Saturday, June 14, 2008

Download offloads Kid Rock

We're not sure it would have been very much of a disappointment - a bit like being told the understudy was playing the rear end of the pantomime cow - but Kid Rock pulled out of Download yesterday because he was "dehydrated".

Well, it was nearly fifteen degrees yesterday.

Suede weekend: The Drowners

Oh, lord, back in 1992 how many times did we rewind and replay those strange little hand movement when this was on the Chart Show?

As debut singles-cum-declarations of intent go, the Drowners really nailed it.

[Part of the Suede weekend]

Pete Wentz: Smells nice, but avoids pink

Pete Wentz, of course, would have you believe he's some sort of sensitive, alternative type. Why, he even wears eyeliner.

He'll be a laid-back parent, won't he?

No, of course:

"I'd like to know the sex of the baby. It would be a bummer if you bought a boy a bunch of pink stuff!"

Good lord, no. Can you imagine? That might lead the kid to grow up unlike everyone else. A bit different. And that would never do.

Josh Homme is getting upset

The peaceful nature of the Norwegian Wood festival was shattered when Josh Homme got a little annoyed at someone throwing something at the stage:

"Do me one favor, though. Don't throw any shit at me. You throw something at me, I'm not so sick that I can't go down there and beat the fucking shit out of you, you know what I'm saying?! I may have a fucking 102 temperature and been puking for three days, but I'll still butt-fuck you in front of all your friends."

We're at a loss to understand why Homme's suddenly decided that sex with a celebrity is a bad thing, but it's handy to know that if you fancy a spot of anal with Joshie, all you need to do is lob something at him while he's singing.

Seriously, though: someone's thrown something at you and think that threatening to rape them is a justifiable response? There's an interesting lack of proportion.

But Josh hadn't finished:
Hey, you, right there — hey, you, with the fucking hat on! Hey, pussy! Turn around, you fucking pussy with the black hair! Turn the fuck around, you chickenshit fucking f****t! Hey, you — you fucking pussy motherfucker! I will fuck you up! C'mon up here! C'mon up here, you fucking little f****t! You know what?! Get your fucking ass up here! You're so fucking stupid you'll come up here. Lift him up so that I can kick him in the fucking face. [Throws something at the alleged 'shit-thrower'] Invisible fucking cunt. Go back to your mom's house, you 12-year-old dickless fucking turd! And his friends, you wanna throw something too or are you all cool? You're all good? You know this dickless fucking turd has no friends anyway, man. I came here for the rest of you — not for this asshole."

We've left the asterisks from Blabbermouth's report in - we usually don't, but we just thought it funny that they judged their readers to be quite happy to see motherfuckers and cunts and references to anal rape in a report, but would be upset to read the word faggot.

Leona Lewis and Amy's public disgrace

Leona Lewis loves Amy Winehouse, she does, but, oooh, that woman is a a worry with her image and all:

“A performer’s privacy is taken away. The media are always there. You can’t make your mistakes in private,” Lewis said.

“I have the advantage of a great support structure. I get honest opinions from my family and friends.

“They aren’t always telling me what I want to hear, but the truth helps keep my head straight.”

It's not as if Amy didn't have people telling her truths, either - there are very few addicts who don't have someone they've chosen to ignore as they embrace their habit.

And is Lewis really saying - as she appears to - that the problem is less that Winehouse has got substance abuse problems, than the papers write about them? "If only she could have got on smoking crack in private..."?

It's easy to blame the press for everything, but this seems a little odd. And even if somehow a crack habit is only a problem when it's in the papers (does a crack pipe smoked in the woods matter if nobody films it on a cameraphone?) then isn't Winehouse a little to blame for not exactly having tried to protect her privacy, what with the parading down streets in Camden smoking drugs, posting videos to YouTube of her doing stuff to mice, her husband beating up people in pubs and so on. The papers might have been unflinching in their stare, but she did cry "look at me" rather a lot, didn't she?

Martin actually answers an interview question

Aha. So, being asked about morbidity is some sort of journalistic trap, but questions about religion are apparently fine:

Asked in an interview with BBC 6Music, where they had come from, Martin replied: “Probably because I think you talk about things you saw a lot when you were a kid so we grew up with school assemblies, being constantly told about that kinda stuff - so it’s bound to come out.”

Y'know, some people just don't believe there's any deep philosophy behind Coldplay records and that the lyrics are just stuff that fills up the bits under the music and gives Chris Martin something to do while the band are playing.

Suede weekend: Can't Get Enough

Towards the end of the Suede experience, the 2003 Glastonbury appearance. Can't Get Enough - although, really, most of them had had enough by now:

And - sorry - I'd pasted the wrong bit in originally, which gave this, She's In Fashion from the same year:

[Part of the Suede weekend]

Happy Birthday, Pop Cop

Yesterday was the first birthday of The Pop Cop, Scotlands number one music blog. Or so they tell me.

Not entirely sure why they feel the need to have a woman's ass on their logo, but the blog itself is good reading.

RIAA: so certain of their case, they have to play sleazy

The stench of desperation from the major labels is getting so overpowering, it's like the Augean stables on a really hot day.

Their latest dirty trick? Warner had been suing a New York family, and their case had been going badly - the family were being defended by Ray Beckerman; he'd argued that unless the RIAA could prove that files had been downloaded, there were no grounds for the case.

After a long wait for judgement, Beckerman was suddenly told the RIAA had folded - weeks after they'd yanked the case.

Victory, right? Not quite: It was gamesmanship - the RIAA refiled the case, without mentioning it had previously been in court (so they'd get a softer ["different"] judge); they even diguised the case still further by pretending they didn't know the name of the family they'd previously been suing by name.

It might not be illegal, but it's certainly unethical and shows a contempt for process which is worth remembering when the RIAA starts appealing to our better natures.

[Thanks to Gareth for the tip]

Embed and breakfast man: Suede

It's a pure slice of self-indulgence this weekend, as we rummage around in the glorious past of Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler for a slew of Suede gawping.

Reading Festival, 1997: The three headliners were the Manics, Metallica - and, if you subtracted the Metallica from the Manics, you'd have Suede, who were the first climax of the weekend.

Beat the crap out of Beautiful Ones, Brett:

More video action across the weekend:
Can't Get Enough & She's In Fashion live at Glastonbury 2003
The Drowners
Trash from Top Of The Pops
The Next Life from Later With Jools Holland

Followed by Bernard Butler Monday
The Tears on Tuesday
Brett Anderson Wednesday

Suede - the timeless debut album
The Singles - all of them, no matter how questionable
Introducing The Band - their first live video, originally cranked out on VHS back in the mid-1990s, sort of half-arsedly thrown out on DVD
Love And Poison - the official biography (= not quite detailing the worst excesses)

Gordon in the morning: Critique of Pure Reason

Russell Brand is, we're told, writing a book about philosophy.

Gordon brings us the news:

BIZARRE shagger of the year RUSSELL BRAND has always had a deep love of Kant.

Yes, Gordon is attempting to do a gag that only just works when you say it out loud but in print.
That’s the 18th century German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, of course.

What else did you think?!

Because - if you say out loud, and not when it's written down - it's a bit like cunt, do you see? And Russell Brand talks about having sex a lot.

Gordon's also had "his people" mock up this, which he seems to think is a photo of Russell got up as Rodin's The Thinker but looks more like he's been slapped on a ponderous Hulk to us.

Friday, June 13, 2008

R Kelly: An innocent man, at last

Not long ago:
The jury has acquitted R Kelly of all 14 charges related to the sex video.

Gee, Noel, do you think?

Noel Gallagher went to Liverpool for his 41st birthday, reports a thrilled Liverpool Echo. Gallagher, of course, was there to genuflect:

“The Beatles were better than we'll ever be,” says the mono-browed Mancunian. “I think they were a far more innovative band than we'll ever be. The Beatles are still my heroes.”

Goodness, Noel - having ripped them off every time you've ever thought about booking studio space, never mind on record, you think they might be a bit more original than you? Really? Must... try... and... resist... urge... to... snurkle...

Eminem: Time hangs heavy

Given that Eminem has got so bored he's making spoof phonecalls to his own radio station and telling LL Cool J how much he loves him - not the way Ladies Love Cool James, of course - it's probably a good thing he's unretiring himself and making a new album.

Even if it's been created out of boredom rather than any pressing thing that needs to be said.

Lily Allen takes on Perez Hilton

If Mario Lavandeira posted something untrue about you - let's say he suggested you were no longer flavour of the month at your record label - you might be riled, but would you:

(A) Choose to ignore it
(B) Issue a brief response along the lines of "Perez is clearly losing it; clearly he's trying to keep track of so many Wannabes and Neverweres these days he hasn't got time to actually double-check his stories about anyone."
(C) Fire up MySpace and post a long, convoluted, needy rant along the lines of this:

I don't know why this has annoyed me so much. If I'm honest, it's probably because part of it is true these days I am more known for being a train wreck than a musician, and it does hurt. I've been working really hard on my new record; I don't think it sucks by the way. I haven't released a record for two years, so it's totally understandable that people don't write about my music anymore, however it's not fair to say that I'm washed up and it's not fair to make up these feuds between people. Not everyone's lives are fuelled by egos and jealousy, mine is certainly not. There was a time when Amy came out, that I was a little jealous, she has an amazing voice and writes incredible songs, what singer wouldn't be a little jealous of that, but I'd never let those feelings become unhealthy. And this is not meant in any way but I'd never heard of Katy Perry before I came here a few days ago, I didn't even know she was on Capitol, who by the way are not my label. I am signed to Regal Records in the UK and Capitol distributes my records here in America. I don't feel like I've been shoved aside for anyone, I haven't got a record out yet, so why would anyone be focusing their energies on me when there's nothing to work on! I have never been a "golden girl" and I think I visited Capitols office in New York once, about a year a half ago. I very much doubt they had a picture of me in their lobby. The point I'm trying to make is these stories are just not true. If the word reportedly exists in a story it means that it's pretty much a lie, it means they can't prove what they're writing and their just covering their backs. Perez doesn't even do this he just writes things that aren't true with no shame about it, and it's sad. I read these posts on his website about anti – bullying campaigns and all these good causes, and while I used to enjoy reading his site it seems to me that recently he has become what he hates so much, a bully. He bullies young, successful females; people usually bully people they're jealous of so I'll let you come to your own conclusion on that one. Anyway, I've got nothing against Perez personally, I don't assume to know him, what I do know is this though, he has a HUGE crush on my old manager, who I fired with a few months ago. Maybe this is his way of getting his attention or in his good books, or maybe it's because I turned down the opportunity of going on his TV show when he asked me to, or maybe because I'm friends with Samantha Ronson , who is so lovely by the way and not what Perez makes her out to be, who knows?
Anyways, I hope you'll all like my new material, if not, looks like I'll have to find something else to do.

If you answered (C), you might be Lily Allen.

The funny thing is the suggestion that Allen used to like Hilton's blog, but has now come to the conclusion that it's bullying, jealous and spiteful. What changed?

Oh, yes. He writes about Allen now in a less-than-flattering way.

Blue anew

Sky's Showbiz website is suggesting that news of Blue reforming is like Marmite, in that some people will love it, and others will hate it. They don't actually suggest anyone who's going to like the news, though - perhaps members of 2wo Third3 might be a little cheered at the prospect that seemingly anyone can get the comeback call these days.

It's not known how Lee Ryan, Duncan James, was there one called Timmy or Tony?, and the other bloke or maybe two other blokes will find time in their busy solo careers to play dates together.

"Hey, it's not a hand carwash I'm working at here", said Anthony Costas, "any guy can take the money and press the button. Providing I make the time back up later, of course."

Duncan James - who, literally, ceased to exist in this dimension the moment Blue split - said he's looking forward to being corporeal again, if only for a couple of weeks. "I just hope I can remember the tricks... were we conjurers? We were, right?"

Simon Webbe - who spent time since the band split appearing as a comedy character in the 3AM Girls column before being moved downwards to a recurring role in the Andy Capp cartoon - is also keen to get out on the road again. "I've heard Bridlington is brilliant in the summer, and I'm sure a smaller town nearby in the middle of autumn will be just as good when we play there."

Lee Ryan was unavailable for comment, but we'll try and grab a word when he pops in to fill his bucket and ring out his chamois.

Chris Martin: The arts show is killing me

We were a little surprised that Radio 4 felt that Coldplay's new album was worth a show of its own - half an hour to fill on a band whose sales might be wide but whose presence is somewhat slight seemed a bit of a risk.

It didn't help that Chris Martin flounced off nine minutes in, leaving - oh, yes - the drummer in charge:

Martin appeared uncomfortable with the interview from the outset.

When asked about a speech he made at a music awards ceremony in 2005 where he said the band would be away "for a very long time", Martin said: "I always say stupid things and I think Radio 4 is the place that will most remind me of that."

It got worse:
Presenter Wilson questioned whether the new album - full title, Viva La Vida Or Death To All His Friends - was a morbid reflection of the band's lyrical obsession with death.

"I wouldn't agree with you there at all, no," said Martin.

"I'd say you're journalistically twisting me into saying something I don't really mean."

Oh, for god's sake, man, you're the singer in a mildly diverting pop group making songs for driving Honda Civics to, and you're being asked if your music is sometimes a little glum. It's not like you're the minister for defence and are being set up for a question about weapons of mass destruction. If you'd just answered 'yes' or 'no', it's not like John Wilson was about to then hit you with allegations that your morbidity had led to the death of those dolphins in Cornwall or anything. He was trying to find something interesting about your band, and you reacted like it was a trap.

Martin only stayed a few minutes after that, although he did return at the end to add this:
"Um....yes...yes, yes....exactly..."

Which, naturally, John Wilson twisted journalistically into making Martin claim responsibility for the death of John Lennon.

Given that Martin is clearly incapable of polite conversation, why on earth did he agree to do the show in the first place?

Perhaps he just got hacked off it wasn't Mark Lawson.

Gordon in the morning: You come on just like...

Given the way she's usually linked with drugs, perhaps Gordon's Kate Moss story headline is ill-considered:

Model Moss is like Special K

The story, it turns out, is about how great she is looking now that she isn't hanging about with Pete Doherty. Charmingly, Smart seems to believe that without Pete, she'd never have come into contact with drugs at all.

It hardly merits either his face above, or the exclusive tag on it, but it's hard not to see the photos of nature refusing to be bought and bringing the cash-burning McLoughlin-Rooney nuptials to an expensively washed-out end, without a small giggle.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lesbians really just hoping for a go at Usher

You might not have realised lesbianism was a problem. That's why we should be thankful to geniuses like Usher, who not only has decided that it's down to a shortage, but also believes that he has answer. He would be the answer:

m I so much of a bad guy because I decided to get married? Am I so much of a bad guy [because once I got in the situation], I decided to stand for something, build a foundation, and think about my future? As a man, you would respect me for not turning my back on it. ... It can never be bad to have a foundation as a man — a black man — in a time when women are dying for men. Women have started to become lovers of each other as a result of not having enough men. Are you not studying the stories? Wake up! Black love is a good thing."

If only there were a few more Ushers around, there might be no need for women to be gay at all. Simple!

Of course, the only flaw in his plan is Usher is so wonderfully wonderful, he's going to not just attract women, but men as well. They won't be able to resist his charms. And with men lost to Usher love, women will be back to square one.

Shiny new band: The Lovely Eggs

Coming straight atcha from Lancaster, it's The Lovely Eggs. You might call them tweepop, but probably only if you think that that's a bad thing.

This is them doing I Like Birds But I Like Other Animals Too:

The band were on the Marc Riley show on Monday on 6 (it's not brain surgery, is it? Well, not any more, no) and you can listen to their full set again [up until Sunday night]; there's also a track appeared on their MySpace site.

Holly has had a previous pop life, as part of Angelica, who made the superb Whistle Down The Wind tribute Why Did You Let My Kitten Die?

Nadler quits Terrastock; Terrastock not happy

The gentle ping of a pissed-off press release arriving. (Actually, GMail doesn't ping, but we like to make the sound ourselves. With out mouth.)

Marissa Nadler isn't going to play Terrastock any more. And Terrastock is keen to point the finger of blame:

Kemado Records has pulled Marissa Nadler from this year's Terrastock 7 Festival.

Terrastock founder Phil McMullen has stated, "I am surprised and not a little disappointed that Marissa Nadler's record company felt it necessary to let her fans down, particularly at such short notice".

Not entirely sure it's possible to be let down a long time in advance - wouldn't that just be mild disappointment? Still, nice to see Terrastock taking it on the chin and everything.

Metallica: It was all our management's fault

Having looked like class-a chumps by forcing publications to take down reviews of an album playback session, now Metallica are trying to fix the damage by shifting blame to an out-of-touch manager's decision:

“While we occasionally enjoy reading the various comments, rumors, speculation, reviews, gossip and all the good that the internet brings, rarely do we feel the desire/need to respond to the “blogosphere” . . . hey, everyone is entitled to have their thoughts and opinions, right? However, once we re-surfaced on Tuesday after a few weeks on tour in Europe, we were informed that someone at Q Prime (our managers) had made the error of asking a few publications to take down reviews of the rough mixes from the new record that were posted on their sites. Our response was “WHY?!!! Why take down mostly positive reviews of the new material and prevent people from getting psyched about the next record. . . that makes no sense to us!”” So after a few rounds of managerial ear spank and sentencing everyone at Q Prime to 20 push-ups each, we figured why not take matters into our own hands and just post the links here on our site. Kerrang, Metal Hammer, The Quietus.

“You see, we have maintained an “in the press” section here on for many years now, posting links to reviews of shows, album and DVD releases, and various other tidbits we’ve come across while surfing around. Some good, some not so good, but we put ‘em all up . . . sort of the same way we treat our message boards on this site . . . welcoming all feedback.

“So in the spirit of keeping this section current, we’ve put as many of the reviews of the rough mixes of the new record up here as we could find. If we missed any, let us know . . . and in the meantime, we’re always adding, so peruse at your leisure.”

Aha. So they were unaware of any of this going on because they were, erm, in Germany. Damn, if only that country could get on the internet, they could remain in almost daily touch with their management team and find out what they were doing in their name, eh?

Going well for the Ting Tings

America seems to be taking the Ting Tings to its heart: they've just announced they're extending their tour. (NB: Dates below are in American format - i.e. wrong)

06/21/08 Philadelphia, PA Popped
07/22/08 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
07/25/08 Providence, RI Club Hell
07/26/08 Albany, NY Valentine's
07/27/08 Brooklyn, NY McCarren Park Pool w/MGMT & Black Moth Super Rainbow
07/30/08 Kansas City, MO City Market w/Gnarls Barkley & Black Lips
07/31/08 St. Louis, MO The Bluebird
08/02/08 Chicago, IL Lollapalooza
08/04/08 Minneapolis, MN Varsity
08/06/08 Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theatre

All their other dates are sold out. Bouncers, generally, won't take kindly to you trying to sneak in by guessing a name that might be on the list and then saying "no, that's not my name..." and then trying again.

When is a leak not a bad thing?

Curious: while in the UK, a bloke's just been arrested for selling promos on eBay, and in the US Universal has dragged someone to court for the same reason, Pat Monaco, executive Vice President of Sales at the Universal Monaco has been suggesting that the leak of Lil Wayne's album onto the net was a positive boon to sales:

"The accounts were bullish by 10 in the morning," reports Pat Monaco, exec VP of sales for the Universal Motown Republic Group. "The sales the first few hours were exceeding the rate that the Kanye album sold a year ago." (That one ended up selling 957,000 the first week; nothing has come close since.) "Wayne was one of these records that, because it was so highly anticipated, with the leaks and everything, it caused more people to go out at 8 in the morning to buy the CD."

Even more curious: both Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider blog and Undercover music news were carrying this quote earlier in the day, but it's disappeared from both.

[Thanks to Joe for the story tip]

US court: Promos belong to the owner, not the labels

Another little humiliation for the major labels: The case brought by Universal against an eBay seller of second-hand promos has been tossed out of court by the judge:

Dismissing the American case, US District Court Judge S James Otero said that Mr Augusto was protected by the "first sale" doctrine in copyright law.

This says that once a copyright owner gives away a copy of a CD, DVD or book, the recipient is entitled to sell it on.
Record companies have long maintained that they continue to own these items and can ask for them back at any time.

They can be recognised by markings such as "For promotional use only" or "Not for resale", visible on the record or CD artwork and sometimes on the disc label itself.

But the judge said that such labelling did not alter the legal position.

This also means that writing "this belongs to ME" on someone else's stuff doesn't mean it becomes yours.

Lesson one: Queuing

Auditioning for the X-Factor isn't that tricky, you'd have thought: stand around in a queue for ages - with a bit of waving at a camera; then have your dreams pissed over with a differing level of public humiliation.

Even so, apparently now you can do a course in going on the X Factor. You even get a diploma, although we suspect it might not count towards entry on a degree-level course.

The affectionate punch

Florence And The Machine's debut single, Kiss With A Fist came out on Monday and is already fetching ten quid second hand. It's also attracting some raised eyebrows, prompting a defence of the song on the band's blog:

leona lewis's bleeding love isn't actually about her bleeding.
this isnt really about punching someone in the face. thank you and goodnight.

Judge for yourself (not Leona Lewis):

Metallica didn't mean for you to listen

Here's a question: if you invite journalists to listen to a playback session, and don't actually ask them to sign a non-disclosure agreement (or even mention that it's meant to be a big secret), should you be surprised when the journalists publish a report on the evening?

Exactly. And yet Metallica were, flying into a squawking rage when they discovered reviews of the music they'd played to journalists were online, and issuing "requests" for take down (which we gather to be of a 'nice-place-shame-if-something-happened' nature) to the websites that were carrying the pieces.

The official explanation is that the songs were "unfinished" and so it would be unfair to review them - although if the songs were so far from ready, why would you play them to people whose jobs are writing about the songs they've been played?

More likely is that the reviews were somewhat lukewarm: Blinded By The Hype saw the Quietus piece before they dropped it to protect their writer:

The Quietus contributor "Bob Mulhouse" is circumspect about the album's prospects, saying, "This album could be good, or it could be mediocre – too much depends on the other four songs to make a call at this point."

Not, perhaps, the ringing endorsement Metallica were hoping for. Maybe the other reviews were more excited, but then - since Metallica have rushed about having all memory of them wiped from the web - we'll never know, will we?

[Thanks to Sebastian Robinson for the story tip]

Cliq... off... gone

Cliq, the much-trumpeted system which would allow digital radio listeners buy the tracks they were listening to, has been dumped by Unique. They're blaming a shortage of DAB-enabled mobile phones.

It might also be that the radio stations they were embedded into - Heart and Heat and Smooth - just weren't playing music compelling or surprising enough to persuade people to buy on the spot. It was on Magic, for example. If you hear a song you like on Magic, you don't have to enter into a transaction with a mobiel device; you just pick up a compilation CD at the petrol station.

And the system itself was a little more complex than the promised 'one click to buy' proposition:

Listeners can access the CLIQ service by texting CLIQ or the name of the radio station to 78901. Once they have installed the free application on their mobile phone they can then select their chosen station and song they wish to purchase. A confirmation message will direct them to where, once registered, they will be able to download their first track for FREE. To buy more songs, they will need to top up their personal CLIQ account – this can be done both online and on their mobile phone. Tracks will cost £1.25.

It's probably no more complex than it had to be, with its dream of distributing on mobiles via java applets, but assuming the sort of person who'd be interested in the service would have online music store access already, why would they go through the fiddly stuff just to buy a more expensive version of a song they could find on iTunes? Especially when you have to pay in advance for the track?

Having sunk a bunch of cash in developing the system - although nothing on updating the Cliq website since launch - UBC are making noises that they'll keep the technology, with a view to deploying it in a disappointing way in the future. Closure is a £1.1million hit; they're saving themselves £1.2m annual losses, according to figures in the FT.

SeeTickets hail failed Glastonbury ticket process as success

The permanent revolution of joy that is the Glastonbury PR machine has hailed yet another victory, with SeeTickets placing a spun story to Gigwise hailing a "70% increase" in ticket sales, week-on-week, for the festival:

Martin Fitzgerald, the general manager of Seetickets, the festivals official ticket agency, told Gigwise that the renewed “buzz and excitement” was inevitable.

“People realise that they don’t want to be watching it on TV, wishing they were there, they actually want to be there and experience the festival in all it’s glory,” Fitzgerald said.

“A lot of people were telling us that they were desperate to go but just couldn’t afford it at the moment. Being allowed to book by Credit Card has certainly helped some people.”

Interestingly, Fitzgerald doesn't reveal how many tickets he's actually talking about - it could be last week they sold ten, and this week they've sold seventeen; if they were selling tickets in their hundreds last week then the situation was worse than anyone had imagined.

Still, it's amusing to watch a company responsible for flogging tickets for a festival with a recent tradition of selling out in hours trumpeting that they've still got loads to sell a few days before the event. Victory, comrades, it's all victory.

Sebadoh's Bubble redoubled

The process of re-releasing upgraded versions of Sebadoh's back catalogue has reached Bubble and Scrape. As part of its brush-up, the album is getting a second disc's worth of extra acoustic and demo stuff strapped on.

Here's a slice of what to expect - track 10, Emma Get Wild, being strung out live during the band's 2007 reunion tour:

Something to listen to: The Hold Steady

Currently on the Hold Steady's MySpace - all of their new album, streaming for free.

Coolio in trouble

As Warren G discovers that he won't be facing any further action over his drug-filled car journey, so another faded name from the hip-hop past finds himself in trouble: Coolio was pulled over for driving his Hummer with a suspended licence. He's been released on bail.

Slightly foxed

Back when you bought proper things when you wanted music, misproduced versions of records quickly became valuable as 'bad' copies were withdrawn and replaced with 'correct' editions. It's hard to see a market developing for digital downloads that were released with flaws in the production, but who knows?

We can find out now, because SubPop have confessed to an error on one of the tracks on the new Fleet Foxes album on iTunes:

[T]he version of “He Doesn’t Know Why” from the brand-new, self-titled Fleet Foxes album that was available from the iTunes Music Store had two audio drop-outs.

The other interesting question is: how do you return a non-functioning AAC track to Apple? Is there a process like the one where you'd lug a faulty album back to the shop, and then stand there while the manager of the store plays the track in question on his deck to see if you're telling the truth?

It turns out not, so Sub Pop have come up with an adhoc solution:
We apologize profusely for this inconvenience and would like to hereby offer a free MP3 of that song to anyone who would like it. Please accept both this song and our apologies for the mistake.

It's a generous gesture, although if you'd paid for a file that didn't work and discovered that the solution is for everyone to be given it for free, you might wonder if you've been compensated or played for a sucker.

That mp3 in full, then: He Doesn't Know Why - Fleet Foxes.

Gordon in the morning: On two legs

In the paper, Gordon's big news this morning is Chris Martin has a problem with his knee which, everyone hopes, won't give him trouble on the tour. It's a bit slight, but - with deft use of pun and aimless speculation - can it be turned into a lead story?

Viva La Knee-da

Kneed singer

I wonder if it has anything to do with his new found fondness for trampolining?

No,it turns out puns and fingers in the air can't turn it into a proper story. But maybe 'man hurts leg' could be dressed up with some amusing song titles?
Here are five songs Chris ought to be singing if he makes it to Monday’s show:

1 X-Ray & Y
2 Fix You
3 Crocks
4 Rush Of Blood To The Leg
5 Strawberry Sling

Perhaps wisely, for the web, Gordon's column is leading on something else.

Perhaps unwisely, it's yet another report from the Wayne Rooney pre-nuptial events - the couple have thrown a masked ball. To be fair to Gordon, he's not responsible for the writing on the piece, but you'd have thought he'd have read the limping opening paragraph and spiked it, rather than promoting it:
WAYNE ROONEY chats with a pretty blonde in a MASK — and could be forgiven for thinking it’s his bride-to-be COLEEN MCLOUGHLIN.

The article - and, indeed, the "rib-tickling" caption - builds from this vague possibility that, because the woman was wearing a tiny mask, Rooney might have thought it was Coleen and got confused, and the trouble that might have followed. This despite the mask being so poor at hiding the identity of the woman Rooney was talking to that even the Sun could tell it wasn't McLoughlin looking at her on a grubby long-lens shot.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Burnham: Music business is like a canary

PaidContent UK has picked out some choice chunks from Andy Burnham's speech to the Convergence Think Tank last night, including this bit:

"The music industry has been the canary in the internet coal-mine in terms of the consequences of piracy and illegal file-sharing. There is a lot of thinking yet to be done on this question. But we have signalled in our creative economy programme that if the policy and creative industry insiders don't solve this problem, we will bring the same values of the real world – the values that say shoplifting of a CD is unacceptable - to the internet."

Hmm. As we observed earlier, Sony-BMG is worth some three billion dollars, which is a pretty healthy looking canary.

Burnham's metaphor is wrong, though: it assumes that there's no reason why the old companies shouldn't suddenly be in the middle of a totally new industry and still doing as well as they were in their old industry. It's like assuming that the companies which used to deliver coal should suddenly have transformed into gas distribution when natural gas started to be piped to homes with no loss of equity or profitability. In effect, if you want to see the music industry as the test for something in the new economy, they're the first fish on land - they might evolve beyond gills or they might not. But there's no reason to assume that they must do so.

It's also slightly uncomfortable seeing Burnham just blithely slap on the "stealing a CD" metaphor, like he's reading from a script prepared for him by EMI. Apart from being hackneyed (Burnham effectively covering a five-year old Britney Spears routine - perhaps he'll cover himself in Pleather and do I Did It Again for us next), it's philosophically suspect. People don't take CDs from shops because depriving people of their physical property feels wrong - the morality seems pretty clear-cut, and certainly the 'not thieving stuff' impulse wasn't 'brought' to us by government. It's just there. All the government can do is get involved when someone deviates from the generally accepted line that it's wrong to do so.

Downloading a file you might not have paid for from the internet isn't transgressive of the same moral code, though, is it? However much the music industry might wish it was, however much they may get their stooges in parliament to squeak that it is, people really don't view it like a bad thing in quite the same way. Cheeky, perhaps - like nipping in to a parking space someone else had clearly been waiting for - but not a bad wrong. And, much as the government might like to, it's not in a position to change that viewpoint. Given they're attempting to bring in a form of internment even while I'm writing this, it's probably no surprise that Burnham believes he can do so, but you'd hope that he's wise enough to know his time would be better spent trying to find ways to encourage artists to make money in the world we live in, rather than protecting conglomerate's interests from a world we have flown.

Code: Red for Redfest

Another festival collapses: RedFest is off:

: "Due to the very disappointing tickets sales we have had no choice but to call the festival off. We are truly sorry to those of you who have bought tickets and thank you all for your support. Please contact your ticket agent who will arrange a refund."

Still, nice to see them fessing up that nobody was very much interested in the festival rather than attempting it blame on otter-infestation on the site or not having booked Rage Against The Machine.

George Michael needs a rest

As befits a man who often pulls his car over to one side of the road - or possibly not even that - when he feels the need for a nap coming on, George Michael has announced plans to take things more easily.

He's going to retire from touring after playing a couple of London dates later this year.

This follows on from the announcement several years ago by nearly everybody that they were retiring from going to watch George Michael playing live.

A figure to consider

When record labels tell you that file-sharing is undermining their business, you might want to wonder how Bertelsmann can therefore be valuing their 50% of Sony-BMG at $1.5billion. Either times are so hard it requires criminal prosecution of their wayward foes, or a major label is worth three billion dollars. Can't be both, can it?

Brett Anderson: The Wilderness Years

Brett Anderson has got a new album due later this year, called Wilderness. It's actually going to be available on the torrents far in advance of the official release, though, as everyone who goes to see him play London next month will be given the tracks on a USB drive.

Perhaps the title Wilderness has been inspired by the reaction to last year's self-titled debut?

Although we thought it was pretty good, it never really attracted the attention is deserved. Judge for yourself. This is the single, Love Is Dead:

Franz Ferdinand chained to the mixing desk

The new Franz Ferdinand album won't be in the shops in time for Christmas. (Or, for those of you born after 1990, the new FF album won't be uploaded into secure retail space before Christmas).

Alex Kapranos is still putting it together. And they need to come up with a new name:

“We were gonna call it 'Bite Hard' at one point because there was a song called 'Bite Hard' and we weren’t gonna use that as a song, but liked the phrase,” he said.

“It’s quite suggestive but apparently in the States if you say something ‘bites’ it means it sucks, so if something bites hard, it sucks really badly. So we thought; ‘No we’ll choose another title.’”

We're surprised that Alex didn't know that - do British people really go to the US unaware of local idiom that's been filtered through a thousand films and songs? Would Alex have a driving holiday in Idaho scuppered because he couldn't find a petrol station - "they only seem to be selling gas, and this is a diesel car..."?

The Daily Mail tries to write about Emo again

They came in their hordes to London town, to demand fair coverage of Emo in the Daily Mail. And, to be fair, the Mail probably thinks its story today about a thirteen year-old who killed himself is somehow sympathetic and a fine example of balance.

After all, the headline suggests that Emo kids can be victims, too:

Boy, 13, 'hanged himself after he was bullied on Bebo for being a fan of Emo music'

But the story underneath doesn't really support that claim. Indeed, the Mail seems confused if this is an 'internet is bad' story or a 'music cult' story, and fails to really offer any conclusive evidence that the suicide was because he was being bullied about his musical tastes, or even that he was an Emo kid in the first place:
Sam was a fan of alternative rock bands such as the Foo Fighters and Slipknot, as well as so-called Emo music championed by bands such as Blink 182 and Good Charlotte.

Blink 182? Admittedly, they had a song called Emo, but they weren't actually an Emo act, were they? And doesn't this make it sound like Sam liked Emo amongst a wider range of Zane Lowe style bands.

And his fashion wasn't quite emo, either:
'He was into his appearance and often wore his black skinny jeans. He was an alternative dresser and I think other teenagers did used to make comments about that.'

"Often wears black jeans" again sounds more like seeking evidence he was an Emo kid rather than a compelling piece of proof.

The tragedy is there's no real need for the paper to find an Emo peg to hang the tale on - an unhappy child has killed himself, it may have been partly because other children were picking on him. Admittedly, had he not had a couple of Good Charlotte records in his collection the Mail would probably not even have mentioned his death at all; something you might feel would have been better from his family's point of view.

And while the Mail tries to look sympathetic at the idea of a child ostracised for his taste in music, it can't resist dropping the 'suicide cult' hint in at the end of the piece:
Sam's death comes a month after the inquest of Hannah Bond, also 13, who also hanged herself from her bunk bed after becoming obsessed with the Emo genre.

The inquest heard Hannah had started cutting her arms and told her parents it was part of an 'Emo initiation' two weeks before her death last September.

It's wrong for children to pick on Emo fans and make them feel like they're weirdos who are not part of the community. It's fine, though, for a national newspaper to do the same.

Injunction unction, what was your function?

Back in April, the BPI warned that if the Internet Service Providers hadn't signed up to the three-strikes-and-out policy by the 18th, they'd be issuing an injunction. Of some sort. Against somebody.

If that was meant to be the big threat to bring the ISPs into line, didn't really work, did it? Indeed, it just made the BPI look like the sort of bully who is all huff and puff but without any blowing your house down. Surely there must be someone there who understands that it's not conducive to positive negotiations to threaten the other party if they don't agree.

It's now looking like even the BPI are giving up on the three strikes idea - David Jennings points out that the first agreement between the BPI and an ISP is a little less strict:

Four months on, and it's interesting to see how a BPI deal with the Virgin Media ISP is being reported. The deal is for an "education campaign" that will see users who share files illegally receive, not a warning or a disconnection notice, but "practical advice on how to prevent internet account misuse, links to legitimate sites and the potential dangers… of viruses and spyware." This last quote is from Music Week coverage, which hails it as "a giant leap forward in [the BPI's] efforts to stop illegal file-sharing on the internet by signing a landmark deal" (my emphasis). I don't know about you, but after all that sabre-rattling, sending out letters politely informing criminals (in heavy quote marks) that there are alternatives to crime seems like quite a comedown.

It's also worth noting that the ISP they've done the deal with is Virgin, one of only two UK service providers to have a major interest in a serious content creation business (the other being B Sky B), and thus perhaps with a bigger interest in the question of unauthorised content.

Darkness at 3AM: What is point?

We're still puzzling over today's Wicked Whisper:

Which unlikely heartthrob has ended up in a love triangle with someone he works with, an engaged lady and a kids' TV presenter?

Not who it is, but how he, a colleague, a fiancée and TV presenter can be in a triangle. Or how a triangle can have four points.

Perhaps that's why they're still called 3AM even though there's two of them. Maybe even small numbers are hard to count.

As opposed to what?

"I spent an entire career at the major labels," [Larry] Jenkins [head of CBS Records] said, "and I learned a lot of what to do -- and a lot of what to avoid. I thought, 'What if we went into this where we'll only sign artists who are really talented?"

... but then we just carried on signing the ones who looked good in hotpants.

[via Music for Maniacs]

They reckon everyone's got a short attent

It really is enough to make you weep:

The pace of 21st century life means that young music fans do not have time to listen to their favourite songs in their entirety, according to new research.

Some 44 per cent of British music fans will only listen to a song for 30 seconds before skipping to a new track, while one in five women aged 18-24 hit the 'next' button after less than 20 seconds of a song.

And according to a new survey carried out by Sony Ericsson, the impatience of young listeners is also evident in music sales, with the majority of consumers purchasing single tracks rather than albums.

Obviously nobody at Sony Ericsson bothered to check - or perhaps they opened up Google but couldn't be arsed to follow through - what used to happen in the past, when singles would sell millions and albums hundreds of thousands, suggesting that even in the 1960s the majority of consumers bought singles rather than albums.

And why would you conclude that the difference in sales between singles and albums is because of short-attention spans anyway? Isn't it more likely that people - given the opportunity to choose - people will just buy the songs they like rather than a whole heap of stodgy filler?

The magic goes out of Chris Martin's balls

The entertainment web was thrilled yesterday with Chris Martin's promise that the Coldplay tour was going to feature "magic balls" - delighted, presumably, that there'd be something to look at other than Chris Martin making a few more quid every second.

It seems, though, that the balls might not be quite so magic after all: Production difficulties with the tour means the US dates are being postponed.

Gordon in the morning: The last temptation of Pete

It's a sign that it might be time for Pete Doherty to think about retiring from the public view when even Gordon Smart can take the piss out of him. Doherty's new project - being turned into a sculpture depicting him as Christ - is an open goal:

The “disturbing artwork” will be carved in marble and show Doherty being tortured, surrounded by strips of newspapers — symbolising his crucifixion by the media.

Because of course the supermodel-shagging, paparazzi-baiting friend of AMY WINEHOUSE hates having his ugly mug in the paper.

He apparently believes everyone’s out to get him.

Which, of course, everyone is, but then Pete - this sort of thing makes it quite easy for those who want to knock you.

No word yet on if Carl Barat is going to be done as John The Baptist.

Talking of everyone being out to get Pete, Bizarre also hosts a story by Lynsey Haywood which claims that Blake Fielder-Civil offered someone twenty grand to have Doherty "smashed to pieces". Unlike most of the stories the Sun runs from inside prison, this one actually has a name attached to it:
He approached ex-bouncer Richard Lyttle, on remand for murder but since released without charge.

Wouldn't you have already been charged if you were on remand? We know the important thing is that Haywood was released without coming to trial, but it's still a little sloppy.

Lyttle suggests that he Fielder-Civil offered the money to him after "seeing a picture of a dazed Amy in The Sun". It's almost as if the paper is proud of its role in an attempt to solicit a violent assault. Wonder if they'd have been so keen to plump up their own role if Doherty had been seriously disabled?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Universal attempt product placement

More signs of big labels trying to seem hip but missing: Universal are playing host to a drama being shot for Bebo, The Secret World of Sam King. The London offices of the label and some of its artists will be used to add veracity to the tale, featuring a bloke running a secret record label from within his day job with a 'proper' record label.

How does Universal think this is going to reflect well on them? Either King is going to be a success, a genius whose skills are being overlooked - which means Universal haven't got a clue what they're doing - or else he doesn't know what he's doing, which means Universal is employee bunglers. Did they think this one through, either?

Ashanti discovers what lays beyond questionable taste

R&B videos in questionable taste? Nothing new. Ashanti - and those fun-loving guys from Universal - have decided to go a step beyond, and to try and push her new single with unquestionably bad test.

Their marketing ploy is based around claiming that, erm, commercial hip hop is responsible for a crime spree.

Yes, that's right.

There's a fake news report:

At a news conference this morning, Detective John Kimble of the District of Columbia State Police stated that officials were shocked to discover the message "Black children will die" near the body. Authorities suspect this individual may be the next victim in this disturbing crime spree, but have been unable to reach anyone by that name. She is believed to be romantically linked to the suspect. Whilst unwilling to discuss specific evidence, Kimble stated that investigators have named one Commercial Hip Hop as the prime suspect.

Ha-ha! Mutilated corpses and what sounds like a Ku Klux Klan to do list. What could be more jolly for selling records?
Police fear Commercial Hip Hop may be planning to "Smash him up with a sledgehammer.." Authorities have already expressed apprehension at the pending release of Ashanti's album The Declaration, on June 3rd, fearful that the Music Video for the song, "The Way That I Love you" will only lead to more violence.

Yes. Somebody who is paid to write adverts thought that suggesting the launch of the album might lead to mutilated corpses turning up all over town was the way to go.

Edith Bowman: It's a boy

That's not Edith who's a boy. It's what she's given birth to, her and Tom from Editors. Congratulations all round.

[UPDATE: That'd be the proper link now, then]

Plimsole company ups sell-out stakes

Advertising. It's tricky, isn't it? Do you accept cash from advertisers, or do you starve?

Still, at least it's possible to take the money and still retain some of your dignity. Sometimes. Though that's not what Santogold, Pharrell and Julian Casablancas have done, taking the cash and doing a wouldn't-have-happened-without-the-ad collaboration for Converse:

Geoff Cottrill, chief marketing officer for Converse, said "My Drive Thru" ties in comfortably with Converse's heritage of aligning with the independent minded. "We call them optimistic rebels," he said. "They're the core of what our brand stands for -- being an advocate and catalyst for creativity. ... We wanted these guys to come together, create a piece of music and share it with anyone who wanted it."

The independent minded who all wear the same shoes and the optimistic rebels who make a song because a multinational company pay them money. Yes, we've heard of them.

You can hear the song on stereogum but, really, we'd recommend you choose your own shoes and give it a miss.

Nick Jago: I'm fired

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have parted with their drummer. Of that, there is no doubt. The question is, though, was he sacked, or has he been sort-of passively-aggressively forced out?

Jago believes he's been fired:

“I just had dinner with Rob and Pete and, well, I'm not in the band anymore.

“They presented it to me like they need a break, I took it as I am fired again and to be honest with you I respect their decision. I don't make it easy for them.”

“I hope to be able to play with them again in the future as a reunion as there is really no bad feeling other than we all wanna be happy and right now we are not.

"Maybe playing drums for BRMC all the time is not my calling and there is something else I'm supposed to do. We will see.”

It's hard to believe that someone's calling could be doing anything other than playing drums for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

The rest of the band, meanwhile, tell a slightly different story:
“It's true, Nick wont be joining us for the upcoming European tour but it's not true that he is fired.

“We just feel Nick needs time to sort out exactly what he wants right now. His heart and all his energy and attention is on his own solo project and he needs to see that through.

“We welcome his singing and songwriting in BRMC, but his focus, at least at the present time, is on doing his own thing and we wish him the best.

“He is our brother, our musical partner, and we love him dearly and look forward to playing with him again in the future.”

In the future. Not now, though. Bloody hell, no, not right now.

Madonna: Now I'm a director

Despite the, uh, cool reaction to Filth and Wisdom, Madonna has decided that she is a direc-tor rather than a actress:

[N]ow I've tasted directing. It's like Eve and the apple, I have to have a second bite. If you're an actress, it's not your vision.

"The director tells the story, you are the chess piece that is moved around. That doesn't suit my personality."

Eve's second bite of the apple? Wasn't the point that she persuaded Adam to take a bite? And wasn't eating the apple kind of a bad thing anyway, what with how it lead to expulsion from paradise for all humankind. Did she never pay attention in church?

If Madonna didn't really feel comfortable acting - and, clearly, she didn't - then how come she kept making such bloody awful films?

MTV in trouble again

Given the huge fine levied against MTV for constant swearing and daytime rudery, you'd at least think they're being more careful now.

Unfortunately, not so. Indeed, in the same edition of the Ofcom report which details the fine, the very next item is, erm, a slap on the wrist for MTV's Freeview service TMF:

This programme contained several instances of graphic sexual discussion, for example David Gest asked if he could use the word ‘cunnilingus’ and then gave a description of how he had performed it. There was also a conversation about penis size and the age and way in which one interviewee started "wanking". Ofcom considers that this material was inappropriate for the time of broadcast when children were likely to be watching and that it was not justified editorially.

To be honest, David Gest acting out cunnilingus is probably inappropriate for anyone with eyes.

The complaints against the programme actually were considered as part of the decision to fine MTV, and to be fair that's the reason why it appears next to the sanction report in the Ofcom bulletin.

Also in this month's round-up of regulatory fun, Ofcom returns to GCap's Ocean FM station in Southampton. Back in November, the radio company was given a yellow card because it was ignoring its licence requirement to play mainly new, adult contemporary music. Then, it was barely managing one out of every twenty tracks from the last twelve months. How is it doing now?
In its January 2008 sampling, Ofcom noted that Ocean FM was now playing a considerably higher proportion of current tracks than during the previous sampling period in October 2007. However, while there had been an improvement in January 2008, the three days of monitored output revealed that tracks from the past twelve months still accounted for less than half of the station’s music output. We could not, therefore, take the view that Ocean FM was providing the listener with “predominately” current tracks, as the Format required.

We also noted that Ocean FM was continuing to play a significant number of rock tracks that could not be considered Adult Contemporary. Such rock tracks included
Muse/Starlight; Arctic Monkeys/Fluorescent Adolescent; Foo Fighters/Long Road To Ruin; Killers/Read My Mind; The Who/Squeezebox; The Jam/That’s Entertainment.

The overall effect was to continue to give the station an older-leaning, rock-oriented
feel which we consider remained at odds with Ocean FM’s core Format promise and so reduced the overall choice available to listeners in South Hampshire.

So, that's being caught breaching the promise twice. So what are Ofcom going to do?

Um... come back in three months and sample again - having spent some time pondering the meaning of "mainly" and listening to GCap's explanation that they're tagging the music in their library with "genres" (just like on iTunes) to make sure that South Hampshi'ites have somewhere to turn without being hit by too much rock music. And if they haven't sorted it out by autumn, why... Ofcom will be really cross then.

Radiohead must be kicking themselves, reckon U2

You or I might have thought that by any measure, Radiohead's In Rainbows experiment was a bit of a success - demonstrating that some people will pay for something they perceive as having value, even if they don't have to; selling a large number of physical CDs; zooming to number one; generating a massive surge in free publicity.

We're wrong, though. It "backfired" to some extent. So reckons Paul McGuiness, manager of U2 and increasingly one of the most conservative voices in the music industry. How so, Paul?

The majority of fans who downloaded In Rainbows ignored the band's website and acquired it illegally by other means, Paul McGuinness told BBC 6 Music.

"Sixty to 70% of the people who downloaded the record stole it anyway, even though it was available for free."

Can you steal something that's being made available for nothing anyway? This alone shows how caught up in the 1980s McGuiness' thinking is - while Radiohead took a relaxed attitude to the album, and effectively separated out the concept of 'owning' a recording and rewarding the artists, McGuinness is convinced that people sharing a record are "stealing" it simply because the files aren't coming from the official website. But if Radiohead had been bothered about that, they'd have slapped DRM on, wouldn't they?

It's also far from clear where this "sixty to seventy per cent stole it anyway" figure comes from. It's possible McGuinness has some secret figures he's quoting; it's possible he simply plucked a figure out the air. Or, it's possible he's got confused and is thinking of the 62% figure of people who downloaded the record without paying from the official site. But that wouldn't be stealing, because they were allowed to.

But let's assume that he's actually not got his statistics mangled, and take them at face value. Even if 70% of people who downloaded the album got it off bittorrent, how does this make the experiment one which "backfired"? Even if In Rainbows had had a U2-approved proper release, with a cardboard cut-out of Thom Yorke in every HMV and a tie-up with iTunes, wouldn't the record still have wound up on the torrents? Wouldn't a large number of people still obtained it without Radiohead getting a penny?

Of course, McGuinness is keen for everyone to think that the experiment was a terrible disaster for all concerned - because he's got a vested interest in the status quo. That's the latin sense of status quo; we wouldn't want to suggest that Paul McGuinness makes his money managing a band who are still coasting on one good idea they had a few decades ago:
"We will obviously work with whatever technology is available to make the release of the new record as interesting as possible," he added.

"[But] for U2, physical sales are still an enormous part of our business and we still sell a lot of actual CDs."

He seems to have missed the whole 'physical sales of In Rainbows going to number one' part of the experiment, doesn't he?

R Kelly trial: Defence concludes "It wasn't me" defence

We're a bit confused about the R Kelly defence team at the trial - we could understand adopting a 'it wasn't me on the video' line, or a 'the video has been altered to make it look like me' approach. But can you really say "that doesn't even look like me, and it's been altered to look like me"?

We'll find out soon - the defence team have rested their case after concluding with what seemed to be a session pitching for the best animated short at next year's Oscars:

Defense expert Charles Palm made the clip from a section of the sex tape at the center of the case, using special effects to illustrate how easy it is to digitally manipulate video. The defense hopes Palm can successfully refute the evidence of prosecution expert Grant Fredericks, who said that the tape could not have been digitally altered. Parts of the media have dubbed this the "Little Man Defense" or the "Wayans Defense."

The clip showed the couple on the tape having sex in what the state says is the hot tub room at Kelly's former home. Their bodies slowly become transparent, then slowly reappear. Then their heads slowly disappear until their two headless bodies are romping. At one point, the man on the tape - his head intact - appears to be having sex with a headless woman.

The heads come and go "like ghosts" on the manipulated tape Palm said.

Much hangs on a mole which may or may not appear on the man's back in the video. Prosecution belief is that it's Kelly's mole; the defense suggests it's "artefacts on the recording" which come and go.

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet

Thanks to RadioEdit who Twittered me to mention John Crace's Gordon Smart baiting Random Bizarre Generator from yesterday's MediaGuardian:

Dreary Coldplay frontman CHRIS MARTIN is in town to promote his new album, Viva La Vida.

I obviously haven't heard it and GWYNETH PALTROW's better half has got far better things to do than waste time talking to me, but his publicist tells me I can make up any old quote I like.

"The new album is the best thing we've ever done," CHRIS tells me exclusively over a Bacardi Breezer in my fantastic south London bedsit. "The fans are going to love it."

Nixey delights

This here is the video for Sarah Nixey's new single, Le Temps De L'Amour, which is due for release (in America, at least) a week today. It not only features her atop a mountain, but also singing in French. [Warning: Video contains microlight aircraft]

No dough-erty

Let's take a closer look at Pete Doherty's money situation, by reading the same article that Gordon lifted his piece from on the MTV News site.

It's been clear for a while - since, ooh, the publication of that book - that Doherty has started to see his fanbase as a well from which money can be drawn, regardless of how leaky the bucket might be. He's now actually vocalising that, though:

“We’ve got a few concerns at the moment over issues with management, where the money has been going (and) distribution of wealth.”

Bandmate Drew McConnell then asked “Do we?” before the wayward singer continued:

“We need to sit down as a band and talk about the future. What’s happening and why, when and who with. Two years of arseing about, we could actually make money out of this job.”

The appearance of 'distribution of wealth' in that quote might be sending chills through some members of the entourage.

Given what Doherty actually does with his money, you might feel that he's actually better off having other people take it away from him first.

Gordon in the morning: Rolling Cole again

After Ashley Cole started his legal action against The Sun for invading his privacy, Gordon went a little quiet on the Tweedy-Cole marriage. Having banged on and on about it for what felt like weeks, all of sudden - if it got mentioned at all - it'd be a single line, muttered in the middle of some other article about Girls Aloud.

This morning, though, Smart is leading with one of those articles that isn't really an article but just an advert for a magazine - Hello, in this case - which contains a surprising reference to the marriage he was calling time on earlier in the year:

Chelsea star Ashley has been bombarding heartbroken beauty Cheryl with gifts as she tours with GIRLS ALOUD.
Ashley, 27, also made a 250-mile round trip to Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena just to hug his wife and see her show with mum-in-law Joan.
The revelations in Hello magazine are the clearest sign yet the couple are rebuilding their marriage.

It's quite a turn around from a newspaper which was insisting that Cheryl was seeing divorce lawyers and had already been guessing the size of the settlement a month or two back. "The clearest sign yet" - well, yes, given that your readers have previously only been given signs that it was all over.

Elsewhere, Smart reports that Pete Doherty is running out of money and wants to know where it's gone:
The BABYSHAMBLES frontman claims he is running out of cash.

So he is planning a crisis meeting with his band’s management to get to the bottom of his wonga woes.

And, fair enough, Smart's suggestions of where the money's gone is spot-on:
1. Up his nose

2. Used Jaguar dealerships

3. Catteries

4. Rubbish art galleries

The only trouble is that they couldn't resist breaking out the photoshop:
my computer wizards have mocked [him] up as a detective

Except, they haven't: he's in a white shirt, black tie and carrying a helmet. So, a beat bobby rather than a detective.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Glastonbury flogs tickets through shops

Thanks to Duncan for the tip on this one: Glastonbury has so many tickets left to flog, it's had to resort to pushing them out through HMV. Some of the larger stores start selling them on Wednesday, and so desperate are they to shift 'em, they've more-or-less abandoned security for them:

Buyers need only to provide their name when they buy, then make sure they bring photographic ID to the festival when they arrive. This is to ensure they comply with Glastonbury’s anti-touting policy.

Which is a bit of a step down from the idea of everyone having their photos printed on the ticket.

Oh, and also:
Tickets are limited to six per customer and are subject to a booking fee.

"Limited" to six per customer. Limited might be one word for it. They're starting to look more devalued than a Zimbabwean banknote.

EMI hires executive who, erm, doesn't buy music

It might be a wise move - hiring someone to run the digital strategy at a major label who doesn't actually buy new music. Or hears much of it. Kind of like Bernard Matthews hiring a vegetarian.

EMI has taken on Cory Ondrejka. Ondrejka was a co-founder of Second Life, which, if memory serves, was bit like Animal Crossing only one where Tom Nook stole all your money, and the museum was bought out by American Apparel to sell you pictures of clothes.

So, what's his explanation for having no apparent interest in new music? And, judging by his blog, it's no interest at all:

I neither buy nor hear much new music. Since 2000, I’ve only purchased 5 albums. Three by Rush (enough of my friends are Rush fans, so somebody reminds me when they release a new album), Pearl Jam’s "Pearl Jam" (I read a Rolling Stone review in an airport), and REM’s Accelerate (best Terry Gross interview on "Fresh Air" in months.)

Let's try not to picture those dinner parties where three-quarters of the guests are the sort of big Rush fan who would remind you to buy their albums.

So, the closest thing he's come to new music in nearly a decade is Pearl Jam. How come?

Well, obviously, he's as square as a cube.

No,no, he stresses: It's just he never comes across music in the right context:
Why not? I hear lots of new music I like – anything from the first couple seasons of Alias would work – but I never hear new music in the right context to buy it.

The first couple of seasons of Alias would be from 2001 and 2002, then, so Cory's idea of "new" harks back to a time when S Club 7 were number One.

You'll notice that having started out by saying he "neither buy[s] nor hear[s]" new music, and then claims that he does.

But what does he mean "not in the right context to buy it"?

When I listen to radio, I’m listening to NPR to catch up on the news. The good local music stores are all gone. When I’m working, I want to hear music I like, so I have a very low threshold for experimentation. Coworker’s iTunes shares provide a hint at something new, but DRM and the hassles of being on the wrong computer – working on a desktop when my music is on my phone and laptop – keep me from jumping onto the iTunes Music Store to make a purchase.

"The good local music stores are all gone" sobs a man who's bought five records so far this century. How would he even know?

And - for a man who created a world where we were supposedly all going to have avatars with enormous penises (sold separately) allowing us to live in polygon-mapped housing to find opening iTunes on his laptop and typing in a band name to be too much for him seems surprising. God alone knows how his Rush-loving friends manage to get him to buy the albums - presumably they have to handcuff and blindfold him and drive him to a Wal-Mart store?

Let's just pause a while: EMI have hired a man whose love of music is so weak, he really can't be arsed to track down a tune he might have heard a few hours earlier. A man who never wanders into the CD section of a store and get hit by the "ooh! I wonder if they've got anything by that band who were on Jimmy Kimmel the other night" bug. A man who has, apparently, never scribbled the name of a song down on a napkin and plugged it into Amazon the next day.

That's what we're all thinking. Cory, though, thinks we'd be thinking something else:
Note that none of this lack of purchasing is because I’m just torrenting stuff.

Good god, man, if you have trouble coping with iTunes being on a different computer to the one you're working on, it's no wonder you're not torrenting. To be honest, it's a surprise you can cope with blogging.
The problem is that connecting discovery of new music to the ability to own the music is completely jacked. Even when I knew I wanted something – Accelerate – I had the problem that I was traveling with my MacBook Air, so buying a CD was useless. I had never setup the iTMS on that computer and you would be amazed at how hard Apple has made that process. It’s like they don’t want to sell me music. Then, once I did remember all the passwords I needed, I couldn’t figure out whether the iTunes download was DRM free. So I went to Amazon, which was slightly easier and made it clear the download wasn’t broken via DRM.

"I couldn't figure out whether the iTunes download was DRM free." And you've been put in charge of digital strategy at EMI? You don't know the slightly more expensive downloads are the DRM free ones?

And, true, it's been a few years since I set up my iTunes account, but I don't recall it being especially tortuous.

Let's see...

Sign in...
new account...
set up password, set up reminder question...
then some credit card information - effectively, card type, number and billing address - and then that's more or less it.

Perhaps he's expecting Apple to somehow magically guess your credit card number?
It is incredibly frustrating. I want to be able to find new music. When I find new music, I’m happy to pay the artists for it. Once I own music, I want to be able to listen to it wherever I am. How hard can this be?

It's not hard at all - providing, of course, the files you've been sold are DRM free - your new employer is responsible for a lot of the DRM in the first place. Oh, and it's nice to see you believe that paying for music means you "own" it - you might find your new bosses are trying to make us view that as a somewhat antwacky attitude.

I'm all for making music easier to buy, easier to move about with, easier for us to take with us when we've paid it, and it's great that Cory wants that too. But his blog suggests a man who hasn't really thought much about music and buying and selling it because he's, frankly, not that bothered. Back in 2000, who would have thought "I'm not going to buy that song because I have a PC without a disc drive?" The idea might be to try and sell music to other people like him, people who won't buy music unless it's there with a single, press-red, buy-now button in front of their faces. But that sort of purchaser won't build careers; you need the customers who treat music as a passion to underpin what you do. And you can only sell to people with a passion if you feel that passion. If you don't care enough about music to seek it out in the era when tracking down a song has become so piss-easy, my cat has had to have his access to iTunes blocked in case he spends his entire allowance for the month online, you don't really have any feel for the product.

I presume Cory must have watched Alias as it broadcast - after all, buying a DVD box set would have been too tortuous, right?

Save the cheerleader, ruin the world of pop

Is it fair to prejudge the likely quality of Hayden Panettiere's first dabbling into the art of singing for a living?

[UPDATE: The words 'for a living' have been added to clarify we're talking about releasing music in a serious, career-minded way.]

Well, maybe it isn't, but let's prejudge anyway. The single is called Wake Up Call and is "digital download only"; it comes out in August with an album to follow in "2009", which sounds like the sort of vague schedule that gives plenty of room for dropping the whole idea without anyone noticing if it all goes wrong.

As if that wasn't enough of an indication we're going to be struggling:

Described as a “reggae-flavoured pop song,” the single was written by Andreas Rombhane, who has previously written songs for Geri Halliwell, Westlife and Diana Ross.

Aha. Something that even Halliwell and Westlife rejected as being a bit too broad. We know that there's not much for Panettiere to do in Heroes at the moment, but couldn't she take up sudoku?

Cut Copy... and paste

This is the video for Cut Copy's new single, due July 21st, Hearts On Fire:

They're presumably relaxed about making the single available through YouTube as they've assembled a lovely package for the release proper:

1. Hearts on Fire (Radio)
2. Hearts on Fire (Original)
3. Calvin Harris Remix
4. Holy Ghost Remix
5. Holy Ghost Instrumental
6. Midnight Juggernauts Remix
7. Knightlife Remix
8. Joakim Remix

The sharp-eyed amongts you will notice that this package doesn't stand a hope in hell of qualifying for the charts; but then the charts are pretty much irrelevant to a band doing what Cut Copy do.

There's some UK dates, too:

26 Jun 2008 @ GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL (Dance Village) – Glastonbury, UK
27 Jun 2008 @ ROSE TREE JAM – Chippenham, UK
27 Jun 2008 @ WAKESTOCK – Oxfordshire, UK
28 Jun 2008 @ KASBAH – Coventry, Midlands, UK
29 Jun 2008 @ OPTIMO at The Sub Club - Glasgow, Scotland
30 Jun 2008 @ NIGHT AND DAY - Manchester, UK
02 Jul 2008 @ CONCORDE 2 - Brighton, UK
03 Jul 2008 @ NEW SLANG @ the works – Kingston, UK
05 Jul 2008 @ WIRELESS FESTIVAL (Hyde Park) Sandisk Stage - London, UK
05 Jul 2008 @ ZOO FEST *SPECIAL DJ SET* - Kent, UK
16 Aug 2008 @ LOOP FESTIVAL – Brighton, UK
24 Aug 2008 @ CREAMFIELDS – Liverpool, UK
28 Aug 2008 @ LA MUSIQUE – Derry, Northern Ireland
29 Aug 2008 @ STIFF KITTEN – Belfast, Northern Ireland
30 Aug 2008 @ ELECTRIC PICNIC FESTIVAL - Dublin, Ireland

- and, you'll note, an ROI date, too.

Glastonbury: This year, we'll get it right

Last year, even as cars struggled to make it out the car park, Michael Eavis was chipper and upbeat in his assessment of the festival:

Mr Eavis has praised festival-goers' spirit and said the weekend had "gone very, very well, in spite of the rain and mud".

Oddly, though, it now turns out it didn't at all, after all:
"I thought the criticisms were valid last year," he said. "I can't turn back time, but what I can do is address the problem this year. There's extra camping space. We've ordered in lorryloads of concrete sleepers which will effectively double the seating."

Well, yes there would need to be extra camping space, what with the extra tickets you've sold. And while sitting on concrete sleepers might be alright if the weather's good, they're not going to be attractive in pissing-down rain and churning mud, are they?

Blake coughs

Reporting restrictions have been lifted in the Blake Fielder-Civil case: He's pleaded guilty.

Meanwhile, Amy Winehouse seems to have also admitted bad behaviour - mumbling an apology for the racist tune. Although she said sorry to the paparazzi, who probably are among the only people who are delighted with her for doing it.

Darkness at 3AM: One day, it'll be right

Since, by the law of averages, sooner or later Girls Aloud will have to split up (if only to allow the lucrative reunion tour) you can almost understand the 3AM Girls taking a regular punt on predicting the end.

It's like weather forecasting. You should always predict rain; often, you'll be right, and it's better to send people out with umbrellas on a dry day than vice-versa.

The latest prediction is based on Sarah Harding making a solo record - which consists of providing a vocal for a track by the Filthy Dukes that's going to be slapped on a movie soundtrack.

The 3AMies list the other's solo projects, including, erm, Nadine Coyle's candle shop.

There's also this, this morning:

It was the kind of wardrobe malfunction that would have had most guys lusting with excitement.

But as Estelle performed on stage at GAY club, the singer's flash of boob went largely unnoticed.

Hmm, we wonder why?

Actually, isn't more likely because most people would have been looking elsewhere at the time?

Glastonbury: not big enough for Madonna

If we're to believe the Mail, Madonna has junked plans to show her Kabbalahesque Malawian documentary at Glastonbury. Why?

‘Madonna hoped the film could be shown on the Saturday and there was talk of a question and answer session,’ says a source.

‘But poor ticket sales for the festival put her off. After talks with organisers it was decided the festival was not the right venue to showcase the film.’

The "poor ticket sales" put her off, did they? Or - as would seem more likely - the organisers failed to treat a vanity charity project as being worthy of the main stage and perhaps suggested a trestle table in the Green Field instead?

Warren G - back in the headlines

Warren G, who had a Grammy-nominated career back in the mid-90s before he became about as relevant as Fred Gee, has been arrested after jumping a red light in Los Angeles. Police who pulled him over claim they found cannabis in the car.

G - who is actually called Warren Griffin III, and should really have been Warren 3G, like the new iPhone (probably) - wasn't driving; he has been released on twenty grand bail.

Gordon in the morning: The what complaints commission?

Oddly, considering how certain Gordon was that Amy Winehouse had abandoned Blake and was moving on, he seems equally certain that she's paying a thousand pounds a week for "protection" for him in prison. And:

A source said: “Blake has people who look after him.

“And he gets crack and heroin. Amy pays for it outside.”

But didn't Gordon insist that Blake was buying the drucks with signed photos of Winehouse?

It's almost as if Smart's running any old rubbish that any old lag turns up and offers him.

Still, at least he's on safer ground with Halle Berry, as it is scientific fact that pregnant women's breasts can grow.

More seriously, Smart has a photo of one of the Beckham's kids - a horrible, grainy long lens shot to show that, erm, he's drawn on his arms. We'd love to hear how that fits with the Press Complaints Commission's rules on not running pictures of kids simply because they've got famous parents.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

When parents sell your old stuff on eBay

We're blaming Adam and Joe. Last week, they were doing a feature on things you created when you were a kid - comics and so on. Surely, that must be where Hayley Williams' former stepfather got the idea for trying to flog a handwritten book she made when she was a kid on eBay.

Living up to her role as the WalMart Courtney Love, Williams got on to LiveJournal (still going, apparently - who knew?) and freeformed:

so... i've decided to do this. it was only half thought out but i'm doin it anyways.

i saw that post someone made about the "handwritten book" on ebay. yes, it's mine. hahah. i don't remember being a sad child but i definitely loved horror films at a really young age. i guess that was reflected in this particular assignment. anyway, that's not exactly what i'm posting about. i'm actually posting about the seller of this item. it happens to be my ex-stepfather. who is... well... insane, hence the reason he is my EX-stepfather. so, while i can laugh at the fact that a bit of my past has surfaced, i have to admit i felt like throwin shit when i saw the username. to be honest, i'd love to post his full name. where he works. possibly a phone number??? then all of you could show him what it feels like when your personal life is out there for everyone to put their hands on. fortunately for him... living with him for 7 years wasn't quite enough to make me turn out just like him... or was it?
don't buy it. i'm gonna buy it. hahaha.

The decision not to post his contact details was perhaps wise. Although bringing the auction to people's attentions if you're planning on bidding on a item, maybe less so.

Errors Sunday: Terror Tricks

Some from-the-sixth-row handheld action now, Errors' Terror Tricks from the Roundhouse last October:

[Part of Errors Sunday]

Simon Cowell: a talent for talent spotting

With Sharon Osbourne having pulled out of the X Factor before the 197th series, you'd have thought that this would open the way for a quieter, gentler, possibly even wiser judge.

Instead, Simon Cowell looked up Mel B's phone number on his Blackberry.

You've seen the last of us: Warners pulls off Last FM

Last FM's rather useful free streaming music service has undergone a bit of a stutter, as Warners has just pulled its catalogue off the service.

Silicon Valley Insider is making the probably-quite-safe-bet that Warners is trying to demand a greater slice of the Last pie - it points out Warner has taken a slice of equity in both MySpace and Imeem as part of the agreements to allow their stuff to be streamed.

It's interesting to see that Warners would rather hide its tracks from a monthly audience of twenty million plus in return for a tiny portion of a cent; the gamble is that if people can't find Into The Groove on LastFM, they'll try for it somewhere else. Rather than choose to listen to something else instead. They might think pulling the catalogue is going to force Last FM's hand; Last FM will probably react like parents faced with kids who refuse to move: "okay, you sit there, I'm carrying on without you. Goodbye..."

More Radioheadage

Backstage, Radiohead have a crack at Portishead, and The Rip:

Via You Ain't No Picasso

Errors Sunday: Mr. Milk

Another clip of Errors doing their thing: Mr. Milk:

[Part of Errors Sunday]

Festival death

Bad news from Rock Ness: the BBC is reporting that a 19 year-old has died on-site. This is the second year running that someone has died at the festival; last year a man was found dead in his car.

Just in time for the new Big Brother series

We might have thought that going on Celebrity Big Brother would be enough to torpedo The Ordinary Boy's career, but here we are, two years on, and they're still turning up in the newspapers. Admittedly, only because Preston is supposedly seeing someone else, and we think it's now sixteen full months since anyone played an Ordinary Boys song anywhere in the world, but, still, it's more than Ultrasound get, isn't it?

Embed and breakfast man: Collecting the Errors

As Errors prepare for the release of new album It's Not Something But It Is Like Whatever.

First up, this is the promo clip for Terror Tricks:

More videos across the day
Mr Milk