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Current Topic: Music

Russell Simmons: Stop using all this bad language
Topic: Music 10:01 pm EDT, Apr 24, 2007

The godfather of modern hip-hop has decided enough is enough. Russell Simmons, the co-founder of Def Jam records and the inspiration behind bands as diverse as Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J, is as sick of the lazy vulgarity of rap music as many of the rest of us.

Yesterday, he called for a voluntary ban on the three words he considers the most unacceptable, and among the most common, describing "bitch", "ho" and "nigger" as "extreme curse words" that were inconsistent with any sense of social responsibility by rap artists or their record companies.

"The words 'bitch' and 'ho' are utterly derogatory and disrespectful of the painful, hurtful, misogyny that, in particular, African American women have experienced in the United States," Simmons' organisation, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, said in a statement.

"The word 'nigger' is a racially derogatory term that disrespects the pain, suffering, history of racial oppression and multiple forms of racism against African Americans and other people of colour," it added.

CNN is focusing on this today.

Russell Simmons: Stop using all this bad language

Pearls Before Breakfast -
Topic: Music 3:20 am EDT, Apr 12, 2007

By most measures, he was nondescript: a youngish white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. From a small case, he removed a violin. Placing the open case at his feet, he shrewdly threw in a few dollars and pocket change as seed money, swiveled it to face pedestrian traffic, and began to play.

No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?

Joshua Bell graces the DC Metro, and almost no one notices. This is an amazing read.

Pearls Before Breakfast -

YouTube - Dan Le Sac VS Scroobius Pip - 'Thou Shalt always Kill'
Topic: Music 2:38 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'

Los Angeles is Burning | Bad Religion
Topic: Music 8:17 pm EDT, Mar 30, 2007

Thanks to Bad Religion, there is a theme song for this. Here are the lyrics:

Somewhere high in the desert near a curtain of a blue
St. Anne's skirts are billowing
But down here in the city of the lime lights
The fans of santa ana are withering
And you can’t deny that living is easy
If you never look behind the scenery
It's showtime for dry climes
And bedlam is dreaming of rain

When the hills of los angeles are burning
Palm trees are candles in the murder wind
So many lives are on the breeze
Even the stars are ill at ease
And los angeles is burning

This is not a test
Of the emergency broadcast system
Where malibu fires and radio towers
Conspire to dance again
And I cannot believe the media Mecca
They're only trying to peddle reality,
Catch it on prime time, story at nine
The whole world is going insane

When the hills of los angeles are burning
Palm trees are candles in the murder wind
So many lives are on the breeze
Even the stars are ill at ease
And los angeles is burning

A placard reads
"the end of days"
Jacaranda boughs are bending in the haze

More a question than a curse
How could hell be any worse?

The flames are stunning
The cameras running
So take warning

When the hills of los angeles are burnin
Palm trees are candles in the murder wind
So many lives are on the breeze
Even the stars are ill at ease
And los angeles is burning

Available on iTunes.

Update: And there is even a video:

YouTube - Talking Heads - Live in Rome 1980 - Life During War Times
Topic: Music 7:32 pm EST, Mar 10, 2007

This version features a number of musicians in addition to the normal Talking Heads lineup, including King Crimson's Adrien Belew.

I love this song.

YouTube - Talking Heads - Live in Rome 1980 - Life During War Times

Topic: Music 7:47 am EST, Mar  5, 2007

Psychotropic video in the spirit of EBN. Worth checking out his Youtube page: TV Sheriff


YouTube - Front Line Assembly - Mindphaser
Topic: Music 1:15 am EST, Feb 26, 2007

Front Line Assembly's hit track 'Mindphaser' from their 1992 release 'Tactical Neural Implant'

This is one of the great hacker anthems from this period of time. I must agree with Decius, this brings back memories for me too. This album got heavy rotation from me during the BBS days of old, as well as during the wild west years of the Internet. Amid the fast paced edits in this video, my brain is filling in snapshots of irc clients on efnet, dial-up bbs systems, and unix command line prompts..

YouTube - Front Line Assembly - Mindphaser

Hip-Hop Outlaw (Industry Version) - Samantha M. Shapiro - New York Times
Topic: Music 1:30 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.

Later that night, a reporter for the local Fox TV station, Stacey Elgin, delivered a report on the raid from the darkened street in front of the studio. She announced that the owners of the studio, known professionally as DJ Drama and DJ Don Cannon, were arrested for making “illegal CDs.” The report cut to an interview with Matthew Kilgo, an official with the Recording Industry Association of America, who was involved in the raid. The R.I.A.A., a trade and lobbying group that represents the major American record labels, works closely with the Department of Justice and local police departments to crack down on illegal downloading and music piracy, which most record-company executives see as a dire threat to their business.

Kilgo works in the R.I.A.A.’s Atlanta office, and in the weeks before the raid, the local police chief said, R.I.A.A. investigators helped the police collect evidence and conduct surveillance at the studio. Kilgo consulted with the R.I.A.A.’s national headquarters in advance of the raid, and after the raid, a team of men wearing R.I.A.A. jackets was responsible for boxing the CDs and carting them to a warehouse for examination.

If anyone involved with the raid knew that the men they had arrested were two of the most famous D.J.’s in the country, they didn’t let on while the cameras were rolling. For local law enforcement, the raid on Drama and Cannon’s studio was no different from a raid they executed in October on an Atlanta factory where a team of illegal immigrants was found making thousands of copies of popular DVDs and CDs to sell on the street. Along with the bootlegged CDs, the police found weapons and a stash of drugs in the factory. (The Fox report on the DJ Drama raid included a shot of a grave-looking police officer saying, “In this case we didn’t find drugs or weapons, but it’s not uncommon for us to find other contraband.”)

Read this whole article...

Hip-Hop Outlaw (Industry Version) - Samantha M. Shapiro - New York Times

RIAA misreads Jobs' open letter on DRM, thinks he's offering to license FairPlay - Engadget
Topic: Music 12:40 pm EST, Feb  8, 2007
Apple DRM

Steve Jobs' open letter about DRM and music yesterday definitely got a lot of tongues wagging, but there's one group that might want to re-read what he wrote. Bit Player (you gotta scroll down to the bottom of the post) reports that our old friends at the RIAA issued a response today lauding Apple's offer to license FairPlay as a "welcome breakthrough" that would be a "real victory for fans, artists and labels." There's only one problem: Jobs didn't offer to license FairPlay at all. In fact, he makes it pretty clear that he thinks that switching to an open model for DRM wouldn't work ("Apple has concluded that if it licenses FairPlay to others, it can no longer guarantee to protect the music it licenses from the big four music companies.") and that the best option is to eliminate DRM altogether. We already knew that the majors are totally in denial about this stuff, but to pretend that his letter (however motivated) was anything other than a broadside against DRM is silly.

Um.. It's not April yet, is it?

Here is some more coverage from ABC News:

A recording industry group fired back Wednesday at Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs, suggesting his company should open up its anti-piracy technology to its rivals instead of urging major record labels to strip copying restrictions from music sold online.

Mitch Bainwol, chairman and chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America, said the move would eliminate technology hurdles that now prevent fans from playing songs bought at Apple's iTunes Music Store on devices other than the company's iPod.

"We have no doubt that a technology company as sophisticated and smart as Apple could work with the music community to make that happen," Bainwol said in a prepared statement.

Several analysts suggested the record companies should follow Jobs' suggestion.

"Clearly, DRM is not working," said Ted Schadler, an analyst at Forrester Research. "It sends a message to the customer that 'we don't trust you.'"

Phil Leigh, senior analyst at Inside Digital Media, suggested that removing copy restraints would give the labels' music more exposure.

"Digital music has entered the mainstream," Leigh said. "The restrictions (the labels) require Apple and others to carry are preventing the market from developing to its full potential it's retarding the growth."

RIAA misreads Jobs' open letter on DRM, thinks he's offering to license FairPlay - Engadget

DRM, Statutory Licensing, Broadcast Flags, and Satellite Radio
Topic: Music 1:37 pm EST, Feb  7, 2007

I wrote this for a class last week, before Steve Jobs made his comments. I should have posted it then, as it appears my predictions are right on target.

From the cold winds blowing down K Street, to the rains of the Pacific Northwest, one thing is becoming clear. The perfect storm the nay-sayers have long said was coming may be looming on the horizon. For those sailing the waters of digital music distribution, the visibility remains low. Undoubtedly, at least a few ships will sink before the clouds dissipate.

The 110th Congress has potential to hold a few watershed moments for the industry. The two big issues being ridden hard down K Street by industry groups such as the RIAA and CEA include changes to Section 115 of the Copyright Act, and the return of the push for the Broadcast Flag. The problems resulting from the technological change of the past decade have long passed the point where lasting solutions could be reached solely through court litigation. It’s become clear to all parties, that this is not simply a copyright enforcement problem, as much as it is architecting a paradigm shift within the industry. The first steps into legislating digital distribution were very cautious, and the time has come to tweak the law so it enables more players to get into the game, while still protecting the interests of the majors. It’s a very hard balance to strike.

Section 115 covers statutory licensing, which badly needs an upgrade to the digital age. If the statutory licensing regime is changed to cover digital downloads in the form of blanket licenses, a large number of players will jump into the scene. Many are poised and ready, and have their people on K Street too. Amazon is the perfect example. They have backed out of launching a music downloading service at the last minute several times now.

The Broadcast Flag has until recently been an issue associated with HDTV. The goal of the Broadcast Flag is to give content providers the technical means to stop consumers from time-shifting or making recordings of certain content with PRV/DVR devices like the Tivo, by making any devices that don’t obey the technical standard illegal. There has been no shortage of controversy over this, which has managed to tank all efforts so far to get a bill passed. The arrival of the next generation of XM and Sirius players has made this a music industry issue. Pioneer and Samsung now both make iPod like players that can record blocks of satellite programming and allow users to save individual songs. Like a standard MP3 player, users can also create playlists and transfer the songs back to their PC. The satellite providers have just entered the digital downloading game, and the RIAA is not amused. The lawsuits have already begun. This issue will undoubtedly become tied with proposed changes to Section 115.

If there is a thread that ties all of these issues together, it’s Digital Rights Management. T... [ Read More (0.4k in body) ]

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