New New Musical Express - December 2008

 
    • Babs_05 said...
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    • 1 Dec 2008, 20:26

    New New Musical Express - December 2008

    Edited by Babs_05 on 1 Jan 2009, 14:10
    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 1 Dec 2008, 20:35

    Journal: New Music December 2008, by Nialloleary

    New Music December 2008, by Nialloleary.

    Extract:

    This a promo from his record co website
    DJ /Rupture - Uproot: Ingredients (unmixed)
    Making the contents of Uproot available online as unmixed full-length singles ups the ante on the traditional DJ mix. Listeners can now explore the source "Ingredients" that became the final DJ mix. The 108 minute 'Ingredients' compilation serves as an up-close guide to the 'making of' Uproot. This multi-format release is new approach from the Agriculture, look for it in future projects.

    http://theagriculture.com/promos/uproot/DJ%20Rupture-%20the%20Ingredients.zip


    Kanye West new album entitled "808’s and Heartbreak". (Rated at 4/5)

    "Introspection, techno and Eighties ballads: meet the revitalised rapper, says OMM”

    Recommended tracks to download 'Heartless'; 'Coldest Winter'; 'Robocop'

    http://www.myspace.com/kanyewest


    Johan Johansson new album entitled “Fordlandia”
    (Rated at 4/5) Q RECOMMENDS
    http://www.myspace.com/johannjohannsson



    School of Seven Bells new album entitled “Alpinisms” (Rated at 3/5)
    Described as “From The Label That Brought Us Matthew Dear
    Recommended tracks to download…..”lamundernodisguise”
    http://www.myspace.com/schoolofsevenbells

    • Babs_05 said...
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    • 1 Dec 2008, 20:54

    Best of 2008 - Last.fm

    Yuk... yuk... oooh!... who? Top 10 charts of artists, albums and tracks as scrobbled by us. http://www.last.fm/bestof/2008






    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 1 Dec 2008, 21:23

    Music stars issue special (RED) release

    1 December 2008

    It is not every day that you get invited to a launch party with Coldplay, The Police and Elton John. But today being World Aids Day, you can join the performers and a clutch of other world-famous music stars at red.msn.com, for the launch of (RED)Wire, a new musical venture from the (RED) charitable initiative, which aims to halt the spread of Aids in Africa with the help of major consumer brands.

    (RED)Wire is billed as a weekly digital magazine of musical content, each issue including an exclusive track by an established artist such as U2, Jay-Z or Bob Dylan. For £4 per month, subscribers will also be introduced to songs by emerging artists, and sent videos explaining (RED)'s work in Africa. Half of each month's membership fee will be donated directly to the Global Fund to eliminate Aids. (RED) claims that for every five subscribers to the magazine at www.redwire.com, one person with HIV will receive the antiretroviral drugs necessary to keep them alive. Since its launch in 2006, the (RED) initiative has already raised almost $120m for the Global Fund's Aids prevention programs in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Among the artists performing online for (RED)Wire's launch are The Killers, whom MacKinnon describes as "the first (RED) artist". The Las Vegas-based indie-rockers produced a charity Christmas single for (RED) for the past two years, but this year have recorded a new seasonal song with Elton John and Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys. "Joseph, Better Me Than You" will premiere exclusively on (RED)Wire today.

    Coldplay have collaborated on a new track with Kylie Minogue, John Legend has recorded a cover version of "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley, and Bono – one of (RED)'s founders – is expected to bookend proceedings with a personal message to viewers, and a world premiere of U2's cover of "I Believe In Father Christmas" by Greg Lake. The day-long event is being hosted online by Microsoft, a (RED) global partner. "Rather than just have a concert in a theatre somewhere, we wanted to create a concert in the theatre of the internet," said MacKinnon. "Artists have really responded to the idea of (RED)Wire as a charitable endeavour, but also as a creative way to get their music out there and to help other artists to get discovered."

    (RED)Wire may be an innovative fundraising model, but its creator believes it will also create a pioneering format for the online magazine.

    "We've created a simple way to give people a bite-size feed of great music," MacKinnon said. "The magazine experience hasn't quite been pulled off yet digitally, and we thought that with all these artists wanting to get involved and help (RED), we could create a unique showcase for new work by established artists, emerging artists, filmmakers and writers. A bundle of digital content arrives every week, and we've built beautiful player software that will download it and make the experience of that content feel like a magazine."


    Source: The Independent

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 1 Dec 2008, 21:31

    Elvis Costello to Host Music / Talk Show

    30-Nov-2008

    There are some cool music programs on TV. Austin City Limits and Behind the Music, just to name a couple. What there hasn't been is a program that talks about music in an in-depth way. Until now.

    The Sundance Channel has picked up a new program hosted by music legend Elvis Costello, titled Spectacle. With his deep knowledge of music styles and history, Costello is the right man for the job. The show has been picked up for a season of 13 episodes, including both established and up-and-coming musicians who will perform and talk at length about their craft. According to Costello, he wants to create a different kind of music program. “I didn’t want to have someone who was there just to promote a new product . . . and I wasn’t there to get them to confess to something scandalous.”

    After an opening number by Costello, the episodes feature interviews and duets with Costello and the artist, including discussions on the theoretical side of music. The show intends to focus on lesser known yet tremendously influential artists and genres, and a different musical side to the featured musicians.

    Like Marian McPartland has done on NPR for years, Spectacle will bring us an inside look at the creative process, and the influences and motivations of some of the world's greatest musicians.

    Spectacle premieres this Wednesday night at 9 PM on the Sundance Channel, with guest Sir Elton John.


    Source: The Celebrity Cafe

    • Babs_05 said...
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    • 4 Dec 2008, 19:24

    Last.fm Announces "Best Of 2008"

    December 4, 2008

    Last.fm has announced its "Best of 2008" lists, detailing this year's most popular artists, albums and songs of the year based on the Last.fm community's listening habits. Sponsored by AT&T, the "Best of 2008" draws on unique Last.fm data, including the listening history of the Last.fm community over the past 11 months, to give a real look at the musicians who made the biggest impact on music fans in 2008.

    Coldplay topped both the Top Albums list and Top Tracks list with the "Viva La Vida" album and its title track, which received over 3 million listens since it was released in June. With over 398,000 Last.fm fans, Brooklyn-based MGMT's debut album "Oracular Spectacular" took the number one slot on the Top Artists list, which only includes artists who released their debut album this year.

    Martin Stiksel, Last.fm Co-Founder, said: "Unlike other lists based on editor's picks or polls, our "Best of 2008" list is a true reflection of what music fans around the world have been listening to this year. Thanks to our Scrobbler technology, which can track users' listening on media players like iTunes and the iPod — and is now a part of many other music platforms including Songbird, Hype Machine, Blip.fm — we receive information on what people are listening to all over the world at the rate of about 650 songs per second. It's this huge amount of listening data which drives our recommendations and enables us to produce this truly definitive end of year list."

    The site's community now has over 25 million users worldwide (source: Omniture), providing the music entertainment platform with the largest global database of online music behavior. Last.fm uses audio fingerprinting technology to identify individual pieces of music scrobbled by its community. As a result, Last.fm has information on over 43 million distinct pieces of music from more than 12 million artists, giving the site an unparalleled insight into listening trends on a macro and micro level.

    Music fans can also log onto Last.fm to access a free streaming radio station showcasing artists and songs from the year-end lists.

    The complete "Best of 2008" list includes:

    Best Artist (artists who have released their debut album this year)

    1. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
    2. The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing
    3. Sara Bareilles – Little Voice
    4. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
    5. Katy Perry – One Of The Boys
    6. The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age of the Understatement
    7. Foals – Antidotes
    8. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
    9. Does It Offend You, Yeah? – You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into
    10. Santogold – Santogold

    Best Album

    1. Coldplay – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
    2. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
    3. Portishead – Third
    4. Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts I-IV
    5. The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing
    6. The Kooks – Konk
    7. Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs
    8. Hot Chip – Made In The Dark
    9. Jack Johnson – Sleep Through The Static
    10. Sigur Rós – Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

    Best Track

    1. Coldplay – "Viva La Vida"
    2. Coldplay – Violet Hill
    3. MGMT – Time To Pretend
    4. MGMT – Electric Feel
    5. Coldplay – Life In Technicolour
    6. Coldplay – Cemeteries of London
    7. Katy Perry – I Kissed A Girl
    8. Coldplay – 42
    9. Coldplay – Strawberry Swing
    10. MGMT – Kids


    Source: Plug In Music

    • Babs_05 said...
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    • 5 Dec 2008, 13:19

    BBC Sound of 2009: The longlist

    5 December 2008

    Fifteen of the best rising music stars have been announced as the longlist for the BBC's Sound of 2009.

    The list is designed to find the best up-and-coming acts for the coming year, with the winner to be named in January.

    More than 130 of the UK's leading music critics and broadcasters named their favourite new acts, and the 15 with the most votes have made the longlist.

    Adele triumphed at number one in Sound of 2008, followed by Duffy, The Ting Tings and Glasvegas.

    The longlist is below. Click on the links to watch, hear and read about the acts.

    The Big Pink
    Dan Black
    VV Brown
    Empire of the Sun
    Florence and The Machine
    Frankmusik
    Kid Cudi
    La Roux
    Lady Gaga
    Little Boots
    Master Shortie
    Mumford & Sons
    Passion Pit
    The Temper Trap
    White Lies


    Source: BBC News

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 8 Dec 2008, 14:05

    Isobel Campbell - Keep Me In Mind Sweetheart EP

    Last.fm

    Essential listening this Christmas is this gorgeous EP from Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, Keep Me In Mind Sweetheart EP.

    Like Coldplay's Prospekt's March, these are tracks that didn't make the final selection for the main album but are as good (if not better). If Sunday at Devil Dirt sounded like they should get a room, this EP sounds like they did and it's breakfast.

    Currently on promotion in Last.fm, with unlimited play full tracks and auto-advance.

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 8 Dec 2008, 18:37

    CBS Radio extends online reach

    Dec 7, 2008

    DENVER (Billboard) - While other Internet radio providers are frantically trying to stay afloat in the wake of higher music royalty fees, CBS Radio is using the situation to solidify its standing within the format.

    After essentially taking over AOL's Web radio operations earlier this year, CBS Radio has struck a similar deal to power Yahoo Music's Launchcast Internet radio service starting in early 2009. CBS Radio will handle advertising sales for Launchcast's 150 stations, as it already does for AOL's 200 stations. The company has 150 online simulcast and Web-only stations of its own and is a CBS Corp. sibling of streaming music site Last.fm.

    Driving CBS Radio's momentum in Internet radio is the growing pressure on webcasters to monetize their traffic more effectively. In particular, the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board's decision last year to sharply increase the performance royalties paid by Internet radio operators has forced such services to ease their resistance to audio ads, which are likelier to reach listeners than display ads.

    But portal sites like Yahoo and AOL are geared more toward national ad sales than the local focus typical of radio ads, another factor pushing them toward partnerships with CBS Radio, one of the largest U.S. terrestrial radio broadcasters.

    "Advertisers want to reach specific metro areas that are relevant to their products and services," Yahoo Music head Michael Spiegelman says. "Yahoo is really oriented to sell nationally. That translates well into video and display advertising, but not as well into audio ads."

    Launchcast doesn't have a dedicated ad sales team. By contrast, CBS Radio has a sales staff of thousands dedicated to local markets around the country. And that staff now has more than 500 Internet radio channels to sell inventory on, many of which overlap in major metro areas, allowing advertisers to buy one ad that will run on CBS, Yahoo and AOL stations simultaneously.

    CBS Radio's deals with Yahoo and AOL have greatly extended its online reach. In October, the most recent period for which data is available, CBS' Web properties had 3.95 million unique visitors, and Launchcast had 2.87 million. AOL exceeded both with 3.99 million, according to comScore Media Metrix.

    CBS doesn't rely on music alone to drive its ad sales. Unlike AOL and Yahoo, CBS Radio carries several stations dedicated to news, sports and talk radio. In fact, sports-oriented WFAN (660 AM) New York is its highest-rated Internet radio feed, according to David Goodman, president of digital media and integrated marketing for CBS Radio.

    "We're now the second-largest streaming media company in the world after YouTube," Goodman says, citing CBS Radio's pre-Yahoo 3.6 billion streams per month to YouTube's 12.9 billion. "We have the ability to leverage that entire audience, or slice and dice it in a number of different ways, to give an advertiser the best solution for their needs."

    CBS Radio's agreement to handle online radio ad sales for both longtime portal rivals could raise eyebrows, given the persistent merger speculation surrounding the two companies.

    The consolidation of three of the top Internet radio entities into one ad network could prove appealing for advertisers keen on reaching an aggregated online listening audience. That, in turn, could keep the participating parties from scaling back their music programing -- something other online radio outfits are considering to save costs. But the downside is that playlists could become homogenized, as has happened at terrestrial radio in the wake of consolidation. CBS Radio insists it will leave music programing decisions to its partners.


    Source: Reuters/Billboard

    • Babs_05 said...
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    • 10 Dec 2008, 03:04

    Musicians protest use of songs by US jailers

    GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — Blaring from a speaker behind a metal grate in his tiny cell in Iraq, the blistering rock from Nine Inch Nails hit Prisoner No. 200343 like a sonic bludgeon.

    "Stains like the blood on your teeth," Trent Reznor snarled over distorted guitars. "Bite. Chew."

    The auditory assault went on for days, then weeks, then months at the U.S. military detention center in Iraq. Twenty hours a day. AC/DC. Queen. Pantera. The prisoner, military contractor Donald Vance of Chicago, told The Associated Press he was soon suicidal.

    The tactic has been common in the U.S. war on terror, with forces systematically using loud music on hundreds of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, then the U.S. military commander in Iraq, authorized it on Sept. 14, 2003, "to create fear, disorient ... and prolong capture shock."

    Now the detainees aren't the only ones complaining. Musicians are banding together to demand the U.S. military stop using their songs as weapons.

    A campaign being launched Wednesday has brought together groups including Massive Attack and musicians such as Tom Morello, who played with Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave and is now on a solo tour. It will feature minutes of silence during concerts and festivals, said Chloe Davies of the British law group Reprieve, which represents dozens of Guantanamo Bay detainees and is organizing the campaign.

    At least Vance, who says he was jailed for reporting illegal arms sales, was used to rock music. For many detainees who grew up in Afghanistan — where music was prohibited under Taliban rule — interrogations by U.S. forces marked their first exposure to the pounding rhythms, played at top volume.

    The experience was overwhelming for many. Binyam Mohammed, now a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, said men held with him at the CIA's "Dark Prison" in Afghanistan wound up screaming and smashing their heads against walls, unable to endure more.

    "There was loud music, (Eminem's) 'Slim Shady' and Dr. Dre for 20 days. I heard this nonstop over and over," he told his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith. "The CIA worked on people, including me, day and night for the months before I left. Plenty lost their minds."

    Rear Adm. David Thomas, the commander of Guantanamo's detention center, said the music treatment is not currently used at Guantanamo but added that he could not rule out its use in the future.

    "I couldn't speculate and I wouldn't speculate but I can tell you it doesn't happen here at Guantanamo and it hasn't happened since I've been here," Thomas, who has been at Guantanamo for a half-year, told AP.

    The spokeswoman for Guantanamo's detention center, Navy Cmdr. Pauline Storum, wouldn't give details of when and how music has been used at the prison.

    FBI agents stationed at Guantanamo Bay reported numerous instances in which music was blasted at detainees, saying they were "told such tactics were common there."

    According to an FBI memo, one interrogator at Guantanamo Bay bragged he needed only four days to "break" someone by alternating 16 hours of music and lights with four hours of silence and darkness.

    Ruhal Ahmed, a Briton who was captured in Afghanistan, describes excruciating sessions at Guantanamo Bay. He said his hands were shackled to his feet, which were shackled to the floor, forcing him into a painful squat for periods of up to two days.

    "You're in agony," Ahmed, who was released without charge in 2004, told Reprieve. He said the agony was compounded when music was introduced, because "before you could actually concentrate on something else, try to make yourself focus on some other things in your life that you did before and take that pain away.

    "It makes you feel like you are going mad," he said.

    Not all of the music is hard rock. Christopher Cerf, who wrote music for "Sesame Street," said he was horrified to learn songs from the children's TV show were used in interrogations.

    "I wouldn't want my music to be a party to that," he told AP.

    Bob Singleton, whose song "I Love You" is beloved by legions of preschool Barney fans, wrote in a newspaper opinion column that any music can become unbearable if played loudly for long stretches.

    "It's absolutely ludicrous," he wrote in the Los Angeles Times. "A song that was designed to make little children feel safe and loved was somehow going to threaten the mental state of adults and drive them to the emotional breaking point?"

    Morello, of Rage Against the Machine, has been especially forceful in denouncing the practice. During a recent concert in San Francisco, he proposed taking revenge on President George W. Bush.

    "I suggest that they level Guantanamo Bay, but they keep one small cell and they put Bush in there ... and they blast some Rage Against the Machine," he said to whoops and cheers.

    Some musicians, however, say they're proud that their music is used in interrogations. Those include bassist Stevie Benton, whose group Drowning Pool has performed in Iraq and recorded one of the interrogators' favorites, "Bodies."

    "People assume we should be offended that somebody in the military thinks our song is annoying enough that played over and over it can psychologically break someone down," he told Spin magazine. "I take it as an honor to think that perhaps our song could be used to quell another 9/11 attack or something like that."

    The band's record label told AP that Benton did not want to comment further. Instead, the band issued a statement reading: "Drowning Pool is committed to supporting the lives and rights of our troops stationed around the world."

    Vance, in a telephone interview from Chicago, said the tactic can make innocent men go mad. According to a lawsuit he has filed, his jailers said he was being held because his employer was suspected of selling weapons to terrorists and insurgents. The U.S. military confirms Vance was jailed but won't elaborate because of the lawsuit.

    He said he was locked in an overcooled 9-foot-by-9-foot cell that had a speaker with a metal grate over it. Two large speakers stood in the hallway outside. The music was almost constant, mostly hard rock, he said.

    "There was a lot of Nine Inch Nails, including 'March of the Pigs,'" he said. "I couldn't tell you how many times I heard Queen's 'We Will Rock You.'"

    He wore only a jumpsuit and flip-flops and had no protection from the cold.

    "I had no blanket or sheet. If I had, I would probably have tried suicide," he said. "I got to a few points toward the end where I thought, `How can I do this?' Actively plotting, `How can I get away with it so they don't stop it?'"

    Asked to describe the experience, Vance said: "It sort of removes you from you. You can no longer formulate your own thoughts when you're in an environment like that."

    He was released after 97 days. Two years later, he says, "I keep my home very quiet."


    Source: Associated Press

    • Babs_05 said...
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    • 10 Dec 2008, 15:47

    Ford positions Fiesta portal as a leading style and cultural destination

    10.12.08

    Ford has signed content deals with Blinkbox and Last.fm to provide film and music content to its Fiesta portal, which it's positioning as a major style and culture destination.

    The move is the second wave of the Ford Fiesta This Is Now campaign, which kicked off in October with content from Vogue, Glamour, GQ and Stylefinder, to encourage users to interact with the brand online.

    The new partners will enable visitors to the Fiesta portal to view video and audio of premium film and TV content, such as Juno and The Bourne Ultimatum, as well as the latest music tracks.

    Ford claims to be the first automotive brand to offer lifestyle content in this way in Europe.

    Richard Last, creative director at Ford's digital and direct agency Wunderman, said, "This is completely new territory for Ford. Obviously as a brand it has sponsored content before, but in this case it owns the media space rather than leveraging third-party deals."

    The partnership deals, which were negotiated by media agency MindShare, aim to build on the brand's existing content, including its user-generated content, which has been uploaded via a sponsored group on photo-sharing site Flickr. To date more than 12,000 images have been uploaded via Flickr or directly to the This Is Now portal.

    Users will be driven to the Fiesta portal via an online ad and social media campaign.

    Source: New Media Age

    • Babs_05 said...
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    • 13 Dec 2008, 22:28

    Layoffs At Last.FM Confirmed. Where Else Are Heads Rolling At CBS?

    December 11, 2008

    Today, CBS Interactive is laying off people across several of its properties, I’ve confirmed with the company. CBS is not saying which divisions or how many people are affected. It is positioning the layoffs as part of the integration process it began six months ago when it bought CNET for $1.8 billion. But it is not just the CNET businesses that are being cut.

    I’ve also confirmed that earlier today employees at social music site Last.FM were let go. CBS bought Last.fm in 2007 for $280 million. One source puts the number of layoffs at as many as 40 people, mostly from LAst.FM’s London HQ, which has a total staff of 95. A spokesperson for CBS Interactive says that number is inaccurate on the high side, but won’t provide the correct number. In any case, it is likely a small fraction of the overall number of employees being laid off across CBS Interactive. Update: CBS says the number of Last.fm layoffs is less than 20, which would put it at about 20 percent.

    Last.fm never really became a big money maker from what I can gather, and all of those engineers and other staff members are not cheap. Even after a redesign last July, growth has been flat. According to comScore, Last.fm had 9.2 million global unique visitors in October, a 6 percent increase from July. Imeem is still much more popular, with 22.1 million global visitors. And in the U.S., even Pandora has a bigger audience (4.97 million uniques in November, versus 2.75 million, see chart below).



    Source: Tech Crunch

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 19 Dec 2008, 04:00

    Last.fm offers new interactive ad platform

    17 December 2008

    LONDON - Social music website Last.fm has launched a new ad platform that recognises content being experienced by the user and allows the creative to react accordingly.


    Debut: the latest Moto E8 handset features on the first live airing of Last.fm's new Smart Ads platform

    The first major advertiser to go live with the product, named Smart Ads by Last.fm, is Motorola, promoting its new Moto E8 handset. When Last.fm users play music, the Moto handset shown in the ad creative displays the artist and track of the song being played.

    The launch follows Last.fm’s announcement in July that it planned to venture into fresh advertising formats.

    Miles Lewis, service vice-president at Last.fm, said that in developing the new platform Last.fm, which was acquired by CBS Corporation for $280m in May 2007, was aiming for one-to-one communication with users to build value for advertisers.

    He said: "Creative engagement allows the advertiser to show that they are in tune with what users are listening to."

    Founded in 2002, Last.fm offers tracks for free, on-demand and via streaming, and its partners include Universal, EMI, Sony BMG, CD Baby and more than 150,000 independent artists and labels.

    As well as being able to access tracks for free, music fans can also share their music preferences by linking their media player to the Last.fm database, meaning it can intelligently recommend music and other members based on their musical tastes.

    In June, the company announced it was partnering with other social networks to offer Last.fm In A Box, allowing users to install a Last.fm widget to websites such as MySpace.com, and stream music via those sites.


    Source: Media Week

    • Babs_05 said...
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    • 19 Dec 2008, 11:02

    Video: Micky P Kerr - Christmas Credit Crunch

    New single from Micky P Kerr - Christmas Credit Crunch. Make it the Christmas No. 1! Download from 7digital.


    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 19 Dec 2008, 11:26

    Video: Wiley - Cash In My Pocket

    Brilliant office video for Wiley - Cash in My Pocket.


    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 19 Dec 2008, 11:30

    EMI goes after MySpace with new site, has iTunes in sights

    December 17, 2008

    The music label biz can be lonely. Sure, a label gets to meet a bunch of musicians, but then it sends all its work to retailers and concert venues, and never get to meet its actual customers—the fans. EMI wants to get to know you and help you find interesting new artists, so it has launched EMI.com with some ambitious plans for the future.

    Launched as a beta (heavy on the "b"), EMI.com is primarily a music discovery tool for now. A Flash player features a selection of popular full tracks and clips (but mostly clips), behind-the-scenes content for artists like Lily Allen, and other music videos offer a decent set of initial content. One of the site's most appealing features is aimed at chronic music fans, as a "Discover" section allows users to type in the name of any band to receive recommendations of similar EMI artists. Playing tracks in the Flash player also continuously updates a "More like what's playing" section with more recommendations.

    What EMI is doing here certainly isn't anything new to users of Last.fm, Pandora, or any of the wide variety of other music discovery tools and communities that have thrived over the last few years. Plus, other labels, like Universal, have rich interactive sites where users can watch artist videos and even remix them with web-based tools for fun, contests, and sharing with friends. What is interesting about EMI.com is that, besides coming directly from the smallest of the four major labels, EMI isn't stopping at this basic set of tools (remember, it's a beta). It eventually plans to introduce everything from embeddable widgets so users can easily share content from their favorite artists on blogs and website, and even the ability to purchase music directly from the site.



    Traditionally, most consumers have never been that familiar with any particular label. They buy music from Best Buy, Walmart, or iTunes—now the number one music retailer in the US—regardless of which label has a tiny logo somewhere in the liner notes. But this is the primary motivation behind EMI's new website, a label spokesperson told Ars. EMI wants to learn more about its artists' fans directly from the fans themselves, and eventually wants to do more to foster relationships between the two. "Our primary objective is to create a 'learning lab,' an area where we can test ways to connect our artists with fans and better understand what consumers want, and now they want to experience music," EMI's spokesperson told Ars.

    Down the road, EMI is considering more tools for artists, such as blogs and more media content. The idea is to offer a permanent home base for all the content produced by and for artists, including promotional material, behind-the-scenes album documentaries, and many of the nomadic content that shines briefly in the marketing spotlight, then disappears into the hard-to-find recesses of the Internet. Artists are already doing a lot of this relationship building and content publishing at other sites, and especially social networks like MySpace, so this was again emphasized by EMI's spokesperson as an area of experimentation and learning for the label.

    Once EMI flips the switch on its own digital music store, however, things could get a bit more interesting. EMI's spokesperson didn't want to talk about the label's relationship with retailers on the record, but there's no way around it: EMI would effectively bypass middlemen like iTunes and Walmart with its own store, which could change a lot about the music retail dynamic. EMI could be in a position to undercut retailer pricing or, what is more likely, pocket a larger portion of each track and album sale at standard prices. Customers may also find less of a reason to walk into Walmart or shop at iTunes, though, which could have repercussions ranging from evolved competition to souring relationships.

    These events may only play out, however, if EMI's "testbed" website actually gains traction with music fans. We can't remember the last time we saw links or embedded videos from Universal's site, and with other companies like MySpace already owning the market for interaction between artists and their fans, EMI will have to fight a serious battle for eyeballs if it gets serious with EMI.com and removes the beta badge.


    Source: Ars Technica

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 19 Dec 2008, 12:09

    Demand For Music Down In Q3; Paid Downloads Grow A Mere 2 Percent

    December 18, 2008

    The percentage of internet users who bought a CD in Q3 fell to 22 percent from 25 percent last year, according to an online survey by market researcher NPD. Oddly enough, that's still better than the 15 percent of web users who paid for a music download last quarter. Both figures show why overall demand for music by internet users was down 2 percent in Q3.

    ?Online grows, albeit slowly: To be fair, online is at least still growing, while physical purchases are still tanking. The slightly wider use of online music stores like iTunes and Amazon's provided a small boost to the category over last year In Q307, 13 percent of the internet population bought music from a download store, meaning a 2 percent increase in the growth rate. In general legal music download volumes grew by 29 percent in Q3.

    ?P2P still a favorite: The number of Internet users sharing music on P2P sites held steady at 14 percent in Q3. However the volume of music shared via P2P sites grew by 23 percent, as P2P users reported downloading more files. Teens purchased 34 percent more paid digital downloads compared with year-ago. The growth in P2P file downloading was acute among 13- to 17-year-olds?up 46 percent. NPD pointed out that sharing files by burning music to a CD fell 25 percent among teens, suggesting that physical discs hold little appeal even when it's being given away for free.

    ?Thanks to Rock Band: NPD's survey of 4,400 online users in Q3 also found that 22 percent of music buyers (including CDs, digital or mobile) overall played a music-related video game, such as Rock Band or Guitar Hero, indicating that video gaming may be the one hope for the music to try to make some money from a deeply troubled business. Release


    Source: Paid Content / Washington Post

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 19 Dec 2008, 22:54

    Recording Industry Association of America, US music industry body, 'will not sue downloaders'

    December 19, 2008

    The American music industry has abandoned its controversial policy of launching thousands of lawsuits against internet users who download music illegally, according to reports.

    The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) will bring an abrupt halt to its unpopular and litigious policy, which has seen around 35,000 people served with lawsuits since 2003. The subjects of those lawsuits have included several single mothers, a dead person and a 13-year-old girl.

    The RIAA told the Wall Street Journal that it believes a new policy targeting illegal downloaders through warnings from their internet service providers (ISPs) will deter more people.

    The body said it had reached a deal with a number of providers to carry out the proposals but would not say which ones.

    Depending on the RIAA’s agreement with individual ISPs, the providers will either forward a warning note to customers, or alert users that they appear to be uploading music illegally and ask them to stop. If the customers continue the file-sharing, they will get one or two more e-mails, sometimes accompanied by a slower service from the provider. Finally, the ISP could cut off their access to the internet altogether.

    Mitch Bainwol, the chairman of the RIAA, said: "Part of the issue with infringement is for people to be aware that their actions are not anonymous."

    Mr Bainwol said that while he thought the litigation had been effective in some regards, new methods were now available to the industry. "Over the course of five years, the marketplace has changed," he said.

    Music sales have continued to fall since it became common practice for internet users to share music files or download them from illegal websites.

    In 2003, the American industry sold 656 million albums but by 2007, the number had fallen to 500 million CDs and digital albums.

    In the UK, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has struck a similar deal with a number of ISPs.

    This week a host of award-winning British producers, directors and writers called for similar action to tackle illegal downloads of films and TV shows which they say are threatening jobs.

    Oscar nominated directors Sir Alan Parker, Mike Leigh and Kenneth Branagh were among the household names who have called on the Government to address the problem of peer-to-peer file-sharing and the widespread availability of illegal, free content via the internet.


    Source: Times Online

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 30 Dec 2008, 16:29

    Last.fm Talks With DailyTech About Operations, Future

    December 24

    Tom Corelis chats with last.fm's Richard Jones

    (The following article is the result of joint collaboration between DailyTech, Last.fm, and Sun Microsystems.)

    What’s it like to run what is perhaps the largest repository of information on the music people listen to? DailyTech recently had the opportunity to sit down with Last.fm cofounder Richard Jones to talk about operations, Last.fm’s future plans, and the challenges of cleaning up millions of misspelled artist names.

    Last.fm is a music portal with impressively large repository of information on music, musicians, and the habits of those that listen to them. It originally started out as two projects: Audioscrobbler, which allowed users to chart their music-listening habits through a media-player plugin, and Last.fm, an internet radio station and music community site.

    After working together closely for some time, Audioscrobbler and Last.fm joined forced and moved into the same East London, UK-based office. In 2007 CBS purchased Last.fm for £140 million, keeping current management in place and allowing the site to continue with its own identity.

    Sitting atop a Mountain of Data

    Last.fm users’ listening data, the size of which numbers into the hundreds of terabytes, is Last.fm’s “greatest asset,” says Jones – and playing with that data is one of the most fun things about working at the company.

    “There’s so much knowledge and so many things that you can extract from that database,” he says. “We’re always looking at it in different ways and always sort of thinking, ‘What happened if we tried this, or what happened if we tried that?’, and we can actually go back to the raw data and runs some numbers and come up with some other ideas.”

    As information from the Audioscrobbler plugin reports song names and artists as they’re entered in users’ music tags, dealing with all the different variations and spellings for a single artist or song is one of Last.fm’s “biggest challenges”. Staying on top of the so-called cleanliness problem proves is an important, but ultimately never-ending battle: “For everything we fix, another 10,000 people scrobble the song with the wrong spelling,” says Jones.

    To that end, Last.fm says it recently added music fingerprinting to the data that Audioscrobbler submits: in addition to the text names of music, the scrobbler now reports an audio fingerprint which has, according to Jones, provided immense assistance in helping to clean up user-submitted data.

    “It is a huge challenge; the common numbers are something like 300 million different tracks that we’ve recorded (that’s in tons of different spellings), and about 20 million different artists – but obviously not all of those are valid,” says Jones. “That’s the challenge: we still haven’t quite answered the question of how many unique artists there really are – there’s obviously much less than what we actually have because of all the misspellings. It’s an ongoing problem and it will never be solved, because there’s always new music being released as well and so you have to constantly keep updating the system.”

    Power-Sipping Servers to Run it All

    Powering the site’s massive number-crunching and storage requirements is a server farm of roughly 350 to 400 machines, consisting mostly of off-the-shelf Intel and AMD hardware. Finding adequate amounts of electricity to power the site’s growth is increasingly difficult, says Jones, and to that end he’s switched from local suppliers for his server hardware to a more power-efficient blade architecture form Sun Microsystems.

    “We just got some new low-power blades that we’ve put in to do web serving, and our main database – with which we use PostgreSQL – is also on Sun hardware,” says Jones. “Sun seems to make a good range of servers that are quite conscious on the power requirements.”

    Last.fm’s controversial “Recently listened tracks” feature

    One of Last.fm’s more controversial features is its ability to display music that a user is listening to nearly real-time: songs appear in a profile’s “recently listened tracks” list seconds after they’re submitted. There are a number of privacy concerns over such a feature: bosses checking up on employees, ex boy/girlfriends stalking former partners, or people just checking to see if someone’s at their computer.

    The feature’s been with Audioscrobbler since the very beginning, says Jones, and despite privacy concerns the “recently listened tracks” is still one of the site’s “most popular features that people actually talk about.”

    “Some people are a bit concerned about it, but part of our service is to broadcast your music tastes to the world. So it’s [a big part] part of what we do: [users are] actually saying to the world, ‘this is what I am listening to right now,’ and Last.fm wouldn’t be the same without it.”

    That being said, Last.fm this year rolled out the ability to hide all real-time data on a user’s profile – so those with privacy concerns can time-delay the world’s view of their listening habits.

    One particularly interesting side-effect of the service is in the case of stolen laptops: “We get emails once or twice a month saying, ‘my laptop was stolen, and I can see the person who stole it is playing music on my iTunes right now,’ and then we have actually helped the police track down people’s laptops … from the scrobbling feed on their account.”

    “We don’t make a point of logging the IP address,” he says, “but when [thefts have] happened we put a watch on the account, allowing us to collect the IP address the next time it’s used.”

    While it’s not really the intended use of the service, says Jones, thieves listening to music on an Audioscrobbler-powered media player have helped police in the U.S., UK, and other countries track down users’ stolen laptops.

    To Be Continued…

    A full transcript of the interview, which includes hints at Last.fm’s future plans, insight into how it aggregates user submissions, and some behind-the-scenes thoughts on its controversial July redesign, will appear within the next few days. Stay tuned…


    Source: Daily Tech

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 30 Dec 2008, 17:14

    Group Connections Limit

    Staff comment on why group connections are limited to 200 artists:

    30 Dec 2008, 01:12

    acreature said... As far as I know the limitation is there for performance reasons; there are no plans to remove it or extend it at present.

    I know that we would like to revisit the groups system at some point and improve it; when that point comes this limitation might go away, or become higher. But it's not feasible to remove the limit now and I have no idea when (if) we'll be re-working the groups system.

    Finally, we didn't add the limitation out of laziness; at least 3 developers have spent some time looking at that bit of code and couldn't find a time-effective way to increase performance. We don't like setting limits and always try to avoid them where we can, but sometimes this isn't possible.


    Source: Forums thread: Can't Add Artists to Group Connection

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 30 Dec 2008, 18:22

    Elbow are crowned critics' choice

    30 December 2008

    Elbow's Mercury Prize-winning album The Seldom Seen Kid is UK music critics' album of the year, a survey says.

    The "poll of polls", conducted by retail chain HMV, took into account votes from media critics as well as the firm's staff and online customers.

    The Seldom Seen Kid was nominated by 18 out of the 35 outlets polled, with Portishead's Third coming second on 17.

    Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' Dig, Lazarus, Dig came third, followed by Fleet Foxes and Vampire Weekend.

    Their self-titled debuts came fourth and fifth respectively.

    TV on the Radio and MGMT also featured in the top 10, as did Bon Iver, Glasvegas and Hot Chip.

    The year's biggest-selling album, Duffy's Rockferry, came 28th in the list.

    Last year's album of the year was LCD Soundsystem's Sound of Silver.

    "The poll reflects an excellent, eclectic year in music," HMV rock and pop buyer Damian Evans said.

    "Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend, MGMT and Bon Iver have really made their mark with wonderful debut albums, underlining how vibrant the music scene is right now.

    "Established artists such as Portishead and Nick Cave have also returned to great acclaim, although I suspect few people would dispute that Elbow have given us the album of the year."


    POLL OF POLLS

    1) The Seldom Seen Kid - Elbow
    2) Third - Portishead
    3) Dig, Lazarus, Dig - Nick Cave
    4) Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
    5) Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
    6) TV On The Radio - Dear Science
    7) MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
    8) Bon Iver - For Emma Forever Ago
    9) Glasvegas - Glasvegas
    10) Hot Chip - Made In The Dark
    Source: HMV


    Source: BBC News

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 1 Jan 2009, 14:11
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