Will it change anything at all?
Does the Pirate Bay decision matter? To recap: Today, a Stockholm court convicted four men affiliated with the illegal file-sharing site of breaking Swedish copyright law. Pirate Bay is a peer-to-peer site that allows users to download music and movies for free.
According to the Associated Press, the four men were ordered to pay $3.6 million to a number of music and movie companies, including Warner Bros., Sony Music and EMI.
One of the convicted men, Peter Sunde, said don't expect any money from him: Firstly, he and the three others found guilty will appeal; secondly, he doesn't have the money and thirdly, as the AP quotes him as says, "Even if I had the money, I would rather burn everything I own."
And therein lies the problem. While such cases need to wend their way through the courts, the legal process is having no real effect on halting piracy, as far as I can tell. It's just chest thumping. Of course (and, for me, it is this black and white), illegally downloading is stealing. But, and I can speak only from the record business perspective, the music industry has certainly muddied the already opaque waters, when labels offer free downloads for promotional purposes. It sends a bit of a mixed message: "Downloading for free is only wrong if we tell you it is, but we really want you to download something for free if we tell you it's from us and it's okay. In the meantime, enjoy this free download from [insert artist's name here], but don't dare try to download it for free after we've taken it down."
Also, as Sunde's blustery comments make abundantly clear, if you have enough flagrant disregard for the law to set up an illegal p-2-p site, you really aren't going to care when the law comes after you and you are completely unrepentant. He also said, according to CNET, "You can looked upon it as a movie, at the point when the heroes have just had the first real setback. But thanks Hollywood! You have taught us that in the end the good will win. And it will be a really big victory", he said. Get this guy a reality show, he's gold every time he opens his mouth.
Here's Billboard's take on the matter, which puts some valuable perspective on the issue:
As it to be expected, the IFPI and other upholders of copyright laws are happy about the decision, according to this CNET piece, but feel there's still more work to be done.
Silversun Pickups also expected to enter Top 10
Look for "Making the Band 4" winners Day 26 to make a return trip to the top of the charts next week when "Forever in a Day" is predicted to come in at No. 1.
Hits Daily Double estimates the boy band will sell up to 125,000 copies, giving it a slight lead over the soundtrack for "Hannah Montana: The Movie," which will continue to surge on the strength of the movie's box office. This week's charttopper, Rascal Flatts' "Unstoppable," drops to No. 3.
Hits has all three titles selling north of 100,000, but after that the rest of the top 10 plummets into the 50,000 and lower range. The only other debut is SoCal rock band Silversun Pickups' "Swoon," which should come in around No. 6.
After next week, the chart will definitely shake up a little bit when Depeche Mode, Asher Roth, Tinted Windows, Pet Shop Boys, Super Furry Animals and Chester French all release new CDs on April 21. There's also a two-CD set from the Boxmasters, the group featuring that noted musician (don't DARE call him an actor) Billy Bob Thornton.
More than 100 artists participate in National Record Day
This Saturday marks the second annual Record Store Day. What is a record store you may ask? It's a small shop that sells round discs, sometimes even black vinyl ones, instead of small, shiny ones that look the same as DVDs. Ask your parents, they'll remember.
Seriously, Record Store Day was started a few years ago as a way to show appreciation for the dwindling number of independently-owned record stores that still sold physical CDs and/or vinyl. It's a way to salute the stores that either haven't been forced out of business since the big boxes like Best Buy, etc. started selling CDs as loss leaders or have managed to survive the digital age. There's still no better way to spend an afternoon to me than to go to Amoeba Records here in Los Angeles and comb the racks for goodies. It's a fast-fading pleasure.
This year, many artists have taken on Record Store Day as a cause célèbre.
Among the more than 100 offerings awaiting you on Record Store Day-and, no, you won't find any of these at the record department in Target, Best Buy or Wal Mart, include:
*Bob Dylan: "Dreaming From You" 7-inch single from last year's "Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series."
*Tom Waits: An exclusive, 7-inch single with live tracks recorded last summer. Tunes are "Lucinda/Ain't Goin' Down to the Well" and "Bottom of the World."
*Jane's Addiction: An exclusive, limited edition vinyl single of "Mountain Song," priced at $5.98. The same day, 180-gram vinyl versions of Jane's Addiction albums, "Nothing's Shocking" and "Ritual De Lo Habitual."
*Bad Religion: A re-release of the punk band's first release: its 1981's 6-song 7" EP.
*Derek Trucks Band: "Already Live," a 5-song EP consisting of live tunes recorded last Fall.
*Booker T. Jones: A two song 7-inch single with two new studio tracks his upcoming, first solo album in more than 20 years.
Additionally, a number of acts, like Queen's Brian May, have donated guitars fans can register to win.
For a complete listing of the exclusive vinyl releases and more details, go to www.recordstoreday.com.
M.I.A.? Killers? Franz Ferdinand? Nope, see who made the list
The best thing about a festival like Coachella is the act of musical discovery that takes place when you least expect it. For me, it inevitably happens when it's too crowded to see whom I'd planned to see and I just free myself to wonder from music space to music space with no expectations. Or, and I did this very successfully one year at SXSW, I pick an act solely based on its name (that's how I discovered I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness-which remains, to this day, one of the hippest band names ever). There are a number of acts playing at the April 17-19 festival whom we aren't familiar with, like Surkin, a French DJ, or electronic act Busy P, that we would love to check out. However, we've put together a list of acts that are guaranteed to put on a good show. They get the Hitfix Seal of Approval.
'Hannah Montana' steady at No. 2, Juda Kiss hits at No. 3
Rascal Flatts's "Unstoppable" lives up to its name this week as it tops both the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums chart. Additionally, the first single from the set, "Here Comes Goodbye," is No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
Rascal Flatts becomes the third country act this year to top the Billboard 200. Not only that, but the trio scores the second highest first week sales of any act this year, behind U2's "No Line on the Horizon." "Unstoppable" sold 351,000 copies. It is the band's fourth No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this decade, according to Billboard, and the most of any group in the new millennium.
There's a reason for Rascal Flatts' success: they make very palatable, mainstream pop-infused country that centers on strong melodies. And whether you like his vocals or not, lead singer Gary LeVox has a now instantly recognizable voice so the band has an identity instead of being some faceless entity. Even though country fans are beginning to be as fickle as pop fans always have been, there is still a loyalty there second only to metal fans. Plus, studies show that country fans don't illegally download in the same numbers that fans other some other genres do.
Looking at the rest of the Top 10 on the Billboard 200, the soundtrack to "Hannah Montana" leaps from 5-2 as the movie breaks box office records across the land. Plus, Miley Cyrus's "The Climb" is also boosting sales. Rapper Jada Kiss opens at No. 3 with "Last Kiss," while country artist Jason Aldean comes in at No. 4 with "Wide Open." All four albums in the top slots sell more than 100,000 copies each, which is a not so common an occurrence lately. Last week's chart topper, Keith Urban's ‘Defying Gravity' falls to No. 7.
Carrie Underwood clearly sees a boost from her big wins at the April 5's Academy of Country Music Awards as "Carnival Ride" bullets 34-16. Also benefitting are Taylor Swift, whose self-titled album soars 38-21 and Sugarland, who rocket 50-22. The ACMs don't explain why "Kidz Bop Kids" leaps 83-29. That may have to do with the Easter Bunny.
Can't miss San Francisco concert also features Dave Matthews, M.I.A., Jason Mraz and
You've got to love a festival that offers an "eager beaver" pass... That's the deal with Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, which takes place Aug. 28-30 in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
Among the headliners will be Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Beastie Boys, Incubus, Black Eyed Peas, M.I.A., Modest Mouse, Jason Mraz and a hundred or so other rock, hip-hop, world music and electronic bands you've never heard of.
So what separates Outside Lands, which is brought to you, in part, by the same folks who put on Bonnaro, from the 20 or so other major music festivals this summer? Outside Lands boasts big talent, but also is probably the only festival to offer dim sum and wine tastings.
Get live CD for free with purchase of album
Dave Matthews Band is offering free downloads of "Funny the Way It Is," the first single from the group's new album, "Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King."
The track is available through the band's website, www.davematthewsband.com through next Monday.
"Big Whiskey" comes out June 2 and pays tribute to LeRoi Moore, DMB's longtime saxophonist who died last summer following an ATV accident.
The band will preview songs from the new album on its tour, which started April 14 at New York's Madison Square Garden. Fans who pre-order the new album through the band's website will receive "Live Trax 15," taped at the group's Aug. 9, 2008 show, for free.
Find an upcoming Dave Matthew's Band concert date in the HitFix Forecast.
Channel will air clip across the globe on April 24
Is Green Day more popular than Eminem? We'll find out on April 24. That's the day that MTV will blanket its airwaves with the video for "Know Your Enemy," the first single from Green Day's new album, "21st Century Breakdown."
Similarly to Eminem's clip for "We Made You," MTV will play the Matthew Cullen-directed clip exclusively across virtually all its platforms. However, "Know Your Enemy," which goes to radio on April 16, will air on even more outlets than "We Made You." Basically, the only channel the clip won't be on is CMT. The sun won't set without the video airing repeatedly on MTV, VH1, The N, Palladia, MTV2, mtvU, MTV Tr3s, MTV Hits, MTV.com and VH1.com. "Know Your Enemy" will also air on MTV and VH1's international channels as well , making it the first video to get the global exclusive treatment.
"We Made You" set the record for most video streams in a day (785,000) for the network last week.
"21st Century Breakdown" comes out May 15.
Hanging with Paul McCartney
So I hung out with Paul McCartney for part of today. Okay, it was really only for about a minute, but I'll take it.
The occasion was the unveiling of George Harrison's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame outside of Capitol Records earlier today. Something amazing happens when McCartney is in the vicinity. It's a little like all the air flows in his direction. Even if you want to look elsewhere, you can't help but check back and see where he is and what he's doing. And it's likely that he's smiling.
He came bounding out of the Capitol Tower onto Vine to huge cheers, but he did a masterful job of acknowledging the crowd (several hundred people strong) while never taking away from Olivia, Harrison's widow, and Harrison's son, Dhani. He didn't speak at the unveiling, but in a terribly sweet moment, after Olivia and Dhani had kissed their finger tips and gently rubbed them over Harrison's name on the star, McCartney took out a hankie and lovingly polished the star. It was touching, caretaking and funny at the same time.
John Fields-produced debut slated to come out later this year on Atlantic
Jason Castro has signed with Atlantic Records.
The "American Idol" third runner up from last season-he was the one with dreads-is working with a number of top producers and songwriters, including "AI" judge Kara Dioguardi, Martin Terefe (Jason Mraz), Jason Reeve (Colbie Caillat) and Sacha Skarbek (James Blunt). John Fields (Lifehouse, Switchfoot) is producing the album.
While my first reaction (okay, my second reaction-my first was "Who the heck is Jason Castro and why does that name sound familiar?") was that it's too long a period of time between his season and his debut release, time has proven that a little distance between a contestant's final warble on "AI" and their first note of their solo album can be a very good thing. It took Chris Daughtry a considerable amount of time between his "AI" exit and his solo album's release and 4 million records later, he's doing just fine (and hard at work on his sophomore album). Jennifer Hudson took enough time off to win an Oscar between her "AI" days and her solo album. With the passage of time, Castro will get a fresh start with the audience, but his most fervent of "AI" will still be there for him.
The album is slated to come out later this year.