CMU Daily - on the inside 19 Dec 2003
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Jacko charged
- AOL launch iTunes facility
- Radio Authority give warnings to Capital and Virgin
- Stones top tour revenues poll
- Rockers play for strikers
- P Diddy takes to the stage
- IE music use Kazaa to promote new signing
- Darkness favourites for festive number one
- Coldplay put pretenders cover online
- CD prices down, CD sales up
- Freeview viewers opt for five main channels
- Phonics added to IOW bill
- Nas charged with assault


Seven charges of lewd or lascivious acts upon a child under 14 and two charges of administering an intoxicating agent to a child - but no problems with a visit to Britain. That was the result of Michael Jackson's visit to Santa Barbara County District yesterday.

District Attorney Tom Sneddon seemed on top form as he announced the charges against Jacko. Denying that the delay in making formal charges suggested his case against the singer was weak, he revealed that there were a number of 'special allegations' which he reckoned could make Jackson "ineligible for probation and could substantially affect the time he is incarcerated if the findings are found true." 

Jackson's lawyers once again described all allegations as "a big lie". Either way the trail is likely to equal or may surpass the OJ trial in the media circus it will demand. Jackson is due back in court on 16 Jan. Meantime the singer had his passport returned so he can spend Christmas in the UK to promote his greatest hits album.


AOL yesterday added a new function to its music channels which will give their members direct access to Apple's iTunes service, meaning they can download tracks from the iTunes catalogue without setting up a separate account with Apple. The iTunes service will sit as an additional function alongside AOL's music sections, including AOL Radio, Sessions@AOL, Broadband Rocks and AOL Music Search. As part of the same deal content from AOL's live music will be available to download from iTunes' Music Store library.

Announcing the new services Evan Harrison, vice president and general manager of AOL Music, told reporters, "Now for the first time millions of music fans on AOL, who watch their favorite artists perform in an intimate studio setting on Sessions@AOL, have the option to purchase the song digitally via iTunes and then download it right to their iPod." 

Although AOL customers perhaps benefit the most from the new services, the strategic alliance with the ISP is vital for Apple as the digital music market place becomes increasingly competitive. American supermarket chain Wallmart yesterday joined the race announcing it will sell downloads from its online operations, undercutting iTunes by 11 cents making music available for 88 cents a track.


Making a few last stands before it is merged into OfCom, the Radio Authority has sent a final warning letter to two of Capital's Century Radio stations after listeners claimed the stations had strayed from the formats they are licensed to broadcast. The objecting listeners claim that Century is ignoring its commitment to adult contemporary, easy listening and soul music, and to serious speech radio during daytime, instead opting for a more chart heavy format akin to mainstream commercial stations. The Radio Authority accepts that the station has addressed those issues musically since giving Capital a warning earlier this year, but it argues the station's speech output still leaves a lot to be desired. 

The regulator yesterday said the station "seriously under-delivered" on speech output with "no sign of improvement." They added: "News bulletins were as short as they could be, even with the inclusion of sport and weather. The 'challenging speech' requirement within the Format is a recognition of the points of difference there needs to be between a full-service speech-heavier regional station and a mainstream chart-based station. We felt there were few points of difference."

The final warning letter says the Radio Authority will recommend to its successor - OfCom - that the station's speech output should be monitored, and that it should assess "appropriate sanctions" should no changes be forthcoming.

Elsewhere in Radio Authority land, the regulator has upheld a complaint against Virgin Radio's Pete & Geoff when one of the breakfast show hosts said he'd be willing to eat the limbs of a dead baby if it meant the national debt of a third world country would be wiped out. Three listeners complained saying the routine "exceeded the boundaries of decency, and was particularly upsetting for the recently bereaved." The Authority agreed, telling reporters: 
"It was clear that the whole live routine was surreal, but it was also clear the presenters should have pulled back once they realised, as they acknowledged on air, that they had gone too far." The station has been told that any "similar repetition would be likely to attract scrutiny that could result in a sanction, such as a fine." 


No surprises that the Rolling Stones top the tour revenues chart for 2003 - as previously reported the $299.5 million they made on their Licks tour made it the second most successful music tour ever - second only to their own 'Voodoo Lounge Tour' in 1994/5. 

Other big earners in the live music stakes according to Billboard's end of year poll include: Bruce Springsteen ($181.7 million), Cher ($76.3 million), Fleetwood Mac ($69.2 million), Dixie Chicks ($62.2 million), The Eagles ($53.7 million), Dave Matthews Band ($52.6 million), Aerosmith and Kiss ($50 million), Metallica's Summer Sanitarium ($48.5 million) and Billy Joel and Elton John ($45.8 million).


A-list rockers have played at a benefit concert in LA to raise money for striking Southern California grocery store workers. Members of Red Hot Chili Peppers, System Of A Down, Audioslave and Slipknot were among the line up at Hollywood's Roxy Theater last night at the sell out gig to raise cash for the striking workers, who, needless to say, are struggling financially as they battle their employers - the Albertsons, Vons and Ralphs supermarket chains - over healthcare benefits and the introduction of self-scanning systems. No word yet on how much was raised or how it will be distributed.


Rap, fashion, running - now P Diddy is turning his hand to theatre. The hip hop mogul will make his stage acting debut in a Broadway revival of the play 'A Raisin in the Sun', a drama about a black family moving into an all-white Chicago neighbourhood. The play is due to open in April.


Management firm IE Music, who manage Robbie Williams among others, yesterday announced a deal with Kazaa owners Sharman Networks to promote one of its newest signings via the controversial peer-to-peer network. 

The promotion will utilise digital rights technology developed by Altnet and licensed by Sharman which enables a copyright owner to better track the distribution of digital music via P2P systems. Using this technology six tracks and a video by British band The Sweet Chap will be made available to Kazaa's estimated 60m users.

The deal is important because it is the first time a management firm has used the Kazaa network to promote an artist, and should give some legitimacy to Sharman's attempts to build secure promotional functions into their music share services

Announcing the promotion IE Music artist development manager, Ari Millar said, "We can promote our best new discoveries on a global platform in an innovative and cost effective way - giving the best possible chance at success."


How things can chance in a week - the Pop Idols are currently fifth place in the running for Christmas number one. Midweeks suggest The Darkness will top the chart, although Gary Jule's version of 'Mad World' is a close second. Current number one Ozzy and Kelly are currently third place followed by Avid Merrion.

Bookies are now desperately hoping The Darkness are number one because of the odds being offered on Gary Jules back in November. Ladbrokes spokesman Warren Lush: "It would be a disaster for bookmakers if Gary Jules gets to number one. He was 50/1 back in November and 2/1 now. This is the biggest gamble on a Christmas number one contender we've ever seen."


Coldplay's cover of The Pretender's Christmas song '2000 Miles' has been put online at and can be downloaded for £1.50. Profits go to two of the band's favourite charities - Future Forests and Stop Handgun Violence. The track will be online until the end of the year. 


End of year sales figures seem to be good news for industry and consumer alike - album sales are up despite a global sales decline, and the average album prices is down.

The BPI's end of year stats show that the average price of a CD in the UK has fallen below the £10 (GBP) mark, a fall of 7.6% since it first started measuring average prices in 2000. The price slash seems to stem from the increasing number of retailers selling music - unlike in the US, no majors in the UK have pro-actively staged a price cut promotion on flagship album releases. 

The BPI's figures also show that album sales in the UK continue to grow, despite a slump in CD sales elsewhere in the world. The trade organisation reckons the price cuts, coupled with a string of major album releases in the last six months, have all helped to keep the album market buoyant. Single sales in the same period continued to fall, down 6% on 2002 figures.


Despite the news yesterday that Freeview boxes were selling in excess of 100,000 a week, new ratings suggest that households who have Freeview boxes still predominantly watch the terrestrial channels - BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Five. Despite considerable cross promotion on both the BBC and ITV's main channels for their digital offshoots latest ratings suggest that although Freeview viewers make up 15.7% of all multichannel households in the UK, they account for just 5.2% of all multichannel viewing. The average Freeview viewer dedicated just 84.2% of their viewing time to the five main terrestrial networks. The stats will come as a blow to the BBC desperate to justify their investment in digital channels; and also to ITV and the commercial players with Freeview channels who need to see rising viewing figures to start charging a premium on advertising on their channels carried on the terrestrial digital network.


More festival news - Stereophonics have been confirmed on the Isle of Wight bill. They join David Bowie on the bill.


Rapper Nas has been charged with assault after an altercation in a New York club on 10 Dec. According to the New York Daily News Nas allegedly smashed a bottle against the head of another customer in the VIP area of the club Cielo. Word is the rapper gave himself up to police yesterday. He was released on a $7500 bail and will be in court to face the charges on 20 Jan.

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