-- Technology blog Boy Genius Report skewers the U2-Blackberry marketing partnership at the band's recent Soldier Field concert in Chicago. Here's the gist of the report from the event: "Sure, there were a couple banners strewn about Soldier Field, but no one noticed. And the folks that did notice didn't care. Instead of using this opportunity to push their brand forward, it almost seems like just a second thought to throw some quick marketing dollars to try act like your company is doing something in the consumer and 'cool' department...Seriously, there wasn't a single BlackBerry logo on the main screen on the stage, nothing on the video monitor - zilch. There was a dingy 5 by 5 ft booth that looked like a hot dog stand converted into something with a BlackBerry logo right outside the stadium and that's about it." (Boy Genius Report)

-- What kind of download store makes just 12 cents per download? A new Web site, 33centmp3s.com, will seek to be a cost leader by selling MP3s for 33 cents each. At his blog, Marc Cohen explains that he will achieve such low prices by selling only cover songs, which benefit from the compulsory license afforded by copyright law.

Utilizing the statutory right to cover completely cuts out the record labels and makes pricing music much more flexible. The store will offer covers of all the popular tracks at any given time. The catalog will be small at first focusing on the Billboard Hot 100. The store will carry sound-alike and interpretive covers.


33centmp3s.com is a large-scale version of the cover songs that sometimes sell very well at download stores because the original version is not for sale. This happened with Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" when the song was a hit but not available in digital format. Overhead will be low. After the 9.1 cents owed to the song's publisher for the mechanical royalty, 33centmp3s.com will split the remaining 24 cents per track with the recording artist. According to the site's home page, it will be open for business this November. A recent blog post lists tracks currently being sought for the store's launch. (Ad-Supported Music Central, via Digital Audio Insider)

-- Optimistic about the music industry? Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO of the RIAA, writes about "5 Reasons For Optimism in the Music Industry" at Hollywood news site the Wrap. Number one is that music remains as popular as ever. That's true. Number two may surprise some people: The album format, which Bainwol says is being taken to the next level by the likes of iTunes LP. It will take some time to see how the album shakes out, but it's clear artists, labels and retailers are dedicated to creating a healthy future for the format. By the time he gets to number four, "Record labels make or break the day," Bainwol isn't showing optimism as much as he is pointing out one of the industry's biggest problems. What does it say about artist development that the parties in the best position to develop to new talent are the very record labels struggling to find a workable revenue model? Bainwol finishes off the list with "Great music." That may surprise some - especially critics who complain today's financial woes are a result of lower quality of music - but it's safe to say there's a lot of great music to be found...if you want to find it. (The Wrap)

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