BUSINESS NEWS: iTunes Sells 1.5 Million Songs & Jason Hirschhorn Upped To SVP At MTV (Click on More to view all articles)

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – Music fans purchased and downloaded 1.5 million songs from Apple's iTunes Music Store during the same period that Napster reported selling 300,000 songs during its first week of operation. Music fans also purchased and downloaded more than 17 million songs from the iTunes Music Store since it launched in April. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the iTunes Music Store had more than 80 percent market share of legally purchased downloads last week.

"The unbeatable combination of iPod and iTunes offers music lovers a seamless experience for buying, managing and listening to their digital music collections anywhere," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Jason Hirschhorn Upped To SVP At MTV

(CelebrityAccess News Service) — Jason Hirschhorn has been promoted to senior vice president, Digital Music and Media at MTV. In this new role, Hirschhorn will be responsible for managing the online operations of MTV, MTV2, VH1, CMT, CTN and Comedy Central. He will continue to be based in New York.

"Jason is the perfect entrepreneurial thinker to lead our Internet efforts during this exciting time," said Judy McGrath, president of MTV Networks' Music and Comedy Group. "Our consumers spend more time online, on wireless and with more digital entertainment than ever before, and it's essential that we discover new ways to connect across these platforms. Jason is the man to take us there. He has distinguished himself for the past several years in our company and in the industry, as an internet pioneer, talented manager and big thinker about music online. We are lucky to have him in this new role."

In his new position, Hirschhorn will be responsible for the overall growth and strategy of digital music and media operations for the music and comedy channels, plus interactive and wireless programming initiatives for all the channels. In keeping with the way all of MTV Networks' businesses operate, each unit will continue to remain decentralized and close to its respective brand. He will report to each network head.

Prior to joining MTV Networks in 2000, Hirschhorn founded Mischief New Media, which was acquired by MTV Networks in 2000. He serves on the board of directors for charity Computers for Youth (www.cfy.org). –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

Cap Lets Viacom, News Corp. Keep Stations

WASHINGTON (AP) — A congressional compromise on how much of the TV viewing public a media company may reach sets the limit at 39 percent, a seemingly random number that is not random at all.

It means two media giants won't have to sell any of their stations.

Viacom Inc., owner of CBS and UPN, owns stations reaching 39 percent of viewers. And News Corp., owner of Fox, has stations reaching 37 percent. Both faced the possibility of being forced to sell some of their stations.

They and other networks fought to get the Federal Communications Commission to raise the level from 35 percent to 45 percent. The FCC, with the support of President Bush, did so in June.

Opponents, concerned the change would allow a handful of conglomerates to control what Americans see on TV, urged Congress to roll back the change. Lawmakers listened but under a veto threat from Bush negotiated the compromise and settled on 39 percent.

Congress still must approve the agreement, but passage is expected next month or in January.

"It just shows the power of the broadcast lobby," said Celia Viggo Wexler, research director for Common Cause, an advocacy group that supported the lower cap. "It's an early Christmas present."

White House Office of Management and Budget spokesman Chad Kolton said Bush believed the 45 percent cap "more accurately reflects the changing media landscape and the current state of network station ownership while guarding against undue concentration in the marketplace."

The 39 percent cap was "a reasonable compromise," he said.

FCC spokesman David Fiske declined to comment.

Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, criticized the new cap.

"The item was not in dispute," Hollings said. "All had agreed to the 35 percent cap. The Republicans went into a closet, met with themselves, and announced a 'compromise.'"

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, a leading supporter of the lower cap, said he was satisfied. "All in all, I don't like it going up 4 percent but 39's a lot better than 45 percent," he said.

CBS declined to comment Tuesday. A call to Fox was not returned.

Viacom and News Corp. are major political players in Washington. They spent a combined $5.5 million on lobbying between Jan. 1, 2002, and June 30, 2003, and $2.3 million on campaign contributions for the 2002 and 2004 elections.

Bush has received more in campaign donations from the broadcast industry than any other federal candidate since Jan. 1. He took in $153,300 — more than 10 percent of the industry's $1.2 million in donations, said the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group.

If the compromise clears Congress, then the cap will be set in law at 39 percent, taking the power to change it away from the Republican-controlled FCC.

There also is a legal battle over media ownership rules.

A federal appeals court in Philadelphia temporarily blocked the higher cap and also suspended other FCC-adopted ownership changes, in particular a rule making it easier for companies to own newspapers and broadcast stations in the same community.

Opponents of the FCC rules said they would continue to urge Congress to overturn the agency's other actions. "This is an issue that cuts across political lines. It cuts across ideological lines," said Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y.

Kazaa Adds Pre-Installed Ringtone Channel

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – Sharman Networks Limited launched Kazaa v2.6, the latest update of the world's most popular file sharing software, on November 19. The new version includes a pre-installed Ringtone Channel, which will provide revenue to major record labels and artists by offering Kazaa users over 3,500 monophonic and polyphonic mobile phone ringtones for purchase through the Kazaa application. The ringtones available include tracks from the Top 10 UK, US and Euro charts.

This latest version of Kazaa also introduces advanced features that make browsing, trying, buying, promoting and selling downloadable content easier, including the option to run 24 multiple searches at the same time, access to streaming previews of licensed content, single click purchasing, Kazaa Kapsules and Magnet Links.

Through The Ringtone Channel, Kazaa's estimated 60 million users worldwide can buy licensed mobile phone ringtones using a global payment system that takes into account the different networks and licensing requirements in each country.

According to Nikki Hemming, CEO of Sharman Networks, "Kazaa users are already downloading and buying mobile phone games through the Air Arena Channel. The Ringtone Channel expands Sharman's mobile content offering by providing thousands of licensed musical ringtones, screensavers and logos for download through Kazaa. The mobile and wireless platform is a rapidly growing and exciting marketplace."

Key new features and technologies in Kazaa v2.6 include:

Kapsules: a collection of multiple individual files digitally packaged together as a 'single click' download. "Kapsules are like buying the 'CD case and booklet', rather than just a music track," said Hemming. "They're about delivering a unique entertainment bundle in high quality digital format." A Kapsule can include music, exclusive footage of live performances, lyrics, tour dates and images from the same band or artist. Equally, computer game companies can include game guides and hints, and movie distributors can include 'behind the scenes' footage.

Magnet links: a powerful promotional tool offering significant bandwidth savings to content providers. Kazaa v2.6 will enable users and content creators of all types, such as record labels, musicians, artists, photographers, and software developers, to promote and sell their content at around 20% of the cost of traditional website distribution. Consumers benefit from a greater variety of content that can be downloaded faster and more cheaply.

With Kazaa v2.6 installed, clicking on a magnet link in any web browser, email or document will initiate a file search and download via the Kazaa application directly to the user's computer. A magnet link can be created simply, then pasted into emails or websites for public or targeted promotion. This will allow a broader range of content creators and distributors to leverage the bandwidth efficiencies offered by peer-to-peer distribution. Existing audio, games, software and video content partners have experienced reductions in server loads as high as 94% by using Kazaa peer-to-peer distribution.

This is of particular significance to distributors of high volume or larger sized files such as high-resolution video and PC game content where bandwidth costs have been an impediment to wide-scale online distribution in the past.

Sharman Networks has also developed a simple magnet link publishing tool to assist content creators at all levels of technological understanding.

Multiple simultaneous searches: Searching in Kazaa v2.6 is now much faster and more efficient. Users can run up to 24 concurrent searches.

"Single click" purchasing: Kazaa v2.6 users now have the option to preview selected licensed audio files in streaming format before buying. Individual files can be purchased with a single click, making buying and selling downloadable content entirely seamless. "Altnet's secure payment system within the Kazaa interface is advancing in order to meet our massive distribution capability," Hemming said. "With improvements in this area we expect to unleash a great deal of purchasing activity."

Unique multiple licensing: securely wrapped files can now be offered to Kazaa users under a variety of different licensing terms. For example, the same file could be offered for different license periods, at a different price. According to Hemming, "Music download websites tend to offer tracks at a fixed price of around 99 cents. Kazaa's multiple licensing opens up a whole new world of targeted content marketing."

Kazaa v2.6 can be downloaded from www.Kazaa.com — Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

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