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-- In his acceptance speech at the Peoples' Choice Awards on Wednesday night (watch in on YouTube), Keith Urban thanks his fans and indicated an acceptance of file sharing. "I don't even care if you download it illegally, give it to your friends, I really don't care," he told the audience. "I love that people hear the music." The industry has been pretty quiet about Urban's comments but feathers tend to get ruffled when a major artist all but shrugs at an issue many take seriously. In a letter to Music Row, Clif Doyle of the Clif Doyle Agency wondered how Capitol Nashville may feel about the statement. Or what Urban's fellow songwriters on Music Row feel about piracy. And, in an excellent point, Doyle pointed out that much legal free music already exists: promotional downloads that are the choice of the artist and label. Free music can be a great promotional tool, but file sharing happens with or without the implied permission of the artist. That lack of permission clearly makes many in the industry uncomfortable. (Music Row)

-- Another year, another lawsuit. Universal Music Group is suing online music service Grooveshark for violating the copyright of its catalog of oldies songs and is seeking an injunction and punitive damages. According to Courthouse News, UMG claims Grooveshark "uses the lure of free access" to generate traffic and drive advertising revenue. (Grooveshark is following the familiar steps to a music startup: don't license the content, build the service, start grabbing users, get funding and sign licensing deals on the back end.) Grooveshark is violating UMG's copyright, the music company claims, by storing copies of UMG songs on its servers and distributing them to its users. EMI sued Grooveshark in 2009 but dropped the lawsuit and signed a licensing deal with the music service later in the year. Grooveshark offers a free, ad-supported streaming service. An ad-free version of the service costs $3 per month. (Courthouse News Service)

-- The Guardian's Helienne Lindvall took a look back at the decade in digital music and finds that many big predictions did not come to pass. Niche titles have not equaled the sales of the hits. Major and indie labels are still in business. Indies, she argues, have ceded power to the majors. Even on P2P networks, she pointed out, hit artists dominate just as they do in digital and physical sales. One thing she didn't point out was that distribution and retailers, the two parts of the supply chain ignored by digital prognosticators, have gone through the most transformation in the last ten years. From Valley Media to Virgin Megastore, distributors and retailers were the first to suffer from changes in the new music industry. Another asterisk: Not only is there one fewer major than existed ten years ago (after the merger of Sony and BMG), the number of labels and the frequency of their releases have dropped. Many major labels were folded into other major labels. Rosters were pruned. Staffs were chopped and merged. Record labels are obviously not dead, but they look a lot different. (The Guardian)

-- In spite of tough economics, music streaming services are still landing venture capital. The latest to secure financing is Jelli, a San Matero, California-based startup that tags itself as "100% user-controlled radio." The company raised $2 million from angel investors. Jelli allows its users to suggest songs for the radio playlist and comment on those songs. The site is basically an online request line for an offline radio show. The company currently runs one- to two-hour shows on terrestrial radio stations. (VentureBeat)

-- Music-related stocks on Wednesday, January 6 (closing prices and percent change): Warner Music Group (WMG): $5.69 (-0.49%); Vivendi (VIV): €21.17 (-1.07%); Sony Corp. (SNE): $29.85 (-0.10%); Live Nation (LYV): $9.95 (+6.42%); Ticketmaster (TKTM): $14.31 (+4.53%); Trans World (TWMC): $1.51 (-5.63%); Sirius XM Radio (SIRI): $0.688 (+0.22%); Cumulus Media (CMLS): $2.37 (+1.72%); Citadel Broadcasting Corp. (CTDB): $0.027 (+28.57%); RealNetworks (RNWK): $3.87 (-1.28%); Apple (AAPL): $210.97 (+1.59%); Dow Jones Industrial (DJI): 10,573.68 (+0.02%); NASDAQ Composite (IXIC): 2,301.09 (-0.33%).

Follow Billboard senior analyst Glenn Peoples on Twitter at