All posts tagged iTunes

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: CMJ “Break Outs”, Starbucks Digital Network & more…

Starbucks Digital Network Launches w/ iTunes, LinkedIn & more

CMJ is in full swing this week in NYC, and the Village Voice music critics discuss who could be crowned this years’ “breakout” act, and what that really means… The L.A. Times catches up with Cee-Lo and asks whether or not he lets his own children listen to his viral anthem… Meanwhile Starbucks in partnership with Yahoo! has launched something called the Starbucks Digital Network, which can be accessed at any of the retailers free wi-fi spots and will provide a collection of hand-picked premium news, entertainment and lifestyle content along with local insights and events. Content providers include iTunes, LinkedIn, the New York Times and Foursquare – in case you were wondering, Starbucks wi-fi is accessed 30-million times a month, and more than half of those connections are wireless… Elsewhere, former Rhapsody VP Tim Quirk has landed at Google, setting off a fury of speculation as to his taking of the Google Music top spot, though it appears that is not the case… And Irving invades Nashville with B.A.D. Management

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…

Thursday Bits & Pieces: Idol’s New Judge, EMI Earnings, YouTube’s Program Partners & more…

Chris Anderson: The Web is Dead. Long Live the Internet

The breaking American Idol news of the day, is that it appears Aerosmith‘s Steven Tyler will be taking a spot as a new judge on the show, as was much rumored over the previous weeks. Now attention turns to the the expected announcement of a new third judge… EMI Group released its new annual report this week, and while it boasts of improved losses and improved performance, overall “considerable financial challenges” are still being faced.  Both publishing and recorded music divisions reported year on year growth in revenue, and though digital numbers weren’t specifically provided, the report did indicate that their projections for digital earnings were too high, and that they and all labels are too dependent on a limited number of online music stores, read: iTunes…  New YouTube data is being thrown around and it has the site logging over 3 billion monetizable video views a month from its top program partners, with the most views being generated by a few major publishers. Overall data from the report reveals that views from YouTube’s top 2,500 partners are increasing each month by over 6% with 72.1 billion views already generated… Elsewhere, Paul McGuinness provides GQ readers with his solution for saving the music industry while calling bloggers “anonymous gremlins”… Digital Music News lists their picks for the 10 Most Disastrous Music Industry Deals… And Chris Anderson, known by most as the Longtail Theory guy, has a new essay title The Web is Dead. Long Live the Internet

Indie Dispatches: See Here, Now Do This!

Ten activities to make this week a fun one…

1. Head to the Urban Outfitters website to get a sneak preview of the debut album Crazy for You from Best Coast, before the official release date on July 27.

2. Contemplate booking a last minute trip to New York to see the final live performance by blissed-out rockers Spiritualized of their classic record Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space on July 30 at Radio City Music Hall. If you cant afford the price of a summer air ticket, plan B may be to search out the vinyl reissue of the album, recently released by SF’s Plain Recordings.

3. Head to the LA show by Phosphorescent at the Troubadour, Tuesday July 27. The latest album, Here’s to Taking it Easy from the NY group seems to be a tastemaker favorite. The band have had a rollercoaster time recently, having their van and gear stolen recently in Brooklyn on the eve of a national tour, before (thankfully) getting it recovered by the police a week later.

4. Buy Admiral Radley‘s album I Heart California. AdRad are, of course, the veritable indie rock supergroup featuring Jason Lytle and Aaron Burch of Grandaddy, paired with Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray of Earlimart.

5. Pre-order your copy of Mines, the fourth full-length from much beloved Portland combo Menomena (due out on Barsuk Records July 27… a busy day for indie rock it seems!) Listen to it here

6. Watch the trailer for Upside Down, the forthcoming documentary on Creation Records – quite possibly Britain’s greatest independent label. The film is scheduled for release in the UK in September.

7. Check out the latest in the ever growing list in the 33 1/3 series. If you haven’t yet discovered these wonderful music books, each tome is a marvelous and individual treatise on a classic album – everything from the Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique to Nick Drake‘s Pink Moon and My Bloody Valentine‘s Loveless. Just try to stop at reading only one…

8. Early evening on July 27? Plan a visit to the Hotel Cafe in LA at 8pm as Ireland’s Villagers finally hit the west coast.

9. If you happen to be in Kansas City (or Leawood, KS to be exact) – head to the Apple Store on Thursday July 22 for the free instore by locals The Belles, supporting their S-Curve album Time Flies When You’re Losing Your Mind.

10. Fire up an iTunes pass for the 4th season of Mad Men, which premieres Sunday July 25. Well, it can’t all be about music can it?

-Cool Hand Luke

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…

In Case You Missed It: Reading Recap

Disney Buys iPhone Music Game Maker Tapulous

Yesterday saw another report declaring that a cloud-based version of iTunes is “definitely happening soon,” though further reporting by CNET‘s Media Maverick today has those claims in question as there is nothing indicating Apple has secured the necessary licenses from the four major labels to launch such a service…  Disney has bought Tapulous, the maker of popular iPhone music games including their early hit Tap Tap Revenge, such a move seems to indicate the mouses’ plan to move more into the social and mobile game arenaNettwerk CEO and Lilith Fair co-founder Terry McBride penned an open-letter on Tuesday to all the critics of his struggling tour; this coming ahead of the announcement yesterday of the cancellation of 10 Lilith concert dates… Elsewhere, the expected closure of BBC Radio 6 may not happen, thanks to the large increase in listenership and support for the station since it was first announced that the digital station was marked for termination… And checkout the LA Weekly profile of L.A.’s Saint Motel in the studio…

In Case You Missed It: Reading Recap

Thom Yorke Shares his Cheery Outlook on the Biz

Apple‘s WWDC announcements on Monday did not include a new cloud-based version of iTunes, as many had expected (or hoped for), but Jobs did reveal the company already has a boatload of iAd commitmentsBuzzmedia is not the only one bolstering its ad network, as startup MOG announces a new deal that will add Sony Music Entertainment online properties into their network, including 117 major artist websites… In a recent BBC Radio 4 documentary, new EMI Music chief Charles Allen discusses the state of his company and the difficulty of spreading the message that they are in “really good shape”… Following Allen’s positive outlook came comments from Radiohead frontman and former EMI artist, Thom Yorke, predicting the collapse of the music industry within “only a matter of months” and going on to advise aspirant musicians to avoid the “sinking ship”… And a report in Reuters today examines Terra Firma boss Guy Hands gift-giving techniques and the “high concentration, high risk strategy” in his current efforts to save EMI… Elsewhere, a look at the business of selling online fans, followers and viewers to artists… New England area coffee shops and other small venues are facing increased pressure from PRO’s… And Complex Magazine discusses free music, almost signing Drake and f*ckin kids in a brief Q&A with Warner Music boss Lyor Cohen

In Case You Missed It: Reading Recap

The Video Site Hits the 5 Year Mark; 2 Billion Views a Day

YouTube celebrated its 5-year anniversary this week, and announced some impressive statistics, including the site’s 2-billion views per day and a #3 ranking for most visited sites on the web… Computer processor maker Intel and lifestyle media group Vice make for strange bedfellows, as the two have announced a new partnership to bring together The Creators Project where “curated artworks and installations, screenings, a panel discussion and dozens of performances by creators from all over the world,” which will take place in cities like New York and London over the summer… Mobile start up mspot beat Apple to the punch and unveiled its new free music-in-the-cloud service that allows users to sync music collections across Android phones and PC/Mac computers… Not far behind was Google‘s announcement of its acquisition of Simplify Media at the Google I/O conference on Thursday. Simplify’s software allows users to stream home music libraries on mobile devices… Elsewhere, data shows that the iTunes Store now accounts for more than half of all digital music sales, increasing by more than 5% from 2008-2009… Axl is suing Irving… And Harmonix announced strong early numbers for its Rock Band Network

In Case You Missed It: Reading Recap

Apple Sets Sights on Amazon Daily Deal Promotion

Unlike the recent hoopla over Abbey Road, no public outcry surrounding EMI‘s recent sale of Olympic Sound Studios, birthplace of classic recordings from The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Who and QueenApple is starting to flex its iTunes market share muscle with labels over their use of Amazon‘s Daily Deal promotion that features deeply discounted albums for new artist releases… Music start ups MOG and Spotify to go toe-to-toe at SXSW, MOG to announce new mobile app… Time Magazine profiled soon to be Universal Music Group head Lucian Grainge…And Peter Gabriel‘s The Filter has announced a new deal with video site Dailymotion

It’s Been Said…

DIY Currency: Solid Gold

SXSW is 6 weeks away and if you’re starting your ‘must-see’ list, be sure to add Minneapolis’ Solid Gold. The indie-electro trio has been building one of the more impressive DIY stories of late. They’ve sold close to 10,000 albums, received press nods in Billboard, NME, Pitchfork and Filter among others and their new video is premiering on MTV2 and mtvU this month. We hear labels are circling in on this one with some offers already in. The band has two upcoming hometown shows if you want to beat the SXSW rush.

Labels and pubcos are taking notice of Oren Lavie, as the buzz continues to build around the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter. Lavie, who has now garnered over 10.5 million views of his “Her Morning Elegance” video on YouTube, played a string of recent dates at the Hotel Cafe that brought out majors and indie A&R folks (with no record or pub deal in place, and an a new album’s worth of material, it’s no surprise). Attorney Ben Laski is handling legal duties…

The story keeps building on Matthew Mayfield. His new EP Breathe Out in Black was sitting at #1 on the iTunes singer-songwriter chart this morning, just two days after being independently released. In fact the entire EP was recorded, mixed, mastered and up for sale digitally in the span of a week. Check out www.matthewmayfield.com for more… Keep an eye on L.A. locals The Sequel. The band has been popping up on label radars of late and has more than a few showcases already on the horizon. EMI Music Pub players Dan MacCarroll and Declan Morrell snapped up the band early for publishing. Get on it…

Young gun Ben Adelson settles in at a new A&R gig at Epic Records. Adelson was previously at Universal Republic and brought in Flobots and Owl City. He also co-manages recent Roadrunner signing Young the Giant (formerly The Jakes)…  Meanwhile, we hear there is an established big-rock act who is currently a free-agent and is being courted by multiple labels on both coasts. Inquiring minds want to know? Here’s a hint, they didn’t play the Super Bowl Halftime Show

IN THE MIX: K Sera, Moonlight Bride and Tyrone Wells

In Case You Missed It: Reading Recap – Extended Remix Edition

Linkin Park charity releases digital compilation to benefit Haiti

A lot to stay on top of over this short week, so enjoy this special extended edition of our weekly recap…

More chatter about a possible new iTunes streaming service from Apple continued, fueled by Michael Robertson’s prediction that the service will come in the form of a version update allowing users to access their iTunes media library from anywhere via the proverbial “cloud”… The lineup for Coachella 2010 was announced, and headliners include Jay-Z, Muse, Gorillaz and Thom Yorke… Ad-supported download service Free All Music announced a deal with EMI, who joins Universal Music as the first major music companies to strike agreements with the start-up… Elsewhere, Sony and Warner Music appear to be engaged in an eMusic pricing battle… YouTube launched a new music discovery and playlist experiment… Comcast appears to be taking steps toward an a la carte music streaming service for internet and cable customers… Other ISP news includes a report that Virgin Media‘s long delayed “unlimited” subscription service might be called MusicFish, it might not be unlimited and could be arriving this summer… It looks like Live Nation is putting its venues on the block in an effort to ease regulatory concerns over the Ticketmaster merger… And Prince revealed a new song “Purple and Gold” that he penned for his beloved Vikings - sorry Purple One, we’ll be rooting for the Saints

** If you haven’t yet, make sure to visit www.musicforrelief.org, where Linkin Park took the “pay what you want” model to their charity’s digital album that benefits the crisis in Haiti. The band quickly assembled a compilation of unreleased songs from Peter Gabriel, Alanis Morissette, All-American Rejects and many others.  The effort saw a quick and impressive collaboration of artists, labels and publishers who all granted full gratis rights for the compilation, and over a holiday weekend no less.

In Case You Missed It: Reading Recap

Can't Buy My Songs... EMI and BlueBeat battle over Beatles

In the news this week… Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris appears to be making plans to bring in a successor, though the 71-year-old executive has no plans of retiring… MediaMemo reports that Apple is out taking the temperature of networks for a $30 a month iTunes TV subscription… MySpace will reportedly fall short of the minimum traffic levels specified in parent company News Corp.’s massive 2006 Google ad deal… And digital marketplace BlueBeat.com uses the old ‘psycho-acoustic simulation’ defense in legal action taken by EMI for the site’s illegal and bizarre sale of The Beatles catalog online… Is that like claiming insanity, or just insane?

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