Friday, January 31, 2003
I'm back. Lotsa links today to make up for my absence!
posted by Randy on 1:33 PM |
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- AOL Considers Selling Core Assets
You may have heard that AOL Time Warner announced the largest annual loss in U.S. history , when it told investors telling investors the company's worth declined $98.7 billion, which comes on top of a similar, $54.1 billion write-down in the first quarter of 2002, also from AOL Time Warner's lessening value. With the company $26 billion in debt, they've got to do something to turn it around and selling off some of their core assets is under preliminary discussions. Among the companies that might be sold off in part or whole-- Warner Music. Given AOL's "synergy" strategy, I'd bet they sell off the name and staff and equipment but keep the copyrights and music and mastertapes and whatnot.
- Vivendi Considers Alternatives For Shedding Units
Vivendi Universal is also possibly looking to get out of the music industry, but this is also still in the infancy stage. Vivendi is considering several options for the businesses, including creating a new stand-alone entertainment arm that could go public through an initial public offering, selling the entertainment businesses outright or merging into another publicly traded entertainment company. One deal being envisioned has Vivendi's Universal Pictures and its TV and theme-park businesses would be merged with MGM to create a Hollywood giant. The new entertainment company would keep its U.S. stock listing, and Vivendi would hold a majority stake that it could gradually sell off. Universal Music Group would be left out of such a deal and remain within Vivendi.
- Senate Panel Reviewing Radio Ownership
Evil radio-and-concert-promotion-conglomorate Clear Channelgot raked over the coals yesterday in front of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. During the hearing, Clear Channel Chairman/CEO Lowry Mays agreed that there needed to be more diversity among those who own radio stations but disagreed that consolidation among the radio and concert promotion industries have led to less choice on the radio and higher ticket prices. Read Lowry Mays testimony before the committe here, but prepare yourself for a good laugh. Afterthat, peep Clear Channel Is Facing a Lot of Static Inside the Capitol for a pretty good picture of where the radio giant stands in Congress these days.
- Feingold Introduces "Competition in Radio and Concert Industries Act
Read the above linked press release for full details of this wonderful piece off legislation and then contact your representatives to urge them to support it.
Better yet, j ust to make it a little easier:
John McCain, Arizona, Chairman (202) 224-2235 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ted Stevens, Alaska (202) 224-3004 Ted Stevens
Conrad Burns, Montana (202) 224-2644 Conrad Burns
Trent Lott, Mississippi (202) 224-6253 email@example.com
Kay Bailey Hutchison,Texas (202) 224-5922Kay Bailey Hutchison
Olympia J. Snowe, Maine (202) 224-5344 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam Brownback, Kansas (202) 224-6521 Sam Brownback
Gordon Smith, Oregon (202) 224-3753 Gordon Smith
Peter G. Fitzgerald, Illinois (202) 224-2854Peter G. Fitzgerald
John Ensign, Nevada (202) 224-6244 John Ensign
George Allen, Virginia (202) 224-4024 George Allen
John Sununu, New Hampshire (202) 224-2841
Ernest F. Hollings, South Carolina (202)224-6121Ernest F. Hollings
Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii (202)224-3934 Daniel K. Inouye
John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia (202) 224-6472 email@example.com
John F. Kerry, Massachusetts (202)224-2742 firstname.lastname@example.org
John B. Breaux, Louisiana (202)224-4623 email@example.com
Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota (202)224-2551 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ron Wyden, Oregon (202)224-5244Ron Wyden
Barbara Boxer, California (202)224-3553 Barbara Boxer
Bill Nelson, Florida (202)224-5274 Bill Nelson
Maria Cantwell, Washington (202)224-3441 Maria Cantwell
And by the way, if you live in a state that one of the above senators are from, it's especially important that you take the time to write them.
- File-Sharing Service Says Studios, Labels Misuse Copyrights
Sharman Networks, which distributes the Kazaa software, has filed a counterclaim against the major labels and studios which alleges that they are colluding to keep iSherman Networks and its companies out of the net distribution game. Sharman argues in its counterclaim that the labels and studios provided music and movies to the online ventures that they owned while they refused to do business with Altnet and Sharman. That refusal constitutes copyright misuse because it prevented Altnet from combating piracy by offering legitimate copies of the entertainment companies' works to Kazaa users. Read Kazaa's entire counter-suit here. Also, US-based legal counsel for Sharman Networks are warning plaintiffs representing copyright holders that their claims may be in vain, given the vagaries of international copyright law.
- Feel Like Dancing? Beware of Tom Daschle
You may remember last year's "RAVE Act," sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (D., Tex.) as H.R. 5519 and in the Senate by Joseph Biden (D., Del.)-- which basically set out to outlaw rave's by holding promoters legally responsible for anything done by the party's patrons/ It died an nasty death-- but it is back. Hidden deep within the "Justice Enhancement and Domestic Security Act of 2003" (S. 22), omnibus bill sponsored by Sen. Tom Daschle(D-N.D.) are many of the same provisions that the "RAVE Act" contained.
The Daschle bill extends the federal "crackhouse law" which makes it illegal to maintain a building for purposes of drug consumption to cover musical performances and other events of a temporary nature, and to make liable even those who make their premises available at no charge. The idea is to make the promoters of musical events liable for drug consumption at those events even when the consumption is entirely incidental, and has nothing to do with any action by the promoters. Check out The Drug Policy Action Center for infformation about how to contact your representative to let them know how you feel about this bill.
- Damn, I Wish You Were My Financial Adviser
If only all artists were as financially savvy as Sophie B. Hawkins we might not ever again hear about them gettign ripped off. Surem she got ripped off at first, but now she's stacking her chips and doin' a darn good job of it. Especially now that she isn't on a mjaor label anymore. Pick up her latest, Timbre, by clicking here.
- Beatles to Re-Release Stripped Down Album
The surviving memebrs of The Beatles are planning to re-release Let It Be minus the orchestration that producer Phil Spector added to it after the band broke up. To my ears, the most radical difference will be on "The Long And Winding Road," but I guess we shall see. It will come out in the fall, along with The "Let It Be" movie on DVD.
- 50 Cent Album Heads Online A Week Early
With copies of 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin already popping up on file-sharing networks, his label honchos at Interscope have decided to release it a week early via Pressplay a week early on Feb. 4 -- with all the onerous Digital Rights Management bells and whistles attatched. Get Rich Or Die Tryin will be on store shelves on Feb. 11 (unless they decide to rush release it). You can pre order it here and get a bonus DVD.
- Kid Rock's Dead-In-The-Water Cocky Comes Back To Life
Thanks to the Sheryl Crow duet "Picture," sales for Kid Rock's Cocky are finally taking off. Students of music history will remember that it also took a long while before Kid Rock's Devil Without A Cause raised a stink on the charts.
- Noted DJs Team Up In Triple Threat
Legendary Invisibl Skratch Piklz principals DJ Apollo and DJ Shortkut are teaming with DJ Vinroc as Triple Threat, whose debut album, Many Styles is due March 3 from Fat Beats. The album will feature appearances by Rob Swift, Roc Raida, Talib Kweli, Mystic, and Souls of Mischief. The trio has been playing the Bay Area for years, but they are finally putting out an album and going on tour March through May. Check the above linked article for tour dates and click here to pre-order Many Styles.
- Entwistle Guitars to Be Auctioned Off
More than 150 guitars belonging to The Who's John Entwistle will be auctioned May 13 in London by Sotheby's Included in the auction will be Entwistle's favorite bass, a pink Fender Precision Bass named "Frankenstein" because he patched it together from the remains of five smashed basses. If you want something to remember Entwistle by but can't part with thousands of dollars, why not try Left for Live: Deluxe for a mere $14.99 plus S&H?
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Hi y'all. Sorry about missing yesterday-- I tweaked my neck in my sleep and as a result was away from computers for the day. I have some actual work to do today (and perhaps tomorrow), so I promise you I will have a gaggle of links for you to check out on Friday afternoon (pacific time).
posted by Randy on 10:39 AM |
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Monday, January 27, 2003
posted by Randy on 12:30 PM |
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- The Race to Kill Kazaa
Wired looks at the people who run Kazaa(actual interviews! For perhaps the first time!) and their efforts to stay in business as the Mega Media Industries try to bring them down. It is almost sort of hard to know who to route for in this battle-- The Evil Record Industry that is rooted in ripping-off artists or The Shady Internet Start-Up that rips-off the record companies but also rips off artists as an extension. If boths sides would just drop the bullshit and get the right compulsory deals in place, I'd be a very happy man. As it is, I suppose I am a thief-- a music-loving-still-buying-music-I'm-exposed-to thief, but a thief none the less.
Songwriting legend Lamont Dozier says so, in this L.A. Times commentary.
- Six Music Retailers Join To Offer Digital Music Downloads In Stores And Over Internet
Best Buy, Tower Records, Virgin Entertainment Group, Wherehouse Music, Hastings Entertainment Inc. and Trans World Entertainment Corp. (operator of FYE, Strawberries and Coconuts stores) have formed a joint venture called Echo that will provide technology and allow them to offer individual tracks for downloading to portable devices and computers. From the above linked article: "Individual retailers will decide how to use the technology and music provided by Echo, Hart said. For example, stores could offer digital music tracks on a handout CD, allowing customers to access some of them for free and charging a fee to listen to the rest. Portable players could come pre-loaded with music that customers could listen to for a fee. Retailers also could allow customers to download tracks at in-store kiosks or over Internet sites, such as Radio Free Virgin." The articles and the Echo web sitte carefully avoids saying it-- but none of this will be available in the consumer's choice-- the MP3 format. If they can make people do it just by sheer distribution power, than my hat is off to them.
- Supreme Court Rejects Mattel Appeal on Barbie Song
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected on Monday an appeal by Mattel Inc. over its lawsuit against MCA Records Inc. claiming the 1997 Aqua hit "Barbie Girl" had infringed on the toy maker's doll trademark. This is after the appeals court famously told the conflicting parties "to chill."
- U.S. Opens National Registry of Sounds
The National Recording Registry has inducted the first 50 audio recordings that it will save forever and ever until the end of time. More will be added each year-- just like The National Film Registry. Among the recordings inducted: Aretha Franklin's "Respect," Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's "The Message," The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, Ray Charles' "What'd I Say," parts 1 and 2, Frank Sinatra's Songs for Young Lovers, Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" and Elvis Presley's Sun Records sessions.
- Will Korn, Papa Roach and Limp Bizkit Evolve or Die
MTV News has a pretty decent piece about the need for bands to evolve in the face of market saturation once their sounds being ripped off by other bands. Well worth reading.
- Amazon Beats Expectations of Analysts in 4th Quarter
Go, Amazon.com, go! In one of the toughest retail markets in years, sales at Amazon.com increased 28 percent, to $1.43 billion, in the fourth quarter of last year. And the online store, which had lost money in the first three quarters of 2002, posted a quarterly profit of $2.7 million
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