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The Wall Street Journal mentions the music industry is showing signs of renewed strength.

After years of losing buyers, caused by many consumers who simply stopped buying music, the total number of CD buyers increased for the second consecutive year, growing 2% to 78 million [in 2011]

Paid downloads also increased:

Total music-track sales rose 4% last year, the first gain in many years. Paid download buyers increased 14% in 2011, to 45 million customers. Digital buyers also spent more at iTunes Music Store, Amazon AMZN MP3, and other digital music stores in 2011.

People are spending more time with music discovery sites like Pandora and Spotify as well as mobile devices:

It’s so obvious what has happened in the last year or two,” said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD, in an interview Tuesday. “Consumers have a lot more ways to discover new music than they have had traditionally. Services like Pandora P , Spotify and Rhapsody have made it easier to get a song you like into your head, and consumers are then going to iTunes or a physical store like Target and putting that song or album on their shopping list. With more mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, people are just spending more time with music.

I believe breakout artists such as Adele and Katy Perry have skewed the sales numbers. For the last year, Adele is selling 100,000 copies a week, which isn’t typical for the last 5 to 7 years. Regardless, the 4th quarter will  paint a clearer picture.

The quality of pop music been better recently, from Adele to Lady Gaga to Katy Perry to Susan Boyle, and people are responding to that,” Crupnick explained. “And 10 years after the advent of Apple’s   AAPL   iTunes, far more people buy CDs than downloads.”

Ironically, people are still buying CD’s. It’s been predicted that CD’s would be obsolete by 2012.

In our rapidly changing world, it is perhaps odd to suppose that a physical medium would still resonate with people. However, Crupnick said, there are still plenty of Baby Boomers and other listeners who just enjoy the CD experience in the car, and there remains a core contingent of consumers who find CDs to be the best way to enjoy the album format, which offers an assortment of songs from a favorite artist, tied to a unifying theme.

Piracy is on the decline as well, the UK just singed a bill (ACTA) that makes illegal downloading on par with “Class A drugs, people smuggling and human trafficking, major gun crime, fraud and money laundering.”

One other thing has clearly helped the music industry claw its way back to growth – a decline in piracy. The NPD report also noted a decline in unpaid music acquisition, such as P2P file sharing and trading music on hard drives. NPD estimates that 13% of Internet users downloaded music from a P2P site in 2011, down from a peak of 19% in 2006. In addition to giving customers more legitimate sources to find music, the industry has worked hard to crack down on file sharing sites.

The music industry is still finding it’s place in rapidly changing landscape, but it’s still breathing.

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Buzz Track: Lonely Place

Tommy & The High Pilots, known for a great live show are currently touring with Kings favorite Allen Stone and will perform Thursday March 8th at The Bowery Electric in NYC at 9:00pm.

Upcoming performances also include:

3/9 – Virginia Beach, VA – the Jewish Mother
3/10 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
3/11 – Nashville, TN – 12th and Porter

Contact: danielrfriedman@aol.com

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Businesses and artists have used Facebook as a promotional platform, and we all have depended on Facebook more and more. Even multimillion start ups are using Facebook to fuel their fanbase.  As the addiction grows, so do the rules that can effect artists.

“VEVO just latched its entire registration system to ‘the social network,’ and Spotify isn’t far behind.  Investors are boosting startups like RootMusic that completely revolve around Facebook, while bands think Facebook likes are three times as important as email signups.” Digital Music News

Facebook has been extremely helpful but it also makes the rules that can change your business over night for better or worse.  Facebook is now making a major modification that will effect your business.

Digital Music says this:

This is all part of a major layout overhaul that revolves around Timeline, and the changes could have a dramatic impact on artists and Facebook-centric businesses.

Bands can no longer make there app page their default page:

The biggest of the changes seems to be this: as part of the shift, bands can no longer make their app page their default landing page (for example, RootMusic’s BandPage).  Instead, all visitors will be sent to the Timeline-loaded front page, with apps relegated to a tab (though bands can direct-link).  Which means far less control for artists, and a potentially monstrous setback for businesses like RootMusic (and to a lesser extent, FanBridge, ReverbNation, and others).

Facebook will limit how you market:

But wait! There are more game-changing shifts being splashed in your face, most likely with little-or-no advanced warning. That includes certain limitations on your gigantically-revamped, 815×320 masthead photo.  For example, a band cannot incorporate any marketing language, special offers, Like buttons, or any calls-to-action into this showcase pic.

March 31st is the transition day:

Actually, RootMusic has created a quick-and-comprehensive guide to the changes.  It’s a great primer – and remember: transitions are mandatory by March 31st.

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Buzz Track: Counting On You

Kings favorite Mikey Wax will perform in Austin Thursday March 15th at Darwin’s Pub as part of RedGorilla Music Festival at 1:00pm. He will showcase in NYC at Rockwood Music Hall – Stage Two on Tuesday March 20th at 7pm. Several publishers and labels will be in attendance. His self released song ‘Counting On You is currently #46 on the HOT AC chart which quickly garnered 100,000 YouTube views and 30,000 Twitter followers. KSL who listed Mikey as one of the top 5 artists ready to make it big says this “Mikey has some very genuine and organic music that is a fresh take on a tired pop music genre.”

Contact: jonathan@4x4artistmanagement.com

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The UK is taking an aggressive step to curtail illegal downloading. Britian’s organized crime police shut down the popular file sharing site RnBxclusive.com that received 70,000 hits a day and 250,000 Facebook subscribers.

Recently, the British Government signed a bill titled ACTA that allows them to prosecute illegal downloaders that comes with a 10 year jail sentence.

“The Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) in Britain normally tackles crimes “that affect the UK and its citizens.” Now simply downloading illegal content from a file-sharing website has been put on a par with “Class A drugs, people smuggling and human trafficking, major gun crime, fraud and money laundering.”

Although this type of sentence seems extreme, it’s welcomed by the music industry that’s been hijacked by theft.

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