LIVE NATION LOSS EXPECTED
-- Analysts expect Live Nation to report a loss of $0.11 on revenue of $1.4 billion. The company releases its second-quarter earnings on August 6. (SmarTrend)


HOW WILL 2010's TOURING SEASON BE DIFFERENT NEXT YEAR?
-- After Live Nation’s July 15 investor presentation, there is no shortage of analysis on what ails the company. To their credit, many analysts understand that more artists are demanding more money from touring. That has changed the one thing that is supposed to make live music so much more valuable than recorded music in the digital age: scarcity. “The problem is that artists have been incentivized to tour more often, and they lost that scarcity factor that had been supporting ticket price increases,” said David C. Joyce, a media analyst with Miller Tabak, recently told the New York Times.

Joyce was dead wrong about this summer’s concert season (he called it a “very healthy concert season coming up”) but much of his message has been consistent. Even before the July 15 presentation, Joyce was saying too many artists were touring, Live Nation’s stock had been punished too much and 2011 will be a better year for the company. And he wasn’t alone. A number of analysts had trimmed their expectations based on cancellations made prior to July 15.

But here’s the question they need to address: If there is an oversupply of touring artists, and if artists are increasingly looking to concerts to make up for lower recorded music revenues, how are 2011, 2012 and 2013 going to be any different than 2010? The same pressures will exist: more artists seeking more guarantees. That’s not to say there aren’t solutions, but either they don’t yet exist or they have not yet been communicated. (New York Times)


THE CASSETTE COMEBACK
-- Cassettes are back – at least in some circles. The Los Angeles Times takes a long look at how cassettes have infiltrated the Southern California music scene. A Pasadena-based duplication plan says it is making between 6,000 and 10,000 tapes a month (at 70 cents each) and they’re being made by “almost entirely indie bands.” Fullerton’s Burger Records has been putting out releases on cassette for a few years. They make them in small batches, usually around 250 units, and sell them for $6 apiece. The cool factor outweighs actual revenue. Two Burger acts, Jaill and Happy Birthday, have signed to Sub Pop Records.

LA Weekly wrote about the format and Burger Records back in February. “It's hard to defend cassettes other than to say that nostalgia, rebellion and cost play a factor in the revival,” wrote Randall Roberts. Sales in traditional retail channels are drying up. Only 12,000 albums have been sold in the cassette format so far this year, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That’s down from 22,000 at the same point in 2009. But if a single plant near LA is putting out up to 10,000 a month and artists around the country are selling them in small batches, it stands to reason many cassette releases are flying under the radar. Either way, cassettes may be making a small comeback but the format is a niche, a novelty and not poised for the mainstream. (Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly)


A DATA PROBLEM: VALUING NEW ARTIST DEALS
-- Insufficient data, says Jodie Ferneyhough, Managing Director of Universal Music Publishing Canada, is causing the publishing world to cling to outdated models for valuing its new artist deals. “In the world of music publishing right now, it’s really hard to judge how to sign a band and what kind of advances to give and what kind of work you can do for a band. It’s still predicated on a formula of ‘How many records did you sell?’ and ‘How much of the album do you own?’ and ‘Are there any samples?’ and ‘How many songs are on it?’ and ‘What’s your mechanical rate?’ and all those questions you ask…So the only thing we have is this sale of records, and it is a flawed mechanism by which to make advances.” (Musician Coaching)


RIAA: LEGAL FEES MISUNDERSTOOD
-- The RIAA’s legal fees are misunderstood, says the RIAA. While people have seen the amount of the trade group’s legal fees on its publically available 990 tax forms (under the “litigation costs and recoveries” category), commentators have guessed the fees were for lawsuits against individuals. That brought a rash of criticism that so little revenue (from settlements) had been derived from such a large amount of legal fees. “Attempting to draw some larger conclusion about the effectiveness of our anti-piracy efforts based just on that one line in our tax document is simply inaccurate and highly misleading,” the RIAA argued. And they’re right. As criticism of SoundExchange has shown us, the 990 form can often be too vague a document with too little information upon which to base criticism.

So what were those fees for? A variety of purposes, says the RIAA, including litigation against Usenet and LimeWire, "online investigations and DMCA notices," the proceeding for mechanical royalties and “other matters beyond the end-user litigations." (RIAA’s Music Notes Blog)


Assorted Links
-- Why YouTube beat Viacom, explained in pretty simple terms. (Inside Digital Media)
-- The cost of a Jimi Hendrix covermount. (The 1709 Blog)
-- Peter Sunde, a co-founder of The Pirate Bay, has appealed a ruling by a Stockholm court that prevents him from running the file-sharing site. (The Local)