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Music Biz

THIS WEEK IN THE MUSIC BIZ
July 25, 2005 Edition


* RIAA's Annual Commercial Piracy Report Shows Trafficking In Pirated Music Increasingly Sophisticated
* 903 Music Inks Exclusive Distribution Deal With Navarre Corporation's Entertainment Media
* Attorney Jon L.Duman And Music Industry Consultant Gian Fiero, Launch Duman & Fiero, An Entertainment Consulting Firm
* The Addition Of MP3s Makes Peer Impact The First Codec Agnostic Legal P2P Network
* Ringtone Shoplifters Hitting Unprotected Mobile Music Stores Could Threaten Industry
* Legal Music Downloads Triple In 2005; File-Sharers Take Heed Of Lawsuits
* Grooves On The Move: IDC Forecasts U.S. Wireless Music Market To Surge By 2009
* ARCHOS Enhances the Smallest 20 Gigabyte Pocket Music Player
* SanDisk Music Player Raises Climbers' Spirits During Chilly Ascent of Alaska's Mt. McKinley
* Yamaha Announces Distribution Deal With Arturia

RIAA's Annual Commercial Piracy Report Shows Trafficking In Pirated Music Increasingly Sophisticated, Closer Ties To Criminal Syndicates

The illegal copying and trafficking of pirated music has become increasingly sophisticated in the past year, according to new data and analysis released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in its annual record of "commercial piracy" (non-Internet) statistics and enforcement efforts.

Among the highlights, pirate music distributors are increasingly manufacturing and selling high-quality product that closely resembles legitimate CDs while large criminal enterprises are becoming increasingly involved in the piracy racket, illegally burning massive numbers of blank CDs with music from today's most popular artists.

"The practice and trade of music piracy have become more sophisticated, cunning and connected to organized crime," said Brad Buckles, Executive Vice President of Anti-Piracy. "Working with law enforcement officials across the country, we continue to develop and implement multifaceted strategies to respond to these emerging threats to artists, songwriters, record labels and others in the music community."

The RIAA reported a 58 percent increase in seizures of counterfeit CDs, the authentic CD look-alikes with high-quality artwork and packaging that make the product appear legitimate. Working together, local law enforcement agencies and RIAA investigators seized 1.2 million counterfeit discs in 2004. This pirate product is increasingly traced back to smaller CD copying plants. The growing number of these smaller-sized facilities over the past few years has created excess production capacity, and some unethical businesses have diverted this excess capacity to the production of high-quality pirate product.

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903 Music Inks Exclusive Distribution Deal With Navarre Corporation's Entertainment Media

903 Music, the Nashville-based record label formed earlier this year by multi-platinum country star Neal McCoy, has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Navarre Corporation's Entertainment Media. Navarre Corporation (Nasdaq: NAVR), is a leading publisher and distributor of a broad range of home entertainment and multimedia software products.

903 Music's debut release will be the Neal McCoy album, That's Life, with a scheduled August 23 street date. The next title will be McCoy's live concert DVD due out in the first quarter of 2006. 903 Music is currently looking at other artists to sign with additional releases in 2006. Navarre will distribute all titles released by 903 Music over the next several years.

903 Music label head Karen Kane comments on the Navarre deal, "Our philosophy for success is 'Great Artists, Great Music and Great People' and Navarre is a wonderful fit. From the very beginning, Bob Freese and his staff have been enthusiastic about helping us build 903 Music, and we look forward to a successful partnership with them."

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Attorney Jon L.Duman And Music Industry Consultant Gian Fiero, Launch Duman & Fiero, An Entertainment Consulting Firm

Noted San Francisco Bay Area entertainment attorney, Jon L. Duman, and respected music industry consultant, Gian Fiero, have combined forces to create Duman & Fiero, an entertainment consulting firm specializing in legal, business, educational, and independent A&R services for the music and entertainment industries.

This innovative collaboration will focus on servicing aspiring and established music artists, entertainers, record labels, producers, managers, and media/technology companies. In addition, Duman & Fiero will officially debut their groundbreaking and uniquely interactive "Q&A Workshop" series this summer, 2005, which is an extension of their popular Music Industry Q&A column (currently hosted at MusesMuse.com).

Already known for their "hands-on" approach to business, Duman & Fiero is eager to enhance and expand their presence within the music/entertainment communities, while also forming mutually profitable relationships with reputable organizations and companies throughout the music, media, and entertainment markets.

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The Addition Of MP3s Makes Peer Impact The First Codec Agnostic Legal P2P Network

Wurld Media announced its legal peer-to-peer (P2P) network, Peer Impact, will now offer MP3s from leading independent music labels in addition to DRM protected content. Peer Impact, which offers protected content from all four major music labels, now becomes the first legal P2P and the first music service to offer digital content in a format that is codec agnostic.

With this announcement, Peer Impact adds to its growing content catalogue as well as its growing diversity of supported file formats. These MP3s, approximately 100,000 to start, will be available for sale and redistribution on the network. Like music offered from the four majors, all MP3s for sale over Peer Impact are pristine content, not filtered or commingled with viruses or pornography as is commonly found on the existing peer-to-peer networks.

"Wurld Media has made a commitment to our users -- the Peer Impact community -- to provide them with as much legal digital content as possible so they can easily and conveniently purchase music when they want it and the way they want it," said Gregory Kerber, chairman and CEO of Wurld Media. "The addition of MP3s to the catalogue allows more freedom for both consumers and copyright holders and moves us towards the goal of the most diverse catalogue of legal, digital content available online."

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Ringtone Shoplifters Hitting Unprotected Mobile Music Stores Could Threaten Industry

A startling study conducted by Qpass of 100 leading U.S. and European digital content Websites revealed that more than one third of the sites are unsecured, allowing users to 'shoplift' music tracks and download them as free ringtones. The extent of the problem in US may have already cost the mobile and music industries an estimated $40 million U.S. (33 million EURO) since the beginning of 2004, and a further $123 million U.S. (102 million EURO) by 2007, according to Qpass.

Qpass attributes this problem to the need for the mobile and music industries to enable users to preview music before they purchase it, an important part of the customer purchasing experience. Two thirds of web sites tested offered preview music files between 15 and 30 seconds, the perfect length to convert into a ringtone.

Preview content can be secured by using streaming, embedded pre-listening or the use of a DRM-protected file format. The study of digital rights vulnerabilities on mobile music web stores was conducted as part of the ongoing development of the Qpass Content Delivery Platform, which offers a comprehensive solution for securing mobile content.

The Websites tested included 42 mobile carrier portals and 58 online entertainment and music stores offering full track music downloads. Out of the sites tested, 40 percent of carrier sites and 31 percent of other portals such as online music stores and entertainment sites were unsecured. Ironically, some of the sites surveyed specialized in selling ringtones, which are inadvertently giving away their products for free due to the security hole.

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Legal Music Downloads Triple In 2005; File-Sharers Take Heed Of Lawsuits

Illegal file-sharing of music is being kept in check while the number of legal tracks downloaded internationally tripled to 180 million in the first half of 2005, new figures released by the international recording industry show today.

The IFPI figures indicate that the surge in broadband use globally is benefiting the legal music business while illegal file-sharing remains virtually flat. Infringing music files available on file-sharing networks and websites rose slightly (3%) from 870 million in January to 900 million, while broadband lines installed grew four times faster at 13%.

Meanwhile the legitimate digital music industry is expanding fast globally. IFPI estimates that single track downloads in the top four online markets in 2005 have more than tripled in the last year.

Legal music downloads in the first six months of 2005 in the US, the UK, Germany and France outstripped the total for the whole of last year. Single track downloads in these markets have risen to 180 million in the first half of 2005 compared to 157 million for the whole of 2004. This is more than three times the 57 million downloads of the first half of 2004.

The legitimate market is responding to that demand, with over 300 digital sites now available worldwide - three times the number of one year ago.

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Grooves On The Move: IDC Forecasts U.S. Wireless Music Market To Surge By 2009

Although they are only one component of the overall wireless music market, wireless full-track downloads present an opportunity that is arguably one of the largest in the wireless data industry. IDC expects the U.S. wireless full-track music market to surge to $1.2 billion in revenue and over 50 million full-track customers and subscribers by 2009.

"IDC believes that online and wireless music services may represent the music industry's best long-term prospects for reversing decline and promoting growth, and that these new services will ultimately be the future of recorded music distribution," said Susan Kevorkian, senior research analyst, Consumer Markets at IDC.

The domestic market for cellular full-track OTA (over-the-air) delivery of music via 2.5G and 3G networks is clearly still in its infancy, despite the increasing levels of media coverage and industry buzz around the topic. Indeed, wireless full-track OTA delivery has yet to be launched in the U.S. A number of challenges facing the wireless music value chain have impeded development of this emerging market. Key near-term constraints include: lack of available handsets and 3G networks, digital rights management (DRM) complexity, competition from incumbent services, and business pricing models and practices.

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ARCHOS Enhances the Smallest 20 Gigabyte Pocket Music Player with the New Gmini XS 202

ARCHOS, Inc., the global consumer electronics manufacturer and leader in portable digital entertainment solutions, has launched the new Gmini XS 202 pocket music player. The ultra compact 20 gigabyte(1) hard-drive-based audio player is now Microsoft PlaysForSure download compatible, features a new blue screen and is the smallest 20 gigabyte audio player at the cost of a 4-gigabyte player. The Gmini XS 202 is an upgrade from the Gmini XS 200 released last year and is the perfect music companion to take up to 10,000 tracks on the go and in your pocket.

With its compact and elegant design, the Gmini XS 202 measures only 2.9" x 2.3" x 0.75" and is 4.2 ounces, yet offers the largest hard drive capacity for product of its size and price point. Presented with a blue-scale, 2" LCD screen and a trendy metallic cover, the latest in the ARCHOS Gmini product line gets 17 hours of battery life and offers an impressive list of features.

"The Gmini XS 202 is an enhancement to our Gmini line of portable audio players, offering an exciting new blue screen and integration with Microsoft PlaysForSure music download programs and Windows Media Audio protected files," said Henri Crohas, ARCHOS chief executive officer. "The Gmini XS 202 is undoubtedly one of the most competitive audio players in the 20 gigabyte market and is the smallest of its kind at that capacity."

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SanDisk Music Player Raises Climbers' Spirits During Chilly Ascent of Alaska's Mt. McKinley

Huddled in a tent on the flanks of Mt. McKinley in Alaska, with the wind howling and the temperatures dipping to -40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 Celsius), a climber has few options to relax and stay motivated during long waiting periods and brutally cold nights.

But Canadian mountaineer Gilles Mousseau found a way to beat the alpine blues. Every evening, as he and his seven companions scaled the peak that is also known as "Denali," he would switch on his SanDisk Digital Audio Player, plug in the ear buds and drift off to a different place and time. Keeping the tiny player inside his down-filled parka or sleeping bag, the 52-year-old software executive from Gatineau, Quebec, could play his favorite songs and even receive distant FM radio stations.

Considered one of the world's supreme challenges, Mt. McKinley is known for its unpredictable weather and numerous deadly crevasses. Among the highest peaks of the seven continents, the mountain is surpassed in difficulty only by Mt. Everest, said Mousseau. In fact, statistics from the National Park Service indicate that only half of all attempts to climb the mountain each year are successful, he added.

At night, when it was hard for Mousseau to sleep during the freezing cold and gusting winds, he would click on classical guitarists Leona Boyd and Julian Bream, the soundtrack from "Notre Dame de Paris" or the lounge ballads of Rod Stewart. And when he needed an emotional jumpstart for the day's climb, he'd play tunes from country diva Shania Twain or veteran rockers Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton.

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Yamaha Announces Distribution Deal With Arturia

Yamaha Corporation of America has reached an agreement with leading virtual software synthesizer manufacturer Arturia to assume distribution and marketing of Arturia products in the United States, effective July 1, 2005.

Based in Grenoble, France, Arturia is known for developing some of the industry's most realistic-sounding virtual recreations of vintage analog and classic synthesizers, including the Yamaha CS80 and ARP 2600. The company's Moog Modular V and minimoog V are the only software synthesizers to be officially endorsed by Dr. Bob Moog.

All products use Arturia's proprietary TAE modeling engine, which allows accurate recreation of sounds, tonal characteristics and graphic user interfaces unique to each of these sought-after vintage instruments. Arturia software synthesizers are also compatible with VST, AU, MAS, RTAS, DXi and other established plug-in formats.

"Arturia has created a unique niche in the software synth market by offering products with stunningly faithful graphic design and sound quality," states Tom Sumner, general manager, Pro Audio and Combo Division, Yamaha Corporation of America. "Its product line is a perfect addition and complement to our current array of music production products, including Yamaha hardware and Steinberg software."

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Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright © Tag It 2005 - Republished with Permission

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MusicDish Network Promotes 60's Love Child Astrella-Celeste


MusicDish, an Internet music magazine publisher and artist marketing/development firm, is proud to announce the addition of Pop/Jazz singer Astrella Celeste to the MusicDish Network roster. Combining a variety of online viral marketing strategies, the MusicDish Network will be coordinating a broad campaign in support of her debut album "Blue Star" (the Spanish translation of Astrella Celeste).
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MusicDish At MIDEM: J-Music Distribution, France

J-Music Distribution describes itself as "the very first European distributor of Japanese music whose activities link Japanese artists and their management, Japanese record companies, and European distributors together to provide a stable framework of distribution from artists to music retail store."

Formed in December 2005, J-Music Distribution representatives brought their business vision to "MIDEM, The World Music Market's 40th Edition" conference in Cannes, France.

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