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Insiders claimed yesterday that the band’s members, led by Bono, became fed up with the Island Records’ senior management’s “hands-off” approach towards them, despite their having generated hundreds of millions of pounds for the label.

Friends said yesterday that the final straw came during a recent recording session in London. While Bono and the band worked on new tracks to add to their latest Best of compilation, no one from Island Records dropped by to meet them. One observer claimed this “put their noses out of joint” and did nothing to help the deteriorating relationship. Their closest ally at the label, the former general manager Jason Iley, was appointed managing director of Mercury Records last year, and the band have now followed him there.

  • Universal Music Group strikes a deal with YouTube.
    UMG and its artists will be compensated as well as for the unique, user-created content that incorporates UMG music. YouTube has also agreed to a use its technology to filter out unauthorized content
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The NYC punk venue CBGB’s that could barely pack in 300 people will be closing this Sunday after operating for 33 years. CBGB’s assisted in launching the careers of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Blondie, the Talking Heads and the Ramones. The ’80s hardcore band Bad Brains and the ’70s punks the Dictators are both scheduled for the final week (Oct 13-14th). Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Chris Stein are scheduled to appear.

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I had an artist manager ask me a new one yesterday:  How do I get live performance footage of new songs recorded on someone’s cell phone removed from YouTube?  This isn’t really a new request, we have to have material taken down from websites fairly often.  What is new about it is that the recording was made on a handheld digital recorder by a fan at a show where the artist was trying out new material.   

Until YouTube, it was possible to “open in Philadelphia� to try out new material, a time-honored tradition in our business.  Artists frequently try out material in small clubs in small towns, and may completely rewrite songs based on how they “feel� live or simply not use certain songs.  (This is obviously not limited to artists, but also would include comedians, broadway shows, any number of performers.)  

My artist client now has to pay me to write notice and takedown letters to YouTube to exercise rights under the DMCA—the same week that YouTube is rumored to be fetching an asking price over $1 billion dollars.  That’s billion with a B.  My artist asked me to explain to him how it is that YouTube is able to make more money from infringing his work than any artist will ever see in their lifetimes, yet he has to take the time to send a cease and desist to YouTube in some kind of grotesque game cyber shakedown.  

Of course it is true that anyone can record an artist’s performance anywhere, that’s not the problem.  The problem is not with the fan, and I refuse to allow YouTube to try to make it so.

The problem is that YouTube makes no apparent effort to filter videos that are of obviously questionable origin.  Riddle me this:  If an artist wanted to make their video available on YouTube, would they typically want to post a poor quality video, or would they more likely be interested in keeping that kind of video off of YouTube.

The lawyers for YouTube have tried to get around this issue by implying that they have no way of knowing whether a video that is uploaded is secretly being uploaded by the artist themselves to start a grass roots campaign.  The same is true of movie studios or record companies.

There’s a very easy fix to that problem:  Ask them.  Ask the artist’s permission before YouTube permits the video to be posted.  But of course YouTube can’t do that.  Asking permission doesn’t “scale�.    

What YouTube means when they say that something doesn’t scale is that in order to accomplish a particular thing, they would have to spend money they don’t have on resources they don’t want to achieve a goal for which they have contempt.  It’s like saying, yes I know I may be stealing from you, but it’s too inconvenient for me to find out.  Sounds infantile when you think of it that way right?

If a child said that to their parents, they would likely be grounded for a good long time.  It’s time to ground YouTube. CONTINUE READING

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Federal bankruptcy judge on Friday approved sale of California-based Tower Records to Great American Group, which plans to liquidate the music retailer.

After almost 30 hours of what attorneys described as “robust” and “vigorous” bidding, Great American won with a bid of $134.3 million, beating Trans World Entertainment, which had hoped to continue operating at least some Tower stores, by only $500,000.

Tower said it has been hurt by an industrywide decline in music sales, downloading of online music and competition from big-box stores such as Wal-Mart.

Peter Gurfein, an attorney representing Tower Records, said the company will be sold for an aggregate of $150 million, including the sale of various leases and properties.

Gurfein said Great American plans to begin the liquidation process and going out of business sales on Saturday.

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Drowning Pool former Wind-Up Records metal act has over 2,000,000 sales worldwide.  They are currently the #2 unsigned band on Myspace.  They just returned from Iraq and Kuwait performing for the troops with the USO.  Touring base is solid and their catalog still sells over 1000 units a week. There are new demos available. For more information contact  Manager Paul Bassman or lawyer Nick Ferrara.

Black Tie Dynasty from Ft. Worth, TX. Sounds like the Cure meets Joy Division. They are the #2 most played band on KDGE/Dallas with over 40 spins a week.  The callout research has been #1 or #2 for the past 5-6 weeks.  You can hear their single “Tender� here:  They were voted 2005 “Best Rock Band� by the Fort Worth Weekly. For more information contact Erv Karwelis c/o Idol Records.

 

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