Thursday, September 25, 2008

MySpace Music Launches Today

Social-networking site MySpace introduced new music features today that let users listen to free streaming audio, purchase song downloads and make playlists, the products of a joint venture with major record labels.

The moves make MySpace the latest challenger to Apple Inc.'s dominance in online music distribution. The new features will be accessible on MySpace user profile pages as well as the MySpace Music page.

The four major music companies, EMI Group Ltd., Warner Music Group Corp., Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a joint venture of Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann AG, have licensed their catalogs to MySpace and are equity partners in the venture. MySpace will also license content from Orchard Enterprises NY Inc.'s Orchard, an independent music distributor.

It remains to be seen if the initiative will help MySpace, which was purchased by News Corp. for $580 million in 2005, in its efforts to wring more revenue from its 120 million site visitors world-wide and gain an edge on rival Facebook Inc. Free audio streams will be supported through advertisements and MySpace will take a cut of downloads through a partnership with Inc. (News Corp. owns Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal.)

About 35 million MySpace users routinely visit pages that feature music. Besides selling ads and song downloads, MySpace also plans to eventually link up with partners to sell artist merchandise and tickets to concerts. All of this will benefit big and small artists, said Amit Kapur, MySpace's chief operating officer. "We're not only going to be their home on the Web," he said. "We're going to be the place they make a living."

MySpace faces some stiff competition. Apple's iTunes store has roughly 80% of the market for music downloads, according to the company. There are also several companies that already offer free streaming music, including Imeem Inc., a San Francisco company that has 100 million monthly users.

The four initial sponsors of the MySpace Music site are McDonald's Corp., Sony Pictures, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and Toyota Motor Corp.. In an effort to keep ad rates higher than they historically have been, MySpace is limiting the number of slots for ads on the music site. A potential challenge in the advertising strategy: It is unclear whether users will actually pay attention to visual ads while they're listening to songs, said Russ Crupnick, an entertainment-industry analyst for NPD Group.

The record companies will get a share of revenue generated through advertising and other sources. The music industry has struggled in the digital age, as single-track download sales have failed to grow quickly enough to offset a precipitous decline in CD sales. A guaranteed stream of income from big advertisers is viewed as a potential step in the right direction.

MySpace executives are still looking for a chief executive to run the music venture, whose group ownership makes the job as much a diplomatic mission as an executive role. The company also has been recently looking to raise about $100 million to $200 million in equity financing for the music operation, people familiar with the matter say.

Labels Learning It's Takes More Than Music

Record companies are counting on their new deal with MySpace Music to help make up for declining CD sales

In a small Atlantic Records Group studio in New York, rapper Clifford "T.I." Harris Jr. leans into a silver microphone. "It's the T.I.P. man, the king himself," he says. "Dig this." There's no music on this recording, though, no rhyming lyrics. The Atlanta artist simply talks in his Southern drawl, creating an audio clip that will be posted on his Web site and others across the online universe. The clip and more like it are designed to pull in fans—and generate revenues from advertising on the sites.

Meet the record label, version 2.0. After nearly a decade of plunging music sales, the labels are trying to overhaul their traditional business. Instead of just selling recorded music, they want to use music to sell a range of related extras, from online advertising to mobile phones packed with tunes. The new business model puts the Internet at the heart of the industry in an attempt to transform artist Web sites from promotional vehicles into money-making enterprises.

The biggest bet on this new model is MySpace Music. The joint venture between News Corp.'s social networking site and the three largest record labels—Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and Warner Music— launched today.

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

CreateSpace Announces Distribution for Indie Musicians and Labels on Amazon MP3

CreateSpace, part of the, Inc. group of companies , today announced the CreateSpace MP3 distribution service enabling independent musicians and labels to offer their albums and songs as DRM-free MP3s through Amazon MP3, Amazon's DRM-free digital music download store. Independent musicians or labels can go to, upload their MP3s and make them available on Amazon MP3 with no setup fee. The new MP3 distribution service also allows members to simultaneously set up a CD via CreateSpace's existing inventory-free Disc on Demand service.

"The CreateSpace MP3 service allows musicians and labels to easily distribute DRM-free MP3s to customers," said Dana LoPiccolo-Giles, co-founder and managing director of CreateSpace. "Musicians and labels now have the freedom to make their music available in both digital and physical formats on, and to earn royalties through both channels without an investment in inventory or setup costs. customers will be able to discover even more music from independent musicians and labels and be able to enjoy that music on any hardware device or on CD if they prefer."

Amazon MP3 includes more than 6.1 million songs from independent and major music labels, including EMI Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony BMG Entertainment. Every song and album in the Amazon MP3 music download store is available in MP3 format without digital rights management (DRM), and all downloads are compatible with virtually any MP3 hardware device.

The CreateSpace MP3 distribution service allows members to easily upload files through their CreateSpace member accounts and choose the royalty tier for their music, as well as set artist information on a per-track basis. Members with more sophisticated needs can also set up multi-disc sets, add ISRC information to tracks, and make tracks only available as part of an entire album.

"CreateSpace's Disc on Demand and MP3 distribution services are groundbreaking for independent artists like myself because they allow us to provide our content in whatever manner customers want to consume it -- physical or digital," said Mark Sly, a CreateSpace musician who made his original music, Mark Sly's Secret Soundtrack, available for download on Amazon MP3 and as a CD. "The CreateSpace MP3 distribution service gives me another great way to distribute my work to millions of customers on"

Sly also published an instructional guitar DVD with CreateSpace's Disc on Demand titled Mark Sly's Secrets (Guitar Teachers Don't Want You to Know!), along with an accompanying CD with Disc on Demand to help students learn to play the guitar.

To find out more about the CreateSpace MP3 distribution service and Disc on Demand, please visit

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Interview with YNG-ROBB!

By Sadé Champagne

YNG-ROBB, born Robert D. Williams on December 1, 1986 in Long Beach, California, spent most of his childhood in his grandmother's home in Las Vegas. Even as a child, YNG-ROBB seemed destined for a successful career in the music industry. YNG-ROBB's path to the stage has been peppered with challenges along the way, however. The death of his big brother Dion when young Robert was only 4 left a scar in the young boy's heart that to this day has not fully healed, and difficulty adjusting to high school life found the teenager turning to the gangster culture of drugs and violence as his only way of coping. By the time he was 18, Robert knew that the wages of his life of guns and drugs would be death, so he decided to turn away from that life and use his talent for rap to tell his story and give hope to others considering the gang banger's life. Now known by the name YNG-ROBB, he follows his heroes in the hip hop industry as his role models to lift others to achieve more with their lives. Faithful to his church and committed to his schoolwork, YNG-ROBB emulates such heroes as Grand Master Jay, Run-DMC, Snoop Dogg and others who have turned their lives around. YNG-ROBB is currently appearing at various events around Southern California and aspires to bring hope and joy to others facing hard choices in their lives.

Bio courtesy of R.K. Records

It was a pleasure interviewing YNG-ROBB via email! :-)

Sadé: Please tell me a little about how and where you grew up.
YNG-ROBB: I lived a regular hood life surrounded by poverty-with more choices to do bad instead of good.

Sadé: When did you first take interest in music?
YNG-ROBB: When I realized people remembered the words of their favorite artists songs', such as my mother singing in the kitchen while she was cooking.

Sadé: Who has inspired you the most in your career? Please name a person inside the business and someone outside of the business.
YNG-ROBB: Someone that was in the business, Tupac Amaru Shakur, because in one of his interviews he said, "If I can't change the world, I guarantee to spark that somebody's brain to change the world", and I felt he sparked my brain to change the way music is projected to the hip-hop spectators. Outside the business Alton Lynum, because he taught me most people respect you when you keep a professional image.

Sadé: When did you know that you wanted to pursue music for the rest of your life?
YNG-ROBB: At the age of 15 I made a set decision that I was going to be the GREATEST rapper that ever touched a microphone, by learning from all the greats mistakes (in order to become the best)!

Sadé: What is the best advice that someone ever gave you about following your dreams?
YNG-ROBB: If you think you can you can, but if you think you can't you're right", quoted by Mary Kay Ash.

Sadé: What is the best advice that you would give someone about following their dreams?
YNG-ROBB: "WHEN YOU ASK FOR SOMEONE'S HELP, YOU GIVE YOURSELF A LIMITATION ON WHAT YOU COULD HAVE DONE ON YOUR OWN." quoted by me Robert D. Williams. Because if you think about it, your opinion is what counts, but when you ask for help you degrade your opinion and take in to consideration the next persons opinion, (which is not wrong) but asking for help sometimes gives you a limitation on using your own mind ability of thinking.

Sadé: Were there ever times that you felt like giving up on your dreams? Tell me about one of those times.
YNG-ROBB: Plenty of times that thought ran through my mind from people not purchasing my promo demo, or even when I was just rapping for free and not getting paid.

Sadé: What kept you from giving up?
YNG-ROBB: God, and also every time I hear a new person compliment me and let me know that I'm the best rapper they've heard so far!

Sadé: What do you think of the music industry today? Do you feel that it's taking a turn for the better or worse?
YNG-ROBB: It's a gimmick. Instead of taking time out and really critiquing the genre of music that we call hip-hop, people are just taking words, throwing it on a beat, and calling it a song. Now in 2008 I feel the music industry has taken a turn for the worst.

Sadé: What are the steps that you took to make your dreams come true?
YNG-ROBB: The steps I took to manifest my dreams are first and foremost believing in God, secondly taking my time critiquing my music before I consider it being a song, and third keeping my confidence at the highest peak and staying prepared for constructive criticism.

Sadé: What are some positive words or sayings that you live by every day?
YNG-ROBB: When you learn to appreciate, you learn the real meaning of living life, and that's something I do daily in order to keep my mind focused.

Sadé: Do you consider yourself to be a role model? If so, do you like being one?
YNG-ROBB: Of course I consider myself a role model. If you haven't heard, my music consists on enlightening teens to get through peer pressure, and also to think about the consequences (if they do decide to follow in the wrong direction).

Sadé: Take me through a studio session, and tell me what your recording process is like.
YNG-ROBB: Before I walk in the studio, the song would be complete within my head! I'm what you call a one take artist...I train myself to memorize my rhymes as I write them down. So in the booth I never have to recite from a piece of paper unless I just wrote it within that studio session. The reason I do that is because I dislike songs that sound like the artist was reading from a piece of takes away the emotion and feeling from the song.

Sadé: Do you write your own lyrics? Please explain to me what your writing process is like.
YNG-ROBB: Yes, I write my own lyrics, but the process is kind of out of the blue. I could just come up with a hit song while I'm sleeping!

Sadé: Do you remember the first time you recorded a song in the studio? Please take me back to that time.
YNG-ROBB: Yes I remember it like it was yesterday! I was 15 years old and I lived in Long Beach, CA. My next door neighbor invited me to his studio and offered me a beat (if I could come up with a song). It took me 1 hour to come up with a concept to the song, but it took my homeboys days to finish their verses. So I took it upon myself to complete the song as soon as possible and get in the studio to record. The song was called "I'ma Hustla' Baby". The feedback on the song wasn't so great, but many people let me know I gave the most energy and originality to the song. That's when I realized I write faster and record better then most of my peers.

Sadé: Who is the first person/people you ever performed for? Please take me back to that time.
YNG-ROBB: I was 16 years old when I performed for Hillary Duff's manager, Andre Recke, from Disney Records. I did a private audition in the Millennium Dance Complex. It's really not too much to talk about. I just performed 3 live songs to give him an insight on my stage performance skills.

Sadé: How can an artist stay focused and not let the audition tension psych them out?
YNG-ROBB: Prepare like it's a test! Study your craft before you consider yourself being ready to audition.

Sadé: Almost every entertainer nowadays is not only a Rapper, but also an actor, spokes model, producer, and has many many other business ventures. Do you want to do the same things as well?
YNG-ROBB: Yes, I would love to be considered a great actor one day, own my own company, and eventually learn to produce my own music.

Sadé: That brings me to my next question. Out of all your crafts, which one is your favorite? (rapping, producing, playing instruments?)
YNG-ROBB: Eventually being a CEO of my own company, but for right now my favorite is entertaining music lovers as a hip-hop artist.

Sadé: What are your pre-performance rituals?
YNG-ROBB: First I have to make a phone call to my creator, which is my mother. Second I say a nice long prayer appreciating the things God blessed me with, and if I still have time I like to do 20 push ups before I get on stage.

Sadé: Do you get performance jitters? If so, how do you get rid of them?
YNG-ROBB: Before I get to the show I love to rehearse and visualize that its billions of people watching me! So by the time I step in front of a crowd of a thousand, I'll already be prepared for the constructive criticism.

Sadé: A lot of rappers talk about how much they financially struggled, especially on the way to their dreams. What can an artist do to make sure that they are able to accomplish their dreams and not have to financially struggle at the same time? Or is it unavoidable?
YNG-ROBB: I believe it's whatever you feel you could do because if you want to live a good life, you have to take yourself out of the negative to receive the positive feedback you need in order to accomplish your dreams.

Sadé: How important is the internet to an artist's career?
YNG-ROBB: The internet is a necessity for promotion for the artist, but I feel like its not more important then writing/composing your music that everybody can listen to (even if you're a different race or gender; not just one set culture).

Sadé: Do you think that internet sales may be more important than album sales these days?
YNG-ROBB: Yeah it's cool for fans to purchase the album from their Apple I phone, lap top, or home desktop, without having to go to the store. The industry is different from how it used to be. You can make over a billion dollars if you're a good artists nowadays!

Sadé: How can a artist master their skills? What are some of the tasks they can do daily to improve their flow, breath control, and fluidity?
YNG-ROBB: Take a song that you know every word to, and rap it as if you were the person that wrote the song.

Sadé: What do you think of reality TV shows like American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, and Dance War? Do you think that these shows shine a good or bad light on performing artists? Why or why not?
YNG-ROBB: Reality shows are nice for exposure, but it shines a bad light on performing artists. First off, the producers and directors are looking to get paid through ratings, and it doesn't matter how good you are, you're just a "crash dummy" in order to keep the show running!

Sadé: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
YNG-ROBB: The highlight of my career so far is being managed by Grand Master Jay from R.K. Records. Also having a real biography, head shots, and a demo to submit to record companies.

Sadé: What career goals are you still trying to achieve?
YNG-ROBB: I'm still trying to achieve a record deal with a big time record company.

Sadé: How can your fans stay in contact with you and up-to-date with what's going on in your career?
YNG-ROBB: and that's the official Yng. Robb music myspace site

Sadé: Thank you so much for your time Yng Robb!
YNG-ROBB: No thank you! I appreciate everything you're doing for me.
"& also A 100,000.00 blessing's to you & yours"