Warner Head Lyor Cohen Discusses “Flexible Pricing” Using the Chewbacca Defense. WHY?

Last week, we reported to you two days late about Apple's revelatory news of changing their pricing model from a fixed 99¢ to a "flexible" model of 69¢, 99¢, and 129¢. To make up for it, we're going to report on the industry response early. Why? Because we're awesome like that.

For its upcoming issue, Billboard sat down with Warner Chairman/CEO Lyor Cohen to discuss recent developments, including Apple's announcement, as well as their pulling out of YouTube. On the matter of Apple, Cohen said the exact following:

I think it's important to make sure that the consumer has a choice and that we have the flexibility to give them an offer that makes sense. It's very hard to explain to Jimmy Page why "Stairway to Heaven" is 99 cents and Chumbawamba is the same price.

Eh, let's put this whole thing into context. So, Jimmy Page is the "consumer" in question? And he wants to buy "Stairway to Heaven," his own song, for 99¢? And he has beef that a pseudo-anarchist band sold themselves (not just any song, the entire band itself) for the same price? And he wants some form of "choice" and "flexibility," even though he could just choose not to buy either?

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the Chewbacca Defense.

Head explosions aside, Cohen did make some sense in the interview. For example, his wording has suggested that the labels have shown little-to-no interest in changing the iTunes pricing model on the album level, something that was unclear from Apple's official announcement and press release. Further, he amazingly admitted to the old industry practice of packaging singles with albums that could be at best described as "shoddy" and at worst as "why did I spend $15 on one good song?"

Then there's this slightly mind-bending nugget:

I would love to get to a point that when T.I. has 175 million impressions, I can for a one-month period bring the single up to $2.99 as a bundle [with other content] or cut it out like I used to if I feel good about the album.

Putting aside the fact that he is describing a business model that is done in every other frickin' part of the world, 175 million people like T.I.? I'm... the only word I can think of at this point is "horror," so I'll go with... "stupefied."

Animal Collective Wildly Expand Tour… On The Wrong Continent!

My eyes slowly open. It's morning, and the sun is streaming in through gaps in the curtains. I'm on my back, with her head resting partly on the pillow and partly on my shoulder, her left arm across my chest, and her legs tangled with mine. I feel her soft breath against my skin, smelling her musky perfume. The smell immediately transports me back to last night -- the unforgettable moments of carnal lust, the moments of softness and intimacy that only flows between two lovers. I bury my face in her hair, which has now spread out over her pillow, marveling at its richness, its softness, remembering how she had teased me with the end of her braid last night, sending jolts of sensual feeling coursing through me.

I lightly trail my fingertips over her stomach, watching the sensitized skin quiver at my touch, still enthralled by her beauty. As our lips meet, her mouth slowly opens wider, allowing my tongue to sensually twist with hers. But what starts out as a gentle dueling of tongues soon turns into a frantic devouring of each other. Her eyes shoot wide open as her arms wrap around me, holding my head still as her mouth leaves mine, her big blue eyes full of passion and lust, taking little bites of my neck as she presses and rubs her body against me.

“You’re so beautiful Merriweather Post Pavilion,” I say. "I'm so lucky to have you."

She didn't say a word, but I know she felt the same, too

01.16.09 - Paris, FR - Bataclan
01.17.09 - Leuven, BE - Stuk
01.18.09 - Berlin, DE - Postbahnhof
01.20.09 - New York, NY - Grand Ballroom
01.21.09 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom ^
01.22.09 - Chicago, IL - Metro
01.23.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Fonda Theater #
01.24.09 - Los Angeles, CA - The Troubadour !
03.04.09 - Oslo, NO - Rockerfeller
03.05.09 - Lund, SE - Mejeriet
03.06.09 - Copenhagen, DK - Amager Bio
03.08.09 - Cologne, DE - Gloria
03.09.09 - Heidelberg, DE - Karlstorbahnhof
03.10.09 - Fribourg, CH - Fri-Son
03.11.09 - Lucerne, CH - Konzerthaus Schuur
03.12.09 - Florence, IT - Viper Room
03.13.09 - Rome, IT - Auditorium -Teatro Studio
03.14.09 - Milan, IT - Rolling Stone
03.16.09 - Strasbourg, FR - Laiterie
03.17.09 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso
03.18.09 - Brussels, BE - Ancienne Belgique
03.19.09 - Lille, FR - Aeronef
03.20.09 - Nantes, FR - Olympic
03.22.09 - Bristol, UK - The Trinity
03.23.09 - Nottingham, UK - Rescue Rooms
03.24.09 - London, UK - The Forum
03.25.09 - Leeds, UK - TJs
03.26.09 - Liverpool, UK - The Static Gallery
03.27.09 - Dublin, IE - The Tripod
03.28.09 - Belfast, UK - Stiff Kitten
09.12.09 - Monticello, NY - All Tomorrow's Parties

! Rings

^ Drawlings

# Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

The Decembrists Set to Release Hazards of Love, A Concept Album About A Shape-Shifting Animal – ’Nuff Said

Colin Meloy and his INCREDIBLE band The Decemberists are back. After some odd missteps last year, like that singles collection (TMT News) and that Colin Meloy live album (TMT Review), the band is back with an honest to goodness follow-up to that wonderful creature of an album known as The Crane Wife (TMT Review). Coming off the high seas, The Decemberists will be releasing Hazards of Love March 24 on Capitol Records (home of that hotty that kissed a girl “and she liked it”).

Now for those of you familiar with The Decemberists, you should know to expect anything but “normal” from this crew -- and for those of you not familiar with The Decemberists? You’re dead to me. Living up to expectations, Hazards of Love will tout 17 new songs that apparently need to be listened to as a whole to get the picture *cough, concept album alert, cough, cough*. As mentioned in the headline, Hazards of Love features a tale of “a woman named Margaret who is ravaged by a shape-shifting animal; her lover, William; a forest queen; and a cold-blooded, lascivious rake, who recounts with spine-tingling ease how he came to be living so easy and free.” Awesome!

The album’s first single “The Rake Song” is available on their official site, but it will require some signing up to hear the tune. The album will also feature several guest musicians in “supporting roles,” including Lavender Diamond's Becky Stark and My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden in the female roles, and My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Robyn Hitchcock, and The Spinanes' Rebecca Gates. Of course, The Decemberists will also tour in support of the album, with dates to be announced soon. Ambitious? I sure think so. Good? Most likely.

Hazards of Love

1. Prelude
2. The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle the Thistles Undone)
3. A Bower Scene
4. Won’t Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)
5. The Hazards of Love 2 (Wager All)
6. The Queen’s Approach
7. Isn’t it a Lovely Night?
8. The Wanting Comes in Waves / Repaid
9. An Interlude
10. The Rake’s Song
11. The Abduction of Margaret
12. The Queen’s Rebuke / The Crossing
13. Annan Water
14. Margaret in Captivity
15. The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!)
16. The Wanting Comes in Waves (Reprise)
17. The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned)

Acid Mothers Temple Tour, Takes North America Through the Looking Glass

The abridged version of the history of rock ‘n’ roll: America invented it, the British perfected it, the Japanese made it totally insane. Acid Mothers Temple, the Kawabata Makoto-helmed mountain of aural annihilation with the ever-changing lineup and name, is prepping a no-time-to-rest whirlwind tour of the United States (and three choice dates for our friendly neighbor to the north) throughout the month of April. Gongs, long beards, skull foraging, and screeching shamanistic jams are the least of what you can expect from psych rock's most immovable object. We're all in big trouble.

DC's Sonic Suicide Squad, who are the self-proclaimed "no God damn jazz band," are scheduled to support all dates. With all the driving, you have to wonder what a cop pulling over their freak wagon would think upon asking for "license and registration, please"... especially in Texas. Would a good, suspenseful movie scene that would make

04.03.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Echo
04.04.09 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
04.05.09 - Portland, OR - Holocene
04.06.09 - Seattle, WA - Sunset Tavern
04.07.08 - Vancouver, BC - Biltmore Cabaret
04.10.08 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
04.11.09 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
04.12.09 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
04.13.09 - Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
04.14.09 - Toronto, ON - El Mocambo
04.15.09 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rossa
04.16.09 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East Upstairs
04.17.09 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
04.18.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
04.19.09 - Washington, DC - DC9
04.20.09 - Baltimore, MD - Ottobar
04.21.09 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
04.22.09 - Atlanta- GA - The Earl
04.23.09 - Memphis, TN - Hi Tone Cafe
04.24.09 - Denton, TX - Hailey's
04.25.09 - Austin, TX - Emo's
04.27.09 - Tucson, AZ - Plush
04.28.09 - San Diego, CA - Casbah

They’re Trading in Their Chevys for Some Cadilac-ac-ac-ac-acs; Tapes ’n Tapes and Wild Light Movin’ Out on Tour

It is the future: 2009. It's nice to dream that this year will be different, that we will not have another year ruled mercilessly by the big bad hype monster influencing our minds and music tastes. But we all know that won't happen. Artists will continue to be lauded as the second coming this year and many more to come until the actual second coming happens (2017, by all accounts). Until then, we will have to rely on bands to break the mold.

A good example of a band bypassing the buzz trap is Tapes ’n Tapes, who have weathered the perfectly asinine storm of hype/backlash with good grace and a smart game plan: by concentrating on writing and releasing good music with little regard to current music fads ’n fashions. They also get bonus points for NOT dating Drew Barrymore or Winona Ryder.

With all of this in mind, Minneapolis' finest will continue to play in support of its sophomore disc Walk It Off as they embark on a hefty string of dates starting tonight in Omaha, taking along tomorrow's new pop quartet, Wild Light, for the long ride. For Wild Light, this will be their first U.S. national tour, and they will be no doubt be playing plenty of tracks from their forthcoming debut record Adult Nights, which was produced by Rob Schnapf and is due March 3 through StarTime International/Almost Gold.

This is what it's all about:
01.15.09 - Omaha, NE - The Waiting Room
01.17.09 - Boulder, CO - Fox Theater
01.19.09 - Boise, ID - Neurolux
01.20.09 - Seattle, WA - Neumos
01.21.09 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir
01.23.09 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
01.24.09 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey
01.25.09 - San Diego, CA - Casbah
01.27.09 - Santa Fe, Santa Fe Brewing Co

01.29.09 - Austin, TX - Parish
01.30.09 - Dallas, TX - Club Dada
01.31.09 - Norman, OK - Opolis
02.02.09 - Lawrence, KS - Jackpot Music Hall
02.03.09 - Columbia, MO - Mojos
02.04.09 - Ames, IA - Maintenance Shop
02.05.09 - Sioux Falls, SD - Nutty's
02.06.09 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
02.20.09 - South Bend, IN - Legends
02.21.09 - Columbus, OH - The Basement
02.22.09 - Pittsburgh, PA - Brillobox
02.24.09 - Boston, MA - Paradise
02.25.09 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
02.26.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
02.27.09 - Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel
02.28.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brendas
03.02.09 - Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle
03.03.09 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl
03.04.09 - Birmingham, AL - Bottletree
03.05.09 - Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge
03.06.09 - Louisville, KY - Phoenix Hill Tavern
03.07.09 - Chicago, IL - Metro

They tried to run from it. Lead singer Peter Morén buried himself in his solo album, The Last Tycoon. Björn Yttling claimed he was “busy” producing other artists, including Lykke Li, Sahara Hotnights, The Feeling, and Primal Scream. Hell, they even thought they’d float a low-key and mostly instrumental (and mostly terrible) album, Seaside Rock, out there and see whether or not anyone noticed that, you know, they were the same band responsible for... you know, that song.

But finally, it caught up with them. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. The Sweedish trio cannot hide any longer, and the time has come for Peter Bjorn and John to... sigh, follow up... to follow up... “Young Folks.”

Yeah, I know. You’re sitting there thinking, “Oh fuck.” And rightfully so. It’s hard to believe, but it has been two years since Sweden’s Peter Bjorn and John subversively sauntered onto the world MOR stage with the seemingly never-ending success of that unfathomable anti-song. “Young Folks” was a sheer anomaly. A song so annoyingly anti-catchy that it became the catchiest damn thing on the face of the planet; that fucking song became a global smash and was almost certainly DIRECTLY and SOLELY RESPONSIBLE for “PB+J” (as they came to be annoyingly referred by young urban professionals in suits everywhere) blowing-the-proverbial-fuck-up and performing to sold out venues and late-night TV talk shows all across America and beyond. This fucking song was even named "Track Of The Year" by iTunes; oh, and don’t forget how it, you know, casually popped-up in countless movies and TV shows until you were about ready to shoot yourself. Oh, and remember how SEVERAL cover versions then appeared in not only English, but also Spanish and Japanese? And then how, because of “Young Folks,” Writer’s Block ended up earning an absurdly prominent spot in the upper reaches of the general music press’ often-dubious year-ennd polls, with the ever-so-classy Paste magazine even declaring, “PB+J give us even more reason to love the Swedes”?? Yeah??? Remember all that stuff, do you?!?

Well, me too. And so does everyone else. And so do they, I bet. So here we are: New album. Living Thing. Almost Gold Recordings/StarTime International record label. March 31, 2009. Produced by the band and Lars Mårtén. There was a bunch more press-release hype, but yeah, I just went ahead and deleted it. Best of luck, guys.

Living Thing tracklist:

1. The Feeling
2. It Don’t Move Me
3. Just the Past
4. Nothing to Worry About
5. I’m Losing My Mind
6. Living Thing
7. I Want You!
8. Lay It Down
9. Stay This Way
10. Blue Period Picasso
11. 4 Out Of 5
12. Last Night

War Child Announce Full Tracklist And Artist Lineup For Heroes Benefit Compilation, Now Complete With “Heroes” Cover!

Last fall, we reported brilliantly on charity organization War Child and the then-forthcoming details of their partnership with Astralwerks Records in releasing Heroes, a benefit album whose proceeds will provide humanitarian assistance to the war-affected children in some of the most devastated regions in the world.

In case you’ve forgotten, the album's concept mirrors one of the intrinsic aims of War Child's efforts in war zones around the world -- to place faith in the next generation (not that Next Generation, you nerd). In other words, they basically asked a whole heaping mess of rock elders to select a classic track from their own canon and nominate an artist from the current scene to create a modern reworking of that classic song.

Well, it seems the record is now complete, boasting 16, count ’em, 16 tracks of classic tunes from the likes of The Clash, Dylan, The Kinks, Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Brian Wilson, and many more, as interpreted by such TMT-relevant acts as TV on the Radio, Beck, The Hold Steady, Hot Chip, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, etc. It’s like your very own Best New Music compilation CD... whatever that is!

Anyway, Heroes will officially be released on February 24, 2009 via Astralwerks. And hey, it looks like our personally-biased, overly-critical, yellow journalism has paid off once again, because what’s that down there rounding out the tracklisting? A cover of Bowie’s “Heroes!” Ah, the system works... Ahem, now, save those kids, everyone!

Heroes tracklist:

1. Beck (Bob Dylan - "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat")
2. The Kooks (The Kinks - "Victoria")
3. The Hold Steady (Bruce Springsteen - "Atlantic City")
4. Hot Chip (Joy Division - "Transmission")
5. Lily Allen feat. Mick Jones (The Clash - "Straight To Hell")
6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs (The Ramones - "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker")
7. Franz Ferdinand (Blondie - "Call Me")
8. Duffy (Paul McCartney - "Live And Let Die")
9. Estelle (Stevie Wonder - "Superstition")
10. Rufus Wainwright (Brian Wilson -" Wonderful & Song For Children")
11. Scissor Sisters (Roxy Music - "Do The Strand")
12. Peaches (Iggy Pop - "Search And Destroy")
13. Adam Cohen (Leonard Cohen - "Take This Waltz")
14. Elbow (U2 - "Running To Stand Still")
15. The Like (Elvis Costello - "You Belong To Me")
16. TV On The Radio (David Bowie - "Heroes")

Leonard Cohen Will Perform in America for the First Time in 15 Years

I can't believe that:

- more than 1,000 Palestinians have died in the Gaza Strip.
- Guantanamo agents have gotten away with so much already.
- the porn industry is asking for a bailout.
- Bin Laden is still making headlines, urging jihad against Israel.
- Carla is still in the running on Top Chef, but she is pretty awesome.
- a teen killed his mother and wounded his father after they took away Halo 3 from him.
- Leonard Cohen will be playing his first American show in 15 years on February 19 at New York's Beacon Theatre.

On April 16, Merce Cunningham -- the influential dance choreographer who has worked with everyone from John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg to Radiohead and Sigur Rós -- is celebrating his 90th birthday with a BAM. Along with former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, mixed-media composer Takehisa Kosugi, and the lovable humans in Sonic Youth providing the soundtrack, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company will perform a new piece, to be held April 16-19 at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music).

AND THERE IS MORE. In addition to some Steve Shelley shows in February, Lee Ranaldo's traveling group exhibition "Bad Moon Rising 3," and a Sonic Youth multimedia museum exhibit titled "Sensational Fix," Sonic Youth are also putting the finishing touches on their Matador Records debut (TMT News). According to a recent Uncut interview, Thurston Moore said they're making a record "replete with juicy supersonic songs!" Whoa, how newsworthy of him to say!!

And, finally, look for Sonic Youth at No Fun Fest 2009, May 15-17 at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY (TMT News). Their performance is on the 16th, and they say it'll be a "noise set." Gotta please the fans.

Meanwhile:
04.22.08 - Krems, Austria - Donau Festival
04.23.08 - Munich, Germany - Haus der Kunst
04.24.08 - Dusseldorf, Germany - 3001
05.16.08 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg

Girl Talk Tours; He’s Also in a Microsoft Commercial – Odd, I Always Pegged Him as a Mac Man

Being a student at a university known for its football and beer, a.k.a. Penn State, can surprisingly have its perks: sometimes we get free shows featuring semi-decent artists. Well, this past December, right before finals week, Girl Talk graced Happy Valley with his presence -- FO FREE. It was all very exciting until I entered the auditorium and saw that Gregg Gillis had to perform with the lights on, and that there was a shit load of people in a small-ass room. By the end of the night, apparently things got destroyed -- like a magazine rack -- and now the school is pissed off! God only knows who will be booked at the next free concert -- Maroon 5? (Actually that would be pretty sweet... but that is beside the point.)

Luckily, Girl Talk is touring right now, so I have another chance to see him with the lights off. Too bad I will have to pay this time, but I guess you could consider my overpriced tuition as payment for that Girl Talk show and for fixing the magazine rack. Sure wish his shows were pay-what-you-want, too

01.16.09 - Bloomington, IN - Jake's Nightclub *$
01.17.09 - Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall *$
01.18.09 - Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall *$
02.12.09 - Little Rock, AR - Revolution Music Room !
02.13.09 - Oxford, MS - The Lyric Oxford !
02.19.09 - Missoula, MT - University of Montana Ballroom %
02.20.09 - Bozeman, MT - Gallatin Co. Indoor Arena %
03.03.09 - Pensacola, FL - Sluggos *#
03.04.09 - Gainesville, FL - The Venue * #
03.05.09 - Tallahassee, FL - The Moon *#
03.06.09 - St. Augustine, FL - Harvest of Hope
03.07.09 - Orlando, FL - Club Firestone *#
03.08.09 - Miami, FL - Langerado Music Festival 2009 - Bicentennial Par

* Grand Buffet

$ Hearts of Darknessess

! Mad Happy

% That 1 Guy

# Hollywood Holt

  

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