Thursday, October 17, 2013

Columbia Records' Isaac Green Promoted to SVP of A&R

Columbia Records' Isaac Green Promoted to SVP of A&R
Columbia Records has promoted Isaac Green from his previous position as vice president of A&R to senior vice president of of A&R. Green has been with the company since 2008.

Previous to joining Columbia, Green was the founder of the label StarTime International, which was home to The Walkmen and French Kicks, among others. StarTime has since become an imprint of Columbia Records and continues to be overseen by Green. As well, Green founded Almost Gold Recordings, another Columbia imprint.

“I'm extremely appreciative of [Columbia Records chairman] Rob Stringer and [Columbia Records president] Ashley Newton for their unwavering support and mentorship,” comments Green.  “Columbia is my home.  I live and breathe for my artists -- and, luckily, so does every member of our great staff.”

CMJ Accused of Hiding Funds, Avoiding Loan Repayment By John Scher's Metropolitan Entertainment

Metropolitan Entertainment, a New York-based concert promotions, management and label company headed up by John Scher, is suing CMJ, the company behind the New York music festival -- currently underway -- and magazine for loans and interest given to CMJ in 2009 and 2010 which CMJ has allegedly avoided repayment of. The news was first reported in the New York Times.

The suit, originally filed in May by John Scher and Metropolitan Talent, Inc., saw the date of its final court extension lapse last Tuesday, Oct 8. According to court papers, Scher and Metropolitan's negotiations with CMJ began in 2008, leading to an agreement between the companies for Metropolitan to acquire CMJ, which they had valued at $2.4 million. The court filing goes on to claim that Metropolitan lent CMJ funds 27 times, totaling $595,307 along with $178,827 in interest, adding up to $744,134 unpaid by CMJ according to the filing.

The papers allege that CMJ Network Inc., along with Robert and Joanne Haber, sold CMJ Network to a new corporation called CMJ Holdings, a deal which did not include the original loans. The new owners allegedly refused to ackowledge Metropolitan's claim to the money lent.

Speaking to, Mr. Scher outlined a meeting he had roughly a month after being refused by Mr. Haber for a meeting with potential investors he had found. "My partner and I went and had a meeting with Keith and three other people. They looked us in the eye and they said 'We've taken over CMJ, and we'd like to work together.' We said "Well there's a little thing about $600,000 or $700,000 you owe us.' He said 'Well you're not gonna get it. You've got a claim against old CMJ.'"

"I thought 'I'm not a lawyer, but that can't be legal.'" From that point, Mr. Scher described to a deteriorating back-and-forth with CMJ's new owners, leading Metropolitan and Mr. Scher to file their lawsuit this past May. "It's not something where you can just say 'Eh, we made a bad deal," said Mr. Scher.
Regarding the ongoing case, CMJ Holdings CEO Alexis D'Amecourt responded: "We believe the lawsuit is without merit, and to that end CMJ timely filed, and has pending before the court a motion to dismiss the action."

2012 Digital Highlights

2012 Top Ten Selling Digital Songs

Units Sold
STARSHIPS / NICKI MINAJ                          
2012 Top Ten Selling Digital Albums

Units Sold
21 / ADELE

[i] © 2012 Business wire:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Back in the day: Oct. 14, 1969

The Jackson 5 make their first national television appearance.

This Day in Black History: Oct. 14, 1969

The Jackson 5 performed their hit single "I Want You Back" during their first appearance on national television on Hollywood Palace on Oct. 14, 1969.
It went to the No. 1 spot on the soul singles chart for four weeks and the top position on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for the week ending Jan. 31, 1970. The song was ranked 121st on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

The group performed “I Want You Back” in all of their world tours either as a full song or as a part of the Jackson 5 medley in concerts. After leaving the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson performed the song as part of a medley of Jackson 5 hit songs. 

“I Want You Back” sold 6 million copies internationally. In 1999, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Taylor Swift Opens $4 Mil. Education Center at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum


 It might as well be Taylor Swift weekend in Music City.

The pop star opened her $4 million Taylor Swift Education Center at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Saturday morning, and will accept her record sixth songwriter-artist of the year award from Nashville Songwriters Association International on Sunday.

Swift cut the ribbon on the new education center she donated to the museum as part of its expansion campaign and showed reporters and area high school students the new classroom and exhibit space before the museum opened.

"I'm really excited about this music education center and the fact that right now they have three different classes going on today," Swift said in an interview after the ceremony. "It's really exciting that we can be here on a day when they're not only unveiling it, but they're starting to actively use it today."

The center will have classroom space, a hands-on instrument room and ongoing education opportunities. Museum officials say the new center will increase educational opportunities sevenfold going forward.
And who knows? Maybe users will find the 23-year-old Swift hanging around some day.

"We've been talking about different programs I can be involved in," Swift said. "I hate to call it a lecture because that sounds like I'm yelling at people, but we could do a Q&A talking to students here and a songwriters discussion would be really fun to have at some point."

Rihanna's Tweet Leads to Arrest of Thai Bar Owner

The bar owner is faced with charges of obscenity and operating an entertainment venue without a permit following the pop star's racy post about a sex show.

BANGKOK  — Thai authorities have arrested a bar owner in connection with a lewd sex show mentioned in racy tweets by pop star Rihanna during her recent trip to Thailand, officials said Monday, two weeks after an Instagram photo of Rihanna with a protected primate led to the arrest of two other men.
Officials on the island of Phuket, 680 kilometers (420 miles) south of Bangkok, said Monday the bar owner faced charges of obscenity and operating an entertainment venue without a permit.

Local district chief Weera Kerdsirimongkon said the man was arrested Saturday as part of a crackdown on shows featuring naked dancers.

"Authorities found out about this bar the morning after Rihanna tweeted about it, but we were not able to catch them violating the law until Saturday night," Weera said. "We had been waiting for them and finally caught them red-handed."

Weera said the bar owner could face up to one month's imprisonment and a fine of up to 60,000 baht ($1,900).

This isn't the first arrest triggered by Rihanna's postings on social media. A photo of her with a slow loris, a squirrel-like animal with big eyes, on Instagram led local police to arrest a 20-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy, who could face charges of possession of protected animals. The charge carries a penalty of up to four years in prison and a 40,000 baht ($1,300) fine.

How SFX, Azoff-MSG Are Changing Music's Start-Up Rules


Every time you read about the "platform wars" it's a discussion about how the tech giants of the last two to three decades are battling to decide the future of consumer technology. So the usual names: Apple vs. Amazon vs. Microsoft vs. Google fighting to create the dominant operating system platforms and pre-eminent hardware.

Music is almost always a pawn in these wars -- but it is also always present, even if it comes across as a disposable consumer enticement that provides stickiness, enhanced experience and overall sexiness.
This is why it will be intriguing to watch two fledgling companies started by veterans of the music business, SFX chairman Bob Sillerman and former Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff.

Sillerman is pushing ahead with his EDM startup, which has rolled up some 15 EDM festival businesses in the last year. In the coming weeks he'll take the company on a roadshow to institutional investors to discuss the potential of SFX Entertainment and the wider youth-led EDM market ahead of an initial public offering that could value the company at up to $1 billion by some estimates.

Azoff has teamed with his good friend and artist client Jim Dolan, chairman of the Madison Square Garden (MSG) Co., to create a new joint venture called Azoff MSG Entertainment (AMSGE). It will operate in artist management, publishing, live entertainment branding and digital services, among others.

But here's what is most notable about these two veterans' latest moves. They're showing investors a different way to think about music business models in a digital world. They're indirectly making the argument that music, just like technology, should be a consumer-facing platform around which one builds a business rather than battling to own rights as a lower-margin music "supplier" like a label or publisher.

SFX is most explicit with its ambitions. It is pitching brands the opportunity to get in front of millions of elusive, young, disposable-income-rich and attention-poor consumers in a captive setting through its roster of major EDM events. Billboard has learned SFX is asking for as much as $50 million from marketers for one of several global branding opportunities. Whether or not SFX gets what it's asking for, what's important is that a music startup has shifted its value proposition from the usual fraught discussions around rights and music use to the music itself as a platform for the right partner.

Azoff is less explicit about his plans just a couple of weeks after announcing his joint venture. Cynical observers might wonder how a business that has yet to create anything is worth the $300 million valuation implied from the announcement. While the Dolan family's control of the MSG board might mean the due diligence might've been less intense, that doesn't mean this isn't a smart bet. Azoff's vision is to use music as a platform to leverage artist relationships more efficiently under one roof blending traditional artist management with live branding and digital media. You can expect AMSGE's combined clout to help it in reaching out to brand partners offering live artist sponsorship packages as just one example.

Interestingly, Sillerman and Azoff are both just a couple of degrees removed from today's Live Nation, which has been developing a music-as-a-platform concept for several years now. Its brand sponsorship business generated impressive operating profit margins of 70% on revenue of $248 million in 2012 compared with razor-thin margins in the concert and ticketing business. But a much smaller, nimbler startup like SFX or AMSGE, which doesn't have any of the legacy issues of a $4.5 billion company like Live Nation, could have a significant impact in rewriting the rules of the game. It would appear old dogs are teaching us all new tricks.

MSG, Azoff Unveil New Entertainment Venture


 Madison Square Garden Co. MSG +0.31% said it is paying $125 million to create a new joint venture with music mogul Irving Azoff that will manage artists, own music-publishing rights and dabble in marketing and television production.

Under the terms of the deal, a subsidiary of MSG will pay Mr. Azoff $125 million for a 50% stake in the new firm, Azoff MSG Entertainment LLC, and will also provide $50 million of revolving credit.

Mr. Azoff, who has long managed acts including the Eagles, Van Halen, Christina Aguilera and Steely Dan and will continue to do so, said that the new company would function "almost like a venture capital fund," and create new opportunities for his business that he might not be able to see on his own.

"You've got to reach a bit of a critical mass to be taken seriously," said Mr. Azoff, who stepped down as chairman of Live Nation Entertainment Inc. in December, taking his superstar artist roster with him. The transaction announced Wednesday represented only the most recent of several occasions Mr. Azoff has sold a stake in his management company to a deep-pocketed backer, starting with the MCA entertainment conglomerate in the 1980s. MSG previously bought and sold a minority stake in Mr. Azoff's management business. 

For MSG, which is spending about $100 million to renovate the historic Forum arena in Inglewood, Calif., the partnership will help it make the most of its roster of venues, which includes New York City's Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre, as well as its namesake arena.

Mr. Azoff said that the Forum "will get every one of my acts that can sell that many seats," though he added that this would be the case even if MSG didn't own the venue. Mr. Azoff described himself earlier this summer as the Forum's "head cheerleader."

MSG Chief Executive James Dolan, who plays guitar in a blues band managed by Mr. Azoff—J.D. and the Straight Shot—said he had been looking for a way to move from the bricks-and-mortar venue business into the entertainment-content business, and that the new venture could lead to anything from music festivals to television shows.

The company will also offer artists a new alternative to the two biggest publishing-rights societies: the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, known as Ascap, and Broadcast Music Inc., known as BMI—which collect royalties for songwriters.

"We believe rights holders need to be represented a different way," said Mr. Azoff, noting that both Ascap and BMI are decades old.

The company's TV and live-event unit will be run by Lawrence Randall, the former head of programming and entertainment for the National Football League. In the works is an interactive, live music-discovery TV show that allows viewers to scout street talent and fund their favored contestants on the show.

Netflix Shares Up 8 Percent After Reports of Talks With Cable Companies

The video streamer's stock surges after reports that it's seeking U.S. partnerships similar to arrangements in the U.K. and Sweden.

Shares of Netflix surged 8 percent on Monday after reports surfaced that cable operators were considering embedding the video-streamer's service into set-top boxes.
The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with discussions, said Netflix is talking to Comcast and Suddenlink Communications, and Bloomberg later reported talks are underway with Charter Communications and Cox Communications, as well. 

Netflix stock on Tuesday rose $23.51 a share to $324.36 on volume that was more than twice the average.
RELATED: Netflix in Talks to Offer Online Video Service via Comcast, Other US Pay TV Firms
Presumably, if a deal were to get done in the U.S. it would be similar to an arrangement Neflix recently struck with Virgin Media in the U.K. and Com Hem in Sweden. With those two -- at least initially -- only their subscribers who use TiVo set-top boxes will be able to access a Netflix app.

Netflix's goal, though, is more likely that the app be available on cable boxes in general, therefore making the on-demand streamer more of a partner to multi-systems operators and less a competitor.

"We would love to reduce the friction to the end consumer and to be available via the existing device in the home," Netflix CFO David Wells said this year at an investor conference.

Maxine Powell, Motown Charm Coach, Dies at 98

Maxine Powell, who was responsible for developing the charm, grace and style of Motown Records' artists during the Detroit label's 1960s heyday, has died. She was 98.

Motown Museum CEO Allen Rawls says Powell died Monday at a hospital in Southfield, Mich.

She didn't sing or write songs, but those associated with Motown say Powell was as essential to the label's operations as any performer or producer.

Powell directed the label's Artists Development Department, also known as "Motown's Finishing School." She guided many, including Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Jackson Five and the Supremes.

She emphasized how artists should carry themselves, treat people and dress. One performer that didn't need any of her help was Stevie Wonder.

"I didn't do anything for Stevie, he was always beautiful," she said in an interview with Another Look at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Watch above video).

Motown founder Berry Gordy said the training school was the only one of its kind offered at any record label.

Daymond John Launches 'Build A Business' Competition With Shopify

Shopify's 4th Build A Business Competition 

Introducing Shopify's 4th Build A Business Competition in partnership with The Huffington Post.

This year, the nine stores that sell the most over a two-month period will each receive $50,000 in cash and a VIP trip to New York for an exclusive meeting with their competition mentor.

 Learn more:

FUBU founder and author Daymond John is teaming up with Shopify to present the fourth Build A Business competition in partnership with The Huffington Post. The millionaire investor speaks candidly about the importance of entrepreneurship and the perks of the contest in a brief promotional video.

"I get to sit with some of these amazing people who are now changing the face of this earth in regards to how they're going to do business," John says. "I may meet the next Bill Gates, I may meet the next Steve Jobs and that's why I want to be part of it."

Shopify is offering over $500,000 in cash, prizes, and mentorship to nine candidates that create a store and sell the most. The winners will receive exclusive mentorship from John, his Shark Tank co-host Mark Cuban, Lil John, Selita Ebanks, Chase Jarvis and more. Registration for the competition begins now, while the calculation of each company's sales will commence on October 1, 2013 and conclude May 31, 2014. No experience is required, build your business now.