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XM Ups Monthly Price And Adds Services

Xmradio_13 From the press release: "XM Satellite Radio today announced that it is expanding its basic service package, and that the monthly subscription price for XM's basic service will increase to $12.95 beginning April 2, 2005.

"XM is also offering existing customers the unique opportunity to lock in the current $9.99 monthly rate with a one-year prepaid plan and deeper discounts with a two, three, four, or five-year prepaid plan until April 2...

"Beginning April 2, XM's expanded basic service will include the Internet service XM Radio Online, which offers more than 70 channels of XM music and talk programming (previously $3.99 per month), and the High Voltage channel, featuring the talk radio duo Opie & Anthony (previously $1.99 per month)...

"Hugh Panero, XM President & CEO, said... "This new pricing approach will help fund future technology development, enable us to offer more attractively-priced radios and maintain our programming excellence. Together, these initiatives should result in XM exceeding its current target of 20 million customers by 2010."

Read the full press release here.


THE END OF RADIO AS WE KNOW IT

Wired Magazine and Wired.com have published a series of strong articles under the title "The End Of Radio As We Know It".  One chronicles the already much Stern written about move by Howard Stern into satellite radio and another looks at the rise of NeoRadio - niche radio programming with an attitude.  The article sites LA's Indy 103FM and DJ's like the stations Steve Jones (who not coincidentally was also the guitarist for the Sex Pistols) as an example. It goes on to describe how radio exces are planning ahead for the coming boom in digital radio that will allow them to cram at least two signals into a dial position that now only holds one.   Special Radio_1 receivers will be needed but one would hope that a doubling of the available stations would lead to more programming diversity.  The third article looks at the podcating phenomenon fueled in large part by net pioneer Adam Curry.  This simple combination of existing technologies has the potential to emboldened legions of creative audio programmers who just love sharing their musical tastes or point of view with the world.

Sadly missing from this great report card of radios present and future is any real mention of Internet broadcasting.  Thousands of streams are already available attracting a listenership far greater than both satellite radio services combined.  And with delivery of these streams to cell phones only months away these net radio programmers seem to face a bright future that Wired would have included.

Overall, however this is a Strong series of articles that are worth reading.

Click here.


Apple Adds To iPod Line

Hpipod_10Apple has once just announced an upgrade to their iPod line. The latest versions of the iPod Mini have been unveiled, with a new 4GB model for $199 and a 6GB for $249. "The iPod mini is now available at the magic price point of $199," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "At this breakthrough price point, and with more than twice the battery life, the new iPod mini should appeal to even more music lovers."

Apple has also just released a new model in its iPod Photo line. The new 30GB model holds up to 7500 songs, and a 60GB model that holds 15,000.  Both models also include the ability to store thousands of pictures in addition to music.


A Media Hub For The Car

Xmradio_11 From FMQB.com:  "The demand for multi-media access in cars is rising as nearly 12 percent of vehicles currently have screens for viewing DVDs or other data. Alpine Electronics estimates that this number will rise to 50 percent in just five years, and the company is responding with a new device called the Vehicle Hub, according to Business 2.0. The Hub will be released this month, and the device not only links up with satellite radios and iPods, but it also allows passengers to simultaneously watch two different movies, and in the near future, different television channels. The Vehicle Hub will retail for $299."

"But Alpine is not the only company getting involved in the car entertainment Sirius_radio_5 game. Comcast, Microsoft, Sirius and XM are all banking on cars becoming multi-media hubs. XM's NavTraffic service, which will become widely available this spring, feeds real-time traffic data into a driver's Global Positioning System and offers alternate routes. Sirius has promised a similar product, and in January it partnered with Microsoft to license Windows Media software, which will allow Sirius technology to deliver satellite video to cars. Comcast also is on the same track, as the company is working with mobile electronics firm Delphi on a video service. One idea is that Comcast programming could be sent to a subscriber's home computer, and then downloaded to a Delphi in-car hard drive. And later this year, RaySat will release an antenna capable of delivering both Internet access and satellite TV to cars."

"Business 2.0 says that by 2020, roughly 9 million cars are expected to be sold each year with broadband access. By then, consumers could spend an estimated $7 billion annually for satellite navigation hardware, rear-seat entertainment systems, and other multi-media products."


WINAMP RECONFIGURES TO STOP NAPSTER RIP-OFF

There has been a lot of back and forth on the net recently about the ability and perhaps importance - using a common Winamp plug-in - to un-lock files "rented" from Napster's new subscription service.  Apple's Steve Jobs even weighed in with an email to music industry execs sharing the instructions in a shot across his competitor's bow.

Napster_to_go Now according to TechNewsWorld, "America Online yesterday removed from the Web site of its Winamp media player a software plug-in that is reportedly being used to make unauthorized copies of tunes from the Napster To Go subscription service."

"According to AOL spokesperson Ann Burkart, the offending applet, Output Stacker, has been taken down from the Winamp site. "We are also working with Microsoft to ensure Winamp continues to provide secure playback of Windows Media content," she told TechNewsWorld."

"We are both proponents of legal consumption of digital music," she said. "No one wants a betrayal of that going on."

"The mischievous potential of the Winamp plug-in came to light after severalWinamp_1  Web sites, such as BoingBoing and Engadget, posted how-to's on using the program to capture online audio from a computer's sound card, a process known as "stream ripping."

"This process can be likened to the way people used to record songs from the radio onto cassette tapes, but instead of capturing the music on a tape, the file is converted into a new, unprotected digital format," explained Napster CTO William Pence in a statement."of the files, which can only be recorded one at a time, making the process quite laborious," he continued. "It would take 10 hours to convert 10 hours of music in this manner."Napsterbunny_7 "It is important to note," he added, "that this program is not specific to Napster; files from all legal subscription and pay-per-download services can be copied in this way."

"This program does not break the encryption

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.


Indy Canadian Acts Protest Content Rules Designed To Protect Them

Click below for an interesting letter sent out today by IndiePool and association of Canadian independent artists and labels on the effect of Canadian content radio play rules on Canadian Indy acts:

"As far as 95% of Canadian artists are concerned, CANCON is broken. CANCON's current rules do not require radio stations to play developing artists and as a result, CANCON is only helping our international stars (Shania, Celine and the like) get twice the radio play they would usually receive in Canada. Instead of Avril getting 5 spins a day on a station, she gets 10. Sadly, that's what CANCON accomplishes today."

They then go onto encourage the Canadian government not to impose Canadian content (which was design to require stations to play more Canadian acts) on satellite radio in Canada because:

"We are seeking new avenues for independent artists to receive airplay and since Satellite Radio in the US plays a significantly higher proportion of independent music than regular radio does, we can only go up from here. We provided them with a list of hundreds of Canadian independent artists that currently receive airplay on Satellite Radio in the US, but still don't receive any radio play right here in Canada."

Continue reading "Indy Canadian Acts Protest Content Rules Designed To Protect Them " »


Germany's MotorFM Might Just Be The Future Of Radio

For some time now we have envisioned the the future of "radio" as thousands of niche stations programmed by creative and knowledgeable music lovers streamed to homes and offices via broadband and portably to cell phone based devices. An in recent weeks there have been a flurry of announcements and partnerships from cell phone makers and providers as well as a variety of tech companies that all point in this same direction.

Motorfm Now comes Germany's MotorFM which appears to be the the first real word example of how these various emerging technology can transform broadcasting.  According to Wired.com, "MotorFM is determined to transform radio in Germany, and it thinks it has the tools to do it: MP3 downloads and songs streamed directly to mobile phones. "

"The first step has seen MotorFM, launched Feb. 1, abandon on-air commercials in favor of generating revenue from MP3 downloads and targeted sponsoring of its programming. The next step will be streaming audio directly to 3G cell phones and letting listeners pay for downloads by SMS text message. "

"...Focusing on hip alternative rock and electronic music, the station was foundedMotorradio  by three former music executives who profess a real love and knowledge of music: Tim Renner and Markus Kuehn both worked in senior positions at Universal Music, and Mona Rübenstein founded MTV Germany."

"We left because Universal and MTV don't support any good music anymore. They're boring," said Kuehn, who was marketing manager of Universal's German division."

"In the short term, we don't think that the downloads will be able to finance the station -- maybe in two or three years -- but that's why we have sponsors," said Kuehn. "However, there are some interesting technological developments coming on stream. Listeners will be able to get downloads of music direct to their cell phones or get an audio stream on the phone at the touch of a button."

"Media analyst Tim Crook at the University of London said MotorFM's proposal is "an interesting and alternative way to fund radio broadcasting -- the internet streaming could fund the analog music output, but this is only feasible if the music with an anticipated demand is only available on a pay-to-listen basis."

"Ultimately the station will become an advertisement in its own right: If listeners hear a song they want to buy, they simply send an SMS text message from their phone and the song will be downloaded, either to an account on the MotorFM website or to the cell phone itself."

Read the full Wired.com article here.


BREAKING NAPSTER'S RENTAL CODE

I have to admit that we thought Napster's new 10,000 "rental" service was a potential step in the right direction.  An ever revolving customizable 10,0000 song collection available for for the cost of 10-12 CD's made sense to us. 

Napsterlogo_3 But it didn't long for someone to break Napster's code and figure out how to make the rental collection permanently yours.  As the blog Gizmodo reports, "You know, if you sign up for Napster-to-Go and don't realize that your music is going to disappear when you stop paying them money, you're not a victim of the bloodsucking media barons—you're a tard. Once, I payed the cable company $50 a month, but then I stopped paying them, and they turned off my cable! Fortunately, I was smart enough to record all my favorite episodes of That's So Raven, which was against the rules of the contract that I signed up for, but hey! Tough shit."

"So here's a way to record music you're getting from Napster-to-Go into WAV Napsterbunny_6 files, to be burned to CDs or re-encoded to your compressed music file of choice. But you're not asserting your rights to culture; you're ripping off Napster. I mean, I don't care, I steal plenty of music, but let's be legit about this: If you have a problem with copyright laws, don't think that breaking the rules of a company that's working with the RIAA is actually changing anything except the amount of money you're giving to artists (or at least scum-sucking middle men)."

Here are the instructions.

http://blog.kordix.com/marv/archives/000400.html


NET RADIO & MUSIC ON CELL PHONES

From FMQB.com "...Yesterday, Motorola introduced iRadio, a new service that will allow Internet radio to reach mobile phones. The iRadio technology fine-tunes existing media-ready mobile phones and allows them to record select Internet streams (XM, Sirius anyone?) when connected to a personal computer. Music from participating download services can also be transferred to iRadio ready phones. Once the phone leaves its PC dock, the contents can be listened to through headphones or through a car stereo system equipped with an iRadio Bluetooth adapter. Motorola also introduced a mobile phone that will store and play music, using Apple's iTunes Music Player. iRadio trial versions will begin in a few months, with the fourth quarter of 2005 targeted for mass release."

"In March, the world's sixth biggest mobile phone producer, Sony Ericsson, is set to launch digital Walkman phones. While some Sony Ericsson mobile units already have a digital music player, the new version will contain more music features, including a significant amount of memory to store songs imported from a variety of devices and have access to Connect, Sony's digital download service..."

"Also on the slate for this year, the world's leading phone maker, Nokia, has announced a deal with Microsoft that will allow music to be loaded from a PC to mobile units. Using Microsoft's Windows Audio, the Nokia mobiles will allow for a download from a PC or from a wireless phone network. The model that Nokia unveiled with this capability has a gigabyte of storage, which is one-quarter of an iPod Mini’s capacity. The company also cut a deal with Seattle-based Loudeye Corp. for a download service..."

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.


THE END OF THE CD...

FROM THE WASHINGTON POST: "Classic-rock fan George Petersen doesn't need Ipod_4 another copy of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" or Cream's "Disraeli Gears." He has spent the past four decades buying and re-buying his favorite music in a succession of new formats: vinyl, 8-track, cassette, compact disc, Super Audio CD, DVD-Audio..."

"We as consumers have been trained by the music industry to go out and buy a new piece of plastic every few years," said the 51-year-old Petersen, editorial director of Mix, a San Francisco-based magazine that covers professional sound recording. "Why do we keep buying the same things?" "

"...With tonight's 47th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles drawing attention to the ever-shifting world of the recording arts, Petersen and many other music-biz insiders agree that, in the next decade or so, the CD will very likely be surpassed as the album format of choice."

"The new format is no format," predicted Petersen, a 24-year industry veteran who also owns a record label, a recording studio and a music-publishing company. "What the consumer would buy is a data file, and you could create whatever you need. If you want to make an MP3, you make an MP3. If you want a DVD-Audio surround disc, you make that."

"We're moving beyond the media stage to the delivery stage...Think "Dark Side of the Moon" as an invisible cyberswirl of 1's and 0's. No CD case. No liner notes to flip through. No . . . nothing."

"Your preferred music star could provide a myriad of songs, bonus cuts, commentary, videos, album art, you name it. You, however, would have ultimate power: which songs stay, which songs are deleted, which songs go where. Surely, if Paul McCartney offered a new, computer-based "Abbey Road" with alternate takes, making-of-the-disc footage and other historical arcana, Beatles fans would want it. Or some of it, anyway. "

Read the full article here.


The State Of Internet Radio

Got_radio200x79Music industry veteran and long tine internet broadcaster Val Starr writes about the current state of net broadcasting, the pitfalls and potential and the lack of major label awareness in a great guest column on Kurt Hansen's Radio And Internet Newsletter site:

"...Since the launch of ChoiceRadio.com back in 1999, and having survived the dot-com crash, the DMCA, Napster backlash, and seemingly everything that the world could possibly throw at us to slow down and even stop our fledgling industry, I have received, along with my fellow Internet radio survivors, many battle scars. I wear them proudly and have learned much in the course of the last 5 years."

"...I'm not getting wealthy, at least not yet, but I have managed to build a good solid business that turns a yearly profit.
I pay myself a modest salary, cover my bandwidth bills and overhead, and have employed several talented programmers and technicians."here.

"...I have definitely had worse jobs!"

"And as a matter of fact, my previous job, as an indie promotion rep for the major record labels, was one of the strongest deciding factors for me personally in creating an Internet radio station. I had experienced firsthand the pressure and competitive nature of trying to secure airplay in an ever-shrinking traditional radio market and felt there was a definite need for other promotional outlets for the record labels and their artists. "

"Ironically enough, it seems to me that even today, the record labels have yet to embrace our industry and recognize us for the enormous potential audience reach and promotional power that we have in our hands. I look forward to the day when the record labels finally look upon us as their allies and not their enemy."

Read the full article


RIAA and IIPA Report on Intellectual Property Theft

The Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) and the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) have announced that they are stepping up efforts fighting piracy in China and issued a report naming over 60 more countries involved in this practice. The report was filed to the U.S. government under the "Special 301" trade law, which identifies countries that present major copyright issues for businesses. Countries can be impacted in serious ways, including sanctions for those labeled as Priority Foreign Countries.The IIPA has asked the government to name Russia, Pakistan and Ukraine as Priority Countries.

The IIPA reports that U.S. copyright-based industries lost $13.4 billion because of international piracy in 2004. Globally, businesses may have lost between $25-30 billion, and this estimate does not factor in Internet piracy.

The IIPA suggests 15 more countries be placed on the Priority Watch List as well.


Billboard Adds Digital To Top 100

Billboard_3 The Billboard Hot 100 is adding digital. Billboard magazine will now include songs sold by download in its weekly calculation of the nation's top hits. The change reflects the booming popularity of digital music players like Apple's iPod, which has accounted for dramatic increases in download sales.

Billboard's Hot 100 list has always been the music industry's chief hit barometer. It is the chart most people name when they talk about having a No. 1 hit


Vote For The Live Music You Want To See

Tourvotelogo(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) -- When the band Army Of Me takes the stage at Washington D.C.’s venerable music venue The Black Cat on Friday February 11, they will be secure in the knowledge that at least a portion of the attending audience had proactively requested the show. Both the band and the venue are taking advantage of a unique, new “request line” that empowers music fans to communicate their live music wishes not only to the musical artists they want see in concert but also to the venues and promoters that put shows on stage.

Rather than simply waiting and hoping that local music venues and promoters will book shows by the musical artists they want to see, some consumers are registering their requests through a growing number of web sites – collectively called The TourVote Network – run by live music venues, promoters, radio stations, entertainment publications, and the artists themselves. The requests are funneled to the artists and to live entertainment buyers who want to gain direct insight into the deepest desires of concert-goers.

“The people have spoken. DC loves Army of Me. That's cool because we love DC,” said Army Of Me lead singer Vince Scheuerman. “TourVote is great – it gives the fans a voice. Let them be heard.” Army Of Me currently has the distinction of being the most-requested indie band in the DC Metro area, according to the TourVote system. A much larger number of fans have requested live shows by Army of Me in other cities around the US, fueling the band's hopes for breaking out into a wider market.

The TourVote Network is the brainchild of Demand ID Systems, a Baltimore startup company testing their novel supply-and-demand matching system locally before taking it to the national stage. “Much like with any other product, live shows will be more successful if they are produced based on a clear picture of what the market wants,” points out Ben Cruz, co-founder of Demand ID. “I’d be hard pressed to think of a company that made a mistake by asking prospective buyers what they wanted. And I’ve never met a consumer who didn’t think well of those that responded by delivering exactly that.”

The TourVote live music request line is available free to web sites wanting to give their visitors a voice in local, live music under the site’s own brand. Site owners have online access to reports detailing the votes placed from their pages. Voting music fans receive a co-branded “TourAlert” by email when the act they voted for is scheduled to appear locally. "I'm always happy to find new ways to tell people about our shows, especially when I know it's an event that they are interested in," said Dante Ferrando, talent buyer for The Black Cat, an 800-capacity venue. "It's hard to get good information to help determine what a band will draw. CD sales are just not as good a gauge as they used to be, so I find any extra tools incredibly helpful". More than a thousand people have placed requests for the shows they want to see using TourVote right from the club’s web site.

Continue reading "Vote For The Live Music You Want To See" »


Napster Subscribers Up 50%

Napsterbunny_5 Napster announced that it ended its third quarter with a total of 270,000 paying subscribers to its digital music service, including 44,000 from universities, representing a 50% increase from the second quarter. While reporting a loss of $16.4 million for the quarter, the company also said it earned $12.8 million -- which included gains from the sale of its Roxio CD and DVD burning software unit -- compared with a loss of $25.6 million in the same period a year ago. Los Angeles-based Napster expects to earn $14 million in its coming quarter, and raised its full-year revenue projection to $43 million, up from an earlier estimate of between $35 and $40 million.


P2P File Sharing On Your Cell Phone

Melodeo_2

Melodeo a developer of mobile music delivery technology, announced on Thursday that it has developed a new peer-to-peer mobile music sharing service, that lets cell phone owners send purchased tracks to one another over Bluetooth connections. The service will let the recipient listen to a 30-second sample of a track sent over Bluetooth, and then purchase the full track -- with Melodeo sending a decryption key over the carrier's network to unlock the song and billing the purchase to the recipient's cellular account. Seattle-based Melodeo also lets users purchase and download track to their own cell phones. The company said it will initially launch the new music-sharing service in Europe during the first quarter.


RINGTONES SALES WILL SURPASS HALF BILLION MARK

Performing rights organization BMI, which represents more than 300,000 songwriters, predicts that retail sales of cell phone ringtones in the U.S. this year will surpass $500 million, up from $245 million in 2004 and $68 million in 2003. The organization, which has processed over 150 million ringtone sales since entering the market in 2001, said it based its projection on census-based sales data aggregated from 225 mobile entertainment retailers. "We see the growth trend in ringtones and mobile entertainment continuing through mid 2006," said Richard Conlon, BMI vice president of business development. "We believe that the market will double for the ringtone sector alone. Any revenues derived from the ringback-tone services and mobile subscription music services, which have just begun to roll out in the U.S., will be incremental."


Podcasting On The Rise

Ipodgirl_1USA TODAY writes about the explosion and poteional of podcasting: " Big tech and media companies could not have foreseen this potentially disruptive hitch to ther grand strategies."

"But consider how easily a 20-year-old Briton, Michael Rundle, tapped into the raw power of podcasting."

"The Cambridge University history student on Jan. 24 began hosting a 40-minute audio program — a podcast, or online radio program — in which he introduces original songs performed by British musicians, including himself. Rundle didn't need the BBC or any PR firm to help him reach an audience. He simply posted his show on the Internet."

"Like the blogging phenomenon, podcasts have come out of nowhere to attract an enthusiastic grassroots following. They're being generated by a wide cast of characters — from professional broadcasters to rank amateurs. Listeners can download shows to their computers, or, with a bit of know-how, automatically export shows to an Apple iPod — hence the term "podcast"..."

Read the entire article here.  MAY REQUIRE FREE REGISTRATION.


Digital Music Forum Announces Keynotes

This year's Fifth Annual Digital Music Forum has announced its keynote speakers for the conference, which will be held March 2 in New York City. Opening the event will be a keynote speech from Terry McBride, CEO/founder of music promotion and management firm Nettwerk. Also giving a speech will be David Goldberg, VP/GM of Yahoo! Music.

Featured interviews will include with Shawn Fanning, the Shawn_fanning founder of Napster who is now Chief Strategy Officer and founder of digital music rights software company Snocap, as well as with Mike Conte, GM of MSN Marketplaces.

Among the other speakers involved in the all-day event will be executives from EMI Records, Sony/BMG, Warner Music, Napster, Billboard, Universal Music Group, the RIAA and many more. Further information on the Digital Music Forum can be found here.


Podcasting On The Rise

From The Hollywood Reporter: "After getting a taste of the radio business in college, software designer Craig Patchett never lost his interest in broadcasting. But without a job in radio, it seemed likely to remain one of those unfulfilled passions -- until something called "podcasting" came along. Now, Patchett's creating shows and sending them out to the masses every day -- not over the airwaves to radios but over the Internet, from his personal computer in Carlsbad, Calif. His listeners download his shows to their iPods and other digital music players. Patchett, 43, is among a growing number of people getting into podcasting, which is quickly becoming another of the Internet's equalizing technologies. Less than a year old, podcasting enables anyone with a PC to become a broadcaster. It has the potential to do to the radio business what Web logs have done to print journalism. By bringing the cost of broadcasting to nearly nothing, it's enabling more voices and messages to be heard than ever before. For listeners, podcasting offers a diverse menu of programs, which can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime. Unlike traditional radio, shows can be easily paused, rewound or fast-forwarded. The listener doesn't need to be near a PC, unlike most forms of Internet radio."


MTV2 MAKEOVER UPDATE

Mtv2 According to FMQB.com: "MTV2 will re-launch with a new look this Sunday during halftime of the Super Bowl. Now more details have been revealed about the changes at the network. Oddball, offbeat graphics and bumpers will take the place of the current, computerized look of the channel, almost going back to the earlier days of the original MTV. EVP of Marketing Tina Exarhos told the Associated Press, "What MTV2 is, while a departure from MTV, is really hearkening back to the early days of MTV." Adds MTV2 GM David Cohn, "We used to be simply a music complement to MTV. Now we're a real business. We had to change and evolve."

"MTV2 will go back to debuting a new video every Tuesday, and airing it all day long. The first new clip to get the treatment will be Green Day's video for their next single, "Holiday." MTV EVP of talent and music Tom Calderone told the AP, "We want Green Day to be a kind of house band for MTV2, the way people feel about MTV being the Eminem Network."

Mtv_3 "A sneak preview of the network's makeover will air both on MTV and MTV2 simultaneously during the Super Bowl halftime show. The channel officially re-launches at midnight. The new MTV2 will also takeover all the giant TV screens in Times Square on Monday for a half-hour."


Kazaa Employees Hate The Software

KazaaDigital Media Wire reports that "employees at Sharman Networks, distributors of the Kazaa file-sharing application, "hate" to install Kazaa on their own computers because of how slow it makes them run, the company's chief technology officer wrote in document recently released in court, ZDNet Australia reported. The document came to light -- against pleas from the company -- during the major record labels' Australian copyright infringement case against Sharman Networks, which seeks to shut the company down. The comment, from Kazaa CTO Phil Morle, referred more to the adware that is bundled with Kazaa, which "slows down users' machines and can affect other activity such as browsing the Internet… Consider how many people that work for Sharman Networks and its partners that hate installing Kazaa on their machine," Morle wrote. The document also revealed that Sharman was aware of the potential legal backlash from its product. "Our competitors are taking risks legally, but delivering compelling consumer solutions. We need confidence in what we do and must take similar leaps of faith. eDonkey is not yet being sued and is in a strong position to out-innovate us," Morle wrote."


LEFSETZ ON BREAKING A NEW BAND

Some great comments on breaking a band from music industry commentator Bob Lefsetz's latest newsletter, "...truly savvy agents and managers have these hit acts UNDERPLAY!"

"You don't want to make it IMPOSSIBLE to get a ticket, but you don't EVER want someone to be able to attend a show on a whim. No, you've got to plan in advance, you've got to WANT to go, because each and every show SELLS OUT!"

Indietvcrowd_2 "It's a PRIVILEGE to be able to attend. And, having acquired this privilege, attendees are going to SPREAD THE WORD! AND, they're going to BUY THE CD!"

"Oh, they've got the MP3s from the Web, but you've got to OWN a piece of your favorite act. You need the TOTEM! It's a BADGE OF HONOR!..."

"...You don't give a flying fuck if the music's on the radio. Hell, the target audience doesn't respect the radio. And, the target audience knows how to ACQUIRE the music, get TURNED ON TO IT!"

"Just put up a Website. With A LOT of information. Tour diaries. Details on making the album. TECHNICAL details."

"And stream the studio record. And give away some demos and live MP3s."

"Your WEBSITE is your own personal MTV/radio station. As long as it's honest, you can do ANYTHING on your Website. Because it's YOURS! It doesn't LOOK like you're working it. A Website is an OASIS on the Internet. An island."

"That OTHERS CAN LINK TO, but you don't ever want your natives invading any other spaces. No, the key is to get EVERYBODY to want to go to YOUR Disneyland."

"And there are very few Disneylands out there. People FIND the great acts."


Danny Goldberg Exits Artemis Records

Artemis Records founder/chairman/CEO Danny Goldberg is leaving the label  and Artemis president Daniel Glass has been elevated to president/CEO according to several online soources. Industry veteran Goldberg will continue as a concultant to the label whose roster includes Steve Earle, The Pretenders, Kittie and the late Warren Zevon.  New Artemis releases from Better Than Ezra, Black Label Society and bluesman Hubert Sumlin are due soon.


Napster Takes Aim At iTunes With Portable Download Subscriptions

Napsterbunny_4 According to The Hollywood Reporter "Napster unveiled an improved version of its core technology Wednesday. Known as Napster 3.0, the enhancements incorporate the digital music company's consumer launch of its Napster To Go service that enables subscribers to put music on portable devices without buying it. Consumers pay $14.95 a month for unlimited access to Napster's catalog. With Napster To Go, this subscription now includes the ability to transfer as many songs as they wish to a wide range of portable devices. The music is unplayable if the subscription lapses. "Napster is proud to once again lead the industry and be the first in the world to offer this revolutionary new way to enjoy music," Napster chairman and CEO Chris Gorog said. The release will be accompanied by a $30 million marketing campaign -- including an ad during Sunday's Super Bowl -- that unabashedly challenges Apple's position as market leader"


Microsoft Unleashes iTunes Killer

FROM THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE: "Several online music services and makers of digital music players are expected to announce within days that their products will include a new technology so users can rent a massive amount of songs that can be constantly refreshed."

Napsterlogo_2 "The subscription-based service...will offer unlimited access to songs on participating sites for a monthly fee of between $10 and $20."

"Most importantly, unlike earlier versions of song rental services, users will be able to transfer music from their computers onto a portable MP3 player. However, users will not be able to burn the music onto CDs."

"Think of it this way," said Mike Coleman, lead product manager for Redmond, Ms_masthead_ltr_3 Wash.-based Microsoft. "You get access to over a million songs for less than the cost of buying one CD per month."

The coordinated approach to renting music as opposed to buying songs online could pose the first significant threat to Apple's position as the runaway market leader in digital music..."

'Two sites, Napster.com and FYE.com, have already started offering rented music based on Microsoft's new standard and other sites will announce subscription models soon, including MusicMatch and Microsoft's MSN Music..."

"Pay your subscription fee that month, and the music will keep playing," said Coleman. "If at the end of the month you don't feel like paying your subscription, you can just stop, and the music stops playing."

Creative_nomad_3 Hardwaremakers, including iRiver, Creative, Virgin and Samsung, are expected "to be on the train for Microsoft's platform," said Richard Doherty, research director at Seaford, N.Y.-based Envisioneering Group. "Microsoft showed about 100 MP3 players, including cell phones, for Janus" at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month.

Apple does not think consumers want a music rental service.

"Our approach has always been that we think people want to own their music rather than rent it," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of iPod product marketing. "It's not a question of technology for us. There's no one more capable of creating technology."

There may however be sone bugs: "I tested Janus with complaint MP3 players," said Doherty. "To say it's not as smooth as iTunes is an understatement. With iTunes, you buy a song, and it's there. I can listen to it anywhere. With Janus, I drag my music to the player, and when it's time to listen, I was saying, `Where's the Billy Joel album?'"

"...But Microsoft's Coleman said the bugs are worked out and the system is ready."

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