Thursday, October 9, 2008

Rock Band Protests McCain's Use of Its Song

from - by DAVE ITZKOFF
Another rock act has objected to the use of its music by Senator John McCain's presidential campaign. This time it's the band Foo Fighters, protesting the campaign's use of its song "My Hero" at rallies. " 'My Hero' was written as a celebration of the common man and his extraordinary potential," the band said in a statement released on Wednesday. "To have it appropriated without our knowledge and used in a manner that perverts the original sentiment of the lyric just tarnishes the song." Last month the band Heart demanded that the McCain campaign stop playing its song "Barracuda" at public appearances by Gov. Sarah Palin. And in August Jackson Browne filed suit against the Ohio Republican Party for using his song "Running on Empty" in a television commercial without his permission.

Monday, October 6, 2008

De La Soul "Three Feet High & Rising" Press Kit Video: WOW!

After having a mini-discussion of the status of De La Soul's landmark 1989 recording "Three Feet High & Rising" on vinyl LP via email with a buddy of mine, I went to good 'ole youtube to see what they had to offer on the De La Soul tip. (Long sentence, eh?)

Anyway, I found a real gem. Someone in possesion of the original press kit video that Tommy Boy Records sent out in late 1988/early 1989 as a promo only item was nice enough to upload it to the web for all the world to see.

Truly amazing footage.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

And now, a message from Sarah Silverman...

Music Downloads: Is the Price Right?

The ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board affects not only Apple but also, EMusic, RealNetworks' Rhapsody, and Best Buy's Napster. Music publishers, who represent creators of song lyrics and sheet music, want an increase in royalty payments while Apple and the other companies are pushing for a reduction.

Their dispute underscores the larger debate over the best methods for distribution and how to divide the proceeds from online music sales. As more consumers access music over the Web and eschew compact disc purchases, a cross section of companies led by Apple has emerged as a conduit between consumers and the music industry, keeping a share of sales.

Publicly, Apple has railed against the prospect of a fee increase. During a 10-month trial that concluded earlier this year, Apple executive Eddy Cue claimed that a rate increase could narrow already thin margins and that the company "would not continue to operate [the iTunes Music Store] if it were no longer possible to do so profitably." The testimony fueled worry that iTunes, whose downloads have helped drive sales of iPods and iPhones, would shut down or drastically change its business model if a royalty increase comes down the pike.

Strange Bedfellows

Many within the industry expect the board to leave the current royalty rate unchanged at 9.1¢ for every 99¢ music download. The panel is due to provide the parties with a written decision on Oct. 2 before making it public on Oct. 6.

Music publishers would like to see the rate raised to 15¢ for every 99¢ sale, arguing that online music distribution costs much less than those of CDs, which also carry a 9.1¢ royalty. "You don't have to ship them, there aren't any breakage problems," says David Israelite, president and CEO of the National Music Publishers' Assn..

In an unusual twist, Apple's opposition to a royalty increase puts it on the same side of the debate as the Recording Industry Association of America, which represents record labels including EMI, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group —and is often at odds with Apple. Under existing agreements with online music sellers, the recording industry would be forced to absorb royalty increases, at least until it could strike new accords with Apple and others. Record labels currently receive 70¢ of every 99¢ song download. They, in turn, dole out the portion that accrues to publishers.

The RIAA and the Digital Media Assn. say the current rate is already too high and want it reduced to about 4¢ per download. Record labels are competing against music that's distributed freely, explains DiMA Executive Director Jon Potter. "It's a difficult thing to do," he says.

The 99¢ Price Is a Hit

If royalties are increased, Apple is unlikely to change its tune on what it charges per download. CEO Steve Jobs has adamantly clung to the 99¢-a-song price tag. And even if Apple eventually coughs up a few pennies a song, the company's bottom line won't take a big hit, says Trip Chowdhry, an analyst at Global Equities Research. The iTunes Music Store accounts for less than 5% of Apple's sales and just a sliver of earnings.

Analysts also don't expect much change in Apple's pricing or business model either. JupiterResearch surveys show that the 99¢ price strikes a chord with consumers. Higher prices and different approaches, such as subscriptions, apparently do not find favor with the mass market. "Going to subscriptions is not a simple solution," says Jupiter analyst David Card.

Ultimately, the music industry could suffer if Apple were somehow forced to raise its prices, some analysts say. "If the price is too high, everyone is going to go the other way, which is free," says Daniel Ernst, an analyst at Soleil-Hudson Square Research, which has a buy rating on Apple.

Whatever decision the board announces, it's highly unlikely to go uncontested. Parties to the dispute can petition the board to revise its decision within 15 days. If a rehearing is refused, combatants can appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Congress is another means of recourse. Just this week, House and Senate lawmakers passed legislation asking the music industry and Webcasters to reconsider royalty rates that the board imposed on Internet radio stations in 2007.

Kharif is a senior writer for in Portland, Ore.

Playboy Playmates Controversy: Racy images on snowboards

BURLINGTON, VT (AP) — A new line of Burton snowboards that features images of Playboy models is upsetting some people who feel the boards send the wrong message.

Burton's 2009 Coalition line of snowboards features a model called the "Love" that uses vintage Playboy magazine photos as the main design element.

The images on the boards are discrete.

Jeff Sprenger is a snowboarder and parent from Essex. He says the Love boards send the wrong message to the models' intended market, 14 to 24-year-old males.

Burton spokeswoman Caroline Andrews says the Coalition line is only sold in certain snowboard shops, there are limited quantities and the boards will be wrapped and sold only to people over 18.

L.A.'s Top Independent Record Shops

from - by Jason Gelt

Let's have a round of applause for the independent record shop. Their numbers have dwindled in recent years as digital downloads supplant CDs as the predominant cash-and-carry music format for the general music buying public. But if you're into vinyl records, the indie store still reigns supreme. As records become more and more of a niche market, those little mom and pop shops become even more important.

Now, everybody loves Amoeba (unless it's a Saturday afternoon and the aisles are so crowded you can barely look through the bins), but for that up-close-and-personal old-fashioned record shopping experience, why not try one of these other stellar options.

1. Freakbeat Records
: 13616 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423, 818-995-7603. The Valley's finest used and new record store, featuring a great selection of vinyl, collectibles and CDs, plus a knowledgeable and helpful staff. Not only that but you can sample the used records on the premises.

2. Vinyl Solution
: 13616 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423, 818-995-7603. Huntington Beach's solution to the punk rock record collector's quandary. Great records, great prices and knowledgeable staff, plus frequent in-store performances from local and touring acts.

3. Rockaway Records
: 13616 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423, 818-995-7603. Silver Lake's only remaining independent record store has an impressive selection of collectible vinyl and CDs. Prives can be high, but the quality is guaranteed.

4. Canterbury Records
: 13616 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423, 818-995-7603. Pasadena's premier mom and pop record shop stocks a little something for every taste, plus cheap turntable supplies.

5. Headline Records
: 13616 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423, 818-995-7603. A punk rock enthusiast's haven, Headline Records serves up hard-to-find punk platters to distinguishing collectors, not to mention an outstanding selection of t-shirts.

6. Rhino Records
: 235 Yale Ave., Claremont, CA 91711, 909-626-7774. I know it's a bit of a drive, but the trip is definitely worth it, even with today's gas prices. Hidden away in collegiate Claremont, Rhino Records is a classic independent music store with a great selection of new and used records, CDs and DVDs.

7. Pasadena City College Flea Market
: Held on the first Sunday of each month, this flea market has an entire floor set aside for record dealers. Whether you're looking for old punk, old jazz and R&B or obscure folk rock, chances are you'll find something here to suit your tastes. Best of all, it won't break the bank.

8. Don's Music
: 4871 Eagle Rock Blvd., L.A., CA 90041, 323-255-3551. Jam-packed from floor to ceiling with vintage vinyl of every variety, Don's has a little of something for every taste. Don't forget to pet the store cat, 13

9. Poo-Bah Record Shop: 2636 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA, 626-449-3359. Since 1971, this East Pasadena institution has provided vinyl nerds with an excellent selection of new and used rock, jazz and soul LPs and 45s.

Amy Winehouse & Mark Ronson to record track for Quincy Jones tribute album

from - By Njai Joszor
Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson are slated to record a song for Quincy Jones' upcoming tribute album.

Joining a roster that already includes Usher,
John Mayer, and Mariah Carey, Winehouse has signed on to record with Mark Ronson.

"It's going to be explosive stuff," a source said.

"He knew who she was and she was so thrilled to meet him. Her performance clearly impressed him - he was raving about her. This is just the opportunity she needs to show the world she has still got it."

In related news, Amy Winehouse has been rumored to be struggling with the follow up to her Grammy Award-winning album "Back To Black."

"If six months produces two half-baked tracks, how long will an album take? Unless she sorts herself out and gets some focus it might never happen" a source told the Sun.

Ben Folds records live songs to be on iTunes the next day


Ten new songs will be recorded throughout tour

Ben Folds is set to release 10 live tracks, recorded over 10 cities on his current tour.

Folds has teamed up with iTunes for the venture, which will see Folds record a song at each show, and Folds himself will make a new cover for each track using Photo Booth. The song will be sold on iTunes the very next day and is part of a new programme called 'The Sound of Last Night… This Morning'.

At the end of the tour, the tracks will be compiled and sold as an album. Fans will be able to buy the album at a reduced price, based on the songs they've already purchased.

Folds is touring to support the release of his third solo album 'Way To Normal' produced by Dennis Herring. The record was recorded at Folds' own studio in Nashville, TN and features a guest appearance from Regina Spektor.

The tour continues tonight at the Embassy Theatre in Ft. Wayne, IN.