Google Teams Up With Universal To Create A DRM-Free Rival To The iTunes Music Store called gBox. Daaaaaaaamn!

Universal Music Group, the biggest record label in the goddamn world, announced last Thursday that it would begin selling DRM-free MP3s through a variety of digital vendors. Music from a test selection of artists in Universal’s catalog will be available through Wal-Mart, Best Buy Digital Music Store, Rhapsody, Transworld, Passalong Networks, Amazon, Puretracks, and Google -- though not through iTunes. Daaaamn!

Google plans to continue its current music service, which links searchers to music vendors, and to create its own online music store called gBox (PC-only, at least for now). Google has chosen to avoid the centrally located business model of digital music stores like iTunes, instead adopting a method of distribution that relies on advertising. Universal will buy advertising from Google’s AdWords program, which displays advertisements based on the content of a website. The advertisements for Universal will contain a link to gBox, where MP3s from the advertised artist will be available for purchase. So, for example, if you send an e-mail containing the words “Reba McEntire” to my Gmail account, I will be provided with a link to gBox’s collection of Reba McEntire hits. Daaaaaaaamn!

With their announced price of $.99-per-track, it is hard to imagine that Universal is not intentionally challenging Apple, whose DRM-free offerings cost a full $.30 more. Universal has referred to this experiment as a “test [of] the implications of selling our music in an open format,” though it will also test the potential for MP3 sales without the power of the iPod. Though their DRM-free tracks will likely play on the iPod, Universal and Google may have a hard time pulling consumers away from iTunes without a vertically integrated system to offer. Daaaaaaaaaaaamn!

Hopefully, this bit of competition will help to loosen Apple’s stranglehold on digital music sales and prevent them from arbitrarily raising prices. And with two of the Big Four moving away from DRM (the other being EMI), perhaps the encryption is on its way out. It should be noted, however, that gBox will also offer DRM-encrypted MP3s for the same price as their non-encrypted equivalent, which are expected to make great gag gifts for music listeners. Shiiiiiiiiiiit!

Who Says File Sharing Takes the Elitism Out of Being a Music Fan? Application Allows Sharing Within Private, Encrypted Rings

Finally, your Dave Clark Five fan club can find electronic solace somewhere unsullied by legions of Herman’s Hermits and Monkees fans. GigaTribe “lets you share entire folders with friends in a private peer to peer (P2P) environment.” It's also free.

My favorite part about whenever a new service like this launches is the semantic race it has to run in order to pretend people will only use it legally. The GigaTribe website, for one, features a random quote at the bottom that outlines a sham reason someone might use GigaTribe for something other than illegal file-sharing. “Oliver H,” for example, “a real estate agent, uses GigaTribe to exchange pictures of houses and apartments with his clients and co-workers.” How ethical! “Thanks to GigaTribe, Nanny can grab all of the movies and pictures of her grandchildren who live far from her.” Hey Nanny, I didn’t know Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker were your grandchildren! Cool!

There’s also something about some sound engineer sending recordings to his bandmates or whatever, but let’s get down to business: This is a streamlined, secure new way for you and your friends to exchange countless illegal copies of stuff you’d otherwise have to pay for. You can even make a fun, immature show out of excluding people you don’t like. For example: Maybe there’ll be a TinyMixTapes GigaTribe. You’ll never know. You’re not invited. Long live the new file-sharing flesh.

100% Original Headline: The National Tour Internationally

The National are having quite a year. The eight-year-old Brooklyn via Ohio group has overcome the familiar chorus of "the new LP is not as good as the last one" and rode it to a fair amount of success. That previous LP, 2005's Alligator (Beggars Banquet) was like an earthquake setting up the indie rock Tsunami known as Boxer (TMT Review). If Alligator is the Preamble, Boxer is the Constitution of the USfuk'nA. Awkward (a.k.a. my bread) metaphors (e.g. my butter) aside, to paraphrase the Zombies, this will be their year, took a long time to come. So, whether you think of the band's upcoming transcontinental tour (with openers including The Rosebuds, St. Vincent, and Hayden) as merely a doing-what-is-expected-of-them move or a victory lap, either way, the wave is coming to your town. You can either run for the hills or put on your bathing suit and enjoy.*

Tourdates:

* Disclaimer: No matter what you, the reader, thinks, I am not making light of any Tsunami or water-related tragedies, even if HP turns them into another reason to buy their products.

“If You Really Love Me, You’ll Prove It To Me… With Your Body…”; UNKLE’s First Time (Touring As A Full Band)

There can be a lot of pressure to losing your virginity -- that is, to have sexual intercourse tour with a live band for the first time. Having sex Touring with someone just because you want to lose your virginity, or because you think all your friends are doing it, is something you may later regret.

You might feel anxiety, especially the first time you have sex embark on a full tour. You may feel embarrassed about how you look without your clothes on on stage or worried about your privacy being disturbed. It's natural to be worried, but good communication will help prevent you from feeling needlessly embarrassed. You should be able to talk to your partner band regarding your feelings about having sex touring for the first time and about any other concerns you may have. In fact, your partner band might be worried, too. Being relaxed and able to share things with your partner band will really ease the tension. And if you're too shy or unable to talk about these things with your partner band, then you probably shouldn't be having sex touring!

Having sexual intercourse Touring as a band -- when a boy's hard penis goes inside a girl's vagina or even just touches the outside of her vagina when people play the instruments to make the sounds onstage instead of just pressing buttons -- can surely lead to pregnancy and disease fame and recognition. So enjoy, but be safe.

$ James Lavelle DJ set

Pearl Jam’s Anti-Bush Lyrics Censored During AT&T Webcast

I love writing for TMT. I feel the editors give me the freedom to say whatever I want, no matter my politics. I don't even hesitate for one second when I say that I fucking [love] President Bush, and I wish that he would just fucking fall and [live]! So, how do I know they won't censor me? Well, first of all, they probably agree that Bush is a big, steaming pile of [pixy stix!!], but also because there's this thing called TRUST. I trust who I work for, and in return, I will continue to support and show my dedication to all things TMT.

Musicians, too, have this freedom, but it's much more complex. Once the song is written, the freedom that the musician had during the songwriting process comes to a halt, as the label, distributors, retailers, etc. all have a say in the production and distribution of the music. And now that performances have become a viable commodity outside of venues, especially with telecasts, webcasts, and so on, it's inevitable that a new world of gatekeeping would rear its head.

Who knew that one of the more high-profile examples of head-rearing would expose itself alongside Pearl Jam. On Wednesday, Pearl Jam accused AT&T of censoring part of their webcasted Lollapalooza performance of "Daugther." The omitted sections, originally pointed out by fans, featured the following lyrics (to the tune of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall"):

"George Bush, leave this world alone"

"George Bush find yourself another home"

Check out the YouTube video here.

AT&T doesn't deny the missing section of the performance, but it does blame the third-party "vendor" for the "mistake." Reportedly, AT&T regrets the omissions and is working to secure rights to post the entire song on its Blue Room site. But that's neither here not there at this point. No matter how you slice it, the lyrics in the end were censored, whether AT&T authorized it or not. Putting a video of the performance on the Blue Room site is nothing but public relations at this point.

No wonder why groups like SavetheInternet.com and the Future of Music Coalition used the opportunity to bring up the issue of net neutrality. This shit is so important, but AT&T is more concerned with undermining the cause while allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) to illegally monitor phone and internet communications without warrants (a violation, ahem, of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and the First and Fourth Amendments) and helping the RIAA, MPA, Viacom, and Cisco with technology that enables traffic spying. Seriously, check out their new privacy policy, which went into effect last year:

"AT&T — not customers — owns customers' confidential info and can use it 'to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process.'"

AT&T can suck my big, fat, juicy [stop being so touchy, Mango -- you don't even listen to Pearl Jam, jeez].

Joy Division Reissues Due In September; Aged Music Writers Still Find Unknown Pleasures In Dusting Off Terrible References During Their Transmissions

Since Anton Corbijn is expecting to release a film about Ian Curtis in October, what better timing than to release shiny new editions of timeless post-punk classics? Unknown Pleasures (1979), Closer (1980), and Still (1981) will re-arrive to record stores on September 10 (UK) and September 11 (U.S.), each brandishing a cool bonus live disc. Hopefully each of these discs will showcase the group's better concerts, as Joy Division was rather notorious for being an unpredictable live act.

But enough blah-blah; here's a tracklisting for each of the forthcoming bonus discs. I won't bore you by typing out the songs from the albums, as you likely are already familiar. If you're not, then, well, you need to put down that damn Franz Ferdinand record and get listening to some Joy Division pretty soon, sweetheart.

Unknown Pleasures bonus disc (Live At Factory and The Moonlight Club):

1. Dead Souls
2. The Only Mistake
3. Insight
4. Candidate
5. Wilderness
6. Shes Lost Control
7. Shadowplay
8. Disorder
9. Interzone
10. Atrocity Exhibition
11. Novelty
12. Transmission
13. Novelty (mono)
14. Transmission (mono)
15. Love Will Tear Us Apart
16. Glass

Closer bonus disc (Live at ULU):

1. Dead Souls
2. Glass
3. A Means To An End
4. 24 Hours
5. Shadowplay
6. Insight
7. Colony
8. These Days
9. Love Will Tear Us Apart
10. Isolation
11. The Eternal
12. Digital

Still bonus disc (Live At High Wycombe):

1. Isolation
2. The Eternal
3. Ice Age
4. Disorder
5. The Sound Of Music
6. The Eternal
7. The Sound Of Music (soundcheck)
8. Means To An End
9. Colony
10. 24 Hours
11. Isolation
12. Love Will Tear Us Apart
13. Disorder
14. Atrocity Exhibition

  

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