A License to Geoblock

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Less than 24 hours after I extolled the virtues of the brilliant virtual chatroom DJ service Turntable.FM (and after a week of addiction) in this publication last Friday, the site was geoblocked for non-US users.

A victim of its own sudden success, the site’s licensing restraints do not cover any country outside of the US so sadly for the rest of us, real-world copyright law has interfered once again in the virtual world. Meanwhile, artists, labels and DJs in the US have cottoned on to the site’s brilliance. Diplo was playing unreleased Major Lazer songs to just three people at one point on Monday morning (after a frenzied party). How’s that for an exclusive start of the week pick-me-up?

Licensing issues will also affect the rollout of Apple’s iCloud and iMatch service in Europe which they announced last month will launch in the US in autumn. Industry rumblings suggest that due to licensing deals yet to be struck with the music labels, it’ll be some time in 2012 before it launches in Europe. Nevermind that the deal that Apple struck with US-based labels may not be a great one for musicians after all according to figures released. The 2012 projection is a reminder that these kinds of deals move very slowly. Copyright and licensing laws are an unwieldy geo-tagged beasts which hold many restrictions due to individual territory-based legislation.

There’s an applicable argument that suggests that copyright law is stifling creativity and innovation and therefore our entertainment choices. Certainly, it’s difficult for companies like Spotify or Turntable.FM to become global concerns because of such licensing restrictions.

Back home, a Copyright Review Committee has been setup by the Government with a view at identifying any barriers to such innovation. The main aim is to reform fair use in Irish law. According to TJ McIntyre, a law lecturer in UCD, copying music from a legally owned CD to an iPod is currently illegal in Irish law.

To that end, the committee will hold a public meeting on Monday July 4th in Trinity College and are seeking submissions from users of digital content and companies in the sphere on the economic effects of current copyright policy. More details and registration at bit.ly/irlmeet.

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What The F**K Should I Listen To Now? & other sites of the week

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A supercut is a video montage of dozens of examples of one thing from movies, be it a phrase, an idea or cliché. This site is a repository for all of them from compilations of Nicholas Cage freaking out in a movie to every “dude” uttered in The Big Lebowski.


What The F**K Should I Listen To Now?

So much choice and you still don’t know what to listen to? Let this Last.FM powered site decide for you.


Google Will Eat Itself

GWEI are making money by serving Google ads on a network. Normal enough behaviour I hear you say but with the revenue, the group are buying shares in Google, slowly claiming ownership of the web giant. The only flaw is that it’ll take over 202 million years at the current rate.


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Band of Blogs: The Caretaker, Björk, Nightbox & Nick Cave & Neko Case collaborate

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A band from Wicklow are currently tearing up the Toronto music scene and the blogs. Nightbox are unknown here but are signed to the same label as Two Door Cinema Club, the uber-cool French label Kitsuné. The link is obvious, as their debut single Pyramid suggests a kinship in indie-disco sound. Production by members of MSTRKFT and Death From Above 1979 can’t hurt either.
Listen at Exclaim.

The Caretaker

Pitchfork’s sister site Altered Zones pointed us to the album The Caretaker With An Empty Bliss Beyond This World by British composer The Caretaker. The album takes its inspiration from Alzheimer’s disease and the effect it has on the mind. Keeping with that theme, the music is drawn from old 78RPM records of ballroom music which disintegrate with static as the songs progress.

Listen at Altered Zones.

Björk – Crystalline

In the same week, that the Icelandic artist debuts new material in Manchester, Björk has also released the first song from her forthcoming multimedia album Biophilia. The song, ‘Crystalline’, is notable for its multiple layers of percussion and a drum and bass outro.

Listen at Nialler9.

Nick Cave & Neko Case

Recorded for True Blood’s fourth series, Nick Cave and Neko Case duet on The Zombies’ classic She’s Not There. Next stop. The campaign to get Cave on screen as a werewolf in Bon Temps Listen at KCRW.

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McCartney gets cloudy & Turntable.FM goes social

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It may have taken until 2009 for music from The Beatles to appear on iTunes but it seems Paul McCartney is wasting no time in catching up with the latest hot technology. The 69 year-old musician is embracing the cloud.

Hewlett Packard have announced that they will be digitising McCartney’s entire musical library. Over one million items including tracks, sound clips, photos, reviews, live performances, experiments and other assorted ephemera from his basement studio will be uploaded to a cloud-based library that can be digitally accessed from anywhere.

A digital archive is a big leap away from the old technology he was accustomed to using. One process for remastering and remixing old tapes involves baking the tape to remove oxide. “ That amazed me when I heard that one. We’ve actually got to bake my old tapes before we can play them? It’s a bit like the steam engine, you know. A bit old-fashioned,” McCartney told Wired.com in an interview.

The digitising of McCartney’s archive means a life’s work that could have languished in the darkness of a basement is now open to possibilities for thousands of fans to experience in future as well as guaranteeing the preservation of McCartney’s musical legacy.

The latest phenomenon has also taken the music experience to a virtual space. Not only can you blog about music, tweet about it, like a song on Facebook or watch it on web streams, but now you can participate in a virtual DJ set or musical chatroom.

Two new services have sprung up of late, Mumuplayer.com and Turntable.FM. The latter is the best service. Log in via Facebook and you can browse the musical rooms or create your own. You are represented with an avatar in a virtual venue. You can choose to listen in on what’s been played by up to five DJs on the virtual dancefloor or join in yourself. If you choose to play music, you can upload your own songs to play or choose from an existing library.

It all adds up to a fun and collaborative music sharing environment where you can broadcast your musical tastes to friends and strangers, chat about songs or shoot the breeze. It’s a novel way to listen to music and of getting somebody human to programme or curate your musical playlist for the day rather than relying on your own brain or computer algorithms. If you like a track, you can buy the song on iTunes or add it to Spotify and Last.FM too. It’s addictive and for that reason, Turntable.FM has the potential to be the next big digital music experience.

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