Saturday, February 26, 2005

More than I'll ever make

From the Financial Times Online (via Tom Lefsetz)

Warner Music executives net $21m
By Tim Burt in London
Published: February 20 2005

Warner Music, the former subsidiary of Time Warner, paid its top five executives more than $21m in salary and bonuses following last year's $2.6bn acquisition of the US music group by a private equity consortium.

The pay-outs include further guaranteed bonuses or change of control payments at the world's fourth-largest music groupboasting 38,000 artists including Green Day, Linkin Park and Madonna.

According to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, last year's total executive remuneration was more than three times higher than Warner Music's $7m operating income for the 10 months to September 30.

In that period, the company reversed previous operating losses of $197m as sales increased from $2.49bn to $2.55bn.

The management payments reflect Warner's success in cutting costs following last year's completion of the Time Warner disposal. The company expects to deliver $250m of annualised savings by May this year, achieved mainly through 1,600 job losses.

Of the top management, Edgar Bronfman Jr, the chairman who led last year's buy-out, received a $1m salary and $5.25m bonus. Paul Rene Albertini, head of Warner's international operations, was paid $1.25m in salary and a $3.15m bonus.

Lyor Cohen, head of the US recorded music business, received $1m and $5.24m respectively. Les Bider, the veteran chairman of the Warner Chappell music publishing business, received a $2.44m total payment.

The SEC document, filed as part of a $565m bond exchange offer by Warner Music, also reveals misgivings by outside auditors over internal accounting skills and royalty payment systems.

In its "S4" filing, Warner insists it has addressed problem areas such as appointing a permanent chief financial officer and establishing an audit committee.

But the company admits "additional measures will be necessary and these measures along with other measures we expect to take to improve our internal controls may not be sufficient to address the issues identified by our outside auditors".

Warner Music explained that these further measures would involve setting up financial controls and management systems that were previously handled by Time Warner, its former parent company, but were absent in the demerged company.

The weaknesses were identified as Warner Music is considering a potential initial public offering in the first half of this year, expected to place a $5bn enterprise value on the company.

The audit concerns do not relate to executive remuneration.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

LEMUR heads west

This looks like fun:

The Beall Center for Art and Technology

*JazzBot *

A performance of jazz piano and robotic musical instruments
Featuring Kei Akagi, piano

Wednesday March 9, 6:00 PM - FREE

Beall Center for Art and Technology
Claire Trevor School of the Arts
University of California, Irvine

Jazz pianist Kei Akagi of the UCI Music Department will give a brief performance in live interaction with a collection of robotic musical instruments. The robotic instruments, designed by LEMUR (the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots), are currently installed as an exhibition in the Beall Center for Art and Technology. Mr. Akagi will provide a demonstration of realtime musical interaction between man and machines, using music composed by, and musically intelligent robotic behavior programmed by, UCI professor Christopher Dobrian.

The 20-minute performance will be followed by a question-and-answer session with professors Akagi and Dobrian and LEMUR founder Eric Singer.

Seating is limited; for reservations phone (949) 824-4339.

Kei Akagi is professor of Jazz Composition and Performance in the UCI Music Department. Christopher Dobrian is professor of Composition and Technology, and director of the Gassmann Electronic Music Studio and the Realtime Audio Research Laboratory. The LEMUR exhibition is ongoing at the Beall Center through March 19, 2005.

Mr. Akagi will perform on a Yamaha Disklavier grand piano, with generous support from the Yamaha Corporation of America, the Gassmann Electronic Music Studio of UCI, and the Beall Center for Art and Technology.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The curmudgeon gets his comeuppance

Quick! If you hurry you can contribute to what promises to be a gargantuan bonfire of Pierre Boulez's works! And rest assured, it's all being done in accordance with the master's aesthetic precepts.

What am I talking about? It's the Pierre Boulez Project, of course.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Jazz: The Music of a Good Night's Rest?

Somehow I think that this article is actually talking about the most banal of smooth jazz. (From the headline: "Forget counting sheep, next time you are having trouble dropping off to sleep try putting on a jazz CD.")