Amazon Understands How Computers Work, Prepares DRM-Free Digital Music Store

In a partnership with Universal Music Group, Amazon appears to be the next company trying to challenge Apple’s glossy, steely grip on digital music sales. Amazon has declined to comment directly, but sources claim that Universal, the largest record label in existence, has handed Amazon DRM-free versions of much of its classical music back catalogue.

The Universal umbrella contains labels such as Aftermath, Interscope, and Motown, however, so if their partnership with Amazon comes to true fruition, things could get awesome.

With Apple’s only announced DRM-free ally being the comparatively puny EMI, this could become the largest blow to its industry dominance since the American Idol music store went DRM-free.

With the industry power of Universal and EMI coming out in support of unlocked MP3 files, the pressure is on for smaller major labels to follow suit and provide simple, DRM-free downloads that won’t confuse our parents. Both Apple and Amazon are reportedly in contract negotiations with labels of all sizes that are expected to continue through the summer, so it certainly appears that, in spite of what many labels are saying publicly, the DRM-free game is being played for keeps.

A source claimed earlier this week, though, that the assumptions being made about the Universal/Amazon partnership are “way off the mark.” There’s still a fighting chance, then, that this story will make me look like a fool in a few months.

Pete Doherty Back in Rehab!

Pete Doherty Back in Rehab!

Marissa Nadler Signs To Kemado Records, Stands Up Against ‘Weird America’ McCarthyism

Remember the Salem Witch Trials? Me neither. But I did read The Crucible in high school. Believe it or not, here at Tiny Mix Tapes we're privy to a lot of highly sensitive government information, and I have no choice but to share with you the latest shocking move in a string of federal witch hunts. In accordance with section 901(a) of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, Pub. L. No. 91-452, 84 Stat. 922, key players within the 'New Weird America' movement are facing charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Indulgent? Maybe. But dangerous? I think not. So Ariel Pink likes the sound of cassette tapes, Animal Collective overdo it on the nonsense chants, and Devendra has a Manson complex. That doesn't change the outrageousness of these unfounded, libelous claims! Alleged offenses include:

- A peyote cactus plot the size of Home Depot's garden section
- Money laundering through Jana Hunter's Holistic Healing Superstore
- Fraud (Of course Joanna Newsom's voice is natural!)
- 6 kilos of mescaline (powder form)
- Voodoo rituals to the sounds of Lie: The Love & Terror Cult
- Bribery of Arthur Magazine
- CocoRosie's latest album

Like many of her art school contemporaries, former RISD student Marissa Nadler has taken to the streets, attempting to mobilize a resistance to this injustice. With heartbreaking Gothic folk, Nadler hopes to raise funds in order to fight the case against her peers. Kemado Records has her back, finally bringing the critically acclaimed, anti-RICO masterpiece Songs III: Bird on the Water to the states for release this August.

Freak folk fight songs:

New Legislation Restricts Used CD Stores; LFO, Dido Celebrate

Start driving to your local used CD store now, with Insane Clown Posse albums in tow, because certain states are whispering back and forth about the pleasures of cracking down on resale shops in the future. Florida and Utah have already passed second-hand-goods legislation in a joint effort to lessen the sales of stolen goods and scare away all customers. In Florida, new laws now require little Timmy to submit thumb-prints and state-issued ID before exchanging his Marcy Playground CD-single for store credit -- no cash allowed. The stores themselves must apply for a permit and are required to keep traded CDs for 30 days before reselling them. Rhode Island is considering similar legislation, and as the National Association of Recording Merchandisers' outside council John Mitchell said, "There seems to be some sort of a new trend among states to support second-hand-goods legislation."

This is not the first time the music industry has pressured lawmakers to threaten the used CD market; major labels have often withheld cooperative advertising from stores that purchase from them directly while still dealing in resale. However, this has angered consumers and independent stores alike, leading to a Federal Trade Commission investigation of illegal practices within the industry in the mid-'90s. Since then, used CD sales have gone from 5% to nearly 10-20% of total CD revenue.

Beyond triggering a mass exodus from resale shops, these new laws may also be conflicting with slightly lesser-known documents, such as the U.S. Constitution. CD resale is protected by the First Amendment (those Fathers thought of everything, man), and the use of fingerprinting and collecting IDs could be seen as further violations. Existing copyright laws also allow individuals to legally resell CDs.

In honor of endangered used CD stores nationwide and the gems I've found in their clearance bins, I'd like to offer the discerning TMT reader a chance to hear "Nice and Slow," off a very special used CD I once purchased for $0.13. First person to e-mail me with the name of this groundbreaking group gets a copy of The Jingle Cats' Meowy Christmas in a broken jewel case. Good luck.

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New Legislation Restricts Used CD Stores; LFO, Dido Celebrate

Start driving to your local used CD store now, with Insane Clown Posse albums in tow, because certain states are whispering back and forth about the pleasures of cracking down on resale shops in the future. Florida and Utah have already passed second-hand-goods legislation in a joint effort to lessen the sales of stolen goods and scare away all customers. In Florida, new laws now require little Timmy to submit thumb-prints and state-issued ID before exchanging his Marcy Playground CD-single for store credit -- no cash allowed. The stores themselves must apply for a permit and are required to keep traded CDs for 30 days before reselling them. Rhode Island is considering similar legislation, and as the National Association of Recording Merchandisers' outside council John Mitchell said, "There seems to be some sort of a new trend among states to support second-hand-goods legislation."

This is not the first time the music industry has pressured lawmakers to threaten the used CD market; major labels have often withheld cooperative advertising from stores that purchase from them directly while still dealing in resale. However, this has angered consumers and independent stores alike, leading to a Federal Trade Commission investigation of illegal practices within the industry in the mid-'90s. Since then, used CD sales have gone from 5% to nearly 10-20% of total CD revenue.

Beyond triggering a mass exodus from resale shops, these new laws may also be conflicting with slightly lesser-known documents, such as the U.S. Constitution. CD resale is protected by the First Amendment (those Fathers thought of everything, man), and the use of fingerprinting and collecting IDs could be seen as further violations. Existing copyright laws also allow individuals to legally resell CDs.

In honor of endangered used CD stores nationwide and the gems I've found in their clearance bins, I'd like to offer the discerning TMT reader a chance to hear "Nice and Slow," off a very special used CD I once purchased for $0.13. First person to e-mail me with the name of this groundbreaking group gets a copy of The Jingle Cats' Meowy Christmas in a broken jewel case. Good luck.

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Gang Gang Dance and Ariel Pink Tour and Release DVDs

Explaining to people when they listen to Ariel Pink for the first time that, yes, it's supposed to sound like that and, yes, it was actually recorded at that dictaphone-worthy quality is enough to make 'em cross-eyed. They ask, "Why does he record it that way?" and "How did a guy like this even get popular?" To which, I reply, "I don't know, alright!? I just don't know." After that, more confusion ensues, and I guess some battles you just lose. Add the ever-so-eclectic Gang Gang Dance to the mix and you've lost the war.

Ariel Pink seems to be touring for fun, even though Paw Tracks reports it will be releasing an Ariel Pink DVD this year. Meanwhile, Gang Gang Dance is on a mission to promote their new CD/DVD combo, Retina Riddim, which is set to drop on May 22. Apparently 2007 is the year to release DVDs. If you're not on schedule to release one too, keep working on those licks. You'll get your shot, big boy.

Gang Gang Dance tourdates:

* Architecture in Helsinki