Down but not out: Bankrupt label TVT strikes a deal with Qtrax. Apparently they worked the deal a number of years ago, expecting Qtrax to be a real digital competitor by now. Alas, they are not, however the label plans to remain “active and competitive.” (Wired)
Facts and Figures: More studies about what the hell happened in ’07: According to NPD Group, the amount of music consumers acquired last year increased by 6%, but actually paying for it decreased by 10%. Also, 48 % of U.S. teens did not purchase a single CD in 2007, compared to 38 percent in 2006. Legal music makes up 10% of acquired content.
Save the Music: Sacrificing the arts for higher test scores makes its way to even the most prestigious universities. Columbia students feel as though they are missing out on the full college experience as underground music is completely ignored.
Silver Lining?: The abundance of new options has made music on the internet chaotic. According to Point Topic, it’s a temporary problem, as larger companies will eventually consume smaller rivals. (digital music news)
Politics: Are there limitations to ISP ‘network management‘? Should there be? Comcast answers some questions about their ‘don’t call it censorship’ censorship program to deter p2p users. (ipdemocracy.com)
Departed: Less than two weeks before being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Dave Clark Five frontman Mike Smith died in London Thursday of pneumonia.
Former M.I.A. singer, Mike Conley, was found murdered in a Chicago hotel last night. (thedailyswarm)
The Collapse of Music Journalism: Rapper Nas was shocked when Maxim gave his new album, “N – – – – r,” a 21/2-star review – because it isn’t even finished yet. “I’m finishing the album now, and it will be out April 22,” Nas told Page Six.
Study Sees Digital Music Shakeout: “There are too many online and mobile shops around,” says Point Topic analyst Oliver Johnson. Many music players will collapse and others will be bought out.
American Idol Has Dibs on Beatles Songs: Sony/ATV Music Publishing that controls the Beatles’ mega hits has given Idol the go-ahead to lets its contestants sing and torture “Yesterday”, “Let It Be” among others. “It’s something we’ve waited for for seven seasons now,” Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told Seacrest. “Sony has agreed to release the Lennon and McCartney songbook to us.”
Music 1.0 Is Dead: Five hundred top members of the music business gathered today in New York to hear that “music 1.0 is dead.”Â Ted Cohen, a former EMI exec who used the phrase, opened the Digital Music Forum East by pleading with the industry to be wildly creative with new business models but not to “be desperate” during this transitional period.Â Check out the full article here.
Face The Music: Facebook has launched its music section today.Â
China Has No Music Industry: The Music Copyright Society of China and China’s largest digital music distributor, R2G, have filed suit against Baidu.com in Beijing. The Chinese music industry has seen its hellish days – no respect for artists, no respect for copyrights; all in the name of FREEDOM.
Guys Hands Feels The Strain of EMI Takeover: Guy Hands first 100 days at the group has not gone to plan according to the Telegraph. “What we are doing is taking the power away from the A&R guys and putting it with the suits – the guys who have to work out how to sell music. Trying to persuade 260 people to give up their power has been hard.”
“We had labels at EMI that were spending five times as much on marketing as their gross revenues. We told them you could stick a Â£50 note on the cover of a CD and have the same effect, and we also wouldn’t have to pay them. Those sorts of comments don’t go down too well.”
Baby You by Made In Hollywood
Math Class: Three nights of “American Idol” beats one night of the Academy Awards according to AP.
Satellite Merger In Limbo: Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin is roasting in a dry desert dealing with a stalled merger with XM Satellite and wondering what it’s going to cost to keep shock jock, Howard Stern, on board.
“Stern costs Sirius $500 million for five years, and he’s in his third year already. Karmazin also said that confusion about the merger among consumers is having a negative impact on retail sales”.
Ticket Controversy: Attorney Peter Overs says, “You gotta take out a second mortgage on your house just to see a concert. That’s just not right.” RMG Technologies is being accused of allowing its customers, ticket brokers, to illegally enter Ticketmaster’s Website and look for tickets, scarf up hundreds even thousands of tickets withinseconds, violating ticket limits per customer designed to let only humans not machines buy tickets. Want the problem fixed? The solution is simple folks, stop going to concerts.
Keynote Interview with Sony/BMG, Thomas Hesse: “I have an upbeat view on physical. I don’t think the CD is dead at all. It’s a different shift, CD to digital than vinyl to CD, which was a clean break. In today’s world, not everyone is going online. 70 percent of US online. 75 percent in a few years. Online penetration growth is small. How is this 30 percent that is offline going to get music? We have some physical retailers who are excited about the contraction, and growing their business in a meaningful way. Read the full interview here.
Maxim Apologizes To The Black Crowes: Maxim magazine has issued a formal â€œapologyâ€ for publishing a negative review of the Black Crowes’ new album by a writer who hadn’t listened to the CD. Pete Angelus, manager of The Black Crowes, stated, â€œIn my opinion, Maximâ€™s fabrication of an album review is highly unethical and indefensible. This issue potentially pertains to all artists and their craft, and a publication which apparently has no respect for either.â€
Perez Recordz: Silicon Alley Insider says the deal potential deal between Perez Hilton and Warner Music Group seems like a classic “clumsy old media looks for youth appeal, goes about it in the wrong way” story. In reality, it costs Warner very little. WMG gives Perez $100,000 a year as an advance, and in exchange he signs artists for a WMG imprint, and keeps half of any profits. And if that $100k a year really is an advance, and not a salary, it’s a pittance by big label standards.
New Music: If you’re a fan of Green Day, Bad Religion and AFI then take a stab at Children 18:3 and listen to the track Homemade Valentine. Their debut album was released yesterday on Tooth & Nail Records.
Wake Up Call by Colourslide
Free Tracks: Today, Amie Street will offer thousands of free tracks from indie labels including Beggars Group, Matador and Polyvinyl. All songs on Amie Street are initially free but will eventually rise in price based on popularity up to 98 cents. Download away!
Perez Recordz: Celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton has been negotiating a deal that would provide him with his own imprint at Warner Brothers Records according to the New York Times. Perez could receive $100,000 a year as an advance against 50 percent of any profits generated by artists he discovers and releases through Warner Brothers.
iTunes Now Number Two Music Retailer in the US: iTunes is now the number two music retailer in the US, behind Wal-Mart, based on data from the NPD Group. There are now over 50 million iTunes Store customers. iTunes has sold over four billion songs, with 20 million songs sold on Christmas Day 2007 alone.
New Music: Your Vegas is an unknown act but these circumstances may change. The band is from Leeds, UK but recently relocated to the US. The David Bendeth produced record will be released in April through Republic Records. Check out the tracks Troubled Times and It Makes My Heart Break. These tracks place Your Vegas at the same level with gold selling artist Keane. Let’s hope the band gains some traction in the US.
Get it Darlin by Mercy Mercedes
The Angels Sing by Lights Resolve
He who writes first will determine success or failure of a particular album. This has become a common complaint among promoters. Whichever publication is first to review an album will trigger a series of similar reviews, which could either bury the record, or turn it into the new ‘must download.’ This fear of the domino effect has left many promoters holding on much tighter to advances, careful to leak earliest to those who will have a favorable opinion because of past reviews, personal opinions, or a love of free t-shirts. Why does this happen? Simple- there is no integrity left in music journalism.
KOAR posted an article in June of last year discussing the breakdown between the label and press due to the volume of material and shortage of employees/respectable outlets. The problems discussed in that piece have only gotten worse. Everyone involved is still overwhelmed with material, and there are even fewer places with credibility. Add the issue of every album being a virtual roll of the dice, quality-wise, and a population of artists who are quickly losing hope, and I think it would be fair to say we are at the end. How long we wait here for a new beginning and how dark it gets is yet to be determined.
The new Black Crowes album Warpaint received a less than stellar review by writer David Peisner in March’s issue of Maxim, who wrote, â€œThey sound pretty much like they always have.â€ One problem- he’s never even heard it. The label isn’t making advance copies available. If that’s not startling enough, the editor essentially responded with â€œWe either make stuff up about you or you aren’t gonna be in our magazine.â€ The Crowes were pissed. As they well should be. They can now expect 30 more ‘it’s more of the same’ reviews, as more bloggers and writers plagiarize the original fake review, because that’s faster than listening to the album and forming an original thought.
This level of unprofessionalism is common these days, and writing a review without actually listening to it is a skill that many writers have down to an art form. Some choose to review other people’s reviews, and some simply project their prejudices based on their critical assessment of the band’s name, song titles, myspace/website and photo. I am sure this Black Crowes review is not the first bullshit article to make it into the magazine, and Maxim is far from the only publication willing to print fluffy fabrications. How much does this hurt the artist? Is the Black Crowes new album doomed to obscurity, coveted by only the most hardcore of existing Black Crowes fans? Will there be no single, no video, no world tour…no future, all because of one bad writer poisoning the well?
I have no idea. I haven’t heard the album. Maybe they wouldn’t have had those things even with a string of excited, positive press. Or maybe it will be the album that changes the course of modern music, despite the bad press. Perhaps you cannot stop an album from fulfilling it’s destiny. Greatness always rises to the top, right? I think that’s a romantic notion, and as a firm believer in the cosmic power of music, I’d like to believe it. However, it seems artists today have a lot of forces working against them. This industry has broken, and that doesn’t only affect the major labels. It affects every facet of the music world, from how it is distributed, to how it is promoted, to how it is performed, to how it is received by the public to, ultimately, the artists themselves.
Artists have conceded the labels. They watched radio and television eliminate themselves from the opportunities list. They gave up the money in the name of ‘freedom’. They bounce around the disorganized distribution systems, waiting to see who wins; and now press, in its transition period, has tuned out to them completely, finding plagiarism and pure fabrication preferable to listening to their music or finding out anything about them. Musicians have been quite passive in these turbulent times. Maybe the dissolution of press will be the catalyst they need to become more involved, but it will probably just be another nail in their coffin. Strap on your aprons and ready your name tags.
-Angela ‘AJ’ Jenson