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Apple and Starbucks have formed an exclusive partnership that lets customers wirelessly browse, search for, preview, buy and download music from the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store at Starbucks onto their iPod.

When a customer enters Starbucks, their device will automatically recognize the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store using a high-speed Wi-Fi wireless network with no connection fee or hotspot login.

Customers will be able to browse, search and freely preview millions of songs, including a new “Now Playing” service which displays the name of the song playing in the Starbucks store at that moment, then easily buy and download songs or albums directly to their device.

Starbucks customers are going to get online and download songs while drinking coffee? Novelty…

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CEO of Apple Steve Jobs unveiled new iPod models on Wednesday including an iPod nano, which stores songs and photos on flash memory chips instead of a hard drive, that now will play video and games.

The company, which faces renewed attacks from rivals, will refresh or replace the entire iPod music player product line, Jobs said at a product announcement event.

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Nickelback who has been on the charts for 100 weeks continues to shock the skeptics by selling 39k a week with a tally of 5,857,555.  Nickelback and management has the last laugh.

Carrie Underwood’s new single, ‘So Small’, debuted on the Soundscan singles chart in the U.S. this week coming in at #6.

Pink’s Who Knew climbed six spots from 25 to #19 this week.

Disney’s High School Musical 2 has already hit platinum status.

Fergie’s ‘Dutchess’ sold 50k this week. Her single ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ is #2 on the top 40 charts.

Universal Music Group has decided to close Sanctuary’s UK recorded music division.

Live Nation U.K. Music managing director Stuart Galbraith has been dismissed from the live music powerhouse due to “breach of contract.”

BMI posts record-setting royalty distributions and revenues. The rise in revenues is attributed to the company’s music catalog, successful licensing of music across a diverse range of media, and revenue growth in foreign markets

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Almost 100% of music downloaded from the Net is stolen, according to the IFPI.

One may ask Why? How?

Because China’s most popular search engines Baidu.com and Yahoo China help users find and download songs quickly and illegally.

These search engines provide “deep search” services that allow listeners to download free MP3s from the databases of other sites without ever having to go to those sites themselves.

Artists will never make a dime in China because the culture does not respect intellectual property.

Google China can’t even compete against the search engine Baidu — which has an edge thanks to its free music downloads.

Young and hungry kids who love music can’t even successfully launch local startups trying to build a business around selling music because of piracy.

The IFPI has filed about 300 lawsuits in Chinese courts and has won 90% of them. The IFPI estimates it spends some $13,000 per case — yet the damages awarded average just $130 per suit. Suing isn’t really worth it.

On August 13th, the US asked the World Trade Organization asking it to take action against China’s alleged piracy of music, movies, and software. (Business Week)

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Big September releases include 50 Cent, Kanye West, Rascal Flatts and Kenny Chesney….

September 11th -  50 Cent (“Curtis”) and Kanye West (“Graduation”), last discs saw debut sales weeks of 1.1 million and 860,000..

Country singer Kenny Chesney’s “Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates”. Chesney’s last album, 2005′s “The Road and the Radio,” sold 469,000 in its opening week.

Country music has grown in the last 18 months, while rap music  is stifled with controversy and weakening sales which makes some music execs worried.

Other artists that will have September releases include KT Tunstall’s “Drastic Fantastic” and James Blunt’s “All the Lost Souls”.

Also Rascal Flatts, whose “Me and My Gang” had the mighty sales of 2006 — 722,000 — will have a new release on the 25th with “Still Feels Good” which could top 1 million in first-week sales.

Lastly we have the Foo Fighters‘ “Echoes Silence Patience & Grace,” Melissa Etheridge’s “The Awakening” . The industry is hoping to better the September sales tally of the last two years, approximately 39 million.

(Variety)

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One of the biggest challenges of the Columbia job is to find unsigned artists and help chart their course. Here is the snapshot of the New York Times Interview with Producer and Co-Head of Columbia Records Rick Rubin.

Music executives are obssessed with selling music rather than making music…

“The music business, as a whole, has lost its faith in content,” says David Geffen. “Only 10 years ago, companies wanted to make records, presumably good records, and see if they sold. But panic has set in, and now it’s no longer about making music, it’s all about how to sell music

Signing artists for the wrong reasons…

“The most important thing we have to do now is get the art right says Rubin. So many of the decisions at these companies have not been about the music. They sign artists for the wrong reasons — because they think somebody else wants them or if they need to have a record out by a certain date.

If the artist is great — anything is possible…

So, what’s important now is to find music that’s timeless. I still believe that if an artist gains the belief of the listener, then anything is possible.”

Some say the future of the industry is a subscription based model..

“You would subscribe to music,” Rubin explained. “You’d pay, say, $19.95 a month, and the music will come anywhere you’d like. The service can have demos, bootlegs, concerts, whatever context the artist wants to put out. And once that model is put into place, the industry will grow 10 times the size it is now.”

The opponents of the subscription model feel that making all music by all artists available for one flat fee will end up diminishing the overall revenue stream. “There would have to be a new economic plan,” Geffen explained. “And it would have to be equitable, depending on the popularity of the artists.”

Steve Barnett is nervous about the subscription model. “Smart people have told me if the subscription model is not done correctly,” he said, “it will be the final nail in our coffin. I’ve heard both sides of the argument, and I’m not convinced it’s the solution to our problems. Rick wants to be a hero immediately. In his mind, you flick a switch and it’s done. It doesn’t work like that.”

At the end of the day, its all about the music…

Rubin paused. “That’s the magic of the business,” he said. “It’s all doom and gloom, but then you go to a Gossip show or hear Neil in the studio and you remember that too many people make and love music for it to ever die. It will never be over.

The Bottom Line: We couldn’t agree more with some of the observations. Music labels are not concentrating on making great music — instead they have focused on “How can we sell the music”. KOAR has always said you cannot peddle crap. Of course a plethora of great artists are not waiting to be discovered either — todays music label needs a staff of producers and collaborators’ to work with the unsigned talent hoping to create new stars.
The subscription model can be dangerous if its not well thought out. It doesn’t make sense that a well written HIT song on iTunes is priced equally as a track performed by an unknown artist that does not attract interest.

The iTunes egalitarian pricing system scorns achievement and is guilty of pandering to the cult of mediocrity.

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New Music and Recommended Listening..

Animal by the Vettes

Desperate Days by Kevin Elliot and the Broken

Attitude by Misdelphia

Buy these records now….

Blaqk Audio

The Last Goodnight

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Amazon — The online retail giant has tentatively set a mid-September target for the launch of its music service, sources familiar with the situation said.

The store will offer songs in the iPod-friendly MP3 format and give consumers who use the popular music player an alternative source for major label music besides Apple’s iTunes.

Amazon is expected to carry somewhere around 1 million tracks at launch, featuring music from Universal Music Group, EMI and a large number of independent labels.

Unlike Apple, which charges 99 cents for songs with DRM and $1.29 for unprotected tracks, Amazon is expected to have at least two prices for individual songs: 99 cents for new and popular MP3s, and 89 cents for music from emerging artists and back catalog tracks.

Albums are expected to cost between $7.99 and $9.99.

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