Songs For Song
Last week Starbucks and Lava Records
announced that Antigone Rising’s Starbucks-exclusive CD had sold over 20,000 units in its first two weeks, an incredible number for an unknown, developing artist which is being sold exclusively in Starbucks outlets. Having a song co-written by Rob Thomas (matchbox twenty) doesn’t hurt, though the biggest reason for such great sales is probably the lack of competition at the Starbucks counter.
Other companies have taken notice of Starbucks’ track record with music sales—especially its success with Ray Charles’ Genius Loves Company —and feel inspired and emboldened. One such company is Song, the budget airline division of Delta Airlines. It recently
“>announced that it would offer to its customers the an album by ’90s one-hit-wonders Better Than Ezra and a few weeks later Divorcing Neo 2 Marry Soul by Jaguar Wright. Daniel Glass of Artemis said the venture is “exciting” because the industry “needs to really take risks and try some different things to create new avenues of visibility.”
One hopes Song sells the music without a heavy hand. Its customers, unlike those that choose to leisurely lounge about a Starbucks outlet, are the definition of a captive audience. (What’s entrepreneurship to one man may be seen by another as taking advantage of people.) It’s that captivity that Song hopes to cash in on—only in this case credit cards as well as cash can be used to buy the music.
Today’s New Releases
There’s a lack of blockbusters this week (for a change), but there is one album of note: Oasis’ Don’t Believe The Truth , the first album in three years from a band that has yet to truly prove itself in the United States. They’re legends in the U.K. and managed to quickly sell out many tour dates here in America, but their ability to sell records is still questionable. Reviews of Don’t Believe The Truth have been very positive, though. A
Boston Globe review called it “a genuine thrill” and “a return to swaggering form.”
The Washington Times says its melodies are “gleaming, anthemic” and finds the once-crushing pressure put on the band to be “Coldplay’s job now.” AllMusic.com’s review gave it four-and-a-half stars (out of five) and said it’s “the closest Oasis has been to great since the summer of Britpop.”
Merger Rumblings, More Cuts at Sony BMG
Just as the head of Sony BMG warned of more cuts and warned against merging to create large, lumbering music companies, talk about an EMI-Warner Music Group merger sparked up again. The Times Online ran an
article a few days ago discussed the ongoing rumors and words of encouragement from analysts and investment bankers eager for a underwriting gig.
“>a Reuters article , Sony BMG CEO Andrew Lack told the Reuters Telecoms, Media and Technology Summit that more cuts can be expected from the already cut-weary Sony BMG.
Digital music and ring tones, while often hailed as the saviors of the music industry, are only “staunching the bleeding,” he admitted. “I don’t think the prognosis is all that attractive going forward in ‘05, ‘06 and ‘07.”
In a statement about the majors’ quest for market share that was directed at EMI and Warner Music Group—two companies who have been smitten with each other for years—Lack said, “There has been a lot of unprofitable market share.” He later added, “I think it’s a great time to be an independent, or smaller than the larger majors because smaller is often better, more nimble. … Do I think EMI and Warner need more market share to compete? No.”
Then again, why would Lack ever encourage two competitors to merge and become a more powerful competitor?
Glenn works in the music industry in New York City. He writes about the industry and music in general at his blog,