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Monday, May 23, 2005

EMI Profits Nosedive

Subsequent to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin's statement last week that EMI’s shareholders were the 'greatest evil of this modern world', the company is expected to release a profit statement showing a marked decrease in earnings. The expected number is a decrease of 13%, which EMI is blaming on delays in albums from Coldplay and Gorillaz as well as a slump in album sales from other bands on the roster. EMI's response to the 'shareholder' remark was the issuance of a statement saying: "We don't expect or want our rock stars to be stockbrokers”.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Biting the Hand That Feeds

A news story came out this morning saying that Coldplay frontman Chris Martin (Mr. Gwyneth Paltrow) hates the fact that his band sells so many records that EMI’s stock price reacted to the release of their new album. In the Reuters article, Martin is quoted as saying, “I think shareholders are the great evil of this modern world. Deadlines mean nothing to us. We'll sink the whole company (EMI) if we have to". Martin was also “uncomfortable” with all of the publicity surrounding the release of the band’s new album, stating, “All these cameras make us feel like we're on 'The Apprentice’”. Poor, poor millionaire rock star married to a hot Hollywood actress and living in a mansion.

Monday, May 16, 2005

If Anyone Needs Me I’ll be in St. Louis

St. Louis is the latest US city to host a Cabo Wabo Cantina. For those of you not in the know – the Cabo Wabo Cantinas are owned and run by Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar (until I hear news to the contrary I’ll continue to write that he’s still in the band). The first Cabo Wabo was opened in 1990 at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and a second one followed last year at Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The latest Cantina is expected to open in the spring of 2007. In addition to the very successful cantinas, Hagar also develops, manufactures, and distributes his award winning brand of tequila, also called Cabo Wabo.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Gervais and Merchant Host Show on London’s XFM

Ricky Gervais (David Brent on the original UK mockumentary The Office) and Stephen Merchant (Ricky and Stephen were the writers and producers of that show) have announced a new Saturday afternoon show on XFM (104.9 Xfm if you live in the UK or http://www.xfm.co.uk to listen live on the internet). Their six week stint will start Saturday May 28th, and run from 1pm to 3pm (UK time). This will be their second series of shows for XFM, and the first series is archived for download on the station’s website. The comedic pair are said to be working on a new sitcom called, “The Extras”, co starring Kate Winslet, Ben Stiller and Jude Law. In an interview about the new series, Gervais said, “I play a grumpy and sarcastic character who hates being around actors and showbiz types, preferring to lie on my couch at home watching TV. It’s a stretch but I think I can pull it off.”

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Jimmy Page Rocks The NY Stock Exchange

Anyone who watches say, more than twelve hours of MSNBC a day, was yesterday treated about once per hour, to a clip of Jimmy Page playing, “Whole Lotta Love” onstage at the New York Stock Exchange. The Jimmy love didn’t help the stock however as the pps dropped 60 cents, from the opening of $17.00 to about $16.40 by the closing bell.

Bill Gates Doesn’t Like The iPod

Bill Gates was quoted in a German newspaper saying that in his opinion the iPod craze won’t survive in the long run. In his view the cell phone will supplant the iPod as the portable music player of choice in the longer term. In an interview Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Mr. Gates was quoted as saying: "As good as Apple may be, I don't believe the success of the iPod is sustainable in the long run. If you were to ask me which mobile device will take top place for listening to music, I'd bet on the mobile phone for sure.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

New Yahoo! Music Service Sends Competitor Shares Plummeting

Yahoo! today announced plans to enter the online downloadable music business – and at a price that will undercut all of their competitors. Yahoo’s music service will cost $6.99 per month compared to $14.95 for Napster and $12 per month for RealNetworks' Rhapsody. Yahoo’s service will feature over one million songs to choose from and the monthly fee will let subscribers download as many songs as they want. The songs from Yahoo! will play on the Windows Media Player application or any MP3 type portable player.

Upon release of this news, RealNetworks share price dropped 21% and Napster went down 32%. Yahoo! shares on the other hand rose 14 cents. Of course all of these companies are trying to take on Apple’s iPod dominance – which I personally don’t get – iPods only play songs that have been either downloaded through iTunes or have been converted through the iTunes program. You can’t change the batteries on them yourself; you have to pay Apple a hundred bucks to do it for you. Through the Yahoo! Napster and RealNetworks song rental model, however, your portable music player has to be synchronized to the website once per month to ensure that your subscription fees have been paid. And if you want to burn those songs to a disc then an extra fee applies.

I may be a technological philistine, but I think I’ll continue to buy my music in a shop. One day I might even make the move from vinyl and eight track cassettes to some of those newfangled CD things.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Warner Music IPO Tomorrow

On Wednesday May 11th Warner Music Group launches their IPO (under the symbol WMG) with a pps below the initially suggested range of $22 to $24. Insiders are throwing around a $19 share price and there has also been talk of a reduction in the previously announced 32.6 million share deal size, to 27.2 million shares. Warner Music, who is $2.5 billion in debt, hopes to raise $517 million from the IPO.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Educated, Well Off Men Like Satellite Radio

A survey by the Media Audit shows that the audience for satellite radio is made up mostly of men. The surveying company seemed surprised however at the low number of respondents who said that they actually listened to satellite radio. In a press release for the report, Bob Jordan, president of International Demographics, Inc. said, “We were surprised at how little market penetration has been achieved by satellite radio.” International Demographics Inc. is the 34-year-old market research firm which produces The Media Audit. The report showed that the market demographic which makes up satellite radio listeners are affluent and educated with 73% of listeners earning more than $50,000, and 55% had at least one college degree. The age demographic is also different to what the surveyors first assumed – 76% are over the age of 35.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Great News For Tenacious D Fans Worldwide!

News hot off the presses from the mighty ‘D’ website: “05.05.05 Yes the rumors are true....Tenacious D has begun recording new music for their upcoming film PICK OF DESTINY. John King is the producer behind the board and don’t be surprised if there are a few special guests on the album as well. We will keep you posted on some studio reports and perhaps some pictures from the studio as well. Stay tuned!”

In a Billboard interview, 'D' guitarist Kyle Gass expounded on the album's creation: "Gass says the D may try to recruit some of the stars that played on the duo's self-titled 2002 Epic debut for the upcoming sessions. "We'll try to beg Dave Grohl to come back," he says. "Best drummer ever. We liked all the old players. But let's face it. Everyone is dying to play with us, so we can just get on the phone. I'd love to go in and play all the instruments, but I just don't know how.""

EMI Signs Up For Legal Music Sharing With Napster Founder

Musical giant EMI (EMIPY.PK) announced plans today of a deal with legal peer to peer company Snocap. The Snocap Company was founded by the original Napster, Shawn Fanning, and features a digital fingerprint copyright solution to ensure that downloaded songs are used under appropriate restrictions. According to Snocap’s website, the company provides, “the complete range of music that is currently available on peer-to-peer services to the paid digital music marketplace. The company is committed to dramatically improving the consumer’s digital music experience and growing the overall market for music sales.”

In a Businessweek article, David Munns, chairman and chief executive of EMI Music North America, commented, “This sends a signal to music industry critics who claim we are technophobic".

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

News Flash: Regular Radio Listeners Don’t Like Commercials

A new study out from Arbitron (an international media and marketing research firm) and Edison Media Research states that 47% of listeners would listen to “A lot more” radio if there were fewer commercials on-air. The study also reveals that 80% of Americans think that the presence of commercials is a fair price to pay for free radio. In a press release, Bill Rose, senior vice president, of Marketing for U.S. Media Services with Arbitron stated that, “"The overwhelming majority of radio listeners continue to value the time- honored trade of free radio programming in return for listening to commercial messages. This study reveals that consumers are beginning to notice stations with few spot breaks."

The study continued to show that the majority of listeners (69% at work and 49% at home) do not turn the channel immediately when an advert comes on. Only one third of listeners in cars said that they turn the channel when an ad comes on. Interestingly, the study also looked at quantity versus quality, and found that younger listeners were more annoyed by the quantity of commercials while older listeners were also more likely to factor in the “annoyance factor” of just plain stupid advertising.

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Rise of Podcasting

I see a trend happening here, (man, is my finger on the pulse of the industry...) and if you’ve been following my last few blogs you’ll see it too. The rise of Podcasting (or at least the rise of Podcasting within traditional radio programming)! Let’s hope it doesn’t turn into this generation’s CB radio, (am I dating myself here…?). Today’s Podcasting news is that Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. (SIRI) will be launching a daily four hour Podcast show starting on May 13th on Sirius channel 148, a talk-radio station that does carry commercials, unlike Sirius' other all-music channels. The show will feature MTV personality Adam Curry. In a written statement Sirius said that their show will, "feature highlights and insights from the world of Podcasting and showcase new talent and artists from around the world, including new music". One more nail in the Clear Channel coffin? (See my last blog for the Clear Channel rant.) The Podcasts will be selected from submissions to the website Podshow.com, a company run by Curry. Podshow.com is aimed at "promoting Podcasting to listeners, Podcast producers and advertisers wishing to reach Podcast audiences". A subscription to Sirius (and XM Satellite Radio) costs $12.95 per month. The radio industry has recently been suffering from sluggish revenues due to decreasing advertising dollars. Clear Channel is also rumored to be jumping on the Podcasting bandwagon, but in the other direction – making Podcasts of their radio shows available online. Where do I sign up?

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