| RARA ADDS IOS, EXPANDS MUSIC CATALOG, PARTNERS WITH LENOVO: On-demand subscription music company Rara has launched its service on Apple's iPad and iPhones, as well devices running Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system. The 11-month-old startup also announced new licensing deals with Merlin, InGrooves Fontana, the Orchard, Believe Digital and VidZone Digital Media that expand its catalog to 18 million tracks.
| BUSINESS MATTERS: MOBILE PHONE STUDY BRINGS BOTH GOOD AND BAD NEWS FOR DIGITAL MUSIC SERVICES: Nearly half of the world's population has a mobile-phone subscription, according to a new study. The bad news? Just a fraction of those people can subscribe to the music services Western markets offer. A music service can't simply plant its flag in any country in the world and expect a result as good as the one before.
KKR MAY LEAVE BMG VENTURE IF EMI BID FAILS: According to the NY Post, the partnership between Bertelsmann and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) global investment firm in music publisher BMG Rights Management may dissolve if the joint venture is unable to obtain UMG's divested EMI assets. If BMG wins the EMI auction, it stands to double its revenue and become a significant player in the recorded-music business. If it fails, KKR could head for the exit, sources said. (Then again, talk of KKR leaving Bertelsmann has flared up several times in the past.) One of its main rivals in the EMI bidding is the Warner Music Group.
SMALLER IPAD, NEW ITUNES EXPECTED AT TODAY'S APPLE EVENT: Apple is expected to unveil a smaller iPad at today's Apple event (1:00 p.m. ET) in San Jose that sources say will be about half the size of the regular iPad with a price expected between $299 and $349. Also expected to launch a 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro to and a revamped iTunes Store . Billboard.biz will have a full report on the event.
All Things D
FROM THIS WEEK'S BILLBOARD: HOW TAYLOR SWIFT'S 'RED' IS GETTING A BOOST FROM BRANDING MEGA-DEALS: The last artist to break the one million mark in first-week sales was Lady Gaga and her album "Born This Way," with a little help from Zynga, Starbucks, HBO, iTunes, Best Buy, Gilt Groupe and particularly Amazon. Can Taylor Swift, who sold 1.1 million copies of "Speak Now" in 2010, do it again this week with "Red"? Maybe, with a little help from some big brands...
MAMA GROUP ACQUIRES 50% OF ALL TOMORROW'S PARTIES: MAMA Group has bought a 50% shareholding in All Tomorrow's Parties (ATP) the independent music festival promoter. ATP will now assist with the talent booking for MAMA Festivals including Lovebox, Wilderness and The Great Escape, and shows across the group's venue estate, while the two parties will work together to further develop ATP's shows in the UK and abroad.
ROGER FAXON, FORMER EMI GROUP CEO, JOINING ITV BOARD: Roger Faxon, former CEO of EMI Group, is joining the board of the UK's Independent Television Authority (ITV) as a non-executive director effective Oct. 31 2012, according to a release sent out today by the network. Faxon stepped down from EMI on Sept. 28, a week after European Union regulators approved Universal Music's acquisition of the label.
BARRY WEISS TESTIFIES AGAINST SAM LUFTI'S CLAIM OF BEING BRITNEY SPEARS' MANAGER:
Sam Lutfi, one of Spears' closest friends in 2007 and early 2008, never identified himself as Spears' manager or had any kind of business dealings with her music label, said Barry Weiss, the former CEO of Jive Records who signed Spears when she was 16. "I had never heard of this guy before," Weiss testified in a civil lawsuit Lufti has brought against Spears. " He was a gofer...someone who has menial tasks, like a personal assistant." Weiss is currently chairman/CEO of Universal Republic & Island Def Jam.
BPI ASKS UK ISPS TO BLOCK MORE MAJOR TORRENT SITES: Following its successful application to have The Pirate Bay blocked by several leading ISPs in the UK, the British recording industry is back with new demands. The British music trade group BPI has reportedly asked Internet service providers such as BT, Virgin and TalkTalk to block leading torrent sites Kickass Torrents, H33t and Fenopy. The ISPs have refused to do so voluntarily but will all do so should a court order a blockade - which, according to this report, will likely happen.