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Times are changing and the chairs are rotating. Jay-Z said Monday that he will leave his post as president of Universal Music Group’s Def Jam Records label after his contract expires this year.

The rapper, who was named Def Jam president three years ago, said in a statement that it is “time for me to take on new challenges.

He will continue to release his own music through his record label, Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam after his contract expires Dec. 31.

Jay Z took over Def Jam in December 2004 in an incentive deal that was reportedly valued at up to $10 million. (AP)

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Apple to launch iPod with automatic volume control: Critics of the iPods have claimed the device can cause serious hearing loss. Apple is developing an automatic volume control and the next iPods and iPhones will most likely calculate how long a person has been listening and at what volume, before gradually reducing the sound level.

Trent Interview: Once Again, Wired Magazine interviews Trent Reznor and the discussion centers around the state of the music biz. Uh! Our new years wish is more music less bull.

Signings: Pop Rock band After Eight who hails from Oklahoma has signed to Tooth and Nail Records. The will be recording their debut album with producer Aaron Sprinkle (Anberlin, The Almost, Kutless) in Seattle.

Anti-Piracy: The RIAA is launching a “holiday anti-piracy campaign” that “offers shoppers innovative gift ideas and tips or avoiding pirate product.” The campaign is set to focus on 15 cities with “exceptionally high piracy rates”. This anti campaign video is floating around the net and may be used by the RIAA to educate and warn consumers.

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KOAR would like wish our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah!
Peace Be With You….

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Virgin Megastore: The Virgin Megastore’s space in Manhattan’s Union Square is being offered by a real estate broker for 2009 availability. As of now its unclear if the company plans to move its downtown location to another space, or if it will shutter the store altogether. Oh no!, not another one.

Fearless Records have signed indie pop band The Morning Light.

Soundscan – week ending 12/16

Josh Groban 669,161k
Alicia Keys 292,273k
Eagles 241, 104k
Taylor Swift 139k
Daughtry 59k
Nickelback 53k
One Republic 37k
Foo Fighters 30k
Finger Eleven 20k
Seether 19k
Flyleaf 12k

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Signings: The saxophonist Kenny G has signed with Starbucks and Concord Records, which will release his “Rhythm and Romance” on Feb. 5. Also, Roadrunner Records has signed rock act Steadlur, they actually pulled off the cover ‘Cry Little Sister’ that comes off the Lost Boys Sountrack. Nice job!

Check out the article ‘If The Old Music Business Is Dead, What’s Next?’ that weighs in on what the next few years may hold including 360 deals, concert-promotions, iTunes-only one-off singles, artist subscriptions, etc.

Live Nation enters the ticketing business: Live Nation will launch a worldwide ticketing business beginning Jan. 1, 2009. Live Nation notes that the new ticketing platform will allow it to control customer data to create “enhanced ticket-based concert products,” and capitalize on expanded distribution channels and sponsorship opportunities.

The Eagles in Demand: We hear from from insiders that Virgin Megastore is purchasing The Eagles ‘Long Road Out Of Eden’ from Walmart and placing them in their key flagship stores. Does this mean the double album is being soundscanned twice? probably, but not enough to significantly spike sales.

In the age of MP3s, sound quality is worse than ever: The new issue of Rolling Stone Mag has an article “The Death of High Fidelity’ that discusses recording technology and how it has changed the way albums are produced, mixed and mastered -almost always for the worse. Rock producer David Bendeth says record labels ask the mastering engineers who work on his CDs to crank up the sound levels so high that even the soft parts sound loud. “They make it loud to get [listeners’] attention,” Bendeth says. Bendeth believes that relying too much on this effect can obscure sonic detail, rob music of its emotional power and leave listeners with what engineers call ear fatigue.

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New Music: Check out the Canadian rock alternative act Die Mannequin. Musically it sounds like Joan Jett in her hey day and the band has Sum 41 dates lined up. Check out the track Do It Or Die.

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Ged Doherty CEO of SonyBMG in the UK has issued a new corporate marketing strategy. He said said the company “has made it obligatory for all senior staff at both Columbia Records and RCA Records to start blogging actively”. According to the Register CEO Ged has made it clear that staff are expected to blog and participate in the community. He sees it as part of people’s jobs.”

SonyBMG A&R staff will actively take part in two new communities, Columbia Demos and RCA Demos.

Why Blog? How did they come to this conclusion?

Because consultants trumpeted it as a way of cutting out the PR and media and presenting a more “authentic” voice of the corporation. Oh, I have seen this before. Basically an ‘outside’ consultant company who is paid by SonyBMG thought of this bright idea probably because they ran out of ideas. What about the people who can’t blog? I would personally encourage the entire staff including the janitor to be watchful for up and coming talent which is key for the growth of a major music company.

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