NEWS ITEMS:
Napster and Best Buy Join Hands

Lollapalooza 2004 Cancels All Dates

Kauai Music Festival Rocks

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Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

June 24, 2004

It's a match made in retail digital music heaven.

Napster and Best Buy have announced a strategic marketing alliance to "leverage the power of both brands to drive new subscribers to Napster and deliver a wide range of digital music experiences to Best Buy's entertainment and technology customer base."

And you thought they just liked each other.

Best Buy will promote Napster as its leading digital music service through comprehensive in-store marketing activities as well as extensive broadcast, print and online advertising. Best Buy will also market a co-branded version of Napster which will be made available to customers online through Bestbuy.com. In exchange, Best Buy will receive Roxio stock with a value of up to $10 million over the term of the agreement and Napster will engage with Best Buy in jointly funded marketing activities.

Best Buy VP Digital Entertainment Scott Young stopped downloading the Paris Hilton video to exult: "Best Buy believes that the strength of the Napster brand, together with the experience of Napster's subscription service, makes this an ideal digital music solution for our customers. Napster's compatibility across many of the digital music devices, hardware and software platforms that Best Buy offers, coupled with the exciting opportunities to offer exclusive content, will create very compelling customer solutions in digital music. Now, has anyone seen my danged Walkman?"

Added Napster/Roxio Chairman/CEO Chris Gorog: "We are very excited to begin this strategic retail initiative with a partner of this caliber and one that shares our conviction that subscription services provide the most compelling consumer offering in the digital music market. Best Buy, with its proven success of driving millions of digital subscriptions, has a unique understanding of how to successfully market the Napster subscription experience. After all, they sell a shitload of microwaves."

Starting this summer, the nationwide marketing alliance will bring many of Best Buy's high-profile exclusive artist promotions to Napster's service and allow Best Buy to reach Napster's extensive online audience. Best Buy will help introduce the Napster subscription service to a mass audience by featuring its products in physical displays in its stores, as well as demonstrating the service through interactive kiosks. Best Buy sales associates will focus on showing customers how the Napster service can be part of their complete solution for digital music, bringing together entertainment content, services and devices to allow customers to experience entertainment in a way that is most convenient for them.

In your face, Steve Jobs.


HITS magazine is the most powerful information vehicle in the music industry, and is read religiously by all the top executives and everyone else.




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Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

June 22, 2004

This year's Morrissey-headlined Lollapalooza touring festival has been cancelled. Despite some critics calling the lineup the best since Lollapalooza got its start in 1991, slow ticket sales, described by one insider as "terrible," forced the scrubbing of all 16 scheduled dates.

The two-day fest, which was also to feature Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey, The Flaming Lips and a re-united Pixies, fell victim to what organizers characterized in a statement as "the weak economic state of this year's summer touring season. As summer kicks in, only a handful of touring acts seem to be able to pull in big numbers of fans.

The decision to pull the plug was made this morning, according to the organizers' statement, which appears on the Lollapalooza website. "It is with the utmost regret that due to poor ticket sales across the board, the Lollapalooza 2004 tour has been cancelled," the statement reads. "This morning, tour organizers and concert promoters, faced with several million dollars of losses, made the very tough decision to pull the tour."

Said Lollapalooza founder Perry Ferrel, "My heart aches along with the bands, and all of our employees, whose hard work developed one of the most exciting and important tours that this nation was to see. My heart is broken."

Added co-founder/William Morris agent Marc Geiger, "I am in utter disbelief that a concert of this stature, with the most exciting lineup I've seen in years, did not galvanize ticket sales. I'm surprised that given the great bands and the reduced ticket prices that we didn't have enough sales to sustain the tour. Concert promoters across the country are facing similar problems. Many summer tours are experiencing weak ticket sales."

HOB Concerts Executive VP Alex Hodges observed, "In real terms, it's been a tough summer. Ticket sales have been mixed and often inexplicably soft. There are a number of contributing factors, and, as a result, many tours have been cut back, rerouted or cancelled."

Thos who did buy tickets to the fest, which was to kick off July 14 in Auburn, Washington, will be given full refunds, organizers say.


HITS magazine is the most powerful information vehicle in the music industry, and is read religiously by all the top executives and everyone else.




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Brad Arnold (left) from Three Doors Down with TAXI CEO, Michael Laskow at the Kauai Music Festival

Just a quick note to let you know that I recently attended the Kauai Music Festival sponsored by BMI, and thought it was great. Frankly, it's hard to find many conferences that I feel give good bang for the buck, but this was definitely one of them.

It was great to see aspiring writers and artists getting lots of opportunities to speak one to one with industry heavyweights. The people running the event are all top notch, and their caring really shines through to create a warm and friendly atmosphere during every phase of the event.

I personally recommend that you make a note in your '05 calendar NOW for Memorial Day weekend in Kauai. I'll keep you posted when the official dates are announced. This is an event you NEED to attend, and let me tell you, the surroundings are drop dead gorgeous. That's a plus! See you there.

Michael


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By Kenny Kerner

New George Michael CD, Patience has been released to mixed reviews. Same great voice but very mediocre songs....

Check out the debut set from Big & Rich, a country/pop act with some amazing vocals and original material. CD is called Horse of A Different Color and it's on Warner Bros. Should get nominated for album of the year awards.

Tahitian pop star Heiarii Amaru is recording his first full-length CD for indie label, Allure Records in Los Angeles. Heiarii, a 21 year-old who sings fluently in English, French and Spanish, will be gearing his pop/dance CD at the 13-19 year-old demographic and promises plenty of edgy material (including a racy club/dance version of a classic cover tune) and an exciting, sensual live show. Heiarii has been performing in Tahiti for years and is the winner of many local honors there. This will be his first American album. Allure expects to release the CD early next year.

A new company called Soundproof will offer original music for commercials that was created by some of the industry's top record producers. The company was founded by artist manager Irving Azoff, music manager Jordan Bratman and marketing maven Noah Kerner. The current Soundproof list of clients includes Babyface, Quincy Jones, David Foster, Rodney Jerkins, and Glen Ballard, among other notables.

Simon Fuller, creator of American Idol, has launched 19 Records, headed up by Tom Ennis. First CD release is from former AI finalist, Tamyra Gray. And while we're on the subject of AI, Clay Aiken has switched management companies from 19 Entertainment to The Firm.


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