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 – 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, 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

Load More