Web Media Wire Daily
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Live Nation continues to seduce some of the music industry's biggest artists

Published: Thursday, April 03, 2008

The music industry is about to suffer yet another blow when another one of it’s top selling artist will announce his move from a traditional record label to the country’s hottest concert promoter Live Nation. Rapper/Entrepreneur Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and Live Nation will announce this week a reported $150 million 10 year pact that will give the artist even more control over his career and the career of others. Pop star Madonna was the first major artist to link up with Live Nation in an all out deal worth $120 million. Is this the beginning of what may be a new trend among other top artists currently anchored to long term recording contracts with record labels who make most of the money? We think so. But Live Nation may be on the brink of getting in over their heads, but just on the Brink. The $150 million deal will see the formation of a new Joint Venture to be called Roc Nation, which will serve as the mother ship for Carter’s music ventures like a record label and management company. At 39 how far into this deal will he be rapping and doing shows? No one wants to see their dad on stage rapping in baggy jeans now do they?


Nigger gets full support from the masters

Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Music powerhouse, the Island Def Jam Music Group for now is backing the soon to be released album of Def Jam artist Nas, cleverly titled "Nigger". The album title is already grabbing headlines and of course is pissing some people off but at the end of the day, with all the press and outrage, people will want to hear what the album is all about resulting in sales, at least that's what the suits at the label hopes. We don't think its going to fly with the French suits at Vivendi which owns Universal Music Group which is the parent company of Island Def Jam. We hope it does. Hey white people, this is the only time you will be able to say "Nigger" and get away with it.

There is no divide at Def Jam: They are fully onboard with Nas. At the Manhattan premiere of "American Gangster" at the Apollo Theatre Island Def Jam Music Group Chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid balked at reports that his company isn't supporting Nas' decision to title his December 11 album Nigger.

L.A. Reid Stands 'Firmly Behind' Nas Over LP Title; 50 Cent Calls It 'Stupid' [mtv]


Britney probably leaked it to Perez Hilton herself

Published: Friday, October 12, 2007

Another day another lawsuit for fellow blogger Perez Hilton. In addition to the the publicity seeking lawsuit filed by DJ Samantha Ronson, the chubby gossip queen is now being sued by SonyBMG's Zomba Records Group. Apparently Perez has been posting music from Britney's upcoming flop without permission. You know it really kills us when an artist in Britney's current situation gets unreleased tracks posted on a huge site like Perez Hilton's and the only thing her label can think of is suing. Welcome the fucking promotion dicks, and incorporate it into helping one of your biggest selling artist get her shit stained career back up and running.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles yesterday, accused the Web site and its proprietor, Mario Lavandeira, of illegally obtaining and posting at least 10 completed songs and unfinished demos from Spears' upcoming album "Blackout" during the past three months, Zomba said in a statement.


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Madonna drops the bunny for Live Nation

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2007

Edgar Bronfman and Lyor Cohen are two men we admire. But we have to say that we think they made a huge mistake when they let Live Nation take one of their biggest artists away. Word is Bronfman couldn't go up against what Live Nation was offering Madonna and so he backed down and watched his top artist walk out the door. What does this say about the once mighty music industry? Clearly the music industry has reached a point where artists have more control over what, where and when. Live Nation, a concert promoter has further shifted the game and all the major record companies need to pay attention. Madonna won't be the first or last artist to jump from a traditional record label with the potential of making 10x more. So where does this leave Edgar Bronfman and his music czar Lyor Cohen, the once feared Def Jam honcho?

Warner Music Group's stock has already been on a slide, and Investors are getting irritated. Will Warner Music look to restructure and kill the thick layers of top management or will they look to slash more jobs. First of all the first problem with companies like Warner Music Group is that it’s a public company. So what happens is that, top management is more concerned about pleasing Wall Street than consumers. Due to this lack of focus on the consumer –aka- the record buying public, major labels have been putting out what we call bottom line fillers, artists with little or no talent who went into the studio and made some corny shit bag song about a new dance.

OK people may love the dance because it’s crazy, but are they going out to buy the record? No. Why? Because they only like the dance not the actual song. The music industry is slowly committing suicide and continues to blame illegal downloads for its troubles. Sure people are downloading music illegally, and the reality is, the music industry can't stop it. Focus on introducing new well developed artists, and come up with some added value content on CD's other than the norm, and try to rebuild. Edgar Bronfman, there will never be another Madonna, and you let her walk. Too bad for you. Bet you Roger Ames wouldn’t have let that happen.

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Congress continues to put all the blame on Hip Hop for stupid teenagers and their lackluster parents

Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hip Hop has always been under attack from some fat cats on capitol hill. But some media/music heavy weights are coming out swinging in its defense. Viacom's Phil Dauman to Universal Music Group boss Doug Morris and rapper Master P. among others were on the hill to back off some of the bad impression clueless folks may have about the music and culture. What we don't understand is why is it that Hip Hop music is the only form of entertainment being attacked. Why aren't people like Harvey Weinstein, Ron Meyer and Brad Grey on the stand defending the sick violence in the films they release? Reps for watchdog groups like The Parents Television Council (PTC), said it best. Imagery and tone can be just as powerful.
Rappers testifying were split in their opinions on the situation. Master P apologized for his past use of offensive lyrics, while David Banner said hip-hop was misunderstood and the subject of unfair scrutiny."Hip-hop is sick because America is sick," he said.


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Media fails to remember that Britney gave birth to two kids

Published: Monday, September 10, 2007


Sure she totally bombed during her performance at the VMA's. Sure her manager Jeff Kwatinetz should also be hung out to dry for allowing his client who clearly wasn't ready to perform. But the media, happy for some news worthy material may be cutting into the popster a little too deep. Some media outlets have been taking stabs at Spears' figure, calling her names that would send any woman who is a woman into her shell. But at the end of the day, Britney Spears has a better body than most women out there who are probably pointing fingers who have never given birth at all. She is being dogged and judged for not having the body she had when she first came out and we say of course not retards. She gave birth to two kids which means her body will probably never go back to what it was. That's just life. But on another note, we have to agree that she may have officially put her career in the shit house.

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Music Wire: WMG sued | Apple to man handle record labels | Pint sized Israeli musician and more in today's music news round up

Published: Friday, April 20, 2007

  • The world's fourth largest record company Warner Music Group (WMG) is being sued by AnywhereCD for alleging breach of contract, business defamation and trade libel you know the usual. Why don't they refer to WMG as the the smallest of the big four majors instead of the fourth largest? There are only four right? [Reuters]
  • Ariel Lanyi is Israels latest secret weapon. The 9 yr old musician can barely see over the top of the piano or a drum set, but he recorded a jazz album? Interested? We didn't think so [AP]
  • A jury of nine men and three women were sworn in yesterday for the Phil Spector murder trial. One of the jurors is an NBC producer. Is this NBC's way of having the upper hand on breaking news when the verdict is in? [E!]
  • Did we mention that Sanjaya Malakar is about to be all up in your face? [Reuters]
  • America's Got Talent just got even more crazy. Ozzy's wife Sharon Osbourne is taking singer Brandy's place as a judge on the Simon Cowel produced show. [E!]
  • Another fight has erupted between the late James Brown's kids and estate trustees over who should pay the $70,000 funeral bill. Wait a minute. The Godfather of Soul didn't have insurance? [E!]
  • New talk about Warner Music stepping to EMI has lifted EMI shares 4.9% like it did the last 10,000 times Warner approached them. [FT]


MTV wants to help you lose your virginity, kinda


Are you a young man looking to take that step into manhood but you can't land the ideal female partner willing to take the step with you? Then MTV will make it happen for you. No, they won't set it up, but they want to follow you around on your quest to get laid. So you ask how will MTV get me laid? Dude, you will have MTV cameras following you around. You already have it in the bag, the question is which one of the many females who will do anything to get on camera will you chose?

From E! Online:
MTV is looking for a few good men...who haven’t had sex yet and are willing to admit it.I've learned that the music network is quietly putting together a reality series that will follow a group of young straight men looking to lose their virginity. The first question that comes to my mind, though, is how exactly these men will prove to producers that they've never hit a home run? Along with the usual reality-show background check, producers are apparently just going to take the guy's word for it.

Wanted: Young Virgins! [E!]

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Music Wire: You haven't seen the last of Sanjaya Malakar

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2007


Make no mistake about it. I am no fan of Sanjaya Malakar, but we haven't seen the last of him and getting the boot from AI last night is only the beginning of the Sanjayanization of America. Here is a kid who held on for so long due to one thing and one thing only, his hair and looks. OK two things. So what’s next for the skinny kid from Federal Way WA.? How about a record deal for the hell of it? Believe it or not there are young girls and boys out there who would buy a Sanjaya Malakar album, see a Sanjaya Malakar movie and buy Sanjaya Malakar hair products. A perfect fit for this kid would be within the Disney stable, but due to what we're sure is an iron clad contract, Sanjaya may be in the AI, 19 Entertainment circle for a while. There is no denying it, that face could sell some products and there is someone on the side lines waiting to slide in and make it happen. Hey, he could give Disney superstar Corbin Bleu, a run for his money. So for all those who are rejoicing, hold the celebrations? The Sanjayanization of America started last night.


Music Wire: EMI's money | UMG | Beyonce to Def Jam?....

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2007


  • EMI's revenues are down 15% but CEO Eric Nicoli isn't worried about it. Nicoli remains typically upbeat, and says the company has made the necessary strategic steps to safeguard its future. "Our industry is changing at an unprecedented pace and we are committed to accelerating the transformation of our business to realise the opportunities before us," Nicoli comments. [Billboard Biz]
  • EU says OK to Universal BMG publishing deal. UMG successfully bid on BMG Music Publishing in an invitation-only auction last year, offering €1.63 billion ($2.5 billion). [Bloomberg]
  • With radio programmers still in the pockets of many of the major record labels, up and coming artist looking for their shine, turn to Television to get their music heard. Do you remember a little band called "Phantom Planet"? When their song "California" was used as the theme song for the popular TV drama "The OC" their popularity went through the roof. Wonder what they're doing now that the show is dead? [Reuters]
  • Will tweens and closeted Sanjaya lovers take the skinny kid with the mop top all the way to Idol's finally? He just may have that much juice, that's if last night's disastrous performance doesn't do him in [AP]
  • Some big guns came out to honor Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun [E!]
  • Is Beyonce moving to Def Jam to be even closer to her boyfriend, Def Jam chief Shawn Carter? God we hope not [SOHH]
  • Music execs were probably in a serious panic yesterday when they found out their Blackberry service was down. How else would they order the Phantom to pull around to the front of the building? [HDD]


We all fuel the Sanjaya Malakar machine

Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Every second there is another post asking why in the world that skinny Indian kid is still on American Idol. How does he do it? Who keeps voting for him? Why does America love him? Well we got the answer. It’s because of those very questions why the Sanjaya Machine continues to move forward. Everytime we post something about the kid, like we're doing now, its more gas being poured on the fire. Sanjaya has many things going for him. He not only has a different look than your typical American Idol, but the kid is an entertainer at heart. He is also smart and knows how to shock us all with something new every week that he is still on the show. Oh yeah lets not forget that the gay community has embraced him as well. Every performance reveals a new Sanjaya. The kid now epitomizes the word reinvention much like major pop stars like Madonna. At this point it doesn't matter if he wins the competition or not, because he already won. Sanjaya is the most popular American Idol contestant ever, and we could only imagine the pens tapping on contracts waiting for this kid. Simon Cowell reportedly said that he won't return if Sanjaya wins, well our advice to Mr. Cowell is be on stand by, because the kid may shock us all in the end.

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Music Wire: Every record label has a story to tell. Gary Marmorstein tells the story of Columbia Records

Published: Monday, April 09, 2007

We can only imagine what a book about Suge Knight and DeathRow Records would read like. For now though we'll take "THE LABEL The Story of Columbia Records" by Gary Marmorstein. Columbia like many record labels has seen its share of CEOs and artists, cocaine themed parties, artist rivalry and more. However we hope the book touches on the Clive Davis era in detail where it is said he was ousted for what many called some shady doings back then. -NEIL

All juicy corporate sagas offer such intrigue, maybe, but Marmorstein’s subject is particularly promising. For a century, more or less, and certainly from after World War II into the 1980s, Columbia was an American household name. It played Avis to RCA Victor’s Hertz for a long while, but later seemed to catch up. It and its affiliate labels, especially Epic, shaped, reflected and profited from American musical taste, with the most sophisticated classical (except for opera, which they slighted), jazz and Broadway offerings and a wide swath of rhythm and blues, country and, eventually, rock recordings. The Columbia Record Club spread the company’s discs deep into the heartland. And, one might think, the story has a built-in ending, now that the purchase of recorded artifacts is giving way to Internet downloading.

Long Player [NYT]

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Kings of piracy getting tougher on pirates, or so they say

Published: Friday, April 06, 2007

In China where the world's biggest piracy industry stews, government officials are stepping up penalties to help combat the out of control problem. Sure its only happening because of pressure from other countries like the U.S. but the truth is no government will ever be able to stop piracy. It will forever cut into the pockets of the very industries it feeds off of. Many have long believed that the piracy problem in China goes way up the ladder beyond the bootleggers who shamelessly sell them. You have to ask, where do these bootleggers get the ships and planes to bring them into the U.S. where they end up on our streets? America and other countries may need to enforce some new laws here too that prohibits anyone from purchasing pirated items. Then again that would never happen either because who can pass up a bargain right? So this just leads us back to the point where we say this is something that will never be defeated. Interrupted, but never defeated. Perhaps the very companies behind the products will have to start taking drastic measures to protect their dollar. Or maybe the U.S. government can work out something with bootleggers where they get a cut? If Uncle Sam was getting his due taxes, this wouldn't be an issue at all.

Anyone caught with 500 pirated discs will face criminal prosecution instead of fines, down from the previous 1,000 discs, Xinhua said. It said the number of discs that triggers more severe penalties of up to seven years in prison was cut in half to 2,500.

Wow. OK so you’re slime ball pirate and you have 500 pirated discs. Just give your four buddies 100 discs each to hold while you sell them on the street. So based on the above "New Penalty" pirates can sell the pirated products, just as long as they’re not caught with all 10,000 copies or something? -SHOMARI

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Music Wire: EMI to pimp the Beatles and others via iTunes. Where is Roger Ames?

Published: Monday, April 02, 2007


EMI and Apple has announced a deal many saw coming. iTunes has the green light to sell music from the record company without copy protection software blah blah blah. We will care about EMI news when some real news start coming out of that camp, like the coming of Roger Ames and the outing of Eric Nicoli, not necessarily in that order.

EMI said almost all of its catalog, excluding music by The Beatles, is included in the deal.Singles and albums free from copy-protection software and with a higher sound quality will be offered as a premium product, the companies announced at a London news conference. The announcement follows calls by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs earlier this year for the world's four major record companies, including EMI, to start selling songs online without copy-protection software.The software, known as DRM, is designed to combat piracy by preventing unauthorized copying, but can make downloading music difficult for consumers.

EMI to allow Apple to sell songs online [AP]

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Music Wire: Another problem the music industry has is a lack of quality artists and releases

Published: Monday, March 26, 2007


For years the music industry has been looking down the barrel of the digital era, but some ignored it thinking it won't have that much of an impact on traditional physical sales at record stores. But after Shawn Fanning turned the industry upside down with a little file sharing site called Napster, dozens of digital music sites started popping up like blogs pop up today. Now some years later, major labels are having to change their whole approach on everything, especially their recording contracts. However the rapid climb of digital favoritism among the record buying public isn't the only thing keeping them away from record stores. These days record labels seem to take gimmicks over talent and artistry. The bullshit played on the radio today is hell on the eardrum of many including us. Whatever happened to real production, real songwriting and real hip hop? Oh we know it went down the toilet to make way for sing songy dance this way, dance that way music which the majors have come to embrace because stupidity sells for them now, but we digress.

New York Times' Jeff Leeds takes a look at what major labels, known for raping artists over the years through lengthy agreements are doing now to make sure they get their due via this new digital way of life. The future may also see more and more artists in control, and outdated record execs out of a job.

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Music Wire: Howie Schultz, newest music exec on the block

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2007

-Shomari Hines

First Les Moonves added music mogul to his media mogul status, now coffee king Howard Schultz has officially added music mogul in the making to his kingly-ness. The Starbucks record label called Hear Music is really real and ex Beatle Paul McCartney is the first artist to sign on the coffee stained dotted lines. Does this mean McCartney will tour the world performing in Starbucks coffee shops? Not a bad idea if he is interested in getting close to fans and previewing some new music over a cup of joe.

The McCartney announcement is another big step for Seattle-based Starbucks' attempts to spin part of its consumer appeal into the entertainment business. The coffeehouse chain already has produced and sold some albums, markets books, and helped develop a feature-length movie.

McCartney signed to new Starbucks label [AP]

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Morning Wire: And now this morning's worthy media news...

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2007

  • NBC Universal's Bravo snatches TelevisionWithoutPity.com because they aint got no pitty [Reuters]
  • Don't forget. Lawyers also go on to become bloggers too you know [Reuters]
  • Sony-BMG may have decided to leave the marketing of kids music to the kid kings at Disney [Reuters]
  • New Readers Digest CEO Mary Berner is serving up a dish of revenge to her former boss Conde Nast CEO Chuck Townsend for shifting her out of her old gig. However we think Chuck will swallow it without chewing. [NYP]
  • Don't fuck with or go against former Disney dictator Mike Eisner when he makes an offer for the company you're a board member of [NYP]

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Music Wire: If you sign with Starbucks Records, does the deal include free coffee for the duration of your recording contract?

Published: Monday, March 12, 2007

-Shomari Hines

Starbucks head barrister, Howard Schultz isn't afraid to take his brand into new territories even if it means walking on thin ice to get there. The coffee company which has dipped its coffee scented fingers into Hollywood and the music business by carrying select releases by major labels in its coffee stores, is now getting deeper into the dirty music game by reportedly planning what sounds like a full service record label. No one knows for sure how this will play on the company's stock price but we don't believe Wall Street will be popping out the champagne if this report turns out to be true, then again Schultz could shock us all. The company is said to be thisclose to landing Paul McCartney as the first release. However if the label name will really be Starbucks Records, the company is already DOA, even if Paul McCartney is dumb enough to sign on the coffee stained dotted lines. But don't listen to us though.

The formation of Starbucks Records, as the unit is expected to be called, could be announced as soon as this week, according to these sources. Launching a record label is something "that has been bandied about for quite a while," said one source. "They think they are empowered enough to do that." Said another: "They have a very targeted, efficient distribution channel that allows them to be profitable in a limited way with music."


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Music Wire: Paul Wientrab of the Chicago Tribune puts our Roger Ames EMI worries to rest

Published: Thursday, March 08, 2007

We have been publicly voicing our support for a Roger Ames lead EMI. Some of our readers have posted comments supporting our opinion but we have been a little impatient with the whole thing. We thought Roger Ames would have been sitting as the head of EMI by now but according to Paul Wientrab of the Chicago Tribune, our wishes will become reality in the near future and he sounds confident about it too. He even knows that former EMI Chief Alain Levy is living it up in Maui and David Munns is skiing in Aspen. He also shot Warner Music Group's Edgar Bronfman Jr's dreams to hell by stating that EMI is leaning towards selling out to private investors. Hey Paul, we are convinced now, and thanks for the info and yes you were on the ball. But what a potty mouth that Alain Levy has huh?

Read Paul's Comments after the click


I was very accurate about Andy getting fired, as well as that antics of the senior staff at EMI. As we stated last time, Eric wants Roger, yet Roger is sitting on the sidlines until Eric is fired by June. He has 6 months, as per the Board of Directors.Let me paint a clear and accurate picture, so that you know how precise I am. Alain and David were called to London in January, and cars were waiting for them to take them to the airport from NY to London. They flew to London, went to the Board meetings, presented their budgets and forecasts as well as the Virgin/Capitol merger, and then they were fired. Alain told Eric "Fuck off" and they both walked out.Alain is currently in Maui and David is skiing in Aspen. Roger is in New York this week of March 5th and meeting with Eric - who is in Manhattan as well. However, Roger "will not take the helm" for 2 reasons. 1st - his wife will divorce him if he moves here. 2nd - he might as well wait for Eric to be fired and then take the helm.Fortress Investments is hoovering and Private Equity seems the way that this story is going to head. Warner will eventually buy the Recorded music label, yet Fortress will purchase EMI, spin off the publishing arm back to Bandier and then sell off the Recorded music divsision. Eric turned down Warner because he knew his job would be over at that point. The Board supported him. Fortress will come in at 240 pence. What other details would you like to see or hear?


Music Wire: OK but what about the other Roger?

Published: Tuesday, March 06, 2007

-Shomari Hines

EMI has named a new CEO for its publishing unit in Roger Faxon. The appointment comes after former CEO Martin Bandier exited the company after 17 big ones. This is all good and dandy, but we're still waiting for the appointment of another Roger. Roger Ames's name has been coming up from time to time as the future head of all of EMI but the rumor has been running thin lately. Anyway in usual corporate lingo, current EMI chief Eric Nicoli thinks that this Roger is the "Ideal person" to lead EMI to the next stage, whatever that may be.

"Roger is the ideal person to lead the next stage of EMI Music Publishing's development with his strategic insight, his digital prowess, his passion for and knowledge of music publishing and his vision for the company," EMI Group Chief Executive Eric Nicoli said in a statement.

Faxon confirmed as EMI Music Publishing chief [Reuters]

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Music Wire: Someone wake us by slapping us with a CD case when this is over and done with

Published: Friday, March 02, 2007

-Shomari Hines

And we thought the whole Tribune thing was a pain in the ass. Come on already. EMI and Warner Music have been trying to merge for years and today they still can't reach a deal. What will it take for EMI to accept a Warner bid? What will it take for Warner to swallow an EMI bid? This is clearly leading back to the whole, "Lets see who can buy who first" thingy.

Music company EMI Group PLC said Friday that it rejected a nonbinding $4.1 billion takeover proposal from Warner Music Group.London-based EMI, which announced last week that it had been approached by former suitor Warner, said that the 2.1 billion pound, or 260 pence ($5.06) per share offer, was inadequate based EMI's own value and lack of benefits in joining with Warner.Shares in EMI closed 4.5 percent higher at 246.25 pence ($4.79) on the London Stock Exchange.The company also said pursuing the deal would lead to "prolonged regulatory uncertainty and unacceptable operational risk at a critical time for the company."

You know what Edgar, turn your focus on indie labels. Kick the tires on Koch or something. Then again those guys won't sell out to the corporate man. Hey Eric are you holding out in an effort to be acquired by private investors to ensure your job will be safe? Don't waste your time because however you slice it, you're done and a real music man like lets say Roger Ames will be brought in to run the show. There goes our fucking weekend

EMI rejects $4.1 billion Warner bid [AP]


Music Wire: For you music industry types who like a little gossip now and then about your fellow music industry types

Published: Thursday, March 01, 2007

-Neil Yoshida

Last year the New York Post reported that music industry big wig Lyor Cohen of Warner Music Group and his wife of 14 years Amy were in the process of a sweet and private divorce. So did the divorce happen or not? We have no idea. However the pic above may be a little clue we think. Who is the female clearly being introduced to rapper T.I. by Cohen? Is this his new squeeze?


Music Wire: The RIAA steps it up a notch in a losing battle

-Shomari Hines

College students beware, the RIAA is going to sue your ass for illegally downloading music. The organization sent out hundreds of letters to Universities in an effort to pressure them to crack down on students stealing food out of the gold laced mouth of artists. We're still shocked to this day that Napster founder Shawn Fanning hasn't gone missing without a trace. The kid practically started this headache for the music industry and now they cant stop it. Record labels and artists need to start exploring ways to add value to packaged recordings to make people want to head out to record stores again. The accompanying DVD with un-edited videos and behind the scenes footage is so yesterday. Perhaps a DVD with footage of an artist engaged in sex act would send the sales of a release through the roof. Or maybe hide the artist's actual phone number in a packaged CD where one lucky fan will be able to call the artist and speak with them directly for a week. Who knows, start thinking outside the box record execs, or music won't be the only thing being stolen.

More than 1 billion songs are swapped on such services each month, according to Web tracking company Big Champagne.The record industry, which has seen sales plunge by more than 23 percent between 2000 to 2006, wants music lovers to purchase digital music over legal Web sites like Apple Inc.'s iTunes Music Store or RealNetworks Inc.'s Rhapsody. A University of Richmond study found that more than half of college students downloaded music and movies illegally, the RIAA said.

Recording industry urges students to stop downloads [Reuters]


Music Wire: Bandier to stop working for the Brits and begin working for the Germans and the Japanese

Published: Tuesday, February 27, 2007

-Shomari Hines

As EMI Music Publishing loses, Sony ATV gains, or at least so they say. Martin Bandier, the well respected music publishing exec is said to be in talks to take the top job at Sony ATV. Banider was rumored to be on Edgar Bronfman's mind but we guess that didn't play out.
As part of the deal, which is expected to be announced today, sources said that Bandier is also making an investment in Sony ATV - a joint venture between Sony Corp. and trusts formed by singer Michael Jackson - that will allow him to share in the unit's growth. Sources cautioned, however, that Bandier wasn't taking an equity stake in the publisher, which owns the rights to 400,000 songs from acts like Fall Out Boy and John Mayer.

Guess current Sony ATV CEO David Hockman will leave immediately after they give his job away and issue some kind of statement that he wants to spend more time on other things, you know, the default statement made by an exec being shit canned. Then again we could be wrong. Maybe the guy just wants to kick back a bit. Naaah he is being shit canned.



Music Wire: Yup! EMI trying to find any and everything to deter Warner Music Group invasion

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2007

-Shomari Hines

If this time around a deal doesn't happen between Warner Music and EMI, then it just wasn't meant to be at all. EMI and Warner as you all know have been trying get in bed together for years, hell since the Ken Berry days, and still they can't even get to first base. The EMI side seems to be the one this time around who will probably try to get of being taken over by Warner. EMI is more interested in being bought by a private equity firm which would more than likely keep current management in place. Eric Nicoli is reading the writing on the wall. If Warner were to be successful in grabbing EMI he would be out of a job, along with other high level EMI execs. EMI is worried about stuff like European regulatory approval before an official bid is even made. Like the saying goes, cross that bridge when you get there.

Analysts have noted that EMI appears to be reluctant to engage with Warner at the current price and a media report on Thursday said the group was also in talks with a number of private equity firms as potential alternatives. The company declined to comment on the report. Its shares were up 1.1 percent at 244 pence by 1200 GMT.The Financial Times said EMI had held talks with a number of private equity firms including One Equity Partners, a unit of JPMorgan Chase and Co.

EMI highlights regulatory concerns over Warner bid [Reuters]


Morning Wire: And now this morning's worthy media news aggregation

-Shomari Hines

Marketers are increasingly focused on the effectiveness of their pitches, trying to figure out the return on investment for ad spending.

Public broadcasting will target an underserved audience with the Spanish-language network V-me TV, which launches March 5.

Apax, Blackstone Group and Candover Investments Plc were understood to be in discussions with the privately held company about Trader Media Group, which publishes the Auto Trader advertising guide, the FT said, quoting people close to the situation.

Is EMI looking to derail yet another Warner bid?
Britain's EMI Group Plc. is in talks with a number of private equity firms including One Equity Partners, a unit of JPMorgan Chase and Co., over potential alternatives to a takeover approach from Warner Music Group. Just sit tight and get taken over man jeez.

Bowing to pressure from Motown, makers of the Oscar-nominated film "Dreamgirls" said in ads on Wednesday that the musical was a work of fiction and apologized for any confusion with the legendary record label.
Image: Getty Images

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Music Wire: IMPALA OK with a Warner Music, EMI link up this time around

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Warner Music Group will not give up on its push to grab and swallow Britain's EMI, especially now that EMI music boss Alain Levy is gone. But we've heard this before and will not get excited about yet another merger attempt. This has been going since Dick Parsons was, President of Time Warner, Roger Ames was CEO of Warner Music ad ken Berry was head of EMI. We would love to see a deal happen though, just so we can see who stays and who goes as far as executives. If Warner does land EMI, will Jason Flom be fired a second time by Warner Music label boss, Lyor Cohen? Flom is probably keeping his fingers crossed that a deal doesn't happen, especially with his sweet new job of running the new Capital Music Group. Here are some measures the Independent Music Publishers and Labels Association (IMPALA) muscled Warner Music Group to agree with:

-- providing specified funding for (but taking no equity participation in) the recently announced Merlin initiative, the new global digital rights licensing platform established by the independent music labels to represent the world's independent music sector;

-- ensuring the divestiture of certain recorded music assets to reinforce the market power of the independent sector; and

-- pursuing various other behavioral commitments which have the aim of benefiting the recorded music market as a whole and, in particular, the independent music sector.

Statement Regarding Potential Warner Music Group Corp. Proposal to Acquire EMI Group plc [MarketWire]


Morning Wire: A Sirius XM union can't be good news for some employees, and more in this morning's worthy media news...

  • XM finally agrees to Mel Karmazin's public call for a merger. But how will this all play out if and when a merger is completed? We predict massive executions of massive redundancies, then again something that's a given can't be called a prediction, right? [NYT]
  • Sirius and XM officials says that both companies will work together on a company name and corporate headquarters. OK we kinda understand the headquarters thing but what the fuck is there to think about on a company name? Just go with what rolls off the tongue better, and for us its SiriusXM [Reuters]
  • Edger Bronfman moving on EMI again for the millionth time [Reuters]
  • Get out your party hats, Viacom to report results for all of 2006 [Viacom]

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Music Wire: Edgar Bronfman's Warner Music needs EMI and fast

Published: Thursday, February 08, 2007

Warner Music Group bosses Edgar Bronfman Jr and Lyor Cohen can't be having a good morning. They are starting 2007 off on a not so healthy note with 1Q earnings in the shit house down 74 percent.

The New York-based recording company said net income declined to $18 million, or 12 cents per share, from $69 million, or 46 cents per share, during the same period a year ago.Total revenue fell 11 percent to $928 million from $1.04 billion during the prior-year period.

Bur Edgar believes he knows what the problem is:

"This was a difficult quarter, in some part because the industry still faces the challenging environment, but almost entirely due to the comparisons to our very strong first quarter last year," Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Warner Music Group's chairman and chief executive, said during a conference call with Wall Street analysts.

Warner Music Group 1Q earnings plummet [AP]


Music Wire: Can a scary looking music producer call some shots at a major label?

Published: Monday, February 05, 2007

For years when the name Def Jam is mentioned people automatically associate only one person with it, Russell Simmons. But the truth is, super producer Rick Rubin who has pretty much laid low for years founded Def Jam right before meeting Simmons. Anyway we're not going back in time with this one. The scary looking hit maker behind acts like the Chili Peppers, the late Johnny Cash and current Def Jam Prexy Jay Z has been reportedly offered the Co-Chairmanship of Sony BMG's Columbia Records. Of course with such reports comes the question of whether or not he can play that roll. You know what? The man founded the biggest rap label, need anyone say more? However he may have to do some major sucking up to Warner Music Group boss Lyor Cohen to get out of his contract with Warner Bros Records.

All the principals involved are trying to avoid a public showdown, and representatives for Warner, Columbia and Mr. Rubin declined to comment.As it stands, Mr. Rubin’s associates said, any arrangement would still allow him to produce recordings for Warner artists. After initially displaying resistance to releasing Mr. Rubin, Warner appears prepared to negotiate an early end to its label deal with him, they said. Mr. Rubin holds certain bargaining chips too: in addition to future production projects, he has work under way for two of the label’s biggest rock acts, Linkin Park and Metallica.

Oh please Oh please have a public showdown!!

Job Offer Affirms Value of a Hit-Making Producer [NYT]


Music Wire: EMI indirectly hands Jason Flom the top U.S. job

Published: Friday, January 26, 2007

EMI Chairman Eric Nicoli still trying to get his house in order, via a firing, a folding and a promotion, indirectly handing Virgin Records CEO Jason Flom the top job in the U.S. As speculated earlier Capital Records CEO Andy Slater was shown the door. However he is expected to walk away a very rich man. The Capital and Virgin labels will now merge into one happy family creating the Capital Records Group which will be ruled by the Flom as Chairman & CEO, further increasing his power status at the company. We believe Flom is now being baked to eventually take the top job at EMI, unless they pull a Roger Ames out of their ass. This is a huge jump for Jason Flom who was infamously pink slipped at LAX by his then boss Warner Music Group CEO Lyor Cohen

The moves were the most notable so far in a worldwide revamping that started two weeks ago, when EMI, which releases music from acts including Coldplay and Norah Jones, forced out the global chief of its music division. In the United States, the world’s biggest music market, the cutback is expected to represent the effective end of Capitol as a stand-alone label, though EMI will continue to occupy its offices, a famed cylindrical tower that opened its doors in Hollywood in 1956.

EMI Merging Record Labels and Ousting Capitol’s President [NYT]


Music Wire: Jermaine Dupri headed for the Island

Published: Thursday, January 25, 2007

As predicted by many in the music industry, Jermain Dupri is said to be in talks to Join Island Def Jam Music Group. Jermaine saw the writing on the wall and left his post as President of Virgin Records Urban after girlfriend Janet Jackson's album tanked. So what roll if any will Dupri play at Island Def Jam? This will clearly be a newly created post within the company. We only hope the Island isn't getting too crowded.

A deal with Island would reunite Chairman L.A. Reid with Dupri, who is seen as a double threat - functioning both as a producer and as a special guest rapper on albums from such heavyweights as Jay-Z. Dupri brought his So So Def Records to Arista when Reid was CEO of that label.



Music Wire: Will the digital era kill tradtional record labels and physical sales?

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2007

We always cringed at the cost of CDs and wondered why in the world is it so high? But the current direction the music business is headed in, record labels may have no choice but to come down on the price to keep their physical product relevant. Speaking for myself I couldn't tell the last time I purchased a CD. I subscribe to a digital music service that I pay for monthly, with un-limited access to music. Why would I buy a hard copy CD? What can a record label possibly do get me and others like me to walk into a record store which by the way is also becoming a thing of the past, and buy a CD?

As music lovers, we now have many more choices for how we can get our music fix. We can listen to the radio, to satellite radio, to Internet radio, or hear new music on TV shows like “American Idol” or on commercials. We can download free music from file-sharing networks, though we pay a price in the time it takes to get a good file (and the tiny risk of being prosecuted for it). We can hear music straight from the websites of artists, and even get their tracks from MySpace pages. We can buy physical albums from the dwindling number of retail music stores or Wal-Mart and Target, or buy digital tracks or albums from iTunes or other online outlets.

Music Industry Losing Control Over Album Sales [Mediashift]


Music Wire: College kids being offered free what they probably already get for free

Published: Monday, January 22, 2007

Not only are major brands trying to infiltrate college campuses in an effort to steal student's eyeballs, now major record labels in all their desperateness, will allow college students to download music for free. But we have to ask. Aren't college kids already getting all the free music they want from that computer geek in science who hacks away at the web and gives his buddies access who return give their buddies access and so it goes on?

The service, from Ruckus Network, will be supported by advertising on its Web site and on the software used to download and play songs. The four major record labels and several independent labels have agreed to license their music to Ruckus at lower rates than they charge other mass market music services on the theory that college students would rather steal songs than pay the $10 to $15 a month that such services normally charge

Big Labels Offer Free Music to College Students [NYT]

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Music Wire: OK, but what about Roger Ames???

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2007

Earlier this week we posted that Roger Ames could be named as head of EMI today based on a comment posted by one of our readers claiming to be from the Chicago Tribune. EMI did make management announcements today but they did not include Roger Ames who many including us have speculated will land the top job at the embattled EMI. Instead EMI announced the appointments of two individuals we could care less about.

JF Cecillon will become chairman and chief executive of the newly established EMI Music International unit which will focus on EMI's recorded music business outside the UK and North America.

Ian Hanson, previously senior vice president, chairman's office, EMI Music, has been promoted to the global role of chief operating officer of EMI Music.

Ok but seriously, what about Roger Ames?


Music Wire: Digital sales continue to save the music industry

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"YOU" the consumer truly hold the power to make or break any industry and fortunately for overpaid record label bosses and their bosses, you continue to pump life into the music business via your love for digital content. God knows where they would be if they didn't iron out their digital offerings in time.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, or the IFPI, said it expected digital sales to account for a quarter of all sales worldwide by 2010.

"We don't have the holy grail of digital offsetting the decline of CDs as yet," IFPI Chairman John Kennedy said in London after the release of the group's 2007 Digital Music Report.

Digital music sales doubled in 2006 [AP]


Music Wire: Roger Ames will be named CEO of EMI Recorded Music???

Published: Monday, January 15, 2007

It looks like our dreams for EMI will come through. According to a comment posted by a Paul Wientrab of the Chicago Tribune in response to our article this morning titled "Eric Nicoli pack your shit and follow Alain Levy and David Munns out the door" However we are not sure how accurate this is.

EMI will hire Roger Ames on Thursday.Eric Nicoli met with Roger Ames today to offer him the CEO spot at EMI Recorded music. Roger however has problems with living in the United States and is considering the offer. Andy Slater of Capital Records is rumored be fired next Thursday and Jason FLom will take over his responsibilities.Alain Levy and David Munns have been approaching Private Equity firms to get funding to buyout EMI for $2.4 Billion and then oust Eric (their Ouster) Nicoli.The payouts for Levy and Munns is not much considering how much they pillaged the company with their lavish lifestyle and expenses charged to the company.

Sounds good to us.

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Music Wire: Eric Nicoli pack your shit and follow Alain Levy and David Munns out the door

No we’re not shareholders in anything EMI, but we’re not pleased that Eric Nicoli will step in to oversee EMI’s recorded music business at all. We hope this is just a temporary situation while a secret hunt goes on to find a seasoned new head to take over EMI. However if the EMI board is smart they would look no further than Roger Ames. More execs of the Levy Munns regime will be out the door as well and Eric Nicoli could also be shown the door which would be a good thing. EMI needs fresh blood, a fresh way of thinking to bring them to the present times as far as implementation of a strong digital strategy and a possible purge of lackluster artists to lighten the rosters of labels across the board.

Over the past few years the company has hit some serious bumps under Nicoli’s watch. They put a man in charge of one of their biggest labels who only really knew his way around a recording studio. Just because someone produced some hits and got a little label deal doesn’t mean he can run a major label like Virgin, then again this seems like the norm in the biz these days. A producer produces some hit records and he is handed the keys to a major operation. Some are successful and some are total disasters. A seasoned music exec is not only someone with the ear for music, but someone with strong operational skills but we digress.


So what now for EMI?. Until they decide on serious replacements for both Levy and Munns it looks like the company will indeed be in the hands of man who went from choc to rock . However, once the smart decision is made to hand the keys to former Warner Music Group head Roger Ames, Eric Nicoli should bid farewell to EMI so that Ames can work his magic and build a strong team to play on the field with rivals like Warner Music Group, Sony BMG (which also needs a shake up but again we digress) and the dynasty of them all, Universal Music Group. EMI should also do some serious consolidation of its U.S. operations as well, possibly creating three U.S. music groups. If we were to advise a newly installed Roger Ames on who should be a part of his team, we would advise him bring in the following people, one of which is already within the EMI stable.

Tom Whalley- Currently head of WMG’s Warner Bros label. Whalley is a good choice to lead EMI’s North American operations

Ron Shapiro- Formerly co-president of Atlantic. Perhaps he can get his hands in at Capital. From what we hear, Andy Slater has been dropping the ball too.

Jason Flom- Currently CEO of EMI’s Virgin. Flom is already in the EMI fold and was also part of the Ames regime at WMG. Perhaps Ames could drop some more duties on his plate. He is also a good choice to lead EMI’s North American operations.

You know what? Consider this the launch of our “Roger Ames for EMI CEO” campaign


Music Wire: EMI Shake up could signal comeback of Roger Ames

Published: Friday, January 12, 2007

Q1 2007 seems to be filled with shake ups at media and entertainment companies. The latest shake up comes unexpectedly out of EMI the major record label which has been through three failed merger attempts with rival Warner Music. The company's music chief Alain Levy and his deputy David Munns has been shown the door by company Chairman Eric Nicoli, under pressure from his board to put fire back into the company.

Firing its two heads of music opens up a huge door for someone else to come in and attempt to turn things around and already all eyes are on former Warner Music Group head Roger Ames who is currently a consultant for the company and has been out of site since being pushed out of Warner after it was acquired by private investors. If Ames is indeed the man, this could be one of the music industry's biggest comeback since Clive Davis who got canned as head of Arista only to come back to run the whole show. Then again Ames isn't the only respected music exec with time on his hands these days. Former Sony Label Group CEO Donnie Ienner could also be considered for the EMI gig.

The sudden move, expected to be announced today, follows a series of setbacks at EMI, including a string of failed merger negotiations with a rival, the Warner Music Group, and the poor sales performance of the pop star Janet Jackson.

The ouster of Mr. Levy comes about five years after he was recruited to bolster the performance of the company, which ranks last in sales in the United States among the four major music conglomerates. EMI’s share of total sales in the American market dipped last year to 10.2 percent, from about 10.4 percent, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Revamping of EMI Begins With Management Shake-Up [NYT]

-Shomari Hines

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Music Wire: Les the music mogul

Published: Friday, December 15, 2006

It looks as if CBS boss Les "Love Boat" Moonves wants to give everyone a run for their money. First he announced that he was going into the movie business, now comes news that he will slide into the music business as well with the re-launch of CBS Records, a label once ruled by music bigs like Clive Davis and Tommy Mottola.

CBS Records aims to market its artists and their music in television shows produced by CBS Paramount Television and aired across several broadcast and cable networks, including CBS, The CW, NBC and USA Network, New York-based CBS Corp. said Thursday.

"With more consumers choosing the online download model as the preferred way to purchase their favorite songs, we have an opportunity to use our unique and broad collection of media platforms to create a new music label paradigm for a small price of admission," Leslie Moonves, president and chief executive of CBS Corp., said in a prepared statement.

Wait so who will be running this operation? Come on Les name names.

CBS Corp. revives namesake music label [AP]

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Music Wire: Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun dies

The past couple of years haven't been too good for the music industry on the business end and/or on the personal end. Legendary music exec and Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun has passed away. The halls at Warner Music Group, parent company of Atlantic where Mr. Ertegun was honorable Chairman, will sure be quiet in the days to come.

Ertegun remained connected to the music scene until his last days - it was at an Oct. 29 concert by the Rolling Stones at the Beacon Theatre in New York where Ertegun fell, suffered a head injury and was hospitalized. He later slipped into a coma.

"He was in a coma and expired today with his family at his bedside," said Dr. Howard A. Riina, Ertegun's neurosurgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic Records founder, dies in New York at 83 [NYP]

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And in closing: Don't be afraid, its only Michael Jackson

Published: Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Purposely distracting ourselves for a bit, The World Music Awards takes place tonight in the UK and as you know the so called king of pop is set to take the stage to collect an award and we think perform as well. The photo (right) however doesn't show a healthy someone who is supposed to perform. instead MJ looks like the character powder in the movie "Powder". Could he be the first black man who really does need a tan? Can he even get a tan? Wait no he can't be in sunlight! WOW! Can he make comeback? Many think not.

The media greeted the announcement with some unease, saying the gig could become a freak show rather than a triumphant return for one of the top-selling artists of all time.

"Be afraid, be very afraid," was how top-selling daily newspaper The Sun reacted.

"He looks dreadful and hasn't performed for years -- I fear it's going to be a humiliating freak show which he will regret.

"Music experts agree that the man who brought us the moonwalk and hits like "Beat It" and
"Billie Jean" will struggle to get anywhere near the heights he achieved in the 1980s.

"I would say there's very little chance of him coming back from where he is," said Gareth Grundy, deputy editor of the Q music magazine.

Doubts surround Michael Jackson comeback bid [Reuters]

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Music Wire: Rapper Foxy Brown talking shit about her boss

Published: Monday, November 06, 2006

Def Jam honcho Shawn "Jay Z" Carter is said by the Post to be pissed at Deaf Def Jam artist Foxy Brown because of her mouth and lack of productivity on her album. The troublesome rapper is allegedly has been saying some not so nice things about the bossman and Def Jam artist Rihanna. Now why would anyone want to piss their boss off?

BAD-tempered Foxy Brown is having an "annus horribilis," as Queen Elizabeth II would say. Not only did she temporarily lose her hearing, but she was convicted of assaulting a manicurist and got into several disputes with court officers, her book deal with Simon & Schuster was terminated, and now comes word that her "comeback album" on Def Jam, slated for December, may not be released. A source reports, "[Def Jam head] Jay-Z is furious at Foxy's lack of productivity on her album 'Black Roses.' He is also mad because Foxy was talking out of school about him and [Def Jam artist] Rihanna and saying things that weren't true.



Music Wire: Jermaine Dupri may already have another gig lined up...maybe....we think...it looks that way....kinda

Published: Thursday, November 02, 2006

We're no Dealbreaker, so we're not going to say that Jermaine Dupri may be in talks with music biz legend Clive Davis to lets say, run J Records, or we're not going to say that Janet may end up there too because we wouldn't want this shit to come back and bite us in our asses. All we can say is that at yesterday's Songs of Hope IV at Esquire House 360 in Beverly Hills, Mr. Dupri and Mr. Davis spent quite some time together. Please don't hold it over our heads if this shit doesn't fly cause you didn't here shit from us.

-Questionable Sources

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Music Wire: Maybe its the hair

Published: Thursday, October 12, 2006

Capital Records CEO Andy Slater who has won praises over the years for his leadership is now being campaigned against by his own minions in an effort to get the big haired label exec the boot. Either the praises went to his hair or he just can't produce winning acts anymore or so they say.

IT'S a near-mutiny at Capitol Records, where disgruntled staffers have fired off a scathing letter to the label's parent, EMI, charging that Capitol president and CEO Andy Slater is a lackluster leader who's destroying the company with a roster of sub-par acts and should be axed.

"In the '90s we were at the forefront of cutting edge music - in 2006, this is hardly the case. All fingers must be pointed back to the president and the lack of leadership and vision," fumes the anonymous missive sent to EMI Music Worldwide chairman Alain Levy and David Munns, chairman of EMI Music North America.