Thursday, March 19, 2009

Music News Update for Thursday...

New details are emerging about the May 3rd Pete Seeger 90th birthday celebration at New York's Madison Square Garden. reported that despite earlier reports, Bob Dylan will not be participating. As previously reported, the lineup includes Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Eddie Vedder, Dave Matthews, and Emmylou Harris -- along with new additions Ani DiFranco, Arlo Guthrie, Billy Bragg, Bruce Cockburn, Michael Franti, Tom Chapin, and many more.

An ambitious plan to license the music of Nirvana and its late singer/songwriter, Kurt Cobain, appears to have backfired, according to A company called Primary Wave Music Publishing bought a 50 percent stake in Cobain's catalog for a reported $50 million from his widow, Courtney Love, who was nearly out of money at the time. However, Primary Wave has had little success with placing Nirvana songs in TV commercials, video games and ad campaigns, with the company earning just slightly more than $2.3 million on its investment so far.

Love claimed to have had just $4,000 in her bank account three years ago when she made the deal with Primary Wave. Fans criticized Love for allowing Cobain's music to be used in the kind of commercial enterprises that he blasted up until his 1994 suicide.

Nirvana's rebellious stance and image could be one reason why the music has not been licensed more. Sony/ATV Music Publishing chairman and CEO Martin Bandier explained, "Nirvana was so revolutionary that it's very difficult to match different projects, and there are tons of iconic groups that allow their music to be utilized."

A source told Portfolio that one deal to license a number of Nirvana songs for a special episode of CSI: Miami, that would be written around the music, collapsed when Love, the publisher and former members of Nirvana asked for "twice the industry standard" in licensing fees, leading CBS-TV to back off.

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