LIVE NATION STOCK BOUNCES BACK, EARNINGS CALL ON THURS
-- Live Nation stock has taken back some of the losses following its July 15 investor presentation. After spending most of the week below $9, the stock rose 4.13% to finish at $9.58 on Friday. Live Nation was trading well over $11 in the days before the presentation. Live Nation will announce its second quarter earnings at 5pm ET on Thursday, August 5. (Press release)


RAPINO: WE NEED TO BETTER CONNECT ARTIST AND FAN
-- At a book release event at the Live Nation headquarters last week, CEO Michael Rapino told the audience how the company has been failing to connect artist and fan.

“[T]his is the first year in 20 years in which the industry is starting to feel kind of a push-back from the consumer. And it's all about what you would think: We're charging too much at the door; we're charging too much for a service fee; we're not being creative along the process in the delivery of the product. We're letting (the artist) do all the creativity and then kind of wrapping it up in a noncreative way.”

The occasion was the release of a book, “The Business Playground: Where Creativity and Commerce Collide,” by Dave Stewart and Mark Simmons. One could argue Live Nation has not been very creative in the way it sells expensive tickets laden with service fees. Or maybe there is no effective way to creatively sell tickets nobody wants. In either case, Rapino’s comments get to the heart of the matter: creativity can help make the fan experience better, and Live Nation needs to inject creativity into much of what it does. (Los Angeles Times)


ANALYSTS EXPECT WMG LOSS
-- Analysts expect Warner Music Group to report a loss of $0.33 per share on revenue of $693 million. (SmarTrend)


BEHIND THE NUMBERS: INFRINGING TORRENTS
-- A study by the Internet Commerce Security Laboratory has found that 97% of all torrents related to copyrighted works are infringing. The researchers’ sample contained over one million torrents. Of the 89.3% of the torrents with known legality, 99.7% were infringing. In addition, the researchers found no legal torrents in the top three categories of music, TV and film. Another interesting aspects to the study was the prominence of popular content. The researchers found that the most popular 4% of torrents accounted for 80% of the seed population and 9.9% of torrents accounted for 90%.

A torrent is a file in the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol, which allows users to download a file from many different sources. The torrent contains information on a file’s seeds, or where the data can be retrieved. BitTorrent is especially useful for large files. (Barry Sookman, ICSL paper)


COMICS STORES = RECORD STORES?
-- At Comic-Con, the annual trade show for the comic book industry, there is talk of using digital comic books as a way to hook them on printed comic books. Comic book stores are “cultural centers” where people involved with comics “want to be involved,” the audience was told. Jason Snell from Mac World isn’t sure digital comics won’t do for brick-and-mortar comic book stores what digital music has done for brick-and-mortar music retail.

“I recall people in the music industry talking in much the same tone about how record stores would always thrive because people wanted to go and hang out there, but the last time I checked, my local record store was being turned into a Trader Joe’s. And bookstores face the same challenge, as readers turn both to e-books and to buying direct from Amazon. The survivors are likely to be retail chains or independent stores with a very good sense of what it takes to create a pleasant, appealing retail environment—pretty much the antithesis of at least one class of comic-book store.”

For music retailers, the digitalization of comic books is a trend to watch. Many stores that sell music also sell comic books. (Mac World)


Assorted Links
-- French nuns win singing contest, sign to Decca Records. (The Mirror)
-- How negative reviews can come back to hurt Pitchfork. (NPR)
-- Louisville record store Ear X-Tacy opened at its new location on Friday. (Courier-Journal)