-- Time magazine took a good look at the proposed Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger, what a former FTC assistant director called "the first test case in the Obama Administration." Luke Froeb of Vanderbilt University explained how the merger would cut out all the middlemen - business managers, lawyers, agents, venue owners - who want a cut of the money. In theory, he said, the merger would allow artists to deliver services faster and cheaper to fans. Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney sees more growth in a combined company. But critics, such as independent promoters, complain a combined company would have too much leveraging power. (Time)

-- Michael Geist runs through a short list of file-sharing myths: that file-sharing is legal in Canada, that Canada has the highest per-capita file-sharing population, that Canadian artists are opposed to file-sharing, that file sharers do not buy music, and that file-sharing networks do not contain legal content. "Much has changed since Napster took the world by storm 10 years ago," he wrote. "As we look ahead to the next decade, it is time to ground the debate in fact rather than fiction." (Michael Geist's blog)

-- Good advice against acting like ungrateful, aloof rock stars: "Most bands will say 'thanks for listening' after a show, but are they really thankful? If they are, how are they showing it? How about writing an email the day AFTER the show to thank attendees, including a demo of the new track you just wrote? Or making sure fans leave with some music as a tangible 'thank you'?" (Know the Music Biz)

-- In Denmark, rights holders and service providers are in negotiations to create a neutral body to decide copyright disputes over copyright breaches. Sony and EMI are said to be two of the parties in the talks. (Computerworld Denmark)

-- After a false start late in 2008, Web startup Bopaboo plans to launch its "used MP3s-for-store-credit" digital music service later this year. The service will allow people to sell their unwanted MP3s for credit at the Bopaboo store. Buyers pay in real currency. The site's founder believes the major labels are supportive of the plan. There are obvious legal issues at play. Most importantly, the first-sale doctrine has not yet been established for digital goods as it has been for physical goods. A seller would not be able to prove the music file was obtained legally. Even if the file was legally ripped from a purchased CD, the owner does not have the right to sell those MP3s. (SF Weekly)

-- Spotify's revenue model depends on its ability to convert users to the premium version of its music streaming service. At NARM, UMGD's Amanda Marks said that conversion is not yet happening. "Unfortunately, nobody is upgrading to the premium models, which is the hope down the road," she said. "There's almost no advertising in the free section so there's no impetus to upgrade." But the premium service is not just free of advertising, it also has exclusive content not available to users of the free version. Perhaps there is a point at which the quantity of advertisements and the quality of exclusive content will lure people to the premium version. (Digital Music News)