Friday, May 10, 2013

Carrie Underwood slowly seeping through the week

May 7th:

May 9th:

Be worried, Monday Night Football. You're next.

RIAA attempt to embrace Spotify

The decision by the RIAA to include streaming in gold and platinum certification is interesting, but not for the reasons the RIAA think.

Music Week explains how it'll work:

After a year-long project by the RIAA, the organisation will now recognise the non-sales format (in audio and/or video) for the first time ever in its 55-year history that will go towards amounts calculated for G&P’s Digital Single Award certification.

Within the new approach includes the formula of 100 streams being equivalent to one download.

Fifty-six certifications were given following the new rules for the Digital Single Award with 11 Gold, 18 Platinum and 27 multi-Platinum new 'combined' Digital Single Awards counting both downloads and streams.
This isn't really about legitimacy being given to streaming; it's more about the RIAA trying to carve itself out a role.

Did anyone have any problems with streaming not getting a randomly-assigned status from a self-appointed body before? The coverage of, say, Psy's massive YouTube numbers manages to survive quite well without the need to have Cary Sherman shout "that's equivalent to a platinum-studded-with-emerald disc, that is" over the top of the numbers. The metrics are all out in the open; why do we need a third party to use a periodic-table-based code to try and teach us that a million is a lot?

There's an added complication; historically, the silver, gold and platinum statuses have been conferred on shipments, rather than sales; wholesale orders rather than retail purchases. These digital prizes, though, are triggered by consumer behaviour.

While that's understandable - something on YouTube effectively has 'shipped' forty quintrillion plays - it's not comparing like with like, is it?

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Steve Brookstein: Surely candidate for a column in the relaunched Spare Rib

Steve Brookstein, who you'll remember as a handy punchline from The X Factors (I think he was the one with the dancing dog act), has decided the world needs his take on sexual politics.

Kent Labour Students tweeted a complaint about a card Tesco sells, which uses sexual harassment as the set-up for a joke:

Ha-ha, because who wouldn't want to be groped at work, eh?

Tesco replied in a fabulous, missing-the-point entirely way:

"Knowingly a joke that many find humorous" doesn't quite qualify as coherent English, much less an explanation.

(Just as an aside, the people who dressed as a pantomime horse who went into Tesco while they were selling adulterated beef was 'knowingly a joke that many find humorous', but it didn't stop Tesco putting a stop to it.)

For some reason - probably 'having a lot of time of his hands' - Brookstein decided to get involved:

You've almost got to feel sorry for someone who confuses Kent Labour Students and Communists, haven't you?

Jessica Atto saw the tweet, and decided to point out to Steve Brookstein the difference between a "joke" and "trying to turn sexual harassment into a joke":

Perhaps Steve had forgotten what it's like to have an audience, but he came back with this:

Yes, that's the best way to react when someone is trying to clarify if you really are a sexist knobpacket.

A wise man might withdraw at this point. Even a man who struggles a bit to keep up with this modern world where women are, all of a sudden, people, might withdraw. But Brookstein, who clearly thinks he's some sort of Richard Littlejohn in waiting, saw this as somehow proving his point:

I suppose Steve has made a point; he just seems blithely unaware that it's the exact opposite point of the one he thought he was making.

Gordon in the morning: The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate

Liam Gallagher has got a problem:

Liam said: “This tramp kept hassling me at my house.

“I know he’s been a problem for other people round our way. He was ringing on our buzzer early in the morning and kept asking if I would pay for his pay-as-you-go phone. Proper mad.

“The final straw was when he started messing with my recycling bins. I’m a bit anal about my recycling and he ended up shoving his crutches in my bin.

“I came out and squared up to him and he had a bit of a go.

“Put it this way, I don’t think he’ll be coming back round my way again.”
Multi-millionaire "squares up" to homeless person who he suggests has mental health problems. What a hero, eh?

Little Miss

Daybreak trumpeted the "takeover" of their Twitter feed this morning. Little Mix were coming, and they were going to answer questions...

... it just looks like someone forgot to post any of the answers to the feed. Whoops.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Spotify stormed: plug-in opens back door

Although Google have rushed to remove it from the Chrome store, for a while there, you could grab a tool which would allow you to download mp3 files direct from the Spotify servers.

The tool has been yanked from the store, but is still floating about on the web; Spotify say they're aware of "the issue" and are working on a fix.

Although you'd still be able to hijack the audio as it passes to your speakers, whatever fix you put in place.

[Thanks to Michael M]

Venue Cymru introduces pop quiz to gain entry

Strange times at Venue Cymru, as Andy Bellis turns up, hands his tickets in, and... doesn't get to see the band.

Here's what happened to him, from his Facebook status:

We go to a Vaccines gig in Llandudno tonight, queue up for a good half hour and give our tickets at the door. Yes it seems pretty normal that, no? So we're pulled aside to get searched and all that and the security guy asks if I know the lead singer and could I name their 2 albums and some songs. I couldn't think off the top of my head so the cunts kicked us out, took the tickets off us and said we couldn't watch the band because we didn't know enough information about them..
This wasn't some sort of new hipster-test, but apparently the security at Venue Cymru using some sort of precognition to decide that Andy might be wrong 'un. Again, from Andy's timeline:
Venue Cymru was made aware that pickpockets may attempt to operate in the arena during the Vaccines gig. In order to ensure the safety and security of our customers we carried out random checks of those in the queue. As a result 6 people were refused admission and a further two people were ejected from the building. Security were working closely with the police and licensing officers throughout the evening.
Ah, how very astute, Venue Cymru - for why would anyone want to go to see a band unless they knew dozens of facts about them? Unless they'd just heard from friends they were good, or were going with someone else, or were in town and wanted to see a gig and this was the only one on, or hadn't been paying much attention to music recently but got the free Vaccines CD with this week's NME and decided they'd like to see them live before buying the album, the only possible reason would be they were pickpockets.

To be fair, I have wished sometimes that venues would only allow in people who could plausibly claim to have been following the band on stage since their first rehearsal, but that's because I'm bad at sharing.

I never thought I'd see a venue demanding completion of the NME crossword before they'd let you in, though.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Rising damp

It turns out that ITV's Vicious isn't the most tragic flatshare sitcom currently in progress. There's this one, too:

Macaulay Culkin has moved in with Pete Doherty.

The 32-year-old actor and the former Libertines rocker first met when they made the ketamine-influenced movie, 'The Wrong Ferrari', together a few years ago and struck up a friendship.
Well, there's nothing there that could possibly go wrong, is there?

Bookmarks: Abba

There's a great post on Richard Williams' blog about his role in Abba's rise to world domination. It even has a walk-on part for The Human League, in the Melody Maker offices:

“Sorry, Ian,” I said, “but I really have to listen to this — it’s the new Abba single.” A look of horror crossed his face. The two people with him swung round in amazement. They were Phil Oakey and Joanne Catherall from the Human League, then at the very beginning of their journey to pop stardom.


Sorry, what was that, ContactMusic?

Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey renewed their vows in Disneyland because they like to ''dress up''.
Let's just raise an eyebrow and move on, shall we?

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Justin Bieber: A warning from history

Perhaps leaving people standing around like chumps for two hours is just now a standard part of the Justin Bieber show?

Embed and breakfast man: Tame Impala

Yes, Tame Impala. Yes, at Triple J. Yes, covering Outkast:

This week just gone

The most-read stories from across No Rock this week:

1. The Stone Roses tire of Liam Gallagher
2. Music writers get paid: Uncool
3. Thom Yorke is rude to Ronan Keating
4. Peter Andre bravely carries on after JLS split
5. ContactMusic suddenly notices something about Daft Punk
6. KT Tunstall thinks people assume she's gay because of her braces
7. That last Mark And Lard in full
8. Tatu don't know why people think they're gay
9. People tell Little Mix they're heroes all the time. No, really
10. RIP Gary Biddles

This week's interesting releases:

Purson - The Circle & The Blue Door

Download Rocking Horse

Guided By Voices - English Little League

Download The Best Of...

The Melvins - Everyone Loves Sausages

Download Everyone Loves Sausages

Neon Neon - Praxis Makes Perfect

Download Praxis Makes Perfect

Seasick Steve - Hubcap Music

Download Hubcap Music