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.