Another P2P File-Sharing Site Emerges

Indie Artists Accuse Radio Giant of Digital Blackmail

New VH1 Series Include Salt N Pepa, Danny Bonaduce, More

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Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

June 26, 2007

Ad-supported P2P site Qtrax has inked licensing arrangements with all four major label groups, according to published reports.

Qtrax owner Brilliant Technologies is about to hit the market with a free P2P site, and a possible IPO to follow.

The company has been steadily licensing major recording and publishing divisions, and will soon offer the catalog within its advertising platform.

"Consumers clearly aren't willing to pay for music, but advertisers are the one group that still will," said Brilliant Technologies chief executive Allan Klepfisz.

The public offering plan involves a tie-up with Flooring Zone, an entity that will serve as a shell company for the IPO.

The Qtrax announcement follows the high-profile flop of SpiralFrog, another ad-supported initiative. Despite much media hoopla last summer, the venture may never make it to market. Several sources involved in major label negotiations note that multi-million dollar payments are frequently required to secure big-name catalogs.

Prospects for ad-supported downloads remain an experiment very much in progress. Dooming prospects is a structure that relies on protected content and forced advertising views, a step down from the free-for-all file-sharing that marked Napster at its peak, and currently popular, though illicit sites like Limewire and BitTorrent.

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 25, 2007

The Future of Music Coalition claims that Clear Channel is forcing independent musicians to sign a contract that relinquishes their rights to a performance royalty if their music is used for a webcast.

The radio giant is accused of making artists give up their digital copyrights to receive the airplay Clear Channel must give them under the payola consent decree recently agreed to governing the broadcasters' operations.

In May, the FCC approved $12.5 million in consent decrees that settled payola allegations against four of the nation's largest radio broadcasters: Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Entercom Communications Corp. and Citadel Broadcasting Corp. The four admitted no wrongdoing.

The broadcasters agreed, as part of the settlement, to set aside more than 4,000 hours of airtime to local and independent artists.

FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein had made the issue a touchstone.

A copy of the license agreement according to a Clear Channel-owned station in Washington, D.C., includes language saying: "You grant to Clear Channel the royalty-free nonexclusive right and license in perpetuity (unless terminated earlier by You or Clear Channel as set forth below) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, digitally perform, publicly display and distribute any sound recordings, compositions, pictures, videos, song lyrics ..."

FMC Executive Director Jenny Toomey called it "outrageous."

"This is like the fox getting caught in the henhouse a second time and arguing that he shouldn't get in trouble because he was leaving the hens alone. He was just eating all their eggs."

A Clear Channel spokesperson insisted "the FMC folks have it wrong."

"Clear Channel Radio has gone above and beyond to make this artist-friendly," spokeswoman Michele Clarke said. "The artists are in complete control of their musical work. They control whether they just want it considered for broadcast over the air, whether they want it considered for streaming online, whether they want it to be available for download or all three, and (most importantly) they have the right to terminate their license at any time upon notice to us."

The digital performance royalty, passed by Congress as part of the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recording Act that became effective in 1996, provides money for artists and copyright holders for songs played on the Internet, on satellite and over cable.

The royalty is split 50-50 between copyright owner, typically a label but sometimes the artists or other entities, and the performer. In March, the Copyright Royalty Board increased the rates that webcasters must pay each time a listener hears a song.

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 21, 2007

VH1 is on a roll, folks, and we don't mean Kaiser.

The network has spawned five straight years of consecutive quarterly growth, and now plans to launch a third night of original programming with seven new series on Thursday night.

The projects run the gamut from improv and documentaries to new twists on celebreality featuring female rap pioneers Salt N Pepa, models competing in an intelligence contest, pop culture revolutionaries, aspiring child stars mentored by Danny Bonaduce, ambitious fashion photographers, and two "golden girls" getting schooled on the latest in pop culture.

VH1 has had 20 consecutive quarters of total viewer growth, thanks to such hits as I Love New York and Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School, both of which rank among the Top 10 original series on basic cable for the year. VH1 presents all-original programming on Sunday and Monday nights, with a third evening to be added on Thursdays later this summer.

Year-to-date, VH1's primetime ratings in the 18-49 demo are up 25%. VH1 also ranks as the #4 basic cable network in the 18-49 demo on Monday nights and the #5 basic cable network on Sunday nights among 18-49 viewers. The network looks to expand its original offerings to an unprecedented third night beginning later this summer on Thursdays.

VH1 has also seen significant growth across platforms. Year-to-date, average monthly unique visits to and streams on VSPOT, VH1's broadband channel have increased 47% and 38%, respectively.

"Over the years, VH1 has been re-imagined for a generation that now consumes, comments on, reinterprets and reinvents our common music and pop culture touchstones," said MTV Networks Music Group President Entertainment Brian Graden. "VH1's latest slate taps into this collective fascination, allowing the conversation to be extended on television and beyond."

"VH1's original shows often finished among the top 10 basic cable telecasts for the day this year. The time is right to build on our momentum and expand our programming assets in a primetime line-up that featured 90 percent original content this quarter," added EVP/GM Tom Calderone. "This extensive list of new original projects will also appeal to our viewers on any platform they wish to enjoy them …on television, on our broadband channel VSPOT, or VH1 Mobile."

The new VH1 series, all slated for Q4 2007 or Q1 2008, are as follows, with the network's own descriptions following:

THE SALT 'N' PEPA SHOW (10 episodes): Push It. Let's Talk About Sex. Shoop. Whatta Man. The songs are as legendary as this rap duo. Twelve million records sold. A first ever Grammy awarded to a female rap group for Best Rap Performance. Three MTV Video Music Awards. Then, in 2002, at the height of their success, Salt 'N Pepa suddenly called it quits. Rumors swirled that Salt had found God and Pepa wanted to pursue an acting career. Despite the speculation, the girls remained silent. Until now.

On The Salt 'N Pepa Show, VH1 will follow the ladies as they attempt to reunite on and off the stage in this funny, often touching reality series. They soon discover however, that achieving this is easier said than done since most of their past issues are still unresolved. Salt is angry about being unappreciated when they were together and Pepa blames Salt for breaking up the group. Their lifestyles are also polar opposites: Salt has indeed found God and is living a quiet life in Long Island with her husband while Pepa is still the party girl and up for anything. Can they overcome their differences long enough to heal their friendship and perform again?

AMERICA'S MOST SMARTEST MODEL (10 episodes): Beauty is a double-edged sword. It seems to be a commonly accepted notion in today's world that an inverse proportion exists between brains and beauty the prettier someone is, the less intelligent they are expected to be. And no one has it worse than models. But is this assumption really true? Do smart models exist, or does a life devoted to getting by on one's looks make a person stupid? Now, VH1 will attempt to answer this burning question in America's Most Smartest Model. Hosted by celebrity fashion expert Mary Alice Stephenson and Emmy Award winner Ben Stein, this reality competition series brings together fourteen models, (7 men, 7 women) all of whom think they are the perfect combination of beauty and brains.

In every episode the "himbos" and "bimbos" will face challenges that put both their overall intelligence and beauty to the test. In the end, only one model will prove that they are more than just another pretty face and take home a $100,000 prize and the coveted title of America's Most Smartest Model.

CLICK! (8 episodes): From the producer of America's Next Top Model and Pussycat Dolls Presents: The Search for the Next Doll, Click! will give 10 amateur photographers the chance to live out their wildest fantasies in pursuit of their ultimate dream: to become the next great fashion photographer. Our cast will live and work together in a downtown L.A. loft while being guided by world-renowned fashion photographer Russell James. These aspiring photographers will embark on a series of photo shoots meant to challenge their creativity and expose their individual weaknesses. For the first time in their lives, the cast will work with supermodels and high-end professionals, while traveling to exotic locations all to capture that one perfect shot. Whether it's shooting on the deck of a schooner in the midst of a storm, or trying to get a supermodel to cuddle up to a Siberian tiger, our cast will face daunting tasks and obstacles that will test their talent, desire and drive to be the next great fashion photographer.

DANNY BONADUCE'S CHILD STAR tentative title (8 episodes): In a world gone mad with delusional stage moms and money hungry agents, only one man knows how to save the endangered species known as the child star. Danny Bonaduce's Child Star (tentative title) challenges Danny Bonaduce to seek out one great, aspiring, triple threat stage-hungry kid, identify them as a star, and train their driven stage mom or dad to be a supportive and fit parent who won't end up driving their kid into rehab. Over the course of 8 hour-long episodes both kids and parents will participate in challenges to see if they have what it takes to make it in Hollywood. The kids will need to have talent and the parents will need to have the smarts to navigate Hollywood without ruining their child's career.

FREE RADIO (8 episodes): A half-hour improvised comedy where the worlds of celebrity, mediocrity and talk radio collide. It is a comedic, behind-the-scenes look at a struggling Los Angeles radio station and its dysfunctional staff, led by Lance, the dimwitted, laughably ignorant, yet inexplicably popular host of "Moron in the Morning." Celebrity guests from film, television, music and stage join Lance every week in the booth as they promote their latest projects while enduring his clueless questions and oblivious take on the world. Lance is played by improv comedian Lance Krall (The Joe Schmo Show).

LORDS OF THE REVOLUTION (7 episodes): They questioned authority. They celebrated nonconformity. They dared to be different. VH1's new documentary series Lords of the Revolution profiles the nonconformist heroes—and anti-heroes—of the '60s and '70s, honoring those icons who challenged social, political and cultural institutions of the time. Edgy, colorful and visually dynamic, each hour-long episode will tell the compelling story of a visionary who through music, art, social change or politics influenced popular culture in a way that it is still felt today.

OLD SKOOL WITH TERRY AND GITA (5 Episodes): It's The Golden Girls meets Borat! Old Skool with Terry and Gita is a half-hour weekly series starring Terry Moore and Gita Hall as they explore the hottest topics in pop culture. Terry Moore, 77, a movie star from the studio days and ex-wife of billionaire Howard Hughes, and Gita Hall, 72, one of the world's first supermodels, have an unquenchable thirst for life. Terry and Gita are on a mission to explore all the weird and wonderful "subcultures" normally reserved for people far younger than their demographic proving it's never too late to get "skooled." From hip hop to the gay community, the two ladies are committed to discovering what's hip and happening today. Their fish-out-of-water immersion into those worlds is often revelatory, sometimes shocking and always hilarious.

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

The Stooges, Snow Patrol, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Modest Mouse, Patti Smith, Kings of Leon Muse, and Daft Punk are amongst the acts set to join Pearl Jam at this year's Lollapalooza to be held August 3-5 in Chicago's Grant Park.

Apple has announced that it has sold more than 100 million iPods since its launch in 2001. Other incredible sales figures include iTunes online music store selling in excess of 2.5 billion songs, 50 million TV shows, and more than 1.3 million movies.

Hot CD releases this summer include product from Smashing Pumpkins, Velvet Revolver, They Might Be Giants, Meat Puppets, Beastie boys, Wu-Tang Clan, Crowded House, Korn, and Yellowcard. Some powerhouse releases set for the fall and pre-holiday season with sets due from Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Gnarls Barkley, Dido, and Barry Manilow's Greatest Songs of the 70s.

Superstar Bette Midler has signed a two-year deal to replace superstar Celine Dion at the Colosseum in Las Vegas. Bette opens in February 2008 with ticket prices ranging from $95 to $350 for the 90-minute show. Dion's show, which began in March 2003, grossed more than $500 million in that 4100-seat venue.

In 2006, the United Stated music industry released about 75, 774 albums—15,000 more than the previous year. Yet, album sales of new artists dropped 9.4%. Digital-only CDs were up some 9,000 pieces with independent releases leading the way. Whether from a major label or Indie label, total digital-only releases accounted for only 1.22 million units in sales.

The most prestigious award in music, The Grammy, is finally getting a home of its own right across the street from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. A Grammy museum is scheduled to open in September 2008, in time for the awards 50th anniversary. The anniversary show will be broadcast live from the Staples Center on CBS-TV on February 10. Nominees will be announced on December 6.

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