Class action lawsuit against major labels for digital music price fixing to keep rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, rollin’

Class action lawsuit against major labels for digital music price fixing to keep rollin', rollin', rollin', rollin' http://www.tinymixtapes.com/sites/default/files/news-11-07-digital-music-price-fixing.jpg

Perhaps you’ve wondered, in times of mental clarity, why it is that a digital album tends to cost an amount comparable to a CD when the cost of distributing digital music is more or less $0. Adults and children alike have pondered this idea for years, but one group has never spent a single second thinking about it and in fact believes it to be a silly non-issue that should probably be ushered away into an oxygen-free chamber: the major labels. Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Capitol Records, Bertelsmann, EMI Group North America, Capitol-EMI Music, Virgin Records America, Time Warner, UMG Recordings, and Warner Music Group all have no idea how this relates to them and their controlling 80% of digital music sales in the US, and besides, they’d need some time to collect their thoughts before they made a statement one way or the other so if you’d please step into this limousine with tinted windows and let them give you a complimentary ride home they’d be much obliged and thank you so much for your concern.

Unfortunately you get no breaks when you’re at the top (don’t I know it), so the question has lingered in the air, and now all the labels mentioned above are going to have their mouths pried open, because U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska has allowed a consolidated class action lawsuit against them to move forward. The suit claims that the major labels collectively made distribution agreements with two joint-venture entities, MusicNet and Pressplay, for the purpose of fixing prices, terms of sale, and restrictions on digital music. Hidden from the public in each agreement was a most favored nation clause that allowed a price floor of $0.70 per song to be set across the board. Online retailers like eMusic were initially shut out of doing business with the major labels until they agreed to start selling their music for higher prices, and the suit further claims that less-than-loved DRM was included to make digital music less attractive than good ol’ shiny, higher-priced CDs.

It remains to be seen how far the lawsuit will go and what consequences the major labels might reap for their alleged shenanigans, but I think we can all at least agree that it’s fun to watch music industry fat cats get their collars all greasy with flop sweat. Turn up the heat, Judge Preska!

RIP: Amy Winehouse

From The New York Times:

Police in London said Saturday night that Amy Winehouse, the troubled diva who had struggled with drug and alcohol abuse, has been found dead at her home.

Police confirmed that a 27-year-old female was pronounced dead at the home in Camden Square in northern London.

They said they were treating the death as unexplained. A spokesman for the singer could not immediately confirm she had died, The A.P. said.

• Amy Winehouse: http://www.amywinehouse.com

Turntable.fm gets ASCAP and BMI licences, so now you can use it guilt-free — except you’ve already been using it guilt-free because you lack moral fiber

If you’re like us and spend most of your time online, by this point you’ve probably heard about Turntable.fm and have maybe even spun a few tracks under a hokey name and a bobbling avatar. The invite-only site, which allows anyone — with a Facebook account, at the very least — to become a DJ and throw out a few songs in a 90s-style chatroom environment (Coordinated rooms joining friends across the country! Dozens of “2011 Indie Pop” rooms filled with strangers!), has become immensely popular with music and internet nerds alike. And now, Turntable.fm has secured licenses with both ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), two of the three US performing rights organizations, removing itself from semi-shady sharing territory and into a fully legal position.

You can imagine the potential problems with copyright issues. To play songs, DJs can either search Turntable.fm’s massive database (which includes everything from Wiz Khalifa to Dvořák recordings) or upload tracks from his/her personal collection. This always seemed a bit sketchy, despite the CEO’s claims that as a “non-interactive” site (as in, a streaming service, since users have almost no power over what other DJs play), it was protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. But with the ASCAP and BMI licenses, it’s ensured that “songwriters, composers and publishers will be paid fairly if the site succeeds,” sending Turntable.fm on its way to being a legit music service. (For more details on ASCAP’s involvement and what it means, go here.)

In short, you’re not ripping any artists off by uploading an MP3 to impress the experimental nuts in the “We Love Nurse With Wound” room. And hey, you’re at a site where such a room can exist alongside ones blasting James Blake — how sweet is that?

• Turntable.fm: http://turntable.fm

A.V. Club throw their hat into the festival ring and announce Chicago music festival

Not wanting to be left out of the whole “websites curating music festivals” game, The Onion’s A.V. Club has announced their own festival: A.V. Fest. The two-day festival goes down outside The Hideout in Chicago on September 10-11. A.V. Fest will feature 12 bands over the course of the weekend, with the initial lineup as follows:

Archers of Loaf
The Thermals
Tokyo Police Club
Eef Barzelay of Clem Snide (playing the music of Journey)
Telekinesis.

In related news, all TMT-ers are getting together in Mr P’s backyard for the annual TMT Avant-Garde Hoedown later this summer. You’re not invited.

• A.V. Club: http://www.avclub.com

CSS chart tour, release new remix single, admit love for heartwarming David Fincher film

Three things I learned today:

1) If you search for CSS on Wikipedia (the lazy person’s premiere news source), you’ll get the entry for Cascading Style Sheets. Because I am not an IT worker, this was like falling down a magical rabbithole to Dullsville. This Wikipedia result is the only thing about CSS that is not flush with neon-colored excitement.

2) CSS, the Brazilian dance rock band (NOT the style sheet language) have been rockin’ the pants off audiences since 2003! I did not know that. Wow, I am old. It seems like just yesterday I was sweating Sparks (the caffeinated malt beverage!) while the band toured their way across America with Diplo and a new band called Bonde Do Role.

3) No matter what the situation, no matter how far-stretched, no matter how much it’s no longer 2008, there’s ALWAYS a place for a Benjamin Button reference. This was first proved in 2009, when Kanye West dropped the name of the reverse-aging, alliteratively-named holiday heartwarmer in his verse for the Drake song, “Forever.” It was then proved again in 2011, when CSS frontwoman Lovefoxxx told Spin that “Actually, I have more energy than I used to. I’m like the Benjamin Button of music — getting younger all the time.” YES. Always time for an awkward reference to a whimsical film that opened behind the Jennifer Aniston/dog movie Marley and Me.

Lovefoxxx was, of course, referring to CSS’s continued ability to keep the dancefloors packed, which is exactly what the group’s summer single “Hits Me Like a Rock” has been doing. “Hits” is the first single off of La Liberacion, the band’s new full-length, which is set for an August 29 release on V2/Cooperative/Downtown. And in the interest of giving fans (in the wise words of Coolio) “1,2,3,4 (Sumpin’ New)” the band is now releasing a Dillon Francis remix of the track. CSS will also be touring North America this fall in support of their new album, so dust off your dancin’ shoes and get ready to reverse-age yourself to a freer, happier, more NEON world.

Dates:

10.01.11 - Vancouver, BC - Vogue
10.02.11 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
10.04.11 - Seattle, WA - Neptune
10.06.11 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
10.08.11 - Los Angeles, CA - Echoplex
10.09.11 - Los Angeles, CA - Filter Culture Collide Festival
10.13.11 - Denver, CO - Bluebird
10.15.11 - Mexico City, Mexico - Curva 4 Race Track at Foro Sol
10.17.11 - Minneapolis, MN - First Ave
10.21.11 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
10.22.11 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
10.23.11 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
10.24.11 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
10.26.11 - Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club
10.28.11 - Dallas, TX - House of Blues
10.29.11 - Houston, TX - House of Blues
10.30.11 - Austin, TX - La Zona Rosa

• CSS: http://csshurtssuxxx.blogspot.com
• V2: http://www.v2music.com
• Cooperative: http://www.cooperativemusic.com
• Downtown: http://www.downtownmusic.com

Total bros Male Bonding bro down on fall bro tour. Bro!

When it comes to being bros, North America thinks it’s number one. And that’s because it is, bro! Fist bump, high five, and a flip of the baseball cap! Still, bros of America, we cannot get cocky. A threat to our bro domination waits overseas. That threat is known as Male Bron… Male Bonding.

It’s true, those English punk rock super bros in Male Bonding think they’re the broiest. I mean, they even named themselves Male Bonding, a concept that serves as the very cornerstone of bro culture. And if that’s not enough, they’ve even got the gall to come onto our turf and challenge our very broness. How un-bro, bros! So, suit up my bros, for we must defend our shores against Male Bonding this fall, when they’ll tour across our hallowed land. Prep yourselves by listening to Male Bonding’s new record, Endless Now, out August 30 on Sub Pop. If we’re lucky, all their bro secrets will be revealed within.

Male Bonding dates:

08.27.11 - Brooklyn, NY - Grasslands
08.28.11 - Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie
08.29.11 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
08.31.11 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
09.01.11 - Montreal, QE - Il Motore
09.02.11 - Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern
09.03.11 - Detroit, MI - Magic Stick Lounge
09.08.11 - Chicago, IL - Subterranean
09.10.11 - Washington, DC - Red Palace

• Male Bonding: http://www.myspace.com/malebonding
• Sub Pop: http://www.subpop.com

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