Morning Fix: Holiday Music Sales Drop; MP3 Player Sales Dwindle; Fiscal Cliff Nears; Britney Spears Exiting 'X Factor'?
Morning Fix: Holiday Music Sales Drop; MP3 Player Sales Dwindle; Fiscal Cliff Nears; Britney Spears Exiting 'X Factor'?

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HOLIDAY BLUES: MUSIC SALES DOWN 10%: In the absence of a steady-selling blockbuster title like Adele's "21" or Michael Buble's "Christmas," 2012 holiday season music sales were down compared to last year's. Unit sales for the five week run up to Christmas this year were down 10% to 54.9 million versus the 61 million copies scanned last year. Digital album sales were up 5.3% to nearly 15 million units, from 14.2 million last year, but CD sales dropped 15.4% to 39 million units from 46.1 million copies.

BUSINESS MATTERS: MP3 PLAYER SALES DWINDLING -- AND THAT'S A GOOD THING FOR MUSIC BIZ: Falling sales of MP3 players, impacted by feature-filled smartphones, could turn out to be one of the music industry's biggest opportunities in years: Mobile phones are the gateway drug to tomorrow's leading music services.

BRITNEY SPEARS EXIT FROM 'X FACTOR': HOW MUCH WOULD IT HURT?: As reports spread that Simon Cowell wants Britney Spears off of "The X Factor" after just one season, we look at what her exit might mean for the show. Whether Spears returns for Season 3 or is "fired," as headlines have announced, the pop singer's potential departure from the "X Factor" comes after a mixed season that failed to live up to the hype that came with the addition of Spears and Demi Lovato as judges and amidst a glut of TV music competition shows.

TAYLOR SWIFT'S 'RED' HEADED FOR SEVENTH WEEK AT NO. 1 ON BILLBOARD 200: For the final sales tracking week of 2012, it seems as if a familiar face will rule the Billboard 200 albums chart again: Taylor Swift. If "Red" is No. 1 next week, it will mark the 24th week Swift has spent at the top of the Billboard 200 over the course of her career.

MOBILE DEVICES, ESPECIALLY TABLETS, HAVE HUGE CHRISTMAS: If you got a smartphone or tablet computer for Christmas, you were hardly alone. Flurry, a mobile analytics company that tracks use of mobile apps, says 17.4 million new iOS and Android devices were activated on Christmas Day, a 255% increase from 6.8 million on Christmas Day 2011 and a 332% increase over the December baseline of 4.0 million per day.

REVERSION RIGHTS: WILL 2013 BE A GAME-CHANGER? Some believe a ticking time bomb awaits next year when hundreds of classic albums' master recording copyright may be eligible to revert to artists under the 1976 Copyright Revision Act -- although no one is quite sure what exactly will happen...

FISCAL CLIFF TALKS DOWN TO WIRE, ROILING THE ECONOMY: Congress and the White House took small steps toward breaking the budget impasse Thursday, but Democrats and Republicans grew increasingly fearful they won't be able to avert the tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff, a prospect that is unnerving consumers and investors. President Obama invited congressional leaders to the White House on Friday afternoon for a last-ditch effort to broker a deal, as the Senate returned to Washington on Thursday and the House meets on Sunday. Anxiety about the impasse is roiling the economy. Conference Board figures showed that consumer confidence fell in December to its lowest level since August, driven by a pessimistic outlook for economic activity next year.
Wall Street Journal

ONLINE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION: APPLE FALLS TO 4-YR LOW: According to ForeSee's annual Holiday E-Retail Satisfaction Index, compiled from 24,000 customer surveys gathered between Thanksgiving and Christmas, customer satisfaction with Apple's online store slipped three points this year, falling to 80 from the 83 points it captured in 2011 -- its lowest score on the firm's consumer satisfaction index in four years. ForeSee awarded Amazon a score of 88 out of 100, matching the company's top grade from last year. Amazon has scooped up the highest scores in the index for eight straight years .
All Things D

AUDIOGALAXY MUSIC APP TO SHUT JAN 31, AS IT JOINS DROPBOX: When music streaming app Audiogalaxy announced its acquisition by Dropbox earlier this month and closed signups we feared the worst, and now it's been confirmed: the service is shutting down entirely on January 31st, 2013. The original blog post mentioned a desire to bring "great new experiences" to Dropbox's 100 million plus users so we may see some of those features again, soon.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED: CHINA TIGHTENING CONTROLS ON INTERNET: China's government tightened controls on Internet
users Friday by enacting rules requiring them to register their names. The new rules follow online postings about graft and abuses that rattled the ruling party. The country's rubber-stamp legislature approved the Internet measures at a closing meeting of a five-day session.
Associated Press

ELVIS PRESLEY, THE BEATLES TOP LIST OF MOST-FORGED AUTOGRAPHS: Elvis Presley and The Beatles top the list of most-forged celebrity signatures in 2012, with less than half of their autographs for sale certified as genuine, memorabilia authenticators PSA/DNA said on Thursday. They join notable figures such as former U.S. President John F. Kennedy and late pop star Michael Jackson on the list of most-forged celebrity signatures.

REGGAE MUSICIAN LLOYD CHARMERS DIES: Lloyd Charmers, the arranger/musician/producer who played a key role in the early years of reggae, is dead.
Charmers died after suffering a massive heart attack in London. Charmers was a member of the Uniques, a vocal group that included lead singer Keith 'Slim' Smith and whose hits included "Let Me Go Girl," produced by Bunny Lee. Charmers also provided backing vocals on reggae hits such as Winston 'Niney' Holness' Blood and Fire. His greatest success as a producer came in 1975 with Ken Boothe's Everything I Own, which topped the British national chart.
The Jamaica Observer

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