The greatest takeaway from examining 4 decades of data on music sales and revenue is the record industry's success in reinventing itself in the face of technological change.

By TheStreet Staff May 9, 2013 1:13PM

thestreet logoWoman listening to music on her headphones (© nicolas hansen/E+/Getty Images)By Jonathan Blum, TheStreet


When Liz Kennedy informed me I had access to data on every music industry sale over the past 40 years, I had no idea it would feel this sad.


As director of communications for Recording Industry Association of America, Kennedy is the gatekeeper to the Industry Shipment Statistics database.


Here, since 1973, the RIAA has kept a running tab of music sold in all formats -- compact discs, vinyl records, casette tapes, downloaded singles -- by such industry heavyweights as Warner Music GroupSony Music Entertainment and  Universal Music Group.  


Tech stocks are out of favor, and cheap as a result. But the sector should get a boost -- starting in the year's second half -- as corporations start spending their IT budgets.

By StreetAuthority May 8, 2013 3:00PM
Investing in tech stocksBy David Sterman, StreetAuthority                                                           
This is not a good time to be running a tech company.

Corporate clients continue to withhold capital spending funds, investing only in areas that promise rapid payback or require modest sums to realize incremental improvements.

Additionally, spending by the U.S. government -- a major buyer of hardware, software and services -- has been nearly frozen as the sequester limits (or even shrinks) information technology budgets.

Adding insult, tech companies' foreign sales divisions in Europe and Asia are noting a high degree of spending caution.

How bad are business conditions? Based on updated second-quarter guidance, tech companies are expecting revenues to decline 5% year on year in the current quarter, according to Bloomberg. With the exception of a few quarters in late 2008 and early 2009, we haven't seen a drop like that since the dot-com implosion.

As a matter of fairness, Congress should pass an Internet sales tax bill. But the final bill should fix problems for retailers having to deal with tax codes from multiple jurisdictions.

By TheStreet Staff May 7, 2013 4:31PM

thestreet logoCursor on shopping cart icon button © Ed Honowitz, Photodisc, Getty ImagesBy Peter Morici


The Senate on Monday passed the Marketplace Fairness Act on a 69-27 vote, empowering states to collect sales taxes for out-of-state purchases made online. The legislation is expected to face a bigger hurdle in the House. Though flawed, the House should improve the measure and then approve it. 


I don't like the idea of  state and local governments collecting more tax revenues -- they know no limits to their capacity to squander our hard-earned dollars. But the current situation is unfair,  and bad economic policy.


In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court held that states did not have the power to levy taxes on online sales unless the retailer has a physical presence in their state. Consequently, major online retailers like L.L. Bean routinely collect the appropriate state sales taxes in jurisdictions where they have a store or warehouse but do not on sales in states where they do not have a physical presence.


The appointment of Renée James as president demonstrates the board's commitment to a new strategy to help take Intel chips into new devices.

By TheStreet Staff May 6, 2013 8:15PM

thestreet logoIntel logoBy Dana Blankenhorn


Intel (INTC) is going to some pains to make it appear the appointment of Brian Krzanich as chief executive is an orderly succession.


It's not.


While Krzanich is being given the keys to the car, he's not sitting in the front seat all alone. There's a president next to him. The two share an "executive office," giving this president extraordinary power.


Those who have commented on this note that said the president, Renée James, is a female person.


Tablets have changed how we use media, and in an amazingly short time. Are you and your investments aligned with this trend?

By TheStreet Staff May 3, 2013 12:27PM

thestreet logoTablet computerBy Dana Blankenhorn


Last night I put the ballgame on my TV, turned off the sound, pulled on some headphones, and watched a different TV show on my Amazon (AMZN) Kindle Fire.


Meanwhile, my wife read a succession of books on her Kindle; in her college dorm, our daughter played with her new Apple (AAPL) iPad.


The tablet era was supposed to arrive slowly but instead it came in with a bang.


The latest reports from market research company IDC tell the tale. Tablet sales up 142% year over year in the first quarter. PC sales down almost 14%.



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[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 (+0.3%) remains near its best level of the session, while the Dow (-0.1%) remains in the red.

Since our last update, the International Monetary Fund has lowered its growth forecast for the U.S. to 1.7% from 2.0% and said the Fed may need to delay its first rate hike due to the contraction that took place in the first quarter. Furthermore, the IMF described the U.S. labor market as 'reasonably healthy.'

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