Produced by Japan-based S.H. Figuarts, these 6-inch action figures of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo were created under the direct supervision of the duo themselves.
The action figures wear the attire from the chart-toppers’ latest album, Random Access Memories, and are crafted with meticulous attention to detail with seven sets of left/right interchangeable hand parts for recreation of dynamic posing.
The action figures go on sale Dec. 27 in the United States for $45.
Even though Jay-Z began giving away a million copies of his new album Magna Carta Holy Grail on July 4, the set is still bound for a big week once it goes on sale July 9. Industry sources suggest it might sell 350,000 – 400,000 by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, July 14.
Magna Carta‘s first-week sales forecast is based partly on how well the title is performing with pre-orders through digital retailers. It became available to pre-order via iTunes on July 4.
In turn, the album is seemingly a lock for No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart next week. It would mark Jay-Z’s 13th chart-topper, extending his record as the solo artist with the most No. 1 albums in history. (Only the Beatles, with 19 No. 1s, have more leaders.)
Magna Carta‘s retail release date comes five days after it became available for free to some Samsung photo and tablet users.
Jay-Z’s last solo studio album, 2009′s The Blueprint 3, opened at No. 1 with 476,000 sold in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. He returned to the top slot in 2011 with the collaborative album Watch the Throne (with Kanye West). It started at No. 1 with 436,000.
“Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.”
Shazam has entered into a strategic partnership with, and received an investment from, Mexican telecommunications company America Movil. Part of a conglomerate of companies owned by businessman Carlos Slim Helu, America Movil has put $40 million into Shazam that will aid its growth into advertising and television and help the audio recognition service expand in Latin America.
This deal isn’t just about the money, Shazam executive chairman Andrew Fisher tells Billboard. “The reality is we have a very strong balance sheet and we didn’t necessarily need to do a fund raise. We’ve actually preserved a lot of the cash we raised in the last round,” he says.
Instead, the investment and partnership reflect the strategic value of a relationship with America Movil and Slim. Although the service is available worldwide — the app is available for both smartphones and feature phones — the company has recently focused on North America and Western Europe. Initiatives in advertising and TV have helped double its user base to 325 million since its previous funding round in June 2011.
America Movil is the largest component of the conglomeration built by Slim, Forbes’ richest man in the world for the last four years. The company has operations throughout Latin America that cover fixed and mobile telephony, broadband and fixed-line Internet services and digital television. Slim’s investments also includes mining, real estate and professional soccer teams.
“Carlos Slim is much broader than America Movil in terms of the portfolios of operations they have in the territory,” Fisher says.
The partnership will help expand Shazam’s user base — the app will be pre-loaded on mobile devices in Latin America — but also provide opportunities to change the way people in the territory access information over the Internet.
“As we got into that conversation about Latin America and partnering with America Movil,” Fisher says, “we also saw opportunity in the emerging category of media engagement,” or the way people access content through music, television and advertisements.
A larger Shazam that better engages consumers will have an impact on the music industry. The audio recognition tool is a popular way to discover and buy songs. The company says it is responsible for more than $300 million of purchases a year through affiliate partners such as iTunes. Moreover, that figure is almost doubling every year. Fisher says more than 500,000 tracks are sold through Shazam every day, or about 10% of the global value of digital sales value in 2012, and the daily rate is almost doubling annually.
“People will buy at the point of inspiration if you make it really easy for them,” Fisher says.
The America Movil funding could provide the company with momentum toward an initial public stock offering — although the company is not in a hurry. Fisher says Shazam still has plenty of cash from its last funding. That gives it the flexibility to make acquisitions and grow as a private company rather than a public company.
Shazam is already headed in that direction. Brent Hoberman, co-founder of British travel and gift business Lastminute.com, became a non-executive director in December and is helping navigate the company to an initial public stock offering. Lastminute.com went public in March 2000 and was acquired by Sabre Holdings in 2005.
Don Cannon has been appointed as Def Jam’s Vice President A&R. Cannon will be based in Atlanta and work in conjunction with head A&R, Karen Kwak and President & COO, Steve Bartels. Says Cannon:
“A music person can only dream about being at Def Jam, the most important hip-hop destination in the world. I feel I have a cutting edge vision for where the culture and hip-hop are heading and I’m excited to be joining the team. I’m already working 24/7 to drive the innovation of music forward and I’m confident we’ll land some big successes in the very near future.”