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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Spiralfrog is no more
John Squire attempts to quash Roses reunion rumours once and for all
Another Rihanna/Brown update
Nirvana songs not record breaking earners for Primary Wave
In The Pop Courts
Rod Stewart's son in TV court over unpaid bills
Reunions & Splits
Bring Me The Horizon guitarist quits mid-tour
Arist Deals
X-Factor winner dropped
Release News
Converge announce new album
Pet Shop Boys record De Menezes track
Themselves give away free mixtape
New Placebo album stuff
Armstrong talks about new Green Day album
Labelle album release
Gigs N Tours News
Freeland announces UK tour dates
Reviews
Album review: Fever Ray - Fever Ray (Rabid Records)
Brands N Stuff
Smirnoff announce more bursaries for London promoters
The Music Business
Ticketmaster posts billion dollar loss - though mainly because of asset revaluation
The Digital Business
Google criticises New Zealand's three strike rule
Pirate Bay man discusses trial
The Media Business
Much pessimism at future of commercial radio debate
BBC faces more cuts
Radio 1 Dep Controller to keynote at student radio conference
VH1's Behind The Music returns
NBC launch new song talent contest
Doctor Who chief wants lottery money for kids' shows
Rivmixx goes fully live on Monday
And finally...
Cheryl's pad threatened by landfill plans
John Mayer may get litigious over book reports

Von Teese claims Manson regrets the past

 

FRIDAY 20TH MARCH

AIR FRANCE
Swedish duo Joel and Henrik, aka Air France, combine elements of Balearic disco and pop to create soundscapes which have been described as "post-rave bliss". With nods to the sounds of Avalanches and The Go! Team, the pair are using their production wizardry to create wistful yet contemporary grown-up beats.

Signed to Sincerely Yours in the UK, the band's second album 'No Way Down' will be released on 23 Mar.

The duo took a moment to answer our Same Six Questions.

 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
It's something we had talked about since high school, we just didn't know how to make it happen. We wanted to do the music we'd always searched for and didn't find anywhere else. Serious.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
The changing of the seasons, the warmth and brightness of Spring spreading across Europe, everyday life and how to cope with it.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
You have all these images and fragments rushing through your mind, and you try to translate them into music. And to find the right pieces that fit, you have to experiment. It's like a journey to a place you've never been before.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Very few. If anything we try to avoid talking about specific influences, as it would result in too many references in the listeners' heads. They should find their own frame of references, but we listen a lot to British nautical music from the 70s and 80s, contemporary dance music, music from the Brazilian Tropicalia movement and French porno soundtracks.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Congratulations on your first step away from gothic metal and thank you for flying Air France. The drinks are complimentary and if you look to the left, you'll see the waves crashing in on the abandoned lighthouse of Saint Sebastien.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
For our records; appreciation. For the future; living the dream, telling the truth, never to turn the other cheek.

MORE>> http://www.myspace.com/theairfrance

 

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Ready at Raduno
The bar formerly known as Meet, and right next to Fabric too, hosts Ready, "a weekly gathering of like-minded people, sharing their love of electronic sounds, in an intimate environment". Among the like-minded people tonight are some of the big names of broken beats - Domu, the Afronaught, Mark Force with Magic and hosts Motet & Spoonface, while in room two the gathering will go all deep, soulful house with Ready residents Johnny Kaz, Michael Moon and DJ Stan. A great line up I reckon, and at just a fiver to get in, a very credit-crunch friendly night. Though the capacity is just 250, so get there early.

Friday 20 Mar, Raduno, 85 Charterhouse St, London, EC1M, 10pm-6am, a mere £5, more info at www.raduno.co.uk or i.coopr8.net/events/ready-2

   

JUNIOR PRODUCT MANAGER – FABRIC RECORDS
Highly motivated and creative person required to join fabric (a leading London-based club with affiliated record label and publishing company) to work on our growing roster of artists. Successful applicant must be able to put together a cohesive campaign strategy and implement from start to finish. Must have previous experience working in a marketing department. Salary commensurate with experience, private health care and other benefits.

Please send CV and covering letter to info@fabriclondon.com.
http://www.fabriclondon.com

ADVERTISE WITH CMU - classifieds £120 per week, job ads £100 per week, banner ads £150 per week, leader box £200 per week - call 020 7099 9050 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk for information or to book.

 


 

FABULOUS TOWN HOUSE TO SHARE IN BRONDESBURY PARK NW6 
Bright double bedroom with adjoining bijous living room and bathroom to let in a very large three bedroom luxury townhouse in Brondesbury Park NW6. The house has a large and spacious modern kitchen, large living and dining areas and a southwest facing garden with barbeque areas. There is free access to an onsite fitness complex with gym, full size heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi and sauna! The townhouse is situated in a beautiful private development with gated access and comes with a free off road parking space and visitor parking. Queens Park village is just a five minute stroll with lively pubs, deli's and eateries, a Sunday farmer's market and the park itself. Queens Park Station (Bakerloo) and Willesden Green (Jubilee) are both a five minute walk. The space is ideal for a professional single/couple. Rent: £795 pcm - includes internet/service charge. Call Adrian on 07971 555020 or email adrian@leylinepromotions.com

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CAMDEN FLAT
Bright and airy top-floor two bedroom flat in large detached period house on Camden/Kentish Town Border (corner of Camden Road / Camden Park Road). Very well appointed, clean and well maintained, with superb sitting room including open fire and working shutters, modern kitchen with washer/dryer & full size fridge freezer, and modern bathroom with bath & great power shower. Large double bedroom (9'x15') with built in wardrobes, second double bedroom (7'6 x 11'). Plenty of storage space including large loft space. 10 minutes walk to Camden Town and Kentish Town tubes, 253, 29 and 390 buses are 30 seconds walk. Secure cycle storage in building. Secluded shared garden for use. Ideal for young professional couple/sharers. Unfurnished. Available 1st April. £1275 pcm. For more information or to arrange viewing, please email camdenroadflat@gmail.com

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NEW TO CMU - advertise any flats or rooms you are looking to rent out, or flats or rooms wanted, for just £25 a week. Call 020 7099 9050 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk for information or to book.

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SPIRALFROG IS NO MORE
In news that will surprise, well, no one really, SpiralFrog is dead. The once much hyped ad-funded download service went offline yesterday. It seems the company actually ceased operating last Friday, but the site stayed live for a few days while the firm went through the motions of winding down its affairs. The shutdown follows reports that the service's founder and chairman Joe Mohen had admitted his investors were about to take direct control of the company.

The Frog's demise had been expected for some time. In fact, as various high profile execs bailed out of the project before it even launched, there have been rumours that the ad-funded digital music platform was on the verge of closure from almost the word go, the fact they survived as long as they did is probably the bigger surprise. But the prospect of closure became more real a few weeks ago with reports that the company was about to default on some pretty major loan repayments. According to C-Net, the SpiralFrog company officially ceased operations at the end of last week, and its assets have been surrendered to creditors.

For a time the ad-funded model proposed by SpiralFrog was much touted as a key part of the future of the digital music market, and the service claimed to have the support of both the record companies and key advertising agencies. Some said that free ad-funded tracks was a way that the music industry could genuinely take on P2P file sharing, adopting the logic that you can only compete with illegal free services by providing a legal free service.

The concept probably wasn't completely flawed, but events conspired against the Frog, and another US-based digital music service that went the ad-funded route, the student-targeting Ruckus, which has also closed down. While record companies did support the model, they never made truly extensive catalogues of music available to the services, meaning the choice of tracks available was much less than on paid-for digital music platforms, and less still compared to the illegal P2P file sharing networks.

Then both networks launched just as a-la-carte download platforms were finally removing digital rights management from their file - DRM was very out of fashion, but both the Ruckus and SpiralFrog systems relied on it. Add to that the advertising recession and the growth of user-friendly ad-funded streaming music services like Spotify, and the SpiralFrog and Ruckus offer seemed less and less attractive to consumers, even those who prefer legal to illegal music options.

It does increasingly feel like the digital music market will ultimately divide into two main camps - the ad-funded streaming services and the pay-as-you-go DRM-free download services, with maybe a place for subscription-based all-you-can-eat DRMed download services while the mobile internet is still in its infancy (ie until streaming services are readily available via mobile - Spotify is increasingly talking mobile though, so that may be sooner rather than later). SpiralFrog's ad-funded downloads don't really fit into that marketplace.

Though, of course, we shouldn't assume that the ad-funded streaming services will necessarily be more successful than the ad-funded download platforms, even though there's more of them and take-up has been higher. The YouTube/PRS squabble shows that making ad-funded streaming music services add up so that artists, songwriters, labels, publishers and stream providers are all happy isn't as easy as we'd all like. Many of the original providers of music streaming are moving out of that territory, and the maths of Spotify and MySpace Music are not known, so we don't know whether they will add up long term. Still, the Spotify offer is so much more compelling than anything SpiralFrog ever offered, let's hope they make it work.

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JOHN SQUIRE ATTEMPTS TO QUASH ROSES REUNION RUMOURS ONCE AND FOR ALL
Following those tabloid reports that The Stone Roses are planning a reunion, which have, of course, been denied by both Ian Brown and John Squire, the latter of the band's former members has clarified his feelings on the issue by creating a piece of artwork. The piece, named 'Statement' has the following words inscribed on it: "I have no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group The Stone Roses, 12.3.09".

The musician, who is currently concentrating on his art career, also appeared on Newsnight last night to talk about just how much the band will never, ever reunite. Asked by the show's host Gavin Esler if there was any chance that the group would get back together, he replied "None whatsoever", and went on: "Yeah. I'd rather live my life than attempt to rehash it. It would be pointless. I find art far more challenging and rewarding".

Asked one more time if a reunion was absolutely out of the question, Squire paused briefly then said "Yeah. That's the whole point of the visit to your studio - I'm trying to stop the phones ringing".

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ANOTHER RIHANNA/BROWN UPDATE
Back to Rihanna and all that, and the latest reports suggest that the singer is 'taking a break' from her abusive other half Chris Brown. These rumours rely on previous rumours that Rihanna had made up with Brown after he allegedly beat the living daylights out of her following a particularly full-on row after a pre-Grammy party last month. Although Rihanna initially returned home to Barbados to recover from the beating, rumour had it the former power couple of American pop had resumed their relationship. But a source has now told German website Bild.com that the couple have decided to spend some time apart, with Rihanna in New York and Brown in LA. The website quotes a source thus: "Chris and Rihanna are on opposite coasts right now. They are taking a break".

Some say Rihanna decided to spend time away from Brown after talk show queen Oprah Winfrey advised she take a step back from her relationship while she properly recovered from the assault. It's also possible comments made by Pepa - she of Salt N Pepa - got through; she gave similar advice to Rihanna via a recent interview in which she discussed her own experiences of domestic violence at the hands of her ex-husband, Naught By Nature's Anthony 'Treach' Criss. She said Rihanna needed to take a step back and seriously reconsider her relationship with Brown in light of what he'd done.

She told Essence magazine: "I know people will say I have a lot of nerve advising her when I stayed with my ex-husband for ten years and suffered abuse, but that's exactly why I can talk to her. I thought I loved him, but I had to finally realise that wasn't love. Thankfully, I lived to talk about it, but some women don't. The photos of Rihanna-that was a beat down. That's why it hurts me so much because I know how that feels for a man to beat you down like that. My son is 18, and I don't even allow him to yell at his 10-year-old sister. I'm breaking the cycle with my kids. I just won't tolerate it after all I've been through".

She continued: "At the end of the day, your life is on the line when you're dealing with abusive men, and your life is more important than any man. Don't rationalise or internalise abusive behaviour because love doesn't hurt. [Rihanna], you are an icon to so many young girls and your actions are telling them you don't love you enough. Take time out and love yourself and thank God that you survived it".

Back to Brown, and rapper TI has denied that the Rihanna's other half is being removed from marketing literature for the new movie 'Takers', in which Brown appears alongside the likes of Matt Dillon and Hayden Christensen. The film's not due out until next January, but reports suggested film chiefs had already decided to play down Brown's involvement in the promotion of the movie, because of the bad press he is currently generating. But TI, an executive producer on the flick, denied that was true.

He told RapRadar: "Nah man, that can't be further from the truth. There's no validity to that statement", while he told MTV: "I'm [an executive producer] on the movie and I ain't put forth no sort of order or request, man. And personally, it's very, very premature to jump to such a conclusion given that none of these matters have been resolved. No one has been tried or convicted or nothing like that. I'm not going to jump to no conclusions. I'm not going to. I think that's unfair 'cause that's what people did with me, and I'm not going to do that".

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NIRVANA SONGS NOT RECORD BREAKING EARNERS FOR PRIMARY WAVE
Music publishing company Primary Wave, which bought a 50% stake in the Nirvana song catalogue for a reported $50 million in 2007, a deal which temporarily pushed the late Kurt Cobain to the top of the dead rock rich list, has reportedly only managed to bring in $2.3 million from the catalogue in the last two years. Of course Primary Wave's investment would have been based on more long term profit potential, though the publishing firm were upbeat about the licensing prospects of Cobain's legendary songs when they did the deal with his widow Courtney Love, and experts say they will have been hoping to make considerably more from Nirvana by now. Some argue that while Nirvana songs are still among the most important and influential of the last twenty years, the anti-establishment nature of Cobain makes it difficult for those songs to be used in more profitable brand/advertising licensing deals. It is thought Primary Wave have brought in over half a million by licensing Cobain's songs for movie soundtracks and the track 'Breed' to the 'Guitar Hero' franchise.

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ROD STEWART'S SON IN TV COURT OVER UNPAID BILLS
Rod Stewart's son Sean has appeared on one of those television court programmes that are are seemingly pretty popular in the US to answer allegations over unpaid personal training fees, and has branded his rock star father "very cheap" in the process.

Stewart, who is apparently a songwriter, musician and model, but who seems mostly to be making a career out of doing reality shows, appeared on the Judge Jeanine Pirro programme accused of failing to pay personal trainer Francois Xavier Decile $2,500. It was apparently the second time he had failed to pay, and that his famous dad had settled the bill first time around, but made Sean pay the money back. He told the televised courtroom, "Actually, the money he gave, the cheque he sent to Xavier, I had to pay back. My dad's very cheap".

Decile says he stopped working for Stewart last August because he was sick of waiting for payments to be made. He told the judge: "He used to say, 'Don't worry, my dad will pay you'".

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BRING ME THE HORIZON GUITARIST QUITS MID-TOUR
Curtis Ward, guitarist with metallers Bring Me The Horizon, has quit the band part way through touring the US on the Taste Of Chaos Tour. He will be replaced by the band's guitar tech for the remaining dates.

A statement issued by the band's label Visible Noise and Raw Power Management reads: "Curtis and the band have made the mutual decision to part ways based on personal differences, but remain firm friends as they have done since the band's inception in Sheffield in 2004. The band's label and management wish to emphasise that all live dates, festivals and tours will be played, with stand in guitarist - the band's guitar technician, and integral part of the touring party, Dean Rowbotham".

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X-FACTOR WINNER DROPPED
For every Leona Lewis there's a, well... a... well... the point is that for every 'X-Factor' winner that goes on to be a globe-trotting record-breaking pop sensation there's another victor on the ITV talent show that disappears into obscurity so that when I write stories like this I can't even remember their names without digging out a list of past Christmas number ones.

Though I could use Leon Jackson to illustrate my point. Not that I want to write him off prematurely, but the winner of 'X-Factor' 2007 has just been dropped by Sony after his debut album 'Right Now' failed to capture the imagination of the pop audience at large. Though it did reportedly sell 130,000 copies, which isn't that bad, though presumably not good enough for the Simon Cowell machine.

Actually, rumour has it that Jackson has never enjoyed the full support of Sony's SyCo division because Cowell didn't think the Dannii Minogue championed Jackson should have won the show, and never believed he had it in him to be a global superstar. Whether Jackson's failure to hit the big time is proof that Cowell's team chose not to pull out all the stops on his behalf, or that the 'X-Factor' producer was right about the winner to start with, I'm not sure.

Still, Jackson is reportedly looking on the bright side as he proceeds with his planned tour, telling reporters: "I had a great year and learned so much recording and releasing my album. Every artist knows these things can go either way. I'm really looking forward to my tour and doing more writing".

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CONVERGE ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM
Metalcore pioneers Converge have announced that they will be releasing the follow-up to their 2006 album 'No Heroes' (officially one of the best albums of all time) via Epitaph/Deathwish later this year. That's pretty much all they've announced though, so while you wait for more information, check out this little video teaser:

vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=54278301

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PET SHOP BOYS RECORD DE MENEZES TRACK
The Pet Shop Boys have recorded a track about the notorious shooting of non-terrorist Jean Charles De Menezes at Stockwell tube station back in July of 2005. The song will appear as a b-side on the band's new single 'Love etc', and has lyrics that go: "waiting for a bus in Stockwell, cameras on my back, suddenly hearing sirens, sounding a panic attack, got the bus to the station, music playing in my head, ran to get on the tube train, police shoot someone dead". So, no ambiguity about the subject matter there, then. The duo's previously reported new album 'Yes' is out on Monday.

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THEMSELVES GIVE AWAY FREE MIXTAPE
Hip hop duo Themselves, aka Subtle's Doseone and Jel, have announced their return with a free mixtape, 'theFREEhoudini', available via the Anticon Records website.

The 40 mix features guest appearances from Buck 65, Aesop Rock, Busdriver, Lionesque, Slug of Atmosphere, D-Styles, DJ Baku, Pedestrian, Sole, Serengeti, and cLOUDDEAD (the latter group returning from the dead just for this project). There will also be a limited CD version of the mixtape released, featuring an extra 16 minutes, with appearances from Passage, Alias and Fog's Andrew Broder.

Download 'theFREEhoudini' from anticon.com/thefreehoudini/

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NEW PLACEBO ALBUM STUFF
Placebo have released details of that new album. The band's sixth studio LP, 'Battle For The Sun' will be out on 8 Jun. Frontman Brian Molko said: "We've made a record about choosing life, about choosing to live, about stepping out of the darkness and into the light. Not necessarily turning your back on the darkness because it's there, it's essential; it's a part of who you are, but more about the choice of standing in the sunlight instead".

So, that sounds nice.

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ARMSTRONG TALKS ABOUT NEW GREEN DAY ALBUM
Green Day's Billie Jo Armstrong has been talking about his band's upcoming new album '21st Century Breakdown'. The LP has a political theme, as you might expect, and the frontman has explained that the record aims to encourage people to be politically engaged.

Armstrong told Rolling Stone magazine: "A lot of people were born into an unlucky time, the era of George W Bush. There is an optimism now with Obama... be aware. Don't look at this guy as the answer to our prayers. You still need to be involved".

Amen to that.

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LABELLE ALBUM RELEASE
Labelle, the trio who did the original version of 'Lady Marmalade', if you weren't clear on that, have announced they are to release their latest album 'Back To Now' on 20 Apr in the UK, preceded by a single, 'Rollout' on 13 Apr. It's the first new material to be released by Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash since 1976's 'Chameleon'.

Nona Hendryx says of the album, which was released in the US last year, and produced by Lenny Kravitz, Wyclef Jean and Gamble & Huff: "We talked to Kenny Gamble about the idea of us getting together and invited him to a session. He showed up that day and we haven't stopped working since. It's as if we never stopped. The thread just continues; we just slotted right back into the music when we went into the studio to record Back To Now and, with the input of a young team led by Wyclef and Lenny, we learned a lot and moved our sound right up to now".

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FREELAND ANNOUNCES UK TOUR DATES
As previously reported, Adam Freeland returns with his new album, 'Cope', via Marine Parade, in June. It is released under the Freeland moniker again, and features guest appearances from Marilyn Manson/Nine Inch Nails bassist Twiggy Ramirez, Spinnerette/Distillers guiarist Tony Bevilacqua, Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago, and Devo legend Jerry Casale. In addition to the previously reported headline slot at the Remix All-Nighter at Matter, Freeland have also announced some other UK dates for next month, as follows...

7 Apr: Exeter, Cavern
8 Apr: London, Hoxton Bar & Grill
9 Apr: Bristol, Motion
10 Apr: Oxford, Slide
11 Apr: Birmingham, Custard Factory
15 May: London, Remix All-nighter

Meanwhile, you can watch the video for the first single from the album, 'Under Control', here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZkT2Rn9zCg

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ALBUM REVIEW: Fever Ray - Fever Ray (Rabid Records)
There's a theory currently posited that the recent upsurge of solo female electro acts has everything to do with the "landfill indie" phenomena (ie guitar based indie music is mostly rubbish at the moment) and there's consequently a huge gap in the market. On the other hand you could argue that these acts are all very different and they shouldn't be arbitrarily grouped together simply on the basis of gender just for the convenience of music hacks. But whichever way you look at it there is a lot of quality electro girl pop around, and of these, Fever Ray stands out as being exceptional. For those that don't know, this is the solo project of Karin Dreijer Andersson, the female half of brother/sister duo The Knife. For those of you who have been hiding under rocks, The Knife are the Swedish creators of some of the most exciting contemporary electronic music. The duo's music is intense and strange and likewise their image is rather mysterious as they appear live on stage hidden by masks and screens. Karin seems keen to preserve her anonymity as in the video for the single 'If I Had A Heart' and in promo photos she is wearing elaborate and quite scary make up which disguises her face. The music on the album isn't too dissimilar to that of The Knife either; atmospheric and intriguing. Hearing the "male" vocals you might even think Karin's brother Olof has joined her in the project but in fact it is her own voice manipulated. This is far from being radio friendly; Karin's sometimes harsh vocals might not be to everyone's taste and the music is not immediate. But the songs reward repeated listening. 'If I Had A Heart' sets the dark tone, with a long distinctly menacing introduction, primal wailing and pulsating synths. 'Dry And Dusty' incorporates mournful keyboards and vocals together with delicate melodic bleeps. 'Concrete Walls' is similarly solemn but sparkles with electronic glitches. 'Triangle Walks' meanwhile tinkles and burbles prettily. It's difficult to choose favourites from an album of such strong material but 'Coconut', with its Bowie-esque spacey, sci-fi swooshes, is certainly particularly impressive. Fever Ray is sure to clean up in the end of the year polls and this album will be near the top of my list; fascinating, inventive and mesmerising listening, music that takes you to another world. JW
Release Date: 23 Mar
Press Contact: Darling Dept [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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SMIRNOFF ANNOUNCE MORE BURSARIES FOR LONDON PROMOTERS
The Smirnoff Original Nights programme is back, offering four bursaries of £10,000 to London promoters with original ideas, as part of the Smirnoff Night Vision initiative. You've got just over a month to get thinking, as the closing date for this year's funding is 20 Apr. Also in April, the winners of last year's bursaries will host their events

For more information, check out www.facebook.com/smirnofforiginalnights

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TICKETMASTER POSTS BILLION DOLLAR LOSS - THOUGH MAINLY BECAUSE OF ASSET REVALUATION
Ticketmaster posted an on paper loss of over $1 billion for the last quarter of 2008 according to an official financial report published yesterday, though it should be added that that was mainly to do with the application of an "impairment charge" that seriously down-graded the value of the ticketing giant's assets, a revaluation forced by the impact of the general economic downturn, in particular on the firm's share price. The loss works out at $18.82 per share.

If you take the accounting technicalities out of the equation, the ticketing firm's figures aren't exactly rosey, but did show a profit of $9.9 million. That's down 81%. The cost of some big acquisitions presumably contributed to the profit fall, though the result of those purchases could also be seen in the firm's revenues in a more positive light, they were up 9%.

Ticketmaster chiefs will presumably argue that their acquisitions, which have generally diversified the company's operations, including the move into artist management through the purchase of Frontline Management, are justified by the latest financial report. The numbers of tickets sold, and ticket revenues, were both down, but overall revenues were up. The value of such diversification is also a major part of the Ticketmaster board's argument for the merger with Live Nation of course.

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GOOGLE CRITICISES NEW ZEALAND'S THREE STRIKE RULE
Google has weighed into the debate over New Zealand's introduction of the infamous three-strike rule. As previously reported, New Zealand is the first country to put the three-strike system onto the statute book, making it law in section 92A of the country's Copyright Act. This means that, in theory, record companies there can demand that internet users have their broadband connections cut off if they think their copyright is being infringed, and if users ignore three warning letters.

The new laws have come under much criticism, not least because the government there doesn't seem to have put much effort into considering how the system will be policed day to day. That is key to Google's concerns - because they say that content owners are not especially reliable when it comes to making infringement claims, and that as a result innocent web users could lose their internet connections.

In a submission to the Telecommunications Carriers Forum, Google said that 57% of takedown notices it had received asking for copyrighted content to be removed from Google's services were submitted by businesses targeting their competitors, and that 37% were not valid copyright claims.

Using these stats to point out the potentially high number of innocent internet users who might have their connections cut off, the company said: "Section 92A puts users' procedural and fundamental rights at risk, by threatening to terminate users' internet access based on mere allegations and reverse the burden of proof onto a user to establish there was no infringement".

It went on to add that the rules may end up doing more harm than good to the internet, saying: "Section 92A undermines the incredible social and economic benefits of the open and universally accessible internet, by providing for a remedy of account termination or disconnection that is disproportionate to the harm of copyright infringement online".

While the New Zealand government claims that the "primary purpose" of the new code is to educate internet users about copyright, Google went on to say that "there is little reference to education about users' rights, including limitations and exceptions enabling lawful use of copyright protected works, in addition to their obligations".

Concluding it's damning take on Section 92A, it concluded: "While inadequate copyright protection can reduce incentives to create, excessive copyright protection can stifle creativity, choke innovation, impoverish culture and block free and fair competition. As both an intermediary and an innovator in online technologies, Google supports a flexible and adaptable legal framework that provides those who create and invest in new technologies the freedom to innovate without fear that their efforts will be hindered by an overly restrictive approach to copyright. Copyright must have sufficient flexibility so that new,legitimate and socially desirable uses, enabled by new technologies, can flourish".

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PIRATE BAY MAN DISCUSSES TRIAL
Two weeks since the finale of the Pirate Bay Trial, and with the judge still considering the arguments from both sides, the BitTorrent tracker's spokesman Peter Sunde has given an interview to TorrentFreak.

As previously reported, while the prosecution's case was shaken somewhat when prosecutors decided to drop half of their charges on the first day, the site's founders lost some ground, and credibility, as the trial proceeded, mainly by claiming ignorance of fact most people use their search service - called The Pirate Bay - to find pirated content.

Sunde himself predicted an "epic win" before the trial began. Asked if he still thought that was the case, he said: "I still predict an epic win for sure. But you never know. We expect a win but we're prepared for the worst case scenario, so that we don't get too beaten up if that happens".

As to whether he thought The Pirate Bay would soon disappear, he said he was confident that it would be around for a while yet, saying: "If TPB is not used in the future, it is because there's a new technology available that makes TPB obsolete. I think it will evolve of course, but BitTorrent is on the right path to stay relevant for a while. BitTorrent as a technology will [continue to] be used for the actual sharing [in future systems], or at least the basic concept of BitTorrent".

Finally, asked what advice he had for the trial's judge as he considered his verdict, Sunde said: "Don't trust the prosecution - they don't know what they're doing".

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MUCH PESSIMISM AT FUTURE OF COMMERCIAL RADIO DEBATE
So, there was quite a bit of doom and an extra helping of gloom at the commercial radio session of the Guardian's Changing Media Summit in London town yesterday.

The doomy gloomy feel was initially initiated by Claire Enders of media analysts Enders Analysis who told the conference that advertisers were going off radio as a medium through which to flog their wares, and that as a result the commercial radio sector was ceasing to be commercially viable. The sector would probably be dead within two decades, she implied, saying that outside the BBC only "hobbyist" radio services would exist.

According to the Guardian, Enders told the event: "There is a next generation of people in agencies who are not that keen on radio. There has been a dramatic change in the position of radio in the last ten years, dramatic even though consumption has not been affected as much as newspaper consumption".

Personally I'd have thought that in the on-demand content age where we all skip past TV ads, and mentally (or technically) block out banner ads, short audio ads in among radio programmes and streaming services like Spotify would be among the most effective, but then again effectiveness has never really been high up the agenda of the average fad-obsessed advertising exec. Apart from those who buy advertising in CMU of course, who really know their stuff, obviously.

Enders wasn't the only pessimist in the room. Matt Wells, podcast supremo for the Guardian's website, observed: "We are witnessing the slow death of commercial radio in this country due to a number of factors, [including] the complete failure [of the radio industry] to grasp the digital nettle. The proposition for consumers of digital TV is completely transformative compared to analogue TV. The same cannot be said of digital radio. And now the worst advertising recession we have ever seen means that commercial radio is on its last legs. If people running commercial radio do not recognise that, we are in worse trouble than I thought".

Will no one say something positive about the future of the commercial radio industry in the UK? Oh look, here's someone who actually works in the industry to be a bit more optimistic. Absolute Radio boss Clive Dickens, while admitting "there are a significant number of radio stations in our business that are not profitable and are not going to make it through the next two years", argued that that didn't mean all radio stations were doomed. He added: "The investment in the relationship you have with the audience will define whether you stay in business. It's not about the sector or structure of business, it's about the audience's relationship with those brands and that content".

Dickens admitted that some big radio firms did need to explore new methods to ensure longevity - in particular expanding content choice and finding revenue streams other than spot advertising sales.

One would have thought the real threat to commercial radio - certainly in terms of the fight for listeners if not advertising spend (but surely the two are linked to an extent) - is Spotify and any other streaming music services that follow its uber-user-friendly music-on-demand model. While there'll always be a place for live radio shows, if Spotify or others operating in their space can incorporate expert-led recommendation services and possibly incorporate some speech content components, large chunks of the average radio station's output will become redundant anywhere that there is internet access.

But look, now I'm being all pessimistic. Hey Mr Radio, think of that as an opportunity not a threat. I mean, despite what Buggles may say, video didn't kill the radio star, surely we can't now let digital and the internet sneak in and knock radio on the head while we're not looking?

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BBC FACES MORE CUTS
Anyone working in commercial radio now fully depressed about their industry might take heart in this news. Things are going to be hard at the BBC too. Also talking at the Guardian's Changing Media Summit, the BBC's top man Mark Thompson admitted that the Corporation will have to make another £400 million in budget cuts, despite having made a significant number of job cuts already in recent years.

I suggest axing 'Horne & Corden' for starters - is it just me or did they forget to put any jokes in that show? And while I'm happy for Jonathan Ross to stay, perhaps they come save some cash by getting rid of the Four Puffs & The Piano - I mean, didn't that stop being funny four years ago? And, of course, just replace anything involving Fearne Cotton with back-to-back music and pages from Ceefax.

Anyway, I digress. According to the Guardian, Thompson told their conference that the new cuts would be required to ensure the Beeb stayed within its statutory borrowing limit. With that in mind, Thompson presumably does not favour Tory man David Cameron's recent proposal that the licence fee be frozen for a year because of the recession.

Again defending the tax that funds his Corporation, Thompson told the conference: "The licence fee is an integral and critical element in this country's investment in the creative industries and specifically in content creation. The idea that what this country's creative industries need now is a further reduction in investment is not one that makes much sense to me".

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RADIO 1 DEP CONTROLLER TO KEYNOTE AT STUDENT RADIO CONFERENCE
The Student Radio Association holds their annual conference in Leeds next month, and this year is looking likely to be one of the best in years. Radio 1's programming chief Ben Cooper - who has just been promoted to the role of Deputy Controller for Radio 1 and 1Xtra - will give the keynote address.

Confirming Cooper's involvement, SRA Chair Mark Farrington told reporters: "Ben Cooper agreeing to speak at the conference really underlines how seriously student radio is taken by the radio industry as a whole. The industry showed up in force at our annual awards at indigO2 last November, and it looks like the conference will see a similar level of participation from the world of professional radio".

This year's conference is hosted by Leeds student radio station LSRfm.com and will take place at Leeds University Students' Union from 6-8 Apr. I hear the music business panel and careers in the media session will be particularly expertly run - by someone from something called CMU apparently. More at www.ukstudentradio.com/events

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VH1'S BEHIND THE MUSIC RETURNS
VH1 is reviving its 'Behind The Music' documentary series, partly because research showed that the strand was so associated with the music channel no one had realised they stopped making it in 2002. A one-off 90 minute special edition was aired to mark the comeback of the New Kids On The Block last year. Now ten new editions of the doc show, each of which focuses on the career of a different rock or pop artist, have been ordered. Lil Wayne and Scott Weiland are both expected to participate in the new series. VH1's VP of Original Programming told reporters: "It felt like the time is right. There's all sorts of new artists on the scene who have emerged and have these great stories".

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NBC LAUNCH NEW SONG TALENT CONTEST
US TV network NBC is to launch a rival to Fox TV's long running pop talent show 'American Idol'. It will be called 'The Sing Off' and I think it's USP is that it will feature a cappella singing groups competing for the grand prize which, like the prize on its Fox rival, is reportedly a Sony Music record deal. The Hollywood Reporter quote NBC's Paul Teledgy thus: "This is a fantastic feel-good series that viewers of all ages can enjoy. To hear these singing groups re-create a popular song with only the sounds of their voices is truly amazing".

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DOCTOR WHO CHIEF WANTS LOTTERY MONEY FOR KIDS' SHOWS
Doctor Who chief (for now) Russell T Davies has criticised the decline in kids programmes on British television.

Davies, who makes Doctor Who spin off The Sarah Jane Adventures for Children's BBC, says even the Beeb has slashed its budgets for original kids programming, while many commercial networks move out of children's programming altogether. He revealed that one round of BBC budget cuts almost made it untenable to continue making the 'Sarah Jane' show, but that money was found from other budgets to rescue it.

The problem in the commercial space, of course, is that increasingly strict rules governing advertising to children makes it less and less viable for ad-funded broadcasters to dedicate airtime to younger viewers, and even less to invest in new original programming. Davies suggested that Lottery money should be given to the makers of children's programming to help compensate for the commercial limitations of such output.

"They put money into rubbish films, why can't they put money into children's television?" he told a BAFTA event this week, "[children's TV] needs to be a special case".

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RIVMIXX GOES FULLY LIVE ON MONDAY
Previously reported new music network Rivmixx.com will officially launch on Monday after a recent beta period, and will do so with a week of exclusive features in its own magazine section featuring, among other things, a previously unseen AV set from DJ Yoda and a preview of a brilliant new film project created by highly tipped new act Trip, who filmed an extended video to accompany his entire debut album in just 24 hours.

Any UK-based readers who sign up to the service will also be entered into a competition to win tickets to not one but five festivals this summer - The Great Escape, Rock Ness, Camp Bestival, Field Day and Bestival. And with a Facebook Connect function now available, new users can sign up using their Facebook accounts, meaning they can import personal information from the social network.

As previously reported, Rivmixx is aimed at both music fans and artists and people in the industry. For the latter audience, users can separate their industry contacts from their fans, meaning they can use the service to both network with colleagues and communicate with the public.

For press info contact Get Involved - to figure it all out for yourself set up an account at www.rivmixx.com.

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CHERYL'S PAD THREATENED BY LANDFILL PLANS
According to the Daily Star, Cheryl Cole's plans for the £3.5million home she shares with husband Ashley Cole may be threatened by the local council's plans to quarry land close to the house and then turn it into landfill. The couple were planning a football pitch, swimming pool and gym at the property, and the council's scheme would apparently make all that difficult, though I don't altogether understand why. Though, I imagine the idea of living close to a rubbish dump wouldn't be very appealing, either.

Local campaigners who are pressuring the council to drop the idea say they'd love to get the Coles' support. A Green Belt protester told the tabloid "If someone like Cheryl Cole could back the campaign we would be very grateful".

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JOHN MAYER MAY GET LITIGIOUS OVER BOOK REPORTS
John Mayer is reportedly considering legal action against US publication Star Magazine, which published reports claiming that he was planning to make some quick cash by writing a book about his time with TV and film star Jennifer Aniston. The pair apparently ended their on/off relationship in the last couple of weeks. A representative for Mayer told Perez Hilton: "Even for them, it's a new low. They've dressed themselves up but they're no better than the Enquirer. Despite their low standards it's still not OK to make up stories and print them. Unfortunately, while we're considering legal action, Star Magazine is already at work on next week's cover story about some reality TV star's secret marriage to Elvis".

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VON TEESE CLAIMS MANSON REGRETS THE PAST
Burlesque lady-star Dita Von Teese has said that her former spouse, Marilyn Manson, who allegedly treated her rather badly until she filed for divorce, has been in touch of late to apologise for past wrongs. There's a slight implication that he might want her back, but it sounds like she'd be having none of it, were that the case.

Von Teese says of the goth rocker: "He's been in touch a little. The apologies come, and he was like, 'I made a big mistake'. And I'm like, 'Yeah, yeah, I know. Go ahead and say what you need to say to feel better and to sleep at night'. Right now I've got three [men]. They're all in different parts of the world... That's my biggest sin - juggling men".

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