Billboard has announced the names of this year’s 30 Under Thirty industry players, which recognizes rising young executives who are driving our business forward with their artistic and business vision. Nominated by readers and selected by the editors for each’s achievements in the industry over the last 12 months, the list proves the future looks bright. Kudos to all the youngsters who made the cut, including ASCAP Membership Director Josh Briggs and The Agency Group‘s resident metalhead Dave Shapiro… Now if only they had a list for those who look under thirty!
Notable Music Signs Aja West
SXSW billboard buzz-act Neon Indian has signed to Fader Label according to Billboard – the Cornerstone-backed label digitally re-releases the debut album, Psychic Chasms today… In related news, IAMSOUND Records has announced they will release albums this September from Salem, whose infamously interrupted performance at the Fader Fort during SXSW this year was well covered in the blogosphere, and Brooklyn’s Restless People, who were featured as a ‘Band to Watch’ on Stereogum last week… Helping you stay ahead of the indie-curve is the new interactive buzz-chart over at the Guardian that tracks 2010′s most hyped acts (in the UK at least) – Atlanta’s Washed Out currently leads the pack… More signing news from Notable Music as the boutique pubco announces the addition of Aja West and Chico Mann to their roster through the recent JV with Brooklyn-based Wax Poetics. West has been creating and syncing music for over a decade and has worked with luminaries such as trombonist Fred Wesley (James Brown), Headhunters rhythm section Mike Clark and Paul Jackson, and keyboard wizard Money Mark (Beastie Boys), while Mann aka Marcos “Marquitos” Garcia is the guitarist for the Brooklyn Afrobeat collective Antibalas, and is now branching out on his own… Interscope Records is holding open auditions in Austin, TX tomorrow (June 9) in search of a male Americana/Country/Rock-Pop singer. Get more info here. Similar auditions were held last fall in Nashville resulting in a new forthcoming project from the label…
Always Front & Center... This Week: Adobe, iAds & Lala
Last weekend saw the news that EMI Music chairman Charles Allen is reportedly pulling back from his strategy to sell-off parts of the music group in an effort to righten the company’s state of financial disorder… The New York Times published a lengthy piece focusing on the new Live Nation Entertainment and its leading duo Irving Azoff and Michael Rapino… Rhapsody beat out other mobile music services this week by being getting its new iPhone app approved by Apple, making it the first service in the U.S. market to allow users to store subscription music in the phone’s memory… A lot more Apple in the headlines this week as Steve Jobs publicly sounded-off on his company’s continued stance against supporting Adobe Flash on its mobile devices. Billboard takes a look at what that means for music, while questions remain on how it all could relate to Apple’s imminent iAds platform that will likely cost advertisers at least $1 million dollars to buy into the new ad network… UK-based streaming service We7 announced that during the month of March, and for the first time ever, it had covered all operating and royalty costs with advertising revenue, making it the first company in the the ad-funded space to do so… Elsewhere, David Letterman‘s Worldwide Pants Inc. has started a record label, and its first release will be Orange County’s Runner Runner… And many are wondering if the freshly posted notice from Lala that it will be shutting down on May 31st and is no longer accepting new users means an iTunes in the cloud is finally on the way…
Sharon Jones' New Album Enters Top 200 Its First Week
Last week saw another independent label release break into the ‘big boy charts’ with the Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings album I Learned the Hard Way scoring a #15 spot in the Billboard Top 200 with over 20k in sales in its first week. The interesting twist to the story is that the album is on Daptone Records, a label that could be seen more as a cottage operation rather than one of the more storied independent labels. The big winner for the year so far in the indie-label chart story however, has been Merge Records, which has had not one, but two new releases hit the top five in 2010. First with the Spoon Transference album back in January and most recently She and Him‘s Volume Two. And that list doesn’t include the highly anticipated third album from the Arcade Fire that is reportedly due out this year. Could that end up being the North Carolina label’s first ever number one album?
Less than a decade ago the thought of an indie release cracking the charts in general, let alone the Top 10, was a pipe dream. Even pre-eminent artists on labels like Sub Pop or Matador in the 90′s barely scraped into the Top 100 – a reason for great celebration at the time. It seems like up until recently the only ranking an independent release could have was in Heatseekers or the tinpot Billboard Indie Chart, but all that has seemingly changed when even the Local Natives album on tiny Frenchkiss Records can hit the Top 200. While it is true independent label sales have seen a slump, and it is as hard as ever for the indies (like majors) to sell records, the drop has in some ways not been as cataclysmic as that of the Big Four. Maybe it can be attributed to the indies’ dedication to their community of buyers, where the fans seem more invested in the artists, or maybe it has just been a policy of good releases and reasonable prices. But most likely it is the fact that many independent labels have simply continued to consistently put out great music. Whatever the reason, it seems like in 2010 the kids are alright…
- Cool Hand Luke
Interactive Grammy Show Sees Big Ratings
The 52nd annual Grammy Awards show on Sunday night reached its highest ratings since 2004, surely do in part to the show being more interactive than ever before thanks to staff and attendees use of Twitter, Facebook and other crowdsourcing features setup for fans… Terra Firma is back in the news and reportedly looking for its investors to pump additional millions into troubled EMI… In a recent LA Times Q&A with Tim Leiweke, the AEG chief executive discusses how he sees a place for AEG to compete in the concert business even with the newly approved Ticketmaster – Live Nation merger… And a new Billboard analysis looks at the potential benefits for ISP companies if they were to offer a music service to customers.
Apple buys streaming-music service Lala
A week ago today the news broke that Apple was buying music service, and new Google Music search partner, Lala, lighting up the tech and music world (cnet). How much Apple actually paid to acquire the streaming-music service has been a matter for continued speculation (TechCrunch)… EMI made an 11th hour content licensing deal with the new major label-backed video site Vevo, which officially launched on Tuesday (Epicenter). True to industry form there was a celebrity-filled gala to commemorate the occasion (Billboard)… MySpace formally acknowledged it has bought struggling Imeem and promptly shuttered the streaming service (VentureBeat)… And as expected, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and a handful of other Nielsen Media publications were officially sold to a consortium of investors (LATimes).