Thursday, May 31, 2012

Producer/Engineer Ken Scott's 'Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust' To Be Released

On June 6th, Alfred Music Publishing is releasing  Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust, the highly anticipated memoir of the recording engineer/producer that shaped the sounds loved by generations, by Ken Scott and Bobby Owsinski. The book launch coincides with the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first recording session at Abbey Road Studios and the 40th anniversary of the release of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.

Grammy®-nominated producer/engineer Ken Scott is one of the five main engineers to have worked with The Beatles. With no holds barred, Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust chronicles his amazing career with intimate memories of working with the Fab Four and many other iconic recording artists in music history, including David Bowie, Elton John, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, and more.

Seminal albums that Scott has collaborated on include Magical Mystery Tour and The White Album by the Beatles, and David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, and many other groundbreaking releases. Poised to satisfy the most ardent fans and industry insiders alike, Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust is peppered with provocative and humorous anecdotes, and studio shoptalk. Also included are never-before-seen photographs, technical details exposed, and exclusive facts only available in the book.

To view the official Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust trailer, go to http://4wrd.it/a.prabbeytoziggy.

Ken Scott has garnered RIAA® Gold®, Platinum®, and Diamond® record sales awards; multiple Grammy nominations; along with a Clio Award for his recording of the famed Coca-Cola jingle “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke.” At last count, the albums that Scott has worked on have collectively sold well over 200 million units worldwide. However, no accolade stands as large as his recent election to the Sound Fellowship of the United Kingdom’s Association of Professional Recording Services (APRS), a Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing his contribution to music.

Co-author Bobby Owsinski is a long-time music industry veteran, prominent pro audio guru, and prolific writer. he started his career as a guitar and keyboard player, songwriter and arranger, eventually becoming an in-demand producer/engineer working not only with a variety of recording artists, but on commercials, television and motion pictures as well. He was one of the first to delve into surround sound music mixing, and is credited on more than 100 surround projects and DVD productions for a variety of superstar acts.

Combining his music and recording experience along with an easy-to-understand writing style, Owsinski has become one of the bestselling authors in the music recording industry with over a dozen publications that are now staples in audio recording, music, and music business programs in colleges around the world. His most recent titles for Alfred Music Publishing are The Ultimate Guitar Tone Handbook and The Studio Builder’s HandbookAbbey Road to Ziggy Stardust is Owsinski’s 16th book.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Elvis Presley's Original Tomb At Forest Hill Cemetery Up For Sale

The crypt, where Elvis Presley was temporarily buried before being laid in his final resting place at Graceland, is being auctioned off. It will be sold during Julien's Auctions on the first day of a two-day "Music Icons" auction that will run June 23 and 24.

The tomb, which is located at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee, will go on sale with starting price of $100,000. The highest bidder will receive the crypt, opening and closing of the vault for burial, a memorialization inscription and use of the chapel for a committal service.

Commenting on some who might consider the auction "morbid," Darren Julien told New York Times, "I just consider that if you're an ultimate fan of Elvis Presley, it's an opportunity." He added, "It's definitely a conversation piece. Only one person can say, 'Hey, I'm going to be buried where Elvis Presley was'."

The King of Rock and Roll, who died on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42, was laid in the tomb for two months alongside his mother Gladys. It has remained empty ever since and was marked only by a statue commemorating his brief stay there.

In addition to putting up the crypt for auction, Julien will sell a robe worn by Amy Winehouse in her "Rehab" music video, a cigarette packet signed by The Beatles and Chinese ceramic dogs from Meat Loaf's collection at the upcoming event.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Elton John Recovering, Vegas Shows Cancelled

Elton John was hospitalized in Los Angeles on Wednesday, where he allegedly underwent a number of tests for what was described as a "serious infection".

He was advised by doctors to cancel his four remaining concert shows scheduled in Las Vegas over the weekend in order to recover.

John said in a statement: "All I can say to the fans is sorry I can't be with you. I hope to see you soon at this wonderful theater at Caesars Palace."

A spokesperson for the singer said that John is quickly recovering from his infection, adding that he is "at home and doing well" following treatment.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Aerosmith Sets August Release Date For Long-Awaited Album

As Steven Tyler's second season at the judges table on American Idol ends, the singer's other gig as the leader of Aerosmith gets back underway. After the veteran rock group performed a new single, "Legendary Child," on the Idol finale on Wednesday (May 23), Aerosmith announced that its new album, Music From Another Dimension, will finally hit stores on August 28.

The making of the group's follow-up to 2004's Honkin' On Bobo has been anything but easy: Tyler entered rehab in late 2009, and the rest of Aerosmith was rumored to be looking for a replacement singer. The singer rejoined the group for a tour in 2010, but after Tyler signed on to American Idol that August, the new album was put on hold until last summer, when the group reunited with producer Jack Douglas after Tyler's first Idol season wrapped.

"This record is different from the recent past, say the last 20 years, where everybody is getting in the studio and throwing down their songs," guitarist Joe Perry said in March, when the album was being finalized. "Some of the songs are completed and some are just riffs. This record is a lot more band-written stuff than there has been in the recent past."

The release of Music From Another Dimension will follow Aerosmith's Global Warming tour, which was announced earlier this year and kicks off June 16 in Minneapolis. While the album was being mixed this spring, Aerosmith rehearsed 25 songs -- including two or three new tracks -- for the tour.

Here is the track list for Music From Another Dimension:

1. What Could Have Been Love
2. Beautiful
3. Street Jesus
4. Legendary Child
5. Oh Yeah
6. We All Fall Down
7. Another Last Goodbye
8. Out Go the Lights
9. Love Three Times a Day
10. Closer
11. Shakey Ground
12. Love a Lot
13. Freedom Fighter
14. Up on the Mountain

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jon Anderson To Play Select Summer 2012 Concerts

Original Yes vocalist and songwriter Jon Anderson will be playing select concert dates this summer in support of his new digital download release, "Open."

Anderson is best known for his work with Yes, Vangelis and Kitaro, as well as his solo efforts, recently completed several successful tours of the US and South America.

The new summer tour promises to deliver a mixture of material from Jon Anderson's prolific solo career, collaborations with Vangelis and classic Yes songs, along with songs from his latest CD Survival & Other Stories and new compositions, highlighted by humorous and enlightening stories.

On August 8, 2012, Anderson will be performing in the UK for the first time in many years at the Sadler's Wells Theater in London.

“The concert in London is with the Slovakian Chamber Orchestra with the help of my good friend composer Peter Machajdik plus a semi acoustic group I performed with a couple of years ago in Bratislava,” says Anderson. "We will be performing some classic songs I wrote with Yes and Vangelis, plus some new songs in a concert for 'Earth and Peace at the 2012 Olympic Games.' "

The singer is currently recording "Ever," the follow-up to the 21-minute "Open" opus.

Jon Anderson Summer 2012 Tour Dates:

June 1 - Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant - Minneapolis, MN
June 3 - The Pabst Theatre  - Milwaukee, WI
June 6 - Mayne Stage  - Chicago, IL
June 8 - Viper Alley  - Lincolnshire, IL
June 11 - The Triple Door - Seattle, WA
June 12 - The Triple Door  - Seattle, WA
June 16 - Napa Valley Opera House  - Napa, CA
June 19 - Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center - Livermore, CA
June 21 - Rio Theatre - Santa Cruz, CA
July 6 - The Coach House - San Juan Capistrano, CA

For more information, visit www.jonanderson.com.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Roger Hodgson Continues Breakfast In America Tour

Roger Hodgson, the legendary voice of Supertramp, recently completed the first leg of his “Breakfast in America Tour” with sold out shows across the US and South America.  On June 6, Hodgson heads to Germany to kick off a summer run through Germany, Holland, Italy, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Spain, and Switzerland, before returning to perform in North America in August.

Fans the world over have been thrilled with Hodgson’s unforgettable songs such as “Breakfast in America,” “The Logical Song,” “Dreamer,” “Give a Little Bit,” “Take the Long Way Home,” and “It's Raining Again.”  Hodgson and his band perform these timeless songs worldwide, as they take you on a magical musical journey.

Universally recognized as one of the most gifted composers and songwriters to have ever put pen to paper, Hodgson helped define a generation of progressive rock. Founding Supertramp in 1969, Hodgson’s dulcet tones and beautifully crafted lyrics helped the band sell in excess of 60 million albums, transforming them into a worldwide phenomenon.

Reflecting on his tour, Roger said "I love performing these songs, which continue to resound for me as a performer and for the fans.  My songs come from a very personal place inside me and they carry my beliefs and my dreams and my philosophy of life.  I understand the deep connection that fans have with my songs that have been a part of so many peoples’ lives around the world."

Monday, May 21, 2012

Robin Gibb Of The Bee Gees Dead At 62

Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees once said that "an artist is an artist because he is not happy with the world, so he creates his own existence." And the singer and composer, who died Sunday at the age of 62 after a series of health issues, certainly created a memorable existence for himself.

"The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery," his spokesperson confirmed in a statement. "The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time."

As one-third of the Bee Gees, Gibb was part of the sixth top-selling pop group of all time, selling more than 200 million records worldwide, notching 60 No. 1 hits around the globe and winning nine Grammy Awards, including Lifetime Achievement and Legend citations. Along with his Bee Gees siblings Barry and the late Maurice, his twin who died in 2003, Gibb has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame and was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Gibb was also the most prolific member of the band as a solo artist with six albums including this year's "Titanic Requiem," a classical piece co-written with his youngest son Robin-John. The latter, he wrote during January in the British newspaper The Mail, "saved my life" while he was in the throes of the health crisis that ultimately killed him.

"Getting involved in the routine of composing and singing again really saved me," Gibb wrote. "The 'Titanic Requiem' has been a huge investment for me -- physically, emotionally and financially -- and has come at a difficult time." Yet Gibb was upbeat, noting that "I'm happy to say I'm nearly better...It's taken its toll, naturally, but the strange thing is that I've never felt seriously ill. I've mostly felt great...I am not and have never been at death's door."

But just days after "Titanic Requiem's" release, Gibb -- who was first hospitalized with abdominal pains in August of 2010 and was subsequently diagnosed with colon cancer that spread to his liver -- underwent intestinal surgery. On April 14 he fell into a pneumonia-induced coma, where his family -- including brother Barry, second wife Dwina and his three children -- kept a vigil until his death.

Gibb once noted that music also "saved me from a life of crime," and he wasn't joking.

Gibb, who was 35 minutes older than Maurice, was one of five children born to Hugh and Barbara Gibb on the Isle of Man in England. The family later moved to Manchester, where Robin and Barry have acknowledged indulging in petty theft. Maurice once remembered Robin setting fire to several billboards as well. But the three oldest Gibb brothers were also drawn to music. "The real world was just too real and we didn't want to be a part of normal life," Robin once said. "We wanted to create a magic world for the three of us. The three of us were like one person, and we were doing what we needed to do: make music. It became an obsession."

He, Barry and Maurice had started performing in Manchester, but their career really flourished after the family moved to Australia, in 1958 -- even performing aboard the ship that took them there. Their father helped push the trio, known as the Rattlesnakes and then Wee Johnny Hayes & the Bluecasts, to radio and talent shows, and it was a DJ named Bill Gates who came up with the Bee Gees moniker. The brothers, who had all left school during their early teens, started releasing singles in 1963, while its first album, "The Bee Gees Sing and Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs," came out in 1965.

The trio scored its first big hit with "Spicks and Specks" in 1966, which preceded their return to England that year. They were signed by manager Robert Stigwood, who was working for Beatles manager Brian Epstein's NEMS organization, and in 1967 the Bee Gees signed with Polydor Records in the U.K. and Atco in the U.S., scoring a quick series of hits that included "New York Mining Disaster 1941,," "To Love Somebody," "Holiday," "Massachusetts" and "Words." But there were rivalries and creative differences in the group; a frustrated Robin left the Bee Gees after 1969's "Odessa" album, releasing one album ("Robin's Reign") and scoring a No. 2 U.K. hit with "Saved By the Bell."

Robin returned to the group in 1970, and the Bee Gees gained momentum with "Lonely Days," "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" (their first No. 1 hit in the U.S.), "My World" and "Run to Me." Hooking up with producer Arif Mardin for 1974's "Mr. Natural," the trio began to move in an R&B direction. "Main Course" made the Bee Gees disco club favorites in 1975 with hits such as "Jive Talkin' " and "Nights on Broadway," and its contributions to the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack in 1977 made them a pop phenomenon, holding the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 100 for 25 weeks from December 1977-August 1978 with their own songs and hits they composed for youngest brother Andy Gibb and Yvonne Elliman. "Saturday NIght Fever" became the fourth top-selling album worldwide, and despite co-starring in the ill conceived film adaptation of the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" in 1978, the group was back on top the following year with "Spirits Having Flown."

The Bee Gees' greatest success came during a rough patch in Gibb's personal life, however. He and his first wife -- NEMS secretary Molly Hullis, the mother of children Spencer and Melissa -- separated during the mid-70s and divorced in 1980. Gibb also spent a couple of hours in jail three years later for violating the couple's agreement about not speaking publicly about the marriage. But in 1980 Gibb also met Dwina Murphy; the two married and had Robin-John in 1983 but made headlines a few years later when it was revealed Dwina was bisexual as well as an ordained disciple of the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids." The two had what Gibb called an "open relationship" that included extramarital affairs. "He's free to go wherever he wants and see whoever he wants," Dwina told one interviewer. "But, even if we're away from each other for periods of time, there's a bond and nothing's going to break it."

Gibb, who released three more solo albums during the mid-80s, said that he and Dwina "have achieved a wonderful combination of freedom and closeness. I don't worry about Dwina finding someone else and I don't have the urge to settle down with someone else, either. Jealousy is energy-draining. Many marriages fail because of it."

Laid low by the deaths of brothers Andy in 1988 -- who died at age 30 at Robin's home in Oxfordshire, England -- and Maurice in 2003, Robin and Barry put the Bee Gees on an indefinite hiatus while they pursued their own creative endeavors. Robin's 2002 solo album "Magnet" hit the charts in the U.K. and Germany, and he released "My Favourite Christmas Carols" in 2006. He also performed occasional solo shows, and in 2011 he hit the charts again by joining The Soldiers, a trio of active British military personnel, for a cover of the Bee Gees' "I've Gotta Get a Message to You." The two surviving Gibb brothers, meanwhile, oversaw an extensive Bee Gees reissue campaign and performed together for special events such as a benefit for the University of Miami's Diabetes Research Institute and the Prince's Trust 30th Birthday Concert in London, both in 2006. The two also appeared together on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" and the BBC's "Strictly Come Dancing," and they inducted ABBA into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

The Gibb brothers were also working with director/producer Steven Spielberg on a film version of the Bee Gees' story.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mick Jagger Performs With Foo Fighters, Arcade Fire & Jeff Beck On SNL Season Finale


Sir Mick Jagger brought the poise expected of a British knight and the flash expected of a rock legend as host and musical guest of Saturday Night Live's season finale. Jagger performed four times-with Foo Fighters, Jeff Beck, and twice with Arcade Fire. 

The show also marked Kristen Wiig's final appearance on the SNL stage as a regular cast member. Wiig had been rumored to be leaving SNL after this season, and the night's final sketch appeared to confirm those rumors. It featured Jagger as a school head at a graduation ceremony. He called Wiig up (who took "seven years to graduate") to serenade her with an Arcade Fire-assisted rendition of "She's a Rainbow" and "Ruby Tuesday."

Speaking of "Ruby Tuesday," in his opening monologue, Jagger answered questions he is commonly asked by journalists. Did he has any life regrets? Why, yes. Jagger once turned down an offer from Ruby Tuesdays restaurant to sing at their grand opening. He would have been paid $1,000 and received a lifetime supply of jalapeno poppers.

Jagger said "not a day goes by" that he doesn't regret turning the company down.

Later in the episode, Jagger played a mild mannered businessman at karaoke bar who had a crippling fear of singing in public. Meanwhile, his associate Rick (Fred Armisen) managed to impress the women they were with by singing the Stones' "Start me up" and doing a great Jagger impersonation.

One of the women gushed that she might sleep with Rick because of how Jagger-like he was. The sketch ended with Jagger's character, unable to conquer his fear of performing in public, singing a morose piano version of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" alone in the bar.

Jagger also got the opportunity to play another rock icon, Steven Tyler, for So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival. Hosted by Dave Matthews (Bill Hader), the show parodied the types of colorful characters one might find at a music festival. Jagger played up Tyler's over-the-top American Idol judging, while Armisen played a confused Carlos Santana, who could name just one of his own songs.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Facebook To Make Bono Richest Musician In The World

U2 frontman Bono will become the richest musician in the world today (May 18), overtaking Paul McCartney, according to NME.

Facebook is set to float on the stock exchange and all its early investors are set to earn huge amounts of money from the flotation, with the Irish singer among them.

The U2 singer owns 2.3 percent of the shares in Facebook through his private equity firm, Elevation Partners, which it bought for $90 million (£57 million) in 2009 and now stands to make a handsome return. Given the social media company is currently valued at over $100 billion (£63 billion), this makes Bono's share worth over $1.5 billion (£940 million) and puts him well above McCartney, who is currently the world's richest rock star with a fortune of £665 million, said NME.



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ronnie Wood Says Rolling Stones May Tour In The Fall

The Rolling Stones are set to tour later this year after Ronnie Wood revealed he is "keeping October/November free".

The legendary rockers have long been rumored to be playing live again this year to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Earlier this year, it appeared they would be delaying the celebrations until 2013 after guitarist Keith Richards suggested the band weren't ready to go back on the road yet.

However, speaking earlier this week, Wood hinted the band could tour before the end of the year, telling one newspaper, "It looks like we are going to be doing more stuff. I am keeping October/November free, that’s what I've been told. I'm just awaiting more information."

However, the Faces man scotched suggestions the band would be recording new material, adding: "New ones? Are you joking? We are familiarizing ourselves with our back catalog and have only scratched the surface."

Earlier this year, Wood suggested the band were "on the verge" of arranging a reunion and were simply "tying up loose ends".

The band played their first ever gig in London on July 12, 1962. However, Richards has suggested playing in 2013 would be a more fitting half-century anniversary. "The Stones always considered '63 to be 50 years, because Charlie [Watts] didn't actually join until January," he said. "We look upon 2012 as sort of the year of conception, but the birth is next year."

Richards also refused to rule out the possibility of former bassist Bill Wyman for the tour, claiming that he was "up for it" and they had discussed him teaming up again with his former band mates.

The Rolling Stones will release a new photo album to mark 50 years since their first ever gig this year. The tome – which is titled The Rolling Stones: 50 – will feature 700 shots and words from the band on their history, and will hit bookshelves on July 12.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Universal-EMI Merger: Has Music Biz Lost Control?

On the face of it, Universal Music Group's bid to buy a big chunk of EMI stands to make the world's leading music company an even more formidable force, combining Universal's star lineup of Lady Gaga and Rihanna with the British company's deep library of The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Katy Perry.

Certainly the fierce opposition from rival Warner Music Group, consumer groups and independent music companies makes it seem that way. They have all vowed to fight it tooth and nail, telling U.S. and European regulators that the merger would create a behemoth capable of controlling the future of digital media by withholding content from digital music startups.

But industry insiders say regulators also are looking at a counterargument - that the major recording companies already are weakened giants worn down by the forces of big retailers and piracy that put downward pressure on the price of CDs and digital downloads.

U.S.-based Universal, owned by Paris-based Vivendi, made the $1.9 billion deal in November.

Eight antitrust experts interviewed about the issue were divided about the chances for approval, largely because the music landscape has changed so much in recent years that it is not clear that a deal that would concentrate 40 percent of the recorded music industry in one company would harm competition.

"Ten years ago, the labels had power. Today they don't have any power. If they (the U.S. Federal Trade Commission) block it, it's just because they don't understand the market," said Daniel Sokol, who teaches antitrust issues at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

Two antitrust experts who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect business relationships said that Universal faces a tough fight in winning U.S. approval - especially because Warner Music Group, owned by privately held Access Industries, has organized opposition to the deal.

"My sense is that the FTC could take a hard line depending on how good a job Warner does in generating complaints," one expert said. "It wouldn't surprise me if it didn't go through."

Universal is gearing up to begin discussions later this month with the FTC about potential asset sales that could make the transaction more palatable to regulators, said a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Universal also is considering making a request to the FTC in the next two weeks for the agency to decide on approval of the deal within a 30-day period, this source added.

Two industry insiders who have met with U.S. regulators say the FTC is asking about the pricing power of retailers like Apple and Amazon, who use cheap music as loss leaders to attract customers for more expensive goods, and about the pressure of illegal music downloads.

The FTC also is asking about allegations made by consumer groups and others that Universal has been reluctant to license its enormous catalog of must-have music to digital startups, or has licensed the music only on onerous terms, those insiders said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Universal spokesman Peter Lofrumento said the company is working closely with the FTC and is confident of approval. The FTC declined to comment on the matter.

As the U.S. regulatory review heats up, a Senate Judiciary subcommittee said last week it will hold a hearing on the matter. The panel has no official say over approval, but is able to help shape the debate over the deal.

While the FTC may accept the argument that major retailers push prices down, Bert Foer, president of the American Antitrust Institute advocacy group, dismissed piracy as a defense.

"It's a passing issue and it will eventually get dealt with. It should not be the justification for allowing an anticompetitive merger to take place," Foer said.

The consumer groups Public Knowledge and Consumer Federation of America have written to two U.S. House of Representatives and Senate antitrust subcommittees to urge close scrutiny of the deal. The groups said Universal's 40 percent market share could make it a bully when innovative startups come up with new ways to sell and stream music online.

"If you control that much of the marquee content, they can determine the fate of new digital business models by withholding content," Mark Cooper of Consumer Federation of America said.

Universal said those worries are unfounded.

"The future of music also depends on providing consumers with as many legal alternatives to piracy as possible," Universal's Lofrumento said. "We have licensed more digital music services than any other music company and will continue to do so to the benefit of our artists, consumers and the overall industry."

Another critic of the deal is IMPALA, a European organization of independent music companies. It points out that last year 90 percent of the Top 1000 for downloads and airplay were from the big four music companies.

"These results are very revealing, especially as they already factor in independent successes such as Adele. They send a serious warning about the dangers of concentration in music for diversity in Europe," said Helen Smith, IMPALA executive chair.

British singer Adele is on the independent label XL Recordings.

European antitrust regulators in Brussels are asking many of the same questions that the FTC is asking, according to sources there, and are also asking whether artists would be able to switch record labels easily after the deal.

The European regulators, who are more public about their investigations than their U.S. counterparts, are due to decide by September 6 whether to clear the deal.

Officials in Brussels are concerned since the combination of Universal and EMI's recorded music unit would create a player almost twice the size of the nearest European rival.

They also appear to be focusing on the companies' market share in classical music and jazz, compilations and the extent to which Universal dominates hit charts.

In addition to Lady Gaga and Rihanna, Universal's roster of artists includes Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, Taylor Swift and LL Cool J. In addition to Katy Perry, EMI's list includes Norah Jones, Coldplay, Joss Stone and Lady Antebellum.

Across U.S. music labels, revenues have plummeted 50 percent from 2000 to $7 billion in 2011, according to the Recording Industry Association of America trade group, which blames piracy for much of the losses.

Employment by record companies in the United States has fallen to less than 10,000 now from about 25,000 people in 1999, the association said.

The situation has not been much better in Europe. British company EMI, which was the first home to the Beatles when they were unknowns in 1962, was heavily indebted in 2007 when British private equity firm Terra Firma bought it with financing from Citigroup.

In February 2011, EMI, unable to pay the loans, was acquired by Citigroup. The bank cleared out the debt, broke the company in two and sold the parts last November.

Sony snapped up EMI Music Publishing, the portion of the company that handles copyrights to 1.3 million songs, for $2.2 billion, and received European approval in April.

The FTC has not weighed in on the Sony deal, but it is not expected to run into antitrust trouble in the United States.

Universal won the rights to EMI's recorded music unit after Warner Music dropped out of bidding. Warner, the No. 3 U.S. music company, has now pursued its public campaign against Universal's deal.

Edgar Bronfman Jr., the former chairman of Warner, said at the Dive Into Media Conference in January in reference to the deal: "It's dangerous, problematic and has to be stopped."

Bronfman argued that Universal, with a 40 percent share, would determine not only the future of the recorded music industry but any kind of digital music industry.

Warner Music declined to comment for this story.

Typically that sort of market share would prompt regulators to challenge a deal - and they might despite Universal's cries that they are powerless to raise prices when faced with retail giants and illegal downloads.

Evan Stewart, an antitrust expert with the law firm Zuckerman Spaeder, argued that the FTC could well approve the deal if Universal's lawyers have compelling data to support arguments about Apple and Amazon's pricing power, and the effect of piracy. "If they're skillful at making that presentation, I think it will be approved," Stewart said.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Black Sabbath's Bill Ward Says He's Out Of Reunion Gigs


Bill Ward will not be joining Black Sabbath for this year's performances, the drummer confirmed in a letter to fans on his website.

The lengthy, emotional note explained that Ward had been asked to participate "minimally" at the band's Download Festival set in the UK in June, then later offered the chance to play a Birmingham warm-up show "for free and see how the first show goes" before potentially joining the group at the Download Festival and Lollapalooza.

"I was tempted," Ward wrote, but said he decided against it. "I can't prioritize the Sabbath fans making one show more important than the other. I can't do that. All of you are important. It's all the gigs or none at all. I can't come to Birmingham and 'see what happens' knowing there is a risk of not being able to play Download or Lollapalooza. Again, for me, it's all or nothing.

"I didn't want to make this decision, but I have to be honest and transparent," he added, noting that he holds "no malice" toward the quartet's other original members.

He closed by stating he remains open to a contract with "signable" terms.

The group announced its reunion and a new album last year before Ward initially declared he wouldn't participate under the current terms. In February, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler responded to Ward's announcement with a statement saying "We have no choice but to continue recording without him although our door is always open."

The group has yet to respond to the new remarks. To add to the band's worries, Iommi is continuing his battle with lymphoma, telling fans in a March Facebook note that he'd just finished chemotherapy.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ringo Starr Has Lost His Beatles Photos

During the early days of the Beatles, Ringo Starr often traveled with a camera and took photos of of the group behind the scenes, from rehearsing for their history-making appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show to goofing around on the set of their 1965 movie, Help!

In countless Beatles photographs, Starr is seen taking his own pictures, the vast majority of which have never been released. Sadly, Starr says that's unlikely to change anytime soon.

"I don't know where they are," he says with a sigh. "I wish I did. There's been several moves and things happen."

Starr hopes they might pop up unexpectedly one day, since it's happened before –  about a decade ago, he uncovered a bunch of postcards from his band mates and published them in the 2004 book, Postcards from the Boys. "I found a box on my shelf and was like, 'What the hell is that?'" Starr recalls. "And it was full of the postcards. At the time we were moving house yet again, and the secretary I had at the time decided to put them all in envelopes and put them in a shoebox. That's how I found out I still had them. So you never know – one day I may find another box with all my photos."

Starr recently spoke with Rolling Stone, sharing his thoughts on releasing the Let It Be movie on DVD, his upcoming summer tour with the All Starr Band, and why he's reluctant to perform "Octopus's Garden" live.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Freddie Mercury 'Optical Illusion' To Join Queen Musical


In the wake of Tupac Shakur's projected appearances at Coachella in April, the return of a number of dead musicians was discussed -- and Queen's Freddie Mercury is set to be next.

According to the BBC, "an optical illusion of sorts" will take the stage at the 10th anniversary of the West End musical We Will Rock You. Mercury died in 1991, at age 45.

"People will come out saying, 'Did we actually see Freddie?'" guitarist Brian May told the BBC.

He added that their illusion, long in the works, had been beaten to the punch by Tupac's much-discussed surprise.

"It's a little unfortunate they did that thing with Tupac as we've been trying to make Freddie appear on the stage for quite a while," May added. "[That technique] is something we've looked at ourselves but I think probably for a show that runs eight shows a week it's not really quite practical."

However, don't expect Mercury to join the band next. In April, Queen's Roger Taylor said hat he wouldn't play with a Tupac-style recreation of Mercury.

"I don't want to appear with a hologram of my dear friend. It's the real one or no hologram for me. But I think it's an amazing effect when used properly -- obviously in darkness," he said at the time.

Instead, Queen's enlisted singer Adam Lambert for a handful of summer shows this year, including two nights at the HMV Apollo Hammersmith in London in July.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jimi Hendrix Biopic A Go Without Estate's OK


It's official: John Ridley will direct a bio-film about the late Jimi Hendrix, who'll be played on screen by the musician Andre Benjamin, better known as OutKast's Andre 3000. Ridley also has written the original screenplay for the project, titled All Is By My Side. Haley Atwell and Imogen Poots will appear in co-starring roles.

Darko Entertainment, Subotica Entertaiment and Matador Pictures will produce the film, which Darko is financing. Producing are Darko's Sean McKittrick and Jeff Culotta, Danny Bramson, Subotica's Tristan Orphen Lynch and Matador's Nigel Thomas. Ridley and Tedd Hamm will serve as exec producers on the project, scheduled to begin production on location in Ireland later this month. In announcing "Side," the producers said it will be based on actual interviews with Hendrix as well as archival materials.

However on Thursday (May 10), Experience Hendrix, LLC issued a statement on the prospective film that indicated it would not include the musician's classic recordings.

"Various media outlets have recently published accounts that indicate a feature length Jimi Hendrix biographical film is nearing production," reads the statement. "Experience Hendrix, LLC, the family-owned company entrusted with safeguarding the legacy of Jimi Hendrix and administrator of the Jimi Hendrix music and publishing catalog has made it known many times in the past that no such film, were it to include original music or copyrights created by Jimi Hendrix, can be undertaken without its full participation."

Hendrix's estate did not definitively close the door on its involvement in a biopic, starring Andre 3000 or another actor. "Experience Hendrix CEO Janie Hendrix, sister of Jimi Hendrix, and the EH board have not ruled out a "biopic" in the future," continues the statement, "though producing partners would, out of necessity, have to involve the company from the inception of any such film project if it is to include original Jimi Hendrix music or compositions."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bonnaroo And YouTube Announce Bonnaroo365


Bonnaroo and YouTube are excited to announce Bonnaroo365, which takes the approach of the festival that Rolling Stone named as "one of the 50 moments that changed the history of rock and roll" and evolve it from an annual terrestrial event into a digital entertainment destination. Themed around the pursuit of "Good Stuff," the literal meaning of Bonnaroo, the channel will feature talent-driven episodic originals, daily comedy and music programming as well as an archive of legendary festival performances.  All of it curated and produced by the Bonnaroo producers.

"Bonnaroo has always been about much more than four days on the farm in Manchester, TN," said festival co-founder Jonathan Mayers.  "Our fans are virtually together all year long. We not only want to give our core community a great entertainment destination, but we want to reach the audience out there that thinks like us, but perhaps can't always make the trip each June."
 
Like the festival itself, besides music, a large part of the channel's offerings will tap into Bonnaroo's deep connection to comedy, film, adventure and the pursuit of artistic expression.  Bonnaroo 365 will also maximize the festival's close relationship with talent and its strong social media footprint, creating a new bridge for fan access and appreciation.  Additionally, Bonnaroo 365 will be the exclusive home for backstage and behind the scenes content shot on-site at Bonnaroo, which takes place this year from June 7 - 10.

The approach to programming Bonnaroo365 will be similar to the production and curation that goes into planning the festival each year, where 80,000 gather to have Good Stuff delivered directly to them for four incomparable days and nights.  The exploration of new sounds and sights and a strong community will be the thread connecting the content on the channel, and, be it a surprise and unexpected performance, or perhaps a comedic adventure or simply exploring musical tastes, Bonnaroo 365 will engage and entertain, always with passion and joy, and all in the name of Bonnaroo, 'good stuff'.

Series Announcements:

Back To The Farm:  The Bonnaroo Archives
This ongoing programming features some of Bonnaroo's most epic live performances.  Phish, Mumford and Sons, My Morning Jacket, and Metallica are just a few of the artists to be included.  Never seen outside of the festival, these weekly performance rollouts will be complemented by curated YouTube playlists, social engagement with the Bonnaroo 365 community and interviews and commentary by those who have been influenced and inspired by our featured artists. The series begins with the My Morning Jacket performance from Bonnaroo 2011. It's available now at http://youtu.be/0TGSgTg8Ek0 for seven days.

Janson Skivvy: Festival Director
Rhys Darby, who is most famous for his role as Murray in HBO's Flight of the Conchords, plays Janson Skivvy, the Bonnaroo Festival Director.  Now that he's at Bonnaroo, he's got big ideas -- they're just completely different from everything he planned.  From dropping in on bands to make their songs "better" to helping vendors and fans, Jensen's rock and roll attitude has got it covered.

Adventures In: Mardi Gras
Directed by Casey Neistat (HBO's Neistat Brothers, Nike Make It Count Film, and NY Times Op Ed videos) these mini-documentaries give a taste of the real New Orleans and Mardi Gras to the uninitiated.  The series features music, parades, parties, partyers and some true legends of New Orleans.  Neistat's films are shot in a spontaneous style, allowing viewers to experience the event first-hand. Watch the Adventures In: Mardi Gras trailer here: http://youtu.be/xp_HVm1C0rk

#BonnarooGethard
Chris Gethard, Upright Citizens Brigade comedian and host of The Chris Gethard Show, will only perform at Bonnaroo if he can make it to Bonnaroo. And he can only make it to Bonnaroo through the miracle of human kindness.  Dropped on the west coast of America with no cash, credit cards or phone, his goal is to get to the festival in time for his show at 2am on opening night. Part Muppet Movie, part Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas, his cameraman will give him periodic access to Twitter and Facebook so he can post his whereabouts along with video of his circumstances.  From there, it's all up to the audience to follow his journey, invest in his well being, and actually try to help him. #BonnarooGethard announcement can be seen here: http://youtu.be/7EeFbcuI-qI

Its The Real
Since 2007, Eric and Jeff Rosenthal have become the go-to for immediate, on-point reactions regarding popular music and hip-hop culture, and now they're taking their critically acclaimed sketch comedy series, Its The Real, to Bonnaroo.  Eric and Jeff will conduct interviews and produce content leading up to and on the grounds at the festival.  In the last year Eric & Jeff have hilariously interviewed musical artists like Stevie Wonder and Rick Ross, entertainers like Jersey Shore's Vinny Guadagnino, and athletes like the Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard, and the Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade.
 
Universally Speaking with Rob Cantrell
Life in Brooklyn is confusing, and it has NY comedian Rob Cantrell (Comedy Central, HBO, Last Coming Standing) contemplating bigger questions. Luckily, he is deeply tuned in to all the messages of the universe.  This connection allows him to communicate with random objects to reap the rewards of their sweet wisdom.    Will these encounters lead him to a deeper understanding of his unique existence or even greater state of confusion?  The answers are out there and only he can hear them.  Series features cameo appearances by Marina Franklin, Kurt Metzger, Greer Barns, and Robin Montague.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ozzy Osbourne's Speak Of the Devil Comes To DVD

On July 17, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Speak Of The Devil on DVD by Ozzy Osbourne in North America.

This show was filmed at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater in California on June 12, 1982, as part of the delayed continuation of the Diary Of A Madman tour following the tragic death of Randy Rhoads a few months earlier. 

The audio has been digitally restored and remastered and is now available in DTS and Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound for the first time. Speak Of The Devil includes the classics “Mr Crowley,” “Over The Mountain,” “Crazy Train,” “Flying High Again,” “Iron Man,” “Paranoid,” “Goodbye To Romance,” and many more.

The concert is a perfect snapshot of Ozzy Osbourne’s live performances in the eighties with dramatic staging and masses of energy with a setlist based around his first two solo albums and a few Black Sabbath classics.

The line-up for this show features Ozzy Osbourne (vocals); Don Airey (keyboards); Tommy Aldridge (drums); Brad Gillis (guitar) and Rudy Sarzo (bass).

Osborne has always been one of heavy metal's great frontmen and, despite the difficult circumstances, the show presented on Speak of the Devil captures him at his absolute best.

Track Listing:

1) Over The Mountain 
2) Mr Crowley 
3) Crazy Train 
4) Revelation (Mother Earth) 
5) Steal Away (The Night) 
6) Suicide Solution 
7) Guitar / Drum Solo 
8) Goodbye To Romance 
9) I Don’t Know 
10) Believer 
11) Flying High Again 
12) Iron Man
13) Children Of The Grave 
14) Paranoid

Monday, May 7, 2012

Prince Harry To Become Reggae DJ After Meeting Bob Marley's Widow?

Prince Harry is reportedly keen to become a reggae music DJ, following a recent trip to Jamaica during which he met Bob Marley's widow and member of his vocal backing group, the I Threes, Rita.

According to The Sun, the royal has been adding to his already large house music vinyl collection with reggae records from 'specialist online stores'. Harry has apparently been having lessons in mixing records from a DJ friend.

A source spoke to the tabloid, saying: "Harry has always been interested in music, but Jamaica was a real eye opener. He started looking into reggae as soon as he got back to the UK… Meeting Rita Marley was a great inspiration too. She seems to have had a big impact on him."

The source added that it would be unlikely that Harry would ever DJ outside of private events. "He's unlikely to ever DJ in public — but if he did it'd be the party of the year," they were quoted as saying.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Roger Daltrey Confirms Keith Moon Was Invited To Olympics 2012 Opening Ceremony


The Who's Roger Daltrey has confirmed that organisers of the London 2012 Olympics asked whether drummer Keith Moon – who died in 1978 – would be able to take part in this summer's celebrations.

In an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live! earlier this week, the frontman joked that the band's management had responded to the invitation by suggesting they try contacting the deceased rocker themselves by holding a séance.

He joked: "It could only happen in Britain. We are so organised. We got a letter – well, an email – requesting could Keith Moon attend the opening ceremony."

He then added: "Our manager sent an email back saying, 'Well actually he currently resides at Golders Green Crematorium, where he's been for the last 34 years. But maybe if you got a round table, some candles and some glasses, you might be able to get him back [through a séance].'"

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mick Jagger Hosting "Saturday Night Live"

Mick Jagger will host "Saturday Night Live" for the first time on May 19, bringing the sketch comedy's season to a close, NBC television said on Thursday.

The Rolling Stones singer has performed twice on the long-running satirical program in the past, but this will be his first hosting gig. Jagger, 68, will also perform.

Jagger also made a famous cameo appearance on the show in 2001 for a skit in which comedian Jimmy Fallon mimicked the rocker's iconic moves in a mirror.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gregg Allman Passes Heart Tests, Ready To Rock

Gregg Allman has been cleared to hit the road this summer.

The singer will start his book tour next week after passing heart tests at The Mayo Clinic. He also booked some summer tour dates with the Allman Brothers Band.

Allman had delayed the book tour after experiencing arrhythmia following recent hernia surgery related to his 2010 liver transplant. Publicists say Allman underwent tests at the Jacksonville, FL., clinic last Friday and was cleared.

His new memoir, My Cross To Bear, came out Tuesday (May 1). In it, he chronicles the band's rise to fame, his own personal struggles with drugs and women and his brother Duane's death.

The 62-year-old keyboard player and singer will start the tour May 8 in Atlanta. Stops include Nashville, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

Allman will link up with the Allman Brothers Band this summer to celebrate the "Year of the Peach" with a series of concerts. "Year Of The Peach" marks the 40th anniversary of the group's 1972 album, Eat A Peach.

The band just confirmed six co-headlining dates with Santana, as well as one-off festival dates, the Peach Festival in Scranton, PA. and dates with moe. and Lynyrd Skynyrd.