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Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 02-25-07

Cims_82 Pos. ARTIST  |  TITLE
1 WILLIAMS*LUCIND|WEST
2 EXPLOSIONS IN T|ALL OF A SUDDE
3 ANBERLIN|CITIES
4 SHINS|WINCING THE NIGHT AWAY
5 GRIFFIN*PATTY|CHILDREN RUNNING
6 JONES*NORAH|NOT TOO LATE
7 ALLEN*LILY|ALRIGHT STILL
8 BLOC PARTY|WEEKEND IN THE CITY
9 FALL OUT BOY|INFINITY ON HIGH
10 GOOD THE BAD & |GOOD THE BAD &
11 RAE*CORINNE BAI|CORINNE BAILEY
12 PETER BJORN & J|WRITERS BLOCK
13 FOSTER*RUTHIE|PHENOMENAL RUTHI
14 DIXIE CHICKS|TAKING THE LONG W
15 OF MONTREAL|HISSING FAUNA ARE
16 JESU|CONQUEROR
17 MAYER*JOHN|VILLAGE SESSION EP
18 DROPPING DAYLIG|BRACE YOURSELF
19 MAYER*JOHN|CONTINUUM
20 SPEKTOR*REGINA|BEGIN TO HOPE

Read the entire indie Top 200 after the jump.

Continue reading "Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 02-25-07" »


New Music Business Briefing For 2/27/07: MP3 Lawsuits Weighed, New Music Cells, Satelitte Shows Gains & More

>>> The industry is beginning to weigh potential fallout from lawsuits over mp3 patents. For now atMusic_phone_nokia_n_series_3 least is business as usual.

>>> Cell makers are about to deliver a new wave of feature rich cell phones that include more music storage.

>>> Sony BMG withdraws a Deep Purple live release after band's singer complains.

>>> Unlicensed online sheet music may be the next big target of industry lawsuits.

Sirius_15 >>> A new Arbitron survey shows that satellite radio accounts for a surprising 3.4% of radio listening. Meanwhile Sirius reported subscriber gains and another quarterly loss of a mere $245 million


New Music Business Briefing For 2/27/07: Changes At eMusic, BitTorrent Gets Legit, Tequila Says No To Labels, & More

Rumors_4 RUMOR:  We hear that there were a few layoffs at eMusic last week. Are profits down or are they just trying to make the numbers pretty before looking for a buyer? 
Emusic_20
>>> Meanwhile eMusic head David Packman is publicly predicting that DRAM will be dead by 2008.  He may be right but it's interesting that he's leading the charge for a change that could add a lot of competition that would challenge his own business.

>>> BitTorrent has opened a paid movie and TV download store. Music is said to be up next.

>>> Tila Tequila who has almost 1.7 million friends on MySpace claims to have rejected two labels and is releasing her first single exclusively via iTunes. 

>>> Politically themed music scored well at the Oscars.


Broadcast Radio Risking Irrelevance

Radio_tower_9 Media consultant Jerry Del Colliano is calling on broadcast radio to get involved aggressively and creatively in internet broadcasting or risk becoming dinosaurs when universal WiFi becomes available.

"They've lost the next generation as they migrated to their mobile devices and the Internet. So what does that say? Well, when they are not fighting Arbitron's People Meter or when they stubbornly try to sell HD radio as the next big thing, they make excuses." More @  Inside Music Media via R.A.I.N.


KOCH To Get New Owners

The same public market investments that many believe robbed the major labels of their entrepreneurial spirit, creativity and stomach for artist development, is now finding its way into the independent music sector.Kochent_1

Entertainment One, the firm that owns leading North American indie distributor and label KOCH, is being acquired by the UK's Marwyn Investment Management under the moniker Earl Street Capital Ltd.  Earl Street earlier this month entered into a conditional agreement to buy all of Entertainment One for $167 million USD including estimated debt of $58.6 million.  Entertainment One had originally purchased KOCH in 2005 for approximately $80 million.

Earl Street proposes to raise equity via a stock offering and that together with debt underwritten by TD Bank will fund the acquisition and provide working capital. It would also be common for lay-offs and cut-backs to follow.


EMI Update: DRM Free Talks Halted. New Buyers Emerge.

Talks between EMI and a number of download providers seeking upfront payments for DRM free catalog offerings have ended according to Bloomberg News. Discussions included Microsoft, Apple, RealNetworks, Yahoo!and Amazon with some deal virtually complete as little as just two weeks ago.

Emi_87In addition to  a reluctance to make large advance payments a  major stumbling block is the potential sale of EMI to WMG or other investors.  Last week's court rulings involving the licensing of the mp3 technology would also only serve to dampen an further discussions. "It's a setback,'' Harold Vogel, an independent media analyst in New York, said in an interview. "That this industry fights every change tooth-and-nail is not helping reverse the tide."

New Buyers Emerge -
US buyout firm Fortress, which raised $635M earlier this month, is said to be reviewing EMI's numbers in anticipation of an approach  Apollo, One Equity (a private-equity firm linked to JP Morgan) and Permira (which was close to buying EMI late last year) are also reviewing their options as is the Warner Music Group.



New Music Business Briefing For 2/26/07:

>>> Last week's $1.52 billion ruling against Microsoft for use of mp3 technology could have a chilling effect on the entire music industry just as more labels were moving towards the format. Generic_headphone_computer_23 Wired.com took an in depth look at the issue and concluded that one or more of the open source digital formats might be the answer.

>>> Internet radio added 26 million new monthly listeners in 2006 proving the viability of the media. 75% of the listening happened at work.

>>> Europe's largest indie Ministry Of Sound is protesting IMPALA's decision to back the WMG bid for EMI.

Cds_color_30 >>> The EU commission investigating the Sony BMG merger is looking at consolidation's effect on CD pricing.

Fcc_15 >>> The FCC commissioners continued their series of public hearings on media consolidation in PA. Commissioners complained about the effect serious news and local content, but did not mention the effect on music or promise any solutions.


Recent Changes Inside The Executive Suites

A review of recent shifts inside the executive suites courtesy of The Music Registry :

  • In A&R, Ron Laffite exits Capitol, Brian Postelle exits Virgin, and Cliff Audretch III joins Universal South.
  • Caroline Records is reactivated with Jeff Rougvie as GM and Jermaine Dupri joins Island as President/Urban. Former V2 President Andy Gershon has moved to Epic and former Virgin President Matt Serletic has opend a new label.
  • In Publishing, industry veteran Steve Smith has formed Anthem Entertainment, EMI Music Publishing names Stephen Dallas, Sr. as Director of Business/Legal Affair
  • In Film & Television Music, Paramount TV and CBS TV Music Departments have merged and moved to a new location.

Europe's Largest Indie Protests WMG EMI Bid

Ministry of Sound, Europe's largest indie label best known for it's dance hits and compilations, hasMinistryof_sound left the UK's Association of Independent Music over the trade group's European umbrella organization Impala's endorsement of Warner Music's bid for EMI.  (see previous story)

Ministry of Sound's Lohan Presencer said that he was "shocked" and argued that "...previous mergers of Universal/Polygram and SonyBMG had dramatically affected our lEmi_86evel of support at retail, access to media, ability to licence major owned catalogue for our Wmg_55 compilations and pricing....If a trade body claims to represent our interests and then does nothing to protect them, we have no choice but to do what's best for our business."  Presencer said that  M.O.S. would directly oppose any EMI and WMG merger before European regulatory bodies.

Various sources say that a number of other indie labels are considering leaving AIM or Impala_logo_6IMPALA. Earlier in the week EMI informed WMG (who has yet to make a formal bid) that it was concerned over EU approval and was also in talks with several private equity firms who would not face the same anti-trust barriers.

More: Discussion on the Velvet Rope.


New Music Business Briefing For 2/23/07:

Microsoft_5 >>> A court has ordered Microsoft to pay $1.52 billion in damages for use of two digital msusic patents owned by Acatal-Lucent that convert audio files to mp3's on the PC. That's a lot 'o Zunes.

>>> A new study says that ad supported video online will be far surpassed by paid video downloads in the next few years.

Tv_13 >>> Universal label Suretone (Weezer) will start seeding P2P's with incomplete music videos that link back to the label's ad supported web site for compete viewing.

>>> UK retailer CD WOW again catches industry flack for selling imported CD's cheaper than price regulated UK product.

>>> (Not Steve)JOBS:  Max Tolkoff leaves FNX Boston for the Indie 101 PD job in LA. Ex-Virgin Andy Gershon is named EVP at Epic. Expect more moves at Epic/Columbia. Justin Neschi gets the top digital VP post at WMG. And Ian Rogers will head Yahoo Music.

Mouse_33 >>> Worthy Click:  Southmouth.com - All the news from all the sources on all yourfavorite bands all the time.

Continue reading "New Music Business Briefing For 2/23/07:" »


Ian Rogers To Head Yahoo! Music

Ian Rogers has been named GM of Yahoo! Music according to Billboard.biz.  He replaces both David Goldberg and Robert Roback who last week announced their resignations. Rogers was most recently VP of product development for Yahoo Music and will report to Vince Broady who heads entertainment Yahoomusic_5 for the company. 

Like most download and subscription services other than iTunes and perhaps eMusic, Yahoo has struggled to gain consumer traction. But Rogers has been promoted just as sea of change appears about to take place in the sector.  Some smaller players will probably fall buy the wayside and powerful new competition like Amazon will enter the fray.  But most importantly, more labels seem poised to drop DRM which will not only spark consumer interest but also level the playing field by providing iPod compatibly. 


KCRW Gets $500K To Experiment Online

LA's KCRW-FM has been awarded a $500,000 grant from The Annenberg Foundation to develop business models to sustain webcasting activities and further its innovative online Kcrwlogo_lores_4music service.  The station has been a pioneer on the Internet launching three live streams (simulcast, all-news and all-music) in 1999.

KCRW's GM Ruth Seymour believes that “public broadcasting faces unique challenges in the online world. We have spent years educating the audience about the relationship between listenerRadio_9 contributions and programming. But that relationship doesn’t appear to resonate online. Many users listening on the Web may not even understand that they are hearing a real radio station. This is especially true for KCRW’s most successful podcast programs.”

Currently, KCRW.com generates more than 1.6 million live streaming hours per month. In January  nearly 1 million podcasts were downloaded.


Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 02-18-07

Cims_81 Pos.  ARTIST | TITLE
1 WILLIAMS*LUCIND|WEST
2 JONES*NORAH|NOT TOO LATE
3 SHINS|WINCING THE NIGHT AWAY
4 GRIFFIN*PATTY|CHILDREN RUNNING
5 RAE*CORINNE BAI|CORINNE BAILEY
6 DIXIE CHICKS|TAKING THE LONG W
7 BLOC PARTY|WEEKEND IN THE CITY
8 FOSTER*RUTHIE|PHENOMENAL RUTHI
9 ALLEN*LILY|ALRIGHT STILL
10 MAYER*JOHN|CONTINUUM
11 FALL OUT BOY|INFINITY ON HIGH
12 GOOD THE BAD & |GOOD THE BAD &
13 OF MONTREAL|HISSING FAUNA ARE
14 MAYER*JOHN|VILLAGE SESSION EP
15 BEATLES|LOVE   
16 LEVERT*GERALD|IN MY SONGS
17 SPEKTOR*REGINA|BEGIN TO HOPE
18 MORRISON*VAN|VAN MORRISON AT T
19 PETER BJORN & J|WRITERS BLOCK
20 CLAP YOUR HANDS|SOME LOUD THUN

Read the entire CIMS Top 200 after the jump.

Continue reading " Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 02-18-07" »


Hypebot's Music Industry Week In Review

>>> EMI Is For Sale Again :Emi_85

  • The Warner Music Group is making another attempt at buying a struggling EMI Music. 
  • As a preemptive move to gain European regulatory approval , WMG made cut an innovative deal with indie trade group IMPALA to guarantee their support of any merger.  Previously IMPALA had fought merger moves by Sony and BMG.
  • Several investment firms are also said to be eying a bid for EMI.

>>> Competing satellite broadcasters Sirius and XM have agreed to merge. Regulatory approval could prove tricky.Iphone_6

>>> Apple has settled it's dispute with Cisco over the iPhone name...they're sharing it.

Riaa_4 >>> The RIAA is going after another 15,000 college students from 25 colleges for illegal file sharing.

>>> Part 1 of Hypebot's guide to the upcoming industry confab SXSW including a Torrent of 700+ free mp3's of showcasing bands.


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EMI Seeks Bids Beyond WMG

According to the Financial Times of London, EMI is in talks with several private equity firms including Emi_84One Equity Partners a US group affiliated with JPMorgan Chase exploring alternatives to Warner Music's reported $6 billion approach.

People familiar with the discussions say that no firm offers have been made yet, as Warner and private equity suitors want to "conduct extensive due diligence on EMI's operations after it issued two profit warnings in quick succession since the start of the year".


Steve Jobs Learns To Share...iPhone Name With Cisco

Applelogo_63 Steve Jobs got a gold star yesterday for working well with others.

Apple and Cisco have agreed to share the iPhone brand and explore ways their products can Iphone_4work together, according to a joint statement late yesterday. Cisco sued Apple last month for violating a trademark Cisco registered in  2000.

Cisco gets to share Apple's shiney image and what choice did Jobs really have? Somehow iCell just doesn't have much of a ring to it...


The RIAA Smack Down Of 15,000 College Students

Legal_10 15,000 students from 25 US colleges and university have just received complaints from the RIAA alleging illegal music file sharing  The top five offending schools were Ohio, Purdue, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Tennessee and the University of South Carolina.

This totals nearly triple the number for the previous school year. But the RIAA seems convinced the program is working.  Riaa_toiletpaper_3 "It's something we feel we have to do," RIAA President Cary Sherman said. "We have to let people know that if they engage in this activity, they are not anonymous." 

"They" and all of their friends and classmates also never ever going to buy CD's from the labels that support such actions. 


SXSW "How To Guide" Part I

SXSW is just a few weeks away and it's time to start figuring out what bands you want to see, how your going to connect with the hundreds in your extended network that are attending and how much time you can spend attending various panels and the trade show. 

Fortunately SXSW has created a "toolbox" to help you navigate this often overwhelming experience:

  • Sxsw2007 SXSW SMS send update to your mobile. Perfect for last minute changes as the convention unfolds.
  • An Online Registrant Directory so you can see who else is going and set advance hook-ups.
  • A compendium of SXSW reletated podcasts.  (You can add your own cast for free.)
  • Most of the above content and more is also accessible via your cell via SXSW.mobi.
  • A special SXSW Torrent with mp3's of 739 showcasing bands.

We'll be publishing more info during the run-up to SXSW and provide live coverage with three people on the ground.  It will all be archived under a new SXSW 2007 category. If you've got SXSW news or showcase info you want to share with fellow Hypebot readers please send it in.



Hypebot Adds Industy Stock Quotes

As you may have noticed we've added a stock ticker and news feed to the right handStock_market_1 column featuring music industry related stocks. This will appear daily and is constantly updated throughout the day.

We'd love your feedback at to which 10 U.S. traded industry related stocks you'd like us to track.


Weekly Hip Hop Business News From ProHipHop

From ProHipHop


Who Needs Broadcast Radio? Microsoft To Unveil Sync

Microsoft_4 Both General Motors and Ford will unveil a deal with Microsoft in the coming months that will put the software company's technology into some automobiles, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The system, known as Sync, is designed to allow hands-free mobile phone communication and other wireless information transfers in the car, including email and music streaming and downloads sources told the WSJ.

With free unlimited streaming via the internet; who needs broadcast or satellite radio?



WMG Buys Euro Indie Backing Of Bid For EMI

More details are emerging as the dance between EMI and suitor Warner Music continues.

Emi_83 One of the major road blocks to any hookup between WMG and EMI has always been obtaining anti-trust approval of European Commission.  European indie music trade group IMPALA has already successfully forced the Sony BMG merger back for re-approval.  Today WMG announced that it has cut a deal with IMPALA that would have the indie label group actually endorsing the merger.

Warner Music has promised that if a deal to buy EMI is closed it will:

  • provide specified but unnamed funding for but take no equity participation in the recently announced Merlin initiative, the new global digital rights licensing platform established by the independent music labels to represent the world'sWmg_54 independent music sector
  • ensure the divestiture of certain unspecified "recorded music assets to reinforce the market power of the independent sector"
  • pursue "various other behavioral commitments which have the aim of benefiting the recorded music market as a whole and, in particular, the independent music sector"

EMI today acknowledged that WMG has again approached them but says that so far no specific offer has been made. Lawyers on both sides are already lining up for their piece of the action.

COMMENTARY -
WMG gets points for overcoming this hurdle prior to making a new offer EMI. But...

Impala_logo_5 IMPALA what are you thinking?

Do you believe that even by banding together indies can't compete with the big bad majors? The poor little Indies even need Uncle Edgar's money to fund their own new licensing organization Merlin.  Too bad you think so little of yourselves.  We thought you were our last best hope to save the industry.


New Music Business Briefing For 2/20/07: WMG Wants EMI, Sirius Buys XM, Sony BMG Layoffs Loom & Much More

Yesterday may have been a holiday for some, but there was still plenty of major new music business news:Emi_82

>>> A struggling EMI is being approached by WMG again about a takeover or merger. The news caused EMI's battered stock to jump but any deal faces EU regulatory hurdles.

Xm_sirius_1 >>> Rival sattelite networks Sirius and XM have agreed to merge with Sirius offering XM stock holders a a premium price.  But major regulatory hurdles loom with both the FCC who would have to overturn a previous ruling and the Department of Justice over potential antitrust issues.

>>> Rumors are growing that there will be big layoffs soon at Sony BMG. Most are centered around a combining of the Columbia and Epic labels much like the recent Virgin Capital coupling.

>>> Ringtone pioneers like Zingy and Dwango are scrambling to make the transition from a dieing polyphonic ringtone market to master ringtones and full song downloads. (Reuters)

Youtube_32 >>> A YouTube plan to offer filtering software only to companies that have content deals with the company is drawing industry fire.

>>> Apple and Cisco continue discussion over iPhone name. (AP)

>>> David Crosby is ill postponing upcoming Crosby, Stills, and Nash tour.


EMI Music Division Appears For Sale

EMI could sell or spinn off its recorded music division as part of a radical overhaul, according to reports Emi_81 from the UK in an effort  to reverse falling profits. The plan is apparently being given serious consideration by EMI's board.

The goal is to radically cut costs and boost the EMI share price leaving EMI essentially a very profitable music publishing company with a catalog of more than one million songs.

And more details have emerge on efforts by EMI Music to get much needed cash by getting advances from download services to switch to DRM free mp3's as well as Real Networks approach to all labels to drop copy protection. Read more here.


Do We Really Care About The Fans?

Despite the mind numbing idiocy of labels suing fans for downloading a few songs, the fan/artist relationship has been the music industry's mantra for the last few years. How do we best create, nurture and of course monetize it.  But how far have we really come? In a forward thinking essay Doc Searls writes in the Linux Journal:
Concertcrowd_9
"Yes, we can go to websites, subscribe to music services, use iTunes or other supply-controlled intermediating systems and deal with artists inside those systems. But there still isn't anything that allows us to deal directly, on our own terms, with artists and their intermediaries. Put another way, we don't yet have the personal means for establishing relationships with artists."

Searls only riffs on possible solutions. "It can't be limited to a browser. I want a button, or a something, on my MP3 player that allows me to relate not only to IT Conversations as Festival_15an intermediary, but to the artist as well -- if the artist is interested. They may not be. But I want that function supported. What we need on the user's side is a tool, or a set of tools, that support both independence and engagement." (more)

Bold stuff. Maybe impossible. But somehow it gets past the clutter to the root question.  How far do we really want to go to engage, listen to and learn from our audience?


Can the Major Labels Save Themselves?

Wmg_53 The value of Warner Music Group stock has fallen almost 20% this week trading at the end of Thursday at $18.12 on weak earnings forecasts and an increasingly gloomy sales picture for the entire sector.  WMG 's 52 week high had been $31.00.

EMI stock is suffering the same fate falling 12% earlier in the week on poor sales and lower forecasts.

The labels had hoped that digital revenues including downloads and mobile would helpEmi_80 them stem the tide of losses. But so far digital dollars - and drastic cost cutting at all labels that may be far from over according to our sources - have not been enough to turn these giant ships around.

Could mp3's be a part of the answer?   Perhaps. Only some kind of  bold move can lUniversal_24eave the major labels looking anything like they do today. 

Or they could rip it apart and start all over again.  Gone are the private jets - yes they still use them - replaced by a cadre of young affordable staff passionate about music, versed in the digital world and viral marketing and ready to die for their bands. These people are out there toiling away at our great indie labels.  Come on Edgar and Jimmy. Give them a chance.  LetSonybmg_50 them be backed by a great catalog whose revenue stream even out the rough earnings spots.

Oh wait...this can never happen!   You've got quarterly earnings targets to hit.  Wall Street wants profits; not great music.  You guys killed the business you knew  when you sold out to public companies and lost the entrepreneurial spirit. 

But the music will survive. No amount of money can kill it.


Can Mobile Save Warner Music?

Fusic_12 At the international mobile confab 3GSM in Spain yesterday Warner Music Gro up announced several new deals with leading mobile operators to deliver WMG music across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. This follow recent WMG mobile deals in Japan, South Wmg_52Korea, Russia, China and Latin America.

At the same gathering WMG head Edgar Bronfman Jr. decried the barriers created by the cost and complexity of current mobile music delivery systems "It's expensive, it's complicated andIphone_5 it's slow," he said. "It's amazing that we've generated as much revenue as we have given how cumbersome the experience can be...So many platforms aren't capable of even the most basic content configurations, like a track bundled with a video".  The executive praised Apple's iPhone for raising the bar even prior to release.

Continue reading "Can Mobile Save Warner Music?" »


Misc. Hypebot Stuff

  • The RSS feed seems to be working again. Please let us know is you have any other problems with it.
  • Vote in the DRM poll on the right re: "Which Major Label Will Be the First To Embrace MP3's...". We'll be replacing it next week. What would you like to see us poll Hypebot readers about?
  • You may want to get in on the lively conversation happening in the comments section under yesterday's post "New Study Sat Stop Blaming P2P For Sales Drop".

Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 02-11-07

Cims_80 Pos. ARTIST  |  TITLE
1 GRIFFIN*PATTY|CHILDREN RUNNING
2 SHINS|WINCING THE NIGHT AWAY
3 BLOC PARTY|WEEKEND IN THE CITY
4 JONES*NORAH|NOT TOO LATE
5 FALL OUT BOY|INFINITY ON HIGH
6 BAYSIDE|WALKING WOUNDED
7 MOE.|CONCH      
8 ALLEN*LILY|ALRIGHT STILL
9 PETER BJORN & J|WRITERS BLOCK
10 CLAP YOUR HANDS|SOME LOUD THUN
11 GOOD THE BAD & |GOOD THE BAD &
12 FOSTER*RUTHIE|PHENOMENAL RUTHI
13 JONES*RICKIE LE|SERMON ON EXPL
14 SPEKTOR*REGINA|BEGIN TO HOPE
15 MAYER*JOHN|VILLAGE SESSION EP
16 BEATLES|LOVE   
17 OF MONTREAL|HISSING FAUNA ARE
18 WILLIAMS*KELLER|DREAM
19 APPLES IN STERE|NEW MAGNETIC W
20 RAE*CORINNE BAI|CORINNE BAILEY

Read the full CIMS Top 200 after the jump.

Continue reading "Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 02-11-07" »