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Live Nation Names Ticketing Head

Livenation221205 Live Nation has promoted Nathan Hubbard to CEO of the company's ticketing unit. In this expanded role, Hubbard will lead Live Nation’s exit from Ticketmaster and the creation of their new ticketing unit as well as  Hubbard came to Live Nation in 2006 through the purchase of Musictoday, where he was CEO. Musictoday pioneered a system which Live Nation now uses to sell 2 million tickets annually to registered fan club members. (Press Release)

EMI To Distribute Welk's Vanguard And Sugar Hill

Vanguard Emi_logo Welk Music Group, which includes labels Vanguard, Sugar Hill and Ranwood, has entered into an agreement for EMI to provide digital and physical sales and distribution services on a worldwide basis.  In addition, EMI will provide licensing and synchronization services on a non-exclusive basis.

ANALYSIS: Welk has previously been one of the rare labels that was self-distributed. But at a time when "going indie" is the trend, it is interesting that a solid label group like Welk would pact with a major. The move could, however, reflect both the cost of maintaining a sales force despite shrinking physical sale industry wides and EMI's desire to put more product through its existing sales system. PRESS RELEASE AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "EMI To Distribute Welk's Vanguard And Sugar Hill" »

Where Have All The Good Managers Gone?

Acerbic music commentator Bob Lefsetz recently wrote a column Saving The Music Business:

Machine_yellow_2 "Want to save the music business? Manage a band. Nurture talent. Do everything in your power to get it exposed...Talent. That’s where the business is focused today."

Bob is right; management is where it's at. I'm not talking about the old guard like Irving Azoff's Frontline. He and his cohorts stopped developing new talent long ago. These mega - managers hold great power, but use it to smartly prolong careers and monetize somebody else's luck and hard work.

That leaves a younger generation of managers to save the business. But as the head of  Skyline Music, a booking agency with both established and developing acts, I can say first hand that the industry is suffering from a drought of good new managers that possess the skills needed to help artists succeed in the new music business.

10 or 20 years ago hundreds of smart people who...

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Rhapsody Makes $50M MP3 Bet + Analysis


Rhapsody_mp3 Rhapsody America opens an all mp3 store today backed by a $50 million marketing campaign aimed straight at iTunes. Rhapsody's reach is extended as the download provider for Yahoo,MTV and iLike whose music application is popular on Facebook. The DRM free tracks are also available over the air via Verizon Wireless.

Rhapsody is the leader in subscription music, but decided it also had to compete with iTunes head on to succeed. "We're no longer competing with the iPod. We're embracing it," said VP Neil Smith. Consumers can listen to full songs before buying vs. 30 second samples on most stores. Tracks are $.99 with albums at $9.99. This matches iTunes and Napster, but is higher than Amazon. (Details and a Verizon press release after the jump.)

ANALYSIS: With $50 million in marketing and partners like MTV and Verizon, Rhapsody may be able...

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Monday's Music Briefing: Baidu, Nashville, Shockhound & More


> The major labels may be suing Chinese ISP Baidu but 3 large local labels are partnering with it for a new music service. (Variety Asia)

> A good series on the new realities of the music industry in Nashville.  (Tennessean)

> AIDS non-profit RED is set to launch a $5 three song monthly music subscription with exclusive content from super-stars like Bono, Bob Dylan, Elton John and Elvis Costello. Half goes to the charity and half to the artists and labels. (NY Times)

> Vodaphone makes a deal to add its music events broadcast on MySpace. (Reuters)

> Shockhound is a new download store run by youth clothing chain Hot Topic that sells more than just downloads. (NY Times) Indie music stores have taken the more than music approach with great success in recent years. More download stores could differentiate themselves and boost profits by following Shockhound's lead.  Amazon, which already carries many related items in other stores should test this concept ASAP.

> An essay "How We Listen" on how downloads, Ipods and large music collections are changing listening habits and the music industry. (DigitalAudioInsider)

EMI Records Profitable After Cuts

Emi_logo Terra Firma's Guy Hands has told a group of key investors that EMI's recorded music division returned to profitability two months into its fiscal year.  The numbers include Radiohead's "Best Of" but not the recent successful Coldplay launch.

Also contributing to profitability was a drop in returns from 40% to less than 20% by cutting back on the industry practice of over-shipping. "Guy was clearly pleased with the results but he stressed that it was too early for people to start saying things had turned around," an investor who attended the meeting told the UK's Telegraph.

ANALYSIS: Also not included in the march towards profits were the massive layoffs that began to play out in earnest this week. And while smartly shifting more resources towards catalog and digital efforts. Hands & CO. are still not aggressively addressing the core issue that will define EMI's future - new artist acquisition and development.

Music 2.0 Week In Review: EMI, eMusic, Starbucks & More

> UK may have legal P2P by end of '08

> Emi_logo EMI NEWS -

> A Critique Of eMusic's Payments To Labels and How The Company Can Save Its Soul...And Help Indie Music

> Top 10 Indie Music Marketing ToolsStarbucks_2

> Starbucks is dropping most music from stores

> RealNetworks reorganized its structure

> What is Yahoo's Ian Rogers Up To Now? Topsin

> Facebook Passes MySpace Worldwide

NEXT WEEK: A look inside artist services provider Topspin, Where Have All The Good Manager's Gone?, The Music Industry's Dirty Little Secrets, Hypebot Gets Interactive & Much More.

Hypebot Updates & A Request

Hypebot_favicon_3 As you may have noticed, I continue to tweak Hypebots' design and format. I'm now just using only for all url's instead of some from my provider Typepad. This means that many of you who had linked to Hypebot in your blogrolls, etc. in the past are not longer showing up on our stats and reports. (It may not matter to you, but this is the stuff that attracts advertisers and keeps things going.) Please take a minute to update your blog roll to link only to directly.

I also want to thank those who have been recommending more posts to Digg and Stumble, as well as sharing links and trackbacks.  Please also keep those great on and off the record news tips coming!

If you have problems with links or suggestions to improve Hyoebot, please share them. Our community has grown significantly and I want to make it even better.

Ex-Proctor & Gamble Exec May Head EMI

Emi_logo Guy Hands is reportedly negotiating with Elio Leoni Sceti, the head of home and heath product manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser in the EU to run EMI’s struggling record division.

Formerly with Proctor & Gamble, Sceti now watches over such brands as Airwick, Finish and Veet and is the leader among a half-dozen potential candidates who Terra Firma is talking to. “He is probably currently in the lead if he wants to take it,” a source told the Financial Times. Hands is also said to have approached both film and newspaper industries executives.

It's a fitting choice for Hands, who made his mark turning around highway gas stations in part by offering cleaner restrooms.

CIMS Indie Store Charts for Week Ending 6/22

Cims Top 200



Read the rest of the CIMS Top 200 and the vinyl chart after the jump.

Continue reading " CIMS Indie Store Charts for Week Ending 6/22" »

I Really Don't Hate eMusic...Really.

Emusic If you question that people are still passionate about music, just take  look at the comments sections of my posts this week My Problem With eMusic and How eMusic Can Save Its Soul.  Many are well thought out arguments, but others are down right vicious.  In some kind of masochistic display of journalistic integrity ,I've left them all up for the world to see.

But despite my misgiving about how they pay labels and its use and accounting of free giveaway tracks, I do not hate eMusic...

Continue reading "I Really Don't Hate eMusic...Really." »

UK May Have Legal P2P By Year's End

Uk_flag The UK may have legal music via P2P licensed at the broadband ISP level by the end of the year, according to the Register. The British government apparently pushed for talks between ISP's and the music industry as a preferred solution to legislation. South Korea is close to a similar solution.

It is a radical shift and many hurdles remain to be overcome including wholesale agreement from fractured recording and publishing industries. But all sides seem to agree that something must be done to re-monetize music and no other plan seems to offer similar upside.

It could take much longer for a broad experiment...

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Friday's Music Briefing: MySpace Opens, Death Row Sells, XM Settles & More


> MySpace opens its walled platform further and allows 3rd party date sharing. (ars)

> Suge Knight's Death Row Records was sold for $24M to Global Music Group. (SOHH)

> XM has settled with EMI Publishing in the Pioneer Inno lawsuit. (press release)

Napster > Napster faces a proxy battle from three shareholders saying that current management has not been aggressive enough against iTunes and in fighting piracy. (Reuters) The proxy battle may be a silly distraction for Napster's board brought by minor shareholders, but the three are right that Napster was slow to go mp3 as well as take other moves to compete.

US and UK concert recommendation site SongKick has closed a $1.1 million funding round. (PaidContent)

> MTV continues to combine web and TV offerings with several new shows. (Reuters)

Radio Performance Rights Act Passes Committee

Radio_tower_2 The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property today approved the Performance Rights Act (H.R. 4789).  While considering the bill, several members commented on further additions that may be considered including a “platform parity” amendment that would extend the legislation to digital broadcasting.

If enacted the Performance Rights Act amends federal copyright law to:

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Amazon Adds IODA Video & Films

Ioda_logoAmazon_2 IODA has announced that Amazon will now carry their independent film and music-related video content. IODA’s filma and video catalog will now be available through Amazon’s Unbox digital video download service and CreateSpace, Amazon's on demand platform IODA already distributes a catalog of more than one million independent music tracks Amazon MP3 and  a network of music distribution channels.

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How eMusic Can Save Its Soul...

I wrote this week about My Problem With eMusic, their payment structure and a lack of free track accounting. An industry insider agreed, but reactions from readers and across the net have been mixed.  Just in case I've got anyone's attention, here's how I think eMusic can save it's soul and help indie music by building on top of its strengths and existing infrastructure and business model.


  • Make all blogs, music discovery features and forums public
  • Aggregate top niche music bloggers
  • Include all indie culture: film, art, books, fashion, sports
    • Build a community
    • Link with hip vendors
  • Launch an "INDIE ONLY" MP3 download storeEmusic_2
    • No major label product
    • No subscription required
    • Deep catalog
    • Variable pricing
  • Create a home for D.I.Y. artists
  • Keep selling subscriptions
    • Subscribers become V.I.P's
      • Similar tracks per month
      • Add discounts & privileges
    • Fewer free tracks
    • Full accounting transparency

Live Nation Adds Free Fast Lane Entrance

Livenation221205_2 Top concert promoter Live Nation says that starting 6/25, ticket holders that bought direct via Live Nation Tickets at can, at no extra charge, enter shows in Live Nation owned and operated venues ahead of other ticketholders. After buying the ticket, fans are told how to beat the crowd using a special "Fast Lane" entrance.

Live Nation is ending its relationship with Ticketmaster in the coming months and Fast Lane is part of a larger campaign to improve the live music experience and promote as a hub for concert goers.  Live Nation venues range from small clubs to outdoor ampitheatres and include all Hose Of Blues and Filmores nationally.

Continue reading "Live Nation Adds Free Fast Lane Entrance" »

Thursday's Music Briefing: RIAA, Indie Day '08, AimieStreet & More

Riaa_toiletpaper > Judge upholds $107K in attorney's fees against RIAA. (ars)

> eMusic gears up to support indie music's Independence Day '08 July 4-14. The campaign includes an indie compilation and aggressive marketing. (press release)

> The Orchard's catalog of 1M+ songs will be available via's variable pricing model. Labels can opt in or out of participation, but the partnership is a significant validation AmieStreet's model. (press release)

> The blogger who streamed the un-released Guns & Roses album got a visit from the FBI. (Wired)

> Digital music entrepreneur Bruce Warila postulates "Digital music can't be marketed; it can only be found." (Music Think Tank) I don't agree, but Bruce is a smart guy and its worth the short read. 

An Industry Insider's View Of eMusic

Emusic Reaction to my piece yesterday "My Problem With eMusic" questioning payout formulas and  the use of free music has been strong on both side of the debate. In an effort to learn trying to learn more, I spoke to an industry veteran who told me that every other digital retailer pays 70% of retail gross at a minimum and gets special permission for each free track. eMusic pays 60% of net after deducting about 25% for expenses. In essence, they pay about 42% of gross (or 60% of 75%).

Some sources have said they believe that eMusic gives away and does not report...

Continue reading "An Industry Insider's View Of eMusic " »

Amidst Layoffs Some Good EMI News

Coldplay_2 The promised massive layoffs have begun in earnest; and although no one may be in the mood to celebrate, this week EMI's Coldplay debuted at #1 on the US album chart with "Viva La Vida," selling 721,000 units. The album is in its second week at #1 in the UK.

Also, new EMI solo artist Katy Perry had a strong debut at #9 on the US Album chart with "One of the Boys". Perry also has a #1 digital song and #1 ring tune with "I Kissed a Girl".

EMI & Capital Begin Deep Staff Cuts

The promised cuts have begun at EMI and its labels.  According to various reports:

  • Emi_logo 10 are out at Blue Note, mostly in NYC
  • Capitol Nashville VP of A&R Larry Willoughby and VP of Sales Bill Kennedy
  • Denise Arguijo, a production manager in Nashville
  • Capital_records David Pak and a number of others exit from Caroline
  • In house art and design staffs suffering severe cuts
  • Anything that can be outsourced will be
  • Total layoffs of 1500-2000 expected. Almost 30-40% of the workforce
  • Expect more pink slips and details today 

Sources: Daily Swarm, Velvet Rope, Billboard, original reporting

RealNetworks Reorganizes


RealNetworks has promoted three executives and the formed a new operating structure. The changes are designed to bring together the companies portfolio of digital entertainment services to "foster innovation to fuel the next stage of growth" as well as set the stage for Real's spin-off of its games business.

John Giamatteo has been promoted to COO at RealNetworks, and Harold Zeitz has been promoted to COO of the Games S ivision. Mike Lunsford has been appointed executive vice president, strategic ventures. "The promotion of these three executives sets up RealNetworks' next chapter," said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO of RealNetworks.

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Beck Pre-Releases Via TouchTunes Jukes

Beck_2 TouchTunes will preview of Beck’s new album, “Modern Guilt,” via 10,000 US digital jukeboxes. Produced by Danger Mouse and Beck, “Modern Guilt” goes on sale July 8th, but will be playing on TouchTunes July 1st.  The song “Chemtrails” is currently streaming on and imeem, but TouchTunes jukeboxes will be one of the first platforms to feature the album in full.

Continue reading "Beck Pre-Releases Via TouchTunes Jukes" »

Two Views Of CEO Compensation....

Private_jet I've written several times about executive compensation at the major labels particularly given their recent performance. After all, if the attitude at the top is "Who cares about the future; just grab the cash now.", that attitude will Money permeate the entire company.

Of course no one listens to me.  But maybe they'll take the advise of one of the richest men in America and his partner at Berkshire Hathaway.

“If you rise high enough in American business, you have a moral obligation to take less pay." - Warren Buffett

"If you’re in a job you’d pay to have and are an exemplar for the rest of the organization, there is a lot to be said for paying yourself little." - Charles Munger

Wednesday's Music 2.0 Briefing: Coldplay, Amazon UK, & More


 > Finally, score one for Capital/EMI even as staff cuts accelerate. Coldplay has first week US sales of 720K after it debuted in the UK with 300,000 units.

> Confirmation that Amazon MP3 will be crossing the pond soon and opening in UK. (Telegraph UK)

> Australians are spending $100M per year on digital music. (Smarthouse)

> Arbitron has released its 2008 broadcast radio networks survey. (FMQB)

Mouse > WORTHY CLICK: Zoomii returns shopping for books at Amazon back into a more off line experience complete with virtual shelves, etc. Could they do the same thing for records stores?  Maybe make it feel like a trip to Bleeker Bob's complete with that stanky smell?