« December 2006 | Main | February 2007 »

Digital Music Weblog Is No More...

Tdmwlogo430px Believe it or not we hate it when music industry bloggers call it quits.  There is just isn't enough good opinionated writing for us to loose any voices.  Today I got word the the Digital Music Weblog will cease publication. Grant Roberston, whose writings I always enjoyed, wrote:

The Digital Music Weblog is now retired. It's been a fantastic ride and, I'll always look back on this period with a smile, and fond memories.

....And we thought that the reason our numbers were jumping is that you loved us...

Flom Names Trink And Kempler To New Capital Executive Team

In an effort to consolidate his new team, Jason Flom, the head of the new Capitol Music Group has appointed Lee Trink as President and Jeff Kempler as COO.  The Capitol Music Group was formed last Capital_records week by the merger of EMI Music’s Capitol and Virgin labels in the US.

Trink, who had been General Manager and Executive Vice President at Virgin Records since joining in that role in January 2006, reports to Flom.  While at Virgin, he played a critical part in breaking new gold artists such as Red Jumpsuit Apparatus  Trink also helped the Grammy-nominated KT Tunstall achieve platinum sales in the US, and drove the rejuvenation of 30 Seconds To Mars’ latest record, “A Beautiful Lie,”Virgin_10 which has now achieved platinum status.  Prior to joining Virgin, Trink was the GM of Lava Records, where he worked closely with Flom, who founded and ran Lava.

Kempler was most recently Executive Vice President at Virgin since October 2005 guiding business affairs. Prior to Virgin, he was SVP Business and Legal Affairs for Atari and before that was SVP Business and Legal Affairs for the Island Def Jam.

Press release after the jump.

Continue reading "Flom Names Trink And Kempler To New Capital Executive Team" »

Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 01-28-07

Cims_77 Pos. ARTIST |  TITLE
12 MOE.|CONCH    

Read the entire Top 200 after the jump.

Continue reading " Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 01-28-07" »

Teen Sues Major Labels For Collusion

16-year-old Robert Santangelo has filed a counter-suit against five record labels and the RIAA for conspiring to defraud the courts and making extortionate threats. Santangelo, who was 11 when theLegal_9 alleged piracy occurred, denies having shared music illegally and claims it's impossible to prove that he did.

His court filings claim that the major labels (who have filed more than 18,000 anti-piracy lawsuits) "have engaged in a wide-ranging conspiracy to defraud the courts of the United Riaa_toiletpaper_2 States."  He alleges that the companies, "ostensibly competitors in the recording industry, are a cartel acting collusively in violation of the antitrust laws and public policy" by bringing the piracy cases jointly and using the same agency "to make extortionate threats ... to force defendants to pay."

His personal defense also includes claims that:

  • he never shared copyrighted music
  • major labels originally promoted file sharing
  • average computer users were never warned that file sharing was illegal
  • the statute of limitations has passed
  • that all the music claimed to have been downloaded was owned by his sister on CD's.

Hypebot Page Loading Issues Fixed

I apologize for some recent issues that causes slow page loading.  I believe I have them solved, but please let me know if you are still having any problems.

Thanks to all who brought this to my attention.  I really enjoy the community we're creating around Hypebot and encourage all of you to participate with comments, questions. emails, press releases, article ideas...and those very valuable tips and rumors...

Thanks for your support of Hypebot and please help us spread the word to your network.

EMI Pacts With Thumbplay For Ringtones

Thumbplay, an online retailer of mobile entertainment content has partnered with EMI Music to sell ringtones from EMI’s current artists and catalog including labels Astralwerks, Blue Note, Capitol, ThumbplayCapitol  Nashville, EMI Christian Music Group, EMI Televisa Music Manhattan and Virgin. Consumers can purchase content through both subscription and a la carte options, downloaded “over the air” directly to the consumer’s handset, and billed directly to the consumer’s carrier bill.Emi_76 

EMI's move is part of a widening trend that finds labels cutting out mobile content middlemen and going straight to providers with deeper offerings and to obtain higher profit margins. Thumbplay has more than 50,000 pieces of mobile entertainment content under license including ringtones, wallpapers, games and text-based services. 

Hypebot's New Music Business Briefing For January 31st, 2007

Sonybmg_18 >>> Sony BMG has settled with the Federal Trade Commission after lasy year's rootkit debacle. (PC World)

>>> Apple adds colors to the iPod line.(press release) And still none quite match the colorof Steve Job's eyes...

Billboard_7 >>> We dispute a few of their "facts", but Billboard and other old school media outlets are confirming our exclusive story last week that some larger indies are filing suit against YouTube.

>>> SonyBMG's sales figures slipped 1.6% to $1.4 billion for the quarter ending Dec. 31. Net income for the period increased 26% to $225 million. They blalmed the slide on "greater contraction in physical compact disc sales than growth in digital download sales in many markets". Income for the label was up by 10.3 % due to "lower overhead and restructuring costs."  (FMQB)

Yep Roc Unleashes Innovative 30 Episode Sloan Video Serial

Sloancd Beginning today for the next 30 days indie Yep Roc will debut a new installment of video-serial based on Sloan's 30 track release "Never Hear The End Of It" via video podcast and YouTube leading up to performances at SXSW. Debuts will occur every business day Yeproclogo_5 from January 30th through March 9th.

Fans will see the inspiration behind the decision to include 30 songs on the album and the artistic collaboration it took to pull off the opus that Playboy.com called, "like the end of Abbey Road, stretched out for an hour plus of pure-pop pleasure."

Norah Jones Newest Becomes Amazon's Most Pre-Ordered Ever

Amazon_22 Norah Jones third album, Not Too Late has become the most pre-ordered album of all time on Amazon.com. The CD will be released today (1/30) and was available pre-order at a 47% discount foNorah_jones_3rdcd_1 $9.99. The promotion began last month with Amazon offering the singers fans an exclusive first listen to Not Too Late and video of Rosie's Lullaby.            

Other top 10 pre-ordered albums on Amazon.com include (in no order):  Jones second album Feels Like Home; Taking The Long Way by Dixie Chicks; How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and The Best of 1990-2000 by U2; Bridge Over Troubled Water/This Is The Night and Measure of a Man by Clay Aiken; Sgt.Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles; and Awake by Josh Groban.

Sales would have been even greater if that Amazon's pending download store was open for business.

Hypebot's New Music Business Briefing For Tuesday January 30th, 2007

Starbucks_1 >>> Within 12 months, probably, you're going to be able to walk into a Starbucks and digitally be able to fill up your MP3 player with music," announced company Chairman Howard Schultz. (Seattle Times)Emusic_19

>>> The Euro branch of eMusic says that in February it will reduce the number of downloads on each of its subscription plans following similar reductions introduced in the US in November. (PC Pro). Is this part of an attempt to raise payments to disgruntled labels?  Will it effect eMusic's subscriber numbers?

>>> HD radio is being rolled out too slowly to save broadcasters from new competitors like satellite radio, wireless internet and the iPod and iPhone. (BusinessWeek)

Universal_23 >>> Amanda Marks, who currently runs the Universal Music Group's new-media and technologies division eLabs, has been promoted to Executive VP Of Digital Distribution. (Variety)

>>> The digital music industry action heads west as Music 2.0 opens in LA on Wednesday and Thursday.  (more)

Youtube_30 >>> YouTube may share revenue with all content creators. "We are getting an audience that is large enough to give us an opportunity to support and foster creativity through sharing revenue with our users," he said in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. (Spin)

Diy_2 >>> A good overview on optimizing your MySpace page to attract new visitors. (MusicDish)

UPDATED STORY & COMMENTARY: YouTube Indie Label Talks Falter. Cease & Desist Orders Fly.

Legal_8EXCLUSIVE: Informed sources tell Hypebot that talks between new trade organization Merlin and YouTube over payments to independent labels for music used on the site have broken down and legal action by some labels is imminent. Cease and desist orders and lists of videos and songs are being prepared for filing with the courts.

UPDATE: Some indie labels delivered cease and desist orders to YouTube on Friday and others will hit early this week.  No reaction yet from YouTube.

It was only a week ago that a group of larger indies including Rough Trade, Beggars Group, Tommy Boy, Ministry Of Sound, Epitaph, and Cooking Vinyl joined forces to form Merlin, a trade groupYoutube_29 designed to enhance indie negotiating power with new media and technology companies.  Too often the major label groups had been able to get better deals with the likes of YouTube and Zune and sometimes indies have been left out of the equation all together.

So Merlin's mission is to end this "copyright apartheid" and a deal with SnoCap was quickly announced.  But negotiations with the mighty YouTube did not go as well and some Merlin member labels are fighting back.

COMMENTARY: Finding balance between valuable free for promotion and monetizing artistic output has not gotten any easier in 2007.

YouTube has become a primary source of viral music promotion in recent months. So it's not easy to see why indie labels - who often struggle for attention alongside the majors - would shut off this hugely effective promo fountain. 

But songwriters, artists and others demand to be paid, and it is difficult to sit on the sidelines as Google declares YouTube worth billions and the major labels begin to cut deals. Only by acting together as they appear to be via new trade group Merlin will indie labels get their due.

Hypebot's New Music Business Briefing For Monday January 29th, 2007

>>> MIDEM may be over but the news just keeps on coming:

  • The Orchard has struck a deal with Sanctuary to take of its digital distribution.
  • Indie Koch has contracted Intent MediaWorks to distribute content across P2P's andMidem on websites, social networks, and blogs. Details were not disclosed.
  • Attendees at music industry trade show MIDEM - 10,000+
  • Attendees at musical instrument trade show NAMM - 84,000+
  • "To be honest I'm afraid of the music industry falling apart," said Black Eyed Pea will.i.am. "The thing that makes me nervous is the hesitation that record companies have about the new technologies."

>>> French news service AFP published a decent layman's overview of the music industry's current woes. (AFP)

>>> The concept of licensing music download at the ISP level may be making a comeback.Sanctuary (MacWorld) Brilliant idea but don't hold your breath.

>>> Sanctuary posted another loss and is considering selling off more assets. (FMQB)

Last Week's Top Stories

>>> HYPEBOT EXCLUSIVE: Some major indie labels have filed lawsuits against YouTube after failing to reach a compensation deal. (Hypebot)

Emi_75 >>> Andy Slater is out and Jason Flom is in as EMI combines Capital and Virgin in the U.S. Expect layoffs soon. (Hypebot)

>>> A group of large indie labels joined forces to form trade group MERLIN to negotiate licenses with new digital media like YouTube and technology such as Zune. (Hypebot)

Spiralfrog_10 >>> Ad supported download service SpiralFrog appeared dead before launch when some major execs and board members left. (Hypebot) But by week's end the frog leaped back into action with a new board appointment and promises of launch. (Hypebot)

Hypebot's New Music Business Briefing For Friday January 26th, 2007

Woltrap_1 >>> Some tech savvy DC area venues like the venerable Wolf Trap are using new media including podcasts and YouTube to broaden their audience for Opera and other genres. (Washington Post)

>>> Internet radio listenership is booming up 22%  over last  year to 59 million distinct listeners in December 2006 (pdf of JP Morgan report)

Acoustic_guitar_1 >>> CD sales may be down but musical instrument sales are way up. (LA Times) Is it because you can't download a guitar via P2P or do most people just not like what they hear on the radio and think they can do it better?

Livenation221205_17 >>> Live music giant Live Nation will provide concert info to Last.FM. The direct feed to Last.fm will give fans instant access to concert information, as well as links to purchase tickets. Its part of an overall move by Live Nation to reach out to music fans and by Last.FM to broaden its offerings.  Smart pairing.

>>> FROM MIDEM: Video games are the new way to break bands according to Nile Rogers. (AFP)

Emi_74 >>> Just in case you missed it: Andy Slater is out and Jason Flom is in heading a combined US operation for Capital and Virgin for parent EMI  Expect big layoffs (more from Hypebot)

Slater Out As Flom Heads Combined Capital & Virgin U.S. Layoffs Loom.

Flom EMI Group today announced the company is merger of its Capitol and Virgin labels to form The Capitol Music Group, a front line pop, rock and urban label group. Jason Flom has been promoted to lead The Capitol Music Group as Chairman and CEO. Flom, who joined EMI Emi_72as Chairman and CEO of Virgin Records America in November 2005, reports directly to EMI Chairman Nicoli.

Andy Slater, who has headed of Capitol Records since 2001, has stepped down.  Many other layoffs are sure to follow since combining these two major  Capital_reocrds_tower_4labels  is part of EMI's recentlyannounced restructuring designed to deliver $217 million in annual savings.

Bruce Lundvall, head of The Blue Note will continue to report directly to Nicoli, as will EMI Music North America's COO Ivan Gavin and CFO Colin Finkelstein. EMI Music Marketing President Ronn Werre, Capitol Nashville President and CEO Mike Dungan, EMI Christian Music Group Chairman/CEO & President Bill Hearn and Caroline Distribution General Manager/SVP Bill Hein will all continue to report to Ivan Gavin.

Full press release after the jump.

Continue reading "Slater Out As Flom Heads Combined Capital & Virgin U.S. Layoffs Loom." »

NY Indie Retailer OTHER Adds MP3 Download Store

Other Revered New York indie retailer Other Music is launching a download site late next month.  "The basic strategy will be the same as at the shop. We sort through everything and present a wide array of the best stuff that we can find, from oddball reissues to great new music across a variety of genres," Other Music's Josh Madall told Wired.com.  "...We feel there is a real need for great indie download shops with a curated selection."

Madall also had some interesting comments on how iTunes and eMusic aren't always great for indie bands and labels. "Apple makes their real money selling iPods, not music; the music is almost a loss leader to get folks to buy the players, and that can't be ideal for artists' concerns....EMusic is complicated too. They are perhaps the biggest force distributing indie music online, but with theirEmusic_18 subscription model, the labels are paid a fraction of what they make for a sale on iTunes or at a shop like ours".

As more download sites like Other's offer DRM free mp3's and variable pricing, this can't be good news for Apple and far worse news for eMusic.  Interested labels and musicians should contact labels@othermusic.com.

SpiralFrog Leaps Back To Life

Fresh of a wave of key executive and board resignations and a delayed launch SpiralFrog is attempting leaping back back to life with a major new board appointment - former WB TV CEO Jordan Levin - and aSpiralfrog_8 promise to launch soon.

"Our business is evolving more like a television station than a Web site," SpiralFrog Chairman and founder Joe Mohen told Reuters. "So we need to have executive and board talent that understands how to run a medium both from the programming side and from the advertising sales side." More board and staff announcements were promised in the coming weeks for the free ad supported download service.

This Week's UK indiestore.com Picks

Stutterbunny '15ft'
There's nothing stuttering about this Glasgow four-piece. Think Blondie, Elastica, The Cramps, Glitter Band… oh, you know. They've balls the size of cabbages and make an utterly splendid racket. With support already from XFM, NME and MTV, you're not going to be able to ignore this lot. Really, you're not.Uk_flag_18

Chris Townsend 'Glorious'
One of a trio of singing/songwriting pals whose gentle tunes are currently flying out of indiestore. Check the others - Messers Sneddon and Hook – and get a free taster from Chris' 'What Are You Waiting For' five-tracker in the shape of the rather cheerful 'Glorious'.

Third Generation Collective 'The Wedding'
We are suckers for a decent slab of bhangra so how pleased were we when a kind soul pointed us in the direction of Third Generation Collective. We look forward to seeing more tracks from S Singh's diverse Midlands collective on indiestore very soon.

Major Labels Crawl Towards MP3's

We've been saying it for weeks, but now word is coming out of  France at the industry gathering MIDEM that 2007 will be the year that the majors seriously experiment with DRM free MP3's.

The International Herald Tribune reports thatEmi_73 "executives of several technology companies...said this weekend that a move toward the sale of unrestricted digital files in the MP3 format from at least one of the four major record companies could come within months." We predict that the major will be EMI with a catalog offering.  Express your opinion with a vote in our poll in the right hand column.

Further confirmation comes from "music executives, (who) while saying that timetable was self-serving on the part of technology companies that would benefit from the change, nevertheless acknowledged that the debate was front and center".

Amazon_24 The indies have once again paved the way with successful DRM free offerings via eMusic, InSound, 7Digital and more; and the Amazon DRM free store is sill moving forward. Will that be where the real DRM free experimentation begins?

Hypebot's New Music Business Briefing For Thursday January 25th, 2007

Is Hypebot's Daily Briefing back?  Not quite.  But sometimes it's the best way to share a quick roundup of industry news...and today is one of those days.

>>> IODA grabs world music, classical and jazz indie Harmoni Mundi's large catalog for digital distribution.

>>> Panelists and speakers for the upcoming Music 2.0 confab in LA have been announced and it looks like a strong if predictable line-up.

Rumors_3>>> We predicted it and now we have to live with it. David Lee Roth is reuniting with Van Halen for a summer tour.

>>>  Oxy Systems, Inc., a developer of mobile music and social networking services reported newNokia_music_edition_1 consumer and subscriber data demonstrating a desire among teens and young adults for mobile music and social networking services on their mobile handsets.

>>> MusicPlusTV.com is extending its reach by now also uploading its original video content to Brightcove, Veoh Networks, Revver and YouTube.

Indie Retail's VanCleave Sounds Off About The "Keystone Cops" At EMI

FROM MIDEM - "Today I was in the lobby of the Carlton hotel right there on the ole Rivera...and noticed Eric Nicoli across the room..."

"He of course runs the EMI Music Group. We have great friends at the company but pretty muchEmi_71 think the parent company are the Keystone Cops. Anyway, after exiting the scene, I checked my Blackberry to find that iTunes has an exclusive with the Decemberists...Now, this is a band that has LIVED at indie retail forever. Even at Capitol, we have made a very important contribution to the sales of The Crane¹s Wife.  Our Capitol folks have been very supportive."

"We have been pounding the Decemberist¹s management and label for the same type of cool product for the past two years. I even cornered the lead singer, at LaGuardia Cims_75for a few hours to explain our game. Guess what? Seems EMI UK has this policy that exclusive content only can be granted as DIGITAL content. Oh, I see. It is easier to deal with the retailers who are paying a small increment of your income instead of the retailers who are paying the bulk.  It is also amazing that you would grant exclusive content to the very channel that is NOT replacing your lost income dollar for dollar. Keystone Cops indeed." - Don VanCleave / Coalition of Independent Music Stores (Read his full rant after the jump.)

Continue reading "Indie Retail's VanCleave Sounds Off About The "Keystone Cops" At EMI" »

Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 01-21-07

Cims_76 Pos. ARTIST | TITLE

Continue reading " Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 01-21-07" »

Billboard & Rehearsals.com Ink Pact

FROM MIDEM - CenterStaging and Billboard will cooperate on a project designed to discover and     promotion of new talent as well as the production and distribution of music Billboard_logo_1industry events. These will    include in-studio performances and interviews with up-and-coming and unsigned recording artists as well as studio and on-location roundtable discussions and summits with leading music industry executives and established talent. The events and performances will be made available on rehearsals.com, CenterStagings online digital portal powered as well as on Billboard.com, Billboard.biz and other media outlets. (more)

IODA Adds Burnside And Other Distributors

FROM MIDEM: Digital distributor IODA has added of four new independent physical distributors to its catalog. Burnside Distribution Corp, Liaison Distribution, Thirty Tigers and Traffic Entertainment will now be able to offer their client labels digital distribution using IODAs Digital Distribution Dashboard Ioda platform to more than 300 digital retailers, mobile outlets and subscription services worldwide.

These deals add hundreds of new tracks to IODAs catalog including music from Biz Markie, Kool G Rap, James McMurtry, Billy Joe Shaver, Roxanne Shante, Marley Marl, Mobb Deep, Los Amigos     Invisibles, Ghostface Killah, Kinky Friedman, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Kelly Joe Phelps, Michael Nesmith (Monkees), Autumn Defense (featuring John Stirrat and Pat Sansone of Wilco), Eva Cassidy, Chuck Brown, Theodis Ealeyand, Debra Snipes and others. (more)

Is SpiralFrog Dead Before Launch?

According to several sources a half dozen top executives and almost as many board members have exited SpiralFrog since Christmas. Included in the group are most of those with strong ties to theSpiralfrog_9 record industry.

Despite a deafening hoopla in the mainstream press over SpiralFrog's plan to operate an ad supported download service a promised December launch date came and went without action.  Sources say the site will launch next month but may only have content from Universal and some smaller labels.

This is not good news for any in the ad supported download or P2P sector. When the biggest dog's bark turns out to be toothless it will be hard for anyone else to gain traction.

Way back in November 60% of Hypebot readers predicted that SpiralFrog would fail and should not even bother to launch. (poll results).

Mobile Music Spending To Top $32 Billion By 2010

Global spending on mobile music ranging from ringtones to full track downloads is expected to reachFusic_8 $32.2 billion by 2010 let by spending in the Pacific Rim according to Gartner Research. That is a 2.5 time increase over this year's predicted $13.7 billion.

But cell providers need to get more aggressive about services and competitive with pricing in order to grab consumer spending from iTunes and other pure download services according to the study.

MTV & Verizon Partner For Multi-Platform MTV Live

Mtv_31 MTV and Verizon Wireless are producing a new event series "MTV Live". The monthly series will be recorded live at the Hard Rock Cafe NY in Times Square and broadcast multi-platform program across MTV, MTV2, mtvU, MTV Tr3s, MTV.com and MTV Mobile on V CAST. The first episode of "MTV Live" premiers February 6 with Fall Out Boy.  Nas, Akon, and Gym Class Heroes have been booked Verizon for future shows.

"MTV Live" will be customized for each screen. Features include live text-to-screen that allows Verizon Wireless subscribers to comment from their cells via a crawl across the bottom of the screen and video shot on cells during the performance will be edited into several platform offerings. MTV Mobile on V CAST will feature exclusive performance content from each show and artist interview segments. "MTV Live" will also be available  http://www.mtvlive.mtv.com/.

Google Partners With Sony BMG and WMG

Google is placing ads alongside videos from Sony BMG Music Entertainment and the Warner Music Group via its AdSense online ad system to a test group of independent web publishers. The video ads are Google_16running in a four-week test now under way alongside branded channels created from label content.

"Over the past few months, we have run tests to figure out how we work with our partners and advertisers to combine high-quality video content with ads and then distribute them (over) the Google AdSense network," Google said in statement. (Reuters)

Indiestore.com Tracks Now Available For Commercial License Via Ricall

Digital download site indiestore.com has made a deal with Ricall, an online musicRicall marketplace used by TV, advertising, computer game and film producers, to add indiestore  artists to Ricall’s database of 3 million tracks. This means that in addition to selling downloads the public, indiestore.com artists now have the opportunity to get exposure to commercial music buyers and get their music on TV ads and programs, films and computer games.

indiestore.com also enables unsigned artists and small labels to build a download store, earn profits and be eligible for official charts in the UK, US and 20 other countries.