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Guilty verdict in music file-sharing case: Minnesota woman Jammie Thomas, accused of illegally sharing music files on Kazaa, has been found guilty of willful copyright infringement. The jury ordered single mother Jennie Thomas to pay $9,250 for each of the 24 songs she was found to have shared, though they could have awarded as much as $3.6 million or as little as $18,000. Is justice served?

Microsoft visionary Bill Gates offers his opinion on the
future of the music biz:
He suggested that music labels should push harder to sell all-you-can-eat subscriptions that let users download much more music that they keep as long as they continue paying. Microsoft is one of a handful of companies that have been negotiating with the music industry over a subscription-based program known as Total Music. “Subscriptions have absolutely been a mixed story and are not the mainstream thing today,”Mr. Gates said.

People are going to listen to a lot more music because it’s going to be easy to find neat new exciting music, its going to be easy to have your music with you, in the car, when you’re running,” he said. “It seems like there ought to be a way to translate that into an opportunity.”

More Radiohead Shakeups: “This feels like yet another death knell,” emailed an A&R executive at a major European label. “If the best band in the world doesn’t want a part of us, I’m not sure what’s left for this business.”

“That’s the interesting part of all this,” says a producer who works primarily with American rap artists. “Radiohead is the best band in the world; if you can pay whatever you want for music by the best band in the world, why would you pay $13 dollars or $.99 cents for music by somebody less talented? Once you open that door and start giving music away legally, I’m not sure there’s any going back.”

The Bottom Line: I believe many are blowing this Radiohead frenzy out of proportion. Remember, it’s a game and press. I respect the fact that Radiohead is thinking outside the box and creating this discussion and chatter. Its genius. Regardless, the “Pay What you Want” model is not the future, but, it was perfectly fitting for one the biggest cult bands.

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Rascal Flatts Hits third No. 1: the country trio that saw the highest sales week and highest sales for a single-act disc last year, has scored its third consecutive No. 1 album selling 546k. “Still Feels Good” set a download record for a country disc, with 44,000 digital copies of the album sold. The Flatts also sold an additional 93,000 tracks as individual downloads.

Foo Fighters’ “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace”: moved 168,000 and opened at No. 3. Not surprisingly sales were about half the first-week total for their last album, 2005’s “In Your Honor.”

Reba McEntire’s “Reba Duets,”: took a 57% slide, selling 130,000, and slid to No. 6.

Overall sales of albums are down 14%: from last year at 337.3 million albums sold. Of that total, 300.6 million were CD’s. The number of digitally downloaded tracks has risen 46% from the same period in 2006 to 612.2 million.

Consumers believe sales are down because: music sales are down 14% because there is NO GOOD MUSIC. A CD with 2 good songs and 12 pieces of crap does not constitute an album. It constitutes a money grab. There are maybe 10 artists in the country right now who make CD’s that play well from beginning to end. The rest suck.

Check out digital expert Chris Castle’s blog Fix it or We’ll Fix it For You“: in which he admonish universities to clean up their act ala illegal downloading.

Does illegal Downloading benefit artists? :

Castle says…

There is so little data on the benefits to artists from downloading that it’s hard to point to anything but anecdotal evidence. The best example I know of is an Austin band called Two Guy Trio that had the most downloaded track on Kazaa at one point, over 1 million downloads.

Not ONE extra sale, no worldwide inquiry of where can I get the record, please come play in my town, none of the behavior you’d expect from that much “promotional” activity.
Garbage in, garbage out.

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Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Target plan to make significant cuts in the amount of floorspace they devote to CDs: Predictions of cuts that range from 20% to 40%, with Wal-Mart making the most aggressive pullbacks. A retail cutback could be much more damaging than any single year revenue decline. It may just be a DEATH SPIRAL – retailers stock less music, so consumers have less to choose from, and then buy even less, causing retailers to stock even less. (read full article)

The Bottom Line: KOAR is sick of this gloom and doom news. The downfall of Britney Spears is talked about on every single news station. This culture is more interested in personal lives than music itself. Personal lives took the front seat and music took the back seat. What on earth is more pathetic than the celebrity tabloid business and the people that buy into it? We believe that great music can stay on the forefront of people’s minds, if its great, then anything is possible.

Send KOAR great music and tell us how well its reacting and email tips@kingsofar.com

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Jamie Thomas (above) tells reporters “I never downloaded anything,” said Thomas. “I have CDs of everything I listen to.”

A single 30 year old mother Jammie Thomas who spent hours stealing music could be forced to pay nearly $4 million in damages. She’s accused of unlawfully uploading 25 copyrighted works from some of the biggest names in the industry.

Online investigators at SafeNet that specialize in security and encryption technologies found 1,702 files shared under a Kazaa account being used by Thomas.

Her defense is simple – She didn’t do it and the industry must prove she was behind the internet protocol (IP) address the RIAA says was used to share 1,700 songs on the file-sharing site Kazaa in 2005.

Attorney Richard Gabriel, addressing 12 jurors in a dimly lit cement-block courtroom, said, “The record companies are made up of real people.” Thomas’ attorney, Brian Toder told jurors. “The best that they can come up with is somebody out there in cyberland … offered on Kazaa some copyrighted material.”

Jammie Thomas is the first of 26,000 people sued by the RIAA to have their case come to trial.

Virgin Records, Capitol Records and Warner Bros. Records are among the labels involved in the suit against Thomas.

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Did Major Music Labels make it possible for Radiohead to buck the system?
Kelly Curtis, the Pearl Jam manager, said that years on a major label roster established the Radiohead brand and made it possible for it to buck the system. “It’s the newer bands I really feel sorry for,” Curtis said. Other bands with cult followings including Dave Matthews Band, R.E.M., Metallica and Nine Inch Nails will learn the most from Radiohead’s experience also says Curtis.

Radiohead creates mainstream waves: “This is all anybody is talking about in the music industry today,” said Bertis Downs, the longtime manager of R.E.M. This is the sort of model that people have been talking about doing, but this is the first time an act of this stature has stepped up and done it. . . . They were a band that could go off the grid, and they did it.”

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KOAR’s Filter: Who wants to weed through 100,000 new record releases and 200 million videos on Youtube? You don’t, but we will. With that said, check out the new video Running Free by Coheed and Cambria. The video consists of a teddy bear, a geisha, and a singer that you could never miss. The band’s new record, ‘No World For Tomorrow’, will land in stores October 23rd.

Bad news for Boy-boy mogul : Its hard giving this man press but Lou Pearlman who has been charged with fraud and who launched the careers of Justin Timberlake and Nick Carter – was a pervy pedophile who preyed on the young men he mentored, Vanity Fair reports. Repent Now!

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Radiohead Will Let Fans Set Price of Downloads: It appears that Radiohead have chosen to self release their new record via their website. You can pre-order it from their website right now as a download or a “discbox”. If you decide to download only, you can pay whatever you like. There is no set price. Someone could pay 50 dollars or 10 cents. Imagine walking into a car dealership where the consumer determines the price for a car? Now that is a utopian world. This story is running rampant on the internet as Radiohead always knew how to generate press.

The iPod Nano commercial Boost Sales for Feist: The commercial which features the Feist video for “1234.” pushed the single to #4 on the national iTunes chart and the album all the way up to #6. Physical sales are already at 200k.

To anyone who’s still reading or buying Rolling Stone Magazine: It’s time to boycott Jann Wenner’s flagship magazine says Fox’s Roger Friedman. Friedman calls out Hit publisher Wenner, who controls the Rock Hall of Fame. Wenner’s nominating committee consists largely of his current and former employees from Rolling Stone. Friedman suggests that nominees including Madonna, the Beastie Boys, Donna Summer, and Chic are not even close to rock n roll. Does anyone really take the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame seriously anymore?

On October 2, San Francisco’s indie radio darlings, Magic Bullets , will be performing with Perry Farrell’s Satellite Party at a private event curated by Spin Magazine, John Varvatos and GenArt to benefit VH1’s Save The Music campaign.  The event will take place at Bloomingdale’s and will include a silent auction featuring collector’s edition photographs of John Varvatos’ iconic rock and roll ad campaign.  Limited VIP guest list spots available – contact Rob Wells  or Chris Castle  for more information.

Check out the column “Has free music become a listener’s birthright“? that discusses how indie labels deal with the economics of new records getting leaked prematurely on the Internet.

YeboTV is betting on a belief that you can still reach fans in record stores: The site approached Fords, N.J., independent record store Vintage Vinyl with an idea that entertains musicians’ in-store performances streamed live to YeboTV’s site. “Retail has always provided organic marketing to consumers,” YeboTV vice president of music development Cheryl Shaver said. “Now, we are using new technology to build on that.”

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