Bronfman Steps Down as Chairman of the Board at Warner Music Group

Publication: The New York Times

Title: Bronfman Stepping Down as Warner Music Chairman

Article by: Ben Sisario


According to the New York Times, Edgar M. Bronfman Jr., is stepping down as chairman of the board of the Warner Music Group on January 31.

“Mr. Bronfman will remain on the board, but he told employees in an internal memo that his “other obligations are beginning to take an inordinate amount of time.””

Since Warner Music was sold to Access Industries this past May for $3.3 billion, and recently Warner Music lost a bid to acquire EMI, the news of Bronfman stepping down has been expected by those in the music industry.

The company is expected to name a new chairman by January.  The Times notes that Stephen F. Cooper, “a turnaround expert who had previously worked at the Enron Corporation and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts”, took over as CEO in August.


The T-Pain Effect

Publication: Fast Company

Title: We Are All T-Pain

Article by: Jason Feifer


In this article Fast Company meets with T-Pain about the importance of branding yourself as a musician and exploring ventures outside of the record business.

The article explains the evolution of Auto-Tune:

“Cher’s “Believe” used the trick in 1998, earning it the name the “Cher effect.” T-Pain followed in 2005–an unknown rapper with a thing for top hats, who Auto-Tuned so consistently and colorfully that by 2009 he had three platinum records and had unseated Cher in Auto-Tune lexicon.”

And how T-Pain came to capitalize on the Auto-Tune technology.

According to Fast Company,

“We were like, what the hell do we do? Do we tell Pain, ‘Don’t use Auto-Tune anymore?'” says his manager, Michael Blumstein of Chase Entertainment. (Note: When you’re on a first-name basis with T-Pain, just call him Pain.) But no. The man had found a niche, an identity. “It just got to a point where, from a business standpoint, you’ve got to capitalize on it. It’s sitting right there in front of you.”

In 2009 the “I am T-Pain” app was released and sold more than 2 million units at $3 a piece.  Both T-Pain and Antares (the company that licensed the software) made a nice profit.

T-Pain has since split with Antares and developed his own software with a company called iZotope.  The software sells for $99 and is called the T-Pain Effect.

He has a new toy microphone out on the market for $40 called I Am T-Pain.

According to the article:

“… Auto-Tune has become a catchall verb, like Photoshopping. So T-Pain’s task is to change the lexicon one more time, to own it outright. “I drop the software off to every studio I go to,” he says. “I know Wayne’s using it. Kanye’s using it. Drake thought about it. There’s a lot of people, man. I love it. I love it. It’s all-out war.””

Spotify to Announce “New Direction” on November 30

Publication: Mashable

Title: Spotify Hints at ‘New Direction’

Article by: Samantha Murphy


On Wednesday November 30th, Spotify will be holding it’s first US Press event.  Invitations went out a week ago and indicate that the company has “exciting new” to share.

The call for a press event is happening at a time when Spotify is facing competitive pressure- especially from the free Google Music Service, “which allows users to upload, share and browse songs, and then listen to them on the go via cloud storage on Android devices.”  In addition, there is growing concern over the streaming aspect of the Spotify business.  Many labels and publishers have pulled out of various other streaming services, because it reportedly hurt record sales.

“At Spotify, we continually strive to innovate and deliver exciting new experiences for our users,” Spotify said in an email statement to Mashable. “In New York on November 30th, we are holding our first press conference to unveil the latest major development from Spotify – and a new direction for the company.”

The press event on November 30 will explore what’s on the horizon for Spotfiy.  The event will be broadcasted online.   Speculation points to the possible announcement of a Spotify music store.

Universal and Sony Buy EMI

Publication: Adweek

Title: Universal and Sony Buy EMI for $4.1 Billion: Record company splits in two

Article by: Dan Walker Smith


Adweek has reported that record company EMI has been bought in two deals with Sony and Vivendi’s Universal Music.  According to Adweek,

“The company will now be split into two divisions. Universal bought EMI’s recorded music group for $1.9 billion on Friday, while a group headed by Sony picked up EMI’s music publishing division for $2.2 billion. The combined value of the deals was $4.1 billion. EMI was previously owned by Citigroup.”

The New York Times reports that the breakup of EMI “completes the biggest shift in music’s corporate structure in almost a decade.” Although the deal is subject to regulatory approval, if it goes through, the number of major record companies will be reduced to three.  Sony and Universal will have a larger presence than they already have.

According to the New York Times Universal has plans to sell around$680 million worth of assets to combat competition concerns.

Possible Google Music Store Info Leaks

Publication: Mashable

Title: Possible Google Music Store Screenshots Surface

Article by: Todd Wasserman

Mashable has reported that there are Google Music Store screenshots circulating around the web.  According to the screanshots and information gathered by the blog TechnoDroidVe, song price range is $0.99-$1.29.  Albums are priced $8.49 and $9.99.

The existence of Google Music Store has been speculated about for sometime.  Especially since the release of Google Music Beta, which was released in May.

Google Music Store would be in direct competition with iTunes Match, the Apple cloud-based offering, and Amazon Cloud player.

Soul Train Awards

Publication: Billboard

Title: Soul Train Awards Adds New Roster of Performers

Article by: Erika Ramirez


The Soul Train Awards show will be taped on Thursday November 17 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.  It will feature tribute performances to celebrate the recipients of the Legend Award–  Earth, Wind & Fire and Gladys Knight.

According to Billboard:

“Those performing include Cee Lo Green, Mary Mary, Common, Freddie Jackson, Chrisette Michele, Marsha Ambrosius, Musiq Soulchild, Anthony Hamilton and Toni Braxton’s sister, Tamar Braxton. Along with the performance, the awards will present pre-recorded tribute testimonials by Elton John, Smokey Robinson, Patti Labelle, will.I.Am, The Roots, Marie Osmond and more.”

Presenters include Basketball legend and Chairman of Vibe Media LLC, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Valerie Simpson, DJ Just Blaze, actors Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Melissa De Sousa, Lance Gross, Demetria McKinney, Nelsan Ellis, Amber Rose, Kel Mitchell, Shaunie O’Neal and more.

The show will be hosted by Cedric “The Entertainer.”

Nominees include Chris Brown (five nominations across 11 categories), Beyoncé (four nominations) and more.

The show is slated to air on Sunday November 27 at 9pm on BET and Centric.

Why Artists Like Coldplay Aren’t Bringing New Albums to Spotify

Publication: Mashable

Title: Why Coldplay and Adele Aren’t Bringing New Albums to Spotify

Article by: Lauren Indvik


Coldplay has decided that it’s latest album, Mylo Xyloto, will not be available on Spotify or any other streaming music service– just yet.  Fans will need to buy the physical CD or mp3 downloads from e-music stores like iTunes.

There is a lot of speculation surrounding this decision.  Some think Coldplay wants their audience to hear the album as “one cohesive work” (even though you can buy the singles on iTunes).  Some think it’s more financially motivated.  Mashable reports,

“Recording artists only make about three-tenths of a cent every time one of their songs is streamed, and 20 cents for every song sold on iTunes, according to estimates published in Rolling Stone.”

So it would make sense, financially, for Coldplay to hold off making their music available for free, especially since they have a very strong fanbase.  Coldplay aren’t the only ones who have made the decision to not partner with music streaming services.  Adele’s lastest album, 21, for instance, is not available on Spotfiy.  Her older album, 19, is.

It will be interesting to see if this trend plays out for less established artists, who aren’t necessarily guaranteed huge sales.  My guess is that less established/less popular artists are more focused on trying to get their music out there, in which case, services like Spotify can really help.