Business Matters is a daily column that offers insight, analysis and opinion on the day's news. Follow Billboard senior analyst Glenn Peoples on Twitter at twitter.com/billboardglenn.

-- Louisville independent music retailer Ear X-tacy is in danger of closing. During a news conference on Friday, owner John Timmons said the store has been losing money for three years and can no longer afford the rent at its current location. The store is not only asking the community for its support, it's asking it to change how it shops. "What I need is for people to think about where they're spending their money on music," Timmons told a reporter after the press conference. "If you're going to buy a CD at a box store or a chain store, think twice about it." That's a tough request. As much as people want independently owned businesses to survive, idealism is not the best weapon against national chains and is especially weak when facing broad changes in how people buy and listen to music. Ear X-tacy's also has the option to either move (the lease is up March 31) or sublease a part of the store's space. (WHAS11.com)

-- Important music features in the new Microsoft Phone 7 Series introduced on Monday in Barcelona, are spotlighted by CNET's Matt Rosoff. (Critics have widely praised Microsoft's new mobile phone software.) Users won't interact with applications through iTunes-style apps, Rosoff writes. Pandora, for example, is integrated into the music and video hub with other music. "So, for example," explains Rosoff, "if you've created a new Pandora radio station, a 'tile' (not 'icon') for that station will appear under the 'new' menu alongside any other music you've added from your PC or Zune Pass." (Digital Noise)

-- More Microsoft: Engadget reports that Zune is going international, to all countries Windows 7 phones will ship, by the end of the year. (Engadget)

-- The new version of 7digital's Blackberry app includes Last.fm integration. Users can link their Last.fm account to the app and scrobble played tracks in real time. The word "scrobble" means that when a user listens to a song, the name of the song is sent to Last.fm and added to the user's music profile. That process helps Last.fm make recommendations based on previous listening history. (Blackberry Rocks)

-- TuneWiki has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Japanese mobile operator NTT Docomo. Last week the company announced $7 million in Series B funding from Motorola Ventures, Intellect Capital Ventures and others. In addition, the company is appointing a new COO, Lawrence Goldberg, formerly of Activision. TuneWiki creates a music player that integrates YouTube videos and user-created lyrics. (TechCrunch)

-- A New Jersey congressman is calling for the release of contracts between Live Nation and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA), which is in deep debt. The NSJEA, which operates the iZod Center and Giants Stadium as well as a race track and convention centers, claims it is exempt from sharing these public documents because it would put the promoter at a competitive disadvantage. U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, who is asking Live Nation to turn over copies of its deals with the NJSEA, was an outspoken opponent to the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger. (Star-Ledger)

-- Live Nation Entertainment's Q4 and full year earnings will be released on Thursday, February 25. (Press release)

-- AAPT is offering a AU $100 per month broadband plan that includes a music offering from EMI catalog: unlimited free streaming as well as AU $50 per month worth of MP3 downloads. (Gizmodo)

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print