Festival Fatigue: Organizers are claiming that several festivals this year are likely to flop. The festivals have become extremely redundant with similar line-ups and there are a few big name acts spread to thinly over too many stages. Some critics claim that a backlash has been observed against corporate branding.
“We did a lot of research and it became clear that people are a little bit pissed off with festivals says Vince Powers. The whole thing has just become more and more about marketing and branding and I just felt people were getting short-changed. We want to get back to basics and do it for the music. We want to make it inclusive rather than exclusive.” He said at his event there would be none of the backstage or corporate hospitality areas that had proliferated elsewhere.
Google Geek to Join EMI: Douglas Merrill, one of Google top engineers will head over to EMI to help them figure out how to turn around its struggling business. He is the the third executive to depart from Google this month. Facebook hired Google executive Sheryl Sandberg to be its operating chief and also hired Google’s director of social media, Ethan Beard.
Top Current Albums:
Panic At The Disco – Pretty Odd – (TW) 139,000
Counting Crows – Saturday Nights – (TW) 107,000
Alicia Keys – As I Am – (TW) 23,000 (Total) 3,340,000
Jordin Sparks – Jordin Sparks – (TW) 17,000 (Total) 612,000
Paramore – Riot! – (TW) 12,000 (Total) 821,000
Sheryl Crow – Detours – (TW) 12,800 (Total) 270,000
Clive on Cloud 9: Music mogul Clive Davis is bragging to Page Six about his latest hit artist, Leona Lewis. Davis said of the music sensation, who is the first Brit girl to top the Billboard 100 in 21 years, “Leona is a true original. This album might be the biggest new album of the year.”
Clive gets to rub his new pet project in all of our faces. That’s fine. Congratulations!
New Music: Really digging the new Katy Perry track I Kissed a Girl. It definitely has an 80’s vibe and it’s much stronger than Ashlee Simpson debut track.Â My gosh, it wasn’t produced by Timbaland. Her debut record will be released this Spring through Capitol Records.
Teen artists usually get their break on television. The Disney Channel reincarnated “The Mickey Mouse Club” in 1989, launching the careers of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Justin Timberlake.
The Disney Channel has also produced several multi-million brands including the Cheetah Girls, ‘High School Musical’ and ‘Hannah Montana’. Both High School Music and Hannah Montana could reach $1 billion in retail sales this year.
Disney’s latest success is the Jonas Brothers which has already sold 1.1 million copies. Employees at the company think the success of the Jonas Brothers hasn’t even reached the pinnacle comparing them to the Beatles.
Disney has its promotion down to a science. The Jonas Brothers benefited from on-air campaigns and live events on Radio Disney. The band also was featured in an episode of ‘Hannah Montana’ and opened up for Miley Cyrus on her North American Tour. Disney will also feature the Jonas Brothers in a reality series this spring.
No other major music label can compete with Disney and its marketing power. Disney is a bully when it comes to breaking their artists.
“They own the talent, they own the distribution, they can promote it all the time on television,” said David Smay. “It’s almost impossible not to have a hit”.
Slash Talks Music Shop: Slash, the GNR and Velvet Revolver guitarist said it was sad that that were â€œno identifiable guitar players in rock â€™nâ€™ roll any more.â€ â€œWith the exception of Jack White â€“ who is great â€“ the new breed of bands arenâ€™t bringing out decent guitarists,â€ he said. â€œRock â€™nâ€™ roll is so diluted in this millennium, you just donâ€™t hear good solos. And I hate Emo.â€
The New Frenzy: Every couple of years there seems to be a new teen act that spreads like a wild fire. At least the kids moved past Britney and Christina. The new disease inflicting the teens is called Jona-Sitis. LiveNation.com announced today that 1.45 million unique visitors accessed the site for Jonas Brothers information and tickets last week, setting a new record for a single artist on the website. Jonas Brothers fans shattered any previous record for unique visitors for a single artist on LiveNation.com.
Tesco puts squeeze on music industry: Tesco which sells about 13% of all albums in Britain is trying to slash the amount it pays them for CDs sold in its stores. Music heads fear that the move would make it uneconomic for record companies to supply the supermarket and they might be forced to cut ties and turn elsewhere for distribution.
Red Bull Looking to Launch Record Label: It looks like the energy drink will follow Starbucks lead and get into the recorded music business. According to the NY Post, Red Bull’s music endeavors, which include sinking millions of dollars into a recently constructed recording studio in Santa Monica, Calif., are all part of the company’s plans to launch a branded record label by year’s end.
Anything is Possible – Leona Lewis Scores a 100 Million Deal: Lewis struck gold with Bleeding Love, her debut single over the pond, which has now topped the charts in more than 20 countries. A Forbes spokesman said: â€œIt looks like Leonaâ€™s heading straight to the top of the financial chart as well. Also, the public has been waiting for a new female star and it looks like Leona Lewis is going to take on the job. The Daily Star says she will be rewarded with a mind-blowing album and live performance deal worth Â£50million.
Sources close to Clive Davis, boss of J Records â€“ Leonaâ€™s label in America â€“ say he is â€œthrilledâ€ to tear up the Â£4.5million, five-album agreement she signed last year.
Recommended Listening: Out of My Mind by Cavashawn
Marketing Madonna: The material girl is making money from her new album without selling copy. Madonna entered in contracts with Vodafone, Unilever and Fuji, which will use her music to sell products from hairspray to mobile Âphones offering free publicity. Madonna’s deal with Vodafone will allow customers to listen to her new album on their mobile phone prior to the April 28th release date. Also, her new video will make its debut online rather than on MTV. The truth is major corporations want to be associated with superstars and the material girl will always say ‘YES’.
U2 Signs with Concert Promoter Live Nation: U2 have signed a 12-year deal with concert promoter Live Nation to handle the band’s merchandising, digital and branding rights. Live Nation has promoted every world-wide U2 tour since 1997, and it’s subsidiary even manages the band’s Web site and fan club. The U2 and Live Nation deal does not cover distribution of recorded music or music publishing and the band will continue to release records through Universal Music.
Warner Hires New Digital Head: Warner Music recently hired Digital Head Jim Griffin who previously worked at Geffen running the technology department. Warner hired Griffin to lead the brigade of a controversial plan to bundle a monthly fee into consumers’ internet-service bills for unlimited access to music. Blogger Michael Arrington of TechCrunch called Warner’s plan a “music tax on U.S. residents. The effects on innovation in music would be disastrous if such a scheme were ever to become reality,”. Check out Chris Castles blog on Jim Griffin.
Why Steve Jobs wants to sell you a music subscription: Steve Jobs doesn’t care about music, he is concerned with iPod sales. So why does the CEO of Apple now supporting the subscription model? ‘iPod buyers would pay anywhere from $20 to $100 to get all the music they can download. Ah, but they’d have to download it from iTunes, onto an iPod’ says Valley Mag.
Sara Bareillas Beats the Odds: Bareillas won a songwriting contest and her prize was free CD duplication, but she didn’t even have a CD to duplicate. The monster hit, ‘Love Song’ was written out of frustration towards her label because every song she turned in was shot down. She sang the national anthem at Dodger Stadium when she was in middle school and she auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club along with Britney, Justin, and Christina. All of her efforts eventually landed her a record deal and of course a hit song that she wrote. I love the persistence!
Tour Sponsorships: Music tour sponsorships have grown 75% since 2003 and will hit $1.04 billion this year according to BrandWeek. This is fantastic for touring bands or at least for great bands who have built a career on the road.
New Music: Check out the new track titled ‘It Has To Be This Way‘ from experimental band Kaddisfly. It’s a good song but the mastering job is poor, which is why it sounds like a wool blanket is suffocating the tracks. The band has a slew of tour dates running thru April and May.
Chinese Democracy may happen in your lifetime: Irving Azoff and Andy Gould have taken on the difficult task of managing Axl Rose, according to Roseâ€™s website. Rose says he is â€œvery excitedâ€ and hopes â€œour relationship proves beneficial for everyone, especially the fans.â€ Fans could get more than music out of this deal, since Dr. Pepper has challenged Axl Rose to release his album Chinese Democracy, which was first announced nearly 2 decades ago. The soda company has promised every American a free can of soda should the album be released in 2008.
Will scholarships pay for the songs kids download?: Artist Royalties may now be coming out of college tuition. According to The Register, copyright reform advocate and EFF Advisory Board member Jim Griffin has teamed up withÂ WMG to change the way American college students use p2p. Rather than suing the students, or the universities they attend, a program is being developed that will allow students to legally acquire music through college campus networks, with artist payments being factored into the cost of an education. Time will tell if this â€˜simple solutionâ€™ will do anything to change the perceptions of young people regarding the legality of downloading or monetary value of music.
Universities arenâ€™t the only ones: The majors are starting to look closer at various subscription models. The favorite at the moment is increasing your monthly internet or cell phone bill to include downloading services. An article in the LA Times writes that â€œWarner Music Group confirmed Thursday that it was discussing a subscription service, at a cost of perhaps $5 a month added to Internet bills, that would allow users to download, copy and share music. Revenue would be divided among the labels.â€ How this sort of thing is implemented and whether or not it will be voluntary is yet to be determined. Again, this doesnâ€™t seem to do much to change perceptions about paying for music, but I suppose it will be an easier discussion to have once people are actually paying. No news yet on when/if all of this talk will turn into action.
Speaking of paying for music: CD Baby is celebrating its 10th anniversary, holding titleÂ as the #1 Indie Music Retailer. Founder, Derek Sivers, posted on his blog about the far-reaching impact of the little indie retailer that could. â€œNow CD Baby has paid over $70 million dollars(!!) directly to musicians. And despite the moaning you hear from the major labels, independent artists are selling better than ever. Even physical CD sales are up 30% over last year!â€ Congratulations are in order for this small company that has made a big difference for independent artists.