Wednesday, October 26, 2005

October Music Industry Update

RealNetworks Inc. (RNWK) shares rose 44 percent in October after reaching a $761 million settlement with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT). The settlement closed RNWK’s antitrust case against MSFT and created a new partnership to distribute Real's music and digital-game services through the MSN network.

Clear Channel (NYSE:CCU) recently reported that their third quarter profits were down by 21% to $205.5 million. Lower third quarter profits were stated to be the result of shorter radio ads – the company is focusing on 15 to 30 second ads - and CCU’s restructuring costs.

Canadian company, Corus Entertainment Inc (Toronto: CJR-NVB.TO) announced that their fourth quarter profits were down to $9.7 million (22 cents per diluted share) from $14 million (33 cents per share) at the same point last year due to new copyright costs and the integration of several of its radio stations. On the TSX, shares in Corus fell 50 cents, or 1.51 per cent, to $32.69 in late afternoon trading.

Activision, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI), worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and leisure products, announced on October 26 a four-for-three stock split. Activision posted net revenues of $1.4 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2005.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Two Terminated At Clear Channel Following Payola Investigation

Clear Channel (NYSE: CCU) announced today that two individuals had been dismissed following allegations of illegal ‘pay-to-play’ activities. The company also uncovered other instances of inappropriate conduct and those employees have been placed under disciplinary action. Clear Channel did not reveal the names or the positions of the terminated employees. The illegal activities were uncovered during a legal settlement between the New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and the music company, Sony BMG.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Music Download Market Triples

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) released a report on Monday stating that the digital music downloads market has tripled in the first half of this year. Downloads now account for 6% of total record industry sales, rising from $220 million at this time last year to $790 million today.

The increase in downloads neatly offsets declines in the retail sales of physical CDs and DVDs, which fell by 6.3%. The decline in physical sales was reported to be due to illegal downloading, CD burning, and lower retail prices for CDs and DVDs.

The increase in downloads is a result of faster broadband internet connections and more and better portable music players, including 3G mobile phones.

Apple’s iTunes accounted for 82% of the legal download market having sold more than 500 million single track downloads and 22 million iPod players. The recording industry is aggressively attacking illegal downloads, having pursued litigation against over 14,800 individuals in the US.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

‘Thanks But No Thanks For The Music’ At Microsoft

Stating that the major labels want too big a cut of digital music sales revenues, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have announced that Microsoft has “postponed indefinitely” plans to launch their own subscription based music service.

The industry's decline in physical CD sales has been bolstered by the increased popularity of digital music downloads, sales of which have more than tripled in the past year (to $790 million) which amounts to 6% of the industry's total sales of $13.2 billion.