Opinion and analysis on the day's music business news.

HullabLOU Hit With $5 Million Loss
- HullabLOU, the first festival held by Churchill Downs Inc., lost over $5 million. Churchill expected to lose between $2 million to $3 million. The company says it is committed to putting on the festival in 2011 but will reconsider the timing, talent and other aspects. The three-day festival faced at least a couple of challenges: hot weather and a tough ticket market in 2010. For the second quarter, Churchill had net income of $27.6 million on revenues of $200.5 million, up 11% year over year. (Courier-Journal, SEC filing)

'Last Man Standing'
-- Wedbush analyst Chris White on Warner Music Group after the company’s fiscal third-quarter earnings: “Although pressure on the recorded music industry continues unabated, Warner Music has the balance sheet strength to be one of the last men standing.”
Indeed. Warner has cut its dividend and reigned in M&A, capital expenditures and fixed costs. Its cash balance is basically a rainy day fund. Maybe it will one day be in a position for an acquisition. At the very least it is better positioned to weather the storm. But will it be one of the last men standing, so to speak? Considering there are only four “men," and two of them are owned by parent companies (Vivendi and Sony) that can handle the companies’ lean years, of course Warner is assured to be one of the last music companies standing. (Reuters)

Analyst: Live Nation Will Need 'Something Short Of A Miracle' To Hit Number
-- Standard & Poor’s analyst Tuna Amobi on Live Nation’s plan of posting adjusted operating income of $405 million for the full year: “Right now my sense is they're really going to have to pull something short of a miracle to make the adjusted (operating income).” On Thursday, Live Nation reported disappointing results for its second quarter that contained all the bad news it had previously announced in a July 15 investors presentation. Company executives again warned of sluggishness in the second half of the year as some artists decide to postpone touring until 2011. (AP)

Hands-On Review: Music Anywhere
-- Music Ally has a hands-on review of Carphone Warehouse’s Music Anywhere service (available in the U.K.). The service matches your existing music collection to the licensed files in its catalog. Songs not in its catalog have to be uploaded one by one – just like it was done at Lala. Music Anywhere says the process will take “just a few minutes,” but Music Ally’s experience shows the frustrations of hitching your wagon to a licensed catalog.

“We didn’t find that to be the case – an hour into the process, and only 500-odd tracks from our library of more than 8,500 had been registered on the system. A day later after on-and-off uploading – the Media Sync has crashed a couple of times – we’ve got 1,495 tracks available.”

Beyond the sync process, the music player “leaves a little to be desired” and the app doesn’t run in the background using Apple’s iOS 4 APIs. (Music Ally)

Spotify 'Doesn't Need The US'
-- Spotify doesn’t need the U.S. if it can break in Europe, says an investment partner at PRO Founders Capital. “Once a business has cracked it [Europe], they can have higher margins as there is more friction in European pricing than in the US – where there is a flatter market.” But he admits Europe can be a tougher egg to crack because it is a more fractured market. “In the States there are not as many local competitors that often spring up around Europe or as many barriers. The inefficiencies and frictions of the European market are more challenging.”

As Billboard reported last week, the hyped music service may soon be appearing on both sides of the Atlantic. Spotify is sticking to its story that it remains confident it will launch in the U.S. before the end of the year. In addition, former EMI exec Ken Parks become general manager of Spotify’s New York-based U.S. office.
(Telegraph, Billboard.biz)

Assorted Links
-- Will free streaming impact CD sales at shows? (Music Supported Here)
-- What all bands can learn from doom metal band Thou, “a case study in running a band in a post-label world” (not that we’re really in a post-label world yet). (Invisible Oranges, via The Daily Swam)