Subscribe to Billboard’s free Morning Fix email and other newsletters HERE.
| EXCLUSIVE: SOUNDEXCHANGE FINANCIALS: HOW MUCH PAID VS. HOW MUCH IN LIMBO? SoundExchange had a $363 million cash balance on Dec. 31, 2011 on its Form 990, the annual reporting form for non-profits in the U.S. But the non-profit digital collections org is not exactly sitting on that money. The balance is a collection of moneys in transit, in limbo and in doubt. Here’s how it breaks down.
BUSINESS MATTERS: WINDOWS 8 CAN’T BE HELPING XBOX MUSIC: Reports of a slow start for Windows 8 suggest a bumpy start for Xbox Music, Microsoft’s new ad-supported subscription service that was supposed to get a big boost from its integration with its new operation system.
| JUSTICE COLLECTIVE WINS UK’S XMAS SINGLE TITLE; EMELI SANDE HAS TOP ALBUM, 2012’S BEST SELLER: The U .K.’s much sought-after Christmas No. 1 crown has been won by the Justice Collective’s charity single, a cover of the Hollies’ 1969 hit “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother” (Metropolis), which sold 269K copies — 45K more than “X Factor” winner James Arthur’s “Impossible.” Emeli Sandé’s “Our Version Of Events” (Virgin/EMI), already the bestselling artist album of 2012, climbed back to the top spot.
| MARVA WHITNEY, SOUL SISTER NO. 1 IN JAMES BROWN REVUE, DEAD AT 68: Marva Whitney, a fiery voiced funk singer who toured and collaborated with James Brown — along the way earning the nickname “Soul Sister #1” — died on Saturday at age 68, according to a Facebook page dedicated to her. “She left us with a legacy that will shine forever,” the message reads. Other passings over the holidays included former RCA Records Exec Meredith Israel Thomas and Ministry Guitarist Mike Scaccia.
| BILLBOARD’S 2013 GRAMMY VOTER GUIDE: Billboard’s annual guide to the Grammys which includes a complete list of categories and nominations, an overview of the top-nominated independent artists, genre analysis, features on the Hall of Fame inductees, the awards’ social media strategy, a list of Grammy events and parties and much more. And it can be downloaded as a PDF.
SHOPPERS DISAPPOINT RETAILERS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON: U.S. shoppers spent cautiously this holiday season, a disappointment for retailers who slashed prices to lure people into stores and now must hope for a post-Christmas burst of spending. Sales of electronics, clothing, jewelry and home goods in the two months before Christmas increased 0.7 percent compared with last year, according to the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse report. That was below the healthy 3 to 4 percent growth that analysts had expected – and the worst year-over-year performance since 2008.
ONLINE HOLIDAY SPENDING UP 16 PERCENT, ACCORDING TO COMSCORE: ComScore released its numbers on Dec. 23 for online shopping during the first 51 days of the 2012 holiday season. In all, online spending totaled almost $38.7 billion, up 16 percent from the same period last year. The most notable growth occurred during the last work week before Christmas, which saw an increase of 53 percent compared to 2011. According to comScore’s top 10 days by rank, Cyber Monday still rules for online shopping – as do Mondays and Tuesdays in general.
All Things D
LIVE NATION ENDS WEMBLEY ARENA VENUE MANAGEMENT CONTRACT: Live Nation Entertainment has agreed to halt its venue-management contract for Wembley Arena, London, as the group focuses its international expansion on music promotion, festivals and new landmark venues. Live Nation, which has held the venue-management contract at Wembley Arena since April 2006, will concentrate on music promotion of major acts at the famous London arena, where it is already the largest host of big-name performers. Paul Latham, UK president of Live Nation, said: “We have been privileged to operate Wembley Arena. But we are focusing increasingly on promotion and new venues as we review our Europe-wide events calendar.”
BEIJING SPENDS TWO BILLION TO GET CHINA ROCKING: Beijing officials have announced plans to spend more than 10 years and £1.4bn ($2.26 billion) turning an area about an hour’s drive from central Beijing into the “China Music Valley”, a sprawling compound that will be home to recording studios, instrument makers, music schools, five-star hotels and an arena in the shape of a peach. China’s central government, concerned that progress in the country’s film, music and drama sectors lag behind its economic development, has designated culture a top national priority and promised billions of pounds in subsidies for the arts.
LADY GAGA CONFIRMS DOCUMENTARY FILM DIRECTED BY TERRY RICHARDSON: Lady Gaga has confirmed that she is making a film. The ‘Born This Way’ singer revealed to fans on Twitter yesterday (Dec. 25) that she had teamed up with long-time collaborator and famed photographer Terry Richardson to make the documentary-style movie. She tweeted that “Merry Christmas little monsters! Terry Richardson@Terry_World is making a #LadyGagaMOVIEdocumenting my life, the creation of ARTPOP + you!”
HEADLINES OF THE DAY:
– The Beatles, Mick Jagger, Robbie Williams considered for new £10 banknote
– The Who: ‘I shall pick nuts out of me cavities’
– New music streaming service hacks your brain to make you a better employee-
– Calvin Harris says creating pop music is easier than making a ham sandwich
– Drake Wants Royalties for “YOLO”
– Jessica Simpson — Takin’ My Fetus to Target
Head HERE to subscribe to Billboard’s free music-business newsletters:
Breaking News, Touring, Top 40, Country and many more.