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Anyone working at Columbia and Epic has a reason to be nervous. Several A&R’s have already been let go. A new President will bring a new “regime” consisting of his old  buddies and friends to make him look like a pro. This cycle repeats itself over and over.  Even the Ataris wanted to avoid “the hoopla” and split from the label. It seems that the days are gone when A&R’s and label execs were excited to discover and nurture new talent.

The U.S. government has joined forces with the entertainment industry to stop the global epidemic in pirated movies and music, pressuring foreign governments to crack down or risk incurring trade barriers. The once popular Kazaa has half as many users as it did at its peak three years ago.

The Movie Industry is aiming to succeed where the music industry failed and force Steve Jobs to change his mind over the prices of flicks he wants to flog online. Apple wants to start selling movies for video iPods online and according to Variety magazine Jobs is personally entering into negotiations with the movie studios.

Former Warner Brothers CEO Mo Ostin may be close to returning to the label in a consulting capacity after months of talks with current Warner chairman and CEO Tom Whalley.

Former American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard received $2 million in his lawsuit against his ex-manager for misappropriating the singer’s money and credit cards. He filed suit last year against against ex-manager Ronald W. Edwards and Edwards’ promotions company, Sez Inc. Supposedly the poor ol’ manager used Studdard’s money to repay a $10,000 bank loan.

A&R executive John Kalodner is retiring after 35 years in the music business. Kalodner is credited with reviving Aerosmith and Cher’s careers. Among the many other acts he worked with are Genesis, Phil Collins, Yes, AC/DC, Santana, Bon Jovi, XTC, Shawn Colvin, Yes, etc.

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Check out the song Stumble On from unsigned Virginia based alt rock band Adelyn. They have a heavy touring schedule this summer performing select dates with Godsmack and Warped Tour. Adelyn is currently working on a new EP and was just picked up by lawyer Fred Davis. For more information get in contact with Gabriela Revilla.

Unsigned reggae influenced and sublime-esque IllScarlett will be the first independent artist to play the mainstage of Edge-Fest in Canada on July 16. Alternative station The Edge (Toronto) has added the song Heaters (mp3) which is now in heavy rotation and #24 on the Top 30 Countdown. IllScarlet is joining the 2006 Vans Warped Tour for the last few weeks including all NY/NJ shows. For more information contact Andy Winkler or legal Brad Rubens.

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Rapper Rick Ross received a gold plaque for record sales? no!..but for 500,000 sales of ring tones. Just like vinyl, tapes and CDs, the sounds of ringing mobile phones will now translate into awards for sales of 500,000, one million and beyond.

“Just a few short years ago, it was unthinkable for sales on ring tones to go platinum,” said RIAA Chairman Mitch Bainwol.  “But here we are. We’re transforming the way we hear our music.” According to industry experts, about 10 percent of music industry revenues worldwide now come from ring tones.

Other artists that will receive gold and platinum ring tone records include Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce, 50 Cent, Kanye West and others.

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A new bizarre product called an iCarta will make it easier for people to listen to music while using the bathroom. The device delivers high-quality sounds from moisture-resistant speakers, according to the manufacturer Atech Flash Technology. The iCarta, which is 8 inches wide, 7 inches deep and three inches high and designed to be mounted on the bathroom wall, is powered by rechargeable batteries.

Coolfer reports that multi–Platinum Canadian singer Nelly Furtado has signed a worldwide publishing deal with EMI Music Publishing.

Nathan Asher & The Infantry hit a home run last night at Arlenes in NYC with Capitol, Atlantic, Everfine and The Agency Group in attendance.

Tyler Read based out of Louisiana has signed to Immortal Records.

Unsigned Indianapolis pop rock act Virgin Millionaires who we featured last year in KOAR’s Higher Learning section has been receiving a great deal of attention as of late. The band is receiving massive airplay on the track, “Bombs Away,” which has over 500 spins at WZPL and over 320 spins at WRZX. The second track, “For a While,” is getting top five research on WNOU. They had an impressive sales debut of #11 in Indy, and moved up the second week to the #9 position. For more information contact Joe Greenwald.

The Payola scheme continues…..Last month Universal settled out costing the corporate giant 12 million. Now it’s time for EMI. In a statement, Mr Spitzer claimed that EMI had provided illegal “financial benefits to obtain airplay and boost the chart position of its artists by bribing radio station employees with concert tickets, video games and hotel and air fare expenses”. In return, EMI Music has agreed to pay $3.75m to settle an investigation into paying radio stations to play its artists.

Shows to check out:
Granian @ Coda (NYC) June 17th 9:30

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Blue OctoberIn 2000, Blue October signed to Universal Records and released the album Consent To Treatment. The single that was chosen did very little at radio, and the band was consequently dropped about a year later. In 2003, Blue October released independently their follow up record History For Sale with much success, picking up lots of regional rock support and national AC support when the single ‘Calling You’ was added to the American Wedding soundtrack. The band re-signed with Universal and re-released the independent record and more recently their latest endeavor ‘Foiled.’ Their new single ‘Hate Me’ has been charting in the top 5 for about 8 weeks and the record has been selling consistently beyond expectation. Obvious questions arise.

“We suspected Consent to Treatment wouldn’t do well when we made it,��? says guitarist CB Hudson. “Radio was completely overtaken by Limp Bizkit and rap rock, there really wasn’t a place for a band like ours. We didn’t have creative control on the record and made a lot of changes for the label and the whole thing just wasn’t right. Not the right timing.��? After being dropped from the label, the band continued to tour heavily in support of the release. They then turned to their manager’s label, Brando Records, for the release of their second album. “We were able to work with Dave Castell and we had full creative control of the record. We had grown a lot from being on the road and we were just better all around.��?

The success of the single ‘Calling You’ grabbed the attention of many labels, not just their former home. “We had a lot of label interest around that time and were doing a lot of showcases. Normally labels send out one or two people to check out the set and then take off, but Universal brought practically their entire staff. There were about a hundred people there and everyone was really excited! That really impressed us. Getting on a new label, you have to deal with all of the marketing issues of developing a story and finding out what the band is about. We had a previous relationship with Universal, so seeing their excitement let us know we could hit the ground running.��?

Justin Furstenfeld of Blue OctoberThis renewed relationship with the label came with a few changes, primarily creative control. “We recorded some in LA, Dallas and Austin. We did it at our own pace and with our own people. The label brought some producers in and we worked with them a little, but out of all the songs we worked on with them, we kept maybe one of them. Justin [Furstenfeld] is a true artist and he already knows in his head where something should go. There is a vision for the songs and working with Dave Castell again we were able to capture what we really wanted. This record is exactly how it was envisioned.��?

The result of this creative freedom is the most critically acclaimed album of their careers, propelling the band to a level of success they began to question was possible. There is a lesson in here, but I am not sure if it’s for the major labels or the artists. Perhaps both. Blue October is called to their art and they have never wavered in their commitment to creating honest and compelling music. Being dropped and picked back up has had little effect on what they create and they kept on as if they’d never have another deal. Universal recognized their mistake in dropping the band prematurely and went way above and beyond to get them back and then gave them the freedom they needed. Not every band deserves a great label, and not every label deserves a great band, but when all are worthy and cooperative in their efforts, the outcome can be inspiring.

AJ, KOAR

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