MySpace Music Venture on Fast Track?

Danity Kane Do!

Sam Weiss: The Passing of a Music-Piz Pioneer

Bulletin Board

Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

March 24, 2008

Is MySpace's plan to launch a digital-music joint venture with the major record companies a go?

According to a report in the N.Y. Post which, like MySpace, is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., the social networking giant is nearing deals with Sony BMG and Warner Music Group.

The agreements could be signed as soon as this week, with the service expected to launch later this year.

Unlike most music licensing agreements, no money is expected to change hands in advances. Instead, the labels are trading content rights in exchange for minority equity stakes in MySpace Music and the chance to participate in advertising revenues generated from the service.

MySpace attracts more than 15 million unique monthly visitors to its existing music portal, which specializes in promotion and tour date information, but so far, no commerce.

In addition, the site includes more than 5 million individual artist pages attracting Web traffic not counted as part of its total music traffic as tracked by comScore.

The new MySpace Music is expected to be a mix of pay-per-download MP3s, ad-supported video and ringtones.

Jamba, a mobile entertainment service News Corp. owns jointly with VeriSign, is expected to play a role in the site's cellphone commerce strategy.

Record companies are looking to MySpace Music as an alternative to Apple's iTunes store, now the second-largest music retailer in the U.S. behind Wal-Mart, with 4 billion songs sold since its April 2003 launch.

The record companies are expected to hold less than a 50% stake in the MySpace venture, determined by individual marketshare.

Universal Music Group is currently suing MySpace for copyright infringement for its video offerings, which must be settled before a deal can be struck on this latest initiative. EMI is also reportedly negotiating with the company, but isn't as far along as either SBMG or WMG in reaching an agreement.

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

March 25, 2008

Guess P. Diddy's a hit man after all.

Just last week, he was accused of being one of those behind the shooting of Tupac Shakur outside a New York City studio.

Now, the executive formerly known as Sean Combs and Puff Daddy has another kind of smash on his hands in Making the Band alums Danity Kane, who debut at #1 on the HITS Album Sales chart with the Bad Boy/Atlantic disc, Welcome to the Dollhouse.

The album scores 253k in first-week sales, second-highest of the year behind only Jack Johnson's Brushfire/Universal Republic album Sleep Through the Static, which debuted with 380k back in February and remains at #5.

Atlantic rapper Flo Rida's Mail on Sunday, sporting a pair of smash airplay hits in "Low" and "Elevator," is the week's other top newcomer at #3, with 85k. Downtown/Atlantic's Gnarls Barkley used a #1 iTunes debut to bow at #20.

SBMG/Commercial Music Group's Now 27 remains #2, with 168k in sales, followed by last week's chart-topper, Def Jam/IDJ's Rick Ross (#4), Big Machine's resurgent Taylor Swift (#6), Epic's Sara Bareilles (#7), Disney's Hannah Montana 2 soundtrack (#8), Geffen's Snoop Dogg (#9) and Disney's Hannah Montana Best of Both Worlds (#10).

Easter weekend turned out to be very good for the biz, with family titles like Disney's Radio Disney Jams 10 album registering as the week's big mover (#49-19, +152%), followed by Arista/RMG's Carrie Underwood (#36-16, +142%), Disney's Hannah Montana 2 (#17-8, +140%), Razor & Tie's Kidz Bop 13 (#35-17, +132%), Hollywood's Jonas Brothers (#18-13, +115%), Lyric Street's Rascal Flatts (#47-22, +113%) and Razor & Tie's Alvin & the Chipmunks soundtrack (#16-12, +107%).

Taylor Swift sales are up 94%, along with Disney's Hannah Montana Best of Both Worlds (+73%) and EMI's Now 26 (#42-20, +60%), Bareilles (+48%), Universal Republic's Colbie Caillat (#21, +47%), TBD/ATO/RED's Radiohead (#50-40, +44%) and Rhino's Juno soundtrack (#23, +43%).

Hitting the streets on Tuesday are current Making the Band winner, Bad Boy/Atlantic's Day 26, Decaydance/Fueled by Ramen's Panic at the Disco (which has lost its exclamation point and found its ELO influences), Geffen's Counting Crows, MySpace's Pennywise and Astralwerks' B-52s comeback.

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

March 20, 2008

Legendary music business figure Sam Weiss passed away on the morning of March 19 from natural causes at Boca Raton Community Hospital in Florida. He was 81.

An archetypal independent operator who made up his own rules at a time when there were none to follow, Weiss will be remembered for his tremendous spirit, his love of the music industry and the lasting relationships he formed with other pioneers of the business, which is diminished by his passing.

Weiss' professional life reads like a virtual timetable for the development of the record industry. After growing up in the Bronx, he spent time in Florida, where he worked in the jukebox business. Following a short stint in the army, he took a job at the Old Town Paper Company. Sam and his brother Hy shared an affinity for the doo-wop singers who performed all over New York back in the early '50s, and lacking funds to open an office, the brothers decided start a label. Resourcefully, they called it Old Town in order to take advantage of the paper company's switchboard and stationery. Before long, the brothers turned it into one of the leading doo-wop and R&B labels of the era.

In the late '50s, Weiss formed Win Records, one of the first indie distribution companies, with his younger brother George. The company would enjoy a 30-year run as a top one-stop in the New York area. Sam did double duty as a promotion man, forming relationships with New York radio legends like Peter Tripp, Alan Freed and Jazzbo Collins. In the mid-'70s, Win became one of the first distributors to export product overseas, becoming so proficient at the task that Columbia Records branches in France and Germany would buy from Win, rather waiting for their own territories to get the product up and running.

In 1977, Sam jumped back into record production, the part of the business he loved most. He formed Sam Records, and along with his future son-in-law, Daniel Glass, created a memorable string of New York-based dance hits, enjoying his biggest success with John Davis & the Monster Orchestra and with the Gary's Gang hit, "Keep On Dancing." Weiss made the cover of Billboard Magazine in 1979, when Columbia, which till then had shied away from disco, jumped into the genre by making a distribution deal with Sam. In the early '80s, Win became the first music one-stop to jump into the video business. While the movie studios initially saw no reason to deal with music one-stops, Sam sold drugstore chains like Rite Aid and Pathmark on the concept of selling pre-recorded videotapes, helping to create the wide-open retail landscape that exists to this day.

In 1992, Sam and his son Michael launched Nervous Records, one of the next generation of New York indie labels.

Sam is survived by his wife, Enid "Twinnie" Weiss, children Michael and Deborah, his son-in-law Daniel Glass, daughter-in-law Julie Weiss and his grandchildren, Sean, Maxie, Liam, Jake and Noah.

Services will be held Friday, March 21, at Riverside Chapel, 76th St. and Amsterdam Ave., at 11:15 am. Donations in his name can be made to Lifebeat, 630 Ninth Ave., Suite 1010, New York, NY 10036;

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

Jack Johnson, Portishead, and Roger Waters will headline the 2008 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival April 25-27 at Empire Polo Field in Indio, California. Also set to appear are the Verve, Death Cab for Cutie, My Morning Jacket, the Reconteurs, and Kraftwerk.

Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, ZZ Top, Buddy Guy, Black Crowes, and Daughtry will perform as part of the Harley-Davidson 105th Anniversary Show set for August 29-30 at various Milwaukee venues.

The numbers are in and the top grossing live acts of 2007 are: The Police ($236 million), Justin Timberlake ($130 million), Rolling Stones ($118 million), Genesis ($113 million), and Josh Groban ($82 million).

Check out Mariah Carey's new CD called That Chick with tracks produced by, Jermaine Dupri, and Rodney Jerkins. Tracks such as "Migrate," "Love Story," and "Lovin' You Long Time" are album standouts.

According to Forbes Magazine, Madonna was named the top grossing female Rock artist of 2007, taking in about $72 million—not counting her $120 million deal with Live Nation. Number Two on the list was Barbra Streisand with Celine Dion in third. Others who made it include Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, and Shakira.

After their amazing sold-out show in London, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page said he wouldn't mind reuniting the band for a world tour. However, Robert Plant is on tour with Alison Krauss until late September so any possible tour might have to wait until early 2009. But let's face it, some things are really worth waiting for!

The Los Angeles Times came up with some cool facts about Michael Jackson's Thriller album. Here are just a few:
  • The CD has sold more than 104 million copies.

  • The 1988 movie, Return of the Living Dead II features a zombie dressed as Michael Jackson.

  • At the height of the song's popularity, MTV would run the 14-minute video twice every hour.

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