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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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A MySpace Music Tour which will feature Hellogoodbye and Say Anything will kick off October 16th in Seattle.

Is BurnLounge still in business?: BurnLounge is a controversial digital upstart that allows users to open their own digital download store. BurnLounge just laid off a substantial number of their employees. According to insiders, repeated calls to their New York Headquarters have returned no responses, however, you can still go and purchase a retailer package..

Times Online business editor, James Harding on the new managers at EMI…..The new managers at EMI make Eric Nicoli, the former biscuit executive who has run the company for the past eight years, look like an impresario with the musical talent of a Daniel Barenboim and the street credibility of Keith Richards.

Ween has signed to Rounder Records. (Coolfer)

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The illegal hack site which allowed users to rip streaming audio off of Myspace sites into MP3’s has been suspended. Unfortunately, the thieves are back in town — New illegal hack sites have popped up that allows music thieves to defile themselves with their guilty pleasure.

If I were an artist, I would remove all my songs on Myspace until they can fix these security issues. I would also sue or jail the creator of these sites. A recent spammer was recently imprisoned for up to seven years.  KOAR is asking Myspace to recognize the problem and take immediate action. It would also make sense for Major and indie labels to remove songs on myspace or at least put up 15 seconds of a clip.

Myspace and News Corp. are obligated to tell it’s customers and advertisers that pay thousands of dollars for placements that their music will be free rather than purchased.  Myspace also needs to update their security tools and techniques that prevent hackers.

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EMI Group’s new owners Terra Firma have ousted Eric Nicoli and shaken-up the music company’s board.

Nicoli, the CEO of EMI Group and EMI Music, has agreed to “step down” ahead of the music major’s expected Sept. 18 de-listing from the London Stock Exchange.

The European equity firm’s managing directors Chris Roling and Ashley Unwin have been inserted into EMI’s board.

Terra Firma is also forming a new governance structure, which will see the EMI board reporting into a new supervisory board chaired by the equity house’s CEO Guy Hands. (Billboard)

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Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has demanded an apology from Swedish newspapers for their scathing reviews of the group’s performance in the country earlier this month.

Critics gave thumbs down to the Aug. 3 concert at Ullevi stadium in Goteborg, with Expressen suggesting Richards was “superdrunk” on stage.

“This is a first!” the 63-year-old rock star wrote in a letter published by Stockholm daily Dagens Nyheter. “Never before have I risen to the bait of a bad review.

“But this time … I have to stand up … for our fans all over Sweden … to say that you owe them, and us, an apology.”

“There were 56,000 people in Ullevi stadium who bought a ticket to our concert – and experienced a completely different show than the one you ‘reviewed,'” the letter said.

“How dare you cheapen the experience for them – and for the hundreds of thousands of other people across Sweden who weren’t at Ullevi and have only your ‘review’ to go on.

“Write the truth. It was a good show.”

“I am not going to apologize for my subjective opinion,” Larsson told the paper’s Web edition on Wednesday. “It is Keith who should apologize. After all it costs around 1,000 kronor ($145) to see a rock star who can hardly handle the (guitar) riff to ‘Brown Sugar’ any more.”

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It appears controversial site AllOfMP3 will appear in the near future. AllofMP3 sells non-protected audio formats at a significantly lower cost than other online music stores — it also operates illegally and engage in music piracy. Of course AllofMP3’s previous CEO was not guilty of breaching Russian copyright laws, and therefore the AllofMP3 service was legal. Russia receive royalties for the use of foreign artistic works, but never pass on that money to the artists or music companies, according to the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers. These collecting agencies are thieves and frauds because they accept money while pretending to represent artists,” said Eric Baptiste, director general of the confederation. “They play off a bizarre aspect of the Russian law that we are lobbying to change.”

The Escape Frame have signed with Immortal Records. (AP)

CD Baby is now selling MP3 album downloads at its website.

It looks like Apple will release a new IPod September 5th….

Father-In-Law: Boycott Winehouse Albums….

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