AT&T Says Their Merger With DirecTV Is Good For All...
May 23, 2014
"I think it's wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly."
-- Steven Wright
I'm not a big fan of corporate mergers and I can't really think of any that actually benefited consumers at large, or the people who worked at the companies that merged. (I'm sure there are exceptions, and if you know of any, feel free to e-mail me.)
As one person put it," Much of what is called investment is actually nothing more than mergers and acquisitions, and of course mergers and acquisitions are generally accompanied by downsizing."
Downsizing sure came with all those corporate mergers in the music industry. Thousands of people lost jobs in the last decade or so during merger-mania in the biz. On top of that, the monolith music companies that are left control the industry and have (in my opinion) made it increasingly difficult or new artists and smaller labels to emerge.
In any case, this week, AT&T announced they are merging with DirecTV, and of course their CEO said consumers will benefit right from the start with bundled great bundled deals. Read that story on CNET
I don't know, it all sounds so familiar, doesn't it? You know ..."We've brought these two great companies together and you, the consumer, will benefit in many ways. Yadda-yadda ... blah-blah-blah."
Great bundled deals, huh? Can't wait to see what they are, how long we'll have to sign-up for, what the cancellation clauses are, and all the rest.
Right now, I'll just quote Hans Solo's famous line, "I got a bad feeling about this."
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
FROM CNN: 'MUSIC 'HACKERS' UNLEASH NEW GENERATION OF COOL & BIZARRE INSTRUMENTS
(CNN) -- This is a meeting of the city's Music Hackspace, an offshoot of the London Hackspace, among the largest of over 1,000 such citizen workshops that populate the world from Brazil to Baghdad.
Around a dozen keen members -- and 150 part-time - form the basis of this music chapter; designing, building and re-purposing instruments to suit ambitious creative projects. Read the rest
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
THE 4DX THEATER EXPERIENCE ... WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
From rocking seats to 'smelling' what's onscreen, here's what you can expect from this innovative movie going experience.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
FROM BILLBOARD: HOW CHELSEA HANDLER & IRVING AZOFF BECAME A DYNAMIC DUO
"I don't think I know anyone in the music business that works as hard as her," says Irving Azoff about Chelsea Handler,
The unlikely partnership between comedienne Chelsea Handler and legendary music manager Irving Azoff shows how the business of comedy has grown beyond rock 'n' roll levels.
It's not just arenas, it's all media -- from books and TV, to the Internet and beyond. Read the rest on Billboard
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
THAT LED ZEPPELIN LAWSUIT OVER "STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN"
Rolling Stone reports a lawyer representing late Taurus singer-guitarist Randy California is suing Led Zeppelin to prevent the band's upcoming re-release of "Led Zeppelin IV," which featured "Stairway to Heaven." Attorney Francis Alexander Malofiy, is also seeking damages and a songwriting credit for California, who died in 1997.
California called the song a "rip-off" in a Listener magazine interview that year, complaining the band made "millions of bucks" off his music. Business Week reports the song earned more than half-billion dollars by 2008.
It's all about the guitar intro (which, by the way, follows a very common guitar chord progression, the same progression used for "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" actually ) which sounds a lot like the same intro to "Stairway To Heaven."
Read the story on Rolling Stone and decide for yourself.
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS
James Hetfield Covers 'In My Life'
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Live 1974 Box Set Out This Summer
20 Sixties Albums You've Never Heard
Billboard Music Awards 2014: Full Winners List
Unseen Roy Orbison Footage
Bob Dylan Debuts 'Hurricane' in 1975
Pink Floyd to Issue Extravagant 'Division Bell' Anniversary Box Set
Jeff Bridges and Sheryl Crow to Co-Host Austin City Limits Benefit Gig
Led Zeppelin Unveil Bonus Tracks
Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven' Targeted for Plagiarism
OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder 'Going Back In' to the Studio With Adele
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Announce North American Tour
From Townshend to Trucks: 10 Giants of the Gibson SG
21 Music Experiences You Need To Have Before You Die
'Pulp Fiction,' A to Z
5 Grossly Inappropriate Jokes Hidden in Children's Cartoons
Shutterstock ventures into music licensing business
The Audiophiliac's top 10 speakers: 2014 edition
Murfie music service will now take third-party CD deliveries
The Top 116 Images You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped
12 phones that changed the world
Surface Pro 3: 12-inch 3:2 screen, starts at $799
Short News Items ...
Billboard reports that David Hyman, the Founder of streaming music service MOG, which was acquired by Beats Electronics in 2012, has sued Beats for more than $20 million, claiming that Beats fired him to avoid giving him an equity payout, according to a report from Courthouse News Service. Read More
PAUL AND THE ROBOT:
Paul McCartney has announced his first artistic collaboration with a robot. Newman, the robot, has teamed up with Paul for his new music video for the song 'Appreciate'. 'Appreciate' is taken from Paul's latest studio album 'NEW,' which was launched last year. Watch Paul's video for 'Appreciate' by clicking HERE!
AND MACCA SICK:
Paul McCartney has canceled his Japanese tour -- including a show at the Nippon Budokan, where the Beatles played in 1966 -- as he battles a suspected virus
Wilco's frontman Jeff Tweedy has announced dates for a solo tour along with the news that he'll soon be releasing his debut solo album, Pitchfork reports. The 16-date tour kicks off on June 5th at Detroit's Masonic Temple and winds its way to Rhode Island for a closing stop at the sold-out Newport Folk Festival on July 27th.
Many of the rock-doc classics -- 'The Last Waltz,' 'Gimme Shelter' -- require the use of your Netflix queue. But if you need a music fix right now, there are loads of great ones to stream instantly. Here are 30 of the best, from Ken Burns to Ice Cube. Read More
YEAH, BUT DO HER FANS READ?
Jennifer Lopez is writing a book. Celebra, a division of Penguin Group (USA), said Monday that it is releasing her first book -- titled "True Love" -- on Tuesday, Oct. 28th. A hardcover edition of the book will be published simultaneously in English and Spanish.
JACKO ALIVE? NOT REALLY:
A hologram that looked like Michael Jackson performed the previously unreleased "Slave to the Rhythm" at the Billboard Music Awards Sunday night. The performance began with a synchronized SWAT Team dancing until a curtain dropped and Jackson was seen sitting in a Dangerous-like throne. Then holo-Jackson (or someone impersonating MJ -- it was difficult to tell if the projection was indeed an image of the real thing) sang and stuttered the upbeat dance number, which appears on the late pop star's recently released Xscape, in the same urgent, frenzied, breathy tenors he gave Dangerous tracks like "Jam" and "In the Closet." During the brief performance, the hologram twirled, crouched and moonwalked around the stage. VIDEO: BILLBOARD AWARDS...
EAGLES HEADING DOWN UNDER:
The Eagles will swoop into Australia and New Zealand early next year for a string of arena dates, open-air shows and winery concerts. The Australasian leg of the "History of the Eagles" world tour will start Feb. 18, 2015 at the Perth Arena and play a total of eight venues, including the iconic Hanging Rock in Macedon and the Hope Estate winery in the Hunter Valley. The trek wraps-up March 14 at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, the band's first visit to the country in 20 years.
THE BEST & THE WORST:
The 15 best and worst moments at the Billboard Music Awards. Read More
I THINK PRINCE DID THIS ALREADY, NOW PETTY:
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will release their first album in four years, 'Hypnotic Eye,' on July 29th and launch a North American tour just a few days after, on August 3rd. But Petty has tied the album closer to the tour than most artists do; every ticket purchased will include a copy of 'Hypnotic Eye.' Petty is also releasing a digital live album to his fan club members. 'Live 2013,' which comes with the purchase of 'Hypnotic Eye,' contains 11 tracks that Petty hand-picked from the Heartbreakers' 2013 theater residencies in New York and Los Angeles, as well as the Heartbreakers' Bonnaroo appearance.
BON JOVI REDUX:
Bon Jovi will celebrate 30 years with a massive catalog reissue campaign that kicks off July 1st with a re-mastered edition of their 1988 album, 'New Jersey.' That record, which reached Number One on the Top 200, contained five singles, including the "Bad Medicine," "I'll Be There for You," "Lay Your Hands on Me" and "Living in Sin." The new version of the record will appear in three iterations, a single disc reissue, a two disc deluxe edition, and two CD, or a two CD/one DVD super deluxe edition, the latter two packed with bonus material.
NEWS SOMEBODY WAS WAITING FOR ... BUT DON'T KNOW WHO:
Nicki Minaj's new single, "Pills N Potions," was released this Wednesday.
GEE, WHAT A SURPRISE ... NOT!
People magazine reported late today Katharine McPhee, 30, former 'American Idol' finalist and star of 'Smash,' filed for divorce after six years of marriage and a year's separation, quoting an unnamed McPhee rep. McPhee was snapped passionately kissing her 'Smash director,' Michael Morris, who is married to another actress, Mary McCormack, last October.
LYRICFIND & UMPG:
LyricFind, the worlds leader in legal lyric solutions, announced a deal with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) to be the sole third party able to administer future licenses for lyrics controlled by UMPG (UMPG retains the right to do direct licenses). The contract, which is in effect as of May 1st, 2014, not only allows LyricFind to search, display, distribute, transmit, and reproduce the lyrics of the roster of songwriters under UMPG's umbrella, it also allows LyricFind to sublicense for display and sync to music sites, services and apps across the internet. UMPG songwriters will receive a share of the revenues generated by LyricFind. Read more
'One Night Only: An All-Star Comedy Tribute to Don Rickles' will air May 28th at 9p. ET on Spike. The special will also feature appearances by Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Tracy Morgan, Johnny Depp, John Stamos, Bob Newhart, Regis Philbin, Ray Romano, Brad Garrett and more.
Legendary cinematographer Gordon Willis, the "Prince of Darkness" who was responsible for the look of such era-defining films of the Seventies as the first two 'Godfather films, 'All the President's Men,' 'Annie Hall' and 'Manhattan,' died Sunday at the age of 82, according to Variety. His cause of death was not listed.
Quotes of the week
"They're trying to make money. And I understand it. Everybody's after money, the estate, the lawyers. It's about money,"
-- Quincy Jones blunt assessment on the latest posthumous Michael Jackson album release, "Xscape." The music legend's comments were broadcast Tuesday in an interview on Jian Ghomeshi's "Q" talk show on CBC Radio.
"Not a lot of truth has come out about the last 20 years of the band. We all know about the 1970s and the VH1 'Behind the Music' bullshit and getting the band back together, which itself is a small miracle. After that, it kind of drops off."
-- Joe Perry, finally ready to give his side of the Aerosmith saga. His long-awaited book 'Rocks: My Life in and Out of Aerosmith' is slated to hit shelves on October 7th.
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
James Cameron Says Future Of Movies Will Be Watching Them Sitting On His Lap
LOS ANGELES—Calling his latest innovation the medium's most exciting advancement in years, Academy Award–winning film pioneer James Cameron said Friday the future of movies would be watching them while sitting on his lap.
Within the next five to 10 years, nearly every major Hollywood movie will be watched from my lap," Cameron said following a presentation that featured a 3D rendering of the Titanic director seated in a theater chair with moviegoers of various ages taking turns sitting down on his hips and leaning back against his torso. "It will not just be the most immersive, thrilling, and groundbreaking way to experience the craft of film—it will surely be the most personal." Read the rest and laugh
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.
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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