Trend – A Record Company Reports Digital Has Surpassed CDs

Although overall, digital music sales are expected to surpass compact disc sales in 2011, the trend is already beginning – at least at Atlantic Records.

Atlantic, a unit of Warner Music Group, says it has reached a milestone that no other major record label has hit: more than half of its music sales in the United States are now from digital products, like downloads on iTunes and ring tones for cellphones.

“We’re like a college basketball team on an 18-2 run,” said Craig Kallman, Atlantic’s chairman and chief executive.

At the Warner Music Group, Atlantic’s parent company, digital represented 27 percent of its American recorded-music revenue during the fourth quarter. (Warner does not break out financial data for its labels, but Atlantic said that digital sales accounted for about 51 percent of its revenue.)

With the milestone comes a sobering reality already familiar to newspapers and television producers. While digital delivery is becoming a bigger slice of the pie, the overall pie is shrinking fast. Analysts at Forrester Research estimate that music sales in the United States will decline to $9.2 billion in 2013, from $10.1 billion this year. That compares with $14.6 billion in 1999, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

As a result, the hope that digital revenue will eventually compensate for declining sales of CDs — and usher in overall growth — have largely been dashed.

“It’s not at all clear that digital economics can make up for the drop in physical,” said John Rose, a former executive at EMI, the British music company, who is now a senior partner at the Boston Consulting Group.

Instead, the music industry is now hoping to find growth from a variety of other revenue streams it has not always had access to, like concert ticket sales and merchandise from artist tours. “The real question,” Mr. Rose said, “is how does the record industry change its rights structure so it captures a fairer percent of the value it creates in funding, marketing and managing the launch of artists?”

Ever since 1999, when the popular file-swapping service Napster was created, the music industry’s fate has been closely watched by other media companies — television, film and print publications like newspapers — whose traditional businesses are also under siege…

Tim Arango (more on the web)

Looks Like Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” Is Going To Be A Hit Movie

The rest of the country will have to wait a few days, but not in Los Angeles, where the big event of the week was the premiere of “Twilight.”

Hundreds of shrieking fans — mostly teenage girls — lined the streets outside the Mann Village and Bruin Theaters on Monday for a chance to peek at the stars attending the Los Angeles premiere of “Twilight.” Some enthusiasts of the popular vampire literary series-turned-movie camped out overnight, while many arrived at dawn to secure a place in line.

“I’m on basic motor functions right now,” actor Robert Pattinson, who plays sexy vamp Edward, said amid fans’ screams.

More than 600 people were allowed inside special holding areas along both sides of the premiere’s red carpet. The self-proclaimed fanpires gawked, squealed and begged for autographs and photos with the stars. Others spilled out beyond the barricades and across the street from the premiere. Many held up handmade signs. Most just wanted face time. What question did they ask the most?

“`What’s it like kissing vampires?’” said actress Kristen Stewart, who plays human teenager Bella.

Marie Sheranian, 16, and Brianna Matheson, 17, came from Simi Valley, Calif., to catch a glimpse of Pattinson, the 22-year-old actor who became a heartthrob after winning the role of Edward. The two “Twilight” fans created T-shirts professing their devotion for Pattinson and brought crates to stand on in hopes of seeing the actor’s face — or even the top of his hair — from above the crowd.

“My heart is gonna explode,” Sheranian said from atop a crate.

Not everyone in the horde was a howling teenage girl. Several teenage boys were sprinkled throughout the crowd. And there were even a few parents — including the founders of who left their children and husbands at home to attend the premiere. Pia Castillo said she came all the way from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to see the film’s bloodsuckers in person.

“It’s shocking something I came up with could inspire all this,” said “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer.

The red carpet was buzzing about possible sequels. Meyer has written three other “Twilight” novels.

Pattinson said he signed on for the film thinking it would be part of a trilogy, and he knows a script for a second film has been written.

Stewart said she originally heard the cast might reunite to film both the second and third sequels at the same time, but now they might be filmed separately.

“It has to make a certain amount of money, like $150 million, to be able to afford the sequel,” director Catherine Hardwicke said. “So we really don’t know yet.”

Hannah Montana Gets To Dance With The Stars

The Disney folks are to pushing Miley’s new single just in time for the holidays and to older audiences. Expect it to be on the top pop surveys in December…

Miley Cyrus has signed on to perform on the season finale of “Dancing with the Stars.” The “Hannah Montana” actress will sing her latest single, “Fly on the Wall” on the ABC show’s season finale on November 25th.

Country Music Association Winners For 2008

Kenny Chesney For Entertainer of the Year.

Brad Paisley For Male Vocalist of the Year.

Carrie Underwood For Female Vocalist of the Year (pictured)

Jennifer Nettles For Song of the Year “Stay.”

Troubadour by George Strait gets Album of the Year

Braid Paisley for Music Video of the Year, “Waitin’ on a Woman.”

Rascal Flatts for Vocal Group of the Year.

Lady Antebellum for New Artist of the Year

George Strait’s “I Saw God Today” gets Single of the Year.

Sugarland – Vocal Duo of the Year.

Mac McAnally for Musician of the Year.

Last Of The Jimi Hendrix Experience Dies

Mitch Mitchell, drummer for the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience of the 1960s and the group’s last surviving member, was found dead in his hotel room early Wednesday. He was 61.

Mitchell was a powerful force on the Hendrix band’s 1967 debut album “Are You Experienced?” as well as the trio’s albums “Electric Ladyland” and “Axis: Bold As Love.” He had an explosive drumming style that can be heard in hard-charging songs such as “Fire” and “Manic Depression.”

The Englishman had been drumming for the Experience Hendrix Tour, which performed Friday in Portland. It was the last stop on the West Coast part of the tour.

Hendrix died in 1970. Bass player Noel Redding died in 2003.

An employee at Portland’s Benson Hotel called police after discovering Mitchell’s body.

Erin Patrick, a deputy medical examiner, said Mitchell apparently died of natural causes. An autopsy was planned.

“He was a wonderful man, a brilliant musician and a true friend,” said Janie Hendrix, chief executive of the Experience Hendrix Tour and Jimi Hendrix’ stepsister. “His role in shaping the sound of the Jimi Hendrix Experience cannot be underestimated.”

Bob Merlis, a spokesman for the tour, said Mitchell had stayed in Portland for a four-day vacation and planned to leave Wednesday.

“It was a devastating surprise,” Merlis said. “Nobody drummed like he did.”

He said he saw Mitchell perform two weeks ago in Los Angeles, and the drummer appeared to be healthy and upbeat.

Merlis said the tour was designed to bring together veteran musicians who had known Hendrix — like Mitchell — and younger artists, such as Grammy-nominated winner Jonny Lang, who have been influenced by him.


Technology – Cheap Electicity Within Five Years

This takes the pressure off oil…

Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.

The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.

Guardian U.K.

The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years. ‘Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world,’ said John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion. ‘They will cost approximately $25m [£13m] each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $250 per home.’

Deal claims to have more than 100 firm orders, largely from the oil and electricity industries, but says the company is also targeting developing countries and isolated communities. ‘It’s leapfrog technology,’ he said.

The company plans to set up three factories to produce 4,000 plants between 2013 and 2023. ‘We already have a pipeline for 100 reactors, and we are taking our time to tool up to mass-produce this reactor.’

The first confirmed order came from TES, a Czech infrastructure company specializing in water plants and power plants. ‘They ordered six units and optioned a further 12. We are very sure of their capability to purchase,’ said Deal. The first one, he said, would be installed in Romania. ‘We now have a six-year waiting list. We are in talks with developers in the Cayman Islands, Panama and the Bahamas.’

The reactors, only a few meters in diameter, will be delivered on the back of a lorry to be buried underground. They must be refueled every 7 to 10 years. Because the reactor is based on a 50-year-old design that has proved safe for students to use, few countries are expected to object to plants on their territory. An application to build the plants will be submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission next year.

‘You could never have a Chernobyl-type event – there are no moving parts,’ said Deal. ‘You would need nation-state resources in order to enrich our uranium. Temperature-wise it’s too hot to handle. It would be like stealing a barbecue with your bare hands.’

Other companies are known to be designing micro-reactors. Toshiba has been testing 200KW reactors measuring roughly six meters by two meters. Designed to fuel smaller numbers of homes for longer, they could power a single building for up to 40 years.

“Lost” Season Premiere Found

ABC says “Lost” will return in January!

The show will open its fifth season with a two-hour premiere starting at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday, Jan. 21. It marks a return to Wednesdays for the show, which aired after “Grey’s Anatomy” on Thursday nights at the end of last season.

“Lost” ended its fourth season by showing how the Oceanic Six got off the island and formed their cover story, with flash-forwards showing all six people decidedly unhappy with their post-rescue lives and realizing they have to go back. Which could be a problem, as the finale also showed Ben (played by Michael Emerson moving the island to points unknown. And then there’s the matter of Locke (Terry O’Quinn) being revealed as the man in the coffin.

Change On Grey’s Anatomy This Week.

Callie and Erica’s burgeoning romance on Grey’s Anatomy is coming to an abrupt end, and so is Brooke Smith’s role as Dr. Erica Hahn.

Smith’s final appearance as Dr. Callie Torres’ flame comes in this Thursday’s episode of ABC’s medical drama, the network said Monday.

Smith’s departure from Grey’s Anatomy was first reported by Entertainment Weekly.

The actress, who first appeared on the show in 2006, told the magazine she’d had high hopes for the fictional lesbian pair.

“I was very excited when they told me that Erica and Callie were going to have this relationship. And I really hoped we were going to show what happens when two women fall in love and that they were going to treat it like any heterosexual couple on TV,” she said.

“And so I was surprised and disappointed when they just suddenly told me that they couldn’t write for my character any more,” she said.

Jennifer Hudson Case Update

Chicago police said that more than one person might have been involved in the killings of actress Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew, even as police are focusing on the estranged husband of her sister. Investigators are trying to determine whether another person drove William Balfour after the killings at the Hudsons’ home.

Balfour is in jail on unrelated charges. Security video showed someone parking an SUV on Friday, but investigators have not been able to determine who that was. A time stamp on the video showed the car was parked at 12:30 p.m., but it was unclear if the stamp was accurate. Cell phone records placed Balfour in the Hudson neighborhood at that hour. If the time stamp is accurate, it would mean another person may have driven the car vehicle from the Hudson home. Balfour’s girlfriend told police that he was at her house not long after the killings.