Monday, April 20, 2009

Don Henley sues Senate Candidate

Don Henley, of The Eagles, is suing Republican Senate candidate Charles DeVore for using parody's of Henley's songs "The Boys of Summer" and "All She Wants to Do is Danoce" in two campaign videos without permission. DeVore has responded saying that the use is within his first amendment freedom of political speech. You can read the article here.

Comment: It is likely DeVore will prevail because parody is allowed as fair use under the US Copyright act.

Record Store Day a Success!

Billboard is reporting that this past weekend's 2nd Annual Record Store Day was a success with greater traffic and sales numbers than last years event. Record Store Day, the annual event which was created to promote independent record stores, celebrated its 2nd year on April 18, 2009 by offering 82 exclusive releases (cds, vinyl, and dvds) only available at independent record stores. You can read the article about its success here.

Priate Bay Founders Found Guilty

The four founders of the BitTorrent Site, Pirate Bay, have been found guilty in Sweden of promoting copyright infringement. They have each been sentenced to one year in prison and must pay a fine of $3.5 million. This verdict appears to have lead to thousands of people protesting in Sweden. The decision is controversial because Pirate Bay does not actually host an infringing material, it only indexes where material can be found. The U.K. paper the Telegraph has a detailed article on the legal implications of this decision.

Video of Pirate Bay founder speaking on verdict:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New Ticket Resell Law Proposed

From "Senator Charles E. Schumer has introduced legislation to specifically target ticket scalping as well as ticket resellers like TicketNow. The bill would require a two-day waiting period from when tickets go on sale before a ticket reseller can buy those tickets to put on the secondary market,

The purpose of the bill is to enable fans to get tickets at face value before ticket resellers (like the Ticketmaster-owned TicketsNow) can set up auctions to increase the price of those tickets. The issue was brought to the forefront by Bruce Springsteen and U2 but many bands have seen tickets selling for very significant amounts. When the Mighty Mighty Bosstones reunited in 2007, the band saw tickets for their shows selling for as much as $1250.00."

Check out a more in-depth article about it here.

Coldplay: Copycats or Just Pretentious?

The battle over Coldplay's song "Viva La Vida" continues with charges from Joe Satriani that Coldplay copied his 2004 song "If I Could Fly". Coldplay filed a response to Satriani's copyright infringement suit with the court saying that they could not have copied the song because Satriani's song "lacks the originality" needed to be given copyright protection. Check out an article on it here.

Note: In order for something to receive copyright protection it must be an original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium. If one cannot show that their work is 1) a work of authorship that is 2) original and 3) fixed in a tangible medium, then that work will not receive copyright protection.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Music Videos Back on Mtv

From "MTV is currently launching a program called AMTV which will feature music videos between 3am and 9am. The network, which began in primordial times in this fashion, later changed their focus to reality TV and are currently best known for shows like The Hills, My Super Sweet 16, A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila, and Paris Hilton's My New BFF.

According to the NY Times report, the network is also bringing back “Unplugged,” its series of acoustic performances by artists. Critics of MTV say that its music brand is all but irrelevant now, since countless music videos and songs are only a click away on YouTube and other Web sites. The network canceled “TRL,” its long-running video countdown, last fall after years of sagging ratings."

Wal-Mart is the new Ticketmaster

According to this article, Wal-mart will begin selling concert tickets.

Green Day Musical

Green Day's rock opera, American Idiot, will soon be premiering as a live musical. Set to run from September 4th through October 11th, the musical was adapted by the band with Michael Mayer, the Tony Award-winning director of “Spring Awakening.” The show will be featured at the Berkeley Repertory Theater in California. Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong commented:

"It doesn’t make a lot of sense. but that’s what I love about it. When people see it, it’s going to be my wildest dream."

For more details including comments from the director, check out the New York Times article here.

Also there is news of it being adapted in to a feature film.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

XM Sirius Radio Bailed Out by DirecTV Owner

Sirius XM Satellite radio, who last week was rumored to go bankrupt, was bought by DirecTV owner Liberty Media. Liberty is investing $530 million in loans, $175 million of which is paying off their immediate debts. Sirius and XM Satellite radio merged last March but had caught some flake for getting rid of a lot of their niche programing and replacing it with more mainstream programing. For more details on the structure of the deal, visit Sirius' investor page.

Touch and Go Records to Shut Down Distribution Arm

In yet another sign of this countries recession, Touch and Go Records has announced that that will be shutting down the distribution arm of their company. Touch and Go did manufacturing and distribution for many other indie labels including: Jade Tree Records, Flameshovel Records, Suicide Squeeze Records, Merge Records, Kill Rock Stars and many others. The label explained:

"it is with great sadness that we are reporting some major changes here at Touch and Go Records. Many of you may not be aware, but for nearly 2 decades, Touch and Go has provided manufacturing and distribution services for a select yet diverse group of other important independent record labels.

Unfortunately, as much as we love all of these labels, the current state of the economy has reached the point where we can no longer afford to continue this lesser known, yet important part of Touch and Go’s operations.

Touch and Go will be returning to its roots and focusing solely on being an independent record label. We’ll be busy for a few months working closely with the departing labels and scaling our company to an appropriate smaller size after their departure."

A full article on this can be found at the Chicago Tribune.

M.I.A. Accused of Being a Terrorist (again)?

A New York Times article last week indirectly accused Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A. of having ties with the Tamil Tiger Rebels who oppose the government of Sri Lanka. This connection seems to come mostly from the fact that her father was a supporter of the Tamil Tigers, but M.I.A. has been accused in the past of using terrorist imagery in her video for "Paper Planes". You can read the entire article here. You can read a reactionary article here. M.I.A. is scheduled to perform her Oscar nominated song for "Slumdog Millionare" this Sunday at the Oscars.

Here is her recent interview with Tavis Smiley:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ticketmaster and LiveNation Merge

Concert promoter Live Nation and ticketing giant Ticketmaster announced Tuesday morning that they plan an all-stock merger. The combined company will be called Live Nation Entertainment. This merger of course is pending approval by the government. Many think that they will get strict scrutiny by the antitrust review because they hold such a large share of the marketplace. Read more here. The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, has come out against the merger posting a statement on his Web site saying a deal with Live Nation could end up "returning us to a near-monopoly situation in music ticketing."

Commentary: Despite what Live Nation Entertainment claim, this will most likely hurt consumers by killing all competition and driving ticket prices up even more. Without competition there will be very little incentive to stop them from raising service charges.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Springsteen Regrets Inking Deal with Wal-Mart

In a recent New York Times interview, Bruce Springsteen said that making an exclusive deal with Wal-Mart for his greatest hits cd was a mistake. Wal-Mart's treatment of its employees rights has been criticized and goes against Springsteen's working class ideals. More info can be found here.

National Geographic to Start Record Label

Looks like National Geographic will be starting a new record label with focus on cultural diversity. You can check out more details here.

ISPs Jump Into Bed with RIAA

Here is an interesting article giving us a little more information about what the RIAA is expecting from Internet Service Providers (ISP) for giving up individual lawsuits.

"Thriller" Musical Runs Into Legal Trouble

According to this article, the musical based on Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video has been put on hold due to a pending law suit. Director / Co-writer of the music video, John Landis, has apparently never received any share of the profits Mr. Jackson received for selling the property to Nederlander Organization. Landis has sued Michael Jackson to recover the money he is owed, effectively putting the production on hold.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Music Sales up 10% in 2008

According to Nielsen SoundScan, music sales have increased 10% year-over-year since 2007. The growth in sales is mostly attributed to digital sales, which are up 10%, but can also be attributed to vinyl sales, which are up 89% (though they make up a much much smaller part of the market). Of course the death of physical cds continue to linger with their sales being down 14% from 2007. For a more in depth look check out this article.

Playing to Make a Living has posted an interesting and lengthy article about the current business model in the music industry and how musicians must constantly tour to make a living. Check out the article here.

Apple removes DRM Copy Protection from iTunes

Apple announced today that they would be removing Digital Rights Management (DRM) Copy Protection from 8 million of the 10 million songs that they currently sell via iTunes. This now makes the majority of music sold through online retailers DRM free (something Amazon has been doing since they started selling downloadable content). Apple is also expected to roll out a new tiered pricing strategy similar to with songs ranging from $0.79 to $1.29. Songs purchased prior to today can be upgraded to DRM free for $0.30 each (or for free by burning them on a cd and then importing them back on to your computer).