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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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Melissa Mathes who hails from nashville has been dubbed by some as a female version of Tom Petty”. From an early age of 11, Melissa was busy preparing to make her mark as she appeared on Ed McMahon’s “Star Search.” She has since sang the National Anthem for former President Bill Clinton, compared high notes with Mariah Carey, and performed along side such artists as John Denver, Ray Charles, Sheryl Crow, Cheap Trick and The Dixie Chicks.

Melissa Mathes has already collaborated with some of the best in the business, including Danny Wilde (The Rembrandts), Sammy Llanas (The BoDeans), Joe Puerta (Bruce Hornsby, Ambrosia), The Warren Brothers (RCA), Victor Delorenzo (Violent Femmes), Joe Pisapia (Guster), John Deaderick (Patty Griffin) and Daniel Tashian (The Bees) to name a few.

When asked about the future, Melissa stated, “Music has become something spiritual to me. It’s my way to give myself. I want to practice on it, expand on it, explore through it, and share it, to move people. That is my art.”

Check out the track Waiting For Your Life to Start , I Wont Worry and Cool Down the Mercury.

Next Show:
Jun 19 – The Basement (Nashville, TN)

For more info, contact Karl Rybacki at Songwise Music

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The Cult has signed to New Wilderness the imprint that goes through RoadRunner.

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Music Networking site Last.fm was acquired by CBS.  Billboard is reporting that the purchase price is rumored to be $280 million. Last.FM claims they have millions of users.

Sounds Under Radio recent performance at the mercury lounge attracted peeps from Columbia Records, Epic Records, Warner Bros, Atlantic, Universal/Republic, American, Capitol Music Group, Hollywood Records, among numerous others…

iTunes is now offering unprotected AAC files for EMI artist downloads

Check out the new social networking site Trig.  Insiders are claiming Trig could be the NEW myspace without the spam. In fact, Spam is absolutely killing myspace. Also,  the internet spam king has been arrested and will be facing 65 years behind bars. It looks like US prosecutors are committed to finding these spammers and throwing them in jail where they belong.

EMI strikes deal with YouTube….. 

EMI Music has announced a major new deal with YouTube and Google, allowing viewers complete access to videos from EMI artists.  Eric Nicoli, CEO of EMI Group, added, “Working with YouTube under this agreement meets EMI’s objectives to offer consumers the best possible entertainment experiences, to create new ways to connect our artists to
fans and to enter into innovative business models that will generate revenues for our business and our creators

Don’t you love corporate press releases? I mean, these guys are the MASTERS of the OBVIOUS……..

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Maroon 5 officially formed in 2001 and were releasing their major label debut, Songs About Jane by June 2002. Although that seems quick, the album’s first single ‘Harder to Breathe’ was slow to impact at radio and mainstream attention didn’t come to the band until nearly 2 full years later. By March 2004, the single finally reached the Top 20 in Billboard, while the band continued to tour rigorously with anyone and everyone. For the next 3 years, Maroon 5 would continue to slowly release singles and tour, finding chart-topping success with ‘This Love,’ ‘She Will Be Loved’ and ‘Sunday Morning.’ For the last few weeks, Maroon 5 has seemingly been everywhere, performing on every televised stage available, scoring heavy rotation with the video for the new single ‘Makes Me Wonder,’ as well as picking up a strong internet buzz. Last week, the band released their sophomore effort for Octone/A&M called It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, which debuted at #1 selling 429,000 copies physically and 102,000 copies digitally, but if the past is any indication, this is just the beginning.

Not many labels will wait 2 years for a single impact, but then again, not many bands can ride the success of one album for more than 4 years and then follow it up with another strong release. Maroon 5 make it clear- slumps are for chumps. The band has come out swinging with this new album, playing up the dashing good looks of their frontman and sex appeal of their soulful new wave rock. They play every available stage effortlessly, confident in their live performance and songwriting. These guys aren’t in a hurry…they’re rockstars. When the songs are great, and the band is great, there is no rush. You can take your time and get the most out of the album, selling over 8 million copies and touring the globe many times over without hocking cell phones and soda or starting a clothing line. You can promote your new album by playing live for people instead of buying into cheesy gimmicks. Great musicians really can make it ‘all about the music,’ because the music is strong enough to rely on. Hopefully they’ll release another album before 2012, but who knows? Maybe the ’5′ in the name is symbolic.

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The Kelly Clarskon and Clive Davis drama continues to make press. Honestly, this doesn’t look for the industry mogul and the label. Artists typically want artist friendly partners/labels. Not only that, major labels don’t want this type of press, especially when labels are collapsing.

This is taken from the NY POST.

“Clive is furious because Kelly has assumed total artistic control over her new album and refuses his suggestions,” according to an insider at Sony BMG, the parent of Clarkson’s label, RCA. Davis, who runs Sony BMG, slammed Clarkson at a company retreat in April, saying she can’t produce hits.

And music industry insiders were dumbfounded when Davis took the stage during the “American Idol” finale to plug Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee’s new singles, but failed to mention Clarkson’s third album, “My December,” which debuts in June. Instead, Davis promoted the songwriters for one of Clarkson’s hits, “Since U Been Gone.”

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Our insider said, “She wrote all of the second album herself – including the hits ‘Because of You,’ ‘Behind These Hazel Eyes’ and ‘Walk Away.’ Clive hated ‘Because of You’ so much, he would routinely mock it in meetings. It was one of her most successful singles.”

Clarkson is not only one of Sony BMG’s most profitable artists, having sold close to 15 million albums – she is also not a diva.

She hasn’t demanded to renegotiate her deal with the label, our source said, even though “she only gets like $250,000 an album when she could get millions. She refuses to take more money because she wants artistic control. And she has always turned out to be right. If Clive had had his way, she wouldn’t have sold nearly as many albums as she did.

The source added, “Kelly wanted to make a deeply personal record. Here’s an artist who didn’t demand more money, who handed in her record on time in January, after making him millions, and now he rips her? The music business is collapsing, and this is why. They won’t let people put out their real music. This is about his huge ego.”

Now KOAR can’t confirm that this scenario played out exactly in the manner the NY POST reported, but its not completely unbelievable either. Its certainly not the first time A&R’s couldn’t identify HITS. A&R guys and label execs wanting to eliminate certain songs off the record that become #1 Hits is common.

The bottom line is that Kelly Clarkson made Clive, Clive didn’t make Kelly. Simon Cowell who is a great A&R guy said to Kelly during the first half of American Idol “You are going to be HUGE STAR”. Again, Kelly created her own opportunity.

The Bottom Line: Artists break themselves, Labels don’t break artists. Whoever claims other wise is blowing smoke up your ARSE.

(NYPOST)

On another note, check out this performance of Kelly Clarkson live on ABC. Her voice and passion are impeccable. Congrats Kelly, you are a TRUE STAR!

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