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SPOTLIGHT FALLS ON BLUEBEAT.COM 25 CENT DOWNLOADS FOLLOWING BEATLES COVERAGE
BlueBeat.com, operated by Santa Cruz-based Media Rights Technologies, was originally a dynamic online radio service which enabled users to create, stream and share their own playlists, tapping into a music catalogue boasting several hundred thousand tracks. I assume the service was licensed, or at least licensing talks between the tech firm and content owners were ongoing, though I base that assumption on the fact the service seems to have been in operation for nearly five years without any major legal issues.
And this despite the fact MRT was behind various forms of digital rights management technology, which it claims the Recording Industry Association Of America endorsed, so presumably the major record companies were aware of both MRT and BlueBeat.com's existence. Certainly MRT did their bit to ensure people knew they existed, mainly by accusing some of the big names in IT of disrespecting copyrights and the US's Digital Millenium Copyright Act, seemingly for refusing to license their DRM systems.
Anyway, the BlueBeat.com online radio service has, unsurprisingly, developed over the years, and its latest incarnation, seemingly still in beta, offers on-demand streaming for thousands of tracks in a Spotify/We7 fashion and, perhaps more surprisingly, MP3 downloads for 25 cents a piece, considerably less than all of the service's competitors, and less also than the going wholesale rate for downloads.
All of which makes the cynics round here suspect that the latest BlueBeat.com service might not be licensed in any traditional sense of the word. Would the majors really sanction one small player undercutting everyone else in the market to such an extent a price war would surely follow, ultimately cutting everyone's profit margins? I really think not.
But whatever, what seems certain is at least part of BlueBeat.com's catalogue isn't legit. Music Ally discovered late last week that among all the 25 cent downloads on BlueBeat.com was the entire Beatles catalogue.
As you all know, The Beatles' music is not available, as yet, from any legit download store, mainly due to ongoing tensions between co-owners EMI and Beatles company Apple Corps, whose frequent disagreements go back to Tudor times (or thereabouts).
Had EMI and Apple Corp really opted to sneak the Fab Four's music online via a little known digital music website currently in beta, rather that doing a multi-million deal with a Microsoft or a MySpace or, most likely, the other Apple? No, of course not. Both EMI and Apple Corps deny any knowledge of BlueBeat.com selling Beatles downloads, with the former confirming to the Telegraph that the legal people were investigating.
Some sort of cease and desist letter will presumably follow forthwith, if not from EMI from the Recording Industry Association Of America. It will be interesting to know whether it is just the Fab Four's catalogue that shouldn't be on BlueBeat.com or whether, as is increasingly suspected, the service's whole download operation is on dodgy grounds. If that is the case, given MRT have been prone to issue opinionated statements on US copyright law in recent years - normally accusing others of infringement - it will be interesting to know on what grounds they are justifying their own possibly infringing service.
MRT are yet to comment.
OLD GEORGE HARRISON LYRICS TURNED INTO NEW SONG
He seemingly forgot about the words until relatively recently. He mentioned them in an interview on BBC Radio Merseyside, and it was a presenter from that station, Spencer Leigh, who passed on the lyrics to Johnson urging the songwriter to use them as the basis for a new track. That track has been written and was aired by the BBC station recently, and you can see Johnson's performance at this URL:
Commenting on the project Leigh set him, Johnson told reporters: "I found it unbelievable, tremendously exciting and, above all, a complete honour. My brief was to follow George's sentiment through to its conclusion". When asked what the Harrison lyrics were about, he adds: "The lyrics are of a personal nature and were first thought to be a song of unrequited love but, in hindsight, they seem to allude to George's uneasy relationship with John Lennon. This is substantiated by first-hand observations by Hunter Davies and by people close to Harrison".
RIHANNA TALKS ABOUT THE BROWN INCIDENT
In reality the popstress doesn't dwell too much on the specifics of what happened between her and Brown back in February, but in an interview with the American version of Glamour mag does comment on the global media attention that fell on the story, and on the photo of her beaten face that circulated on the net.
Recalling the media response to the bust up, she says: "I felt like I went to sleep as Rihanna and woke up as Britney Spears. That was the level of media chaos that happened the next day. It was like, 'What, there are helicopters circling my house? There are 100 people in my cul-de-sac? What do you mean, I can't go back home?'".
Commenting on how she felt when police pictures of her bruised face were leaked to the press, she continued: "It was humiliating; that is not a photo you would show to anybody. I felt completely taken advantage of. I felt like people were making it into a fun topic on the internet, and it's my life. I was disappointed, especially when I found out the photo was [allegedly leaked by] two women [police officers]".
Looking for a silver lining, she added that she hoped the incident would throw a light on other domestic violence, and help victims overcome it. She told the mag: "Teenage girls can't tell their parents that their boyfriend beats them up. It's one of the things we hide because it's embarrassing. I want to give as much insight as I can to young women because I feel like I represent a voice that isn't really heard. Now I can help speak for those women".
Rihanna is back in the spotlight, of course, as she promotes her fourth studio album 'Rated R', which is out later this month.
TONY IOMMI'S HAND ON THE MEND
Iommi, who explained to Radio 2 back in October that the cartilage between the joints had worn out, added that despite having his hand strapped up, he was able to play guitar. "No, I can play!" he said. "I'm just wearing this now because if people shake your hand I don't want to push it, I want to take it easy for a bit. But it's been really good, and I'm glad I went that route before having any kind of operation".
Fellow guitarist Brian May, who has had his own hand trouble, commented: "I know Eddie Van Halen's had similar problems and it was Ed who told Tony about this stem-cell treatment. I've been pretty lucky, but on the first tour we did with Paul Rodgers I had a lot problems, and it did get scary.
BASSIST MARK SMITH DIES
After his work with Kokomo, Smith played with a number of artists over the years, on tour and in the studio, including Roxy Music and Patricia Kaas. He also played bass on Robbie Williams' biggest hit 'Angels'.
Producer Robin Millar, who worked with Smith when he was producing various Kaas recordings in the 90s, told Music Week the bassist was one of the "true unsung heroes" adding: "Mark was one of the great people and players. He was one of those guys who never pushed himself forward, but was a great all round musician - a real musicians' musician".
MORE SUGABABES REUNION GOSSIP
Well, now another joker, Holy Moly, has restated those rumours, leading to new speculation the world may soon have two sets of Sugababes. That said, the new rumour stated that talks were underway between reps of the original threesome - Buchanan, Donaghy and Mutya Buena - and Warner Music. But the major label have denied any knowledge of said conversations, telling The Guardian: "We haven't seen them here or heard anything about it. I don't think they've got the story right".
Of course if the original Babes did reform - and assuming Buchanan and Donaghy could survive a whole day in the studio together - it would create a rather interesting situation in planet pop, and the potential for a really bitter chart battle. Which is possibly why the gossip sites are really willing this one to be true.
IGGY ON LATEST STOOGES REUNION
Talking to 6Music about the latest Stooges reformation, Iggy said: "The band have been rehearsing more without me than with me because I've been doing other things this year. But we have been rehearsing all together more recently. We're going to be doing a one-off show in Brazil in a few weeks but the real touring starts next year".
Commenting on performing without Asheton, he added: "We're all very sorry about Ron. [But] his spirit within the group remains with the rest of us and he is still a presence within the group without being on the physical plain".
MORE SPICE FOR THE OLYMPICS?
CASABLANCAS PLANS CHRISTMAS SINGLE
"It was a fun thing to do", Casablancas is quoted as saying. "Everyone seems to do a Christmas song at some point, so I always said to myself I'd do that song. I've now checked that off the list of things to do!"
Casablancas released his debut solo album 'Phrazes Of The Young' this week. His upcoming tour dates are as follows:
11 Dec: Manchester Ritz
THIS IS IT SCREENINGS EXTENDED
LAUREN LAVERNE TO WRITE TEEN NOVELS
Laverne, now 31, explained: "When I was a kid, all I ever wanted to be was an author. To be writing a book of my own is absolutely wonderful and, like most things worth doing, occasionally terrifying".
GRIZZLY BEAR DATES
8 Mar: Gateshead, The Sage
VAMPIRE WEEKEND ANNOUNCE NEW YEAR TOUR
7 Feb: Cambridge Corn Exchange
SINGLE REVIEW: Frightened Rabbit - Swim Until You Can't See Land (FatCat)
Scott Hutchison holds back his often powering vocals, while an almost Beach Boys guitar style mixes with the band's more typical thumping percussion and interesting string arrangements, a mix that hints of where this mighty act can go. And that would be 'very far indeed'.
Their most understated work yet, but it just makes the pay-off so much more worth it. TM
Physical release: 2 Nov
CHILLFEST OWED £1.2 MILLION PRIOR TO LIQUIDATION
According to the trade mag, Chillfest had debts close to £1.2 million when it collapsed. The financial woes began in 2007, which was perhaps behind the festival's other co-founder Pete Lawrence's decision to leave the company in 2008. The following two year's festivals also operated at a loss, leading up to last month's liquidation, which the firm's board blamed on "the general economic downturn and customers not purchasing sufficient numbers of tickets". Damn those pesky customers and their not buying sufficient numbers of tickets.
It's believed 33 creditors were owed money at the time of the liquidation, including the tax man, Show Events Security, Power Logistics and West Mercia Police. PRS For Music were among the largest creditors, being owed a reported sixty grand for unpaid royalty bills.
Presumably the all new Big Chill enterprise hopes to re-secure the services of some of those who lost out in the liquidation thanks the backing of major player Festival Republic. The hope also, presumably, is for customers to buy sufficient tickets moving forward to make the festival the profitable concern it was back in its hey day.
WARNER MUSIC TAKE MANAGEMENT STAKE IN BIFFY
Look, here's what Warner Music CEO Christian Tattersfield has to say about the new deal: "It's great to be taking our relationship with Dee and with Biffy to the next level. The incredible new album and the huge forthcoming tour plans make this a very exciting time to expand our partnership. This agreement is about what we've achieved together over the last three years and our shared commitment to building on that with 'Only Revolutions'".
And here's what Bahl is saying: "I'm pleased to have the opportunity to work with Christian and his team on the next important stage of the band's development. Broadening our relationship with 14th Floor will help us continue to grow Biffy's fanbase and ensure that the ambitious plans we have in place for 'Only Revolutions' come to fruition".
ABSOLUTE DROP THE XTREME FOR MORE 80S POP
Absolute management say the all music Xtreme service (it originally had presenter-based programming in some slots) has found itself in an increasingly competitive market since the launch of NME Radio, it also competing in some ways with Xfm and the BBC's 6Music. Listeners of Xtreme who don't like the idea of an eighties pop fest will be encouraged to re-tune to Absolute's recently launched Dabbl service, the playlist of which is controlled by listener votes. Dabbl is currently available via the DAB digital radio network in London as well as online, but will roll out to other digital multiplexes in due course.
The new 80s service, launching next month, will be aimed at thirty and forty somethings and play music from the likes of Human League, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, ABC, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Prince, Blondie and Bon Jovi. Commenting on the target audience for the new service, Absolute chief Clive Dickens told the Guardian: "These are people who have responsibilities, are members of families but still want to participate and have fun and be involved in music. A huge chunk of our audience grew up in the 80s".
COWELL TO TALK X-FACTOR ON SMOOTH TOO
Smooth Radio Station Director Paul Fairburn says this: "Tony offers a great perspective on the show that's gripping our audience, this year more than ever".
THIS WEEK'S SUB.TV PLAYLIST
JAMELIA TO DIVORCE
The former couple said in a statement: "It is with regret that Jamelia and Darren Byfield today confirm they are splitting up and getting a divorce. No-one else is involved. Their priority is naturally their two children".
GIRLS MAN ON HIS UNCUT VIDEO
Speaking to Pedestrian.tv, I think before the uncut version surfaced on the net, White said: "The video got cut. I'm kind of upset [the uncut version] didn't get put out, actually. But, yeah, there's a gay porn version. We were really pushing for that, it was incredible. Nothing like anything anyone else has ever put out before, but at the same time it's really beautiful, about two people who love each other. And we're from San Francisco, so it's not a surprise to us!"
As previously reported, those not easily offended, or who fancy being offended, can find the uncut Girls vid at this URL:
ZZ TOP MAN GETS TO WEMBLEY GIG ON THE TUBE
Gibbons told the BBC: "Being the consummate tourist, I wanted to ride the Tube. Someone said, 'you know it may not be that bad of an idea because [road] travel in London has not been known for its expedient way to get from A to B'. So off I went - it's a only a block from the hotel down to the station, and no sooner had I bought the ticket the agent informed me that the Circle Line had broken down!".
But asked if he'd use the underground next time he plays London, he concluded: "Well, I may in the future. I beat my partners by 45 minutes".
MARY J BLIGE NOT KNOCKED UP, OK?
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