Business Matters is a daily column that offers insight, analysis and opinion on the day's news.

-- For getting songs immediately to download stores - rather than opt for a future street date - was found in one trial to be the fastest way to market. Through TuneCore digital distribution, had a digital album for sale one day after being uploaded. Lala and Napster took two days. Rhapsody took five days, Amie Street took six and iTunes took seven. eMusic lagged at 20 days. Why does this matter? Digital music can create an on-demand, instantaneous link too fans. But lag times for saleable tracks get in the way. Musicians may want to release a steady stream of content. Or they may want to quickly get one-off titles to market. They can increasingly do both through direct-to-fan platforms, but they're probably going to want to sell at digital retail as well. There are practical impacts here. To promote the availability of a new song, the song needs to be available for sale. (Digital Audio Insider)

-- The five biggest digital audio duds of 2009, according to Matt Rosoff at Digital Noise: Zookz, Jango Artist Play, Vevo, Songsmith and CMX. It's hard to argue with any of those five. Vevo, however, does not have enough time under its belt to have proved its mettle. But based on the site's launch, an anticlimactic and error-filled partner to the star-studded launch party, one could say Vevo has not lived up to expectations. The moral of Rosoff's list is simple: it's easy to get a little media attention in the digital age, but it's harder to keep it. (Digital Noise)

-- Nielsen offers its five entertainment trends to watch in 2010 and reminds us to be wary of misleading phrases. Number one on the list is "digital media shows solid growth." In music, digital usage is sure to grow more than digital revenues. Download sales are past the heady days of high growth rates. Don't be fooled by use of terms like "growing digital share of revenues," which is commonly used in media company's earnings releases instead of absolute digital revenue growth. Case in point: Nielsen predicts digital albums may grab a 50% share of total album sales in 2010, up from 41%. But what does that mean? Is digital growing, or is physical dropping, or both? One way to increase your digital share is to sell less physical product - and that's exactly what is happening to music companies. Granted, digital sales are indeed increasing - slowly - but digital's share of total sales will increase even if absolute digital growth remains flat. (Nielsen Wire)

-- What will happen to Lala's ten-cent web songs now that the company is owned by Apple? Michael Robertson (MP3tunes) predicts it may not be good for those who have purchased them. In theory, web songs grant the buyer an unlimited number of streams in perpetuity. In the digital music world, however, perpetuity is granted only if a download is purchased (an unprotected download, as some buyers of DRM music downloads have realized). "What will the fate of the web songs on lala be? Likely, the web site will atrophy. No new content will be added. No improvements will be made. Quietly the business will die and at some point, be buried. The coffin will be stuffed full of 10-cent songs that people have rented. Renters may or may not have received 10 cents of value, but what's for sure is that their lease will be over. Generally, renting is a costly idea. If you know what you want, ownership is a smarter choice. Lala deserves credit for fine engineering and innovation but labeling a 'web song' as a purchase is inaccurate and misleading and that will soon become clear to lala renters when their songs die." (

Follow Billboard senior analyst Glenn Peoples on Twitter at