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Black Friday retail sales at brick and mortar locations were up about 6% over last year, with $45 billion compared to last year's $41.2 billion, spent by a total of 212 million shoppers, up from 193 million in 2009.
WHILE YOU WERE GONE
BMG Acquires Chrysalis Music; Spider-Man Previews Begin; BEP to Super Bowl; Kanye, Harry Potter, Keith Top Sellers
While you were sitting on the couch stuffed with turkey in a tryptophan hangover, watching Boise State's kicker have a nightmarish post-Thanksgiving, there was plenty of action, from BMG Rights Management's acquisition of Chrysalis Music Publishing (see full story here) to last night's Broadway preview of the $60 million Julie Taymor production of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, with music by U2, as Bono previewed some of the songs on 60 Minutes. The Black Eyed Peas were awarded the coveted halftime performance slot at this year's Super Bowl in Dallas on Feb. 6.

With Q4 now hurtling towards its last three weeks, Kanye West was booed at New York's traditional Thanksgiving Parade, while his brilliant My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album will top this week's HITS sales chart. Meanwhile, the latest, and penultimate, installment of the Harry Potter series remains box office king, with Keith Richards' splendid biography Life #1 on the best-seller list.

Black Friday retail sales at brick and mortar locations were up about 6% over last year, with $45 billion compared to last year's $41.2 billion, spent by a total of 212 million shoppers, up from 193 million in 2009, the most since the first survey in 2004. Meanwhile, online sales for the day were $648 million, an increase of 9% over last year. For the first 26 days of the November-December season, $11.64 billion has been spent online, a 13% increase over 2009, according to comScore. And that's not even counting today's Cyber Monday.

In other news, a Swedish appeals court upheld the copyright convictions of three of the four founders of The Pirate Bay, one of the world's most well-known and notorious file-sharing sites, ruling Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundstrom guilty of helping users break the country's copyright law, decreasing their jail sentences to less than a year, but increasing the amount they must pay in damages from $4.2m to $6.3m.

The U.S. was also active, as the Dept. of Homeland Security's ICE division (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) shut down several major unauthorized music and film file-sharing sites over the weekend, putting takedown notices on the likes of torrent-finder.comonsmash.com, rapgodfathers.com and dajaz1.com, along with 70 other addresses, most of them related to counterfelt clothing, DVDs and other goods as part of an initiative dubbed "Operation in Our Sites." The seizures come at a time a new bill, the Comabating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act, makes its way through Congress." Of course, it still didn't prevent us from watching Easy A over the weekend.

With the year coming to an end, there are still a few outstanding issues. Who will blink first in a pair of high-visibility contract negotiations, Sirius XM with Howard Stern or the Yankees with Derek Jeter? Will there be any breakthough in the ongoing investigation into the brutal murder of film/music publicist Ronni Chasen?  How will Michael Jackson's post-humous Michael album do? Will James Franco and Anne Hathaway host this year's Oscar ceremony? Will The King's Speech continue to be the frontrunner?

All this and more will be revealed in the next three weeks before business grinds to a halt and we all go away to lick our wounds.

And, oh yeah. R.I.P. to Leslie Nielsen, so good in Airplane and The Naked Gun series...

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