-- The New York Times Co., owners of The New York Times and Boston Globe, posted a profit in Q1 2010. The company posted a profit of $12.8 million on revenue of $588 million. National advertising improved. Online revenues grew 15.5% to $90.4 million. A big part of the Times’ improved performance was the 18% reduction in operation expenses. What does this mean for the readers of a music industry publication? It’s a small ray of hope because the newspaper business faces the same types of disruption that has been experienced by the music industry for many years. And the Times has taken steps similar to those of music companies, shedding costs associated with its pre-digital past and bolstering the balance sheet by selling off non-core assets. And while the company is hardly out of the woods, it is encouraging to see its transformation show signs of success. (Reuters)

-- MXP4 has raised $4 million in a round of venture funding led by Orkos Capital. The Paris-based company creates interactive music solutions that allows consumers to remix songs. MXP4 has backing from Sofinnova Partners and Ventech. Its founders and board members were previous senior executives of Musiwave, Vivendi Mobile Entertainment, EMI Music and DivX. (Press release)

-- -- President Obama suggested on Wednesday that a value-added tax (VAT) on Americans is still up for consideration. While people in his administration say Obama is not considering a VAT tax, the president is waiting for the recommendations of a bi-partisan commission that is looking at ways to cut the nation’s deficit. A VAT in the US would add to the prices of music purchases as well as music services. Concert tickets, except for maybe some cultural events, would also bit hit by the tax. Not all parts of the media industry would be hit, however, if the US imposes some sort of VAT. In many countries, books and newspapers are exempt from VAT. (Yahoo)

-- The Wall Street Journal criticizes some provisions in Senator Chris Dodd’s financial reform bill that would make it more difficult for start-ups – from medical to media – to raise early-stage funding from angel investors. The bill addresses the causes of the 2008 financial collapse. Angel investing does not appear to be a cause of those problems. The proposed regulations, many worry, would stop the flow of money that feeds entrepreneurs at their earliest stages. The law would raise start-ups seeking angel investments to file with the SEC and go through a 120-day review. Net worth and income restrictions of angel investors would be raised. And the bill would eliminate a federal pre-emption that prevents start-ups from having to deal with the regulations of 50 different states. “Nascent companies often seek financing from multiple investors in different states, and a state-by-state regulatory regime would mean higher compliance costs and more legal risks,” it explains. (Wall Street Journal)

-- News Corp has reportedly acquired a small stake in Beyond Oblivion, a New York-based music service that mixes social networking and unlimited access to music. The company had previously received a strategic investment by Intertrust Technologies Corp., a joint venture of Sony Corp. and Philips Electronics. The company monetizes “all digital files,” it explains at its website, “paying for every play of a ripped, shared or downloaded digital music file.” According to CNET, Beyond Oblivion has approached labels but has yet to acquire licenses for the US. (CNET)

-- Martina McBride has parted ways with long-time manager Bruce Allen Talent. (MusicRow)

-- Record Store Day got a mention on Saturday Night Live’s news skit over the weekend.