Rant – Congratulations, Apple: “Syncing” Music Now Means “Using iTunes”

Photo (CC) Tim Douglas. Critics frequently attach the phrase “lock-in” to Apple’s iTunes Store – iTunes – iPod/iPhone combination. But, in the post-DRM age, what does that mean, exactly? First, you have to recall that while for many of us the manual drag-and-drop music management is appealing, it isn’t so for many average consumers. They want sync. That means that music will be stored in iTunes and synced to Apple devices and nothing else. Apple is serious about locking you to their store and their devices, enough so that they frequently update their software with special keys that prevent the …

READ MORE →

Behringer’s Latest Rip-Off Job: Apple.com

  Look out: Behringer, already a notorious rip-off artist, is taking the “first step in [the] company’s reinvention of online presence.” I shudder to think what the coming steps will look like. But yes, the new site looks a wee bit familiar. It actually gets worse as you dig into the layout. In fairness, for over a decade now, Apple’s site has perhaps the most ripped-off Website design on the Internet. But then, Behringer is special. Back when the blog Music Thing was publishing, it was able to do an annual series on cloned Mackie and Roland/BOSS gear, some down …

READ MORE →

Signs of Change, Ingenuity in Music Distribution

Photo (CC) Clonny. Details on Flickr. With the weakened world economy, content in general faces plenty of gloom and doom. Advertising models are severely weakened. But, oddly, in the world of music, there are some positive signs that the shift to decentralized, online distribution might actually be going well — and maybe economic pressures are simply ensuring the parties involved find some way to make the adjustment. And music distribution is becoming wonderfully weird and diverse – maybe far more so than in recording’s so-called golden age, an era in the past dominated by racial division, predatory labels, and a …

READ MORE →

Chip Strikes Back: Finnish Label Sues Timbaland, Nelly Furtado

MusicRadar’s Joe Bosso reports that the long-simmering controversy over alleged 8-bit music intellectual property theft has come to a lawsuit: Timbaland, Nelly Furtado sued for plagiarism [MusicRadar] The suit is being brought by the Finland-based Kernel Records, which acquired the song Acidjazzed Evening. The case again puts musical sampling in the spotlight. Timbaland’s response in 2007, which you can read in the MusicRadar article, basically amounted to “I didn’t know where it came from, so it’s not theft.” Oh, and then there’s this gem: “It’s from a video game, idiot.” That’ll be Timbaland demonstrating that he doesn’t understand what 8-bit …

READ MORE →

Pirating a Fundraising Album for an Italian Quake – Really?

Ligabue, one of the contributing artists, live in Berlin. Photo (CC) Matthias Muehlbradt. Sure, many issues around intellectual property are gray. But contributor Jo Ardalan has a disturbing story: what happens when a fundraising album gets pirated? Did illegal file sharing users know what they were doing — is there a need for a donation mechanism for these services — or is it really this bad? Apologies if this is old news – catching up during travel – but a question well worth considering. -Ed. We all know piracy forces labels, artists and developers to incur a huge cost. Recently, …

READ MORE →

Danger Mouse / Sparklehorse Album to Get Blank CD-R Release; How to Grab the File

We’ve heard lots of ideas for alternative musical distribution in the digital age, but this has to be a less popular idea: How about “releasing” your album as a blank, recordable CD-R? If you think about it, it’s the natural evolution of CDs. After all, in the age of widespread digital download stores and file sharing, if you bother to buy a physical CD, aren’t you really buying it just for that jewel box and liner notes and packaging, for that satisfying snap as the disc hits the plastic spindle? Aren’t you just doing it to flirt with the CD …

READ MORE →

Inside the Performance Rights Act, And Deciding Who Gets Paid on the Radio

Performers don’t get paid for radio play, even if writers do. Billy Corgan – yes, the Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan – is getting in on the issue, testifying to Congress. So should you be on Billy’s side, or the broadcasters? That’s a trickier question. Photo (CC) Andra Veraart. Policy, intellectual property, and changing business models remain hot threads to follow on this site as we watch the transformation of music distribution in the electronic age. This time, we welcome a new contributor to look inside the issues. Surprise: one radio host sides with the record industry, and the issues may …

READ MORE →

“Music Simulation” Patent Unsuccessful, Gibson Mucks Up Own Case

Simulated guitar? Gibson gets carried away, but the law wins. Photo/bento creation (CC) Sakurako Kitsa.(Yup, this is a Fender Strat, but this is my kind of simulation of a musical instrument – in cheese form!) Gibson, the guitar company, has been on an utterly absurd campaign against music games, bringing lawsuits against the developers of both Guitar Hero and Rock Band and even against retailers. In the latest illustration of how screwed up patent law is, and just how over-litigious it has made technology in this country, the patent was based on a Gibson patent for a “System and method …

READ MORE →

Android, Apple, and Multi-Touch, from the Man Who Hacked the G1

We’ve got further compelling evidence Apple doesn’t really own multi-touch and multi-touch gestures — and that other devices and interfaces will press forward (which is a good thing for everyone). Lest you think I’m straying too far from creating digital music, by the way, I think this means lots of new music apps – as musicians have devoured multi-touch more than any other group (and certainly have used it for the coolest stuff). I am concerned about how multi-touch innovation will wrangle with over-zealous intellectual property legal wrangling. But hopefully I made it clear that, even with my concerns about …

READ MORE →

Judge to Record Industry: Lay off Mom and Dad’s Computer, For Now

Harvard’s Legion of Legal Super-Heroes. They can lock arms and emit a powerful beam of Legal Logic that can defeat any foe. Yeah, okay, I’m glad I’m not in law; these look like the sorts of people who would beat me. What happens when people targeted by record industry legal intimidation fight back? What if they not only defend themselves, but go on the offensive, counterclaiming the industry is abusing the law and legal process? What if courts decide the industry really can’t hijack an unrelated PC belonging to someone’s Mom and Dad? That’s what’s at stake in a case …

READ MORE →