-- The San Diego Union-Tribune has a preview of this year's NARM conference, being held in San Diego from June 7-9. "Today, with CD sales plummeting, NARM faces challenges that would have been unthinkable only a decade ago, with or without our current national recession. NARM also finds itself with a revamped board of directors that includes conspicuously fewer record-store chains and more new digital-music forces, including iTunes, Amazon.com and Nokia. 'Are these easy times? No,' (NARM President Jim) Donio acknowledged. 'Can we broad-brush a rosy picture for all the businesses involved in the music-content delivery community? No. That would be ill-advised. 'But I'm particularly bullish, because this is a moment in time that really inspires innovation and those fabulous, amazing, up-to-the-moment new ideas that come about.'" (San Diego Union-Tribune)

-- Two of Clear Channel's lenders reportedly refused a debt-exchange proposal that would have swapped $15 billion in debt for $2.5 billion owed to Clear Channel by Clear Channel Outdoor. In the event of a Clear Channel bankruptcy, those lenders would have had first claim to Clear Channel Outdoor's debt. Instead, the lenders would rather hold the debt through a bankruptcy because of the value in Clear Channel's assets. (NY Post)

-- Paul Lamere, director of the application developer community for the Echo Nest, plotted the relationships between seed artists and both the familiarity of similar artists and the hotness of similar artists. In terms of hotness, most similar artists have a similar value. But there are few very hot artists and few very un-hot artists. For familiarity, similar artists tend to be less well known than the seed artist, and an artist's level of familiarity drops steadily as its popularity decreases. What does this all mean? Wrote Lamere: "If you are building a music recommender, familiarity and hotness are really interesting pieces of data to have access to. There's a subtle game a recommender has to play, it has to give a certain amount of familiar recommendations to gain trust, while also giving a certain number of novel recommendations in order to enable music discovery." (Music Machinery)

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