My Parents Went to Taiwan To Buy the Reissued Thom Yorke Album and All I Got Was This Crummy T-Shirt

Amazon tells us that on March 27, Thom Yorke's album The Eraser will be reissued as a "Special Edition." It is an "extremely limited Taiwanese pressing [that] includes his debut solo album (with OBI) a bonus CD single for "Harrowdown Hill" that includes two non-album tracks, "The Drunkk Machine" and "Harrowdown Hill (Extended Mix)" along with an exclusive Thom Yorke/Eraser T-shirt (One size 48 x 70cm)." A T-shirt? C'mon Beggars Banquet International Trade Holding Incorporated Conglomerate! Take a look at what other bands and their labels are doing with their reissue ideas:

- Sparta's Threes is being re-released and may come cased in a Spartan helmet to cash in on the success and hype surrounding 300. Random copies come with doru spear and aspis shield accessories.

- Tom Waits has already given consumers loads to digest with his set of outtakes and rarities Orphans. The new version will be allegedly more expensive, but with each album you buy, you automatically sign the papers finalizing the adoption of a real third world orphan. Good tunes + adopting the Madonna and Brangelina way = "a rewarding experience."

- Dilla's Ruff Draft was just re-released by Stones Throw. Donuts has to be next. The thought of wrapping CDs in waxed paper and baking them directly into the center of a Boston Cream or a dutchie seems a bit time-intensive and dangerous. Plan B is the simple idea of inserting a coupon for a free day-old donut at Dunkin's into the casing instead.

- Want more Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri? Nobody does, but the reissue of their Queens of the Stone Age album Songs for the Deaf will be the first in history to restore hearing to the deaf, so they too can revel in the QOTSA rawwwk that we all know and love. Going deaf? You're shit out of luck... this is for fully deaf only, you hard-of-hearing bandwagon jumpers.

- Things We Lost in the Fire by Low will now come with things found in the fire, including singed condoms, half-burned family pictures, pieces of couch cushion, and blackened hopes and dreams.

- Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor figured prominently among many year-end 2006 album polls. Reason enough for a reissue, we say! Unfortunately, those in charge have opted to give away the strange combo of Lunchables and cooking sherry as extras in this packaging.

- A Grand Don't Come for Free. Too true, Mike Skinner. The second Streets gem will be out again someday, but the price is high... it will go for a grand (plus all applicable state and music industry fuck-ya taxes).

- Sleater-Kinney's much-loved All Hands on the Bad One comes with a set of hands. To put on yourself. Because you are the bad one. Oh yes you are.

- Electric Warrior by T. Rex will be re-re-released. Every new and improved copy bought will be hand-delivered by an actual warrior with a car battery rigged up to its undercarriage so that proper voltage is provided (assuring that sought-after "mark of authenticity" factor). Worldwide polls are deciding which out-of-work warrior will be assigned to this delivery task. So far, the front-runners are an exhumed Khan-era Mongol, an ancient Grecian hoplite, or Chancellor Gowron from The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine. Tom G. Warrior from Celtic Frost is also in the thick of the battle as are some of the animated Saiyans from DragonBall Z.

See? It REALLY doesn't take that much imagination at all to come up with original reissue giveaway ideas.

Yorke's proper band, Radiohead, will also see the limited-edition reissue of their 1998 mini-LP/EP Airbag/How Am I Driving? at the end of March (the 31st to be precise). It comes with absolutely no extras. And no T-shirt.

Type O’ Negative Tour, Release New Album, Refuse to be Affiliated with this News Story

Goddamn it, I loves me a good talk show. I remember this one time I was watching that talk show with the Australian guy as host... not the crocodile-fighting Australian guy or the Hogan Australian guy, but the douche-y Australian talk-show host, guy. I know, I know, if it ain’t Maury you don’t give two shotskies, but bear with me here. So I was watching this talk show with the Australian host and the topic was [Mostly Fat] Couples With Sexual Misgivings They Refuse to Blame on Their Fatness Alone ... or something like that, I really can’t remember. There was this couple on this particular episode that seemed to typify the problems marriages face in today’s hustle-and-bustle world.

You see, the woman had a weight problem, and she revealed that when she went to Burger King with her husband he always tempted her with unhealthy food. Like, she would be all set to order a BK Broiler, which contains three-and-a-half less calories than the average BK product, and he would tempt her with fries and milkshakes, dancing around the tables like a Cheshire Cat and laughing gleefully. “See this [brandishing an onion ring]? Wouldn’t you like to eat this? It’s ever so yummy, and it’ll come right out your bum-bum!” he’d say as he did a tiptoe-through-the-tulips routine. Then he would start yelling “Mr. Fancypants is IN THE BUILDING” and expose his hairy nipples to childen, closing the episode off by pouring a huge chocolate milkshake all over his face while he opened and closed his mouth as if he were kissing a dog.

As unusual as that seems, it was just the tip of the iceberg (lettuce). The guy came back with quite the zinger, claiming their sex life was so tame he could “go to a morgue and have more fun.” Then the woman said something about Bobitt and the guy was like, “If she cuts it off I’ll shove it down her throat.” Man, the crowd really let him have it for that one! What a disfunctional relationship! As a guy who is facing the guillotine of marriage quite soon, I can only hope that when I try to order vaguely healthy items from Burger King my wife won’t suggest onion rings, or a Triple Texas Whopper, or a large Coke (instead of a wayyy healthier Diet Coke), or one of those amazing Oreo pies, or chicken tenders, because when I go to Burger King I go to eat healthy; any loving partner would understand that, right? As far as the possibility of my future wife cutting off my penis, well, honestly I don’t think I’ll be that lucky; I’m doomed to be ruled by my bouncy popcorn shrimp, and that’s just how it is.

Type O’ Negative were on Jerry Springer once, you know. My friends and I — we were all fans back then and there was a metal draught — gathered around the television set to see the sparks fly. The flurry of action was so hard and heavy I don’t even know what happened, but I seem to recall Jerry likening them to Satan and labeling them “Aids-infested miscreants” ... or something like that. I was so fascinated I couldn’t really process it all. Point is, Type O’ Negative are the band old people love to hate. Strangely enough, they’re actually pretty much old people themselves by now... shucks, never thought I’d see the day.

They’re counteracting this advance into geriactricism by recording, touring, and by catching them some AIDES. That’s right, in order to relate to the kids of today Type O’ Negative’s members have all purposely contracted AIDES to help them promote their music and schedule tours. Although long-time fans were a little shocked to hear the news, they realized they hadn’t listened to Type O’ in a long, long time so it didn’t really affect them all that much. Despite this relative lack of interest — at least in comparison to the days when they were getting MTV rotation — the goth-tinged doom-metal band, with help from their sprightly AIDES, have planned the release of a new album, most-creatively titled Dead Again, and a comprehensive tour of AIDE-approved cities, towns and off-shore oil rigs.

This BK Big Fish is healthy ‘cause it’s fish:

* Brand New Sin

% Celtic Frost and Brand New Sin

Deerhoof Hit a Homerun with Ken Griffey Jr. and Now They’re Touring Like Touring Just Went Out of Style

Let me be James Blunt for a minute. I work at a record store in bumfuck, U.S.A. (let's just call this place Mung's Record and Video for now), and I work right next to the glorious section of pop/rock Ds all in misleading alpha order. People will often sift through this section with morbid curiosity of why Def Leopard has such a large catalog, and then there are those who like to giddily point and laugh at a little-known band of jokesters known as Deerhoof. Why do they point and laugh, you must ask? The casual TMT reader is most likely crushed at this point. How could someone laugh at my precious Deerhoof? And how could this "douche of the year" writer (I don't even think that title is deserving for Mr. Emceegreg in this case) call my sacred love affair "little-known"? Seriously! What the fuck?

Let me vaguely explain by remaining purposely off topic. Deerhoof has recently released Friend Opportunity (TMT Review) and you're most likely a loser if you haven't checked it out yet. And by loser, I am referring back to the people who mocked your beloved experimental rock band. For now, let's call these people "anti-hipsters," and let's just further generalize those people as young, white college students who hate Muslims. Skinny white girls (let's just call them Skeletors, for now) have often come to the 'D' section shouting in my fragile ears, "I can't stand that lead singer. Her voice is weird. She's crazy. My boyfriend listens to them. My boyfriend is cool. He's a lot cooler than the guy working right there. Shh... I think that little terd is listening."

You can trust me as a reliable narrator that I hear things like that all of the time. I also could tell that the girl was misspelling the word 'turd' just from how she said it. Yeah, maybe your boyfriend is better than me, but I bet he doesn't have a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie baseball card! In your face, guppie! First of all, it's alright if you don't like Deerhoof, but at least have an open mind. Stop riding off the coattails of your frat fuck buddy! Nobody becomes a cornhole champion. If you understand cornhole, which is just an elementary school game of bean bag toss, then how can you not grasp the matter-changing sounds of Deerhoof?

I'm not here to judge, but when you ridiculed the lovely Satomi Matsuzaki and the even more attractive Ken Griffey Jr., you offended me. Now I know that the frustrated TMT reader wants to know the point of all this mess. To be honest, I had no idea where I was going with any of this. I want to thank everyone in Deerhoof, Mr P, Matt Weir, Ken Griffey Jr., and his hit SNES game Ken Griffey's Winning Run. Without you guys, I don't think this article would have made it this far. Okay, let me try to make a point of all this gibberish: If you don't go see Deerhoof on their European Tour, then you probably support terrorism. See I just blew your mind once again. I had my mind blown once too, so don't begin to think of me as some sort of god or anything. This customer once panhandled me by tricking me into giving him money from the cash register and confusing me with large amounts of numbers. My cash register ended up more than $200 short. I think we all know what lesson to gain from all of this. Deerhoof is splendid!

Tourdates (I hope the play "Panda Panda Panda," garsh):

* with The Blow

# with Akron/Family

Portland Tries To Put Some Good Out Into The World. How About A Benefit Album?

What is the only thing in the world that could combine The Decemberists, Night Ranger, Britt Daniel, Sam Cooke, and Led Zeppelin? No, not a soundtrack to a Cameron Crowe semi-autobiographical, semi-emotional film romp, but you are close. Ozzfest?!? Getting colder. Stop guessing; it's a benefit album. Sure you knew that -- I bet it was on the tip of your tongue. But this is not just a regular ol' benefit album, but a benefit album of cover tunes. The album, Bridging The Distance, features many Portland-based artists, as well as a few out-of-towners, covering songs for local non-profit group p;ear. p;ear work to help homeless and transitional youth through education, art, and recreation. The album will be out April 17 via Arena Rock Recording Co.

BTD features The Decemberists, Britt Daniel, The Dandy Warhols, The Thermals, Talkdemonic, and others, covering songs by a bevy of famous artists. The songs covered run the gamut from silly ("Sister Christian") to annoying ("Sister Christian") to amazing ("Sister Christian"). Additionally, those purchasing the record through digital means will be treated to free bonus tracks not available on the CD. While you may look at the tracklist and cringe at the thought of something like The Dandy Warhols' take on "She Sells Sanctuary," we here at TMT would like to remind you that this LP is for charity, and only a giant douche would bag (ha, get it) on the noble work of others. Motorin?!

Bridging The Distance tracklist:

1. The Decemberists - Think About Me (Fleetwood Mac)
2. Pat McDonald - The Harder They Come (Jimmy Cliff)
3. The Joggers - Long Distance Runaround (Yes)
4. The Snuggle Ups - Dancing In The Dark (Bruce Springsteen)
5. The Thermals - Tangerine (Led Zeppelin)
6. Christopher Walla -Shattered Dreams (Johnny Hates Jazz)
7. Viva Voce - Eye In The Sky (The Alan Parsons Project)
8. The Minus 5 - That Smell (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
9. Talkdemonic - Sombre Reptiles (Brian Eno)
10. The Minders - Don't Bring Me Down (Electric Light Orchestra)
11. The Kingdom - Sister Christian (Night Ranger)
12. Lacktherof - What A Fool Believes (The Doobie Bros)
13. Whip - White Wedding (Billy Idol)
14. Wet Confetti - Invincible (Pat Benatar)
15. The Dandy Warhols - She Sells Sanctuary (The Cult)
16. Point Juncture, WA - Pearl Of The Quarter (Steely Dan)
17. Blitzen Trapper - Crazy On You (Heart)
18. Crosstide - (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding (Nick Lowe/Elvis Costello)
19. Britt Daniel - Bring It On Home To Me (Sam Cooke)

Digital Bonus Tracks:

Wroom - Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath)

Tara Jane O'Neil - They Don't Know (Kirsty MacColl)

Boy Eats Drum Machine - Starman (David Bowie)

The Punk Group - I Saw Your Mommy (Suicidal Tendencies)

Mirah w/ Golden Bears - Til Death Us Do Part (The Kinks)

Swan Island - Free Money (Patti Smith)

When TV On The Radio Release an EP, It Makes Every Male – Well, It Makes At Least One Male – Question His Manhood

Man, it's tough to muster up the energy just to walk around downtown without begging every passerby to just put you out of your misery and pummel your brains in with their change-cup-on-a-pole or hook-for-a-hand (man, I love my neighborhood). It is bad enough to be widely known as the male news writer with the least impressive lower body appendage (voted at the annual Tiny Mix Tapes “Cockrings for Clodhoppers” benefit gala), but I seem to be drawing stories with the smallest, most ineffectual tracklistings lately too! Look at this shitty pittance:

1. Blues From Down Here
2. Wolf Like Me
3. Province
4. Wash the Day Away

Four tracks. Sure, all four are live recordings, were recorded at an Amoeba Music in-store last September, and as you quickly recognized, are stand-out songs that originally appeared on a stand-out album called Return To Cookie Mountain by one of Earth's most revered pop bands, TV on the Radio. That is perfectly peachy keen, but it's not making me feel any more potent or important. Making sure you get a copy of this curio will most assuredly make you feel better about everything both south and north of the equator, but me, I'm already a lost cause.

Not funnily enough, the EP is called TV on the Radio Live at Amoeba Music, and it is a limited-edition release that will be available March 27 to download from Amoeba Music or to purchase in the flesh at one of its three legendary California store locations (Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles, Haight St. in San Francisco, and Telegraph Ave. in Berkley). Pretty self-explanatory and pretty cool, huh? I think so, too. So much so that I'm contemplating opening a store just so I can bring bands in to play and then release live EPs of my own. Small is in, so who's in? I promise to pull my weight, as light as it may be.

Paul McCartney Signs to Starbucks’ New Record Label; Becomes “The Caffeinated Beatle”

Personally, I'm usually smarting too much from the bill at Starbucks to consider buying a weak jazz compilation I could slap together on Soulseek, but apparently Starbucks has tapped into an entire market of folks who just need a little somethin' somethin' for their Volkswagen 6-CD changers. This week, Starbucks announced the official launch of Hear Music, a new label comprised of Starbucks and the Concord music group. Their first big star? Sir Paul McCartney, who may or may not also be doubling as Barista Paul McCartney.

Capitol Records is reported to be crying into their budget lattes from 7-Eleven, but hey, now's a whole different time, man. All Sir Paul needed was love. Now, well... I guess he needs, uh, coffee.

The Shins’ Wincing the Night Away Finally Reviewed! Tour!

One of the best things about writing news is that you can sneak in little jabs here and there. Like, say, for example, you were supposed to review the latest Shins record for a certain website, and you just didn’t really get around to it. Or maybe you didn’t have much to add to the reviews already posted on those other, stinky sites. Or maybe you were trying to scare up some hot-ass grits; whatever. Now, you didn’t get to review Wincing the Night Away, but you CAN always write a news story about The Shins and inject your opinion every chance you get! Hey, that sounds pretty sweet, don’t it!? Hmmmm, let’s try doing that, starting right...

NOW:

Hey y’all, how the heck are you? Good? Good. Getting down to business, The Shins released a record on Sub Pop this year that did pretty well, hitting the Billboard charts with a giant ‘THWUMP’ and knocking Chumbawamba or whoever out of the no. 1 slot. But did ya know that the album really isn’t that good? I mean, the first track gets you all wet and sticky; as soon as you hear it you’re thinkin’ “DAMN, that’s one hot number!” But then things calm down reallll quick, and you’re left with a pile of mediocre pap and very few stand-outs. What’s most annoying is James Mercer’s voice, which used to be all high and angelic. Now? It’s lower, prolly because he wants to be able to duplicate the songs live (a problem with certain Oh, Inverted World songs). But it doesn’t work as well, and he always does this annoying thing where he links two words together and sings them faster than the others, and he does it every song now!

If, say, I were assigned to review this album (WHICH I WAS) and actually reviewed it (WHICH I DIDN’T), I would have given it a really low score, probably a ‘4,’ maybe even a ‘4.5’ ... oh, btw, did I explain the TMT rating system to you? No? FUCK ME, no wonder you always have that confused — and rather ugly, I might add — look on your face! Man, I feel like a real ass-shark! Here, lemme make things right by explaining our rating system. I think it’ll really clarify things for you! Shit, you probably thought we liked Sung Tongs and hated Lil’ Eazy E’s latest... man, thank god I caught this, we could have become a laughing stock! Anyway, here’s how the Tiny Mix Tapes grading system works:

0 - 1: This album is so goddamned spectacular we sold our rare Magma and La Dusseldorf LPs to get it. We’d step over our own mums to find this on vinyl, and we’d probably include it in a Desert Island Discs round-up, so you’d better come correct!

1 - 2: Not exactly profoundly, resoundingly, ass-poundingly excellent, but still a lot of great tunes to be had. Great artists like Teddy Bears, MC Lars, and their ilk often end up here because we WUV THEM SO MUSH...

2 - 3: Still a pretty tasty record, but if you pawn your limited-edition Charlie’s Angels lunchbox to get it, you now have a dozen eggs on your face. Don’t worry, I meant in the figurative sense...

3 - 4: Now we’re starting to get to the stuff that sucks. You know when you’re playing Bubble Bobble and you thought you got one of those wands that makes all the yummy fruit descend from the top of the screen, but when you pop the last bad guy’s bubble nothing special happens? Yeah, it’s kinda like that...

4 - 5: This is where the lame-duck discs go to die. That piece of shit by Raccoo-oo-oon last year was put to pasture here, as was that awful new Scott Walker album. If you see one of these attached to an album you regularly listen to, have some pride and never show your face ’round here again. Yeah, that’s it...

And there we are! That felt good, lemme tell ya. Since we got that straightened out, I might as well do my duty, which is, surprisingly, not to tell jokes, make a mockery of TMT’s storied grading system, relate stories from my life, or commission wacky cartoons. I’m supposed to be telling you about The Shins’ tour plans, which will find the band traveling near, far, like, medium-far, and maybe, just MAYBE, to a venue near you. Hey, that wasn’t so hard, was it! Mr P’s going to be so happy with me; maybe he’ll even let me out of his dungeon... nah.

If you can pinpoint the moments of biting sarcasm above, I just might agree to fuck Mr P at one of the following tourdates:
03.25.07 - Glasgow, UK - ABC
03.26.07 - Wolverhampton, UK - Wulfrun Hall
03.27.07 - Manchester, UK - Manchester University
03.28.07 - London, UK - The Forum
03.29.07 - London, UK - The Forum
04.01.07 - Paris, FRA - Trabendo
04.03.07 - Cologne, GER - Gebaude 9
04.04.07 - Berlin, GER - Postbanhof Berlin
04.05.07 - Amsterdam, NET - Paradiso
04.06.07 - Brussels - Botanique
04.10.07 - Albuquerque - El Ray Theater
04.11.07 - Phoenix, AZ - Celebrity Theatre
04.12.07 - San Diego, CA - SOMA San Diego
04.14.07 - Universal City, CA - Gibson Amph. At Univ. CityWalk (KRCW)
04.15.07 - Los Angeles, CA - Orpheum Theatre
04.16.07 - San Francisco, CA - Warfield Theatre
04.17.07 - San Francisco, CA - Warfield Theatre
04.22.07 - Austin, TXThe Backyard (MtvU "Campus Invasion Music Festival)

Taking the “Ex” Outta Exclusive; Dinosaur Jr. Get Original Lineup, New Album, New Tour, and New Sneakers

J. Mascis, the guitarist and vocalist of D Jr., sits down to interview my friend, Pete Lansinger:

So, are you excited about our new album?

I don’t know about it, I’ve never listened to your music.

What about the prospect of seeing us with our original lineup?

Well, I think it’s fantastic. Shalom in the home!

That’s one opinion.

Well it certainly is. [Pete becomes distracted by Miami Ink and yells: Stickin’ it on! And proceeds to play air guitar. Then tells me the girl tattoo artist is annoying.]

Anyway, not that I think this, but someone told me our song in Blind’s Video Days is the most fitting song for a skate video. You dig that?

[Pete ignores my question and removes a pipe from his mouth and blows a huge plume of smoke into my face. He then gets up laughing and leaves. ]

I watch Miami Ink for 15 minutes. A lady has a Cheshire cat covered up with a coy fish. Tommy Lee has coy fish -- fucking symbolism. The female artist (the one Pete says is annoying) goes to a psychic with her husband. They live on separate coasts, and the insanely proficient psychic says the couple will split up within the year. Whatever.

Pete returns with a kid named Matt. Oh fuck, some chick just used the word empowering. Matt, the latest arrival passes out on the floor. Pete informs me he has taken too many mushrooms. I remember those days. Pshaw.

Best Massachusetts band ever: Aerosmith, Pixies, or us, Dinosaur Jr.

I don’t know about the best; my favorite out of those three would be Pixies. Matt, shut up. You’re not involved with this.

So, you think they’re better than us?

So? [Matt tries to argue for something, but he instead keeps saying “dangerous,” over and over again. After two minutes of this, we think he has fallen asleep. This interview proves itself fruitless so I move on to the TMT writer’s girlfriend, Grace Rex.]

Grace, what are you looking for in the new Dinosaur Jr. album?

What am I looking for? What if I don’t know a lot about Dinosaur Jr.? Do you want me to lie? I’m looking for [looks puzzled and furrows her brow] some good lyrics and strong beats. High production value, yeah. [She looks proud of that last quip.]

You are aware this is the first time we’ve all been together since 1988’s Bug?

You are talking about Dinosaur Jr.? No I didn’t know that. I guess that makes this a big deal, huh? So you guys are like one of those old alternative bands aren’t you? Cute. [She proceeds to get out a Kerouac book, and I don’t think this interview is going to get any better.]

We had several titles for the forthcoming album (due out in May!), as most bands do, but decided on Beyond. What do you think of that title?

Beyond? Um, what does that mean? Beyond? [She leaves the room to answer the door and keeps asking, “Beyond? Beyond what? What does that even mean...”]

Interview over.

M. Ward Tours, Sort Of Rhymes

M. Ward's most recent album, Post War, came out just last year, and it's rather enjoyable. One only has to visit the Wikipedia entry and read the "Professional reviews" section to see that it was a big hit. Of course, as everyone knows, Wikipedia is not a reliable source. So instead, I'm citing certain unnamed sources with close ties to popular opinion who will vouch for the album's excellence.

No! I won't release the names. I have journalistic integrity. Don't tempt me! Just... just leave it be and stop asking. The important news is that M. Ward is going on tour starting April 13 in Wallingford, Connecticut. Mr. Ward is going full-tilt until May 12 and... damn you scrutinizing reader! I have to protect my sources! I will cite the quote by famous American novelist William Faulkner, "That's for me to know, and for you to find out." Straight from the mouth of a person who knows about stuff.

M. Ward will travel through much of the eastern half of the United States, then finish up with a show in Toronto on May 11 and Montreal on the 12th. He will... oh you are a wily one! Stop badgering me, hounding me about my precious, beloved sources! Please, please don't make me! Don't make me say!

Jail? Oh, well that changes everything. I've got integrity, but jeez, it's just the internet. Yeah, it was Justin Timberlake. He has a pulse on what's happening and he's been bringing back, in addition to sexy, hard-hitting music criticism. And if that doesn't convince you, here's a list of where you can hear M. Ward for yourself, but it should have convinced you.

M. Ward's tour is not a chore nor a bore:
04.13.07 - Wallingford, CT - Chevrolet Theatre
04.14.07 - Boston, MA - Orpheum Theatre
04.15.07 - Portland, ME - Merrill Auditorium at City Hall
04.17.07 - Providence, RI - Providence Performing Arts Center
04.18.07 - New York City, NY - Theatre at Madison Square Garden
04.20.07 - Philadelphia, PA - Tower Theatre
04.21.07 - Atlantic City, NJ - Borgata Casino
04.23.07 - Washington, DC - D.A.R. Constitutional Hall
04.24.07 - Greensboro, NC - N.C. War Memorial Auditorium
04.26.07 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
04.27.07 - Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle
04.28.07 - Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
04.30.07 - Birmingham, AL - B.J.C.C. Concert Hall
05.01.07 - Indianapolis, IN - Murat Theatre
05.02.07 - St. Louis, MO - Fox Theatre
05.04.07 - Ann Arbor, MI - Michigan Theatre
05.05.07 - Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theatre
05.06.07 - Minneapolis, MN - Orpheum Theatre
05.08.07 - Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre
05.09.07 - Cleveland, OH - The State Theatre at Playhouse Square
05.11.07 - Toronto, ON - Massey Hall
05.12.07 - Montreal, QC - St.Denis Theatre

NPR and Internet Radio Protest Royalty Fee Hike, Robert Seigel Prepares Sale of Bulgarian Pinstripe Suits Which Allegedly “Fell Off the Back of a Truck”

On March 16, NPR became the first of, well, probably every internet radio station in the U.S. to vocally oppose new royalty regulations laid down by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) earlier this month. The opposition comes in light of the fact that CRB's new rules would force them, in the words of NPR rep Andi Sporkin, "to pay an internet royalty fee that is vastly more expensive than what we pay for over-the-air use of music."

For the average listener, that would mean a huge cut in the actual amount of music-hearing that takes place: musical experiencing, jamming, rocking out, moving and/or grooving, gettin' down -- less of anything that could potentially be construed as "listening" in general. Not to music, anyway, since the royalties would, beginning this year, gradually increase from $.0008 per play (the 2006 rate) to $.0019 in 2010, more than doubling in a relatively short time-frame. These "performance royalties," given for use of musical master tapes, run the risk of ballooning to over 100% of total station revenue, a figure that does not include "composers' royalties," which stations must also pay to the songwriters themselves. Any sort of profit or capacity for station owners and operators to support themselves via their broadcasts would cease. The new system would replace the former system, in which royalties were paid as a percentage of gross revenues, and the one currently used for satellite radio stations.

In light of the new regulations, the only way many public stations would be able to stay in the business of playing music would be to resort to violent, black-market thuggery. Imagine Ira Glass being forced to rig a boxing match so that Terri Gross could illicitly bet on it in advance. Or what about Click and Clack, who would have to use their vast automotive knowledge to set up a chop shop. Even Diane Rehm might have to go into business running moonshine across international boundaries to make ends meet. Okay, things might not get that bad, especially for major broadcasters on traditional airwaves. But skyrocketing royalties would be hugely detrimental to public stations, especially for those of us who look to non-corporate stations for news, music, or cultural programming.

I think the argument against rate hikes can be best summed up by Sporkin, who said, "Public radio's agreements on royalties with all such organizations, including the RIAA, have always taken into account our public service mission and non-profit status. These new rates, at least 20 times more than what stations have paid in the past, treat us as if we were commercial radio -- although by its nature, public radio cannot increase revenue from more listeners or more content, the factors that set this new rate." Yes, that part about costing 20 times what stations have previously paid is pretty bad. But seriously: not even the RIAA thinks this is a good idea? That alone looks like fairly damning evidence. If you're interested in getting involved with this issue, you can directly contact any internet radio stations you listen to, or visit this website, an activism page set up by Live 365, another internet music provider who will be affected by the proposed regulations.