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Paisley Creates Pop-up Book Video

bpThe video for Brad Paisley’s latest hit, “American Saturday Night,” uses over 20,000 still photographs to build a world designed to look like a pop-up book. Paisley’s camp says it is a “2.5D world” that includes Paisley, his band The Drama Kings, and over 100 extras. Production company Branded Picture made the video, using several shoots in front of a green screen to get the final look. [Scroll to the bottom to see the video.]

Looks like a cameo from hit songwriter Ashley Gorley.

Looks like a cameo from hit songwriter Ashley Gorley.

“American Saturday Night” is currently No. 9 on MusicRow’s Country Breakout Chart.

Paisley was just announced as the headliner at the 7th Annual New England Country Music Festival at Gillette Stadium in Boston. Joining him on Aug. 21 will be Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker, Sara Evans and Easton Corbin.

Performance Royalty Debate Over Ringbacks

BMI has filed suit against T Mobile, claiming that the mobile phone company hasn’t secured proper licensing for selling ringback tones. According to Digital Music News, the suit filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California, Los Angeles, says BMI has licensing agreements with other carriers.

Since BMI and other performing rights organizations deal in collecting performance royalties, the key point at issue is whether or not ringbacks constitute public performances. Ringbacks are typically heard by only one caller.

In October a federal court ruled that ringtones, which can be heard by anyone within earshot of the ringing phone, were not public performances. The judgement came in ASCAP’s suit against Verizon over ringtones. The federal court ruled that neither ringtones played in public nor a mobile carrier’s distribution of a ringtone are public performances.

Video Sites: Vevo Launching, Hulu Expanding

Mvevousic video site Vevo has set a Dec. 8 launch date, while the already popular Hulu, which offers mostly films and TV shows, is gearing up to become a music destination.

huluVevo has Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group on board, with YouTube powering the back-end video technology. A launch party will be held in New York.

Hulu already shows some music videos, but a new agreement with EMI is the site’s first wide-ranging deal with a major label. Exclusive material from EMI’s Norah Jones will be the first content featured under the new arrangement.

Book Review: Appetite For Self-Destruction

selfAppetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age by Steve Knopper (The Free Press, 2009)

Ever wonder how the music industry REALLY got into such a problem with the Internet, illegal downloads and all that? Well, this is the book for you.

Steve Knopper takes the reader on the journey to digital music. He begins his book in 1979 with the Disco Crash, followed by the wide-reaching impact of Michael Jackson’s “Thiller” and the rise of MTV. He discusses the introduction of the CD, the problems with indie record promotion, the death of the single, and  Shaun Fanning’s development of Napster.

Too often when outsiders look at the record industry they embrace the stereotypes that the industry is stupid, greedy, and the enemy of consumers and artists.

But the recording industry is made up of people, and humans make mistakes. Human nature is to celebrate when things are going well, and to not want anything to change. When things don’t go well, humans tend to look for something to blame. Napster became the perfect storm to blame.

The power brokers running the recording industry did not grow up with computers; they got to the top with a different skill set than what was required when the Digital Age dawned. When the industry leaders were hit with the new digital reality, their natural reaction was to want everything to stop and go back to the way it used to be. It is understandable that when the rules of the game changed—like they did at the end of the 20th century—then those who had won under the old rules would be lost.

However, the job of leaders is to be able to adapt to change. And the guys at the top—and the great majority were guys—tended to bury their heads in the sand when change hit them. Not only did most not have a grasp of the digital age, they did not reach out for input that would have helped them understand it.

This book is an indictment of the recording industry when it comes to embracing the Digital Era. But Knopper doesn’t just go on a tirade—like so many others—without backing up his story with first-hand accounts of what happened in board rooms of major corporations as Napster appeared on the scene.

He concludes with “The Future,” where he states that the labels “will become an anachronism.” He continues, “The biggest ones may survive, by manufacturing a few…blockbusters every year. They may still make money licensing their catalogs to movies, commercials, TV shows, and video games [but they] ….may have to sell their lucrative catalogs to other companies [who will] stop messing around with any type of digital rights management, stop suing customers, drastically reduce digital-track prices, cut unnecessary overhead like warehouses and crates, and thereby return to 1980s-style profits.”

He notes that some suggest “Apple or Microsoft or some other visionary company with money to burn will buy up the assets and, finally, start running the major record labels as high-tech content houses.” But in the end, Knopper concludes that “it sure feels like the end is near.”

Google Making Music?

google_logoOutlets including TechCrunch are reporting that Google has a music service in the works. Possibly called Google Audio, the company has been securing licensing from major labels. No details on whether it will offer streaming, downloads, or both. Wired.com says the site, which includes a video component, could launch next week in the U.S. The brains at Google have also been hard at work building the back-end for the new major label music video site Vevo.

Droid To Battle iPhone

droid225It’s called Droid and it’s coming on strong, directly challenging the iPhone. Scheduled to be available on the Verizon network as early as Oct. 30, the new phone, which runs the Android 2.0 operating system is a technology partnership between Motorola, Verizon and Google.

Some of the new handset’s features include a 3.7-inch touch screen, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 5-megapixel autofocus camera with flash, Wifi, bluetooth 2.0 and GPS. According to BoyGeniusReport.com this is the best Android phone yet with “an amazing screen.” BGR also states, “It’s the Android device to beat, and easily the most impressive. From what we’ve been told, Google had a direct hand in the Motorola Droid. Something to the point of almost dictating every move Motorola made when designing and making the phone.”

Techcrunch’s Michael Arrington offers this analysis. “Make no mistake, this is Android’s flagship product, and the first phone that will pose a significant threat to Apple’s iPhone.”

The continued rise of smartphones is good news for the entertainment industry, since the new hardware tends to boost consumption of movies, music, TV and web data.

YouTube Music, Aristo Int’l Report, And Unpaid Royalties

YouTubers in the U.S. watched more than 10 billion videos during the month of August, many of which were music videos, reports the latest data from comScore. Worldwide, the site hit an all time high of 25 billion videos watched by 161 million pairs of eyes. The popularity of music related content on YouTube is clear with a scan of the list of top videos and channels.

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Nashville-based PR/marketing firm The AristoMedia Group has released the fall 2009 edition of its Aristo International Report. The current issue features a recap of several recent international awards shows, including the record-setting CCMA Awards in Canada, as well as events in Britain, Ireland, New Zealand and the Americana Music Association Awards in Nashville.  Also included is a feature on the encouraging trend of younger Country artists touring abroad this year. The quarterly, digital newsletter is available for online viewing at here.
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More than $300 million is marked as ‘pending and unmatched’ mechanical royalties according to the latest from Digital Music News. Publisher sources say that this money is being held by record labels. Digital Music News reports that this information is supported by numerous internal documents. The issue was brought to the forefront when the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) set new rates which included a late fee for royalties held by majors.

Apple Updates iPod Lineup

nanoApple revealed some updates to its lineup of iPod devices at a press event today (9/9) in San Francisco, most notably a built-in video camera for the Nano. The Nano makeover will also include the addition of a built-in FM tuner as well as a larger screen and will be priced at $149 (8GB) and $179 (16GB).

The popular iPod Touch will now be offered in a beefy new 64GB model, priced at $399. The existing 32GB and 8GB models will now be offered at $299 and $199, respectively. And though the iPod Classic is the last of Apple’s iPod devices to use a hard drive instead of flash memory, a new 160GB version will be introduced at the current price of $249. Also announced was Version 9 of iTunes, available for download now.

The event also marked the return of Apple CEO Steve Jobs to the spotlight, since announcing his medical leave from the company in January. Jobs returned to work in June following a successful liver transplant in spring. At the conference Jobs thanked his donor, a young adult who died in a car accident, and urged the audience to become organ donors.

Tech Trail: Apple, Twitter, And Rock Band

Love And Theft’s Brian Bandas, Eric Gunderson and Stephen Barker Liles are active Twitter users and recently drew on the social networking site to connect with their fans on the release of their debut album, World Wide Open.

Last Tuesday, Love And Theft, or @LNTweet as they are known to their Twitter followers, Tweeted that they would be stopping at a Nashville area Best Buy store to purchase the first copy of their CD. They were happily greeted by a large gathering of fans who showed up at the store to pick up the record and get it signed by the band.

Love And Theft at Best Buy Photo: Aaron Crisler

Love And Theft at Best Buy, Photo: Aaron Crisler

You can see all the latest Tweets from your favorite artists like Love And Theft on MusicRow’s Artist Twitter Talk page here.

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Theories abound about Apple’s big announcements coming Wednesday, Sept. 9 in San Francisco. The iPod will be the focus, but details aren’t confirmed. It is likely a new version of the iPod will be introduced, including a camera, as well as the next-generation iPhones, which will include video recording capabilities. Many experts also say the iPhone may soon be available through carriers other than AT&T.

Other rumors on AppleInsider.com suggest the introduction of iTunes 9, which might have social networking features and support the Blu-ray format.

The Web site reports, “The Sept. 9 date has also fueled rumors that The Beatles’ discography could finally make its long-awaited appearance on iTunes. That Wednesday is the same day the band is re-releasing its entire catalog, as well as the game The Beatles: Rock Band.

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Harmonix Music Systems and MTV Games are launching “Rock Band Bar Nights,” which will provide tools for U.S. bar owners to host their own Rock Band Nights. It’s like karaoke on steroids.

Love And Theft’s Multimedia Launch Week

Love And Theft's Brian Bandas, Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson played their hit single "Runaway" on NBC's top-rated morning program the TODAY SHOW and were excited to meet host Kathie Lee Gifford. Love And Theft's debut album, World Wide Open, will be in stores Tuesday.

Love And Theft's Brian Bandas, Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson played their hit single "Runaway" on NBC's "Today Show" and were excited to meet host Kathie Lee Gifford. The band's debut album, "World Wide Open," will be in stores Tuesday.

With their debut album World Wide Open set for release tomorrow (8/25), Love And Theft’s Brian Bandas, Eric Gunderson and Stephen Barker Liles are preparing for a jam-packed launch week.

In addition to their Friday (8/21) performance of their Top 20 hit “Runaway” on NBC’s Today Show, Love And Theft can be seen in coming episodes of CMT Insider, CMT Top 20 countdown, GAC’s Headline Country and GAC’s On The Streets.

Release week for the Carolwood Records album kicked off with a performance at a radio station show in Atlanta Sunday night after which the band returned to Nashville for four days of satellite radio tours, set to stream live on AOL’s “The Boot.” The remainder of the week will include a visit to Sirius XM’s Music Row Happy Hour along with more satellite radio tours, radio station visits and concert appearances in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.

Various stores will have different limited edition versions of World Wide Open. Stephen, Brian and Eric spent tens of hours on buses, airplanes and in hotel rooms autographing the signature edition that can be found in Target stores. At Wal-Mart and walmart.com the album will contain a code to download demo/acoustic versions of three songs. And the CDs at Best Buy will contain a poster of Love And Theft inside the package.

Online outlets will also offer up some love from Love And Theft. At iTunes fans who download the full album will receive two previously unreleased bonus tracks. Amazon will offer up a bonus track as well.

Love And Theft has also created an exclusive website for its first record. With a visit to www.worldwideopencd.com, fans can preview and pre-order the album, access free Love And Theft wallpaper and buddy icons, participate in a “Tweet Your Love” contest and register for a wake up call from the band.

Fans can also text the word ‘WAKEUP’ to 66937 on their cell phone to register to receive a phone call from the band on Tuesday morning, release day. Love and Theft even made a commercial for the album, and the code can be found at www.youtube.com/loveandtheft.