Sony BMG Merger Approved for the Second Time; “Take that, whiny bitches,” says Sony BMG rep Chris Wool

Since the merger of Sony and BMG in August 2004, the major music group has acted more like a towel over the face of the already suffocating major music industry than as a resuscitating device. Things started off with the payola scandal of 2005, in which Sony BMG (among others) was caught bribing radio DJs to promote artists like Franz Ferdinand and Jessica Simpson. It was fined $10 million. Then, of course, there was the rootkit scandal in 2005. As equally funny as the payola scandal, Sony BMG's shitty DRM software auto-installed onto the consumer's computer and auto-compromised its security. Even one of Sony BMG's uninstallation options for the rootkit made personal computers vulnerable.

Talk about bad PR. Which is probably why Sony BMG decided to skip a scandal in 2006. Or maybe because that's when Impala (indie trade association) convinced the European Union to annul the Commission's decision to clear the merger in the first place. Who has time to worry about a new scandal when the company's own marriage is skating on thin ice?

It's now October 2007, 15 months since the annulment, and the EU Commission (who earlier this year approved Universal's giant takeover of Bertelsmann's BMG publishing arm) has FINALLY announced that... the... Sony... BMG... merger... has... been... for... the... second... time... cleared. According to EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes:

"This investigation represents one of the most thorough analyses of complex information ever undertaken by the commission in a merger procedure. It clearly shows that the merger would not raise competition concerns in any of the affected markets. [...] It analyzed all retail net prices, discounts and wholesale prices for all CD chart albums sold by all major record companies to all of their customers. This was an enormous exercise. We found no evidence to support any theory of actual or likely anti-competitive effects of this merger."

The investigation also supposedly offered "tangible evidence" of Sony BMG's activity since 2004, something the Commission couldn't possibly predict in its original 2004 decision to allow the merger. But with the above-mentioned scandals and the bad press that came along with it, doubts are raised as to whether or not this "tangible evidence" is truly representative of Sony BMG's potential clout.

Impala, of course, reacted strongly to the decision. The group claims the Commission ignored the Court's ruling, calling the decision "indefensible" and wondering why the merger was cleared a second time without remedies. Chairman Martin Mills said the decision ignored the "independents' evidence on anti-competitive behavior in retail, radio and television, press and the online market," according to Billboard. Meanwhile, Impala President Patrick Zelnik said "The Commission has ignored the simple fact that four companies control 95% of the music most citizens hear on the radio throughout the world. What kind of a message does this send to European citizens?"

THIS JUST IN: Wayne Coyne Is the Grand Marshal for a Halloween Parade in OKC!

We reported yesterday that The Flaming Lips were liars. And yes, they still are. But you know who's not a liar? KEVIN DONOVAN. Kevin is currently our most favoritist TMT reader, because he just slipped us news that Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips will be the Grand Marshal of the Gazette's Ghouls Gone Wild parade on October 27! Designed to "celebrate creativity and artistry in Oklahoma City," the inaugural Halloween parade will "showcase floats, bands, walking groups and a large number of costumed revelers." And with Coyne as a dignitary, who knows what else will happen. Who. Knows.

Go to the parade's official website for more information, or head on over to its MySpace where you can watch a sweet animated GIF

10.03.07 - Charlotte, NC - Amos' Southend
10.12.07 - Fairburn, GA - Echo Project Festival
10.27.07 - Oklahoma City, OK - Gazette's Ghouls Gone Wild Halloween parade

There, news story done. Phew! We couldn't have done this without you, Kevin. Thanks for being you!

Ariel Pink and Cass McCombs on Tour, Need You to Play Tambourine

Quickly! Ariel Pink and Cass McCombs have scheduled a tour starting next month, and they need YOU! Coincidentally, the tambourine players for both Ariel Pink and Cass McCombs' touring bands died in some sort of accident... I think it was related to a car... Anyway, who gives a shit; the important thing right now is that you get a tambourine pronto so you can shake shake shake with Ariel Pink and Cass McCombs. Can't afford it? Of course you can't! Thankfully you've come to TMT, the cheapest, stingiest motherfucking online zine known to man.

Here's what you need to do:

1. Staple or glue two paper plates together, facing each other.
2. Using a hole punch, make holes around the plates and tie jingle bells to the holes with string.
3. Decorate the tambourine with crayons.
4. Shake to play.

Note: Heavy duty paper plates may be more durable for this craft.

Safety note: If using a stapler, an adult should do this. Someone named Natalie works best. When finished be sure to cover the staples with scotch tape.

Tip: Practice playing along with Ariel Pink's full discography, as well as McCombs' new album Dropping the Writ, slated for a October 9 on Domino Records.

And there you go, jackass!

MF DOOM Not Dead. Stones Throw B-Ball Zombie War Compilation Not Dead. Music Television? Dead.

Prompted by constant haranguing about the whereabouts and whatabouts of MF DOOM, Stones Throw felt it necessary to post this on their website: “Every day for the past month we’ve been hit up by people wanting explanations, statements, clarifications, and declarations about MF DOOM. Is he lip synching? (No. Listen to the videos on YouTube.) Is he an imposter? (No, but he did lose some pounds.) Is he in the hospital? (No, he’s in his studio…or if not there, you can find him in the pub with the grub stain.)”

So, he’s not “fighting for his life in the hospital” as was stated at his cancelled Central Park show on September 22? (No.) And he isn’t sending imposters lip-synching or lip-synching imposters at his shows as many have postulated? (No.) Is he on the new Stones Throw roundball-themed, 2K Sports Co-Sponsored Peanut Butter Wolf Presents 2K8: B-Ball Zombie War on October 2? (Yes, he appears on two tracks: with Guilty Simpson over top of J Dilla’s “Mash” for “Mash’s Revenge” and with Q-Tip and Talib Kweli over Dilla’s “Lightworks” on “Lightworking.”) But we can find him in the pub with the grub stain, right? (Yes.) Can we find him in the club with the StubHub plane? (No.) Can we find him in the rub-and-tug with the Cub Scout gravy train? (Yes.) Can we find him in the sub with the cocaine pull chain, and if so, can we find him in that same sub with a chub external nasal vein? (No.) Can we find him in the tub with the scrub from Ukraine? (Yes.) Can we find him in the hub with a nub full of Rogaine? (Yes.) Can we find him hanging out with a shlub from Napoleon’s Leipzig Campaign? (We won’t rule anything out, but probably not.)

There. All questions answered. No bricks!

1. Supreme Team (Madlib & Karriem Riggins) - "See" (Suite)
2. MED - "Break It Down"
3. Guilty Simpson - "Make it Fast"
4. J Dilla (featuring Q-Tip & Talib Kweli) - "Lightworking"
5. Percee P (featuring J. Rocc) - "Legendary Lyricist Pt. 2"
6. J. Rocc - "Super Sound"
7. Madlib - "The Wigflip"
8. J Dilla (featuring MF DOOM & Guilty Simpson) - "Mash's Revenge"
9. Oh No - "Action" (Rap Version)
10. Beat Konducta - "Trouble"
11. Quasimoto - "Hydrant Game" (Jaylib Remix)
12. Aloe Blacc - "Find a Way"
13. Dam-Funk - "Sidewayz"
14. Baron Zen - "Electronic" (Koushik Remix)
15. James Pants - "Ka$h" (Peanut Butter Wolf Remix)
16. Niko & DJ Babu - "Now You Know"
17. Koushik - "Basketball Beat"
18. Arabian Prince - "Professor X Saga"
19. Jonathon Brown - "Bass Creator's Groove"
20. CX Kidtronik (featuring Tchaka Diallo) - "Big Girl, Skinny Girl"

Twodeadsluts Onegoodfuck Offend Everyone… Ever,Tour U.S., Render Jokes Useless

There is a scene in the first season of the now-cancelled television show Arrested Development in which the youngest of the adult Bluths, a coddled mama's boy named Buster, upon being released for a day from his mother's vice grip, joins his older siblings in a healthy little bitch-fest about mother Lucille's ice-queen ways. After a few playful jabs from his brothers and sister, the normally reserved Buster joins in and unleashes his pent up fury by imitating his mother: "’Cause I’m an uptight... (long bleep)... Buster... (longer bleep)... you old horny slut!” To which his brother Michael sheepishly replies: "Well, no one's going to top that."

It's sort of like naming your band Twodeadsluts Onegoodfuck.

Right up there with dead baby jokes, nothing can make you a complete social outcast like telling people your favorite band is Twodeadsluts Onegoodfuck. And it doesn't get any easier from there. "Oh, it's just this grindcore band that works on sexual shock value," you might try to insist. "Their first CD, I Stuck My Boner In The Blender, is a genre classic, but they really came into their own on P.T. Barnum's Gallery Of Masturbatorial Disenchantment." By this point, you're already ostracized, so you might as well finish. "They put out all their releases on their own label, Foreskin Forcefield."

Seriously. And wait until you see their cover art.

If you're a-okay with lonlieness and possible persecution, you can download two new singles from the band's MySpace and then catch them on tour with Rhode Island grindcore legends, Suffering Bastard.

DRM’s Not Dead; In Canada, However, It’s A Little Poor

A study published by CIPPIC -- the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic -- claims that DRM technology flouts Canada’s strict privacy laws, in particular the universally feared PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act). According to the report, DRM is being used to collect, use, and disclose personal information of users, without giving the user a chance to agree-to or opt-out of this process. As such, it’s breaking Canadian law.

“The privacy concerns with DRM are substantiated by what we saw,” said David Fewer, a nurse who works in the aforementioned clinic. He added that in order for organizations not to be in breach of PIPEDA, and “if there's personal information collection use or disclosure going on, there has to be consent and the form of consent has to be appropriate to the circumstances." I guess he’s talking about the ‘watermarking’ of DRM files with e-mail addresses, IP addresses, and whatever else they manage to jam in there. The report also claims to have found links between DRM and internet marketing organization DoubleClick, suggesting that the information garnered by DRM may be being shared with organizations such as them.

Apple, as well as the other users of DRM technology implicated in the report, appear to have been literally too cowed with fear at the prospect of breaking Canadian laws to have responded. However, a fellow by the name of Christopher Levy gave us his tuppence worth, and we can rely on Mr Levy to provide a dispassionate view on the proceedings; after all, he is CEO of an organization named BuyDRM. "It's unfortunate that consumers have been misled by a lot of vocal critics,” murmured Levy in his sensually persuasive burr, before launching into a veritable orgy of low-grade similes (all seemingly calculated to enrage the homeless): “The truth is DRM is no more evil than the lock and key that's on your door, the alarm on your car, or the authentication system in your cell phone."

Of course, the issue of privacy is taken quite seriously up here in Soviet Canuckistan and was the main reason that Canadian courts have consistently found that Canadian ISPs should not be compelled to give up the names of alleged file-sharers to the CRIA (the Canadian equivalent of the RIAA), making P2P file-sharing essentially legal up here. Although the report will undoubtedly be pretty much ignored by those companies that use DRM in their files, this is perhaps less important than the way in which the report illustrates the fact that, for at least now in Canada, issues related to music-downloading and file-sharing are very much skewed in the benefit of the consumer of the products, rather than the music industry. It remains to be seen how long this situation will last.

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