Opinion and analysis of the day's music news.


Diller's Impact On Live Nation Stock Price
-- Live Nation’s stock has been surprisingly quiet since news broke that Barry Diller will resign as the company’s chairman. The company’s stock closed down 0.8% to $9.88 on Thursday but reached an intraday high of $10.51, its highest mark since July 15. On Wednesday, the day after the Diller news broke, the stock rose 1.1% to $9.96.

In a statement, Diller said he always intended to have a brief tenure as chairman. Executive chairman Irving Azoff said the same thing in a Twitter post. While sources have described to Billboard disharmonious relationships on the board, the whole affair has had an air of ordinariness. As the stock indicates, this hasn't been a major scandal.

However, it appears some investors are expecting changes. As a post by Market Intellisearch points out, an unusual volume of call and put contracts were traded on Thursday. “The skewed options ratio suggests that traders are rebalancing their portfolios in anticipation of a price shift,” explains the post. “Today’s unusual volume activity directly reflects investor outlook and confirms that a stock move is imminent.”
(Market Intellisearch)


The Shift In Startup Investing
-- An article at Knowledge @ Wharton paints a grim picture for startups. While 2007 to 2009 was a time of robust startup creation, angel investments fell sharply after the September 2008 financial crash. According to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire, angel investing dropped 26.2% in 2008 and 8.3% in 2009. While less money is being invested, companies that got investments tended to be more mature, not the startups that had previously received seed money.

In 2010, says the article, the trend is continuing: “While there is an uptick this year -- in the first half of 2010, 1,646 deals were completed for a total investment of $11 billion – (Professor David) Wessels warns that those firms getting funded are typically far along in their development. ‘The company getting financed now is typically one that doesn’t need financing,’ he notes. ‘It is often a company that is already profitable and has customers, and it’s a question of the speed at which they grow.’ Wharton marketing professor Leonard Lodish says this is a shift from even a few years ago. “In 2006 and 2007 it was much easier to get funding if you had a good idea and a good track record. Now you need to demonstrate that you have a business model that really works.’” (Knowledge @ Wharton)


Dr. Dre + LeBron
-- Beats By Dr. Dre has teamed up with basketball star Lebron James to create the PowerBeats headphones that are made for use while working out. This marks a departure from Beats’ involvement with musicians. Expect more of them, and basketball appears to be a direction. (LA Times)


Assorted Links
-- Hands on with the R2-D2 version of the Droid mobile phone. (Engadget)
-- A net neutrality debate on NPR’s fine show “The State of Things.” (The Public Domain)
-- Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard is making a (kids) album, thus following in the footsteps of Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Kobe Bryant (album on Epic never released), Troy Hudson, Ron Artest, Walt Williams and other NBA players who have tried their hands at music. (Prefix Mag)

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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