Music News Review – 17/02/12

Indie labels storm the Grammys, and social media goes wild!

Last Sunday (12th February) saw the annual Grammy Awards take place, with a huge social media surge surrounding the event. Facebook and Twitter were amassed with 13 million comments generated by users in the US in the 3 hours before and after, as well as during, the telecast. A new social TV record was also achieved by the awards ceremony, beating the hugely popular Super Bowl event last week.

Independent labels triumphed this year by winning 34 trophies in categories including Best New Artist, Best Album and Best Country Song. According to A2IM (American Association of Independent Music), Bon Ivor won awards for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album, and label winners included Concord Music Group, Rounder Records and Big Machine.

2011 was also the second consecutive year that the independent labels and artists dominated industry nominations, accountable for 194 of the 387 possible nominations.

 

Sony’s price-hike following Whitney Houston’s death

Legendary singer Whitney Houston passed away on Saturday 11th February, at the age of 48. Stars paid tribute to Houston following her sudden death, with the Grammy Awards honouring the six-time Grammy winner and Jennifer Hudson performing “I Will Always Love You” at the ceremony.

Following the hours after her death, it was found that the price of Houston’s two hits compilations on iTunes had been increased by £2-3 by Sony’s UK division, according to CMU. Sony later apologised for the temporary price increase, and the prices were restored back to the original price on Sunday. In a statement issued to Billboard, Sony said:

 

“Whitney Houston product was mistakenly mispriced on the UK iTunes store on Sunday. When discovered, the mistake was immediately corrected. We apologise for any offence caused.”

According to the NME, it is thought that five of Whitney Houston’s tracks will be entering the UK Top 40 when the chart is announced this Sunday, and 27 of her tracks will feature in the Top 200 overall.

 

rnbxclusive.com is the next site to go down…

Continuing the on-going online piracy saga, the latest addition to the news is that website rnbxclusive.com has been taken down by SOCA, the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency. SOCA has stated that the site has given access to hundreds of files of stolen music, and posting these on the site may have damaged artists’ careers. According to the CMU, they have subsequently arrested its owner this week, charging him with conspiracy to defraud. It is said that the music site has cost “legitimate businesses and artists” around £15 million every year, as reported by Stop-Law.

SOCA also issued a warning on the rnbxclusive website, informing users that if they have downloaded unlicensed music from this site, they could be faced with a ten year jail sentence and unlimited fine – however this message, which wasn’t strictly true, was taken down after 3 days. It has been replaced with a short message, bearing the words “SOCA has taken control of this domain name”, and a link to the SOCA website.

This has sparked action in three other similar websites, seeing one site voluntarily taking itself offline, one considering going offline and one claiming to only deal with music files that are legal.

 

Which leads us on to…

 

IFPI and RIAA’s potential lawsuit against Google?

An internal IFPI document has been leaked, stating that the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) and RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) are considering a lawsuit against search giant Google. According, to Digital Trends, this is due to the organisation’s beliefs that Google not prioritising sites with legal music content over piracy sites such as The Pirate Bay, sending traffic to the latter instead.

However, German publication “Handelszeitung” suggests that the leaked report may have fizzled out last Summer, with a statement in the previously unpublished report dating back to July 2011 – however since this date the lawsuit hasn’t yet emerged.

 

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