Saturday, June 06, 2009

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet - Music industry figures

Thanks to Anthony T for pointing me in the direction of today's Ben Goldacre Bad Science column, which explores this week's claims that "researchers found more than a million people using a download site in ONE day and estimated that in a year they would use £120bn worth of material."

The whole thing is worth reading, but as a taste, Goldacre follows the trail to find out where the claims for "losses" come from:

What is the origin of this conservative figure? I hunted down the full Ciber documents, found the references section, and followed the web link, which led to a 2004 press release from a private legal firm called Rouse who specialise in intellectual property law. This press release was not about the £10bn figure. It was, in fact, a one-page document, which simply welcomed the government setting up an intellectual property theft strategy. In a short section headed "background", among five other points, it says: "Rights owners have estimated that last year alone counterfeiting and piracy cost the UK economy £10bn and 4,000 jobs." An industry estimate, as an aside, in a press release. Genius.

RIAA ask judge to stop Thomas from objecting to their stuff

The ability of the RIAA legal team in the Capitol case against Jammie Thomas to make themselves look foolish is always a thing of joy.

You'd have thought, at the very least, they'd have confidence in the copyrights they're defending. But it turns out maybe not [pdf link] as they're trying to get the judge to stop the defence from challenging the legitimacy of the copyright proof they've submitted in the case.

The RIAA team insist it's not fair to expect them to provide certified copies of the copyright certificates:

Her objection is now untimely and will serve only to force Plaintiffs to unnecessarily expend resources on an issue upon which there is no dispute.

Hang about - are they really saying "there is no dispute, so stop them from disputing on this point"? And since when did the RIAA legal team start to worry about pissing away money on pointless causes? Isn't that their entire raison d'etre?

[via Recording Industry v The People]

Gordon in the morning 2: In two minds

Andy Knight sent us these:

They're from The Sun a couple of days ago. Andy points out:

On the homepage of The Sun they seem to be “wowed” by Britney at the O2

Whilst on the bizarre page they think the performance was dull.

Nothing wrong with that you might think... except they both link to the same article.

It certainly takes the effort out of build 'em up and knock 'em down, if all you need is to do one piece to cover both.

St Vincent tour dates

This July, St Vincent will be stomping all over the UK and Ireland:

Sunday 5th - Wireless Festival, London (Bella Union stage)
Monday 6th - Thekla, Bristol
Wednesday 8th - ICA, London
Saturday 11th - Oxegen Festival, Ireland
Monday 13th - Night & Day, Manchester
Tuesday 14th - Nice & Sleazy's, Glasgow

This would be the sort of thing you can expect - Marry Me, live at 2007's Swerve Festival:

Summit up: Bacon on the peak

You climb 14,110 feet for charity. And when you reach the very top of Pikes Peak, the highest mountain in Colorado, what is your reward?

Kevin Bacon's band playing a gig.

The cog railway couldn't carry you back down fast enough.

Darkness at 3AM: Circus circus circus

While Gordon Smart might have stretched his visit to a dress rehearsal into a column, 3AM have dragged their entire page out of it. Including this:

James Corden once joked about becoming the next Robbie Williams - and now, thanks to us, it looks like he's going to be.

Gavin and Stacey star James is set to get a guest slot on stage with Take That.

Clowns and James Corden? It's like the That are doing an experiment to see how far they can push us before we attack them with burning torches.

Gordon in the morning: Take That's value range

Having done his best review of Kasabian earlier in the week, today Gordon takes to reveiwing Take That's new stadium show.

Yes, you're right - they haven't actually played one yet. But Gordon was given special access:

I was invited to see Britain’s favourite man band play their full dress rehearsal for the tour at Sunderland FC’s Stadium of Light.

Gordon, as we know, is a generous guest, and always repays special treats with generous write-ups. So, despite the That dressing up as clowns - clowns - he is full of applause:
Take That delivered the kind of pop production on Thursday night that should be the blueprint for any live stadium show — and all for £50.

Double that amount would be a fair price for the sheer entertainment value.

I would gladly sell any, or all, of my kidneys for a chance to see the show, and my first born. I can't believe they're only charging fifty pounds, which I didn't pay anyway...
In fact it was so good that a 6ft 4in hardman from Dundee whispered to me half way through the show that he no longer wanted to be in OASIS — he’d rather be in Take That.

Gordon took a hardman to see Take That? And is he suggesting that the band are so brilliant, even tall people like them? Does Gordon believe that pop music usually only appeals to those five foot nine and under?

Even so, there are some things that mangiant hardmen will never embrace:
Jason, Howard and Mark do the obligatory break-dancing routines to keep the girls happy.

Girls, mark you. Obviously, men - however hard they might be - don't like breakdancing. That's a girlie thing. Obviously. Like pink tutus or friendship bracelets.
If Britney’s Circus went up against Take That’s version, she’d be packing her bags and looking for another job.

She'd pack her bags and run away from the circus?

Gordon does seem a little tough on Britney. He didn't warm to her show at the Millennium Dome earlier this week, and now he is using her as a stick to beat off over Take That. I wonder what she did to upset him?
VIP guests at BRITNEY SPEARS' O2 gig were left fuming, and parched, after the troubled star's dad banned alcohol in any area that she may pass through.

Instead of the usual glasses of chilled bubbly, Access All Areas ticket holders are being handed bottles of WATER behind the scenes in a bid to keep the troubled star away from booze while on tour.

Toni Jones might well have the answer.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Iggy has a pop

To promote his new record, Iggy Pop has issued a video suggesting that a new record from him is required:

Iggy Pop alluded to certain bands in a promotional video for his new album, Preliminaires, in which he said he made the disc because he "got sick of listening to idiot thugs with guitars banging out crappy music." He's not explained who exactly he was referring to with that comment.

"Anyone from Smashing Pumpkins to — what's the one with Fred Durst?" he told the U.K.'s The Sun tabloid.

"Yeah, and there are a million billion of them. And people think they're gods, man."

Well, yes. You might suggest that Corgan and Durst have about as much to offer pop as insurance salesman, eh, Iggy?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Downloadable: Yo La Tengo

Good news: Yo La Tengo are releasing a new record very, very soon.

Even better news, to turn us into slavering beasts desperate for the record, they're offering Periodically Double Or Triple as a trial mp3.

Twittergem: The Leisure Society

You have approximately an hour an ten minutes:

We're playing at Rough Trade East tonight at 7! Free entry, get there at 6 to avoid disappointment!


Folding magazines: Radio And Records

US trade magazine R&R, which has been around since 1973 as Radio & Records, producing the second most-popular Top 40 listing in America, is to cease publication this week. "The brand" will live on, in some ill-defined manner, as part of the Billboard website.

Gordon in the morning: Threads

I think I must have missed this:

LIAM GALLAGHER turned the cagoule from the trainspotter’s choice into a fashion staple for any lad about town.

He did? Cagoules? Are you sure, Gordon?
So I imagine his Pretty Green clothing range will go down well.

Well, if they can still find people to buy Oasis albums, there's a chance.
The OASIS rocker’s designs go on general sale tomorrow, the day after the lads kick off their summer tour with a mega gig at Manchester’s Heaton Park.

"On general sale"? Why, have they been doing special sales only for the fashion-forward? And what exactly does "on general sale" mean?

In this case, it means they've switched the website on as, surprisingly, no shop that actually sells clothes has shown any interest in stocking them:
At the moment Pretty Green is only available online. We plan to launch an exclusive range in the top fashion stores around the world for Autumn / Winter 09. If you are a retail buyer please email us at The wholesale collection will vary from the site and will include a premium collection.

That's from Liam's trouser website - the "if you'd like to sell my clothes, please email us" doesn't sound that desperate, does it? Besides, all those top fashion stores are on board for winter.

Sorry, Gordon: you were attempting to turn 'man switches on retail website' into a story hefty enough to warrant publication, weren't you?
I wonder whether Liam will set up a stand to hawk his clobber to gig-goers?

No, he won't.

This needs some more padding, doesn't it?
If he did, I’m sure Radio 1 DJ ZANE LOWE would be first in the queue.

Erm.... why?

It turns out that Lowe has said he quite likes Gallagher's music:
The Kiwi has named the frontman as his fave rock star.

Not that Liam has ever been unsure of himself.

He once said: “There’s ELVIS and me. I couldn’t say which of the two is best.”

Is it just me, or is this a bit patchwork? Three disparate elements stapled together in a clumsy way to try and make it seem like it flows? And not quite succeeding? Gordon isn't reporting any more, he's quilting.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Canadian intellectual property capitalists display taste for irony

Wonderfully, the "independent" researchers appointed by The Conference Board of Canada to investigate copyright law turn out to have produced their report stressing the importance of respect for intellectual property by, erm, copying other people's work.

Oh, and attempts to produce a genuinely impartial report were undermined when the funders - copyright holders, since you ask - tried to get the contents changed to reflect their own interests.

Manson's slim sales

The final chugging of workers at that particular mine, then: Marilyn Manson's new album has scraped just 49,000 sales in week of release in the US. Much as Radio 2 used to see its audience vanish to the grave, so Manson is losing them to puberty.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Pirate Bay witnesses turn Pirate Bay proponents

During the Pirate Bay trial, one of the acts used by the music industry to make its case against the evil, evil men was Advanced Patrol.

However, it turns out nobody asked Advanced Patrol if they wanted to be used as part of the prosecution, and so now they've issued an angry press release and a new album. An album available, solely, through Pirate Bay:

“We never asked to be plaintiffs in this case, they used us as a weapon in a fight in which we don’t wish to participate. We refuse to be used in a war against our fans!” says Gonza from the band. “You cannot legislate away file sharing, Gonza says. Those who share our music are also those who appreciate it the most. They are my friends, and friendship is something to be valued highly. That’s why we’re giving away El Futuro to the internet, to our friends.”

Remember, remember: everything the RIAA does, it does because it cares about the artists.

Rock sick list: Exene Cervenka

X's Exene Cervenka has been told she's got MS:

After some months of not feeling 100% healthy, I recently had some medical tests run and the prognosis is that I am suffering from Multiple Sclerosis.

Apparently, it has been affecting me for quite some time.

Although this is obviously unfortunate news, I am choosing to see the positive in it.
I, and X as a band, have supported the Sweet Relief charity since the mid-1990's; the irony of this is not lost on any of us. Sweet Relief was started as an aide to uninsured artists by musician Victoria Williams when she herself was diagnosed with MS in 1992.

While this diagnosis will most certainly mean some changes for me, personally, it will not affect my commitments to the current X U.S. tour, nor will it affect my solo album that is slated for release this fall on Bloodshot Records.

My focus will certainly be on maintaining my health--many people remain strong and continue to live their lives as productively as they had before an MS diagnosis and I plan to be one of those people.

Gordon in the morning: Fifty is too much

Tim Nixon pops up with a claim that Michael Jackson is as underwhelmed by the idea of fifty nights as we are:

The ailing King Of Pop is now panicking he's not physically strong enough to cope with the gruelling schedule, insisting his small appetite makes it hard for him to perform.

He's blaming his small appetite? Why, was he planning to do Thriller while eating a bucket of clams? Or has "I have a small appetite" now become a catch-all euphemism.

Sadly, Gordon hi'self doesn't pop up to offer us any guidance on this one, because he's been busy elsewhere:
KASABIAN played a breathtaking show for their devoted army of hometown fans on Sunday night - turning a peaceful, sunny evening into a sweaty rock riot.

Yes, Gordo went off to see his beloved Kasabian. And, surprisingly, he hated it.

No, of course he didn't:
SERGE PIZZORNO, TOM MEIGHAN, IAN MATTHEWS, JAY MEHLER, CHRIS EDWARDS and BEN KEALY proved they are one of the best live bands around.

IT WAS SO GRATE THAT I TYPED EVERYONE OF THE BAND'S NAME IN CAPITALS!!!!1! And not in a "I am incapable of filing a decent review and so will fill up the space by listing the band members" way, oh no.
A great light show, tight musicianship with Tom, without doubt the best frontman of his generation, conducting the hooligan choir is something to savour.

These boys are a band at the top of their game, on course to join Britain's rock elite.


It's unclear if, when he submitted this review, Gordon also handed in a drawing of the band playing their instruments. But I suspect he may well have done.

Beth Ditto takes aim at... Katy Perry

It's only, what, about a century and a half since Katy Perry released I Kissed A Girl. So what kept Beth Ditto in firing up her outrage?

"(I Kissed A Girl is a) boner dyke anthem for straight girls who like to turn guys on by making out or, like, faking gay.

"I hate Katy Perry! She's offensive to gay culture, I'm so offended.

"She's just riding on the backs of our culture without having to pay any of the dues and not being actually lesbian or anything at all."

Well, yes... up to a point, Beth. But she can't simultaneously be being straight and kissing girls for the boys, and pretending to be lesbian. And is it entirely fair to suggest that just by saying "I kissed someone of the same sex" you're automatically appropriating gay culture?

Perry's tiresome, maybe, but perhaps not as tiresome as suggesting that your sexuality is something that you have to "pay dues" for - has someone told Ditto you need to get your lesbianism certificate renewed every year or something?

Ditto's analysis of Perry misfires - Perry isn't pretending to be gay, because if she was, she wouldn't be singing "I kissed a girl and I liked it", would she? Ditto seems to get that the song is aimed at that part of straight sexuality which finds the idea of heterosexual women having a quick bi-dabble a bit of a turn-on, but then confuses the idea of 'doing something gay women do' with 'exploiting gay culture'. It's possible to kick a football without claiming to be channeling Dead Shot Keane.

There's actually a positive side to Perry's hit - however wearing the concept of running about going "I have kissed a lady" might seem to grown ups, you could argue that there's something to celebrate about US radio allowing a song about same-sex snogging to become a large hit. That wouldn't have happened twenty years ago - and if you truly believe that everyone should have freedom to express their sexuality (as Ditto claims she does) can you really complain if some people decide they want to kiss people of their own gender without "paying their dues"?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Last FM meltsdown

So hot was it in London yesterday, Last FM went in to meltdown as it servers struggled to cope with the heat.

Techcrunch are reporting that the heat wasn't generated by the weather, but instead caused by pants on fire amongst executives; they say they've got a source and everything.

We're all the winners, aren't we?

Interestingly, the US CNN ticker is still reporting "Susan Boyle loses Britain's Got Talent" - a talent show in another country. Is it any wonder that the circus has screwed her up badly?

It's even more depressing that the Prime Minister - who, you would have thought, might have better things to spend his time on - is driving forward the circus, even when it's clear it's time to leave her be:

Prime Minister Gordon Brown wished the star well. "I hope Susan Boyle is okay because she is a really, really nice person," he told GMTV.

He had added that he had spoken to Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan to check on Boyle's progress.

Downing Street said Mr Brown had been concerned about her welfare - although he did not vote for her after watching Saturday's final.

Given that Morgan and Cowell turned her into a global sideshow (a global freakshow, if we're being honest), is asking them if Boyle is okay a bit like asking Bernard Matthews how comfortable the turkeys are?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Where is the (I) Love (Everything)?

The sponsors of ILX have changed hands, and the new hands don't want to sponsor any more:

The sites -- ILX and the Sandbox -- are down this weekend.

The hosting sponsorship deal we had with PaperThinWalls has been cancelled by their new owners. There's a chance we can keep going until the end of June -- if that happens, we'll be back up on Monday. Otherwise, the downtime will last until we can sort out new sponsorship, new hosting or raise the cash for our current host's fees. (If you think you can help with any of these, let me know at

Let's hope they can find a solution.