Pop culture and all that.






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Sharpe World
The Excitement Machine
The Onion
Gray Scale
Lying Media Bastards
In Passing...
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Obscure Store
Romenesko's Media News
Happy Robot
The Freep
The New York Times
The L.A. Times


    Friday, September 27, 2002

    • House Could Vote to Delay Net Broadcast Payments
      House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner introduced a bill late Thursday that would push back an October payment deadline for six months, giving a federal appeals court a chance to rule on the issue. The R.I.A.A. and friends want more money, while broadcasters say the 0.07 cents per listener per song in June that would apply retroactively to 1998 royalty rates will put them out of business. As always, get in contact with your representatives and let them know what you think. And while you're at it...

    • Record Labels Seek OK for Online Music Sabotage
      . . .let 'em know what you think about this. Vigilante justice is never okay. Ever.

    • Girl Groups: Why Can't They Keep It Together?
      MTV News comes to the conclusion: girl groups just can't stop cat fighting. Some interesting thoughts from insiders backing up the premise, too. Is it true? Could be, I suppose.

    • Zomba's $3 Bil Bill Disputed
      German media giant Bertelsmann wants to pay as much as $600 million less than expected to take over mega-indie Zomba Music Group becuase a lot of their roster (Britney Spears, 'NSync, Backstreet Boys) have presumeably peaked and the chances of making a return on such a huge investment have diminished.

    • Alien Ant Farm's Mitchell Recovering
      The bus crash that killed the band's driver did some serious damage to lead singer Dryden Mitchell. Two of Mitchell's vertebrae have been fused, he's gone through massive rehab and he wore a halo brace for three months. He still has nerve damage. Mitchell also said his fingertips have no feeling, which makes it hard to play guitar, and if he moves his head down, his arms fall asleep. Somehow, AAF is set to return to the studio next month. Good luck, y'all.

    • Report: Canceled Shows Make Money
      News Flash: Ticketmaster are a bunch of greedy bastards. Turns out, at least in Denver, that when you get a refund for a cancelled concert you don't get the "order processing fee" back becuase they'e processed the order. This is the one and only time you'll ever see or hear me agreeing with Ticketmaster. They did the work, they should get paid for it. Do the need it? No. But I agree with them.

    • Summer's Concert Take a Bummer
      Again, at least in Denver. But I think I've read this same story in other markets. A hurting economy + huge ticket prices + acts and promoters over estimating their draws = a bad concert season, profit wise.

    • Santana Album To Feature Nickelback's Kroeger, P.O.D., Branch, Dido, Others
      Here's the full guest list for Santana's Shaman, due in stores on Oct. 22.: Nickelback's Chad Kroeger, P.O.D., Michelle Branch, Dido, Citizen Cope, Seal, Macy Gray, Musiq, Placido Domingo, Ozomatli, Alejandro Lerner, Melkie Jean (Wyclef's sister), and Governor Washington.

    posted by Randy on 12:28 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Thursday, September 26, 2002

    Musicians, Labels Launch Campaign Against Piracy
    *Sigh* Just when you thought the music industry couldn't get any more wrong-headed in ther ill-advised battle against giving-the-customer-what-they-want. . .A group called MusicUnited, which includes the R.I.A.A. and a bevvy of other trade groups as well as artists like Eminem, Shakira and Britney Spears, , plans a series of print and broadcast advertisements that paint a grim picture of the harm caused by online file sharing. The ads will be funded, at least initially, by the major record labels' trade association, the Recording Industry Assn. of America.

    Here is what you should know to ballance out their propaganda. Back in the day, Sothwest airlines made huge waves in the airline industry by offering no frills flights. Other airlines fought progress and have only just begun to follow what their customers want. Who is the only airline currently making money? Southwest, of course. The music industry needs to realize that Napster, KaZaa and others did the same as Southwest did with airlines. The cuts are album covers, lyrics, songs in order, and very high sound quality. P2P file trading is a system that is able to deliver music quicker and faster than other methods of distribution, and for far cheaper. When you have competition, you must take note and adapt quickly. When the airlines saw Southwest's success, they had to compete. With P2P, the music and movie industries have to do the same, and not put the "innovators" out of business. And remember, an artist has many avenues of making money with their music-- in fact, most never see a penny from actual record sales. Artists can make money from publishing royalties, performing live and liscening their work-- not to mention as endorsements, fan clubs, investments and cutting out the big labels and selling their music directly to the fans. The only people hurt here are big record labels, who we all know should die a painful death.

    If you wanna read a brunch of brainwashed crap coming from some of your faveorite artists, check out these testimonials. For a full list of artists to boycott (or reverse boycott-- download all their shit, buy a CD/go to a show and write to let 'em know about it) peep this full page newspaper ad.

  • Universal Music Faces Lawsuit Over PIN on Bon Jovi Album
    This is actually pretty funny. Of all the things to ever delay an album's release, I bet Bon Jovi's forthcoming Bounce is the only one to be delayed becuase of a lawsuit over technolgy used to give fans extra stuff over the web.

  • Justin Timberlake Makes A Very Personal Admission
    In exchange for 30 additional spins a week of "Like I Love You" on WQHT-FM, Justin Timberlake begrudginly admitted he performed oral sex on ex-girlfriend Britney Spears. Does that fall under payola? And how much of a classless cad is Timberlake? Discresson is the better part of valor and it also is the player's creed. He got played like a suckka.

  • Barry White Undergoes Kidney Dialysis
    Damn. Here's hoping there's a kidney outh there for him. All of us here at wish Barry White a speedy recovery.

  • Drowning Pool Frontman Died Of Natural Causes
    Drowning Pool vocalist Dave Williams' death was due to natural causes and was not drug or alcohol related. On Aug. 14, the 30-year-old frontman was found dead in a bunk on his tour bus. The band was in Manassas, Va., en route to the following day's Ozzfest stop in nearby Bristow.

  • Bone: Bizzy Bone Ousted
    Bone Thugs-N-Harmony have announced that Bizzy Bone is no longer part of the group following a night of drunken on-stage antics at a New York show. They still plan to release Thug World Order on Oct. 29.

  • Free Mickey: Stanford Law Professor seeks to overturn the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act
    The above is the best article I've read outlining the extension-of-copyright-issues currently infront of the Supreme Court. Highly reccommended reading.

    posted by Randy on 12:26 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Wednesday, September 25, 2002

    • Musicians Ask Calif. About Royalties
      The most amazing thing about this story is that it has taken California lawmakers this long to look into the notoriously corrupt accounting practices of the recording industry. It's one of those open secrets that everybody knwos (except, obviously, artists who are hungry for fame). The R.I.A.A.'s response- "Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Association of America ( news - web sites), complained the industry faced "trial by anecdote" and lambasted the panel for allowing indiscriminate charges, misleading allegations and innuendo." Dude, I seriously doubt you'd want a real trial. You'd be up to your neck in damning evidence. The R.I.A.A. also chided artists for persuing this issue and not focusing instead on (the alleged) damage done to the industry by piracy and peer-to-peer file trading. Another point-- this story has a good quote: "Artists usually settle because they have run out of time and money ... That's why the legislature should get involved, because on their own, the vast majority of artists cannot do it in court," said Simon Renshaw, who manages the Dixie Chicks.

    • Def Jam Takes Rap Duo to Movies
      Plans are now under-way for a Method Man-and-Redman-in-military-flick. Looks like they are on their way towards replicating the 'Ernest Goes To. . " series. Just with more nudity and jokes about smoking the cheeba cheeba. *Sigh* Whatever happened to hip-hop cred?

    • Kool G Rap LP Finally On The Way, Capone-N-Noreaga, Michael Stipe Included
      What more needs to be said about this story than "Michael Stipe of R.E.M. is on the new Kool G. Rap album?!?!?" What's up with that? And why is MTV News running this story without further explaining what this duet is all about and how it came to be?

    • Brains 1, Barbie 0
      Salon premium members should peep the above linked story about this year's Miss America pageant. It is a pretty remarkable piece about how this year's winner landed the crown, the state of the pageant today and why some of the girls lost out. Nice work. If you aren't a premium member, I don't know what you're waiting for! Click here to become a Salon premium member.

    • Talking During The Movies
      Roll your own DVD commentaries are already a reality. Not an overwhelming reality-- but the furue is here. Read the above linked article and then check DVD Tracks for your dose of D.I.Y. fun.

    posted by Randy on 1:49 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Tuesday, September 24, 2002

    • Christian Hip-Hop Comes To Print with FEED Magazine
      How many dc Talk and Father MC articles can one magazine print? Luckily, it is just a quarterly. I kid, of course-- the more media, the merrier. More info about the magazine can be found at The FEED Magazine website.

    • AOL, Disney in Talks to Merge News Operations
      Sweet sassy molassy, no. No more consolidation, especially in the news business. Thankfully, the AOL board seems kind of uninterested-- mostly over control issues.

    • Flav in Jail for PE Opener
      Hip-hop legends Public Enemy are currently on tour with openers Dilated Peoples and Blackalicious, but without hype-man and frequent jail-bird Flavor Flav. Flav is once again in the clink after violating the terms of his probation-- stemming from an earlier arrest for driving without a license. He hope to be out to rejoin his band-mates during the later part of the tour.

    • Camper Get Boxed
      Quirky college rock legends Camper Van Beethoven will release Cigarettes and Carrot Juice, a five-CD box set, on November 5th. The set will include four of the group's albums -- Telephone Free Landslide Victory, II & III, Camper and Camper Vantiquities -- in addition to one CD of live performances. Missing in action are the album they recorded for Virgin-- Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart ( and Key Lime Pie . According to the linked article, the live disc was preferrable to the group instead of going through their archives and listening to the covers they used to do. David Lowery sez '"Cause nobody wants to hear us do 'Kung Fu Fighting.' There could be a whole disc of covers: 'Rock Your Baby,' the theme to 'SWAT.' The MTV theme." Well, actually, I would-- but I'm kinda strange that way.

    • Basement Jaxx Prep New Material
      They have about thirty songs, which will be whittled down to an album's worth of material in time to get the record to their label, Astralwerks, at the end of this year. As with previous efforts, the group is in the process of finding unknown vocalists to appear on the as yet untitled release.

    posted by Randy on 11:02 AM | permanent link to this entry

    Monday, September 23, 2002

    Sorry that I didn't post anything on Friday-- I had real work to do. Today, no such luck.

    • Inside the Rolling Stones Inc.
      Nevermind all that art vs. commerce crap-- Fortune magazine shows how The Rolling Stones have become the money making machine that they are.

    • Love Says Suits Settled With Nirvana Members & Universal Music
      Courtney Love tells Howard Stern that her legal battle with the former members of Nirvana is over and that they all have come to an agreement over how the band's recordings, name, and images will be released and marketed. In more disapointing news, Love also told Stern her legal battle against Universal Music Group has been settled "for a lot of money." Which means that Love will not challenge the recording industry's underhanded practices in court and will instead re-join the machine. That really sucks. Love also added that she would have put her own album out before the end of the year. Now word yet as to if that will also suck.

    • Music-Swapping Service Gains Stature in New Deal
      I think maybe The New York Times is making a bigger deal out of this than it really is, but oh well. KaZaA's owner, Sharman Networks Ltd., will advertise high-speed Internet access provided by Tiscali, an Italian Internet provider, to its tens of millions of European users. In return Tiscali, which serves around seven million customers in 15 countries, will pay Sharman a "bounty" for each KaZaA user who signs up for its high-speed access service. The times article treats this advertising deal like a super-ligitimitation of file-trading, but I just don't see it that way. It's not like Tiscali is promising to shield it's customers from prosecution or anything.

    • Copyright Hurdles Confront Selling of Music on the Internet
      This is an excellent piece in The New York Times about the ins-and-outs (mostly outs) of getting legitimate music downloading services up-and-running. Battles with artists, labels and publishers stiull abound. "It's as if Franz Kafka designed this system and employed Rube Goldberg as his architect," said Rob Glaser, the chairman of MusicNet. Too true.

    • Rock Group Finds a New Way to Sell Out
      This could save the music industry from itself-- or at least save artists from being trampled on a regular basis. Dozens of people have invested up to $20,000 Grey Eye Glances an adult alternative" band. They are using the money to record start up The Grey Album, a company responsible for producing, manufacturing and promoting Grey Eye Glances' seventh album, A Little Voodoo. Rykodisc will distribute the new CD. I was just thinking about this a month or so ago-- since all bands trying to make it professionally have to become a company-- why not go after investors or bank loans instead of a restrice, exploitive and elusive major label contract?

    posted by Randy on 12:49 PM | permanent link to this entry

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