Business Matters: Hastings Earnings Slip as Music Sales Drop Slightly
Business Matters: Hastings Earnings Slip as Music Sales Drop Slightly

Hastings Earnings Slip as Music Sales Drop Slightly
Hastings Entertainment posted a net loss of approximately $5.5 million on revenue of $108.6 million for the quarter ended October 31, 2011. Those figures are slightly worse than the same period in 2011 when the company posted a net loss of $3.1 million on revenues of $112.2 million. Hastings operated three fewer stores as of October 31, 2011 as it did a year earlier.

The company's net loss for the first nine months of 2011 was approximately $9.2 million, compared to net loss of $2.1 million in the prior-year period.

Music Comps decreased 2.6 percent for the quarter, primarily resulting from lower sales of used and new CDs. That was actually an improvement - music comps were down 6.2 percent in the same period in 2010. Movie Comps decreased 3.4% for the quarter primarily due to lower sales of new and used DVDs and DVD boxed sets, partially offset by increased sales of Blu-ray movies. Movie comps were up 5.6 percent in the prior-year period. (Press release)

Digital Commissioner Explains (Indirectly) Why EMI Acquisition Will Face Tougher Scrutiny in Europe

-- The acquisitions of EMI's recorded music and music publishing divisions are expected to face a more difficult regulatory environment in Europe than in the U.S. Aside from clear historical precedent, recent comments from European Commissioner for Digital Agenda help explain why mergers face different levels of scrutiny on either side of the Atlantic.

In a November 19 speech titled "Who Feeds the Artist?" Kroes called for a more "flexible" legal framework that will encourage creativity and feed artists. "The digital world changes quickly, and if allowed to do so can permit creativity in all stages of the chain."

Kroes did not explicitly say anything related to the acquisitions and greater concentration in the music business, but it's quite easy to read between the lines of some sections of the speech. In one instance, for example, she urged Europeans to "make it as easy as possible to license, not obstruct that process while making sure that the system efficiently secures the interests of artists themselves."

In this context, a call for greater protection of artists' interests could easily be interpreted as a call for less corporate power. That's the language of politics. The artist is on one side and the corporation is on the other side - and it's a zero-sum game. If Kroes is really going to push for a more artist-focused system, some power would need to be taken away from corporations. (Scribd, via TorrentFreak)

Can Google's DMCA Takedown Notices Really Cost $500 Million per Year?
-- Attorney Chris Castle has come up with an estimate of the cost of Google DMCA takedown notices in 2011: $500 million. As Castle notes in his blog post, Google lobbyist Katherine Oyama recently testified to Congress that Google has "processed" 5 million DMCA notices this year. The testimony took place in mid-November, so the number of processed notices will surely be higher by the end of the year. In all of 2010 the figure was 3 million notices, Oyama testified.

Castle estimates the cost to copyright owners of bringing a single DMCA takedown notice to Google at $100, which he says "does not include the costs of legal fees that many incur to try to understand the counternotification process" and "is actually low."

"Whether you believe that the $100 figure is correct-resulting in a $500,000,000 productivity cost for 2011 measured by Google's own numbers-or a lower number is correct," he concludes, "the very artists who are being ravaged by online theft are being asked to spend precious time and resources monitoring some of the largest corporations in the world." ( Music Technology Policy)