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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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Wired Mag David Byrne Interviews Thom Yorke.

Yorke claims Radiohead benefits little from the traditional album set up.

That’s what major labels do, yeah. But it does us no good, because we don’t cross over [to other fan bases]. The main thing was, there’s all this bollocks [with the media].

Press people cut and paste from the first review….

We were trying to avoid that whole game of who gets in first with the reviews. These days there’s so much paper to fill, or digital paper to fill, that whoever writes the first few things gets cut and pasted.

Whoever gets their opinion in first has all that power. Especially for a band like ours, it’s totally the luck of the draw whether that person is into us or not. It just seems wildly unfair, I think.

Yorke discusses the ‘pay what you want’ experiment..

That was [manager Chris Hufford’s] idea. We all thought he was barmy. As we were putting up the site, we were still saying, “Are you sure about this?” But it was really good. It released us from something. It wasn’t nihilistic, implying that the music’s not worth anything at all. It was the total opposite. And people took it as it was meant. Maybe that’s just people having a little faith in what we’re doing.

The ‘pay what you want’ experiment only works for Radiohead..

The only reason we could even get away with this, the only reason anyone even gives a shit, is the fact that we’ve gone through the whole mill of the business in the first place. It’s not supposed to be a model for anything else. It was simply a response to a situation. We’re out of contract. We have our own studio. We have this new server. What the hell else would we do? This was the obvious thing. But it only works for us because of where we are.

Yorke gives his insight for bands that are getting started..

Well, first and foremost, you don’t sign a huge record contract that strips you of all your digital rights, so that when you do sell something on iTunes you get absolutely zero. That would be the first priority. If you’re an emerging artist, it must be frightening at the moment. Then again, I don’t see a downside at all to big record companies not having access to new artists, because they have no idea what to do with them now anyway.

On touring….

We always go into a tour saying, “This time, we’re not going to spend the money. This time we’re going to do it stripped down.” And then it’s, “Oh, but we do need this keyboard. And these lights.” But at the moment we make money principally from touring. Which is hard for me to reconcile because I don’t like all the energy consumption, the travel. It’s an ecological disaster, traveling, touring.

The Bottom Line: This is was a nice discussion about business, but what about the music? Radiohead and their camp did an excellent job shaking the cage with the ‘pay what you want’ experiment which became the biggest story and headline in 2007. I just hope that the music and art will be the headline in 2008.

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The King Of Christmas: Josh Groban 2007’s album ‘Noel’ could be this year’s best Christmas seller. USA Today wrote: ‘Noel, released Oct. 9, is No. 1 for the third week straight, tying a record for holiday albums set by Elvis Presley’s Elvis’ Christmas Album in 1957. Last week, he sold 581,000 copies, a gain of 8% over the previous week’s haul of 539,000. Noel could reach 3 million.

Major Music Companies Pass On Extra Costs To Artists: Touring and merchandise sales are the main sources of income for an artist to get from one city to the next. Gas prices are soaring close to $4 a gallon making it extremely difficult for touring artists. As if it weren’t hard enough, it just got a little harder.

Once again, major music companies are finding new ways to find money, in this case labels have increased the prices for venue CD’s (CD’s that artists buy back from their label to sell at their live performances). Sources have told KOAR that the major labels are now treating their own acts as a ‘retailer’ and selling CD’s at whole sale prices to their OWN artists.

For instance, some labels have increased the CD price from $6.00 to $6.50 and Roadrunner charges artists $12.00. If an artist buys back their CD for $12.00 that means they need to sell the CD for $15.00 to make a profit. What kid who attends a live show is going to buy a CD for $15.00? Isn’t it true that CD’s are becoming an artifact? Products like the CD with a shelf life about to end don’t go up in prices.  Lets get real, artists need a break.

Passings: Dan Fogelberg Died at age 56 from a battle with prostate cancer. Fox Column, Roger Friedman said it nicely: ‘No one, I mean no one, in pop today is capable of these kinds of sublime recordings. They’re too interested in fashion. Dan Fogelberg, with many hits and no place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, will be sorely missed’.

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