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Music Biz

THIS WEEK IN THE MUSIC BIZ
July 8, 2005 Edition


* The Killers 'Mr Brightside' Propels Shazam To 10 Million Tracks Milestone
* Technology Veterans Join Forces to Launch Fluid Audio Networks
* The Soundmasters To Launch New Internet-Based Mastering Service - E-Masters
* Peter Spero Productions Announces New Computer Music Sharing Subscription Service
* Sybersound Records, Inc. Attacks Piracy In Karaoke Industry
* Music Publishers Are Killing Karaoke
* Dance Network Formed By Universal Music International
* Sony BMG France Names New Management
* Sony BMG Germany Expands Management Team
* EMI Group Plc Preliminary Results For Year Ended 31 March 2005

The Killers 'Mr Brightside' Propels Shazam To 10 Million Tracks Milestone

* The Killers' latest single marks milestone high for Shazam
* Shapeshifters' 'Lola's Theme' heralded the most popular track tagged since launch
* Further establishes Shazam as a valuable channel to target consumers for both mainstream and unknown artists

The Killers' latest single 'Mr Brightside' has been named as the 10 millionth track to be 'tagged' by consumers using Shazam's music recognition service.

Since Shazam launched its service back in August 2002, Shapeshifters' 'Lola's Theme', has been dubbed the most popular track 'tagged' by music loving consumers. No Doubt's, 'It's My Life' followed closely behind at number two, and 'Where is the Love?' from the Black Eyed Peas seized the number three spot.

Consumers no longer need to know the name of the artist in order to be able to purchase their favourite tunes and this latest milestone cements the company's position in the marketplace, as a valuable tool for both mainstream and relatively unknown artists. While Shazam continues to expand its eclectic database, it offers a promotional channel for performers, enabling artists' to reach a diverse audience and in turn help to drive further record sales.

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Technology Veterans Join Forces to Launch Fluid Audio Networks

Fluid Audio Networks (FAN) is a Los Angeles based Internet startup which has developed a platform for democratizing the music business by tapping into the expanding digital self-publishing space. FAN is building the largest network of emerging artists and music fans by partnering with some of the world's most recognized entertainment brands. The company is already in talks with several high-profile brands and plans to announce its first partnership at the end of June at Licensing International 2005 in New York.

The company was launched by a team of veterans in the Internet and technology space, led by Justin Beckett who has 20 years of experience investing in and launching entrepreneurial ventures. Most recently Justin sold the highly popular online gaming company SkillJam Technologies, which he founded in 2000, to Fun Technologies.

Justin will serve as the new company's CEO, joined by Bob Buch, COO, who was the founder and President of AimTV, an Internet based advertising firm sold for $25 million to Netzero Inc. in the late nineties. Buch also worked in business development for Macromedia Inc., the world's leading maker of website development software. Beckett and Buch are joined by two other founding members James Williams, CTO, and Michael Raeford, CMO, both veterans of the Internet application space.

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The Soundmasters To Launch New Internet-Based Mastering Service - E-Masters

The Soundmasters - among the very few premier mastering studios in the world, today announce the launch of a brand new internet-based mastering service aimed at global independent musicians and labels.

Following on from the enormous success of The Soundmasters, Kevin Metcalfe and Streaky decided to make their unique service, history and experience more readily available to people whom either because of their geography or their budget restraints are unable to work at The Soundmasters facility in London. Instead they decided to invest in highly secure servers and offer the exact same service via the Internet.

Kevin Metcalfe comments: "Between us we've mastered a vast majority of today's major and independently signed artists in the world. We felt it was now time to let even more people into our inner-sanctum, as it were, and now you can get the same engineer who's currently mastering say Groove Armada, Usher or Paul Weller to work on your own track for Fifty Euro, Dollar or Pounds. No matter where you are in the world, you'll get the same service that major labels and artists get with absolutely no compromise."

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Peter Spero Productions Announces New Computer Music Sharing Subscription Service

Respected musician and computer expert Peter Spero, through his company Spero Productions, has introduced a computer service which has made sharing music files, music charts, and lyrics efficient, secure, and simple for professional musicians. In contrast to sites which offer pure entertainment, Spero's concept includes personal download sites tailored specifically for band leaders and song writers who want to share music and charts for business purposes.

In essence, Spero offers web technology which allows musicians, band leaders, and song writers a one stop web page where their band mates, studio musicians, and fellow songwriters can download their songs, charts, and lyrics. Left behind are the worries about file size, e-mail capabilities, individual download speeds, etc.

"As a professional musician myself working with different bands, I experienced the frustration of busy band leaders when band members walked into rehearsals unprepared because they didn't receive the practice music for one reason or another," said Spero. "This problem caused whole rehearsals to go down the tube, a waste of valuable time and of course money. "I therefore used my computer expertise to come up with a solution, an interface where musicians can pick up their materials with ease. It is now as easy as clicking on a link."

"My rehearsals have never run more efficiently since signing up for the Spero Productions Band and Song Writer Download Site," said Nashville Singer, Song Writer, and Performing Artist Ryan Michaels. "My musicians now walk in fully prepared and it truly shows in our live performances."

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Sybersound Records, Inc. Attacks Piracy In Karaoke Industry

Sybersound Records, Inc., an artist-run record company based in Malibu, California, has filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court and Ontario Superior Court in Canada, seeking more than $200 million in damages arising from music piracy by karaoke record manufacturers.

Sybersound produces high-quality recordings for home-market karaoke use, under product lines known as "Party Tyme Karaoke" and "Billboard Top 10 Karaoke." Sybersound obtains karaoke synchronization licenses from publishers for all of the songs released on its albums and pays royalties for all units sold.

The lawsuits allege that Sybersound's competitors have failed, unlawfully, to license competing karaoke records, and have underreported sales to publishers as a way of selling product below cost and undercutting Sybersound's pricing. These below-cost sales amount to unfair trade practices, according to the suit.

"This has plagued the karaoke business for a long time," said Jan Stevens, President and CEO of Sybersound. "We've always been scrupulous about paying writers for the use of their songs, and have expected that our competitors would do the same. It's time for the rest of the industry to do the right thing, and we hope that our lawsuit will help make this happen."

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Music Publishers Are Killing Karaoke

When karaoke first appeared in the U.S., some believed it was nothing more than a passing fad. Twenty years later, it's still going strong, but finds itself battling an unlikely foe. The karaoke industry is under attack from the big music publishers and many legitimate karaoke labels may not be able to survive the onslaught.

"Under the guise of fighting piracy and copyright infringement, music publishers are strong-arming unfair fees from licensed and royalty-paying karaoke companies to the tune of millions of dollars," said Rick Priddis, president of Priddis Music, Inc. "I've been in the karaoke business for more than 20 years, and all of a sudden I am looking at the prospect of losing my company because of the publishers' overly aggressive practices - and I'm not alone."

Unlike Napster, companies such as Priddis Music have been paying royalties under existing copyright laws. Although the music publishers have accepted those payments for years, Priddis Music and other karaoke companies are now finding themselves under the Napster-esque label of "willful infringers."

"The copyright law provides for compulsory licensing of sound recordings," said Priddis. "The publishers don't seem to like the Compulsory License Act because it limits their control and regulates what they can charge. With new technology for distributing music, the publishers have found a loophole in the outdated compulsory statutes and are using it like a sword. They are evading the 'pay-as-you-go' terms of compulsory licensing and are demanding synchronization fees because they claim the lyrics on the TV screen are "synched up" with the music.

Now we are being told that we have to re-license all of our songs under synchronization licenses - with one-time up-front fees of up to $1,000 a song - or face litigation. In our business, we have to keep as many songs as possible in our catalogues, whether or not they sell well. With the prospect of re-licensing thousands of songs at a cost of millions of dollars, I don't know too many legitimate karaoke companies who can pay that kind of money and keep their doors open."

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Dance Network Formed By Universal Music International To Identify, Acquire Repertoire For Worldwide Exploitation

To more effectively tap into sources of dance music and acquire potential hits in this genre for worldwide exploitation, Universal Music International (UMI) is creating a "dance network" under the wing of its London-based strategic marketing division.

Its goal will be to acquire dance-oriented tracks from independent labels and artists, and to coordinate their release and promotion through Universal Music companies worldwide. The network will comprise key A&R and marketing executives from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the U.K.

Its members will exchange information and meet regularly to discuss local signings and records of potential interest to other UMI operating companies. Through this activity, key territories will be given the opportunity to be included upfront in the acquisition and licensing of repertoire.

The dance network was initiated by Stan Roche, Vice President, at UMI's Universal Strategic Marketing division. The activity is being coordinated at the centre by Andrew Daw, International Marketing Manager; both he and Roche are based at UMI's London headquarters.

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Sony BMG France Names New Management

Maarten Steinkamp, President of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Continental Europe, announced the appointment of new management for Sony BMG Music France. Christophe Lameignere has been promoted to Chairman and CEO and Christophe Waignier has been appointed Executive Vice President. In his new role, Mr. Lameignere will report directly to Mr. Steinkamp with Mr. Waignier reporting to Mr. Lameignere.

Christophe Lameignere most recently served as Executive Vice President, SONY BMG Music France and President of the Music Division, since 2004. Prior to that he served as President, BMG France, having previously served as President of BMG France's Music Division. Mr. Lameignere is responsible for signing platinum-selling acts Kyo and Benabar as well as gold-selling artist Priscilla and Luke. He also ensured the continuing success of Patrick Bruel and Laurent Voulzy, as well as the resurgence of Roch Voisine.

Under Mr. Lameignere's leadership, BMG France showed a spectacular increase in market share during the last two years. He first joined BMG in early 2003 after the company acquired Zomba Records, whose operations in France were launched by Mr. Lameignere in 1999. Before joining Zomba, he served as Managing Director, and prior to that as A&R Director, for Sony Music France/Epic. He began his career at EMI Music Publishing France where he signed Pascal Obispo and Supreme NTM, two hugely successful French acts.

Christophe Waignier most recently served as Senior Vice President, Commercial Affairs, SONY BMG Continental Europe, since 2004. In this role, Mr. Waignier was responsible for overseeing the company's sales, pricing policies and regional campaigns for all of Continental Europe. Prior to that he served as Executive Vice President, BMG France and Chairman, European Services, where he supported Christophe Lameignere in BMG France's successful turnaround.

He was formerly Vice President, IS&T and eMedia, BMG Europe, where he was responsible for instituting the company's pan-European supply chain. Previously he served as Vice President, New Media, Central Europe & U.K., where he established and developed the Click2music presence across Europe as well as executed the first pan-European deal with OD2 on subscription models. He began his tenure at BMG in 1996 as Vice President and Chief Administration Officer, BMG France.

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Sony BMG Germany Expands Management Team

Sony BMG Germany will expand its management team with the appointment of Edgar Berger as President, Sony BMG Germany, it was announced by Maarten Steinkamp, President Sony BMG Continental Europe and Chairman and CEO, Sony BMG Germany, to whom Mr. Berger will report. The appointment is effective September 1, 2005.

In his new postion, Mr. Berger will be responsible for Domestic Repertoire, International, Strategic Marketing/Media and Catalogue for Sony BMG Germany, areas formerly overseen by Mr. Steinkamp. The GUN Label Group and Sony BMG Germany's Chief Operating Officer, as well as the Human Resources and Corporate Communications departments will continue to report directly to Mr. Steinkamp. Mr. Berger will be named the company's Chief Executive Officer in Spring 2006.

Mr. Berger most recently served as Executive Vice President, Bertelsmann AG, since 2000. As Head of Bertelsmann AG's Corporate Network, he was responsible for synergy management and all issues related to strategic developments throughout Bertelsmann, working extensively on the expansion initiative, instituted by the company's Chairman and CEO Gunter Thielen. In addition, he helped build the Bertelsmann Corporate Network, with offices in Hamburg and New York, reporting to Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, Chairman and CEO of the Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) and Chief Creative Officer, Bertelsmann. Mr. Berger started his professional career in 1992 at consulting firm Roland Berger & Partners. From 1994-2000, he worked as a television reporter for IA-Television and RTL Television in Berlin. From 1998 to 2000, he was the political correspondent for RTL in Bonn and Berlin.

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EMI Group Plc Preliminary Results For Year Ended 31 March 2005

EMI Group turnover declined by 5.1% at constant currency, with EMI Music Publishing turnover increasing by 4.9% and EMI Music turnover declining by 7.4%
EMI Group's digital sales more than tripled to 49.7m, representing 2.5% of total Group turnover for the year and 3.5% in the final quarter
EMI Group operating margin increased to 12.0% from 11.8%

EMI Music's previously announced restructuring initiatives delivered cost savings of 35m in the year, 10m ahead of plan, with a further 15m of savings expected in the current year

Group Profit before tax, amortisation and exceptional items (Adjusted PBT) was 141.9m, in line with the 15 April trading update, and compares to 163.3m in the prior year

EMI maintains its positive outlook on the global recorded music market as declines in physical music sales continued to moderate during the year and digital music sales grew at a very rapid pace

Eric Nicoli, Chairman of EMI Group said, "In a still challenging trading environment we have seen some encouraging market trends and have made strategic progress in the past year. EMI Music Publishing achieved strong growth in both sales and profits. EMI Music's sales fell short of our original expectations due, in part, to lower than anticipated reorders in the fourth quarter and the rescheduling of two major album releases. The impact on the overall results for the Group was partially mitigated by the successful implementation of our restructuring programme at EMI Music which delivered cost savings ahead of plan. We remain positive on the outlook for the music industry and expect to deliver an improved performance in the year ahead."

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

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