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Doug Morris, CEO of Universal that sells one in three CDs around the world, told Reuters the ability to find star artists and generate hit records will continue to matter more for the success of a music company than simply being bigger or scaling resources.

“Everyone disagrees with me but I don’t think scale is particularly important,” said Morris, chief executive of Universal Music Group, a unit of the French media group Vivendi.” “I really don’t know what you get from actual size – you get a chance to get smaller, he said referring to the need for staff and resources cutbacks.


This year has been a drastic change for radio. For years, Labels have been involved in radio payola scheme. UMG among others has illegally provided radio stations with financial benefits to obtain airplay and boost the chart position of its songs

But Morris said that he thinks Spitzer’s investigation might have backfired by making radio companies play even safer than usual to avoid being suspected of being paid to play new artists.

“I think the initial object of Spitzer’s intrusion into the record business was to really put everything on a level playing field, he said.” “Spitzer cleaned it up and put in regulations that makes everyone much more careful about what they play – but its slowed down the radio playlists,” he said, referring to the addition of new artists’ songs to radio programming.


The Music business is currently at its tipping point with the decline of physical CD’s, with the lack of “Hits”, as its faced with explosion of both illegal and legal digital music.

Morris said for companies like Universal to do well in the future, they will need to evolve from the current model of record production and distribution to becoming a more diverse music company developing new revenue streams effectively becoming an entertainment company rather than just records.
“We’re going to branch out more into television and movie projects but you have to remember we’re not good at television or making movies so we have to be very careful.” Morris said the current change-over to digital music could generate potentially much bigger rewards than previously imagined for record companies if they could adapt the business to new technologies.”The guy who got it right was Steve Jobs he came up with the complete thought – from the store through to the iPod. Simple to use, inexpensive and we helped launch it.”

Doug Morris seems to have the right intent in moving forward in the ever-changing music industry. Although selling CD’s remains a core business for any label, one needs to seek new business opportunities to survive. I also agree that major and indie labels should focus on breakthru artists that have the potential to create blockbusters. The seventies, eighties, and nineties provided healthy record sales and career artists. Now we have 30,000 releases a year and no “blockbusters” other than a few exceptions. Throwing thousands of rubber darts against the wall and hoping one sticks is a costly game with guaranteed losers. Although, I completely disagree with his comment regarding the investigations into the radio payola scheme backfired. Radio Payola was one of the 7 deadliest sins the industry committed. No excuses for trying to turn a “turd into a hit”. Once upon a time the industry sought out breakthrough artist’s that changed culture, changed platforms, and even changed playlists. Then, the radio playlists dictated the industry and signings. Currently radio is in a state of chaos. “It chopped off eachother’s head”

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Dusk and Summer
Dashboard Confessional

TW 134,174
**Wait and see………..

TW 47,922
Total 391,790
**Strong video, great live show and a solid record full of melodic hooks. This record will prove itself over the course of time.

All The Right Reason

TW 30,591
Total 3,030,057
**Obviously not one hit wonders and yes..rock is alive and well.

Liberation Transmission
Lost Prophets

TW 26,886
**Contrived, generic hooks and not believable, this band won’t take off.

Louder Now
Taking Back Sunday
TW 18,223
Total 377,331
**Warner coughed up millions for this Victory band, and they need to do Panic At! The Disco numbers.

Beautiful Lie
30 Seconds To Mars

TW 13,184
Total 206,011

**My oh my! What happened here? model actor/musician Jared Leto came back with a new single “The Kill” and made a good video which is reminiscence of Panic! At The Disco’s I Write Sins Not Tragedies and My Chemical Romance “Helena”.  Both singers coincedently wear the “white gloves” and you get to watch the goth girls dancing simultaneously. Videos like these cost about 150k to 250k. If you want your video on MTV you need to cough up the bucks, find a good director, take acting classes and don’t forget to wear the white gloves. Rock has become a black-tie-affair.

Every Man For Himself
TW 7,501
Total 126,775

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Today, what we call the modern world, records and songs are treated like files. The only songs that should be treated like files are ear bleeding contrived singles.  Even though it takes more physical effort, I would rather throw a mediocre CD in the trashcan than pressing a delete button. We want to touch, smell, and stare at CD’s that are created by our favorite bands. Fans of career bands like Tool and Pearl Jam respect the artistic vision of these bands including CD packaging. Universal has a new idea and it may work. Universal Music Group is experimenting in Europe to try to boost CD sales.

Universal Music is testing different levels of packaging and pricing for CDs. With cheaper digital music now available, it makes perfect sense for the recording industry to recognize that CDs lend themselves more toward a truly collectible experience than a costly, cookie-cutter product destined to collect dust.

Will this bright idea save the CD? Who knows, but it will certainly appeal to people who have appreciation for the arts. It may not appeal to the “mooches” who want everything for “free” and who are entrenched with digital music files.

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Unsigned Los Angeles based Science of the Subconciousness who we talked about in May recently performed in front of Atlantic and Virgin next show is July 31st at the Echo in Echo Park.

Barstow, CA alternative/emo rock band The Waiting Hurt who we featured in KOAR’s Higher Learning has signed to Virgin Records. For more information get in touch with Michael at Childlike Managaement.

TLC member Chili has signed a deal with Konvict Records, the imprint owned by rapper Akon. Expect a summer release. (Coolfer)

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The British Phonographic Institute (BPI), an organization that represents the major record labels, has gained approval from the High Court in London to proceed with its action against the Russian pirate music download site AllOfMP3 which is known as the new “Napster” in the music industry is a digital music download service that offers music downloads worldwide for as little as £1 for an entire album.  AllOfMP3 is not paying any royalties to artists or labels which calls for a criminal investigation. (The Observer)

Major Record labels are preparing to sue Yahoo China for infringing copyright laws. About 90% of all recordings in China are illegal, with sales of pirated music estimated about $400 million annually, according to record industry officials. EMI, Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group Corp., Go East Entertainment Co., Gold Label Entertainment Ltd. and Cinepoly Records Co. last year filed a civil suit against Inc., which is the most-used Internet search engine in China. (LA Times)


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