A New Wrinkle for the Grammys
The 47th Grammy Awards saw its TV ratings dip about 20 percent the other night. It was the same ol’ song and dance except for a few new wrinkles. Online music stores got into the Grammys this year. MSN Music gave away free downloads of some nominees, and iTunes made available a recording from the telecast of an overbearing (and often off-key) tsunami tribute: a star-studded group’s rendition of the Beatles’ “Across the Universe.” (You can watch a stream of the performance at
this page at the CBS Grammy website.) I wasn’t counting, but I’d have to say that iTunes was mentioned at least three times during the telecast. (The iPod Shuffle commercial with The Caesars’ “
Jerk It Out ” aired just as many times, I’d say.) Without a doubt, the prominence of iTunes at the Grammys was the most mainstream combination of new and old media that I’ve yet seen.
Download Services on the Rise
An Ipsos-Insight survey says that 47% of Americans have tried a download service, up from 22% one year ago. (I think they mean 47% of computer-using Americans, or possibly Americans involved with digital music, but not all Americans.) The study also claims a decrease in file sharing users. (Story via
Digital Music News )
Not Dead. Not Even Very Sick.
Sean Daly of the Washington Post is the latest journalist to attempt to create a story where there is no story by touting the end of the CD.
“10 Million iPods, Previewing the CD’s End — Downloadable formats soon to be most popular, music insiders say” talks to some industry veterans and finds that—contrary to the article’s overly-optimistic title—CDs are going to be a dominant format for the foreseeable future.
As I’ve pointed out many, many times, the CD isn’t dead, nor is in dying (it’s just a little sick, though it’s feeling much better) and Daly acknowledges the CDs dominance in an era of digital growth.
“Are we looking at a mixed-up, mix-tape future? Not anytime soon. The compact disc has had a great run—developed by Philips and Sony in 1979, introduced to the United States in the spring of 1983, 1 billion in world sales by 1990. And it’s still going strong. According to Nielsen SoundScan, which keeps official tabs on point-of-purchase sales of recorded music, 2004 was a comeback year for the CD. Sales of CD albums, which make up 98 percent of all album sales, were up 2.3 percent compared with 2003.”
Let’s not loose touch with the average music consumer. In the words of Larry Miller, CEO of Or Music (home of Los Lonely Boys). “Remember, college kids and urban adults are buying their music online, but everybody else is buying their records at Best Buy and Wal-Mart.”
Hidden Fees Strike Again
Word at Digital Music News is that
Real has quietly slipped in a $0.79 monthly handling fee to its RadioPass users. Ah yes, the ol’ monthly handling fee, the generically phrased, seemingly benign, revenue-grabbing monthly handling fee. It’s the scourge of the recurring bill. The fee hasn’t hit Rhapsody users yet, by the way.
American’s New Home
Rick Rubin’s American Recordings is moving to Warner Bros Records,
reported the NY Post, but Island Def Jam gets to hold on to the label’s catalog for three years. That’s the second recent acquisition for the evolving Warner Music Group—the smallest and most independent of the four major music groups. Last week,
reports were that P. Diddy’s Bad Boy Entertainment was headed for Warner Music Group for a 50% stake in the music empire.
Glenn works in the music industry in New York City. He writes about the industry and music in general at his blog,