Saturday, October 13, 2007

'UK Digital music sales to grow 50 per cent this year'

from - By Nic Fildes

'UK Digital music sales 'to grow 50 per cent this year'

Digital music sales in the UK look set to receive a substantial kick over the next year as competitors such as Nokia up the ante in the battle against iTunes while major music companies free songs from restrictive anti-piracy software.

Verdict Research estimates that legally sourced digital music sales will grow nearly 50 per cent this year to £163m, a slowdown from growth of over 80 per cent in 2006. But the research company said it expects the legitimate digital music market to continue to grow rapidly over the coming years as the likes of Nokia and HMV challenge Apple's dominance. It expects the market to be worth £600m by 2012, accounting for more than 13 per cent of total music and video sales, compared with 4 per cent this year.

Apple's iTunes has around 80 per cent of the digital download market but is steeling itself for an onslaught of competition from retailers such as HMV and Woolworths as well as the emergence of the mobile phone giant Nokia as a serious contender in the online music space.

David Pakman, chief exec-utive of eMusic, the second larg-est digital music store, said the move by some music majors to test the water for digital music that is unencumbered with anti-piracy – or DRM – software could also kick-start substantial growth. It is telling that DRM-encrypted songs which limit how a consumer can use the music accounted for only 10 per cent of the 20 billion songs downloaded globally in 2006.

Yet some analysts argue that digital music is still a long way off being the panacea for the industry's troubles. Mark Milligan, an analyst with Jupiter Research, said: "People that buy music online are only grazing. When they start using digital services, they tend to spend less, not more." He said the 80 per cent of people who do not buy music regularly would traditionally buy a few albums a year but can now cherry-pick a few tracks. "Music aficionados" who spend £70 a month on music have started subscribing to cheaper online subscription services.

"Photo of the day: 10/13/07"

A picture is worth a thousand words... - Ace:)

"Nicole Scherzinger shows skin for Blender"


Nicole Scherzinger is on the November cover of Blender Magazine and, beyond showing skin (naturally), she reveals that she was uncomfortable with herself in the early days of the Pussycat Dolls. "At my first photo shoot, I looked at the costumes and cried. I wasn't used to showing so much of my body." The singer makes another revelation: that she's been single since August — when she broke up with "Laguna Beach" star Talan Torriero. She explained her frustration with dating, oddly dropping Ryan Gosling's name — who she has not been romantically attached to — along the way. "You get these crushes on guys, and then you meet them and you realize you just loved the role they were playing. Like, who doesn't love Ryan Gosling after you see 'The Notebook'? Then you meet the person and you're like, 'Huh? What?' " Scherzinger added that she's holding out for "the hottest man in the universe." The magazine hits newsstands Tuesday. ...

"The Kinks' Ray Davies gives it away"

Kinks singer in CD giveaway deal

Former Kinks singer Ray Davies has agreed a deal to give away his new album Working Man's Cafe with the Sunday Times newspaper.

The promotion follows a similar deal in which The Mail on Sunday gave away free copies of Prince's latest CD.

Davies said he was "truly excited that 1.5 million copies will be distributed to people who'll hear it organically... the way it was intended".

The album will come free with the UK newspaper on 21 October.

In addition, Vietnam Cowboys, a track from the album, will be available as a free download on the newspaper's website from this Sunday.

'Reaching out'

"It's an exciting opportunity I couldn't resist," Davies said. "Personally, it's about reaching as many people as possible."

It is the latest venture in an era where artists are increasingly finding new ways to release their music.

Earlier this week, Radiohead launched their new album In Rainbows via their own website and asked fans to decide how much to pay for it.

The Charlatans will let fans download their forthcoming new album for free from the website of radio station Xfm.

"Janet's 45% done"

According to Jermaine Dupree, Janet Miss Jackson if ya nasty's new album is 45% complete.

The album will contain a duet with Maroon 5 (hurl) and a track penned by Rihanna's 'Umbrella' man THE DREAM. Unfortunately, the world will have to wait even longer for that Janet/Mariah collabo. JD stated "It's gonna surface one day. Something is gonna come up, and we gonna say, 'This is it,' So eloquently put Jermaine...

Personally I can wait forever to hear what in my opinion would be a trainwreck of a song. But what do I know? - Ace:)

"Universal looks to mobile makers to fund free music"

Universal Looks To Mobile Makers To Fund Free Music

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Universal Music Group, the world's biggest record label, is looking to mobile hardware makers to foot the bill for a free music subscription service for buyers of a certain mobile phone or music player, The Telegraph reported Saturday.

Universal approached Microsoft - which makes the Zune digital music player - and some mobile carriers this week to discuss a deal in which the hardware makers would pay the subscription on behalf of their customers, according to sources, The Telegraph reports. Universal Music has been in talks with Sony BMF and Warner Music, the newspaper says, about launching a music subscription service, dubbed Total Music, that would be free on certain devices.

"Fatboy Slim talks remixing: VIDEO"

Thanks to the peeps over @ for putting a wicked video interview with Fatboy Slim up on the Chube for all the world to enjoy.

Good stuff! Have a look... - Ace:)

"Captain America Lives! Hero to Return in 2008"

By Sara Bonisteel from

NEW YORK — You can't keep a good American down.

Marvel Entertainment announced Thursday that its slain hero Captain America will rise again with a new outfit and a new secret identity, after the character was killed off in March by a sniper's bullet in a storyline on the War on Terror.

The company unveiled the patriotic superhero's new look Thursday with artwork by Alex Ross and Steve Epting for the new issue, No. 34, to hit comic book shops in January 2008.

Captain America will return with his trademark shield, but he also will have some new firepower. The artists are bringing the hero back with a gun.

"I always try and look back in the character's history to something that maybe was a forgotten costume element from a bygone age, maybe one of the earlier costume elements, to see if you could bring that part back," Ross told "Well, funny enough, there's this awful movie serial made in the '40s with Cap where he had no shield, no wings on his mask, no white sleeves, little tiny gloves, and he carried a gun."

While the famed hero is returning to fight the good fight, Marvel made clear that the original character, Steve Rogers, remains dead. A yet-to-be-revealed character will don this new Captain America suit.

In March, Dan Buckley, the president and publisher of Marvel Entertainment's publishing group, told that Captain America's return was a possibility.

"Everything is possible in the world of make-believe."

"New Alicia Keys Album 'As I Am' 11/13/07"

Although I am not a big fan of her latest single "No One", I am indeed anxiously awaiting the release of her upcoming album "As I Am".

In my humble opinion "No One" is quite bland and uneventful, as lead singles often are. I am sure they'll be plenty of quality tracks to sink my ear-teeth into.

Below is the track listing:

01. "As I Am" (Intro)
02. "Go Ahead"
03. "Superwoman"
04. "No One"
05. "Like You'll Never See Me Again"
06. "Lesson Learned" (featuring John Mayer)
07. "Wreckless Love"
08. "The Thing About Love"
09. "Teenage Love Affair"
10. "I Need You"
11. "Where Do We Go From Here"
12. "Prelude To A Kiss"
13. "Tell You Something" (Nana's Reprise)
14. "Sure Looks Good To Me"

Be sure to head over to They've got a bunch of cool 'in-studio' videos and a bunch of other stuff to check out.

I'll be posting my review of the album once I get my paws on it and have digested it. - Ace:)

"Prince & Amy Winehouse to duet!!"

Prince & Amy Winehouse to duet!

by: Marco Gandolfi - ©

The 'Rehab' singer was said to be "delighted" after the pop legend invited her fly to his Minnesota home to work on the musical collaboration after Christmas.

A source said: "He is a big fan of Amy and enjoyed performing with her in London recently, he was eager for them to work together sooner rather than later. So he just gave her a call and invited her out to the US.

"Of course, Amy was delighted and jumped at the chance to work with him. You don't turn down Prince."

Prince has reportedly made it clear Amy's visit will be purely a business trip and has suggested her husband Blake Fielder-Civil shouldn't join them.

Last month, Amy made a surprise appearance at the after-show party for the final night of Prince's 21-date residency at London's O2 arena.

The pair thrilled the crowd when they took to the stage for a performance of Amy's track 'Love Is A Losing Game'.

In May, the 49-year-old superstar stated he was a "big fan" of Amy, prompting her to gush: "I'm honoured. I'm a massive fan. I'd love to work with him."

"Music Biz hits it big @ casinos"

from (by way of Reuters/Billboard)

The music industry is striking it rich at casinos.

As casino venues target concertgoers from all walks of life through creative artist bookings, the effort hasn't gone unnoticed by those in the business.

"If you're an agent, you love casinos," says Greg Oswald, a William Morris agent for such acts as Big & Rich, Hank Williams Jr. and Lynyrd Skynyrd. As new casinos boomed in the past 15 years, "it's found money," he adds.

Most casinos are proactive in booking top-selling rock and pop acts, with the specific intent of drawing younger gamblers. But, as Oswald says, casinos appeal to a broad base of fans, therefore allowing booking opportunities for multiple genres.

For some country acts in particular, casino venues have proved to be a beneficial asset when routing a tour. "Frankly, for a lot of artists in the country business and other genres, it has saved their bacon," Oswald says, adding that many casinos still draw older crowds. In 2007, Kenny Rogers, whom Oswald books, will play 30 casino dates nationwide.

Tom Cantone, VP of sports and entertainment at the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Conn., says live music is a major component in modern-day casinos.

"You really have to get into the event business to drive traffic and revenue on a consistent basis," he says.

This summer alone, Mohegan Sun hosted 164 events across its three venues -- the 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena, the 400-seat Wolf Den club and the 330-seat Cabaret Theatre. In 2006, 51 shows at the arena grossed $15 million and drew more than 387,000 fans, according to Billboard Boxscore.

Mohegan Sun recently broke ground on a $740 million project set to include a House of Blues, Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant and store, and a 1,000-room hotel. Full completion is scheduled for 2010.

Steve Gietka, VP of entertainment for Trump Entertainment Resorts in Atlantic City, N.J., oversees booking at venues in Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza and Trump Marina. He says that while live entertainment certainly helps sell hotel rooms and fill restaurants and nightclubs, there's a price to be paid.

"Because we're casinos, and agents, artists and managers believe that their artists help us drive gaming revenues, we typically pay premiums when compared to regular promoters," Gietka says.

Indeed, William Morris' Oswald says that casinos are in a good position to buy plenty of talent. "They have ancillary income in the form of bar, food and obviously, casinos," Oswald says. "So it's easier than the guy who is only going to make money from the box office."

But there are also challenges with casino venues, No. 1 being overbooking, according to Oswald. In some markets, casinos are bringing in act after act, which can sometimes exhaust the local fan base.

"They've made it real hard to sell tickets," Oswald says. "The fans are spoiled because they can go down to the casino on any Friday night and there will be a big act." As a result, promoters are forced to lower ticket prices to attract concertgoers, he adds.

But hosting too many concerts has never been a problem for Mohegan Sun, which is owned by the Mohegan Tribe. Arena concerts scheduled through October include such diverse acts as Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, Big & Rich featuring Cowboy Troy, Van Halen, Mana, Maroon 5, Phil Lesh and Kelly Clarkson.

And with the 25-and-older demographic expanding, Cantone remains confident that casino bookings will reflect their tastes. "It used to be where an older market went to have their entertainment fix. But now the twentysomethings are going. If you're young, want to go out and play poker or blackjack, then catch a cool concert, where else can you go?"

"Ms. Winehouse to perform @ mtvU Woodie Awards!"

This just in... Amy Winehouse to perform at the mtvU Woodie Awards Show on November 8th, 2007!

It's not a secret that Amy has had multiple cancellations of tour dates/appearances recently, due to her struggle with substance abuse.

The 4th annual mtvU Woodie Awards will be held at NYC's Roseland Ballroom (killer venue!) and they will air on November 15th, 2007.

This announcement, coupled with the statement from Mark Ronson regarding Amy's desire to get back into the studio is VERY good news! Do your thing Amy! Do your thing!! - Ace:)

"Kanye West does MJ"

Self-proclaimed musical genius Kanye West has announced he is working on a track for the upcoming Michael Jackson album.

Word on the street is that Kanye is already furious that the track has not been nominated for any awards. - Ace:)

"Happy Birthday Ali G!"

Happy 36th Birfday shouts goin' out to the leader of the West Stains Massive - ALI G!!! Respek! Aiiiiiiiiigh! - Ace:)

"The Who's 'My Generation' turns 42"

42 years ago today, (October 13th, 1965) The Who's anthem "My Generation" was recorded at London's Pye Studios.

The single was released in The United Kingdom on November 20th, 1965 and went on to peak at #2 on the UK charts. Fifteen days later, on November 20th, 1965 it was released here in The United States where it surprisingly only reached #74.

Friday, October 12, 2007

"Sid Vicious charged with murder"

October 12th, 1978 The Sex Pistols' Bassist Sid Vicious (born John Simon Ritchie) was charged with the murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen.

Nancy died from a single stab wound to the abdomen in room 100 of The Hotel Chelsea in New York City.

While there were rumors that Nancy may have been killed by one of the drug dealers who had been in their hotel room that night, Sid was indeed charged with her murder - although Sid insisted he didn't remember a thing.

Less than 4 months later, on February 2nd, 1979, Sid Vicious died from a heroin overdose. He was just 22 years old. - Ace:(

"Snoop Dogg Serves His Community"

Calvin Broadus, aka Snoop Dogg, aka Snoop Doggy Dogg, aka Snoop D-O-Double-Gee got sentenced today to a whopping 160 hours of community service for carrying a police baton aboard an airplane @ John Wayne Airport in Orange County California in 2006.
Some of Mr. Dogg's duties as community servant will be painting park benches, picking up trash, cleaning toilets, raking leaves, and other pleasant activities.

I wonder if he'll write any raps about his time servin' the people of O.C. I guess we'll see, G. Fer shizzle. - Ace:)

"New CD / tour dates from RAKIM"

"There's one 'R' in the alphabet..."

Hip-Hop legend, and certified microphone fiend RAKIM is just putting the finishing touches on his upcoming album "The Seventh Seal." This will be Rakim's 7th full length release.
He is also one of the headlining artists for the upcoming "Hip-Hop Live! Tour" along with Wu-tang's own Ghostface Killah and Brother Ali. The MC's will be backed by a 10-piece band from Los Angeles called Rhythm Roots Band (not to be confused with illadelphia's ROOTS band)
Here are the tour dates:
10/29 Los Angeles, CA - House of Blues
10/30 San Diego, CA - 4th & B
10/31 Long Beach, CA - The Vault
11/1 Santa Cruz, CA - The Catalyst
11/2 San Francisco, CA - Mezzanine
11/3 Portland, OR - Roseland Theater
11/4 Seattle, WA - The Showbox
11/7 Park City, UT - Harry O's
11/8 Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre
11/9 Aspen, CO - Belly Up
11/10 Kansas City, MO - The Beaumont Theatre
11/11 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
11/12 Chicago, IL - House of Blues
11/13 Bloomington, IN - Bluebird Theater
11/15 New Haven, CT - Toad's Place
11/16 New York, NY - Nokia Theatre
11/17 Baltimore, MD - Sonar
11/18 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
11/21 Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero
I do hope things go well for him this time around. I was amped when I heard about his Dr. Dre produced album that was to have come out on Aftermath years ago.... Unfortunately, the project was shelved - although from what I've heard there's no bad blood between Rakim & Dre. Then, there is the rumor that he never was paid for the "Paid in Full" album... Imagine that?
Rakim is, in my opinion THE best lyrical MC to ever hold a microphone. I, for one will be supporting his new release when it drops. I encourage all of you who appreciate the man to do the same. - Ace:)
"Yo, what happened to peace? Peace! Peace! Peace! Peace!"

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"Bobby Brown heart attack?"

I know, it's shocking that a person such as he have an alleged heart attack, but that's the word on the e-street (although Bobby Bee denies it)

Note to Bobby Brown: You better chiggety-check yerself, before you riggety-wreck yerself.

Get yo sef together and get back in the studio with some good people around you.

Anyway, heart attack or no heart attack, I hope he puts his life back together. It seems it's been apart for over a decade now. - Ace;)

FYI: The folks over at have a still image of the King of R&B laid up in the hospital bed along with a video of Bobby errrr, ummmm 'speaking'. Scroll to bottom of their main page.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"Happy Birthday John : October 9, 1940"

He would have been 67 years old today.

What can be said about him that already hasn't been said?

Personally, this man's music is a part of who I was, a part of who I am, and a part of who I'll become.

Thank you John. The world needs you right now buddy. We miss you. - Ace

"Mark Ronson: 'Amy Winehouse eager to start new album'


Mark Ronson:
'Amy Winehouse eager to start new album'

Producer suggests Phil Spector will be an influence

08.Oct.07 5:21pm

Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson have been making plans to start recording the singer's follow-up to the massively successful 'Back To Black'.

The producer explained that Winehouse is "dying to go back into the studio", but that they won't be able to start work on the record until after the end of her tour in November.

Speculating on what the new album may sound like, Ronson told Rolling Stone they may be looking to infamous producer Phil Spector's 'Wall Of Sound' technique for inspiration.

He said: "I think that we can't do the same thing again - it can't be like a 60s element or Motown. If anything, I'd really like to make it sound older or more morbid or really 'Wall Of Sound'. But I don't want to second guess before I actually hear the songs."

* On a personal note, I'd like to wish Amy the best. I truly hope she gets herself to where she needs to be. I am SO looking forward to her next project. Amy is one gifted singer, and Mr. Ronson is a BEAST in the recording studio. Cheers to both of them! - Ace:)

"Top Ten Hip-Hop Gimmicks Of All-Time"

Here's a well written fun read I stumbled onto the other day from 2004. Shouts go out to Stylus Magazine's Josh Drimmer for the piece. - Ace:)

"Top Ten Hip-Hop Gimmicks Of All-Time" - by Josh Drimmer:

Rapper's Delight" was a novelty record—Sylvia Robinson randomly cobbled three hacks into a group, and with a Chic beat and a few pages of raps by Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers, a ten-million-selling smash hit and a fad was born. Except it didn't end up being a fad after all, but rather, a vital new music genre. But oh, the gimmicks that it spawned! Even staying within the frame of recorded music (denying us the pleasure of Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. Parappa The Rapper, and "my name is Barney Rubble and I'm here to say/ I like Fruity Pebbles in a major way"), some nonsensical shit, amusing and awful, has come out of hip-hop. Why keep it real when you can kiggidy keep it riggidy real like Dr. Phil?

10. "Ventriloquist Rap" by Willie Brown and Woody
"Yeah, I'm a dummy, what's your excuse?" Recently unearthed on Stones Throw's excellent Connecticut old school hip-hop compilation The Third Unheard, "Ventriloquist Rap" features a "Got To Be Real"/"The Breaks"-cribbed beat and lots of standard braggadocio about rolling in Sevilles and taking ladies to the motel…half of it delivered in the high-pitched voice of a dummy. How big this could have been if the Gong Show and hip-hop had ever crossed paths.

9. MC Skat Kat

"Well, you've never seen a kat with so much charisma / Got more moves than a mutant ninja… / Turtle, that is, and I'm doing the Skat Strut / To hell with John Travolta and the Disco Duck!" MC Skat Kat, like Nate Dogg, made his name on a guest appearance but could never quite get a solo career going, reaching a career peak on Paula Abdul's "Opposites Attract" unmatched by anything on The Adventures of MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob, The Onion A.V. Club's Least Essential Album of the 1990s. Would Gorillaz have ever existed without this brave cartoon street "kat?" Are you really going to waste time thinking about that?

8. Horrorcore

Coined as "horrorcore" upon the emergence of Def Jam's the Flatlinerz and the supergroup Gravediggaz—which quickly became less super as Prince Paul and the RZA dropped off the follow-ups to 1994's Six Feet Deep—rhyming about suicide and disembowelment wasn't completely new (see Geto Boys), but had never been marketed as such. Nevertheless, horrorcore sank as quickly as Wes Craven's New Nightmare, although disciples of Necro and his Psycho-Logical label continue to blaze the trail and the houses along the way, after chopping up the bodies and mating the baboons and buffalo.

7. The –iggity style

Das EFX's ridiculously quick flow of pop culture plus nonsense ("the boogidy, woogidy Brooklyn boy's about to get his digs") style was dazzling, even if it was empty at its core. Ice Cube's use of Das EFX on "Check Yo' Self" and their style throughout 1992's The Predator, not so dazzling. Das EFX wannabes like Fu-Schnickens and Lords of the Underground (and to a much lesser extent, Kris Kross), not so much anything. Das EFX themselves even tired of rhyming iggidy with wiggidy, they dropped the style on 1993's Straight Up Sewaside. The album went aluminum, and the iggity reappeared on their comeback record.

6. Singers Who Should NOT Be Singing

If Biz Markie on "Just A Friend" was the end-all and be-all of this gimmick, it would have never made the list. Then, there was Biggie and Puff Daddy on "Playa Hater". And Eminem on "Hailie's Song". And the career of Ja Rule. Mos Def and Lauryn Hill can sing all they want, but other emcees must at least consider the words of Prince: "The rapper's problem usually stems from being tone deaf / Pack the house, then try 2 sing / There won't be no one left".

5. "Featuring" (Sampled Artist Here)

Is the "Kashmir" beat-jacking "Come With Me" by Puff Daddy more artistically credible because it "features" a sleepwalking Jimmy Page? Was Kool Moe Dee asked to appear on Will Smith's "Wild Wild West". or did he just have nothing else to do? The trend is silly, but it did bring us one of the sweetest phrases ever said: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony featuring Phil Collins.

4. The Fat Boys

"We're fat, we're fat, we can never be wack?" I disagree. Novelty career concept (hey, they ARE fat!), novelty remakes of "The Twist" and "Wipe Out", and one horrendous film, Disorderlies, that ranks among the worst things shown ad nauseum on BET, makes for nothing but a gimmick. When Darren "The Human Beat Box" Robinson died of a heart attack in 1995, it is safe to say "All U Can Eat" would never seem funny again.

3. Rap-Metal

Yep. All of it.

2. The Athlete Turned Emcee
The suspension of the Indiana Pacers' Ron Artest due to exhaustion caused from working on his rap album would be funny on its own. However, taken along with the ignoble rap careers of Shaquille O'Neal, Roy Jones Jr., Allen Iverson, Ken Griffey Jr., Kobe Bryant, the WWF's John Cena, as well as the compilation B-Ball's Best Kept Secret, the Artest episode is just the latest tragicomic chapter in a story started with "The Super Bowl Shuffle". Skillz summarized this sad trend perfectly on his Shaq takedown "99 Free Throws": "Not a rapping ball player in the sense he could rap / Well, actually, none of them are really good at that."

1. The Skit

When Prince Paul and De La Soul created the skit on Three Feet High And Rising, it was funny, and the self-mocking skits on De La Soul Is Dead ("this shiz-nit is kinda wid-dack!") are brilliant. But when "Intro" and "Outro" became vital parts of every rap album and seventy-minute albums suddenly had 20+ tracks, the skit, though not dead (see White People by Handsome Boy Modeling School), had lost its reason for being. Number of skits on De La Soul's newest, The Grind Date: Zero.

Honorable Mention: MC Paul Barman; Use of Movie Dialogue, Kung-Fu or Other; Child Rappers (Kris Kross, Another Bad Creation, Illegal); MC Miker G and DJ Sven.