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album sales week of 1/12/10

Blockhead “Music Scene” – 254

OmarionOllusion” ~ 19,000
Vampire WeekendContra” – 124,192 (I know it’s not hip-hop at all, but i was curious to see how it stacked up)

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Admittedly, there’s not much to report on the album sales front.  Not much tends to come out in mid january.  It’s not the best time to release music (post-holiday sales bump).  RJD2 dropped an album yesterday.  It’s been a little bit since his last release, which was mostly him singing indie rock and alienated a large part of his fan base.  Word has it he’s back to the funky horn-filled beats that got him fans in the first place, without completely forsaking his new direction.  I’m curious to know what people think he’s gonna sell.  (Hint: he’s at #3 on the iTunes HipHop Charts right now, and #45 on the overall iTunes charts).

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and now, on to industry news.

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First off, I went to a dope live show last night.  Tanlines, Gordon Voidwell, Das Racist, Mickey Factz and Freddie Gibbs at Highline Ballroom.  A good mix/blend/spectrum of indie rock, electro funk and hip-hop.  Lots of press and bloggerati in the house last night (i see you @caughtintheweb, @rafikam, @rant_sum, @paulcantor, @jawnita).  There are some dope pics from @meldcole available here.

Also, while you’re at it, check out this article that Das Racist wrote for the Village Voice.  I admit, it’s not so much “industry news,” but these guys are pushing the boundaries of what’s defined as hip-hop, and they’re both smart and funny, so I’d say it’s worth a read.  Especially from the lens of looking at what the music business, and more specifically, artists getting buzz(ed) looks like in the internet age.
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Silicone Plateau: Porn and Music in the internet age
I read a great article yesterday by Kyle Bylin, (associate editor over at Hypebot.com) comparing the drop in Porn DVD sales, and the increase in amateur home-made/user-generated video (think youporn) to the drop in CD sales, and the increase in amateur home-made/user generated music (think myspace).  Both industries are suffering from a proliferation of cheap digital content, and a drop in physical revenue, and specifically, the gap that’s opening up in between.  I saw an interesting poll too via Twitter about how New Zealanders see the morality of looking at porn vs. illegally downloading music, and i’m curious…

[polldaddy poll=2562986]

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Apple’s Deal With LaLa – send in the clouds
Here’s an interesting article about how Apple is going to use their acquisition of LaLa to ease the transition to a cloud model (which I think is what’s coming).  The idea is that using the technology of a streaming music service, people will have access to ALL of their music from any hub (computer, iphone, ipod etc), instead of having to have all the mp3 files on your respective hard drives.

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WTF is going on @ major labels?
In the last few days, these two stories dropped:

WMG pays top two execs $14 million in 2009

UMG cuts 50 staffers

Seriously, doesn’t anyone else see a problem with this kind of inequity?  Not that Universal and Warner have the same financial situations to deal with, but c’mon son!  Not to get too communist on you, but where’s the workers of the world uniting on this one?  This is the squeeze right here.  Big time cats making millions of dollars.  Workers and artists are sweating out here right now.  WTF?!

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Hope?  Music sales increase in Sweden for the first time since 2000
The music business is a business.  The bottom line is the bottom line.  Despite the fact that digital sales are on their way up in the US (as can be seen in the 2009 sales figures posted here), overall revenue is not going up.  But it is in Sweden, where fighting music piracy has been made a priority.  Very interesting.

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New York Times to Start charging for web access
Speaking of profitability wars on content that is largely available for free, the NYTimes (who i rely on heavily for my news) is going to start charging.  Am I going to start paying?  Stay tuned…

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And until next time,
Peace.