Blender Magazine: The Next Publication to Fold (No Pun Intended)

Well, add another nickel to the "every print media outlet in the world is scaling back or shutting down" jar.

Alpha Media Group announced in a staff meeting yesterday morning that
it is shutting down the presses on popular music publication Blender, effective immediately. The April issue will be its last, and since most of the content and layout is finished and on its way to newsstands, it's safe to say there will be no last hurrah -- especially if the current website is any indication.

The closing of the monthly magazine will lead to some 30 jobs lost and
lots of staff reshuffling.

At its apex, Blender boasted a circulation of one million and was a
common contributor to a variety of fun and trashy VH1 specials, such
as The 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever.

Maxim is currently the only Alpha magazine still in publication. Turns
out boobs really are recession-proof.

Mininova Grosses €1 Million in 2007, Throws the Classic Subway Tunnel Bootlegs-On-a-Beach-Towel Business Paradigm out the Window

If you ever feel a pang of regret about downloading the latest episode of Lost on a torrent site, maybe your guilt should include the fact that you're making some Dutch nerds rich. Reporting for tech news site, Nate Anderson recently pulled Dutch records, which Mininova, as a legitimate business with an office located in Utrecht, Netherlands, is required to file annually, to discover that the website's revenue statement from 2007 was €1,037,560.

Mininova's Niek van der Maas confirmed that amount to Anderson, but pointed out that it doesn't count for taxes and expenses. He also claimed that "website revenue has nothing to do with copyright infringement," a dubious statement considering the amount of traffic brought in because of the site's .torrent files. Nonetheless, Mininova, which doesn't actually host illegal content on its site, does have a prominent procedure for requesting the takedown of .torrent files from its site. This is in contrast to the Pirate Bay, which has openly mocked takedown requests from copyright owners in the past. The Pirate Bay is currently in the middle of a trial that is focusing on whether its administrators have profited from the sharing of illegal content.

It remains to be seen whether sites like these will continue to exist in the future, but it doesn't help Mininova's case that they're merely acting as an uninvolved conduit for .torrent files when there are clearly large amounts of revenue involved. As Anderson points out in the article, if the IFPI starts asking questions, the site has resources to put up a legal fight. I guess if you're going to steal something, steal big -- you can just buy yourself out of trouble in a pinch.

Brian Eno Curates Sydney Music Fest

Hot off the trail of the critically acclaimed collaborative record with David Byrne, Brian Eno is throwing together some of his top choice bands to play this years Vivid Sydney Fest in, you guessed it, Sydney, Australia. The fest will take place at the Sydney Opera House (you know, that building that they always show in pictures of Sydney). The Eno-curated portion of this fest is titled Luminous, which is "an annual festival of music, debate, light and performance." So, not only will you be able to see some Eno-approved bands, but you will also get to see Eno's image/sound installation, 77 Million Paintings, as well as "public talks and spectacular light and art installations."

The event, which will take place May 28 - June 14, will include musical acts such as Battles, Ladytron, Jon Hopkins, Lee "Scratch" Perry, The Necks, and many more. For more info:

Terra Firma Boss Guy Hands “Tags” Out, “Hands” Reigns Over to Tim Pryce, “Fingers” New Position for Himself, “Grasps” Severity of… Well, You See What We’re Getting At, Right?

It’s a sad day for every irreverent music news publication in the biz. Guy Hands, the man with one of the most lampoon-able fucking names in history, is stepping out of his 7-year day-to-day management role as chairman and chief executive officer of Terra Firma (owner of EMI Music) for a new role at the private equity firm, leaving many critics, writers, and music gadflies asking: “Who’s name am I going to make fun of now?”

Hands is tagging-out to become Group Chairman and Chief Investment Officer in order to fully concentrate on those duties, and he will be handing-off that good old day-to-day responsibility for Terra Firma’s operations to the much less-garishly named Tim Pryce (I know: “booo,” right?), who will become the new Chief Executive. Hands will now use his hands to handle Firma's investments, investors, and the strategic development of its business internationally. Tim Pryce was a founder member of Terra Firma, worked with Guy Hands at Nomura, and is a member of Terra Firma's investment advisory and remuneration committees. I hear they were also in the same Frat together in college or something...

"Having worked closely with Tim for nine years, I am delighted that he has agreed to take up this position,” Hands remarked over his shoulder in an interview while hastily stuffing duffle bags full of cash. “He will make an excellent CEO of Terra Firma. Tim has been an integral part of Terra Firma since its formation and has done an outstanding job in his previous roles at the firm.”

Meanwhile, Tim What’s-His-Name has similarly remarked that he is “delighted to take on this role. Guy has built one of the leading private equity groups in Europe in a very short space of time which now manages and invests money on behalf of institutions all over the world. I look forward to making sure that the organization works optimally in supporting Terra Firma's global investment and fundraising activities and to continuing to work with Guy on developing the business."

So there you have it. Everyone at Terra Firma is “delighted,” and we’re out some serious hand-joke punnage. Oh, and Guy Hands doesn’t have to suffer that large disgrace of captaining that ship when it goes down anymore. Three cheers for Guy Hands. No, wait; make that three high-fives.

Open-Source Media Player Songbird Accidentally Deleted Content on iPods Last Week (UPDATE: But the Bug Has Already Been Fixed!)

A wicked cackle sent a shudder across the open-source world, shattered the Apple interns’ glass coffee pots, and was followed by a deafening silence across Silicon Valley. The wicked laughter emanating from Apple’s boardroom was aimed at the do-gooders at Songbird, whose open-source media player was developing into a Firefox-esque rival to iTunes’ Internet Explorer-like dominance.

Unfortunately for the brave stalwarts at Songbird, their iPod add-on last week was affected by a bug that deleted all files from the device when it was connected to the application. Some victims have been claiming that they have lost up to 60-70 GB of music.

Thankfully, the problem only disturbed a minority of users, and Songbird has already fixed the problem*. So, what I'm trying to say is: Songbird is an awesome open-source alternative, and it won't delete your music.

* Thanks marcuslee and heraclitus.

Trippy Green Skull Tells Dan Deacon To Go On Tour, Again

You ever wonder why you love Dan Deacon so much? Ever wonder why he tours all the time?

Well, you've seen that trippy green skull he tours with, right? While you're having fun, dancing along to Deacon's jams with your ironic fanny pack fastened ever so tightly to your presumably virgin waist, the green skull is hypnotizing each and every one of you. It tells you stuff like "Hanna-Barabra cartoons are da bomb" and "Dan's new CD Bromst comes out March 24th -- buy it." And it's talking to Deacon too. "Dan, go on tour, leave April 3rd, don't forget your Flintstones t-shirt!"

Why do you think someone stole it in Chicago in September 2007? It's obvious: someone found out about its powers and tried to destroy it, only to be melted by the skull's laser eyes!

The green skull must be destroyed!

Green Skull says "Come see Dan Deacon at one of these select cities. Or else!"
04.03.09 - Philadelphia, PA First Unitarian Church
04.05.09 - Williamsburg, VA The Little Theater
04.06.09 - Asheville, NC Orange Peel
04.07.09 - Knoxville, TN Catalyst
04.08.09 - Birmingham, AL Bottletree
04.09.09 - Athens, GA 88/cp
04.10.09 - Atlanta, GA Eyedrum
04.11.09 - Tallahassee, FL FSU / Club Downunder
04.13.09 - New Orleans, LA The Candle Factory / The Heavy
04.15.09 - Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon
04.16.09 - Houston, TX Orange Show
04.17.09 - Austin, TX Longhorn Caverns
04.18.09 - Ft. Worth, TX The Ft. Worth Modern Museum
04.20.09 - Tempe, AZ The Clubhouse
04.21.09 - San Diego, CA Che Cafe
04.22.09 - Los Angeles, CA Troubadour
04.23.09 - San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
04.24.09 - Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom
04.25.09 - Seattle, WA The Vera Project
04.26.09 - Vancouver, BC Richards on Richards
04.29.09 - Salt Lake City, UT Kilby Court
04.30.09 - Denver, CO Bluebird Theater
05.01.09 - Kansas City, MO Pistol S.C

05.02.09 - Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock (2 shows, early and late)
05.04.09 - Madison, WI Majestic Theatre
05.05.09 - Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall Ballroom
05.06.09 - Urbana, IL Canopy Club / Club Void
05.07.09 - Chicago, IL The Metro
05.08.09 - Mt. Pleasant, MI CMU / The Wesley Foundation
05.09.09 - Detroit, MI Scrummage
05.10.09 - Toronto, ONT The Deleon White Gallery
05.11.09 - Montreal, QC La Sala Rossa
05.12.09 - South Burlington, VT HG Showcase Lounge
05.13.09 - Cambridge, MA Middle East Downstairs
05.15.09 - Brooklyn, NY Danbro Studios
05.16.09 - New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
05.17.09 - Washington, DC 9:30 Club
05.29.09 - Barcelona, ES - Primavera Sound
06.03.09 - Dublin, IE - Andrew's Place
06.05.09 - London, UK - ULU
06.06.09 - Cherbourg, FR - La Terra Trema Festival
06.07.09 - Brussels, BE - La Botanique

Buzznet Figures Out How To Gain From The Recession, Receives $12.5 Million And New Name

Everyone knows that there’s a recession going on right now. I’ve heard that word so many times that I’m already sort of pissed at myself for typing it out two seconds ago. If you find yourself in need of money these days, or perhaps a new job opportunity, look no further than blog network giant, Buzznet, which garners more than 40 million visitors each month to sites like Stereogum, Idolator, and Absolute Punk. Focus Ventures, a Palo Alto-based company, has just invested $12.5 million in the blog network, coinciding with its name change from Buzznet to Buzz Media. The company intends to use the money to focus on adding more pop culture blogs to their network (look out, Mr P!). [Editor's note: I'm looking!]

Excuse me, but $12.5 million for a network of music blogs? Must be nice to have some extra cash to invest with! Meanwhile, the water for my ramen is boiling, so I’ll catch you guys later.

Burning Star Core and Wasteland Jazz Unit Will Tour Decaying Midwest in April

Do you waste your days away in America’s crumbling heartland? Are you looking for an evening of aural terrorism to drown out the dying cries of your Midwestern home if only for one night? Well you’re in luck, living dead, because the Cincinnati sound slayers of Burning Star Core and Wasteland Jazz Unit will be fixin’ up a proper dose of all sorts of destruction round these parts, including my favorite record store Apop Records in beautiful St. Louis, MO.

So perk up, Midwest! Things can only get better if our local artists tear this crapshack the hell down.
04.02.09 - Cincinnati, OH – Art Damage Lodge
04.03.09 - Detroit, MI - UFO Factory
04.04.09 - Cleveland, OH - Now That's Class
04.05.09 - Columbus, OH - Skylab
04.06.09 - Toledo, OH - Woodchuck's
04.07.09 - Milwaukee, WI - Cactus Club
04.08.09 - St. Paul, MN - Big V's
04.09.09 - Minneapolis, MN - Treehouse *
04.09.09 - Iowa City, IA - Basement of 204 North Gilbert
04.10.09 – Chicago, IL - The Mopery
04.11.09 - St. Louis, MO – Apop Records
04.12.09 – Lexington, KY - The Fact House

* Free show: Spencer Yeh/Paul Metzger/Michael Yonkers

Photo: [Seth Tisue]

RIP: Uriel Jones, Motown drummer

From Reuters:

Motown drummer Uriel Jones, whose hard-driving funk propelled classic tunes by the Temptations and Marvin Gaye, died in a Michigan hospital on Tuesday after suffering complications from a heart attack, a family member said. He was 74.

Jones, the last surviving drummer in the Motown session band known as the Funk Brothers, was stricken in mid-February but had been showing signs of improvement, said his sister-in-law Leslie Coleman. He relapsed last Tuesday, and died at Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center in Dearborn, she told Reuters.

He was a key component of the "psychedelic soul" foray by the Temptations, including "Cloud Nine" and "I Can't Get Next to You," and brought a party feel to their earlier hit "Ain't Too Proud To Beg."

- Uriel Jones Wikipedia entry

Check Your Wallet! Beastie Boys’ Slacker-Rap Classic Check Your Head Gets 4LP Deluxe Treatment

You can't front on this. The Beastie Boys' third album Check Your Head, originally released in 1992, is getting re-released on April 7. Optional configurations of the album, available through the band's website, will include a 4LP 180 HQ vinyl version and t-shirts to help you truly become "the master blaster drinking up the Shasta."

Check Your Head was a landmark album for the group primarily because it was the first time the trio had picked up instruments since its days as a New York City hardcore band. In place of the wall-of-samples sound that hallmarked the album's predecessor, Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head vibrated with instrumental funk jams and (dare I say it?) rap rock that was actually good. Add keyboardist Money Mark and producer Mario Caldato, Jr. and you had what turned out to be one of the funkiest and most forward-thinking albums of the ’90s.

In other news, the Beasties are set to headline L.A.'s Hollywood Bowl on September 24. Pre-order the Check Your Head deluxe reissue at the band's website:

Full list of Check Your Head reissue configurations is as follows:

- Digital Download (album and b-sides)
- Deluxe Digital Option (also includes videos and video commentary)
- Deluxe, limited collector's vinyl + Digital Download
- Standard double vinyl + Digital Download
- Ecopack double CD + Digital Download
- Shirt combos:
- Deluxe Digital + shirt:
- Standard Vinyl + shirt:
- CD + shirt:
- Deluxe, limited collector's vinyl + shirt