Business Matters is a daily column that offers insight, analysis and opinion on the day's news. Follow Billboard senior analyst Glenn Peoples on Twitter at twitter.com/billboardglenn .
-- MySpace Records has reduced its staff. A source confirmed to Billboard the label reduced headcount and will return to focusing on its original role of artist incubator (the label has a partnership with Interscope Records). On Thursday, a report at the Web site of Los Angeles radio station KROQ says the MySpace Records staff has been let go. Also on Thursday, TechCrunch was told by sources that a "handful of people" are gone, the partnership with Interscope is still in place and the direction and structure of the label are up in the air. Earlier in the week, it was reported  that MySpace Records GM J Scavo had retuned to Hollywood Records. (KROQ , TechCrunch )
-- The Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property (Sabip), a UK group created to advise the government, is taking a look at offline piracy and its impact on sales of recorded music, video and games. The study (of available research) showed Sabip that consumers are more interested in price, quality and availability than legal status. "Consumer behaviour online and offline in the digital world needs to be looked at from a new perspective," said Sabip in the review, "one that encompasses consumer choice rather than just from the viewpoint of criminal behavior." Also of note was the review's conclusion that evidence was mixed as to whether illegal consumption of music (at free or lower prices) complements legal purchases. In the debate over digital piracy, a vocal camp exists that believes file sharing is effective promotion because it spurs legal sales. There may be anecdotal evidence of this, but academic studies tend to conclude that digital piracy is either benign or damaging to sales. Rare - and controversial - is the academic study that points to the incredible sales decline over the last ten years and says sales would actually be worse if not for the positive effects of piracy. (The Guardian , via Music Ally )
-- One group has a new take on the pop-up store idea. A New York non-profit called No Longer Empty places public art in dormant, private spaces. Starting this weekend, an event called Never Can Say Goodbye will occupy the former Tower Records site in the East Village of Manhattan with performances, panel discussions and art installations. A panel discussion on Tuesday, January 26, is titled "Discs to Downloads: New Directions in the Music Industry." For more information, go here . (Wall Street Journal )
-- Dannie Flesher, a co-founder of Wax Trax, has died at 58. Chicago-based Wax Trax began as a record store in Denver in the '70s and later expanded to include a record label after it moved to Chicago. Wax Trax was a leader in the industrial genre, releasing music by Ministry, Front 242, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult and KMFDM. (Chicago Tribune )
-- eMusic subscribers have jumped on the catalog titles just added by Warner Music Group. On Thursday, the top six albums and nine of the top 15 were all WMG titles. The #3 album was especially cost-effective: the 39-song Live at the Olympia by R.E.M. costs only 12 credits. Talking Heads and Neil Young each had a couple albums among the top sellers. The top album was a recent release, The Flaming Lips' "Embryonic." WMG was just as dominant on the top labels chart as well, owning the top six slots and pushing Sony imprints down the list. After the rush to new additions from WMG subsides, expect WMG imprints to remain competitive on the top labels chart. Since Sony catalog appeared at eMusic, some of its imprints have been the top labels at eMusic.