-- Spurred by comments by Rupert Murdoch on the death of free online media, free music was a big topic in U.K. papers over the weekend. The Telegraph quoted Mike Smith, managing director of Columbia Records: "When you listen to streamed music through Spotify, somebody is still being paid. These things are only free as a way of selling their site to you, or their newspaper, or their brand. Unfortunately, a mentality has grown up in our society that believes an album is free." The Guardian's "The End of the Age of Free" continued a quote from Smith: "What we do now is crucial. It is crucial that we challenge the idea that these things are free and one way of doing this is to make sure we make the best-quality entertainment." It's an odd and interesting stance that implies releases been of sub-standard quality in recent years. In actuality, the quality of music and its physical packaging (Smith wrongly insisted nicer packaging will bring people back to CDs) is independent of the changes in technology that have wreaked havoc on established business models. The best digital strategy for content owners is to continue to uphold the value of their content while seeking technology and online partners that can create products with enough of a value proposition that consumers will pay (think of the evolution from Spiral Frog to Spotify, or the value iTunes customers find in the software-hardware experience). (The Telegraph)

-- Christine Varney, the Obama administration's top anti-trust official, will call for stronger anti-trust measures and will lay out her philosophy in upcoming speeches. One speech will be today at the Center for American Progress, a think tank that has asked the Dept. of Justice to block the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger. (Bloomberg)

-- Over the next two weeks, The Globe and Mail will have a five-part series commemorating the ten-year anniversary of Napster (it was launched on June 1, 1999). There is a six-minute documentary on Shawn Fanning and the history of Napster. Of note is a podcast of an interview with former Napster CEO Hank Barry that gets into some details of Napster's legal battles and the company's attempt to partner with major music groups. (Download Decade at The Globe and Mail)

-- Apple has filed for a patent for a wireless download kiosk. The title of the patent filing is "Media distribution kiosk with virtual connector for interfacing with a personal media device." (Geek.com)

-- Bluegrass fans are more likely to eat at Cracker Barrel, 74% are willing to volunteer their time to a good cause, 23% bought music online during 2008 and 15% bought music in a brick-and-mortar store, according to a 2008 study by Simmons Research for the International Bluegrass Music Association. (Cybergrass)

-- Dish Network and CMT have partnered. Under the deal, six episodes of the CMT series "Invitation Only" will have exclusive premiere windows on the Dish Network's new CMT-branded franchise, "CMT Front Row Only on DISH Network. (PRNewsire)