Saturday, May 30, 2009

The music industry and their part in their own downfall

Robert Sandall turns in a wonderful review for the Sunday Times of Appetite for Self-Destruction. This is Steve Knopper's careful tracking of how the music industry has been consistently getting it wrong for nearly three decades:

When the recession of 1979-82 reversed a 20-year boom that had seen record sales steadily quadruple in value, opposition to the introduction of the compact disc was rife. The tech guru at CBS demanded to know “what the hell we can expect to happen here with CDs”. His boss, ­Walter Yetnikoff, a rambunctious mogul of the old school, rejected it as an invitation to make pirated copies of albums on cassette tape, and refused to invest in new manufacturing plants. “I have no idea what they’re talking about,” Yetnikoff told his underlings.

Of course, they did finally catch on to these CD things, belatedly and in a way that screwed both artists and customers. Just in time to get it wrong all over again:
One record company bigwig who met several dotcom pioneers described the encounters as “tiresome”. The head of Liquid Audio, a company that specialised in the transmission of encrypted MP3s, was told in 1999 by a Sony honcho: “My job is to keep you down, we don’t ever want you to succeed.” As CD sales climbed to an all-time peak of 932m in 2000, nothing seriously disturbed the received wisdom in the record business that selling shiny and expensive pieces of plastic was the way forward.

There's some stuff on just how big a botch the closedown of Napster was, too:
Knopper does some impressive maths to show that, had a more equitable deal been struck offering legal downloads via Napster for $1 a track, the record industry could have benefited to the tune of $16 billion a year.

So, when the RIAA is sobbing about the millions it "loses" to unlicensed downloads, it turns out that is nothing to the money it threw away. Oh, and a legal Napster might have also headed off the take-up of bittorrent and perhaps even have stayed the inexorable rise of iTunes. As music industry mistakes go, that makes 'that guy from Decca who turned down the Beatles' look like forgetting to take an umbrella on a day when you're wearing a hat.

Embed and breakfast man: Metric

Metric have just (-ish) put this live; the video for Sick Muse:

Sick Muse is off Fantasies [download Fantasies]

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rock sick list: Tone Loc

It is quite hot in Florida, especially if you're playing out of doors. And Tone Loc is in his 40s now. So perhaps it's not entirely surprising he collapsed onstage after complaining about the heat.

Mind you, going to play in Florida and complaining about the heat is a bit like doing a gig in Amish country and moaning about having to wind up the amps.

And given that he's only got two songs that anyone would want to hear, it's not like he would have had to be out on stage for long, is it?

1990s yet to reach America

The 1990s US tour has been axed due to "unforeseen circumstances" - well, yes, they would be unforeseen, wouldn't they? You wouldn't create a set of gigs if you knew you wouldn't be able to play them, would you? Unless you were the KLF.

The Boston Herald is betting on it being visa problems.

Peter Andre considers buying a house

It's based on tabloid stories, so might have no truth in it whatsoever, but Peter Andre is apparently considering buying a house worth nearly two million quid.

To be fair, some of that money he did make through his music 'career' - almost three of the bricks were covered by royalties.

Gordon in the morning: Apparently it's still 1995

Okay, I know I might find it hard to let things go occasionally, but can you believe that Liam Gallagher is still fighting the Britpop wars:

"I'm right into the Blur reunion, 'cos it'll finish off the KAISER CHIEFS and put them to bed.

"There's nothing worse than a s*** Blur. And at least the original s*** Blur are back to finish off all these other s*** Blurs. I'm bang into the Blur reunion.

"I'll tell you what, though, all these band reunions recently, it just goes to show who's the real deal."

Yes, Gordon Smart is delighted to discover this abandoned serviceman, trapped in the jungle, still battling against enemies who have long since sued for peace.

But what, you wonder, can Liam mean about reunions showing you who the "real deal" is?
Oasis have never split up. Now all these bands have come back, just as the recession is kicking in.

"They've all been found out."

Oh, god help us, he's trying to do financial analysis.

While it's true that Oasis might never have split up, the Blur playing this year are the same Blur who started out, whereas Oasis have had to have actual musicians parachuted into their set-up to try and bulk up the operation, which might make it difficult for the Gallagher brothers to claim they're the same band? And why does Liam think they deserve credit for slogging on in the first place? Would Oasis not have done well to have had a bit of a rest instead of churning out the same album, only worse, every couple of years? Isn't a band that never runs out of inspiration one that isn't particularly inspired to begin with?
"SPANDAU BALLET? I've seen TONY HADLEY, and it's more like Spandau Belly."

Ha ha! Because Tony Hadley is fat. More like Expandau Belly, eh, Liam?

It's a shame The Topper closed, isn't it? They used to give a pound to readers for jokes like that.

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet - NME Radio

Johnny Dee ponders question what is point NME Radio? What is point?

In fact, it sounds very much like early XFM (NME is being launched by Sammy Jacob, who was behind XFM's first incarnation in 1992) and just a little bit like the BBC's secret radio station, 6 Music. That's not a bad thing, but strangely, it's not very "NME". After all, it is a publication which still, even in our censored, marketing-managed media age, has a small element of rebellion associated with it.

Indeed, the only thing on NME Radio with any sense of anarchy or rock'n'roll spirit is Ricky Gervais's opening broadcast for the station several months ago – still available to download online. Like all his podcasts with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington it's enormously funny, but exciting: you're not entirely sure how far they'll push it.

More risks like that, and NME Radio would be much better. For now, it'll take more than a list of the Top 30 Manchester anthems to pull people away from Spotify.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Something to listen to: Placebo streaming online

Placebo - and Brian has a lovely head of hair, I'm just jealous - are going to host an online playback session for their new album. You have to go to their site and register and be online tomorrow, but that's, surely, a small price to pay?

Zune struggling on

Yesterday in Target, noticed that they're still proudly offering the Zune, albeit with a large, nearly empty glass case. Not that Microsoft is bothered, as it's pushing on with its money-burning music player:

Zune HD is the next iteration of the Zune device family and brings a new level of listening and viewing experiences to the portable media player category.

*Zune HD comes with a built-in HD Radio receiver so users can listen to higher-quality sound than traditional radio on the go. Users also will have access to the additional song and artist data broadcast by HD Radio stations as well as additional channels from their favorite stations multicasting in HD. If you don't like the song playing on your station's HD channel, switch to its HD2 or HD3 channels for additional programming.

Yes, they've effectively added a DAB tuner to the Zune. If they sold in the UK, that would seem a touching degree of faith in the format, but in the US, this really has the air of adding a thing for getting stones out of horses hooves. You're competing with web-enabled devices that have streaming music devices coming out of their touchscreens, and you have the big idea of giving access to stations using a broadcast format that barely registers? Seriously?

The other Zune annoucement is a slightly disingenuous attempt to try and make the brand a success by pretending it's something else:
Zune will be a premium partner in the Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace, bringing an exciting catalog of TV and film to the platform. Zune will occupy the first slot within the Xbox user interface in the Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace, exposing the Zune brand experience to millions of new consumers for the first time. At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) next week, attendees will see firsthand how Zune integrates into Xbox LIVE to create a game-changing entertainment experience.

Well, they've spent all the money on the logo, but even so - wouldn't it make it more sense to call it XBox Entertainment or something less... tainted?

Mind you, Microsoft is rebranding its search as Bing. So perhaps things could be worse.

Spotify's music now follows you wherever your roaming fees will allow

Spotify has just done this:

They stress that it's a work in progress, but also hint at other mobile apps in development (i.e. for phones which, unlike the Android, people actually own.)

It's something that's been threatened for quite a while, and clearly there's still quite a way to go before almost-free music on-demand from the cloud. But paying a premium for Comes With Music suddenly looks a lot less attractive, doesn't it?

[Thanks to Michael M for the link]

Gordon in the morning: Simply unacceptable

Gordon has one of his odd outbreaks of outrage this morning, angered by a PR company trying to cash in on Danielle Lloyd being attacked in a nightclub:

In a Press release issued yesterday the firm tried to cash in on Danielle and her boyfriend, Spurs star JAMIE O’HARA, leaving the Wellington Hospital in North London.

Their note said: “Poor Danielle Lloyd. After being battered in a nightclub, Danielle can now rest up in the comfort of her Franklin Marshall hoodie.

“Franklin & Marshall is the ultimate in understated American college-inspired casual wear — the perfect recipe for Danielle’s recovery. Why not double up and get an identical tracksuit for your boyfriend a la Danielle and top Tottenham player Jamie O’Hara? Get well soon Danielle.”


I rang the firm yesterday and put it to them that this was in the worst possible taste.

Well, yes, it is pretty tacky. Although it would take a pretty nifty ethicist to explain why it is wrong to sell clothes off the back of someone being beaten up, while selling tabloid newspapers and advertising around webpages based on the same horrible event would be legitimate.

What's even odder is that Smart is so outraged, he not only runs the press release in full, but splashes large photos of the couple wearing the Franklin & Marshall gear over the front of the Bizarre website and across his pages in The Sun. Acres and acres of free advertising - that'll show 'em, Gordon.

PRS comes to terms with the new world

They're trying to sound upbeat about it, but clearly, the new online music rate accepted by PRS is an acceptance that their insane, overvalued pitch has been totally routed:

Royalty collector PRS For Music has bowed to websites' pleas for smaller charges, more than halving its on-demand streaming music rate from £0.0022 to £0.00085 per track, effective July 1 and lasting for three years.

So, the blustering about demanding larger shares of money (albeit money that isn't there) has blown away, and the rights agency have had to accept that online music for personal listening simply isn't worth very much at all.

The spokesperson 6Music News was talking to yesterday even had the cheek to applaud the agreement they'd signed because it meant they could help with the development of new music platforms and services. Despite the PRS having been very, very clear back at the start of negotiations that they didn't believe musicians and songwriters should be subsidising the development of new music services by accepting lower rates.

The same spokesperson said that they'd only entered into the negotiations because it was what their members wanted. If that was true, you wonder why it was only after the talks had started going badly that they suddenly launched that website "debate" to try and get the rank-and-file behind them. And if the members had really wanted an uneconomic and unrealistic doubling of the rate, then PRS have done a bloody awful job of bringing those wishes to pass, haven't they?

Either way, were I a member of the PRS, I'd be looking carefully into how I could actually ensure my wishes were represented by the management.

Rock sick list: Dave Gahan

Well, that explains all those canceled Depeche Mode tour dates: Dave Gahan's gastroenteritis has turned out to be a cancerous tumour.

He's had an operation, and is expected to make a recovery fast enough to allow the tour to resume on June 6th.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chris Brown attempts to make us like him

Given what he stands accused of - and the events which he has conceded that have taken place - you'd expect Chris Brown to currently be in the middle of an oily-slick PR campaign.

Instead, you get this:

The mumbling has been helpfully transcribed by MTV:

"I don't do all this talking on the thing, this is just some new stuff I'm doing. I just wanna say 'what's up?,' because I ain't been out there in a minute. But the new album is gonna be coming soon. We working on it right now. It's called Graffiti. It's got everything on it, so y'all be ready for that. I'm about to drop a single this summer for y'all. We ain't going nowhere. Everybody that's haters, they just been haters. All my real fans, I love you. I ain't a monster."

If he was only trying to flog an album, calling that half-arsed would be generous. "Ooh, I see Brown is releasing an album with everything on it. I had better prepare myself."

I fear, though, that Mr Brown might consider me to be a hater, who has just been hating with his hateful hate.

Brown's estate settled

Considering how long the bickering over a rich, fertile dead man's estate can last, settlement has come swiftly for James Brown's descendants.

Half of his money is going to go to charity; a quarter to his wife; the rest will be spread amongst his kids. Under James Brown original will, his wife was only supposed to receive black coffee and a hard roll, which he considered enough to keep anyone running.

CBS denies Techcrunch claims, in a rather precise manner

Following Techcrunch's repeating of claims that Last FM and CBS might be sharing user data with record labels, CBS have joined Last FM in issuing a very carefully-worded denial:

“Both CBS and the RIAA have already stated quite clearly, for the record, that absolutely no individual user or listener information was supplied to the RIAA by or any division of CBS Corporation in the past, nor do we plan to do so in the future. The story posted by the Web site was based on an unnamed tipster. No inquiry was made to CBS or about the veracity of the anonymous source. Those who consult such blogs should be aware of the standard by which such postings are sourced and published.”

Yes, that's telling them, CBS - don't trust blogs and bloggers. Stick to reliable sources like CBS News, who would never run a dubious story without first checking its veracity a million times. Unless, you know, it was a supposed memo about George Bush's military record.

So, we're now in a situation with two organisations refusing to back down on their sides, although CBS and LastFM seem to be denying something slightly different from what Techcrunch are claiming; Techcrunch, though, making their allegation into an ever-widening catchall blanket which could end up with "aah, Last FM let a record label look at their website" at this rate.

If the Techcrunch story is true, it's bloody important. But if they can't stack it up any more soundly than redacted emails from anonymous tipsters, they might need to let it drop.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Watch with No Rock: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Stereogum have got the Moss-from-the-IT-Crowd directed new Yeah Yeah Yeahs video. For the watching online.

Chris Martin and the law of unintended consequences

Oh, shit. All those complaints suggesting Coldplay ripped off Joey Satriani, Yusuf Islam, Mr Blobby and all are coming back to bite us in the ass. They're making them make more musics:

Yeah, some people are suing us at the moment and although it was initially a bit depressing, now it’s become really inspiring,” Martin said. “You think, ‘Right, if everyone’s trying to take away our best song, then we’d better write 25 better ones.’ And so just at the point where I was thinking about getting fat and becoming complacent, I’ve been finding more inspiration. Now we’ve got more to prove than ever before.”

Admittedly, writing songs better than the ones that Coldplay have already done isn't setting the bar for achievement all that high, but do we really need 25 new Coldplay songs? What have we done to deserve that?

Still, Martin is busily now working on writing some new songs. His first move has been to try and work out how Ride did that bell sound on Dreams Burn Down.

Green Day don't want to go to WalMart

You'd have thought - given their target audience tends to be the sort who still go shopping with their parents - Green Day would be determined to do everything they could to make sure their new record, 21st Century Breakdown, would appear on the shelves of WalMart.

It's too their credit, though, that they have refused the edits the store demanded and taken the loss of not having the record in the stores:

[I]n Armstrong's view, "There's nothing dirty about our record."

"They want artists to censor their records in order to be carried in there," he said. "We just said no. We've never done it before. You feel like you're in 1953 or something."

There is a wider point, though: WalMart say in their defence that they won't stock Parental Advisory stickered product, and it's up to the bands involved if they want to make a version which avoids the sticker.

You could ask why Green Day choose to rail against WalMart for rejecting stickered content, rather than at the stickering process in the first place.

You might even ask that if you support Tipper Gore types who don't like sweary music, in fact. Because surely WalMart refusing to stock the parental advisory stickers is not just an indication of prissiness on their part, but also that the sticker system doesn't really work. Because if stickering did keep kids from "unacceptable" content, surely WalMart would be just as happy to sell Green Day's album to its customers as they are, for example, to sell them the SAW movies?

If David Van Day is the answer, how bad can the question be?

The horrific results of the expenses scandal are now being played out in something approaching real-time. Cameron is taking the chance to slide out as many of his Tory opponents as possible (his wisteria clipping isn't a case for resubmitting his application, but if you don't agree with him and had some gardening done on the public purse, you better start looking for a different career). And now, with Rantzen already eying up Luton South, we brace ourselves for well-meaning, duff celebs hoping that the Commons might just be as good at reviving careers as eating grubs in the jungle.

Yes, David Van Day is pondering standing against Nadine Dorries in Mid-Bedfordshire.

It says something about what a fright Dorries is that David Van Day seems like a credible replacement. But surely - if the good people of Mid-Beds really crave change - they need someone who isn't a self-publicising thought vacuum?

[Thanks to @bloggerheads]

Toploader: Reviving defunct technology

Presumably, Toploader felt that if they got back together for charity, even the flintiest-hearted of us would feel unable to point out that their return is about as welcome as Doctor Crippin turning up, with the plague, and a list of grudges.

The band are doing a date to help raise funds for the ICU at Eastbourne General Hospital but then intend to undo any good that might count for by continuing to tour:

Frontman Joe Washbourn said, "Toploader are back and what better way to say thank you to all of our fans than with a special gig here in Eastbourne.

"The ICU at the DGH is a cause that's particularly close to my heart and I'm thrilled that all profits from the concert will go their way.

"We're all really excited to get back together and can't wait to get back out there and start performing again."

Really? Being back together with Toploader gives you a sense of excitement? That's not really an emotion anyone else is feeling at the news right now. The best we can imagine is 'resigned acceptance', surely?

[Hat-tip: @ritchames]

Rock sick list: Official Secrets Act

Official Secrets Act drummer Alex McKenzie has had more trouble following the incident where he was knocked off his bike, and has again had to stand down from the band. They've discovered he's got a broken backbone; faced with these breaks, Brakes have helped out with a spare drummer:

Official Secrets Act are dismayed to announce they have lost their drummer Alex McKenzie for the second time in as many months due to injury. Originally hurt in a cycling accident two months ago, when he was struck by two cars, drummer McKenzie has been detained in hospital again following an MRI scan that revealed a broken vertibrae. The band, currently enjoying a fantastic reaction in Europe were forced to cancel their Dot-To-Dot UK festival appearances over the weekend, recruiting Alex White of labelmates Brakes to pick up the sticks for the remainder of the tour. His first date in Paris last night (Monday 25th) went off well, but McKenzie will remain out of the picture for the immediate future until doctors can ascertain whether he will require surgery.

Best wishes to McKenzie, and let's hope he's back at work soon. Or as soon as he'd want to be.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Indieobit: Jay Bennett

Former Wilco member and solo artist Jay Bennett has died at the cruelly young age of 45.

Bennett died in his hometown of Champaign, Illinois. He churned through a number of local bands, including Titanic Love Affair, with whom he recorded three albums, but was working in an electronics repair shop when he joined Wilco. Although not a founder member of the group, he quickly set about making himself a key part, contributing songs as well as bringing multiple instrumental skills and helping steer the band down a route that took it from alt-country to a wider alt-rock audience.

Relations with the rest of the group soured during the making of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and Bennett found himself an ex-Wilco in 2001. The breach never healed; last month, Bennett was suing Jeff Tweedy over claims of unpaid royalties from the Yankee making-of movie I Am Trying To Break Your Heart.

Bennett went on to record a number of solo records; he was in the middle of working on a new collection at the time of his death. He died in his sleep over the weekend.

Let us shed tears for Simon Cowell

It's not easy being pantomime dame to a congregation of the musically lost, you know. Simon Cowell suffers for his artlessness:

Cowell admits he hates having such a full diary because it makes his life so dull.

He says, "The last time I felt that way was when I looked at my diary and realised I had the next 18 months planned. I could tell you where I was going to be every day - which city, what time and almost what I was going to eat. That really depressed me. I thought, 'You can't escape from this.'

"You can't think, 'I want to take the next two months off to clear my head.'"

Actually, you know, you could. Oh, sure, there might be a series of You've Got A Small Talent or two missing from the schedules, but we'd manage somehow.

Can you imagine how Cowell's life must feel, though? I bet he's even got what over-emotional facial expressions he'll be pulling for the next two years: June 23rd, 2010 - three disgusted shakes of the head, one surprised jaw-drop, two hmms.

Talking of, while not denying Boyle has got a good voice, her style was all wrong for Memory and her reading of it left a lot to be desired. Breakfast TV in the States has been applauding her all morning (if you can call reading out pre-scripted gush as applause.) She seems a bit like Whitney Houston, in that people who don't really listen to much music confuse her range with virtuosity.

Back to black clothing: Winehouse turns fashion house

Who, you'd have to wonder, would want to pay top prices to dress like Amy Winehouse? Couldn't you recreate her look with twenty quid down the thrift store, a bottle of Value Gin and not switching the light on before you get dressed?

PPQ think people will beat a path to their door to buy Winehouse-branded items:

"Yes there have been talks with Amy and we are now in the first stages of the project. The range will be all about high-end statement pieces, inspired by Amy's style. For example, maybe a dress or an amazing piece of jewellery like a bracelet."

That kind of implies they're wise enough to not expect a fully-formed collection, then, and that they're not even sure what it is they think that Winehouse is expecting to deliver.

Although they can't stress enough that Winehouse won't be doing very much at all:
"It's going to be distributed online, we are going to be providing all materials and doing the design, but Amy will definitely be involved in the creative process."

Translation: our lawyers are pretty sure they can make her turn up for the press launch, but don't worry, we've got people who will make sure the zips work.

Morrissey: The Michael Jackson its okay to like

Morrissey running Jacko a close second in the canceling high-profile dates stakes, as he pulls more shows:

A spokeswoman apologised for the cancellations but said Morrissey had been warned by doctors not to sing.

"Morrissey is on doctor's orders to postpone the show, to ensure a complete recuperation," she said.

"Event organisers would like to apologise to fans for the disappointment and are working to reschedule this show, so advise ticket holders to hang on to their tickets."

Well, he is fifty. You have to be careful at his age.

BBC News points out that he has managed to complete some dates:
During his 50th birthday gig in his home town of Manchester, he appeared in good spirits, chatting to the audience and singing Smiths hits as well as his solo material.

Blimey, he really isn't himself, is he?

Giving away what you used to call so precious

Jamie mentioned this in a comment on the White Lies story, and I think it's worthy of a bit more attention: Orlowski on Spotify and the mystery of the music business suddenly embracing free:

The business looks down on this free and easy access to its assets quite understandably. Because if it's all free, then investment in making sound recordings will evaporate. Only fools invest in businesses which aren't going to make any money. You're following, I hope.

So to compete with businesses which don't make any money and give away free music, they're backing a business which doesn't make any money, and gives away music for free. It's genius.


The more Spotify grows, increasing its music catalogue as it goes along, the fewer recordings you have to buy. The music you want to hear and the playlists are "in the cloud", for free. If you could be assured the free lemonade would never stop, you may as well get rid of the CDs you already have now, and will never have to be pay for a sound recording again.

The rival lemonade stands don't have to pay for the music they offer, while Spotify does. So keeping the Spotify tap turned on costs the music business an enormous amount of money. Last week, at the Great Escape music event in Brighton, we learned that Spotify has very little realistic prospect of making any money either.

The labels, you see, own 30% of Spotify through equity investments, so while it's a third party, a third of it isn't.

So, having built Spotify - and spent just five grand on marketing - how are they going to make money?
[In converstaion with Music Ally's Paul Brindley, Spotify's Daniel] Ek's three big come-ons for the paid service were social features, a download service that interoperated with your phone or iPod, and exclusives.

Hmm. Really? Is that going to make anyone start to hand over money for something being given away for free?

It turns out there's a plan B:
"We want to hand out consumer data we have to give to labels so they can target consumers better and communicate better."

Ah. Spammify. No wonder the labels were happy to put cash in for chunks of Spotify - there's no need for that tiresome (alleged) RIAA-requesting-CBS-for-LastFM data if you own a chunk of the servers where the information is being held.

The trouble is, as Orlowski points out, what you get is a lot of data about people who like free music. Do the labels really need to find out a bunch of stuff about people who are setting the market value of individual tracks closer and closer to zero? It's like filling your little black book with the names of people who've told you "not if you're the last man on Earth", isn't it?

Gordon in the morning: It's a bank holiday, can you tell?

To be fair, who's putting in the effort today? Not the Bizarre team, who slap some pictures of a couple of footballers out on the tiles with Jay-Z and Beyonce. Which isn't much of a story:

And the stunning R 'n' B babe was in fine form as per usual, dressed in a classy combination of jeans, a low-cut white top and a white jacket.

Woman goes to club in jeans. I guess if Jay-Z had been let in wearing trainers, that might have been newsworthy.

Even the caption writers can't be arsed:
Definitely not on the Z-list ... Jay-Z and Beyonce

Where is Gordon while this slackness is in evidence?

He's off being a lad playing football at a charity event, something that he thinks will interest his readers so much he doesn't just provide a match report, but a video as well. Isn't that the sort of thing you should be doing on MySpace, Gordon?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Techcrunch claim again: "CBS are shovelling Scrobble data to RIAA"

You'll recall the spat a few weeks back when Techcrunch claimed that Last FM user data was being passed to the RIAA. Last FM described Techcrunch as being "full of shit".

And, indeed, Techcrunch have now conceded their story was wrong. In one detail: didn’t hand user data over to the RIAA. According to our source, it was their parent company, CBS, that did it. That corresponds to what our original source said in conversations we had after our initial post and before CBS lawyers became involved. But we didn’t want to update until we had an independent source for that information, too.

Here’s what we believe happened: CBS requested user data from, including user name and IP address. CBS wanted the data to comply with a RIAA request but told the data was going to be used for “internal use only.” It was only after the data was sent to CBS that discovered the real reason for the request. staffers were outraged, say our sources, but the data had already been sent to the RIAA.

The reason CBS were happy to pass the data was, according to Techcrunch's original source, fear:
We provided the data to the RIAA yesterday because we know from experience that they can negatively impact our streaming rates with publishers.

That source was apparently sacked by CBS for the original leak.

Last FM have again issued a denial. Russ Garrett at Last FM says it couldn't have happened without his say-so:
The exact nature of the data that was allegedly transferred is still not clear. It’s implied that the data linked scrobbles to IP addresses. That particular data is controlled tightly inside and is only stored for a short period of time. Any request for such data would have to be approved by myself first. The suggestion that CBS’s ops team provided this data is just not possible - operates as a separate entity and their operations staff do not have access to our system.

As Arrington points out, transferring personally identifiable data (i.e. IP addresses) from the UK to the US is against data protection laws. We wouldn’t risk a lawsuit to pander to the RIAA’s requests.

If you read the response conspiracy-theorist close, you'd be struck that Garrett doesn't ever deny that anyone asked for the data, just that such requests have never been granted - which may or may not mean anything, but you'd have thought in a situation like this 'nobody has asked for anything, nothing has been given' would be the obvious response.

Last FM believe that the stories are as a result of "someone" slandering them. It doesn't suggest whom.

White Lies see a rosy future

White Lies don't fear no new music industry. They're upbeat about the whole deal:

Singer Harry McVeigh said: "People will always make music; people will always listen to music, so there's demand out there. You’ve just got to figure out how to make enough money from it to do it full time.

"Maybe the music industry wasn’t quick enough on the uptake in terms of downloads – if they’d jumped on a bit more, then maybe they’d be a bit more successful."

Maybe, Harry, maybe. Although the major labels aren't really interested in musicians making money, although they certainly won't object if that is a side-effect of the labels pulling in cash. Assuming they really can't work out a way to rake that money off, too.