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  • The winner of British TV talent contest The X Factor Leona Lewis has landed a $9.7 million record deal in the US after impressing Clive Davis. Leona Lewis is managed by Simon Cowell and has signed a five-album contract with Clive Davis.
  • College indie act Dispatch who never had major label backing or a hit single sells out Madison Square Garden.
  • MTV videos will be available to all Internet users.
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Steve Jobs Comments Cause Uproar: Steve Jobs comments yesterday that record companies should do away with copyright protection angered music industry executives. CEO of Apple Steve Jobs published an open letter on Tuesday arguing that selling music online without such protections – known as digital rights management – would make it easier for consumers to listen to music on different devices, boosting the overall market. Critics suggested that Mr Jobs’s true motive was to defuse legal problems in Europe, where Apple is being asked to make iTunes compatible with other devices. Several record executives said they would take a tougher line on variable pricing when their iTunes contracts come up for renewal from this May, and may also push for some share of iPod revenues.

Canned at Capitol: According to R&R seven promo staffers were axed at Capitol. The pink slip in Capitol and Virgin has not even reached the pinnacle yet.

Jermain Dupri is Back in Business: Record executive Jermain Dupri was axed or forced out from Virgin Records for lackluster sales from Janet Jackson. Jermain Dupri accepted the position as the president of its newly formed Island Urban Music

We Need ‘Hits’: Many insiders feel that there could not be a better time for management companies developing artists. The word is that the executives at majors are so consumed trying to figure out how to market dead weight and have ignored prospecting new talent. Management companies with developing artists will win this year because labels desperately need ‘Hits’. After a year of head scratching, labels now realize that radio and not the internet alone is still largely responsible for selling records for the next years to come. Some say that labels can no longer afford to sign artists without smashes.


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Apple CEO Steve Jobs Shifts Blame On Music Industry

The Story
Steve Jobs is getting anxious. He knows that a host of European countries are concerned about iTunes music downloads and how they only play on the iPod. Apple is now officially in violation of consumer protection laws in Norway. Apple has refused to license Fairplay DRM to other parties (thus locking the user into the iPod.

Major record labels, online music stores embed software code into the digital song files they sell to restrict the ability to copy them. Apple uses its own system, the songs it sells can be played only on the iPod.

Rather than Apple engaging in Fairplay, Steve Jobs suggest that labels could shed digital rights management altogether.

Music industry executives said that if the music industry moved away from copy protection, it could potentially make it easier for competing music players. Mr. Jobs seems to be betting that anything that stimulates the sale of digital music can only help his company.

Others claim that Steve Jobs is calculated freak and loves his name in the press. These statement drew criticism from some competitors, who argued that he was simply trying to get in front of a shift in industry strategy and claim credit for it.

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Armchair Cynics

Cutting Through the Noise.

Although most people never heard of the melodic rock 4 piece
Armchair Cynics, they are no strangers to Canada. They put out an EP on Nickelback Chad Kroeger’s label 604 Records in Canada and it is distributed in the two western provinces British Columbia and Alberta. The EP has sold well over 7,000+ copies in Canada which would be the equivalent of about 50-55,000 copies in the United States. Armchair Cynics have already been recognized receiving multiple M Power awards (Best Artist, Best Male Songwriter, and Best Producer/Engineer) for their debut album “Coffee Shop Confessions”.

Check out the track “Bang” which was produced by Chad Kroeger of Nickelback and Joey Moi, and is best testing song at Vancouver’s CFOX in recent history. Although the band is signed to 604 Records in Canada, they are free agents in the United States. For more information email Jared Sheer.

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Kings of A&R is talked about in the February Spin Issue.
‘Why Myspace Won’t Kill the Radio Star”

Excerpt below:

“Without the help from the internet you might never heard of
the Red Jump Suit Apparatus. As frontman Ronnie Winter freely admits, the florida emo band wouldn’t have landed their record deal if not for the enthusiastic coverage their self released recieved on the website
Kings of A&R.”

In Other News..

Sweden alt rock group Kid Down who KOAR posted in Higher Learning has signed to Burning Heart/Epitaph

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