College Is Not Just for Date Rapists and Future Call Centre Employees Anymore! RIAA on the Offensive Against the Scourge of Campuses: Illegal Downloaders

The Recording Industry Association of America has sent its latest wave of threatening letters to college campuses throughout the United States. The latest batch (411 sent to 19 schools) are preemptive settlement attempts on behalf of the major record companies, bringing the total number of notices to 3,740. Part of an initiative to educate students and deter illegal file trafficking on campuses, this is the ninth wave of resolution letters, created to give downloading scoundrels the opportunity to resolve copyright infringement claims before legal action is taken against them.

“While it’s undoubtedly our last preference to bring legal action against students, music theft remains particularly acute on college campuses,” says Steven “Marky” Marks, executive VP/general counsel of the RIAA. “This theft triggers a harmful domino effect throughout the music community -- thousands of regular, working class musicians and others out of work, record stores shuttered, new bands never signed. When faced with this reality, we have no choice but to hold those individuals responsible for ignoring the law and all the great new legal ways to get affordable, high-quality music.”

In its latest press release, the RIAA reports that a survey by Student Monitor found that over half of students illegally download music and movies, and the NPD Group of market researchers surmised that $1.3 billion were lost due to college student downloaders during 2006. If that were not enough of a cause for concern, Tiny Mix Tapes polled our college readership (17 students) and found that downloading is now a more attractive past-time for male students than “polishing your rifle” by yourself as you cry in your lonely dorm room, and more fun than driving a fellow student to an eating disorder for female scholars! DAMN YOU DOWNLOADERS!

Nas Continues to Fight The Man, Corrects Spelling, L.A. Reid is a Modern Day Tammy Wynette

Def Jam boss-man L.A. Reid is standing by his man.

Hip-hop’s always peaceful, playful, and complacent li'l love kitten Nas has changed the title of his upcoming December 11 release from Nigga to Nigger.

Ever-perceptive Nas removed an “a” and added an “er,” bold to react in understanding the cause of black leaders’ frustrations and the heart of the problem:

Al Sharpton is NOT down with misspellings.

Yup. Everything is rosy now.

Madonna Signs Progressive Deal With Live Nation, Is Still Nowhere NEAR as Cool as Radiohead

So, it’s no secret at this point (and truthfully, it’s debatable as to whether or not it ever actually was) that Radiohead is the most amazing band in the WORLD. Their musical choices over the past decade have been impeccably trend-setting, and, love or hate the actual MUSIC, there’s still no debating that Thom Yorke and Co. are the clear front-runners in the race to be the most culturally significant, ahead of the curve, paradigm-shifting recording artists to ever dabble in the man-eating cesspool that is the Music Industry.

Yup, everyone else might as well just pack it in, I say. Ask anyone, even Mr P, and they’ll tell you that Radiohead have hands-down done more than just about anyone lately when it comes to turning the Recording Industry on its ear and...

And...

Wait just a minute, folks! It looks like a dark horse is coming up from behind! A dark horse wearing hot pink tights, that is...

That’s right! Madonna, of all people, seems to have struck the second blow in this whole “Major Label Recording Artists Lashing Out Against the Music Industry” battle that seems to be a brewin’ these days. Last week, the Material Girl seemed a whole lot less acquisitive and a whole lot more business savvy when she confirmed her split from her posh former home of Warner Brothers and her new widely-rumored deal with concert promoter Live Nation.

“Concert Promoter??” you say? “She “signed” with a Concert Promoter??

Yup. And while the extent of the benefits of this strange partnership have yet to be explored, it looks as though Live Nation will be handling her future album releases, tours, DVDs, slutty '80s clothing lines, adorable children books, piss-poor Hollywood movies, and anything else that the old cougar can concoct for the Madonna brand. This kick-ass deal will not only leave Prince pissed-off that he didn’t think of this first, but it will also parcel out $120 million to the glam girl over ten years, including an $18 million signing bonus and three album advances of about $17 million each that she can spend on as many cone-shaped bras and shit as she wants to. Some of the deal will even include stock in Live Nation (even Thom Yorke didn’t think of that one). The global partnership with the company will ultimately find Madonna becoming the founding artist in Live Nation's new “Artist Nation” division, which will be headed by former Rolling Stones tour producer Michael Cohl. You know, Michael Cohl! Duh!

"The paradigm in the music business has shifted, and as an artist and a business woman, I have to move with that shift," Madonna cutely understated. "For the first time in my career, the way that my music can reach my fans is unlimited. I've never wanted to think in a limited way, and with this new partnership, the possibilities are endless. Who knows how my albums will be distributed in the future? That's what's exciting about this deal - everything is possible. Live Nation has offered me a true partnership, and after 25 years in the business, I feel that I deserve that." Okay, false alarm; looks like she is still a material girl after all. Pheww!

"Madonna is a true icon and maverick as an artist and in business," stated Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino. I am thrilled that Madonna, who is also now a shareholder in our company, has joined with us to create a new business model for our industry. Bringing all the varied elements of Madonna's stunning music career into the Artist Nation and Live Nation family, moves her future and the future of our company into a unique and extraordinary place... Our partnership is a defining moment in music history.” Ummm, dude, have you even heard of In Rainbows???

Rapino also positioned the concert industry as replacing the record labels as the focus of the music industry. "We believe that the internet is the live concert promoters best friend, although it might have crippled the record label business," Rapino said. "The live business [is] connected to the fan, directly, which enables us to sell singles and downloads and everything the consumer wants.”

The rabid Rapino was also quick to play the cool-guy card of dissing Ye Olde Ineffectual Record Labels. “The concert is now moving to the center of the circle for the artist. The artist is now looking for the live show and everything that can be done around the live show." He added "We believe that the Madonna fan who is buying a $200 concert ticket is in our database, and we have a direct relationship with them. We think we can sell them a 99-cent download, or a $14 dollar T-shirt. The ticket is now the center of the transaction." Um, is this a bad time for me to mention that I spent $0.00 on In Rainbows? (What!? I said it! 160kbps my ass!)

Either way, the Record Industry may be on its deathbed, but it still has one final bowel-full of shit to evacuate before it kicks it. The 49-year-old singer/actress still owes Warner one final studio album and a greatest hits package under her current contract. But Madonna, unlike the best band in the world Radiohead, seems relatively at ease with that. "My time with Warner Bros. Records has been great," she said. "I appreciate their hard work and value the many relationships I have developed over the years with the label in the U.S. and around the world. I have an album coming out with them next year and I'm excited about it. We still have work to do together."

Hmmm. As Thom Yorke might say, “This one’s optimistic.”

Ticketmaster Wins An Injunction Junction What’s Your Function

Let’s just say: someone (dunno who) really wanted to see The Police on Halloween at Madison Square Garden: the ticket itself would only cost $254.50. But then you’d have to deal with Ticketmaster -- scourge of the ticket-buyer, monopolistic baron of the live music seas, emperor of your Police-loving wallet, so on and so forth. Well, get ready to dish out for the $14.95 convenience charge. Plus a shake more for mailing the tickets and possibly even a venue charge (consult The Oracle). All that extra money? That doesn’t sound very convenient, now does it? Maybe Pearl Jam was on to something.

Okay, a $254 dollar concert was maybe a bad example, but even this hypothetical situation only works if your event’s tickets are still available. Sell-out da Garden?? I know -- unlikely. If not for the assholes who hack through Ticketmaster’s online security like Livingston through the Dark Heart of Africa (for example, that squiggly gibberish word behind the checkered lines), then proceed to buy up Wisconsin-sized loads of tickets for your upcoming highly-in-demand event.

Well, luckily, Ticketmaster took those suckers to court. Kinda. Not the actual suckers, but the suckers who enable the suckers. The sucker-enablers who make programs that are allegedly used to break through Ticketmaster’s security features in all kinds of terms-violating ways.

Thus, Ticketmaster recently won a court injunction to halt the alleged sucker-enabling actions of one RMG Technologies, putting the brakes on any Ticketmaster-related chicanery until a full trial.

RMG Technologies’ website advertises “custom software services, catering to your specific needs in order to raise productivity for your environment,” especially useful if “your environment” includes websites like Stubhub and Craigslist, dark alleys near large stadiums, a penchant for scores of Hanna Montana tickets, and general douchebaggery.

With regard to the suit and upcoming trial, Ticketmaster CEO Sean Moriarty said something along the lines of, “This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man...” before tightening up his bathrobe, lighting a spliff in his Gran Torino, and driving to the store for some milk.

Catch the Don Caballero Fall Tour; Witness the Band Break Up Live On Stage and Then Have a Reunion During the Encore!

October 31 is Halloween, a time when corpses crawl out from under their graves to play some killer math rock in Nashville, TN. Killer math rock, indeed! My friend once died on a Ferris wheel while listening to Slint on her iPod during a severe thunderstorm. So, since '90s math rock gurus Don Caballero will be beginning their tour on Halloween, I have came up with costumes for the whole band.

- Damon Che - The obvious choice here would be for Che to dress up as an octopus since he earned the nickname "octopus" for his drumming and having intercourse like an sexy cephalopod. This is a little too cutesy for me. I suggest that Che sticks with the octopus but also wears a mask of Ian Williams to express the real horror that is a broken friendship. Hell, Che may even go as far as to wear a bloody Battles t-shirt with a fake knife sticking out of the side.

- Jeff Ellsworth - If I know anything about this world, it's that replacement guitarists are infatuated with cheeseburgers. So, Ellsworth would probably be head-over-heels for a cheeseburger costume. But I must place strong caution on this one: When I was a kid, I dressed as a cheeseburger for Halloween, thinking it would be funny to tell people I was Mark McGwire (The "Big Mac" -- get it? Ah, whatever. It made sense back then). Anyway, while trick-or-treating a mentally handicap boy who resembled the spawn of "McGruff the Crime Dog" and Don Rickles came outside of his house and bit me near my groin. Ellsworth, please do not let this happen to you!

- Gene Doyle - People named Gene only care about two things: getting paid and getting laid. I automatically assume Doyle has costumed as a stereotypical pimp for many years, so this year, let's mix it up. I have two words for Doyle: Croatian. Prostitute.

- Jason Jouver - Why don't we just use Jouver to pay a nice tribute to math rock vets Bitch Magnet? When I think of Bitch Magnet, the first thing that comes to mind is one of those horseshoe-shaped magnets. So, have some groupie sew you up a fancy "magnet-looking" costume, and then simply walk around berating people. Say things like, "What the fuck are you looking at? I'm a magnet, so what?" And the family favorite, "Have you been drinking with your friends all night, you sack of shit? You are pissing off my atomic structure. Maybe I'll just go spend the night and get freaky with your buddy cobalt." Now, that my friends is one Bitch Magnet.

Let us not forget the fans! So, for the two thirty-somethings attending the show (just kidding -- we all still love Don Cab, right?), I suggest dressing up as Frank Zappa. One guy can be the head and top part, and the other guy can be Zappa's ass (no, not Ahmet).

I hope everyone out there has a fun time seeing The Damon Che Experience on their fall tour, but let me remind you that math rock will most likely devour your worthless soul, leaving your guts to be spewed in a bucket full of Shellac merchandise. Merry Christmas, my fellow TMT readers, and a Happy Kwanza to you Petya Romanov!

* Enablers