Opinion and analysis of the day's music news.

Live Nation Pushing Back On Artist Guarantees
-- Lower ticket prices appear likely in 2011, and artist guarantees will be pulled down in order achieve those lower prices. So said Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino at last Thursday’s Bank of America Merrill Lynch media conference.

“Have we started [negotiations] by saying we're not going to pay you that much because we don't feel we can sell enough tickets at that amount? And, is that leading to us getting some push back [from artists]? Yes. But, are we getting closer to the deals we want? Yes.”

Concerns about artist costs led Stifel, Nicolas & Company to downgrade Live Nation’s stock and lower the target price. “We believe that the industry does not so much suffer from a demand problem, but rather a supply problem brought on by artists needing to tour more exhaustively (the case in 2010) than ever to offset deteriorating record royalties,” the analysts wrote in their report. “This has created a situation whereby tour dates for many bands are too extensive given their market appeal.” (Ticket News, Barrons)


We7 Streaming To Android
-- Streaming service We7 is now available on Android devices. THe service is not available in the U.S. Users are now getting a free two-week trial of the mobile level of the service. (TechCrunch)


'Spotify For Books' Goes Live
-- The book industry now has a site that calls itself “Spotify for books.” 24symbols is a platform that allows people to read and share books. Like the free version of Spotify, 24symbols allows users to read for free by placing text ads on the screen. Premium users see no ads and get extra features such as page caching for offline reading.

24symbols plans to have content from a wide range of publishers: blockbusters, niche titles, books with Creative Commons licenses and public domain books. The company also plans to reach agreements with “different institutions” to digitize their catalogs.

The Madrid-based company has landed a first round of venture funding, according to its web site, and it seeking additional investments. The first private version will likely be available by the end of 2010 and a public version will be out by Spring 2011. The service will launch first in Spain (a hotbed for digital piracy), then Latin America and later the U.K.

Ad-supported ebooks is an idea that was inevitable. But will it take off? Just as music and video industries are hesitant to turn download dollars into ad-supported pennies, book publishers may not quickly warm to services like 24symbols. In addition, books are in a different place than other media. Digital formats are starting to account for a material amount of total sales, so the ebook download market is not as mature as the music download market. Publishers are finding that digital revenue might be less than print revenue unless volume picks up. And books don’t have the same piracy issues as music and video. So it would be surprising if many major publishers rushed into ad-supported book services. (24symbols, Sky News)


Ex-Napster Chief Joined T-Mobile
-- Former Napster president Brad Duea is now the GM and VP of communications, applications and media for T-Mobile. He joined the company in April, just three months after leaving Napster (CEO Chris Gorog left at the same time). (paidContent)


RIAA, MPAA Websites Attacked
-- The websites of trade groups MPAA and RIAA have fallen victim to cyber attacks and were knocked offline over the weekend. Both sites were back online Monday morning. Attack against the BPI’s website was expected to hit on Monday but it appears preventative measures mitigated the damage.

According to a blog post by Internet security firm Panda Labs, the RIAA’s servers experienced 37 service interruptions and 1 hour 37 minutes of downtime. The MPAA’s website experienced nearly 22 hours of down time.

The attacks are part of “Operation: Payback is a Bitch,” a reaction by activists to claims made by an Indian software company that it attacked websites with pirated content on behalf of film and music organizations. Those actions were distributed denial of service attacks, the same tactic used to bring down the MPAA and RIAA sites. (BBC News, Register, Panda Labs)


DIY's Growth
-- Polyvinyl Records founder Matt Lunsford on the growth of the do-it-yourself movement in music. “If anything, I’m really excited to see the last few years many more artists doing DIY things, releasing their own 7” records, touring hard and playing shows and putting out new songs online or any combination of those things. Inviting blogs or posting things on Tumblr. We work really well with bands like that. The things we do compliment those things…But we also provide a lot of services to DIY artists to help them continue to do things DIY and keep growing the band, but not at the expense of having time to tour or write songs. We are really good at putting everything together and coordinating as well as making sure there is a publicist on board and tours are well promoted, and there are enough records and capital to make more records if they sell really well. All those things haven’t really changed all that much with digital becoming more available or with TuneCore becoming accessible to bands.” (Musician Coaching)


Alabama Gets New Amphitheater
-- The city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama will get a new amphitheater on December 3. Red Mountain Entertainment is booking the flexible 7,500-capacity venue. (The Crimson White)


Assorted Links
-- Rock band Phoenix has released the complete multitracks from its latest album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, so fans can remix the songs. (We Are Phoenix)
-- Ways to increase your fan email list. (Fanbridge blog)
-- A Q&A with convicted file sharer Joel Tennebaum. (TorrenFreak)


Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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