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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 A spokesman for the group said last night that the UK arm of Sony BMG had withdrawn from Prince’s global deal and would not distribute the album to UK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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KOAR Briefs…

Recording industry ‘threatened to interrogate 10-year-old’… (Read here)

Bon Jovi tops The Billboard 200. “Lost Highway” sold 292,000 in United States, according to Nielsen soundScan. The White Stripes debut with 223,066.

More scans this week

Amy Winehouse 62k
Linkin Park 63k
Paramore 16k
Papa Roach 12k
The Used 12k

Kelly Clarkson and Hannah Montana are expected to debut with at least 300k next week.


R&B artist Cene who hails from North Carolina is creating a buzz among some label heads. Cene’s new disc was produced by Roy Hamilton and wrote #1′s for R Kelly and Britney Spears. Her first track My Bumper was just added to WXBT-Columbia, SC WHXT-Columbia, Charlotte NC WPEG, Jacksonville NC WIKS,
Richmond VA WRVZ and SC WQHH-Lansing. Check out the video My Bumper which garnered 55,000 views within weeks. Myspace plays are averaging 10-15k plays a day propelling her to the top of the myspace charts. Cene is being repped by Jason Davis at Fahrenheit Media Group.


Playboy launches iPlayboy for the Apple iPhone. Had enough yet?

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When times are rough you throw out many darts as possible hoping one sticks. One dart being thrown by labels is re-investing into old stars..

They believe there’s new money in new music from old stars.

Sony BMG’s Burgundy Records is now home to R&B Chaka Khan, ’80s pop diva Gloria Estefan (pictured), Donna Summer. New Door Records, part of Universal Music Group, released new albums by Frampton, ’70s arena rock favorites Styx and Motown legend Smokey Robinson last year.

This strategy is not new, Malaco Music Group and Koch Records, have long made a business out of releasing new material from aging stars.

Also, older fans of ageing artists typically buy CD’s. Sales are typically sluggish for older stars because its not the ‘NEXT’ new thing, but its still an opportunity to generate at least modest profits from older artists at a time when it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make money on new releases of any kind. Its the ‘we will take what we can get” mentality.

Depending on how their deals are structured, even modest sales levels can be enough for an album to make money. Older artists generally command smaller advances, Kellogg says, adding that thanks to their existing fan bases, labels don’t have to invest as much on marketing.

Still, marketing new recordings by older artists isn’t a sure bet. Gallo says that New Door’s success rate on turning profits on such releases has been about “50-50.” Just look at SANCTUARY for example. (Forbes)

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NJ based indie act Paulson has always been a KOAR fave. Check out the new video ‘Calling on You’. We love the dark melodies and harmonies. Go to their myspace for a list of tour dates.

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Apple IPhone Hype Machine in Overdrive:
Apple has mastered the art of HYPE. Die-hard Apple fans are expected to line up overnight or longer outside retail stores to get their hands on an iPhone for either $500 or $600. Skeptics wonder whether even the most innovative product could live up to the iPhone’s lofty expectations – and whether the pre-launch anticipation has spiraled too far out of control.

Scrutiny of the product is so great that any small disappointment could send Apple’s stock plunging, experts say.

The hype began when Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the wraps off the iPhone at the annual Macworld Conference and Expo in early January.

The iPhone has already generated a thriving cottage industry online, with more than 1,100 peripheral iPhone items currently for sale on eBay, including colorful holsters, touch-screen protectors and car adapters.

But the hype has also hurt Apple.

The launch is being so closely watched that Apple’s share price plunged more than 4 percent in a matter of minutes last month after a rumor about a delay was reported on, an electronics Web site.

Die-hard fans are expected to camp out in front of Apple and AT&T stores to get a shot at snagging one of the iPhones, which are being sold on a first-come, first-serve basis starting Friday evening.

“God knows what’s going to happen when the reviews come out,” he said. (myway)

First Review……………… 

Review: The iPhone Matches Most of Its Hype



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KOAR Briefs……………..


The caffeine pusher Starbucks and Universal Music Group are now priming a release from Sonic Youth. (DMN)

An increasingly large number of consumers are listening to music on their PCs, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

Thrice who was heavily anticipated in 2003 with “Artist in The Ambulance” have parted ways with Island Records. Vagrant Records has signed indie act
Dr. Manhattan.

New acts starting out should read these two articles Yahoo articles including Digital riches await savvy indie bands and Five touring tips for developing bands. (AbsolutePunk)

The Donnas who have departed ways from Atlantic Records start their own record label. Even though the Donnas entered talks with other majors after its departure from Atlantic, the group ultimately wanted more control and profits from its records. The new Redeye deal guarantees a 50/50 split from sales, plus co-ownership of the masters and a record-to-record contract. Redeye’s deal is for North America, leaving the Donnas to choose international distributors. (Billboard)


Read the LA Times article “Kelly Clarkson’s dispute with Clive Davis has made her music hard to hear”.Unlike most first time successful artists, Clarkson doesn’t have the urge to claw her way back on the charts.

Sanctuary Records Group will have let go their entire Radio Promotion Department come June 30. Names and contact info of exiting employees can be found here.

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The Future of Music Coalition, an artists’ rights group, is accusing Clear Channel Communications of forcing musicians to give up their digital copyrights in order to get the airplay that the broadcaster is required to give under the payola consent decree.

The Coalition claims that Clear Channel is forcing independent musicians to sign a contract that gives up the artists’ right to a performance fee when their music is broadcast over the Web.

This is outrageous,” Coalition Executive Director Jenny Toomey said, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Esq. “This is like the fox getting caught in the henhouse a second time and arguing that he shouldn’t get in trouble because he was leaving the hens alone. He was just eating all their eggs.”

Clear Channel tells a different story:

Michele Clarke, according to the Reporter. “The artists are in complete control of their musical work. They control whether they just want it considered for broadcast over the air, whether they want it considered for streaming online, whether they want it to be available for download or all three, and (most importantly) they have the right to terminate their license at any time upon notice to us.”

In March, the Copyright Royalty Board voted to increase the rates that Webcasters must pay each time a song is played, and the stiff increase has been a hot button issue among Webcasters ever since.  (FMQB)

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