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Sony BMG Dips Toe In Music ISP Water With UK PlayLouder Deal

The concept of licensing and monetizing music file sharing on the ISP and P2P level has been thrown Playloudernews_1 ound for several years.  Just add a few dollars a month to your ISP bill and start downloading unprotected files.  Then your monthly fee is shared with each artist on a usage basis similar to BMI and ASCAP.  Any other plan is doomed to fail, the theory goes, because it's hard to compete with free and untethered downloads that young consumers are growing used to despite all of the legal issues.

Sonybmg_16But record labels have been slow to adopt licensing P2P's and with good reason.  Not only are billions of dollars at stake, but the contractual and legal issues involving thousands and thousands or artists and writers are staggering.

Truth be told, however, labels are already doing it with the college ISP services  like Ruckus and now they are dipping another very big toe in the water across the pond with a Sony/BMG deal with  UK USP PlayLouder.

RedherringAccording to a report in Red Herring as part of PlayLouder’s service to subscribers will be able to download an unlimited number of unprotected music files. The service and high-speed Internet will cost £26.99 ($48.57) per month, which is similar to British Telecom’s pricing for broadband.

"Monday’s deal with Sony, a major label, adds artists including Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, Macy Gray, and OutKast to PlayLouder’s growing library....And the ISP, which calls itself an “MSP” (music service provider), is winning support. It signed on the United Kingdom’s Association of Independent Music in November 2004. It also has an existing agreement with the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society and Performing Right Society for licensing U.K. artists," writes Red Herring.

These experiments are worthy of watching and may provide the ultimate solution to today's record label downturn.

Read the full Red Herring article here.


Report From EMX - The Entertainment Media Expo

I just got back from day one of EMX - The Entertainment Media Expo.  Its a well run smaller convention for the folks who manufacture and package CDs and DVDs. And throughout it all I couldn't help how much longer these folks would be in business.

EMX acknowledged the problems P2P causes for their industry with a kick off speech from Lawrence Lessig the libertarian author of Free Culture who says that "big media uses technology and  the law to lock down culture and control creativity".  But then it was right back to the lawyers and old school thinking.

I saw some very creative packaging from AGIMedia and others, but who needs (or wants to pay for) a physical CD or DVD when you can download it for free.  Even if you decide to pay; you'll get it cheaper and faster.

Thanks to EMX for the free pass.  Hope to see you again next year...


Finally The iTunes Phone

Rain_logo_9Kurt Hansons's RAIN newsletter reports that according to the Wall Street Journal: "Apple Computer Inc., in an effort to extend its strength in digital music to a potentially large new market, has reached an agreement with Cingular Wireless to offer a Motorola Inc. cellphone that will play songs from Apple's iTunes Music Store...

"Apple yesterday sent invitations to the media for an event in San Francisco on Sept. 7. The Itunes_5 invitation, alluding to the invention of the iPod, states '1,000 songs in your pocket changed everything. Here we go again.'

"The iTunes phone... is part of an expected onslaught of music services from wireless carriers and handset makers. Apple holds a powerful lead with its iPods, but...company could face a threat if cellphones become a preferred method for listening on the go...

"Cingular, of Atlanta, is expected to make the phone available in time for the holidays. Some carriers have been reluctant to commit to the iTunes phone, preferring devices
oriented toward their own music services. Most major handset makers are developing music-playing phones."


Wille Nelson To Open Truck Stop Venue

CarlscornerlogoCelebrityAccess MediaWire - On September 26-27, Willie Nelson will officially open his very own concert theater: Willie's Place, located at Carl's Corner truck stop, nestled south of Dallas on highway I-35 and just 15 miles from Nelson's birthplace of Abbot, TX. Nelson and his longtime friend Carl Cornelius, owner of the truck stop, began building Willie's Place six months ago with a vision of taking the term "roadside attraction" to a whole new level.

"We wanted the truckers and travelers to have a chance to see live music," says Cornelius. "They can't get to the concerts in their big trucks. This is a little place where they can come to see Willie and some of the stars they don't get to see on the road."

A full service, year-round, live music venue, Willie's Place is reminiscent of a Branson, Missouri Opry house, boasting an 80ft stage and an intimate 850 seats.

"It will make your liver quiver," says Cornelius. "There's not a bad seat in the whole house."

Nelson and Cornelius are overseeing management and booking of the venue and shining a special spotlight on Lone Star State musicians. Leon Russell, Pauline Reese and James Hand are already scheduled for upcoming shows this year.

Carl's Corner is the filling station where Nelson hosted the July 3 debut of "BioWillie," his own blend of B-20 Biodiesel fuel that's made from vegetable oils and reduces carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide.

By expanding the filling station into an entertainment center Nelson hopes to showcase his clean-burning, natural and renewable fuel that can be burned in diesel engines without modification. " I want to use Carl's Corner as an example," says Nelson. "It's a perfect place on the highway to play a little music and show people how well Biodiesel works at the same. I want Texas to lead the world in Biodiesel exploration like we once did in oil and gas."

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Continue reading "Wille Nelson To Open Truck Stop Venue" »


Music Marketers Must Embrace An Amp'd Up World

Today's young music consumer lives an "always connected" lifestyle that music marketers need to understand and embrace. 

Wired_news250"...They live on e-mail, communicate via instant messaging, change ring tones on their cell phones at the drop of a baseball cap (turned backward, naturally), play video games, download music (sometimes they'll even pay for it), get more of their news from the net than TV and print, experiment with podcasting, read and write their own blogs and access RSS feeds," according to Adam L. Penenberg writing for WiredNews.

"Most of all, they expect to customize their entertainment experience.."

"In short, they are technology consumers....Yet none of the big cell-phone providers like Sprint, Verizon or Cingular has addressed this market exclusively, even though members of gen WHOIS are among their most steadfast customers."

Ampd_mobile "This is where Amp'd Mobile comes in..."

"...He says that everything you can do at home -- watching TV, viewing movies, listening to the radio or your iPod, downloading music, accessing MapQuest or global positioning systems -- you'll be able to do on a bus, in your car or walking down the street. And you'll do it on a cell phone, which about 60 percent of Americans already own...Combine Wi-Fi with cell phones and satellite radio, and you can create an unbelievable social device."

Wireless_phone_user In the envisioned Amp'd Mobile world your cell phone will be a hub for almost all digitally stored and delivered information and entertainment either functioning as or controlling music listening and downloads, TV (live and recorded), net surfing, GPS and almost anything currently available and imagined on your computer or your cell phone.

Music marketers need to understand and embrace this increasingly personalized experience and provide tools and content that take advantage of this I want what I want when I want it and how I want it" mentality.  Why make the fan wait for the release of a whole album when a song is finished in the studio? Why not have Mick Jagger call you (and 20,000 others) on your cell phone with a link to download last night's concert?  Or if the show is sold out to view live video feeds for a few dollars on your cell phone?  The possibilities are endless if we can embrace the change.


Entertainment Media Expo

The Entertainment Media Expo is being held this Tuesday & Wednesday in Hollywood and Hypebot will be there. 

This conference is mostly about entertainment media replication, but it should provide an interesting look into the technologies and trends shaping the music industry's future.

If your going to be there please email us.

For more info Entertainment Media Expo.


Hollywoodreporter.com

According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Yahoo! is running a competition designed to encourage people to grab a digital camera and create their own interesting, funny and wacky video content, with winners chosen by the public. Voting for the Yammys, as the contest is called, starts Tuesday. Everyone is invited to choose their favorite from a shortlist of 15 selected by Yahoo! with participation by a panel of celebrity judges...Besides online voting, vans decked out with projectors will take to the streets for four nights beginning Wednesday, beaming entries onto walls first at Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade and New York's Union Square. Viewers at the outdoor screenings can vote using tablet computers."

Why don't music marketers do more like this with contests like Best Mash-up or Best Homemade Cover version?   I've seen a few fan made video contests but the possibilties are endless.  Best Fan Created Web Site.  Best Alternative Lyrics. Best....

Link: Hollywoodreporter.com.


FAST FACT

"This year, one in five music buyers ages 12-21 bought music online, and one in three reported buying fewer CDs because they can procure just about anything they want online, according to a forthcoming survey by Forrester Research."

From the Washington Post online: How Do You Catch Your Tunes?.


V2 Launches Indy Label Co-operative

In a move that we're sure you'll see more of in our post-European Union and Free Trade world, Richard Branson's V2 label has launched Co-operative Music aimed at providing pan-European marketing and distribution to a Indy labels

According to Billboard.com, "...Through the new venture, V2 provides back office services for such labels as Wichita Recordings, City Slang and Modular Recordings. V2 will also provide “substantial investment,” according to Vincent Clery-Melin, GM for Co-operative Music."

V2_logo "Co-operative Music label managers are being appointed in France, Germany, in Holland (for the Benelux region), Sweden (for Scandinavia), Italy and Spain. The executives will play a key role in working the independent labels' repertoire locally."

“The peculiarities of Co-operative are sets us apart,” says Clery-Melin. “We guarantee in every deal with every label that we will release and work every record in every market....”

"...Initial releases under the new network include sets in the coming months from Mercury Prize-nominated Go! Team (Memphis Industries), Brooklyn trio Nada Surf and Nick Cave collaborators the Dirty Three (Bella Union)."

Wouldn't US major labels and Indy distributors be smart to offer these kind of services to labels here? Not just sales and distribution, but offer promotion and marketing on a local and  regional level.  There certainly is enough out of work and affordable promo talent available... 


Web & DVD Kill CD? WMG Release New Act SUN Sans CD

"When Ohio-based rock band the Sun releases its first full-length album next month, it will be available on DVD, online and on vinyl record. But not on the medium that's still the biggest seller in the music industry today: the compact disc," reports WashingtonPost.com

Warner_music_group_logo_3"It's a tip of the hat to the past and the tip of the hat to the future," said Perry Watts-Russell, a senior vice president at Warner Bros. Records Inc., which signed the band.

The label expects the Sun to be the first of many artists to embrace a no-CD, video-only strategy. And that is part of a larger move away from the traditional album concept that some experts say is steering the CD the way of the hand-cranked gramophone.

The full-length CD format, which debuted in 1981, last year sold 766.9 million copies, down from aItunes_4  high of 942.5 million in 2000, according to statistics from the Recording Industry Association of America. At the same time, online sales -- championed by the popular Apple Computer Inc. iTunes Web site -- is picking up part of the slack: 139.4 million tracks were sold online in 2004.

Read the full sotry online here.


Why Don't We All Use The Many New Ways To Market Music?

For several years now we've wondered why record labels don't point more resources towards the media that does expose new music instead of fighting for the same few spots on broadcast radio.  In a Lefsetz Letter column last week Bob Lefsetz said the same:

You'd think instead of paying for play on terrestrial radio labels would be supporting satellite radio and net radio, with their wide variety of options, with their unlimited playlists. God, sign up for satellite and get five CDs free. Isn't this how "Rolling Stone" built its business?

To those outlets we'd add podcasts, magazine CD and download samplers, P2P's, Mp3 blogs and email newsletters, eCards linked to free downloads and other viral marketing plus a growing variety of music sampling and sharing services.  Get with it music marketers or get left behind!


DIGITAL MUSIC NEWS - WEEK IN REVIEW

  • The action this week was peppered with several artist exclusives. Yahoo Music offered Yahoomusiclogos_8 exclusive clips from the recently-launch Rolling Stones tour, Verizon Wireless prepped exclusives involving Shakira and John Legend, Cingular secured a Missy Elliott ringtone exclusive, and Clear Channel Radio unleashed a sneak peek involving Eric Clapton.
  • Howard_stern_lr_2The satellite radio world was also busy. Howard Stern is getting ready for his Sirius debut, which is scheduled to happen on January 9th. Ahead of that, Stern will begin programming on one of his two channels, though the jock is forbidden from actually appearing on the station until he finishes his contractual commitments with Infinity Broadcasting.
  • In the obituary column, synthesizer inventor Robert Moog passed away. Moog is credited with revolutionizing the sound of thousands of bands and artists.
  • Meanwhile, Apple reportedly purchased a massive inventory of flash-based memory from Samsung. That could pave the way for a flash-based iPod mini by the end of the year.
  • Major labels were also making noise this week, including Warner Music and Universal Music. Warner Music Group chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr. pointed to an alternative "eLabel" concept, which favors smaller, digital releases instead of larger, CD-based albums. Later in the week, subsidiary label Warner Bros. Records announced an album release that will avoid the CD entirely. And Universal Music unveiled plans to release its own mobile brand called MoveU Mobile. Universal will use the network of Sprint Nextel, though the label will retain control of the content on the deck.
  • Amazon seemed to edge closer to delivering a digital music store. The massive internetAmazon_11  retailer offered a Barbra Streisand video exclusive, a collaborative effort with Sony BMG.
  • Elsewhere, the FCC approved the sale of an iTunes-enabled phone from Motorola, though a concrete release date remains elusive. And in Japan, Yahoo countered a recent iTunes Music Store entry with its own store, which offers free streaming previews to entice purchases.

From Digital Music News


Victory Fires Back At WMG In Taking Back Sunday Fight

Victoryrecords_1The fight that began between the Warner Music Group and hot indy label Victory Warner_music_group_logo_2 when alt rockers Taking Back Sunday jumped to the major heated up recently when the RIAA certified the band's CD Gold.  Hits Magazine printed this return blast from Victory cheif Tony Brummell to WMG:

From: Tony Brummel
Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2005 11:52 PM

Subject: Now I've had it....

Warner illegally certified my Taking Back Sunday album.

Some employees of mine came home to gold TBS albums that I did not pay for or certify nor did they want.

Fucking with me and playing games is one thing. Attempting to make me look stupid is another. Desecrating the Victory brand and the years of sacrifice and hard work that many employees and artists have contributed to is not allowable.

Where is the leadership? Where are the mentors? Jac, I read your book "Follow The Music". Fuck, I read it three times. Earlier this evening, I went into my alley, pissed on it and threw it away.

The fledgling Warner Music Group has made an enemy for life.

Whalley, if you are such a record man, quit your job and go indie like me.......... Get your fucking hands dirty, you overpaid and pampered putz. Overpaying for damaged goods is not A&R.

Victory Records means something to many people around the world. It is a brand. It is something that they can count on. It has meaning.

Warner Music means nothing. It is a soulless corporate monicker tarnished by meaningless characters that raped it for their own inflated sense of self importance and ego masturbation.

I am part of something that the consumer actually cares about. Consuming product is one thing. When the consumer actually cares about the corporation that produced and helped develop the product you have something much more powerful and special.

That is what makes me different from all of you. Aside from the fact that I cannot be fired. I won't develop cataracts either as I squint at the TV praying that the scrolling ticker on Bloomberg says that the share price is up.


The RIAA Vs. The CEA

According to Digital Music News at NARM the RIAA was qouting "....research showing that 29 percent of all recorded music obtained in 2004 was either burned or ripped from others...But Consumer Electronic Association President Gary Shapiro saw a misguided focus. "There they go again," Shapiro responded. "The recent news that the recording industry now considers casual, non-commercial CD burning as a threat to be stopped comes as no surprise. We are concerned that the record industry is targeting consumer place shifting and CD burning, even as they admit that it is legal conduct. The fact is, making a backup or mix CD for personal use is not copyright infringement, and Americans who enjoy personal CD burning are not lawbreakers..."

"...One is the issue of fair use, which allows consumers to burn personal copies of legally-acquired music for use in other environments. In a typical example, a consumer burns a copy of a digitally-purchased album for use in the car. But the second issue involves the illegal sharing of content via CD-burning. In that case, one individual illegally shares a collection of music with another, using a CD-R to make the transfer. That was most recently the focus of the RIAA at NARM, with Mitch Bainwol pointing to data that specifically showed a great deal of music was illegally obtained from burned CD copies. Now, the big question for the industry whether copy-protected CDs are the way to properly restrict this activity, or if the altered discs will serve to discourage overall CD-purchases..."


Flom Rumors Fly

The rumors are flying regarding the future of just-fired Atlantic topper Jason Flom.  Hits Daily Double reports that, "...Initially, the smart money was on a reunion with Doug Morris at UMG, with the mentor enabling the protégé to create a sort of Lava II. But Flom will have two other options: EMI Music toppers Alain Levy and David Munns are very interested, and Sony BMG topper Andy LackWmg_logo_lr_8  has reportedly sent out feelers as well. EMI consultant Roger Ames is another big Flom fan, as he’s demonstrated.  Ames’ vision as then-head of WMG involved merging Elektra and Atlantic and putting Flom in charge of the combined operation. Ames believed he could manage Flom, maximizing his A&R skills while minimizing his administrative, marketing and promotion deficiencies..."

Recently watching WMG's stock has become an industry insider's sport. Will the Flom firing effect the stock?  Are insiders puffing up the price in anticipation of a possible sale to EMI?  Does Wall Street still care at all?

Wmg_stockWMG stock was flat just before today's open at $17.84 in after hours trading. You can track it on the YahooFinance WMG page here...or you can watch paint dry....


P2P Peer Impact And Live 365

Live365_7Sanctioned P2P application Peer Impact will soon layer streaming radio into its service provided by Live365. According to Digital Music News, "Peer Impact, owned by Saratoga Springs, NY-based Wurld Media, recently launched a closed, peer-to-peer environment that rewards members for sharing tracks. Prior to launch, the company closed licensing negotiations with all four major labels, while also completing a slate of indie deals as well. Now, the offering thickens, with Live365 powering thousands of user-generated, online radio stations. That will help to stimulate track discovery among Peer Impact members, while also increasing user stickiness."

"Peer Impact will deliver major label content as WMA-protected tracks. That approach presents some challenges, with a large number of digital music users accustomed to unfettered trading of open MP3s. But Peer Impact is tinkering with a rewards package (for users)...Others including online digital music store PassAlong, which offers points to tastemakers for generating new purchases."


Coalition of Independent Music Stores' Top 200 for Week Ending 8-21-05

Cims_20Label Pos. Artist|Title

VOLC 1 311|DON'T TREAD ON ME

VRGN 2 GORILLAZ|DEMON DAYS

COL 3 CROWELL*RODNEY|OUTSIDER

SUG 4 NICKEL CREEK|WHY SHOULD THE FI

VIT 5 SILVERSTEIN|DISCOVERING THE WA

ASK 6 STEVENS*SUFJAN|ILLINOIS

CAP 7 COLDPLAY|X&Y

V2 8 WHITE STRIPES|GET BEHIND ME SA

UNJJ 9 JOHNSON*JACK|IN BETWEEN DREAMS

ATLG 10 STAIND|CHAPTER V

EEG 11 STOOGES|STOOGES

AAM 11 BLACK EYED PEAS|MONKEY BUSINES

WAR 13 GREEN DAY|AMERICAN IDIOT

EEG 14 STOOGES|FUNHOUSE

ROUN 15 RAFFI|SINGABLE SONGS FOR THE V

ROUN 16 GILMORE*JIMMIE |COME ON BACK

RCA 17 FOO FIGHTERS|IN YOUR HONOR

ORMU 18 MATISYAHU|LIVE AT STUBBS-AUSTI

INT 18 BECK|GUERO

RHR 20 GILKYSON*ELIZA|PARADISE HOTEL

AMNA 21 THIS IS AMERICA|VOL. 2-THIS IS

LHWY 22 NELSON*WILLIE|COUNTRYMAN

OCCR 23 COOK*DANE|RETALIATION

SMMG 24 RANDY ROGERS BA|LIVE AT BILLY

ISL 25 FALL OUT BOY|FROM UNDER THE CO

Click below for the rest of the chart and the weekly commentary.

Continue reading "Coalition of Independent Music Stores' Top 200 for Week Ending 8-21-05" »


A Glimpse Inside What Makes Victory Records Successful

Ever wonder how the indy labels sometimes get it right when the majors so seldom seem to? 

VictoryrecordsIndy's don't buy success.  They can't even afford to try.  Instead they stay closer to the street...to the fans.  And they're not afraid to be a bit unonventional.  One great example is Victory Records.  A simple but telling glimpse inside Victory's promotional thinking was provided by this recent internal memo re-printed by Bob Lefsetz.

From: Mark Bubb Mark@victoryrecords.com

To: PROMO STAFF <PROMOSTAFF@victoryrecords.com>

Sent: Mon Aug 22 23:45:49 2005  Subject: Baltimore show Report 8/22

I'm lucky I still have all my fingers the way the BTBAM samplers were being taken from me tonight.

The venue sucked for what we do. It is directly down town with no parking, no stopping, no picking up, everywhere. I unfortunatly had to park a few blocks down the street. But what was funny about that is, Sony, who's tour it is, and only dows the end of show work, ended up being moved and put farther away than my van. From that point it was an old fashioned contest of sidewalk skills.

The arena closed all exits except forthe main two and filed everyone out. I was ther, Sony was there, and the randow bums selling fake shirts were thre and being real pushy. They stepped in front of me, so in turn stood right in the doorway. Everyone looked right past them when they heard I had free Victory samplers. They relocated because they couldn't compete. And now that I was right next to Sony, people were asking them for cd's and they would hold out there stickers, and kids would just turn, and walk to me, or just leave. Like you said Tony, why are they even wasteing their time.

I went through a ton in an extremely short time. Being we are on the east coast, lamb of god, DH, unearth, as I lay dying shirts were pooring out the door and right up to me.I got out 850 BTBAM samplers out at the show, and made Sony look like crap.

It was a good night.I'm in Baltimore all tommorow and NYC tommorow night.

Bubb


Is Roadcating The Future Of Broadcasting?

Broadcast radio is doomed. See your over valued satellite radio stock. Here comes Roadcasting...

Developed by The Carnegie Mellon's Human Computer Interaction Institute, Roadcasting is collaborative, mobile radio.

Roadcasting_2According to their web site it is a system, currently in prototype state, that allows anyone to have their own radio station, broadcasted among wirelessly capable devices, some in cars, in an ad-hoc wireless network. The system can become aware of individual preferences and is able to choose songs and podcasts that people want to hear, on their own devices and car stereos and in devices and car stereos around them.

Roadcasting provides a set of methods to transform radio into a community-driven interactive medium. Using collaborative filtering technologies, it enables rich passive and interactive experiences for DJs and listeners in a way that has not previously been possible. Roadcasting matches you to radio stations that play the content that you want to hear.

With Roadcasting, it becomes incredibly easy to have your own radio station heard by others in their cars, homes, and offices within the reach of your ad-hoc network, determined by the wireless technology used.


WMG To Launch Digital Only E-Label

According to Billboard.biz, a struggling Warner Music Group is about to launch a long rumored digital-only "e-label".

Warner_music_group_logo"Artists signed to the e-label will have their music distributed only as digital downloads, not CDs or other physical media. Speaking to the Progress & Freedom Foundation,WMG Chairman Bronfman said the strategy is to give emerging acts a channel for less-costly distribution without the usual label pressure of widespread commercial hits."

"While the old system allowed an artist time to develop and grow, today's business is such that an initial commercial failure for most artists means they no longer get a second chance...The e-label, he added, will not require artists to have enough material for a full album, or adhere to normal album release schedules. Instead, the e-label will publish three or more songs released every few months. In addition, artists signed to the digital-only label will retain full ownership of their masters and copyrights for as long as they're signed to the e-label."

"Bronfman did not indicate when the label would launch, but sources at WMG tell Billboard.biz it is expected to begin operating before the end of the year."

Hypebot: Not revolutionary...but a smart piece of market research with little downside if (and only if) Bronfman is willing to put some marketing resources behind the e-label.


HYPEBOT COMMENTARY: THE FUTURE IS IN THE MIDDLE

Cross post with The Lefsetz Letter.

COMMENTARY: I've believed for some time that we are entering an era where there will be far fewer super-stars and far more mid-level artists. Already I see more artists who define success as the ability to make a living making music their way and who can have long term careers selling 500-5000 tickets and 20,000-200,000 copies of a release.

Except for those greedy assholes among us who got into the music business to get laid and fly in a private jet; how can that be a bad thing?

We live in a digital era where recording music, distributing it, and even marketing it (via net stations and web sites, on satellite radio, and even via cell phones) has never been cheaper and easier. Wired Magazine's Chris Anderson coined the term "The Long Tail" to describe a future where "continued sales of niche content over an extended period of time can rival the short-term spikes of a major artist like Britney Spears or Mariah Carey."

This future will require a drastically different business plan for most of our industry that borrows from online retailers like Amazon and Netflix. In the digital age with infinite shelf life and no physical media to produce, a song or album can be available indefinitely, creating long-term renewable revenue streams. And in an era where staying connected with your fans is just an email or mouse click away why shouldn't the best artists - those that actually have something to offer song after song and year after year - be able to sustain a long term career?

And why shouldn't that kind of long-term thinking be considered an integral part of any music company's plan for growth and profitability. Technology has allowed the democratization of the music and instead of complaining we all need to embrace it.  -  Bruce Houghton For Hypebot


MORE HITS ON THE FLOM FIRING

UPDATE:  HitsDailyDouble.com continues to have some of the more interesting coverageHitslogo2_5  of the Jason Flom firing, "...As the fear and loathing grows inside Warner Music Group, many in both the Hamptons and Malibu continued to buzz this weekend about the outrageous firing of Jason Flom by Lyor Cohen....Everyone knew that the two didn't like each other and thought that the other was doing a mediocre job, but the circumstances of the firing remain a mystery. Meanwhile, most observers believe Edgar Bronfman Jr. has backed the wrong horse in this situation and are saying it looks increasingly likely that he will once again end up embarrassing himself and his few supporters.

Wmg_logo_lr_7And..."Has the firing of Jason Flom signaled the end of the rock era at the storied Atlantic and Elektra labels? Insider word is that Flom was the only major executive besides Ahmet Ertegun with any real rock chops at Warner Music Group’s now-combined East Coast operation, which has monsters of rock Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, The Doors  Foreigner, Blind Faith, Cream, The Rascals, Vanilla Fudge and The Eagles in its past. Managers, attorneys and rock bands everywhere were said to be lamenting the end of an era last week upon hearing of Flom’s exit. WMG insiders now say the new plan is to  make rock the focus of Tom Whalley’s West Coast operation, while the East will concentrate on urban, R&B and hip-hop. Most believe this plan makes perfect sense—if your core business is selling shoes."

Hypebot repeats:  We'd love to see Jason Flom reject the major label world and use his considerable talent and knowledge to run a start-up that borrows a bit from the likes of Victory and Wind-up and the lessons and opportunities of the digital world. Jason is a great record man...but his real legacy could be as a visionary music man.


Move Over Starbucks. Wal Mart Gets Garth Brooks...EXCLUSIVELY

In  a move that must be motivated by money more than anything else, Walmartsources report that Garth Brooks has confirmed that he will be releasing his catalog titles via an exclusive agreement with Wal Mart. Ownership of his masters recently reverted to him from his former label Capitol.

"It’s still not clear exactly what releases are being planned, but rumors had it that multiple disc sets were to be offered at a $25 price point," accorsing to HitsDailyDouble.com.  "Retail competitors having heard about the upcoming deal at the just concluded NARM convention were complaining long a loud but as yet, no one has stated that they will be taking Brooks product off of their shelves.."


Labels Increasingly Exploiting Artists As Brands

Universallogo_4 Live365_6From Live365 boss Rags Gupta, "Labels are continuing to horizontally integrate by treating their artists as music franchises instead of recording franchises.  This times it's Universal Music Group and their recently announced plan to roll out artist-branded wireless phones via their partnership with Single Touch Interactive.  UMG provides the brand & content while Single Touch provides the technology and distribution (via Wal-Mart and other retailers).  EMI pioneered this concept with their landmark Robbie Williams contract and recently announced a deal for him to serve as a 'brand ambassador' for T-Mobile.

"...I'm not sure how popular these will end up being -- moving 7,000 Hillary Duff phones isn't exactly a roaring ...The U2 iPod seems to have had mixed results, perhaps due to its high price.  Still, this is a good way for UMG to extend their artist franchises assuming it's fairly cheap for them to conduct this experiment...Moreover, getting this product onto Wal-Mart's shelves will give free branding exposure to the artist."

"Expect more of this sort of horizontal experimentation from the labels as they morph from being "record labels" to becoming "music" or "artist" labels or whatever you want to label them..."

Crossed posted at http://www.ragsgupta.com/ and http://digitalmusicnews.com .


Ring DJ Allows Cell Users To Create Mixes

Ringdj_01According to the HollywoodReporter.com, "Airborne Entertainment launched a service that lets everyone create their own personally mixed ringtone. Because it's completely online, Ring DJ users don't need a collection of samples or any special software to come up with their unique sound. The service features an animated DJ who responds when beats, effects, shout-outs and other audio clips are dragged on to the six turntables from the provided menus. These can be remixed and blended endless times for free. Customers of Airborne's Boost Mobile then can pay $1.99 to have their final creation sent to their phone..."


iTunes And All Music Dowloads Jump in July

According to Digital Music News: "...iTunes grabbed over 7 million unique visitors last month, a 13 percent increase over June figures. That is helping to power continued increases in paid downloads, which most recently hit the 500 million mark. A recent podcasting release helped to generate new traffic during the month, and continued iPod sales are also contributing."

"...Meanwhile, overall interest in online music is increasing, with comScore Media Metrix reporting a total of 30.1 million music retail visitors in July, a 7 percent increase over June."


More Than Ever Music Is The Soundtrack To Our Lives

Just in case we as music marketers forget the power and importance of our product cehck out  an article from the Washington Post new service on how iPod owners are storing the the "soundtrack to their lives".

Ipod2_4 Whenever Jason Berkowitz listens to "You're the Best" on his iPod, he recalls that 1984 summer vacation in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and seeing "The Karate Kid" for the first time. Whenever he listens to Zero 7's song "Destiny," which he first heard at London's Heathrow Airport four years ago, he thinks about meeting his wife, Bethany.

"If a song represents a memory in your head, then you listen to your life's memories — faster than a mixed CD, definitely faster than a mixed tape — as you listen to your iPod," says the affable, fast-talking Berkowitz, 29, a project manager for a software company, as he sits in his downtown Washington office.

"It becomes an extension of you," he says. "It's like a window to your soul."

Read the full article here in the LA Times.


WMG Internal Memo Firing Jason Flom

August 17, 2005
Dear Partners,
It's my sad duty to let you know that, as of today, Jason Flom has decided to step down as Chairman and CEO of The Atlantic Records Group.

Jason's departure marks the end of an important era for Atlantic. Having joined the label more than 26 years ago as a field merchandiser, Jason proved himself to be not only one of the industry's most talented A&R men, but also one of its leading entrepreneurs.

As Chairman and CEO of Atlantic, Jason has played a critical role in our restructuring over the past year-and-a-half, and his efforts have left us very well-positioned for ongoing success as a nimble and progressive group of labels. All in all, the success Jason has achieved both personally and professionally is legendary in this business, and we will certainly miss his talent, insight and brilliant sense of humor.

Moving forward, Craig Kallman will serve as Chairman and CEO of The Atlantic Records Group. Julie Greenwald will continue to be Atlantic's President. And of course we are blessed to remain under the watchful eye of Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic's Founding Chairman.
On an administrative note, Jason's departure also means that the Lava Records joint venture will become a wholly owned unit of The Atlantic Records Group.

I know I speak on behalf of the entire Company in thanking Jason for all of the incredible contributions he has made to Atlantic over the years, and I want to personally wish him only the best of everything.

Sincerely,
Lyor Cohen

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