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Hot Topic trying to win back shoppers………

Hot Topic’s dark goth stores, which were once popular with gothic rebellious teen shoppers, are getting a lighter, brighter makeover as the retailer struggles to pull sales out of a deep hole, the company’s chief financial officer said Wednesday.

“People were telling us that the stores were too dark, gothic and intimidating to the average customer,” McGinty said.

“We’re putting more merchandise at the front of the stores. We’ve put flatscreen TVs at the entrance that show our logo. The store walls are no longer black but a lighter color,” he said.

Change is good. Hot Topic needs to capitalize on a NEW trend. Imagine a major cultural shift taking place between the transition of the dark stores to the light stores.  As if………

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Check it out KOAR readers!

Twenty-years-old ‘Do it Yourself’ Oklahoma bred singer/songwriter/piano player, Maggie McClure is getting her name out there. She has been performing at various churches, youth groups, theatres, festivals, clubs and in-store events for six years. Some say Maggie is breaking down walls between secular and sacred audiences. More information here.

Check out the “What’s It Like” Music Video that will be featured on MTV Networks.

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Hmmm..I think I get it!

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The Kelly Clarkson Drama Continues….

According to FOX, Clarkson’s new album, “My December,” is causing more trouble than anyone could have guessed.

The album continues to be at the center of a TUG of WAR between Clarkson and Davis.

Clarkson wrote all those songs herself despite the labels suggestions of teaming up with professional songwriters.

According to Fox, the real friction may not be between Clarkson and Davis, but between Clarkson’s manager, Jeff Kwatinetz, of The Firm, and the label.

It was only this past weekend that RCA learned Kwatinetz is being listed by Clarkson as “executive producer” of the album. This indicates a new role for Kwatinetz, who is not the most popular member of the recording industry. Managers generally do not receive “EP” credits on albums. They are listed as managers.

Sources say Clarkson’s new album is bitter and the new songs are not as commercial friendly as her previous record Breakaway:

None of them, however, are equal to the polished, edgy pop that made Clarkson a breakthrough hit on her last album. If anything, “My December” is shaping up to be the equivalent of Lauryn Hill’s disastrous follow-up to her mega-selling “Miseducation” album.

Sources also predict sales numbers:

“The album will come in at No. 1 and could even stay there a second week,” says a source. “But then, it will be over fast.” Fan club members may add to sales with downloads, too. “But Kelly will not sell anywhere near her previous numbers.” The last album, “Breakaway,” released in late 2004, sold a whopping 5.7 million copies.

KOAR says “Whatever”…..

First of all, the Firm is a crumbling management company. Several managers left along with artists including Linkin Park, Staind, 30 Seconds to Mars, etc. By industry standards, The Firm = Ground Zero.

Also, you cannot compare Kelly Clarkson to Lauryn Hill. Lauryn Hills racist/controversial statements killed her career along with a crappy sappy record. She was a one hit wonder, nobody cares. Clarkson has a career ahead of her. She will resonate with the public.

Lastly, you cannot compare Breakaway sales figures to ‘My December’. Most likely it will sell less (Physical) CD’s being that less people are buying CD’s year after year. This is common knowledge.

Here is the deal Kelly. The press wants to take you down. The fans are interested in you, not the people around you. Play to your audience and win over every fan. This is your chance to establish a career for yourself and free yourself from the media machine.

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Not a good time to be in the GOLD RECORD business. The Wall Street Journal profiled Darryl Sage who owns a company in NJ that makes awards for gold and platinum records. Small businesses like Ill-Eagle Enterprises and Jewel Box Platinum, a supplier of gold-record awards in Los Angeles, are some of the victims of the massive downturn in record sales.

With sales slowing, the RIAA  last year certified just 407 albums and singles as gold or platinum — down from 976 in 1999.

“We only work four days a week now,” says Michael Goldstein, a partner in Dejay Products. “We used to do 50% of the business in the ’80s with MCA Records,” he says, making awards for records by Bobby Brown, Tom Petty, Elton John, Boston and others. “I was walking in the office twice a week to deliver or pick up stuff.”

The record sale slump has caused the GOLD record making business to venture into NEW businesses.

“We had to learn how to make money again,” he says. “If you told me eight years ago when I was partying backstage that I would be making art prints, I would have laughed.”

In other news……………….

UPDATE: Concerns Emerge Over iTunes User Data…

New Study claims that physical product revenue will drop 61% by 2009……

Legitimate physical sales of music (LPs, cassettes, CDs, DVD audio, and so on) have been falling or remaining stagnant this decade and the $29.3 billion in worldwide sales the industry raked in last year is expected to fall 61% to $18 billion by 2009, according to a joint study by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Canadian metal act Arise and Ruin has signed to Victory Records.

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Do your ears hurt when you listen to new music on your ipod?

Why do records sound much different/better in the 90′s rather than today?

Well, you can thank the producers today and some of the A&R guys that are left who think LOUDER means BETTER, of course this is a MYTH. But with knowledge, comes power. This can change.

Music Chiefs were blasted last night for using computer wizardry to make new albums louder than ever.

Producers are artificially enhancing sound levels as they believe the noisier a record is, the more copies it will sell.

Music lovers say some tracks are now so distorted they can make listeners feel nauseous.

And Britain’s leading studio engineers have launched a campaign to make records range in levels to avoid one loud blur.

Among records blasted by engineers is the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Californication which some branded “unlistenable”. An online petition has even been launched to have it “remastered”.

Other albums slated by studio experts are works by Oasis, the Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen.

Peter Mew, senior mastering engineer at London’s Abbey Road Studios — where The Beatles made many of their hits — said: “Record companies are competing in an arms race to make their album the loudest. The quieter parts are becoming louder and the loudest parts are just becoming a buzz. This could be the reason CD sales are in a slump.”

Geoff Emerick, an engineer on the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s album, said: “A lot of what is released today is basically a scrunched up mess.

“Whole layers of sound are missing. It’s because record companies don’t trust listeners to decide themselves if they want to turn the volume up.”

Singing legend Bob Dylan, said: “Modern records are atrocious. There’s no definition of anything — just static.”

On another note, producers today like artists are much different than YESTERDAY. Many producers today are more or less engineers. Do you remember producer Mutt Lange? (Def Leppard, AC/DC, The Cars, Bryan Adams, Romeo’s Daughter,The Corrs). He is the real deal, hands down.

Check out the production of Back and Black. The personality, the tones….It feels so good. Mutt is one of the best.

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Apple has embedded personal information into music files bought from its iTunes online music store. Techonology websites and computer geeks discovered that personal data, including the name and e-mail addresses of purchasers, are embedded into the AAC files that Apple uses to distribute music tracks.

The information is also included in tracks sold under Apple’s iTunes Plus system, launched this week, where users pay a premium for music that is free from the controversial digital rights (DRM) software that is designed to safeguard against piracy.

The Electronic Freedom Foundation, the online consumer rights group, added that it had identified a large amount of additional unaccounted-for information in iTunes files. It said it was possible that the data could be used to “watermark” tracks so that the original purchaser could be tracked down were a track to appear on a file-sharing network.

Is Apple using steganography to include personal information about the buyer’s account as a way of tracing illegally shared files?

Of course you didn’t see this in the latest APPLE Press Release.

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