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Indies Slam MySpace But Keep Their Pages Updated

Myspace_music_logo Major voices in the independent label community are crying foul over the deal MySpace Music is offering them that does not include the equity afforded the four major labels. But their displeasure has not extended to the pages they maintain on the popular social networker.

  • Koch Koch Records decried the "smoke and mirrors" of MySpace's launch announcements rejecting the "cold embrace" of a service it dubbed "MajorSpace", but updated its MySpace page just yesterday.
  • German digital distributor Finetunes called the deal "hardly fitting" and questioned how well Beggars_groupMySpace would do if indies pulled out. But their own page is still posted and was updated just days ago.
  • Beggars Banquet's Martin Mills called the MySpace Music offer "both disappointing and astonishing", but his company still has pages for both its UK and French label groups.

Ironically, because these companies have not signed deals with MySpace, Koch, Beggars, Finetunes and the artists they display and stream on their will not share in the ad revenue generated.

MORE: More Indies Speak Out Against MySpace, VOTE: Should Indies Sign With MySpace Music?, The Orchard's Greg Scholl On MySpace Equity & Why He Made The Deal

Is eMusic In A Slump?

Within the various announcements and coverage of the resignation of eMusic David Pakman were some interesting tidbits:Emusic

  • Subscribers were pegged at 400,000 - a number that eMusic has been touting for almost a year
  • Annual revenue was reportedly $70 million
  • A new CEO will be tasked with pushing revenue "well passed $100 million
  • The company would not confirm if it is profitable or not

Rumors have also begun circulating that quarterly checks to many labels were down for the first time ever. Did Pakman leave because eMusic is in a slump?  And with both labels and consumers being offered more outlets than ever, what can eMusic do to stimulat growth?

More: Pakman Leaves eMusic

AllOfMP3 Is Back...Or Something Damn Close To It

  • Mp3count_2 Amy Winehouse, Back To Black $1.78
  • Justin Timeberlake, Love Sounds $2.27
  • My Chemical Romance, The Black People $2.27

Allofmp3 MP3count.com is a Ukrainian based site that appears to claim simliar regulations that price digital royalties by file size that the notorious allofmp3, mp3sparks and mp3sugar once did.  It even takes VISA and MasterCard. Supposedly these sites were shut down after intense U.S. and international pressure. MP3count justifies its pricing with:

License GP "UAASP"
According to this license our site remunerates deductions for the copyrights for every downloaded composition. 

We7 Adds The Orchard For Ad Supported Streams

Orchard We7_3 We7 has added more than 1.3 million tracks from digital distributor The Orchard for ad-funded, on-demand streaming, downloads and paid-for mp3 downloads. We7 users will be able to listen to full tracks and albums on an unlimited basis at no cost, create personal playlists, and share them with friends. We7 plays short, targeted audio ads before each streamed track. (more)

Tuesday's Music Briefing: MySpace, eMusic, Universal, Limewire & Much More



  • Universal Universal Music Group (UMG)  has appointed Jeffrey Harleston to Senior Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs (press release)
  • Activision's CEO has suggests that record labels should pay for game placement. (Billboard)
  • The new Nintendo may have an mp3 player and camera. (Game Daily)
  • Limewire The EFF tells the court to tread lightly when ruling on Limewire.  (ars)
  • Musik1.net debuts a variety of release campaign solutions. (press release)
  • Another music focused social networking site Babulous claims to have attracted 750,000 users in beta. (press release)
  • Queens NY indie VP Records grabs producer Lloyd 'King Jammys' James and his vast catalog. (Jamaica Gleaner)

EMI Music Promotes Three Executives

Emilogo_small EMI Music Publishing has promoted three executives to key commercial roles within its Music Resources and Music Services divisions.

Jovanka Ciares has been appointed Vice President of Music Services & Licensing with responsibility for the company’s licensing and negotiations with national and global advertising agencies. Marty Fernandi and Eric Shaw have both been promoted to Vice President positions within the Music Resources team, working on new business development and creative music supervision with brands, agencies, video game developers and merchandising companies.

Pakman Leaves eMusic

Emusic_2 eMusic has announced that President and CEO David Pakman will depart the company. Pakman will become a partner at an unnamed venture capital firm and eMusic has retained the Barlow Group, a Connecticut-based executive search firm to recruit a replacement.

Pakman will remain through the end of 2008 and remain a member of eMusic's advisory team serving on the company's Board. He joined eMusic as Chief Operating Officer in 2004 and was elevated to CEO in August 2005.

Some including Hypebot have been critical of Pakman and eMusic for a business model that pays less than 40 cents per track to labels and gives away thousands of free downloads without accounting for them. But Packman has been a aggressive and often effective advocate for his company and as such may be hard to replace.

Continue reading "Pakman Leaves eMusic" »

More Indies Speak Out Against MySpace

Myspace_music_logo In recent days, a growing chorus of independent labels and trade groups have expressed displeasure over a deals offered them by MySpace Music that dis not include equity similar to that given to the four major labels. Hypebot has previously printed comments from Merlin ("unhealthy and dangerous") Koch ("a cold embrace") and A2IM ("disappointed"). Today other indie leaders weighed in:

"...questions have to be asked about market dominance. On the face of it, this would appear to be a move by the majors to regain control of distribution...Also very worrying is that we find much of our content up and available on the new service, despite the fact that we have no licence in place with them." - Martin Mills, Chairman Beggars Group

"Our lovers were cheating on us. Now we need to hire a great divorce lawyer." - Tom Silverman, Founder and CEO Tommy Boy Records

"We'll see how sustainable the shared equity business of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and the major labels really is. Perhaps artists will soon be telling their fans: get the real me...not at MySpace." - Oke Göttlich, CEO Finetunes GmbH 

Full transcripts of their comments after the jump.

Continue reading "More Indies Speak Out Against MySpace" »

Big Changes For Zune?

Late last week Microsoft Zune users received notice that the entire online Zune system would be down for a full 48 hours starting today. That's an eternity in the online world and coming just prior to the holiday shopping season, it hints at a major effort to re-tool what has been only a marginally successful product.

UPDATE: The Xbox Live site is down and a merger of the two sites is expected.  (Thanks to Hypebot reader Matt for the tip.) Zune's email read:

Zune_logo The Zune service will be down for scheduled maintenance on Monday, September 29, 2008 from 12:01am Pacific Time, for up to 48 hours. During the downtime, Zune Social, the forums on Zune.net, and all of Zune Marketplace will be offline.

Continue reading "Big Changes For Zune?" »

U.S. House Throws Net Radio A Lifeline

Soundexchange_3 The U.S. House of Representatives last night approved by voice vote legislation that could help all webcasters. The Digital Media Association (DiMA), SoundExchange, NPR and the RIAA have issued a joint statement applauding the swift action of the House Dima_color_logo_2. The bill now moves to the Senate with passage expected early this week

The legislation authorizes SoundExchange, on behalf of copyright owners and performers, to negotiate new royalty agreements for internet radio through February 15, Npr_2 2009 with DiMA, NPR and all other net radio services including simulcasters. This modification enables negotiations to continue while Congress is in recess as well as implementation of an agreement if the parties can reach an accord. 
Nothing in this bill affects the scope of sound recording performance rights or any underlying copyright law.

Continue reading "U.S. House Throws Net Radio A Lifeline" »

Blue Light Special: Walmart Ends WMA Support 10/9

Walmart.com has given just two weeks notice to customers that it will end support of WMA downloads purchased there by shutting down server access on October 9th.  Microsoft and Yahoo are makiWalmartng similar moves, but are offering much longer notices.  The WalMart email read:

From: Walmart Music Team
Date: Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 7:42 PM
Subject: Important Information About Your Walmart.com Digital Music Purchases
To: ______ @gmail.com

Important Information About Your Digital Music Purchases

We hope you are enjoying the increased music quality/bitrate and the improved usability of Walmart's MP3 music downloads. We began offering MP3s in August 2007 and have offered only DRM (digital rights management) -free MP3s since February 2008. As the final stage of our transition to a full DRM-free MP3 download store, Walmart will be shutting down our digital rights management system that supports protected songs and albums purchased from our site.

If you have purchased protected WMA music files from our site prior to Feb 2008, we strongly recommend that you back up your songs...

Continue reading "Blue Light Special: Walmart Ends WMA Support 10/9" »

Monday's Music Briefing: Zune, Dylan, G'nR, Shazam, Six Degrees & Much More



  • Npr_2 NPR gets the new Bob Dylan release a week early for online streaming. (AP)
  • The long awaited new Guns 'n Roses appears set for a Best Buy only release around November 25th. (Reuters) Will the exclusive extends to digital and the Best Buy owned Napster?
  • A look at indie musician Jonathan Coulton who has created a niche of techies and geeks via YouTube and the internet. (ars)
  • iPhone Music ID software Shazam has been download 1.5 million times in the last six weeks. (press release) It makes you wonder if people are longing for radio to back-announce songs. I know that I do...
  • Six_degees_logo_2 Giving music away may not always be the best strategy.  Giving it away with the right partner to the right audience is. Eclectic indie label Six Degrees has partnered with Batanga.com to offer 10 free Latin tracks in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. (sampler) LINK CORRECTED. MY APOLOGIES.
  • The Amazon MP3 store turns one year old. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Music managers Union Entertainment Group home to Nickelback, Hinder, Candlebox and RED, announcedthe addition of three industry vets: Dave Loncao, Brad Roosa and Kevin "Chief" Zaruk. (FMQB)

Music Industry Week In Review: MySpace, The Orchard, SanDisk & More

Pandora & Net Radio Need Our Support Now


Legislation is being considered this weekend that would help internet radio (read more).  Pandora and others are calling on fans of net radio to contact their Congressmen today.

After a yearlong negotiation, Pandora, artists and record companies are finally optimistic about reaching an agreement on royalties that would save Pandora and Internet radio. But just as we've gotten close, large traditional broadcast radio companies have launched a covert lobbying campaign to sabotage our progress.

Continue reading "Pandora & Net Radio Need Our Support Now" »

Last Minute Legislation Looms: Net Radio & Piracy

Congress A financial bailout is not the only thing that Congress is working on as it rushes towards a pre-election recess.  Last minute bills that could dramatically effect music fans as well as webcasters and antipiracy efforts are the subject of back room wheelings and dealings.

A bill introduced in Congress offers hope for negotiations over drastically increased performance royalties for net radio. The Webcaster Settlement Act authorizes SoundExchange, on behalf of copyright owners and performers, to negotiate alternative royalty agreement before the end of the year with net radio services. Late Friday, however, Tech Daily Dose  reported that lobbyists for radio are "worried about competition from webcasters and extinguishing the bill would throw a wrench into the royalty talks." (more at R.A.I.N.)

Another bill would encourage a government crack down on piracy by boosting...

Continue reading "Last Minute Legislation Looms: Net Radio & Piracy" »

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The Muxtape Story: Lies, Labels, Lawyers & Rebirth

"The industry will catch up some day, it pretty much has to."

Muxtape_3 The front page of shuttered playlist site Muxtape has been replaced by founder Justin Oulette's odyssey from web experimenter to major label pariah and all of duplicitous negotiations, mixed signals and false assumptions in between. 

It's the story of a somewhat naive entrepreneur butting heads with a major label system which seems determined to sue rather than deal and whose trade body the RIAA marches to its own drum without consulting its members. But in the end there's also optimism, as Muxtape turns into a platform to help indie artists thrive on the net. Some highlights:

Emi "The people I met (at EMI) formed a semi-circle around me like a split brain, legal on one side and business development on the other. The meeting alternated between an intense grilling from the legal side (“you are a willful infringer and we are mere hours from shutting you down”) and an awkward discussion with the business side (“assuming we don’t shut you down, how do you see us working together?”). I asked for two weeks to make a proposal, they gave me two days..."

"I approached a Fifth Ave law firm about representing me in licensing negotiations with the major labels, and they took me on. Two weeks later I met with...

Continue reading "The Muxtape Story: Lies, Labels, Lawyers & Rebirth" »

The Orchard's Greg Scholl On MySpace Equity & Why He Made The Deal

Myspace_music_logo_3 Merlin, A2IM and Koch along with some in the independent music community have complained loudly that the deal offered by MySpace Music doesn't give them the same equity stake as the major labels. "Any independent deal struck without an equity component (as was done with the majors), will see independent labels face a situation whereby their major competitors will profit from the use of their repertoire without an appropriate upside opportunity being extended to them," states Merlin CEO Charles Caldas.

Orchard_logo_3 But The Orchard, one of digital music's biggest aggregators, was happy to sign. "I see MySpace Music's short and medium term potential to provide revenue to artists and labels for doing what they already do: engage their fans on MySpace," Orchard CEO Greg Scholl told Hypebot.

Orchards_scholl_5 "We were concerned with aggressively negotiating the highest rate possible." he continued. "I see all of this talk about equity as a bit of a red herring. What is equity worth when it can be diluted by new stock offerings and other financial maneuvers? We should be concerned with arguing for a share of the profits" if, for example, there were an asset sale.

The deal that The Orchard signed is "not particularly long term"...

Continue reading "The Orchard's Greg Scholl On MySpace Equity & Why He Made The Deal" »

Koch's Rejects "Cold Embrace" of "MajorSpace"

Koch Records has joined Merlin and A2IM in rejecting the deal offered independent labels by MySpace Music.

Kochent "KOCH Records, as the #1 Independent label in the U.S. for the last 7 years, was disappointed to see MySpace's 'smoke and mirrors' announcement regarding its new music service. Essentially it has announced a deal with the majors and has in effect become MajorSpace."

"It is unconscionable that it would give equity positions to the majors and treat the independent community as...

Continue reading "Koch's Rejects "Cold Embrace" of "MajorSpace"" »

A2IM Joins Merlin's Call For Indie MySpace Equity

US indie label trade group A2IM has joined Merlin in calling on MySpace Music to offer independent labels a equity stake similar to that given to the four major label groups.

A2im "A2IM is disappointed that MySpace Music, previously a champion of independent music, has not included independent music labels as equity participants as they have done with the major labels, thus not giving independently owned music labels parity. We are also disappointed that...

Continue reading "A2IM Joins Merlin's Call For Indie MySpace Equity" »

Friday's Music Briefing: Microsoft Wins MP3 Case, Jay-Z Starts Label, EU Rejects 3 Strikes & More

HYPEBOT FEATURES:Myspace_music_logo_4


  • Microsoft_2 Microsoft has won a court case that, if the decision had gone the other way, would have forced an additional payment on most downloads for use of mp3 technology. (IT Examiner)
  • Jay-Z and Grammy nominated production duo Stargate (responsible for producing such #1 songs as "Irreplaceable" by Beyoncé, "Take A Bow" by Rihanna and "Closer" by Ne-Yo) have formed of a new label and publishing company StarRoc funded via his 360 deal with Live Nation. (FMQB)
  • Universal is planning its own online video destination. (Billboard)
  • Legal The EU Parliment has voted against a P2P three strikes law. (TorrentFreak)
  • The judge in the Jammie Thomas file sharing case brought by the RIAA has declared a mistrial and ordered a new trial. (AP)
  • Generally positive reaction to MySpace Music from Listening Post, Coolfer. AP, and PaidContent
  • Toshiba has invested $20 million in retail kiosk provider MOD Systems whose sytem downloads onto SD cards. (press release)
  • Fontana announces an aggressive fourth quarter schedule of indie releases. (press release)

MySpace Responds To Merlin's Accusations

Indie trade group Merlin has been hitting MySpace hard in the last 24 hours with allegations that they have been unable to make a deal on behalf of their indie label members with Myspace Music which launched today. I asked MySpace for reaction:

Myspace_music_logo_6 “We have offered a relationship with Merlin that provides equal opportunities to Merlin’s labels and Merlin’s artists that we have provided to ALL labels and artists whether they are Indie Artists, Major Artists or Unsigned artists. We hope that the entire Music Community including the Labels and all Artists will take advantage of the unique relationship that Myspace has built between Artists and Fans.” 

MySpace Music: Details & Commentary

COMMENTARY: MySpace Music is open for business and a new features represent a true step forward for the popular social networker. Ad-supported song streams, a new player, playlists, Amazon powered download sales and more offer exciting opportunities for labels and indie musicians.

But a quick tour of the site showed that one of  MySpace's strengths - custom designed pages - continues to be a MySpace Music weakness...

Continue reading "MySpace Music: Details & Commentary" »

Merlin Cries Foul: No MySpace Equity = No Deal

Merlin_logo_m At launch, repertoire from top independents including Koch, Beggars Group and Domino will missing from MySpace Music.  Their trade group Merlin, whose members make up 9% of the US digital music market (equivalent to EMI) is still in negotiations with the social networker's new music destination. The hold up is not payments, but rather getting an equity share as the four major labels have.

“It is incredibly disappointing that MySpace will launch their new service without having finalized a deal with...

Continue reading "Merlin Cries Foul: No MySpace Equity = No Deal" »

MySpace Music Launches With Some Indies: Orchard, ADA, RED, Fontana & Caroline

Myspace_4 The new MySpace Music includes independent music thanks to a deal with The Orchard and its million track catalog as well as tracks from labels distributed by the indie arms of all four major label groups: ADA (WMG), RED (SonyBMG), Fontana (Universal) and Caroline (EMI).

Notably missing is repertoire from Koch, Beggars Group, Domino and other members of the Merlin trade group whose members command 9% of the US digital recorded music market.. IODA, inGroOrchard_logooves and CD Baby labels are also not part of the launch.

But Greg Scholl, president & chief executive of The Orchard, is happy with the deal...

Continue reading "MySpace Music Launches With Some Indies: Orchard, ADA, RED, Fontana & Caroline" »

Thursday's Music Briefing: MySpace,Play Now, Interscope & Much More


It feels like all MySpace all the time today, but there is other news.

  • Sony Ericsson and Omnifone launch PlayNow (almost) unlimited mobile music service. (press release)
  • Interscope Martin Kierszenbaum, head of Cherrytree Records and president of international operations for Interscope Geffen A&M, is adding president of pop & rock A&R for Interscope Records to his duties.Kierszenbaum will oversee Interscope's pop and rock roster and A&R staff. (Hollywood Reporter)
  • Anticipating new net royalty rate structures, RoyaltyShare offers new service to track and pay royalties for interactive streaming and limited downloads. (press release)
  • Alltel pacts with nuTsie to bring iTunes to their wireless. (press release)

Continue reading "Thursday's Music Briefing: MySpace,Play Now, Interscope & Much More" »

MySpace Music Launches With EMI Aboard

Myspace_3 UPDATES:
- The EMI deal was so last minute that its artists will not be included on launch day
- The Orchard has signed on but Merlin and other indies are still in negotiations.

MySpace Music will re-launch on Thursday morning. EMI will join SONY BMG , Universal, Warner Music Group, Sony/ ATV Music and a number of indies. The debut marks the first phase of an iterative global rollout which will ultimately include premium and promotional content, new user-to-user sharing tools, and additional e-commerce opportunities for artists including merchandise and ticketing.

Starting today in the U.S. and launching internationally in the coming months, the new MySpace Music  will also be available in Spanish and fully localized for the MySpace en Español community.

At launch new MySpace Music includes:

  • The new, ‘MyMusic,’ personal music management toolset
  • Free and unlimited ad-supported, full-length audio streaming
  • Free and unlimited playlist functionality
  • Free discography and content catalogues for SONY BMG, UMG and WMG artists
  • DRM-free MP3 music e-commerce downloads powered by Amazon MP3
  • Ringtone e-commerce powered by Jamster