Picking Up Where We Left Off: More On The EMI Sale
December 2, 2011
"Breathtaking corporate arrogance is the phrase that comes to mind. It's hard to imagine this acquisition being approved, given Universal's existing dominance in an over-concentrated market. Even greater dominance would be bad news for almost everyone involved in the art and business of music."-- Beggars Group Chairman Martin Mills, voicing IMPALA's attitude toward UMG's acquisition of EMI, quoted by songwriter Helienne Lindvall in her Guardian blog Behind the Music
In the November 8th issue of the newsletter, my commentary was titled "Bye Bye EMI."
In that commentary I wrote "What's happening now at EMI should be a clarion call to everyone in the music industry. No company is safe if this can happen to an EMI. And when EMI goes down, there will be few lifeboats for those currently on board the ship."
During the Thanksgiving holiday I read an article by Steve Knopper in Rolling Stone, "How the Universal-EMI Deal Will Change the Music Industry ... If approved, deal would leave just three major labels." From that article: "EMI is the latest victim of a decade of severe record-industry contraction. Labels peaked in 2000, selling more than 785 million albums, but Internet piracy and the shift from high-profit CDs to low-profit digital singles have forced thousands of label layoffs and drastic artist-roster cuts. At the same time, new power centers have emerged in the music business, including Live Nation, the concert behemoth that merged with Ticketmaster last year; Apple, which has grown into the biggest music retailer; and a new generation of do-it-yourself artists from Radiohead to Wilco, who have left the majors behind."
What has happened with the sale of EMI is of historic importance in the music industry and more paradigm shifts will certainly result because of it. Most of them will not be good.
Read the article on Rolling Stone here: http://tiny.cc/x7nyj
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
WHICH MUSIC SERVICE SHOULD YOU USE? CNET CAN TELL YOU
Confused by all the different music service options out there?
You are definitely not alone, and the latest addition, Google Music, probably only made you scratch your head one more time wondering which one to choose. You just want to listen to some good music, right? So we've broken down the most-popular services, from music lockers like iTunes to streaming services like Spotify.
Take a look here and see which is best for you : http://tiny.cc/ne4zj
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
MORE ON CDs POSSIBLE DEMISE AND iPODS SALES DECLINING
A rumor says that music CDs may soon gasp their last breath. In related news, the current sales decline of traditional (non-touch) iPods is likely to continue.
Read the rest here: http://tiny.cc/cd0zl
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
THE NEXT iPAD COULD MAKE APPLE THE WORLD'S #1 PC COMPANY NEXT TEAR
Apple should overtake HP as the top global PC vendor next year, according to Canalys, but that assumes the iPad is counted as a PC.
Read the article on CNET here: http://tiny.cc/dmmuc
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
WILL GOOGLE+ END UP LIKE MICROSOFT'S ZUNE?
Five years ago, Microsoft launched the Zune music player and Zune Marketplace. That event shared many similarities with the Google Music launch last week. But will Google's service suffer a similar fate?
Read CNET's Greg Sandoval's take on it here: http://tiny.cc/i2ept
From the Los Angeles Times comes news that U.S. traffic to Google+ has dropped in 11 of the 21 weeks since its launch in late June -- typically falling between 10% and 20% week-over-week -- according to new data from Experian Hitwise, given exclusively to the Los Angeles Times. "To be fair, Google+ has seen a substantial overall gain in visitors since its launch in late June," LAT notes. "But the large majority of its growth came in a single week in September, after it opened its doors to the public. Since then, much of that gain has ebbed."
For two months before Google+ opened to the public, the platform was accessible only to users with an invitation. Yet, a frenzied buzz around the site helped it build a large audience of early adopters, which helped Google+ to quickly reach nearly two million unique visitors by the end of its third week. "But as the data show, a steady decline set in just as quickly -- and user interest appeared to wane," LAT writes.
Read more here: http://tiny.cc/4n297
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
GLOBAL PIRACY STILL A PROBLEM
Interesting post here about the differences between U.S. video streaming habits and ROW (the rest of the world). While Netflix dominates mainstream entertainment downloading in the U.S., BitTorrent and similar sites take the prize elsewhere.
This, of course, screams global piracy, and Peter Lewinton here identifies the most-pirated sports networks -- namely ESPN, SkySports and Al Jazeera Sports, stating, "This activity is supported (directly or indirectly) by an impressive list of blue-chip advertisers such as Google, Vodafone and BT."
Read the article here: http://tiny.cc/e2yl6
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
APPLE'S iCLOUD AND DIGITAL MUSIC
Thanks to reader Ken Van Durand for forwarding this story in the Wall Street Journal for inclusion in the newsletter this week.
For a good read on why Apple's iCloud might be your digital music storage solution, go here: http://tiny.cc/sr6wv
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
TV OWNERSHIP DECLINES
Have you heard that U.S. TV ownership declined for the first time in civilized history -- or at least, since Nielsen kept track of such data? And that the number of U.S. households without TVs (3% of the total) is the highest since 1975?
According to writer Aaron Barnhart, this information was released, at least to some Nielsen private clients, about six months ago, but is being announced more publicly now.
Read about it here: http://tiny.cc/h2i5d
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
IF YOU HAVEN'T HEARD, CYBER MONDAY WAS HUGE
Cyber Monday was the heaviest online shopping day in U.S. history, according to new figures released by comScore.
Online spending reached $1.25 billion on the day, topping last year's figure of $1.03 billion by 22%. Read more here: http://tiny.cc/lncca
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
PAY TV NEWS IS NOT GOOD
From The Hollywood Reporter comes the latest spate of reports on how pay TV's doing ... and it's all discouraging news. First of all, "ratings have dropped every week since the start of September" at big cable channel owners Viacom and Time Warner, while Disney and Scripps likewise tracked ratings dips for most of those weeks.
Another report quotes Credit Suisse analyst Stefan Anniger summarizing continued decreases in the number of pay TV subscribers: "It's about cord-avoiders and cord-nevers, not cord-cutters." He forecasts a decrease of "around 200,000 subscribers in 2012 instead of the gain of 250,000 that he had previously forecast," writes Georg Szalai.
Read the story here: http://tiny.cc/71e5h
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 11
APPLE TV A REALITY? READ ON...
Is Apple really going to start selling TVs? You can bet the bank on it, Apple analyst Gene Munster reiterated this week. Reporting from a Business Insider conference on Wednesday, Henry Blodget wrote: "Gene is so sure an Apple TV is coming that he told anyone in the audience who is thinking of buying a TV to wait, because Apple's is going to be awesome."
Due out next year, Munster promised that the TV will be Apple to the core -- "not an external gadget like the current Apple TV that you have to plug into your TV set," Blodget notes. "This is because Apple thinks people hate to plug in external gadgets ... and Apple is obviously right about that." That said, Blodget said he will be thoroughly startled if consumers are willing to pay a huge premium for an Apple TV just to avoid plugging in a $100 gadget.
What else does Munster expect from an Apple TV? That it will come in a range of sizes and price-points, so as to be accessible to a broader audience. But not too accessible. No, Munster forecasts that Apple's TVs will be priced at twice the standard market price for a normal TV.
Read the article on Business Insider here: http://tiny.cc/und2f
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACK: THE MOST LISTENED CHART
* Once again, if you want to see what the most listened to songs are on radio, just go here: http://tiny.cc/kmk0b
Short News Items ...
George Michael has canceled the remainder of his current European tour after being hospitalized in Vienna with severe pneumonia.
BOSS TOUR 2012:
Bruce Springsteen has announced he is touring with the E-Street band next year. It will be the first tour ever without Clarence Clemons, the "Big Man" who played saxophone in the E-Street band from day one.
BOSS KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT SXSW IN 2012:
Bruce Springsteen will be the keynote speaker at the annual South by Southwest Music and Media Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas. The event will be held on March 15th at the Austin Convention Center.
Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles quietly tied the knot Saturday in a small, sunset ceremony in Tennessee.
Kanye West, Adele, Foo Fighters and Bruno Mars lead the nominations for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, which will be held on February 12th at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. (Of course, Adele will be the big winner.)
BEATLES AMP FOR SALE:
An amplifier used by George Harrison during the Beatles' recording sessions for Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band will go on the auction block later this month in London. The Vox UL730 amp and cabinet is expected to sell for somewhere between $80,000 and $110,000 at the Bonhams auction house.
ELVIS LEFT THE BUILDING SOME TIME AGO, BUT SHE STILL WANTS IN:
A Swedish woman who has been claiming for more than two decades that she is the true daughter of Elvis Presley has filed a lawsuit against the late singer's estate asking for over $130 million in damages for defamation and infliction of emotional distress.
MORE J-LO FALLOUT FROM HER TV COMMERCIAL:
A television commercial for Fiat starring Jennifer Lopez has triggered a copyright dispute involving a Bronx-based graffiti crew whose work is featured prominently in the ad.
UH, OK ... MAYBE A GREAT NOVELTY ITEM?:
Hanson are prepping the launch of MMMHop, their own brand of beer. The squeaky-clean pop trio hopes to make the brew, an India Pale Ale, available to fans sometime in early 2012.
Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More now has 1.068 million paid downloads, surpassing Eminem's Recovery (1.062m) to become the second biggest selling digital album, behind only Adele's 21 (1.617m). Also this week, Lady Gaga's Fame becomes only the fourth album to date to cross the 1 million mark in digital sales.
Shazam and performing rights organization BMI have exchanged intellectual property again, this time in the other direction. Shazam has reacquired the audio recognition technology and related patents it sold to BMI in 2005. Under terms of the deal, BMI will become a shareholder in Shazam and retain the right to use the technology.
Unseen footage from a stop on Michael Jackson's Dangerous tour in 1993 failed to sell at an auction in England on Saturday.
Don DeVito the longtime Columbia Records exec who was Bob Dylan's most important producer during the '70s, passed away after "a long and hard fight with prostate cancer."
British filmmaker Ken Russell, who directed the film version of the Who's Tommy, has died after a series of strokes. He was 84.
Disco star Andrea True died earlier this month at age 68 at a hospital in Kingston, New York. The Gilpatric-VanVliet Funeral Home announced her passing with an obituary notice, but her cause of death was not revealed.
The Music Industry Past, Present & Future, And The Internet I answer questions on EconTalk
I did an interview about the industry and the Internet at EconTalk with host Russ Roberts. Russ is also a professor of economics at George Mason University, blogs at Cafe Hayek, and has written three novels that teach economics. He's also the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap video. (And if your understanding of the economic meltdown that occurred needs to be enlightened, this video will do it)
In the interview we talk about the evolution of the music industry, the impact of the digital revolution, and I give my reasons for believing in the virtues and potential of the Internet in enhancing the music industry. I point out, as I have many times here in the newsletter, that the internet allows numerous artists to make money from their music and it can enhance revenues from live performances by expanding an artist's base. We also discuss the challenges facing record companies and I suggest that the full potential of the Internet as a distribution channel has yet to be fully exploited. There's a lot of ground covered, but based on the comments already posted of those who have tuned in, they've enjoyed it.
Read more about it by clicking here.
Quotes of the week
"People are going to stop buying CDs. People are going to stop selling and making them, so I am looking for different ways to get music to people, and the [app] at the moment seems to be the favorite. The app is the new model. It's very full and can also be constantly updated, so it's not a static thing. It's organic."
-- Sting to Billboard on the impending doom of compact discs
"Today I encountered the 19th girl to add to the list of people Jesse cheated on me with during this last year."
-- Former L.A. Ink star Kat Von D, who split from former fiancé Jesse James in September, in a blog post on her Facebook page. Gee, what a surprise ... NOT.
"Am doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions."
-- Eddie Murphy's Academy Awards host replacement Billy Crystal, already warming up for February's ceremony, on Twitter.
"I think last season everyone was being a little too fluffy with their comments. I really felt like they were too nice overall. Criticism is a welcome thing and I think it was necessary for me to grow. Sometimes you have got to get to the truth."
-- Former American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry, commenting on last season's American Idol
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Check out the 'Pop Culture' slide show this week that has such items as: "Fully Validated Kanye West Retires To Quiet Farm In Iowa," and 'Velociraptor From 'Jurassic Park' Dies'
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
The BlogsCheck out Jerry Del Colliano's (the founder of INSIDE RADIO) daily blog, by clicking here: http://www.insidemusicmedia.blogspot.com
Check out attorney Ray Beckerman's website at: http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com where he prints news about the RIAA's ongoing activities
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