Pop culture and all that.






Other News And Pop Cult Based Sites I Visit:

Meme Pool
Pop Culture Junk Mail
Sharpe World
The Excitement Machine
The Onion
Gray Scale
Lying Media Bastards
In Passing...
The Morning News
Arts & Letters Daily
Obscure Store
Romenesko's Media News
Happy Robot
The Freep
The New York Times
The L.A. Times


    Friday, January 17, 2003

    • Battered Record Execs Set to Face the Music
      According to the above linked article, 2003 will be a year of rekoning for the music industry. One can only hope.

      Related news: Barry Diller, chief executive officer and chairman of Vivendi Universal Entertainment has given Universal Music an order to cut $60 million in expenses as part of a wide-ranging plan at Vivendi Universal to get its entertainment assets in shape for an expected initial public offering. Also at VE-- Jeff Boberg, the head of Universal Music's MCA label, was forced out yesterday. It is said that disapointing sales for Shaggy's Lucky Day was the final nail in the coffin.

    • After The Copyright Smackdown: What Next?
      Siva Vaidhyanathan, author of Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity, says that a lot has changed since the battles over copyrights was started in the late 90s. It's Vaidhyanathan theory that Napster and Tivo and the battles over their features has educated the public about the implications of strengthing copyright protections in ways that will help launch smaller battles that might lead to a bigger victory. I'm very tempted to agree.

    • Crunch Time at the FCC
      Well written editorial from FCC commissioner Michael Copps outling the kinds of things that are at stake if the FCC recinds media ownership rules. Read it and pass it on to a million friends. If that's too heady for your friends, then hip 'em to this USA Today article about media consolidation.

    • Kimmel A Serious Late-Night Threat
      This profile of the upcoming Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC sounds encouraging for music fans. "None of this bringing on cool bands, as his late-night competitors do, then shuttling them off after a song. With as many as four possible stages in the versatile El Capitan Entertainment Centre -- including a fully built outdoor stage in the back parking lot and an intimate acoustic spot near the front bar -- "Jimmy Kimmel Live" will treat musicians as legitimate draws and could prove to be a rocking hot spot when the word gets out.

    • Rave-goers achieve victory in Racine
      440 people who were hit with $968 citations for attending a rave party dismiss all of the citations after racine city procecuters admitted they couldn't prove their case. The 440 people were detained and charged under the city's "inmate of a disorderly house/controlled substances" ordinance, after police determined that anyone could've seen there were drugs being taken and distributed at the rave.

      "Assistant City Attorney Scott Lewis moved quickly to defuse the situation, first offering to reduce the fine to $100 and then to remove any reference to drugs from the citation. But the vast majority of ravers refused the plea bargains and demanded Municipal Court trials, a potentially costly prospect for the city, given the need for officers to testify. More important, city attorneys ultimately concluded it was impossible to determine which people at the party knew illegal activities were going on." The ACLU also threatened to file suit, which finally led to the procesecuter's decision.

    • Missy 'Misdemeanor' Elliott's Weight-Loss Plan
      "Treadmill and a pack of peanut M&Ms," Missy said. "You know, you still gotta cheat every now and then, but I go to the gym like four times a day. I still do music. That's my home, like I'm in the studio all day long, so I always gotta make time for the studio." Whatever it takes. Her Under Construction was the best album of 2002-- get yourself a copy right here, sukka!!!

    • Autopsy Shows Gibb Had Twisted Intestine
      Not unlike Santa's Little Helper on "The Simpsons." An autopsy on late Bee Gees singer Maurice Gibb reveals that the singer was born with a malformed intestine. Doctors say that the condition can lead lead to a cardiovascular collapse and possibly could have contributed to the cardiac arrest Gibb had just before his surgery.

    • Mix Master iPod Opens Up A World Of Sound
      A very nice essay in The Chicago Tribune about the joys of iPod ownership. I agree with this article 100%. Get your iPod now-- available in Mac and PC versions!

    • Big Brother 3 Auction
      If you were a fan of "Big Brother 3," you need to peep the above linked auction. Marcellus is auctioning off Boo! And the Golden Power of Veto Medallion! We're I a richer man, I might be tempted to get Boo. Hell, I might do it anyway.

    posted by Randy on 12:50 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Thursday, January 16, 2003

    • Well, that was fast...
      iCommune was a plug-in that extended Apple's iTunes software to share music over the network, with your friends' music libraries appearingin the iTunes source list-- allowing you to browse their collections, and choose to download or stream their music. Aplle sent the developers a cease and desist orer with the quickness, claiming they violated the license to the Device Plug-in API. Bummer. Look for the installer on your fave file trading system, 'cos you waon't be able to get it officially any more.

    • Browne Angry at Portrayal in JFK Jr. Film
      Singer-Songwriter Jackson Browne is demanding that the TBS Superstation not rebroadcast "America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story" until scenes are deleted that the rock star says defame him. In the movie, JFK Jr. rescues Daryl Hannah after Browne allegedly beat her up. The fact that the actress is the former girlfriend of both Browne and Kennedy is not in contention, but the beating is. It's long been rumored (and assumed to be true) that it happened, but no charges were ever filed and no police report was ever made.

      The black Stratocaster used by Kurt Cobain during Nirvana's Nevermind tour is going up for auction. The Cooper Owen Rock Legends Auction will be held on February 20 and will also include unheard recordings by John Lennon and Mick Jagger.

    • They Make Sound Waves On Late-Night Television
      An intreaguing profile of the folks who book bands on late-night tv shows. Includes a very interesting quote from Jim Pitt, music producer for ''Late Night With Conan O'Brien,'' about the old Arsenio Hall show: ''I think that's the only talk show in history that'd really done hip-hop and rap the way it needs to be done, which is making it a big party with the audience as part of it, a lot of call and response,'' Pitt says. ''Our studio audience... in the early days we didn't always have a full audience, and they were not rabid fans.'' True, true.

    • Is This The Last Stand For Media Diversity?
      Very good L.A. Times article about the big issues facing society as the media further consolidates itself into just a few players. Highly reccommended reading for those familar with the issues and those who aren't sure how media consolidation effects them. It spells out the issues very well, me thinks.

    • Radio One, Comcast in Cable Deal: 24-Hour TV Channel To Challenge BET
      Comcast, the nation's biggest cable-television operator and Radio One. the largest African American-owned media company, are launching a cable channel to rival Black Entertainment Television, which for 20 years has held a near monopoly on programming aimed exclusively at a black audience. Where BET seems to be headed in an all music-and-lifestyle direction, this new channel is set to be a 24-hour a mix of original and syndicated news, entertainment, opinion and sports shows featuring African American newscasters, actors and hosts.

    posted by Randy on 2:02 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Wednesday, January 15, 2003

    posted by Randy on 2:35 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Tuesday, January 14, 2003

    • Entertainment, Tech Firms Reach Truce on Digital Piracy
      So, the good news is that the R.I.A.A. has agreed to stop persuing legislation that would make tech companies include cumbersome anti-copying technology on all of their products. The bad news is that the tech companies have agreed not persue legislation that would guarnatee "fair use" provisions in the digital realm. It will be interesting to see who is the first to break this pact and how long it takes 'em to do it. Meanwhile, Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Rick Boucher (R-Va.) plan to continue their copyright legislation. Lofgren wants it made clear that consumers would be allowed to resell or give away music or movies they purchase, and would be protected if they deliberately broke anti-piracy controls that interfere with these rights. Boucher wants an overhaul of the Digital Millinum Copyright Act.

    • Hollywood Guilds Band Together to Defend Media Ownership Limits
      The debate over media consolidation heats up some more, as The L.A. Times takes a look at the "unusual alliance of Hollywood producers and creative workers is mobilizing here for a stiff fight against company efforts to relax long-standing limits on media ownership." All the Hollywood unions are banding together to fight the lifting of media ownership restrictions-- though they seem to see it more as a "my-job-is-gonna-disappear" issue than a "this-isn't-for-the-public-good" issue. Still, the more support, the merrier.

    • Riverfront Techno Fest Will Go On
      Worry not, mid-western techno/electronica fans-- The Detroit Electronic Music Festival will return, sez the mayor. They've just got to make sure the city doesn't lose money on it again and decide who is going to produce the event.

      Sorry, not too many items today I've got a bit of a headache and some other work to do. More tomorrow, I promise.

    posted by Randy on 1:29 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Monday, January 13, 2003

    • AOL Chairman Quits His Post Amid Criticism
      Here's the weirdest thing about this: with Case stepping down as chairman of AOL Time Warner and the probable filling of his position by someone from the Time Warner ranks, all the big exec positions in the company will be filled by Time Warner folks. Interesting, considering AOL was the one who acquired Time Warner. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks Time Warner planned it that way, but this merger has been too much of a public, money losing boondoggle to have been planned out. Bamboozled at the Revolution: How Big Media Lost Billions in the Battle for the Internet is a pretty good guide to how Time Warner messed this all up.

    • Bee Gees Singer Maurice Gibb Dies
      When I left you on Friday, he had only gone into the hospital becasue of intestinal blockage. But then he had a heart attack. He was 53. The Bee Gees had a career long before the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack made them superstars-- Their Greatest Hits: The Record is a pretty good summary of what they accomplished. R.I.P. Maurice Gibb from all of us here at

    • Arrest Made in '93 Slaying of Punk Singer
      Police have finally arrested a suspect in the 1993 death of Mia Zapata, lead singer of The Gits. Her alleged killer, 48-year-old Jesus C. Mezquia was tracked down thanks to DNA testing and databases. Last year, Seattle police submitted evidence from the case for DNA testing. Initially, no match was found but in n December, a DNA profile from Mezquia, a convicted felon, was entered into the National DNA Index System and matched the sample. Mezquia was arrested late Friday in the Miami area.

      Zapata's death led to the formation of Home Alive, a Seattle based anti-violence project that offers affordable self defense classes, provides public education and awareness, and leads local community organizing efforts. They've released two CD compilations featuring some serious kick-ass grunge-style music (featuring artists like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, The Gossip, The Need, Amy Ray w/ The Butchies and more). Pick up Vol. 1 here and Vol. 2here-- profits go to a good cause. Warning-- both CDs contain spoken word interludes, so just be prepared for that.

    • How Long Will It take The R.I.A.A. To Shut this Down?
      Start your stopwatches, ladies and gents. "iCommune is a plug-in which extends Apple's iTunes software to share music over the network. Your friends' music libraries appear in the iTunes source list. You can browse their collections, and choose to download or stream their music. It also allows you to make your own music library available to others."

    • Music Industry Braces for a Shift
      A very good piece in The New York Times about the challenges facing the music industry. Interestingly enough, the seem to be advocating a further consolidation among the major labels (from five to three) along side with reducing the cost of CDs. To me, that's about half correct. Reduce the cost of CDs and reduce the number of major labels to zero. They are really not needed anymore except for their marketing muscle, which I'm sure they'd rather pawn off onto someone else anyway.

    • T Rex Percussionist Mickey Finn Dies
      Mickey Finn, a bongo player with glam rock legends T Rex, has died. He was 56. No cause of death was given, but news reports said Finn had suffered from kidney and liver problems. T. Rex was a huge influence on groups like The New York Dolls, Sweet, Guns N' Roses, Duran Duran, Poison and many more. Basically any group that played basic, dirty, catchy rock with big hooks while looking good. Get yerself a copy of 20th Century Boy: The Ultimate Collection and thank me later. R.I.P. Mickey Finn from all of us here at

    • Green Day Collaborates With Iggy Pop
      Green Day have recorded two songs with Iggy Pop that will most likely be included on Iggy's next album, due in April. Also due to appear on the album, Iggy's former Stooges bandmates Ron and Scott Asheton. Can a brotha get a Green Day/Iggy Pop tour? I'd be down for that.

    • Who The Hell Is The Grammy-Nominated Band Bowling For Soup?
      Nice headline from a neat profile article written by my former SonicNet co-worker Gil Kaufman. Check it out. Or, if you'd rather find out for yourself just who the hell they are (punk-pop a la Green Day and their decendants) buy their lastest, Drunk Enough To Dance, by clicking here.

    posted by Randy on 1:27 PM | permanent link to this entry

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