable copyright infringement, and it is thought said laws could get the green light this week.

Ahead of that vote a number of websites likely to be affected by the new laws, including Seriespepito, Seriesyonkis, Divxtotal, Mydescarga, Cinetube, took their services offline on Sunday in protest. They refer to the proposed new system as the Sinde Law, and posted a message on their home pages at the weekend that said if the new laws are passed: "This page will disappear. Internet will be one more television, serving the powers that be. For freedom of expression in the web. No to censorship. No to the Sinde Law. And no to the closure of websites".

Political types have been trying to placate the web and consumer lobbies by proposing a mediation service which could negotiate between accused websites and the country's Committee For Intellectual Property, which will charged with the task of taking action against infringers.

But given many of the sites opposing the new legislation are out and out copyright infringers it's not clear what would be mediated exactly. True, Spanish copyright law is notorious for providing online piracy operations with loopholes to exploit, though the whole point of the so called Sinde Law is to demonstrate to the content industries at home and abroad that Spain is getting to grips with the rampant copyright infringement that takes place there.

Talking of which, there is a Wikileaks element to this story which possibly gives the anti-copyright lobby in Spain more political weight, in that one set of the Wiki-leaked diplomatic cables from the US shows the pressure America has been putting on Spain to sort out its copyright laws. Those who oppose the Sinde Law in Spain are likely to say that those who support it are just kowtowing to the Americans. Though it seems unlikely that will actually stop the new anti-piracy system from becoming law.

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OFCOM TO INVESTIGATE CHRISTINA AND RIHANNA'S X PERFORMANCES
Media regulator OfCom has said it will investigate the raunchy dance routines involving those pesky American pop chicks Christina Aguilera and Rihanna that appeared pre-watershed on the 'X-Factor' earlier this month, and which have generated over 4000 complaints, 2750 to the regulator itself and a further 1500 to ITV.

It's not currently clear quite how many of the 4250 complainers were actually outraged while watching the aforementioned popstresses gyrate on live TV for the millions of families watching at home, or whether their outrage came about after reading about the whole thing in the Daily Mail, which published pictures of Rihanna and Christina's more sexual moves, because, of course "our readers have to see these pictures to understand the fury they've stirred".

The Mail's one time terrible food critic turned terrible columnist Jan Moir then took a moment away from guzzling down some cream cakes (probably) to declare "all these sex-crazed nymphs on my telly before the watershed, I bet the gays were behind this" (possibly... well, she said at least some of that).

OfCom held off from launching an immediate investigation into the Rihanna and Christina routines, but has now confirmed it will review the situation to see if any of its rules were broken when ITV aired the pop performances in an early evening slot.

ITV is already believed to have told 'X-Factor' makers Fremantle and Syco to air more caution when booking such performances in the future, while it's believed Fox TV, which will air 'X' in the US from next year, has warned the show's producers that such routines must not appear on its network.

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NEW PRODUCT PLACEMENT RULES FOR UK TV AND RADIO - FULL-BLOWN PAYOLA STILL NOT ALLOWED ON RADIO
As media regulator OfCom yesterday confirmed product placement would become legal in films, dramas, soaps, entertainment and sport shows on commercial TV networks in the UK from next February, new relaxed rules were also published regards commercial messages on non-BBC radio stations.

The legislative framework was put in place to allow TV and radio companies to charge brands for their products to appear in programmes earlier this year, though OfCom has been working out exactly how it will work until yesterday. Having now published some of its regulations governing product placement on TV, the main surprise in OfCom's rule book is that shows in which products are commercially placed will have to display a logo that says so at the start and after any commercial breaks.

In radio land commercial networks will, for the first time, be able to charge brands for on-air coverage in programmes, though "appropriate signalling of commercial arrangements" will be required, whatever that means. Commercial messages will not be allowed during news or children's programming.

Perhaps of most interest to the music industry is that the new rules do not allow the commercialisation of playlists, meaning payola - where labels pay radio stations to play their music - is still not allowed. The rules specifically prohibit commercial arrangements regards the "selection and rotation of music".

Though presumably labels will be able to pay for DJs to more aggressively plug music during the links, providing they "signal appropriately". And some worry that might result in commercial concerns influencing what music is played to an extent at least, even if the sales department is kept away from general playlisting. Time will tell, I guess.

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COWELL IN LINE FOR A KNIGHTHOOD, REPORTS CLAIM
The Mail On Sunday has been wandering around telling everyone that Simon Cowell is going to get a knighthood next year. Quite how the Mail knows this, I don't know. Well, it says 'sources' told them. In which case, it must be true.

According to the Mail, Cowell will get the knighthood because of all his humanitarian work. You know, he released that awful and rather inappropriate few-star cover of REM's 'Everybody Hurts' to raise money for the victims of the Haitian earthquake. Bosh - knighthood.

We'll find out whether the Mail is right or not on 31 Dec when the Queen publishes her New Year's Honours list.

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MUSE IN TROUBLE FOR SMOKING IN AUSTRALIA
Oh dear, Muse are bad boys. Or at least bassist Chris Wolstenholme is. When the band recently played the Ron Laver Arena in Melbourne, he was caught flouting a smoking ban by, well, smoking.

According to MTV, he initially tried to hide the fact he was breaking the rules by only smoking when dry ice was being pumped onto the stage, but eventually gave up this plan because it was stupid. Either that, or he's so bloody anti-establishment he just wanted to be caught. That's probably it. Muse are, after all, well known for their "anti-establishment" ways. I said that just the other day. "Aren't Muse just, like, so anti-establishment", I said.

Anyway, venue rep Jo Juler said: "Officials spoke to the band before and after the show and we were extremely disappointed when they decided to flaunt our strict no-smoking policy. They are known as an anti-establishment style of performance group, but it was still sad that they decided to go ahead regardless".

See, she said it too. Fight the power, Muse, you crazy anarchists, you.

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JEDWARD CRITIQUE FLORENCE'S LONG TERM CAREER POSSIBILITIES
I think it's fair to say that we're all pretty impressed that Jedward are still as famous as ever. We may not like it, but you have to admire, just a little bit, the fact that a duo whose main selling point is that they have silly hair and can't sing are nevertheless carving out a lucrative career for themselves. Good management you say? Possibly, but well done Team Jedward.

Anyway, the Guardian yesterday published one of those tedious let's-interview-someone-who-clearly-has-no-interest-in-non-mainstream-music-and-then-mock-them-when-we-find-that-to-be-true features that have been so popular of late. Actually, I think the dynamic duo were meant to be reviewing the 'biggest songs of the year' for the broadsheet, but Salem were in there, who Jedward had, quite reasonably, not heard of.

But the best bit of the interview was their blunt critique of Florence Welch's future career while reviewing her single 'Dog Days Are Over'. They, apparently in unison, mused thus: "Yeah, she's good. We've got two signed albums at home. And yes, it's a really, really good song. Universal's really pushing her to be really big. To be this big global artist. Will she meet their expectations? No".

So, there you have it, Jedward have spoken. Now, who's going to book these guys to write a weekly A&R column?

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