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Between natural disasters, terminal illness, political agendas and social awareness, there seems to be more money raising than ever. But how effective are benefit concerts, really? With a new cause every other week, are they losing their meaning? Wealthy celebrities begging for money and the most frivolous artists appearing on CRIBS one day and lecturing the public about their irresponsible lifestyles the next?

Now, I’m all for social activism. I think it’s important as human beings to help our fellow man, even when the cameras are off. But how many people are really helped by Madonna flying her 100+ person circus on gas guzzling private jets to play a benefit show intended to raise awareness about environmental responsibility? People don’t tune into massive line ups of the biggest stars in music because they care about Africa or AIDS or global warming, and I don’t believe all of these artists show up because they care either. There are few benefits Paul McCartney and Bono aren’t a part of, and artists like Fergie will show up to the opening of an envelope. These shows are supposed to be about a cause, not the artists trying to appear human why they peddle their products. In the end, people won’t even remember what the causes were. They’re only watching to be entertained. So, what’s the point?

Benefit shows have turned into what? Organizers say things like “if we can change the thinking and habits of just one person, then we’ve succeeded.” REALLY?! That seems like a lot of effort to make ONE person start recycling. I don’t doubt that some of these people have their hearts in the right place, and I applaud the true efforts people make to better the world. However, I’d rather see these celebrities write gigantic checks to these causes than ask me to write one, or  at the very least, practice what they’re preaching.

KOAR is not alone….more here:

Arctic Monkeys shiver at Live Earth ‘hypocrisy’ ….

Superstars flying 222,623 miles between them to get to the LIVE EARTH concerts…

Rock n Roll!….

Click here to watch all the shows live and online.

Live Earth fails to pack large-scale punch…

Earth underwhelmed by environment pop extravaganza…

Live Earth Internet streaming sets record: 9 Million Streams…


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Coolfer: Billboard (the print version only) offered details of Korn’s two-album, revenue-sharing deal with EMI (the article is republished at Korn Underground, via from Blabbermouth). EMI purchased a 30% stake in Korn’s revenues (touring, merch, recorded music, etc) for $25 million. The deal goes through 2010.

“To date, Billboard projects it has generated around $15 million on the sales of ‘See You on the Other Side’ (based on worldwide sales of about 2 million units and estimating a net of about $7.75 per album after manufacturing and distribution costs, based on an $11.45 wholesale price).The band has also pulled an estimated $4 million after fees from additional sales of digital downloads, ringtones and the ‘Unplugged’ album. On top of that it has netted a projected $7 million-plus after expenses in touring-related revenue from the 2006 Family Values Tour and a 20-date U.S. theatre tour and selected European dates that grossed more than $11 million in box-office receipts.

Tour sponsorships and merch pulled in another estimated $2.2 million. That leaves the band still needing to earn another $20 million-$30 million in profits by 2010.”

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Hannah Montana debuted with 323k units this week on Billboard


Kelly ClarksonMy December’ closely followed with 300k. Both artists had solid opening weeks. Good music and great entertainers can still captivate the public.

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After months of controversy Russian download store has been shut down. Since the closure of another identical site has already emerged. The site looks virtually identical and claims to offer thousands of albums by popular artists for around 15 US cents per song. (TimesOnline)

Which album will peak #1 on Billboard this week? Controversial Kelly Clarkson or Disney teen queen Hannah Montana. Its a close race.

The name Clive Davis is no where to be found in the liner notes on Kelly Clarkson’s My December. Regardless, play nice. Also, KOAR listened to My December. It’s ok. The first single Never Again is the strongest song on the CD, guaranteed.

Matchbox Twenty will be entering into the studio with producer Steve Lillywhite. Matchbox Twenty’s three albums to date have sold more than 28 million copies worldwide.

Warner CEO Edgar Bronfman is now the subject of an insider trading probe according to a French newspaper. Bronfman was allegedly grilled by Paris authorities for dumping significant shares of Vivendi stocks in 2002. (DMN)


Fergie is set to make £2 million by promoting a US clothing firm in her songs. Fergie has become the first star to agree to product placement in her songs, will write and perform tracks endorsing fashion company Candie’s on her second solo album. (Coolfer, Post Chronicle)

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EMI is the first major label to strike an agreement with Snocap. EMI will now sell DRM free high quality MP3′s through the Snocap stores. (Snocap)

Kelly Clarkson who was formerly managed by the Firm has signed with Nashville based Starstruck Entertainment. Starstruck is the home to Reba Mcentire and Blake Shelton. CEO of Starstruck and McEntire’s husband will serve as Clarkson’s personal manager. (Billboard)

Los Angeles continues to lose indie record stores….
Clifford says that when he opened up shop in 2001 he used to love customers. “Now when customers come in, I’m like, ‘Just buy it and leave,’ ” he says. “This isn’t a job where I should wake up and say, ‘I don’t want to go to work. (CNN)


KOAR has picked up several new releases recently.  When you hear the first single on a new record, it can be rest assured that it doesn’t get better than that. Back in the good ol’ days the first, second, and third singles were all on even par. In some cases the third single could have been the strongest. We have not picked up a decent record in months. So sad, a creative drought.

Also, many of the new releases are just simply tame and lame, no passion and intensity. The iPhone has recieved way more attention than any records has gotten. So why are indie retailers burning out? see above.

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Universal Music Group notified Apple that it will not renew its annual contract to sell music through iTunes, according to executives briefed on the issue who asked for anonymity because negotiations between the companies are confidential.

Instead, Universal said that it would market music to Apple at will, a move that could allow Universal to remove its songs from the iTunes service on short notice if the two sides do not agree on pricing or other terms in the future, these executives said.

It appears Universal is aiming to regain some leverage.  Sources claim that major record labels are discouraged and feel that Steve Jobs CEO of Apple has created a monopoly in the digital sector.

If Universal were to pull its catalog from iTunes, Mr. Jobs would lose access to record labels that collectively account for one out of every three new releases sold in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan data.

If Apple were to decide not to carry Universal’s recordings, the music company would likely sustain a serious blow: sales of digital music through iTunes and other sources accounted for more than 15 percent of Universal’s worldwide revenue in the first quarter, or more than $200 million.

Some industry observers have cautioned against taking on Mr. Jobs directly. “When your customers are iPod addicts, who are you striking back against?,” said Ken Hertz, an entertainment lawyer who represents artists like Beyoncé and the Black Eyed Peas. “The record companies now have to figure out how to stimulate competition without alienating Steve Jobs, and they need to do that while Steve Jobs still has an incentive to keep them at the table.”

Other music industry executives say the major labels must take a harder line with Apple at some point if they are to recalibrate the relationship. In particular, they say, it is unfair for Mr. Jobs to exert tight control over prices and other terms while profiting from the iPod. Mr. Jobs, in February, noted that less than 3 percent of the music on the average iPod was bought from iTunes, leading music executives to speculate that the devices in many instances are used to store pirated songs. (Of course, users can also fill their players with songs copied from their own CD collections.)

The final results will be interesting. This is a struggle for power and pricing. 


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The new album by Prince is being launched as a free CD with a national Sunday newspaper that has drawn widespread criticism from music retailers.

Music biz execs are simply outraged…

“It’s all about giving music for the masses and he believes in spreading the music he produces to as many people as possible,” said Mail on Sunday managing director Stephen Miron. “This is the biggest innovation in newspaper promotions in recent times.”

One music store executive described the plan as “madness” while others said it was a huge insult to an industry battling fierce competition from supermarkets and online stores. Prince’s label has cut its ties with the album in the UK to try to appease music stores.

“It would be an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career,” ERA co-chairman Paul Quirk told a music conference. “It would be yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music

HMV chief executive Simon Fox said: “I think it would be absolutely nuts. I can’t believe the music industry would do it to itself. I simply can’t believe it would happen; it would be absolute madness.”

Prince also plans to give away a free copy of his latest album with tickets for his concerts in London. The singer had signed a global deal for the promotion and distribution of Planet Earth in partnership with Columbia Records, a division of music company Sony BMG. A spokesman for the group said last night that the UK arm of Sony BMG had withdrawn from Prince’s global deal and would not distribute the album to UK

The Bottom line: The sea of madness will continue until the music biz can collectively construct a system that works. Honestly, SONY BMG has the right not to distribute the album in the UK. Giving away CD’s glued to newspapers is not a SEXY marketing campaign and could appear to be an act of desperate measure. Exposure is necessary, but how do you go about it? Aside from this, in all honesty, I never expected much from Prince other than Purple Rain. He always walked the line of cheeze and eccentricism. I always had a hard time buying into his act, but his character is fascinating.


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Even though Kelly Clarkson’s new record ‘My December’ is poised to go #1 with up to 320,000 copies sold, the saga still continues…

Some insiders claimed that Jeff Kwatinetz of The Firm was fired because he had allegedly made himself the bad guy in an ongoing feud between Clarkson and RCA. Now, sources claim that Kwatinetz actually demanded a $15 million advance for Clarkson from RCA last summer.

This was the beginning of the end. Hence, Clarkson received a much more reasonable $1.5 million advance.

Also, The video for “Never Again,” the first single, cost $600,000, and that another $300,000 was spent on promoting it to radio stations. Its seems RCA was disappointed with the results since “Never Again” didn’t chart well or garner the airplay they anticipated.

RCA is now following Clarkson’s wishes and putting out the second single ‘Sober’.

Some label people are skeptic. As the label’s people say: Clarkson is a pop star. She isn’t Joan Jett. There will be euphoria next week when she’s No. 1, but in weeks two, three and four when the album fades away, no one will remember that.

RCA shipped 850,000 copies of “My December” and doesn’t expect to need more.

Lastly, Kwatinetz, is held responsible for Clarkson’s tour plans being scuttled.

“He booked her into arenas that she couldn’t possibly have sold out, instead of 2,000 or 3,000 seat theaters,” a source said. “He really blew it.”

Despite all the ruckus over “My December,” Clarkson won’t be leaving RCA any time soon.

“We have a long term deal with her,” a source said. “We’re in the Kelly Clarkson business for a long time.

If she wants to come back and make a big hit record next time, we’re here.”

Bottom line: This isn’t the first time that a manager got fired for convincing an artist they should playing arenas when they should be performing 2,000-3,000 theaters. Its embarrassing for an artist to walk out on stage to a half empty arena. This music business is a marathon not a sprint. Managers need to build an artist slowly. Some execs choose to play the greed card, but they always lose in the end. I hope it was worth it.

(Roger Friedman)

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