Friday, May 24, 2002
posted by Randy on 1:10 PM |
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- A Scientist For The Rest of Us is a nice summary from Salon of the late, great Stephen Jay Gould's ideas and why they are important. Me n' him both attended Antioch College, so I've got to give him a mad shout-out, yo.
- The Online Journalism Review has an excellent (but very long) report about the successes and failures of the Time/Warner-AOL merger when it comes to the company's online news properties. The insider info is good, but getting the consumer side of things from a grand total of three college students is kinda slim.
- Andrew Benson bought a Pepsi for a dollar at his school store. He twisted off the cap and learned he won four tickets to a Britney Spears contest and 200 dollars in spending money. He didn't want it, so he took the cash equivillent prize of $475. After his parents pitched in 25 bones to make it an even 500, the kid decided to split it with his nine brothers and sisters and four cousins. 500 divided by 14 comes out to $35.71 for each kid. That's a lot of moon pies and penny whistles (or maybe two CDs) for doing nothing but being born into the right family at the right time. I can't say I would've been as generous when I was 14.
- The Music Company, the record label headed by Metallica drummer and file-trading nemesis Lars Ulrich, has closed it's doors. Systematic will move over to Elektra while the other acts (DDT, Goudie and Brand New Immortals) will be label-less. No word on weather Lars blames peer-to-peer trading on his inability break these bands.
- Courtney Makes It Official — Hole Are No More. Isn't this one of those situations where everyone but the band realizes they are broken up. Between her film career, her lawsuit against Universal, her lawsuit against the living members of Nirvana, her side projects and raising Francis Bean, did anyone really expect her to get Hole back together? Not me, certainly.
- The Detroit Electronic Music Festival is this weekend. I grew up in the area and I can auure you that nothing this cool ever happened there and the fact that a million plus people have shown up to get their groove on is freakin' awesome. i'm not the biggest fan of the genre, but I'm down for people coming to celebrate an art in a town that took forever to embrace the creativity coming from it's own people-- it is Motown afterall.
- Veteran country band Alabama is gearing up to call it quits. Of course, they have to complete a mammoth farewell tour. Whcih I am assuming will be followed by a boxed set. And then, years from now, there will be the reunion. Bank on it.
- Did you miss FOX's "Celebrity Boxing II"??? Please, read this summary for a hysterical take on what you missed.
Thursday, May 23, 2002
posted by Randy on 11:27 AM |
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- The R.I.A.A. is in the wrong on a lot of issues (file sharing, sampling, webcasting rates, how artist contracts are structured, CD pricing), but they've finally got one right: they're calling for a federal investigation into payola in the increasingly deregulated radio business. The campaign will include legislation promised by Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) to close the loopholes that allow payola to continue unabated. I applaud this effort but also must note that the this seems like the A&R people are complaining that it's too expensive to get their music on the radio while their legal people are trying their hardest to kill internet radio, which could collectively grow to be a serious competitor to Clear Channel.
- In addition to the release of their new album, Murray Street, next month, Sonic Youth have begun work on a trio of reissues, the first of which, Dirty , is scheduled for release this summer. The band has been pouring through unreleased demos and songs for the series, which will see , Dirty , Daydream Nation and Goo remastered and reissued with new liner notes and a bonus CD of new material.
- Weezer has the emo/rock hipster tour of the summer ready to launch: they'll be playing "the sheds" with with Dashboard Confessional and The Strokes. It should be noted, however, that The Strokes will only be along for a handful of dates.
Wednesday, May 22, 2002
posted by Randy on 11:19 AM |
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- The Bush administration yesterday dropped a controversial plan to change the way the government's antitrust agencies review corporate mergers and acquisitions. Another good decision by government officials-- that's two in two days! The plan would've taken approval of mergers in the Internet, software, telecommunications and entertainment sectors away from the (basically) non-partisan Federal Trade Commission and given it to the political charged Justice Department.
- Speaking of the Justice Dept., they announced yesterday that they will investigate claims that three Florida counties, as well as one municipality in Tennessee and one in Missouri, illegally kept voters away from the polls. Peep this Salon story for full details and commentary, but you'll need a Premium subscription to read the whole thing.
- Kazaa BV, creator of a popular but controversial online file-sharing network, is folding in the face of a copyright-infringement lawsuit brought by leading record and film companies. Don't worry, file traders-- the system works even with the company out of business and Kazaa sold the software to Sherman Networks a little while ago. Still, it sucks to see the Industry putting another inventive company out of business instead of working with them to make a kick ass product.
- Fodder for a Behind The Music that will never be: Alien Ant Farm Injured In Bus Accident. Singer Dryden Mitchell and bassist Tye Zamora were taken to a local hospital to be treated for slight fractures, but their bus driver was killed after their tour bus collided with a truck in Cáceres, Spain, early Wednesday morning.
- The troubles for R. Kelly never stop: The album he's currently working on is already bootlegged. Excellent quote in this article: "These are things that I'm trying to change in my life: The women thing, the so-called friends thing. I probably spent like $2 million a year on just Chinese food and pizza for everybody 'cause I've got these 10 people in the studio that don't sing or that don't produce."
- Jay-Z is setting up a tour with a very interesting line-up: his Roc-A-Fella family, Mos Def, De La Soul, and rock groups 311 and Hoobastank. Sort of a manuscript flip on alt-rock tours that include one hip-hop act. It'll be especially interesting if Mos Def performs with his Black Jack Johnson rock group. I just might buy myself a ticket to that tour.
- Salon scores again with an interesting article about why Japanese-style wireless services haven't yet (and probably won't ever) take off like gang-busters in the U.S. The long and short of it is this: in Japan people spend a good chunk of time waiting for and riding on public transport, thus giving them the time to fool around with their wireless devices. Thanks to the U.S. car culture, that simply isn't something that's happening now.
Tuesday, May 21, 2002
posted by Randy on 1:09 PM |
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The Biggest News Of The Day:
- The Librarian of Congress responded to the report of the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel ("CARP") that recommended rates and terms for the statutory license for eligible nonsubscription services to perform sound recordings publicly by means of digital audio transmissions ("webcasting"). Essentially, The Librarian of Congress said 'No.". This is very good news-- all your e-mails, faxes and calls have not been in vain and there now stands a chance that The Librarian of Congress will set rates so that a valuable resource like webcasting is not put only in the hands of major broadcasters. In cases such as this, the law provides that the Librarian shall issue his final determination within 30 days of his decision to reject the Panel’s proposed rates and terms. The final determination is due on June 20, 2002. Keep your fingers crossed, keep contacting your representatives and keep up with both saveinternetradio.org and The Future of Music Coalition.
Not As Big, But Still Important News Of the Day:
- Starting today, Kazaa users will begin to see links to songs for sale from record labels and advertisements linked to keyword searches. This is just the first vision of what Altnet will do when attatched to Kazaa-- namely give you links to crap you probably weren't looking for land bombard you with ads for products you aren't interested in-- ike every search engine these days except the almighty Google. With so many other file trading options out there, it seems crazy for Kazaa to load up their software with this crap. But I guess they need the cash.
- So, The Wall Street Journal saw fit to report it when U.S. drug czar John Walters announced a survey that shows the government's anti-drug ads have completely failed to slow down teen drug use. Why not The New York Times or The Washington Post? It couldn't be becuase they run those very same ads, could it? This author of this Village Voice article seems to think so. My take: Mmmmmmmmmmmayybe-- but having worked on the journalistic side of things, I can say that it most likely was just an oversight and a decision to go with a sexier story (the much regretable "Bush knew and did nothing" stories that are the biggest case of 20/20 hindsight I've ever seen-- and I hate Bush with a passion!).
- EMI Group Announces Lower Profits. No comment from me aside from the usual Death To the Record Industry screed.
Other News, Noteworthy To Some, Less Noteworhy To Others:
- Bush will carry on without Nigel Pulsford, the band's founding guitarist. He orignally took a break just from touring, but now he's out for good.
- Eminem will kick your ass if he catches you putting his next album up for free on the Internet. I hope his feet are well rested-- he'll have a lot of kicking to do.
- The Dr. Dre and Timbaland vs. Jermaine Dupri battle has a new partcipant-- Dr. Dre pal Xzibit. Check this page for full details of Xzibit's freestyle dis and for a link to an MP3 of the song.
- Three original members of The Litte River Band
are reforming to perform at a charity concert-- the first time they've performed together in 20 years. They can't use the Little River Band name due to legal snafus. May I suggest The Little River Band U.K.? The Big Lake Ensamble?
- Patenting DNA sequences is ethically and legally tricky, so some geneticists have found away around it. Turn the sequences into music and copyright 'em. In theory, the copyright would then be held for 95 years or more -- as opposed to the 17 years given under current patent law.
- Ever think you could do better commentary than what comes with your DVD. Go for it stud, roll you own DVD commentary and share it with the world.
- Using his own equipment in his basement, Paul Westerbeg recorded Stereo for a grand total of $1,000. It can be done, kids, you just gotta get off the record industry's dick.
Please, let me know if you're out there reading!
Monday, May 20, 2002
posted by Randy on 12:23 PM |
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- Third Eye Blind Recruit Fred Durst, Andrew W.K. For Third Album . I'm not the biggest fan of any of the artists involved in this story, but it still is a pretty interesting story. I'm all for artists experimenting and expanding their horizons a bit, and this article makes it sound like that's what 3EB are doing.
- Former Fugees Producer John Forte Keeps Hope Alive In Jail Cell. Sentenced to 14 years in prison in November after being found guilty of possession of 31 pounds of liquid cocaine with intent to distribute, Forte takes some time to talk about his latest album (I, John) and his colab with down ass gangsta bitch Carly Simon..
- This review of a Billy Bob Thornton concert (yes, you read that correctly-- he has touring in support of widely panned solo album) reminds me of the time I saw Power Station on a reunion tour at The Fillmore. Started off with a few hundred people, there were like 100 left by the end. Robert Palmer was very surly about the whole thing.
- As The CD Turns — New Wave Of Soap Stars Poised To Go Pop. Wasn't Jack Wagner's All I Need all we ever needed to hear to realize this is a bad idea? See also: Don Johnson's Heartbeat and Bruce Willis' Return of Bruno. Heck, just pick up the Golden Throats compilation for the most convincing argument of all.
- Hey Mr. DJ, Put a Record On: Vinyl is now out-selling cassettes in the U.K.
- The long-awaited Rage Against the Machine/Chris Cornell project snuck its way onto the airwaves at Los Angeles radio station KROQ a few times between Thursday (May 16) and Friday (May 17) morning. Peep the news item for fan reaction-- Led Zep and Soundgarden comparisons: good sign. Bush Sixteen Stone comparisons: bad sign.
- The Breeders had to fight not to use ProTools on their latest, says front woman Kim Deal. According to her, this is part of the reason why it took so long to follow-up Last Splash. For those not in the know, ProTools is a computer program that music engineers use to digitally record bands in the studio-- making things like pitch control, looping, samples and other knob-twiddling goodies a snap. When you hear an artist that cooks on the album but can't cut it live, ProTools is often the reason why.
- 8Ball & MJG are signing to Bad Boy Records. I really hope this gives them the recognition they've lacked for so long. They are a very solid, inventive "dirty-south" rhyming duo and 8ball's Lost is perhaps one of the greatest rap double albums. Their next album, a compilation of their guest appearances on other artist's songs, will be called Slepped On Classics. Nice.
- Here's a cute little story about the dude who DJ's the Detroit Red Wings' home games. Maybe you have to be a DJ to appericate it, I don't know. Also be sure to peep the list of songs he plays for certain situations-- he's pretty clever.
- Here's more detailed info about the latest dealings at Napster and Bertelsmann AG. Memos that include the question "how can you sleep?"-- never a good idea.
- Do you think you can sell at least 10,000 copies of your album? Then maybe you want to sign with IMusic. The label is not offering big advances to artists, nor will it propose expensive promotional campaigns for mainstream radio and TV exposure. What it is offering artists is full ownership of the master tapes, total creative control and a 50-50 split of net revenues. Basically, if everyone works hard, everyone has the potential to make money. Sounds fair to me.
- A Bad, Sad Hollywood Ending? is a nice little summary in Business Week about why legislation recently introduced by Senator Ernest F. Hollings in March of this year is just a bad, bad idea-- especially when it comes to open-software projects like Linux. On a similar note, Time Magazine has a huge article about how file sharing and CD burning are killing the music industry (and how the music industry is certainly helping things along by not giving the customers what they want).
- The Fight for the Right to Copy summarizes very nicely the issues in front of the Supreme Court as they decide weather it is a good idea or not to extend the life of copywights before things fall into the public domain. A closer examination of the public domain issue can be found in this Washington Post article.
- Dude, if you're gonna get baked and take your wife to see Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, please hire a babysitter!
R U reading this? E-mail me and let me know!
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