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Current Topic: Music

iTunes Plus Now Offers Over Two Million Tracks at Just 99 Cents
Topic: Music 2:53 pm EDT, Oct 17, 2007

Apple® today announced that it has expanded its iTunes® Plus offering to over two million tracks and lowered the price of all iTunes Plus tracks to just 99 cents. All iTunes Plus tracks feature DRM-free music with high quality 256 kbps AAC encoding for audio quality virtually indistinguishable from the original recordings ( The iTunes Plus catalog is now the largest DRM-free catalog in the world, and includes artists from Sub Pop, Nettwerk, Beggars Group, IODA, The Orchard and many others, along with EMI’s digital catalog.

“iTunes Plus has been incredibly popular with our customers and now we’re making it available at an even more affordable price,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes. “We’re adding over two million tracks from key independent labels in addition to EMI’s digital catalog and look forward to even more labels and artists making their music available on iTunes Plus.”


iTunes Plus Now Offers Over Two Million Tracks at Just 99 Cents

Where Have All the Rock Stars Gone?
Topic: Music 3:31 pm EDT, Jun 24, 2007

Those performers and others of their era had broad cultural currency; they had meaning for people who did not like or even listen to their music. Is there any figure who has emerged recently in popular music of whom that can be said? This is not meant to be one of those laments about artistic decline, in which the younger generation is compared unfavorably to the great achievements of past ones. I have no doubt that more recent generations of performers may be more skilled and at least as talented as their musical forebears. Rather, my point is that the cultural position of popular music and its stars has diminished.

This is related to a point that I made a few months back, though my analysis led to a different conclusion.

Where Have All the Rock Stars Gone?

NIN Spectragrams
Topic: Music 8:34 pm EDT, Apr 18, 2007

Spectragrams of the static in songs on the new Nine Inch Nails album draw pictures! The first picture is from their trailer video. (The spectragram itself is from My Violent Heart.) You can now listen to the entire album on their website.

I know, I should've bumped this before, but i forgot. This really is fucking super cool.


NIN Spectragrams

YouTube - Dan Le Sac VS Scroobius Pip - 'Thou Shalt always Kill'
Topic: Music 7:09 pm EDT, Apr  8, 2007

Thou shalt always covet tasty nuggets of your neighbors pop culture.

YouTube - Dan Le Sac VS Scroobius Pip - 'Thou Shalt always Kill'

Hip-Hop Outlaw (Industry Version) - Samantha M. Shapiro - New York Times
Topic: Music 2:25 pm EST, Feb 20, 2007

Late in the afternoon of Jan. 16, a SWAT team from the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, backed up by officers from the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office and the local police department, along with a few drug-sniffing dogs, burst into a unmarked recording studio on a short, quiet street in an industrial neighborhood near the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The officers entered with their guns drawn; the local police chief said later that they were “prepared for the worst.” They had come to serve a warrant for the arrest of the studio’s owners on the grounds that they had violated the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law, or RICO, a charge often used to lock up people who make a business of selling drugs or breaking people’s arms to extort money. The officers confiscated recording equipment, cars, computers and bank statements along with more than 25,000 music CDs. Two of the three owners of the studio, Tyree Simmons, who is 28, and Donald Cannon, who is 27, were arrested and held overnight in the Fulton County jail. Eight employees, mostly interns from local colleges, were briefly detained as well.

Interesting. If nothing else, this shows me how broken the industry is. One consultant uses the word "schitzophrenic" but I think hypocritical is more accurate. They try to capitalize on the indie cred these guys have and then burn them when they get too big or too noticable.

At the same time, I think there are legitimate issues raised regarding the level of profit sharing between the DJs and the artists. If the DJ is making bank from producing a mixtape, he owes it to the artists to share down some of that.

I think this is only natural. When you have a top heavy industry with high barriers to entry and a mass-production, profit-centric business model within, coupled with dropping prices on technology that enables production, grass roots systems are going to develop. I think it's good and I certainly prefer it to the major label approach, but it needs to be equitable. There needs to be some guidance in the way it develops.

It's a complex situation.

Hip-Hop Outlaw (Industry Version) - Samantha M. Shapiro - New York Times - Moby pushes his art into new realm - Mar 29, 2005
Topic: Music 12:40 pm EST, Mar 30, 2005

] -- from his ultraliberal politics ("I think that America
] collectively as a nation has its priorities so screwed
] up," he says adamantly

[ He may be ultraliberal, but how does that quote indicate such? Stupid reporters.

What little there is about the record in this article indicates that *gasp* he's not easy to pigeonhole.

For a short but legitimate review, check out pitchfork []. They panned it with a 2.4 / 10, which is pretty low even for them :

"Mellencamp isn't a bad point of reference, come to think of it. Hotel strikes the same mood of one-way-street sloganeering, although it's aimed at a sort of coastal blue-state weekend mysticism rather than a Midwest red, farm, etc. And strangely, the author of Buddhism for Dummies anthem 'We Are All Made of Stars' now apparently thinks we are all on about a first-grade level of comprehension. Songs tip off impending choruses like a bad poker player leaning back in his chair when he's got a big hand. Imagery is simple, familiar, and recycled-- rain is used twice, first on 'Raining Again' and reprised on 'Love Should'. And Moby spends a lot of time repeating trite phrases, such as "look at us, we're beautiful." (Twenty-two times in, duh, 'Beautiful'-- counting is less painful than listening.)"

Ouch. -k] - Moby pushes his art into new realm - Mar 29, 2005 Nine Inch Nails Bite Back
Topic: Music 2:47 pm EST, Mar  3, 2005

] I had plenty of life experience to draw from while
] working on this record," says Trent Reznor of White
] Teeth, Nine Inch Nails' first album in six years. "I was
] getting sane while the world was going crazy."
] Due May 3rd, the follow-up to 1999's The Fragile bristles
] with as much aggression as anything in the NIN catalog
] while adding more live drumming into the mix, courtesy of
] honorary Nailsman Dave Grohl.

[ Yase. -k] Nine Inch Nails Bite Back

Guardian Unlimited | Together in electric dreams
Topic: Music 1:56 pm EST, Jan 18, 2005

] A computer program is changing the face of the music
] business by allowing record labels to predict a hit at
] the click of a mouse. Is this the death of pop as we know
] it, asks Jo Tatchell, or a new hope for unsigned bands
] everywhere?

Hit Song Science, ripping the soul out of a type of critical listening that's existed since the dawn of baroque music. Lovely. More product development then artist development..

[ This was and is inevitable. I'm all for it, for the following reason. As highly commercial music begins to sound more and more the same, the very need to create market differentiation will lead back to fragmentation. There will eventually be a backlash, and in the meantime, I really do think that technology will eventually be able to improve the plight of the unknown artist. When word of mouth can spread everywhere, instantly, the potential is there. Local buzz becomes international buzz. The framework for reputation and collaboration is in it's infancy, but it'll come. That should be more than enough to maintain the community of actual music lovers, and I think it'll grow it, in fact. Maybe not to the point where it eclipses the shiny package market tunes, but the dream is there. -k]

Guardian Unlimited | Together in electric dreams

15 Megs of Fame | Artists and Fans unite!
Topic: Music 6:03 pm EST, Dec 26, 2004

[ This an interesting new online music community site. The tracks are released under a Creative Commons Music Sharing Licence, meaning you can download, share, and trade them noncommercially. That's not the important part though... what's a little different here is that they've built a very friendly interface to the community rating features, with inline players and a rating scale attached to each track, making it really easy to listen and rank the songs.

Artists can, for free, upload 15 megs worth of MP3, hence the name, or they can pay to upgrade to a 50 mb pro account. I'm not sure if their business model is sustainable... seems unlikely, but do check it out, if for no other reason than to play. -k]

15 Megs of Fame | Artists and Fans unite!

Digable Planets Reunite
Topic: Music 10:38 am EST, Dec  2, 2004

A little old (9/2004) but none the less startling news for fans!

Early 1990's Hip-Hop collective Digable Planets have announced
that they have reunited and are working on a new album.

Digable Planets Reunite

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