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Guy Hands the CEO and founder of Terra Firma, vowed to keep EMI’s recorded music division and to invest in artists big and small to restore the company’s fortunes following its £2.4bn buyout.

Guy Hands said that he was confident of overhauling EMI’s model
to make it less reliable on huge selling artists.
“We’re determined to keep that part of the business and
we’re determined to make it viable,”

He made clear that EMI would have to be restructured
so that it could generate a profit even
when an artist sells “only” 200,000 records.

EMI is expected to create a structure in which lower selling artists
with more niche appeal can still be profitable….

“The independent record labels are a lot livelier,” said Mr Hands.
“The vision of EMI is to be big enough to do everything we can for every artist,
but small enough to care for every artist.”

Peter Chernin, the CEO of News Corp says senior executives  must be willing to undergo a huge cultural shift and not be afraid of failure.

Broadcasters have been wrestling with the challenge of
maintaining revenues and viewers in the face of exploding choice
and fragmenting media options. But, said Mr Chernin, media groups
were well placed to benefit from an unprecedented period of technological change.

Fragmentation was having a positive effect on creativity, he
believed. “The middle is dead, and
that’s the greatest thing that has ever happened.
The bland, safe, central middle is never coming back.”

Mr Chernin echoed Mr Hands by saying companies should
concentrate on big blockbusters at one end of the market
and high quality niche offerings at the other. (TheGuardian)

The Bottom Line: Reality seems to be setting in that Major Music Labels need to restructure their finances so lower selling artists can be profitable.
Lower selling artists would no doubt require job cuts.  Everyone is interested if Hands can turn this plan into a reality. I couldn’t agree more that the MIDDLE is dead. The MTV VMA’s was a perfect example…

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Prince plans to sue YouTube and other major web sites for unauthorized use of his music in a bid to “reclaim his art on the Internet”.

Prince said that YouTube could not argue it had no control over which videos users posted on its site. “YouTube … are clearly able to filter porn and pedophile material but appear to choose not to filter out the unauthorized music and film content which is core to their business success,” says Prince

YouTube responded by saying it was working with artists to help them manage their music on the site. We have great partnerships with major music labels all over the world that understand the benefit of using YouTube as another way to communicate with their fans.”

Prince plans legal action against online auctioneer eBay and Pirate Bay, a site accused by Hollywood and the music industry as being a major source of music and film piracy.

The legal action is the latest bid by the music industry to wrest back control over content in an age here file sharing, mobile phones and video sites make enforcing copyright increasingly difficult.

“Prince strongly believes artists as the creators and owners of their music need to reclaim their art,” “In the last couple of weeks we have directly removed approximately 2,000 Prince videos from YouTube,”  said Web Sheriff managing director John Giacobbi.

“The problem is that one can reduce it to zero and then the next day there will be 100 or 500 or whatever.  This carries on ad nauseam at Prince’s expense,” he told Reuters.

Prince’s latest initiative is likely to please record industry executives and music retailers, who have not always seen eye-to-eye with the 49-year-old.

He has referred to the record industry as “the speculation business” and gave away copies of his new album “Planet Earth” for free with a British Sunday newspaper.

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Many claim that people are listening to music more but enjoying it less, some people in the recording industry say they know why. They blame the iPod and the compressed MP3 music files.

Producers,engineers, and mixers assume their recordings will be heard as MP3s on an iPod music player and has become a “reference platform” used as a test of how a track should sound – thus engineering music to a technical lowest common denominator.

“Right now, when you are done recording a track, the first thing the band does is to load it onto an iPod and give it a listen,” said Alan Douches, who has worked with Fleetwood Mac and others. Today, young artists think MP3s are a high-quality medium and the iPod is state-of-the-art sound.”

L.A. engineer Jack Joseph Puig (Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton) says “Ten years ago, music was warmer; it was rich and thick, with more tones and more ‘real power.’ But newer records are more brittle and bright. They have what I call ‘implied power.’ It’s all done with delays and reverbs and compression to fool your brain.”

Producer Howard Benson, who has worked with Santana, My Chemical Romance and Chris Daughtry, says members of a studio recording crew will sometimes complain after a session, “I just spent all this time getting the greatest guitar and drums solo, and it ends up as an MP3.” (WSJ)

The Bottom Line – Advancement in technology is supposed to improve or enhance. Although new music technology has made it easier to organize and deliver, it hasn’t enhanced or improved sound. We have alot of mountains to climb…

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Simon Cowell on Britney Spears…..The Worst Comeback in History.

“[MTV] they exploited Britney in helping to end her career. When Britney was opening, near the end, I felt so bad for her. I said, ‘Man, it’s a dirty game. This game will chew you up and spit you out.’” – Kanye West to NYZ’s Z100

Speaking of Kanye, he will do just fine as arrogant as he is – but his genre is having trouble..

As we already know, rap sales are in trouble. The music biz is hoping 50 Cent and Kanye West can revive the sinking genre although its highly doubtful.

Through the first half of the year rap albums are down 30% according to Neilson Soundscan with 26 millions sold to date.

Not to long ago hip hop acts were selling close to 100 million albums in the U.S.

Rap has declined the fastest among all genres but radio doesn’t seem to look at that trend. If top 40 Radio really wanted to make an attempt to keep its influence then HIP HOP wouldn’t DOMINATE the playlists. At least keep the playlist balanced.

Mayfield said hip-hop is also showing its age as a genre. It had practically 20 straight years of growth but it has finally gotten to the point for that it is an established genre prone to the same the cyclical issue that other established genres face. (NYPOST)

Rap Music Sales in Units

2004 – 81.4M
2005 – 75.1M
2006 – 59.5M
2007 – 26M

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MTV Video Music Awards has many people wondering whether the longtime popular cable network has completely lost its appeal.

The ratings for the VMAs over the past few years have steadily declined. Even though MTV Video Music Awards scored a 6.4 Rating Up 23% From 2006 it won’t change what really lies ahead. So you recruit a glorified highly talked about TRAIN WRECK to capture the EYES for a second – now what? This is nothing more than a crack head feeling a RUSH for that one second before he hits rock bottom.

Exploiting Britney Spears for ratings is not a long term strategic plan – thats not even a band aid. Thats called a desperate act – the last breath before you die – if you listen close enough you may even hear the DEATH RATTLE. Not only that, its a shameful inhumane tactic. MTV must have a struck a deal with the DEVIL but the DEVIL doesn’t have partners, only VICTIMS…..

Hearing insane statements from a rapper who is having a meltdown and who claims that MTV does not support black people is no longer shocking. We watch it once, laugh, forget about it and go about our day.

MTV programming isn’t what it used to be, pop culture experts told, but then again, neither is the entertainment industry.

Viewers have many more options for entertainment, and no longer rely solely on MTV, making the audience even harder to impress and the seats even harder to fill with celebrities who are spread thin across various outlets.

“[MTV’s] biggest problem is that, in 1981, they were the only game in town, there was nothing like them,” said Bob Thompson, pop culture guru and professor at Syracuse University.

“But that bird has flown. In the 80s, if you were a kid, MTV was where you went,” said Thompson. “Now, kids have Comedy Central, Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network — there are so many other places providing entertainment.

“I don’t think MTV is ever going to reach the cultural heights where it was in the 1980s,” said Thompson. What makes these cable networks work is a few good hits. Nothing is the same as getting a big hit that everyone is talking about.”

Overall, some critics said this year’s show was also less glamorous than years past, set at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas, rather than more upscale locales like New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

“In the 80s and 90s, the VMAs were really elaborate, and the amount of money spent was truly extravagant,” said Phil Gallo, associate editor of Variety

The Bottom Line: The overall consensus from bloggers and media outlets was that MTV lost its appeal and was tame and lame. The shock value has replaced artistry. The problem is that there is no more value in shock.

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