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Anti-DRM Lobby Asks Bono To Speak Out

Apple_protest_1Anti-DRM organization Defective By Design is asking Bono to get involved.  With and open letter and petition on it's web site the group best known for picketing Apple Stores in bright yellow hazmat suits is asking anti-DRM advocates to join them in getting the Irish rocker to speak out.

Encouraging Bono to take a stand on DRM will send a powerful message, and the faster we get these signatures, the clearer the message. We will deliver a printed version of the petition with your name on it to Bono and request that he be the final signer, creating a unique piece of history in the fight for digital freedom.

More here.

At WMG The Rich Get Richer

Did you ever wonder who owns stock in WMG and therefore stands to profit the most from a possible sale tWmg_17o EMI? 

Thanks to Yahoo Finance and the Securities & Exchange Commission, those of us in the cheap seats can grab a glimpse at just who is profiting from the recent rise in share value as well as the $80 million in dividends being paid out this year.  Take a look at the list of major shareholder transactions (here) in the last 2 years....then write and tell us that it's all about music and not about the money.  It is...really, it is...

Sources: Yahoo Finance via HITS

Two New Surveys Show Vexing Shifts In Music Consumption

Two new surveys show just how drastically listening habits are shifting and presenting new challenges for the music industry.

Ipod_33A new IPSOS poll reveals that 20% of Americans over age 12 own an mp3 player jumping to 54% when looking at teens only. Recent Consumer Electronics Association figures showed music devices accounting for 85% of all portable audio sales in the US in 2005 with sales of $4.2 billion.

The survey showed that these younger users are also using their devices to watch videos and listen to the radio as well as for music storage.  "While this phenomenon may have initially centered on music, younger MP3 player owners are clearly interested in a wide variety of broader content options for their device," said Matt Kleinschmit of Ipsos. Creativezenvplus_3

Average player use is 12 hours weekly jumping to 16 hours for teens. There is are an average of 700 songs stored on a U.S. music downloader’s player. Existing CD collections are the primary source of content among downloaders. 44% of the content stored on MP3 players is ripped from the owner’s personal CD collection with another 6% ripped from others collections. Fee-based downloads (25%) and files obtained from file sharing services (19%) are also sources of content.

Earphones_3An FMQB analysis of a new Bridge Ratings survey found that some new media hurt broadcast radio more than others, but overall listenership is down. "Traditional radio listening benefits from some digital media alternatives," Bridge's Dave Van Dyke states. "Peer-to-peer file trading, podcasting and MP3 player use can cause increased time spent listening to traditional radio de­pending on format, while satellite radio and Internet radio can cause reduced listening to conventional radio."

New media that leads to more radio listening includes podcasting (58 %), P2P file sharing (51 %) and MP3 players (42 %).  But radio louses out to Internet radio with 55% saying it caused them to listen to less traditional radio. (read the full survey here.)

Sources: BBC, IPSOS, FMQB, Bridge

New Muisc Industry Briefing For Friday 30, 2006

- The Who's July 2nd concert at London's Hyde Park and much of the band's tour will be broadcast live on the Web and be available as 99-cent download at, with all proceeds going Napster_3toward Pete Townshend's Double O charity.  (Billboard)

- Gadget mag T3 names 5 top iPod alternatives. (T3Napster tries branding it's own player offered for $50 with a whopping $14.95 x 12 months subscription. (Gizmodo). Plus a look at the sleek new RCA H100 line (Digital Trends)

- XM satellite radio give Willie Nelson his own channel based in his Texas bio-diesel truck stop. (DMN)

- Shares of Apple Computer slipped after an Wall Street analyst said the next generation of iPods would be delayed three months or more. American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu dropped his price target for Apple stock to $75 a share from his previous estimate of $101.  (TechWeb)

Solomonburke_3- Soul legend Solomon Burke teams with stars for new country tinged release out in September.(Billboard)

- A Swedish firm is offering insurance in case the RIAA sues you for P2P use. (TechDirt)

R.I.P. -  Blues/soul guitarist Johnny Jenkins. Sleater-Kinney.

American Association Of Independent Music A2IM Celebrates It's First Year

Headed by Don Rose, A2IM is celebrating it's first anniversary and taking a look at it's imitial accomplishments.  According to a statement issued by the trade group, in the past year A2IM has made its presence felt in the following ways:

  • A2im_1A2IM challenged and redefined the perception that the indie sector comprises 18% of the music industry. The actual market-share figure, based on retail sales, is a whopping 28% - larger than any one of the major record companies individually.
  • Six weeks after A2IM launched, Apple increased iTunes per-download-pay rate by 7.5% - going from 65 cents to 70 cents paid to indie labels per song.
  • Called for fair and uniform change in the relationships between radio and record labels, and is currently consulting with the FCC on a proposed set of universal guidelines.
  • Established the A2IM American Independent Pavilion at MIDEM 2006, allowing many indie labels to attend the premiere international music convention for the first time ever.

Sources: A2IM,

Billy Bragg Forces MySpace To Make Terms More Artist Friendly

Following much publicized criticism by UK musician Billy Bragg and others (read initial coverage here), My Space has changed its Terms & Conditions.  The original wording in effect gave MySpace the right to exploit any content that had been upload onto its site including music in almost any way that it wanted without having to seek permission from the artist or offer compensation.

The new terms limit use to only within the MySpace site: does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, "Content") that you post to the MySpace Services. After posting your Content to the MySpace Services, you continue to retain all ownership rights in such Content, and you continue to have the right to use your Content in any way you choose. By displaying or publishing ("posting") any Content on or through the MySpace Services, you hereby grant to a limited license to use, modify, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce, and distribute such Content solely on and through the MySpace Services. (Full Terms & Conditions here.)

Bragg issued this statement:

Billy_bragg_solo_1"I am very pleased to see that MySpace have changed their terms of agreement from a declaration of their rights into a declaration of our rights as artists, making it clear that, as creators, we retain ownership of our material. Having been adopted by the biggest social networking site on the block, I hope their recognition of the right of the artist to be sole exploiter of their own material now becomes an industry standard because there is much more at stake here than just the terms and conditions of a website." (Read Bragg's full statement after the jump.)

Bragg also announced that his music has been re-posted on MySpace.

Sources: Punknews, Digital Music News, Hypebot

Continue reading "Billy Bragg Forces MySpace To Make Terms More Artist Friendly" »

New Music Industry Briefing For Thursday June 29, 2006

Itunes_17- The iTunes podcast storefront is one year old and Wired takes a look at the media. (Wired)

- Digital distributor The Orchard and Integrated Copyright Group, an independent global copyright licensing and administration company, have announced a global partnership for ICG to administer compositions on behalf of publishers through Orchard Music Services, a unit of The Orchard that seeks to maximize revenues for the company’s label, artist, and publishing clients.

- Some believe that more rootkit problems are ahead. (Internet Week. Thanks to Hypebot reader Siddiq)

- The first annual Digital Hollywood Europe in London, hosted by a consortium of official UK Government and Media Agencies, November 29 - December 1. (more)

RIAA head Mitch Bainwol and Clear Channel chief legal officer Andrew Levin engaged in a rapid-fire debate over broadcast audio flags and fair use during a House subcommittee hearing on Tuesday. (Billboard Radio Monitor)

EMI & WMG Dance The Aquistion Dance Again But No Wedding Bells Imminent


"The WMG board agrees with EMI that there are potential merits in combining the businesses of WMG and EMI, but believes that a WMG acquisition of EMI will provide shareholders of both companies with a superior opportunity to realize significant value in their shareholdings."  (more)

PREVIOUSLY - According to a statement released by EMI this morning, the Warner Music Group has rejected a $31 per share buyout  proposal made earlier this week.  Warner then countered with a 320 pence per ($5.83 US) share proposal yesterday which was rejected Wmg_16 unanimously by the EMI board.

It was unclear how WMG intended to finance the purchase of if they will continue to try to acquire EMI. According to the statement, however, EMI is still interested in pursuing the acquisition of WMG. 

Read the full text of the EMI press release after the jump.

Other Media Weighs In:

  • Reuters: "EMI, Warner Music Locked In Takeover Feud. Each firm trying to aquire the other in a $.2 billion takeovee battle."
  • CNN Money: "Sweet Music For Stocks."
  • Register UK:  "EMI, Warner Renew Pre-Nup Talks"
  • The Velvet Rope

Continue reading "EMI & WMG Dance The Aquistion Dance Again But No Wedding Bells Imminent" »

Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 6-25-06

  • Cims_47 Pos. ARTIST|TITLE

Read the weekly commentary followed by the entire Top 200 after the jump.

Continue reading "Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 6-25-06" »

Bandwidth Conference To Bring Together Music & Tech

Bandwidth_1On August 18 & 19, 2006 in San Francisco, the Bandwidth Conference will bring together music and technology professionals to explore the evolving music experience. Topics will include marketing, fan behavior, trends and future forecasts, as well as an examination of the ways people discover, purchase, interact with and are exposed to music.  Panels include "High-Speed Fan", a discussion on future trends in the fan experience, “Out Of Control”, controlling artist exposure and retaining rights in a time of technological plentitude, and the lively conference finale the "Crystal Ball" panel where minds from various segments of the industry attempt to forecast what's ahead. 

The roster of speakers includes Tim Westergren, Founder, Pandora; Kevin Arnold, CEO, IODA; Andrew Smith, Publisher, XLR8R; Jay Frank, Programming and Label Relations, Yahoo! Music; Jennifer Ferro, Asst. General Manager, KCRW; Shindiggraphic_2 Andrew Jervis, A&R/Vice President, Ubiquity Records; Andy Gadiel, Founder & CEO, Jambase and dozens of others.  The event will also feature a conversation with Nettwerk Music CEO Terry McBride.  A companion event, The Bandwidth Shindig, will offer the general public an opportunity to explore music and technology through live events and an Expo on August 19 with exhibits from companies on the cutting edge of music and technology, and panels geared at musicians and music lovers.

The MySpace Series Part X - Advertising

With all of the hype about MySpace perhaps you've thought of advertising on the site.  We've heard some rumors that MySpace is growing so quickly and has so much prime online real estate that they can't get the premium prices that some less popular web sites do.  To find out more, we asked MySpace to send us advertising rate info. Here is what they sent:

Myspace_25Why pick Myspace for advertising? Simple, they are the largest online social networking portal on the web.

  • - 71 + million registered users with 41+ million unique visitors (media metrix March 06)
  • 2nd largest destination on the web, by page views
  • 50.2% male – 49.8% female
  • Primary Age Demo: 16-34
  • 1.4 million registered bands
  • 350,000 + band blogs
  • 220,000 + new registrants daily
  • 50,000 + groups including fashion, health, wellness & fitness, sports & rec, music, film, TV, etc
  • Major music enthusiastic destination where bands/artists like Nine Inch Nails, Coldplay, the Black Eyed Peas and Billy Corgan debut albums and connect with fans
  • We reach more men online than ESPN
  • We reach more females online than iVillage

Snapshot of our user – Influencers, Trendsetters, Music & Film Buffs, and Gamers. I have included the current pricing below for both targeted and untargeted campaigns and included are all available ad units.  All rates are based on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions).  Campaign minimums are $3,500.   

Continue reading "The MySpace Series Part X - Advertising" »

New Music Industry Briefing For Wednesday June 28, 2006

Kcrwlogo_lores_3- Sandi Thom and the story of he often questioned internet breakthrough has been among our most read stories ever. We get a chance to hear if the UK singer is the real deal when she performs live on the net via KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic today at at 11:15AM PST.  (KCRW)

Xm_8- The RIAA and labels could "loose by winning" their lawsuit with XM over its recorder. (BusinessWeek)

- Franks Zappa son Dweezil made his family proud with a rousing performance of Dad's material recently in LA featuring Steve Vai and Napoleon Murphy Brock.  The show is expected to hit the road. (Hollywood Reporter)

Urge_5- Micosoft is close to a major URGE download store deal in Europe. (DMW)

- One Stop Digital Music, a new online music distribution company, is scheduled to officially launch next week. One of the company’s first initiatives is to establish a network of recording studios across the country that will act as first-level distribution subcontractors for the company. (PRWeb)

NBC Makes Peace With YouTube

NBC who once told YouTube to take "Saturday Night Live" clips off its site has cut a deal with the Youtube_3 free video site to preview and promote it's Fall broadcast line-up.

"The distinction between television and video is becoming murkier and murkier,"  John Miller, chief marketing officer for the NBC Universal Television Group told AP. "Rather than putting our heads in the sand and saying this doesn't exist, we're trying to jump in Nbcand embrace it."

How different an industry  if only the record labels had found a way to work with the original Napster.  "The failure to license Napster was single-handedly the worst decision ever made in the history of the music business," wrote music industry commentator Bob Lefsetz.  "...Now, a couple of years and a couple of changes behind the music industry, the TV business has been hit. With YouTube."

Sources: AP, The LefsetzLetter.

The MySpace Series Part IX: How The MySpace Generation Became The Survey Generation

MySpace and the net have encouraged teens to make a great deal of their once private information public.  "I just broke up with my girlfriend and it hurts. "I'm going to be at the Toubab Krewe show. Who wants to buy me a drink?."  "I moved to Topeka and it sucks".

Ethan Kaplan, who in real life is the Director of Technology at Warner Brothers Records, has written about this phenomenon on his Myspace_26own personal and yet public blog BlackRimGlasses. Kaplan dubs this generation who has embraced MySpace and the public sharing of private details "The Survey Generation" and takes a serious look the underlying reasons for the trend.

"The Survey Generation is designated by a population of people who in the absence of control of the data they produce, have decided to take back control and make the data subjugate to themselves. We all know that as we live, we produce data dandruff, flaky bits of binary that spread themselves out from data-exchange points. Buying a plane ticket, super-market club cards, NSA back rooms, ISP records, IP addresses, etc, etc. I move through the world physically, leaving a long trail of data behind me with wreck-Spyless abandon."

"This generation of people is aware of this, even subconsciously. They haven’t known a world outside of surveillance and the universal panoptic...Instead of shying away from this form of data collection, intrusion and objectification, they have taken it back."

"Surveys, memes, quizzes and tests...".

It is tempting to argue that this trend began in the open society of the '60's through the decades that followed filled with self-help, self-realization and group therapy; and that the internet simply provided the digital town square that accelerated it.  That all is true, but taken alone it would discount the numbing effect that the digitization of our personal information along with a post 911 perceived need to mine that data has had on young people who have come of age knowing only this reality.

For marketers, MySpace, the net, and this generation's desire to share and know the intimate details and preferences of relative strangers holds both great promise (a leveling of the playing field, space for niche's to grow, the long tail) and some room for abuse (false or corrupt gatekeepers, marketing overload, ever-shorter attention spans).

Read Ethan Kaplan's full post hereNext in our MySpace Series: Advertising

Review: Tower Digital Download Store Debuts Today

The Tower Record store chains launches its new digital download sales site today and our first look at the service was a generally positive one:

  • Tracks are ripped at a superior 192 kps in the WMA format compared to the 128 kps of other services. Tower_2
  • Finally a download destination that feels like every other good non-music online retailer.  Using Tower Digital requires no special software downloads unlike most services. This may limit some of the functionality, but for those who buy tracks from multiple sites it's a blessing to have one less thing cluttering their system tray.
  • The site is generally clean, clear and easy to use.
  • At 1.2 million tracks it's far from complete, but reasonably comprehensive.
  • Tower's power as a retailer could lead to unique cross-promotions and content.

Earphones_2What's not so great about Tower Digital?  While there are artist bios and some music recommendation features, new music discovery seems to be less of a priority at Tower.  Song samples are at the inadequate industry standard of 30 seconds (Napster offers as supported full song previews.) and there are no "trusted gatekeepers" like at MTV's URGE online store.  Missing too are online stations like those tied to Yahoo!'s music site.

All in all, Tower Digital is off too solid start and it's better quality tracks alone should help it garner favor with a segment of the market.  But more new music discovery is essential for Tower and the entire download sector's future growth.

Read our exclusive interview with Tower VP of Business Development Jason Munyon here.

New Music Industry Briefing For Tuesday June 27, 2006

Radio_25UK consumers will be able to buy songs instantly as they listen to them on digital radio using a new download service. A direct-to-cell component will be added before the end of the year.  (Reuters)

- Shares of Sirius and XM Satellite Radio jumped Monday after Sirius's CEO was Sirius_6quoted as saying that he'd be interested in buying his larger competitor. (AP)

- PricewaterhouseCoopers is bullish on the entertainment and media sector in a new report.  Asia is the fastest growing market. Thee US still the largest but also the slowest growing region. (PricewaterhouseCoopers)

- Download distributor Digital Music Group has acquired the Chancellor Records catalog of more than 2,000 tracks. Founded in the 1957 the label fueled the teen idol revolution in the late 1950s and '60s with such artists as Fabian, Frankie Avalon and Claudine Clark. (DMN)Applelogo_29

- Users find a major defect in the iPod shuffle. (PC World

R.I.P. - Uber-producer Arif Martin (Aretha Franklin, Bee Gees, Nora Jones). (more)

Net, Blogs, and Playlisting Are Changing The Rules Of Music Marketing

The Washington Post has taken a comprehensive look at how the internet, bloggers and playlisting is changing the way people discover music and the new life that the net is giving to old music catalogs.

Creativezenvplus_2"Because the Internet has changed how people discover and share music, the rules of marketing it and the hierarchy of who determines what's hot have also changed. As radio-music listenership declines, the industry finds itself spending more time courting a broader field of tastemakers who, through Web sites, are popularizing songs that never get radio play. The primary tool in this transition is the playlist -- a sequence of tracks posted on blogs or shared on music purchase sites such as iTunes."

Generic_headphone_computer_8"...Digital music services themselves (also) have become engines of recommendation. Music stores such as iTunes, EMusic, and Yahoo Music give users the ability to check out others' playlists, so people with similar tastes can find each other and discover new music. Additionally, services such as Rhapsody, Napster, Livefm, Pandora, AOL and Yahoo all have Internet-radio options with algorithms that register a person's taste and, based on the listeners preference, stream in similar, new music..."

And it's effect indie retail. "...a customer recently came in asking for an album from an indie-rock band he'd never heard of -- Neutral Milk Hotel -- which had become popular online. Since then, he's Orpheus in Arlington, VA) sold roughly 30 of those albums."

Read the full article here. Free registration may be required.

Last Week's Music Industry Hits & Misses

Hits_8HITS -

- Anti-DRM group Defective By Design's phone-in protest encouraging calls to the RIAA. (more)

....Sorry we could only find this one industry HIT last week...kind of sad...

Misses_8MISSES -

- By trying to make everyone happy while still keeping traffic booming, MySpace makes a lame attempt to stop stalkers of younger teens. (more)

- A&R legend John Kalodner retires. Or should this be a HIT since he sure had a lot of them? Seriously, it's sad when the industry can't create the right home for a man with this much taste and intelligence. (more)

Sony BMG's Future In Bertlesmann's Hands. EMI Seeks Partners In Publishing Bid.

Sony CEO Howard Stringer said today that the future of the Sony BMG partnership would be determined by how BMG parent Bertlesmann decides decides to repay its debt.

Sonybmg_35"I don't have all the cards. At the moment, the decision by Bertelsmann as to how they pay back that debt is up to them," Stringer told a media roundtable when asked if he was interested in taking a controlling stake in the venture. "And while we are in close negotiations and obviously there are some opportunities for us, in the end, they have to decide how they want to go forward".

Last week BMG officials asserted there intention to keep the label partnership intact by selling its Emi_19 separate publishing division to settle its debts. Reuters is reporting that EMI is putting a private equity partnership to bid for BMG's publishing.  The move would side-step a potentially difficult regulatory look at combining such large catalogs as well as keep EMI's cash and credit free to up their bid for the Warner Music Group.

Source: Reuters on Sony BMG and EMI.

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Tower VP Munyon On Tower's New Digital Store

Tower_3Tomorrow music retail giant Tower Records unveils it's new download store (sneak a peak here). Tommorrow we'll review the service, but today we're bringing you an exclusive Hypebot interview with Jason Munyon, the VP of Business Development for Tower Records.

Q: Is this a first for Tower and how do you think it will affect your own brick and mortar sales?

Cd_many_21A: Tower was one of the pioneers in the digital download space as one of the first online stores to offer LiquidAudio tracks back in 1999 (at 99 cents, nonetheless!).  With the launch of Tower Records Digital, we’ve found a more comprehensive solution to offer our customers. As for the whether or not we feel that this new download initiative will affect our own brick and mortar sales… this will help our brick and mortar sales because we are cross-promoting digital music with physical product in our stores and online at

Q: Your downloads are at a superior 192kps. What other plans do you have make your service different than the competition?

Mp3playerA: A major differentiating factor is the fact that as a bricks and mortar retailer, Tower is uniquely able to “bundle” digital music tracks with traditional CD purchases. Bundling is a key aspect of the digital store, allowing Tower the ability to offer digital music exclusives and bonus material to customers who purchase select CDs in stores or online at 

Q: Increasingly online music stores - just like your own retail outlets have always been - are good places to discover new music. You offer good biographic info, but your song samples are only 30 seconds (unlike Napster who offers full songs) and you don't feature trusted gatekeepers like Urge's blogs.  Since I'm sure you're interested in selling more than just hits; how do you plan to encourage music discovery on your site? 

A: Thirty second samples are indeed very standard for the industry. As for music discovery, we’re very proud of Tower Records Digital’s search functionality at launch...(read more after the jump)

Continue reading "EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Tower VP Munyon On Tower's New Digital Store" »

New Music Industry Briefing For Monday June 26, 2006

- First looks at the Toshiba Gigabeat S and Creative Zen V Plus portable players. (Engadget)

- A critical look at RIAA investigation practices - "Who Else Is The Enterainment Industry Stalking". (techdirt)

- Cyber-criminals are using P2P's to attack individuals and businesses.  (eWeek)

- The Sanctuary Group says that losses in its record division will be worse than expected for the company’s fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Revised estimates put Sanctuary’s EBITDA loss on the year at £17 million to £22 million. (Hits)

- Spin Magazine editor Amndy Pemberton resigns.  (Gawker)

Worldwide Anti-DRM Protest Call-In "Freedom Rings At The RIAA" Today

Antiapple_2Dubbed "Freedom Rings At The RIAA", guerrilla anti-DRM group is encouraging protesters to call the RIAA and other industry organizations to protest restrictive digital rights management systems.  The group best known for picketing Apple stores dressed in yellow hazmat suits has even posted a list of direct lines to worldwide industry representatives on their web site.

We'll be posting a report on the campaign as information becomes available. We would also would like to hear your comments as well as reports from anyone participating in the day long protest. Please comment below or email us privately here.

After the jump read the email the DefectiveByDesign sent to supporters this morning.

UPDATE: At 10AM this morning the organizers provided Hypebot with these stats:

  • 150 call reports have been filed
  • 600 new members signed up in the last day 500 in the last 12 hours

Here is a link to some of the comments and experiences of the protesters.

Continue reading "Worldwide Anti-DRM Protest Call-In "Freedom Rings At The RIAA" Today" »

ADA Adds UK Distribution Arm

Ada_1WMG's indie music distribution arm ADA has announced the launch of ADA U.K. to bring distribution services to independent record labels in Europe. Susan Rush, the former General Manager of Pinnacle Records, has been named Managing Director of the London-based division. Rush will report to Andy Allen, President of ADA.  Read the full press release here.

Agency News: Pinkus Exits William Morris, IMG May Buy ICM Classical

According to Celebrity Access, The William Morris Agency’s Aaron Pinkus has reportedly left the company. Pinkus worked with Howie Day, G. Love & Special Sauce, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Slightly Stoopid, Tristan Pettyman, Switchfoot, and others. He served talent buyers in the upper Midwest and Canadian markets. Pinkus' future plans are not yet known and it is unclear what will happen with Festival_8 his artist roster.

And according to the NY Times, IMG Artists is reportedly in talks with International Creative Management to acquire its classical music division. The move would combine two of the three top classical music agencies in the world with Columbia Artists being the third top player.