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iTunes Hits 3 Billion Downloads

Apple today announced that more than three billion songs have been purchased and downloaded from theItunes_girl iTunes.  The online store recently surpassed Amazon and Target to become the third largest music retailer in the US.

“We’d like to thank all of our customers who have contributed to this incredible milestone,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes.

Former VP Reveals Dark Side Of Victory Records

A detailed missive chronicling the excesses and dark side of Victory Records and its controversial founder Tony Brummel complete with email documentation allegedly by industry veteran and former Victory VP was posted on MySpace by Epitaph employee Sue Luke. Here's a brief excerpt:

Victory "We'd all seen Brummel threaten people, both physically and, his favored form of communication, e-mail. In person he wasn't intimidating. He didn't appear to break 5'7" and I doubt he weighed in over 150 lbs. To compensate for this, he inked up with a bunch of tattoos including the cobweb on the elbow and "Victory" tattooed on his forearm and across his back as if it were a gang sign....The remnants of a chubby childhood still lurked in his face and his belly, leading me to believe his bullying attitude was programmed many years ago at the hands of a schoolyard oppressor." (READ THE FULL TEXT HERE.)

(Hypebot: We have not confirmed the authenticity of this letter. Read it and decide for yourself.)

Dave Mathews Gives Starbucks Exclusive Live CD

Starbucks Starbucks stores have grabbed an exclusive on the Dave Matthews Band “Live Trax” CD starting today.  The compilation from Bama Rags/RCA Records features recordings of performances dating back to 1995.  Since 2004, Dave Matthews Band has released albums in the “Live Trax” series via their Web site and at concerts.  “Live Trax,” is the first national retail release in the series. Xm

XM is also joining in with a special promotion for the release and a newly re-launched Starbuck's Music Channel. (more)

eMusic Study Claims Service Is Good For Indie Music

Emusic50free Hypebot has led the charge in criticism of eMusic and how its low pricing can hurt indie labels and musicians. (read our exclusive 6 part eMusic series) The company's rebuttle has always been that it's strategy leads to music discovery and thus more sales for indie music. Now they've released their own study to prove it.

In a survey of 4,000 of active U.S. subscribers, eMusic found that 61% buy music from the website that they would not have otherwise purchased. 62% said they purchase more than 10 additional songs per month than Emusic_2before they joined and 84% felt they discovered music they would not otherwise. 44% of subscribers believe they download less music from major labels now that they are in the eMusic fold.

eMusic says the report bolsters its claim that it is helping independent labels gain market share by selling albums and songs that wouldn't have sold otherwise. This echoes a recent analysis of Nielsen SoundScan data showing that independent label digital album sales increased by 42% from 2005 to 2007 year to date.

(press release)

eMusic's Goes Mobile With AT&T - Details & Commentary

Att_t Rather than partner with a single middleman or create their own store, AT&T has been partnering with a variety of companies to provide music downloads and services to its subscribers.  The iPhone with iTunes compatibility is one example of AT&T's offerings. And now eMusic's entire 2 million track indie music catalog will be available via over-the-air download subcsription.


Songs purchased from eMusic Mobile are immediately sent to a cell and a duplicate copy is available for download to the user's PC at no charge. AT&T customers can subscribe to download five tracks a month for $7.49 (higher than eMusic's normal $9.99 for 30 tracks PC based subscription) andEmusic additional packages of five songs are available on demand for the same price. The iPhone was not on a published list of devices that can access eMusic Mobile at launch.

What makes all of this possible is eMusic's embrace of DRM free mp3's. Not only does it make phone compatibility less of an issue, but why not offer another song copy via the PC as insurance against still buggy over-the-air downloads. (More details can be found in this press release.)

Big sales may be slow in coming, but this is a smart move for both companies.  Over-the-air downloads dominate some Asian markets already and should grow rapidly here as networks and devices improve. 

AT&T's music portfolio has just been broadened to satisfy hard core indie music fans and its image widened beyond the Apple cult.  eMusic proves that it's not a one trick pony and can deliver value to indie labels beyond cheap pricing.

New Music Business Briefing: Hearings On Broadcast Performance Royalties, Amp'd To Court, Liquid Experience & Much More

Radio >>> The House Judiciary Committee will meet today to hear testimony from the radio and recording industries who are at odds over proposed performance royalties for broadcast radio. (R.A.I.N.) Given that net broadcasters (and broadcasters almost everywhere else in the world) pay these royalties, is this proposal that unreasonable?

>>> University Of Kansas says it won't forward RIAA letters to students. (DMW)

Livenation221205 >>> More on the possible Live Nation and Madonna $100 million deal. (NY Post) Is merging all aspects of an artist's career under one roof the waive of the future. And what does it say when its not a label making the deal?

>>> Amp'd mobile hits bankruptcy court this morning.  Here's a new audio interview with the controversial CEO Peter Adderton (mocoNews)

>>> How digital downloads are re-invigorating the classical music business. (Newsweek Int'l)

>>> A new energy drink Liquid Experience has both its marketing and its social mission based solidly in music. (DMW) Smart marketing and a cause if it all works.Bobdylan

>>> CREATIVE REPOSITIONING: UK re-mix guru Mark Ronson takes on Bob Dylan's You Go Your Way And I'll Go Mine. (preview)

Mouse >>> WORTHY CLICK: Buzzwire. Think of it as an RSS reader for your cell phone grabbing content you want from a variety of sources.

Study Shows Illegal Downloads Rising Just As Paid Digital Growth Slows

Generic_headphone_computer It should come as no surprise, but an extensive new UK study by Entertainment Media Research shows that illegal downloads are at an all time high just as paid download growth is slowing.

The study also chronicles a growing shift in the 13-60 year old population towards social networking sites for socialization, information and music discovery.  86% of theis broad age group visited a social networking sites last year and about 40%  of those have music embedded on their personal pages (65% of teens).

You can read the entire study or download it free as a PDF here

Terra Firma Forced To Extend EMI Deadline Again. Reports Surface China Mobile Is Real Buyer.

Uk_flag Terra Firma Capital Partners was granted a last minute extension of its bid for EMI by the U.K.'s Takeover Panel from yesterday until 1PM on Wednesday.

There  have been growing concerns that the buyout firm is struggling to finance the takeover.  Terra Firma had received acceptance from almost 85% of EMI's stockholders by late Friday. But Citigroup had refused to give its promised $4.86 Billion of the funding if Terra did not get the whopping Emi 90% acceptance required to make the deal unconditional.

Citigroup's reluctance to waive the 90% requirement - something that lenders traditionally due in freindlier markets - and the fact that many of the shares needed to reach 90% changed had in recent heavy trading anf are thus unregistered and uncountable - leave some wondering if the deal will fall apart.

Chinese_flag To add to the drama reports coming from Shanghai suggest that the giant telecom China Mobile Ltd will in the end buy some or all of EMI through Terra Firma and that the Chinese company is on the hunt for other major music acquisitions. A China Mobile spokesperson in Hong Kong has denied the reports.

In Monday morning trading, the UK stock market added 2.75 pence to EMI pushing it 1.1% to 252p just below the $256p per share that Terra Firma has offered.

New Music Business Briefing: WMG Stok Tumbles, YouTube Rewrites History, Universal Extends Sanctuary Bid & Much More

Wmg >>> WMG stock continued its downward slide to a 52 week low of $12.76 on Friday. Could one reason be the looming deal that would bring Madonna from the label group to an all inclusive deal with concert giant Live Nation?

>>> Beyonce fell on stage last week and videos of it flooded YouTube.  SonyBMG got themYoutube all pulled, but of course they cropped up elsewhere.  Is the label's cozy relationship with YouTube rewriting music history? "To much of its audience this will feel like police-state style censorship and the curious will look elsewhere," (Mulligan/Jupiter Research)

>>> Clear Channel Communications reported a slight revenue increase in 2Q. (FMQB)

>>> Planet M, the leading music store in India is adding in-store downloads as a way to fight declining sales. (Business Of Cinema)

>>> Labels are increasingly efforts to make social networking sites a place to buy music. (Billboard)

Switchboard_operator >>> Can you imagine saying, "Please put me back on hold"?  The City Of LA is looking for a few unsigned local bands to play on their phone systems when they put you on hold and offering $500 as a bonus. (Daily Swarm) Considering that they'd have to pay somebody (BMI, ASCAP) for music on hold it seems like a smart and creative use of city funds.

>>> How the coming "always on" WiMax revolution could again change radio and music consumption as we know it. (Hear 2.0) We've been beating this drum for years.  Don't miss out.

>>> Universal has extended its deadline from July 26th to August 2nd to complete the purchase of the distressed Sanctuary group of companies pending more shareholder approvals.

Mouse >>> WORTHY CLICK:  The All Music Guide. The editorial staff along with hundreds of expert contributors has made allmusic perhaps the most comprehensive music reference source on the planet. Content on allmusic falls into the following categories: Meta Data, Descriptive Content, Relational Content and Editorial Content.

Hypebot's New Music Business Week In Review

>>> The LA Times killed a column that advocated free music giveaways as Prince did recently in the UK. (Read the full text of the banned article here.) and late in the week the columnist issued a response.

Universal >>> And speaking of Prince, the non-profit Electronic Frontier foundation sued Universal on behalf of a young mother whose video of her son dancing to Prince's "Crazy" had been pulled down from YouTube. Watch the reposted video here.

>>> A new study of Live365 underscored the importance of internet radio to independent music and labels.

>>> Hypebot interviewed music industry blogger Glenn Peoples of Coolfer.com (Part I & II)

>>> CD importer Smash has closed it doors and Hypebot took an in depth look at this dwindling music industry sector.

Emi >>> EMI is partnering with digital agency VerveLife for new marketing promotions like a DRM free download giveaway with Burger King UK.

Hits >>> President Bush showed his ignorance of a current battles over performance royalties at radio at a recent press conference.

>>> Rhapsody revealed that they have no plans to start selling DRM free downloads until the majority of major label product is available without the current restrictions.  Napster had recently expressed a similar policy.

Last_fm >>> Last.FM got some backlash for demanding that indie artists some waive royalties before the customized net broadcaster will play them.

Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 07-22-07

Cims Pos.  ARTIST  |  TITLE
8 T.I.|T.I. VS TIP

Continue reading " Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 07-22-07" »

New Music Business Briefing: XM, Sony & Universal Report, Live Nation Close With Madonna & Much More

Xm >>> XM narrows losses and posts 21.5% revenue gain in 2Q but the broadcaster is still far from profitable. (PaidContent)

Savenetradiobolt300x78 >>> The National Association Of Broadcasters has come out in support of the Internet Radio Equality Act and is chastising Sound Exchange for its stony silence. (Wired)

>>> Sony and Universal have released new 2Q reports. (FMQB)

Last_fm >>> IndieHQ has the text of an A2IM statement on the Last.FM/direct licensing royalty debate. (IndieHQ)

>>> Don't miss our two part interview with Coolfer's Glenn Peoples. (Part I and Part II)

Madonna_2 >>> There are reports that a new Live Nation deal with Madonna will include touring, recording and much more in a package worth well in excess of $100 million. If true, Live Nation would be beating the labels at their own game and ensuring a relationship with a top money earner. (DigitalMusicNews)

>>> DIGITAL NATIVES - A great new term coined in Australia to describe a generation raised on the  broadband, mobiles, MP3s and the user-generated content that are tuning out of traditional media.

Mouse_2 >>> Worthy Click: TheRevolutionMusic.com is a new free site for artists to post samples of their music, videos, and pictures. Artists can sell downloads and merch, manage their fan club and newsletter, author a blog, and more free.  They've even made it possible to integrate many of their features including MP3 and merchandise sales into other places like MySpace to cut down on your number of sites to update.

Hypebot's Coolfer Interview Part II

Part II of our interview with fellow music industry blogger Glenn Peoples of Coolfer.com. Read Part 1 here.

HYPEBOT - You dropped advertising on Coolfer.  Why?  What has the response been?

COOLFER - There are time when I don't blog much, for whatever reason. If I have advertisers, I feel I have a responsibility to them. That may come into conflict with my ability or desire to blog. For example, I don't spend too much time on Coolfer when I have tests at school, or when I'm on vacation. A better way of going about it, I decided, would be to take donations and blog when I am able. I blog for my readers and for myself, not for the benefit of advertisers. The response has been encouraging. I've received some donations already. Next month I'll probably have my version of a pledge drive, and I'll be more active in solicitating.

HYPBOT - What do you think Coolfer readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

COOLFER - Few people know that I swam in the Olympic trials and was twice a Division I All-American swimmer at UC Santa Barbara. I have a bit of a travel bug as well. Twice I've quit a job to travel, the last time being a long stint through Asia and Africa in 2000-2001. I think Venezuela, which I visited in February, was country number 32.

Bonus question – Anything that you want to pitch, share or just rant about?

- How about some recommendations? One of my favoriate blogs is TrueHoop.com, the

Continue reading "Hypebot's Coolfer Interview Part II" »

Update: Banned LA Times "Free Music" Columinst Responds

Latimes_2 "Obviously no columnist is ever very happy about having their column killed. But I'm much more disappointed that the column that was killed was full of ideas about how to help my newspaper. I love working at a newspaper, especially this one, but if we don't start embracing change in a big way, there won't be great jobs like the one I have much longer. I'm constantly writing about how all the studios and big media companies are radically reinventing themselves. It's time we did the same." (Deadline Hollywood Daily via The Daily Swarm)

His statement and the column (a very worthwhile read) ring true both for newspapers and the music industry. If both don't embrace radical change; it's over.

Read the full text of LA Time's columnist's Patrick Goldstein's banned piece on"free music" here

EMI Shares Fall As Sunday Deadline Looms

Emi_2 EMI shares fell more than 5% amid new doubts that Terra Firma could secure financing to buy the major label group only four days before a self-imposed Sunday deadline.

Terra Firma needs 90% acceptances by Sunday to guarantee part of its funding from Citi and as of last Downarrowgig Friday had only only 26% after several deadline extensions. Rumors that the deal might fall through have spooked investors motivating some to submit their acceptance of the deal. The Financial Times speculated that this week's heavy trading means some stock may not be registered in time for the new owners' approval of the deal to even count.

Its hard, however, to imagine that either Citi will extend their deadline or Terra Firma will find newer although perhaps more expensive funding.  One can only imagine that previously interested parties like WMG and Jim Fifield  are watching and ready to pick up the pieces of a failed deal or pick the bones of a completed one.

As of close of the London exchange today the stock had rebounded 1%  to  250.24p about in the middle of its 52 week range.

EFF Sues Universal Over YouTube Toddler Take Down

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed suit against Universal Music Publishing Group asking a federal court to protect the "fair use and free speech rights" of a mother who posted a short video of her toddler dancing to a Prince's "Lets Go Crazy".

Last month, YouTube informed the mosther that it had removed the video after Universal claimed that the recording infringed a copyright controlled by the music company. Under federal copyright law, a mere allegation of copyright infringement can result in the removal of content from the Internet.  The video has since been reposted.(more)

The Full Text Of Banned LA Times "Free Music" Column

A few days ago The LA Times killed a column by Patrick Goldstein advocating more free music giveaways like Prince's recent UK newspaper deal. The move was apparently to avoid music industry backlash. Here is the full text of the banned column:

Latimes "How would you like to pick up this newspaper one day and get a free CD or an MP3 file of new music from one of your favorite musicians?   Earlier this month England’s Mail on Sunday and Prince — two symbols of two embattled businesses — stuck their big toes into the future, a future that has looked increasingly bleak for both the record industry and the newspaper business. In a move that sent shock waves across the British music business, the country’s leading tabloid distributed 2.9 million free copies of Prince’s new "Planet Earth" CD with its Sunday paper, reaping a publicity bonanza and a big bump in advertising as well." (continued)

Continue reading "The Full Text Of Banned LA Times "Free Music" Column" »

New Music Business Briefing: Apple Profits Soar, Anti-P2P Bill Withdrawn, ReverbNation Draws "New Blood" & More

Applelogo >>> Apple says 2Q profits up 73% and that 270,000 iPhones were sold in the first two days. iPod sales were up 21% to 9.1 million. (PaidContent)

>>> Russian prosecutors are seeking jail time for the former head of AllOfMp3.com. (DMW) But strangely several other similar download sites owned by the same company are still operating.

>>> In response to a strong outcry from both the academic world and the public, the anti-P2P amendment slipped into the Higher Education Act has been withdrawn. (ARS)

>>> Warner Brothers Records has added a loose "insider" blog to its very hot new web site. Nothing a corporate PR person would be worried about, but fun nonetheless.

Reverbnation_logo >>>  ReverbNation - whose growing collection of free band promotional tools could make the site a real player - is partnering with SnoCap for "New Blood" Urban Showcase Series. (DMW)

>  A Swedish label actually asked fans to share its music on P2P Pirate Bay. (Zero Paid)

Mouse >>> WORTHY CLICK: For a daily dose of rock and roll wisdom (OK...a quote from a rock star) check out our sister site TheRockDose.

Hypebot's Coolfer Interview Part I

You can count on one hand the number of blogs that seriously write about the music industry and when Hypebot started in 2005, Glenn Peoples' Coolfer.com was the standard by which I measured what I was doing.  A lot has changed for Glenn in the last year and I wanted to see what was up and get his take on the current upheaval in the music industry. (Part II here)

- There have been major changes in your life in the last year. Can you tell us about them?

COOLFER - Last fall I enrolled in the MBA program at Vanderbilt University. Going from independent distribution to business school was a big change. Right now I'm doing a summer internship for a major music company in New York, and I'll be back in Nashville in a few weeks for the second year of the program. Vanderbilt has been an incredible experience, very demanding but incredibly rewarding.

HYPEBOT - How have these changes affected your perspective on the music industry?

COOLFER - The only change in perspective on the music industry has been that I've been exposed to so many other industries. In some ways, music industry businesses seem more dysfunctional and undisciplined than ever. I certainly don't get the impression the greatest business minds of my generation are working in music. There could be some, though, but they're probably hamstrung by the tangled web of traditional business practices and complicated nature of recorded music. If the industry had an Economic Freedom ranking it would be somewhere between Libya and Iran.

HYPEBOT - What trends or recent developments in the industry worry you the most and which excite you the most.

COOLFER - There are a few worrisome trends. One is the availability of music. It's practically ubiquitous. When music lacks exclusivity, it loses its market value. This wouldn't be a worrisome trend if record labels were positioned for a response. They're not there yet. (continued

Continue reading "Hypebot's Coolfer Interview Part I" »

Help Wanted: Future Of Music Coalition Seeks Project Manager

Here's the lasted job availability from Hypebot's Job Board. If you have a music industry jobs that you'd like us to post for free please email me. And check out a few more job opportunities here.

Help_wanted Job Title: Project Manager
Start Date: August 15, 2007
End Date: April 15, 2008 (position may be renewed at that time to end of
Reports to: Communications Director
Supervises: Intern
Salary: half-time temporary position, $2,000/month
Location: Washington, DC
Position Description: FMC seeks a creative, resourceful, and self-directed campaign manager to oversee and implement outreach to musicians and visibility among their fans for our Rock the Net project. (continued...)

Continue reading "Help Wanted: Future Of Music Coalition Seeks Project Manager" »

Dominos Falling: Importers Latest Record Industry Casualties

By guest blogger by Dale Nixon of PoisonedPens.com -

Gardena, California import and indie music distributor Smash locked the doors last Friday after almost 20 years in the business. Unlike many of the closings that have savaged all aspects of the music retail landscape in the last year, the shuttering of Smash does not register on the Richter scale of closings like retailers Tower and Sam Goody, but the impact was felt primarily by the shrinking number of independent retailers who relied on boutique import operations for hot new product.

“I was trying to pack up my desk and leave a few hours ago, but the phone has kept ringing from Cd_manycustomers to ask if it's true and say goodbye,” Smash sales rep Larry Herman said. “I'm just numb. When they told us I didn't know what to think... Of course it's bad news, but so many big accounts have closed in the past three years that it isn't at all that surprising. There are less and less people to sell to, and it would have been hard to keep in it with the way the checks kept getting smaller and smaller.”

Importers, who have traditionally relied on the small independent store for the bulk of their business, have been disappearing with regularity in 2007. Usually operating outside of the influence of the major label system, as well as many of the retail alliances, privately-owned importers present an industry version of that classic tree-falling-in-the-woods conundrum; when an importer closes no one really notices except the clients.

Continue reading "Dominos Falling: Importers Latest Record Industry Casualties" »

New Music Business Briefing: Getty Buys PTW, Panero Exits XM, Starbucks Signs Joni Mitchell & Much More


Ptw_places >>> Getty Images which last month bought music license site Pump Audio has also grabbed indie rock destination Paper Thin Walls for $850,000.  PTW has recently been adding some innovative social networking and indie empowerment features and promises more. The Daily Swarm has an interview with one of the (now slightly richer) PTW founders and some insight into what Getty may really be up to. (more)

>>> Christian Jorge has joined Island DefJam has head of digital. (Billboard)

Xm >>> In a much anticipated move Hugh Panero will exit as head of XM. (Variety)

>>> The iPhone appears to be boosting sales for all music phones and services. (PC World)

Starbucks >>> HITS had it wrong. Starbucks is not signing James Taylor to its new record label. (Variety) It is a semi-retired Joni Mitchell who is back in action with a Sept 25th release. (Billboard) Caroline/EMI has also signed former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach (Komodo). There's some kind of pattern here...and in the case of Mitchell (and McCartney before her) a bit sad that it takes a non-record label to figure out how to make money with these well established artists.

Burger_king_2>>> EMI is going to give away DRM free tracks in a Burger King UK promo (Billboard) via a new deal with digital agency VerveLife. Expect more DRM free promo action as retailers realize they can give away tracks that have value to more than just iPod owners. (more from Hypebot)

Hip Hop Business News From ProHipHop

>>> XXL Editor-in-Chief Elliot Wilson appears in a back cover Rocawear ad holding a copy of XXL with Jay-Z on the cover. Publishing industry professionals term it "offensive" and an "egregious violation" of the advertising / editorial divide.

>>> Freekey Zeekey holds a streaming video appearance for Dipset fans to promote his new album.

>>> Proceedings related to Suge Knight's bankruptcy lead to the revelation of more unreleased tracks from Tupac. Tupac's estate claims ownership.

>>> Vibe Vixen is going out of business and the staff is being laid off.

>>> Diddy searches for a personal assistant on YouTube and a wide range of blogs and news sites take his hyperbolic claim of 10,000 responses as truth though the only evidence suggests far less than a thousand.

>>> ProHipHop's Clyde Smith is now blogging about the business of blogging at Fast Company.

From ProHipHop

EMI Partners With VerveLife To Exploit DRM Free For Broader Marketing

EMI has announced a strategic partnership with Chicago-based digital agency VerveLife. The partnershipVervelife gives brand partners access to EMI's catalogue to offer consumers downloads via promotional campaigns. EMI's recent decision to offer DRM-free downloads allows marketers to reach out to a broader range of  consumers by ensures full interoperability across devices and platforms including mobile phones.

Burger_kingBurger King is the first VerveLife brand partner to take advantage of the EMI opportunity through a promo being tested in the UK. Under the campaign, consumers will be able to search for, sample, and download a pre-paid EMI Music track from a special microsite. Codes are distributed upon purchase with links from the microsite to an online retailer allowing consumers to purchase more tracks.

Emi_2 EMI is the exclusive major music company offering content for the Burger King promo and will be featured as the exclusive provider of digital music in experiences being developed by VerveLife for several other global brands to be announced.

Beggars Buys Rough Trade

The Beggars Group has bought indie label Rough Trade from Sanctuary. Beggars_group Sanctuary is in the process of being bought by Universal. 

"It has been a long and fitful journey from the time we were selling Lurkers singles in the Rough Trade shop on Kensington Park Road to this brand new partnership," said Geoff Travis, founder of Rough Trade. "It has been a road littered with bumps and crashes but Rough_trade nevertheless we have had many world-class artists gracing our label."

The Strokes UK releases are among Rough Trades current top sellers. The label will continue to operate as a stand alone entity with Beggars taking over many back office functions. (more)

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