RIAA Adopts “Pay Up and Shut Up” Policy, More Than Doubles Fines For College Students Who Dare Chall

Back in the good ol' days, college students would receive "pre-litigation letters" from the RIAA demanding $3,000 as an out-of-court settlement. Students would then either pay the fine or challenge the accusation in court. It was a wonderful scenario, as everyone tended to come out on top: the RIAA got its money on behalf of (but not for) its artists, and the pirates, most of them hilariously in debt from student loans, got their due comeuppance and achieved higher moral superiority through the consequences of their naughty, naughty pirating. How dare thee download Coldplay's new single!

Well, the good ol' days are gone apparently. According to Ars Technica, the RIAA is now tacking on an extra $1,000 if forced to "go to court to get the name" of an unresponsive student, and it's even raising the penalty as high as $8,000 if a student chooses to challenge the subpoena, more than doubling the original fine. In short: THE RIAA DOESN'T BELIEVE IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESS! SPREAD THE WORD!

With the illegality of the RIAA's claims still dubious at best, it's pretty obvious why it is trying to avoid the courtroom. Hell, is it so much to ask that the RIAA keep suing us at $3,000?

For The Discriminating Art Aficionado, A Chance to Purchase a Basquiat-Affiliated with U2!!

Have you ever been caught up in the moment, lured by the siren call of Bono and his activist activities, and bought a U2 album expecting some serious ART? While buying How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb may not have given you the life-altering, mind-enhancing experience you wanted, you can now actually purchase verifiable, time-tested art from U2. If you are a millionaire that is.

The New York Times is reporting that the band is selling a Jean-Michel Basquiat original purchased by U2 bassist Adam Clayton. It goes up for sale at Sotheby's in London July 1. The highest price a Basquiat has ever received is $14.6 million. The U2-affiliated piece is expected to get $11.7 million. What? No one wants to lay down an extra million or two for a painting that came in frequent contact with Bono himself?

Wilderness Guitarist to Release Solo Project, The Lord Dog Bird, in August

According to "The New Guy" (who may or may not star in a comedy featuring Eliza Dushku and Zooey Deschanel), Wilderness' guitarist Colin McCann is set to release a debut, self-titled album as The Lord Dog Bird on Jajaguwar. With a name as weighty as this, one might assume the project to be a bombastic showboat featuring the London Symphony Orchestra, The Vienna Boys Choir, and guest spots from David Byrne and David Bowie (with production by Nigel Godrich, Butch Vig, and Brian Eno), but turns out the whole modest shebang was recorded on four-track in the solitude of his own home. Which, I think, is much better.

According to Jagjaguwar:

Through droning repetition and the unmistakable hiss and clip of four track cassette, a warm and engrossing atmosphere develops. These songs are buoyed by melodies that are at once sad and hopeful. The listener is immediately drawn in by their intimacy and honesty, with vocals imparting a sincerity and intensity that often borders on vulnerability.

I couldn't have said it better. Because I haven't heard the album.

The Lord Dog Bird is set for release August 5. Tracklist:

Performance Rights Act Currently Under Negotiations; Local Radio Freedom Act Gaining Steam

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing about the Performance Rights Act, a bill that critics say will hurt terrestrial, non-commercial radio stations. The bill primarily aims to (1) amend the Copyright Act by granting equal rights to musicians when receiving compensation from terrestrial broadcasters, and (2) establish a flat rate for non-commercial and public terrestrial stations that make less than $1.25 million a year. Essentially, the bill wants to place the same enforcement on terrestrial radio that already exists on internet and satellite radio. (If you're interested you can keep track of the bill at the excellent OpenCongress.)

Interestingly, the Bush administration, according to FMQB reports, have given their nod of approval to the bill in a letter written by Lilly Fu Claffee, general counsel of Department of Commerce. The letter states:

The [Department of Commerce] believes that the changes contained in the legislation [H.R. 4789, the Performance Rights Act] are justified as a matter of fairness and equity. Granting copyright owners of sound recordings a full performance right coupled with extending an existing statutory license is an appropriate and workable approach to providing compensation to recording artists and record labels for the transmission of their works by over-the-air broadcast stations.

While artists will ostensibly be getting compensation for their work, some of the provisions in this bill are seen as severely flawed and in need of serious revisions before passing. In fact, FMQB is also reporting that the Local Radio Freedom Act, which "takes a stand against the proposed new royalty rates for terrestrial radio," only needs three more representatives to attain house majority. We'll keep you updated.

Live! Tonight! Not Sold Out! No Age and Foot Village Members Create New Band, Cockpit, From Ashes of No Age Cover Band

For awhile now, Sean Carnage, director of 40 Bands/80 Minutes!, has been presenting Monday night showcases of musical vanguards at LA's Pehrspace in Echo Park. Past shows have featured everyone from Lucky Dragons and The Mae Shi to The Amazements and the sit-down comedy of Peter Moran. (If you don't live in LA, you can check out Carnage's blog, where he posts photos of the crazy shows.)

This month, Josh Taylor (Foot Village, Friends Forever) and Kyle Mabson (soundman/DJ/bassist) have a month-long residency at Pehrspace, which means each Monday, the duo has been/will be forming entirely new bands and then performing entirely new sets. The first week featured Josh and Kyle playing as Allusions to Jazz with John Thill; last week saw them performing as Red Hot Thilly Peppers 360 (yes, a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band).

Last night, Carnage posted details about tonight's sure-to-be exciting show: Josh and Kyle will be performing as Cockpit with Randy Randall from No Age! Not a whole lot is known about the group. Carnage's blog says to "expect heavy heavy rock action," while Foot Village's Brian Miller tells TMT that the band was formed after Randy caught wind that Josh and Kyle had started a No Age cover band called The New No Age. According to Pehrspace's calender, the show was originally slated for The New No Age, but it seems that Cockpit will replace the slot with new material, according to Miller. Hmm. In any case, the show -- and I'm assuming most shows put on my Carnage -- will be one for the books.

Show info:

- Cockpit (Kyle Mabson & Josh Taylor Supergroup #3 with Randy Randall of No Age)
- American Gil & the Major Dudes
- John Thill
- Hey Buddy & the Pals
9:30pm / all-ages / $5 / Pehrspace

The Faint to Self-Release New Album And Tour, Reclaim Their Spot On The Dance Floor

You know that friend of yours who is always raving about Chromeo, Hot Chip, Justice, and the entire DFA Records roster? The same kid that cried when Death From Above 1979 broke up in 2006? Well, back in 2001, they were putting The Faint on all of their dance party mixes instead. Now, four years after The Faint’s last album Wet From Birth was released, the little Omaha dance band that could is back with their latest release, Fasciinatiion. Unlike their previous albums, however, Fasciinatiion will be released August 5 on their own record label, Blank.wav. Yes, The Faint has finally split with their longtime label, Saddle Creek. It’s time to forget about Hot Chip, club kids, because The Faint are back to reclaim their spot on the dance floor.

Fasciinatiion tracklisting:

Jay Reatard Singles Compilation Is Economical, Bitchin’

In today's challenging economic circumstances, are you looking for ways to stretch your buck? Apart from the much-ballyhooed siphoning of gas or the annoyingly-named "staycation," In the Red Records has a new way to help you save. If you've been blowing money on early Jay Reatard 7-inches like they're going out of style (or out of print), listen up. In the Red has compiled out-of-print singles originally put out by labels like Stained Circles, P. Trash, Squoodge, Goner, and In The Red. Most of these 7-inches were released in limited presses of 500-3,000 copies. Entitled Singles 06-07, the compilation contains 17 singles and 4 live shows from Las Vegas, New York City, Philadelphia, and The Netherlands and will be released tomorrow, June 17.

In other Jay 7-inch related news, his 7-inch series for Matador has now been completely recorded and the third installment will be available June 24. Amounting to six releases in total, this new series will be compiled by Matador and put out on CD and LP in September. A new full-length is slated for early 2009. And if you just can't get enough Jay Reatard, well, it looks like he's coming to a town hear you very, very soon.

Federal Court: Sale of Promo CDs Is No Longer Illegal, Meaning Record Release Dates Just Got a Whole

On June 10, the federal district court of Los Angeles ruled that eBay seller Troy Augusto may legally sell promotional CDs online, despite the record company's CD warning label prohibiting him from doing so. Universal brought a suit against Augusto, accusing him of copyright infringement, and a judge ruled that the label on CDs -- usually reading something akin to: "This CD is promotional and cannot be sold to the public" -- does not function as a valid copyright license. Therefore, record companies have no legal basis to claim copyright breaches, since U.S. copyright law already states that once a title is transferred by legitimate means (e.g., label promoters mailing review copies to the press), the recipient has ownership over that title and may do with it what she or he wishes. Augusto argued that since the CDs he bought in used record stores were considered gifts to their original owners under federal law, his legal ownership entitled him to sell them on eBay, and the court agreed. (Universal intends to appeal the ruling.)

Of course, other people have certainly sold their promo CDs before this dude. Most independent record stores have bins full, and a quick search on eBay always yields at least a few copies of albums slated for release a couple of months down the line. This ruling makes it that much easier to get physical copies of an album well before its official release, but then again, who buys CDs anymore? One thing I will say about the stack of promo discs I receive each month is that they make very nice coasters. Really! The neighborhood bars are grateful that I've stopped swiping theirs. But more importantly, how will this affect record release dates? It has become less and less common for kids to visit their local record shop and pick up a new album, but even iTunes release dates still generate a fair amount of buzz. How now, record labels? It's that pesky internet again. Stay tuned...

Andrew Bird Celebrates The Summer By Touring The Festival Circuit

Summer has finally hit here in Chicago and Andrew Bird is getting restless. He’s sick of randomly going to shows, hoping someone will notice him. He’s already seen the new Indiana Jones movie twice (loved it), offered to fly Dosh to Chicago to hang out with him (the dude is busy on tour, Andrew!), and tried to rejoin the Squirrel Nut Zippers (they already have a whistler/violinist/guitarist in their lineup, damn). Luckily, Andrew Bird will have his own tour itinerary to worry about soon enough, as he is playing every single summer festival you can possibly think of.

If you’re as bored as Andrew Bird this summer, you can kill time by checking out the list below of randomly selected headliners from different festivals he’s appearing at:

- Diana Ross (City Stages Music and Arts Festival)
- The New Pornographers (Rock The Garden)
- Dave Matthews Band (Mile High Music Festival)
- Ani DiFranco (Calgary Folk Festival)
- Radiohead (All Points West Festival)
- Bob Dylan (Virgin Mobile Festival)

Andrew Bird and the Kingdom of the Crystal Tour:

The Apples in Stereo Announce Upcoming Colbert, Live, Tape, and Film Appearances

You know former Elephant 6-ers The Apples in Stereo, right? They have a bunch of albums, the latest of which is their second singles/rarities LP Electronic Projects For Musicians (Yep Roc), which was released a couple months ago. So why screw around? Let's get to the news (which will be presented here in order from most-to-least interesting, if you are thinking of jumping ship, mid-voyager):

The AIS are getting ready for a two-week tour, starting July 18 from their home base of Kentucky and wrapping up everything in New York. But NYC will not be just any show, as the band will be performing on The Colbert Report (11:30 EST, Comedy Central) August 4. You may remember that Apples' CEO Robert Schneider made an appearance on the show a couple years back, during that Colbert (represented by Peter Frampton) vs. The Decemberists (represented by Chris Funk) guitar battle episode, singing his tribute to the faux-pundit, "Stephen Stephen" (which can be found on Electronic).

Speaking of Schneider, he has a cameo in the upcoming Mike Myers yu(c)k-fest, The Love Guru. Schneider can be seen in a scene set in a bar performing the traditional bluegrass song "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," which he and bluegrass band The McKendrees contributed to the movie's soundtrack. Lastly, I just ate an apple.

Tourdates:

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