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iTaxes: Good ol’ New York City never disappoints with taxes. New Yorkers people pay the highest taxes in the nation and governor David Paterson just took another swing at the citizens. New Yorkers who download music to their iPods are to see the cost rise by 4%.

“The charge, which has been nicknamed the iTax, will also cover ebooks and other “digitally delivered entertainment services”. (Guardian)

This isn’t good news for the music biz, adding an iTax will increase piracy.  Where is Eliot Spitzer when we need him?

Satellite Radio Slashes Employees: Sirius XM Radio will have axed 22 percent of the work force by year-end, meaning they will have cut 458 people from its staff. I remember when CEO of Sirus Mel Karmazin, was speaking at a conference where he was saying Satellite Radio is a better investment than traditional AM or FM. I’m not quite sure about that, I think Sirius XM is falling apart.

The Christmas Blues: “Album sales were down 21.7 percent during the first week of December compared with the same period last year, accelerating from the 17.4 percent decline recorded during the last two weeks of November, according to Nielsen SoundScan.”

Signings: Lost Highway who is the home to Van Morrison and Elvis Costello has recently inked a deal with Morrissey and will release his new album ‘Years of Refusal’.

Digital Sales Surpass A Billion: Individual digital song downloads will reach about 1,040,000 for the year according to the Los Angeles Times. The best digital selling song this year is is Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love,” which sold 3.3 million downloads. Of course this won’t offset the decline of CD sales.

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Little Boots -  (London)

Victoria Hesketh who goes by the name Little Boots plays this little digital instrument called a Tonorion.  The UK press has dubbed her a potential breakout star. You think?

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The music business heavily relies on the Christmas season to boost their bottom line.

Let’s look at this week physical sales:

Taylor Swift – ‘Fearless’ – 246,841 – Total: 1,519,010
Britney Spears – ‘Circus’ – 200,096 – Total: 705,792
Nickelback – ‘Dark Horse’ – 156,076 – Total: 793,930
AC/DC – ‘Black Ice’ – 110,098 – Total: 1,675,568
Pink – ‘Funhouse’ – 61,381 – Total: 516,700
Miley Cyrus – ‘Breakout’ – 59,565 – Total: 1,192,675
Jonas Brothers – ‘Little Bit Longer’ – 58,608 – Total: 1,270,019
Killers – ‘Day & Age’ – 52,521 – Total: 307,865
Kid Rock – ‘Rock N Roll Jesus’ – 50,420 – total: 2,543,555
Guns N’ Roses – ‘Chinese Democracy’ – 47,193 – total: 364,960
Casting Crowns – ‘Peace On Earth’ – 41,188 – Total: 76,492
Metallica – ‘Death Magnetic’ – 36,136 – Total: 1,442,636
Coldplay – ‘Viva La Vida’ – 35,391 – Total: 2,032, 974
Adele – ’19’ – 19,830 – Total: 278,491
Kings of Leon – ‘Only By The Night – 15,694 – Total: 15,694

Digital Songs (Totals):

Britney Spears ‘Circus’ – 365,050
Lady Gaga ‘Just Dance’ – 1,179,661
Kanye West ‘Heartless’ – 634,091
Britney Spears ‘Womanizer’ – 1,420,612
Katy Perry ‘Hot N Cold’ – 2,043,816
Pink ‘So What’ – 2,324,367

Surprisingly, Britney Spears has broken T.I.’s record for the “Biggest Jump in Billboard History”. Who would ever think  Spears would be as meaningful as Madonna? But it looks like she did it. Taylor Swift’s ‘Fearless’ is the biggest country digital album debut in the history of Nielsen’s Soundscan, and the 4th biggest digital album debut to date, behind only Coldplay, Jack Johnson, and Kanye West.

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Fox’s Roger Friedman says Rick Rubin will be slowly removed from his head post at Columbia Records.

“I’m told that Sony Music may have found a solution to their mess with Rick Rubin. They’re going to quietly offload him to a side label deal, and remove him from the main company.”

Rubin faced criticism when he took the high paying job as co-chairman of Columbia Records. In fact, The New York Times said when it comes to scouting and signing new artists, producer-run labels have a spotty history.

Unfortunately, it looks like reality is setting in:

“Sources say, and it makes sense. As I told you last week, Rubin has been a costly adventure for Sony. He’s produced a hit album for another label — Metallica, for Atlantic — and several CDs that were interesting but failed to spark sales,” says Friedman.

It’s also been said that Rubin moved the Sony Offices from Los Angeles to the more expensive Beverly Hills – a risky move in a time when labels are shrinking.

Not only that, Rubin was recording tracks for U2 only to find out the band rejected his tracks.

Looks like Rubin got himself in a turmoil, regardless, we can thank him for the fantastic Metallica album. But next time, turn down the volume!

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G n’ R Leaker Pleads Guilty: The blogger pleaded guilty to a federal copyright violation for uploading nine unreleased tracks from the Guns N’ Roses album “Chinese Democracy.

Papa Roach Lawsuit: The former drummer of rock act Papa Roach, is suing the band over alleged unpaid royalties. The suit alleges that the remaining band members have borrowed $210,000 from Broadway Federal Bank against assets without Buckner’s prior knowledge, “to underwrite various undertakings of the group as well as the rock and roll lifestyle… while they toured as Papa Roach.”

The Beginning Of The End: Some analysts are claiming that the hugely popular video games “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” will begin to experience softer sales. Guitar Hero sold over 22 million units and its rival Rock Band has sold over 5 million units, but the signs of slowdown are apparent. To illustrate Guitar Hero is down 19% from last year. “I think the entire genre is definitely reaching its peak says Jesse Divnich, lead analyst for video game market research firm EEDAR.

Fall Out Boy’s new record ‘ Folie à Deux’ is available on Amazon for $3.99. The price of music has officially dropped, will consumers now buy more music?

Next Question Please? Axl Rose finally spoke with fans via message boards. Axl responded to cranky fans by saying “Your misconceptions and fantasies along with your misguided sense of entitlement don’t dictate my actions.” Another fan asked Axl “What is stopping the fans from seeing you Slash, Duff, and Izzy back on stage together?. Axl responds with “U’ve been lied to and misled for such a long time that sorting through all that here is virtually impossible. A lot will come out over time but the truth has been out there for a long time as well but that doesn’t give you what you want so this dance just goes on and on.” Read the rest on the message board here.

Google Holds The Power: “Google this week admitted that its staff will pick and choose what appears in its search results. It’s a historic statement – and nobody has yet grasped its significance said Andrew Orlowski via The Register. Of course we thought search results were explained by computer algorithm that is explained on Google News.  This is very bad news guys..

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