>• Writer Rounds. Black River Publishing has inked producer/songwriter/engineer Mike Krompass. The Toronto native now resides in Nashville… Lisa Ramsey Perkins’ Little Extra Music now represents select back catalogs of Jessi Alexander and Jim McCormick…Downtown Music Publishing has opened a new Amsterdam office with Hot Streak Music a division of Cloud 9 Music. The office will be helmed by Dutch industry veteran and Hot Streak co-founder Lucas Van Slegtenhorst.
>• Chinese Checkers. Relations between the U.S. and China took a turn for the worse as the U.S. Justice Department filed charges against several Chinese government officials for hacking into U.S. company servers, stealing trade secrets and economic espionage. Companies hacked included Alcoa, U.S. Steel and others. “This administration will not tolerate actions by any nation that seeks to illegally sabotage American companies and undermine the integrity of fair competition in the operation of the free market,” said Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. The L.A. Times reported, “Professor June Teufel Dreyer, a China specialist at the University of Miami, said the indictment was an effort by the Obama administration to demonstrate toughness, both to China and the Asia Pacific region.”
>• Size Matters. Phablets are generally considered to be smartphones with screens larger that 5”—and they accounted for over a third of first quarter shipments according to a report from Canalys. Worldwide 279.4 million units shipped in Q1 2014 representing 29% growth over the same period last year. 81% were Android devices. Phablet size phones shipped grew 369%. “Consumers now expect high-end devices to have large displays, and Apple’s absence in this market will clearly not last long,” says Canalys Analyst Jessica Kwee.
>• Big TV. AT&T has agreed to purchase DirecTV for about $49 billion which is being seen as a direct reaction to Comcast’s recent acquisition of Time Warner Cable for $45 billion. The consolidation wave means that the nation’s internet and TV services are owned by an increasingly smaller number of giant corporations. This new deal will need to secure approval from Government regulators which it is expected to do. “The media chessboard is moving more this year than it has in the past decade,” said Richard Greenfield, a media analyst with the brokerage firm BTIG. For a thorough analysis from the NYT click here.
>• Big Machine Music will co-sponsor Inc magazine’s 17th annual Grow Your Company conference (5/20-22) in Nashville at the Omni Hotel. The music publisher will introduce attendees to its artists and writers plus position itself as a source for attendees to license music for creative corporate sponsorships. “Songwriters are just as much entrepreneurs as anyone, especially in Nashville,” said BMM VP Mike Molinar. “Inc. magazine covers the most business-savvy and creative companies of our generation and we are ecstatic to align Big Machine Music alongside them.”
>• Netflix For Country. CountryUP has just released its FREE video app in Apple store. An Android version will debut shortly. The app is a customizable platform that allows consumers the chance to choose their favorite country artists to view and share all in one place plus discover new artists, original programming and more.
>• Gibson Guitar introduced its new Southern Rock Tribute 1959 Les Paul model to a packed crowd of instrument dealers, press and musical legends including Dickey Betts, Charlie Daniels, Vince Gill, Jimmy Hall, Lee Roy Parnell, Gary Rossington and more on May 19. Many of the iconic guitar players graced the 12th and Porter stage for a few songs. The new instrument with a heart at its center, celebrates the cultural importance of the Southern Rock musical genre and the Les Paul guitar’s significance in its lineage. The limited edition Tribute guitar will be available for $9,059. Fifty guitars signed by the Tribute Ambassadors will be available for $18,824. A portion of the sales from each instrument will be donated to the Music Health Alliance.