Apple Juices Motorola Phones

Independent Labels May Sue To Block Merger

Bulletin Board

Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

July 27, 2004

This one gives new meaning to the phrase "dial up."

Starting in the first half of next year, Motorola will begin selling cell phones equipped with a slimmed-down version of Apple's popular iTunes music software, allowing the phones to store and play back up to a dozen songs, according to the companies.

"Wouldn't it be great if you could take a dozen of your favorite songs with you on your phone? "We thought it would be great if together Motorola and Apple could give consumers a small taste of what this digital music revolution is about," Apple chief Steve Jobs said during a video conference announcing the deal ahead of today's annual Motorola analysts meeting.

Details of the new alliance weren't revealed, but Jobs told the Wall Street Journal that he believes Apple will benefit from the consumer exposure to iTunes the music software's presence on Motorola phones will bring. Such exposure "whets people's appetites for iPods," Jobs told the paper.

For its part, Motorola will gain the advantage of having yet another function to sell the increasingly funtion-crazed cell phone-buying public, which has already bought into the musical ring tones, organizers, color video games and digital cameras already available on many handsets.

The Motorola agreement represents the first time Apple will allow music purchased from its iTunes Music Store to be loaded onto a player other than its iPod. But since the phones will be running Apple software, the argument could be made that the Motorola phones, while playing music, will still be Apple devices.

Yesterday, Real Networks announced Harmony, a software package designed to allow music purchased from its online store to be placed on iPods and other players including those using Microsoft's Windows Media digital rights management. Harmony was developed without Apple's cooperation, and it is still unclear how Apple will react.

Apple has sold over three million iPods since the device's launch in 2001. By comparison, cell phone manufacturers expect to sell more than 550 million phones this year.

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

July 26, 2004

Lawyers for European independent record label consortium Impala and others joining under the banner "Opponents of Sony BMG" are due to give detailed counsel this week as to the group's legal options in trying to stop the merger recently approved by Mario Monti's European Commission, according to the Financial Times.

Impala has threatened repeatedly to attempt to block the merger by lawsuit if the EC failed to stop it, but it remains unclear whether such a move will actually materialize. The Opponents group is said to be awaiting EC disclosure of complete details surrounding its approval of the merger before it decides on a course of action.

The EC last week said it lacked sufficient evidence to block the Sony BMG deal.

If they choose to proceed, the Opponents group will likely either try to get an injunction from the European Union's Court of First Instance barring the merger from proceeding or and interim ruling suspending the merger until the EC performs another review of its impact, the paper says.

Those close to the Opponents group see three arguments on which to base their objections to the merger, the paper says: One, the EC did not fully consider the impact of the deal on the new release market, of which two-thirds would be controlled by Sony BMG and Universal Music Group; two, they contend the licensing market would also become unfairly dominated; and three, the opponents contend the EC has contradicted itself on the issue of pricing.

EC rules allow a two-and-a-half month window for challenges to its decisions to be issued. One Impala legal advisor told the FT, "We feel the Commission would like the decision to be challenged and tested. Even if the deal is completed, it can be challenged if evidence is shown of market dominance by the new entity."

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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By Kenny Kerner

Ron Shapiro has set up his own management-consulting firm after leaving the co-presidency at Atlantic Records where he worked since 1993. Shapiro is also consulting for AOL Music.

Britney Spears' entire Onyx Hotel summer tour has been cancelled so the diva can rehab from knee surgery.

Jim Ed Norman has exited Warner Bros. Nashville where he had been president for over 20 years. Norman also produced hit albums for Brenda Lee, Hank Williams Jr., Kenny Rogers, Emmylou Harris, Anne Murray and others.

A couple of issues ago I told y'all about a new CD by Big & Rich on Warner Nashville called Horse of a Different Color. Well don't look now but it's about to crack the Billboard Top 20 Albums chart. Listen to me next time!

As expected, the debut from Velvet Revolver debuted at Number One. Now the race is on to see how long this band can stay together before getting arrested or going back into rehab. New Beastie Boys set is a huge success outa the box but there's really nothing new there. Same old, same old.

AFI (American Film Institute) came out with their list of the top 100 songs from movies. Number One was "Over The Rainbow."

The band that just won't go away, KISS, is about to release KISS Gold—another album of the same classic KISS songs. First there was Double Platinum, then Smashes, Thrashes and Hits, then The Very Best of KISS (isn't that an oxymoron?) and now KISS Gold. What Gene and Paul really need to do is sit down and write some good new songs.

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