Archive for November, 2006

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Apple close to exclusive iTunes deal with Beatles

November 30, 2006

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If you click on the iTunes music store you can find “Beatles” under artist search. More than 50 albums will pop up, including Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Play the Beatles, but none are the real deal. Fans wishing to download the actual Fab Four in MP3 format have to search peer-to-peer sites like Limewire for unlicensed songs they can listen to free.

But that may be about to change. While details remain to be worked out, Fortune has learned that iTunes is close to a deal to bring the Beatles catalog online. Apple Computer is said to be angling to become the exclusive online music store for the Beatles for a limited window of time.

Other music stores, such as Microsoft’s MSN and Rhapsody, have courted the Beatles over the years to no avail, but it appears Apple is close to getting first dibs on the band’s hits.

When reached by Fortune, an Apple spokesman responded that the company does not comment on “rumor and speculation.” If the deal goes through, it will mark a Nixon-Brezhnev-worthy truce – with the band’s record label, Britain’s EMI Group, serving as a peacemaker – between Apple Computer’s Steve Jobs and Neil Aspinall, the onetime Beatles road manager who is now guardian of the band’s business interests under the rubric Apple Corps.

The 1987 “Revolution” Nike commercial was the first time a Beatles song was used in a TV ad, and the sneaker maker wound up discontinuing the spot after being sued by the Beatles. (Nike thought it had obtained the proper license for the song, only to find itself in the middle of a legal battle between EMI and Apple Corps.)

“The Beatles‘ position is that they don’t sing jingles to peddle sneakers, beer, pantyhose, or anything else,” a lawyer for the band told the Associated Press at the time. Notice he didn’t say iPods.

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Universal Music may seek royalty deal with iPod

November 29, 2006

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Universal Music Group Chief Executive Doug Morris said on Tuesday he may try to fashion an iPod royalty fee with Apple Computer Inc. in the next round of negotiations in early 2007.

Universal, the world’s largest music company, owned by French media giant Vivendi, was the first major record label to strike an agreement with Microsoft Corp. to receive a fee for every Zune digital media player sold.

“It would be a nice idea. We have a negotiation coming up not too far. I don’t see why we wouldn’t do that… but maybe not in the same way,” he told the Reuters Media Summit, when asked if Universal would negotiate a royalty fee for the iPod that would be similar to Microsoft’s Zune.

“The Zune (deal) was an amazingly interesting exercise, to end up with a piece of technology,” he added.

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The Good Evita

November 29, 2006

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“I want to do a musical movie. Like Evita, but with good music.” Elton John

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New Digital Music Download Service To Hit UK

November 28, 2006

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A digital music download service that allows consumers to buy songs instantly as they listen to them on digital radio will start operating across Britain in the first half of 2007, UBC Media said on Monday.

The London-based radio programming producer said it had reached agreements with radio companies, record companies and mobile operators to launch the service in London by early 2007 and across the country by May of that year.

In an interview, UBC Chief Executive Simon Cole said consumers would be able to download music digitally to mobile devices such as radios and mobile phones, which will appear later this year. In addition, a downloaded song would also go to the buyer’s Web-based music library.

He said research had shown that the service was most popular with listeners listening to the radio at home and with people who had previously been put off by downloading music because they thought it was too complicated.

The new mobile phones and radios will track download usage. Cole said UBC was in talks with one manufacturer that was looking to develop a digital radio for use in the home that would be able to operate the service.

In a statement, the company said listeners would pre-pay for songs using a credit plan similar to the one commonly used for mobile phone calls. Each song would cost around 1.25 pounds.

“Anybody who believes that advertising on its own is going to support the future of the radio industry is living in cloud cuckoo land,” he said.

UBC has been testing the technology, known as Digital Music Downloading (DMD), and they expect to announce further radio stations that will enable DMD in the coming weeks.

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The Sound Of Music

November 27, 2006

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“The more you drink, the better I sound.” Melissa Etheridge

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Digital Music Market to Reach $14.9 Billion

November 27, 2006

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A recent study by iSuppli has just predicted a six-fold growth in digital music market by 2010. Analysts expect it to reach a value of $14.9 billion by then, representing over 40% of record companies’ revenues.

The decline in traditional music sales has transformed the way music industry was run, generating rapid growth of mobile and broadband music services.

Music record labels have to take into account that the chain of digital distribution now also includes broadband digital music stores like iTunes, mobile network operators, MP3 player and mobile-phone manufacturers, music distributors, platform software companies and other technology providers.

Analyst Mark Kirstein points out that the digital music market is made up of both types of service (broadband and mobile) and that while mobile services were, until now, driven by ringtone sales, they are starting to expand into full-length music downloads. “Music-enabled phones already out-ship MP3 players by a factor of 2 to 1,” Kirstein said.

The researchers believe digital sales seem set for a compound annual growth rate of 40.7 per cent from $2.7 billion in 2005, while sales of physically distributed music are expected to decline to $19.6 billion by 2010 – down from $273 billion in 2005.

Digital music in 2006 represented 12% of all revenue posted by record labels. With nearly $33 billion in total recorded retail music revenue accumulated in 2005, this is an enormous opportunity for those involved in mobile and broadband distribution across the supply chain, the company noted.

To compensate for lost CD sales, record labels will need to secure new revenue streams and new music distribution channels, which can generate new grounds of competition in this market between established digital music services and mobile services trying to seize a slice of the territory.
Given that Apple’s success on the market of both players and music was a result of a creation of an easy-to-use platform that includes a decent iPod device and a well-made iTunes store, iSuppli said that more companies are expected to mimic the vertically integrated model.

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Buying a CD

November 26, 2006

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Very good music related comic strip at Bassist Wanted by American artist Porter Mason.