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Hypebot's New Music Business Week In Review

Itunes_girl >>> iTunes dropped the price of DRM free downloads from $1.29 to 99 cents and says its adding more DRM free indies.

>>> Strong sales at the new Amazon MP3 Store could make it second only to iTunes and a new affiliate program that pays 20% of sales could help.

>>> BEWARE: OurDigtialMusic.com has a story on spammers using mp3's to get past filters. Not good news for an industry where trading mp3's is a daily part of our jobs.

>>> Sony and Japanese mobile provider KIDDI partner to make music easily playable across both paltforms.

>>> There were executive shuffles at EMI Publishing and WEA Distribution.

Napster >>> Napster released version 4.0 with some new features, but will anyone really care?

>>> As Radiohead's P2P numbers climb some consider their "pay want you want" release a failure. But is it?

>>> Here's a sildeshow of hot Music 2.0 sites and services. 

Hypebot's Music 2.0 Bookstore

Check out our new Music 2.0 Resources section.  For now its an Amazon powered bookBooks_2 and DVD store with our picks to help you navigate your way through this rapidly changing business.

Eventually I promise articles, links, downloads and more.  But for now, check it out and let me know what books, DVD's and other resources you think I should add to this section.

UPDATE: Thanks to our readers for all your great suggestions.  We'll be adding many of them and others to the resource section soom.  Keep the suggestions coming!

Imber Named SVP WMG Physical Sales. Is This Considered A Promotion?

Wmg Former Island Def Jam sales head Mitchell Imber has been appointed to the newly created position of Senior Vice President, Physical Sales of Warner Music Group's U.S. sales and retail distribution division. In his new position, Imber will manage all aspects of WEA Corp's physical product sales and oversee the national sales staff.

In the digital age, is this considered a promotion?

No personal offense meant, Mr. Imber. I have never had the pleasure of meeting you. I just hope your bonus structure isn't based on making sales go up. Maybe its based on how slowly the sales decline accelerates each quarter.  (press release)

Friday's Music 2.0 Briefing: Spam MP3's, Canada In Piracy Crosshairs, Radiohear To Tour & Much More

Spam >>> MP3's have become the latest vehicle for spammers via P2P and your in box. (PC) Beware, particularly for those of us who regularly receive unsolicited mp3's.

>>> Congressional piracy hearings target Russia, China...and Canada. (ars)

>>> Radiohead will further monetize their recent heralded release with a world tour in May. (Billboard)

>>> More loosening of FCC media ownership rules could come as early as December. (FMQB)

Homeland_security >>> Death Cab For Cutie's guitarist had the master tapes from his solo album snatched by the Dept. Of Homeland Security. (MTV) And you thought Radiohead had a novel approach to promo? In the pre-internet age this would barely have made the news. Now it swarm across the net.

Kochent >>> Koch has signed new distribution deals with Immergent, Index Entertainment, Hi Power Entertainment, High Powered Entertainment, and Echo-Vista Music Group.

Radiohead P2P Numbers Soar. Is The Experiment A Failure?

Despite Radiohead offering their new release at a "pay whatever you want to" price, moreRadiohead_photo than 500,000 copies have already been traded on P2P networks and the number is growing.A half million compare favorably to the 1.2 million copies the band says it has sold thus far.  But P2P copies will probably exceed paid downloads soon.

Big Champagne's Eric Garland told Forbes he believes its more about habit than of economics. "People don't know Radiohead's site. They do know their favorite BitTorrent site and they use it every day," he says. "It's quite simply easier for folks to get the illegal version than the legal version."

ANALYSIS:  Despite the P2P numbers, the Radiohead "experiment" should still be considered a resounding success - at least for Radiohead.  Never before have they gotten so much concentrated free media and that resulted in a huge sales bump. Even if the band only earns $2.50 an album (less than half the $5-$8 they say they're averaging), the band will earn in excess of $3 million - far more than on a major label.

Surely this model won't work for every band. But as Music 2.0 unfolds it is becoming clear that bold experimentation will often be rewarded.

Is Amazon MP3 Store Already #2? Plus Affiliate Program Trumps iTunes.

Amazon_mp3storefrontlogo_v2936426_3Just weeks after launch, a number of labels are saying privately that they believe Amazon has jumped to #3 in download sales for their releases.  eMusic and iTunes hold the #2 and #1 spots respectively.

Amazon could be #2 by year's end for some labels if measured by dollars paid instead of the  number of tracks downloaded, according to at least one prediction.  Amazon pays labels far more per track downloaded than eMusic's subscription model.

If true, Amazon's instant success is not great news for Rhapsody, Zune, Napster and other download services who have invested millions of dollars over the last several years to gain market share.

Continue reading "Is Amazon MP3 Store Already #2? Plus Affiliate Program Trumps iTunes." »

Thursday's Music 2.0 Briefing: Apple Opens To 3rd Parties, Amazon Trumps iTunes & Much More

>>> We proudly participated in hugely successful Blog Action Day 2007 alongside 20,603 other bloggers. Our little check for the one day income from all our blogs plus a personal donation is on its way to Greenpeace.  Here is a summary of overall Blog Day activity.

Applelogo >>> Apple announced that it will follow the growing trend and open its iPhone and iPod touch to third party developers. (Apple) This trend  plus the demise of DRM should lead to many exciting and profitable new music applications.

Amazon_mp3storefrontlogo_v29364269_ >>>
Amazon will pay affiliated sites 20% through the end of the year on mp3 sales then drop to 10%. Even at 10% the pay out is twice the 5% that iTunes pays. (Silicon Valley Insider)

>>> Billboard is expanding its digital download store. (press release) Did you know they even had a store? Check it out here.

>>> YouTube has filtering in beta...finally. (Billboard)
>>> PassAlong and Digonex are testing an MP3 store with variable pricing.

>>> Groove Mobile adds more tracks from Redeye. (press release)

>>> Full text of the official iTunes announcement lowering prices after the jump.

Continue reading "Thursday's Music 2.0 Briefing: Apple Opens To 3rd Parties, Amazon Trumps iTunes & Much More " »

Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 10-14-07

Cims Pos. ARTIST  |  TITLE

Continue reading "Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 10-14-07" »

EMI Publishing Shuffles Executive Deck

Emi EMI Music Publishing has named Big Jon Platt as President of West Coast Creative. He will also continue to head EMI Publishing’s Urban Music department. Platt's iuband signings include Jay-Z, Kanye West, Usher, Beyoncé, Ludacris, Young Jeezy, Mr. Collipark, Rich Harrison, Harold Lilly and Damon Thomas.

As part of the restructuring, Dan McCarroll has been promoted to Executive Vice President of East Coast Creative.  EMI Publishing has also formed a North American Songwriter Leadership Council to coordinate its global efforts.

Continue reading "EMI Publishing Shuffles Executive Deck " »

Wednesday's Music 2.0 Briefing: Yahoo! Rejects Music Subscription, Artist Nation, Pirate Bay & More

Yahoo_music >>> From yesterday's Yahoo! earnings call from CEO Jerry Jeng: "...we have de-emphasized our focus around subscription music in favor of advertising supported music". (transcript) We're not sure what that means yet but it does mean more changes are ahead at Yahoo! Music.

>>> Details of the Live Nation deal with Madonna emerge as the company launches a major Artist Nation division offering a broad range of services. (press release)

Pirate_bay >>> After a long running feud with the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), including a failed attempted by the IFPI to grab confidential files from the Swedish police, the notorious Pirate Bay has grabbed the IFPI's domain IFPI.com dubbing it the International Federation For Piracy Interests. (Crenk)

>>> Apple has now confirmed our story yesterday that it is dropping DRM free download prices to 99 cents and adding more indies. (AP)

Riaa_toiletpaper >>> The RIAA has shifted its legal battle to new ground - Usenet.com, the home to tens of thousands of discussion and news groups and millions of files. (ars) Do you think maybe a Usenet ad campaign that read. "Shh... Quiet! We believe it's no one's business but your own what you do on the Internet or in Usenet," reads the site. "We don't track user activity." clued those smart fellas over at the RIAA?

>>> MySpace has cut an ad revenue sharing deal with SonyBMG. (Reuters)

iTunes Plus To Drop DRM Free Price And Add Indies

As early as this week iTunes Plus is expected to drop the price of all DRM free tracks to 99Applelogo cents from the current $1.29. Also on tap is the long over due addition of more indie label product to the DRM free category.

Hypebot and indie labeks have been calling on Job's to keep his promise by adding as much DRM free product as possible.  But it appears the successful launch of Amazon's all mp3 store may be the real motivator. UPDATE: See details from Scottish indie Moojuice in comments.

Napster 4.0 - You Can Put Lipstick On A Pig, But...

Napster Yesterday Napster launched 4.0. an upgrade that eliminates the need to download special software thus opening their system to Apple and Linux users.  They've also added some new music discovery features and a slick new design. (Crave has a slide tour here.)


Pig_lipstick_3 Normally I'm excited by any upgrades that enhance the digital experience and might increase download numbers, but this one misses the point. Napster 4.0 reminds me of the farmer who said "You can put lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig."

Music subscription has never gained traction. Tens of millions of dollars later Napster has only 770,00 subscribers worldwide. People want to own music; and now a major label backed "Total Control" service could decimate already measly subscriber numbers.

Continue reading "Napster 4.0 - You Can Put Lipstick On A Pig, But..." »

Six Degrees Gives Away "Emerging Artist" Tracks

Six_degees_logo Today Six Degrees Records is launches “Download of the Week” to highlight their hip digital only Emerging Artists series.  For the next nine weeks you can download a free MP3 on their blog and the price of all the “Emerging Artist” tracks in its own web store a are reduced to 79¢.

The web has enabled this kind of inexpensive promotion, distribution, and discounting for direct sale; and it's surprising that more labels are not experimenting with the possibilities.

Continue reading "Six Degrees Gives Away "Emerging Artist" Tracks " »

Tuesday's Music 2.0 Briefing: Radiohead $, HypeMachine Back, Court Action & More

Radiohead_diy >>> Radiohead download payments are averaging in the $5-$8 range according to new estimates. (Listening Post)

>>> Mp3 blog said Hype Machine wouldn't relaunch until 10,000 visitors were on their site but had to settle for 3800. (CommonSensePR) Regardless of the minor mis-step, the new format is pretty clean and nifty.

>>> The appeal in the recent high profile RIAA vs. MI Mom case will focus on the "unconstitutionally excessive" $220K judge rather than the judges instructions to the Legal jury as most had believed. (ars)

>>> A judge ruled against a company that creates software that allows ticket brokers to scam the Ticketmaster computers and grab the best seats. (Billboard)

Concert_ticket >>> Meanwhile ticket reseller StubHub has opened a retail outlet in Times Square. (NY Times)

>>> Dozens of artists and smaller independent labels involved in Save Internet Radio have called on SoundExchange to quickly offer royalty rate proposals that will enable Internet radio to survive and build a sustainable industry. (Full text after the jump.)

Continue reading "Tuesday's Music 2.0 Briefing: Radiohead $, HypeMachine Back, Court Action & More" »

We Now Interrupt The Music For...Blog Action Day

Blog_action_dayUPDATE: More than 15,000 blogs with 12 million plus readers are participating in Blog Action Day. Check out some of the posts from our friends at the B5 blog network compiled by HippieSounds.com

On October 15th bloggers pledged to stop blogging about whatever it is we usually write about for a minute and blog about the environment.  Many - including this blog and our sister blogs OurDigitalMusic and TheRockDose - will also donate 100% of revenue generated today to an environmental charity. (Greenpeace) It's a token sum that I promise to add to personally, but imagine if everyone did it.

Too much has been written about the importance of preserving the planet we spend our lives on for me to add anything of significance.  But here are a few workplace and music industry Green resources that I have found useful:

Continue reading "We Now Interrupt The Music For...Blog Action Day" »

Monday's Music 2.0 Briefing: Zune Wants Total Control, Radiohead Downloads 1.3M, Zeppelin Goes Digital & Much More

Zune_logo >>> Microsoft's Zune has been approached to be one of the players involved in the major label Total Control music subscription service being proposed by Universal. (Telegraph UK) If Zune jumps aboard others will follow and if its only a few players in a line, what so they have to loose?

>>> Led Zeppelin finally goes digital on November 13th. (press release)

>>> Several reports put the Radiohead download figure at 1.3 million and growing. (Silicon Valley Insider)Madonna

>>> The $120 million paid Madonna by Live Nation is no bargain according to one Bank Of America analyst. (Variety) What might not have been a bargain to WMG may be a good deal for Live Nation. Long after record sales decline, acts have value live.

>>> Honda launched a promotion that ties to dozens of Sony 4th quarter releases via a branded player. (Reuters) Nothing revolutionary but the fact that it involves so many different acts in a  co-promo may be a first. Smart.

>>> The search for Napster 2.0. 10 years after the file sharing revolution began company's are still trying to figure out how to monetize P2P. (LA Times)

>>> In case you want to be sure you didn't miss anything important, we offer Hypebot's Music 2.0 Week In Review.

>>> The Moby Equation - "The Art Of Selling Out" looks at the price a band pays for 'selling out'. "(The) Quotient, generated by the formula below, determines the degree to     which artists besmirch their reputations when they lend their music to hawk     products or companies." Its a fascinating piece complete with a formula and chart. (Washington Post)
click image to enlarge

Hypebot's Music 2.0 Week In Review: Total Control, Hands Memo, Facebook Finds Music & Much More

Universal >>> Universal is talking to the other major labels about starting a music subscription service "Total Control" funded by portable player manufacturers.

Emi >>> Here's full text of the leaked Guy Hands memo to his EMI staff. Rumors point to huge changes at EMI North America including new execs from outside the industry. Plus: Commentary & Analysis

>>> Live Nation grabbed Madonna from WMG for recording, touring and more.

Facebook >>> Rumors have Facebook launching a download store or ramping up to compete with MySpace's music content. iLike, AmieSt, Nimbit and others are already using Facebook's open platform for new music apps.

>>> MySpace and Google are following Facebook's lead and opening their platforms and Googlemusic promotion may never be the same.

>>> Google may also revolutionize music video with an ad program that helps creators monetize output and rewards web sites and blogs for viral promotion. Here's video of how it works.

Yahoo_music >>> "Convenience Wins, Hubris Loses and Content vs. Context". Full text of Yahoo! Music's Ian Rogers' speech @ Digital Music West.

>>> Part 9 of 100 Free & Affordable High & Low Tech Music Promotion Tips. The final installment will be published this week.

>>> Hypebot and our parent company, the booking agency Skyline Music, are seeking virtual interns and asking  "What Would You Do If You Owned Hypebot?"

What Would You Do If You Owned Hypebot?

No Hypebot isn't for sale.  (OK, I guess everything has a price...).  But I do want to make it better.

So if I gave you the keys to the kingdom (aka passwords to the Typepad account), how would you change Hypebot? What topics would you cover? Would you do more interviews or fewer? What polls would your run, if any? Would you do more commentaries?

And how would you monetize all of this hard work? Sell ads direct to the industry? Job listings? Consulting? Tip jar? A Hypebot ebook? Don't even try?

PS - Thanks to those who convinced me to keep up the time consuming daily music industry briefing. I'm glad its a daily first look for some of you and promise to keep it going.

Universal Proposes "Total Music" Partnership w/WMG And SonyBMG

Universal BusinessWeek broke the story and our sources confirm that Universal's Doug Morris is asking his major label rivals to join in a co-owned music subscription initiative dubbed "Total Music". SonyBMG is said to be already on board and talks with WMG are ongoing.  Where EMI stands is less clear perhaps because of the recent change in ownership.

Zune3 The plan as it is being proposed would get hardware manufacturers and mobile carriers to absorb a $90 fee so consumers get a device with all-you-can-eat music included. Labels would get the $90 "subscription" while hardware makers would sell a lot more players. The $90 is based on $5 per month X 18 months - the average lifespan of most players and phones.

ANALYSIS: Whether device manufacturers like Zune or Creative will agree to play ball remains to be seen, but its hard to imagine that someone won't grasp at this latest rope thrown from the sinking major label warships.

Most pundits will try to make this a Major Labels vs. Steve Jobs death match. "We got rolled like a bunch of puppies," Morris said during a private meeting."  But "Total Control" is  really is more  about competing with free music grabbed via P2P and from friends. If is work's - and the concept will take many twists and turns before it ever becomes available - Morris & Co. will have changed the game again.

PS - Sell your shares in Napster before the John Q investor figures this out.  And consider finishing your law degree. Big money will be made litigating how a share of a $90 one time fee is covered by a standard recording contract.

Google & YouTube Turn On Money Stream For Music Videos

Google Google is extending it's AdSense platform to video and giving content creators and the web sites that carry them a piece of the action. The new platform runs small targeted ads on the player which for the first time enables Youtube labels, bands and video producers to monetize their creations via "channels" offered to web sites and blogs. Sites are encouraged to post the channels because they also receive a portion of the Google sold ad revenue.

MTV style videos, live clips, interviews and more can be produced for almost nothing for use as viral promotional tools.  Now these videos can be easily monetized; which in turn will only encourage content creation. Here's an example of a general unfiltered music stream with ads (please excuse the formating):

Friday's Music 2.0 Briefing Part II: "When Financers Do A&R" And Executive Shuffles At EMI And MoS

>>> The UK's Register takes a critical look at the new EMI. "EMI 'goes indie' -When
fEmi_2inanciers do A&R". (Register)

>> Mark Hodgkinson has been added to both EMI's Investor and Music Management Boards.  He will become the Consumer Development Director of EMI Music and work closely with Barney Wragg, EMI's head of digital.  Mark was CEO of Virgin Money. No offense to Mark, but by my count EMI now has a half dozen digital VP's... now that's cost cutting!

>>> Ministry of Sound has re-shuffled its executive team. David Dollimore will head A&R, Iain Hagger has been promoted to GM of Ministry of Sound Ministryof_soundRecordings, Victoria Davies has joined from GCAP Media as head of legal and business affairs, and Rudy Tambala moves from Virgin Retail to head internet activities.

>>> MoS has also launched a channel on Internet TV network Babelgum. MoSTV features more than dance music videos, interviews, and live footage. Expect much more of this, the content exists and the cost of entry is very low. Just promise me no "Clive Live" TV.

>>> Don't forget Friday's Music 2.0 briefing Part I

Full Text Of Leaked Guy Hands' Letter To EMI Staff

We've all seen excerpts and the news reports, but now we've got the fill text of the leakedEmi letter from Terra Firma chief Guy Hands to his troops at newly acquired EMI.  The subject is Radiohead, but the underlying message is clearly that drastic changes lie ahead.

You can read the full letter after the jump, but an excerpt that we had not seen elewhere:

Guy_hands "EMI Recorded Music still has value to the vast majority of artists - in funding their development and in distributing and marketing their music - but highly successful bands have other alternatives for making money (such as touring) and a few, especially the more established ones, may be able to abandon their label and try to go it alone.  You can see why they might choose to do so..."

Continue reading "Full Text Of Leaked Guy Hands' Letter To EMI Staff" »

Friday's Music 2.0 Briefing: Pink Slips At SnoCap, Bowie At Target, Def Jam Radio & Much More

Snocap_2 >>> SnoCap has laid off 60% of its staff. (News.com) SnoCap's ace was the MySpace hookup, but it takes too big a cut from artists. Expect downsizing as people figure out its hard to make money in digital music unless you control the content.

Bowie_brand_2 >>> The Bowie clothing line hits Target. (Daily Swarm) Not exactly the
best Bowie brand
extension ever...

>>> Island Def Jam taps mSpot for mobile radio service. (press release) Good use of new technologies but what's next? Clive's Platters?  Jimmy's Jam's? Evenings With Edgar?

>>> Samsung announces a limited edition Beyonce B'Phone.

Google_3 >>> A Michigan columnist has written a list of music services he'd like Google to offer from GoogleDJ to GoogleCritic. (MI Daily) This may just be a wish list but it sure would fit nicely with  the other Google initiatives we report yesterday.

>>> EFF to file brief in support of recent high profile RIAA trial defendant focusing on faulty instructions from the judge. (Wired)

>>> MediaMouth introduces a Custom CD app for Facebook. I like the Custom CD concept, but why would I put this on my Facebook page?

>>> MusicGiants partners with Olive for DRM free high quality lossless downloads. (MacWorld)

Uk_flag>>> OurDigitalMusic profiles 5 of the hottest new releases from the UK.

>>> Digital Music Group has set an 11/13 shareholder meeting on merger with The Orchard. I still ask, how can two loosers combine to create a winner?

Hip Hop Business News From ProHipHop

>>> Jay-Z drops Roc Boys, the second single off American Gangster

>>> In an online video Ghostface announced a new album, The Big Dough Rehab, set for release December 4th, same day as the Wu-Tang Clan's 8 Diagrams.

>>> Eminem's mom, Debbie Nelson, has a book out in the UK called My Son Marshall, My Son Eminem.

>>> All sorts of rappers and djs are blogging, sometimes with staff assistance, including Kanye West and Pharrell Williams.

>>> Jermaine Dupri's new book, Young, Rich, and Dangerous, includes a section relating his perspectives on strip club research.

>>> Steve Rifkind and Ron Urban launch Loud Beverage Corp. with plans to market energy drinks using street marketing techniques for music.

>>> Common launches the Common Ground Foundation with an emphasis on the education of urban youth.

>>> Russell Simmons will provide an inspirational keynote at next month's Media and Money conference.

>>> Busta Rhymes breaks down his views on the effects of the Internet on the music industry.

>>> Jim Jones signs with Sony and claims he's already been in the studio with Rick Rubin.

>>> The Wu-Tang Clan drops The Heart Gently Weeps featuring a Beatles/George Harrison interpolation.

>>> Ethan Brown, hip hop's leading investigative journalist has moved to New Orleans.

>>> ProHipHop now offers a very basic mobile site at prohiphop.mobi with plans to offer full text versions of ProHipHop and related blogs in the near future.

From ProHipHop