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I had an artist manager ask me a new one yesterday:  How do I get live performance footage of new songs recorded on someone’s cell phone removed from YouTube?  This isn’t really a new request, we have to have material taken down from websites fairly often.  What is new about it is that the recording was made on a handheld digital recorder by a fan at a show where the artist was trying out new material.   

Until YouTube, it was possible to “open in Philadelphia� to try out new material, a time-honored tradition in our business.  Artists frequently try out material in small clubs in small towns, and may completely rewrite songs based on how they “feel� live or simply not use certain songs.  (This is obviously not limited to artists, but also would include comedians, broadway shows, any number of performers.)  

My artist client now has to pay me to write notice and takedown letters to YouTube to exercise rights under the DMCA—the same week that YouTube is rumored to be fetching an asking price over $1 billion dollars.  That’s billion with a B.  My artist asked me to explain to him how it is that YouTube is able to make more money from infringing his work than any artist will ever see in their lifetimes, yet he has to take the time to send a cease and desist to YouTube in some kind of grotesque game cyber shakedown.  

Of course it is true that anyone can record an artist’s performance anywhere, that’s not the problem.  The problem is not with the fan, and I refuse to allow YouTube to try to make it so.

The problem is that YouTube makes no apparent effort to filter videos that are of obviously questionable origin.  Riddle me this:  If an artist wanted to make their video available on YouTube, would they typically want to post a poor quality video, or would they more likely be interested in keeping that kind of video off of YouTube.

The lawyers for YouTube have tried to get around this issue by implying that they have no way of knowing whether a video that is uploaded is secretly being uploaded by the artist themselves to start a grass roots campaign.  The same is true of movie studios or record companies.

There’s a very easy fix to that problem:  Ask them.  Ask the artist’s permission before YouTube permits the video to be posted.  But of course YouTube can’t do that.  Asking permission doesn’t “scale�.    

What YouTube means when they say that something doesn’t scale is that in order to accomplish a particular thing, they would have to spend money they don’t have on resources they don’t want to achieve a goal for which they have contempt.  It’s like saying, yes I know I may be stealing from you, but it’s too inconvenient for me to find out.  Sounds infantile when you think of it that way right?

If a child said that to their parents, they would likely be grounded for a good long time.  It’s time to ground YouTube. CONTINUE READING

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Federal bankruptcy judge on Friday approved sale of California-based Tower Records to Great American Group, which plans to liquidate the music retailer.

After almost 30 hours of what attorneys described as “robust” and “vigorous” bidding, Great American won with a bid of $134.3 million, beating Trans World Entertainment, which had hoped to continue operating at least some Tower stores, by only $500,000.

Tower said it has been hurt by an industrywide decline in music sales, downloading of online music and competition from big-box stores such as Wal-Mart.

Peter Gurfein, an attorney representing Tower Records, said the company will be sold for an aggregate of $150 million, including the sale of various leases and properties.

Gurfein said Great American plans to begin the liquidation process and going out of business sales on Saturday.

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Drowning Pool former Wind-Up Records metal act has over 2,000,000 sales worldwide.  They are currently the #2 unsigned band on Myspace.  They just returned from Iraq and Kuwait performing for the troops with the USO.  Touring base is solid and their catalog still sells over 1000 units a week. There are new demos available. For more information contact  Manager Paul Bassman or lawyer Nick Ferrara.

Black Tie Dynasty from Ft. Worth, TX. Sounds like the Cure meets Joy Division. They are the #2 most played band on KDGE/Dallas with over 40 spins a week.  The callout research has been #1 or #2 for the past 5-6 weeks.  You can hear their single “Tender� here:  They were voted 2005 “Best Rock Band� by the Fort Worth Weekly. For more information contact Erv Karwelis c/o Idol Records.

 

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Google is in talks to acquire popular video-sharing site YouTube Inc. for roughly $1.6 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter. The discussions are still at a sensitive stage and could well break off, this person says.

Rumors of such talks were reported earlier on the TechCrunch blog.

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  • Best Buy Will Now Cater to the Digitial Consumers.
    Best Buy who owns 840 stores in North America said on Thursday it too wants to be in the online music business. The company is teaming up with music service provider RealNetworks and digital music player maker SanDisk to launch the Best Buy Digital Music Store
  • David Byrne Frontman of Talking Heads talks Music Shop.
    “I imagine I’d be doing the exact same thing a lot of bands are doing: rehearsing and performing, touring in a van. All that stuff.” What technological evolution in the industry has done is allow artists to keep their costs down, stay afloat and continue making music, he said. Byrne said it took Talking Heads at least three albums before he began to feel their sound was being properly captured. With home computer-based recording equipment, the artist can make a fine-sounding recording without outside help. “All these costs start to go away, and the artists – as a by-product – start to learn how to make their records sound the way they imagine them, all by themselves. They’re not beholden to somebody else – some mysterious magician that calls himself an engineer or producer. Right away, they don’t have to be in debt to a record company,” he said.
  • Physical CD’s Down while Digital Tracks Increase: Big increases in the demand for digital tracks and albums have kept the overall music business in line with last year’s totals says Reuters. According to Nielsen SoundScan figures for the week ending October 1, marking the end of the third quarter, physical album sales so far this year totaled 370.5 million units, down 8.3% from the 404.2 million racked up in the year-ago period. Digital album sales climbed 115%, with 22.6 million sold through September. Downloaded tracks soared 72%, to 418.6 million
  • Myspace Growing Older:  More than half the visitors to the popular social network site are now 35 or over–up from less than 40 percent last year. The proportion of MySpace’s audience between the ages of 12 and 24, meanwhile, has dropped to 30 percent from 44.3 percent over the last year, according to a study by comScore Media Metrix released Thursday.
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