Warner Music CEO Rats Out His Own Kids; RIAA Comes Down On Them With An Iron Slap On The Wrist

First, a discovery. Scientists made an exciting announcement on Wednesday, confirming what some have believed for almost a decade. It turns out that downloading music IS stealing! You know those commandments that some politicians want displayed in courtrooms? Yeah, stealing is in there somewhere. Honestly, you should be grateful that we don't live in the time of eye-for-an-eye or the penalty for music piracy would be the severing of your virtual hand.

Speaking of the virtual world, Warner Music Chief Executive Edgar Bronfman granted an interview to Second Life, a virtual community for child predators last week. The conversation turned to the subject of music piracy and the result was positively SHOCKING...

So, you have seven children, have you ever caught any of them using Gnutella or Limewire or the P2P network?

Bronfman: I have. I explained to them what I believe is right, that the principle involved is that stealing music is stealing music. Frankly, right is right and wrong is wrong, particularly when a parent is talking to a child, a bright line around moral responsibility is very important. I can assure you they no longer do that.

What were the consequences?

Bronfman: I think I'll keep that within the family. (Laughter)

We know what you're thinking. Where's the blood?! I want consequences!! Hey RIAA, seven subpeonas, coming right up! Fact is, dude seems like a reasonable father (businessman, not so much). Within the context of a home, ganking music from a P2P network is like taking cookies from the cookie jar before dinner. Most times you don't get caught, but if you do, the strongest reaction it would elicit is something on the level of a less than convincing shrug.

We can only imagine the conversation went something like this:

Dad: Son?

Son: Oh... ummm... I was just finishing up an, uh... Excel document so I cank eep track of all my ponies.

Dad: Oh no! Oh God, no! Did I just see SoulSeek up on your screen?

Son: (Looks down) I'm sorry dad. I mean, you give me all these free CDs
from Warner, but frankly, your music sucks.

Dad: I'm so disapointed in you, son. You are taking an artist's intellectual property, you know that, right?

Son: I know, I know. I'm really sorry... Uh... dad, how much do artists
make off of cd sales?

Dad: Uh, way less than 10 percent. muHaHahaha!!!

Son: More ponies for us, eh?

Dad: Yeah, more ponies.

Makes you wonder, who's the real pirate? Here's one clue: it's not Bronfman's kids.

Clergy from Virgin and Pontiac Unite For Marketing Purposes, Church of “Virgiac” to Launch Later This Week

According to “billboard.biz” (a non-partisan website that chronicles in
great detail the when, where, why, and money shot every time the great
shaven phallus of the music industry fucks music itself in order to make
our world a cooler place), Virgin Megastores and Pontiac are coming
together in order to form the most sacred ad campaign in human history:
The Pontiac Towers.

Hey! Put down those Orwell-quoting protest signs and letters to the
Adbusters editor -- you, you poor, lost little lamb -- you haven’t even heard
why you need The Pontiac Towers in your life yet. They will serve a myriad
of purposes, including but not limited to: featuring musical artists who
have had their work used in Pontiac advertisements, showcasing Pontiac
merchandise, and being homes to interactive displays on which consumers
can view “Pontiac Garage” concert footage.

Most importantly, however, the Towers should be worshipped in body and in spirit several times daily by all passers-by in order for the maximum
power of the ad campaign to be realized. From the Towers, the worship will
be condensed, shrink-wrapped, and sent skyward to the mysterious but
powerful “Virgiac,” who will, if pleased, bless mankind with more car
commercials and catchier pop-punk anthems. If you are a faithful servant
of Virgiac until the day you die, you will be rewarded by spending an
eternal afterlife as a wealthy member of the 18-34 demographic.

In addition to the towers, Virgin will license at least 30 songs to
Pontiac every year for various purposes, such as TV spots and online ads.
Mark-Hans Richer, Pontiac’s Marketing Director, said of the promotion: “I
think brands and bands can make each others’ products better,” in a spare
moment between silent prayer hour and Gregorian chant time. “Brands and
bands” -- now there’s a catch phrase for the new millennium if I ever heard
one. Enjoy your scoffs of skepticism now, doubter, but don’t come to me in
the afterlife you’ll inevitably be spending as a destitute 92-year-old man
looking for alms, cause you ain’t gettin’ anything from me or my
rising-star-in-the-legal-profession young wife. Don’t give him any money,
Vanessa, you’re only hurting him in the long run.

Radiohead To Cover Stone Temple Pilots; Okay, I Lied – Radiohead To Debut Two New Songs On Nigel Godrich’s TV Show

For those of you who salivate over all things Radiohead, you may have heard about this little program put together by their occasional producer and collaborator Nigel Godrich. In case you haven't, or need to be reminded, the television show, entitled From The Basement, is to be a glorious program full of wonderous musical performances by the likes of Four Tet, The White Stripes, Beck, and Jamie Lidell (among others).

Set to premiere on December 18, the show will be available as an un-free download. To ensure themselves a whole bunch of almost guaranteed revenue and media interest, Radiohead, or at least Thom Yorke, will be premiering two BRAND! NEW! Radiohead songs on the show. The songs, "Videotape" and "Down Is The New Up," are apparently due to appear on the BRAND! NEW! ALBUM NUMBER SEVEN! by Radiohead. Did I mention that Godrich isn't fully producing said LP?

If you don't believe me, check out this fancy-dancy link.

Thanks for caring enough to share.

EMI Offers DRM-Free MP3 of Norah Jones (She’s a Jazz Virtuoso)

Jazz performer Norah Jones, the jazz artist, is a jazz musician. She peforms jazz, listens to jazz, and for all intents and purposes, is jazz. Hell, I wouldn't think it's too much of a stretch to say that Norah Jones is the greatest jazz artist of our time, if not ever. Her jazz vocals are simply breathtaking. All the jazz clubs and jazz fans love her jazz.

But does EMI love her jazz? I DON'T THINK SO. According to reports, EMI is offering a DRM-free MP3 of this amazing jazz artist through Yahoo (yes, they have a music service; you learn something new everyday). Aw, dude, c'mon! This means EMI is practically giving her music away for free. It's completely ridiculous -- might as well start manfucturing CDs and chucking them at ugly people on the street, because you're not going to make Norah Jones any money going this route, EMI.

Oh wait, artists are still getting ripped off no matter what? Are you for real? It's as if these companies don't care about their artists or something!

Mercury Rev It Up (Look! I Made a Totes Original Funny!) With Two New Releases for 2006

I have two (2) stories about Mercury Rev, and interestingly enough, they're not about the two (2) new albums they're dropping right quick. They are, however, horribly awkward and Mid-Hudson Valley (that's New York, you know)-specific. I mean, it's me we're talking about here. Or Mercury Rev. Whatever.

An illustrious mix CD thrust upon me by our very own Judy Ain't No Punk (once she realized I was listening to entirely too much of The Smashing Pumpkins and not much else) contained "Opus 40," and I remember her telling me that her father was particularly fond of it. What Mr. Ain't No Punk doesn't know is that I went out and bought Deserter's Songs one week later, much to the dismay of Adore. What set my 13-year-old world on end was when my cello teacher's sister casually mentioned she had played violins for some band she met on a train, and I ran home and opened the CD insert and stared at "Rachel Handman" for awhile. I think I got her autograph and sent it to Judy in a birthday card. Check it, I was schmoozing like y'all don't know, and I'm pretty sure I still had braces.

Obviously, by the time I was an intern for Some "Independent" Adult Contemporary Radio Station in Overrated & Overpriced Hippietown, I had gained immeasurable poise. I did Ryan Adams' grocery shopping to satisfy a concert hospitality rider. I drove a gigantic van emblazoned with the station's logo. I spotted Mercury Rev on our soundstage. I hid in the bathroom.

Eventually, I was coaxed out of the bathroom by the promotions director and took a picture of the afternoon DJ with the band:

I had style, I had grace, I had photography skills. Obviously.

Mercury Rev have suffered great injustices at my hand, but it hasn't stopped them from issuing The Essential Mercury Rev -- Stillness Breathes 1991-2006, which drummer Jeff Mercel describes as " a box of candy. We took all the maple creams out, the ones people pinch." Looks like the Rev's website (where the 2-disc set is exclusively sold) is gonna get pretty sticky! HA! That's a kneeslapper! Er, the other release is a soundtrack for a French film, and it's called Hello Blackbird, which is also available on MercuryRev.com. I am never going to try and be funny again.

At Your Cervix! Initial No Fun Fest 2007 Lineup Announced!

Contrary to what bitter ex-girlfriends and a nervous society at large have warned me about, I am capable of reproducing life and will indeed become a father any week now. I used to think that seeing my obscenity-wielding girlfriend bearing down and producing our son covered in blood 'n' vernix was an activity that I could wait a little while longer to encounter. But when the lil' tax write-off takes one look at us with his cerulean eyes and starts screaming, spitting, and crying, it’s going to be the most beautiful thing in the world. I’m going to fucking lose it, I’m never going to be the same... and I can't wait for it to happen.

I certainly won't be the first pristine parent to get thrown into cloud-cuckoo-land on the "big day," and I definitely won't be the last. Nor is witnessing childbirth the only way to bombard your senses and awaken another layer of experience; musicians have been wrenching these emotions out of audiences for ages. Some like-minded (but dissimilar-sounding) ones have been getting together and getting off on it in Brooklyn since 2004, where and when Carlos Giffoni birthed the first annual No Fun Fest. For all the buzz about NFF being an "anti-festival," it really embodies what is good and great about live explorations into unrestricted areas of sound and performance. And despite the gathering's "No Fun" tag, it is anything but -- simply take a look at Load Records' Fun From None: Live From the No Fun Fest 2004 & 2005 DVD compendium, or ask EVERY SINGLE PERSON who has had the pleasure of attending in the past. Before they make your ears bleed with plaudits about the Fest, you'll clue in that something very special is going to go down May 17-20 at The Hook in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

No Fun vets will notice a few returnees this year, but rest assured not many sets will seem empty or played-out, even to the most jaded lovers of the subversive, extreme, or left-of-convention. Although there probably won’t be a stray placenta appearance, given the festival's inclination for delivering surprise, you can't count it out. More artists will be announced in due time, but the lineup will include these CONFIRMED acts: American Band + Air Conditioning, Ash Pool, Burning Star Core (pictured) + Zaimph, Crumbling (Pedestrian Deposit + Oscillating Innards), Deathroes (Gerritt + Sixes), Demons, Enema Syringe, Evil Moisture, Gastric Female Reflex, Carlos Giffoni, Hair Police, Hive Mind, Incapacitants, Leslie Keffer + Rodger Stella, Mouthus + Axolotl, Pain Jerk, Princess Dragonmom, Raionbashi, Tom Recchion, Ju Suk Reet Meate and Oblivia, Religious Knives, Sickness, Sissy Spacek, Slogun, and The Rita.

Festival passes go on sale February 15, single day tickets on March 15.

Photo: Phillip Berryhill