EMI drains the financial life out of MP3tunes like a bloodthirsty vampire

EMI drains the financial life out of MP3tunes like a bloodthirsty vampire http://www.tinymixtapes.com/sites/default/files/news-12-05-emi-mp3-tunes.jpg

Even though MP3tunes.com came out mostly on top back in August when a judge ruled that the services the site provides (personal storage locker for your music, pooling streams of music available for free online) did not directly violate EMI’s copyrights, the drawn-out battle between the major label and the small company has taken its toll and MP3tunes.com has officially filed for bankruptcy. EMI originally sued the site back in 2007, and after seven years of protracted legal quarrels, MP3tunes is reported to be left with only $7,754 in assets and almost $2.2 million in liabilities. I’m no accountant, but that doesn’t seem like a good position to be in.

While the site looks to be up and running and accepting new users, no official word has been released regarding the actual fate of the service. Founder Michael Robertson has come out to publicly decry the practices of EMI and its major label brethren, though, saying, “This is what they do. The labels engage in multiyear legal battles and put small companies through hell for years.” Given this outcome, it’s hard to argue with that assessment, especially since a federal court has yet to find fault with anything that the site has done directly.

Following the August decision, though, EMI continued to sue MP3tunes over the fact that the site didn’t immediately take down any stored music acquired via available online streams that the label deemed illegal. Even though MP3tunes had nothing to do with the original posting of the supposedly illegal material, and that the material would have disappeared from its users storage lockers if the label would have gotten the actual violator to take it down, MP3tunes is taking the bullet in this whole mess.

• MP3tunes: http://www.mp3tunes.com
• EMI: http://www.emimusic.com

Joanna Newsom and Philip Glass join forces to save Neverland, also known as the Henry Miller Memorial Library

One of my first college experiences many years ago was a College Night at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston. A few peeps and I decided to chill out in the courtyard, because every damn college student in Boston was trying to check out an exhibit or something. Or drink booze. Then, magically, Joanna Newsom showed up with her harp, and played a set. It was the ideal setting for her: a grassy area filled with flowers and perhaps birds, her sitting on a platform no more than a few inches off the ground, her audience sitting and lounging, the stars out, the moon full. It was so magical that I doubt I could see her play again unless that setting could be matched.

There does exist another such setting, and now Ms. Newsom is working to save it. Working with minimalist institution Philip Glass as part of his Days and Nights Festival, she and Mr. Glass, along with violinist Tim Fain, will perform one night of solo and collaborative performances at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco. Now, the Warfield is not a magical place (face it, San Francisco’s Mid-Market neighborhood is kind of sketchtacular, and the venue next door is a strip club where porn stars sometimes dance), but the concert this venue is holding doubles as a fundraiser to save the real magical venue: the Henry Miller Memorial Library.

Located right on the majestic and mystical California Highway 1 in Big Sur, the Henry Miller Memorial Library (HMML) was built initially as a museum and tribute to the great American author, whose ashes were scattered somewhere in the trees. It has, through folkYEAH! and other organizations, been host to many a concert, from Neil Young and Bill Callahan to Dungen and Gang Gang Dance. However, due to federal mandates of complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other safety regulations (especially because of its location within a National Park), the HMML must upgrade its facility, something it cannot afford, or face closure. Ticket sales from this event will go directly to funding this upgrade, assuring future magical concerts can occur at any given time.

• Joanna Newsom: http://www.dragcity.com/artists/joanna-newsom
• Philip Glass: http://www.dunvagen.com

Hudson Mohawke and Lunice cross geographical barriers to release TNGHT EP, JUST LIKE THE POSTAL SERVICE, EXACTLY LIKE THE POSTAL SERVICE

Man, remember when everyone was so blown away by The Postal Service? Maybe not for their music, though SOME OF US were jamming Give Up pretty hard in their high school years, but at least for their CRAAAAZY idea of sending each other tracks over the mail. So crazy-ish! Nowadays, this is the least crazy thing that’s ever happened, considering a little thing called email and the internet and et cetera et cetera. I bet Ben Gibbard feels real dumb now, using the mail like a five-hundred-year-old man. But the point is, people send each other tracks to collaborate on through all sorts of mail.

Here’s an example of that thing I was talking about: Glasgow-based producer Hudson Mohawke and Montreal-based producer Lunice have gotten together for a project called TNGHT. By the laws of logic, they’re releasing an EP and calling it TNGHT. See, you know that that’s an EP title and not me just telling you the band name again, because of italics. I love them! That very EP will be coming out through Warp on July 24. Boy, I bet that’ll be good. But don’t take my word for it, ask somebody who saw the two debut this project at this past SXSW. Don’t ask me, though, because I did not see them. Sorry!

Or, hey, if you can’t find someone who saw them, listen to their first single, “Bugg’n.” “HEY WHERE CAN I HEAR THIS, MAYBE THROUGH THE MAIL?” Who are you, Ben Gibbard? You can listen to “Bugg’n” at this very YouTube link. That is where you can hear that.

• TNGHT: http://www.facebook.com/pages/TNGHT/309884169077285
• Hudson Mohawke: http://hudsonmohawke.com
• Lunice: http://lunice.com
• Warp: http://warp.net

Not even Adele’s golden pipes could help Sony last year as parent company reports record $5.7 billion loss

Let’s start with some good news: of $5.5 billion in sales, Sony Music Entertainment posted a profit of $463 million last year. With perennial head scratching favorites like Chris Brown and The Fray, along with some of the biggest selling artists of our day like Adele and Beyoncé, Sony has some strong ponies in their stable of potential chart toppers who keep the proverbial stable boys up to their necks in horse shit (a.k.a. money).

Now, the bad news: Sony can’t seem to do anything else right. The larger parent company that includes Sony Music Entertainment posted a record loss of $5.7 billion last year. Sony has been losing ground to competitors creating cheaper and/or cooler electronics in other parts of Asia and in the US for some time now. While just about everyone has or wants an iDevice courtesy of Apple, no one really uses a Walkman anymore. Combine that with the crap that their underwhelming movie division puts out (The Smurfs, Jack and Jill, Zookeeper, to name but three from 2011), and it’s not hard to see why the highly fragmented company isn’t doing so well across all categories.

Add to that the flooding in Thailand that fucked up their supply chain and the earthquake in Japan that crippled production and, well, Sony just couldn’t get a break last year. With featured artists on its music page like American Idol Season 5 sixth place runner-up Kellie Pickler, and universally reviled YouTube ‘sensation’ Karmin, the future of the music division isn’t looking so hot either.

But don’t worry too much — Sony executives are certain that things will turn around by 2013. They’re confident people will want to pay for the more expensive version of the same TV they can get from a Taiwanese competitor for half the price at Costco. And goodness knows the general public has just been desperate for a Spider-Man reboot. Keep chasing the dream, Sony.

• Sony: http://www.sony.com

The Vaselines are going on a US tour, but sorry, it’ll probably be over by the end of this headline

Three dates, three paragraphs, three sentences. That’s the slopped-together concept for this very news story. Let’s see how it goes.

Twee-pop legends The Vaselines are going on tour in the United States this fall. If you’re hoping to see them, you had better live near three very specific cities, because they are only playing in those three very specific cities. So, Vaselines fans, let’s hope you live in the vicinity of Brooklyn, San Francisco, or Seattle.

Last time we heard from The Vaselines, they were putting out their 2010 reunion album, Sex with an X (TMT Review), which also happened to be their first record in over 20 years. That record was released by Sub Pop, who also put out their complete discography collection The Way of the Vaselines way back in 1992. I was five years old in 1992, so you guys are very old and, yes, I am just trying to fill this third sentence, fine, you got me, are you happy, probably not.

Vaselines dates:

08.30.12 - Brooklyn, NY - The Bell House
08.31.12 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent
09.02.12 - Seattle, WA - Bumbershoot

• The Vaselines: http://www.thevaselines.co.uk
• Sub Pop: http://www.subpop.com

Twin Shadow announces new album Confess; here’s some motorcycle noises vrooooooeoooooom

Twin Shadow has a lot of feelings. Happiness. Sadness. A third feeling. Back in 2010 (nostalgia, that’s another one), he expressed a whole bunch of those feelings on his debut record Forget. Forget? Hardly! I remember that record, because it was a good record. I’ll prove to you I remember it! Oh never mind, I suppose I just did. Still, it’s been a second (you know, about two years) since we’ve heard new music from Twin Shadow. What’s been the deal? WHAT’S BEEN THE DEAL!? Anger.

Well, Twin Shadow leader George Lewis Jr. has been out facing his fear. At one point in time, Lewis crashed his motorcycle with a friend in tow. He didn’t ride for a while, but recently bought a new bike to ride out to L.A. and record a new record, Confess. That particular record is coming out July 10 through 4AD. But what’s the deal with the motorcycle stuff? Well, you see, Lewis felt a sense of calm after surprise and… forget it, just let him tell it:

One winter I crashed my motorcycle , with a friend on the back. I shouldn’t have been riding that day, but I was young and fearless of the black roads, fast and easy in my ways. As the bike slipped from under us my head filled with words. The slow motion moments of calm just after surprise and just before regret are bliss. I remember in that moment I wanted to say everything to him. How could I say everything in a split second? How could I bury my words in his heart?

I got a new bike and went to LA to record what is now called *Confess*. I took the bike out at 6AM one morning after not having done much riding in the couple years between *Forget* and *Confess*. I noticed my head clearing as I came slowly down a hill where the road around a reservoir began. I pulled back slowly on the throttle with my right hand, and felt the bike start to come to life. My head was still crystal clear…nothing. As I kicked the bike into 3rd, I pulled almost all the way back and jumped forward leaning in towards the gas tank, fighting the wind. I got up to 75 and saw that no one was out but the runners and their four legged friends, the sidewalks became a blur of barking dogs and heads all turning. My mind was empty. I put the bike in 4th and hit 90. The engine jack hammered under my legs. My mind was clear. I inched toward 100 on the speedometer and punch the last five. TON UP! My mind is filled with words. My heart is full of love. This is where i want to be. I want to stay here, and I want to tell you everything.

Interesting stuff, George Lewis, Jr.! Personally, I don’t much care for motorcycles, but if they can cause such strong feelings then… no. I will likely never like motorcycles. This is the stand I am taking! Here’s another stand I’m taking: Confess’s first single “Five Seconds” is rather good and can be downloaded here. I’m a man of principles.

• Twin Shadow: http://twinshadow.net
• 4AD: http://www.4ad.com