AEG Adding to Collection of West Coast Arenas
-- AEG's deal to kick in $59 million for the construction of a new arena in Sacramento, Calif., will not only help keep the Sacramento Kings from bolting for Anaheim, but it could bolster AEG Live's collection of arenas on the West Coast.
The City of Sacramento is still working on the financing plan but has a term sheet that includes the support of AEG, who would act as operator of the building. "That is the second largest commitment they've made to any city in the United States and one of their top five or six in the world," Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said at a press conference Tuesday .
AEG president/CEO Tim Leiweke told ESPN that the new arena in Sacramento, which is slated to open in 2015, will make the company "the largest arena operator and concert promoter on Pacific rim," and allow it to route large tours through the region. Other AEG venues from Washington to Southern California include the Staples Center in Los Angeles; Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif.; KeyArena in Seattle; Memorial Coliseum and the Rose Garden in Portland; and the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego.
AEG's competition in Sacramento area will be Live Nation's Sleep Train Amphitheater, well north of the city. Live Nation, the world's biggest concert promoter, doesn't have arenas in Los Angeles, Seattle or Portland, but it does have a booking agreement with the 12,500-capacity Viejas Arena in San Diego.
Live Nation may lack arenas but it has amphitheaters and smaller venues up and down the West Coast. In Los Angeles area alone Live Nation has the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk, the Hollywood Palladium, the Wiltern, the Avalon, two House of Blues venues and two amphitheaters well outside of Los Angeles proper: the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino and the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine. Its Bay Area venues include amphitheaters in Concord (East Bay) and Mountain View (South Bay) as well as the Fillmore in San Francisco.
AEG owns a number of NBA and potential NBA venues around the country, from the FedExForum (home of the Memphis Grizzlies) and the Target Center (home of the Minnesota Timerwolves) to arenas in Kansas City (Sprint Center) and Louisville (KFC Yum! Center) that were built in the hopes of luring an existing or expansion NBA team.
Beyond the direct benefits of improved tour routing and a cut of the Sacramento arena's revenues, AEG's arena deal also scored some political points, Leiweke said. "This goes a long way with politicians. They like a company that's from California making sure teams and jobs stay in California." And for what it's worth, AEG scored some points with Kings fans, too. ( ESPN.com )
What's the Musical Future of Beats Audio's Online Store?
-- Beats Audio, which is reportedly in the process of buying music subscription service Mog, wants music to serve as the foundation for an online store that will sell music, headphones and "other items" that were not mentioned, according to a report at CNET. Of course, Beats Audio already has a Beats By Dr. Dre online store where it sells its headphones and speakers. And Mog would need new licenses to sell downloads -- it currently operates as an on-demand music subscription service -- and that would put Beats squarely in competition with Google Music on the Android platform (smartphone maker HTC owns a majority share in Beats Audio). But why shouldn't it work? Beats Audio co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovene have proved they know how to maneuver the space where audio and technology meet.
( CNET )
Majors' High Percentage of U.S. Licensed Music Not a Big Surprise
-- The majors account for 80% of all licensed music sold in the United States. That's the headline at Digital Music News  in reference to a passage of the lawsuit filed by the Temptations against Universal Music Group last week .
A big number? Yes. A surprise? No. If you've read Billboard.biz's reports on labels' market shares over the years, you'll know that majors represent a vast majority of music licensed to digital sales.
Licensing deals are usually, but not always, handled at the distributor level. Because ownership of a distributor is different than ownership of the recordings being distributed, what gets counted as "major label" in terms of licensing covers some music not actually owned by the majors.
Billboard's Ed Christman gave a detailed explanation last year  on the differences in market share calculation. When calculated according to label ownership, indies had an estimated 31.23% share of U.S. recorded music sales in the first half of 2011. Indies' market share dropped to 24.35% when independent distributors were separated from major distributors.
Indies' share fell to 12.5% when counting the ownership of the distribution. Again, this is because a major music group does not own all the music it distributes, from larger indies like Big Machine (distributed by Universal Music Distribution) to the many smaller indies distributed by Warner Music Group's ADA Distribution, Sony's RED and EMI's EMI Label Services and Caroline Distribution.
The distinction between ownership of recordings and ownership of distribution should be familiar to loyal readers. Recall the March 2011 op-ed by Rich Bengloff , president of the American Association of Independent Music, which took issue with the way Billboard measured market share. "If you use ownership of master recordings to calculate label market share of both U.S. album sales and digital track sales in 2010, independent labels accounted for approximately 30% of each, while they accounted for approximately 37% of digital album sales," Bengloff wrote.
Village Voice Taps Ticketfly As Ticketing Partner
-- Village Voice Media has chosen Ticketfly to be the ticketing partner for its events nationally. The company promotes concerts as well as a range of festivals that cover design, fashion, food, art and beer. "Our mission is to give our readers and customers a 360-degree experience," Village Voice Media president/COO Scott Tobias said. "Readers can already get great reviews, concert updates, restaurant reviews and critics' picks; now they can complete those experiences with a ticket purchase on our websites and through our mobile platforms."
( Ticketfly blog )