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EMI facing a mass exodus? Radiohead and Paul McCartney both severed their EMI ties in the past year. EMI’s biggest artists Robbie Williams and Coldplay are voicing their unhappiness with the label. The Verve threatened to delay their record and now mega group Rolling Stones and their management decided to move the new album ‘Shine A Light to Universal’ through rival Universal in part because of their concerns about EMI’s new management. Sources noted that if the Stones walk away from EMI, they will leave behind the rights to songs produced after 1971. EMI will cut up to a third of their workforce and cull its roster of 14,000 artists.

EMI is also considering its artists, to be sponsored by corporate companies, according to reports. The proposals, which could see Coldplay’s new album ‘Prospekt’ released with corporate branding, are expected to feature as part of an extensive shake-up of the company.

Market Trends:

Overall physical and digital sales were down (-20.0%) for W/E 1/13/08 vs. W/E 1/6/08.
Sales were down (-10.6%) from the same week last year.
2008 Industry business trend starts off down (-7.0%).

Sales trends (from week prior) across all strata:
Chains were down (-27.7%) from LW
Independents were down (-9.9%)
Mass Merchants were down (-21.3%)
and Non-Traditional was down (-8.5%)

New Artist Updates: Since being featured on KOAR, Aerodrone has since been featured as “Artist Of The Week” on MTVu as well as being mentioned on MTVu’s show The Freshmen. Listen to Sceneboy and email Gary Zon for more information.

Midwest rock act One Less Reason who falls between Daughtry and Matchbox Twenty have been getting 30,000 to 50,000 daily plays on myspace. Yep, thats amazing for a relatively unknown band, but the reaction on myspace and from their live show may put them with bigger boys towards the end of the year. Listen to the track A Day To Be Alone. Email here for more information.

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Hands Cuts Bands: Is the new CEO Guy Hands (pictured) cutting off his right hand by trimming its roster of 14,000 artists? The Thrills has been dropped from EMI due to the new structuring of the record label.

The Thrills fall into the 85% of EMI artists who don’t make money from the label. The NY Post says the Dublin band’s three studio albums and one live release have sold just 182k copies, its latest, ‘Teenager’ has sold 6,400 copies to date despite great reviews in Rolling Stone and The Wall Street Journal.

Of course this may be case of a critically acclaimed indie band not connecting with a larger audience. Although managers complain that even when artists do show signs of connecting with the public, there is a lack of funding for marketing and touring support to help power a breakthrough.

Some say Hands restructuring plan has some near term financial merit but could end up hurting EMI when it comes to cutting artists. EMI has focused on gaining market share in the U.S. but after 7 years has failed to gain any ground on its rivals. The good news is that Guy Hands realizes he needs people to find artists, therefore he wants to stress greater focus on A&R and shrink middle manage. New artists and A&R is the lifeblood for any record label.

Here Comes The Rain Again: Former Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox has been released from her record label Sony BMG. She says: They totally ignored me,” says a jilted Lennox. “It was bizarre. It was a kick in the teeth. They didn’t return my phone calls or emails for three weeks. I’m trying to find out what’s behind it. Probably a good thing I’m no longer with them – mild understatement.” She said that she feels like she’s spent, like she’s run out of energy. C’mon Annie, you have to be ‘in it to win it’.

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Do Not Bow Down To Any Idol Or Worship It: As Odd as it seems the seventh-season premiere of Fox’s American Idol” was its lowest-rated in four years says TV Week. “Idol” received a 13.8 rating among adults 18 to 49, according to preliminary Nielsen data. Both the demographic and the total viewer figures are the lowest Tuesday night “Idol” premiere standings since 2004. Regardless of the ratings, American Idol is a good watch and most people that KOAR talked to love the show last night.

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New Music and Recommended Listening: Check out experimental rock act
Man On Earth. This band is no stranger to KOAR and we have turned many of our readers onto their music. All Music Guide describes Man On Earth’s sound as “melodic, post-Britpop sensibility with sharper-edged American guitar muscle, then tops it off with thoughtful lyrics. The band is currenlty finishing their new album “Mass Produced Popular Opinion” with a big producer and mixer Ken Lewis whose credits include 6 Grammy’s, 38 Gold and Platinum albums. Listen to the tracks Here We Are and It Feels Good. For more information email Nathan

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Record Breaking: Soulja Boy has become the first artist to sell more than 3 million copies of a song via digital download. Steve Berman, president of sales and marketing at Interscope Records, says that Soulja Boy has “set the bar for what’s possible in terms of breaking an artist online”.

The music industry will be switching teams from Apple to Amazon.com: The major record labels lined up with Pepsi-Cola and Apple four years ago to give away 100 million songs through Apple’s online store. Now, Pepsi is announcing a partnership with Amazon for the new Pepsi Stuff campaign. The switch is an indicator of the continuing tension between the music industry and Apple. Amazon is expected to pay the record companies around 40 cents for each track that is given away in the Pepsi offer.

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New Music and Recommended Listening: Check out rock alternative act Kiros who hails from Canada. They signed with a Canadian indie label Torque Recording Company. Kiros could stand in the same line as Jimmy Eat World and Anberlin. Listen to the uptempo track Of Wolves and Angels. For more information email Kevin Gales.

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Another act you need to listen to is the Oakland Cali indie act Audrye Sessions. My Favorite review of the band: “Audrye Sessions aren’t afraid to keep it sweet and lush. The quintet’s pop ballads combine the passion and complex instrumentals of a Velvet Teen rock lullaby with Muse-like danceability” – Leah Freeman, SF BAY GUARDIAN . KOAR has been told that Aaron Axelsen music director at Live 105 here in San Francisco announced that Oakland alt/rock/piano band Audrye Sessions was signed to RCA this past weekend after their industry showcase show at his club Popscene last Thursday 1/10. Listen to the track Paper Face.

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American Idol Getting Back To Basics: Less hoopla and more attention on the artists is the main focus of American Idol. After seeing last years ratings slip and the lackluster talent, the idol cast plan to make the show more fun hoping to keep the public entertained. Simon admitted that last year was not a good season and plans to shake things up by spending more time on the contestant backstories. It’s about people who think they’re good (singers) and (are) not, and people who think they’re good and are great.”

Interview: Check out the interview with Virgin CEO Jason Flom on Plum TV. Jason Flom is a music biz veteran with a great ear who has discovered breakthrough artists in each decade including Twisted Sister, Skid Row, Matchbox Twenty, Kid Rock, and the latest Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Also, check out the newer Virgin acts released late last year such as The Last Goodnight and A Fine Frenzy.

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EMI Plans To Cut 2,000 Jobs: EMI who houses Coldplay and Norah Jones announced that its new strategic plan involves eliminating thousands of people. Its an unfortunate situation that have prompted a wave of protest from artists including Robbie Williams, Radiohead and Paul McCartney. The job cuts will come mainly from its recorded music business. The new CEO of EMI also plans to scrap the present incentive scheme for managers, which is based on shipments of albums rather than sales.

New Music and Recommended Listening: Check out Minneapolis rock act
A Verse Unsung. The Full length was produced by Steve Hodge and was self released in late 2007. The riffs and choruses don’t stray to far away from Rise Against. Listen to the track Resolve to Fight and To Late.

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A few years ago new artists generally got started by exposing their music on local radio stations and performing local shows. Program Directors at radio stations and promoters at local clubs were involved in discovering artists that had the goods and helped them along the way by promoting their music and the live show hoping it would connect to a larger audience. Unfortunately, new artists working for exposure were left fending for themselves when radio became too corporate.

For years we along with others have been claiming that the internet will be the new platform for exposure and now its happening. Its no longer an idea, its a reality. A recent column entitled ‘Internet Swingers‘ appeared in the NY Post that discusses new talent rising from the internet.

Both Colbie Caillat (Republic) and Sara Bareilles (Epic) have top 10 songs on the Billboard singles charts and both built their buzz on the internet, not local radio. They exposed their music on Myspace, Youtube and other mediums on the web that led them to the top of the pop music charts.

Colbie Caillat spent four months as Myspace’s most played unsigned artist before signing a major deal with Republic Records. Now, she is sitting pretty with 1.1 million albums sold and 2 million paid downloads with her song ‘Bubbly’.

Sara Bareilles shares a similar story. Her record ‘Little Voice’ sold 233k since its July release and topped the iTunes albums chart in her first week long before physical sales and airplay kicked in. Her single ‘Love Song’ which has sold 800k in downloads got its momentum from Myspace, YouTube, and a limited time iTunes giveaway.

Tom from Myspace just earned 5 Stars in music discovery!

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