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    Friday, August 02, 2002

    • Sony Music Cuts 100 U.S. Workers
      "(Sony) is redirecting its resources in order to maximize the efficiency of its operations and effectively meet the challenges of an evolving industry," a Sony spokesperson said. "As a result, approximately 100 employees may be leaving the company." Miracle of all miracles-- the spokesperson didn't explicitly lay this at the feet at p2p file trading and CD burning. If I was one of those 100 folks, I'd be pretty angry with Michael Jackson right about now.

    • Irv Gotti Plans To Bring Michael Jackson 'Back To His Dominance'
      Hardcore hip-hop producer Irv Gotti working with "King of Pop" Michael Jackson? According to Gotti, it could happen. Read the article for a really funny take on what it's like to visit Neverland.

    • Jam Master Jay Opens Scratch Academy
      Already in it's 3rd semester, the six week courses teach upcoming DJ's the history of turntablism & DJ'ing techniques. More info can be found at

    • Too Short Gets Serious (About Pimpin') On New Album
      Because before he was just joking? The often imitated, never duplicated Too $hort lets loose some excellnt words of wisdom in this interview. About the song "She Loves Her"-- "We basically had a couple of females go in the vocal booth and have sex while we played the song back a bunch of times," Short said of the hot and heavy track. "I sampled different things they said and sampled their moans and used them as a snare sound. It's about women having an intimate moment without male interference. I didn't curse on that song at all I said everything in a real respectful manner."

    • Tech-Savvy DJs Have Destiny's Child Singing With Nirvana
      MTV article about "mash-ups"/bootlegs-- about two years too late to the party, but oh well. They do have by far the most artist commentary about the phenom, whihc is cool.

    • Ice-T Hawks Ice Cream To Hard Head Kids, Forms Sex, Money And Guns
      I'm sort of hesitant to say this, mainly because I'm a huge Ice-T fan. Oh well, here it goes-- Ice-T is alligning himself with this ice cream company in order to get out positive messages to kids. Does the average kid today even know that Ice-t had (er, has) a music career? It's my guess that the majority know him better from TV and movies. The bigger part of this story is the nugget MTV buried at the bottom-- Ice-T, Smoothe Da Hustler and Trigger Tha Gambler have formed a group called SMG (Sex, Money and Guns) and are working on a debut to drop early next year. N.O.R.E. and Gang Starr's Guru and are among the guests on the album.

    • Free Slick Rick-- Sign The Petition!!
      Rap pioneer Slick Rick is currently awaiting deportation back to England-- where he hasn't lived since he was a kid-- and sitting in a jail cell while the courts go through the motions. His peeps at DefJam have started a petition drive-- be sure to lend your support!

    • Kane & Abel Ready New Album, New Novel
      Twin brothers Kane & Abel, will release their latest album, The Last Ones Left on October 15. The kicker is that they're both currently incarcerated-- serving 10 year sentences for receiving 10 kilograms of cocaine from drug kingpin Richard Pena in 1996 and 1997. Not only that-- they are serving their sentences in seperate facilities. They finished the book and album before they began their sentences.

    • Punk Mainstays Converge On California
      Bad Religion, X, the Damned, T.S.O.L., the Distillers, the Vandals, the Adolescents, Pennywise, G.B.H., Unwritten Law, and New Found Glory are among the punk acts scheduled to play Glen Helen Blockbuster Pavilion in Devore, Calif on Sept. 14. Bigger acts are expected to be annouced soon-- including possibly The Sex Pistols and Blink-182.

    • Blondie Calling Again
      Blondie will continue working on a new album once they rap up their summer tour. The album is currently scheduled to be relased in February. A little nugget burried deep in this story-- Blondie and their record company EMI/Chrysalis habe come to a new agreement about royalties. After all these years and hits, Blondie has only just now gotten a better rate then they did when they first signed.

    • KRS-One Calls For Artist Minimum Wage
      Not a bad idea, actually. KRS-One always speaks the truth, but he should also be concentrating on putting out a kick-ass album, which he hasn't done in a while.

    posted by Randy on 11:19 AM | permanent link to this entry

    Thursday, August 01, 2002

    • Pressplay to Offer Unlimited Downloads
      One step up, two steps back. It's a smoke-and-mirrors move with a little bit of substace to it. Consumers will be able to download or stram as much as they want for $179.40 but they can only burn 120 songs a year to CDs.. Packages that allow more songs to be burned will be available for individual purchase and some of the music available on Pressplay, which offers songs from Sony, Universal and EMI Music, will not be available under all of the features of the new plan. And we get no mention here of how artists are being compensated for their work.

    • Priscilla Presley Plans Project
      Here's the dilly-yo: A nation-wide casting search a la "American Idol" for two leads in a musical about Elvis and Priscilla Presley a la that silly ABBA play. You'll probably never see a more cleaned up version of Elvis' life, but so be it. And couldn't they add another "P" word into that headline? "Priscilla Presley Plans Play Project" maybe? How about "Priscilla Presley Personally Plans Play Project"?

    • Sam Moore Discusses What He Wants Out Of Music-Industry Hearings
      Kudos to Sam for not just barking "The money that's due my pension fund, asshole!" I mean, that is what he wants, but he also says he doing this for all the other artists in the record industry.

    • N.W.A Classics To Be Reissued With Bonus Tracks
      1988's Straight Outta Compton and 1991's N---az4life, will be re-released with bonus tracks. Also coming is The N.W.A Legacy 2, a 19-song collection that includes the final two N.W.A cuts, "Chin Check" from 1999's "Next Friday" soundtrack, and "Hello" from Ice Cube's 2000 release War and Peace Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc), along with a host of solo tracks from N.W.A. members and associates (like Xzibit and Snoop Dogg). The N.W.A Legacy 2 will be released on August 27 and the re-releases will hit stores on September 24. The digitally remastered reissue of Straight Outta Compton features the bonus cuts "Express Yourself (Extended Mix)," "Bonus Beats," "Straight Outta Compton (Extended Mix)," "A Bitch Iz a Bitch" and a live version of "Compton's in the House." The N---az4life reissue will include the 1990 EP 100 Miles & Runnin'.

    • Anti-Pop Consortium Calls It Quits
      Okay, so they never broke-through in a big way, but I'm still sorta surprised. Especially since they just finished opening up for DJ Shadow. Oh well. The linked article talks a bit about the members' planned solo projects.

    • Sammy's Done With Diamond Dave
      I actually agree with everything Sammy says in this article. He just leaves out one thing-- while Dave wouldn't be playng big arenas without Sammy, the reverse is also true.

    • Roots Still Studying Phrenology
      Small Rolling Stone piece about The Roots' next album. All I've gotta say is I saw them a few weeks ago on the Smokin' Grooves tour and they just killed it. Most disturbing part of the linked article: ?uestlove is experimenting with drum machines(?!?!?) Say it ain't so!!

    • Classical, Pop Musicians Declining to Perform in Israel
      An interesting piece, but it neglects to examine the obvious: is or is not touring by major acts (especially American acts) down all across Europe? It's my understanding that it is after 9-11.

    • Bootleg Culture
      Excellent piece in Salon about the appeal of "mash-ups," why the industry hates 'em, why they are the D.I.Y.-anyone-can-do-it promise of punk come true and why they may be among the few underground music sensations that will never break-though in a big way becuase of copyright law. Excellent piece from top to bottom.

    posted by Randy on 11:12 AM | permanent link to this entry

    Wednesday, July 31, 2002

    Is my Blog HOT or NOT? You know it is, baby! Hot like wasabi! Raw like sushi! L-A-M-F!!

    posted by Randy on 3:56 PM | permanent link to this entry

    • Music Pirates Delivering Loot Via AOL Public Sites
      So many lessons from this story. 1) No matter how fast anti-file sharing forces are, tech-savvy file traders are quicker. 2) Content focused Big Media companies like AOLTW will never be small and limber and tech-focused enough to respond to these challenges. and of course, 3) Information wants to be free.

    • Male Neosoul Singers Are Struggling
      Big ups to the AP for pointing out something that I never really realized-- Neo-soul R&B cats like D'Angelo, Maxwell, Musiq, Glenn Lewis, et. al. don't get the same amount of sales and play as their Neo-soul sisters and their harder-core R&B/rap brothers. Which is a shame, becuase they've been making some of the most moving music over the past, oh, half-decade.

    • India.Arie Takes A Voyage On Second Album
      While your contemplating the fate of D'Angelo and the gang, circle September 24 on your calendar. India.Arie's A Voyage To India comes out on that date.

    • Elvis Ranch Developers Face Hurdle
      Why in the name of the King would anyone travel to Horn Lake, Mississippi (27 miles outside of Memphis, home of Brownie Troop 110) to stay at a ranch built on a part of land once owned by Elvis Presley? Not a complete lot owned by Elvis. Not an old building owned by Elvis. Just a segement of the land they want to build this themed ranch on was owned by Elvis. Wake me for the bankruptcy sale.

    • Cam'ron Busted In N.Y.C.
      Oh boy. Cam'ron was busted for having a fake FDNY parking permit, drugs and a gun.

    • Replacements Reissues Finally On The Way
      Remastered, but with no extras. 1981's Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out the Trash, 1982's Stink, 1983's Hootenany and 1984's Let It Be will finally be reissued Sept. 3 through Restless Records and Rykodisc. Those tapes The Replacements threw in the Mississippi River after an ownership dispute turned out not to be the masters after all. Twin/Tone co-founder Peter Jesperson -- who currently runs Los Angeles-based New West Records -- reportedly has more than 70 hours of rarities that he hopes to use in the future for a comprehensive Replacements box set. Potential material for that project includes the band's 1980 demo tape and outtakes from all four of the Twin/Tone discs, including "Let It Be"-era tunes such as "Who's Gonna Take Us Alive" and "Temptation Eyes."

    • Stewart Rifles Through Standards For J Debut
      Well, at least Rod Stewart is acting his age. His fortchcoming album (due Oct. 15) will feature his takes on classics like "It Had To Be You," "These Foolish Things," "Moonglow," "For All We Know," They Can't Take That Away From Me" and "The Way You Look Tonight."

    • Spinning Into Irrelevance
      Yet another Spin sucks editorial. It's still true, too. On the other hand-- this piece about the L.A. Latinos who are really into The Smiths is awesome.

    • Boss of U.S. Media Giant in Beijing to Seek MTV Access
      In this case and in this case only am I in favor of Chinese censorship. If they aren't gonna open up the airwaves to other competitors, it be a huge cultural mistake to allow MTV on the other side of The Wall, so to speak. And it's not like MTV doesn't already have a pressence there-- MTV is broadcast to a limited audience in China made up of some luxury hotels and foreigner-approved residences and shows it in hourly blocks on 50 or 60 cable systems in 45 provinces and cities.

    • AOL Time Warner: Government Opens Probe
      More trouble thanks to funny accounting. Both the SEC and the Department of Justice are investigationg. How soon until they start investigating the royalty accounting of major record labels?

    • FYE Stores to Give Prime Shelf Space to Local Acts
      A program at FYE (For Your Entertainment) stores will give prime space to hot local acts in the chain's more than 650 mall-based stores. We're talking end-cap placement here, fols! This is pretty cool news for small, local acts.

    • Copy Protection on CD's now REQUIRED by RIAA?
      It seems that the R.I.A.A. is requiring CD manufacturers to conform to their anti-piracy efforts-- even if artist/label on the manufactured CD is indie and doesn't want the copy protection. Hello, restraint of trade? Anti-trust? Hello?

    posted by Randy on 12:17 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Tuesday, July 30, 2002

    • AT&T and AOL Said to Seek Delay in Evaluation of Joint Venture
      If they tried, I don't think they could make a business deal more convoluted and harder for me to understand. To me, it all smells like trickery and strategery, especially since AOLTW is so desperate to hold on to HBO and Warner Bros. exclusively and not take them public.

    • Senator Says RIAA Reps Were Given Ample Opportunity for Rebuttal
      The R.I.A.A. is complaining that they were not given time to testify in the hearings about record label accounting practices. Sen. Martha Escutia is calling them on their bullshit.

    • Departure Clouds Bertelsmann Future
      The abrupt departure of Thomas Middelhoff as the chief executive of Bertelsmann AG raises serious questions about the German media giant's drive to expand internationally, its focus on the Internet and its plans to go public. Middelhoff is the third senior executive to be toppled from a major media company in a month. He also si the second head of a European media giant to take the fall after trying to make their company too American (see also the recent dust up at Vevindi/Universal). Also, Middelhoff's departure is probably bad news for Napster.

    • Earthlink Jumps Into Online Music Fray
      Getting closer, but not quite. This is probably the first step towards paying your ISP a premium for on demand contnet and/or an all-you-can-eat buffet of music/movies/whatever.

    • Sour Notes
      Good piece in Salon about how the R.I.A.A.'s lawsuits have made it harder to download music, but hasn't completely killed file-sharing yet. Now that the beast is injured, the R.I.A.A. members should strike while the iron his hot and offer a kick ass service instead of trying to stomp out all these tiny fires.

    • DMX Barks At Ja Rule For Biting, Plans Dis Track
      All these years of people saying Ja Rule is biting DMX's style, DMX is finally agreeing. And addressing it on wax. Finally, a dis war with a damn. This article says DMX has just finished his autobiography-- E.A.R.L.-- a 352 page book chronicling DMX's early childhood, how he became a rapper & his celebrity exploits. The book is due out Nov. 5th.

    • Syracuse Rapper Disses Jay-Z, Naughty By Nature, Others
      A Syracuse, New York rapper who goes by the name of The Most Talented has a new single out, "Clepto," aimed at Canibus, Ja-Rule, Jay-Z, DMX, Naughty By Nature and Lauryn Hill. His claim is that he submitted material to all of those artists and each of them ripped him off. Why not address it in the courts? The paperwork has been lost, of course.

    • Slick Rick Speaks From Prison: Deportation Would Be 'Inhumane'
      Free Slick Rick! Free Slick Rick!

    • 'The Osbournes' Headed To DVD
      Will Ozzy's commentary tracks be sub-titled? Becuase I can't imagine he's understandable unless you're looking at him. His hand gestures and facial expressions help a lot.

    • The 150-Second Sell, Take 34
      Great, but really long, piece about what goes into making movie trailers appeal to the widest audience possible.

    • John Entwistle's Ex-Wife Slags Late Who Bassist In Australian Newspaper
      Allegedly, Entwhistle lived beyond his means, had big debts and joined his band-mates in always being jealous of The Rolling Stones' hits and business sense.

    • A Contest Pro Wins New Cars Using Special Stick-to-itiveness
      You know those contests where people have to keep their hands on a car for a long time and the last person standing wins the car? The dud in the above story travels the country winning the competitions-- he hasn't had a real job since the mid-80s. My fave part of the piece is that he first got the idea that he could vin becuase he was a vegatarian-- those meat eaters obviously (!) didn't stand a chance.

    posted by Randy on 12:47 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Monday, July 29, 2002

    First Of All: Thank you to everyone who came out to El Rey Del Art's Mind Roastingly Supreme Art Party @ 66 Balmy on Saturday night. I had a great time spinning, I hope y'all enjoyed listening. Relive the memories (or see what you missed) by checking out the pics. For you historical completists, here is the flyer.

    • Australia's Consumer Watchdog Hails Court Decision in Favor of Man Who Modified Sony PlayStation Consoles
      This Australian dude was installing chips into PlayStations that allowed the systems to play imported games or back-up copies. The Australian courts said it was cool, but Sony said it might appeal. Sony won a simialr case in the European courts.

    • Old Guard Bounces Bertelsmann CEO
      I'm conflicted about this news. one the one hand, anything to shake up Big Media is always officially viewed at as good news. On the other hand, ex-Bertelsmann Chief Executive Thomas Middelhoff had a vision that incorporated the internet in a pretty intellegent way-- he was just ahead of the marketplace in implementing his ideas. Which leads to big debts, which leads to getting fired. The latest is that he's being courted by AOLTimeWarner, but we'll just have to see.

    • Lion's Share Found in DEN Ruins
      Remember Difital Entertainment Network? They got a bunch of money and made a bunch of net-tv shows that nobody watched and then right after they went under one of their founders fled the country 'cause he was being charged with child molestation? Remember them? Their remaining assests (the websites and the programming) were just sold for $105,000. It cost them $30 million to make that programming, mind you.

    • Will Smith Defends Slick Rick
      Old school rap pioneer Slick Rick is about to be deported back to England (which should've happened years ago after he served time on an attempted murder charge) , but celebs like Will Smith, Chris Rock, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and New York state Sen. David Paterson are writing letters to the Immigration and Naturalization Service to help keep him in the U.S. Free Slick Rick-- Again!

    • Looking to Watch a TV Show? Try 'ITVL: AA in TV' or 'Spo'
      Okay, I admit it. There is one down-fall to my More Media Made By More People On More Platforms beliefs. The newspaper TV listings (a.k.a. "The Grid") are a bitch.

    • Ozzy Osbourne Taking Leave From Ozzfest To Be With Sharon
      Good for Ozzy. The truly excellent System of a Down will be headlining in his place. Rawk on!

    • Commentary: The End of the Biz as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
      Excellent piece by Hank Borodowitz, who teaches the Introduction to the Music Business Course at Baruch College in New York. The long and short of it-- making it in the music biz (on a major label) is like playing the lottery, but you have a better chance of having a longer career if you buckle down and do as much D.I.Y. stuff as possible.

    posted by Randy on 12:08 PM | permanent link to this entry

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