RIAA Looks Deeply Into A Music Fan’s Eyes, Winks, Half-Smiles, and Then Charges Her $220,000 For Sharing 24 Songs

“The law here is clear, as are the consequences for breaking it.” - RIAA

After two days of testimony and four hours of deliberation, the RIAA surprisingly won a pivotal case yesterday when a federal jury in Minnesota found a woman liable for sharing copyrighted MP3s. For a mere 24 songs, Jammie Thomas (after a public whipping) has been ordered to pay a whopping $220,000 to all four down-home, friendly music groups Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, Warner Music Group, and particularly EMI Group (Capitol, specifically). The payment breaks down to $9,250 in statutory damages per song, which could've been been as low as $750 per song ($18,000 total) or as high as $150,000 ($3.6 million total).

The case, which was the first jury trial in the industry's lawsuits targeting individuals, is pivotal because the judge essentially ruled that the mere act of making MP3s available for download is viewed as infringement. Meaning: the RIAA did not have to prove that any songs were actually transferred. The RIAA centered its accusations around Thomas having a Kazaa user name linked to a web address, as well as replacing her computer's hard drive in order to cover-up evidence.

Since 2003, 30,000+ people have been accused of illegally file-sharing, according to The New York Times, but most of them settle out of court for $4,000 on average. The RIAA claims to lose $4.2 billion per year due to file-sharing, but, as Paul Resnikoff of Digital Music News points out, it also has to do with "increased competition for entertainment dollars, antiquated pricing strategies, and an incredibly hostile stance towards consumers." Nobody ever said capitalizing on digital music was going to be easy, but these pricey lawsuits will be the end of major labels if they can't properly engage with the internet, diversify their revenue, adjust their pricing models, and tap deeper into licensing and distribution. Easier than it sounds, I'm sure.

Put On Your Whig and Jump Jump, Nirvana’s Unplugged Is Coming Out On DVD

Remember when Kurt Cobain's body was found (April 8, 1994, for all the young ones) and, for the whole weekend afterward, MTV played Nirvana's performance on their MTV Unplugged series over and over, interspersed with news reports about his suicide from the likes of Kurt Loder, Tabitha Soren(burger), and Ted Koppel? Wait, you didn't know that Ted used to be on MTV!? Yeah, I can still recall him alerting affiliates that his show, Yo!, MTV Nightline, was going to run long, usually due to events like Axl Rose releasing the hostages or an evenly matched and engrossing debate between the Daddy Mac and the Mac Daddy. Ahhh, good times.

Well, get ready to relive those 90210-fueled days starting on November 19, when Nirvana's MTV Unplugged In New York performance is released on DVD! The performance was atypical for the band because, aside from the acoustic instruments, it included a handful of semi-unknown covers, the exclusion of most of the band's "hits," and the sporting of a ponytail by Dave Grohl. It has never been released on any video format since it premiered on the synergistic cable behemoth on November 18, 1993, but The CD version, which added two songs not found on the original eMpTyV (hey, remember that one? Or Skank?) 12-song broadcast, was released almost 13 years ago. The DVD will include the entire 14-song concert, as well as four songs recorded during rehearsal. Now, some other TMTers would probably make a needles and smack joke here, but not me. Thank you, and good night.

Straight from the back of that CD you never listen to, the MTV Unplugged In New York DVD setlist:

Radiohead Close to Signing with Side One Recordings/ATO – So Would They Be Considered an “Indie” Band?

As we already reported, Radiohead expect to sign to a record label in order to help distribute their forthcoming album, In Rainbows, despite self-releasing it digitally next Wednesday and as a special box set in December. The label chatter has increased tremendously, especially after managers Chris Hufford and Bryce Edge recently told BBC Radio that a decision was coming within days. It's unsurprising, then, that places like Billboard and Hits are already starting to predict the likely home for the "proper" retail version of In Rainbows.

Both Billboard and Hits point to the same area, but there is an important distinction to be made. Billboard says ATO (and possibly Side One Recordings) is the "front-runner," while Hits seems fairly confident about Side One Recordings. What both labels have in common is Coran Capshaw, a rich, filthy rich dude who manages Dave Matthews Band and owns Musictoday, the Bonnaroo franchise, and plenty more. Most importantly (at least for this story), Capshaw also co-owns ATO, which is a division of the Sony BMG-owned RCA.

So, how does Side One come in? Well, Capshaw owns another company called Red Light Management, which is significant because Red Light and ATO jointly created Side One. You've probably never heard of it, because it's new, and its first release is Underworld's highly anticipated album, Oblivion with Bells, expected on October 16. This is already a good reason why Radiohead might sign to Side One, but also because Phil Costello, a former senior VP of marketing for Capitol and an early industry chum of Radiohead, would be in charge of marketing and promotion.

Long story short: Capshaw owns both ATO and Side One, but Side One seems most favorable for Radiohead's unique position.

What becomes interesting though is whether or not ATO and/or Side One are technically independent of the major labels. Currently, ATO is owned by Sony BMG, but reports say ATO is trying to break its ties with Sony BMG (further underscored with Billboard reporting that David Gray's Greatest Hits will be the label's first "fully independent" release). Meanwhile, Side One doesn't seem to have a direct connection to any major label, aside from the tenuous Capshaw connection. Of course, things are never as clear-cut as they seem, so who really knows, especially during this somewhat transitional phase for ATO/Side One.

So, what kind of deal might this be? According to Hits: "The arrangement is said to be a 50/50 joint venture and will not involve a sizable advance — in keeping with what are expected to be only modest physical sales. What remains unclear is the term of the deal and the number of albums involved."

Distribution, of course, is a different story. The popular predictions seem to be EMI outside the U.S., and RED in the States, an "indie" distro that's owned by Sony BMG. Hard to fully escape the beast, obviously. (Case in point: Lightning Bolt is distributed by a major-owned distro.)

Of course, no deal has been sealed, and rumor has it that EMI and Warner are still in the running. But with the potential of Capshaw's intuitiveness and Costello's direct experience, Side One could quite possibly be a perfect fit. And if Side One is indeed an independent, well, shit: match made in heaven. And then, finally, Radiohead, after all these years, would be this much closer to hiking up their skirts a little more for Dave Matthews.

This Just In: Incredibly Beautiful Women (And Singers too, I guess) The Pipettes Being Kept Out of The Country, I Hate America

Dear Fat Cats in Washington,

I want you to drop whatever it is you're doing right now, be it tending to the War in Iraq, fixing a hole in the budget, or spinning your wheels on that whole "digital rights management" front. Just forget all of that stuff for a sec, because something much more urgent requires your full, immediate attention. Try to remain calm: According to a post on their Myspace page, UK-based, girl-pop darlings The Pipettes have been forced to postpone the start of their North American tour due to Visa paperwork being delayed! Now, I realize that you're just doing your job with this whole "foreigners need work visas to earn money in exchange for goods and services in this country" thing, and I know that you don't exactly have your "finger on the pulse" these days, so I feel obligated to clue you in here. Not only are The Pipettes talented singers and performers who are trying to make their way peddling big, doo-wop-inspired, smile-enducing pop-rock music in a big, scary, male-dominated music industry, but they're also SEXY AS HELL!

Honestly, now. I want you to take a good, long look at the beautiful young starlets that you and your silly "laws" are delaying from coming to our beautiful country and treating us all with come-hither stares, alluring mod-style dresses, and pearly white, girl-next-door smiles (uh... and I guess that their music is pretty good too).

Preventing such, uh, "talent" from gracing our shores and enriching our lives is, frankly, criminal. Besides, the English trio's debut album We Are The Pipettes (TMT Review) has already been released here in the U.S. via the Cherrytree/Interscope label and includes two new tracks: "Dance and Boogie" and "Baby, Just Be Yourself." Trust me, guys, these ladies have got... well, let's just say they've got the goods. I mean, the album was originally released in the UK in July '06 and hit #41 on the charts over there! So come on, already! Jump on the bandwagon! Don't you want your kids to think you're cool??? To make these ladies postpone their tour until October 25th at the Echoplex in Los Angeles would just be hypocritical. And who knows? Maybe if you scratch their backs , all THREE of them will scratch yours... at the SAME TIME.

Skimpy, alluring tourdates, pretty much all rescheduled:

$ rescheduled dates

Robert Pollard To Play Only Two Shows This Year, Lazy Bastard

WHO?

Bobby Pollard - frontman

Jason Narducy - bass, backing vox

David Suycott - drums

Dag Juhlin - guitar, backing vox

Mitch Marlow - guitar

WHAT?

Bobby and his friends are playing live music! Plus, these will be the only live appearances for Bobby this year.

WHEN?
11.30.07 - Chicago, IL - Metro
12.01.07 - Newport, KY - Southgate House

WHERE?

I already told you! Or at least Asiler told us to tell you! Asiler rules!

WHY?

Because Bobby has two new releases, Coast to Coast Carpet of Love and Standard Gargoyle Decisions, being released by Merge Records. Both come out next Tuesday, October 9.

HOW?

Tickets for the Metro show go on sale this Saturday at Ticketmaster.com (yuck, find your own link). Check back with Bobby's official website for ticket info on the Newport gig. Then subscribe to his singles series! I'll tell you to do more stuff at a later date.

Sunburned Hand Of the Man Tourdates; Hypothetical Introduction From My Roommate Sophomore Year of College

(Takes resin hit)

(Shotguns Miller High Life)

(Exhales triumphantly)

"Sunburned Hand of the Man." Kind of a cool name. I got a wicked sunburn during G-Love's ACL '04 ACL set, but it was fuckin' worth it... dude was just jammin', you know? That would be so tight... just gettin' stoned and jammin' 24-7. Which I guess is what these Sunburned dudes do. They've put out like... four badass albums this year or some shit already, which is crazy... I mean, not even Skynard in their prime had that much goin' on. Of course, times were different back then, hydroponics have come a long way...

(Loud belch and stomach pat of gratification)

Man, touring Europe would be so badass. If I ever get a record deal, I'm totally goin' over there. Take Jack Johnson, that's all he does, you know? Just travels all around the world with his friends jammin' out. That's the way to live, man. Except these dudes aren't playing in Amsterdam... which is just, like, fucked up. To get all the way over there and not play a show in fucking Amsterdam. It's like... it ain't right, you know? I'd plan my trip so I was there the exact same time the Cannabis Cup was goin' on. I wanna do that before I die. Be a judge in the motherfuckin' Cannabis Cup. I'd be like, "yeah, little of this, little of that..." Ha! That'd be so sick. But, whatever. They don't want to go through Amsterdam, that's their decision. Hey, more weed for me, once I get there.

(Takes another hit)

(Sighs)

All right dude, I gotta go to work.