Google Teams Up With Universal To Create A DRM-Free Rival To The iTunes Music Store called gBox. Daaaaaaaamn!
Universal Music Group, the biggest record label in the goddamn world, announced last Thursday that it would begin selling DRM-free MP3s through a variety of digital vendors. Music from a test selection of artists in Universal’s catalog will be available through Wal-Mart, Best Buy Digital Music Store, Rhapsody, Transworld, Passalong Networks, Amazon, Puretracks, and Google -- though not through iTunes. Daaaamn!
Google plans to continue its current music service, which links searchers to music vendors, and to create its own online music store called gBox (PC-only, at least for now). Google has chosen to avoid the centrally located business model of digital music stores like iTunes, instead adopting a method of distribution that relies on advertising. Universal will buy advertising from Google’s AdWords program, which displays advertisements based on the content of a website. The advertisements for Universal will contain a link to gBox, where MP3s from the advertised artist will be available for purchase. So, for example, if you send an e-mail containing the words “Reba McEntire” to my Gmail account, I will be provided with a link to gBox’s collection of Reba McEntire hits. Daaaaaaaamn!
With their announced price of $.99-per-track, it is hard to imagine that Universal is not intentionally challenging Apple, whose DRM-free offerings cost a full $.30 more. Universal has referred to this experiment as a “test [of] the implications of selling our music in an open format,” though it will also test the potential for MP3 sales without the power of the iPod. Though their DRM-free tracks will likely play on the iPod, Universal and Google may have a hard time pulling consumers away from iTunes without a vertically integrated system to offer. Daaaaaaaaaaaamn!
Hopefully, this bit of competition will help to loosen Apple’s stranglehold on digital music sales and prevent them from arbitrarily raising prices. And with two of the Big Four moving away from DRM (the other being EMI), perhaps the encryption is on its way out. It should be noted, however, that gBox will also offer DRM-encrypted MP3s for the same price as their non-encrypted equivalent, which are expected to make great gag gifts for music listeners. Shiiiiiiiiiiit!
Who Says File Sharing Takes the Elitism Out of Being a Music Fan? Application Allows Sharing Within Private, Encrypted Rings
Finally, your Dave Clark Five fan club can find electronic solace somewhere unsullied by legions of Herman’s Hermits and Monkees fans. GigaTribe “lets you share entire folders with friends in a private peer to peer (P2P) environment.” It's also free.
My favorite part about whenever a new service like this launches is the semantic race it has to run in order to pretend people will only use it legally. The GigaTribe website, for one, features a random quote at the bottom that outlines a sham reason someone might use GigaTribe for something other than illegal file-sharing. “Oliver H,” for example, “a real estate agent, uses GigaTribe to exchange pictures of houses and apartments with his clients and co-workers.” How ethical! “Thanks to GigaTribe, Nanny can grab all of the movies and pictures of her grandchildren who live far from her.” Hey Nanny, I didn’t know Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker were your grandchildren! Cool!
There’s also something about some sound engineer sending recordings to his bandmates or whatever, but let’s get down to business: This is a streamlined, secure new way for you and your friends to exchange countless illegal copies of stuff you’d otherwise have to pay for. You can even make a fun, immature show out of excluding people you don’t like. For example: Maybe there’ll be a TinyMixTapes GigaTribe. You’ll never know. You’re not invited. Long live the new file-sharing flesh.
The National are having quite a year. The eight-year-old Brooklyn via Ohio group has overcome the familiar chorus of "the new LP is not as good as the last one" and rode it to a fair amount of success. That previous LP, 2005's Alligator (Beggars Banquet) was like an earthquake setting up the indie rock Tsunami known as Boxer (TMT Review). If Alligator is the Preamble, Boxer is the Constitution of the USfuk'nA. Awkward (a.k.a. my bread) metaphors (e.g. my butter) aside, to paraphrase the Zombies, this will be their year, took a long time to come. So, whether you think of the band's upcoming transcontinental tour (with openers including The Rosebuds, St. Vincent, and Hayden) as merely a doing-what-is-expected-of-them move or a victory lap, either way, the wave is coming to your town. You can either run for the hills or put on your bathing suit and enjoy.*
* Disclaimer: No matter what you, the reader, thinks, I am not making light of any Tsunami or water-related tragedies, even if HP turns them into another reason to buy their products.
“If You Really Love Me, You’ll Prove It To Me… With Your Body…”; UNKLE’s First Time (Touring As A Full Band)
There can be a lot of pressure to losing your virginity -- that is, to
have sexual intercourse tour with a live band for the first time. Having sex Touring with someone just because you want to lose your virginity, or because you think all your friends are doing it, is something you may later regret.
You might feel anxiety, especially the first time you
have sex embark on a full tour. You may feel embarrassed about how you look without your clothes on on stage or worried about your privacy being disturbed. It's natural to be worried, but good communication will help prevent you from feeling needlessly embarrassed. You should be able to talk to your partner band regarding your feelings about having sex touring for the first time and about any other concerns you may have. In fact, your partner band might be worried, too. Being relaxed and able to share things with your partner band will really ease the tension. And if you're too shy or unable to talk about these things with your partner band, then you probably shouldn't be having sex touring! Having sexual intercourse Touring as a band -- when a boy's hard penis goes inside a girl's vagina or even just touches the outside of her vagina when people play the instruments to make the sounds onstage instead of just pressing buttons -- can surely lead to pregnancy and disease fame and recognition. So enjoy, but be safe.
$ James Lavelle DJ set
I love writing for TMT. I feel the editors give me the freedom to say whatever I want, no matter my politics. I don't even hesitate for one second when I say that I fucking [love] President Bush, and I wish that he would just fucking fall and [live]! So, how do I know they won't censor me? Well, first of all, they probably agree that Bush is a big, steaming pile of [pixy stix!!], but also because there's this thing called TRUST. I trust who I work for, and in return, I will continue to support and show my dedication to all things TMT.
Musicians, too, have this freedom, but it's much more complex. Once the song is written, the freedom that the musician had during the songwriting process comes to a halt, as the label, distributors, retailers, etc. all have a say in the production and distribution of the music. And now that performances have become a viable commodity outside of venues, especially with telecasts, webcasts, and so on, it's inevitable that a new world of gatekeeping would rear its head.
Who knew that one of the more high-profile examples of head-rearing would expose itself alongside Pearl Jam. On Wednesday, Pearl Jam accused AT&T of censoring part of their webcasted Lollapalooza performance of "Daugther." The omitted sections, originally pointed out by fans, featured the following lyrics (to the tune of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall"):
"George Bush, leave this world alone"
"George Bush find yourself another home"
Check out the YouTube video here.
AT&T doesn't deny the missing section of the performance, but it does blame the third-party "vendor" for the "mistake." Reportedly, AT&T regrets the omissions and is working to secure rights to post the entire song on its Blue Room site. But that's neither here not there at this point. No matter how you slice it, the lyrics in the end were censored, whether AT&T authorized it or not. Putting a video of the performance on the Blue Room site is nothing but public relations at this point.
"AT&T — not customers — owns customers' confidential info and can use it 'to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process.'"
AT&T can suck my big, fat, juicy [stop being so touchy, Mango -- you don't even listen to Pearl Jam, jeez].
Joy Division Reissues Due In September; Aged Music Writers Still Find Unknown Pleasures In Dusting Off Terrible References During Their Transmissions
Since Anton Corbijn is expecting to release a film about Ian Curtis in October, what better timing than to release shiny new editions of timeless post-punk classics? Unknown Pleasures (1979), Closer (1980), and Still (1981) will re-arrive to record stores on September 10 (UK) and September 11 (U.S.), each brandishing a cool bonus live disc. Hopefully each of these discs will showcase the group's better concerts, as Joy Division was rather notorious for being an unpredictable live act.
But enough blah-blah; here's a tracklisting for each of the forthcoming bonus discs. I won't bore you by typing out the songs from the albums, as you likely are already familiar. If you're not, then, well, you need to put down that damn Franz Ferdinand record and get listening to some Joy Division pretty soon, sweetheart.
Unknown Pleasures bonus disc (Live At Factory and The Moonlight Club):
1. Dead Souls
2. The Only Mistake
6. Shes Lost Control
10. Atrocity Exhibition
13. Novelty (mono)
14. Transmission (mono)
15. Love Will Tear Us Apart
Closer bonus disc (Live at ULU):
1. Dead Souls
3. A Means To An End
4. 24 Hours
8. These Days
9. Love Will Tear Us Apart
11. The Eternal
Still bonus disc (Live At High Wycombe):
2. The Eternal
3. Ice Age
5. The Sound Of Music
6. The Eternal
7. The Sound Of Music (soundcheck)
8. Means To An End
10. 24 Hours
12. Love Will Tear Us Apart
14. Atrocity Exhibition
A few weeks ago, we were talking about Radiohead for one reason or another, and I mentioned Thom Yorke. My friend's face looked completely puzzled. You mean, "Thom" Yorke, right? I told him, "No, it's pronounced just like ‘Tom.’ " His face looked horrified.
"I've been going to parties and various places my whole life saying ‘Th-om’ Yorke. Everyone must hate me," he said.
"Yes, everyone probably thinks you are a douche," I told him.
He was giving me those puppy-dog eyes, so I decided to refrain from being an asshole myself. I told him I'd let him in on the best and freshest Radiohead-related news I had. So, I says to him, I says:
You may know Jonny Greenwood (not to be confused with this guy), multi-instrumentalist and lead guitarist of Radiohead, but you may not know Jonny Greenwood The Composer. Greenwood will premiere his award-winning piece Popcorn Superhet Receiver (not to be confused with this song) in the U.S. early next year. The performance will be presented by the Wordless Music Orchestra and take place at the Church of St. Paul The Apostle in New York on January 16 and 17 of 2008.
Popcorn Superhet Receiver is a piece that was aptly inspired by radio static and dissonant chords of Polish composer Penderecki's Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. It won the Listener's Award at 2006's British Composer Awards. The Wordless Music series will continue with future presentations by Müm, Beirut, and Do Make Say Think.
My friend said that my "insider" news was pure shit, so he stabbed me in my testicles with a mechanical pencil.
Naming trends are incredibly fun in the music world. One has to wonder if we'll eventually run out of words in the English language to accompany the myriad of bands that are sure to keep forming until the very End of Time. I suppose we can continue borrowing from other languages (e.g. Telefon Tel Aviv, Xiu Xiu, Les Savy Fav, Gastr Del Sol, Le Tigre, etc.), but this undoubtedly brings up other problems such as registering domain names, and everyone knows about those goddamn cyber squatters and why the internet is running out of addresses. And then, probably most prevalent in our world, there's the problem with band names all using the same words, like "wolf."
I could list some "wolf" bands, but we're not talking about wolves today. We're talking about bears. As I mentioned in the headline, my favorite "bear" artist isn't Grizzly bear. No, my friend, it's Panda Bear. Besides, onclick="window.open('http://www.fragilityproductions.com/weblog/pandabear.htm','popup','width=360,height=341,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0'); return false">he's much cuter than that Grizzly Bear dude (Dan Rosen), and his autograph is also a cute li'l panda! Aw. But alas, we're talking about Grizzly Bear and their tasty brand of rock that so many people have come to love. Here at TMT, we crowned their 2006 release, Yellow House, number seven on our favorite albums of 2006, and Filmore gave the album a solid four outta five in his review. With a TMT track record like that, how can you go wrong with Grizzly Bear? You can't -- you just can't.
Check out Grizzly Bear in these fine cities:
(As far as the naming of Grizzly Bear goes, I'd much rather have a more original name like Grizzly Poot, and as far as Panda Bear goes, I'd also prefer something like Panda Poot. I just think "poot" is a much better word than "bear." Besides pandapoot.com is totally available. So aspiring indie artists, name your band Panda Poot and you'll get to the top. I promise. You better hurry though; Yahoo is having a domain sale, and I just might squat on the domain until you can cough up enough cash and casual sex for me to give it to you. Think about it, kiddies.)
YouTube To Host Amateur Hip-Hop Contest, P. Diddy to Watch, To Be Inspired by the Passionate Hip-Hop Youth, To Get Back With J Lo and Stop Channeling Latent Sexual Frustration into New Seasons of Making the Band; or Shoezies are an Undisputed Favorite of Indie Culture
There are few things, reader, baby, sweetheart, that you and I get hot-pants over more than a good old-fashioned, itchy-spicy-good,
Well-Intentioned, Sure-to-Fail, Bad Idea.
Take Shoezies. A few years ago, someone at Hasbro thought kids would get a kick out of (literally) miniature shoes you could fit on your fingers and pretend to walk around with on coffee tables, and the like.
Shoezies were, in all honesty, just mini-shoes that little girls would put on their fingers, and pretend were shoes.
THIS IS NOT A JOKE. That was it. Mini-shoes, in mini-shoeboxes.
Without further ado, allow me to introduce a similarly smooth ‘n’ tasty little cultural Robo-trip, a most filthy, stagnant gulp from ye rusted goblet of The Way Things Are, in the same vein as my wicked-fav finger shoes.
YouTube plans to host a hip-hop-it-don’t-stop competition: You Tube “OnTheRise” Rap Edition, which will allow unsigned artists to upload videos and be judged by such jam-tastic greats (...) as 50 Cent, Common, and Polow da Don, who will select 20 finalists from the broz and (probably only there for novelty) hoz who choose to apply. YouTube members will vote August 29, and a winner will be announced September 7.
The contest is open for entry August 10 (today), and will close in, yes, seven days, which, is prolific as shit.
So, what’s the earth-shattering Shoezie-type dilemma of a well-intentioned competition that could shoot a worthy lad or lady to blingtastic stardom?
People like me may apply.
Okay, seriously, I would never apply, but I still smell a Shoezie-type dilemma in this cultural waste product. YouTube has proven itself a hotbed for potty-mouthed frat-boy humor, and I can only imagine how THIS SHITFEST will just... desecrate... everything Curtis Jackson’s dollar-splittin’ success stands for.
Like, sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.
Vitamin Water, and more importantly, providing appropriate background music for bad-ass 14 year olds in Lee Pipes sitting in their basement with friends (who are also in Lee Pipes), huffing paper bags colored with Hi-liter.
Hip-hop will be so dead, fellas.
Find your own tourdates.