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MTV’s multi-platform strategy for its Video Music Awards paid dividends with the station’s Overdrive broadband seeing its highest traffic ever with 3.9 million streams, up more than 200% over last year.
TUESDAY MORNING EYE-OPENER
Bobby D’s Times Is Now, Wahlberg’s Still Invincible, VMA Ratings, Shawn Fanning’s Back, Viacom Enters BMG Fray and So On
The summer’s gone… and so are Tom Freston and the Crocodile Hunter. Crikey… vacation’s over, school’s back in session and we’re ready to count down the shopping days until the holidays. Are you ready for some football? Is the treadmill the new launching pad? Is MySpace the new Tower? Are Jessica Simpson and John Mayer (Johnsica?) the new Brangelina? For the answer to these and other burning issues, see below.

Thanks to a #1 standing at iTunes and his album flying off Starbucks shelves faster than caramel frappuccinos, Bob Dylan’s critically acclaimed Modern Times (Columbia) will easily top today’s HITS album chart, with a total that could approach 200k. Bad Boy/Atlantic’s Danity Kane and RCA diva Christina Aguilera compete for the #2 slot with a total of around 115-120k, with T.I. protégé Young Dro’s Grand Hustle/Atlantic debut battling it out with Jessica Simpson’s debut for Epic, A Public Affair, both making Top 5 bows in the 95-100k range. Columbia’s Beyonce and Epic/Interscope’s Audioslave head today’s release schedule.

Mark Wahlberg’s Invincible topped the movie box office for the second week in a row, pulling in $15.2 million for a two-week total of $37.8m. Lionsgate’s action film Crank ($13 million) and Neil LaBute’s WB remake of the 1973 horror film The Wicker Man, starring Nicolas Cage ($11.7m) debuted next, despite (or maybe because of) both not being shown to critics in time for Friday reviews. The big story were a couple of sleepers, Fox Searchlight’s cult comedy hit Little Miss Sunshine ($9.7m) and Yari Film Group’s The Illusionist ($8m), which both cracked the Top 5 after opening wide, thanks to good word-of-mouth. The top 12 movies took in $98.7 million over the traditionally slow Labor Day weekend, up slightly from the same weekend last year.

MTV’s multi-platform strategy for its Video Music Awards paid dividends with the station’s Overdrive broadband seeing its highest traffic ever with 3.9 million streams, up more than 200% over last year. The show pulled in an average of 5.77 million total viewers over its three-hour telecast, down 28% from the 8 million viewers last year, according to preliminary data, which is still five times what the net has averaged in primetime this summer. The show averaged a 5.21 share with MTV's target audience of viewers 12-34.

Both the L.A. Times and N.Y. Times reported on something that our own Wheels & Deals editor Rodel Delfin told you about weeks ago, as MySpace has entered the retail fray, thanks to Napster founder Shawn Fanning’s Snocap technology, which allows anyone to sell online downloads. When the online store opens this fall, it will allow bands and labels of any size to sell songs for whatever price they want. The MySpace store will sell music in the MP3 format, however, which means they can be played on the Apple iPod, though without copy protection. For each track it sells, MySpace will charge a band or label a fixed fee of around 45 cents, which it will share with Snocap. Among the major labels, EMI is reportedly in talks with MySpace to participate in the program.

Even before Freston’s resignation, Viacom had teamed up with private equity group Apollo Management and Zelnick Media, a boutique advisory firm headed by former BMG exec Strauss Zelnick, to submit an offer for BMG Music Publishing by last Thursday’s deadline in a bidding battle that could top $1.92 billion. The company is being sold by Bertelsmann to help finance a $5.8-billion buyback of a minority stake in the company. Warner Music Group also bid, in conjunction with Providence Equity, Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Co., and Vivendi's Universal Music Group was also planning to turn in an offer, the sources said. GTCR Golder Rauner, which is working with former record exec Charles Koppelman, who is now the chairman of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, also made a bid, sources said. EMI, which had been working with the private equity firm Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts on an offer, is believed to have dropped out of the auction. It is unclear whether KKR submitted a bid independently. Goldman Sachs Capital Partners has also emerged as a possible bidder, according to Reuters.

AT&T has pacted with Andy Schuon’s IMF: International Music Feed to carry its programming as part of its U-Verse TV line-up. Under the agreement, AT&T U-verse TV customers will have access to IMF’s 24-hour music television programming, featuring music videos, performances and specials. AT&T U-verse TV will also offer IMF’s extensive on-demand music video library.

The Killers are teaming up with director Tim Burton on a video for the track “Bones” off their upcoming album Sam’s Town. Frontman Brandon Flowers didn’t reveal much about the clip other than saying that it would includeskeletons.” Flowers also went on to say that “Bones” may also be the follow-up single to their latest “When You Were Young.” The album drops Oct. 3.

Tonight’s televised music: Toby Keith on Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m.); The Roots on Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m.), Godsmack on Conan O’Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m.) and Kill Hannah on Carson Daly (NBC, 1:35 a.m.)

ON THIS DATE:

In 1966: John Lennon flew to Germany to begin filming How I Won the War with director Richard Lester.

In 1981: Bruce Springsteen joined The Pretenders onstage in Pasadena, CA, to cover the Jackie Wilson classic “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.”

 

In 1986: At the MTV Video Music Awards, Dire Straits won Video of the Year for “Money for Nothing.” It featured a computer-animated repairman, and the classic refrain: “I want my MTV.”

 

In 1987: American Bandstand was cancelled. The show made its nationwide debut in August 1957.

In 1990: B. B. King received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 

In 1991: R.E.M. led the winners at the MTV Video Music Awards taking home five awards, including Video of the Year for “Losing My Religion.”

 

In 1992: John Mellencamp married model Elaine Irwin. He met her on the set of his “Get a Leg Up” video.

 

In 1993: The Red Hot Chili Peppers added Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro as a guitarist.

 

In 2000: Oasis guitarist/songwriter Noel Gallagher split with his wife, Meg Matthews, who was the inspiration for the song "Wonderwall."

 

In 2002: Willie Nelson was treated in Lincoln, NE< after he discovered a broken blood vessel in his nose.

 

In 2002: Primal Scream re-opened London’s storied Marquee Club, whose stage had been graced by everybody from The Who to Led Zeppelin to U2.

 

In 2003: The judge in Beanie Sigel's attempted murder case revoked his bail after hearing testimony that the rapper was threatening witnesses.

 

In 2003: Greendale, the Neil Young-directed film that accompanied his concept album of the same name, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.

In 2005: Sheryl Crow announced she was engaged to multiple Tour de France-winner Lance Armstrong.

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