Live Nation reported significant losses during its first quarter. The decline is the result of lackluster tours and increased operational expenses.
Live Nation CFO Alan Ridgeway noted during a conference call that first-quarter (ended March 31, 2007) treks from the Who, Josh Groban, Bob Seger and Dolly Parton “did not perform as strongly” as 2006′s first-quarter lineup of U2, Coldplay, Billy Joel, Aerosmith, Depeche Mode and others.
The concert business is a seasonal and cyclical business with a cycle of generally 1 to 3 years,” Live Nation president/CEO Michael Rapino said in a statement.
The concert business is cyclical to an extent. But, generally speaking the concert business won’t be asÂ healthy as it was since record sales continue to decline and the ageing stars continue to die off. This problem isnt going away. Hence, another solution needed.
Hip Hop is under fire and the music execs don’t like it. Hip Hop CD sales continue to tank as it faces sever criticism of sexicism and depraved lyrics. Top music executives planned a private meeting on the future of hip hop but the meeting was canceled and the music gatekeepers have been silent.
Execs are scared to death of censorship as it could severely damage sales in the already plummeting hip hop world that is facing a backlash from consumers. Plus, CD sales are being gobbled up by digital downloads. This is the PERFECT STORM.
“They want this whole thing to go away and keep doing what they’ve been doing, which is selling records,” said Don Gorder, chair of the Music Business/Management Department at the Berklee College of Music.
Although many music execs are silent others are listening to consumers and taking action:
Ebony magazine pulled the rapper Ludacris from its June cover. Verizon dropped Akon after the underage sex scandal. Hip hop magazine â€˜The Sourceâ€™ has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and Warner Music Group vice president Kevin Lilies appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show and acknowledged “there’s a problem.”
Still, most music executives have turned down requests to openly discuss the future of hip hop and its depraved content. Sony, chairman Andrew Lack and chief executive Rolph Schmidt-Holtz have turned down all requests for interviews. Eric Nicoli, head of EMI declined to talk about the matter.
The absolute truth is that ‘Executives’ bonuses are tied to sales and they don’t want to destroy this market. Unfortunately denial doesn’t change reality.
The bottom line is that the population got bored with hip hop/rap and have moved onto something else.
American Idol is on the search for the next great american band (working title) and will scour the country, seeking musical groups of all ages, styles and genres, with hundreds of bands auditioning for a shot at stardom.
Shock Jocks Opie and Anthony Put XM/Sirius Merger In Jeopardy
MTV is back with its old tricks ‘Rapping with the pros, celebs’. Its a competition that pairs up rappers and celebrities. MTV is drawing from the idea of “Dancing with the Stars.” This doesn’t always work, as Fox found out last year with its ill-fated “Singing With Celebrities.” Do you really want to see out of touch celebs rapping? I think someone is out of ideas.Â The President of MTV Christina Norman (pictured) was hired to over see MTV’s creative vision.Â Christina Norman also drew criticism last year after defending MTV cartoons that depicted black women squatting on all fours tethered to leashes and defecating on the floor.
Its time for a change……………
Even before the internet boom, there were tales of US based artists without label representation making a killing as rock superstars in Asia. A classmate of mine in high school was one such rockstar, building an extension onto his parents home for his state of the art recording studio funded by his millions of records soldÂ across Asia, all before his senior year. His music was mediocre- acoustic coffeehouse garbage typical of the time. How his demo made its way to Asia, even he didn’t know, but it was topping radio charts and copies were in high demand. He secured a distro deal and the CDs flew off the shelves, which he followed up by playing 10 sold out arena dates in 3 countries…over spring break. He hasn’t done anything since then, but for 2 years he was a faceless American high school student by day, Asian Rock God by night.
He was definitely the exception at the time, but today with the internet being the primary tool for artists, bands can find a fan base anywhere in the world. Let me put this in perspective. The population of the world is about 6 billion. After you subtract the population of the US from that number, it’s still 6 billion. Tastes around the world are quite varied. Hasselhoff may be a joke and a novelty here in the US, but he’s still gigantic in Germany. Pop punk comedy act, Bowling For Soup has never picked up serious traction in America despite their Grammy nomination, but their records do very well across Europe and they’re still big ticket sellers. The misconception that American mainstream is the be all end all measurement of success is completely wrong, more so today than ever.
The global reach of television is a good indication of how off American taste is from the rest of the world, with television shows produced in the US being shown in other countries. Programs that did not resonate with the American public and were canceled after only one season are finding audience with television fans around the world, disappointed by the short run the shows were given. It’s unlikely that studios will attempt to reassemble the cast and crew to produce more episodes, but there is certainly money being lost here. The same is true for artists who cannot see outside of their own neighborhood, state, region or country. You’re excluding people and doing a disservice to yourself and your music.
Artists in the alternate industry need to be aware that what is happening in US magazines and television and the hype and trends they feel they need to follow aren’t that important in the bigger picture. You may not have a chance on commercial radio in the US, but what about in other countries? If you’re obsessing over trying to land a good review from Pitchfork so you can be an indie superstar, you could be completely neglecting the audience that would enjoy your music just the way it is, without all the pretense. Mimicking what is on the Billboard charts or being hocked on MTV is not the only way to make it. Actually, the more you follow the mainstream and what’s been done, the more you suppress your ability to be original and creative…and if you’re not those things then what good are you? Be honest with yourself as an artist and stay true to your unique voice and perspective. You don’t have to compromise and you don’t have to sacrifice your integrity to find ears that can really hear you. There are more than 6 billion people in this world and you have access to most of them. Find your audience.
Â The Digital frontier…………………..
Just as we expected USA Network and Yahoo! Music have entered into an agreement to discover and promote new music and emerging artists through a non-traditional marketing model. These type of pairings will be typical in the upcoming decade.
Old media turns combative against new media….
Leading media executives have taken a combative tone against Internet companies suggesting that Big Media increasingly considers new content distributors like Google to be more of an enemy than a friend. Read the full article here.
2.5 Million Less Watching TV…………….
Speaking about OLD MEDIA, a startling number of Americans drifted away from television the past two months: More than 2.5 million fewer people were watching ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox than at the same time last year, statistics show
Everyone has a theory to explain the plummeting ratings: early Daylight Savings Time, more reruns, bad shows, more shows being recorded or downloaded or streamed.
Television has made billions based on how many people watch a show at its regular time. That idea may already be obsolete.
“if we continue to do business assuming people will watch television as they always have,” said NBC’s Wurtzel, “it’s a dead-end game.”
Just before the announcement of declining quarterly results Warner Bros. put out a press release that they will develop a TV Video Programming dubbed oddly enough “Den of Thieves”. What a creepy and bizarre name branding the image with stealing. Anyway, the move by Warner comes amid an industry downturn caused by a multiyear plunge in CD sales.
According to Warner Bros. the sole purpose of ‘Den of Thieves’ is to promote new albums and artists on television, the internet and mobile services.
The indirect sole purpose is to brand Warner as being HIP, Cool, and Engaging the Alternate Industry.
Will this work? or will the Den of Thieves drown into the grand sea of nothingness?
**Warner Music Group shares fell 12 cents to $17.30 on Monday
Â Label news……………………………….
According to Sources Def Jam is laying off 40 staffers. “Jay-Z, L.A. Reid and Jermaine Dupri are still getting paid millions … and running the company into the ground,” says a source
WEA is cutting 70 staffers serving the traditional brick-and-mortar marketplace. Warner’s goal is to become digitally focused.
Sounds Under Radio will be showcasing for several major labels on May 29th at 10pm at the Mercury Lounge.
KOAR will be talking about NEW artists’ shortly…stay tuned.
Music videos haven’t been the central part of programming on MTV and VH1 in EONS, but thanks to YOUTUBE and MYSPACE they have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity.
Check out the Wall Street Journal Article ‘Bands Walk Fine Line With Contests That Invite Fans to Shoot Music Videos’
Today, artists aren’t turning to Big Directors to shoot their videos, instead they are turning to fans. BjÃ¶rk, Red Hot Chili Peppers , Ozzy Osbourne, and the Decemberists, are holding video-making contests in conjuction with the release of their latest albums.
Epic Records was ready to prepare to produce a new Incubus video for the song dig just in case the contest failed to garner results. Lee Stimmel, Epic’s senior vice president of marketing, said the label was impressed with the submissions, which totaled more than 800. Also, Fans have submitted more than 350 videos for “Charlie,” a new Chili Peppers song.
The labels also see the contests as a marketing opportunity and an opportunity to cut costs.
Epic’s Mr. Stimmel said the contests are a relative bargain compared with the cost of producing a full-blown music video. He estimates the label spent about a quarter as much on the Incubus contest as it might have spent producing a video, which can cost $150,000 to $250,000. And with a traditional video, there’s a risk the fans won’t like it, he said. In the contests, “your fans, or your potential fans, are part of the process.”
Check out one of many fan directed Incubus videos.