In late 2007, all anyone interested in music industry could talk about was Radiohead. In October that year, the band quickly self-released their seventh album In Rainbows through their website and offered fans a “pay what you want” pricing structure that included the price of zero for a period of three months.
The band were hailed as visionaries, despite the many artists who had done something similar before. The difference was – Radiohead are popular. Having left their major label EMI prior to release, the band had no label contract. They still needed to sell physical copies of the album though, so two months later, XL Recordings licensed the album and put it in the shops. Similar deals were struck in other territories in the world.
Last week, the Bittorrent blog TorrentFreak highlighted the nasty repercussions of those deals. Despite largely giving their album away from free digitally (an estimate of 62% of people opted not to pay for the album), TorrentFreak says that industry representative groups Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the International Federation for the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) have been issuing takedown notices to fans who are sharing the album online recently.
Nothing too out of the ordinary there except for the fact that the songs were given away for free in the first place digitally, so what rights do the labels have to claim infringements against fans when they only have physical licensing deals? And what do Radiohead think of all this? At time of writing, there has been no comment from the band but it would be surprising to learn that the band supported such measures. (more…)
New Fight Like Apes
First came Hoo Ha Henry and now we have Poached Egg, the second taster from Fight Like Apes’ geniusly-titled second album The Body of Christ and the Legs of Tina Turner. The song is up to the band’s usual synth-driven standard with the repeating shouty mantra of “When thumbs get split / chicks get lit”. An acquired taste maybe, but this is a band with a fervent fanbase. Listen at Nialler9
John Lambert aka Dublin’s Chequerboard has released his 2002 debut Gothica as a free download on Bandcamp.com. Grab this gorgeous slab of icy electronic soundscapes. Download at Bandcamp
Robyn and Snoop Dogg
Swedish Electric Picnic-bound pop star Robyn is already on her second album this year and she ropes in gangsta rapper Snoop on U Should Know Better from Body Talk Part II, a Cars-esque Europop number. Listen at Gigwise
A genre of music out of South Africa with 180 beats per minute, sped-up vocal samples, marimbas, African rhythms, digital beats and a big emphasis on street dancing. I visited Soweto recently to meet up with the godfather of Shangaan electro, read about my experience.
Make This Face
Pictures of people making “the face”. It’s the one involving at least four fingers and your nose and teeth getting pushed in opposite directions. Yeh, that one. Stop that before the wind changes! http://makethisface.tumblr.com
A music store employee occasionally gifts us a window into his somewhat annoying working life by capturing “performances” by customers in the store. What really makes this worthwhile is he appears in every video looking bewildered and a bit scared.
Youtube, a site that probably everybody who reads this column uses every day has launched a number of new features lately. First up, in recognition that music videos account for 57 percent of most-watch virals on Youtube, Google has introduced a music section to the site at youtube.com/music. It shows the most popular videos of the day as well as a breakdown by genre and curated-playlists. They are also promising a local music listing section in the near future. The addition follows the introduction of full-length movies (youtube.com/movies) where you can watch Animal Farm along with films featuring Jackie Chan, Demi Moore and a slew of Bollywood titles.
If the thought of clicking your mouse is too much to bear then Youtube have thought of that too. Leanback (youtube.com/leanback) is the site’s equivalent of a 24 hour TV channel. It takes videos from subscriptions and serves up non-stop programming based on your preferences.
Also in Youtubeland, the long overdue restriction on uploading videos longer than 10 minutes has been changed to 15. As a celebration and befitting of that ubiquitous Andy Warhol quote and the site’s regular carousel of viral celebrities, they asked users to make a video of their “15 minutes of fame” , which will be showcased on the homepage.
Meanwhile, in Kanyewatch, last week was a veritable feast of Jeezy info as Kanye did two things of interest. First, he made an appearance at the HQs of both Facebook and Twitter, looking dapper in a designer suit and gave acappella performances of new songs Lost in the World, Chain Gang and Mama’s Boyfriend from his forthcoming album. You can watch those videos here.
Secondly, he joined Twitter (@kanyewest)! Oh what delights! It sounds like a small thing but in truth, it’s fascinating reading and confirms the many facets of his personality. He confirmed he’s changed the title of his new album from Good Ass Job to.. something else (clever Kanye), he posted pics of his jet plane and his new massive living room projector screen (rich-ass Kanye), offered business advice (The Apprentice Kanye), ribbed himself for his passion for ancient art (humble Kanye), called himself “The King” a lot (modest Kanye), expressed frustration with being able to get what he wants “What do I have to do to get a simple persian rug with cherub imagery?” (tantrum Kanye) and misspelled Silicon Valley as “Silicone Valley” in his first tweet (nervous Kanye).
Let’s face it. Kanye West is a passionate guy and it’s only a matter of time before something happens to rival his caps lock-fueled “I’m typing so f**king hard I might break my f**king Mac book Air!!!!!!!!” blog rant of times gone by. When it does, with the ease of Twitter, it’ll also be fascinating reading.