So album sales were pretty weak sauce this week. I’m wagering that Beastie Boys will blow away these figures next week when the numbers are in for their highly-anticipated Hot Sauce Committee Part 2.
Fly.Union “The Greater Than Club – TGTC” – 280 (100% digital)
Outasight “Figure 8 – EP” – 240 (100% digital)
MED “MED Presents Bang Ya Head 3″ – 119 (35% digital)
Big Hutch “Only God Can Judge Me” - 8 (43% digital)
It seems like every week we have some new update on the sale of Warner Music Group, but still nothing’s really changed. The clamor around the industry is that a sale will be finalized very soon, maybe even by the next album sales post. With the bidding deadline drawing to a close yesterday, Sony/ATV Music Publishing allegedly placed a joint bid with billionaire Ronald Perelman and Guggenheim Partners. This puts them in contention with Tom and Alec Gores, as well as Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos., and Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries Holdings who have also placed multi-billion dollar bids on the company. As previously mentioned, most major labels have refused to play ball with Google in terms of licensing songs for their much-speculated-about cloud service. Now it’s looking like one of those majors is taking licensing into their own hands.
Yesterday, EMI announced that it would pull its licenses from performing rights group ASCAP in favor of going through their own publishing group, which could manifest into serious profit for the struggling label. Hypebot reports “for EMI, the change is designed to streamline the performance rights licensing process for its EMI April Music catalog to for audio streams, streaming video, cloud music and other similar services. April Music is one of EMI’s two largest catalogs, featuring almost 200,000 songs. Now, they can easily license many digital services whether they need a mechanical license, a synchronization license, a performance license or all three. ”
Even though some labels are frustrated with Amazon for their Cloud storage locker, they can’t be mad at this: Amazon is now selling more than 200 popular songs, including 26 of their top 40 songs, for just 69 cents. I know that you’re thinking, “won’t the labels get mad when their product only generates them half a dollar?” That’s not the case, as Amazon is paying labels regular wholesale in an effort to draw new customers from similar services such as iTunes. The director of Amazon music, Craig Pape, said cutting prices will create a “halo effect” that will boost music sales, ensure return customers, and improve the site’s recommendation engine. Let’s not forget that Amazon sells way more than music, so having new customers flock to the site is beneficial across all avenues of the company’s business.
It was not long ago that critics speculated the demise of satellite radio…and it looks like they were far off. Sirius XM reported improved first-quarter financial figures, boasting 373,000 new subscribers and nearly doubling its profit margin. In the first quarter of last year, the company turned a $42 million profit. This year, the company generated $78 million in profit, making net revenue $724 million. CEO Mel Karmazin noted that on average, Sirius makes $141 a year from each subscriber. Believe it or not, Karmazin gave some credit to Charlie Sheen’s winning antics, as the company briefly dedicated a channel to the self-proclaimed Vatican assassin dubbed, Tiger Blood Radio. Karmazin said that the company plans on raising subscription prices as long as regulators don’t extend the three-year price freeze enacted when Sirius merged with XM.
Finally, whatever happened to LimeWire? I’m not really sure how they made money by working as a third-party for digital piracy, but somehow the company took in several million dollars in the past decade. Warner Music and Sony Corp. are seeking hundreds of millions, possibly billions, of dollars in damages for copyright infringement on 11,096 songs. LimeWire founder Tom Gorton will meet in court this week over this copyright infringement case. Nearly a year ago, Gorton lost a suite placed against him by the RIAA, in which they were seeking trillions of dollars. What’s even crazier is that CBS and CNET are being sued for providing access to LimeWire through download.com. A coalition of artists led by FilmOn.com insist that CBS and CNET made a profit from LimeWire because they made money from LimeWire on a pay-per-download basis. This case seems like it’s going nowhere, but needless to say, LimeWire is no longer operating.