New New Musical Express - January 2009

 
    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 8 Jan 2009, 17:31

    Having a very connected Christmas



    Very enjoyable little blog.

    Wednesday, 7 January

    Bill Thompson has been enjoying the social side of the holidays

    We had a traditional Christmas this year, though since the kids are now sixteen and seventeen, their sleep patterns were not disturbed by an anxious wait to see what Santa would provide in return for their good behaviour during the year.

    After a lazy morning, a protracted lunch, and a game of Scrabble, we settled down to watch Doctor Who and the latest Wallace and Gromit, assembled on the sofa in a perfect twenty-first century family scene.

    However, in a slight break with tradition, our shining faces were illuminated not just by the glare of the television but also by two laptops and my iPod Touch as we used Microsoft Messenger, Facebook, and Twitter to keep in contact with our friends around the world.

    Low profile

    In the quiet bits of the programmes, and between them, we were letting friends and family know what was going on, chatting to those we like to share our experiences with, and staying connected to the wider social networks that are such an important part of all our lives, without losing the intimacy of a quiet Christmas Day at home.

    We had it easy, of course, since we're a wired household and the technology is not seen as intrusive or unwelcome.

    That is still relatively unusual as one of my online friends, Christian Payne, found out. In a comment on Twitter he summed up the difficulty of spending Christmas Eve in a non-wired household:

    "It's hard hanging round the non-geek. I have to keep a low profile as laptops are associated with work and not necessarily communication."

    He's absolutely right, but I think that he will find life less difficult next year, because the big change we are going to see through 2009 will be the breakdown of the association between the network and work even for those who would never describe themselves as geeks.

    Staying online

    We can see the pattern shifting already. Over the holiday the number of work-related emails I've received has dropped to a trickle, and my spam filters are good enough that I rarely see any of the invitations to invest in dodgy companies, buy herbal versions of drugs that will enhance my sexual prowess or cash in on fake lotteries.

    But I've been receiving a constant stream of Friendfeed updates, Dopplr notices, BrightKite checkins, Last.fm recommendations, and Facebook notifications, since the many and various social network sites I am a member of have remained just as active in the holiday season.

    My friends, relations, and contacts are all online and they are using the social network services as heavily as ever, even though most of them aren't in their offices or working on projects.

    Some, especially freelances like me who have to work or we don't get to eat, are still in the midst of it all, writing when most people are enjoying the extended Christmas break.

    But those who can get away from their jobs are not using the time to get away from the network, because the network has become embedded in the pattern of their lives in the way that the mobile phone managed five years ago.

    For a growing number of people, and I include myself and my children, being offline over the holiday would be as strange as cutting off the telephone and not calling relatives on Christmas morning. Laptops and mobiles are not a burden, but a tool that gives us contact, and we would not give this up.

    Managing friendships

    The problem, of course, is how to balance work and life, how to ensure that the screen that gives direct contact with friends, offers invitations to parties and gigs and an insight into the lives of those we like and care for, is not also a way for employers and editors to monitor and control us. We need to ensure that the means of online communication serve and do not oppress.

    I'm more optimistic about this than some. Twenty-five years ago the IBM Personal Computer managed to undermine the corporate mainframe because it was affordable by middle managers in large companies, who could buy one to do their accounts and learned that it was also capable of much more.

    Something similar is happening today with home internet connections, laptops and of course mobile phones. The technologies that companies insist on foisting on their employees to keep them tethered to the office can also keep them connected to their personal networks, using tools and services that are far more effective and compelling than email ever was.

    Network congestion

    And the end result might be to undermine the work ethos that sees the office Blackberry as a way for management to keep staff connected to the office, and see it instead as a tool for maintaining an extended online friendship network that can also be used to manage work tasks.

    This is possible because the space occupied by computers and the network has changed radically in the last year, and the way that network tools like Twitter and Facebook have become part of the general reporting of news events, celebrity gossip, and even political developments reflects the broader trend.

    These online services have superseded instant messaging for many of the more technologically astute, partly because they offer a sense of participation in a public space, validating our social connections by making them semi-public in the same way as going on a date with a desirable partner can enhance one's self-esteem.

    So when we spend our holidays online, it is not because my children have become sad geeks, mirroring their father's dependence on technology, but because our friendship networks now have such a significant online component that to ignore it and go offline over the break would be an unfriendly thing to do.

    And while I didn't bother fighting the network congestion to send text messages at midnight on New Year's Eve this year, I used Twitter and Facebook to stay connected.


    Bill Thompson is an independent journalist and regular commentator on the BBC World Service programme Digital Planet.


    Source: BBC News / Technology

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 9 Jan 2009, 00:52

    Behind the music: Is the long tail a myth?

    Thursday 8 January

    There are tens of millions of tracks available to buy online – so why do we all choose the same few?

    The new edition of Chris Anderson's well-publicised book The Long Tail has the subtitle Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. The theory for online music was that a lot more artists would make money out of their music – just not as much money as the few made before. Late last year, however, a comprehensive study was published that showed that Anderson's long tail theory didn't hold up when put to the test.

    The study discovered that, of the tens of millions of tracks available for sale on the web, 80% sold no copies at all – and that 80% of the money spent on the 20% that did sell went on just 52,000 songs. As Andrew Orlowski pointed out in his excellent Register article on the subject, the typical inventory of a conventional high-street record store is around 4,000 CDs, or 52,000 songs.

    Judging by Last.fm's end-of-year top 100, there doesn't seem to be much of a long tail there either: the list reads Coldplay, Radiohead, MGMT, Coldplay, Coldplay, Radiohead. And this is a site where the customers don't have to pay for their music.

    So how did Anderson get it so wrong?

    Some argue that there is something of a long tail when it comes to catalogue sales, even though they may not make a huge dent in the overall figures. John Cooper of Acrobat Music, a company that specialises in "deep catalogue", says sales have been increasing steadily. Catalogue music, however, is dominated by artists who already have a following and have (or have had) a traditional record label behind them. What about new artists?

    Numerous blogs and blog comments have hailed the internet as the slayer of domineering record labels. Now the "hated" A&R men and women (hated by a lot of unsigned bands, at least) would become obsolete because music fans and artists could bypass traditional ways of connecting with each other. But if the music industry is so screwed, why do young artists keep signing to labels, and major labels at that? Why aren't they all using sites such as Jamendo or self-releasing? Why, when the audience has the choice of tens of millions of tracks, do they still gravitate so heavily towards musicians signed to – mostly major – labels?

    Because of the huge amount of music offered on the internet, more than ever both consumer and artist need a filtering process. One thing record labels do is act as a filter, but they also seem able to find ways through some of the other most decisive filters for music, which are:

    Radio: BBC's Radio 1 and 2 are still incredibly powerful when it comes to bringing new acts to the audience. George Ergatoudis may argue that Radio 1 plays loads of independent artists, but most of those plays are not during peak-time listening hours.

    Synchs: Getting a song featured on a prime-time TV show (in particular an American one) is extremely difficult, although TV music supervisors seem slightly more open to independent artists than radio is. One play can mean a hundred thousand downloads for the artist.

    Music sites and subscription deals: Sites like MySpace Music and the Nokia Comes With Music venture are not as powerful in filtering as the previous two. But have a look at the front pages of their sites and count how many of the acts, if any, are independent.

    And, finally, music critics and "taste-makers", who often fall into the previous categories. Music fans tend to rely on the opinion of filters they trust.

    As I was looking at the BBC Sound of 2009 list – 15 "up-and-coming" acts that came top of a poll of more than 130 critics – it was pointed out to me that, according to the artists' MySpace pages, two were unsigned (but may be signed by now), three were signed to indie labels and 10 were signed to majors – and of those 10, seven were signed to Universal.

    Maybe the reason why the internet hasn't brought about a long-tail era for music is simpler than all the above. The internet gives the customer an infinite choice of tracks, but perhaps the pool of genuine talent is as limited as it's always been.


    Source: The Guardian

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 9 Jan 2009, 19:06

    Lady GaGa - The Fame

    Last.fm

    There's no worldwide recession. It's not below zero. Crunch? Isn't that a breakfast cereal?

    Lady Gaga's debut album, The Fame, is confident and strong. More detail earlier in this thread about her background. For this little piece, I just want to say summer came early and there's nothing wrong in the world. It helps that along with a good voice she is an absolute nutter. Entertainment factor 10/10. I will enjoy following her career.

    In the meantime, can someone tell me what Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say) reminds me of? Something from a decade or two ago. I used to love it. A summer song, I think. Name that tune, please, it's bugging me!

    Tagged lovingly for my 2009 radio.

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 9 Jan 2009, 19:25

    Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

    Amazon UK

    Now we've transported ourselves into summer 2009, let's stay there. Ahhh. Warm sunshine. People being nice to each other. Fat purses and bags of treats.

    The year before last, I was addicted to Panda Bear - Person Pitch. Then last year, I couldn't stop playing Fleet Foxes's eponymous release. In a natural progression to these releases is this one from Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion. It's pop, but not.

    What Animal Collective have done with this album is push and pull and play with popular music conventions. Kind of. Except most of the songs are longer than three minutes. There's verse - chorus - verse. Sort of. The songs are upbeat and dance-y. In a way. Although I'm a good dancer and I'm struggling to find the right shapes to throw.

    What is it then? It's avant-garde experimentalism pulled together in such a way as to appeal to mass mainstream audiences. It excludes nobody and welcomes all. There is no supercilious elitism. It happily reminds us of our love for The Arcade Fire a couple of years ago, as well as for me, Dead Can Dance, whilst at the same introducing us to a weird world of sonic reinvention. Some listeners will know why they like it and will enjoy picking out references, and others will just like it and not know (or care) why.

    And in the meantime, we'll all be dreaming of sunny blue skies and pretending there's no such thing as real life. A gem and a medical necessity. This album ought to be on prescription.

    Can't wait to tag it up for my 2009 radio. Due for UK release 12 January.

    Essential reading from our very own Jambo234 at Amazon.

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 10 Jan 2009, 17:37

    Journal: New Music February 2009, by Nialloleary

    Journal: New Music February 09, by Nialloleary.

    Extract:

    Animal Collective new album entitled “Merriweather Post Pavilion"
    (Rated at 4/5) Q RECOMMENDS
    Described as “Baltimore’s avant-garde musical adventurers cook up a beguiling, soulful psychedelic delight that’s as good for the feet as it is for the mind”.
    Recommended track to download…..”Summertime Clothes”
    http://www.myspace.com/animalcollectivetheband

    Antony and the Johnsons new album entitled “The Crying Light”
    (Rated at 4/5) Q RECOMMENDS
    Described as “The golden-voiced Mercury Prize winner returns with a new, arthouse-friendly c0-conspirator and a ghostly, theatrical follow-up to I Am A Bird Now”
    Recommended tracks to download…..”Her Eyes Are Underneath The Ground”
    http://www.myspace.com/antonyandthejohnsons

    Neil Landstrumm new album entitled “Lord for £39"
    (Rated at 4/5) Q RECOMMENDS
    Described as “A sequel to 2007’s Justly lauded “Restaurant Of Assassins, Lord For £39 finds this Scottish techno DJ Landstrumm performing dazzling feats of electronic trickery.. “
    Recommended track to download…..”Shit Daddy Bass.”
    http://www.myspace.com/neillandstrumm



    (see journal for more)

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 10 Jan 2009, 21:22

    Ayria - Hearts For Bullets

    Last.fm

    From Last.fm:

    Ayria’s 3rd album “Hearts for Bullets” will be officially released on September 12th, 2008. This new release brings 12 hard hitting, tightly written and well produced tracks which still each manage to present a new style and side to the evolving Ayria sound. “Hearts For Bullets” with music, programming and lyrics done by Toronto’s Jennifer Parkin and was produced also in Canada by none other than Sebastian R. komor (Icon of Coil, Zombie Girl, Bruderschaft, etc.) who has added a lot of depth to this release and a polished sound. Ayria hits straight and hard with her sonic approach hanging between minimal electro and forceful while never straying from the extremely feminine image of the project. Extravagant, provocative, bitchy and edgy, She finds her target somewhere between Nitzer Ebb, M.I.A., Miss Kittin and Ladytron.

    Tagged and added to 'my gang 09' radio.

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 13 Jan 2009, 01:00

    Sunday Times review of Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion



    5/5 stars

    There is cheap music, potent and conducive to an easy sentimentality (and, often, none the worse for that), and there is music that produces in the listener a more complex and gradual reaction, which combines bafflement, the playing of a shy smile on the lips, a rush of heat to the face, a sensation of being once more a child, unsure quite how to respond to or process the experience. Merriweather Post Pavilion, named after an open-air concert venue in Maryland, is a glorious example of the latter. The ninth studio album from Panda Bear, Avey Tare and co, it leaps giddily from genre to genre, enlisting The Beach Boys harmonies, techno, psychedelia, shoegaze, prog, pop and house to its cause, deploying repetition and propulsion to batter or soothe you into submission. Synths arpeggiate; percussion hurtles; voices dovetail and, in some cases, achieve a resonance that harks back to plainchant and the British choral tradition; lyrical refrains take on the form of mantras. Tracks such as My Girls, Also Frightened and Brother Sport are both instant classics and songs that promise to reveal much, much more of themselves over time. Bluish has a melody of such beauty, it is at once euphoric and utterly devastating.


    Source: The Sunday Times

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 13 Jan 2009, 01:26

    Heroes Revealed - Next War Child Album Confirmed



    1/12/2009

    The details of the forthcoming War Child album called Heroes have finally been revealed following delays to allow major artists to get involved with the project. Like previous War Child album such as Help: A Day in the Life and Help, the organisers have managed to get some top notch acts covering some legendry tracks.

    American's Beck and Scissor Sisters cover Bob Dylan's Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat and Roxy Music's Do the Strand respectively Lily Allen joins forces with Mick Jones for a rendition of The Clash's Straight to Hell and Duffy has recorded Paul McCartney's Live and Let Die. Mercury Music Prize winners Elbow have covered U2's classic Joshua Tree track Running to Stand Still and the critics darlings TV on the Radio have done David Bowie's Heroes.

    The album is set for release on February 16 with the following track list:

    BeckLeopard Skin Pill-box Hat (Bob Dylan)
    Scissor Sisters - Do The Strand (Roxy Music)
    Lily Allen ft Mick Jones - Straight to Hell (The Clash)
    Duffy - Live And Let Die (Paul McCartney)
    Elbow - Running to Stand Still (U2)
    TV on the RadioHeroes (David Bowie)
    Hot ChipTransmission (Joy Division)
    The KooksVictoria (The Kinks)
    Estelle - Superstition (Stevie Wonder)
    Rufus Wainwright - Wonderful/Song For Children (Brian Wilson)
    Peaches - Search And Destroy (Iggy Pop)
    The Hold Steady - Atlantic City (Bruce Springsteen)
    The Like - You Belong To Me (Elvis Costello)
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Sheena Is a Punk Rocker (The Ramones)
    Franz Ferdinand - Call Me (Blondie)


    Source: Album Vote

    Related: Sky News

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 15 Jan 2009, 17:19

    Neko Case - People Got A Lot Of Nerve

    Free mp3 download of the new track from Neko Case - People Got A Lot Of Nerve at Stereogum.

    New album, Middle Cyclone, due for release 3 March.


    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 15 Jan 2009, 17:36

    Video: Beirut - La Llorona

    A while ago we mentioned that Zach Condon headed to Oaxaca, Mexico -- the weaver village of Teotitlan del Valle to be exact -- and hooked up with the 19-piece Jimenez Band band, who helped him get the sounds he needed for his March of the Zapotec EP. Condon plans to release some short films documenting the experience, but in the Owen Cook-animated video for standout La Llorona he stayed home and wrote a narrative about a little dog, a mourner, the band, a Mexican graveyard, and a puddle of tears (or, well, rain). It helps to know that "La Llorona"'s "the weeping woman" in Spanish and relates to a legend about a woman who killed her children then herself after she was rejected by a man. She spends her time as a weeping ghost, wandering in search of the kids.

    Remember, March of the Zapotec will be packaged together with another EP, Holland, which includes five solo Condon home recordings under his "Realpeople" moniker.

    March Of The Zapotec/Holland is out 2/17 via Condon's Pompeii Records/Ba Da Bing. Both will be available on vinyl via Obey Your Brain.


    Source: Stereogum (I corrected their typos)

    Click pic to see video:





    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 15 Jan 2009, 17:59

    Triple-Digit Growth for Last.fm

    January 14, 2009

    According to Nielsen's numbers for 2008, Last.fm experienced strong growth in four key areas over the previous year. Unique visitors increased 204%, site visits 147%, page views 219% and total minutes spent on the site 141%.

    Last.fm credits the traffic growth to the music it has available on a free, on-demand, ad-supported basis and its acquisition by CBS for its success.

    "These results re-affirm that we're one of the fastest-growing online music services in the US," stated Last.fm co-founder Martin Stiksel. "Being part of the CBS family has given us a solid foundation from which to build on this success."

    "Numerous improvements to the site over the past year contributed to the impressive growth, along with new offerings," continues the announcement, "the most notable being Last.fm's free on-demand service."

    Last.fm is quite popular, especially in Britain, where the site apparently enjoys the licensing of more music than in the US where many on-demand songs are restricted to 30-second samples. And last summer, Warner Music Group pulled its catalog from the site, as it more recently did from YouTube.

    But the licensing requirements for online radio aren't as severe, which lets Last.fm offer free, user-customized artist-based stations via the web and its iPhone app, pictured here (iTunes link). And clearly traffic numbers like these don't lie. Last.fm does have some full songs for free on an on-demand basis in the US, and without registration (unlike some of the competition), which almost certainly contributed to the gains.

    We're checking with Last.fm to see if they have any numbers on how much music people have been listening to on the site, and hope to post an update soon.


    Source: Wired

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 15 Jan 2009, 18:11

    The 51st Annual GRAMMY® Awards - Live on CBS Sunday, Feb. 8

    January 14, 2009

    SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Current GRAMMY® Award nominees Kenny Chesney, Coldplay, Jonas Brothers, Lil Wayne, and Katy Perry are the first performers announced for the 51st Annual GRAMMY® Awards telecast. The music industry's premier event will take place live on Sunday, Feb. 8, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast in HDTV and 5.1 Surround Sound on the CBS Television Network from 8 – 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The show also will be supported on radio via Westwood One worldwide, and covered online at GRAMMY.com and CBS.com, on Twitter at "theGRAMMYs," on Facebook at "The Recording Academy," on YouTube at "51stGRAMMYs," and on Last.fm at "the51stgrammys." Additional performers, presenters and special segments will be announced soon.

    Lil Wayne leads with eight nominations: Album Of The Year and Best Rap Album for Tha Carter III; Best Rap Solo Performance ("A Milli"); two nods in Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group ("Swagga Like Us" and "Mr. Carter"); Best Rap/Sung Collaboration ("Got Money"); two nods in Best Rap Song ("Lollipop" and "Swagga Like Us").

    Four-time GRAMMY winner Coldplay has seven nods: Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals for "Viva La Vida"; Album Of The Year and Best Rock Album for Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends; and Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals and Best Rock Song for "Violet Hill."

    Kenny Chesney is nominated for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals ("Shiftwork").

    Two of music's newest stars, Jonas Brothers and Katy Perry, each are nominated: Jonas Brothers for Best New Artist and Katy Perry for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance ("I Kissed A Girl"). As previously announced, Katy Perry will perform as part of this year's "My GRAMMY Moment" segment on the telecast. Produced in partnership with CBS.com, music fans can upload a 30- to 60-second video of themselves singing along to a portion of Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" to www.cbs.com/grammys through Feb. 6. Videos will be voted on by fans and the public-at-large, and the most popular videos will be shown as part of Perry's performance on Music's Biggest Night®, allowing them to virtually share music's biggest stage with the current GRAMMY nominee.

    The 51st Annual GRAMMY Awards are produced by John Cossette Productions in association with AEG Ehrlich Ventures for The Recording Academy. Ken Ehrlich and John Cossette are executive producers, Walter C. Miller is producer/director, and Tisha Fein is the coordinating producer. Musical directors for the telecast and pre-telecast are Rickey Minor and Larry Batiste, respectively.

    Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit www.grammy.com.


    Source: Business Wire

    [edit] Last.fm group: GRAMMY Nominated Music

    Edited by Babs_05 on 21 Jan 2009, 00:03
    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 16 Jan 2009, 15:00

    Video: Busta Rhymes - Arab Money

    In anticipation of the new album from Busta Rhymes next month, Back On My B.S. (3 Feb), here's the video for his current single, Arab Money. Click the pic...


    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 20 Jan 2009, 11:39

    Isle of Man gets unlimited music downloads with blanket fee

    January 19, 2009

    The Isle of Man is an odd place. Ruled by a woman called the "Lord of Mann" (Queen Elizabeth II) and possessing a bizarre flag of three fused legs running in a circle, the island is known more as a tax shelter than a file-swapping newsmaker. Monday at the MidemNet conference in Cannes, however, an Isle of Man official announced a shocker: the island will soon feature a compulsory music license. Everyone has to pay up, but they can then download—legally—as much as they like.

    Inward investment minister from the Isle of Man Ron Berry broke the news; the session he attended was ably written up by Music Ally, which had a representative at the event. The Manx government has apparently achieved 100 percent broadband penetration on the small island, and piracy exists there as it does everywhere else. "At the end of the day, we're not going to stop piracy," said Berry. "Embrace it… Had the music industry embraced [the original Napster], we’d have a very different medium today."

    Few details are available beyond the news that a single blanket fee will cover unlimited download activity for all 80,000 or so Manx residents, with money to then be shared with the music industry. This raises all the obvious questions that compulsory licenses generate, including the fairness of forcing everyone to pay, whether they want to download files or not.



    Geoff Taylor, who heads the UK music trade group BPI, loved the idea, but he noted that ISPs were not all clamoring to get into the music distribution business. "If all the ISPs across Europe were interested in taking licenses, we'd be in a very interesting position," he said, "and we wouldn’t face many of the problems we face today. But our doors are not being battered down by ISPs looking for licenses."

    After explaining just how great such a model would be for ISPs, Taylor had harsh words for those ISPs who might decline to participate. "A large part of this problem can be solved through licensing," said Taylor, "but there may be some ISPs who don’t want to get involved, and continue to take the 'mere conduit' absolutist position, and there has to be legislation in place to deal with those."

    We've seen moves in this direction for some time. First came ad-supported streaming music services from sites last Last.fm, then unlimited (for a limited time only) downloads to Nokia mobile phones through Comes with Music. Recently, Jim Griffin has been working with Warner Music to partner with individual ISPs — starting with college campuses — on a model that sounds much like the Isle of Man's proposal. But we have yet to see a national music levy on ISP access of the kind imposed today that then allows unlimited P2P downloading.

    IFPI numbers out last week showed that only 18 percent of Europeans engage in illicit file-sharing, though, so it's hard to imagine a similar compulsory program launching in a larger European state. The Isle of Man proposal does not apparently include any money for the sites that provide access to music, though, which could decimate stores like iTunes, Amazon, and others, while forcing users to browse BitTorrent trackers for songs of unknown quality (and with perhaps limited metadata and album art). It's a bit hard to imagine Grandma doing this, although Grandma will still be paying the fee.

    As an experiment, however, it is certainly interesting and buzzworthy, which was no doubt the point. The Isle of Man is one of the MidemNet sponsors, and clicking its logo takes one directly to the Treasury Department, which advertises the zero percent corporate tax rate and world-class telecommunications. The island appears to harbor digital ambitions for diversifying beyond online gambling.


    Source: Ars Technica

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 20 Jan 2009, 12:42

    Government web piracy regulation 'could damage the music industry'

    19 Jan 2009

    Music industry bosses have warned that the government's web piracy regulation could damage the music industry and technology companies.

    Feargal Sharkey, chief executive UK Music, said the government needed to tread carefully on any regulation to control illegal file sharing.

    He said a deal between internet service providers (ISP) and the music industry was only “weeks away” and government intervention could be detrimental to music lovers.

    He told the Daily Telegraph: “For government to mandate about this well, it needs to be thought through. It’s a big concept, which has the potential to do a lot of damage not only to the music industry but also to technology companies themselves, which could have deep ramifications.

    “We are close, maybe weeks or months away, from finding some solutions for music lovers. It’s about choice for fans and there isn’t a one size fits all solution,” he said.

    UK Music represents the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry – from artists, musicians, songwriters and composers, to record labels.

    His comments come following a leaked early draft of Lord Carter’s Digital Britain report which said that a regulatory body called the Rights Agency would be introduced along with a new code of practice for ISPs and rights holders.

    ISPs could be required to tell customers when they are suspected of illegally sharing music and films, it has been suggested. So far some major ISPs have trialled sending their customers' copyright infringement notices in partnership with the record industry on a voluntary basis.

    The new regulations may also force ISPs to collect data on "serious and repeated infringers" that they would have to make available to rights holders in possession of a court order.

    There has traditionally been a lack of consensus among ISPs and music industry how to tackle illegal downloading. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) estimates over 40 billion files were illegally file-shared in 2008.

    Sharkey, speaking on a panel at the Midem digital music conference in Cannes, stressed his concern about a government-imposed solution.

    “Any intervention must be designed to embrace new horizons and must be fit and proper for use in a modern world, a modern society and a modern culture,” he said.

    “Regulation brings a cost to all parties. We all need to be sensitive that the debt we pay for an imposed government solution does not outweigh the benefits and the rewards.

    “By viewing ISPs as partners in the solution, I am certain that this can e the year that we all stop fretting about delivery platforms and concentrate on what really matters – the music.”

    The government threatened to intervene with legislation last year unless a self-regulatory solution was found. Subsequently, in July the BPI signed a memorandum of understanding with ISPs that saw them send out letters to 1,000 subscribers per week who have been engaged in illicit file sharing over a three-month period.

    The ISPs are opposed to any plans that would force them to disconnect their own customers, and claim that the problem can be solved by creating business models that steer internet users away from piracy, or by rights holders initiating legal action themselves.

    “Relations between UK ISPs and members of UK Music have moved on considerably in the past 12 months,” said Sharkey. “But I reiterate: the memorandum of understanding is still only a starting point.”

    The BPI, the voice of the British music industry, claims that the sector lost £180 million to online music piracy in 2008.

    Peter Jenner, secretary-general of the International Music Managers’ Forum, said: “It is naïve to think that government hasn’t got a role. If government continues to have a hands-off attitude, then it will witness the collapse of its content industries.”

    Revenue from legitimate stores like iTunes is still not replacing that lost to “pilfering”, Jenner said, so licensing peer-to-peer filesharing activity could create “some kind of floor providing income”.

    “We have to do it because, if we don’t, we’re going to have a world where there’s not enough revenue to create content at the end.”

    He told a panel: “Let’s face up to it – this is the music industry, which is in the dumper. The reality is we’ve got to compete with free (but) I can’t see anything that’s going on at the moment with the record business that is going to solve anything.”

    The government will set out its response to the consultation in an annexe to the preliminary Digital Britain action plan, due to be unveiled by Lord Carter, the communications minister, on January 26.


    Source: The Telegraph

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

    Journal: [HowTo] Play radios in Last.fm client, by mr_maxis

    Journal: [HowTo] Play radios in Last.fm client, by mr_maxis

    7 Nov 2008, 16:08

    Links with last.fm protocol (lastfm://) have disappeared from the website, but I make this article for those (like me) who still find it very pratical to listen to radio in Last.fm client instead of let your browser opened all the time.

    The most suitable option is to type directly your link in the address bar of your browser (tested only in Internet Explorer 7 & Firefox 3, but normally works in every browser)

    Every link must begin with lastfm://, like a http:// in front of every website address. After you can add:

    - group/GroupName : it will play the group members radio
    ex: lastfm://group/Last.fm

    - user/UserName/personal : it will play the user library radio
    ex: lastfm://user/mr_maxis/personal

    - user/UserName/neighbours : it will play the user neighbours radio
    ex: lastfm://user/mr_maxis/neighbours

    - user/UserName/recommended : it will play the user recommended artists radio
    ex: lastfm://user/mr_maxis/recommended

    - user/UserName/playlist : it will play the user playlist (it only plays the "first" playlist which means the one displayed in the Flash player of a user profile)
    ex: lastfm://user/mr_maxis/playlist

    [edit] There is an other way to play the playlists, when you have a playable playlist (45 playable tracks by 15 different artists) you have the link "Play this playlist" which returns you the flash player. In this link you have the PlaylistID which can be used like this : playlist/PlaylistID

    ex:
    You can play my playlist with this link : lastfm://playlist/3689421

    - user/UserName/loved : it will play the user loved tracks radio
    ex: lastfm://user/mr_maxis/loved

    - event/EventNumber : it will play the event radio (not working with event which has a little lineup) You can find the EventNumber in the address bar of the event.
    ex: lastfm://event/655431


    NB: The following options are not very useful because there is a faster way to do it in the Last.fm client...

    - artist/ArtistName : it will play the artist radio
    ex: lastfm://artist/The Beatles

    - globaltags/TagName : it will play the tag radio (works also with tag/TagName)
    ex: lastfm://globaltags/rock


    Impossible to use:
    - play/tracks/TrackNumber : you can't have a TrackNumber
    ex: lastfm://play/tracks/39879



    (see journal for links to radios and playlists)

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 21 Jan 2009, 22:21

    Johnny Marr, the rock star turned teacher

    January 18, 2009



    Former Smiths' guitarist takes time from working with Neil Finn and the Cribs to teach on University of Salford music degree

    Johnny Marr is a textbook definition of a “busy working musician”. Currently in New Zealand, recording with Neil Finn, the former Smiths guitarist flies back at the end of the month and heads straight into the studio with The Cribs. And, somehow, he must also find time to plan his next lecture to the students on the popular-musicology degree course at the University of Salford.

    Visiting professor Marr knows the pressure is on. His inaugural lecture, Always from the Outside: Mavericks, Innovators and Building Your Own Ark, delivered last November, drew more than 1,000 people to the campus. Together with the workshop he ran for the students, it garnered him more column inches than all of his recent musical projects combined.

    It wasn’t just that Marr had apparently “turned to the dark side”, as one blogger put it, that proved so controversial. It is his belief that teaching is the way forward. “One interviewer said to me, ‘Isn’t it a contradiction in terms to come to university to learn how to be a rocker?’ That’s such an outdated, old-fashioned paradigm. To them, true ‘rockers’ are supposed to be hanging about on the streets in leather jackets, throwing bricks through windows. It’s a cliché. We’ve grown and moved on a long way.

    “I don’t see anything wrong in education in any creative sphere, as long as it’s not to the detriment of the emotion. What I do know is that if, when I was 16, someone had told me there was a building with a ton of amps in it, musicians hanging about and loads of resources, I’d have walked 10 miles every day to get there.”

    Marr is just one of the high-profile musicians and music- industry professionals who have heeded the siren call of academia. From the grandaddy of multimedia pop theory, Brian Eno (whose debut lecture involved a demonstration of how he once took a pee in the surrealist artist Marcel Duchamp’s infamous urinal, using a length of surgical hose), to Jarvis Cocker (whose Saying the Unsayable lecture on pop lyrics found its way into his live shows), the great education divide is finally being crossed. The Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam, George Martin, the Blur bassist Alex James and the poet-singer Patti Smith are among the big names turning years of experience into student-friendly “edutainment”. ...


    Full article: Timesonline - Music - Report - Johnny Marr, the rock star turned teacher

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 21 Jan 2009, 23:07

    Streaming music: even better than the real thing?

    Wednesday 21 January 2009

    While paid downloads have failed to catch on, 'cloud-based' listening through networking sites is gaining popularity with fans



    Is the download dead? Apple clearly doesn't think so; its announcement earlier this month that music on iTunes will drop its jacket of DRM (digital rights management) may feel overdue, but it's an implicit insistence that it thinks people will keep buying songs to "own" - even if all they actually "acquire" are invisible variations in magnetoresistance on a hard drive.

    But with computing becoming increasingly cloud-based, it no longer seems necessary to download or store music. As network connectivity becomes pervasive, the possibility of having every piece of commercially available music at our fingertips, instantly playable via our next-generation portable music players, mobile phones and Wi-Fi home entertainment systems comes closer. So will downloading digital music to an iPod soon seem as archaic as taping the Top 40 on to a C90?

    "The paid-download model has failed to meet expectations," says Mark Mulligan, a music industry analyst and vice-president of Forrester Research. "The music industry needed a format-replacement cycle, in much the same way that CDs replaced cassettes. It needed to do two things: offset declining CD sales, and fight piracy. The download has failed on both counts."

    This is not a love song

    In the UK - Europe's strongest digital market - downloads account for only 13% of total music sales, with CDs remaining the dominant music format. Mulligan's research shows that only 9% of UK internet users purchase paid downloads, while 42% buy CDs or music DVDs. (Music industry research broadly agrees, finding that in 2008 only 5% of music downloads were paid for.)

    The download seems hard to love. Grumbles over sound compression and DRM have hardly helped its cause. To fill a 500GB hard drive costing about £50 with 79p downloads would cost £100,000; few music fans would claim to prefer browsing through an iPod menu to thumbing through a rack of vinyl LPs.

    And the success of the iPod has done little so far to boost download sales: 83% of European iPod owners say they do not regularly buy digital music, apparently preferring to fill their devices with ripped CDs - or illegal downloads.

    But 24% of UK internet users listen to streaming music - for example, on-demand tracks via MySpace, radio content from the BBC iPlayer, or, increasingly, personalised playlists from services such as Last.fm. "Cloud-based music will most likely replace downloads to some extent," says Eliot Van Buskirk, who writes about music technology at Wired's Epicenter blog (blog.wired.com/business). "The younger demographic already thinks of YouTube and MySpace as the places to go to hear music right away, and devices such as the iPhone already provide access to thousands of customisable stations on Pandora, Last.fm, imeem and so on."

    Significantly, cloud-based streaming services offer instant access to music without the need for download or purchase.

    "We definitely see a move towards access rather than ownership," says Christian Ward of Last.fm, the London-based (and CBS-owned) music-streaming and recommendation service, which has 25 million users. "Since we launched we've been working towards providing access to every piece of music ever made, wherever you are, and our iPhone app - plus recent partnerships with hardware device companies and mobile firms - helps us get closer to achieving that goal. You can have access to millions of tracks on the go, instead of the limited amount of files you have on your iPod, which is ultimately a glorified Walkman in comparison."

    Social networking plays a big part in the appeal of streaming services. Last.fm is based around a music-recommendation engine, imeem is a music-centred social-networking site, and Pandora - currently unavailable in the UK due to licensing restrictions - generates playlists based on musical attributes catalogued by musicians. Spotify, another startup which offers web-based music streaming, lets people create collaborative playlists while offering a huge range of music: it will have U2's latest single ahead even of digital "shops".

    Says Ward: "There's no point in having every piece of music at your disposal if you can't navigate through that and make the experience meaningful to you."

    But on the downside, streaming services have costs. Napster, which will launch a new web version this year offering unlimited streaming playback of its catalogue from any computer, is subscription-based, and costs from £9.95 per month. Spotify - currently in beta - charges £9.99 per month for a premium subscription (though it also has a free ad-supported version). Last.fm, imeem, Pandora and similar services such as Seeqpod and Blip.fm are also ad-supported and free to the end-user.

    Mulligan thinks the future lies with ad-supported and subsidised services - where internet and mobile providers bundle music access into packages. "When you take out the pay aspect, usage goes up," he says. The Danish internet service provider TDC's Play service bundles unlimited free streaming and downloads into its subscription, and Nokia's Comes With Music also offers unlimited streaming and downloads for 12 months with the purchase of a specific handset. Sky is known to be planning to bundle music access into its broadband and TV packages.

    Quantity over quality

    But the crucial point is that when access is free, there is no need to steal. Piracy has undoubtedly damaged the paid download market: music fans who would never dream of stealing a CD seem quite happy to illegally download - perhaps because music downloads are invisible, and so perceived as having little tangible value.

    "If music fans fully embrace streaming instead of downloading, then that would be a blow to the pirates," says Ward. "If music fans are getting the music they want, free, from safe, legal environments like ours, then there's reason to imagine they'll be less inclined to download from peer-to-peer in the future. And with our ad-supported model, the artists and copyright holders get paid for those listens."

    But what about quality? Bandwidth limitations mean that no current service can offer CD-quality streams, although Ward doesn't necessarily see this as a problem. "We have a generation of music fans now who've grown up with the iTunes standard of 128kbps, which is the quality we stream music at on Last.fm," he says.

    "I think there will be a demand for increased audio quality, but I'm not sure that will outweigh the bigger demand for instant access, on-the-go, to a comprehensive music catalogue. It could be some time before the latter can be offered at CD quality, especially wirelessly. It may be that those who continue to download will be the audiophiles, while the general mass of music listeners will stream at whatever bitrate is most convenient to them."

    So, technological limitations may prevent a complete shift away from downloads to streams. "Wi-Fi and mobile networks aren't good enough," says Mulligan. "Coverage is affected by buildings, and distance from base stations, so you'll never get a seamless experience. Streaming is good enough in the home, but on the go it will need to co-exist with downloads."

    "Downloads are not going to go away, just like vinyl has not gone away," says Van Buskirk. "But within the next 10 years, I suspect a significant percentage of music fans will listen by streaming stations, songs and playlists from the cloud."


    Source: The Guardian

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 21 Jan 2009, 23:20

    Obama inauguration stops traffic - web traffic, that is

    Wednesday 21 January

    The speech by the new president caused a palpable dip in web traffic at Google, Flickr and Last.fm

    Shh! Hear that? It's the sound of people not searching and not doing things on the web while Barack Obama is giving his inauguration speech. This is a man who can stop traffic of all sorts - including web traffic.

    Google has blogged about it:

    the overall query volume of Google searches dropped in the U.S. from the time President Obama took the oath of office until the end of his inaugural speech, demonstrating that all eyes were on today's festivities.

    Flickr too saw a dramatic fall in business on its servers as people stopped uploading photos (many busy taking them in the Mall, one guesses); Last.fm also saw people stopping to listen, not to music, but to one man talking to them. (I've only linked to the photos, as they're all rights and CC rights/no money.)

    But as Google's blogpost points out, things have changed ever so much.

    During the last nine years, the growth of the Internet has changed the way the world seeks information. From President Bush's first inaugural address in 2001 to his second in 2005, the number of inauguration-related searches increased by more than a factor of ten. From 2005 to today's address, the number grew even more. Few of the 2001 queries requested "video," and none requested streaming. By 2005, a few queries such as inauguration audio and streaming video of inauguration appeared. Today, technology has become so prevalant that queries such as YouTube live inauguration, live blogging inauguration, inaugural podcast, and Obama inaugural speech mp3 formed one-third of all inauguration-related queries.


    Source: The Guardian

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 22 Jan 2009, 00:03

    How One 'No Name' Musician Used Free Music To Build A Following

    Tue, Jan 20th 2009

    We've joked in the past about how people always look for ways to make "exceptions" rather than "rules" out of every example we use to show how adopting business models around the economics we discuss works well. So, if we show a big name band being successful, we're told it only works for big bands. If we show a less well known name doing well, we're told that it only works for no names, but that it could never work for big names. Someone in our comments jokingly referred to this "exceptionalism" as "Masnick's Law." Hell, in a post that once described both big name bands and no names being successful, someone in the comments complained that it might work for big names, and it might work for no names... but it couldn't possibly work for the vast majority of musicians in the middle.

    So, the best we can do is continue to show examples of how it works... for musicians of all "sizes" and levels of fame. One of Techdirt's longtime readers, and a well known "social media guru," Adam Singer, sent in a very personal example: himself. It turns out that, on the side, he's been something of a hobbyist musician. After years of trying to sell his music from various sites and getting nowhere, he went free and found an entirely different experience. He chose a Creative Commons license for his music, and it was like "magic." Because people could easily pass around and share his music, suddenly he had a following. Many more people heard his music, even to the point of people creating a profile page for his music on Last.fm, his music showing up on popular music blogs and internet radio programs -- and even people asking to commission him to write new music for them. To say that Adam is a convert would be an understatement.


    Source: Tech Dirt

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 27 Jan 2009, 00:28

    ISPs will not be forced to disconnect users who illegally download music

    26 Jan 2009

    Internet service providers will not be forced to disconnect users who illegally download music and video files, the Government has indicated.

    David Lammy, the Intellectual Property Minister, said that there was a big difference between organised counterfeiting gangs and "younger people not quite buying into the system".

    He said: "We can't have a system where we're talking about arresting teenagers in their bedrooms. People can rent a room in an hotel and leave with a bar of soap - there's a big difference between leaving with a bar of soap and leaving with the television."

    Mr Lammy, who has begun a consultation entitled Developing a Copyright Agenda for the 21st Century, said there were complex legal issues about enforced disconnection.

    He said: "I'm not sure it's actually going to be possible."

    His remarks are contrary to those previously made by Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary, who said the Government had "serious legislative intent" to make internet companies cut off customers who persist in illegal filesharing.

    Lord Carter, the Communications Minister, is expected to cover this area in his long awaited Digital Britain report, which will be published this week.

    Early leaked drafts suggested that Lord Carter will create a "rights agency", funded by a levy on service providers, to address the problem of piracy, or that he may suggest additional charges on customers' broadband bills to compensate the music industry.

    However, music industry bosses have warned that the government's web piracy regulation could damage the music industry and technology companies.

    Feargal Sharkey, chief executive UK Music, said last week at Midem, international music industry conference, that a deal between internet service providers (ISP) and the music industry was only "weeks away" and government intervention could be detrimental to music lovers.

    "Regulation brings a cost to all parties. We all need to be sensitive that the debt we pay for an imposed government solution does not outweigh the benefits and the rewards" he told the Daily Telegraph.

    "We are close, maybe weeks or months away, from finding some solutions for music lovers. It's about choice for fans and there isn't a one size fits all solution," he added.

    In July last year the music industry and ISPs drew up a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and ISPs agreed to send 1,000 letters a week for three months to combat users caught sharing files illegally, which costs the industry £180 million a year.

    Mr Lammy said he hoped the MOU would mean that the Government did not have to apply "the heavy hand of legislation".

    Nicholas Lansman, secretary general of the Internet Services Providers' Association said: "ISPA remains committed to working with rights holders and Government to progress towards a balanced, proportionate and workable solution."


    Source: The Telegraph

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 27 Jan 2009, 19:13

    Canadian radio personality Alan Cross launches online show about music

    2 hours ago

    TORONTO — Where many observers look at the music industry and see a crisis, Alan Cross sees an opportunity.

    The nationally syndicated radio host is launching a new cross-platform music talk show next week, and he says there has never been a better time for such a project.

    "Everybody loves music - interest in music has never been greater than it is now," Cross said recently from his Toronto office. "What's different is that people are consuming music differently. They're not buying it the way they used to, or certainly not in the forms they used to."

    And so Cross is experimenting with a form he's not quite used to - the Internet. After nearly three decades on Canadian radio, Cross's fluid voice and encyclopedic knowledge of rock music has made him a mainstay on dials from coast to coast with his show "The Ongoing History of New Music."

    Now, Cross is debuting "ExploreMusic With Alan Cross," which will be televised on cable channel BiteTV on Monday and then available online at Toronto-based Aux.tv beginning Feb. 3.

    He describes the show as a roundtable discussion program about the issues of the day in music. His co-host will be Jeff Woods, the former program director of Toronto classic rock station Q107, and the show will feature two rotating panellists, who could be artists, musical entrepreneurs, industry executives or journalists.

    "What we want to do is replicate the kind of conversation that everybody has at least a couple times a week," Cross said. "You get a bunch of friends together over beers and pizza or whatever, and you sit around and you talk and argue about music."

    This is an idea that Cross has been incubating for years. He observed the proliferation of sports and news talk shows on radio and television and wanted to create something similar for music fans to discuss the industry.

    He says he's thrilled at the possibilities.

    "To my knowledge, at this level, it's never been done before," he said. "The problem is that there's so much we can do with the show, and we will eventually evolve this into something much grander than what we begin with. Once we realize what we can do and once we realize what the audience wants us to do, then we can start tailoring things.

    "And that's why I'm so excited about it. Because the concept is so simple, but where we can take this concept is unlimited."

    Cross talks about possibly making the show available in some form on cellphones and other handheld devices, citing the public's demand for immediate information.

    "It's the Star Trek Triquarter: I want to get whatever I want, whenever I want it, wherever I happen to be, and we want to be part of that mix," he said.

    Most of all, Cross says he's enthusiastic about the prospect of establishing a running discourse with his audience.

    "Most of the dialogue with critical discussion about music is one-way," he said. "You read about it but you never get to rebut. You hear it maybe from a guy on the radio, or you see it on TV, but you never get a chance to rebut.

    "It comes from Pitchfork Media, Rolling Stone, Spin, Blender, Alternative Press."

    And, of course, it comes from Cross himself. Originally from Stonewall, Man., he has written four books on rock and remains one of the pillars of music criticism in the country.

    "He's like the Canadian John Peel," said Alexisonfire singer George Pettit, referring to the legendary BBC DJ. "You can tell he's someone who knows a lot about music, and he's kind of a kindred spirit."

    Pettit has already launched a show on Aux called "Strange Notes," in which he profiles other artists, including the Cancer Bats and Rise Against.

    He has his own Cross memories. Pettit recalls listening to him on the radio during a flight and hearing a familiar tune.

    "He played an Alexisonfire track and I just thought that was really cool," Pettit said. "He's got a really nice radio voice too, and when you hear a nice DJ say your band name, it makes you feel a little funny in your tummy."

    Cross, meanwhile, says he remains deeply passionate about his work. His long, light brown hair and youthful face belie the 29 years he's worked in radio.

    "Once you get into this (business), it's like an addiction, and you always have to feed it - and I don't see it stopping," he said, eagerly tossing off recommendations for young bands he likes - an Irish group called Fight Like Apes and a British art-pop outfit named Florence and the Machine.

    "But it's my job. How bad is that? My job is to keep on top of all the cool new music that's coming out in the world of rock. People send me CDs and files, and I get to go shopping.

    "I get to deduct CDs as a business expense - I mean, c'mon!"


    Source: The Canadian Press

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 29 Jan 2009, 19:17

    Forums: Improvements to Last.fm Radio

    29 Jan 2009, 18:57

    nova77LF said...

    Variety in library radio (but all across the stations) has been a problem for quite some time. It has never been easy to solve it in the old architecture because a correct management required a lot of talk between components that were not meant to have conversations.

    The good news is that we spent the last 4 months building a brand new radio infrastructure that allows all sort of nice things. Among those is a much much better history-based reweighing algorithm which includes variety as "side-effect". Since it is based on your streaming history (not matter which station) it will take a bit to kick in (say.. 10-20 plays..), but once it's there you'll have a much broader view of each source.

    When is this going online? Well, with the latest update of the website later today we have deployed a tool that allow us to start transparently moving users into the new system. Actually there are already a few people listening to groups radio on it!

    If the tests will show that everything is running fine (both from a technical and user satisfaction prospective) we will switch completely.

    Other goodies will follow too, but they will require a brand new player.. ;-)


    Source: Forums - Website Support

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 29 Jan 2009, 19:26

    Some important changes to the Spotify music catalogue

    January 28, 2009

    Next week we are going to be making some changes to our music catalogue that we feel are important to communicate clearly. Unfortunately we are going to be removing a number of songs from our catalogue and adding country restrictions to some tracks, which may make them unplayable for you.

    Why are we doing this?

    The changes are being made so that we implement all the proper restrictions that are required by our label deals. Some tracks will be restricted from play in certain countries, this means that if you share tracks with friends who are in other countries it’s possible that they won’t be able to listen to them. The reason for this is that our agreements contain strict rules as to what tracks can and can’t be played in various countries that we are now capable of implementing. These restrictions are a legacy from when most music was sold on tapes and CDs and they have continued over into streaming music, our hope is that one day restrictions like this will disappear for good.

    Additionally, some of the music that has been delivered to us had been delivered by mistake even though the artist did not want their music to be included in a streaming service. In order to respect the decisions of the artist we now have to remove those tracks. We have not lost any licenses and no labels have stopped working with us, this is just a matter of updating our catalogue to be in line with the agreements we actually have. In hindsight it would have been better to remove this in October when we launched publicly, we realize this now and apologize to you for not doing it sooner.

    How will this affect you?

    A number of the tracks that you’ve listened to previously will no longer be available for streaming, these tracks have already been removed from the search function. If you have some of these songs in playlists we will try to automatically replace those songs with versions from albums that we are not removing so you don’t lose the song. If there is no replacement available then the song will appear in red on your playlists.

    What’s next?

    From this point on there are no plans to remove any more music and our catalogue will only grow from here. We already have music from all the major labels and a vast majority of the independent labels licensed, between them we have millions of tracks that we still can add into Spotify. Now it’s a matter of importing that music into our system, which we are doing on an ongoing basis in an effort to add thousands of albums a week. We continue to work hard to sign deals with more labels and will work with the labels we have signed to fill the holes in our catalogue.

    Our dream is to create a music experience where users can play whatever music they want, whenever they want, it may take awhile but we will keep working at it. Please feel free to leave any questions you may have on the blog or join the conversation on our forum if you require more information.


    Source: Spotify - Blog

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 30 Jan 2009, 17:31

    Digital Britain: Lord Carter vows to force ISPs to crack down on web piracy

    Thursday 29 January 2009

    Word cloud of the interim Digital Britain report. Source: www.wordle.net

    The communications minister, Lord Carter, has pledged to deliver broadband to every home in the UK by 2012 and intends to introduce legislation to force internet service providers to crack down on web piracy.

    Carter today published the interim Digital Britain report outlining a wide-ranging 22-point action plan that includes launching an "exploratory review" of local and regional media ownership rules and introducing legislation to force internet service providers to crackdown on internet pirates.

    "Britain has always led the world in content creation - with the best music, films and TV - and it is vital that we carry forward this strength into the digital age," said the culture secretary, Andy Burnham. "This is a significant report for the creative industries, taking steps to establish workable systems of copyright in an online age and to preserve choice of public service content."

    The report said that there had proved to be a lack of support for the preferred option of a co-regulatory solution to internet piracy.

    As a result, the government will launch a consultation into a legislative approach to force ISPs to notify illegal downloaders that they are breaking the law.

    ISPs will also have to collect anonymous data on the worst offenders along with personal details, on receipt of a court order, so that rights holders can seek to take legal action.

    The governement argues that there is evidence from other countries that two-thirds of infringers change their behaviour when they are warned.

    Rights-holders, who had been lobbying for ISPs to be forced to cut off the connections of repeat offenders, will be disappointed with the proposal, arguing that it will not achieve the government's aim of cutting illegal filesharing by 80% by 2011.

    The government also intends to explore the potential for a rights agency to better legally exploit copyright material. Copyright enforcement could be funded through a "modest and proportionate" contribution from distributors and rights holders.

    "It may be that such an independent, objective body may be better able to surmount the mutual tension between rights-holders, publishers, search engines and other content aggregators, the ISPs and the underlying communications network operators and instead broker technical solutions that can command widespread adoption and support," said the report.

    "Working together on enforcement and education mean there needs to be clear advantages to all sides – a win/win/win for rights holders, intermediaries and consumers."

    Carter confirmed that the government intends to deliver broadband to all homes in the UK by 2012, using a mixture of fixed, mobile and wireless technology. The speed of the service will be "up to" 2Mbps.

    "The government says that the commitment should be for 2Mbps access," said Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture secretary. "Given that the national average access speed is 3.6Mbps, isn't the scale of the government's ambitions pitifully low, simply saying it wants to ensure the whole population has access to half the current average speed by 2012?"

    Carter's report said the government is inviting the BBC to take a lead role to drive the universal takeup of broadband through "marketing, cross-promotion and the provision of content".

    The government said it will not inject public money into helping deliver the next-generation broadband network.

    Carter's report said: "The government is not persuaded that there is a case now for widespread UK-wide public subsidy for next generation network deployment, since such widespread subsidy could simply duplicate existing private sector investment plans or indeed chill such plans."

    The government threw its backing behind Channel 4 today, signalling that a tie-up between the broadcaster and BBC Worldwide, instead of a merger with Channel Five, was the best way to protect its future.

    Hunt said that "most people would be pretty disappointed with this report."

    Hunt argued that the Digital Report has offered "no new action, but a total of eight new reports" and questioned whether there was a power struggle going on between the government and Ofcom that may hamper the delivery of digital Britain.

    "Without clear leadership the chance of delivering on such huge commitments is minuscule," said Hunt. "So can we have a categorical assurance there is no turf war going on between DCMS, BERR and Ofcom that prevents the government showing the leadership that is so desperately needed?"


    Sources: The Guardian
    Department For Culture, Media & Sport

    Related: BBC News - At a glance: Digital Britain

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