New New Musical Express - January 2009

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 1 Jan 2009, 14:16

    New New Musical Express - January 2009


    Link to my gang 09 - Featured Albums 2009

    * BBC Sound of 2009
    * Music labels, websites tussle over music videos
    * Project Playlist inks Sony deal, gets booted from Facebook
    * founder's 'reactive music' album a hit on Apple iPhone App Store
    * Independent Musician Puts It All Together
    * MFM '09 Guide - Dead Certs, by Jambo234
    * Electric dreams for pop in 2009
    * Music streaming service Spotify wins early fans
    * Facebook sues social-network aggregator
    * Full Transcript of Last Week's Interview
    * Music Industry: The 'Long Tail' Effect
    * Moris Tepper - Stingray In the Heart
    * J. Tillman - Vacilando Territory Blues
    * Pascal Comelade - The No Dancing
    * Sunday Times - 10 hot new music acts for 2009
    * Various Artists - After Dark
    * Exposure: Alessi's Ark
    * The Stooges: Why they mattered
    * Apple to end music restrictions
    * Downloads boost 2008 single sales
    * RI judge hears arguments in music downloading case
    * Christmas music sales boost
    * Hype Machine: Music Blog Zeitgeist 2008

    Page 2

    * Having a very connected Christmas
    * Behind the music: Is the long tail a myth?
    * Lady GaGa - The Fame
    * Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
    * Journal: New Music February 2009, by Nialloleary
    * Ayria - Hearts For Bullets
    * Sunday Times review of Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
    * Heroes Revealed - Next War Child Album Confirmed
    * Neko Case - People Got A Lot Of Nerve
    * Video: Beirut - La Llorona
    * Triple-Digit Growth for
    * The 51st Annual GRAMMY® Awards - Live on CBS Sunday, Feb. 8
    * Video: Busta Rhymes - Arab Money
    * Isle of Man gets unlimited music downloads with blanket fee
    * Government web piracy regulation 'could damage the music industry'
    * Journal: [HowTo] Play radios in client, by mr_maxis
    * Johnny Marr, the rock star turned teacher
    * Streaming music: even better than the real thing?
    * Obama inauguration stops traffic - web traffic, that is
    * How One 'No Name' Musician Used Free Music To Build A Following
    * ISPs will not be forced to disconnect users who illegally download music
    * Canadian radio personality Alan Cross launches online show about music
    * Forums: Improvements to Radio
    * Some important changes to the Spotify music catalogue
    * Digital Britain: Lord Carter vows to force ISPs to crack down on web piracy

    Page 3

    * This Is What I Do: Miles Lewis,
    * Jan 29 Site Update
    * Albums Added This Month

    Edited by Babs_05 on 2 Feb 2009, 01:57
    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 1 Jan 2009, 17:07

    BBC Sound of 2009

    1 January 2009

    The best new bands and singers have been selected by some of Britain's most influential tastemakers as part of the BBC's Sound of 2009 search.

    More than 130 pundits named their favourite three new artists and the tips were counted. A longlist of 15 was published in December and the top five artists will be revealed from Monday.

    Before that, a selection of the experts explain why they love the acts they picked. They also reveal the underrated albums they want to break through in 2009, and which established acts we will be enjoying in the next 12 months.

    Peter Robinson,
    George Ergatoudis, Radio 1
    James Curran, Absolute Radio
    Mistajam, BBC 1Xtra
    Alex Miller, Vice magazine

    Conor McNicholas, NME
    Alison Howe, Later... With Jools Holland
    Paul Rees, Q magazine
    Mike Walsh, Xfm
    Mark Adams, Box Television

    Favourite new acts

    Little Boots
    Victoria Hesketh is the perfect pop star. She knocks out great tunes and takes her music seriously while celebrating the giddy heights of pop at its best. As a result, she understands pop in a way that puts her miles ahead of her nearest rivals.

    Julian Perretta
    Julian's got a brilliantly expressive and quintessentially English songwriting style in the tradition of The Kinks and David Bowie, and since signing to Columbia in 2008 things seem to have been taking shape for a bright 2009. Great hair as well.

    British male singer-songwriters make beige music which can't set pulses racing. Frankmusik is the solution - astonishingly talented, he has teamed up with Madonna and Killers producer Stuart Price for a stylish, modern and human debut album full of potential hits.

    Most underrated album of 2008

    Ladyhawke - Ladyhawke. Every year there's an artist whose lack of overnight success confuses and upsets me. In 2008, it was Ladyhawke. Her album is a romantic, atmospheric and sometimes lonely-sounding album which deserves a big push.

    Best returning artist for 2009

    Pet Shop Boys' new album Yes is produced with Xenomania. The duo who defined pop in the 20th Century and the hit-house who redefined it in the 21st. The album is a phenomenal return to form.

    Favourite new acts

    The Soft Pack (formerly The Muslims)
    This tip came through just as a band name from a mate, but hearing the first 20 seconds of Parasites on their MySpace gave me goose bumps. It's alternately perky and dirty and done with a swagger few UK bands ever seem to pull off.

    Empire of the Sun
    I hated Empire of the Sun at first. It sounded over-played, over-produced and over-thought. But relentless spins on the NME stereo has made me fall for their lush '80s sound. The tracks throb and glow. Will be one of the albums of the year, no doubt.

    Florence and The Machine
    There's no-one to touch Florence right now. She might be barking but she's more rock 'n' roll than the rest of the scene put together and she's got the tunes and the voice to back it up. An inspiration.

    Most underrated album of 2008

    Late of the Pier - Fantasy Black Channel. This was one of my albums of the year but it never completely connected. I love the combination of out-there tunes with hard, danceable grooves. They ripped it up at Reading but it's still all waiting to happen.

    Best returning artist for 2009

    Don't tell me Blur aren't going to start recording new stuff. Damon and Graham just can't stop writing and now they're playing live together again it can't help but happen. Album for Christmas 2009?

    Favourite new acts

    Dan Black
    The minute I heard his track HPNTZ I knew this guy was special. His debut album combines yearning vocals with super melodic pop hooks and exciting, ultra-contemporary production. I love it.

    Passion Pit
    This band stood out straight away for me. Sonically they fall somewhere between MGMT and Hot Chip - ? And they're writing great songs. Rock fans will love them and dance fans will too. I predict they'll be festival favourites in 2009.

    Carolina Liar
    Their debut album is packed with strong melodic rock/pop songs with hints of The Fray and The Killers. It boasts fantastic production from Max Martin and lead singer Chad Wolf is blessed with a tremendous emotive voice. This is just waiting to blow up.

    Most underrated album of 2008

    The King Blues - Save the World, Get the Girl. It was refreshing to find an act with something to say and the ability to write great melodic songs. I don't necessarily agree with their politics, but I admire them. Their time may yet come.

    Best returning artist for 2009

    There are some serious contenders, but Green Day have to be top of the list.

    BBC Radio 1

    Favourite new acts

    Little Boots
    Imagine if Debbie Harry had come from Blackpool and played the synthesiser. 2009 looks set to be dominated by the sound of electropop and Ms Boots should be one if its stars with her wonderfully catchy pop songs.

    VV Brown
    She continues the trend of today's girls, borrowing from the '60s, but VV takes it in a purely pop direction. She's talented, bright, infectious and, refreshingly, she isn't surrounded by teams of producers and writers.

    White Lies
    In the boys with guitars department, 2008 belonged to the US. White Lies should turn the tide back to the UK in 2009. With their epic and soaring songs, atmospheric shows and nod to the likes of Editors and Joy Division, they should have a successful year.

    Most underrated album of 2008

    Friendly Fires - Friendly Fires. Brilliant live and with a sound that was fun and refreshing from a UK group, I hope they get a second look in 2009.

    Best returning artist for 2009

    I am looking forward to the return of Franz Ferdinand and Green Day this year.

    Later... with Jools Holland

    Favourite new acts

    Jersey Budd
    I love Jersey's down-to-earth charm and love of good old-fashioned songwriting. You can hear classic Springsteen and Mellencamp influences all over his music. Kasabian are big fans of this Leicester native, which is a big recommendation indeed.

    Florence and The Machine
    Our presenter Geoff Lloyd picked Dog Days Are Over as his single of the week and the following week we added it to the playlist. I love the complex song construction and stunning vocals. It is adventurous but it works on radio too.

    Nick Harrison
    For someone brought up on the magic of The Specials, Selecter and The Beat, I love Nick's refreshing approach to music. He gives it a contemporary twist - basically because he writes great songs.

    Most underrated album of 2008

    Panic at the Disco - Pretty Odd. This is an adventurous mix of alternative, country, Americana and vaudeville with Beatle-esque nuances. Their usually loyal fanbase were left bewildered but every time I play it to people, they fall in love with its whimsy.

    Best returning artist for 2009

    An obvious choice but it would have to be U2. They are still one of the greatest bands in the world and their recorded output has been of a consistently high standard. To have maintained a career at the top, approaching 30 years, is a huge achievement.

    Absolute Radio

    Favourite new acts

    Broken Records
    One of those bands you hear and either don't get or fall in love with completely. I fall very much into the latter camp - they have a sound that's as evocative as a lot of the great new American folksy rock music of the past year or two.

    White Lies
    Lots of newish bands have tried to take that icy melodic, Joy Division-esque sound and run with it but most of them have forgotten the need for great songs. White Lies haven't, which makes them stand out.

    VV Brown
    Great voice, great look, ready-made star. Simple as that.

    Most underrated album of 2008

    The Gaslight Anthem (The '59 Sound) made the best song-for-song record of the year by far, and My Morning Jacket (Evil Urges) served up a modern masterpiece, and both deserve to have been both bought and acclaimed far more widely.

    Best returning artist for 2009

    That'll be U2 with their No Line on the Horizon album and the attendant tour. I've been fortunate enough to hear a number of the tracks slated for the album, and there's a real sense that this is the best thing they've done since Achtung Baby.

    Q magazine

    Favourite new acts

    Master Shortie
    Rather than the typical grime MC you'd expect a 19-year-old black kid from the streets of London to be, he's a little bit indie, a little bit hip-hop, a little bit electro but very relevant, now and damn good! 2009 sees the release of his debut album ADHD.

    Soda Boys
    A collective of arty creatives from across the world - think Basement Jaxx meets Daft Punk in a London '80's hip-hop, reggae and soul night. They merge the dance and black music worlds perfectly.

    Kid Cudi
    Has been making waves in the underground hip-hop scene for the past year. His natural sound is quality hip-hop with soulful tendencies and as he's worked with Kanye West on his album. Kanye is returning the favour on Cudi's album and has signed him.

    Most underrated album of 2008

    Jazmine Sullivan - Fearless. Mixing R&B, dance, reggae, jazz and classical influences with a hefty slab of soul, it was fresh yet familiar - innovative yet unpretentious. The album deserved to be a success both in the UK and US. A brilliant journey album.

    Best returning artist for 2009

    We've been promised Dr Dre's much fabled Detox album, but ms dynamite is a safer yet still exciting prospect. After disappearing from the public eye to raise her kids, she's back and is starting again with some real hits with great crossover potential.

    BBC 1Xtra

    Favourite new acts

    White Lies
    I love bands that create their own world and, although the influences are pretty clear, this album still sounds very fresh. Most importantly, however, the songs already feel stadium-sized.

    The Temper Trap
    This is a band with a unique and expansive sound that have a singer with a stunning voice and some of the most seductive songs you will hear all year. They also nail it live and will engage both press and radio with equal enthusiasm.

    Run Toto Run
    Run Toto Run is the band built around Manchester singer-songwriter Rachel Kitchenside. She writes some of the most beautiful and interesting songs - definitely one to keep an eye on.

    Most underrated album of 2008

    The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound. This has received some good press but that is just the tip of the iceberg. They will be the word-of-mouth success story of 2009.

    Best returning artist for 2009

    Liam Frost and Sam Isaac are two great British singer-songwriters who will deservedly make 2009 their year.


    Favourite new acts

    The Big Pink
    They're the dark underbelly of the top London scene. There's an obvious Velvet Underground obsession that sounds really cruel and horrible but with a soulful subtlety. They're going to be both the big art-school success of the year and the critics' choice.

    Titus Andronicus
    They paraphrase WH Auden, mention Brueghel and open their album with quotes from Titus Andronicus, the play. The poetry and romance are coupled with dangerous shambolic rock 'n' roll that reminds me of The Libertines.

    Fan Death
    They've got a bunch of work to do but no-one's got more hooks. Every song I've heard is potentially massive and it's only going to take two banging remixes and everyone's going to fall in love with them. Plus, lead singer Dandi Wind is a super cool chick.

    Most underrated album of 2008

    Cass McCombs - Dropping The Writ. I'm normally wary of folk but he's got a great sense of non-conformist songwriting. It's honest, contemporary and still folk. It was a bit of PR away from being every person's favourite "intellectual" album this year.

    Best returning artist for 2009

    A friend has heard Klaxons' second album and said it's fantastic. They did really exciting things a couple of years ago and more than anyone are poised to make an incredible return. If they do it properly they can prove that pop music isn't necessarily dead.

    Vice Magazine UK

    Favourite new acts

    Lady Gaga
    Just Dance is a great single but the album is full of hit singles. She is also working with the world's contemporary hitmakers, so the A list surely beckons.

    VV Brown
    She has a totally fresh approach to pop songs - the commercial appeal of Kate Nash with the credible box still firmly ticked.

    All Time Low
    American pop punk bands are often overlooked in these polls, but these guys have great songs and a terrific album - expect success similar to Paramore in 2009.

    Most underrated album of 2008

    Foxboro Hot Tubs - Stop Drop and Roll!!! A cracking album that leaves any listener salivating for a whole lot more.

    Best returning artist for 2009

    I'm an obsessive Green Day fan and frankly new material from these guys gets me very excited. Also it's been nearly five years in the making so it should be an absolute corker.

    Box TV

    Source: BBC

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 1 Jan 2009, 17:09

    Music labels, websites tussle over music videos

    Friday, 12.26.08

    Music labels are increasingly depending on revenue generated from music videos amid slumping sales of compact discs.

    The removal of Warner Music Group's videos from YouTube over the weekend highlights the growing tension between music labels and websites over what is becoming an important source of revenue for the beleaguered recorded-music industry: advertising and licensing fees from music videos, the foundation that built MTV but which has now largely migrated to the Internet.

    The impasse comes at a time when all four major labels -- Warner, Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and EMI Music -- are renegotiating their licensing deals with YouTube, the largest video site.

    YouTube and social networks such as Last.FM pay for the rights to stream music videos. Typical licensing agreements pay either a minimum fee based on the number of times a video is viewed or, if the sum is greater, a share of the ad revenue, helping to make music videos a small but fast-growing source of revenue for the labels. One label executive estimates that music videos will generate about $300 million for the industry this year.

    Record labels are eager to explore ancillary revenue to help offset free-falling compact disc sales. This year's album sales are down 45 percent from 2000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. A recent Forrester Research report projects that disc sales will continue to decline by an annual rate of about 9 percent over the next five years, as retailers reduce the shelf space allotted to CDs and music fans shift their purchases online.

    As a result, music executives are increasingly pressing for what the industry calls 360 deals, in which labels grab a share of revenue once reserved for the artist, such as concert ticket sales and money from the sale of T-shirts and merchandise.

    Music videos are just one of myriad ways in which the music companies slice and dice a music single, from 99-cent downloads on iTunes to mobile-phone ring tones.

    ''Video is not the largest category, but it's a significant category, to the tune of 5 percent or 10 percent of the total,'' said Thomas Hesse, president of global digital business for Sony BMG Music Entertainment.

    No one considered music videos to be anything other than telegenic billboards when MTV launched its 24-hour-a-day music channel in 1981. Those were the days when labels spent lavishly on cinematic-quality productions such as Michael Jackson's 14-minute Thriller music video, directed by Hollywood filmmaker John Landis, which cost $1 million.

    ''The irony is, back in the day when the production budgets were more in the seven-figure-plus range, we weren't monetizing them at all,'' said Jeff Dodes, senior vice president of marketing and digital media for Zomba Label Group, whose artists include such pop acts as Jordan Sparks, Justin Timberlake and Pink. ``It was a time when the media landscape wasn't as fractured as it is now.''

    Source: The Miami Herald > Business

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 1 Jan 2009, 17:12

    Project Playlist inks Sony deal, gets booted from Facebook

    December 24, 2008

    Project Playlist is a music search engine and social network that caught the RIAA's attention in April for indexing and streaming unlicensed music from third-party resources across the Internet. Since then, the startup introduced Facebook and MySpace applications that allowed users to share their playlists of unauthorized music with friends. Despite Project Playlist finally scoring its first licensing deal with Sony BMG, however, the RIAA has succeeded in scaring MySpace and Facebook into shutting off access to the application.

    Project Playlist operates by indexing third-party music resources (many recommended by users), then converting that audio into a streamable format with a Flash player front end ("an unsanctioned" would be a good analogy). Users can then create playlists of their favorite music and share them via embeddable widgets on any site, or via applications on the two leading social networks, and advertising across the site pays the bills.

    The RIAA's lawsuit alleged that Project Playlist "induces users to upload infringing content to third-party sites and then add the associated link to Project Playlist's index." The music sharing service defended itself at the time by asserting that it pays royalties to the three big US performing rights organizations—BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC. Project Playlist's Achilles heel, however, is that it doesn't pay the actual copyright holders, which is what prompted the RIAA's original lawsuit.

    Now the RIAA has gone after the two major outlets for Project Playlist's users—Facebook and MySpace—and succeeded in forcing a takedown of their respective Project Playlist applications. MySpace reportedly complied quickly with the RIAA's initial request. But after Facebook dug in its heels, it eventually scrubbed Project Playlist's application from its site and the 660,000 users' profiles it adorned. Ars contacted Facebook for a comment on why it initially refused to take down Project Playlist's application, but a spokesperson would only offer the social network's official statement on the situation:

    The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) initially contacted Facebook last summer requesting the removal of the Project Playlist application for copyright violation, and recently reopened those communications. We have forwarded the RIAA's letters to Project Playlist so it can work directly with that organization and music labels on a resolution. In the meantime, the application must be removed to comply with the Facebook Platform Terms of Service. Our hope and expectation is that the parties can resolve their disagreements in a manner that satisfies the developer and copyright holder, that continues to offer a great experience to music fans, and that doesn't discourage other developers from using Platform to share their creativity and test new ideas.

    These application takedowns are unfortunately timed with Project Playlist's announcement of its first licensing deal with one of the big four labels, Sony BMG. All of the label's music will soon be available to Project Playlist's community and services. The company has clearly chosen the route of working with the RIAA instead of fighting a costly legal battle, one that could force a lengthy debate over Project Playlist's responsibility in vetting the content it indexes. Still, the startup would have been better served by securing licenses from the labels before launch, avoiding the wrath of the RIAA.

    Source: Ars Technica

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 1 Jan 2009, 17:15 founder's 'reactive music' album a hit on Apple iPhone App Store

    Tuesday, 23 December 2008

    150,000 in 2 months for 'reactive music' founder's 'reactive music' album is proving a hit with Apple iPhone and iPod touch users with 150,000 downloads from the App Store in two months.

    RjDj, an innovative new concept in music, was created by founder Michael Breidenbruecker and offers an interactive musical experience. is a popular online radio station for sharing and streaming music and creating playlists.

    The iPhone application, which makes music out of the world around us, is being dubbed 'reactive music'.

    RjDj enables anyone with an iPhone to incorporate the sounds around them into the music they are listening to.

    "In the digital music age, people have so much choice that they quickly grow bored of the same old tracks," says Michael Breidenbruecker, founder at RjDj.

    "RjDj enables artists to create reactive music that their listeners can integrate into their world as it changes through their day. We are effectively building a bridge between the music an artist creates in a studio and the environment that their listeners are in so they can create a soundtrack for their life and expand the amount of time their fans spend with their music."

    The RjDj album is available from the Apple App Store and costs £1.79. A RjDj single is available as a free download.

    A YouTube RjDj video is available here.

    Source: Mac World

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 1 Jan 2009, 17:21

    Independent Musician Puts It All Together

    January 01, 2009

    Electronic and organic musician launches website to help broadcast his ideas to the world. Independent artist BlakeAndrew will officially launch his website,, to the world 1/1/2009. The website is the main vehicle to promote his music but is also a place where fans can come for a community user experience. Featuring free steaming music and downloads of everything from monthly podcast dj mixes to desktop wallpapers. The ultimate goal of the website is to put together all of the social networking sites BlakeAndrew is a member of into one place, allowing visitors to experience more than just the music, permitting the opportunity to connect with the artist on a multitude of levels and interests.

    The site will feature a steaming player with samples of BlakeAndrew’s latest tracks and remixes. The homepage will have a “BlakeAndrew News and Updates” box which will give visitors a quick look at instant updates of everything BlakeAndrew is up to; including site updates, blog entries, music releases and “shout-outs.” The homepage is also scheduled to include a “shout-box” for visitors to comment on the site and just say hi to BlakeAndrew and fellow users. The most intriguing portion of the site will be the community page, encompassing all of the social networking, bookmarking and music sites available for the user to visit and join.

    “Social networks online are a large portion of how people communicate these days,” BlakeAndrew states. “The main focus of launching the new site is to bring together all of the social sites I use and communicate with and present them in one area. This allows users to dig deeper and experience the music and environments that influence me the most. Giving them the opportunity to communicate and interact directly; and in some cases instantly and on-demand. The majority of people are already using at least one of the networks, and they will be able to share their experiences with me as well. It’s just phenomenal the way we can use technology to interact now with people all over the world.”

    Well-known networking sites like MySpace will be featured but the site will also concentrate on more focused networks; like music only network The community page also features BlakeAndrew’s member pages at popular music sites like and Pandora; where a visitor can see what the artist is currently listening to and commenting on. The website will include specialized apps that allow visitors to instant message BlakeAndrew on-demand. Using MySpace instant messenger, if logged into their account, or the ability to chat through aol instant messanger as a guest, with no need for a screenname.

    In addition to community based networking sites, will include tons of swag and freebies, such as free MP3s and desktop wallpapers for any visitor that drops by; and special giveaways to members who join a monthly eNewsletter. The site also has a direct link to twilight_frequencies, a blog ran by BlakeAndrew dedicated to music and technology reviews.

    BlakeAndrew is an independent artist with a knack for promotions just trying to stay ahead of the curve. The days of making it big from a single demo or being discovered by a major record executive in a smoky nightclub may be a thing of the past. Today’s musicians need to be able to do much more than just play an instrument, they have to be able to effectively communicate their vision to the world without the help and funding from a major label. In the end, the survival of an artist hopefully still comes from their passion, the support of their fans and down-right good music.

    Source: - Press Releases

  • Thanks for the 'Sound of 09' post, Babs - there's going to be a lot more great new music to enjoy this year...

  • MFM '09 Guide - Dead Certs

    original post:

    Empire of the Sun
    Some will claim them to be jumping on the MGMT-bandwagon but could you blame them? The weird, futuristic dress-code Empire of the Sun follow suggest that they're at least doing something different. 'Walking on a Dream' is due for a US/UK release in February and it's being anticipated eagerly by those in the know. The title track at least, suggested summer-pop at its very best.

    Florence and The Machine
    One of the few in our list that found themselves shoved into the perks of popularity, already in 2008. Once ‘Kiss With A Fist’ was declared not to have any subliminal condoning of violence in relationships, Florence’s career began to hit sky high and next year it may hit its peak. Clues towards a more inspired, darker sound have been revealed recently, suggesting that we might have a real star in this one. She's now won the award of "best new star/newcomer/you know what I mean" at the Brits, a prize handed to Adele in 2008.


    You may well be aware of the bandstocks, Patrick Wolf-led cause of getting the Londoner to release his fourth album as soon as possible. Thing is, FrYars sort of got there first. And as it happens, right now he's sold more "bandstocks" than Wolf. Ben Garrett's already achieved enough in gaining support through glorious tracks, 'The Ides' and 'Olive Eyes' amongst plenty. Supplementing guitars for synth-led beats equates in nothing but a foggy background compared to the loveable, low voice of Garrett himself; it's the very thing that makes him the most exciting one-man band around.


    Signed to Dance on the Radio, this Leeds group caught the attention of lost hearts, seeking a new spin on indie music, instantly with their release of 'D.I.L.L.E.M.A', an instrumentally dynamic affair of uncensored musical passion. Featuring a cello in their music is an instantaneously visible difference to the remaining sounds associated with their genre but elsewhere their sound remains akin to nothing else right now. A loyal, Leeds-based fanbase has gradually grown into a force capable of supporting the band wherever they go and a self-titled debut release is set to set these previously lost hearts alight.

    Little Boots
    Resourceful and rapidly growing in reputation. Formerly of Dead Disco, Little Boots combines previously used sounds/songs/etc. with her own originally done angles. This is usually achieved with the help of some toy musical gadget that everybody will crave for their own use. This original stance is now equipped with the hype that came about mid-2008 in unison with the emergence of 'Stuck on Repeat', the very anthem that looks set to swing her forwards in big things. Now with the safe hands of Hot Chip's Joe Goddard at production, a gentle journey into stardom seems more than likely.

    Maps + Atlases

    Tribal being a dirty word, maybe we should invent a new one to describe a combining of the less experimental elements of Battles with the heart-racing attitude of some dirty, American or African spirit. More Minus the Bear than actual math-rock, the ‘You, Me and the Mountain’ EP was something to behold, every track outdoing the other. Hopefully they can outdo all of that with a stunning debut album.

    Passion Pit
    Playing host to warm, summer-inspired electrical anthems is by no means an easy thing to maintain but in the 2008 'Chunk of Change' EP, Passion Pit rose from the hills as a formidable, consistent source of fantastic dreamy pop. Euphoric at times, casually cool at others, the project of Michael Angelakos has morphed into a full-band surge, especially on the live circuit. Expect a feature on the 2009 NME cool list, and plenty more.

    We Have Band

    They may have all hailed from record companies but when combined, the three members of We Have Band certainly know how to write a hit record. Only ‘Hear It In The Cans’ and ‘Oh’ have been adored as of yet, but be sure to expect a whole album of electro-pop hits to warm to when word of mouth begins to tell of their punchy, simplistic, Hot Chip-esque qualities.

    White Lies

    There seems to be a general consensus that White Lies will become 2009 favourites. Like Glasvegas with a lesser chance of facing a backlash; their commercially-inclined 80's-synth-pop will either be warmed to or shrugged off when their debut, ‘To Lose My Life’ is unveiled to all. They might not have made a name for themselves with Fear of Flying but they can expect a whole lot more under White Lies. Especially considering the bucketloads of cash ready to be injected into their cause come January from EMI.

    "And once I knew, I was not magnificent"

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 4 Jan 2009, 00:46

    Electric dreams for pop in 2009

    1 January 2009

    Guitar bands and singer-strummer-songwriters have long been the staple of the British musical diet.

    Maybe not in 2009, though.

    The soundtrack to the next 12 months will be electronic - at least judging by the new acts picked by tastemakers for the BBC's Sound of 2009.

    The list is dominated by artists who have ditched guitars in favour of synthesisers, whose tunes are rooted in the 1980s but with a strong vision of the future.

    Ten of the longlist of 15 rising stars primarily use electronic instruments rather than guitars.

    They range from shiny electro-pop princesses (Lady Gaga, La Roux, Little Boots) to fantasy synth heroes (Empire of the Sun) to beatific beat boys (Dan Black, Frankmusik) to arty experimentalists (Passion Pit, The Big Pink) and hip-hop hopefuls (Kid Cudi and Master Shortie).

    Last year's Sound of 2008 list was led by Adele and Duffy. But the common or garden singer-songwriter is nowhere to be seen this time.

    Instead, there are acts like VV Brown, a straight soul singer transformed into an offbeat pop character, and Florence and The Machine, in a world of her own with a wild voice, unbridled stage presence, unconventional song structures and startling storytelling.

    Many of the above acts take their inspiration from eccentric '80s pop icons like Madonna, Kate Bush, Prince and David Bowie.

    They could loosely be grouped into the "" genre - a term coined and owned by Mika's manager to cover anyone playing quirky, catchy and credible pop.

    Perfect for Top of the Pops, when it returns.

    The final three acts on the longlist are more conventional bands - the gloriously gloomy White Lies, epic Aussies The Temper Trap and folkies Mumford And Sons (who actually only have one guitar as well as one banjo and a double bass).

    Is it a coincidence that so many hot new acts prefer lush beats or warm synths to rock riffs and acoustic chords?

    Dan Black started as a singer with indie band The Servant (big in Europe, apparently) but the video for his first solo single Yours begins with him jettisoning his guitar.

    Empire of the Sun are led by Luke Steele, who has put his rock outfit The Sleepy Jackson on hold to recreate the audacious electro-pop of his childhood.

    La Roux started as an acoustic guitar duo, but decided they were fed up of that sound and instead set off on a quest to bring back the 1980s.

    In other words, they were bored of guitars and wanted to do something different.

    Musical trends move on when artists get sick of the status quo and give music a nudge in a new direction.

    But will the electro sound really catch on?

    The polished robopop of stars like Madonna, Kylie, Britney and Girls Aloud has enjoyed phenomenal success among young fans who shape the charts.

    Those acts have been moulded by the commercial pop machine, with all the meticulous songwriting and styling that involves.

    But - unlike in the 1980s - newer, cooler electronic acts often struggle for major success.

    And what does the future hold for guitar music?

    Bands like Kings of Leon, Coldplay, Oasis, The Killers and Elbow all enjoyed a phenomenal year in 2008.

    But others suffered disappointing returns. The Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight, The Kooks, Keane, The Fratellis and The Pigeon Detectives all failed to make it into the top 40 albums of the year.

    The guitar bands that fared well from last year's Sound of 2008 list were those that did something original - Glasvegas with their brooding take on vintage pop, Vampire Weekend with their clever mix of world influences, and MGMT with their euphoric space-rock.

    And then there was Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong. They were feted early on and had good songs, but detractors heard an unadventurous, formulaic, tried-and-tested brand of indie.

    The reality did not live up to the hype - the nickname Razorlite was a bit too apt - and their debut album failed to materialise.

    This year, there is no shortage of new guitar bands on the scene, if not on the Sound of 2009 list.

    The leading contenders are The Airborne Toxic Event, armed with majestic rock anthems-in-waiting, MC Rut - or Middle Class Rut - with pounding tales of suburban suffocation, and The Virgins, who have funky riffs and radio-friendly hooks. They all happen to be American.

    Among the major bands returning in 2009, U2, Franz Ferdinand and Green Day will prove that rock still has its place.

    Established bands who come up with the goods and newcomers with great tunes and a fresh outlook will never struggle.

    Guitar music is not dead. But we may be witnessing the death of the English indie scene that rose out of the embers of Britpop, and has now become tired and cliched.

    Source: BBC News - Entertainment

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 4 Jan 2009, 14:48

    Music streaming service Spotify wins early fans

    January 3, 2009

    Move over, Pandora. There's a new music service in town--well, in some towns anyway.

    TorrentFreak has an in-depth write-up of a new music streaming service called Spotify, which shows an awful lot of promise--so much so that the music piracy-focused blog sees it as a viable alternative to downloading pirated songs for free.

    Spotify is a lean, downloadable application that lets users stream music instantly from its library--a library built with the blessing of EMI Music, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and some smaller record labels. That, of course, begs the question: how does it make money? Spotify offers two ways to use its service, a free service sponsored by ads, and a paid subscription service.

    Once downloaded, the service allows users to search its music catalog by artist, genre, or title, and stream the tracks on-demand any number of times.

    One of the cooler features is the ability to create and share playlists (a la the now-defunct Muxtape). And the service recently added the ability to scrobble the songs you listen to through Spotify on

    That's the good news. Now for the bad news: It isn't officially available in the U.S. yet (though a Digg commenter did provide a way for people to try it out Stateside, at least temporarily). Right now it can be accessed in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. And the company plans to roll out its service to new markets in 2009, according to its Web site.

    Judging from comments on TorrentFreak, Digg, and TechCrunch, the service seems to have impressed people who have tried it with its speed, usability, and depth of songs (though it's taken dings for sound quality, frequency of commercials, and lack of portability). I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but as a music fan who got pretty fed up with the repetition of songs on Pandora's artist radio stations over the holiday break, I think this looks very promising.

    As for TorrentFreak's claims that Spotify is so good that it might stop piracy in its tracks, I'm skeptical. This is a streaming service, so the songs are only available to you when you're online and connected to it. It doesn't work with portable music devices, so you can't take the songs with you on the subway or to the gym (or, for me, drop it into the iPod dock hooked up to my stereo). And since the songs aren't downloaded to your hard drive, they're not in your grand collection along with the rest of your music. Spotify might have a decently sized library, but it doesn't have all the songs I've ripped from vinyl, or the latest album from a favorite local band that happens not to have signed with a label yet. Going back and forth between a local library and a centralized library like Spotify would be annoying.

    Having everything in one place and being able to take it with you wherever you go is the goal for any music fan. And until Spotify offers that ability, I don't see it magically wiping out music piracy altogether. But it does appear that this group is on the right track, from the perspective of music fans, bands, and music labels.

    Has anyone spent a good deal of time with the service yet? If so, what say you? Is Spotify the wave of the future, or another Web 2.0 dud in an already-cluttered arena?

    Disclosure: is a part of CBS Interactive, which also publishes CNET News.

    Source: CNet News

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 4 Jan 2009, 15:04

    Facebook sues social-network aggregator

    January 3, 2009

    Facebook is suing, a Brazilian start-up that lets users access a number of social networks through one portal.

    Facebook filed a lawsuit on December 30 in United States District Court in San Jose, Calif., for copyright and trademark infringement; unlawful competition; and violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, CAN-SPAM Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, among other charges. signs users into their various social networks and messaging clients and delivers the data from those sites and services to one page. For example, you can see all of your friends, their status updates, visit their profile pages, and even send a message to multiple friends on multiple social networks--all in one place. Last month, Webware editor Rafe Needleman described it as Meebo for social networks, and it's obviously a big convenience for people who have profiles and friends spread across Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Hi5, and the AOL, Yahoo, and MSN instant messaging clients.

    But Facebook would rather users go through them. It has requested that use Facebook Connect instead of asking users for their log-in information and has been in discussions with the start-up for a month, according to The New York Times. But the Times reports the two failed to come to any resolution, and so Facebook decided to file suit. Power removed access to Facebook after the claim was filed.

    It's true that does its thing without consent from the sites and services it taps into. But a month ago, when the company was making its first big push into the U.S., CEO Steve Vachani told the Times that was in fine legal standing because it only accesses other sites' content when a user voluntarily logs in. He likened's actions to the way social networks import contact lists from e-mail services or the way Meebo accesses users' instant message accounts.

    Facebook seems to be feeling the pressure from FriendFeed, Twitter, and other social sites du jour--doing its own compiling of third-party sites. In May, it added feeds from Google Reader, Hulu,, Pandora, StumbleUpon, and YouTube into its Mini Feed service, which had already included Delicious, Digg, Flickr, Picasa, and Yelp. And in August it launched Live Feed, a real-time stream of everything your Facebook friends are doing on the site, giving users a more centralized way to track their contacts' activity.

    A screenshot of before Facebook was removed from the site's offerings.
    (Credit: Rafe Needleman/CNET Networks)

    Source: CNet News

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 4 Jan 2009, 19:45

    Full Transcript of Last Week's Interview

    January 2, 2009

    Richard Jones talks details, remarks on the site's recent redesign, and hints at what 2009 will bring

    (This blog post is a full transcript of the half-hour interview whose summary was posted last week. While it is certainly long, Richard goes into great detail about some of the decisions and goings-on at one of the world's largest music portals.) has a pretty large database of information that listeners have input in there through our scrobblers. What’s it like acting as proprietors of such a large database of listener’s habits?

    Well, it’s great obviously, it’s what our service is built around and it’s a major asset. It’s great to have all that data that’s fairly unique as well – I can’t think of anyone who has that kind of database that uses it for the same things we do. It gives us a unique opportunity to do some quite funky things with the data.

    That’s one of the fun things about working at as well: there’s so much knowledge and so many things that you can extract from that database. Obviously, we’re doing our best in doing a bunch of stuff with it; 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. So yeah, it’s great.

    What were the inspirations behind and Audioscrobbler?

    There were originally two different projects, really. I was working at Audioscrobbler in 2002. Felix Miller and Martin Stiksel were working at completely in isolation but [we were] only a few miles apart from each other. The inspiration behind was that Felix and Martin were originally running an online record label where you could upload MP3s, but they had so much content that they didn’t know what to play people.

    [] used to have a radio station that was just random, and so they wanted to help people find the right music to listen to, and really grew out of that.

    At the same time, I was working on Audioscrobbler and my motivations were basically to be able to discover new music without having to do all the legwork of reading all the music magazines and keeping up to date with current affairs and so on, so I wanted to find a technical measure to discover new music – but I was also partly interested in the sort of personal statistics side of things.

    People would ask you, “Whats your favorite band?” It’s a hard to question to answer, first of all. Technically when people answer, what they say their favorite band is isn’t always what they listen to the most. It’s what they perceive to be their favorite based on what’s trendy or what some of those other influences facts are. It was quite interesting form me to see the difference between sort of perceived tastes and what you thought your favorite music was, compared to what you’re actually listening to the most. For most people, there is a discrepancy there that was interesting to find out.

    What kind of hardware powers the main site? What about the Audioscrobbler database?

    I checked how many servers we’ve got, and we have about 350 to 400 powering the whole service. Obviously, we do a lot of different things: we have the radio side of things, the number crunching, and the web service. The hardware that we use is fairly standard stuff: it’s all Intel and AMD machines, all rack-mounted hardware. We’ve have some blades as well. There’s not really any exotic hardware.

    I’m told your site is a big customer of Sun Microsystems?

    We actually have a mix right now. A few years ago we were buying from a local supplier here, and over the years it became more important to us to get really power efficient equipment, because at the data centers in London and the UK power is a real premium; it was hard to get enough power. So we started looking around for machines that were more tailored to low-powered stuff.

    So we have a mix of different suppliers but right now we’re buying quite a lot from Sun. 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, for example. So yeah, we’ve been getting some good stuff from them. Sun seems to make a good range of servers that are quite conscious on the power requirements, and are quite good about giving you the spec about how much power they’re going to draw.

    Out of curiosity, how much space does it take to store such a big database? I’d imagine that probably stretches into the hundreds of terabytes.

    We have the database itself, there’s the raw data, and then there’s all the mp3s as well, and then there’s all this additional data that we’ve computed over the top in kind of different layers. Yeah, it’s in the hundreds of terabytes, though I can’t give you an exact number.

    We actually do a lot of our storage and processing in Hadoop, which is a framework based on a paper that Google released on the same subject. So, that’s actually a distributed computing framework written in Java.

    How big of a challenge is it to normalize, or clean up, the data that Audioscrobbler receives from clients phoning home? I’ve noticed some pretty amazing corrections to metadata in my music collection over the years, just by paying attention to my “recently listened tracks”. A Japanese artist will, for example, show up in printed in Japanese characters as opposed to whatever I had entered [in my MP3 file’s tags].

    I’d say that’s one of our biggest challenges, trying to stay on top of massive cleanliness problems. For everything we fix, another 10,000 people scrobble the song with the wrong spelling, so it’s a never-ending battle, really.

    But earlier this year –actually right at the start of this year -- we released a fingerprinting system that really helps us. So in the scrobbler software now, as well as scrobbling the names you claim, it actually reports an audio fingerprint. That’s actually helped us behind the scenes to match up the songs with all the same but have a different spelling. We’ve made a lot of progress this year, and although not a lot of it is visible yet, we think that next year we’re going to roll out a lot of these changes and actually fix even more problems. 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. So 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. But we’ve made a lot of progress, and we’re working on that for next year as well, so we’ll continue to address it.

    As a user since 2005, whose play count is close to 20,000, I have always had equal parts apprehension and fascination with the “Recently listened tracks” feature. I’ve heard all kinds of stories about how that feature has been used or misused: bosses checking up on employees, ex-boy/girlfriends stalking former partners, and people checking to see if someone’s at their computer by checking if they played anything recently. I’ve noticed that you guys have played around with the timeliness of that data and when it’s available to the general public – but what’s’s official position on this feature? Has it been a controversial inclusion?

    That feature has been there since the very first version, and it’s always been one of the most popular features that people actually talk about – because people actually use it and put it on their blog and keep it updated. So I think that, for the most part, people really love it.

    We did introduce, earlier this year, an option to hide all the real-time data: if you don’t want anyone to know if you are online right now, you have the option to disable all your real-time data which includes recently-listened tracks.

    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 part of what we do, it’s quite a big part really: actually saying to the world, “this is what I am listening to right now,” and wouldn’t be the same without it. But like I said, we do have the option to hide that data if you want to keep that a secret.

    Personally, I like it – it’s a great feature to have.

    We have some interesting stories over the years, actually, where people have used it [to help track down a stolen laptop.] 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.

    Was that in the U.S. or in the UK?

    Yes, it’s happened in the U.S. actually – it’s happening around the world but people in the U.S. have contacted us a few times.

    We don’t make a point of logging the IP address [in our data collection], 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.

    Do you have any thoughts on the weaknesses of Audioscrobbler/’s methods for figuring out various artist statistics? For example, Nine Inch Nails is now my “top artist” by a wide (230+) plays margin, simply because “Ghosts I-IV”, with its 36 tracks, turns out to be great background music for writing. Play that a few times and all of the sudden Nine Inch Nails now has twice the weight compared to other artists who put out a more conventional CD. Has run into statistical anomalies with things like this?

    That’s a good question. We’ve had many people suggest different ways over the years; one of the common things that come up in our forums is that people say, “You know I’d really like to track my tastes based on the number of minutes I’ve listened instead of the number of songs I’ve played.”

    We’ve introduced a couple of different ways to deal with this kind of thing. One of the things we’ve done more recently is divide up your listening into different time periods now; in the past, you used to have just one chart which [contained] your overall top artists. But now we have weekly, monthly, three months, six months, twelve month [charts], so we don’t necessary look at what you listen to over all time.

    When it comes to recommendations and radio, it takes into account a whole bunch of different factors as well. We try to figure out when it’s appropriate to play something – we don’t just look at the number of plays. We look at a bunch of other things as well: tags, time of day, the context, and things like that. So we hope it doesn’t skew the system too much.

    One of the other reasons we track the play count like that is because when Audioscrobbler and were conceived, all the existing music recommendation services back then (which was early 2001, 2002) used to ask you to rate stuff with a 1-to-5 star system, or like, give it marks out of ten. That was actually a huge amount of effort to put in, and it didn’t seem to give very good results. You’d spend ages rating stuff and in the end it didn’t particularly reflect your tastes as well as it could have, so we think that just tracking the number of plays is the best balance to figure out your tastes.

    In the end, we want to recommend new music based on what you actually listen to, not just what you say you like, because that tends to give better results. recently introduced a new site design that seemed to have met with a bit of a mixed reaction among long-time users. A lot of people felt the old design worked pretty well. Why the redesign?

    Since we’ve started, we added a lot of features to We are very feature driven. We reacted to what our users said they wanted – they would ask for an events feature so we added an events feature, for example – and we gradually added more and more things to the site. We felt that the site design and the layout had, over time, suffered because we’d added a lot to it without stopping to think and reorganizing it. What we did this year was sort of took a step back, and looked at all the features and the things we’d added to the site, and then rethinked how we’d lay them out and make them more accessible.

    We did a lot of usability studies, and we did a lot of tests with some of our existing users. We have some usability labs in Las Vegas that we used for that as well. So what we did was we ended up with a new design that we thought people would find easier to get around and easier to understand. But obviously a lot of our users knew the old design really well; it’s always hard to adjust and it was a bit of a shock to the system initially for a lot of people. Looking back now, with the benefit of hindsight, I think we would have spent more time introducing it to people and getting a bit more feedback.

    It would have been nice to have a much longer beta period, and the beta would have addressed a few of the other concerns that came up before we launched.

    We learned quite a lot from that experience, but I think on the whole it was for the better.

    What does have planned for the future?

    Ooh, well, some more of the same. We’re expanding onto a lot of different devices now; that’s been a bit of theme recently. We’re on the iPhone, we’re looking very seriously at an Android app, we’re on the Sonos, we’re on the Logitech squeezebox, and we’re on more devices than we can keep track of. We’re trying to make sure that wherever you listen to music, is there, and you’ll be able to scrobble the songs that you listen to.

    One of the things we hear from users is that once they start using, and once they start scrobbbling their music tastes, they feel like it’s a waste if they actually listen to music on a system where they can’t scrobble it. We’re trying to make sure that is available everywhere.

    Of course we’re going to be putting a lot more effort into the website as well, looking at what features we can improve or add, and in general improvements as well. Also, recommendations are still very important to us, and we will be working on our recommendation system … we think that’s going to be a big thing in 2009, because obviously there’s going to be more choice. There’s more music being made all the time, so we need to stay on top of the game there.

    We think we’re in a really good position right now, we think we have the best music recommendation engine, but we also have to keep working hard to maintain that position.

    This is more of a personal request, but I have to admit that “paint it black” is one of my personal favorite features. The preference for this setting is not saved to my profile, though – it seems like I have to click that every time I log in. Any chance of having that permanently saved?

    [chuckle] It should be stored in a browser cookie, but I guess if you log out then it destroys the cookie. The “paint it black” thing is a popular feature; I guess I’ll pass that on to the web team and see what they have to say about it.

    I can’t promise anything about it now.

    Source: Daily Tech

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 5 Jan 2009, 01:08

    Music Industry: The 'Long Tail' Effect

    January 04, 2009

    As with previous three years, digital downloads are up but CD sales and total revenues are down. The new wrinkle is that sales of vinyl albums have hit a record — at least for the 18 years they have been tracked.

    The data reported by the various news articles use Soundscan data, which by definition is only US and Canada.

    Nielsen SoundScan is an information system that tracks sales of music and music video products throughout the United States and Canada. Sales data from point-of-sale cash registers is collected weekly from over 14,000 retail, mass merchant and non-traditional (on-line stores, venues, etc.) outlets. Weekly data is compiled and made available every Wednesday. Nielsen SoundScan is the sales source for the Billboard music charts.

    Facing this sort of bad news, the labels are doing what they can, but so far nothing is working:

    In an effort to cope with changing technology and the threat of Internet piracy, the recorded music industry has been exploring new sources of revenue. Royalties from satellite and Internet radio and so-called 360 deals with artists, in which the label shares in concert ticket and merchandise sales, contribute to the labels' bottom line. Video games such as "Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero" also generate licensing fees.

    Nielsen doesn't track those alternative revenue streams, which are not yet large enough to offset the decline in CD sales.

    Of course, the story would be even worse overseas, where the pirated vs. paid download fight may be already lost.

    On an evening when our PBS station is replaying a 2007 “British Invasion” reunion concert for the umpteenth time, another noticeable trend of the Soundscan data was the absence of “classic rock” artists among the leading digital songs and artists. This appears to draw a clear cultural (and technological) boundary between the album-oriented era of the boomers and the digital downloads favored by millennials.

    The best-selling US albums of all time are dominated by older acts. Of the top five albums, all are by bands (or artists) that began their recording careers in the 1960s or 1970s — as are 8 of the top 10 and 19 of the top 25. Given declining album sales, those are records unlikely to be broken.

    For 2008, the leading digital songs and artists were those from the past 15 years. (The one exception was Madonna, who was paired with a boy band star who started in 1995). Of course, these are leading in an era when more digital downloads are stolen (“shared”) than paid for.

    When today’s consumers are paying less money to artists than did their parents (or grandparents), obviously it’s less lucrative to be a rock superstar. Will this declining ability to monetize also mean a concomitant decline in their cultural impact? Or has the declining value of superstar-dom come from the fragmentation of the distribution channels — the end of top 40 radio and similar gatekeepers?

    Such a fragmentation of distribution has had a profoundly democratizing influence on books and the news media. There are signs that the “long tail” is having the same effect on the music industry.

    Source: Seeking Alpha

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 5 Jan 2009, 12:21

    Moris Tepper - Stingray In the Heart

    Essential listening from Captain Beefheart guitarist, Moris Tepper, who has also collaborated with Tom Waits, Frank Black, Robyn Hitchcock and PJ Harvey. Stingray In the Heart is his fifth solo album.

    Dirty, murky guitars, punk-blues, dirty glam rock. Squally and lovely.

    Fully streamable in and tagged up for my new 2009 radio.

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 5 Jan 2009, 12:37

    J. Tillman - Vacilando Territory Blues

    The new record from J. Tillman, Vacilando Territory Blues, is due for release 27 January and is already fully streamable in This is essential listening. If you were one of those who fell for the hype of the invisible music of the invisible man Bon Iver last year, forget that and move on. For beautiful, fragile, soul-felt music of delicacy and depth, J. Tillman is your man.

    He drums and provides backing vocals for Fleet Foxes but that is in addition to his prolific output. You know how special his songs are when they are handled by greats such as Damien Jurado. I can't recommend J. Tillman highly enough. Fully tagged up for my 2009 radio.

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 5 Jan 2009, 14:52

    Pascal Comelade - The No Dancing

    Amazon UK

    This Amazon reviewer pretty much sums it up:

    When you import this CD into iTunes, the genre comes up as "unclassifiable"- and I think that's a very good description of this CD. Quite simply it's barking mad. Discordant country-folk-indie instrumental music, sudden hints of cover versions of 70s rock tunes in a Ukelele Orchestra style, mixed in with more serious songwriting and guest appearances from people like PJ Harvey and Robert Wyatt.

    One moment it sounds like cultured world music, the next moment it sounds like it's taking the mickey out of world music. All very odd, but good fun and pretty enjoyable. Play it to confuse your friends.

    French-Catalan musician Pascal Comelade's album, The No Dancing, is a best-of compilation spanning two decades. Jaki Liebezeit of Can also guests. Just to give you an idea of the music, Pascal Comelade also uses toy pianos and plastic guitars.

    A few tracks from earlier albums are available in, but not this album as yet, although it is in Spotify. I have tagged them all up anyway, should they appear.

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 5 Jan 2009, 15:18

    Sunday Times - 10 hot new music acts for 2009

    January 4, 2009

    With blues-infused folk, some doo-wop soul and electro synth-pop aplenty, there’ll be something for everybody. Dan Cairns picks this year’s next big things

    VV Brown
    A 24-year-old from Northampton, Vanessa Brown has recovered from a brief and unhappy spell in America, under contract to a label that wanted to position her as a bootylicious R&B star; she is now set to light up 2009 with what she describes as music that is “dramatic, charismatic and, frequently, as mad as a box of frogs” - or, to put it more succinctly, “doo-wop-soul” (albeit at the more bonkers end of the spectrum). A Betty Boo for the Noughties, she has co-written hits or sung backing vocals for Madonna, Pussycat Dolls, Westlife and Sugababes. Now, with tracks as barking but brilliant as Crying Blood and Leave, she is nicely poised to enjoy a few hits of her own. Yes, she raids the retro-soul cupboard, but she adds to her swag bag a liberal dose of up-yours attitude (most of her songs were inspired by an unmourned ex), pop nous and berserk, full-frontal catharsis. And a voice to shatter glass.
    Leave will be released on Island on March 2;

    (Album: Travelling Like the Light - due 16 Mar 09)

    Florence and The Machine
    The winner of the 2009 Brits Critics’ Choice award (which last year went to Adele), Florence Welch, 20, may well emulate her predecessor’s success. Melding folk and blues with excursions to wilder musical shores, as previously visited by the likes of Siouxsie Sioux and Bat for Lashes, Welch’s songs - notably her debut single, Kiss With a Fist, and her current release, Dog Days Are Over - showcase a fiery, feral singing style, and lyrics that look both unblinkingly and allusively at love, revenge, death and domestic violence. As charismatic, in her own, utterly distinctive way, as VV Brown, Welch looks and sounds like a star. The revelation that the increasingly reviled Johnny Borrell has been helping with her songwriting may dent her chances momentarily (how nails must have been chewed and heads held in hands when that slipped out), but she is good enough to get over that, as should we.
    A new single will be released on Island in March;

    Karima Francis
    This 21-year-old from Blackpool first made waves at the In the City music conference in Manchester just over two years ago, and anyone who has witnessed her startlingly raw and intimate live shows will know why. Her debut album, The Author (released on March 9), captures her essence, mixing stripped-bare confessional acoustic songs with more strident and forceful tracks such as her forthcoming single, Again. She is already being compared with Joan Armatrading, Tracy Chapman and KT Tunstall. Francis has more than enough talent of her own - not to mention an extraordinary voice that can switch from a wail to a coo in the space of a single phrase - for us to quickly forget the comparisons and concentrate on this singer and her visceral songs. To watch her on stage and see this diminutive and shy retirer hold back her head and roar is to experience music at its most transformative.
    Again will be released on Kitchenware on March 2;

    If 2009 is going to be mainly about 1980s-style electro and synth-pop, Vincent Frank will be one of the artists in the vanguard. A male Robyn, the Croydon-raised musician, 22, has made a debut album with the producer Stuart Price (Madonna, The Killers) that positively bursts and billows with lethal hooks and washes of synths, and generally parties like it’s 1984. Coming over like a one-man Aha appreciation society, the former fashion student flirts dangerously with Mika-like hyperactivity and look-at-me irksomeness, but pulls back from the brink thanks to a bracing whiff of genuine, rather than artful, eccentricity and some amazing tunes. His next single, Better Off As 2, captures exactly why people are so excited about him: with a giant synth-bass exploding beneath him, Frank carries on as if he is in a completely different song, half Gary Barlow, half Shalamar. It shouldn’t work, but it does - emphatically so.
    Better Off As 2 will be released on Island on March 9;

    Lady Gaga
    Stefani Germanotta, a 22-year-old performance artist from New York, is about to hit Britain (her single, Just Dance, is released on January 12), and it’s likely to get messy. Her provocative techno-disco is brutally effective, with something of her Christian-namesake Gwen’s daffiness to it, and a track record of collaborations with Akon, Britney and Fergie bolster her claims that her own time has come. Her barely-there attire and single-entendre utterances won’t hurt her chances, but where her Ladyship really scores, on her debut album The Fame, is in showing an understanding both of the absolute paramountcy of hooks and of the fact that, for all that you may look like you’re playing at it, behind the costumes and make-up, you have to be deadly serious about what you’re doing. Some call her the new Madonna. In fact, in the sense of Madge’s steadily deteriorating artistic output, she’s the old Madonna: 1983-85, to be precise.
    The Fame will be released on Polydor on January 19;

    This unsigned teenager from south London has a mouth like a machine gun - and, in an age of tightly controlled, gimlet-eyed young celebrity wannabes, praise be for that. Prolix she may be, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t editing what emerges from that gabby gob, however much the ramshackle, ADHD-like trolley dash through the genres of techno, rap, metal and ska that soundtracks her words may suggest otherwise. Insouciant and lippy, Leanne Jackson’s lyrics - “Eurgh, ain’t you crude/ Don’t you know that I’m a prude/ You got me losing all my food/ Just because of you, you stinking perv” - are the type that strike terror in the play-it-safe, defending-their-patch old guard (and praise be for that, too). She thinks what she does is pop music, and, if you’ve the ears to listen closely, you’ll realise that, beneath the bombast and the short-attention-span versifying, that is exactly what she is doing.
    A new single will be released in March;

    Terry Lynn
    Terry Lynn Williams’s first album, Kingstonlogic 2.0, is one of the most exciting debuts I’ve heard in ages. A passionate, furious, playful, snarling polemic from the tough Waterhouse (“a place well known as a slaughterhouse”) neighbourhood of the Jamaican capital, it throws reggae, dub, techno, electro, rap and pop into the blender, wields its pen and thunderous ricochet rhythms against injustice, corruption, hypocrisy and violence, and introduces a genuinely innovative and thrillingly multifaceted new talent to music in 2009. There is a sharp sense of menace behind these songs, as if the gun with which Williams poses on the sleeve is constantly in danger of being used to settle matters - an appropriate undertone, given the culture in which she grew up, and which she excoriates on the album. Everything MIA should be, but isn’t (there’s not a hint of catwalk chic here), Terry Lynn is a real find.
    Kingstonlogic 2.0 will be released on Phree on March 2;

    Lisa Mitchell
    A runner-up on Australian Idol when she was just 15, the British-born, Oz-raised Mitchell, now 18, presents an intriguing prospect: her forthcoming single, Neopolitan Dreams, both bears flowers and bares its teeth, and demos for her debut album suggest her songwriting could go either way. She is currently at work in London with writers who have collaborated with Amy Winehouse and Adele, among others, as well as Ed Harcourt, whose influence can clearly be heard in the more noirishly romantic elements of her music. The single is at once fey and slightly fierce (commenting on her heartache, Mitchell sings: “It sure takes its precious time/ But it’s got rights, and so have I”), while Love Letter conjures up a carousel revolving slowly and pointlessly in an abandoned ghost-town fairground. So, she’s going to turn out kooky and cute or weird and alternative. With luck, it will be a bit of both.
    Neopolitan Dreams will be released on Sony BMG in March;

    Passion Pit
    In the absence of a second album from the Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) electro side project The Postal Service, here is a new Boston five-piece with a debut EP, Chunk of Change, that glories in many of the same cadences, synth-driven chord sequences, melodic hooks and propulsive drum-machine beats that made Give Up so indispensable. The brainchild of Michael Angelakos, Passion Pit are all unhinged falsetto vocals, shiny candy-coating and, beneath the punching-the-air euphoria, lurking misery. When, on Cuddle Fuddle, Angelakos screams over the tinny, nursery-rhyme-like piano: “Let down your hair /Let down your hair/Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!”, you realise you’re in the presence of a properly odd, and possibly slightly deranged, madcap musical genius. In other circumstances, you might run a mile, but Angelakos’s songs are so addictive and sugar-rich that you stick around. Any fan of The Postal Service, Cut Copy, Hot Chip or LCD Soundsystem will love this. Chunk of Change will be released on Columbia in February;

    Anita Blay, a 23-year-old musician based in east London, is a real electro-pop star, described last year as the UK’s “answer to Kelis” and a hit with audiences at Camden Crawl and Latitude, among other festivals. Her slightly larger-than-life image and wardrobe make it easy to miss the pop-savvy skill with which she fastens onto the listener’s ears and memory banks, then pummels away till resistance is futile. Currently holed up in the studio, putting the finishing touches to her debut album, Blay is offering a hint of what’s to come with her new single, I’m Not Sorry, and the minimal, wonderfully weird and definitely Kelis- and Neneh Cherry-recalling Boys and Girls. “As long as there are boys,” she sings on the latter, a song with the sharpest whip-crack beats since the heyday of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, “there will always be girls/And as long as there are girls, there will always be trouble.” To which the best response is probably: “Well, you’d know.”
    I’m Not Sorry will be released on Moshi Moshi on March 2;

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 5 Jan 2009, 18:09

    Various Artists - After Dark

    After Dark

    Last year, with the arrival of Hercules and Love Affair, they called that style of 70s/80s/90s/dark electronic dance music . Now they're calling it .

    This great little compilation album pulls a few of the best tracks together. It has been badly uploaded in It should be Various Artists, not Chromatics. See the album page in Amazon UK.

    Featured artists: Glass Candy, Chromatics, Indeep, Mirage, Professor Genius and FARAH.

    Fully streamable and lovingly tagged up for my 2009 radio!

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 5 Jan 2009, 19:01

    Exposure: Alessi's Ark


    Alessi is a magical creature that lives in West London. I think of her as this unique eighteen-year-old girl who is very excited, very alert, and very open to the world of imagination. The imagination is often associated with those strange dimensions created in childhood. For a young child, fantasy and reality seem to co-exist without contradiction, and shed light on each other. As we grew up we seem to leave this world behind, only to revisit it occasionally in song. Alessi’s songs like “Constellations” and “The Horse” open up the door again to this beautiful world. Her songs are a new take on psychedelic folk music, very british, and a little like Syd Barett, who was very child-like in his own way.

    Alessi's Ark - The Horse EP, released 8 Dec 08 is available in and tagged for the 09 radio.

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 7 Jan 2009, 18:35

    The Stooges: Why they mattered

    Wednesday, 7 January

    The Stooges: Ron Asheton, Iggy Pop and Scott Asheton

    The abiding image of garage-punk rockers The Stooges may be that of Iggy Pop's sinewy body curling out of his low-slung jeans, or the crowd chaos which inevitably accompanied them.

    But it was guitarist and bassist Ron Asheton - discovered dead at his home in Ann Arbor, America on 6 January - who defined their sound.

    His sad departure looks to spell the end for what is a truly legendary band.

    The 60-year-old was - without any hint of overstatement - one of the founding fathers of punk rock guitar playing - his raw style going on to inspire so many artists since.

    The way he handled his instrument was individual and pioneering.

    A mix of scrawling feedback, rugged speed and hapless fingerwork that characterises the Detroit band's scratchy garage rock 'n' roll sound.

    Asheton's wonderful overuse of wah wah and fuzz-tone was enthrallingly impolite, recognisably minimal and gleefully unrehearsed.

    And in 1968 - with the Bee Gees and The Beach Boys enjoying notoriety it sounded like little before.

    It prompted headaches, but also some of the biggest bands of all time.

    Sonic Youth, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones and Rage Against the Machine [listen to T.V. Eye] and The Cribs to name just a handful, borrowing The Stooges' sound.

    Founding member

    Ron Asheton was one of one of four founding members of the Michigan foursome alongside drummer [and brother] Scott, bassist Dave Alexander and, of course, Iggy Pop.

    For those not familiar, they arrived like a rudderless punk rock speedboat in 1967, a thrashy jigsaw of MC5 and The Rolling Stones, their chaotic live reputation proceeding them.

    Three albums followed: debut The Stooges [1969], Raw Power [1973 - on which James Williamson played guitar, Asheton bass] and 1970's seminal clatter classic Fun House.

    The band combusted in the early seventies - The Stooges it seemed had strummed their last de-tuned note.

    Asheton himself remained prolific with a number projects including The New Order and Destroy Monsters.

    After that extended hiatus they patched their differences and returned in 2003 after a gap of 34 years and released The Weirdness.

    Their final recorded output wasn't their best but that wasn't the point - their live shows remained as exhilarating as ever.

    An appearance at Glastonbury in 2007 where a field of people stormed the stage one of the most eventful in recent memory.

    The memories that will linger, and continue to inspire, will be of The Stooges' carnage.

    A statement from the remainder of the band described Asheton as "a kind-hearted, genuine, warm person" and "The Guitar God, idol to follow and inspire others."

    His legacy will undoubtedly prolong.

    Source: BBC News

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 7 Jan 2009, 18:37

    Apple to end music restrictions

    Wednesday, 7 January

    Apple Inc has agreed to start selling digital songs from its iTunes store without copy protection software.

    At present, most music downloaded from Apple's iTunes store can only be played through an iTunes interface or iPod.

    The agreement with Sony BMG, Universal, and Warner Music will end digital rights management (DRM) software currently attached to iTunes music.

    The changes were announced at the end of the keynote address, at the Macworld conference in San Francisco.

    Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, Phil Schiller delivered the speech, traditionally given by Steve Jobs.

    "Over the last six years songs have been $0.99 [79p]. Music companies want more flexibility. Starting today, 8 million songs will be DRM free and by the end of this quarter, all 10 million songs will be DRM free," he told the crowd.

    Apple has also revised its pricing structure, offering a two-tier system with songs available for $0.69 and $1.29. Prices will vary slightly in the UK.

    At present, the firm has a one-price-fits-all strategy - currently 79p per track - with no subscription fee.

    The new model will have a varied pricing structure, with what the company calls "better quality iTunes Plus" costing more.

    It remains to be seen whether music already purchased from iTunes would have its DRM stripped off.

    The move could potentially spell the end for DRM limited music, which was never popular with users or the record industry.

    Mark Mulligan, a director with market analysts Jupiter Research, said the end of DRM - in its current form - was inevitable.

    "The only reason it has taken so long is that the record industry has been trying to level the playing field, by giving away DRM free to everyone else, but even that hasn't dented Apple's share," said Mr Mulligan.

    "Ultimately, what we're going to end up with is a new form of DRM. The more you pay, the less DRM you get bolted onto your music. Premium music will be DRM free, the cheaper it gets, the more shackles are attached," he added.

    In 2007 Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs, published an open letter called 'Thoughts on Music' in which he called on the three big record companies to ditch DRM.

    Source: BBC News

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 7 Jan 2009, 18:42

    Downloads boost 2008 single sales

    Wednesday, 7 January

    UK singles sales grew by 33% in 2008 thanks to a growth in download sales, the BPI has said.

    Figures from the body, which represents record labels, showed more than 115 million singles were sold across digital and physical formats.

    Releases from groups like The Killers, Girls Aloud and Take That also helped the album market finish the year with stronger than expected sales.

    However UK albums sales generally fell by 3.2% in 2008.

    The digital albums market grew during strongly over the year with 10 million sold - a 65% increase compared to 2007.

    The format now holds 7.7% of the albums market as a whole.

    'Remarkable result'

    But Mark Sutherland, global editor of Billboard magazine, told the BBC News website that overall decline in album sales was not wholly bad news.

    "In the context of the world, declining just 3.2% is a pretty remarkable result - in the US, album sales for the whole year are down 14%," he said.

    "We had been looking at a 7-8% decline but were not expecting a significant improvement.

    "And with sales over the Christmas shopping period actually up year-on-year, it is fairly unprecedented."

    Sutherland said that taking into account the problems UK retail environment suffered recently, it was "little short of a miracle" for sales to be up year-on-year.

    "But it was a much stronger release schedule than it was last year which helped," he added.

    The BPI said that strong demand for new releases meant that although the physical supply chain had suffered due to retailers such as Woolworths and Zavvi being hit, sales had migrated to supermarkets, digital retailers and online stores.

    'Tough time'

    "Every business and consumer in the UK is having a tough time, and these difficult trading conditions make the resilience of the UK's music market all the more notable," BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said.

    The BPI's figures are based on sales in terms of volume of units sold.

    But as singles and albums now cost less to buy than they used to Mark Sutherland said it would be interesting to see value figures when they are released.

    "Figures are down in unit terms for albums so will be down for value too," he said.

    A BPI spokeswoman told the BBC News website that sales in monetary terms would not be known until later in 2009.

    Meanwhile, the UK's Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) said its members sold more DVDs, games and music combined than ever before, up 4% on 2007 to a total of 485.8 million units.

    The fastest-growing sector was computer games which showed a 17% rise in unit sales to 82.8 million, led by the popularity of the Nintendo Wii.

    While DVD sales grew 1.9% to 252.9 million units and high-definition Blu-ray formats, jumped 358% to 3.7 million.

    Source: BBC News

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 7 Jan 2009, 18:50

    RI judge hears arguments in music downloading case

    5 hours ago

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island couple whose son is accused of illegally sharing songs online should not be forced to surrender their home computer for inspection because it would violate their right to privacy, their lawyer argued at a federal court hearing Tuesday.

    Joel Tenenbaum, a 25-year-old Boston University graduate student, is accused by the Recording Industry Association of America of downloading at least seven songs and making 816 music files available for distribution on the Kazaa file-sharing network through 2004.

    The recording industry's lawsuit against him is part of an aggressive campaign targeting people who share music online. The industry says it has lost more than $3 billion because of peer-to-peer networks that enable Internet users to share large numbers of songs online.

    Record company lawyers believe Tenenbaum downloaded the songs on his parents' computer in Providence and urged a federal magistrate on Tuesday for permission to copy the machine's hard drive for proof of copyright infringement.

    "The information on the computer is directly relevant and material to the underlying claims in this case," said attorney Daniel Cloherty.

    But Charles Nesson, a Harvard Law School professor representing Arthur and Judie Tenenbaum and their son, said the computer contains information protected by attorney-client privilege and holds other sensitive and personal material that has nothing to do with the case.

    "You can hardly imagine anything more intrusive than asking anyone to disgorge a computer," said Nesson, who is also challenging in U.S. District Court in Boston the constitutionality of a federal copyright law that the music industry has used to target song-swappers.

    Nesson also argued that the computer was not the one on which the alleged downloading took place. Judie Tenenbaum has said in an affidavit that the couple bought the computer after their son had left home, and that he had used it only occasionally to check his e-mail during visits.

    U.S. Magistrate Judge Lincoln Almond did not immediately rule on the RIAA's request.

    Joel Tenenbaum had offered to settle the case for $500 after the industry confronted him in September 2005 with allegations of illegal file-sharing. But music companies rejected that, ultimately demanding $12,000. They sued in 2007.

    Tenenbaum could be forced to pay more than $1 million in damages if it is determined that his alleged actions were willful.

    Judie Tenenbaum, who is a lawyer, said outside court Tuesday that the lawsuit has been a "horrible" and time-consuming experience.

    Many of the people who have been sued by the RIAA for illegal file-sharing have settled out of court to avoid the costs of going to trial.

    RIAA spokeswoman Cara Duckworth said the industry group had wanted to settle the case quickly but blamed Nesson, who brought some of his students to court Tuesday, for dragging it out.

    "During the past several years, thousands of regular working class folks in the music community have lost their jobs precisely because of the illegal activity involved in this case," she said in a written statement. "While this might be an interesting academic exercise for the professor and his class, there's been real world consequences for those who create music."

    Source: The Associated Press

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 7 Jan 2009, 18:53

    Christmas music sales boost

    January 6 2009

    The UK music industry has defied the economic gloom and doom and sold more albums in the fourth quarter than a year earlier. A series of strong releases from artists such as Girls Aloud, The Killers and Take That helped to sell 49.8m albums in the run-up to Christmas, according to the British Phonographic Industry, the industry’s trade association. This compared with 49.4m last year. The UK albums market, which was forecast to experience a double-digit decline in 2008, saw a year-on-year decline of 3.2 per cent while the sales of digital albums increased 65 per cent. Digital now accounts for almost 8 per cent of the entire albums market.

    Source: Financial Times

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 7 Jan 2009, 20:41

    Hype Machine: Music Blog Zeitgeist 2008

    7 January

    Music Blog Zeitgeist 2008 is LIVE:

    We won't let you miss out on any good music, so here's what we made:

    # 50 Best Albums of 2008:
    We gathered and analyzed bloggers' year-end lists to find the best records of 2008!
    Listen to entire albums in the list with 10 added each day:

    # Zeitgeist 2008 Radio show:
    We teamed up with Blog Fresh Radio to create a 5-episode radio show with
    prominent blogger interviews and the best music of 2008!

    Listen & download the show here:

    # 50 Best Artists of 2008:

    # 50 Best Tracks of 2008:

    # HOT MUSIC: Hottest 3 artists right now
    1. Mgmt:
    2. Death Cab for Cutie:
    3. Animal Collective:

    # HOT BLOGS: Hottest 3 music blogs right now
    1. Deckhead:
    2. First up!:
    3. The Passion of the Weiss:

    More: (as usual!)

    Thanks for reading!

    <3 The Hype Machine Team

    Source: Hype Machine e-letter

Anonymous users may not post messages. Please log in or create an account to post in the forums.