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Terra Firma on thin ice with EMI : EMI could be facing big challenges, including a possible sale of its physical distribution business. Terra Firma CEO Guy Hands has been asking for additional equity from outside firms just 3 months after the purchase, while some say that Hands is already disillioned with his purchase. (NYPOST)

Rockers turning into Hustlers: Bands are making less money since record sales are evaporating. Bands are getting creative in order to generate new revenue streams. Television commercials, tour sponsorships, and merchandise is now an essential piece of an artists portfolio. Read the column
If it’s Retail, Is it Still Rock?‘ that discusses different brands rockers are pairing up with.

Marketing Britney: Sony BMG paid Britney a cash advance of nearly $4 million for the album. J Records are confident with the album and its commercial appeal that they are shipping 750,000 to one million copies of the CD to retailers even though she parted ways with her manager, music-business lawyers, and publicist. They expect first-week sales of roughly 400,000 to 500,000 copies. I hope J Records are keeping those fingers crossed since the first single “Gimme More” quickly lost momentum in radio airplay, a key driver for album sales.

Hulu to compete with Youtube: Fox and NBC prepare to launch a video site Hulu.com an advertising-supported online video site in a bid to seize viewers YouTube. It is not clear why Fox and NBC could not have cut their own content distribution deals without having to band together. It is equally unclear why anyone would go to the Hulu site if the content can be seen at larger web properties. (full article)

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New Music: Check out the track Maybe Tonight by Colors in the Air.

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Today with the internet a good artist can find fans work with big producers and maybe even find themselves on internet radio and mainstream radio rubbing shoulders next to the big national artists. In the old days, these types of opportunities were next to impossible, now its attainable. This is the true benefit when an industry is in chaos. Chaos is a breeding ground for opportunity. True winners will succeed and the mediocrity will vanish.

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For instance, a lesser known band who formed in a small town in PA called
The Drama Club worked on some demos eventually catching the ear of producer Rob Caggiano who has worked with Jesse Malin, Anthrax, and Cradle of Filth. Rob Caggiano and mixer Jay Baumgardner (Evanescence, Papa Roach, Godsmack) eventually produced the EP. The EP also features guest appearance from Ben Burnley of top rock act Breaking Benjamin who sings on the song “Brand New Day”.

Of course having a strong EP isn’t the end of the story. Exposing the music is the next crucial process. This process truly separates the winners and the losers. Many artists fail miserably at self promotion or just suck live. In order to get to the next level or achieve the next level of success a well oiled machine must exist.

The Drama Club began performing shows in their region and soon were known to be an exceptional live band which led to increase popularity known as the ‘snowball effect’ – and and being a promotional machine for themselves the shows began to sell out regularly.

Once an artist begins making noise and shows begin to sell out then national artists who come to town rely on those artists’ to assist in ticket sales. Most national acts cannot sellout clubs to the fullest capacity and always need artists that can sell an extra 75-250 tickets. The Drama Club began opening up for bands including Breaking Benjamin, Velvet Revolver, Flyleaf, and many others including a 30 date North East tour which included a stop at the Warped tour in their hometown.

Basic logic says with increased exposure more opportunities will arise, especially in you’re hometown, and thanks to the internet – opportunities can be limitless. The Drama Club has been featured many times on their hometown radio stations 97X, and WZZO, as well as Metal Edge Magazine, Purevolume, Puregrainaudio, Origivation, and other regional press. Not only that
The Drama Club teamed up with a manager as was just added to ‘POWER ROTATION’ on AOL Radio “New Rock First” station. This is when the internet can be you’re best friend because AOL isn’t localized.

If you play by these rules, success can almost be guaranteed. You will be able to quit your day job, even sign some autographs. If these rules fail you, it’s not because the rules are broken, its because something within the artist is not connecting. Maybe its not your destiny.

Artists that are armed with good music and a strong desire can make it without the big man today. The door is opened to anybody who is willing to walk through it.

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OiNK Raid Raises The Question: What Risks Are You Really Taking When Downloading Music? Experts say OiNK and other illegal-download site users may not need a lawyer yet, but legal consequences can be quite severe. Read the full article.

Microsoft to Pay $240 Million for Stake in Facebook: Microsoft has won the battle with Google and Yahoo to invest in the social networking upstart Facebook. Microsoft would invest $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook. The investment values the three-year-old Facebook, which will bring in about $150 million in revenue this year, at $15 billion.

According to Hits, Coheed and Cambria’s ‘No World For Tomorrow’ will sell around 60-65k copies in its first week, J Records Say Anything’s ‘In Defense Of The Genre’ could sell around 25-30k and Carrie Underwood will sell 450k.

Knoxville Tennessee rapper Mr. Mack has signed to Universal Republic. (coolfer)

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Trent Reznor announced today that he’d be distributing an album by Saul Williams, an outside project via the Internet. Trent says, ‘One thing that IS very different in our situation is that Saul’s not the household name (yet!) that Radiohead is, and that means we need your support on this more than ever. If you like what you hear, spread the word.’

The model is similar to Radiohead, ‘Pay What You Want’.

If you choose to pay for the record, your download will be available in the following formats:

192Kbps MP3
320Kbps MP3
FLAC lossless audio

If you choose not to pay for the record, you will receive it in 192Kbps MP3 format.

All versions include a PDF with artwork and lyrics, and all files are 100% DRM free, and can be played on any device. MP3s are encoded with LAME v3.97 and love.

The Bottom Line: Rather than setting up the record through a middleman, Trent decided to sell the record directly to consumers. Trent is right in the fact that Saul is not a household name and support is needed. Would a middleman be more effective in spreading the word for a lesser known artist and contributing to the bottom line? Time will tell….

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Do consumers blame artist for overblown hype leaving them hopeless? Check out this column that discusses instant stars like CMJ acts Black Kids, Vampire Weekend aren’t given the chance to evolve into greater bands.

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You can now stream Avenged Sevenfold’s new self-titled and self produced album in its entirety. The album will hit streets next Tuesday.

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After listening to Coheed’s latest album, ‘No World For Tomorrow,’ we believe this could put them on the map. Coheed has always been slightly left of mainstream but this time they trimmed the fat and delivered well crafted choruses without abandoning the prog rock. The dreadful rock format needs a boost of creativity and Coheed could be part of the solution of getting consumers excited about rock again. Time will tell….

Radiohead is on the verge of signing a deal to release the CD version of the album in the US with ATO Records, which is headed by Coran Capshaw, Dave Matthews Band’s manager. Major labels including Warner Brothers, Columbia and Starbucks were engaged in a bidding war but the band decided to embrace the indie model. (NYT)

This Week Sales….

Springsteen (77k)
Kid Rock (77k)
Jimmy Eat World (62k)
Santana (56k)
Cobie Caillat (50k)
Foo Fighters (29k)
Thrice (27k)
J Lo (18k)
James Blunt (16k)
Paramore (14k)
Atreyu (5k)

Business Week is getting all text book on us with the column “Leaving Record Labels Behind” Musicians are looking for an alternative, Their managers may be the answer…They tell us to keep an eye on the relationship between a band and its management. Business Week cites Madonna and Radiohead as indicators of a possible future trend.

The Bottom Line: Lets stop the madness. Madonna is living in the old system but pretending to live in the new system. She is use to big cash advances and wont have it any other way. If Toys ‘R’ Us would have guaranteed Madonna a 200 million dollar advance we would be reading a press release the next day that may have looked liked this..

Who knows how my albums will be distributed in the future? That’s what’s exciting about this Toys ‘R’ Us deal…everything is possible. Toys ‘R’ Us has offered me a true partnership and after 25 years in the business, I feel that I deserve that.” – Madonna

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