WMG Stock Climbs 34% in 2008; Becomes the Year’s Best Performing Media Stock; Party at Seal’s House!
Warner Music Group, loving home to Ryan Cabrera
, Tangerine Dream, and every wonderful thing in between, has won a tremendous PR feather in their big conglomerate cap. According to the New York Post, WMG stock has soared 34% year-to-date with their share price currently valued $8.13. Yeah, it’s still not that high, but after facing a record low $4.36 per share on January 9, WMG did the dance called the bootstrap and now sits on top of the corporate pile as the best performing media stock of 2008 (so far)! Bully to you, WMG!
Nevertheless, WMG’s current listing is a far cry from its starting value of $29.48 when the company went public in 2005. Plus, since the stock was already so low at the beginning of the year, any minuscule improvement was bound to kick their percentage way up in comparison to their corporate homeboys. That doesn’t matter much, though, since the stock of every company in WMG’s peer group has tanked since January 1. Google fell 31%, the always charming News Corporation dropped 32%, and CBS is down 37%. So even though WMG didn’t gain that much ground, at least it can pat itself on the back for not sinking further into the current economic whirlpool.
But the whole inflated percentage thing did allow WMG to pass up the super strong nerd stocks of Marvel and Activision Blizzard, both of which saw 25% gains in their stock value, sailing each company’s price-per-share into the mid-30s. But screw them. Nerds don’t count. Let WMG have their day in the sun. Just this once.
Max Tundra Tours with Hot Chip, And Boy Do I Love Max Tundra (In Unrelated News, Broken Social Scene Are Not Releasing a New Album Anytime Soon)
Mastered By Guy at The Exchange is a perfect summer album. I've been recommending it to friends every summer since its release in 2002, and I'm still constantly listening to the album, which is a bit surprising seeing as though I'm a pretentious snob. Example: My mom asked me the other day if I wanted to do some karaoke and sing "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams. I was, like, "What are you dumb or something?? Bryan Adams sucks ass. His shit's so contrived!! Can't you see through the transparency of that innocuous buildup before the outro? USE YOUR EARS, MOM."
Anyway, Max Tundra (a.k.a. Ben Jacobs) has been hunkered away, working on his third album for years now. Back in 2006, he said that a new LP "might happen as early as this year," but added: "then again, what's the rush?" His MySpace's mini-biography makes another ridiculously false claim: "Max Tundra has been working on his third album for Domino. The work continues to this day, with a possible release date of spring 2008." But, of course, spring has passed and guest what? No new album.
But fuck it, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the new album is done and it's being released October 7. I have nothing (really, nothing) but my gut instincts to go off from, but October 7 would be a great date, as it would coincide nicely with his upcoming UK tour with Hot Chip. So, while there's no solid release date (aside from the one I made up), at least he's getting out there!
^ Hot Chip
$ Juana Molina
I guess when you’re a “rolling stone,” it’s pretty implicit that you just can’t stay in one place, isn’t it? Especially after 40-odd years, I would imagine that your band is probably more or less obligated to clean off some of that gathering moss and start living up to that name that you picked back when you were a heady 20-year-old who hated... well, people like you.
With that in mind, Mick Jagger and co. have decided to do the most reckless thing that a pack of rebels in their 60s can still do and leave their GIANT-ASS CORPORATE RECORD LABEL for another GIANT-ASS CORPORATE RECORD LABEL for the possibility of making even more money! Hey, there’s nothing more reckless than trying to fatten up your pension checks, right?
In a roughly $15 million deal that includes four decades of their catalogue, the Stones are up-and-leavin’ EMI for the hotter, younger, blonder Universal Music. “Universal are forward thinking, creative and hands-on music people,” the band’s management stated in a presumed swipe at EMI boss Guy Hands’ clutches. The new deal entails that Sir Mick and the boys will switch all their albums since 1971’s Sticky Fingers to the rival label from EMI, to whom the Stones first signed back in 1977.
The Stones’ back-catalogue (including the likes of Black and Blue and Exile on Main Street) currently generates about $3 million a year, but Universal believes it can squeeze a little juice out of these withered old turnips, indicating recently that it plans to re-release each of the band’s classic albums individually at some point in the near future. Further, since Universal also currently controls The Stones’ ’60s output in Britain (released through the Decca label), the deal will unify the band’s entire recorded collection (at least in the UK) under a single, “universal” banner (get it?). Meanwhile, poor old EMI wished the Stones well but couldn’t resist a swipe of its own at the notion of diminishing returns on such an aging band, saying in a statement that “EMI Music will only ever conclude mutually beneficial agreements with its artists.”
The Stones’ decision is the latest in a hilariously embarrassing series of clashes between major artists and Mr. Hands, after his company took over the struggling label last year for Â£2.1 billion, which include disgusted walk-outs by the likes of Radiohead and Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz). Jagger and crew’s Universal deal will last for five years, sources say, which, since they have at least one foot in the grave already, should be just long enough to allow those familiar artist sentiments of “I’d rather die than work for Guy Hands” to come true.
You have $5. Now, you could go to Burger King and buy a BK Value Meal. (YUM.) You could get a set of 12 rolls of party streamers. (FUN.) Or you could get a novelty shot glass. (NICE!) But you won't, because The Walkmen have just announced that they are exclusively teaming with AmieStreet.comÂ® to sell their new album, You & Me, for a measly $5! (WOWOWOWOOWOOWOW!!) And it's on sale now. Never mind that you've already downloaded the leaked version; the album's proceeds will go to benefit cancer research and treatment.
This early release is part of AmieStreet.com's Download To Make A Difference campaign. “All donations go to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in honor of Luca Vasallo, a friend to the band and a current patient who is seven months old and doing a great job fighting a very difficult disease,” said Peter Bauer of The Walkmen. “This is a very good organization that certainly deserves the attention.”
August 12-16 marks the dates of the 5th Annual Athens Pop Fest in Athens, Georgia, presented by HHBTM Records. Headlining this year's festival are Roky Erickson & The Explosives (pictured), Boyracer, and The Music Tapes, the project of Neutral Milk Hotel's Julian Koster. This will be The Music Tapes' first performance since 2000, and will also precede the release of Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes by a few days (TMT News).
Other performers at Athens Pop Fest 2008 include Cryptacize, Elf Power, Circulatory System, Ruby Isle, Dark Meat, Dead Confederate, We Versus The Shark, Spring Tigers, Bunnygrunt, Nana Grizol, The Apes, The Coathangers, The Buddy System, My Teenage Stride, and Ham1.
Held at five different venues and featuring over 80 bands, you can attend the fest for a cool $60 for a 5-day pass, while individual day passes are available for August 14-16. You can also buy tickets at the door of the venues. If you live in Athens, you can get your pass from Wuxtry Records (probably from Mr. HHBTM himself); otherwise, do the credit card thing at the official website, where you will also find a full schedule for the entire event, hotel information, and other stuff.
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (SSLYBY) have joined the running for easiest, most promotable band name, right alongside Natalie Portman's Shaved Head, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, and of course the infamous Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. To celebrate, SSLYBY are set to tour Europe in September, supporting their sophomore album, Pershing (released in April on Polyvinyl Records). These guys sure like to keep themselves busy. The four-piece from Springfield, MO has been touring the U.S. all summer, and they're taking only a six-week break (with a couple shows here and there) before heading back out on the road.
Pershing has garnered lots of props, and I guess the album is pretty damned good if you're into that sort of catchy, harmonious power-pop thing. I am, so I hail "Glue Girls" as one of the catchiest songs of the year. Yeah, I said it.
Yeltsin Love Fest Dates:
FCC chairman Kevin Martin (who did something good recently, for the record) positively gushed about the merger, declaring that "the merger is in the public interest and will provide consumers with greater flexibility and choices" and that "it will also spur innovation and advance the development and use of interoperable radios, bringing more flexible programming options to all subscribers." FCC Democrat Jonathan Adelstein, who voted against the decision, remained less convinced of the mystical powers of media consolidation, noting that he hopes the companies "don't become a fat and happy monopoly."
The FCC decision does come with some baggage for the company, in the form of several conditions. The conditions include a three-month "a la carte" offering allowing consumers to purchase only certain channels, a three-year price cap, the devotion of several channels to "public-interest" and minority-based programming, and a combined $19.7 million fine for improperly located terrestrial radio repeaters. The latter particularly was crucial in getting Republican commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate on board with the decision. Tate had initially been wary of permitting a merger between two companies with demonstrably consumer-unfriendly practices.
So the good news about this decision is that satellite radio customers will benefit from the FCC conditions and will be able to subscribe to both services automatically without having to pay new subscription fees. But the bad news is that there is now only one satellite radio company in the U.S. But the good news is that satellite radio is kind of a fringe format anyway. But the bad news is that it's a fringe format controlled entirely by one company. And so on...
It's been 27 years since the release of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, and now David Byrne (most famous for interviewing Thom Yorke) and Brian Eno (most famous for producing Coldplay's latest) are set to finally release their follow-up album, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. Sweet! Unlike My Life, which was released on Sire Records back in 1981, Everything That Happens will be self-released through the album's official website. Also sweet! According to Bryne:
"Brian Eno and I recently finished our first collaboration in about 30 years. For the most part, Brian did the music and I wrote some tunes, words and sang. It's familiar but completely new as well. We're pretty excited. In August the music will be available via this Web site, free for streaming and it will also be available for purchase as both a download and in physical formats. One of the songs will be available free of charge."
The single Byrne is referring to is "Strange Overtones," which will be made available August 4. The entire album will be available for purchase (and as a stream) August 18, with a deluxe physical version following sometime later.
Everything That Happens tracklist:
Libraries are notorious for being slow on the uptake when it comes to teh internetz, but the Library of Congress has done an admirable job of staying on top of its shit. Except, of course, when it isn't allowed to by law.
A new report by THE Librarian of Congress details the obstacle course that is digital archiving of music each year, ever since (dun dun dun) DRM came on the scene. We’re all familiar with it: buy a CD, rip it to your hard drive, get a new computer, try to transfer it, and sorry bro... no dice -- even if you bought the damn thing from the label in the first place. Remember that frustrating feeling? Now, pretend you’re The Librarian, trying to preserve that same record label’s album or song that has been deemed worthy of its spot in the Library of Congress. Yeah, it burns.
The Digital Millenium Copyright Act makes it a no-no to circumvent DRM in any way, but the Librarian has that power to appeal every three years and see if the Library’s rights to bypass are granted, along with a whole other mess of exceptions requested, most of them legit. While this temporarily solves the problem, the Library of Congress still has no real power to, uh, do its job.
"Even though the Librarian is empowered to create additional exemptions, he cannot affect the ban on trafficking in circumvention devices," says The Librarian’s report. Guess they caught on to The Librarian’s black market burned CD racket... you know, since everyone’s buying CDs...
- Deerhoof official website
- Deerhoof MySpace
- Kill Rock Stars
- ATP Recordings
- Downloadable score to "Fresh Born"
- TMT News: "Deerhoof to Release New LP, Offend Maggie, in October; Offer Fans Chance to Interpret a Downloadable Score"
- TMT News: "Deerhoof Releases First Single from New LP as a Score, Intended for Every Good Boy Who Deserves Fudge"