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KOAR is really digging the Milwaukee 4 piece alt rock band Northern Room. We fell for the band after listening to ‘We’re On Fire’ and ‘Last Embrace’. The song ‘Last Embrace’ came about after the lead singer Andrew Jonathan lost a family member to suicide. In fact, a video company was so inspired by the song and its meaning that they decided to shoot a video for the track. Northern Room will be performing at the BMI/CMJ Show at Arlenes Grocery on Wednesday October 17th (9:45). For more information contact
Dan Friedman.

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Many fans feels they purchased a glorified demo…

The Radiohead offering of letting fans decide the price of their new record began with excitment, respect, and admiration. Fans are now angry over the low quality of the downloads and the band’s manager’s statement that the you-choose-the-price downloads were just a promotional tool for the release of the physical CD.

Radiohead’s previous albums were already available as MP3s encoded at 320 kilobits per second — the highest-possible compression rate in the format, but it was announced that the new record RAINBOWS would be available at 160 kbps (poor quality) — after the majority of their fans had already paid for the download. To be fair, the band did give the fans the power of choosing how much they wanted to pay to download the album.

Most promo MP3s come at a higher bit rate,” wrote the author of U.K. blog Kids Pushing Kids. “Worst pound and pence I’ve ever spent.”

I have lost a bit of respect for Radiohead for this. I would never make people pay for 160. They may as well just stream stuff off MySpace” responded one commenter.

No one seemed to understand why Radiohead decided to release Rainbows at 160 kpbs, though guitarist Jonny Greenwood told Rolling Stone, “We talked about it and we just wanted to make it a bit better than iTunes, which it is, so that’s kind of good enough, really.

Statements from band’s management that seem to indicate that the downloadable album was just promotional tool for physical CD also resulted in disgrunted fans.

Is Radiohead fighting for the fans and the music? or is this a kanye west marketing plan in disguise. Maybe everyone is just nitpicking…

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The end of Radiohead’s run of number one albums: Radiohead is not a chart-registered retailer so they will not be eligible for inclusion in the chart. This has sent shivers through the industry, with some hailing it as a breakthrough for the digital age and others predicting the end of the world as we know it.

EMI Guy Hands selecting his dream team: According to Hits the team would consist of People magazine Publisher Paul Caine, Clear Channel Communications New York SVP Programming Tom Poleman and pop producer/songwriter Billy Mann. Other sources claim People magazine publisher Paul Caine turned down Guy Hands’ offer. Musical chairs on the Titanic? I can already hear the song Amazing Grace…

Madonna Strikes 120 Million Deal: Madonna will sever her ties to Warner Bros. and sign a landmark 120 million dollar 10-year deal with Live Nation concer promoter. In return, Live Nation would be granted the rights to three studio albums as well as the right to promote concert tours, sell merchandise and license Madonna’s name.

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Radiohead have drawn a mixed reaction from fans, the music industry and fellow musicians with the ‘Pay What You Want’ experiment.

About a third of fans decided to pay absolutely nothing, according to The Times daily.

“We’re prepared to take a risk and we might come out looking very foolish. But we believe if your music is great, then people will pay for it,” Bryce Edge, one of the band’s managers.

Another boss, Chris Hufford, added: “There are actually people who are going on websites and saying, ‘I don’t actually like Radiohead, but I’m going to give them some money because I think it’s a brilliant idea’.”

Singer-songwriter James Blunt chimed in and warned that the Radiohead approach could be dangerous for artists. “I don’t think they should devalue it,” he told The Times. “I’ve got to pay a band and a producer and a mixer. I don’t know how I’d necessarily pay them if I sold my albums for 1p.”

Alex Turner, the singer with Arctic Monkeys, said the experiment was “very interesting” but reserved judgment.

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NIN frontman Trent Reznor is a free agent: “I have been under recording contracts for 18 years and have watched the business radically mutate from one thing to something inherently very different and it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally have a direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate.”

Reznor says his record label hates him because he called them greedy assholes. He encouraged his fans in this video to steal the music until the label can get it through there heads that they are ripping people off.

Radiohead refuses to reveal album sales: Radiohead will not reveal how many orders for their new album, ‘In Rainbows,’ have been placed, it’s been reported. The band have also refused to announce how much fans have been paying for the eagerly anticipated album – which was available to download from 10am this morning (October 10th)

Yahoo Music Chief Rails Against Content Protection: According to Digital Music News, Yahoo Music is being placed under a microscope by higher-ups, and portions of the site could be eliminated. In the end you get what you pay for,” Rogers expressed during an executive presentation last week at Digital Music Forum in Los Angeles. “I won’t spend another dime paying engineers to build false control, making listening to music harder for music lovers. I will put all of my energy into making it easier and making the experience better.”

Placing Bands with Brands: Sony BMG artists will be used in an online advertising campaign for Honda’s 2008 Civic including Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera, Dido, Alicia Keys. There is no such thing as selling out anymore, the concept doesn’t exist.

This Week Sales: Bruce Springsteen ‘Magic’ sold 335k. Rascal Flatts (167,900), 50 Cent (50k), Foo Fighters (54k), Dashboard Confessional (47k), James Blunt (29k), Nickelback (34k) with over 6 million record sold, Maroon 5 (20k), Daughtry (20k), KT Tunstall (15k), Feist (19k), Emery (11k), Motion City Soundtrack (6k).

KOARs breeding ground and buzz artists: Shannon Nicole and Making April are making headway in the industry. Saving Abel just signed to Capitol Records. Even though everybody else fell asleep, KOAR is wide wake. We want to hear new music now – Email tips@kingsofar.com

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Both Jamiroquai and Oasis are not contracted to record labels and are rumoured to be considering following Radiohead by offering music for free, according to industry sources.

Google say that searches for Radiohead have increased tenfold this week as fans log on to the band’s site, with the majority – according to the band’s spokesman – spurning the opportunity to download the album for as little as 45 pence and instead signing up for the £40 box set, which includes vinyl records, CD and artwork.

The Charlatans are also offering fans their next album completely for free if they visit the site of radio station XFM.

The performers that give away their music for free are expected to make their money from sales of concert tickets and merchandise.

The Bottom Line: KOAR was expecting this to happen. Older acts trying to capitalize off this press. Do you really think Oasis is going to WOW the press like Radiohead? Oasis is an older act that primarily generates revenue through touring not record sales. Also, the only decent Oasis records were ‘Definitely Maybe and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?. I have a good feeling that Oasis knew that they will never deliver another sucker punch record like they did in 1995, therefore deem it as a “worthless” promotional piece. See you on the road Noel!

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Radiohead continues to make noise even a week later when they encouraged fans to “Pay What you Want”. Blogs, papers and Fox News are continuing to cover the story. Prince didn’t even receive this kind of press when he gave away his Planet Earth CD to a Sunday newspaper. Radiohead + Press = Mission Accomplished.

‘Radiohead generation believes music is free’: All my friends are web-literate and regularly download music. They are unwilling to fork out what is generally considered to be an unreasonably high price for albums. However, they will buy an album if the band means a lot to them. Radiohead, on the other hand, simply do not need the money so I only gave them 9p. I haven’t lost any sleep over it yet.” (Full article)

‘Embrace Digital Or Die, EMI Told’: In response to Radiohead – Guy Hands, the financier whose private equity group, Terra Firma, bought EMI emailed the staff that the industry had been too slow to embrace the digital revolution. “The recorded music industry… has for too long been dependent on how many CDs can be sold,” he wrote. “Rather than embracing digitalisation and the opportunities it brings for promotion of product and distribution through multiple channels, the industry has stuck its head in the sand.”

The Bottom Line: Both these headlines are silly and are very slanted, refusing to look at the broadscope of the musical landscape. They are simplistic views. Guy Hands is a little late to the party. He goes onto say that labels didn’t embrace the digital age. Well..no duh! The reason why labels didn’t embrace the digital age because they couldn’t control it. Major music labels knew music was going to be free.

The tough guy Tim Burgess, the Charlatans’ lead signer, told The Sunday Telegraph: “I want the people to own the music and the artists to own the copyright. Why let a record company get in the way of the music?”

Sorry Tim, owning the copyright means nothing when music is free. Where is the ownership when something is free ? Isn’t this basic business? The only way it could work is that if you are giving away something and promoting a product that one has to buy.

More News…

The Next Big Thing: The ringtone business has spilled billions in revenues, though it appears to be slowly dying down. Although Mobile music is still less than one percent of the industry, It’s been a great ride for everybody said Dave Ulmer, at Motorola Media Solutions. What’s Next?

Will the iPhone popularity attract viruses?: Some say the phenomenal visibility of Apple’s iPhone may spell the end of the cell-phone industry’s age of security innocence. Mobiles have been largely immune to the viruses and other “malware” now inflicted on PCs at the rate of 15,000 per day. Security experts worry that all the excitement surrounding Apple’s new device will work on hackers like a red cape to a bull.

Facebook to Launch platform for musicians: Facebook is said to be launching an artist platform to compete with MySpace’s profile pages. Paidcontent says that the platform includes iTunes integration for buying music through Apple’s store, special profiles for bands, and unique widgets for music promotion, tour dates, and more, all within the clean Facebook interface.

Kid Rock sits down with Larry King: Although KOAR called out Kid Rock’s ridiculous lyrics in his new song So Hot, he still provided an impressive interview with Larry King. Kid Rock who says he is a confused artist also claims that he comes up with the creative vision, album art, lyrics, etc. We like his honesty and his ‘pull no punches approach’. He is more of a ‘rock star’ than todays up and coming acts. Check out the clip from the interview.

New Music coming soon….

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Guilty verdict in music file-sharing case: Minnesota woman Jammie Thomas, accused of illegally sharing music files on Kazaa, has been found guilty of willful copyright infringement. The jury ordered single mother Jennie Thomas to pay $9,250 for each of the 24 songs she was found to have shared, though they could have awarded as much as $3.6 million or as little as $18,000. Is justice served?

Microsoft visionary Bill Gates offers his opinion on the
future of the music biz:
He suggested that music labels should push harder to sell all-you-can-eat subscriptions that let users download much more music that they keep as long as they continue paying. Microsoft is one of a handful of companies that have been negotiating with the music industry over a subscription-based program known as Total Music. “Subscriptions have absolutely been a mixed story and are not the mainstream thing today,”Mr. Gates said.

People are going to listen to a lot more music because it’s going to be easy to find neat new exciting music, its going to be easy to have your music with you, in the car, when you’re running,” he said. “It seems like there ought to be a way to translate that into an opportunity.”

More Radiohead Shakeups: “This feels like yet another death knell,” emailed an A&R executive at a major European label. “If the best band in the world doesn’t want a part of us, I’m not sure what’s left for this business.”

“That’s the interesting part of all this,” says a producer who works primarily with American rap artists. “Radiohead is the best band in the world; if you can pay whatever you want for music by the best band in the world, why would you pay $13 dollars or $.99 cents for music by somebody less talented? Once you open that door and start giving music away legally, I’m not sure there’s any going back.”

The Bottom Line: I believe many are blowing this Radiohead frenzy out of proportion. Remember, it’s a game and press. I respect the fact that Radiohead is thinking outside the box and creating this discussion and chatter. Its genius. Regardless, the “Pay What you Want” model is not the future, but, it was perfectly fitting for one the biggest cult bands.

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