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Hi there CMU Daily readers,

You received your final CMU Daily of 2011 yesterday, but we're not quite ready to shoot off on our Christmas holidays just yet. There still remains the matter of the CMU Review Of The Year, which is what you see before you now. As ever, we've selected the thirty biggest artist, music business, digital and media news stories and developments of the year.
In terms of the wider world, we might not be able to complete with major news stories like the Arab Spring and London riots, but that doesn't mean 2011 wasn't a significant year in music. It has felt like a year of change in the music domain too, particularly in the digital world. This was the year that streaming music services really started to see mainstream take-up, and also included the first ever occasion on which I saw iTunes revenue described as a "traditional" income stream.

For CMU it was also a big year. We programmed The Great Escape convention in Brighton for the first time, which seems to have been a resounding success. We certainly had a lot of positive feedback, and thank you to everyone who gave it. We'll be back in Brighton to do it all again in May, and we'll have some exciting announcements of some of our speakers in the new year. Look out for those in the CMU Daily, and be sure to head over to www.escapegreat.com to grab your tickets.

Our training courses also continued to grow, with attendees from across the music business and beyond refreshing their knowledge and learning about the latest trends in music rights, music marketing and music business models. In fact, to cope with demand we'll be running these courses more frequently in 2012, as well as adding new topics into the mix. Head over to www.thecmuwebsite.com/training for more information.

And theCMUwebsite.com went from strength to strength too. Having been little more than an archive for back issues of the CMU Daily previously, we launched a fully-fledged website featuring all of our news, features, a brand new podcast and more in January, and I'm very pleased to be able to say that we've had over a million page views since then.

I'm very proud of how CMU has grown and developed over the last few years, and particularly in the last twelve months. And I'd like to thank all of you for reading the nonsense we write. We'll be back with the first CMU Daily of 2012 on 6 Jan.

Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Andy Malt
Editor, CMU
Each December the CMU team select our ten favourite artists of the year just gone, acts we think have made an indelible mark on the last twelve months and offered that little bit more than their contemporaries. You can find our articles on each of the artists we selected here, and for your listening pleasure we've also put together a ten track playlist of tracks by (or featuring) those acts more>>
Over the course of 2011, we've featured nearly 200 new artists in our CMU Approved column, and throughout December we've been revisiting some of our favourites. It wasn't easy to pick just a few but these are all artists who we hope to hear even more of in 2012. They range from artists would are now well on their way to 'making it', to those still working their way up the ranks more>>
01 Amy Winehouse
02 Conrad Murray
03 Joss Stone
04 Adele
05 The Gallaghers
06 Westlife and The Stone Roses
07 Rebecca Black
08 Justin Bieber
09 PJ Harvey
10 Dubstep

01 EMI
02 Warner Music
03 A Universal/Live Nation alliance
04 HMV
05 VAT loophole
06 On Air, On Sale
07 Copyright extension
08 File-sharing
09 Takedown frustrations
10 The digital royalties dispute

01 Hack-gate
02 Hack attacks
03 Morrissey v NME
04 The Rhythmix debacle
05 A new boss at Radio 1
06 Streaming gets bigger
07 Facebook partnerships
08 Apps
09 Digital lockers
10 Steve Jobs

Both the biggest and saddest piece of artist-related music news this year was the death of Amy Winehouse, aged just 27. The singer's battle with drink and drugs was no secret, of course, but it did seem that she had managed to kick the latter. Still trying to ween herself off the drink, one final binge sent her five times over the drink-drive limit and proved too much for her body to take. She died in her sleep on 23 Jul.

In the months following her death, the Winehouse family set up a charity, The Amy Winehouse Foundation. Although its focus is not entirely clear, a key portion of its activities will be to lobby government to provide better support for young people battling drink and drugs. Meanwhile, this month a posthumous album (a compilation of studio outtakes, rather than her unfinished third long player), 'Lioness: Hidden Treasures', went to number one in the UK charts.


Two years after the death of Michael Jackson, his personal doctor Conrad Murray was finally brought to trial this autumn, accused of causing the singer's death by negligently administering the surgical anaesthetic propofol. The doctor had been providing Jackson with the drug as a cure for insomnia in the run up to the singer's 50 night residency at the O2 Arena in London, which, of course, never happened.

Although Murray's legal team initially seemed confident they could secure a not guilty verdict, the prosecution's aggressive arguments and the debunking of some of the defence's key theories meant things looked bad for the doctor from the outset. He was found guilty in November and sentenced to the full four year jail stretch possible by Judge Michael Pastor, who seemed very angry that Murray had twice refused to speak in court but had given his side of the story to a TV documentary instead.


In one of the year's more bizarre stories, two men were arrested near Joss Stone's Devon home in June apparently on their way to kidnap and murder her. The men were stopped by police and found to have swords, rope and a body bag, aerial photographs of Stone's home, and even notes detailing where to dump her body.

Eventually charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm, Junior Bradshaw and Kevin Liverpool appeared in court three times this year. In October, Liverpool entered a not guilty plea, while Bradshaw is yet to plead either way.


Moving on to the business of actually making music, and Adele has undoubtedly been one of the biggest success stories of the music year, shifting millions of records on both sides of the Atlantic. And unusually for such a big seller, she's signed to an independent label, Beggars Group's XL Recordings.

2011 wasn't all great for Adele though, as she failed to capitalise on her growing success in the States due to an ongoing throat problem, which forced her to postpone most of her US dates this year. She underwent surgery in November and is expected to make a full recovery. And as she says she is not planning to record another album for two years, there's plenty of time to catch up.


You might have thought that the end of Oasis in 2009 meant the end of Noel and Liam Gallagher's sibling bickering. But no. If anything, it escalated this year as both launched new projects - Liam releasing the debut album by Beady Eye (aka Oasis minus Noel) and Noel releasing his debut solo album. Despite much bravado on Liam's part, Noel's album far out-performed Beady Eye's sales-wise.

But that wasn't the half of it. The biggest Gallagher news came in the form of a disagreement over the details surrounding their former band's split. In a press conference to announce his new projects in July, Noel claimed that Liam had cancelled a V Festival performance due to a hangover and attempted to place adverts for his Pretty Green clothing company in the final Oasis tour programme. Liam sued for defamation, then Noel apologised and Liam apparently dropped the case. Though in November Noel's countersuit emerged, which suggests this will all rumble on into 2012.


Westlife and The Stone Roses get nestled together (as I'm sure they would wish to be) as the year's biggest split and reunion respectively. Westlife decided to call it a day after fourteen years together in October, but not before a greatest hits compilation and one final tour, which will take place next spring. The split is apparently amicable, though it came only seven months after the band announced that they were leaving Simon Cowell's Syco label and setting up camp at another Sony Music imprint, RCA, perhaps suggesting the end at least came quicker than anticipated.

It may have seemed like Westlife would never stop, but The Stone Roses had always insisted that they'd remain apart forever. When The Sun reported that a meeting at Mani's mother's funeral in April had convinced Ian Brown and John Squire to perform together again, the bassist reacted angrily, though it turned out in October that this was exactly what had happened. They will play three shows at Manchester's Heaton Park next June, as well as numerous festivals, and are apparently working on new material.


She seems like something of a distant memory now, but for a brief period earlier this year Rebecca Black was the biggest pop star on the planet. Though for all the wrong reasons. Having made a music video with vanity record label Ark Music Factory to circulate amongst friends and family, her song 'Friday' went viral after featuring on the blog of US TV show 'Tosh.0', racking up millions of YouTube views in a matter of days.

As a result there was much analysis of the song and the bizarre company behind it, and Black herself was subject to horrendous abuse from many internet users. Undeterred, she announced that with new management and a top production team she would forge ahead with a serious pop career. Sadly, subsequent singles 'My Moment' and 'Person Of Interest' have failed to capture the public imagination. Still, with over 180 million views for 'Friday' (making it YouTube's most watched video of 2011) who needs successful follow-ups?


What did Justin Bieber do in 2011? Well, he mostly carried on being Justin Bieber, although as he turned seventeen his squeaky clean image began to waver somewhat. There was the swearing at the paparazzi, the controversial interview in which he expressed his views on abortion, disobeying airline staff, getting a tattoo with his dad, crashing a Ferrari, and for the last few months a paternity case (albeit a highly dubious one).

But commercially the Bieber continued to deliver the goods. In February he released a movie, last month he released a Christmas album, and in between he found time to promote his own perfume, which has brought him millions of dollars already, and was recently pushed on fathers of teenage girls with some weird adverts. Oh, and he sold a lock of his hair for $40,000. He also had some eggs thrown at him. Good times.


Having spent over two years working on her eighth studio album, 'Let England Shake', PJ Harvey finally released it in February of this year, instantly setting critics' hearts alight. The album's songs all deal with wars throughout history, right up to the present day, and are written from the perspective of those involved, Harvey having read hundreds of first hand accounts as research.

The album brought Harvey her second Mercury Prize win (this time under better circumstances, the last one having been handed to her on 11 Sep 2001), a lifetime achievement gong at the NME Awards, Best Album at the Q Awards, and saw her appear in many an end of year list, including our own Artists Of The Year rundown. Few, if any, albums managed to unite people in praise to such a high level this year.


If 2010 was the year that dubstep attempted to break into pop, 2011 was the year it kicked the door down and went mainstream - polarising opinion on the matter wildly. Although they had first made moves into the popular consciousness the previous year, artists such as Magnetic Man, Katy B, and James Blake helped to bring previously underground sounds to a much wider audience in 2011. And Skrillex's beefed up and dumbed down sound continued the trend over in the US, infiltrating even metal with his brand of the genre when he teamed up with Korn.

On the plus side, it meant there were new and interesting sounds in the charts, and the world of dance added new and innovative movements to its repertoire with it. On the negative side, we reached a point where dubstep was seen as an acceptable genre to soundtrack a Weetabix advert.

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01 EMI
Electric & Musical Industries has featured heavily in this here end of year review for years now, though this could be its last appearance. Well, probably the penultimate. There may well be no EMI this time next year, but the story is not quite over yet.

As expected, Terra Firma's ownership of EMI ended this year, quicker than we had expected when the Citigroup bank repossessed the music major in February. We knew a sale would follow, though serious talks with bidders didn't begin until early summer. EMI CEO Roger Faxon insisted the best option was to keep the EMI recording and music publishing business in common ownership, though few expected that to happen. And it didn't.

After months of negotiations, in November EMI's rivals Universal and Sony beat the favourites Warner and BMG to buy the EMI labels and publishing catalogues respectively. Though both deals are subject to the approval of competition regulators, and indie label trade body IMPALA is already opposing them. So, while EMI is at the end of its eighty-year history, we can expect a few more dramas in 2012 first.


While the EMI sale was expected, Warner Music's announcement in January of a business review that could lead to a sale of some or all of its assets was more of a surprise. Was CEO and key shareholder Edgar Bronfman Jr looking to raise some extra cash to make a bid for EMI? Or had other key shareholders noticed a temporary surge in interest for content companies and spotted a good time to sell out?

Probably the latter. In May the company was sold outright to Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik's Access Industries. In August, Bronfman Jr stepped down as CEO, staying on as Chairman to work on a bid for the EMI labels. When that bidding was over (and lost) Bronfman gave up that role too. With Access now fully in charge, many expect big changes in 2012, as Warner deals with being the smallest music major competing with two much bigger rivals, ie the soon-to-be expanded Universal and Sony.


Despite the various shifts in major label ownership this year, two companies still dominated over all, Universal Music and Live Nation, the former in music rights, the latter in live entertainment, ticketing and artist management. Smaller rivals of these two companies are already critical about their size and dominance, and will therefore be watching closely an alliance between the two firms, which began this year.

While Universal owner Vivendi moved into Live Nation's territory by buying British ticketing firm SeeTickets in early September, less than two weeks later Universal and Live Nation bosses were announcing a new joint venture business focused on brand partnerships and direct-to-fan platforms. The actual outcome of that joint venture is yet to be seen, though the indie sector won't like the two biggest players in their industry getting too cosy. And as the year ended, another Live Nation/Universal alliance was announced, with the two companies set to collaborate on Madonna's next three albums.


04 HMV
Two years ago, as Terra Firma's ownership of EMI started to crumble and it looked increasingly likely that the British music major would be split up and sold to companies abroad, some speculated that perhaps the then expanding HMV would end up being the UK's last big music business. Buoyed by the demise of all its high street rivals, and with interesting moves into the digital, live and artist management sectors, HMV had become a very interesting company. Though City types worried about its core retail operations.

And rightly so, as it turned out. 2011 was not a good year for His Master's Voice. General high street woes, and continued competition from Amazon, Apple and the supermarkets, meant HMV's key retail revenues slumped, making it hard to service the debts run up by the aforementioned expansion and diversification.

The sale of Waterstones and HMV Canada raised some cash and placated bankers for now, but with retail revenues still in decline, and talk of having to sell live division the MAMA Group to survive, a move that would reverse those clever diversification efforts, many now wonder if 2012 will see the demise of HMV as well as EMI.


If HMV does indeed bite the dust, it's arguable that a curious VAT loophole that aided offshore online music sellers played a part in its demise, even though HMV decided to become one of those offshore VAT-dodgers itself. After a long campaign, the UK government finally announced the loophole would go this year, though that decision came too late to save the many mainland indie retailers arguably put out of business by the tax dodge, and may be even HMV.

The loophole meant that mail-order companies on the Channel Islands selling products under £18 back to the UK - including CDs - didn't have to charge VAT, giving them a 15-20% advantage on mainland retailers. All the big mail-order operators benefited, and although HMV joined the party, by that point it had lost far too much market share to Amazon, Play.com and websites operated by The Hut Group.

The loophole - called Low Value Consignment Relief - will be axed for Channel Island companies in 2012. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the founders of Play.com sold the company on this year, just before the loophole closed, for a neat £25 million.


Some in the industry continued to stress about piracy in 2011, though others would argue the big record companies have missed a trick in that domain by failing to get 'on air, on sale' off the ground. The artist management community in particular reckon that a certain portion of file-sharers primarily access illegal sources of music in the period between new songs appearing on radio and them going on sale a few weeks later, when legit purchases are not an option. "Why not put songs on sale as soon as they go on air?" they ask. "Because we can't maximize first week sales to ensure a good chart position" the major label marketers argue.

Of course the impact on chart-based marketing plans would be less if every label embraced 'on air, on sale' for every release. And at the start of the year it looked like they might, with both Sony and Universal officially adopting that policy in January. But with EMI and Warner keeping their options open, and therefore getting a competitive advantage chart wise, Sony and Universal's commitment to 'on air, on sale' soon started to wane. The Music Managers Forum was not impressed.


The music rights industry was nervous of a government review of copyright law when it was announced late last year, aware that the review had been in part instigated in a bid to placate Google. In the end the recommendations of Professor Ian Hargreaves weren't as radical as some expected, though labels and publishers are likely to lobby against his proposals to expand fair use rights in British copyright law in 2012. A government consultation on those proposals has now begun.

However, the big copyright development this year went in the record industry's favour as the copyright term for sound recordings in Europe was expanded from 50 to 70 years, and just in time to ensure the Beatles catalogue, the earliest tracks in which date from 1962, don't lose copyright protection in 2013. Record companies convinced the UK government of the case for extension in 2009, but it was only in September of this year that agreement was reached at the all important European level.


Elsewhere in copyright news this year, efforts to get a three-strikes system up and running, forcing ISPs to send their file-sharing customers warning letters, didn't come to much, even though the Digital Economy Act, which allows such a system, passed in April 2010. Media regulator OfCom is apparently still busy figuring out exactly how 'graduated response' will work. Meanwhile BT and TalkTalk have been busy trying to get the whole thing scrapped by taking the DEA to judicial review. Twice.

Internationally, three-strikes is now operational in New Zealand and France, while other countries - Spain and the US in particular - have been considering another approach to combating file-sharing, a system that forces ISPs to block access to copyright infringing websites. The UK's DEA included such a system too, but with a 'wait and see' clause delaying its implementation. Though the Motion Picture Association found an albeit slower way to get such web blocks in place without the help of the DEA, forcing BT to block access to file-sharing website Newzbin through the courts, setting a precedent the BPI is now trying to use to force net firms to block The Pirate Bay.


In the US, and beyond, some labels and artists spent the year becoming more and more annoyed with the 'takedown principle' set out in America's Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which says that user-upload sites like YouTube, that routinely host unlicensed content, can avoid liability for copyright infringement provided they remove such content when made aware of it. American sites often assume protection globally under this system, though technically it is US copyright law.

Some rights owners claim certain websites operate deliberately shoddy takedown systems, so they get protection from the DMCA but are also able to host lots of unlicensed content, which generates traffic. This is possible, they argue, because the US courts have ruled user-upload sites need only operate very basic takedown procedures to get protection - a precedent reaffirmed most recently in the Universal v Veoh appeal ruling. Some now expect the US record industry to lobby for a change in the DMCA that sets out some specific requirements for such takedown processes.

Universal Music plays a big role in this saga, not least by leading the legal battle against one website accused of hiding behind a shoddy takedown system, Grooveshark. Universal launched a new legal attack this year - now supported by Sony and Warner - accusing Grooveshark staff of also uploading unlicensed content, which, if true, would deprive the US streaming service of DMCA protection.

Some on the other side of the fence, meanwhile, accuse the big rights owners of abusing takedown systems too. It was on those grounds that MegaUpload sued Universal earlier this month, claiming the major abused YouTube's takedown process to have a video promoting the file-transfer site taken offline just because it didn't like it.


Talking of Universal, lawsuits and all things digital, possibly the most significant bit of litigation in the music business this year was a dispute within the music community. A number of heritage artists in the US with pre-internet record contracts have previously criticised record labels for classifying download revenue as 'record sales' rather than 'licensing deal income'. It's a key distinction, because many artists get a significantly larger share of licensing money.

Most efforts to have that classification changed through the courts have failed, but then this year, on appeal, producer FBT Productions, who have a stake in the early Eminem recordings, won a lawsuit against Universal on this issue. The music major insisted that ruling relates only to FBT's specific contract, and does not set a precedent. But the estate of Rick James, then Rob Zombie, and then Chuck D, all begged to differ, and are now suing for a bigger cut of digital revenue. If they were to win, the impact on all records companies could be huge.

That - and an argument over whether a 1978 clause in US copyright law, that allows the creator to regain control over their works after 35 years, applies to sound recordings (the labels insist not) - are likely to be big debates in the US record industry in 2012.

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2011 was not a good year for British newspapers, even though, via their websites, most are now talking to bigger audiences than ever before. But print readerships and ad revenues continued to slump, while internet ad sales failed to grow sufficiently, mainly because of stiff competition from Google and Facebook for the ad man's pound. With subscription websites not really working, most publishers now hope some kind of subscription-based app might be a solution, and some dabbled in that area this year.

But bigger than all of that was Hack-gate, a scandal that had been brewing for years, but which exploded when it was revealed in July that, as well as hacking the voicemails of celebrities and politicians, News Of The World journalists had accessed the answer phones of victims of crime too, most notably murdered teenager Milly Dowler. Worse still, a number of NOTW hacks were clearly involved, when the paper's publisher, Rupert Murdoch's News International, had always claimed there was just one.

Facing global outrage, NI took the radical step of shutting the NOTW down, but still public anger rumbled on. Former NOTW editor and then NI CEO Rebekah Wade resigned (eventually), Murdochs Rupert and James faced embarrassing questions in parliament, and it all ended up with a big government-instigated inquiry, with the crimes and lies of NI, the tactics of all journalists, and the tricky issue of privacy rights all combined into one big muddle. A major media story, if not hugely music related. Though George Michael got the boot in, and Charlotte Church appeared at the inquiry.


Hacking of another kind also cropped up in the headlines of 2011, as small groups of angry geeks around the world - many affiliated to the likes of Anonymous or LulzSec - targeted the servers of organisations, and sometimes individuals, who represented big copyright owners, or who it was felt were in some way censoring the internet.

Such attacks weren't new, and had been prevalent in 2010, though an attack on Sony Corp's servers, which enabled hackers to run off with the personal details of customers of both its PlayStation Network and streaming content platform (then still called Qriocity), was possibly the highest profile attack. And very embarrassing for an already struggling Sony company, whose handling of the crisis was widely criticised.

Though the authorities did start to fight back, with various hackers around the world accused of involvement in such attacks arrested, including some linked to the Sony attack, and more recently one accused of taking the website of Kiss man Gene Simmons offline in late 2010, after he said record labels should have sued all file-sharers.


Back in 2007, Morrissey gave an interview to the NME in which he appeared to say that an "immigration explosion" had damaged Britain's identity. Which a lot of people pointed out came across a bit racist. Morrissey, however, claimed that the interview had been reworked to make him sound racist by then editor Conor McNicholas and vowed to sue.

No legal action was forthcoming though, until this year, when the former Smiths frontman finally sued for defamation. In October a judge ruled that the case could go ahead, despite NME publisher IPC Media's protestation that as Morrissey has released albums and toured successfully in subsequent years, his reputation clearly hadn't been damaged by the interview, something that is required for a defamation case to succeed.

The case is now pending a court date next year, and though this type of dispute is often ultimately settled out of court, both sides seem so determined to prove their innocence that it looks likely it will actually reach trial. A statement apparently written by Morrissey and published in November made his anger abundantly clear.


Little Mix recently won this year's UK 'X-Factor', but they didn't always go by that name. After being created on the show from solo entrants who weren't deemed good enough to make it through to the final twelve on their own, the original name the girl group chose (or possibly had chosen for them) was Rhythmix, which has a nicer ring to it. Unfortunately, it was also the name used by a charity which works with children who have been bereaved, who are disabled, or who have been sent to youth detention centres, using music as a method to aid personal and communicative development.

The charity owns a trademark in the name for educational activities, but not for music, the space in which 'X-Factor' then applied for a registered mark. But the charity's bosses, fearing Team X's trademark would hinder their fundraising efforts, hoped that, once made aware of the clash, the show's producers would change the girl group's name.

But no, they told the charity that if they wanted to block the group's use of the name they'd have to go to court. A very expensive pursuit. An online campaign in support of the charity began, though it was an open letter from the organisation's CEO to Simon Cowell that finally brought 'X-Factor' in line, and Rhythmix became Little Mix. Though it took another open letter to actually get TV bosses to withdraw their trademark application, and a social media push to persuade Cowell and co to pay the charity's legal costs.


Former commercial radio chief John Myers undertook a review of the BBC's national music radio stations this year, concluding that the likes of Radios 1 and 2 are vastly over staffed, and proposing a raft of changes, most of which would help the Beeb in it's mission to radically cut its costs. Predictably, BBC Radio boss Tim Davie congratulated himself on commissioning the report and ignored most of its recommendations.

But there was a little change at Radio 1 as Andy Parfitt, boss there for thirteen years, finally left the BBC after three decades with the Corporation. His former number two, Ben Cooper, took over, so radical changes seem unlikely, although he has already reshuffled the station's specialists show DJs and pledged to work with more indie producers on programmes.

While we're talking about Radio 1, we probably ought to remember that one of the station's most iconic presenters of old, the one time face of 'Top Of The Pop's, and, some would argue, the first ever DJ - Mr Jimmy Saville - died in October.


This seemed to be the year that streaming music services really started to take off, not that any made any money, and several revamped their offers to cut back on the costly-to-run freemium on-demand options, Spotify in April and We7 in September. Nevertheless, most streaming platforms saw their user numbers grow, and there seemed to be big announcements from the sector every week, whether it was Pandora's flotation, Spotify's final long-time-coming launch in the US, or Deezer's arrival in the UK and planned expansion to more countries than exist.

Success brings backlash of course, and both artists and smaller labels started to hit out at the royalties these services pay out. Whether that matters really depends on whether you think being on Spotify et al has a negative impact on iTunes sales. In the US Century Media, and in Britain STHoldings, both reckoned it did. The big record companies, though, were generally supportive of the streaming services, though they are possibly getting much better royalties. And nevertheless, some big artists, Coldplay among them, did keep their new albums off the streaming platforms. This debate will rumble on in 2012.


In September Facebook had a big party to make a big announcement. Everyone there seemed very excited. Alas, the technology changes happening in the background, which were possibly significant, were far too complicated to understand, so everyone focused on the content partnerships also revealed.

Said content partners could now make available widgets that would publish every song a user ever listened to, or every article they ever read. Quite why anyone would want that still isn't clear, though lots of content partners have made such apps available, and apparently lots of people are signing up to their services as a result.

Possibly the most high profile partner was Spotify, who were brought on stage at the party to demo their app. The Spotify/Facebook love affair meant existing Spotify accounts synced to Facebook would automatically share data, and new Spotify users would have to sign up via their Facebook accounts. Some existing subscribers responded badly to this news, forcing Spotify to make it easier for said users to opt out of the Facebook love-in.


Talking of the app word, as the use of smartphones and tablets continued to grow this year, so too did the use of music apps. Most streaming services now have a premium subscription allowing users to access music via mobile devices using an app, this being seen as key to converting free users to paying subscribers.

Apps also became a routine addition to many artists' promotional campaigns. Though while many (though not all) artist apps simply collate music, videos and text that already exists online, the bar was pushed high by Björk, who had special apps built for each of the songs on her 'Biophilia' album. The apps allowed users to manipulate the songs through various games and activities, as well as providing visual scores of the recorded versions and more.

Whether the app should be seen as a new type of album, a slick promotional tool, or a waste of time, is still being debated, but the trend for artists being creative with their apps will continue.


Digital locker services for music have been around for several years now, the most high profile until this year being MP3.com founder Michael Robertson's MP3tunes - a service that is locked in a legal battle with EMI which rumbles on despite a judgement in August.

But in March, Amazon decided to launch one too, making music-based lockers suddenly big news. Did the company get licences from the record labels and publishers to make this happen? No. As far as Amazon was concerned, no licence was required to simply store your music somewhere. Those pesky rightsholders, however, argue that there is if you want to then stream tracks back through a player attached to that storage.

At the same time Google was also preparing to launch a digital locker service, and it did get in touch with rightsholders first. However, when Google became frustrated with the slow progress of negotiations, it launched unlicensed too. Only Apple, which arguably has the most compelling offer of the three with its iCloud service, actually gained licences, and as a result is the first of the big players to launch a locker in the UK.


Talking of Apple, the IT giant's co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs died in October this year, having been suffering from pancreatic cancer for some time.

His health problems had been high profile in recent years, of course, and were enough to cause Apple's share price to dip at one time. But he had always returned to work after his various leaves of absence, so when he finally announced in August that he was unable to continue leading the company and stepped down, many feared the worst.

Jobs, of course, was not a music industry person, but such was his and Apple's effect on the music world with the iPod, iTunes and more that it would seem strange not to mark his passing in our review of the year. His is a legacy that will live on for many years to come, in music and many other fields.

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CMU Editor Andy Malt and CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke are both available to comment on music and music business stories. Together they have provided comment and contributions to BBC News, BBC World, BBC Radios 4, 5, 6music and Scotland, Sky News, CNN, Wired and the Associated Press. Email [email protected] or [email protected].

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