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Slash Talks Music Shop: Slash, the GNR and Velvet Revolver guitarist said it was sad that that were “no identifiable guitar players in rock ’n’ roll any more.” “With the exception of Jack White – who is great – the new breed of bands aren’t bringing out decent guitarists,” he said. “Rock ’n’ roll is so diluted in this millennium, you just don’t hear good solos. And I hate Emo.”

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.

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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: “It looks like Leona’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 £50million.
Sources close to Clive Davis, boss of J Records – Leona’s label in America – say he is “thrilled” to tear up the £4.5million, five-album agreement she signed last year.

Recommended Listening: Out of My Mind by Cavashawn

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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 ­phones 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.

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Chinese Democracy may happen in your lifetime: Irving Azoff and Andy Gould have taken on the difficult task of managing Axl Rose, according to Rose’s website. Rose says he is “very excited” and hopes “our relationship proves beneficial for everyone, especially the fans.” 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 with 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 ‘simple solution’ will do anything to change the perceptions of young people regarding the legality of downloading or monetary value of music.

Universities aren’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 “Warner 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.” How this sort of thing is implemented and whether or not it will be voluntary is yet to be determined. Again, this doesn’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 title 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. “Now 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!” Congratulations are in order for this small company that has made a big difference for independent artists.

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Bob Lefsetz Rages Against the Machine: The industry music critic tells the Washtington Post that he really isn’t making money. He sometimes gets checks from Celebtrity Access and Yahoo! which reprints some of his screeds. “I live on a no-cash basis,” he says. “I live in a rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica. . . . I don’t have kids or all these other expenses people have. If I’m going to dinner, somebody else is picking up the tab.” No doubt, Lefsetz knows how to strike a chord among his readers whether right or wrong. “I’m not angry; I’m just passionate about music and trying to speak the truth about it” says Lefsetz. Read the full article here.

Clear Channel Drama: Buyout firms Bain Capital and THL Partners sued a cadre of giant Wall Street banks yesterday to force them to finance the $27 billion takeover of radio company Clear Channel Communications according to the NY Post.

Reznor vs. Radiohead: Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have been taking turns giving the music industry the finger. Both bands are coming up with innovative ideas and both are receiving major press. Trent recently sucker punched Radiohead calling their promotional strategy insincere. Who is really the better innovator? Read the full commentary here.

#2 Digital Retailer: Amazon is sitting right behind iTunes as the #2 digital retailer, and a total 239 million digital tracks have been sold this year. Amazon’s Baltaxe says the best defense against piracy is a good offense. “Songs sold without DRM, at high quality, with album art, that’s the best way to get people to buy music instead of stealing it.

Where are the new superstars? I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but here we are in 2008 and we still don’t have any new artists seriously breaking through. Look at the radio charts and you will find support acts, no headliners. Music is in third place behind movies and video games because it still cannot gain the public’s attention. The best remedy for the ailing music biz is a slew of artists popping through the pile of mediocrity, let me rephrase, the pile of shit. I agree with Clive Davis that artists need to start teaming up with good songwriters. Artists today are no doubt different than yesterday, meaning newer acts just can’t lock down great songs, let alone dress themselves. Please don’t tell me that I’m searching in the wrong places and that you found the Ark of the Covenant, it’s all bullcrap. Email tips@kingsofar.com with a link to your myspace.

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Fleetwood Mac surprised by Sheryl Crow claim: Sheryl Crow’s recent claim that she would be working with Fleetwood Mac surprised a lot of people — including the members of the classic rock group according to Reuters. Crow told Spinner.com that she and the band “definitely have plans for collaborating in the future, and we’ll see what happens.” “I think we were all a little surprised (Crow) was announcing that to the world with such certainty,” Fleetwood Mac principal Lindsey Buckingham said with a laugh. Sheryl Crow has turned into a fame junkie always trying to claw her way into the press and back on the radio charts. She even tried to barge herself into the White House. Her new music is void of emotion and soul, I wonder how she sells a record these days…

The True American Idol: Forget about Underwood or Daughtry, it’s Simon Cowell who roars up in his $1million supercar to view his $8million mansion. A total rockstar to say the least..

Its Time: 3 Doors Down new single ‘It’s Not My Time’ has become the fastest moving song at Active Rock radio in the past five years. ‘The early radio success of ‘It’s Not My Time’ is an incredible indication of more great things to come from this band and this album,’ stated Monte Lipman, President & CEO of Universal Republic Records.

Clear Channel Buyout Collapsing: A flurry of reports now suggest that the near-$20 billion acquisition is edging towards collapse, thanks to tightening credit markets and reluctant lenders says Digital Music News.

Corgan Speaks Out On Pumpkins Suit: Corgan says he has been feuding for years with Virgin over the handling of the Pumpkins’ back catalog, but that the Pepsi/Amazon.com promotion crosses the Rubicon. Corgan insists the group has veto power over such deals and has turned them down several times in the past. I believe the Pumpkins surrounded themselves with money hungry lawyers that convinced them they could squeeze out some money from Virgin.

Sony BMG plans online music subscription service: Sony plans to launch a subscription plan to give clients unlimited access to its digital catalogue, chief executive Rolf Schmidt-Holtz said. ‘The simplest option would be a flat rate under which a monthly payment would provide access to our entire music catalogue for all digital players, including Apple’s Ipod,’ he added.

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New Music: Listen to “Where’d All The Scene Girls Go” by
The Crash Moderns. The NYC band is influenced by The Kinks, The Clash, Kiss, Squeeze and have been been featured on Fearless Music TV (Fox) and in Time Out NY.

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