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Big Amazon News…

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Amazon the Internet’s Largest Retailer Will Launch Its Digital Music Store with 12,000 Record Labels, Including EMI and in the DRM-free MP3 format. Again, no copyright protection and the music will play in any device.

To many Chefs in the Kitchen and to many directions for Kelly Clarkson….

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Kelly Clarkson has been in the news of late. It seems a creative dilemma divided the label and the Clarkson camp. Kelly Clarkson is at a pivotal point, this is her chance to become the NEXT true Diva and Clive and his camp are scared as hell.

Clarkson talks:

“Everybody always wants me to go in different directions. Obviously they’re a record label so they need to sell records.They want the formula writers and the formula producers that do everybody else’s stuff, and while I love some of those people… and I don’t mind working with that…I just don’t like working with someone that gives you a song and is like, ‘Oh, I wrote this for you.’ But you find out that they’ve given it to every other artist and they turned it down, you know?”

“My label literally sent me a Lindsay Lohan track from her last album and wanted me to record it for my new album. And while I like Lindsay Lohan, like I’m cool with her and I think she sings the song well… it’s already been on an album. I don’t care what pop star it is.” Clarkson was kind of offended by the whole situation. “They were just sending me stuff that was like almost insulting. I’m like, ‘You can’t even find new songs?”

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He was worried that he could somehow be terminated from his position as CEO. He also feared that EMI’s Alain Levy, as number 2 in the company, could unseat him……

According to Fox News’ Roger Friedman it turns out that Edgar Bronfman Jr. (pictured) had the opportunity in February 2004 to merge the two companies, remain CEO and regroup into a powerhouse. He could have combined the Beatles with Atlantic Records’ catalog, streamlined into a mega giant and been awarded kudos from all corners.

What Went Wrong?

Papers filed as exhibits in a lawsuit brought against Bronfman outlined the whole mess as it went down. The papers come from a suit brought by former Simon & Schuster publisher Richard Snyder, whom Bronfman met over Christmas 2001 while on a family vacation in Anguilla. In 2002, Bronfman invited Snyder to help create deals for investment after the former had botched involvements with Vivendi Universal and elsewhere.

A Riff Between Bronfman and Snyder. The Drama Begins:

Snyder says that he was the architect of the Warner Music deal, and that once it was completed, Bronfman unceremoniously dumped him and refused to give him his cut. Snyder is suing for $100 million.

The proposed evidence:

The most glaring of the documents attached to the Snyder lawsuit: a letter from EMI chairman Eric Nicoli dated Feb. 9, 2004, to Bronfman and Scott Sperling of Thomas H. Lee Partners, the firm that financed Bronfman’s WMG deal and now has a controlling stake in the company. It’s titled “Proposal for Acquisition of Warner Recorded Music and Part of Warner-Chappell Music Publishing.”

The Kings Are Appointed:

In the letter, Nicoli outlines an offer to merge with Bronfman’s new WMG for $1.6 billion in cash, and reiterates a plan by which Bronfman would become CEO of the “enlarged EMI Group.” Nicoli recommends that Alain Levy, then head of EMI Music, become CEO of the Music Group and Martin Bandier become CEO of EMI Music Publishing. It’s that simple. All Nicoli asks is that his EMI executives remain in place through the new company. He reminds Bronfman that the offer, which would have solved numerous problems for both companies, expires two days hence.

Bronfman Says NO to DEAL.

Bronfman didn’t want the deal. On Feb. 11, Nicoli e-mailed Bronfman: “We understand you do not wish to pursue our offer.” He copied Sperling. Bronfman circulated the e-mail to Snyder and to his brother-in-law Alejandro Zubillaga.

He was worried that he could somehow be terminated from his position as CEO. He also feared that EMI’s Alain Levy, as number 2 in the company, could unseat him.

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KOAR’s favorite My Favorite Highway who has embraced the ‘Alternate Industry’ just passed 1,000,000 plays on myspace and just sold out 2 nights in a row at Jammin’ Java. Check out these pop infectious tracks including Murder On The Radio and They Tried to Kill Chivalry….

New tour dates:

May 15 – The Brewery Raleigh, North Carolina
May 18 – 1982 Bar Gainesville, Florida
May 19 – Ray’s Downtown Blues West Palm Beach, Florida
May 20 – The Hinge Cape Coral, Florida
May 21 – First Friday Overflow Tampa, Florida
May 22 – High Note Birmingham, Alabama
May 24 – Club Dash Port Huron, Michigan
May 25 – Mac’s Bar Lansing, Michigan

Contact information here.

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Live Nation reported significant losses during its first quarter. The decline is the result of lackluster tours and increased operational expenses.

Live Nation CFO Alan Ridgeway noted during a conference call that first-quarter (ended March 31, 2007) treks from the Who, Josh Groban, Bob Seger and Dolly Parton “did not perform as strongly” as 2006’s first-quarter lineup of U2, Coldplay, Billy Joel, Aerosmith, Depeche Mode and others.

The concert business is a seasonal and cyclical business with a cycle of generally 1 to 3 years,” Live Nation president/CEO Michael Rapino said in a statement.

The concert business is cyclical to an extent. But, generally speaking the concert business won’t be as  healthy as it was since record sales continue to decline and the ageing stars continue to die off. This problem isnt going away. Hence, another solution needed.

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Hip Hop is under fire and the music execs don’t like it. Hip Hop CD sales continue to tank as it faces sever criticism of sexicism and depraved lyrics. Top music executives planned a private meeting on the future of hip hop but the meeting was canceled and the music gatekeepers have been silent.

Execs are scared to death of censorship as it could severely damage sales in the already plummeting hip hop world that is facing a backlash from consumers. Plus, CD sales are being gobbled up by digital downloads. This is the PERFECT STORM.

“They want this whole thing to go away and keep doing what they’ve been doing, which is selling records,” said Don Gorder, chair of the Music Business/Management Department at the Berklee College of Music.

Although many music execs are silent others are listening to consumers and taking action:
Ebony magazine pulled the rapper Ludacris from its June cover. Verizon dropped Akon after the underage sex scandal. Hip hop magazine ‘The Source’ has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and Warner Music Group vice president Kevin Lilies appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show and acknowledged “there’s a problem.”

Still, most music executives have turned down requests to openly discuss the future of hip hop and its depraved content. Sony, chairman Andrew Lack and chief executive Rolph Schmidt-Holtz have turned down all requests for interviews. Eric Nicoli, head of EMI declined to talk about the matter.

The absolute truth is that ‘Executives’ bonuses are tied to sales and they don’t want to destroy this market. Unfortunately denial doesn’t change reality.

The bottom line is that the population got bored with hip hop/rap and have moved onto something else.

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