Mark Fleischmann

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 23, 2008 0 comments
Reversing a lengthy losing streak, the Universal Music Group has become the first of the big four record labels to significantly increase revenue in many years. The Vivendi-owned company posted a nearly five percent increase for the first half of 2008, even after adjusting for currency fluctuations.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 18, 2006 0 comments
Brigitte Bardot's performance of "Je T'Aime...Moi Non Plus" was a Top 5 hit when it was released in the 1960s, but until recently, the only way to add it to your music library was to rummage through secondhand shops. But it's back in circulation—not as a CD, but as a download, one of 3000 out-of-print tracks sold by the Universal Music Group over iTunes during the last seven months. More than 250,000 people downloaded a 2000 Christmas compilation by Nana Mouskouri, Les Plus Beaux Noels du Monde, during a period that didn't even include the holiday. Universal plans to follow up in November with 100,000 more albums, many previously released only on vinyl. Record companies have good reason to rediscover their back catalogue: Part of Amazon's success with the "earth's biggest selection" lies in brisk sales of o/p material by third-party merchants. "We are now able to respond to and quantify the appetite for more eclectic, diverse recordings from the past," Universal's Olivier Robert-Murphy told Reuters. The unanswered question: What, if anything, will artists or their estates get paid?
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 06, 2006 4 comments
A major label will soon offer European customers three different tiers of CD releases, each with its own distinctive type of packaging. Universal Music Group announced that top releases will get a deluxe box (über-jewelbox? treasure chest?) potentially featuring bonus DVD, extra tracks, expanded notes, and other attractions. Mid-tier releases will get "super jewelboxes," a with round corners, stronger hinges, and heavier build quality. They sound a lot like the boxes already used for SACDs. Bottom-tier releases will get cardboard sleeves, though I'm not sure if that means a Digipak-like package (paper gatefold enclosing plastic spindle) or an all-cardboard "wallet" type. A competing budget label, Brilliant Classics, has had great success with wallets, marketing cheaply packaged but delightful boxed sets up to and including the now legendary 160-CD Bach Edition. Pricing for the Universal tiers will be €19.99, €14.99, and €9.99 respectively. As of this morning, a euro costs $1.28, so none of the tiers is cheap by American standards, though there's no telling what will happen if Universal brings the scheme across the Atlantic. Why this, why now? "We can grow the CD market," said a Universal executive—or at least, "slow its decline."
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 19, 2010 0 comments
One of the four largest music labels plans to test a new pricing scheme that will slash list prices on all single discs to somewhere between six and ten dollars.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 02, 2008 0 comments
Universal will support lossless DTS-HD Master Audio in many of its initial Blu-ray releases.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 09, 2009 0 comments
Universal Studios Home Entertainment will begin selling double-sided discs with Blu-ray on one side and DVD on the other.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 10, 2007 0 comments
Recent moves by Universal Music Group, the world's largest music label, may result in a more freewheeling DRM-free download retail environment.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 08, 2008 0 comments
Critics of the music industry often say we wish the major labels would quit bellyaching, forget the lawsuits, and just offer a better legal-download product. That's the best way to fight illegal downloads, and that's what the Universal Music Group is doing with its new Lost Tunes download service.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 10, 2008 0 comments
Universal Home Entertainment will not renew its exclusivity pact with HD DVD, Variety has reported.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 07, 2014 4 comments
My moment of immortality in the Pazz & Jop Poll, the annual music critic's poll that runs in The Village Voice, came when I confessed my craving for classical music, not a popular genre at the Voice. I mentioned how much I loved gorging on $2 used LPs at the now-gone Tower Annex in Lower Manhattan, buying "as much dead white boy music as I can carry to the bus." My ballot comment ran in the paper, which was a great honor. That was sometime in the early 1990s, during the golden age of cheap vinyl, before the current vinyl resurgence. Folks were dumping LPs for CDs and even an impecunious collector could make out like a bandit. Today vinyl isn't as cheap as it once was; those 180-gram virgin-vinyl reissues cost a bundle, as do vintage pressings of Beatles and Pink Floyd albums. Yet even today I continue to collect loads of used classical vinyl. Most of it is still cheap and it's one of the few forms of high-res audio an inkstained wretch can afford to buy in large quantities.

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