You know, even before yesterday, last week’s column got a better response than anything I’d ever done in the music zone. Lo and Behold, I get to work on Monday morning and there’s 25 emails sitting in my box in reference to this column (and they haven’t stopped all day, I’m up around 60 or 70, and this isn’t using the Hyatte Email Inflation System TM). I was somewhat confused because the article hadn’t been on the main site in six days. And then, one of the emails informed me that one of y’all crazy kids had submitted me to Fark.com, and thus led me to my biggest number of hits ever on a music column (we don’t have a counter on wrestling anymore, so I don’t know what the Saturday Wrasslin Column does hitwise). They don’t really like us going into our exact hit counts, but suffice it to say that FARK landed me, and I’m not exaggerating here, about a hundred times my normal hits â€¦ and I want to thank whoever submitted me for that. Now, I can demand a 20% raise from the site ownersâ€¦ soon I will get a big head and demand that Widro put me over and I’ll begin refusing to plug anyone, like Keith.
Also want to thank all the other writer’s who gave me links last week. Even Eric S and Grutman.
Now, a couple of things I have learned through my mailbag and through a couple articles that were sent my way this week.
Do you sue a gun company because the gun COULD be used to kill someone? Hell, do you sue a gun company AFTER the gun has been used to kill someone?
From Kim: I read a news article a couple months back where a kid (15, I think)
took a gun to school and shot his teacher. He had acquired the gun by breaking into somebody’s house and finding it in a drawer. I believe he stole the bullets from them as well.
The teacher’s widow sued the school, the gun owner (who had it stolen) and since the gun manufacturer was out of business, she sued the warehouse that distributed the gun instead. The kid was not found liable, but everybody else was liable to the tune of several million dollars apiece.
I have no idea the facts involved in this case, but enough people sent it to me that I’ll guess it’s legit.
Another point, raised by Frank: I recently read your article about the RIAA attacking anyone and everyone involved in napster, mp3.com, etc. You mentioned that the services these companies provided was completely legal as they were not encouraging or engaging in illegal actions. This may no longer be entirely true. You see, the government, in its efforts to crack down on drug users, has passed legislation making it illegal to distribute products that are used mainly for illegal activities. I don’t remember the particulars of the law, but it was used in “Operation Pipe Dreams” to arrest several internet pipe stores for selling tabacco pipes used primarily for smoking marijuana. It is quite possible this law could be generalized to include any mp3 index.
Again, the facts on this I haven’t heard either, but it’s worth a mention. Thanks to everyone that emailed me with this info.
Another article I read, from FARK no less, came from the Christian Science Monitor. In a nutshell, the RIAA, when they say that music sales are down six percent only take into account their sales. What they don’t mention is that sales from Independent Labels (those not represented by the RIAA) are up to the tune of 50 â€“ 100% across the board. Kinda makes you look at the whole consumer backlash thing another way.
Another important point about radio: One thing you forgot to mention…that is seldom mentioned, is that effect of the monopoly that Clear Channel has over the Radio Industry.
It’s not really a monopoly, but it’s close.
This also has had a detrimental affect on music sales. Why? Well for one, it’s again about the music industry’s control over the marketing of the product. They continue to market mindless crap on the radio and with the Clear Channel monopoly, it’s difficult to get a local artist exposure like we had even 10 years ago. For example on their “Rock” stations, they play the same playlist across at least 100 different stations nationwide. The only local interaction is through local advertisement and local news. The DJs use canned spots for local purposes. We will never see another Seattle scene again because local stations don’t get to make those decisions. What this means to the radio-listening public is that we’ll be forever shackled with Backstreet Boys, Britiney Spears, and the rest of their ilk.
We have run up against that in this area as well over the course of time. About ten years ago, we had a local college station, WVCR which runs out of Siena College, that was GREAT for getting the local scene lots of airplay. It played in only 4 different formats, rather than the normal college every hour changes format. Well, long story short, even with it doing very well in the ratings, they dropped all their extra formats in favor of a single top 40 format with the argument being â€œThat’s what kids are listening to, and we want kids to listen to us. If kids listen to us, they will think Siena’s a cool place to go and therefore will come here.â€ All well and good, except now VCR was the same as every other station in the area. Oddly enough, it happened after a Clear Channel flunkee came on as an advisor and the person who had the initial idea went on to become a Program Director underling at Clear Channel. Coincidence?
Now, for the Fark folks who didn’t like me.
Rob Soto: You are the whiniest bitch of a man that I have ever witnessed in my entire life.
“Oh no, they’re trying to take away our free shit…”
Not that they don’t own it. Now, I love free music more than most,
So, then why in the blue hell did you feel the need to send me a letter calling me whiny? I mean, Jeebus, dudeâ€¦ at least disagree me if you’re going to be calling me names.
but part and parcel of downloading mp3’s is that you know you could get in trouble. In your entire article you don’t mention once that they are acting in a perfectly legal manner to protect their intellectual property.
I guess that depends on your assessment of â€œlegal.â€ In the vein of technology, they are taking advantage of the fact that lawyers and judges know nothing about technologyâ€¦ which, in turn, makes a service that isn’t inherently illegal LOOK illegal to the uneducated eye. Keep in mind that Napster and MP3.com were perfectly legal services, too, until they were strongarmed out of business.
Yes, they may be whiny bitches, too, but that does not change the fact that you are one.
And you’re whining and bitching about my whining and bitching. Where does that leave us?
If you don’t want to support them, then don’t.
But don’t complain constantly that they’re infringing on your right to infringe upon their rights’. Christ, man, you sound like the bitter ex-boyfriend that’s still whining two years later.
And that would be, as they say, that.
Ryan: You know…. I totally agree with you about the RIAA….. it’s a bunch of bullshit
Once again, word.
BUT, how come after getting up on your soapbox and spouting off about how much the RIAA is evil and backwards thinking and up to no good….. why after all of that did you come down on Eddie Vedder for voicing his opinion on something…… good lord, why do you care so much about what he thinks? Do you really believe that Eddie Vedder’s opinion will make the Iraqi Army think to themselves…..”Hey, wait a minute! Maybe I should go kill more Americans since Eddie Vedder doesn’t like President Bush! Maybe I will join the Green Party just like him….’ Maybe you should remember that the United States is helping rid that country of a dictactor who would never allow people to spout off their opinions. Ironic that free speech is under such an assault here at home……..
Now, to defend myself, I have no problem with Eddie mouthing off with his opinion, but he’s just another in a long line of celebs who think we should care about their opinion just because they’re famous.
D:  If “you pansy ass haven’t been good since Ten”, what the hell are you doing going to the concert?
They play a good mix of old and new stuff in concertâ€¦ and up until Vitalogy, they put out some good music.
Also, super props to a dude named Ryan for gracing me with the word â€œf*ckton,â€ as in â€œI downloaded a f*ckton of songs.â€ HA!
As I’m writing this, the e-mail is STILL coming in and the hits are still flyingâ€¦ so I’m hoping some of you are repeat visitors.
And finally, one other gentleman who respectfully disagreed. Possibly the best written out of all the letters I received, from someone â€œin the know.â€
Hey Daniels, as a person who has/does work(ed) in the record industry both on the recording side, (as a tech.), and on the radio side, both as a tech and a station rep.) I have to respectfully disagree with SOME of your take on the RIAA.
Now before I begin I just want you to know that I am no big fan of the RIAA, they have never really done anything for me personally,(as I am not an artist or high up enough for it to be worth their while to stroke me.) but they have some valid points in why filesharing is a bitch. Could they adjust to the technology of today? Probably. Should they? OH HELL YES!! But there are two things that make them reluctant to do so: one, the system they have works, and works WELL, (for them), and second, the artists are beginning to revolt for more money and more control.
But my argument was, and remains, WHY NOT embrace the technology while they can still save face. All the constant bitching and moaning and suing is doing is making the Recording Industry look worse and worse. Of course, the business model of todayâ€¦ when threatened, sue hard and sue long.
I don’t know what it is about music, but somehow somewhere people have gotten the idea that the music business is about art and feeling. Nope, its a cut-throat business just as bad as say, wrestling can be. Big shots keep people down, (see Durst, Fred), Big companies let stars go due to flaky behavior, (Carey, Mariah) No talent hacks get made into stars due to who they know/knew/were sleeping with, (Love, Courtney), and any successful, band immediately gets copied, even if they weren’t the ones to, strictly speaking invent the style, (Korn, RATM, 311). Greenday)
Even the untrained eye/ear can see that. The problem most people have is what they see vs what the Industry’s party line is. â€œPiracy is hurting business.â€ And then you see Cribsâ€¦ and no one looks hurt.
1.) I have used filesharing systems, and so have my friends, and I refuse to believe that people are uploading MP3 files for purely their own enjoyment. When I, my friends, or anyone else that I have seen use these systems they use them to do one thing. Download music that they do not own for free. Period. When I logged on to Napster, I was going trolling for songs in an attempt to NOT buy the disk. I knew it, my friends knew it, and even though I have never had the chance to ask em, I’m pretty sure the nice folks at Napster know it too. Now while it is debatable for more astute legal minds as to whether this is a TECHNICAL violation of the law or not, I know a nod and a wink when I see one.
But the question that arises is: how many of those songs that you downloaded were off albums you never would have bought anyway. I like Sarah McLaughlin. A lot. I think she’s very talented and I like a lot of her songs. I will never buy a Sarah McLaughlin disc. Ever. So I download the six or so songs I like from her. Where is the lost sale in there? What money are they losing? The answer to both is none.
And while I like free shit as much as the next guy, providing a place to for other people to do something you KNOW is illegal is kinda shady. I don’t know how your computer is set up, but at my college, we had DSL lines. DSL lines = a TON of music in no time at all for NOTHING. Now to be sure I didn’t download the WHOLE album of a particular artist, but who really wants that anyway? all really want are the 2-5 songs I know about cause I heard them on the radio. Speaking of….
2.) I think you have the wrong angle on making and promoting albums. The promotion isn’t about you, (the consumer), the concertgoers, ( most concerts are losers $$-wise, simply because there are more shows per year in your local large club (( and clubowners are greedy bastards)), than there are in your local large stadium, if you want a analogy think pro wrestling. There are many more house shows in the local gym vs. TV shows/PPV’s) or the cover art guys. Its about the Music director at your local radio station and all the people on his/her staff. Why? cause we get a TON of crap for free from the different labels BEGGING us to just play this or that band on the radio. Why? Cause that is the all time best way to get you the consumer to buy the record. They promote to US not the consumer. Why promote Meteora heavily on billboards,Popup ads, and TV , ALL aimed at millions of potential customers, when you can convince a Couple of thousand radio execs to brainwash all of them? Why do you think MTV only plays the same 20 videos back to back, and almost ONLY during their highest rated show ,TRL?
This is a point I hadn’t thought of. Thank you.
Now I know that the logical extension from this is: how is that more expensive? Well that is because Radio station GM’s want to play commercials, not music, cause that’s where they make THEIR money. Its almost like trying to get into a prestigious college; for every 100 artists out there, only a few make it on the radio. And the promotion runs the full gamut: dinners, free crap, “hanging” with the stars, “free” concerts on MTV for upcoming stars, (Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, R&B flava of the month anyone?) on and on. Need a bit of evidence about the power of radio? Audioslave. A band composed of the backing members of Rage plus (arguably) the best rock singer in a long while from Soundgarden. Magic right? Nope. This band went on a limited tour and couldn’t sell water to dehydrated people. They had actually BROKEN UP as a band, until: that 1st song hit on the radio. Then Bingo! From working in radio I have a collection of AWESOME music that the vast majority of people will never hear, all obtained for free, (ironic eh?) from the various labels and never heard on the radio cause there is not enough time. That is the way it is here and I live in a small market; If I worked in N.Y. or L.A. I could probably get Cristina or Brittany to blow me, and I work in a ROCK station.
My friendâ€¦ what in the blue hell are you waiting for?
3.) As far as putting a good selection of music on the shelves :Think about it: just as on Napster you went after the songs you wanted, (cause you heard them on the radio), even though there were a bunch of other song that you had never heard of. Same thing with record stores, why put a bunch of different music in the store when no one will buy the album unless they think it has a hot song on it? I know it sounds jaded but, (most), people really aren’t into music that they haven’t had pounded into their brains.
Along with you I do wish that music was cheap and plentiful on the net. I DO think that the RIAA are pricks for suing college students, but I also think that those same college students probably had themselves a nice little giggle fit while they were sticking it to the RIAA,
And to this, I disagree. Because you write a search engine that browses the college networkâ€¦ and because said networks ten to have an assload of MP3’s on it, how is it the fault of the student who WROTE the search engine that people are sharing MP3 files on the network? The answer is: it ISN’T their faultâ€¦ any more than it’s Google’s fault if you type in â€œshow me how to blow things upâ€ and they point you at a recipe for C4, it’s not Google’s fault for providing the service.
“Screw the RIAA!, We’ll find a way around all those stupid rulings and lawsuits, and figure out a way for people to download music they have not paid for for FREE! BWAH-HAHA.” Fact is, all that technology isn’t all that new. A search engine is a search engine is a search engine. Getting things for free that the owners/distributors want you to pay for is usually illegal.
If you really want good music on the cheap, go see a show at your local mid-sized venue. Whoever is playing will usually have a CD or 2 that they will near give away just so you MIGHT call up a radio station and request them, (see above). I have gotten music from DMB, 2 Skinny J’s, Greenday, etc for a lot cheaper, and basically the same damn songs.
Great response and outlined the other side very well, but at some point I have to get to the music news. I, for one, now behold the power of FARK.
Those Angrâ€¦ erâ€¦ nah, this goes beyond angryâ€¦ Rappers
Death Row’s Back (formerly Tha Row, formerly Death Row) Records has recently been named a defendant in a wrongful death student. The suit alleges that one Antron â€œBig Lurchâ€ Singleton committed a brutal, brutal torture/murder at the behest of Death Row.
Yeah, this gets dirty from here.
The suit alleges that Death Row supplied Singleton with his own apartment and PCP to encourage him to act out violently, thus making him more marketable as a â€œGansta Rapper.â€ According to police, Singleton was found on April 10, 2002 wandering LA naked covered in blood. A search of his apartment turned up the mutilated body of his 21 year old roommate Tynisha Ysais, who was fatally stabbed and partially eaten. Yes, bite marks on her face and lungs, parts of which has been chewed and torn from her body. An exam of Singleton’s stomach contents confirmed he had eaten human flesh.
Actually, you know whatâ€¦ that’s about enough of this one. I’d like to find something to goof on here, but I just can’t. My thoughts and prayers to this young woman’s family and I really hope that the death penalty applies here. Singleton is awaiting trial on murder and torture chargesâ€¦ and I really hope he gets it.
Snoop Dog Survives
In better news, in a good news/bad news sort of wayâ€¦ Snoop Dogg has survived a hail of gunfire unleashed into two of his five vehicle convoy in LA this past weekend. Although Snoop escaped unharmed, one of his bodyguards took a bullet to the back. No arrests have been made from the attack.
Snoop has recently been trying to (publicly) turn his life around as of late and this shooting is being considered possible revenge for either the 1996 shooting of which Snoop was acquitted or a message from Suge Knight, from whom Snoop split with very bitterly with in January. Earlier this month, a lawsuit was filed against Snoop for a sampled loop from a gentleman’s answering machine in a Diss Track against Suge Knight. The man sued for mental distress because he was afraid Suge would seek revenge on HIM since his voice was featured in the track.
Cool News Story of the Week
Slash, Duff McKagen, and Matt Sorum recently confirmed to mtv.com that Stone Temple Pilot’s front man Scott Weiland is the prime candidate to lead up their new project being referred to only as â€œThe Project.â€ The members of GnR who aren’t Axl are looking to get something started, and Weiland worked with them in creating some Soundtrack tunes submitted to film companies last month.
Now, the band wouldn’t be able to tour under the GNR name, since Axl had them sign all rights to GNR over to him, but nothing’s saying they couldn’t tour like Roger Watter’s toursâ€¦ that being playing old Pink Floyd’s tunes without Pink Floyd.
My guess: if these guys get it together, with the power of Weiland, they will put out something worth a listen. My second guess: They will get the album out before Axl’s theoretic â€œnext studio albumâ€ which has been in the making for almost ten years.
Does the Music Industry need Tech?
They are apparently finally realizing the answer to that is: yes. Universal Music is up for sale and one of the front runners in the race for the buy is none other than Apple Computers. Universal, who holds the contracts of Eminem and Shania Twain, among others, might be on it’s way under the control of Steve Jobs, the innovator of the â€œRip, Mix, Burnâ€ slogan for the Imac.
The big news out of all this would be Apple’s development of a new online file sharing service where user’s could pay per download. Thus far, most music industry sponsored services have been cumbersome and not very useful.
The primary problems any legal fileswapping service is going to face is two-fold. First, the service is going to be owned by one of the five major labels. Which means, while you may be able to download some songs from Eminem, you might not be able to find any from Mariah Carey. Second, you have to pay for it. This would be as opposed to your other option, which would be finding any song possible on Kazaa, and downloading it for the low bargain price of free.
So, the problem continues. The legal services being offered are far inferior to the illegal onesâ€¦ and the INFERIOR service is the one asking for money. Yeah, that’ll happen sometime soon. Until all five major labels can come together in some sort of online service that’s easy to use and has everythingâ€¦ they’re just not going to break the online swappingâ€¦ ever, and that’s not changing with any number of lawsuits.
In other tech news, XM Satellite Radio recently topped 500,000 subscribers worldwide. For those that don’t know, XM Radio is a satellite, nationwide service that provides (mostly) commercial free stations that don’t change regardless of where in the country you are. They also aren’t controlled by Clear Channel, so you tend to hear a little more variety on the stations.
I have XM and I have to say, I would never ever want to be without it. You have a ton of genre stations, from the 80s and 90s, metal, and even ridiculous things that I would never, EVER listen to, like Show Tunes.
Everyone should invest in XM Radioâ€¦ and I don’t just say that because I own stock in it. I say it because it’s a tremendous service and anyone who wants to hear something different on the radio should pick it up. I heard Corrosion of Conformity on there the other dayâ€¦ you know the last time I heard CoC on regular FM? Oh waitâ€¦ NEVER.
Alternate services, my friendsâ€¦ that’s what it’s all about.
In Other Reading
The Flaming Sideburns. I have no idea who they are or what they sing, and the review’s been on the main page for the last four daysâ€¦ but with that name, I have to link it. Wallis has the review.
Marshall has made it his personal mission in life to screw with me. Eventually I’ll screw back. Read him anyway.
One of the Brother’s Biscuiti. The one I always linkâ€¦ you guess.
I want to thank the dudes over at Fark for giving among the highest hit counts on a column ever for this site. Widro knows now more than ever that I am the man.