Some Winners & Losers
August 24, 2012
"How you play the game is for college ball. When you're playing for money, winning is the only thing that matters."
-- Leo Durocher
From Rolling Stone: "LOSER OF THE WEEK: #1 albums. All they do is drop. Last week's chart-topper, NOW 43, falls to Number Two with a 32% sales decline (to 75,000 copies). The previous week's #1, Rick Ross' God Forgives, I Don't, lost 27% in sales (43,000 copies) this week after sliding 73% (60,000 copies) the week before. And earlier this month, Nas' Life Is Good lost 38% of sales in its second week, with 45,000 copies." ( http://tinyurl.com/9lwhvyq )
Of course, volume 43 of the 'Now That's What I Call Music' series (or as I call the series, 'When you Have Lemons, Make Lemonade' ) dropping is no great surprise. The 'Now' series, as you probably know, contains hit singles (which most people have either bought, downloaded illegally, or sent to friends via e-mails an MP3s) mixed with some songs that weren't all that memorable. (If you don't believe me, check the songs on 'Now 43' online and see how many you think people will be pulling out to play in a few years).
Another loser this week is the alleged music industry association, The RIAA. From Torrent Freak, "The latest RIAA tax filing shows that the revenue generated by the anti-piracy group has reached a new low. In just two years the membership dues from music labels have been cut in half and have now sunk to below $30 million a year." ( http://tinyurl.com/8t8ubzy )
And even with that significant drop, "While the group has 72 employees, payouts to the top two executives including CEO Cary Sherman amount to more than $3 million, some 25% of the total wage bill." And this fact, "Looking at other expenses we see that the RIAA spent $2.3 million on lobbying, a figure that has remained relatively stable over the years."
I don't know who in the industry is reading that news, but two executives from a non-profit industry association make that kind of money when many label executives don't? I hope that after digesting this latest news, even more labels decrease membership and dues drop even more.
Over $2 million spent on wining and dining politicians in our nation's capitol. There is nothing any politician can do to help the music industry at this point. (Unless they all start buying a ton of CDs) The war against piracy was lost a long time ago, and all the time and money spent trying to get legislation passed to stop piracy, has been largely wasted. Had the RIAA spend all those millions they have spent over the last decade on seeking new revenue streams and solutions for the music industry's future health, I think the labels might have gotten more return on their investment.
And another loser of course is the same loser since Facebook stock went public: Mark Zuckerberg.
There's no need to cry for poor old Mark; he's already cashed in his billions. We should all have such problems. But now, with Facebook stock selling at half of what it did when released to the public, Mark's got to deliver.
I said in the newsletter prior to Facebook going public, "Whatever price is established when the stock goes on sale, its ability to rise at any significant rate will depend solely on Facebook's ability to generate new/additional revenue streams. How many of you Facebook users are clicking on those ads?"
This week in CNET in an article titled 'What Zuckerberg must do to right the Facebook ship: Investors are starting to panic. CEO Mark Zuckerberg needs to calm the masses while building revenue-generating products,' Ben Parr discusses those very things. ( http://tinyurl.com/cd6m5ey )
A big winner this week was Taylor Swift.
Taylor's new single, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," debuted with 632,000 sold in its first-week, breaking Ke$ha's female artist one-week record of 610,000 for "Tik Tok," set back in January 2010. (And what a memorable hit that was, huh?) The single is #1 at iTunes in 31 countries in its first week. And get this ... one of the only accomplishments in Taylor's career she had never achieved is now a reality. This week she scores her first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, as "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" explodes from No. 72 to the top of the chart in its second week.
The single is from Taylor's upcoming album, Red, due at retail in October. Based on the success of this first single, Taylor's got more multi-Platinum awards coming her way.
And another winner this week (and for quite awhile now), is Apple. This week "the market value of Apple Inc. has soared past the $624 billion mark, breaking the record established by its close competitor - Microsoft Corp. - during the prime of tech stocks in the late '90s. The company's shares climbed more than 2.5%, boosting its earnings for the month of August to nearly 10% as investors at Wall Street place their bets on the September 12th launch of Apple's highly-anticipated new iPhone - the gadget that brought a whole new dimension in communication." ( http://tinyurl.com/c5hh7ye and here http://tinyurl.com/c3v8lhd )
With rumors "how the next Apple TV could double as a cable box," (http://tinyurl.com/brxhaau ) and estimates of the sales of one million within the first weeks when the iPhone 5 becomes available, it's a safe bet Apple's stock price and company value are going to climb for some time yet.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
GET THE MUSIC THEORY HANDBOOK FREE FROM BERKLEE
Whether you're a performer, producer, writer, arranger or improviser, it's essential to have a strong foundation in music theory. Berklee Music's new Music Theory Handbook collects vital knowledge and tips from our online faculty in one easy-to-navigate guide. Learn the fundamental concepts behind rhythm, chords, counterpoint, reharmonization, and more -- and how to use them creatively in your own work.
Handbook Topics: Counterpoint 101; Understanding Reharmonization; Master the Basics of Rhythm; The Theory Behind the Blues; The Intricacies of the 7th Chord
You can download the handbook here: http://tinyurl.com/d6b6fj3
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
CRACKLE GETS CRACKING WITH VIDEO PLAYER APP ALREADY DOWNLOADED 11 MILLION TIMES
The interesting thing about Crackle is that it is fully ad-supported on-demand TV and movie viewing.
The catalog admittedly is not nearly as comprehensive as Hulu's or Netflix's, and does not approach the premium content quality of an HBO Go. But it is free, and it is available almost everywhere that its paid rivals are.
Read more on MediaPost here: http://tinyurl.com/949oybf
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
READ HOW CARLY RAE JEPSEN'S "CALL ME MAYBE" TWEETED A HIT
The New York Times Ben Sisario has written a great article titled 'The New Rise of a Summer Hit: Tweet It Maybe'.
From the article, "For decades, the song of the summer would emerge each year following a pattern as predictable as the beach tides. Pop radio would get it rolling before school let out, and soon the song -- inevitably one with a big, playful beat and an irresistible hook -- would blare from car stereos everywhere ... But the success of this summer's hit, Carly Rae Jepsen's cheerfully flirty 'Call Me Maybe,'" shows how much the hitmaking machine, as well as the music industry itself, has been upended by social media."
Read it on The New York Times here: http://tinyurl.com/9kguaaa
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
FROM THE WRAP 'APPLE GRANTED PATENT FOR AD-SKIPPER THAT PLAYS MUSIC AND VIDEO DURING COMMERCIALS'
Another front has opened in the attack on commercials. Apple received a patent Tuesday for technology that would allow users to switch seamlessly to their own audio or video files once ads started playing on their TV or radio.
Unlike Dish Network's Auto Hop feature that allows users to bypass ads, with the Apple device, a users iTunes library would kick in and play music, video or a podcast.
Read more on The Wrap here: http://tinyurl.com/d8aauu4
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
ANOTHER EXCEPT FROM THE BOOK 'Still the Greatest: The Essential Songs of the Beatles' Solo Careers'
From Rolling Stone comes another excerpt from the above mentioned book by Andrew Grant Jackson. This time about Ringo Starr. Read 'Ringo Starr Realizes a Dream With His 1970 Country Album' here: http://tinyurl.com/bvmmp9h
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
FROM CNN: 10 ACTS THAT DIDN'T PLAY AT WOODSTOCK
You may think that some of these acts actually played Woodstock, but none did.
Check out the list and see who they were. (Bob Dylan is just one of them) : http://tinyurl.com/8gw3bs7
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
FROM CNET: 'INSIDE INTELLECTUAL VENTURES, THE MOST HATED TECH COMPANY'
Nathan Myhrvold and other executives at the controversial company say critics simply don't understand what they're doing.
"The set of incentives that go around patents, that's part of how the system works. Inventors should get rich. We should have more inventors. It's good for everybody," says Nathan Myhrvold
CNET went behind the scenes to understand what 40,000 patents and an unapologetic plan to make money from them really means.
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/8p7zoj4
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
THE BEATLES 'MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR' RESTORED AND READY FOR OCTOBER RELEASE
I've written articles about the Beatles several times in the newsletter, and in one I wrote, "Long before MTV hit the air, The Beatles made a TV film called 'Magical Mystery Tour.' Though the critics in the UK panned it for the most part, in hindsight one can watch it and realize it was merely a long-form video with five separate concept videos to support their new songs. They were years ahead of the curve in realizing how music and video could be merged for greater audience."
In September 1967, The Beatles loaded a film crew onto a bus along with friends, family and cast and headed west on the A30 out of London to make their third film, this time conceived and directed by The Beatles themselves.
"Paul said, 'Look I've got this idea' and we said 'great!' and all he had was this circle and a little dot on the top -- that's where we started." (Ringo)
In the wake of the extraordinary impact of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album and the One World satellite broadcast of "All You Need Is Love," The Beatles devised, wrote and directed their third film, Magical Mystery Tour, a dreamlike story of a coach day trip to the seaside.
Apple Films have fully restored the long out-of-print, classic feature film for October 8th release worldwide (October 9th in North America) on DVD and Blu-ray with a remixed soundtrack (5.1 and stereo) and special features. A special, boxed deluxe edition will also be available, and, for the first time ever, there will be a limited theatrical release from September 27th. This new release also feature three new edits of some of the song performances, as well as scenes that were cut out of the original film.
If you're a true Beatles fan, the film is a must. Check it out on the Beatles website at: http://tinyurl.com/8fty6kq
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* In February of 1972, John Lennon and Yoko Ono took over The Mike Douglas Show for a week. The musical highlight was an appearance by Chuck Berry, who played "Johnny B. Goode" and "Memphis, Tennessee" with Lennon and Ono. Watch it here on Rolling Stone: http://tinyurl.com/8vclore
* Have you tried remixing some of Paul McCartney's songs yet at his website's New Rude Studio yet? Check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/cbvd8vv
* If you're having trouble choosing a new phone, here are five you can eliminate right off the bat. These are the Top 5 phones you shouldn't give the time of day in 2012: http://tinyurl.com/9x229zy
* The Acer Aspire V5-171-6867 crams the horsepower of a full-fledged budget ultrabook into an 11-inch ultraportable, at several hundred dollars less than most equivalent products. If you're looking for a good laptop at a great price, this may be it: http://tinyurl.com/8jb9lqb
Short News Items ...
Lauryn Hill didn't just drop the ball on a $1.8 million tax bill from the federal government -- she also failed to pay $440,000 in taxes to the State of New Jersey ... so says the State of New Jersey. A civil judgment was entered against Hill on June 14th by a Jersey court, finding the Fugees singer is responsible for $446,386 in unpaid state taxes.
RUSSKIES SUE MADONNA:
After Madonna challenged St. Petersburg's gay pride ban at a concert there earlier this month, a group of activists has announced they will file a $10.5 million lawsuit against the pop star for "moral damage," reports RIA Novosti, a Russian news agency. Members of the Union of Russian Citizens, the civil group People's Assembly and the New Great Russia party are submitting the lawsuit today. "We demand that she pay for moral damage suffered by St. Petersburg residents as a result of her actions during the show on August 9th," a spokeswoman for the Union of Russian Citizens said. "We must defend our right to normal cultural life without propaganda of values and views that contradict the Russian culture."
ANOTHER REASON NOT TO WATCH ANYMORE:
After being hot for all of her "15 minutes" so far on the music scene, Nicki Minaj will allegedly join "American Idol" next season as a judge.
GEORGE HARRISON DOCUMENTARY RECEIVES 6 EMMY NOMS:
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced its nominees for the 2012 Emmy Awards, and Martin Scorcese's 'George Harrison: Living in the Material World' was honored with a total of 6 nominations.
LEVON HELM TRIBUTE:
John Mayer, My Morning Jacket and Ray LaMontagne are among more than a dozen acts who will pay tribute to Levon Helm as part of a benefit concert October 3rd at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ. Dubbed "Love for Levon," the lineup also features Eric Church, Gregg Allman, Dierks Bentley, Marc Cohn, Patty Griffin, Warren Haynes, John Hiatt, Bruce Hornsby, Jorma Kaukonen, the Levon Helm Band, Robert Randolph, Mavis Staples, Joe Walsh and Lucinda Williams.
DEL REY FOR JAGUAR:
Lana Del Rey is in a series of ads touting Jaguar's new F-Type. The sleek two-seater is due to make its global debut at the Paris Motor Show next month.
NO, YOU'RE NOT GETTING OUT:
John Lennon's killer, Mark David Chapman, 57, was denied release from prison in his seventh appearance before a parole board in New York.
LENNON TOOTH IN A SCULPTURE:
A fragment of the John Lennon tooth that was auctioned off last fall will become part of a work of art, the Edmonton Sun reports. The tooth's winning bidder gave a small piece of the molar to his sister to use in a clay sculpture she was making in the Beatles legend's likeness.
Avril Lavigne is getting married to Nickelback's Chad Kroeger. The 27-year-old Lavigne and the 37-year-old Nickelback frontman had been quietly dating for six months.
MORE 'BAD' MJ:
Pepsi will continue its year-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's "Bad" Aug. 29 at New York City's Gotham Hall with performances from Ne-Yo and Melanie Fiona (right) and a DJ set from Swizz Beatz, with additional tunes from DJ Cassidy.
MADONNA FORGIVES? NOT REALLY:
From The Hollywood Reporter, "the spirit of forgiveness apparently took over Madonna at a concert Tuesday night in Nice, France. Sort of. "I'd like to dedicate this next song to a Mr. Elton John," she told the crowd. "I know he's a big fan of it, and I know he's a big fan of mine. And you know what? I forgive him. Gotta start somewhere." The catch: The song she launched into was "Masterpiece," a composition from her directorial debut W.E., which beat out John's "Hello Hello," from Gnomeo & Juliet, for Best Original Song at January's Golden Globes.
LATE NIGHT GETS REAL COMPETITIVE IN '13:
In January ABC will move "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to the prime 11:35pspot, facing long-time late-night kings David Letterman and Jay Leno, while "Nightline" will move to 12:35.
THE SHACK TO OFFER NO CONTRACT WIRELESS:
RadioShack is set to launch 'no contract wireless' on Sept. 5th, a report says An internal memo has reportedly leaked, indicating the company will be offering no-contract wireless service through Cricket.
In a first, Department Of Justice seizes domains accused of app piracy. Federal authorities have seized three domains it asserts are involved in the illegal distribution of Android apps. The DOJ said it was the first time it has used this power in a case involving pirated mobile apps.
Singer and songwriter, Scott McKenzie, died on Saturday, August 18th, 2012 in Los Angeles. Scott McKenzie was best known for singing the 1967 hit single, "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)," written by John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas. Scott also co-rote the Beach Boy hit "Kokomo."
Director Tony Scott, best known for the films "Top Gun" and "Beverly Hills Cop II," died in an apparent suicide last Sunday when he jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, California.
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
"The Spice Girls seemed to have fun being on stage again. There was a scary moment when one of the decathletes mistook Victoria Beckham for a javelin."
-- Jimmy Kimmel, on the singer's appearance during the closing ceremony of the London Games, in his monologue
"I live to mentor, so my heart is much more open to the idea of that than even 10 years ago when I, perhaps, wasn't in a position to be able to offer much advice, solicited or otherwise. [B]ut I love watching people and just getting really curious about what they want and what they need and what their goals are, and then I can support them. I would do it formally, for sure."
-- Alanis Morissette, expressing her interest in becoming a judge on 'American Idol'
"I just felt like he made that mistake" - physically assaulting his then-girlfriend - "because he needed help. Everybody's gonna say he was a monster ... 's gonna help him?"
-- Chris Brown is the love of her life, Rihanna told Oprah Winfrey on Sunday. (Who's gonna help him? How about a professional who knows how to deal with men who hit women)
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Country Singer Heath Williams Sings About Good Old Boys Who Smoke Meth Until Their Teeth Fall Out, On Today Now!
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
A Memory Of John Lennon
I told the story about the night of John's passing, and what my son said that said night, on literally dozens of radio stations the next day that were calling our offices for interviews and commentary about John. I think everyone at the time knew the "Blue Meanies" were the evildoers who stopped the music in Pepperland in the Beatles groundbreaking animated film, Yellow Submarine. If you've never seen the film, you know that now as well.
My many thanks to the examiner.com's resident Beatle expert, Steve Marinucci, for his interview with me this week talking about my memory of John Lennon, about his passing, and my time at Capitol Records.
In any case, for those of you who are Beatles fans, here's the link to the article: http://tinyurl.com/79r4lvu
Smart Marketing Consulting Services
Smart Marketing Consulting Services has been in business sixteen years, and consults clients in the music, entertainment, attraction, media, and technology industry on branding, marketing, online exploitation, maximizing new media, and more.
"And the beat goes on, the beat goes on ... drums keep poundin' rhythm to the brain."
"Work is life, you know, and without it, there's nothing but fear and insecurity." -- John Lennon