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Maxim Reviews Black Crowes Album Without Listening To It: In the March issue of Maxim, David Peisner reviewed the new Black Crowes record, “Warpaint”, giving it a two and a half stars.

“The Black Crowes’ label didn’t make advance copies of the album available for review, so they were surprised when they saw Maxim’s turn up”. When they contacted the magazine, they say an editor emailed them:

‘Of course, we always prefer to (sic) hearing music, but sometimes there are big albums that we don’t want to ignore that aren’t available to hear, which is what happened with the Crowes. It’s either an educated guess preview or no coverage at all, so in this case we chose the former.’

Imagine reviewing a video game without playing it! This is one of many reasons why magazine reviews have become irrelevant.

SXSW Torrent: A torrent has been created for every artist playing at SXSW 2008 that can be found here. There is one MP3 file from 764 different artists which is almost 3.5 GB of new free music.

Nickelback Holds the Cards: Though Nickelback has three albums left on its contract with Warner subsidiary Roadrunner Records, sources say the band is looking to use its multi-platinum success as leverage for a new deal. “Insiders say EMI, SonyBMG and Universal Music have all reached out to gauge Nickelback’s interest in leaving Roadrunner”.

Last.Fm Enjoys Traffic Increase: Full-length streams has boosted Last.fm traffic which resulted in 59 percent surge in unique visitors, and a 58 percent increase in total pageviews over the past month. Ok, so you have more people in one room — now what? People can now stream full length songs — now what?

Artist Updates: If you were unable to get into Magic Bullets’ sold out Seattle and San Francisco shows, or if you couldn’t catch them on their co-headline tour with The Blakes, make sure you don’t miss them on February 28th supporting MTV’s Human Giant at San Francisco’s Mezzanine as part of the celebrated Noise Pop festival. Check out their single, Red Room, which has been getting spins throughout California. Contact Rob Wells or Chris Castle for more information.

Recommended Listening:

Kill the Lights by The Jakes

I’m Not Over by Carolina Liar

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Chaos’ of China’s Music Industry: According to BBC Chinese pop stars need to find alternative ways to make a living because of the huge numbers of pirated CDs and high numbers of illegal downloading. Let the China music industry be a warning for the U.S. government and lawmakers.

The RIAA Crackdown: The trade organization (The RIAA) who protects artists and labels has announced another batch of 401 letters to offending students at Columbia, Drexel, North Carolina State, Ohio State, University of Maine, University of Southern California, and several others. The RIAA pointed to an anti-piracy emphasis against protocols and applications like Ares, BitTorrent, Gnutella, LimeWire, and Morpheus. Read more at Digital Music News…

Britain threatens legislation over Internet piracy: Britain will impose legislation on Internet service providers (ISPs) by April 2009 if they do not work with the music and film industries to curb illegal downloading. Industry estimates put the number of broadband users in Britain who download files illegally at around 6 million. Do you see folks? we are seeing a turning of the tide against illegal downloaders. The movie industry will not suffer the same fate as the music industry, I guarantee that. The movie industry will help put the pieces back together again and bring organization to the internet that will benefit the music biz. We don’t have to end up like China.

Failed to React: Timbaland-produced single Outta My Head that was written for Ashlee Simpson failed to react at radio. Simpson’s record label rushed to release a new single Lil’ Miss Obsessive that features Tom from
Plain White Ts. To be honest, it’s another highly derivative track and will probably suffer the same fate as the first single.

New Music: Emo act Story of the Year saw commercial success in its major label debut, “Page Avenue”, consisting of the popular singles “Until the Day I Die” and “Anthem of Our Dying Day” that had catchy choruses and connected with the troubled youth. Their second album “In the Wake of Determination” abandoned the well- defined choruses and suffered the sophomore slump. The band is now finished with their third studio album The Black Swan, their first on Epitaph Records and posted a new track titled Wake Up on their myspace. The first single Wake Up has the same intensity as the song that broke the band, ‘Until the Day I Die’.

Arizona indie band Lydia has posted a new track titled Hospital from their new album “Illuminate” that is due in March. The band will be posting new songs periodically through the next several weeks. Lydia connecting to a larger audience is still an unknown but their strong following will allow them to buy some time providing them an opportunity to develop over the next couple of albums if they decide to stick around.

Kings of A&R: We want to hear new music. We want to hear a great song that tells a story followed by a killer hook. Email us a link with your myspace and tell us what song we need to listen to. Don’t send us a long biography because we won’t pay attention. “Let the music do the talking” as Steven Tyler said of Aerosmith. If the songs show signs of greatness, we will take you to the land of OZ. Email tips@kingsofar.com

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Michael Jackson Dropped From Grammy’s: After his diva demands proved too much for the show’s producers, Michael Jackson was dropped from the Grammy Awards. He requested was that he be referred to as the King of Pop no less than 30 times during the ceremony. He also insisted on receiving a special award that no one had received before and never would again, and wanted a special honoree to introduce him.

Also, the 25th anniversary edition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (Epic/Legacy) sold 166,000 copies in its first week of release but it won’t be found on the Billboard top 200, it is considered a catalog release by Billboard.

TVT’s Bankruptcy A Warning For Chart-Driven Indies: Coolfer recently pointed out an interesting observation regarding TVT’s bankruptcy. Its top artists represent two of the genres that are lost in a transitioning market. “First you have rappers like Lil’ Jon who have traded album sales for ringtones and single downloads — all the while diverting time toward consumer products and other revenue-generating schemes. Rap has lost crossover fans, too, and they won’t return any time soon”. Read the rest of the commentary here.

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Recommended Listening: Check out Portland, Oregon rock band
The Crash Engine. The Crash Engine has had their music featured in the Independent film “Last Man Running” and one of their most crowd pleasing songs “The Sky Retreats” appeared this year on Deep Elm Records’ critically acclaimed Emo Diaries compilation. Listen to the track Weary Anthems and Wake Up.

New Artist Updates: San Franciso indie act Magic Bullets have been named Live 105’s Soundcheck Breakthrough Local Artist of 2007. Aaron Axelsonare is giving them repeated spins on the tastemaker radio show. The band has been featured on imeem’s music page as well as YouTube’s music page. Management is Rob Wells and legal is Chris Castle.

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Jimmy Iovine in a rare interview describes the current nature of the music biz.

More importantly, he confirms what KOAR has been saying all along. KOAR says we are facing a creative drought and Iovine says there is a lack of imagination that we’re going through in certain areas of music.

“If you put on Alternative radio, the guitars sound exactly the same… a lot of people blame the record companies for that, but it’s not the record companies. It has to do with the lack of imagination that we’re going through right now in certain areas of music, and kids think they’re supposed to copy things on television, or on the Internet.”

“If you’re in a band, make sure somebody in the band can write and be tough on the songs. If the band can’t write then you don’t have the right combination of members”.

“The hardest thing for any artist to do is look in the mirror and say the ‘reason it failed’ was me. Everybody wants to be Shaggy and say, “It wasn’t me… My album was great, it wasn’t me, it was that building.”

Watch the full interview here.

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MySpace in Talks With Record Labels: Myspace and record labels are looking into advertising-supported service that would allow consumers to listen to music for free. Consumers would be permitted to stream songs for free as MySpace would then sell advertisements based on the traffic. The service would probably also include a means for consumers to click on a link and pay to download songs.

The Next Chapter: TVT founder Steve Gottlieb confirmed that his label will be filing for Chapter 11, but rumors of their demise are “exaggerated.” “We will continue to promote Pitbull f/Lil Jon’s ‘The Anthem,’ which goes Top 10 at Rhythm this week. Gottlieb, who is TVT’s president, told Billboard.com. “This is not the end of TVT.”

Hacker breaks link between iTunes and the iPod: A Norwegian Hacker released software that lets iPod owners copy music and videos bought from iTunes and play it on other devices. The program breaks the copyright protection and allows people to drag and drop songs from iTunes into a folder on their desktop, which in turn copies the files to other devices.

Number 1: Jack Johnson’s “Sleep Through the Static” remains No. 1 on The Billboard 200 for a second week.

Digital Sales to Surpass CD Sales: Half of all music sold in the US will be digital in 2011 and sales of digitally downloaded music will surpass physical CD sales in 2012, according to a new report by Forrester research via Coolfer.

Empty: Rhetoric is generally understood to be the art (Latin) or technique (Greek) of persuasion through the use of oral, visual, or written language. Watch it here.

Signings: Acoustic pop rock solo artist Matt Wertz has signed to Universal Republic Records and Thieves And Villains, an emo pop act, have signed to Victory Records.

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KOAR’s Filter: Who wants to weed through 100,000 new record releases and 200 million videos on Youtube? You don’t, but we will. With that said, one of our KOAR readers Doug Devenski turned us on to the new track titled
Pretty Buildings by People In Planes.

The track opens with an open piano, and Gareth Jones singing a melody that follows the ivory tune. The tracks begin to layer with guitar and drums, analog synths add a hook that sticks in your head, and strings join in during the chorus. As the song moves on the guitar lines build in intensity, matching the emotion of the lyrics. (PuddleGum)

“I don’t want to feel this low again. I aint goin’ to steal your flame again. I don’t want to feel… `Cause you know it hurts like hell. So come out of the closet. Let’s talk about it. `Cause you know it hurts like hell. That’s you in a nutshell.”

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