-- After EMI was acquired by Terra Firma, artists began to hesitate signing with the record label. Now, The Financial Times says the company's debt load is a hindrance. "It would be very difficult to say to your client you should sign to EMI," Jonathan Shalit, the manager of Jamelia and Myleene Klass, told the FT. "It would be the same at the moment as saying you should buy a Toyota. You'd be signing people to a company whose future is uncertain." Yet a separate Financial Times article quotes Tim Clark, Robbie Williams' manager and well known EMI disparager, as saying EMI's operational side "is working remarkably well" and added that EMI has "as good a chance as anybody" at resigning Williams. In contrast, artist manager Jonathan Shalit says he has kept one of his artists from negotiating with EMI due to questions about the company's financial situation. (The Financial Times here) and here)

-- The Eagles, managed by the artist services division of Live Nation Entertainment, is testing a variable pricing approach for ticket sales of its April 27 show in Sacramento. Bloomberg reports the concert's tickets have ten prices based on anticipated demand. Aisles cost more than seats in the middle. Closer seats cost more than seats further back. Some tickets are priced higher than normal, which allowed the band to price the cheapest tickets at $32. The goal is to keep overall revenue the same as other stops on the tour. Another goal is to keep brokers from capturing value. Thus, the $32 tickets use a paperless ticketing system that limits transfers. (Bloomberg)

-- At the Digital Music Forum in New York, Thomas Hesse, president, global digital bus., US sales & corp. strategy, Sony Music Entertainment, predicted we could see hundreds of thousands of subscribers to digital music subscription services "quite rapidly." Define rapidly, please. I'm sure Spotify, currently hoping for a U.S. launch, would like to know. And are those hundreds of thousands going to be net of paying customers being lost from Rhapsody and Napster? Don't forget, Rhapsody has 675,000 subscribers as of December 31, 2009. It's going to take require two things for a new service to gain that many subscribers: a fantastic product and lots of marketing muscle. (Digital Music News)

-- Music Mastermind announced it raised $ 4.85 million in Series A funding. The company, co-founded by former Virgin Records America CEO Matt Serletic, designs products that allows people to create professional-quality music regardless of their skill level. (Press release)

-- Inspired by Camper Van Beethoven's request for fans' funding of a trip to SXSW, Digital Audio Insider's David Harrell wonders about the short- and long-term effects of asking fans to fund albums, tours and Econoline vans. "The real question here is will these new ways to raise cash from fans expand the total amount of money they're willing to spend, or do they just cause fans to re-allocate the money they usually spend on recorded music and concerts? In the short term, there's probably a novelty effect, and I bet it increases the total amount of money an individual fan spends in a year. Longer term, as more acts try these approaches and the novelty factor fades, I'm guessing it won't." (Digital Audio Insider)

-- The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Fred von Lohman offers some practical advice for music bloggers worried about DMCA takedown notices. Even if a blogger does get permission to post a song, he wrote, it could be the wrong person or a notice could come from a right holder in another country. If a notice does arrive, a blog's hosting service probably won't take the blogger's side. To minimize the disruption of DMCA takedown notices, von Lohmann recommends getting a domain (so readers can easily find the blog if it moves hosting companies), back up the data in case it moves, make sure the hosting provider knows who to contact and choose a service that has clear DMCA policies. (EFF Deep Links)

-- Bankrupt Sellaband has a new investor that will assume the company's debts as well as obligations to the site's artists and fans. The company will relocate to Germany from the Netherlands. Co-founder Pim Betist shared his opinions of the site's flaws: too wide in scope, not enough money for promotion and a lack of quality control. On the need to set aside some money for promotion, Betist suggested skipping physical formats. "It would be better to distribute tracks digitally and concentrate on smart digital promotions." He added that none of the 50 bands that had recorded albums funded through Sellaband had become a hit. (NRC.nl)

-- Lady Gaga accounts for 25% of the traffic for online video streaming site Vevo, according to Ted Mico, executive vice president of digital for Interscope/Geffen. Three Lady Gaga videos are currently in YouTube's top music video, all of them hosted by Vevo. Those three videos have totaled about 150 million views as of Thursday morning. (CNET)

-- Flashback to when Napster dropped DRM from its downloads: "We expect a massive migration of iTunes users to Napster, which will not only work on their iPods but on almost any other music device or phone they may have," said COO Christopher Allen. (Red Herring)


For info on this year's Music & Money Symposium, presented in association with Loeb & Loeb, visit Billboardevents.com.