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

-- Blackberry owners, often a forgotten group in era of the iPhone app, now have one up on their Apple-owning friends: the U2 Blackberry app is finally available. Actually, it’s being called a Mobile Album. The audio/visual aspects to the app are audio samples of the album’s tracks, short videos (ranging from rehearsal clips to a Blackberry television commercial) and interviews related to the songs. App users who want to buy an album download ($9.99) or individual tracks ($1.49 each) are taken to the U2 Mobile Shop that’s powered by 7digital. The app also has a news feed (it’s the same news that’s available at and a photo gallery (a small collection of live shots and promo shot -- not as good as the photos gallery on A location-based function that will allow concertgoers to communicate and share their experiences is not yet active. Once that feature is enabled, the Mobile Album will go from a nice little promotional tool to something that actually enhances a fan’s experience. As it stands, the Blackberry U2 Mobile Album feels more like a learning experience than a fully formed product. Give it a few years and these things will be much improved. (Blackberry)

-- MySpace Music quietly got an overhaul on Tuesday and there are two notable additions: (1) news updates and (2) more effective highlights of MySpace exclusives. It may not win awards, but it’s an improvement. Frankly, there was nowhere to go be upward. The previous MySpace Music layout was incoherent and unattractive. Beyond this music portal, however, are the individual MySpace artist, song and video pages…in their haphazard glory. (MySpace Music Blog, via Digital Music News)

-- A profile of Hardly Art, an offshoot of indie label Sub Pop. “The goal of self-sufficiency may explain in part why the folks at Hardly Art have been so successful at signing obscure, if not unknown, new bands and turning them into local scene darlings with the potential to explode nationally. And when they say new bands, they mean new.” (Seattle Weekly)

-- Noting an improved financing position and the flexibility to pursue mergers and acquisitions, a Citi Investment research analyst upgraded Warner Music Group to “buy” from “sell” on Wednesday. The analyst, who puts the odds or a WMG-EMI merger at 25%, raised WMG’s target price to $6 from $2.50. Shares finished trading up 7.27% to $4.87 on Wednesday. (AP)

-- According to TNS Media Intelligence, radio ad spending dropped 24.6% in the first half of 2009 versus the same period in 2008. Local radio was down 25.5%, national was down 29.2% and network radio dropped 8.7%. Internet advertising was up 6.5%. (Radio Ink)

-- Paul Quirk, the chairman of the Entertainment Retailers Association, told the association’s general meeting that P2P is damaging both physical and digital retail and called for swift, decisive government action. “No one has a human right to fileshare illegally any more than they have a human right to shoplift," he said. The ERA, which represents some of the UK’s largest supermarkets and mobile phone operators, recently signed on to the Creative Coalition Campaign. (

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