All posts tagged myspace

CES 2012 Music Bits: MySpace TV, Pandora & Jay Z + Duracell

In some music related announcements from CES 2012 so far… Read more…

Digital Round Up: More Spotify, Rhapsody + Napster, Rdio goes free & more…

There seems to be quite a bit of optimism lately in the realm of digital music and what the future holds for subscription services. So far 2011′s album sales are already up from the previous year, with a big bump from digital, and at least one major label is claiming that they’ve finally figured out “free”. Glassnote artist Mumford & Sons became the third artist ever to sell 1 million digital albums, and even MTV has announced a second O Music Awards show, celebrating music and technology, which is set for October 31st… Spotify was quick to release new user data within only a couple months of launching its service in the U.S., and while they are clearing unclear in terms of paying versus free and how many are U.S.-only as opposed the world-wide, the overall statement is that a lot of people are trying out the service. The announcements in the music arena made during Facebook‘s recent f8 conference also helped boost the outlook of not only Spotify, but a number of other digital music services including MOGRdio and iHeartRadio that were also included in the social networks big changes. And while most eyes remain on the Swedish-start up, the competition continues to counter with new moves of their own. Rdio announced this week that it will be launching a free on-demand streaming service, that has no ads, and an unspecified limit on free-listening, which follows a similar move by MOG… Meanwhile, Rhapsody has acquired Napster from Best Buy, in a purchase that will raise the longtime streaming service’s plateauing numbers… Elsewhere, Apple revealed during their press event on Tuesday that its new iCloud service will be extended to Europe, following recent reports that the company was seeking worldwide music rights from labels and publishers… And after only a few months as the new owners of MySpace, Specific Media held presentations for top-level advertisers at Radio City Music Hall on Monday, trying to generate excitement for the site, which will be focused primarily on music and video content. Creative partner and investor, Justin Timberlake (who has also been tapped to play Neil Bogart in an upcoming biopic of the Casablanca Records co-founder) was on hand for the presentations as well.

Bits & Pieces: More Executive Changes at RCA, EMI-MP3Tunes Ruling, AEG, Ticketmaster & more…

More changes emerged at Sony Music this week under new CEO Doug Morris, who appears to be positioning all operations to fall under four main groups – Epic Records, Columbia Records, RCA Records and the yet-to-be-named Dr. Luke-helmed label. The new executive team under RCA was announced, and includes Joe Riccitelli as the head of pop/rock promotion while Keith Naftaly, Rani Hancock and David Wolter will hold senior A&R posts – more details and names of new promotion and marketing executives can be found here. Along with the good comes the bad for some, as various reports today have layoffs in the double digits coming from within previous Jive/RCA aligned marketing, promotion and A&R departments. Meanwhile, it appears that other executives have left the Sony fold on their own accord recently, with the new direction being taken and company atmosphere cited among reasons…  A judge’s decision this week in the EMI vs. MP3Tunes case left no clear winner and it is being seen as a mixed result for both sides. While MP3Tunes’ protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, was upheld, the ruling claims that the service is responsible for acting on ‘take down’ notices and that users who upload copyrighted material can be held liable, including founder Michael Robertson. CNET has more on what is left up in the air with the ruling… A newly appointed marketing executive at the Specific Media-owned MySpace, talks to AdAge about the site’s new direction and claims that iTunes, Vevo and Spotify will be more appropriate competitors for the network rather than Facebook… Elsewhere, AEG has entered the ticketing arena with the launch of axs.com – a result of a new partnership with Outbox Enterprises – the new service is presided over by former Ticketmaster CEO Fred Rosen… Facebook and Ticketmaster have announced a new partnership that will provide added connectivity via the social network for interactive seating maps, Fast Company has all the details… And the L.A. Times examines the results so far of Arbitron‘s latest research gizmo, the Portable People Meter - (we wear short shorts).

Bits & Pieces: MySpace Sold, AOL links with Slacker and Rhapsody Keeps on Keeping on

The names making music-tech news this week are a veritable who’s who of the once mighty, including MySpace, AOL and Rhapsody… News of the sale of MySpace broke yesterday, with ad network Specific Media choosing to pick up the pieces of the former social network goliath for $35 million – for those keeping score, it was purchased for $580 million in 2005 by News Corp. (who will continue to keep a small stake). And in an unexpected twist, it was also announced that Justin Timberlake has taken an ownership stake as part of the deal, and that he will be heavily involved in rejuvenating the site… On Tuesday a new partnership between AOL and Slacker was announced, with the interactive radio service set to power AOL Radio starting in September. They will replace AOL’s current partner in CBS, and the new service will expand the music offerings and give users the same pricing options as what Slacker already offers. It’s expected to more than double Slacker’s current number of listeners… Elsewhere, now seasoned music streaming service, Rhapsody, has added 100,000 new customers since its spinout from RealNetworks and Viacom last year, as revealed in a PaidContent interview this week. The increase comes mainly from its mobile app efforts, and the company will likely be looking for new investment soon, particularly with the recent interest in streaming startups.

More Bits & Pieces: BMG sizing up Warner/Chappell deal, Spotify inks Universal Music for U.S., eMusic & HP have sights set on the Cloud & more…

BMG eyeing WMG's pubco

As Citigroup readies EMI for auction, as soon as this month according to reports, KKR-backed BMG Rights Management is already kicking the tires on Warner/Chappell Music according to the New York Post. While a number of suitors are expected to submit bids for all or part of EMI when the music group is taken to auction, if Len Blavatnik‘s Access Industries comes out on top again, most expect that regulatory obstacles would see Warner Music‘s pubco being sold, though some observers have Citi more likely to favor other interested parties due to fear of such regulatory scrutiny… A Digital Music News story this week revealed that digital music retailer eMusic has had little to no subscriber growth since 2007, even with the addition of catalogs from major labels. The service however, can point to an increase in revenue from its current subscribers, who are opting for higher-paying levels of membership. Also apparently on the horizon for eMusic is a cloud-based service – with CEO Adam Klein telling Billboard that they hope to launch it by the fourth quarter of this year… How many more companies will join those already in the cloud like Apple, Amazon and Google? Apparently Hewlett Packard is in the early stage of discussions with content owners, including major labels, for a service similar to iCloud, offering music, movies and TV shows… Meanwhile, MediaMemo reported today that Universal Music Group has signed on with Spotify in America, and while a deal with Warner Music Group is yet to be reached, sources have the two sides close to a deal as well… Elsewhere, Irving Azoff and Liberty Media boss John Malone are said to be considering taking Live Nation private, in an effort to restructure the company… And while News Corp.‘s prospect of completely unloading MySpace don’t look good, according to a new report, the frontrunner among those in talks for a strategic partnership that would leave News Corp. with partial ownership, is an investment group which includes Activision Chairman and CEO Bobby Kotick.

Bits & Pieces: BMG Sets Sights on WMG & EMI Publishing Assets, MySpace + Vevo & Twenty First Republic

Eyeing Warners & EMI publishing arms

Outside of the explosive announcement from Amazon this week that left a music-cloud hanging over the industry, other developments include the news of KKR-backed BMG Rights Management being back in the bidding action for Warner Music Group, after recent reports of the JV being on the outs in the sale. CEO Hartwig Masuch denied such rumors, saying “I can state that we are in the second round of bidding and are on very friendly terms with the main shareholders,” while executives at BMG RM’s other backer Bertelsmann claimed this week that the company is “ready to invest into the right business, at right price, and at the right time,” with the right business apparently being publishing, as Warner/Chappell and EMI Publishing are key in their sights. More reporting can be found at The Guardian, The Telegraph and Music Week… As News Corp. continues to look for a way to unload struggling MySpace, word that the parent company is in talks with online video hub Vevo began to surface. The accuracy of such claims continues to be debated, while a piece in the WSJ yesterday points out that the complex ownership anatomy of both companies might make a deal difficult. For now it seems an unlikely scenario… And a new partnership that links Universal Republic Records, Universal-owned Twenty First Artists and producer management firm Worlds End, forming Twenty First Republic, was announced yesterday. Primaries in the deal include Uni/Republic executives Monte and Avery Lipman, Twenty First Artists CEO Colin Lester and Sandy Roberton, CEO of Worlds End.

More Bits & Pieces: Rdio Taps WBR Chief Rob Cavallo, AEG Launching Ticketing Venture & more…

Rdio taps WBR's Cavallo

Music-streaming start up Rdio has raised $17.5million in new funding with a round led by Mangrove Partners. The company, founded by Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom of Skype notoriety, also announced the addition of Warner Bros. Records chief Rob Cavallo to its board of directors.  The addition of Cavallo is said to be an effort to “strengthen” relationships with the music industry. Rdio currently offers a two-tiered paid subscription service, which fits in with Warner Music Group ruler Edgar Bronfman Jr.’s stance on services offering free levels of access, as in they “will not be licensed” by WMG… Yesterday’s News Corp. earnings call has led to more reports of an impending sale of MySpace. Company executives are not really saying anything new from what’s already been reported over the previous weeks, this time it is just more official… Anschutz Entertainment Group has announced a new joint venture called Outbox Enterprises, which sees the promoter entering the ticketing arena. As a result of the regulatory judgement in the Live Nation merger with Ticketmaster, AEG is allowed to compete for ticket sales. The new venture will be headed by former Ticketmaster executive Fred Rosen who will act as CEO. The company plans on beginning to sell tickets through Outbox in the next six to twelve months… Elsewhere, Inc.com checks in the eMusic after last years customer kerfuffle over the addition of more major label catalogues to the once indie-only music service, as well increased prices and the departure of indie stalwart labels Domino, Merge and Beggars Group… And The Fader Fort, a staple of the SXSW music festival for the last decade, has announced a new sponsor this year in Fiat. They’ll also be streaming live performances in conjunction with, err, MySpace Music?

More Bits & Pieces: MySpace Spinning Out, Shazam Links with Spotify, Changing Guard of Tastemakers & more…

Murdoch's News Corp. Weighing Myspace Options

While the massively rumored layoffs at MySpace were officially announced this week, seeing a cut of almost 50% of the workforce, speculation continues as to the future of the site. Yesterday owner New Corp. made comments published on Bloomberg indicating that a sale, merger or spinout of the social network are all possibilities being considered. The latter could see the site continuing to receive funding from New Corp., with the opportunity for employees (that are left) to be eligible for shares in the company. Some reports following the layoffs this week, indicate a possible spinout is already in talks, with CEO Mike Jones and other executives plotting a scenario that would give them majority control… Good news for Spotify users, is a new deal that  has two of Europe’s top technology start-ups partnering to allow music lovers access to Spotify directly through the Shazam mobile app. Users can listen to or buy tracks that they have tagged or found through the music discovery service… Is NPR a new kingmaker in music? Helping boost sales for artists such as Arcade Fire, Florence + the Machine and Vampire Weekend, the outlet is increasing seen as a path to breaking an act… Speaking of tastemakers, check out this compilation of recent Soundscan numbers for Pitchfork‘s list of the Top 50 albums of 2010, and draw your own conclusions… And manager Blaze James has joined forces with Velvet Hammer Management, bringing along his longtime clients Coheed and Cambria and Sparta to join a roster that includes Deftones, Alice in Chains, System of a Down and others. Coheed and Cambria have just announced plans this spring to perform their debut album, The Second Stage Turbine Blade, in its entirety in 22 cities across the US and in Toronto, Canada. The “Evening with” format will also feature a rare 30-40 minute acoustic set, as well as an extra set of songs from other albums. These dates are set to commemorate the band’s 10 year anniversary.

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

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…

Wednesday Bits & Pieces: BMG Buys Chrysalis, Myspace on the Block & more…

BMG buys Chrysalis

Heading out of the holiday weekend, industry chatter continues over the acquisition of Chrysalis by BMG Rights Management. One of the world’s largest independent publishers, Chrysalis publicly announced that it was in early-stage talks for a potential sale or merger just less than one month ago. Others bidders said to have been in serious talks include Imagem and Bug Music, though BMG RM came in with the winning offer at just over $168million. The purchase is the latest in a series this year from the joint-venture backed by Bertelsmann and private equity firm KKR – who is being seen as the driving force behind the publisher’s aggressive acquisitions – which also includes Cherry Lane, Adage IV and Stage 3. Following the acquisition, CEO Hartwig Masuch made comments indicating that he believes BMG is now the world’s largest independent music publisher, and is just behind the top four major music publishers. EMI Music Publishing continues to be another likely target in the event of its break up, which would easily make BMG a rival for the top spot… Following the quick deflation of any excitement over the relaunched Myspace last month, comments by News Corp. COO on Monday seem to all but spell out the likelihood of a sale for the beleaguered social network. Though Myspace did release a new mobile site and iPhone app this week, a direction some see as the most sensible one for the site who has seen its numbers drop even more drastically over the past year. Likely bidders for the site being mentioned include the usual digital media giants like Yahoo and AOL, though others see Google (who is also in the midst of discussions to acquire the red hot startup Groupon) as an interesting candidate as well… Elsewhere, the L.A. Times takes a look at the recently overhauled MTV and its focus back on music… Sony Music mistakenly takes action to pull songs offline from Bradford Cox, whose musical projects include Deerhunter and Atlas Sound… And PC Magazine has responded to the letter it received from a group of industry executives last week, which included signees from organizations such as the RIAA, Harry Fox Agency, Sound Exchange, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, criticizing the publication for a recent article naming file-sharing service alternatives in the wake of LimeWire shutting down…

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go: MySpace to be Sold?

MySpace‘s recent redesign and relaunch had a modicum of positive press moving for the site in the first time in a long while, though after yesterday’s News Corp. earnings call, it seems that it might be more short-lived than most expected.  As MediaMemo reports, the clear message from the COO of MySpace parent company News Corp. was that traffic is still not going in the right direction, and when asked how long the site would be given to improve following the relaunch, he remarked that they “judge in quarters, not in years” – not a good sign for the social network, which Rupert Murdoch‘s media empire acquired in 2005. Does this signal that a sale is imminent – for real this time? Rumblings of investment groups putting together blueprints for an acquisition of the site continue to get louder, and it’s becoming more apparent that News Corp. desires to get the site off its books. But what would new owners of MySpace do with the site? While the new look and feel of the site is an obvious improvement, the company’s expressed focus on turning the social network into an entertainment hub seems ill-advised at best. A recent critique of the site relaunch on Evolver.fm puts it best, Myspace should leverage the one thing it has that no one else does: all of that independent music, free for the sampling, which the bands put there themselves. Stay tuned…

More Bits & Pieces: Spotify Close to U.S. Launch & is the MySpace Redesign Plagiarized?

Spotify Closing in on Labels with Cash in Hand

It seems that everyone agrees that Apple buying Spotify is not going to happen, even Danielle Ek told TechCrunch, who first reported the possible negotiations, that “We don’t want to sell, we are here for the long term”… But more interesting are reports by MediaMemo and CNET that the European startup is getting ever closer to a launch in the states, and the primary reason is cash. The company is reportedly offering large up front advances or guarantees to the major labels who hold the fate of the service in the U.S. in their hands.  Sony is reportedly the closest to making a deal, though Spotify will need at least three of the four major labels onboard to press the button – Warner Music Group would seem like the most obvious holdout if there is one… And MySpace saw a lot of positive reviews of its new design, though users of the early stage and invite-only startup Pinterest are calling foul play, as the site’s new aesthetics are strikingly similar. Apparently a now former technology director at MySpace asked for an invite to Pinterest back in March of this year, shown in an email released on TechCrunch

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…

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

Amid Google Ad Expiration & Executive Exit, News Corp Unites MySpace and FAN

News Corp Integrates FAN with MySpace

As the clock was ticking on News Corp.‘s $900 million ad-deal with Google, which was announced in August of 2006 and had MySpace as the primary revenue generator, many were wondering how the struggling social network would replace the significant loss when the deal expired this summer, and who would a new deal be with; Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Yahoo! Inc.?  The answer has come this week, with News Corp.’s decision to integrate the team and technology from its own Fox Audience Network (FAN) with MySpace. FAN, already the monetization division for MySpace, IGN and various other News Corp. digital properties, also happened to lose its president Adam Bain this week to Twitter, who has hired the executive to act as the company’s new president of global revenue. The timing of Bain’s departure and the decision to unite FAN with MySpace rather than an outside ad partner, has many wondering what that spells for the social network as it is gearing up for a major relaunch this fall. Adding further curiosity, is that only a few months ago it was reported that FAN was on the block, which further fueled persistent rumors of an impending sale of MySpace…

**UPDATE: Bloomberg reports that MySpace is extending their ad deal with Google by one month. Read full article here

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: Who’s In & Who’s Out Edition

MySpace Co-Prez Jason Hirschhorn (L) leaves; Mike Jones (R) Remains

With an announcement out of London this morning, Roger Faxon is in as the new group chief executive for EMI, moving from his previous position as chairman and chief executive of EMI Music Publishing. Recently appointed non-executive chairman of the group’s recorded music division, Charles Allen, will now become an advisor to EMI and Terra FirmaMySpace co-president Jason Hirschhorn is out as shared head of the troubled social network, leaving Mike Jones to remove the “co” from his title… News yesterday revealed that veteran A&R executive Mark Williams is in as the new Sr. VP of A&R at Columbia Records. William’s most recently worked on M.I.A.‘s new album for Interscope RecordsLimewire is in for more trouble as members of the National Music Publisher’s Association including EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group and Warner/Chappell filed a copyright complaint in federal court against the file-sharing service this week… And free concerts are out in NYC, as the city cracks down after the recent Drake concert fiasco…

In Case You Missed It: Reading Recap

Apple Takes Top Tech Spot

Never far away from headlines, it’s being reported that Apple is now the world’s most valuable tech company. Valuations from Wall Street on Wednesday showed that the company has surpassed Microsoft and is only second to Exxon Mobil in America… Then there’s that pesky DOJ investigation into Apple’s possible anticompetitive practices, with particular focus on the recent allegations that the company pressured record labels to not participate in Amazon‘s MP3 Daily Deal promotion, threatening loss of iTunes visibility for artists who did… The recent federal court ruling against file-sharing service Limewire has led the company down a well-trodden path, with plans to “legitimize” the music service, executives explain they are now seeking licenses from all the major record labels… New MySpace co-presidents faced a number of tough questions at TechCrunch Disrupt regarding huge drops in site traffic and the $10-million-a-month losses for MySpace Music… At the same conference Lady Gaga‘s manager Troy Carter and Justin Bieber‘s manager Scooter Braun discussed how the web is impacting the music industry and the importance of managing an artist’s online identity… Elsewhere, ‘psycho-acoustic simulation’ music service BlueBeat, who made headlines trying to sell digital Beatles songs last year, is back with a streaming iPhone app. More unlicensed music? Yup… And what exactly is a Shaved Bieber?

In Case You Missed It: Reading Recap

Changes Happening at Universal Music Group

More news out of MySpace this week with the departure of CEO Owen Van Natta after less than one year in the position; situation at the social networking company being described by some as a “hot mess”Vivendi announced on Wednesday that Lucian Grainge would in fact become the next CEO of Universal Music Group in 2011. It took no time for the Brit to make comments to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal regarding the future of CD’s and his favor for anti-piracy laws. Naturally this caused a torrent of commentary, though nothing of a ’07 Doug Morris Wired Magazine proportion… Veoh has announced it will be shutting down as a result of a “financially draining and distracting” legal bout with UMG, even though the video site was victorious in the precedent setting case; a closer look finds other possible factors involved with its bankruptcy… Elsewhere, Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr made comments that rekindled talk of the company’s interest in EMIGoogle is receiving a lot of flak for shutting down a handful of music blogs over DMCA complaints, though some are raising questions about where the blame should be put… And Universal Music Publishing CEO David Renzer explains why he thinks 2010 might be the most challenging time yet for publishers.

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