Hastings To Buy Back Stock
-- Entertainment retailer Hastings has announced a stock repurchase of up to $10 million. Previously announced stock repurchase programs amount to $27.5 million. Chairman and CEO John H. Marmaduke says in the press release that in spite of a big gain this year (from $4.24 on January 31, 2010 to $7.25 on July 31, 2010) the company feels the stock is undervalued. (Press release)


A Look At The Numbers: Amanda Palmer's Sales
-- You number crunchers out there should read Cortney Harding’s article on Amanda Palmer in the latest issue of Billboard. Palmer estimated she needed 84 cents per album download to break even (that covered her own costs as well as publishing royalties), so that was her minimum price. Buyers could pay more, however, and she ended up getting an average of about $5 per download. Bandcamp, the platform Palmer used for the release, takes a 15% cut from digital sales. So, Palmer – the rare independent artist to make such a splash – netted $3.39 per download. She also sold a number of merchandise-music packages. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the release had $15,000 in sales (music and merch) in just three minutes. Within a day, according to Bandcamp, the release had sold 4,000 digital copies. That comes out to $20,000 gross and about $13,500 net in just one day. And that’s not including the revenue from sales of packages. (Billboard.biz)


The Problem With 'Physical Is Dead'
-- Nicholas Negroponte (of One Laptop Per Child Foundation fame) told the Techonomy conference the physical book would be dead in five years. This must come as a shock to those people in the music business who have heard for a decade that the CD is dead. Only now does the CD face a legitimate threat of extinction – although nobody can agree what specific date will be on its tombstone.

But wait, Negroponte placed a big asterisk on his prediction. Here’s the fine print: by “dead” he meant digital books will replace physical books as the dominant format. Which, of course, is actually far from dead, but it makes for a nice sound bite. Most people probably won’t read the fine print. The same thing has happened in the CD’s death watch over the years. Saying “the CD is dead” really doesn’t mean the CD has no meaningful commercial value and has been abandoned by consumers. It means the format is less popular than it used to be and will eventually be extinct (as if eventual extinction isn’t the only logical prediction to make).

Books have one aspect that make them differ from CDs: people don’t buy chapters a la carte as they can tracks on an album. This all-or-nothing nature of the book will help prevent some of the drop in demand that facilitated the demise of so many brick-and-mortar music retailers. On the other hand, prices of tablet PCs and e-book readers will probably be low enough in the next five years that they will be mainstream devices. (TechCrunch)


Google To Purchase Jambool
-- Google will purchase social gaming company Jambool for $70 million. Jambool is notable for its Social Gold payment product, a virtual currency platform that app developers can integrate into their products. For example, a game can use Social Gold to integrate a virtual currency into the experience. The game’s economy would reside inside the Social Gold platform. (TechCrunch)


Gigaboxx Launches In U.K.
-- Gigaboxx has launched in the U.K. The company offers mobile web solutions that enable fans to download content at concerts via Bluetooth. To build a mobile website through Gibaboxx costs £14.95 per month during the beta phase. In addition, artists can purchase two different Bluetooth box packages (for £350 or £699) that will sent out the web address of the artist’s mobile store. The Bluetooth boxes have a range of up to 100 meters (depending on type of phone and physical environment) which makes them viable for sending out links to fans in small venues. (MusicWeek, Gigaboxx.net)


Assorted Links
-- Lady Gaga producer and song co-writer RedOne has signed with Universal Records. (BBC News)
-- How are we going to pay these musicians? (Music Think Tank)
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-- New York City’s Hilton Theater is now the Foxwoods Theater after Live Nation and the Foxwoods Casino Resort reached a multiyear naming agreement. (New York Times)

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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