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Music Business News, September 19, 2017

Billboard detailed the importance of music business education. Also, Rolling Stone went up for sale. And Slacker Radio was sold for $50 million.


Music Business Education Becoming Critical for Artists, Others


Formal music business education is becoming increasingly important in the U.S. and beyond for artists and music executives alike, according to a recent article in Billboard.


Being an artist in the current music industry requires some degree of business savvy, as artists cannot rely on record label deals and other external financial support in order to advance their careers and earn a living. Ensembles like The Vignes Rooftop revival have become a popular local band in their home city of Los Angeles, but they have also figured out how to become a thriving small business.


The group has a strong clientele of live venues, like Eat Drink Americano and 15 rotating band members who help keep their live performance schedule going. They regularly speak to artists looking to build real careers and earn a living while still refining their musicianship at music schools throughout southern CA like the Thornton School of Music at USC.


Guitarist and trumpeter Erik Miron graduated from USC Thornton in 2009 and explained, “Musicians today need to understand how to survive in a way that does not compromise their music.” He stressed that knowing the music business helps, “as long as it remains in service to the art.”


Colleges and universities throughout the U.S. have begun training music students how to be entrepreneurs, since aspiring artists can no longer rely on signing a record deal in order to jump-start their careers.


Some of the top music business schools in the U.S. include The Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business (Belmont University, Nashville), Berklee College of Music in Boston, Hofstra University, Los Angeles College of Music, Los Angeles Film School, Middle Tennessee State University, Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music (New York University Tisch School of the Arts), Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development (New York University), Pepperdine University, Bandier Program for Music and the Entertainment Industries (Syracuse University), Herb Alpert School of Music (UCLA), Frost School of Music (University of Miami), University of North Texas College of Music, Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy (USC) and USC Thornton School of Music.


For more information about why these programs help artists thrive, read the article in Billboard.


Major Stakeholders Selling Rolling Stone


Founder of Rolling Stone magazine, Jann Wenner said he will sell his company’s stake, reported the New York Times.


Wenner founded the magazine in 1967, at age 21. His 27-year old son, Gus, the president and chief operating officer of Wenner Media led the decision to sell after selling two of the company’s other magazines, Us Weekly and Men’s Journal to American Media Inc.


In an interview last week, Gus Wenner explained that the company is selling due to increasing financial pressures. He added that “publishing is a completely different industry than what it was.” He said it has been challenging to keep Wenner Media independent as digital media moves into the space and advertising sales are dropping.


Both Wenners indicated a desire to stay involved in the magazine going forward, but recognized that will be up to the new owners.


The magazine has been experiencing both financial and credibility issues since losing a lawsuit over a problematic campus rape story published several years ago.


No potential buyers have been named in the current sale. Singapore-based music technology company BandLab Technologies currently owns a 49-percent stake in Rolling Stone.


Slacker Radio Sold for $50 Million


Slacker Radio was sold to video streaming company LiveXMedia for $50 million last week.


Music Business Worldwide indicated that the Pandora competitor was sold five months after Slacker Radio had to fire 25-percent of its staff worldwide in order to “focus on efficiency.”


LiveXMedia is a U.S.-based company with properties that include a live music video service LiveXLive plus Wantickets and a “social media influencer” company LiveXLive Influencers.


LiveXLive Media started up in 2015 and has hosted music video content from a variety of festivals, including Rock in Rio, Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival and the Hangout Music Festival. It also puts out original content, artist exclusives and interviews with major music industry players.


Slacker Radio is based in San Diego and has free and subscription-based radio playing licensed songs from the three major labels plus a variety of indies. It also hosts content from programmed radio stations, playing news, sports and talk from ABC News, ESPN and more.


LiveXLive Media announced that the acquisition of Slacker will allow it to “deliver world-class entertainment, information and music content.”


The merger agreement states that LiveXLive Media intends to acquire Slacker by merging LiveXLive’s LXL Music Acquisition Corp. After the merger, Slacker will continue on under the same brand, owned by LiveXLive Media.


CEO of Slacker Radio Duncan Orrell-Jones said in a statement, “We are excited to be joining forces with LiveXLive to extend the capabilities of Slacker to create a broader set of consumer experiences and leverage the reach and resources of LiveXLive to accelerate growth in the business.”

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