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Jewels new album was produced by Big & Rich’s John Rich and will be released through Valory Music Company. “She’s just one of the best singer/songwriters in any genre,” Borchetta says, adding that a move to country is “a natural progression for her.”

20th Century Fox, has lifted its ban on the use of Universal Music Group content. The band was viewed as retaliation against a the lawsuit lodged by Universal against MySpace, also owned by News Corp. (WSJ)

CMT orders Reality Show: CMT has purchased episodes of “Can You Duet?,” a new reality competition show from “American Idol” producer FremantleMedia. “We’ve been looking to get into the music competition game, but we really wanted to do it correctly,” said CMT head of development Bob Kusbit. The producers are working to find a record label to sign the show’s winners. (Variety)

B-Unique, the British label home to Kaiser Chiefs and Primal Scream, has struck a deal with Warner Music U.K. that it will become integrated into Atlantic Records UK. B-Unique will also establish a artist management division. (Billboard)

San Diego based alt act We Shot The Moon who features Jonathan Jones the singer of the band Waking Ashland have signed to the Militia Group.

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I really believe Britney Spears ‘Blackout’ possibly debuting 350k is a cultural defining moment. Shockingly, her first week numbers are rather good. If Britney came out 7-10 years earlier, she very well have could been a Debbie Gibson or Tiffany posing for playboy, raising a family outside of Hollywood, and appearing on VH1’s “Where Are They Now”.

The Media couldn’t capture Gibson’s and Tiffany’s most private moments and their private lives were not exploited in magazines and on the TV. I remember watching the video ‘Only In My Dreams‘, and I only remember Debbie Gibson as a 16 year old girl riding on a merry go round and dancing behind a white picket fence. I never had the opportunity to see the other side of Gibson. Never saw a video on TMZ with her face buried in coke.

How is the public still concerned with a 15 year old prepubescent girl dancing in high school proclaiming “Hit Me Baby One More Time”? Without question, this is a case when the stars align for an artist. Britneys success came on the heels of a changing society. New technology and globalization was right around the corner. Britney had another chance for fame unlike Gibson and Tiffany. We no longer have to walk to the stage when living in a surveillant society because the world is the stage. It’s Lights, Camera, Action every day, every minute, and every second. Britney’s fame was propelled through a 24 hour rolling camera and she gave it her all. Gibson at her age would have done the same thing granted she was given the opportunity.

Living in today’s world makes it more difficult to ‘imagine’. We can no longer just know Britney as the little prepubescent pigtailed girl performing those cute little dance moves like we did with Debbie Gibson. In fact, we know more than we need to know about Britney and this is why she can sell records a decade later. What we have today is a  ‘aftermarket’ that has allowed these former teen pop stars to grow and maintain relevance.

Unfortunately, the music itself has become just a dog and pony show. I truly believe Britney’s new record Blackout is a defining moment because we can see the degradation of music and the craft.

I found this review and believe this is an accurate description of what took place.

Her record company would no doubt like us to consider this album a bold assertion of Spears’ identity and, by extension, relative sanity. “Crazy” is acceptable in pop, clinically insane is not. But the self-consciously stylish tin-can beats on “Blackout,” referencing every ’80s synth phenom from Trio to Berlin and smothered with vocal tics cribbed from Beyoncé and Christina Aguilera, actually testify to Spears’ absence, and point to the irrelevance of her modest contribution to the process of building her brand. With so many hot producers competing with one another, what you hear on “Blackout” are not songs so much as commercials for songs — a team of professional songwriters frantically overselling and spinning the image of a celebrity who has essentially left the building. (salon)

I believe that we hit the pinnacle. Maybe the next generation of artists will come back around and proclaim “I want to make a record and I have to be really GREAT…..

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Trent Reznor talks about illegal sharing site Oink: I’ll admit I had an account there and frequented it quite often. At the end of the day, what made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world’s greatest record store. Pretty much anything you could ever imagine, it was there, and it was there in the format you wanted… it existed because it filled a void of what people want – Trent Reznor. (valleymag)

Its Britney Bitch, hehehe: Zomba estimates Britney Spears new album “Blackout” will open in the range of 330,000-350,000. “In the zone,” Spears’ last studio album, opened with 609,000 in 2003.

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New Music: Check out Jacqueline Rose. She is sitting at #53 on the top 100 country artists on myspace. Her music falls somewhere between Natalie Merchant and LeAnn Rimes. Listen to the track Euphoria.

Clear Channel Motto ‘only play what people know': Radio should not open the flood gates to mediocrity, but if a new artist or older artists wrote a great record that is bubbling and reacting, then forgoodness sakes, put it in rotation. Why give the middle finger to new music when it could potentially grow you’re audience? Clear Channel Radio condemns innovative thinking.

Everybody wants something new. Consumers don’t want to live in the dark ages seeing or hearing the same things over and over. Tooth paste companies, The automobile industry, the pharmaceutical companies are always offering something NEW. What makes radio immune to NEW?

Imagine if HBO didn’t play any movies that dated past 1994? You can’t imagine this. But this is how Clear channel runs its business. Of course radio listenership is declining and the dwindling people that still listen primarily use it for white noise. The future of Clear Channel radio is bleak…

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This Week Sales…

Carrie Underwood ‘Carnival Ride’- 527k
Coheed and Cambria ‘No World For Tomorrow’ – 62k
Springsteen ‘Magic’ – 51k
Paramore ‘Riot’ – 16k
James Blunt ‘All The Lost Souls’ – 12k

Indie act from Indianapolis Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s have signed to Epic. We are also hearing reports that Immortal Records may have folded.

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Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays (pictured) said that the radio industry must embrace new methods of reaching listeners and yet the The No. 1 album is not being played on any radio stations….

According to Fox’s Roger Friedman Clear Channel has sent an edict to its classic rock stations not to play tracks from Bruce Springsteens “Magic.” But it’s OK to play old Springsteen tracks such as “Dancing in the Dark,” “Born to Run” and “Born in the USA.”

Just no new songs by Springsteen, even though it’s likely many radio listeners already own the album and would like to hear it mixed in with the junk offered on radio.

Why? One theory, says a longtime rock insider, “is that the audience knows those songs. Of course, they’ll never know these songs if no one plays them.”

“Magic,” has sold more than 500,000 copies since its release on Oct. 2 and likely will hit the million mark. That’s not a small achievement these days, and one that should be embraced by Clear Channel.

The Bottom Line: I couldn’t agree more with Roger Friedman in that Clear Channel has done more to destroy the music business than downloading over the last 10 years. Although the calender year is 2007, we have to many people living in the DARK AGES. If the Clear Channel Motto is ‘Only Play Tracks That People Know’ then its obvious why radio listenership is declining at a fast pace. Whats more ironic is that these out of touch execs are great at running companies into brick walls.

The Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays said that the radio industry must embrace new methods of reaching listeners and populating new forms of media with its content if it hopes to compete in the widening world of consumer media.

New Methods to reach listeners? and proclaiming to rock station to only play tracks that people know? Mark Ways statements are nothing more than a dog and pony show.

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Starbucks signs first developing artist: Hear Music, the label started by Concord Music Group and Starbucks, has signed Hilary McRae as the company’s first developing artist. As far as the future of the label, Lombard says the goal is to release records by eight artists in the next year. (Billboard)

Tension between Epic and Jennifer Lopez: According to insiders Epic Records is fed up not only with J Lo’s dwindling album sales, but with the amount of money it’s costing to promote her. “She costs too much money and doesn’t sell enough,” says the source, who is familiar with the issue. “Her last album cover alone cost $60,000 in hair and makeup, lighting, photographers, re-touching, etc. The video budget was in the neighborhood of $300,000.” Lopez performed on “Good Morning America” earlier this month, and all the costs were absorbed by the label. “Epic had to eat the cost for that entire performance”. Her new album ‘Brave’ was her first studio album to not debut in the top 10 on Billboard’s charts.

New signings: Young actress Evan Rachel Wood is reportedly signing with Interscope Records. Story of the Year formerly on Maverick has signed to Epitaph Records. Metal act Gwen Stacy has signed to Ferret Records. Arizona rock act 32 Leaves who is currently in the studio with Elvis Baskette have been upstreamed to Republic Universal.

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Terra Firma on thin ice with EMI : EMI could be facing big challenges, including a possible sale of its physical distribution business. Terra Firma CEO Guy Hands has been asking for additional equity from outside firms just 3 months after the purchase, while some say that Hands is already disillioned with his purchase. (NYPOST)

Rockers turning into Hustlers: Bands are making less money since record sales are evaporating. Bands are getting creative in order to generate new revenue streams. Television commercials, tour sponsorships, and merchandise is now an essential piece of an artists portfolio. Read the column
If it’s Retail, Is it Still Rock?‘ that discusses different brands rockers are pairing up with.

Marketing Britney: Sony BMG paid Britney a cash advance of nearly $4 million for the album. J Records are confident with the album and its commercial appeal that they are shipping 750,000 to one million copies of the CD to retailers even though she parted ways with her manager, music-business lawyers, and publicist. They expect first-week sales of roughly 400,000 to 500,000 copies. I hope J Records are keeping those fingers crossed since the first single “Gimme More” quickly lost momentum in radio airplay, a key driver for album sales.

Hulu to compete with Youtube: Fox and NBC prepare to launch a video site Hulu.com an advertising-supported online video site in a bid to seize viewers YouTube. It is not clear why Fox and NBC could not have cut their own content distribution deals without having to band together. It is equally unclear why anyone would go to the Hulu site if the content can be seen at larger web properties. (full article)

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New Music: Check out the track Maybe Tonight by Colors in the Air.

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Today with the internet a good artist can find fans work with big producers and maybe even find themselves on internet radio and mainstream radio rubbing shoulders next to the big national artists. In the old days, these types of opportunities were next to impossible, now its attainable. This is the true benefit when an industry is in chaos. Chaos is a breeding ground for opportunity. True winners will succeed and the mediocrity will vanish.

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For instance, a lesser known band who formed in a small town in PA called
The Drama Club worked on some demos eventually catching the ear of producer Rob Caggiano who has worked with Jesse Malin, Anthrax, and Cradle of Filth. Rob Caggiano and mixer Jay Baumgardner (Evanescence, Papa Roach, Godsmack) eventually produced the EP. The EP also features guest appearance from Ben Burnley of top rock act Breaking Benjamin who sings on the song “Brand New Day”.

Of course having a strong EP isn’t the end of the story. Exposing the music is the next crucial process. This process truly separates the winners and the losers. Many artists fail miserably at self promotion or just suck live. In order to get to the next level or achieve the next level of success a well oiled machine must exist.

The Drama Club began performing shows in their region and soon were known to be an exceptional live band which led to increase popularity known as the ‘snowball effect’ – and and being a promotional machine for themselves the shows began to sell out regularly.

Once an artist begins making noise and shows begin to sell out then national artists who come to town rely on those artists’ to assist in ticket sales. Most national acts cannot sellout clubs to the fullest capacity and always need artists that can sell an extra 75-250 tickets. The Drama Club began opening up for bands including Breaking Benjamin, Velvet Revolver, Flyleaf, and many others including a 30 date North East tour which included a stop at the Warped tour in their hometown.

Basic logic says with increased exposure more opportunities will arise, especially in you’re hometown, and thanks to the internet – opportunities can be limitless. The Drama Club has been featured many times on their hometown radio stations 97X, and WZZO, as well as Metal Edge Magazine, Purevolume, Puregrainaudio, Origivation, and other regional press. Not only that
The Drama Club teamed up with a manager as was just added to ‘POWER ROTATION’ on AOL Radio “New Rock First” station. This is when the internet can be you’re best friend because AOL isn’t localized.

If you play by these rules, success can almost be guaranteed. You will be able to quit your day job, even sign some autographs. If these rules fail you, it’s not because the rules are broken, its because something within the artist is not connecting. Maybe its not your destiny.

Artists that are armed with good music and a strong desire can make it without the big man today. The door is opened to anybody who is willing to walk through it.

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