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Is It The End For Hypebot's New Music Business Briefing?

Hypebot_1 We're considering dropping our daily briefing news round-up in favor of more short news stories. 

Part of the motivation is to report things as fast as we find out about them rather than waiting for the morning briefing. We also dislike the pressure of having to fill the space each morning and some of the posts have been less than newsworthy or covered extensively elsewhwere.

Another major consideration is that we know many of you use an RSS reader to keep track of us and a headline that read's "Hypebot's Daily New Music Business Briefing For..." doesn't tell you much that's useful. 

Is it time to end Hypebot's daily New Music Business Briefing? Tell us what you think

Is Somethng Rotten At Apple?

Early last week Apple's iTunes seemed to be suffering from too much of a good thing.  Post holiday shoppers overwhelmed the download store causing slowdowns and error messages.  By week's end tApplelogo_52 hose issues seem resolved, but other problems are plaguing Apple and CEO Stebe Jobs.

The company is the target of a number of major lawsuits including several that have gained broad class-action status.  Of most interest to the music community is one that takes Apple to task for copy-protection that prevents iTunes music and video from playing on rival players and makes songs purchased elsewhere un-playable on iPods. The court denied Apple's motion to dismiss on Dec. 20.

These lawsuits were revealed in Friday's two week late filing with the Securities &Itunes_4 Exchange Commission which admitted that the company had illegally backdated stock options. Apple claimed that Jobs who admits to having been aware of the unlawful practices was somehow not at fault blaming to former execs. The SEC is pursuing Apple in the courts.

Wall Street didn't care and rewarded Apple's stellar holiday showing with a jump of 4.9% on Friday to close at $84.84 on the NASDAQ. Apple and Jobs have managed to obtain mythic status and the iPod dominates the portable player market.  But legal troubles may only the beginning of Apple's troubles as a new array of competitors fight to gain market share and consumers demand alternatives to restrictive DRM and high fixed prices.

Can Elvis Win A New Generation Of Fans Without Scuffing His Blue Suede Shoes?

"I can't try to sell somebody Elvis who doesn't know who he is ... that he's not just some guy who's been gone for 30 years," Paul Jankowski, chief of marketing for Elvis Presley Enterprises told the Elvis3t_1 AP.  In 2007 year he intends to do something  about it.

Next year more video, music and other material from the Presley archives will be placed online. "We will take our MySpace page and we will focus on expanding our number of friends on MySpace, that kind of thing," Jankowski said. "There's all kind of Elvis content on YouTube, things that we put up, things that fans put up."

Getting younger buy-in may be crucial the the brand's long term success, but availability does not equal success.  How do you get generation who had it's own heroes, albeit ones that change daily, to Money_9focus on a dead over-hyped rock star?  Here the details from the estate get sketchy.  Perhaps sneaking more of Presley's music and image into new content with audio and video mashups would be a smart bet. But how far do you go?  Elvis plays football in the latest Madden NFL video game? Elvis goes metal?  Studio created duets with Elvis Cortney Love or Fifty Cent?

When marketers start thinking about music as a brand instead of a legacy and the choices are driven by an investment group like the one that now controls the Elvis estate (and American Idol and more), the potential for going too far is enormous.

Three Ad Supported P2P's To Debut. Who Cares?

Spiralfrog_6 Forbes has taken an in depth look at three legal ad supported P2P's set to debut in the coming months - Qtrax, Spiral Frog and Mashboxx. Each company has their own approach, but a common thread is that using one method or another tracks from all three will come heavily Mashboxx_1 restricted.  Glenn at Coolfer points out that none of the tracks will be playable on the iPod which will be a major adoption barrier.

The article is worth reading and ad supported P2P may find a niche audience, but I'm still betting on 2007 being the Year Of The Mp3.

Two Top Execs Exit Digital Music Group

Publicly traded Digital Music Group, a digital distributor of music and video announced today that COO Anders Brown and VP of Development Richard Rees have resigned their respective positions.  DigitalmusicgroupBrown will pursue opportunities closer to his home in Seattle, but will remain active in his position through March.  Rees resigned effective December 31st to join an Austin-based investment firm.  CEO Mitchell Koulouris will now lead content acquisition and others within DMGI will assume Rees' responsibilities.

While these two high profile resignations may be normal attrition; it is also possible that the realities of slim margins and slower than expected growth are starting to take their toll within the digital Creativezenvplus_15 distribution sector. As of mid-day Thursday the stock was trading on NASDAQ at $4.51 off a 52 week high of $10.42.

The company of course tried to put a positive spin on the resignation.  In a press release Koulouris stated, "Leadership changes like this are not uncommon for fast growing companies with entrepreneurial roots.  We will make an announcement concerning our revised management structure at an appropriate time during the first quarter of 2007."

iTunes Overwhelmed By 4X Increase On Christmas

Consumers with new iPods and gift cards overwhelmed Apple's iTunes music store over the holiday Ipod_48 prompting error messages and slowdowns of 20 minutes or more for downloads. Upset customers began posting help messages Monday and Tuesday on the iTunes forum complaining that they were not even allowed onto the site or got a message that iTunes couldn't process their request to download. The iTunes web store was the fourth most visited website in the Hitwise Retail Index on Christmas Day.

Yahoo! and Napster should be considering press releases begging for this kind of problem...but then again the tracks they sell aren't compatible with all of those new iPods.

Radio Giant Entercom Settles Payloa Probe For $4.25 Million

Radio_tower_8 Entercom who own 105 radio stations will pay $4.25 million to end NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's payola investigation. The lawsuit filed in March claimed Entercom solicited payments from record labels and traded air time for promotional items, personal trips and other gifts. The investigation has so far led to settlements with all four major record labels and CBS Radio.

Continue reading "Radio Giant Entercom Settles Payloa Probe For $4.25 Million" »

2007 Will Be The Year Of The MP3

The signs are all pointing in one direction.

Emusic_15 eMusic is second only to iTunes.  The major labels are experimenting with the format with increasing frequency. InSound and other indie download stores are embracing the format.  And now a big trusted player Amazon is set to enter the marketplace with an mp3 only store and variable pricing.Amazon_13

If that is not enough...consumers will demand it.  Anti-DRM voices are finally gaining traction.  This year for the first time some consumers are going to learn about an older player failing and destroying the content locked inside. Others will buy a new player and experience the joys of incompatibility.  And whatever their player of choice, all consumers are becoming more tech savvy and thus more aware of the limitations and problems created by Drm_anti_wall_2 DRM.

Perhaps we should call for a consumer uprising in favor of mp3's as other bloggers have done.  But I think the ones that need to raise their hands are the songwriters and musicians.  They must to state loudly that their sick and tired of losing royalties file-sharing. But this time the answers are not lawsuits and ad campaigns that alienate fans.  The only answer is to give them what they want. Freedom to hear the music they buy whenever and wherever they want to.  No other answer - except perhaps licensing music on the ISP level like we do cable TV - will ever gain traction. 

Raise enough voices and the labels and publishers have no choice but to respond.


Wolfgang's Vault Bites Back Calling Lawsuit Baseless

Last Monday The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Santana filed a complaint in federal court in San Francisco against web site Wolfgang's Vault to stop it from offering access toWolfgans_vault a treasure trove of rock memorabilia and recordings.

The website's owner, Bill Sagan, purchased the archives of the legendary concert promoter Bill Graham. The archives included vintage posters, tickets, audio and video recordings from Graham's historic Fillmore concerts (which Graham owned), as well as live recordings of concerts which had gone Concertcrowd_7 unheard for decades. The website offers these concerts as free streams, but does sell memorabilia.

Today Wolfgang bit back. "The lawsuit has nothing to do with artists' rights and everything to do with others in the industry seeking to seize profits and shakedown Wolfgang's Vault and its owner, Bill Sagan," said Wolfgang attorney Michael Elkin. "We believe while this lawsuit will attract a lot of headlines it has no basis or fact in law whatsoever.  Wolfgang's Vault bought all of this decades' old material legally, paid their rightful owner and own all the rights necessary to conduct its business.  We fully expect to be victorious in the court of law."

The Bloggers Z-List Meme

Because I thought you might have a little extra time over the holidays and because we music marketers like anything viral.  Below is the The Z-List meme an expanding list of blogs that iscirculating around the Net.  As Seth Godin wrote. "There is no A list, so there can't be a Z list. There's just good blogs.The idea is to add your blog, a few others perhaps, and then post. I haven't visited them all, but I want to, and will". Check 'em out. Read. Re-post. Spread the word.

Creative Think
Movie Marketing Madness
Blog Till You Drop!
Get Shouty!
One Reader at a Time
Critical Fluff
The New PR
Own Your Brand! 

Continue reading "The Bloggers Z-List Meme" »

Elvis on Ed Sullivan Revisited

Elvis3t Music on TV has always been a powerful combination. But seldom has a performers appearances on a single TV show had more impact than Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show.  Now all of his ground breaking and hip shaking performance have been released on a 3 DVD set.  Perfect for the holiday break. (more)

Measuring The Growth And Direction Of Music 2.0 2006-2007

As 2006 closes, two new reports give an interesting look inside the changing shape of the new music industry dubbed by many Music 2.0.

Despite declining CD sales, music is still generating huge profits for a number of Music_phone_nokia_n_series_2previously unrelated industries including mobile and the technology sector. Heavyweights Apple, Motorola, Sprint, Nokia, SanDisk, LG, Verizon, Microsoft, Google, News Corp. and others are creating strong new revenue streams with music-related products. A new report The Moneymaker Roundup attempts to chart the diverse corners of the music industry which keeps diversifying and attracting large investments but remains difficult to accurately value.

The Digital Media Desktop Report takes a look at which music applications are gaining traction. MTV's Urge had 3.8% installation level in November up from a "humble" 0.7%  rate during its debut month of May. Thanks to a smart settlement which bundled it intoGeneric_headphone_computer_18 a number of Micorsoft applications, Rhapsody hit an installation percentage of 8.1% in November, a big gain over the  2.1% rate of a year ago. Microsoft's Windows Media Player easily ruled the terrain with an impressive 67.3% penetration level well above rivals iTunes and RealPlayer. It' is important to remember that this study measures installation and not use.

So much is made of delivery technologies and devices that it is important to remember that content (a.k.a great music) still drives this growth and it will be interesting to watch in 2007 if the music industry gets smarter about using music's power both for profit and for all important new career development. Or, as the reopened CBS Records or the fledgling MySpace label hints, will these new music industry players start investing in content of their own?

Hypebot's New Music Business Briefing For Friday December 22nd, 2006

Sonybmg_45 >>> Sony BMG to pay another $4.25 million to settle DRM/rootkit lawsuit with another 39 states. (ZDNet)

Radio_7 >>> University of Edinburgh researchers are developing a "personal DJ" which would offer music and  commentary on-line tailored to a listener's taste. Instead of a DJ millions of nuggets of music trivia would be stored on a database and played using voice-generating software. (Manchester Evening News via RAIN))

Rumors_2 >>> We heard there was mucho reaction in the halls of eMusic yesterday to our commentary on the effect that the upcoming Amazon mp3 store will have on the subscription service. If you missed it, check out the story here and our original piece on Amazon's plans. eMusic has not responded to our request for comments.

Christmas_tree >>> We will be publishing during the holiday break. We won't be doing the Daily Briefings, but will publish news and info as it comes in.  In fact, we're considering dropping the morning roundup in favor of more individual short posts so ya'll can pick up each headline on you RSS feed or handheld. Tell us what you think of dropping the Daily Briefing and what else we can do to make Hypebot better on '07.

7digital.com Survey Highlights Consumers’ Transition To Digital Media Consumption

 7digital_logo_4 A survey conducted by the UK's 7digital.com finds that almost two thirds of consumers want a separate mobile and music player contrary to industry opinion.The survey of 1,489 UK consumers also found that:

  • 47% of people have 'no idea' when they last bought a CD single
  • Cds_color_22 Over half have not bought a CD single in the last 4 months 
  • In comparison, nearly 70% of people make between 1 and 50 purchases of downloadable music a month, with over half of respondents making between 1 and 10 purchases per month
  • Nearly three times as many people download an album legally rather than using a peer-to-peer site.

Divergence, not convergenceFusic_9

  • ad news for converged devices - the survey found that 63% of respondents like to keep their mobile phone and music player separate
  • Only 12% of respondents use their mobile phone instead of a separate player.

File-sharing the low tech way

  • Confirming industry fears, almost half of survey respondents claimed to copy music
  • Generic_headphone_computer_17 However, the most popular method used was swapping CDs amongst friends (28% of respondents) rather than more high-tech file-sharing methods
  • 4% of respondents’ emailed music and video files to each other, 8% transfer music onto friends’ MP3 players and 8% of respondents admitted to sharing music but would not disclose how.

Music lovers at risk of data loss

  • Ipod_47 The survey found that the average value of a download music collection is almost £400 and growing, based on a collection size of 500 tracks or 2GBs of data
  • Despite this high value, nearly half of people don't back up their music files (44%), leaving a large proportion of the music buying public vulnerable to data loss or theft.

Hypebot's New Music Business Briefing For Thursday December 21st, 2006

Mtv_30 >>> MTV has launched "Bananas," a branded mobile content subscription service. It is Fusic_5 a cross-carrier, direct-to-consumer offering that features exclusive content from MTV, MTV2 and mtvU including material from hit shows such as "Laguna Beach" and "The Real World". The technology behind "Bananas" is being provided by Motricity. (press release)

Allofmp3_15 >>> The major labels have filed suit against Russian download site allofmp3.com. (AP)

Amazon_11 >>> The story of Amazon opening an mp3 only download store with variable pricing that we broke exclusively on Monday is getting heavy play across the net.  Just in case you missed, it click here.

>>> Some changes are announced in the executive suites at Blue Note.(Variety)

>>> Koch Records once the home of hip-hop's has beens is gaining acceptance as a safe, solid and profitable home for the genre. (AP) ????

Grammy_2 >>> Joan Baez, Booker T. & The MG's, Maria Callas, Ornette Coleman, the Doors, the Grateful Dead and Bob Wills will receive The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. (press release)

Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 12-17-06

Pos. ARTIST | TITLE Cims_49

From CIMS: "Everyone seems to be rocking old skool style out there. Gov't Mule "Mule on Easy Street" is not on the chart because it was not submitted to Soundscan, which is fine. It is definitely Top 5 for CIMS and smokes.  Happy Holidays. No chart til 07. Peace"


Continue reading " Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 12-17-06" »

Hypebot's New Music Business Briefing For Wednesday December 20th, 2006

>>> In a synergistic match-up new music social networking site iLike grabs $13.5 million from Ticketmaster who will sell tickets to the site's devotees. (VentureBeat)

Sonybmg_47 >>> Sony BMG to pay $1.5 million to settle DRM rootkit lawsuits brought in California and Texas.

>>> The Grateful Dead and others sue online classic concert streaming and  memorabilia site Wolfgang's Vault. (Variety)

Chinese_flag_5 >>> Shanghai Push Sound Music & Entertainment Co. Ltd. won a landmark case against mainland China P2P operator Kuro. (Interfax)Riaa_2

>>> RIAA drops controversial case against Patti Santangelo but continues to sue children (Recording Industry vs. The People)

>>> MTV launches a new unit focused on mobile. (Digital Music News)

Concord Reactivates Stax. Signs Isaac Hayes.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the legendary soul label Stax, the Concord Music Group is planning an aggressive schedule of reissues, special events and the reactivation of the label with new Stax signings including Stax original Isaac Hayes.

Staxs contribution to popular music is enormous. Releasing hit after hit from Otis Redding, Booker T. & the MGs, the Bar-Kays, Hayes, Sam and Dave, the Staple Singers, Eddie Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, William Bell and Rufus and Carla Thomas, among others, the Memphis soul label established itself as a one-of-a-kind brand. (more)

Warner Music Buys Indie Roadrunner

Warner Music Group will acquire 73.5% of Roadrunner Music Group which includes RoadrunnerWmg_44 Records, one of the leading hard rock and heavy metal labels for $73.5 million.

In the US, Roadrunner will become a freestanding label group within WMG's Atlantic Records.  Roadrunner's international affiliates will become freestanding units within WMG's Warner Music International. Roadrunner Managing Director, Cees Wessels, will continue to run the company he founded.  There will be no staff changes as part of the acquisition.

Roadrunner The company has enjoyed strong momentum over the past several years. The label's multi-Platinum, Grammy-nominated artist, Nickelback, has the No. 1 Hard Music album for 2005 and year-to-date 2006 in the U.S. Roadrunner's roster also includes multi-Platinum Slipknot, Stone Sour, Killswitch Engage, Theory of a Deadman, Megadeth, Black Label Society and Trivium.


More On Chinese Music Crackdown

If you've been following our coverage on the recent crackdown by The Chinese Ministry Of Culture on music downloads and foreign music companies operating in China (and if not you should), you'll want Chinese_flag_3 to read the comments of a Pacific Rim based Hypebot reader.  We published an exclusive unedited response to the government's moves last week by Gary Chen the CEO of Chinese download leader Top100.cn and our reader cries foul:

"Gary Chen has opportunistically used the occasion of a new statement by China's Ministry of Culture to brazenly accuse other companies of copyright infringement when it has been documented by Billboard, New York Times and South China Morning Post tTop100cn_1 hat his top100.cn has itself been guilty of such a practice."

"A number of his comments smack of hypocrisy and it becomes obvious that he is exhibiting traits of an opportunist political economist in his skewed approach to copyright and I would like to point them out in the interest of a balanced view for the uninitiated reader..." Read the full letter after the jump.

Continue reading "More On Chinese Music Crackdown" »

Hypebot's New Music Business Briefing For Tuesday December 19th, 2006

>>> Don't miss the story we broke exclusively yesterday on Amazon opening up an mp3 only download store with variable pricing. (here)

Ahmet_2 >>> Atlantic Records has created a beautiful online tribute to founder Ahmet Ertegun who passed away last week. (Atlantic)

>>> A blogger writes about how he harnesses his love for music to keep him self motivated at work. (LivingWithMusic)

Radio_6 >>> The rapid consolidation of commercial radio that followed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 led to a loss of localism, less competition, and less diversity according to "False Premises, False Promises:A Quantitative History of Ownership Consolidation in the Radio Industry", a report released by the Future of Music Coalition (FMC).

>>> Nielsen SoundScan reports that through the first 49 weeks of 2006, sales of individually downloaded digital tracks are up more than 67% over 2005, accounting for more than 525 million digital downloads; already 173 million more than 2005's annual total. (Mi2N)

>>> R.I.P. Denis Payton of The Dave Clark Five. He was 63.(more)

Amazon To Enter Crowded Download Market With MP3 Only Store

Late last week Amazon began circulating contracts to labels aiming for a late 1st Q '07 music downloadAmazon_12 store launch.  Rumors of an Amazon entry have been circulating all year, but died down as attention shifted first to the URGE launch and then to Microsoft's ZUNE.

What is most surprising (and exciting) about Amazon's new store is that the online giant is apparently telling labels that they will only sell DRM free mp3's and will offer variable pricing.

Playfor_sure As the first major download store launch since Microsoft made it clear with ZUNE that it was not supporting it's own PlayForSure DRM, perhaps Amazon was left with no choice. Yahoo! Music, Napster, URGE and others based on PlayForSure are starting to look like forgotten step-children.  Only eMusic has gained real momentum against the iTunes juggarnaut and eMusic sells mp3's.

Plus by embracing mp3's, Amazon completely avoids all player compatibility issues by selling in the only format that plays on all devices including the ubiquitous iPod.

Emusic_5 I nsiders began to wonder if Amazon was plotting a new course when it hired former Dimensional staffer Scott Ambrose Reilly. Known in the industry as Bullethead for hisOrchard_18 distinctive scalp, he was responsible for many of the early deals made by Dimensional owned eMusic and The Orchard.  The recent label approaches seem to confirm that Ambrose Reilly is at least partially behind Amazon's bold moves.

It is unclear what major label product will be included at Amazon's launch.  It may well be limited to a broadening of the selective experiments we've seen in recent weeks plus perhaps some Insoundlogotop_1older catalog.  Most indies will probably jump on board since many are already offering mp3's via eMusic and the new Insound mp3 album-only store.

Itunes_girl_2 Amazon has also given both major and indie labels something they've been demanding from iTunes but not getting - variable pricing.  How well labels support Amazon could either force Apple's hand or allow it to remain dominate.

COMING THIS WEEK @ HYPEBOT: Will Amazon effect eMusic?  How will other download services react? What about the major labels? IS 2007 THE YEAR OF THE MP3?

Cingular Takes MySpace Mobile

Cigular_5 The world's largest cell service Cingular will begin offering a mobile version of MySpace to it's subscribers for $2.99 monthly charge.  The mobile MySpace will be extended to other mobile services in just a few monthsMyspace_4 .

Making MySpace portable puts the incredibly popular service where it's young power users spend an increasing amount of their time - on or at least with their cell phones. It also furthers the notion that the cell may become the combined delivery device of choice for music, photos, video, social networking, and email as well as phone service.


Continue reading "Cingular Takes MySpace Mobile" »

Hypebot's New Music Business Briefing For Monday December 18th, 2006

Music_phone_nokia_n_series_1 >>> An overview of current and future cell phone music and lifestyle apps. (Reuters)

>>> I enjoyed this customizable holiday e-card from EMI. (here) Who knew I liked Dean Martin? PS: It's got a tool to make your own.

>>> Incubus is offering fans footage and images and saying "You go make our next Music_note_1video!" - (press release)

>>> Wired compares MP3 tagging software. (Wired)

>>> The Rolling Stones had the top grossing tour of 2006. Madonna was #2. (Billboard)Outkast

>>> OutKast is juggling careers in music, acting and gaming. (FMQB)

Bill Gates Hates DRM

From TechCrunch"Drm_anti_wall_1

(Bill) Gates said that no one is satisfied with the current state of DRM, which “causes too much pain for legitmate buyers” while trying to distinguish between legal and illegal uses. He says no one has done it right, yet. There are “huge problems” with DRM, he says, and “we need more flexible models, such as the ability to “buy an artist out for life” (not sure what he means). He also criticized DRM schemes that try to install intelligence in each copy so that it is device specific.

His short term advice: “People should just buy a cd and rip it. You are legal then.”Microsoft_3

All this from the guy whose company virtually invented DRM and whose new Zune is it's own closed DRM system...

TV Network Revives CBS Records

CBS TV is reviving the legendary CBS Records moniker to name a new lightly staffed and largely digital Cbs_tv record label designed to take full advantage of the network's marketing clout. 

The move can be viewed as synergistic from several angles. Music is increasingly a component of many TV shows and the costs of acquiring that music is rising.  Why not already control some of that content that the network requires?  And if your going to promote somebody's music; why not have it be your own? (more @ The LA Times)

Industry Legend Ahmet Ertegun Dies

Legendary Atlantic Records executive Ahmet Ertegen has died following complications suffered from  a fall at a recent Rolling Stones concert celebrating Bill Clinton's birthday. Ahmet_1He was 83.

The latest generation of music entrepreneurs often finds it easy to dismiss the old school execs as robber barons, but Ahmet Ertegun was royalty of a different sort.  The son of a Turkish diplomat, Ertegun was an industry force through three decades as the Atlantic Records heAtlantic_45_1 co-founded became the home in 1950;s of Ray Charles, Big Joe Turner, Ruth Brown, the Drifters, the Coasters and Solomon Burke,. Then in the 1960s and 1970s the label housed Aretha Franklin; Led Zeppelin; Cream; Yes; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Sonny & Cher.

Ahmet Ertegun was a man worth reading more about: LA Times, Wikipedia, audio via NPR, and we particularly recommend "An Appreciation" by former LA Times Editor Robert Hilburn.

Hypebot's New Music Business Briefing For Friday December 15th, 2006

Rumors_1 >>> A top representative of Russian allofmp3.com is in the U.S. talking to rights holders about the download site offering paid content. >>> Indie distributor ADA had to throw their own budget Christmas party in a crappy location because parent WMG said to cut out the holiday party fat.

Riaa >>> The RIAA and major labels are seeking lower songwriter royalties (Hollywood Reporter) and publishers are fighting back. (pdf of Publisher's letter review board)

>>> Perhaps there is life after working at a major label. Former Zomba/Sony/BMG exec Max Siegel has been named President of Global Operations for race car driver Dale Earnhardt's business interests.

Lamontagne200x150 >>> Streaming a recent Ray Lamontagne concert and interview.

>>> Some Best of 2006 lists from fellow music bloggers. (Stereogum)Itunes_girl_1

>>>Some contrasting views of recent reports that claims iTunes sales are slipping. (Bloomberg)

>>> R.I.P. - Fred Marsden, the drummer in the Merseybeat stars Gerry and the Pacemakers has Mouse_32died at 66.

>>> WORTHY CLICK:Tuneglue maps the links between various artists and genres with data from Last.FM and Amazon. Type in act name and go. Be careful; it's addictive. (click)

Leading Chinese Download Site Top100.cn Responds To Government Crackdown

EXCLUSIVE:  In a statement issued exclusively to Hypebot, Gary Chen the CEO of leading Chinese download service Top100.cn responded optimistically to new censorship rules imposed by the Ministry Of Culture.  We publish his remarks unedited:

"Overall I think it is a positive move.  Online music market in China need to be regulated.  Online music piracy is a huge problem in China.  The big search engine companies no matter Chinese firm Top100cn_6 and international firm like Yahoo are doing illegal search and download here in China.  The illegal mp3 search and download per day is roughly 60 million.  Ministry of Culture has not involved much in this area for past ten years.  Now, it is natural for them to have saying in this area because they have been doing censorship for physical music products in China."
"However, they have not publishes the detailed execution plan yet.  For an example, with very limited man power, how can you censor vast number of songs in internet world ?  We are talking about millions of songs and lyrics and copyright owner authorization.  And another concern is about timing.  If legal online business would spend one month to get IFPI authentification of copyrights and then go through Ministry of Culture censorship, then piracy business will definitely beat legit business in China again." 

"As the largest legit digital music company, we are communicating with major labels and Ministry of Culture heavily now on these issues.  We all believe that it is very possible that Ministry of Culture’s new regulation and future detailed execution plan will help legit business to grow and benefit.  And Chinese_flag_2that is one of the major ways to fight piracy."

"There is one part in it about restriction of foreign companies selling music online and in mobile sphere. That happened also because certain international company use double standard (legal business in America; illegal search and download in China) in Chinese market and make government agency and value chain disappointed and lose confidence in them.  On the contrary, four China government owned telecom operators(China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom and China Netcom) are very very strict with copyrights in their platforms now.  for an example, you must provide copyrights contract to them if you want to provide any music services on their platform."

Just weeks ago Chen was touting a new deal for tens of thousands of indie tracks via The Orchard. At that time he told Hypebot, "This will be a great culture exchange project and people here willOrchard_21 gradually appreciate it. And Chinese government support such a project". Chen's new statement attempts to put a positive spin on recent government actions, but it is also probable that Chen suspects that the same Ministry Of Culture that censor music also read blog posts.