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-- eMarketer reports tend to get a lot of coverage online and actually carry a bit of weight. So one has to wonder if people will take to heart its predictions for the U.S. physical recorded music market. eMarketer predicts the decline of physical product will actually pick up speed in the coming years: -25% in 2010, -28% in 2011, -32% in 2012 and -35% in 2013. Such declines would result from a collapse of the CD format. In order for the decline to pick up steam like that, a major retailer would need to pull CDs from its stores. The report, though, is about the digital market, and eMarketer's predictions for it are just as gloomy. The company estimates digital (including mobile) growth will go from 13.6% in 2010 to 8.5% in 2013. In other words, eMarketer is saying consumers' move to cloud-based music services has little revenue potential for content owners. (eMarketer)

-- The gist of a Fortune article on A&M/Octone Records is part of a growing (but not exactly new) trend of partnering independent and major labels to upstream the most promising developing artists. Is this type of structure a solution to major labels' increasingly safe A&R moves? Possibly. The right incentives are certainly in place (indie signs and develops, then hands off to major if sales thresholds are reached). But keep in mind most independent labels don't deal with music that has much mainstream potential. From the article: "Since its formation in 2000, the New York City label has released nine albums, three of which have gone platinum, and one of which -- Hollywood Undead's Swan Songs -- is headed there...Compared with the major labels, which are known for enlisting hundreds of new acts while generating scant successes, that's a killer batting average. With about $20 million in annual revenue, A&M/Octone is no powerhouse, but it continues to turn a tidy profit and expand its staff." (Fortune)

-- YouTube was again the top online video brand in the U.S., according to new numbers released by Nielsen. The site had 6.4 billion streams and 106 million unique users during the month. Hulu was second (634 million streams and 13.7 million users) and Yahoo! was third (244 million streams and 27.5 million users). Time spent viewing online video in the U.S. was up 13% year-over-year in December. Compared to the previous month, however, online viewing was down over 3%. (NielsenWire)

-- According to comScore's tracking numbers, new video streaming site Vevo was the top network in the music-entertainment category in December. (Vevo, a partnership between Universal Music Group and Sony Music, launched to great fanfare on December 8. Abu Dhabi Media Fund is also a Vevo investor.) A Vevo spokesperson explained that "network" refers to videos viewed at various places across the Internet. So, the Vevo network includes, YouTube (which shows Vevo-branded videos) and Vevo-hosted videos embedded at third-party sites (such as music blogs). Given the participation of the two largest record labels in the world, Vevo's streams through YouTube, the leading online video site by a wide margin, could reasonably be expected to exceed the traffic of its peers. The other four spots in the top five, according to comscore, were MySpace Music, AOL Music, Warner Music and MTV Networks Music. (Press release)

-- A U.S. judge has approved Muzak's bankruptcy reorganization plan that will lead it out of court protection. The company's lenders are to swap debt for equity in order to relieve Muzak from $436 million in maturing debt the company could not deal with. (Reuters)

-- RealNetworks' COO, John Giamatteo, has stepped down. (paidContent)

Closing stock prices as of Wednesday (Jan. 13):
Warner Music Group (WMG): $5.35 (-0.01) (-0.19%)
Vivendi (VIV): $30.10 (+0.35) (+1.18%)
Sony Corp. (SNE): $33.16 (+1.59) (+5.04%)
Live Nation (LYV): $9.26 (+0.07) (+0.76%)
Ticketmaster (TKTM): $13.49 (+0.04) (+0.30%)
Trans World (TWMC): $1.47 (+0.01) (+0.68%)
Sirius XM Radio (SIRI): $0.6669 (-0.0131) (-1.93%)
Cumulus Media (CMLS): $2.39 (+0.06) (+2.58%)
Citadel Broadcasting Corp. (CTDB): $0.032 (0.00) (0.00%)
RealNetworks (RNWK): $3.86 (+0.11) (+2.93%)
Apple (AAPL): $210.65 (+2.93) (+1.41%)
Dow Jones Industrial (DJI): $10,680.77 (+53.51) (+0.50%)
NASDAQ Composite (COMPX): $2,307.90 (-25.59) (-1.12%)

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