(no “Man-Pris” in Philadelphia, from Flickr user jasmined)
It seems every week I have to sequester myself for the sake of a legal memo will be the week the entire music-IP world shakes apart. There’s the Sony v. Tenenbaum heating up as Rule 37 sanctions fly and various parties begin filing amicus briefs on the courtroom webcasting issue, more information coming out about how bad a year it was for CDs (and from the look of it, almost only CDs) in 2008, and of course Allen Klein continuing to screw artists from beyond the grave (or rather from beyond the day-to-day control of ABKCO) – remember the Verve “Bitter Sweet Symphony” outrage? Klein did it again, this time to Lil’ John. So much to write about. So little time.
So I leave you to other blogs this weekend. Thanks for sticking around.
The level of strange stuff that came out of this past election cycle is downright staggering. We had terrorist fist jabs, Obamagirls, nounverb9/11, drill-baby-drill, pant suits, seven houses, Trig, Mike Gravel throwing rocks in a pool… when you think about it, this is really a helluva way to pick a leader of the free world. I defer the nostalgia to this website.
One of the best things to come out of the strange stew of memes was the website Barack Obama Is Your New Bicycle. This lead to inevitable spinoffs, many of which are now departed. One that did stick around, however, adds the thrill of letting the new bicycle be you!
Should you find yourself with a severe case of insomnia and looking for something to watch tonight at midnight, may I suggest turning over to CSPAN2 to watch the rebroadcast of last Thursday’s Van Vleck Moot Court Finals, where the best and brightest oral advocates here at GWU Law argued before Justice Antonin Scalia of the US Supreme Court, Judge Marsha Berzon of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
While this may sound rather dry for a large slice of my reading audience, anyone with an interest in police search and seizure of computers or the paneling of juries based on religion may find some interesting dialogue. It’s a rare glimpse into what it’s like arguing before some of the largest judicial figures in the US.
I’m trying to confirm the authenticity of the screenshot below (I couldn’t recreate the problem myself). This picture has been bouncing all over the Internet as of last night – over at Reddit, Mashable, The Sly Oyster, etc.. If this is true, someone at Warner Music Group is going to have a hard time explaining this mistake:
Here depicts Death Cab For Cutie‘s website, which had posted a video of Death Cab For Cutie playing a song, and the video was removed by Death Cab For Cutie’s record label for copyright infringement. While it’s easy to develop a theory as to why this might happen (fan posts a music video of DCFC they recorded off of VH1, DCFC out of laziness links to that instead of posting their own, WMG files copyright claim to YouTube, YouTube complies, DCFC doesn’t change their link), it does serve as a poetic depiction of the ongoing debate artist’s interests versus record company’s interests. It also serves as fairly positive evidence that bands are okay with their songs getting onto YouTube, and it’s the record companies that are trying to squelch these postings. Given the nature of a record contract, that makes a great deal of sense. They would be the ones making royalties off of sales of these videos. And to some extent – perhaps under a labor theory of property (as we’re learning about these days) – they are also the ones that produce, record, and fund these videos. But it’d be a pretty boring video without the Gibbard/Walla love. Shouldn’t they have a say as to where their songs can and cannot be posted?
Perhaps this is an indication of a trend a few of us have been detecting over the past few years. Increasingly, artists are taking issues of production and promotion into their own hands. An action like this shows what kind of problems might arrise when two parties claim ownership to the same property. As more and more people begin to produce records on their own, and more and more times the artist and the record company’s interest feel at odds, the less relevant record companies feel.
I have a thing for Glasgow bands. This goes back to the days of Del Amitri and David Byrne (born there), through Camera Obscura and Mogwai, and right up to The Twilight Sad and, since about a week ago, Frightened Rabbit.
While we didn’t realize it growing up and starting out, my band follows(ed) the Minutemen more than any other band out there. While our songs are usually of the novelty/weird ilk, there’s a necessity-driven thriftiness about our music and performance that might best be compared to the DIY legends of San Pedro.
Conor was nice enough to post this video from the movie We Jam Econo, showing Mike Watt reminiscing about the Minutemen days, followed up by a nice cut of the three playing “History Lesson, Part II.” Back when I did a DIY/garage rock radio show on WRBB I used to end every night with this track. Enjoy.
One of the longstanding debates amongst entertainment industry folks is exactly how releasing content for free online will impact sales. Early in January we learned that Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts I-IV was the biggest-selling album on Amazon MP3 for 2008, after the first nine tracks were available online for free. Last week a federal judge dismissed the RIAA’s long held “one-download-equals-one-lost-sale” argument, in the context of a restitution action (Daniel Gross of the New York Times held the same in 2004, citing a Wharton School study). And now today BoingBoing and Mashable report that since Monty Python released the overwhelming majority of its back catalog onto their own YouTube channel, sales for Monty Python DVDs have risen by 23,000% (now no. 2 on Amazon’s TV and Movies Bestsellers list).
Will this work for everyone? To an extent, every band does this (I challenge you to find me a band that doesn’t stream a song on MySpace or somewhere else online), but it’s unclear whether or not giving away large sections of your content will boost sales for all acts. We need more brave bands to try this to see how it works when the band wasn’t famous already.
So, by now everyone else in the world has posted their Inauguration Day photos. Work here kept me a little delayed in posting this, and by now I can tell you that there are better photos to be seen out there (just take a look at Flickr). But, for those of you who might be curious, here’s how I saw the Inaugural Procession. I couldn’t stick around for the parade, sadly.
These Vodpod-processed Flickr slideshows are really finicky, so you can also see the show on Flickr itself here.
And I have some videos! I remembered my camera can do that! I posted the swearing in already, but here’s a nice shot of the crowd as soon as we cleared security. The cheering, upbeat mood of the crowd was by far the best part of the festivities.
We kept ourselves entertained waiting the eight-or-so-hours we did out in the 15-degree temperatures. It was a good time.