Google dances real pretty-like for labels, hoping to open legit music store before iTunes Match debuts

Google dances real pretty-like for labels, hoping to open legit music store before iTunes Match debuts

The New York Times reports that Google is preparing to release a new music store that will work in conjunction with its recently launched Google Music Beta cloud service and will compete head to head with iTunes and Amazon’s music store. Google launched its Music Beta service as an unlicensed storage “locker” system after negotiations with license holders broke down over piracy concerns. Google had hoped to be able to allow users to upload their music via a central database, effectively finding matches across other users’ libraries and preventing users from having to wait for individual uploads unless their files were completely new to the system, but without special licenses from labels, that plan fell to the wayside.

Google is presumably promising a more rigorous file vetting system for its cloud service to prevent piracy in a bid to get labels on board with the music store. Conversely, Apple already has the leading music store and is prepping for the release of its own cloud service, iTunes Match. Google is probably regretting publicly deriding labels for not getting on board with its original cloud service approach now that they’re trying to get deals in place for their store before the iTunes Match service rolls out, possibly by the end of this month. Because of the license agreements in place between labels and Apple to sell music, they already have the special licensing agreements needed to allow for the type of cloud service Google originally envisioned for itself.

What does this all mean for users? Well, if you’ve only bought music from the safe and sanitized environs of the iTunes music store, you’ll probably still stick with the Apple services, but if you collect music from a broad range of places (free downloads from the internet, directly from small labels, by converting LPs and cassettes to a digital format, etc.) a service that values its users privacy and doesn’t judge them on the source of their content (after making them agree that none of it was illegally acquired, of course) is still probably the best way to go, regardless of how that makes the labels feel or how long it takes to get it all up in the cloud. If Google is successful in striking a deal with license holders to sell music, it may ultimately and regrettably water down the openness of their cloud service. To the Cloud Drive!

• Google Music:

Hubble (ZS guitarist) saves souls, announces Northeast tourdates in support of upcoming LP on Northern Spy

Five-handed arpeggio engineer and ZS guitarist Ben Greenberg has been stirring up a lot of buzz with his solo project, Hubble, especially after the religiously moving performance at the Northern Spy Festival this month (after the performance, a few kids came forward and made some life-changing decisions). Greenberg has now felt led by the spirit to take Hubble on the road and spread the good news of his forthcoming LP Hubble Drums, out November 8 on Northern Spy as part of ZS’ extremely prolific release schedule. The dates take the band to Toronto, Montreal, Burlington, and Purchase, where they’ll perform alongside the likes of Golden Retriever, Harmonizer, Memoryhouse, and more.

Hubble’s “Hubble’s Hubble” (also from the new LP and fun to write like that) will also be featured in conjunction with a new video created by Tiffany Borders of NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team. The NASA-sanctioned video will feature cosmic imagery captured by the actual Hubble Telescope and will get you that much closer to the heavens. God bless Ben Greenberg. Bless him.

Hubble tourdates:

10.15.11 - Toronto, ON - The Music Gallery’s “X AVANT New Music Festival”
10.16.11 - Toronto, ON - Double Double Land
10.17.11 - Montreal, QC - La Brique *
10.18.11 - Burlington, VT - BCA Center *
10.19.11 - Purchase, NY - Whitson’s

* Golden Retriever, Harmonizer

• Hubble:
• Northern Spy:

Arts & Crafts signs Eight and a Half, the result of a dark Broken Social Scene wizard raising The Stills from their grave

Earlier this year, gloom-rock underdogs The Stills broke up. Simple enough story, bands break up all the time. Open and shut case. Or was it? Somewhere in the background, dark forces were lurking. The league of wizards known as Broken Social Scene were watching The Stills’ every move, a feat made easy by the fact that bands were both signed to Arts & Crafts. Even as The Stills breathed their last, Broken Social Scene were hatching shadowy plans. Those plans are just now coming to fruition, in the form of a new band called Eight and a Half, formed by Broken Social Scene’s Justin Peroff and The Stills’ Dave Hamelin and Liam O’Neil.

To complete Broken Social Scene’s evil ceremony, they need only the heart of a centaur princess and to sign the group to Arts & Crafts. Consider the latter completed! Arts & Crafts will be putting out the group’s debut in early 2012. Until then, the group has their debut single, “Scissors,” to offer. That single can be found at the band’s Soundcloud page, as well as their official website. Along with the untouched single, there’s also a more touched remix from LA beat-making fellow TOKiMONSTA, available for download at RCRD LBL and for streaming at the aforementioned Soundcloud page.

Finally, to prove that Broken Social Scene’s shadow fingers touch every corner of the world of music, the single and remix combination are coming out as a 10-inch single through Arts & Crafts by the year’s end, in addition to currently being available in digital forms through the label’s digital store and iTunes. Now, I can finally feel the Broken Social Scene hex lifting from my soul.

• Eight and a Half:
• Arts & Crafts:

Touch (the label) releases new iPhone/iPad app controlled by touch (the sense)

Have you ever been out and about, engaged in your daily routine, and thought to yourself, “Wow, I don’t know what it is, but I suddenly have the overwhelming urge to listen to wasps emerging from and returning to their nest in the English countryside.” Well, now you can, thanks to British audio-visual organization Touch, who, as you might’ve guessed, also operate the Touch label and have just created a free app for the iPhone and iPad. In addition to streaming every single Touch Radio episode, the new app keeps you up-to-date with Touch news, allows you to read about and listen to tracks from the Touch catalogue, allows you to save graphic designer and Touch co-founder Jon Wozencroft’s Touch cover art as wallpaper, and gives you access to the Touch Recipe Book — for all those introspective evenings when you want a meal to complement your total immersion into analog sound and field recordings.

It’s a wonder why the folks at Touch didn’t jump on this sooner. It’d be like if Apple developed a technology that allowed you to teleport at “warp” speed. Are you telling me Warp Records wouldn’t be all over that, with Autechre being contracted to score the momentary journey? Oh, they so would be.

• Touch:

Sufjan Stevens to perform Beyond This Place documentary soundtrack live. Wait, wasn’t Sufjan going to release a documentary too?

What happened to Crooked River, the documentary about Sufjan Stevens and his brother Marzuki traveling back home to Michigan to reconnect with their father? There’s no information on the film’s Facebook page, and I can’t find the trailer anywhere. Frankly, I’m a little disappointed.

Even if that documentary never emerges, Stevens hasn’t totally abandoned tales of reconciliation between fathers and sons. He provided the soundtrack for his pal Kaleo La Belle’s documentary Beyond This Place, which chronicles La Belle’s 500-mile bike trip through the Pacific Northwest with his father, Cloud Rock. According to Consequence of Sound, Stevens will be performing the soundtrack during film screenings throughout the next few weeks, and he’s released the title track, which is performed by Raymond Raposa of Castanets and features Stevens as well as Vesper of Ben + Vesper. It’s nice and folky, and there’re even hints of orchestral funk — just what you need to fill that Sufjan-sized void in your day.


10.30.11 - New York, NY - BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
11.03.11 - Portland, OR - Hollywood Theater
11.06.11 - San Francisco, CA - Castro Theater
11.08.11 - Los Angeles, CA - Vista Theater

• Sufjan Stevens:
Beyond This Place:

Billy Corgan wants you to join the Resistance, announces his new project Resistance Pro Wrestling

I’ll give myself a warning. The following may incite Billy Corgan to call me a hater on his Twitter. But Billy, I kid.

The king of banal controversy and bloggers’ favorite whipping boy, Smashing Pumpkins’ frontman (and yeah, only original member) appeared on Fox Chicago’s Good Day Live (watch video here) to discuss the buzz around his new endeavor — his very own pro wrestling company in Chicago, Resistance Pro Wrestling. This is maybe not much of a shock to people who follow Corgan, be they fans or (more likely) otherwise; he’s been into wrestling for years (big question: how’s his Macho Man impression?). Of course, Billy scoffs at wrestling as entertainment; for his own company, he wants to go back to an “old school feel,” with extra attention to concussion awareness.

For those of you that are now imagining Billy shining up his bald head and strapping on spandex, feel free to continue, but the truth is that he won’t be appearing in the ring (though think about the possibilities: “The Pumpkin Smasher” is just the beginning). As usual, Billy’s situated himself as the brains of the outfit, and he is making the media circuit to announce Resistance’s first event, at Chicago’s Excalibur. Oh, and Smashing Pumpkins have a new album coming out sometime this winter. But with Resistance Pro Wrestling to contend with, who cares? You can’t smear on face paint to celebrate a new album.

Resistance Pro Wrestling:

11.25.11 - Chicago, IL - Excalibur (The Sheikh, El Generico, Harry Smith, “and more”)

• Resistance Pro Wrestling: