Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter track smackdown: Round six - The Charlottes

Huntingdon's finest and, like many English indie bands of a certain vintage, more appreciated in Japan than back at home. Their drummer went on to drum for Slowdive but, the question is, did Could There Ever Be make it from the Cherry Red back catalogue onto the computers?

To the search engines, then:

The green circle once again struggles with the request, suggesting we perhaps meant Charlotte, and then offering a list of every Charlotte ever to make a record (that it knows of). And Good Charlotte. Zero again.

Similar artists to The Charlottes include the Drop Nineteens, points out Last FM, helpfully. It knows what it's talking about, but can it play us what we want to hear?

Oh, yes. Oh, sweet joy. And pretty much everything else the band formally recorded. Victory for Last FM, and ten shoegazing points.

Not only does iTunes have the band's sole full-length album, Things Come Apart, but also a best of that I've not come across before called Liar. Could There Ever Be is on Liar, so that's another ten points to the boys from Cupertino.

This is more familiar. We7 fail to break into double figures by hoping that a bunch of karaoke tunes drawn from Charlotte Church's back catalogue might hit the spot. Zero.

Close, but not quite. Caught between girls called Charlottes and what looks like it might be a different band with the same name, there's the video for Liar:

"What is the name of the singer" asks a commenter "She is pretty." She is, and she's Petra Roddis. YouTube gets one point for at least having a little something, even if it wasn't quite what we were after.

Another search engine having trouble with a group of people operating under a girl's name. It does find the sexy and disturbing Mad Girl's Love Song on a Cherry Red album Sex And Violence, and that allows a click through to The Charlottes entire back catalogue in mp3. One point off for usability weakness, so nine marks.

Even putting quote marks round "the Charlottes" doesn't actually stop Imeem offering any file with the word Charlotte in, so if it has got Could There Ever Be in there, it's impossible to find. Zero.

After having so many gripes about eMusic, it does manage to sort The Charlottes from the various other Charlottes, and offer the whole of Liar, so ten points for the track and a point bonus for search that works on this occasion.

So, eMusic finally having a bit of a rallym, leaping over Spotify and we7 to move up the order:

Amazon - 44
iTunes - 34
LastFM - 22
eMusic - 19
YouTube - 19
iMeem - 12
Spotify - 09
We7 - 09
Sweeping The Nation - 0.5
Internet As A Whole - -10

That concludes the three rounds for today; we'll be back with the Easter bunny tomorrow morning when we switch our focus from the leafy suburbs of Cambridgeshire to the harsh streets of the Chicago Projects.

Easter track smackdown: Round five - The Field Mice

The Field Mice. Springing from the at-least-for-a-while seven inch fetishists at Sarah Records, some of the back catalogue has moved into CD form - so has it completed the journey and popped up online?

For our next round, can we find September's Not So Far Away online?

Oh, Spotify. You poor, poor beast. Not only does it boast a single Field Mice track (although rather more from the Toxic Field Mice, who sadly aren't an evil alterego band), but the album it comes from, Sarah Records compilation Electric Common has got the names of the songwriters where the title tracks should be. This is what a fail sounds like. Minus one.

Last FM:
Eleven pages of Field Mice tracks, half of which have had a single scrobble. CBS might want to invest some money in finding ways to tidying up their data, mightn't they? Anyway, just four full tracks, and not even a thirty second burst of September's Not So Far Away. Zero points.

Two (count 'em) identical versions of the song to choose from. But because the software is buggering about with an update, it's going to lose a point. Nine.

Did you mean the Field Mob?



The Field Mice might be a difficult ask for YouTube - the didn't come from a label which invested heavily in promotional clips; and while their fans were obsessive, coming before iMovie and Windows Movie File Manipulation Tool, there's not likely to be many home-made videos... is there?

No! Here it is - with an admission that "the copyright is owned by artists & corresponding record companies" - and perhaps a less-than-inventive visual:

Ten points. Minus one, to be given to the artists, and one, to be given to corresponding record companies.

Amazon has a surprising amount of Field Mice mp3s, including September's Not So Far Away. Ten points.

Having been a bit of a let-down so far, Imeem comes up with the goods this time, thanks to someone who's uploaded the whole of Field Mice compilation Where'd You Learn To Kiss That Way. And they've also got My Little Airport's song When I Listen To The Field Mice, too. Eleven points.

If eMusic's claims to be the kings of the indie mp3 are to have any value, they're going to have to score here. And they do: besides the compilation, they've also got other gems from the Field Mice's work. Twelve points.

So, let's have a look at the old score board:

Amazon - 35
iTunes - 24
YouTube - 18
Last FM - 12
Imeem - 12
we7 - 09
Spotify - 09
eMusic - 08
Sweeping The Nation - 0.5
The Internet As A Whole - -10

We'll be back later this evening with the greatest band ever to hail from the home of Oliver Cromwell.

Simon Cowell enjoys a credit crunch joke

According to The Telegraph this morning:

Simon Cowell has said he is willing to take a pay cut to stay with ITV as he is more interested in making quality TV than money.

Perhaps after a decade or so of doing the reverse, he's decided its time for a change. George Sampson is said to be brushing up his Ibsen in case he gets the call.

Gordon in the morning: Bank holiday cover

Even gossip columns struggle through the bank holiday weekend with a skeleton staff: Gordon Smart (or the work experience guy who worked the Good Friday shift) pretends that anyone is interested in the woman who used to play Kelly Brook and some bloke who does rugby.

Easter track smackdown: Round four - Bernard Cribbins

Welcome back to Easter Track Smackdown, a definitive attempt to prove which online music service is the best by asking them to offer up some tracks of variegated scarcity and rarity, and awarding points on a borderline unfair basis.

We enter into the second day with Amazon's mp3 store in the lead, while much-fancied golden boy Spotify is turning into the Lewis Hamilton of the competiton, yet to score. eMusic has been punished for its poor usability and elevation of putting its sign-up page ahead of actually letting people explore its catalogue.

So, now one that will separate the Zunes from the iPods. Described by Danny Baker as "the most sublime reading of the most sublime lyric", can our competitors bring us Bernard Cribbin's version of I've Grown Accustomed To Here Face?

Spotify, what say you? Yesterday, you came back with nothing. Can you save your face?

Why yes, you can: thirty-two slices of Cribbage, including the very song we're looking for. Suddenly, it looks like we might have a competition on our hands. Ten well-earned points.

Which is just as well, as this would really drag if it was all going to go Amazon's way, right?

Oooh, so close - by virtue of listing The Very Best Of, I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face is there for the scrobbling, but the only full track on offer is Right Said Fred. No points for you, Last FM.

Again, The Very Best Of... turns up trumps for its digital overlords, and I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face can be yours for 79p. Only iTunes has, so far, pointed out that as well as a touching love song about the scent of perfume in the air, you can also enjoy Cribbins' role in Frenzy, but no extra points for suggesting tie-related murders. Ten points.

Whoever would have thought that this one would prove so easy? Even We7, so far resigned to sitting on the sidelines, has The Very Best Of. 88pence for the track, though, so docked one point for being greedy.

While stacked with various versions of the more-familiar comedy stuff, YouTube can't offer us the Cribmeister doing this particular song. Indeed, it looks like Google has no evidence at all of Bernard's straight music career - how right the PRs are to characterize them as buffoons of the highest order.

There is, though, a strange, potato-like stop-motion animation version of Right Said Fred, which I'm sure once popped up on TV as a filler item during some sort of technical or industrial relations breakdown. And scarred me for life. They're not getting points for that.

Amazon also have The Very Best Of loaded and ready to pump at you faster than you can say "Star Turn Challenge". And since they're ten pence cheaper than iTunes, for the sake of consistency Amazon get 11 points.

Only The Hole In The Ground and Right Said Fred. It's like an ITV documentary version of his work. Zero.

Usability meltdown nightmare time. Yes, says the search, we have Bernard Cribbins. Step this way... only to show a compilation album with 49 tracks, of which you can only see the names of 15 tracks at a time, and none of which have the names alongside. Until you leave the artist page altogether.

And then it turns out that they've got Sit Down, You're Rocking The Boat. One point for having something, taken away again for being cussed.

So, four rounds in - here's the leader board:

Amazon - 25
iTunes - 15
Last FM - 12
Spotify - 10
YouTube - 10
we7 - 09
Imeem - 01
Sweeping The Nation - 0.5
emusic - -04
The Internet As A Whole - -10

This afternoon, we go searching for something that originally came in a plastic bag. No, not Pete Doherty's "lunch".

Friday, April 10, 2009

Zune finally overhauls "other" mp3 players

What, exactly, are the millions Microsoft has poured into Zune getting it? Besides snarky headlines when they discover they can't cope with leap years?

Well, according to Piper Jaffray's biannual Teen Survey, not very much. The US teens surveyed reported Zune ownership at 4% which is, admittedly, up a percentage point on this time last year. But the iPod is at 86%, as high as it was this time last year - and, with a terrible symmetry, 4% higher than it was when the Zune launched.

In other words: Apple has increased its market share amongst teens at the same rate as Microsoft.

The real sting, though? 100% of the teens who intend to buy a new player this year say they're thinking of getting an iPod. Sure, some of those who go the store might be swayed by getting the same sort of thing in a Zune-shaped package for a little less (if they find them in the store), but to know that nobody thinks of your device as a default wish-list item must be a little disappointing.

[The survey only interviewed 600 teenagers; 19% said they intended to buy a new player in the next twelve months. Story via The Licensing Plate]

QTrax launches again

It seems we can't go through a couple of months without news of QTrax 'launching', or relaunching, or preparing to relaunch its launch.

Since the last time it launched when it didn't actually launch, similar-but-actually-working service SpiralFrog has thrown in the towel. Is QTrax worried that SpiralFrog had all those months advantage and still flopped?

But Qtrax maintains its business model is different than SpiralFrog's. The former CEO of SpiralFrog - Robin Kent, who left the company a year before it went under - serves as an advisor for Qtrax.

You see? That's totally a totally different model, because that guy's sat over there instead of standing there. You can smell the win, can't you?

Actor Billy Bob Thornton takes his self-importance to the public

Having made a holy show of himself on Canadian radio, actor-turned-don't-call-him-actor Billy Bob Thornton has now started to make himself look stupid in front of a paying audience, too.

Thornton kicked off by referencing the coverage of his tiresome interview:

"It seems as if when I say something it's in the news," Thornton told the crowd, according to the Toronto Star.

Actually, not in "the news", Bobby Bill, but it does seem when you say something it turns up on the self-importance round-up.

The fans weren't all that impressed, and started booing.
Thornton replied, "Boo all you want, but I want to say something — we're really happy to be here, but I need to say something. I talked to this asshole yesterday."

To? Or out of?
Thornton went on to explain that the radio show's producers had promised not to make any references to his acting career.

But why? In God's name, why? It's like having Socrates on and him insisting that no reference be made to his philosophy. Well, not Socrates. Who would be the philosophical equivalent of Bobby's acting? Pa Boswell from Bread, probably.
"I don't really like sensationalism," he told the crowd at Massey Hall. "If you look someone in the eyes and promise them something, and you don't do it, you don't get the interview. That's the way it goes."

It's not really "sensationalism" to mention that you're an actor, though. It's surely a known fact?

The audience - who were really there for Willie Nelson - were having none of it:
Thornton's explanation did not satisfy the audience, and they began jeering, "Here comes the gravy," a reference to Thornton's description of Canadian audiences during the CBC interview as "mashed potatoes with no gravy."

Billy Bob Thornton is an actor.

Against Me do a Tesco Value Tour

Against Me - sure, they're a 'take it or leave it' sort of band, but you can't fault the value: they've launched a ten dollar tour. It's partly because of the times we're living in, partly because they're playing to test some songs live. Seems fair enough to not take a full fee if you're doing a kind-of rehearsal.

Not sure I'd ever pay more than ten bucks for them in full-on mode, but it's a nice gesture.

Easter track smackdown: Round three - Mohobishopi

[Follow the Easter Track Smackdown tag for all the pieces to date]

With Amazon holding onto a slim lead over Last FM, we reach round three of this weekend's battle to prove, sort-of-conclusively, which of the various online music services are, by some measure, "the best".

The third challenge is MoHoBishOpi's Names For Nameless Things. Coming out of Wales in 1996, briefly the Mos - or were they the Bishes? - were forced to trade under the weight of the NME's next big thing label. Although only for a couple of weeks. They were brilliant live, but there's no way you can say that without making it sound like the faintest of praise; they managed a handful of singles and a single album before falling apart in 2002.

But: does their spirit live on online? Or has their clumsy punctuation doomed them to hide from the faithful forever? Let's see:

The name, punctuated or not, fails to generate a response. The song title fails to generate a response. Spotify, you were meant to be the future of music: you're looking like an empty ship right now. Zero, again.

Last FM:
Using asterisks rather than dashes, Last FM turns up the band, but Names For Nameless Things isn't part of the music on offer. There are two full tracks, though, so two bonus points for a good try.

Scratches its digital head faced with the band name, and suggests trying a "power search". Which fails to find Names For Nameless Things, and suggests trying another "power search". No points.

What? Don't worry about what you're looking for - we've got digital versions of Black Sabbath. And Kings Of Leon. Will that do?

No points.

The search engine starts off by guessing that you're looking for experts in matters Islamic before falling quiet and offering a Sweeping The Nation playlist which features the clip for Hear The Air, but more importantly has this:

The Popguns from Brighton, doing Waiting For The Winter - and, as if to crystalize the 1980s indieness of it all, it's taped from Yorkshire TV's legendary Transmission programme.

So, YouTube offers a couple of tracks by the band, but scores zero, while Sweeping The Nation gets half a point for having The Popguns. If you don't like the way the scoring is working, complain to Ben Goldacre.

Their search engine reveals there are no downloads on offer, but does point towards some physical records you can buy. Which is fine, and does include a second-hand copy of Names For Nameless Things for a penny, but isn't instantaneous, is it? No marks.

Unhelpfully, when looking for the track name, suggests that I might want to watch a video exploring if the Harry Potter books are any good. Zero.

The rotten search engine spits back when asked for MoHoBishOpi, and suggests that 'it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing' is, somehow, a match for the song title. Man, their search needs help.

So, although we had a lovely swerve into the Popguns, the actual song we were looking for is beyond the fingers of digitalisation. Ten marks off for the internet as a whole.

After three rounds:

Amazon - 14
Last FM - 12
YouTube - 10
iTunes - 05
Imeem - 01
Sweeping The Nation - 0.5
We7 - 00
Spotify - 00
eMusic - -04
The Internet as a whole - -10

Three more rounds tomorrow, Sunday and Monday at roughly the same times as today's went live. Coming next: can Tim Berners Lee bring a showtune classic as rendered by the Dalek's foe into our living rooms?

Easter track smackdown: Round two - Gary Clail

So, it turns out you can browse eMusic without being logged in, but the big "SIGN UP" splash-screen doesn't give you a browse button; it's only later, when you've tried to get your password back that you find it. They do have Fire Escape, but are fined seven points for being a horrible experience. And, also, for having a glacially slow 'retrieve your password' service.

On to round two, and it's On The Wire/Snub TV favourite Gary Clail with his proto-Peta veg-pusher track Beef. Beef! How low can you go? Hear the cattle cry - death row. You know the one.

Officially credited to Gary Clail On-U Sound System featuring Bim Sherman, this made it to 64 in the charts back in 1990. And impacted on sales of sausages at the far end of student halls of residences for about a week.

You have to wonder: had the On-U Sound System ever got the success they deserved, and its component parts branched out into their own fashion ranges, would Bim Sherman constantly have had his clothes seized by trading standards, alongside Gooci belts and DYKN sunglasses?

Come on, then, competiting music services - can you give me a side of Beef?

After a wobbly start with Rote Kapelle, at least Spotify can point to a few Gary Clail tracks. But no Beef.

I am, of course, pondering at which point to deploy my 'where's the Beef' gag. Don't want to go too soon with it.

Last FM:
They come up with the goods - or, at least, thirty seconds of the goods. It's a minced Beef. To add insult to injury, it's a snatch of an extended version. What's the point of that, exactly?


Again, iTunes offer a smattering of three Gary Clail tracks and one he's done a dub all over. But no Beef. Zero for them, too. This is turning into a rout.

"Did you mean Gary Clark?" enquires we7, suggesting, in the digital-stores-as-1980s-high-street metaphor, they're occupying the role of an assistant who's been shifted from the Book department to the WH Smiths record department, struggling with the paper catalogue but desperate to help. Zero.

Pushing aside the young pretenders, YouTube comes up with the goods:

Ten points. Although it's lucky we're not docking points for visual clarity.

Bemusingly, Amazon's mp3 store has no Gary Clail tracks, but offers three ways to search him to get no returns. Minus one for taking the piss a bit.

There's no Beef on Imeem, but they do have more Gary Clail stuff than anyone else bar YouTube. A point for the effort.

Bloody hell, I've used eMusic in the past and don't remember it being so user-hostile. A search on Gary Clail comes up with this:

Artist names matching gary clail (623 results)

* Gary Numan
* Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette
* Gary Peacock
* Gary Moore
* Gary Burton
* Gary Stadler
* Gary Jules
* Gary Versace
* Gary Hoey
* Gary Lewis and The Playboys
* Gary Cooper
* Rev. Gary Davis
* The Gary Tesca Orchestra
* Gary Bartz
* Gary Numan / Tubeway Army


How, exactly, does Gary Numan "match" Gary Clail? This is the Woolworths' assistant suggesting "ooh, there was a lad lived up the road called Gary; he was Elsie's eldest, went to sea, I think; his brother married a nutritionist." After a lot of pushing, eMusic eventually offers up rapidly-forgotten late-90s Dutch dub act Beef, which earns them a point for fighting obscurity with obscurity.

At the end of the second round, then:

Amazon - 14
LastFM - 10
YouTube - 10
itunes - 05
Imeem - 01
Spotify - 00
We7 - 00
eMusic - -04

We'll be back in the evening with the next round: Ready for some NME-praised mid-90s Welsh rock, anyone?

Anathema anathema to Tunisians

Why you should be very carefully choosing your band name, part thirty-teen: Liverpudlian act Anathema were booked to play a big gig in front of (it says here) one thouand Tunisian fans. But they turned up to find the gig canceled.

And then they tried to arrange it again. Only for it be canceled.

It turns out the authorities believed they were Satanists:

Guitar technician Darryl Anthony wrote in his blog: “Our promoter informed us that somebody has informed the Tunisian interior ministry that Anathema are Satan worshippers who eat black cats and drink their blood.

“The ministry have requested song lyrics to peruse over the weekend in order to put their minds at rest.”

It's far from clear if it was the eating cats, or the drinking of cat's blood, which gave the Tunisian Interior Ministry most concerns. Perhaps they were especially afraid of the development of an espeically satanic cat-based black pudding which combined the most evil of two worlds.

The Liverpool Echo finds compelling evidence that they can't be Satanic:
Their lyrics, often focusing on love and loss, have never been a matter of controversy and they often play special gigs with accompaniment from friends in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Stringed instruments. How could they be evil?

Darkness at 3AM: Oh my God, you killed journalism. You bastards.

There's a warning from 3AM today:

Joke around with Kanye West at your peril...

Really? Why, 3AM Girls?
In Wednesday's episode of South Park, entitled Fishsticks, a cartoon Kanye tells David Letterman and Jay Leno: "I am not gay! And I'm not a fish!"

Then, incensed at being the butt of the show's joke, the 31-year-old rapper beats comedian Carlos Mencia to death with a baseball bat. Ouch!

So... you're saying we should be careful making sport of Kanye West because of something a cartoon version of him did? You're actually saying that, are you?

And... if I just take a step back... you're running a news item which is effectively something that happened in a cartoon on US TV?

Trinity Mirror staff who are currently facing compulsory redundancy will be delighted to see exactly where the savings made by throwing them out of work are being spent.

Vevo in vitro: YouTube, Universal make a deal

You can call it, if you wish, Universal's attempt to create a musical Hulu: YouTube and Universal have shaken hands on a plan for a site under an ugly brand to "highlight" UMG's artists:

Google’s YouTube and Vivendi’s Universal Music Group will be launching a new site, dubbed VEVO, that will highlight UMG’s videos. The site will launch in “coming months” according to a press release (below). And YouTube users will still be able to watch UMG clips from the likes of Lil Wayne via a “new VEVO channel through a special VEVO branded embedded player.”

When I was a kid, the corner shop was called Vivo. One time, the assistant took all the neck-labels off the Daddy's sauce bottles so I could send away for the free Basil Brush toy they were offering without the need to tiresomely purchase the three bottles of sauce required. I was too shy to tell her that I didn't really want a Basil Brush, but it was awfully nice of her to do it. Although if you came in later and bought a bottle of sauce, and liked Basil Brush, you might not think so. But there are always losers.

You can see why YouTube might be hoping that a safe area, with only official stuff, might give a chance of selling some advertising against its massive, expensive video inventory.

You can also understand why Universal might hope this will work - nobody on the top floor of labels has ever really quite understood that, for most labels, and for most of the audience, the label that a track comes out on means nothing; that nobody is going to think "I wonder what fine artists Universal might want to entertain me with today".

Ironically, the only way VeVo is going to work is if websearch is brilliant at delivering people looking for the artist's videos to the site, which means they're going to be more reliant on Google than ever.

Gordon in the morning: Insulting your intelligence, even on the holidays

To be fair, it does feel credible to suggest that Madonna's response to any problem would be to buy houses until the problem goes away, but it's shameful that The Sun is running a story about her "plans" for a Malawi house without even the slightest suggestion that they're doing their bit as part of a propaganda war:

[T]he chart-topper has instructed her architects to draw up plans for a home in the African country, as she believes adopted son DAVID BANDA would benefit from a connection to his birthplace.

Do you think, Madonna?

Talking of irony, does Gordon really think the best way to illustrate a piece about Geri Halliwell's stalker and how they hang about outside her house all day, invading her privacy and straining to just get a glimpse of her, is by running a long-lens paparazzi snap of Halliwell?

Easter track smackdown: Round one - Rote Kappelle

Welcome to the Bank Holiday weekend, and welcome to a scientific* attempt to determine the answer to the question: what's better, Spotify, or Last FM, or iTunes, or We7, or YouTube. Or Amazon. Or maybe Imeem.

* - it's not actually scientific.

The rules, such as they are, are simple. There's a list of twelve tracks - we'll do three a day, using the same search terms on each service. Ten points for a service offering the track, bonus points awarded for coming close. At the end of the weekend, we'll know, beyond any doubt, which music service is the best. The other services will have until May Day weekend to close down.

Exciting, isn't it?

So, round one: the track to get us going is Rote Kapelle's Fire Escape.

Named after a Soviet spy ring in Nazi Germany, and part of the incestuous rock family tree that covered The Pastels, Jesse Garon, The Fizzbombs and The Shop Assistants, Fire Escape turned up on Marc Riley's InTape label back in 1988. It featured - as was mandated by law for all political tracks in that decade - a sample of Thatcher.

So, come on then, online music services: find me some agitjangle.

Nothing at all from Rote Kapelle. It does offer something by the band The Fire Escape, and two other songs called Fire Escape. But that's a zero.

Last FM:
Last FM know all about Rote Kapelle and offer the song in full, from Thatcher's "It is the spirit of Britain" to the jangling end. Win! 10 points.

iTunes offers a download of the "non-dance mix" of Fire Escape, from the San Francisco Again EP. Not the canon version, but enough for five points.

Nothing from Rote Kapelle, and the store mocks its own lack of success by suggesting the Pyromanics' No Fire Escape album. Zero.

YouTube has live clips from a different band of the same name - opening for a band called The Devil Wears Prada, which is an eclectic mix of the highbrow and pop culture references on one bill. But our Rote Kapelle? Not a sniff. Zero.

After a little bit of thinking about it, the search returns <sixteen tracks, including both the seven inch version and the twelve inch remix. And there's even a picture of the seven inch in its sleeve. Fifteen points.

They've never heard of Rote Kapelle; looking for Fire Escape dredges up a lot of results - including clips of Will And Grace. I thought we'd agreed we'd never mention Will And Grace again, hadn't we? No.

eMusic requires a log-in before you can search; I've lost my password and it's taking an age for them to mail it to me. Minus five.

So, at the end of the first round:

Amazon - 15
LastFM - 10
itunes - 05
Spotify - 00
We7 - 00
YouTube - 00
Imeem - 00
eMusic - -05

LastFM does also have the extended Fire Escape, by the way, but you have to go looking for it, even after you've done a search. Also, it's not entirely a version with much of a point, apart from a late goading of U2.

Another round later today.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Britney Spears: Put that light out

Britney Spears suspended on-stage activities for half an hour during her Vancouver gig while the audience was asked to stop smoking.

Her body, after all, is a temple.

The Canadian government has announced plans to add a photo of an empty stage and the words 'Smoking can interrupt your Britney Spears gig' as a health warning on packets of fags, although some have warned that might actually increase the number of people smoking ciggies.

Kanye West Inc expands product range

It's been a good 48 hours since Kanye West has stretched his brand over any new products, which must mean we're about to get some product launches. Now word yet of Kanye West Pop Tart, but here comesKanye West Energy Drinks and Cologne:

West will be involved in the entire development process of a new beverage "inspired by his own personal artistic vision," the company announced yesterday (April 8). The new drink is expected to launch later this year. As part of the deal, West is now an equity partner in the company [Guru beverages].

Inspired by his own artistic vision? How does he pipe that into a sugary drink, exactly?
"I express myself through music, fashion, art and design and that's why I am excited to collaborate with GURU; because the brand values what I value, and I can put what inspires me into this new product," West said in a statement.

The brand values what West values? That would be money, then, would it?

But what of the cologne?
West is also part of a deal that will see branded perfumes and colognes from Jay-Z, Rihanna, and West himself. Parlux Fragrances, Inc., announced Tuesday (April 7) that it has signed an agreement with Iconic Fragrances LLC, Jay-Z's own licensing company. The agreement allows for royalties, profit sharing, and stock options for West and the others.

Suspicions that the bottles of Kanye West Drink and Kanye West Stink will contain the same, slightly sickening, liquid are beneath you.

Would it be beneath us to dance about yelling 'in your face, Paul McGuinness'?

After Paul McGuinness - who manages U2, you know - lovingly crafted his letter to the French government praising them for introducing three strikes, the upper house throws out the measure.

You'd love to think that reading McGuinness' slobbering piece in Le Figaro persuaded them against it, wouldn't you?

Gospelobit: David 'Pop' Winans

Six months after suffering a stroke, David Winans - patriarch of the Winans clan - has died.

Father of CeCe and BeBe Winans, David was twice Grammy nominated in his own right - once for the solo record Uncensored; once for Mom & Pop Winans.

When not recording gospel or managing his kids' gospel bands, Winans passed through a number of careers. Unsurprisingly, one of them was as a priest, but he also sold cars, drove cars and cut hair for a living.

After finding success, he worked with various Detroit youth groups.

He fell ill last October, and had been thought of as in recovery after he left hospital at the start of this year. He is survived by his wife, and nine of his ten children.

"Only Madonna can save us now"

The imminent destruction of Western civilization seems more and more attractive as even earthquake victims seem incapable of thinking in anything other than celebrity terms:

Madonna has promised $500,000 to help victims of Italy's devastating earthquake, said Fernando Caparso, mayor of Pacentro, the mountainside village where two of the pop star's grandparents were born.

Carparso told The Associated Press on Wednesday that that he had spoken to the pop star's manager and that he was deeply moved by Madonna's effort to assist the town as well as surrounding areas.

"Madonna was the only one who could help us," he said. "Other then being a great singer, a great rock star and an intelligent woman, with this gesture she has become a great woman," he said.

Let's hope that the money makes it through - Malawi is still waiting for its $3.7million Gucci/Madonna fundraiser, and Madonna spokesmutterer Liz Rosenberg seems reluctant to commit to a figure:
Liz Rosenberg, the pop singer's spokeswoman, confirmed that Madonna had pledged a "substantial amount," in quake relief but didn't disclose the exact figure.

And not everyone is thrilled by the offer in the first place:
Rosa Napoli, 90, was less than approving. "She is a woman that men like. She is not the Madonna that is worshipped in church," Napoli said as she left a small church where she attended an evening Mass.

Thanks for clearing that up, Ms Napoli. I do always get the two of them muddled up - it's easy to mistake the woman who recorded Like A Virgin for a 2,000 year old, don't you find?

Still: It's reassuring to know that whenever the world gets too obsessed with celebrity, we can always rely on the nonagenarians to pull us back.

Peta Shop Boys

Am I misremebering, or does PETA insist on the Pet Shop Boys changing their name once every two or three weeks?

I'm not even sure it makes any sense, either - sure, some pet shops are horrible places; personally, if Neil Tennant turned up at Pet City in Aurora Mall in Denver, set the poor, crushed creatures free and then locked the management in tiny, overheated perspex boxes while inviting the population of Colorado to bash rhythmically on the door for ten hours a day, I would be delighted.

But many pet shops don't sell pets; they only sell things that make pets happy. Catnip and bottles for feeding rabbits and things that delight puppies. Some, indeed, also try to rehouse rescue dogs and cats, to save them from being destroyed - something which might give PetSmart a moral lead over PETA.

Still, PETA are happy that the Pet Shop Boys have elected to not change their name, but have posted a message of support:

“The organisation PETA Europe, dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals, has written to Pet Shop Boys with a request they are unable to agree to but nonetheless think raises an issue worth thinking about.”

Coming next week: Buttsteak are badgered to change their name retrospectively to Butttofu.

Sony invent device for playing Bits And Pieces

There's nothing like a device that's been invented to solve a problem which doesn't really exist.

Meet the latest product to be flung out under the Walkman brand.

It's a tiny music player, which sits in the ears:

Sony think that the player, which goes on sale in Britain from today at £60, will be ideally suited for people exercising, who do not like long wires.

So, it's wireless, is it?
The two earpieces are connected by a short wire that goes around the listener's head.

I'd love to see the focus grouping on this - "this wire is thirteen centimetres: too long? How about this one? This one is twelve and a half...". Is the answer to not wanting long, trailing wires really to make the wire shorter rather than eliminate the wire altogether?

But the longwireless nature of the device isn't its key selling point. Oh, no.
When the NWZ-W202 player is on shuffle mode, the device automatically detects and plays the main chorus part of each track, helping you find the song you want. If a listener does not like a song, a quick tap of a button on the device, will select another song.

I'm sorry? Instead of starting songs at the start, it 'discovers' the chorus and plays that first?
Sony believes that many listeners do not recognise the first few bars of a track and, as a result, get frustrated that it is only when they are 30 seconds into a song before they realise they do not want to listen to it.

Because, of course, every song starting half-way through and then jumping back to the beginning isn't in any way annoying, is it?

Besides, this device only holds 300 songs. If you've only got space for 300 songs, how the hell are you managing to put tracks on you don't recognise?

And what does the player do if the song doesn't have a chorus? What then? And how about if people don't actually recognise songs by the chorus? If it was really going to reflect the way people talk about songs, shouldn't it just blast a confused voice saying "oh, it's that one by that woman who used to date the bloke off EastEnders; you know the one, it goes diddle-diddle-dee-dah; she wore that bikini in the video. You know the one."

What's even more bemusing is that Sony are trying to pitch this as somehow being "in the spirit" of the original Walkman:
Paul Gyles, Group Product Manager, Sony United Kingdom Limited: "There are definitely some interesting parallels between the first Walkman and what we're doing now with the W Series. The original Walkman came from consumer desire for music on the move, something that hadn't been previously possible. The W Series is about complete freedom of movement and that requires the removal of wires and integration of mp3 player and headphones. We're simply meeting a human desire to listen to music without restriction."

Pssst... Paul, you haven't removed the wires. You've just made them smaller.

Oh, they've called the "technology" of going to the chorus and then going back a bit Zappin. Of course they have.

The idea is so awful, the Telegraph don't even bother to suggest it's an iPod killer.

Billy Bob Thornton: I, not an actor

Given that he's not the greatest musician, you might have thought that Billy Bob Thornton would have been delighted that CBC's Jian Ghomeshi reminded the audience that he was also known for being an actor.

Nope. Cue a petulant bout of babying from Thornton:

Ghomeshi: Billy Bob, you guys formed only in the last couple years, right?

Thornton: I don't know what you're talking about.

Ghomeshi: How so?

Thornton: I don't know what you mean by that.

Ghomeshi: When did the band form?

Thornton: I'm not sure what that means.
Ghomeshi: You would prefer me to only do this interview not mentioning at all, just to clarify, at all that you've ever done anything in terms of acting, screenwriting.

Thornton: That's correct.

Ghomeshi: Part of the attention that you are getting is because of the great career you've had in other ways. What I'm explaining is, I'm not trying to be insulting to your musical ...

Thornton: What I'm explaining is that we said do not talk about s--t like that. And we also said that we didn't want to hear anything about how this is my first love. You wouldn't say that to Tom Petty, would you? "I understand music is your first love." Well, my first love was a chick named Lisa Cone. You know what I mean?

Well, perhaps not, Billy - although you might ask Petty "was music always your first love" - but given that you've only got people listening to your terrible music because you first made a name for yourself making movies, it's not like you're Tom Petty, is it? It's a fair question, surely: if you really always wanted to make music, isn't it curious that you made Bad Santa first?

Of course, suggestions that Thornton was behaving like a petulant jerk were quickly swatted away by his damage-limitation squad:
Thornton's publicist, Arnold Robinson, disputes suggestions that what followed was a breakdown by the actor -- hmmm, musician.

He "simply elected not to engage with the interviewer because of the direction of the interview from the outset," Robinson told CNN. Thornton took the reference to his movie career as an insult to his musical endeavor.

You know who else was like that? The Singing Postman. He was always telling interviewers to screw themselves - "why do you keep asking me about delivering letters? Why? Why?"

Gordon in the morning: Adopting fresh positions

You know who's been a rock during the whole story about Madonna's credit card being refused at the baby checkout? Guy Ritchie, that's who. At least, according to Gordon:

THE thick layer of ice between GUY RITCHIE and MADONNA is starting to thaw.

Film director Guy has been consoling his ex over her failed adoption bid in a series of tearful phone calls, I can reveal.

Guy stunned everyone by issuing a statement supporting Madge

Well, certainly he'd have stunned Sun readers, who have been fed a diet of stories claiming the pair hated each other so much they could barely stand the thought that their lungs worked in similar ways.
He said: �I fully supported Madonna in her decision to apply for this adoption, and I am saddened her application has been rejected.

�She is motivated only by being a caring parent who seeks to share some of the advantages and opportunities that her life has given her.�

Just as a sidebar - could someone at The Sun please buy a book about the internet and stop the big diamond question marks appearing all over their website?

Yes, a surprising statement - especially if you'd spent the last two years reading this sort of thing:
GUY RITCHIE has rowed bitterly with Madonna over her plans to adopt an African baby, The Sun can reveal.

The film director fears his wife may just want the child as a celebrity status symbol ? and that she has not considered the potential problems of such a move.

Still, the paper is currently going through a warm patch in its relations with Madonna, trying desperately to paint 'having adoption rejected because it wasn't legal' as being something else entirely:
...after a Malawian judge refused the adoption, even though other authorities gave it the green light, because she hadn’t lived in the country for 18 months.

Oh, it was just a persnickety judge focusing on a tiny, tiny detail. Everyone else in Malawi was fine with it, right?

Elsewhere, Gordon shows respects for elders:
A FLUFFY grey poncho and matching hat sounds like an outfit my gran would wear to the bingo on a Saturday night.

But ANGELINA JOLIE looks dabber, sorry dapper, in old dears’ threads in her latest movie.

Gordon, mate: probably not a wise idea to take the piss out of older people when your ultimate boss is seventy-seven.

And, in perhaps the most horrible image ever published by the Sun, for some reason we're subjected to a snap of Bono with - apparently - his hand down his swimming trunks. Isn't there some sort of law?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

It's not just Posh Spice

If you think Spongebob Squarepants is being generous to Victoria Beckham, inviting her to rejoin the artistic roster with a cameo in his cartoon, that's nothing compared to the other faded celeb getting a spongy leg-up:

Yes, Sir Mix-A-Lot has been dug up to help push Squarepants Burger King meals.

Who next, Spongebob? Brian And Michael? Freddy 'Parrot Face' Davies? Who next?

No Doubt return, sort of

The long-awaited return of No Doubt (anything that stops Gwen Stefani from launching ranges of products) is nearly upon us. Sort-of.

They're doing a Gossip Girl cameo appearance. Sort-of:

"As you know, they're reuniting, they're going on tour, and they wanted to do a TV appearance and reached out to us on 'Gossip Girl,' " Schwartz said. "And then we came back and asked them, 'What about being an '80s band?' So they came on as 'Snow Doubt' and they did a cover of Adam & the Ants' 'Stand and Deliver.' It was amazing."

Why would No Doubt have been in the 1980s? And why would they be named after themselves mixed with a weak pun? Given that Gossip Girl is meant to be set in the real world, doesn't a band apparently having traveled back in time undermine its credibility somewhat?

Victoria Beckham: Sponger

That clicking sound? That's the sound of a lost soul finally finding her cultural level. Sure, taking a part in Spongebob Squarepants is going to stretch Victoria Beckham a little, but at last she has found a place where her talents might fit.

iTunes launches variable prices, up to a point

Apple have launched the new, record company pleasing 'tiered pricing' levels to iTunes in the US. It's not all bad, of course, because as well as ramping some prices up to $1-29, other downloads were going to be cut to just 69 cents.

You win some, you lose some.

The trouble is Richard Menta has been looking, and he can't seem to find any of these cheaper downloads:

Do you want to download Heart's 34-year old Barracuda? That will now cost you $1.29. Of course, to some Baby Boomers that song serves as a mini national anthem to the 1970's so it may not be the best example. Maybe, I should look at not just at older music, but music that is less popular too.

So I next checked iTunes for the Katydids wonderful 1991 album Shangri-La. That album was not a big success and hit the bargin bins early on. It has been out-of-print on CD for over a decade, but it is on iTunes. Surly, those tracks had to be priced at $0.69! Nope, all were $0.99. All the tracks from late-80's college faves Camper Van Beethoven and the Lyres also stayed at $0.99.

Menta even found Apple punting tracks from Ada Jones, whose 1920 recordings are in the public domain, at 99 cents.

But he couldn't find anything at 69 cents. Not a thing.

Surely Apple wouldn't have told everyone an outrageous lie to try and make a price rise look like part of a more-friendly-sounding restructuring, would it? Would it? Why won't you look me in the eye, iPod?

PRS come to terms with Spotify

Rory Cellan-Jones is reporting via Twitter that the PRS says its made a royalty agreement with Spotify - but, crucially, not with YouTube.

Beatles: No explanation as to why

Hey, here's a funny coincidence - Paul McCartney and Ringo Aviva sharing a stage together just a couple of days before the announcement of another round of Beatles remasters. A crazy, crazy coincidence.

EMI and Apple Corps are very excited indeed:

London, England - April 7, 2009 - Apple Corps Ltd. and EMI Music are delighted to announce the release of the original Beatles catalogue, which has been digitally re-mastered for the first time, for worldwide CD release on Wednesday, September 9, 2009 (9-9-09), the same date as the release of the widely anticipated "The Beatles: Rock Band" video game. Each of the CDs is packaged with replicated original UK album art, including expanded booklets containing original and newly written liner notes and rare photos. For a limited period, each CD will also be embedded with a brief documentary film about the album. On the same date, two new Beatles boxed CD collections will also be released.

How does one embed a CD, however briefly? Do they mean that the first run of the CDs will also have a movie file on them?
The albums have been re-mastered by a dedicated team of engineers at EMI's Abbey Road Studios in London over a four year period utilising state of the art recording technology alongside vintage studio equipment, carefully maintaining the authenticity and integrity of the original analogue recordings. The result of this painstaking process is the highest fidelity the catalogue has seen since its original release.

Surely if they started this in 2005, the state of the art equipment they were using is now going to be as out of date as John Lennon's driving licence? Is that why it's taken so long, then - every time they just got finished, they discovered that technology had improved and had to start all over again?

Let's not even start to unpick how you can digitally remaster something as if it was the original analogue version. Frankly, the only people who are interested in rebuying the Beatles records are going to be at a stage in life where their hearing would probably not notice if the tracks on the new CDs were recorded off a poorly-tuned-in FM radio onto an elderly and slightly stretched C90 tape.
This will mark the first time that the first four Beatles albums will be available in stereo in their entirety on compact disc.

No, really. EMI & Apple simply haven't bothered before.
Within each CD's new packaging, booklets include detailed historical notes along with informative recording notes. With the exception of the 'Past Masters' set, newly produced mini-documentaries on the making of each album, directed by Bob Smeaton, are included as QuickTime files on each album. The documentaries contain archival footage, rare photographs and never-before-heard studio chat from The Beatles, offering a unique and very personal insight into the studio atmosphere.

I suppose the choice of Apple's video format might have been a wry joke on the part of the project team.

It's hard to believe that there's any useful Beatles studio chat that hasn't already been exposed to the public ear, so god alone knows what they'll be dredging up for these.
A second boxed set has been created with the collector in mind.

Because, of course, 'buying all the Beatles albums on CD - again' isn't a collector impulse in its own right. There is a large market of people, I'm sure, who don't already own all the tracks in sixteen manifestations who have just been waiting forty years for a digitally remastered edition to make the commitment.

Still, digital remastering; computer games. It might have taken decades to get to this point, but at least Apple Corps is catching up with the times, right?
Discussions regarding the digital distribution of the catalogue will continue. There is no further information available at this time.

Oh. Sometime mid-2015 for the Limited Edition Zune, then?

Nitzer Ebb album on hold

Nitzer Ebb are meant to be out promoting the new album - but they've hit a cashflow problem:

While the band completed the new release for quite some time, including artwork, the release has been postponed due to what the band calls "the financial situation" which "has slowed things down in many regards". If the band doesn't find a satisfactory [financial] solution with a label partner they'll self-release the material on their own label, "but again, that takes time, (and money), to set up properly" the band says.

If I were the Ebb, I wouldn't waste time fannying about with labels, and go straight to the self-financing route. After all, if everything's ready to go, why bring in someone else to take a massive slice of the revenue simply to do the distribution?

Please Rain Fall - please send stuff

If you must have a revolution, do it for fun.

Meet Please Rain Fall records, a new label which is probably closer to those flexi-and-fanzine labels of the 80s than anything else.

There's an ethos:

Please Rain Fall Records
Please Rain Fall Records is a CDR record label. But it is a little bit different. There is no charge for any of the releases. You will not see any paypal buttons or requests for credit card details. Just e-mail me with your address etc. and I will send you a copy of the CD. In return, you then send something back to me. This could be a mixtape, a drawing, a story, a picture.. anything really. Be creative. The label is an attempt to build a community of like-minded souls. You never know, we might have some fun along the way.

It won't impress Paul McGuiness, of course, in terms of its plans for marketing pushes into the Latin American market, or the five-year-growth piecharts. And PRF's Stephen is probably never going to make it onto the cover of Forbes. But don't let anyone tell you there aren't 'business' models for digital distribution - it's just sometimes the business might not measure its success in pounds and euro.

Twittergem: Bob Lefsetz

Just joining Twitter is Bob Lefsetz, with what presumably is the Lefsetz 140 letters:

Prince #1 with 185,000 units. Big box paradigm rules! (U2 still not platinum, 36,000 this week, hasn't even broken 800,000).

Its worth pointing out in 11 hours, he's already picked up over 500 followers.


Gordon in the morning: The bank holiday has arrived early

What a pity that whole Marital Understanding scam failed, eh? If Heather Mills had given the tabloids something interesting, perhaps today Gordon wouldn't be reduced to leading online with this:

Oh, tatt’s Sarah from Girls Aloud

In the paper, this is just a small, bitty story tucked in the corner of the page. Online - despite having a prominent position - it's still just a small, bitty story. Although 'story' might be pushing it:
I HOPE SARAH HARDING thought long and hard before she got this new tattoo.

The GIRLS ALOUD star has been inked with a large black design on her left forearm.

The tatt is a Tibetan script but the exact meaning of it remains a mystery.

Most tattoos are down to being drunk on holiday or for a special meaning.

Could Sarah’s translate as “Caner for life” or “Live for the weekend”?

Gordon goes on to ask his readers if they can "decipher" the tattoo. Even although the picture only shows about half the word.

It would be wrong for any fans of The Glums to email Gordon and claim the tattoo reads "I love suet pudding".

Elsewhere, Andrew White from the Kaiser Chiefs - you might remember them - has said something vaguely disparaging about Oasis, naturally generating the standard boilerplate coverage of anything vaguely fighty-Kaisers related:
I predict another Oasis riot

Naturally, Gordon can't be arsed to dig out a picture of White, and so Ricky Wilson's photo appears with the "war of words" caption on the piece. That's how Mussolini was dragged into the Second World War, you know.
[White] said: ?We have no time for him. Music is an art but he doesn?t appreciate music for what it is.?

I?m sure Noel will have something to say about that.

Oh, God, I'm sure he will, Gordon. But that doesn't mean we have to pay any attention to it, right?
Whitey?s comments to a Singapore newspaper are badly timed.

Oasis played there on Sunday and the Kaisers were playing last night.

There could have been an interesting clash in duty free.

If Oasis had been trapped in airport for three days, and were still in the duty free store, you might understand them being a bit fractious.

And returning to yesterday's Gordonage, the BBC News magazine monitor joins in the praise for Smart's restraint in not invading the privacy of Chris Martin's kids:
"The Coldplay frontman hates his kids having their picture taken, so I've left them off the page," writes Smart, who is clearly in a charitable mood.

But let's just revisit three words of that sentence again - "left them off". Hmmmm - sounds, how shall we say it, suspicious.

Sure enough, a quick visit to Gordon's column online reveals the un-Photoshopped picture with an identifiable Moses Martin in Mickey Mouse ears.

So there we have it - the new euphemism for Photoshopping: "Left off".

Extra kudos to the Magazine team for the phrase "Moses Martin in Mickey Mouse ears", which sounds like a skipping rhyme for the Heat generation.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

U2 manager Paul McGuinness hails the French government

Paul McGuinness, manager of Dutch property company U2, turns up on Comment Is Free [in a piece translated from Le Figaro] to garland Sarkozy with praise for solving internet piracy.

Yes, yes, the French government has, actually:

An intense debate is raging over how to stop the erosion of creators' rights in an era swamped by free unauthorised music. It is a critical debate that I believe will shape the lives and the working conditions of creative professionals for years, even decades, to come.

"How to stop the erosion of creator's rights", no less. That's not exactly the debate anyone else is having, it's more about ensuring everyone gets a fair slice of the pie. But, hey, it's your spell in the sun; you frame the debate in whatever shape you choose, Paul.
France is leading the way on this issue, with its new "creation and internet" law, and where France goes, the rest of the world may follow.

France is leading the way? It turns out what Paul means is that France has flown further to the right than most nations, and its histrionic and unworkable response is exactly what he dreams of at night when he closes his eyes.

The indication is that most nations aren't going to follow France, and - indeed - France is trailing behind, adopting ideas that have already been examined and put down by other nations.
This is certainly not about the future of U2, the band I have managed for over 30 years.

He's U2's manager, you know. He manages U2.
But it is about the future of a new generation of artists who aspire to be the next U2 – and about the whole environment in which that aspiration can be made possible.

Good god, can you imagine setting out wanting to be U2? Don't bands even at least have a couple of years of hoping they can grow old without drifting into artistic irrelevance and self-parody any more?
I have followed this debate closely over the last two years, as a number of governments have woken up to the need to tackle the deep crisis facing their creative industries.

For a whole two years. You might have thought that McGuiness - who manages U2, you know - would have had his eye on the debate over a decade ago. But coming late to the party need be no excuse for not catching up, right?

By the way: crisis in creative industries? Or merely a structural shift brought on by a fundamental change to those industries?
The proposals tabled by President Sarkozy and Denis Olivennes in November 2007 gave France moral leadership in the debate, a position the country retains today. The creation and internet law is the right solution to an enormous problem. It is a fair and balanced solution, and I believe it will work in practice.

The proposals aren't exactly moral, though, are they - in fact, the European Parliament has passed a resolution stating the exact opposite, that it's immoral to use access to broadband connections as a way of 'punishing' alleged file sharers.

And even if he's only been watching the debate for two years, you'd have thought that McGuiness would have seen the recent reaction to a similar law in New Zealand, where the clear response was that it's not moral. (And that New Zealand got there first suggests that France can't even claim immoral leadership.)
There are a few simple reasons why the new law deserves strong support. no particular order they include Bono needing a new hat, The Edge needing funds to launch an impersonation lawsuit against Pizza Hut for their The Edge pizza, and the rising cost of internet connections.
First, the crisis in our music community is real. A generation of artists, all over France, and further afield, are seeing their livelihoods destroyed, their career ambitions stolen.


Paul McGuinness is telling us that there are bands who would otherwise have careers who don't. A whole generation of artists. Is that true? Is that even provable?

And isn't there a counterargument that, while there are fewer large dinosaurs-in-waiting, the new, svelte music world allows small bands who would have struggled to get gigs outside their own county ten years ago are having bursts of success.
Investment that should help them build careers is draining out of the industry.

Sorry, you might have trouble hearing that over the hollow laughter of thousands upon thousand of bands who signed deals with labels in the past, only to discover they'd never make any money because they'd be dropped before they ever recouped.
This isn't just a shift in the business model from recorded to live music. It's a catastrophe for all the business models, old and new.

Eh? The new business models which are being developed to thrive in the new music world are being attacked by a catastrophe?

Had Paul McGuinness been around when the prehensile thumb first evolved, he'd have been sitting about complaining that not only was a tragedy for those who couldn't grip so good, but it also meant the end for hitch-hiking, thumbsucking and pinching, too.
It is a myth that artists can build long-term careers on live music alone.

No it isn't. Indeed, for most of the history of paid musicianship, artists did so. Many classical musicians build long-term careers on playing live, and always have done. You might not have the sort of career where you wind up with so much cash sloshing about in your pockets you can buy luxury hotels and massive ranches in LA. But you can make a decent living, and provide for your family. That's even if you decide not to make some recordings, too - something which is easier than ever now.
U2 will this year fill huge stadiums around the world, including two shows at Stade de France at a capacity of 93,000. That is because they have had parallel careers as recording artists and live performers since their inception 30 years ago.

He's U2's manager, you know. Did he mention that?

Perhaps the problem is that McGuinness has managed U2 for so long, he can't understand that you can make money doing things on a smaller scale. That you don't need to fill out the Stade De France - with all the increased outgoings that implies - to earn enough. Perhaps its like Tesco trying to understand how the bloke who runs a small tobacconist is able to provide shoes for his children without economies of scale to fall back on.
The world of music is rapidly changing, and new business models are developing fast...

No, no they're not. New business models are crawling - the ideas, and the technology is there, but new business models? They're barely developing, mainly due to the intransigence of the copyright industry. Napster appeared in June 1999. How long did it take the copyright holders to allow a business model for that sort of thing?
...but all of this progress is threatened in a world where 95% of music downloads see no reward going to the creator.

No it isn't. The development of useful tools like Last FM or Spotify or iTunes or Muxtape or YouTube isn't hampered at all by the question of rewards to the "creator". The problem is when copyright intermediaries attempt to set an idiotic rate of reward, closing a legitimate, well-intentioned service and encouraging the growth of unlicensed versions instead.

By the way, McGuiness means copyright holder when he talks about creators; it's so much easier to appeal to the masses if you picture a songwriter with a guitar and a head full of dreams rather than a person in a suit who is clutching a tightly-worded contract. Actually...
Critics who speak of the victims as "fat record and film companies" are evoking tired caricatures, which I don't believe the majority of people today accept – certainly not those who have recently spoken to an aspiring music professional, a film producer, a TV researcher or the owner of an independent music label.

What critics speak of "victims" as "fat"? It's very easy to kick down your opponent's stereotypes when, erm, they don't use them.

As an example: Paul McGuinness' supporters are totally wrong when they caricature those who disagree with them as giant space wasps intent on stealing the world's jam. It simply isn't true.

More seriously, if Paul McGuinness believes he's talking to someone who holds copyrights when he talks to TV researchers, he's either got a hugely romantic view of how TV works, or he might also believe people who want all artists rewarded at a fair rate rather than a few, favoured acts given supernormal sums are, in fact, giant wasps. From space.
You only have to look at the sharp fall in the share of new album releases accounted by French artists in the last four years to see the damage that is being done.

What? Not only does McGuinness decide to not bother illustrating this claim with any actual figures, he doesn't even bother to explain what figures he's alluding to. Share of what accounted for by French artists? Total albums worldwide?

And - let's assume he does have some figures - if there are proportionally fewer albums being released by French artists (in France?) that may or may not have anything to do with unlicensed file-sharing. It could be that there are more Anglophone acts being released by major labels - acts like, oooh... what's that Irish band called again? The one that Paul McGuinness manages? It could be that the French market wants fewer local acts.
There are clearly people who oppose the new law, but I have not heard of any viable economic alternative to the system now being introduced, committing ISPs to helping protect copyright.

Oh, it sounds so lovely when you put it like that, doesn't it? There are viable economic alternatives to making everyone with broadband accounts pay through their phonebills to protect the unsustainable old business models of companies who wish to try and apply vinyl logic to a digitally distributed world. And perhaps there would be other viable options if the music industry hadn't spent the last decade trying to protect the past in the face of an unstoppable present.

Work out a viable model. Accept you're not going to be able to milk people any more. That's your job.
The only other proposals offered look like solutions produced for the laboratory, not for the market place.

No, Paul. You really don't get it, do you? The scarcity value of recorded music has fallen; that is the reality of the market place. That's why you're cheering the French government for introducing a state control to try and stop the market price of music from imposing itself.
In fact, the appeal of the creation and internet law is its balance and proportionality. Far from repressing freedoms as some of its critics charge, the graduated response approach goes out of its way to be fair and to respect the rights of internet users.

A household in which a single member is accused of downloading three unlicensed tracks will be cut off from its connection to news, to information; to vital health data; blocked from communicating with friends overseas, and employers at home. It is fair in precisely the same way that walling up a family if a kid steals three times Sainsburys is fair.
A system of escalating warnings, with the ultimate deterrent of temporary internet disconnection for the wilful lawbreaker, is a transparent and proportionate way of influencing consumer behaviour. And it has absolutely nothing to do with a surveillance society.

An unlicensed download could, within 45 minutes, destroy London. There is no "ultimate deterrent", there is only one, punitive measure.

And private companies - a US media organisation, a Japanese electronics concern, the people who run German motorway service stations - having the power to disconnect entire households from the internet: how can that be fair?
This is also a dramatic improvement on the old, unworkable solution of mass lawsuits against individuals – a policy that was pursued by record companies in the past, and to which I was always strongly opposed.

Paul didn't like the idea of those lawsuits. He was going to use his position and influence to make speeches against the very idea but... well, there were designs for towers to be signed off, trouser-based lawsuits to pursue... he always meant to send a letter saying 'they won't work' before they didn't work... but you know how it is.
That is why, by engaging with and obliging ISPs to deal concretely with infringement on their networks, the French government has made such an enlightened step forward.

So lawsuits don't work - but why does it then follow that it's the ISPs duty to police your content for you? It's like the cops finding that they can't stop shoplifting, and so place the onus on the manufacturers of coats to find out what people are hiding in their pockets.
The internet needs the protection of sacred freedoms, yes – but, as in real life, it also needs rules, and ones that can be practically enforced. The answer doesn't lie in thousands of lawsuits. It does, I believe, lie in a sensible strategy whereby ISPs prohibit illegal use of their networks, and actually enforce those rules.

Those lawsuits are expensive and don't work - so let's pass those costs on to people with internet accounts instead. That way, when it still doesn't work, at least we won't have spent the money. And people will hate BT and Orange instead.
Another simple but crucially important judgement by the government has advanced this process – namely that ISPs were not going to offer this cooperation without being required to by law.

That's how you can tell it's a great idea. If you have to force people to do something under threat of legal punishment, that just goes to show how morally right it is.
That is not because ISP chiefs are bad people, it is because it is impossible to imagine any of them voluntarily conceding to steps that could put them at a commercial disadvantage to their competitors. Legislation to require a pan-industry solution was the right step, and a visionary one.

Hang about, though, Paul - a commercial disadvantage? Are you suggesting that this plan might not, actually, be a wonderful protection of everyone's rights, but instead reflect a massive cost to the ISPs (and, thus, their customers?)
It is clear some still have concerns, but in many cases these are being enormously exaggerated.

Yeah, it's not like you can't trust the record companies not to abuse their powers - after all, it's a good couple of years since they were found guilty of colluding to keep record prices artificially high, and then stuck to the letter but not the spirit of the deal they cut to put things right by sending a bunch of old unsaleable shit to libraries and schools across the US, isn't it? Or had to be sued to actually give their artists a fair share of money being made on CDs because for years they told the suckers it was an expensive, risky thing to release a CD so they couldn't give such a high royalty.
If we believe that artists' rights need respecting and that musicians deserve to be paid – as surveys show the vast majority of people do – then we should defend their rights in practice and not just in words.

Ah yes. Surveys. What do the surveys say the public feel about the idea of three strikes rules, Paul? Paul? Hello?
I believe a society that cares about creators' rights should not shy away from enforcing the law that protects them.

But didn't you just say you didn't agree with the RIAA when it enforced the laws that protected these "creators" rights? And isn't this about making up new laws to try and adjust the market value of recorded music?
The French government should be congratulated – it is proposing a law that is a workable solution to the problem of online piracy.

Except for anywhere else in the world.

Still, a round of applause for the French government in promoting the interests of data encyption and the creation of darknets.
It has brought together ISPs and content industries in a way that will effectively protect music and film rights, while respecting important consumer freedoms. There is a crucial lesson here for governments all over the world.

It's a pity that McGuinness couldn't share any way that telling everyone they must pay higher broadband bills to cover the costs of private media companies' copyright protection represents "important consumer freedoms", but let's just take him at trust, shall we?

Still, someone from the U2 organisation flattering a right-wing President and telling him that his flawed ideas are, actually, signs of genius. That's something you don't see every day.

How dumb would you have to be to get outsmarted by Heather Mills

Heather Mills was invited to speak a charity event for a group called Marital Understanding. Mills did some digging, and found that the charity didn't exist and the emails were coming from IP addresses which traced back to News International.

And then Heather placed a call.

Not only did the poor hapless woman on the other end of the phone have to deal with suddenly trying to explain why her US charity was sending emails from an account that appeared to be linked to a major UK newspaper - time stamped for London and all - but she also had to sit through Mills not quite knowing where to go with the call next and launching into a lecture on ethics.

Of course, it could all be a horrible misunderstanding - a Marital Misunderstanding, if you will - but the website of the "charity" has mysteriously disappeared.

U2: Choice of middle management layers everywhere

U2 are on the rim of launching a special mobile phone application. For, um, the Blackberry.

It's probably no surprise that Bono has embraced the device favoured by travelling salespeople; I bet he's one of those people who start clackety-clacking through their email in box as soon as the plane sniffs the terminal building. Why are you so urgently looking through your email? Can't it wait five minutes until you're actually off the plane? Is selling briquettes really so time-sensitive?

The other reason for U2 choosing Blackberry was - again, unsurprisingly - RIM were prepared to cover the costs:

"I'm very excited about this," Bono told [Toronto-based radio DJ Alan] Cross about the RIM deal. "Research In Motion is going to give us what Apple wouldn't — access to their labs and their people so we can do something really spectacular."

In other words: Apple wanted U2 to spend some of their millions making their own app; RIM offered to underwrite costs.

So the U2 world tour will be full of people clickety-clacking away on Blackberries. It'll be like being in a business class lounge at an airport. Only you won't even be able to ask them to turn the music down.

eMusic draws their price point

Given that record companies large and small have complained that eMusic is practically giving away their wares (or charging what the market will bear, in other words), nobody will be especially surprised that the company is pledging to not follow Apple above a dollar a track:

"While I am CEO, I promise that eMusic will never sell single MP3 downloads for more than 99 cents," assured company chairman and chief Danny Stein.

Although it's not clear quite what you can do if he does put the prices up - will we have the right to throw stuff at him or something?

TI - he's like a latter day Dostoevsky

Because his contract (or, possibly, need for some cash) forced TI to continue making his MTV reality series even while he was being measured up for a suit with arrows on, the rapper-turned-gunman was in a unique place to share his views on crime, and punishment and all that sort of stuff.

Share with us, TI:

"Some things in the past that I got involved with and got myself into just weren't worth my time; it didn't involve me," Tip explained. "If I'm here [he puts his hand above his head], and I'm involving myself with something down there [he puts his hand by his waist], it's just not worth my time. The energy and the effort and the thought and the time I put in it is useless."

Aha. So it's not that he shouldn't mess around with guns because it's wrong, or illegal, or anything old-fashioned like that. It's because it's a waste of his time.

It's not entirely clear why TI sees anything below waist-level as being a waste of time - perhaps he was just thinking of those long, lonely nights on Block D; or maybe he's just trying to not get involved in a massive paddy that Kanye West got to design some terrible sneakers.

The MTV series he's been making has been some poorly-thought-out attempt to teach being good to what we're apparently supposed to call "the Road To Redemption kids" - think The Mickey Mouse Gang if they'd been brought up the Beagle Boys instead.

What message, TI, do you want to give to those kids?
"In speaking to them and checking up on them and speaking to the people who are around them every day, I get the understanding that they're different people than they were before we did the show," T.I. said. "That they think about what they do before they do it. And even if they choose to do the wrong thing ... at least now, they have a conscience. Before they didn't even think about it. They didn't feel bad about it. At least now if they do something wrong, they feel something. I think it started something. It's not the end all, be all, but I think it inspired and promoted change, and I think that's what it was there to do."

TI is only one convicted felon, he can't be expected to do it all, can he? He can't pretend to have the end all, be all simply because MTV have given him a show about things.

At least the people throwing rocks through your windows now feel something when they do it. TI has done that. Before, they'd just feel cold and empty. And they'll think before they push over your nan and steal her shopping. If nothing else, TI has made sure that their crimes will not occur spontaneously, but after a period of reflection. We must all the thankful to TI.

Embed and breakfast man: The Joy Formidable

This is what the new Joy Formidable single looks and sounds like:

You can order a copy of it to own forever online here.

And you can go and look at them making their music and perhaps make a fool of yourself by pledging undying love forever here:

MAY 31st Liverpool Barfly
JUNE 1st Newcastle Academy 2
2nd York Fibbers
3rd The Royal Derby
5th Manchester Ruby Lounge
7th Birmingham Bar Academy
8th London Borderline
9th Cambridge Portland
10th Southampton Joiners Arms
11th Brighton Audio

Goldie's portmanteau career

Goldie has worn a lot of hats over the past few years. Alright, actually, he's mostly stuck to the same baseball cap, but it's the metaphorical hats we're interested in here.

Musician and actor, yes, but originally he was a graffiti artist - and it's that role that he's returning now. Not, you understand, in a 'all the work drying up reducing options' fashion at all. Oh no.

His exhibition, The Kids Are All Riot starts Good Friday at the Maverik Showroom in London (note the maverick spelling of maverik); there's a book available too.

Shiny new band: Cheap Red

I am indebted to All That Ever Mattered for the introduction to Cheap Red.

This is what they say about themselves:

CHEAP RED is the new band formed by Akina and Arland (formerly KANDA) and Stewart and Jen (formerly BOYRACER). Our debut DOUBLE cd will be available in May. 14 songs and 13 remixes. It's totally sweet. No BS, just TS.

I'm filing them under Inspirational Shamble Pop. I'm having to make a new card for that, you know.

Gordon in the morning: Fill in his blanks

Clearly, running with a long lens snap of Gary Lineker in his swimshorts and the headline on an Agyness Deyn story shows that Gordon is tired right now.

In their natural Agytat

So very, very tired.

So perhaps it's not surprising that Gordon is asking for help from his readers to slap a name on Deyn's friends:
But how to refer to the herd of TV folk, models, designers and pop stars? Readers, it’s up to you. Email with your ideas.

If you'd like to join in, you'd probably need to know who's in that herd:
Look carefully at the wee beasties in this street scene and you can spot a PIXIE GELDOF, a NICK GRIMSHAW, the Ag and a HENRY HOLLAND at play. There’s even a lesser-spotted REMI NICOLE lurking in the background.

Yes, he did just call Agyness "the Ag". So very, very tired.

I think Gordon might have overlooked that there's already a term which covers this group of people with little talent and no philosophy: "members of the public".

Elsewhere, Gordon runs a photo of Chris Martin at Disneyland under the headline:
Speed of sound, Chris?

Which makes no sense, as the picture is of him standing up and there's no reference to speed, or movement, or even riding, in the story underneath.

Gordon does point out what a good man he is:
Rock ’n’ roll stars are taking some time off too. CHRIS MARTIN has been treating his two nippers, APPLE and MOSES, to the ultimate childhood trip in Disneyland, LA. The COLDPLAY frontman hates his kids having their picture taken, so I’ve left them off the page.

How generous of Gordon. You wonder why Martin and Paltrow's kids get this treatment when everyone elses' are considered fair game - would it be too cynical to bet on there being some sort of letter on headed notepaper from a professional warning papers to lay off Apple and Moses on pain of privacy complaints to the PCC?

Still, it does mean that Gordon has run a photo of a man standing, apparently on his own, in a queue this morning. Quite a scoop.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Sony Awards: Freak Zone up for the cup

The Sony Radio Awards is one of the few meaningful awards ceremonies which manages to nominate surprising and deserving entrants most years.

So it's brilliant to see that Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone has been given a consideration for Specialist Music Show, especially in a year when it's had half an hour cut off its time to make room for Huey Fun Loving Criminal's show.

Although that gets a nomination, too, in best music show. Where - oh wonders of irony - he's up against Maconie and Radcliffe's Radcliffe And Maconie show. And then Radcliffe is fighting Maconie for Music Broadcaster Of The Year.

Shaun Keavney and Chris Moyles are both nominated for best breakfast, though: presumably the judges like to sleep in.

These are those nominations, in full, like:


In: Demand - Key 103 for the Big City Network

The Huey Show - Wise Buddah Creative for BBC 6 Music

The Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie Show - Smooth Operations for BBC Radio 2

Words and Music - BBC Radio Arts and Radio 3 for Radio 3

Zane Lowe - BBC Radio 1


Andi Durrant: The Warm Up – Distorted Productions & the Galaxy Network for the Galaxy Network

David Rodigan - Kiss Specialist Production Team for the Kiss Network

Friction - BBC Asian Network

Mic Check - Somethin' Else for the BBC Asian Network

Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone - BBC Audio & Music for 6 Music


Chris Evans – BBC Radio 2

Lauren Laverne - BBC Audio & Music for 6 Music

Scott Mills - BBC Radio 1

Simon James & Hill – Kerrang! Radio

Zane Lowe - BBC Radio 1


Alex James - Classic FM

David Rodigan - Kiss Specialist Production Team for the Kiss Network

Mark Radcliffe - Smooth Operations for BBC Radio 2

Steve Lamacq - BBC Audio & Music for 6 Music, Radio 2 & Radio 1

Stuart Maconie - Smooth Operations for BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music


Absolute Coldplay - Absolute Radio & TBI Media for Absolute Radio

Cut & Paste - Wise Buddah Creative for BBC Radio 1

Gerry's Danny Boy - BBC Radio Ulster

Vaughan Williams: Valiant for Truth - BBC Radio 3

Who Knows Where The Time Goes, The Sandy Denny Story –
Whispering Bob Broadcasting Company for BBC Radio 2


Adam and Joe - BBC Audio & Music for 6 Music

Chris Evans Drivetime - BBC Radio 2

Christian O'Connell - Absolute Radio

Geoff Lloyd - Absolute Radio

Tim Shaw's Absolution - Absolute Radio


BBC Radio 1

Classic FM

Magic 105.4


Cavalry - BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4

Goldfish Girl - BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4

Mr Larkin's Awkward Day - BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4

The Color Purple - BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – Above the Title & Woolyback Productions for BBC Radio 4


5 live Olympic Breakfast- BBC News Programmes & BBC Sport for 5 live

Olympics Sportsworld - BBC Sport for the World Service

Sportsweek - Front Page Media for BBC Radio 5 live

The Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast - talkSPORT

The Football Forum – BRMB for Gold (Birmingham, Coventry & Wolverhampton)


America, Empire of Liberty - BBC Radio Current Affairs for Radio 4

Jon Ronson On.... - Unique the production company for BBC Radio 4

Outlook: Black in the USA - BBC Audio and Music Factual for the World Service

Prisoners' Voices - Prison Radio Association & Electric Radio Brixton for Electric Radio Brixton

Simon Mayo & Mark Kermode - BBC News for 5 live


5 live Breakfast - BBC News for 5 live

Newsbeat - BBC News for Radio 1

The World Today - BBC World Service News & Current Affairs for the World Service

The Wrap - BBC Asian Network

Today - BBC News for Radio 4


Desperate Dreams: The Monday Documentary –
BBC Manchester Current Affairs for the World Service

Driving Into Debt - Falling Tree Productions for BBC Radio 4

Poetry From The Front Line - White Pebble Media for BBC Radio 4

Rhys Jones - Century Radio

The Investigation: Never Too Old To Care - A Stark Production for BBC Radio Scotland


106 JACK fm & Oxford's FM 107.9 News Team - 106 JACK fm & Oxford's FM107.9

City Talk News Team - City Talk 105.9

Eddie Mair - BBC News for Radio 4

Gavin Lee - BBC News for 5 live

Mike Thomson - BBC News for Radio 4


Eddie Mair - BBC News for Radio 4

Ian Wright - talkSPORT

Nicky Campbell - BBC Radio 5 live

Stephen Nolan - BBC Radio 5 live & BBC Radio Ulster

Vanessa Feltz - BBC London 94.9


Edi Stark - A Stark Production for BBC Radio Scotland

Evan Davis - BBC News for Radio 4

John Humphrys - BBC News for Radio 4

Nick Ferrari - LBC 97.3

Simon Mayo - BBC News for 5 live


5 live Breakfast - BBC News for 5 live

Bowie @ Breakfast - Radio Clyde for 102.5 Clyde 1

Kiss 100 Breakfast with Rickie, Melvin & Charlie - Kiss 100

Shaun Keaveny - BBC Audio & Music Factual for 6 Music

The Chris Moyles Show - BBC Radio 1


Adam and Joe - BBC Audio & Music for 6 Music

Electric Radio Brixton: Daily Show – Prison Radio Association & Electric Radio Brixton for Electric Radio Brixton

Iain Lee - Absolute Radio

Sadie Nine's Loud Women - BBC Essex

Stephen Nolan - BBC Radio 5 live


606 with Danny Baker - Campbell Davison Media for BBC Radio 5 live

Adam and Joe - BBC Audio & Music for 6 Music

Count Arthur Strong's Radio Show! - Komedia Entertainment & Smooth Operations for BBC Radio 4

Miranda Hart's Joke Shop - BBC Radio Comedy for Radio 2

The Now Show - BBC Radio Comedy for Radio 4


Anatomy Of A Car Crash - BBC Radio Documentaries for Radio 4

Between The Ears: Staring At The Wall - BBC Radio Documentaries for Radio 3

Giving Way To A New Era - Made in Manchester Limited for BBC Radio 4

Leonard and Marianne - Falling Tree Productions for BBC Radio 4

Lives In A Landscape: Gone East - BBC Radio Documentaries for Radio 4


Allison Ferns interviews Reunited Brothers - BBC Southern Counties Radio

Andrew Peach interviews Graeme Murty - BBC Radio Berkshire

Eddie Mair interviews Ken Livingstone - BBC News for Radio 4

Electric Radio interview with Jonathan Aitken – Prison Radio Association & Electric Radio Brixton for Electric Radio Brixton

Feargal Keane interviews Lana Vandenberghe – Taking a Stand, BBC Radio Current Affairs for Radio 4


Attacks in Mumbai - BBC News Programmes for Radio 4

Body on Arbroath Beach - Tay News Team for Tay FM & Tay AM

Schools Closures - BBC Radio Shropshire

The Rangers Riot - BBC Radio Manchester

The Ray Lewis Investigation - BBC London 94.9


Absolute Coldplay - Absolute Radio & TBI Media for Absolute Radio

Carnival - 1Xtra

Summer Sundae Weekender - BBC Audio & Music for 6 Music

The Beijing Olympics - BBC Radio 5 live

The Coldstream Guards Come Home To Windsor – The Andrew Peach Show for BBC Radio Berkshire


A Sound Fix (Spots) - Prison Radio Association for Electric Radio Brixton

Coventry Market the Musical - BBC Coventry & Warwickshire

Don't Be A Tosser! - BBC Radio Suffolk

Legsy Gets A Break - BBC Radio Berkshire

Omagh Community Radio Group - Omagh Community Radio Group for Strule FM


1968 - Myth or Reality ? – BBC Production Departments and Independent Companies for BBC Radio 4

Family Life - BBC Hereford & Worcester

The Chopin Experience - BBC Radio 3

The Forgotten Army - 106 JACK fm

US'08 BBC Bus: Talking America - BBC World Service News for the World Service


Absolute Radio Discover Real Music - Absolute Radio

Bristol's Big Give - GWR Bristol

Kiss The Planet - What Will You Do? - Kiss Imaging Team for the Kiss Network

The My Lai Tapes - BBC World Service Promotions for the World Service

TV Licensing - Students Campaign – Fresh Air Production & Proximity London for BBC Radio 1


Adam and Joe - Video Wars - BBC Audio & Music for 6 Music

Facebuck$ - Galaxy Network Imaging for Galaxy (Manchester, Birmingham, Yorkshire & North East)

Heart's Tankety Tank - Heart (West Midlands)

Radio City Makes Your Day - Radio City

Win Your Wedding - CFM



BBC Radio 1

City Talk 105.9


XFM (London & Manchester)


Answer Me This! – Answer Me This

Media Talk - The Rout At Radio 2 –

Nature's Voice - Podcats for the RSPB Website

Rethinkdaily –

The Budgerigar and the Prisoner - Clifton


95.8 Capital FM iPhone Application -
Global Radio Creative Technology for 95.8 Capital FM

Classic FM

Radio 1's Big Weekend - BBC Radio 1

Wimbledon - BBC Radio 5 live Interactive for 5 live

World On The Move – BBC Natural History Unit, Audio & Music Interactive & Airlock for Radio 4


BBC Radio Foyle

Beacon Radio (Shropshire)

Radio Scilly


BBC Hereford & Worcester

BBC Radio Nottingham

Lincs 102.2 FM


BBC Radio Ulster

Kerrang 105.2

Magic 105.4


BBC Asian Network

Fun Kids

Planet Rock


BBC Radio 1

BBC Radio 3

Classic FM