Rebecca Black's 'Friday' With 180 Million Views Is YouTube's Top 2011 Video
Rebecca Black's 'Friday' With 180 Million Views Is YouTube's Top 2011 Video

Rebecca Black Rakes It In (Modestly)

-- In case you hadn't read about sudden teen sensation Rebecca Black lately, here's an update on her numbers. "Friday" sold 50,000 units last week, bringing its two-week total to 87,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. According to my math, Black has pulled in roughly $48,000 from those sales. The track sells for $0.99 at iTunes, is distributed by CD Baby (which takes a 9% fee) and Black must pay mechanical royalties because she did not write the song. Still, it's not a bad take for a song that has been ridiculed like few others. Then again, it may be one of the greatest guilty pleasures since people can't seem to stop watching the YouTube video. It's at 66.8 million views as of Wednesday afternoon.
-- ( Eventbrite blog)

Roku Goes to Best Buy

-- The digital living room just got a boost as the Roku XD is now being sold at Best Buy. The set-top box, which connects to the Internet and streams content to television sets, streams up to 1080p and costs $79.99. (Roku offers both cheaper and more expensive versions, but not at Best Buy.) Roku is a competitor of Apple TV, Logitech and Boxee. It also sells its players at RadioShack, BJ's Wholesale Club and Fry's Electronics.

In a recent interview, Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood told me music accounts for about a third of Roku's total streaming hours. Yes, a third of total streaming hours for a product that has Netflix, Amazon On-Demand, Hulu Plus and Major League Baseball. Wood added that he was initially surprised at the popularity of music services on what is typically considered a piece of hardware for streaming video. But it makes sense, he said, most people have their TVs and stereos in their home theater systems.

Pandora is its most popular music channel and one of Roku's top overall channels. He said MOG is also doing well. And since the interview, Rdio was added to Roku. There are many other channels for music fans, such as SomaFM, TuneIn Radio (which also offers a popular mobile app) and SoundCloud. ( Engadget)

Muzak's New Home
-- What does Mood Media's pending acquisition of Muzak by Mood Media mean? Muzak's Bruce McKagen explains:

"Since 1934, Muzak has been owned by a multitude of companies… Since the mid '80s, Muzak has been under the ownership of a series of financial institutions, including The Field Corporation, Centre Partners, ABRY Partners, and most recently Silver Point Capital. The pending acquisition of Muzak by Mood Media signals a huge change for us. After 25 years of control by financial institutions, we will become part of a company that shares our passion to expand the business that we have loved for 77 years."

In case you missed it, on March 24 Mood Media announced it will acquire Muzak for $345 million including net debt that will be repaid upon the closing of the deal. The acquisition means Mood Media will provide media services to over 470,000 commercial locations in over 39 countries. ( Muzak Blog)

How Musicians Are Getting Ahead Without Labels
-- To get an idea of the new approaches to business being taken by musician, just ask a lawyer. So Musician Coaching's interview with Ron Bienstock, an entertainment lawyer with New York City-based Bienstock & Michael, P.C. makes for very good reading. Bienstock says artists are finding interesting ways to incorporate (as an LLC, subchapter "S" or as a "C" corporation) and going into business for themselves rather than sign with labels.

"Some bands have actually taken out loans out from relatives, investors or have found ways to fund themselves in that regard. I've seen that begin to take place much more commonly. We've been making distribution deals for people who have done just that. We can make distribution deals with any of the arms of the major distributors, for example, Sony/Red, etc. And we've put people into their own business where they are distributing their own product…They're putting themselves into business. The idea is that if you are able to sell 20,000 records and some other merchandise, and continue to make a fair amount of money playing shows, you're going to establish yourselves."

Part of the artist's decision to be independent comes from uncertainty about record labels. Who will be there after the artist is signed? Who will own the label after the artist is signed? The same goes for music publishers who have staff reduction and turnover that affect artists, he says. "The question is, Where are the companies right now?" Bienstock says. "They're not the same companies that were there five years ago, let alone ten years ago." ( Musician Coaching)