-- As people look at the challenging 2010 concert season – which is dominated by large venues – many people have drawn attention to the better situation at small venues. The Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot takes a look at Chicago’s club scene and finds success stories. Jam Productions co-owner Jerry Mickelson tells him the company’s revenue is down 8% to $29 million. But because there are fewer arena shows and more club and theater shows, he says, “we’re doing more shows overall and selling more tickets at lower prices.”

Of course, this summer may foretell of issues the concert industry is going to inevitably face: the loss of the superstar artist. Record labels are producing fewer of them. But there will be ample less popular artists to perform at smaller venues. “The people seeing doom and gloom this summer are all about huge acts playing to 20,000 people a night for a high ticket price,” says Tom Windish of The Windish Agency. “But that industry is fading.” (Chicago Tribune)

-- Bloomberg reported on Thursday that the Rolling Stones are in talks with Live Nation and AEG for a tour. The report claimed an auction for the tour has been underway for one month and that a group of independent promoters is also bidding. Neither company commented on the story. (Bloomberg)

UFC Sues Ustream,
-- Ustream and, two video streaming sites that are becoming quite popular with musicians, have been sued for copyright infringement by the Ultimate Fighting Championships. The lawsuit claims the two sites have streamed UFC pay-per-view fights to thousands of viewers. The UFC 108 event in January was viewed by 78,000 people via the two sites, according to UFC. In a similar lawsuit, Ustream was sued last year by boxing promotional company Square Ring. At the time, Ustream said it was “aggressively taking short- and long-term steps to work with the content industry to meet their needs.”
To date, streaming sites have differed on their stance on copyright infringement. “You may remember Livestream’s announcement in March that they had a zero-tolerance policy for copyrighted content, in which they called out their competitors,” noted Reel SEO. “You may also notice that Livestream is not being sued by UFC alongside those competitors. Probably not a coincidence.” (Reel SEO, NewTeeVee)

-- A TechCrunch story on Time’s problems with Apple echo problems in other segments of the media industry. Time wanted to sell subscriptions through the iTunes store but Apple won't allow it. Now Time says it is working with a number of partners and potential partners to offer in-app subscriptions. In the publication app world, there are Amazon and Google. Neither has a product that is as good as the iPad for reading full-color magazines, however.

It comes as no surprise Time does not want to re-live the experience record labels have had with Apple regarding pricing and consumer information. Competition will ultimately benefit publishers once a formidable challenger to Apple and the iPad appears. But before that happens, Time has the same opportunity for short-term gains that record labels have enjoyed. Ceding some control in exchange for digital revenue growth isn’t necessarily a bad trade off. Without Apple, most digital music consumers would not have spent the last seven years warming to the idea of paying for digital music. Of course, companies don’t want to make that trade-off for too many years. That’s why contracts last only a few years before they will be renegotiated. (TechCrunch)

-- Calling it “the first time that such an adjustable fee blanket license has been put into practice in any industry,” DMX Inc. has won a court decision against BMI that takes into account licenses DMX had privately negotiated with more than 7,000 publishers. DMX is a branding company that uses music to help businesses connect with their consumers. It also provides licensing services for its customers that want to offer webcasting or downloads at their web sites.

Because DMX had acquired direct licenses for public performances from thousands of publishers, Judge Louis Stanton of the Southern District of New York provided the company an adjustable fee blanket license. In effect, DMX’s BMI license includes a credit for those compositions for which it directly acquired licenses.

DMX believes direct negotiation is good for both parties. It may pass less to the publishers, but the lower royalties will result in preferential treatment. “DMX believes that securing licenses directly from music publishers presents an opportunity for the publishers – and the writers they represent – to receive greater royalties through DMX’ increased use of their musical compositions,” the company’s general counsel said in the press release. (Press release)

Assorted Links
-- See Topspin’s iPhone ticket scanner in action (video). (Vimeo)
-- How to use social media to unlock true fan marketing. (Entrepreneur Corner)
-- The case against the case against paywalls. (The Big Money)