All posts tagged Apple

Happening: Pink Floyd Re-Ups with EMI & LimeWire Won’t Go Quietly

Trying to Put its Own Squeeze on Labels

A couple of 2010′s most-followed music industry stories have headlines rolling out in the first week of the new year… Continuing with checkmarks in the positive column for EMI, is the announcement of a new 5-year deal with Pink Floyd, which also effectively ends the legal dispute between the band and label. Last year the band took action against its longtime label over the a-la-carte digital sale of their songs and online royalty payment calculations. While keeping the iconic group on the roster is another coup for new group chief Roger Faxon, and a reversal in the trend of big-name acts exiting their longtime relationships with EMI in recent years, the move can be seen as primarily an effort to retain as much value as possible in the event of a sale by debt-embroiled owner Terra Firma, which most still believe is likely… LimeWire has been busy dealing with the fallout of a recent final defeat in its lengthy legal battles, and yesterday The Hollywood Reporter legal blog posted details about the latest turn in the ongoing saga. Ahead of a final looming trial, which will determine the damages owed by the file-sharing site, lawyers for LimeWire are now attempting to force third-party licensees, so far only Amazon.com it seems, to turn over documents, including contracts, royalty payments and internal company communications relating to agreements with the labels. The judge in the case has already ordered record companies to turn over their information about royalty payments relating to alleged infringed upon works. This isn’t sufficient according to LimeWire’s attorneys. So far Amazon has not complied with the request, and it’s unclear if other licensees like Apple have also received similar requests. What is clear however, is that LimeWire is not going down quietly, and will do its best to shed light on licensing agreements heretofore kept in the dark.

Year In Review: Music Biz Undergoes Big Changes in 2010, Only More to Come

As 2010 winds down, there is plenty of industry action to look back upon and even more still to come with a number of significant changes looming. It all adds up to an end-of-the-year full of more questions than answers, but at least it keeps things interesting…

Home on the Grainge

It was back in the beginning of the year that Lucian Grainge‘s assumption of the CEO position at Universal Music Group in January of 2011 was announced, beginning a year long process of reviewing the company structures on both coasts. The fate of current UMG chief executive Doug Morris remained murky until recently as reports began to fly of his likely jump to a rival music group. But what of the new composition at UMG? Still the largest of the remaining major music groups, in both recorded music and publishing, there are no signs of slowing for the Vivendi-owned company, who is positioning itself to streamline operations with new arrangements that will see labels combining some back-office efforts, or as CFO of the French conglomerate put it recently, “a lot of fat can be taken out without hurting muscle and bones.” Looking at the various labels within Universal, it appears that most current heads will stay within the group, at either their current positions or newly created ones, as will most likely be the case with Island Def Jam ruler Antonio “L.A.” Reid. Rumors began circling back in October of an imminent firing, with many claims being made that the IDJ head was as good as out, however as others predicted, a new label imprint for Reid is now the likely outcome. There is talk of an increased dominion within UMG for Universal/Motown and label prexy Sylvia Rhone as well as Universal/Republic under the leadership of CEO Monte Lipman moving forward. And though a title for Barry Weiss, who just announced his move from RCA/Jive to Universal this past week, has yet to be announced, all signs seem to indicate that he will act as Grainge’s primary lieutenant on the East Coast while the new group chief resides in Los Angeles. What roles David Massey and Steve Bartels will take in the new structure remain unclear. Look forward to more changes to come in the new year, including word to spread of a newly inked deal between Universal and a major management firm who sold the label a significant stake in the operation…

Ghost of Epic '10

With the exit of Rolf Schmidt-Holtz from Sony Music on the horizon, talk of his successor has turned squarely on Doug Morris, with sources claiming that it’s as good as done, and that earlier contender Sony/ATV CEO Marty Bandier is uninterested in taking the position. Much has been made recently of Columbia/Epic chairman Rob Stringer‘s missteps in the artist-executive hiring of Amanda Ghost, who is departing from her presidential post at Epic, and talk coming from within the building continues to forecast a murky future for the label. Will the label fold into Columbia? What will the future hold for current Epic head of A&R Mike Flynn? What is the future for the younger Stringer at Sony, and is it tied to that of Howard Stringer? The elder Stringer has denied recent reports of his interest in the chairmanship of BBC Trust, though rumors of his time coming to an end at Sony Corp continue. And will Charlie Walk find himself back in the Sony fold?… The handling of EMI by Terra Firma boss Guy Hands, has left many mystified, from the initial timing and price of the purchase, the revolving door of outside executive hires, to the recent courtroom debacle with lender Citigroup. While strong releases from Lady Antebellum and Katy Perry along with the Beatles-on-iTunes coup are all positives steps, and many have praised recent promotions in the upping of Roger Faxon to chief executive of the group and Dan McCarroll‘s promotion to oversee the Capitol and Virgin labels, it strikes most as too late. Talk of a takeover of EMI by Citigroup before the year’s end ramped up this week after reports that Terra Firma investors ruled out investing more funds into the company to meet the next debt obligation to Citi.  If the bank does indeed take control of EMI, the common belief is that it will sell off the recorded music and publishing divisions to the highest bidders – the two mentioned most often being Warner Music Group and BMG Rights Management… Shifting to the bunny, the company made industry waves in September with Lyor Cohen initiating some top-down restructuring, which started with naming Rob Cavallo as the new Warner Bros Records chairman and CEO, removing Tom Whalley, a move seen as a long time in the making, as Cohen and Whalley notoriously never saw eye-to-eye. The shake up also resulted in Todd Moscowitz and Liva Tortella being named Co-President/CEO and Co-President/COO, respectively. Following the executive shuffling, WBR departments underwent scrutiny, that led to more departures from creative and promotion executives. Eyes now turn to the possibility of acquiring EMI’s recorded music division, which would considerably boost Warner’s market share as well as narrow the major music group field to just three. If it goes down, it has many wondering what changes would be made to the executive team currently being assembled at EMI under McCarroll… Hartwig Masuch, CEO of BMG Rights Management, the joint venture backed by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Bertelsmann made his intentions of being counted among the top four publishers well known, and a year of aggressive acquisitions has carried through that goal. Those in the know share that KKR, a global private equity firm specializing in leverage buyouts, is the driving force behind the quick and expansive activity. High profile purchases of independent publishing companies this year included Stage Three, Evergreen and most recently Chrysalis. If the JV is able to acquire EMI Music Publishing in the event of a sale, it would see the new publishing player competing for not only a place at the table with the other major publishers, but as a contender for the current top spot held by Universal Music Publishing

Meanwhile, onlookers will be waiting to witness what the future holds for MySpace, as the once all-powerful social network continues to slide. Even with a redesign, progress on the mobile front and a new ad deal with Google in place, most believe the writing is on the wall, with more layoffs at the company expected to come down in the new year. And how will this effect MySpace Records? The label was all but shuttered in the first quarter of 2010, only to be resurrected, sort of, over the summer with the hiring of David Andreone and a new ill-defined partnership with Josh Deutsch‘s Downtown Music… And with all the reporting and speculation surrounding new cloud-based services from the likes of Apple and Google in 2010, as well as the entrance of Spotify in the U.S., all will have to go on next year’s wish lists. Google has made its plans to launch a music service well known, with the latest reports indicating that they’re willing to pay labels massive sums to get a service off the ground, while Apple continues to remain mum on any plans for a new streaming service… IN THE MIXSteve MoirSylvia RhoneDavid WolterSandy RobertonJohn RudolphJosh Abraham, Foo FightersAndrew Brightman, Greg Hammer, Nick Gatfield, Jason Flom, AWOLNATIONEd PiersonCool Hand Luke, Dan Petel, Hurley

Wednesday Bits & Pieces: Google’s War Chest is Key to Music Service, mSpot Goes Mobile & more…

App Approved

In case anyone had forgotten about Google‘s plans to unleash a music service, a reminder comes in the form of new reports that the company is still in the process of negotiating with the labels for a launch next year, and their biggest, and most obvious bargaining chip, is lots of money, tens of millions in fact according to recent speculation. While it was originally thought that Google would first unveil a paid download type of service by the end of this year, similar to iTunes, ahead of moving toward the primary goal of a online music locker, indications now are that they’ll bypass a download store in favor of cloud-based streaming right out of the gate. Reasons for the delay in launch may include infighting over control of the music project, and failure to acquire an already built infrastructure in the form of Spotify or Rhapsody, rather than building something completely new. Matt Rosoff has the scuttlebutt at SAI… Speaking of music streaming, start up mSpot has gotten approval for their free iPhone app, which essentially provides the same desktop-to-mobile music synching feature that everyone is waiting for Apple or Google to launch, though as MediaMemo points out, the company currently has no licenses with the labels. A situation that seems to leave the company in a position to either be targeted for legal action or acquisition… The crux of the digital music dilemma is most often that technology innovators and content holders find themselves at an impasse, with the new distribution system, telecommunication companies, keeping their distance from the wrangle. Looking to the future, comments this week from Jean-Bernard Lévy, CEO of Vivendi, parent company of Universal Music Group among many others, could be seen as revealing. In discussing the company’s expanding umbrella and concentration on new businesses, Lévy said, ”The worlds of telecoms networks and content are merging,” – “And we are in the middle.”… Elsewhere, Yahoo has confirmed the already well documented layoffs, that total 600 staff members, or roughly 4% of its workforce… NBC is planning to launch their own American Idol rival, The Voice of America, which will start airing next spring, well ahead of the planned fall launch of Fox‘s other Idolesque series, The X Factor… And MTV in partnership with The Echo Nest has launched a new algorithm-based music discovery site called MTV Music Meter, which puts focus on emerging artists alongside those already established, and is being seen as another step to maintaining the recently achieved online music dominance over Vevo

More Bits & Pieces… Terra Firma Investors Balk at Fresh EMI Funds, What Kind of $$ Spotify Could be Generating in the U.S. & More…

Investors weary of future

More bad news for Guy Hands, as The NY Post reports that Terra Firma investors are extremely cold on the idea of putting more funds in EMI, as the private equity firms’ next debt obligation to Citigroup comes up in March of 2011… It’s already known that Spotify won’t be landing in the U.S. before the end of the year, with no indication from CEO Daniel Ek on a new timetable, but Evolver.fm takes a look at what kind of subscriber statistics and revenue the digital music service could be generating if it were operating in the states… Speaking at the LeWeb conference yesterday MySpace CEO Mike Jones was defensive of the social network’s seriously waning status, saying, “I don’t wanna be the place that replaces iTunes. I wanna be the place where you learn about music and then take that to wherever your music consumption happens.” An admirable position, and true in the aspect that the site continues to act for the most part as an initial place one can listen to an artist, though the discovery element is lacking, with some recognition from Jones, adding “We do need to get better at surfacing the music that interests you”… Elsewhere, Howard Stern renewed his contract with Sirius XM for another five years, the sum is undisclosed at this point… Apple is beginning to roll out increased song samples in the iTunes store… And Madison Square Garden in is the process of completing a deal to purchase the L.A. Forum…

iTunes Gets The Beatles, EMI Gets a Bump & Hollywood Gets Another Warning Sign

Arrive on iTunes

Today Apple announced the addition of The Beatles catalogue to the iTunes store, which ends a longtime hold out from the group and leaves AC/DC, Bob Seger and Kid Rock among the remaining high-profile acts whose music is not available on iTunes. Reports of the Beatles announcement leaked well before the Fab Four popped up all over Apple.com, the iTunes homepage and Ping early this morning. Many were hoping for a music-streaming or Lala related announcement, but as reports pointed out, there is nothing indicating that Apple has new licensing deals in place with the major labels yet. However, this morning’s announcement does beg the question of whether of not The Beatles catalogue will be left in download-only mode, if and when Apple launches a streaming service, particularly in light of “the long and winding road” it took just to get their music available digitally. Others are pointing to the much needed bump the new pact will give to EMI, ostensibly providing the label with a huge Q4 release in the form of all thirteen of the group’s studio albums, available as full albums or single songs, as well as other popular collections and a digital box set… While all parties involved were lauding the new digital era of Beatles music, there was a stark reminder of the role Apple has played in the industry’s digital music quagmire over the last decade, in the form of a dinner conversation in San Francisco last night. The discussion, which was part of the 2010 Web 2.0 Summit, featured WME head Ari Emanuel discussing among other topics, the film and television industry’s burgeoning piracy problem.  In mentioning the recording industry’s plight of piracy, Emanuel asserted that record labels in all likelihood would not have agreed to a 99-cents per song structure had they the knowledge they do now. Others argue that given what has happened in the music industry, the studios should have the foresight to avoid making the same mistakes in holding out on new digital services from Google, Apple and Netflix. Read the full story on SAI… And for even more on Hollywood’s growing digital issues, check out a Q&A with BigChampagne‘s Eric Garland on CNET.

[UPDATE: Ethan Smith has more on the backstory of how the iTunes - Beatles deal came to fruition, read it here on WSJ]

Wednesday Bits & Pieces: iTunes Song Samples Get Extended & MP3Tunes

The extending of the iTunes song-sample length to 90 seconds, which was expected to be revealed during Steve Jobs‘ September 1st ‘music related’ event, was finally announced yesterday in the form of a letter from Apple to labels. The past two months Apple has been negotiating primarily with music publishers and performing rights organizations, after the NMPA previously stepped in to block the sample extension. What’s being most discussed this morning however, is the way in which Apple has handed down the new decree, which essentially tells rights holders that by simply continuing to have their music in the iTunes store they are agreeing to license “gratis mechanical rights to 90 second ‘Clips’” – with some believing the harsh message is directed more towards indie labels who are presumed to have been left out of discussions Apple had with the four major music groups…. Meanwhile, according to CNET MP3tunes.com founder Michael Robertson‘s ongoing legal spat with EMI is nearing an end, the outcome of which, according to Robertson, will have major repercussions for other media companies like Apple and Google

In Case You Missed It: Hiring Recap

Broitman

Several new label and pubco hirings have been announced over the last week… They include former Warner/Chappell Music CEO Richard Blackstone, who has been tapped by BMG Rights Management to oversee the publisher’s U.S. operations as new Chief Creative Officer, reporting to CEO Hartwig Masuch… Warner/Chappell has a new head of sync in Ron Broitman, who comes to the pubco from Sony/ATV and BMG Publishing before that, reuniting him with current WC prexy Scott Francis… Universal Music Group has upped Rob Wells to president of Global Digital Business from his role as SVP digital… And in more digital shuffling Warner Music Group‘s head of digital legal affairs, Elliott Peters, is reportedly preparing to leave his post for a new position at Apple overseeing iTunes European legal team…

Wednesday Bits & Pieces: LimeWire No More, Apple + Spotify + Google = ??? & the New MySpace

Gets a Relaunch

Yesterday LimeWire software was dealt a blow in the form of a permanent injunction from a U.S. District Judge issued to parent company Lime Group, essentially killing the software that once was found on 1/3 of all PCs.  Reports of a new legal digital music service began when the initial injunction was handed down against the company in May, though it appears licensing talks with major labels have broken down. The company still insists that they hope to launch the new service before the end of the year… Meanwhile, TechCrunch published a piece yesterday claiming that Apple has been in sporadic discussions with Spotify about acquisition, though it’s very early in the process, and no price has been offered. The claims are being questioned by many, believing that a deal of that kind for Apple would not make sense, if for no other reason than the presumed high price alone. However in the same post, it was revealed that Google had offered $1 billion for the service last year around the same time that the company acquired Lala…  The new redesigned MySpace was launched in beta last night, and the new focus of the beleaguered social network will apparently be on entertainment content. Recognizing that they’ve been passed by in the social networking arena by Facebook, they no longer aim to compete, and are now looking to become the web’s biggest hub for music, movies and games – seeing MTV now as a more apt comparison. The backend of the site has also gotten a major overhaul, something that has been much needed since its acquisition by News Corp back in 2005…

Tuesday Bits & Pieces: Terra Firma vs. Citi, eMusic + UMG & Google’s Music Exec Search

Terra Firma & Citi Face Off in NYC Next Week

The long awaited courtroom showdown between private-equity firm Terra Firma and Citigroup is set to begin next week in New York City over Project Dice, codename for the former’s 2007 acquisition of EMI that was heavily financed by the latter. The legal battle is largely being portrayed as a face-off between Guy Hands and Citi’s David Wormsley, with the highly publicized row between the two companies and individuals leaving many to believe that a last minute settlement is unlikely.  If a pact was reached over the weekend, some share that possible scenarios might include a conversion of loans by Citi into equity, giving the bank a minority stake in EMI… Elsewhere, Eminem‘s publisher is seeking enforcement of a settlement amount of over $2-million from a previous lawsuit involving Universal Music Group label Aftermath and Apple, over digital sales of the artist’s music on iTunes… Digital music service eMusic has announced its new partnership with UMG, adding an additional 250,000 songs to its catalogue – in a message this morning, presumable directed at those who have patronized the service since the early days when it mainly consisted of music from independent artists, the company tweeted, Our unique approach to music won’t change. We’ll still profile records we find interesting/ important, whether they’ve sold 4 or 4M copies… And the New York Post spotted Google CEO Eric Schmidt dining with former Sony Music executive Lisa Ellis over the weekend, speculating that the two were likely discussing possible candidates for the top spot at the company’s yet-to-be-unveiled music service…

Apples to Apples: Spotify = Threat

Yesterday CNET published a lengthy piece on Spotify and the ongoing struggle to launch its music streaming service in the U.S., mentioning sources who have indicated that Apple is putting up road-blocks to the Swedes’ already difficult free-music pitch to labels.  Just last week Spotify celebrated hitting 10 million users across Europe, only 5% of which are paying, with a bash in London where they indicated that a launch in the states is indeed still planned for before the the end of 2010. While most don’t believe that is possible at this point (the article also pointed out that even Google‘s highly publicized music service will most likely not launch until early 2011 now), the company also announced the launch of its Windows Phone app this week.  It’s clear that Apple is taking this potential rival more seriously than most recent music services given the same moniker by the media. Further proof comes in the form of a New York Post dispatch late last night, reporting that Apple is still in talks with labels about a monthly subscription service, reviving the all too familiar iTunes in-the-cloud chatter…

In Case You Missed It: Reading Recap – Ping, MySpace’s New Content Chief & Mulve

Is Mulve digital downloading's "nightmare scenario"?

It’s been almost a month since Apple revealed iTunes 10, which included Ping, the new ‘social’ feature that connects iTunes Store users through fan and following features. While the addition of artist profiles to Ping was slow-going initially, things have picked up, but the reason for the sluggish start may have been that the labels weren’t given details about the new feature until the very last minute, as reported on Fast Company this week.  Indie aggregators like CD Baby and Tunecore are also now getting in on the Ping artist-profile action too, with limited abilities to submit artists into the program as well… Following the recent launch of an American Idol audition platform on MySpace for the upcoming 10th season of the show, it was revealed yesterday by the Hollywood Reporter that MySpace is also getting a new content chief in Andy Marcus, who will oversee the company’s entertainment initiatives, including the new Idol partnership…  Sub Pop has a new distribution deal with Australia’s Inertia, a result of financial woes for the Seattle label’s former distro partner Stomp, an inevitably tipped by our own Cool Hand Luke in a recent missive from down under… And many people are talking about Mulve, the new entrant into the digital downloading arena. But what is it? It’s not P2P, it doesn’t pull song-files from search services and it’s not BitTorrent based. Whatever kind of creature it is, people are interested, as the site crashed shortly after reports of the service first surfaced – as of this morning, it appears to be back up

Wednesday Bits & Pieces: NMPA Blocks Longer iTunes Song-Samples, Eminem’s Royalty Victory & Amazon Buys Amie St

Amazon Buys Amie Street

Among the new features that were not announced last week at Steve Jobs‘ big keynote event, was the lengthening of song sample time in the iTunes store. It was rumored that Jobs would be revealing an extended sample time from 30 seconds to 60 or 90, presumably to further entice a potential buyer.  While it appears that Apple had all the necessary agreements in place with the four major label groups, it had not made any such arrangement with the publishers.  When the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) caught wind of the new sample length, they notified Apple at the eleventh-hour of their legal objections, and the announcement was pulled according to CNET. Publishers don’t see any performance money from the iTunes store, and while the current 30-second sample clip is treated as “promotional,” a longer sample time would most likely result in publishers wanting to get paid… In more iTunes and publishing news, the Ninth Circuit court has ruled in favor of Eminem‘s former production company FBT Productions, reversing a 2009 decision from the original lawsuit brought against Universal Music Group. The latest ruling declares that downloads through the iTunes store are in fact “licenses” and not “sales” – entitling the plaintiff to a significantly higher percentage of revenue.  Though with such potential for precedent-setting in the ongoing debate over how downloads should be treated particularly for older artists with older contracts, most expect this case to remain in the legal system for awhile longer… And Amazon has purchased Amie Street, the online music store that it helped fund four years ago, and plans to shutter the service at the end of the month. Due to the unique nature of the digital retailer’s model, the service became mostly a haven for independent and unsigned artists, as negotiating with the larger labels proved difficult.  While certainly a blow to many who use the service, it appears both sides are happy with the deal, and the Amie Street team will now focus on their new project, Songza, a Pandora-like music streaming service…

Wednesday Bits & Pieces: Apple’s New iTunes, Sony’s iTunes Rival & Amazon Enters the Fray

As predicted Steve Jobs did not announce a new cloud-based version of iTunes this morning, however the rumored social features were announced in the form of Ping. In the words of Jobs, it’s “Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes,” … “But it’s not Facebook, it’s not Twitter,” adding “it’s a social network all about music.” There is also a new logo that replaces the CD, which Jobs remarked as fitting, as he expects that by next Spring Apple‘s music sales will surpass all CD sales in the United States… The update to iTunes 10 will be available today and will include Ping. If you missed the action this morning, head HERE to watch the keynote… In what cannot be coincidental timing, this morning Sony Corp announced Sony Qriocity (“curiosity,” get it), which is the company’s new subscription-based music and video streaming service, the backbone of which will be the Playstation 3 console. It’s expected to launch in the UK before the end of the year… And not to be left out of the race to streaming dominance, Amazon is reportedly gearing up to launch a service similar to Netflix, which will allow unlimited access to movies and TV shows for a monthly fee.

Apple Invites You to Tomorrow’s Big Event

Streaming Live

Apple has announced that it will be streaming its big event tomorrow, which is being dubbed a music event, as many predict that in addition to announcing new iPod and Apple TV products, the iTunes store will be getting a major revamp that will likely include a longer song sampling time and other social features. Sorry, probably no iTunes cloud-streaming service. And .99 TV show rentals?  Looks like uncle Rupert is the swing-vote… Tune in to see.

Wednesday Bits & Pieces: Playlist.com, Elevation Partners + Pandora & More…

News of Playlist.com‘s bankruptcy filing this week did not come as a shock to those following the start-up, who is now headed down a similar path of other online music services in recent times. Following Chapter 11 filing, which was spun by the company as a “breathing spell” – presumably from litigation (3 of the 4 major label groups had filed lawsuits) –  further reports revealed just how much Playlist owes in royalty costs to its top creditors, who include Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music, EMI Music as well as indie label network Merlin and ASCAP. And that “breathing spell” apparently includes funding a restructuring effort with cash from its biggest, and sole secure creditor, UMG, who is not on the same page…  Elsewhere, it appears in talks with television companies, Apple is nearing an agreement with Disney for 99-cent TV show rentals via iTunes… Yesterday it was tipped by TechCrunch that private-equity firm Elevation Partners, who counts Bono among its directors, would be investing in Pandora in the range of  $100 million, though both sides are remaining quiet at the moment… And check out a profile of Jason Hirschhorn on Silicon Alley Insider, where he discusses his time at MTV, MySpace and what’s next…

Apple’s Antennagate & Live Nation’s Slideshow

Become an Arena Act in the time it will take to get your free iPhone 4 Case

Lots of chatter continued over the weekend on the heels of two high profile presentations last week… Steve Jobs addressed the infamous antenna on Apple‘s new iPhone 4 with a range of figures and explanations, including a comparison of other popular smartphones that were shown to be equally or more deficient in the same area that is raising huge concerns over the new iPhone.  The other phones mentioned included the Blackberry Bold, made by Research in Motion, who following the presentation issued a statement declaring, ”Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation.”… Elsewhere Live Nation is facing increased derision, adding to an already highly publicized poor summer concert climate, after last week’s investor presentation from Michael Rapino and Irving Azoff.  The presentation included one slide in particular that is getting a lot of industry attention for its illustration of the company’s “new model,” which has an artist’s trajectory going from relative anonymity to arena sell-out in just 3 months…

In Case You Missed It: Reading Recap

The Best Things in Life Aren't Free?

Not to be left out of the growing media preoccupation with new music services from industry giants like Google and Apple, not to mention the handful of new players who have emerged ahead of the curve like mspot, MOG, Spotify and Rdio, MySpace Music is back in the mix with renewed reports this week of a looming subscription service. The company is said to be in talks with labels about moving away from their current free streaming model to a paid service… Simultaneously MySpace parent News Corp. was quick to deny rumors that the company is in talks to sell the once supreme social network that has been facing a tough transition and revolving door of executives over the last year… An article in the WSJ today examines the increasingly tough road for the live music business – and for those keeping score, Rihanna‘s “Last Girl on Earth” tour appears to be the latest summer outing to announce cancellations…  Elsewhere, Wilco is planning to start their own label and will be leaving Warner Music after a 15-year relationship, having released albums on both Reprise and then Nonesuch… And CAA + “The Decision” x Kanye West = LeBron to The Heat

Wednesday Bits & Pieces: Sony Music, Apple + EMI, A MySpace without Google & More…

“We had to change the stretch limo culture that prevailed in many areas of the music industry,” says Schmidt-Holtz

A Sunday piece in the New York Times takes a look at Sony Music and its head Rolf Schmidt-Holt. Much of the article examines Sony Music’s moves into territory outside of the traditional music industry, including its partnership with Simon Cowell and a consulting relationship with the government of Argentina… The other apple, Apple Records, announced a new partnership with EMI for the digital release of fifteen remastered albums from artists including Badfinger and James Taylor, though it doesn’t appear that any Beatles releases will be included… MySpace‘s lucrative ad-deal with Google is just about up, and while the Wall Street Journal recently reported on News Corp.‘s shopping of a new partnership, TechCrunch asks some crucial unaddressed questions… And if you thought those Jonas Bros. albums you bought in the privacy of your home would go unnoticed, think again.  In a move to further propel its new iAd platform and compete with Google, Apple is mining data from billions of iTunes downloads to study user’s buying habits…

Tuesday Bits & Pieces: More Google Music, Eminem’s Recovery, Gulf Relief Benefit & more…

Google's Music Plans

Google is headed for the cloud, or so it would seem with further reporting on the search giant’s forthcoming moves into the music space. No concrete details yet, but a download store could launch as early as this year, with a cloud-based service slated for 2011. Should the Apple rival be careful not to move too quickly…? Interscope cleared the release decks this week to make way for the new Eminem album Recovery. The question from many is whether or not the highly-anticipated release that dropped yesterday will live up to its name after the industry’s recent extremely sluggish sales-weeks… Leading up to the Northside Festival in Brooklyn this weekend, Sirius XMU is featuring special artist-hosts starting today including Real Estate, Woods, Au Revoir Simone and WavvesJes Hudak is the Los Angeles winner of the Ourstage 2010 Lilith Fair talent search; she will perform at the July 10th festival stop… And tonight at El Cid a Gulf Coast Relief benefit concert for Global Green will feature acoustic performances from local artists Voxhaul Broadcast, Trevor Hall, Heavy Young Heathens and others…

** Today only head HERE to get a %20 discount on badges for Northside Festival with promo code “LMAG”

Wednesday Bits & Pieces… Google Music, MTV Twitter Jockey, Limewire & OK Go

MTV looks for Twitter Jockey

Chatter is starting about a possible Google Music Store launch as early as this fall – if true could Apple be far behind… MTV has launched a campaign to find its own official Twitter JockeyReports have surfaced that AOL had sold its music service Bebo, though the media giant was quick to deny any sale… Limewire has a new legal music service in the works, but many wonder if the bridges are already burned… And OK GO has just released a new music video complete with a Facebook fan-contest

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