« June 2007 | Main | August 2007 »

Recent Comments Worth Noting...

EmiIn response to a thread of comments on the need for more youth and fewer VP's at the major labels responding to our post on Microsoft’s M Paramasivam being named EMI's global VP of Technology, Parma himself added:

'I am a music loving junkie (not too old I hope). Never been an exec. And I cannot resist this, I am an Indian as well.'

Last_fmThere was an interesting back and forth over "Last.FM Demands Indies Waive Royalties" between Last.FM and Bill Wilson of indie label Blackout.  Last.FM pointed towards this clarification saying that they do pay royalties to SoundExchange and Wilson replied:

"Sure, they paid Soundexchange. However, they paid in as a small webcaster (about 20k) just prior to inking with CBS for 280 million...

I don't dislike Last.fm, I'm a paid subscriber to the service as well as keeping my stuff up on the site. I'd also like to find out what their recent deal with SONY cost. I'm pretty sure they don't get the same deal. All I want is a level playing field and some kind of consideration for helping them raise 280 million".

Our President On Performance Royalties

From the official White House transcript:

QUESTION: Mr. President, music is one of our largest exports the country has. Currently, every country in the world -- except China, Iran, North Korea, Rwanda and the United States -- pay a statutory royalty to the performing artists for radio and television air play. Would your administration consider changing our laws to align it with the rest of the world?

HitsTHE PRESIDENT: Help. (Laughter.) Maybe you've never had a President say this -- I have, like, no earthly idea what you're talking about. (Laughter and applause.) Sounds like we're keeping interesting company, you know? (Laughter.)

Look, I'll give you the old classic: contact my office, will you? (Laughter.) I really don't -- I'm totally out of my lane. I like listening to country music, if that helps. (Laughter.)

New Music Business Briefing: Nokia Twango's For $100M, Mickey Mouse Record Labels & Much More.

Xm_sirius >>> In a move designed to appease regulators, XM and Sirius say hat they will offer ala carte pricing if a merger is approved. (press release) NPR and Sen. Brownback have just recently added their names to the list opposing the merger.

>>> Glenn at Coolfer takes a look at Aimee Street and other dynamic pricing systems for music sales. (Coolfer)

>>> Nokia has bought small social networking site Twango for just under $100 million. "Nokia is likely Nokia_logoto rebrand the Twango service and incorporate software into its phones to ease sending content between phones and online." (PaidContent) Just a few months ago Nokia paid $60M for digital content provider Loudeye.

Mickey_mouse >>> MICKEY MOUSE RECORD LABELS - "It’s really poetic justice that the Walt Disney Company has become such a great example of how to run a record company". Commentary @ Inside Music Media.

>>> Cumulus Media will go private in a 1.3 billion buyout from Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity. (FMQB)

Mouse_3 >>> WORTHY CLICK: Yes.com - "Find songs that have played within the past 7 days on the nation's top 2,600 radio stations, CMT, FUSE, MTV, and VH-1. Rate currently playing songs right now to influence charts & chat with other listeners."

EMI Grabs Microsoft Talent To Lead Digital Technology

Add another name to EMI's growing list of digital VP's. The company has named Microsoft’s M Paramasivam as the global VP of Technology.Emi_2

In this newly created role, Paramasivam – known as Parama - will be responsible for all technological aspects of EMI Music’s digital partnerships and will take the lead on forming technical policy. He will also be tasked with identifying new commercial opportunities arising from emerging technologies.  He reports to global head of digital Barney Wragg, and will be based at EMI’s London headquarters.

Continue reading "EMI Grabs Microsoft Talent To Lead Digital Technology" »

EXCLUSIVE: Rhapsody Clarifies DRM Position. Promises August Announcement.

In a Hypebot commentary last week I questioned the lack of recent progress on the DRM free front. Where was Amazon's new store? Why hasn't iTunes added DRM free product from the indies?  And why wasn't Napster, Rhapsody or Yahoo! making any moves towards mp3 free downloads.

Matt Graves the Director of Music PR at Rhapsody/RealNetworks responded:

Rhapsody_2"The answer, at least for Rhapsody, is that this is the calm before the storm. As you're hopefully aware, this is an issue we've pushed privately with the labels since last fall, and Rob Glaser took that discussion public at MIDEMNet. Since then, we've continued to speak with the labels about ways to transition to the DRM-free model for purchases."

"Look for news from us on that front in August."

Continue reading "EXCLUSIVE: Rhapsody Clarifies DRM Position. Promises August Announcement." »

Help Wanted: Caroline Needs Sales Ass't

Help_wantedAs a service to our peers, we're publishing free job listings from any music related company.  You can find a few more here and if you're looking for help just email me the details.


Caroline Distribution has an immediate opening for a Sales Assistant in NYC. Responsibilities include:

  • Preparing a variety of sales and marketing reports in the physical and digital distribution realms, for use internally and with our independent label partners.
  • Liaising with the Caroline and EMI Music Marketing sales staffs.
  • Coordinating the distribution of promotional materials to sales staff
  • Data entry (metadata for digital distribution)

Continue reading "Help Wanted: Caroline Needs Sales Ass't" »

Last.FM Demands Indies Waive Royalties

UPDATED: Last.FM has a stellar reputation as a place where all music is created equal.  Where music discovery is a wonderfully random event untainted by cash or influence. But Last.FM's love for indie music does not extend to its checkbook. The contract that most indie and D.I.Y. artists use demands that they waive their rights to royalties in exchange for airplay on the personalized net music streaming service.

Last_fm “By uploading Licensed Material, You grant to Last.FM a non-exclusive, royalty-free license (including the right to sub-license for all purposes related to the Last.FM service (for example, embedding the Last.FM player on third party websites (such as personal blogs)"

After some public pressure, the Clear Channel radio network has just drop a similar clause from its indie artist contract .  But Last.FM which was recently bought by CBS continues the practice.

Bill_wilson"I'm a huge fan of Last.fm and what they’ve done (or could do) for indie labels, bands and music fans," says IndieHQ blogger and Blackout label owner Bill Wilson. "However, it seems that their new media conglomerate sugar daddies are having an influence on their policies already. Wilson originally forgave the no royalties policy but now says, "Last.fm isn’t a start-up anymore, it’s part of the global media biz."

New Music Business Briefing: Amp'd Shuts Down, EMI Shareholder's Inch Towards Terra, S-Curve Invests In Widgets & More.

>>> Amp'd Mobile is shutting down as of Tuesday and selling off assets at auction. Expect multiple bidders.

Emi >>> Shareholder support for Terra Firma's bid to buy EMI is up over 26%.

>>> The Canadian Copyright Board has sided with the music industry that a tax should be levied of $5 Canadaflag_2Canadian ($4.79US) on each portable music player or recorder with less than 1GB of memory, $25CN for each device with 1GB to 10 GB. $50CN for 10GB to 30GB and $75 CN for each recorder with more than 30GB of memory. (Billboard) Seems draconian; but then again the Canadian government actually supports the arts.

>>> Indie Sympathy For The Record Industry is up for sale for $625K ($700K if the owner "doesn't like you")(Daily Swarm)

>>> The LA Times took an in depth look at the use of music in commercials, film and TV. (LA Times)

Prince >>> The NY Times profiles Prince and his latest marketing efforts. "He doesn’t have to go multi-platinum — he’s multi-platform." (NY Times)

>>> More details on the relaunch of S-Curve come in a press release including the addition of management, publishing and "full digital capabilities".  The label has also invested in Chicago music widget and social networking promotion company Nabbr.

Amazon >>> Will there be any news of their download service when Amazon reports to Wall Street on Tuesday?  XM reports earnings on Thursday.

Real Reports Earnings This Tuesday

Real RealNetworks (NASDAQ:RNWK) will release financial results for the second quarter of 2007 on Tuesday. T RealNetworks' earnings press release, financial statements and supplemental financial data will be available just prior to the call here.

You can join the live Webcast Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. ET (2:00 p.m. PT) with slides and audio at http://investor.realnetworks.com/. Participants will need RealPlayerto listen and view the webcast. You can also access the conference via telephone:

  •   800-857-5305 Domestic
  •   773-681-5857 International
  •   Passcode: Second Quarter Earnings
  •   Leader: Rob Glaser

Details for playback after the conference call can also be found on the website.

New Music Business Week In Review

Emi >>> Even though other bidders have dropped out, EMI shareholders have still not yet approved Terra Firma's bid to buy the company.

>>> In a major victory for indie musicians and labels Clear Channel has dropped their demand that artists waive royalties to get airplay.

>>> Commentary: Is the battle against DRM over or is this the calm before the storm?

>>> Blender named their music/tech PowerGeek 25 and amazingly neither Hypebot or ProHipHop made the list.

Mercury_prize >>> The UK's Mercury Prize nominees f "Album Of The Year" were announced and you can listen to 11 of them here.

>>> Internet radio stations are still on the air, but the battle over proposed higher royalty rates continues.

>>> Sly Stone did one of his first full public performances in years recently Europe's North Sea Jazz and there's video of him doing his hits "Stand" in 1974 compared to 2007.

Zune_logo>>> Microsoft''s Zune is ramping up promo with onsite kiosks and promotions at 28 major Live Nation concert venues this summer.

RIAA Admits Stream Ripping Is Not A Problem

SoundexchangeForcing net music stations to stop mp3 broadcasts and implement systems that would stop "stream ripping" (aka pulling songs off a net radio stream) has been a recent SoundExchange demand in negotiations with net broadcasters.

DigitalfreedomThe Digital Freedom Campaign today pointed out that the RIAA's own SVP of Government Relations, Mitch Glazier was not necessarily a problem.  Asked by Technology Daily whether stream-ripping was even a problem, he stated, "...why wait until it is a big problem to start addressing it? There are available technologies in the marketplace to address this issue."

Most broadcasters believe that stream-ripping is not relevant to the Internet royalty rate discussion and was not even mentioned in the original CRB ruling. "It is a costly solution without even a hint of a problem," said a Digital Freedom Campaign spokesperson. 

EMI Not Sold Yet...

Emi_2Terra Firma has again extended the deadline for EMI shareholders until July 29th to accept its 265p per share offer for the major label group. 

The investemnt firm said that only 26.19% of EMI sharholders had accepted their offer so far - up only 3.82% from a week ago - despite the fact that both WMG and former EMI executive Jim Fifield appear to have withdrawn from the bidding.

In A Victory For Indies Clear Channel Agrees To Pay Royalties For Use

Clearchannel After much criticism, Clear Channel is dropping it's demand that indie and new artists waive their rights to royalties in exchange for possible airplay on its chain of radio stations and exposure on its web sites.  The new artist program had only been put into place as part of a settlement with the FCC over payola allegations.

The new contract wording reads:

"...in the instance when Clear Channel makes the decision to use the Content for terrestrial broadcasting and, as a result, for simultaneous transmission through online streaming ("online streaming"), Clear Channel shall be subject to and pay for all applicable current and future statutory royalties as well as public performance royalties due for any such use of Content."

The contract goes on extend the same royalty payments to streaming, downloads and other uses.

Is The DRM Free Train Stalled Or Is This The Calm Before The Storm?

Amazon_2 What is up at Amazon? 

Every label we talk to seems done with negotiations. (It's doubtful, but could Amazon possibly have Rumorsgrabbed them all?) And one major who we know dislikes DRM had a high level delegation at the internet giant's offices recently looking at beta of something...

So where is the promised DRM free download store? Is there some kind of problem or is launch day finally near?

Stevejobssmile_2And what's up with Steve Jobs?  He goes public with a much heralded statement that all labels must set their music free and yet months later there's not a single non-EMI related DRM free track on iTunes. We know a dozen good sized indies who would give their stuff to Apple DRM free tomorrow, but Steve doesn't seem to really care.

And what about Naptser, Rhapsody or any of the other mainstream download stores?  Since DRM free is their best chance to compete with iTunes why aren't they making the moves that they can Trainmake today? 

Whatever the reason, everyone seems leaving the tracks completely clear for Amazon. That's if the train ever leaves the station. 

New Music Business Briefing: Jamendo Grabs $'s, McD's Adds Music To Menu, Thoughts On EMI & Much More

Jamendo >>> Jamendo, a site that gives away 40,000 Creative Commons tracks sharing the ad revenue with artists, has grabbed first round funding from the usually savvy Mangrove Partners. (announcement) Maybe I'm missing something...but given the open availability of all Creative Commons tracks, is this really a unique or needed business model worthy of funding?

>>> Korn is the subject of a new short episode series on multi-platform HD KushTV. (press release) The band also announced that they will be recording an all cover album.  It's certainly an easy way to earn back some of that zillion $ advance that EMI gave them in "groundbreaking partnership".

Mcdonalds >>> Music continues to be the marketing hook of choice as McDonald's sponsors a series of free emerging act concerts in restaurant parking lots. (Billboard)

>>> Harry Fox has added new express licensing pacts with Bullroar, MSongStore and band Gov't Mule.

>>> Some thoughts from the British press on Terra Firma's purchase of EMI and what it means for the company and the music industry. (Independent and The Financial Times).

EmiOur thoughts: It's a sad day when the last stand-alone major gets bought by an investment group.  But is the now boss any worse than the old boss - stockholders? Probably not; and maybe even a bit less fickle.  It's doubtful that the new owners will suddenly take a long term view of artist development, but perhaps as outsiders they will cut the fat (How many VP's does one company need, after all?) and continue the bold digital moves that EMI has made lately.

Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 07-15-07

Cims Pos.  ARTIST  |  TITLE

11 T.I.|T.I. VS TIP

Continue reading "Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 07-15-07" »

New Music Business Briefing: EMI's Big Day, WMG Rises To #3, EU Courts Protect Filesharing, Atlantic Tries Trading Cards & Much More

Emi >>> Today is supposedly the day we find out if EMI shareholders accept Terra Firma's bid.  A Bloomberg analyst calls everyone a looser in this deal.

>>> WMG has surpassed EMI in overall sales. (more)

>>> Filesharing got a boost in EU courts with a deicison that ISP's do not have to share info. (Reuters)

Atlantic_45 >>> Atlantic Records has spun an novel mobile trading card (think digital baseball cards for musicians) promo and contest. (here)

>>> Is this what it's come to? Somebody in NYC has an indie label for sale on Craig's List "with distribution in place".  Asking price a mere $10,000.

>>> Hollywood Records is about to debut a pretty new CD combo format that adds a lot of extra free content.  At least one analyst thinks its too late. We think its worth a try.

>>> Bill Wilson @ IndieHQ thinks the DiMA is just a smokescreen for big boradcasters trying to shut out smaller ones...and he makes a decent case.

>>> Roger McGuinn on his urge not to re-merge The Byrds just for the cash. (Billboard)

The Complete Blender Powergeek 25

Damn! Maybe next year...

25. Pete Wentz: net-obsessed star of Fall Out Boy
24. Bob Leftsetz: The Leftsetz Letter (music business blog)
23. Eric Garland: BigChampagne (online music research firm)
22. Brett Woitunski: PureVolume (indie-punk community site)
21. Matthew Perpetua: Fluxblog (mp3 blog)
20. David Pakman: EMusic (online music retailer)
19. Bram Cohen and Ashwin Navin: BitTorrent (file-sharing service)
18. Jason Tate: AbsolutePunk (indie-punk news and community)
17. “Oinkylicious” Alan: Oink’s Pink Palace (invite-only file sharing site)
16. Vadim Mamotin: AllOfMp3 (discount retailer)
15. Tim Quirk: Rhapsody (subscription music service)
14. Anthony Volodkin: The Hype Machine (mp3 blog aggregation)
13. Perez Hilton: PerezHilton (gossip blog)
12. Mitch Bainwol: RIAA (music business trade group)
11. Scott Lapatine: Stereogum (indie-rock blog)
10. Coran Capshaw: MusicToday (online ticketer and merchandiser)
9. Christian Schmid: RapidShare (file-hosting service)
8. Greg Bildson: LimeWire (file-sharing program)
7. Martin Stinksel and Felix Miller: Last.FM (music community site)
6. Ian Rogers: Yahoo! Music (music portal)
5. Ryan Schreiber: Pitchfork (indie-rock magazine)
4. Doug Morris: Universal Music Group (recording company)
3. Chad Hurley and Steve Chen: YouTube (video-sharing site)
2. Tom Anderson and Chris Dewolfe: MySpace (social-networking site)
1. Steve Jobs: Apple (Technology corporation)

Fifield & WMG Pull EMI Offers. Stockholders Urged To Accept Terra Firma Offer Before Looming Deadline

Former EMI CEO Jim Fifield has said that he will not make an offer for the label group siting in part the looming Thursday deadline.  This prompted EMI to issue a statement rebutting Fifields assertions.  Late yesterday Warner Music Group issued a statement yesteday to shareholders that it would also not be bidding at this time.

With the clock counting down to tomorrow's deadline, EMI's board also issued a statement urging shaleholder to accept the only remaining offer from investment firm Terra Firma.

Emi_2"Accordingly, the Board of Directors of EMI continues to recommend unanimously that EMI Shareholders accept the Offer, as the Directors have already done in respect of their own beneficial holdings of 1,086,832 EMI Shares, representing approximately 0.13 per cent. of the existing issued ordinary share capital of EMI." 

"EMI Shareholders are encouraged to accept the Offer as soon as possible and no later than 1.00 p.m. (London time) on the closing date of 19 July 2007."

Swartz Named SVP Of Digital Strategy At Captial

As part of an ongoing worldwide ramp up in the digital depatments of all EMI labels, Syd Schwartz has been appointed SVP, Digital Strategy for the Capitol Music Group in the US. 

Capital_records Based in New York, Schwartz will lead Capitol's efforts to create new digital business models and work with partners to connect the label’s artists with fans via EMI’s premium DRM-free download offering, as well as through social networking sites, virtual worlds, mobile platforms and other digital platforms,

Schwartz most recently served as SVP, Digital Strategy at Virgin Records, where he conceived a series of digital promotions for such artists as 30 Seconds to Mars, Gorillaz, KORN, Lenny Kravitz and The Rolling Stones. He joined Virgin in 2002 as VP of New Media, following seven years at Wind-Up Records.

S-Curve EMI Details Emerge

As was reported earlier in the week, EMI has signed a US distribution agreement and worldwide license deal with a re-opened S-Curve, marking a return to EMI for Steve Greenberg, whose previous signings included  Joss Stone and Fountains of Wayne.  The first artists signed in this Emimulti-year, multi-album deal are Sir Tom Jones and rock band We The Kings. 

Jones, who has sold 75 million units worldwide, is in the studio working on a new album which is being produced in part by Greenberg, Mike Magini and Betty Wright, the same team who produced Joss Stone’s first two releases.  We The Kings are a Bradenton, Florida based alternative pop/rock band whose upcoming record is being produced by Sam Hollander, best known for producing Gym Class Heroes’ “Cupid’s Chokehold.”

Continue reading "S-Curve EMI Details Emerge" »

New Music Business Briefing: Russian AllTunes Wins In Court, IODA Expands & More

Alltunes>>> Alltunes.com, the stepchild of notorious Russian download site AllOfMp3.com has won a lawsuit forcing VISA to re-instate credit card payments. (DMW)

>>> The RIAA has been forced to pay almost $70K in attorney fees relating to a failed file-sharing lawsuit. (ARS).

>>> Mid-year live concert ticket sales appear strong. (Pollstar)

>>> In an SEC filing WMG said it won't be bidding for EMi this time but did not close the door entirely for the future

>>>Digital music distributor IODA is entering the indie film and video download market. (press release)

Daily_swarmMouse >>> Worthy Click: If you like your music news with a bit of flash and gossip, aggregator The Daily Swarm may just right for you.

DiMA & SoundExchange Volley Over Net Radio Royalties

On Monday night SoundExchange informed the Digital Media Association that it will not agree to reduce the $1 billion minimum “administrative” royalty as previously reported unless internet radio services agree to technology mandates including an end to most mp3 streaming that SoundExchange believes leads to stream ripping.

DiMA members have previously rejected these restrictions several times and Jonathan Potter, Executive Director of the Digital Media Association has now replied rejecting the offer.  (Read his statement after the jump.)                                                                                                      

Continue reading " DiMA & SoundExchange Volley Over Net Radio Royalties" »

Mercury Prize Nominees Announced

The Arctic Monkeys have instantly become favorites to win an unprecedented second Mercury "Album Of The Year" prize with today's nominations. The nominees are:

  • Mercury_prize_2 Arctic Monkeys - 'Favourite Worst Nightmare'
  • Klaxons - 'Myths Of The Near Future'
  • Amy Winehouse - 'Back To Black'
  • Maps - 'We Can Create'
  • The View - 'Hats Off To The Buskers'
  • Jamie T - 'Panic Prevention'
  • Dizzee Rascal - 'Maths & English'
  • Bat For Lashes - 'Fur And Gold'
  • Young Knives - 'Voices of Animals And Men'
  • Fionn Regan - 'The End Of History'
  • New Young Pony Club - 'Fantastic Playroom'
  • Basquiat Strings - 'Basquiat Strings'

SonyBMG Forms New Mobile Direct To Consumer Co. With Dada

Sonybmg With music sales declining SonyBMG is joining other major music companies and deversifying its portfolio via a new 50/50 partnership with Italian mobile content provider Dada. The move also follows the growing trend of content providers like Sony BMG engaging consumers directly with fewer middlemen.

Dada The joint company will focus its first efforts on the US market offering a full range of mobile music products including direct to consumer downloads and ringtones as well as a social networking platform.  While Sony BMG will offer its entire catalog directly via the newly created Dada Entertainment, the service will also seek content from other labels.

Fusic Each company will provide services to support the joint venture. Dada will provide access to its proprietary technology and billing platforms; and SONY BMG will promote the joint venture's services through via its web properties, video network, CDs, media buying, third-party media and physical retail relationships. Each party will also provide funding to meet the capital needs of the joint venture.

New Music Business Briefing: SESAC Settles With MySpace, Net Radio Talks Continue, WMA Hacked & Much More

Sesac >>> Performance royalty society SESAC has announced a licensing agreement with MySpace that provides full access to SESAC's repertory via a retroactive licensing agreement dating back to the founding of the website.

>>> WMG stock sunk to new lows as the Thursday EMI bid deadline nears. (FT via Daily Swarm)

>>> Ann Sweeney has been upped to Executive VP at Warner Chappell Music publishing. Part of her duties include heading digital expansion. (press release)

>>> EMI Music Publishing has signed global agreements to represent Jack Splash, Scouting For Girls and Stephen McGregor and extended its worldwide agreement with StarGate songwriter/producer Tor Erik Hermansen.

Radio_tower >>> Kurt Hanson's RAIN has a strong overview of the current state of negotiations between net broadcasters and SoundExchange over higher royalty rates.  Its a complex issue involving several classes of broadcasters; so its somewhat tough though worthwhile reading. The Cliff Notes:  it looks as if most of your favorite webcasters will survive but SoundExchange (aka the major labels) are working to eliminate all mp3 streams because it enables stream ripping...a practice we believe is not very wide spread.

Drm_anti_wall >>> Our biggest prediction for 2007 was the death of DRM. In the latest blow against the restictive software, Micorosoft's WMA DRM has been hacked again and this time the program FairUse4WM has a very simple simple drop and drag interface that strips DRM from purchased tracks as well as those "rented" from subscription services like Napster To Go and Rhapsody. (AP, Engadget)

>>> What does it say about music, money and advertising when the publisher of Rolling Stone Magazine resigns to become the director of ad sales for Google? (PaidContent)

Zune Ramps Up Marketing With Live Nation Promotion

Microsoft is intensifying its Zune marketing efforts with a significant presence at 28 Live Nation concertZune_logo venues this summer at Zune Spots that encourage consumers to try the players. These "Zune Spots" are converted freight containers that have been "redesigned to bring the brand to life".

Zune3A Zune Zoom Away competition sends fans to Live Nation concerts and consumers can download Zune Zone vouchers. The first 50 people to bring the voucher to a Zune Spot will receive VIP treatment at the Zune Zone, a special area at select concerts with private wait staff and Zune lawn chairs.

The Zune Ignition program has also added Ryan Adams and Great Northern to its select roster of artists getting exposure across a wide swath of Microsoft properties.

press release