I agree that Tech Crunch’s word doesn’t necessarily carry the most weight, but I’m not really inclined to trust Last.fm either. CBS, their corporate parent owns a record label, CBS Records which is, itself, an RIAA member. Talk about the fox guarding the hen house! Whatever the best intentions of the original founders of Last.fm, they are now employees of a much large entity that doesn’t necessarily hold users’ privacy in such high esteem.
In regards to your discussion of the hypothetical merits of the RIAA’s legal case for using such data, that question is almost totally immaterial. The RIAA’s use of legal procedure has always been largely a PR tactic. It wasn’t like they actually intended to recoup lost revenue by suing millions of Americans. They were simply trying to create an environment of fear, uncertainty, and doubt around online music. They haven’t ceased their legal campaign because it was a failure, but because it succeeded so well as to be no longer necessary. More than five years have passed since the birth of mp3 blogging and other forms of open, ‘lightnet’, online musical culture and no dominant YouTube/iTunes-style company has emerged. This leaves the RIAA (more specifically, the major labels for whom they are a front) completely in the driver’s seat. Granted, to extend the car metaphor, it also leaves the music industry in flames and the cliff it hurtled off of receding rapidly into the distance above.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the RIAA themselves started the rumor that Last.fm had given up user data in an attempt to discourage the downloading of leaked pre-release songs (since they can’t seem to keep their own labels from stopping them from leaking). They’ve done things like that before and it fits perfectly with their larger strategy and philosophy.
I heard from an irate friend who works at CBS that last.fm recently provided the RIAA with a giant dump of user data to track down people who are scrobbling unreleased tracks. As word spread numerous employees at last.fm were up in arms because the data collected (a) can be used to identify individuals and (b) will likely be shared with 3rd parties that have relationships with the RIAA.
Time to junk those scrobblers if you’ve got any songs in your library for which you don’t have a signed license in triplicate.
“With the new “Pacific Fish Trax” program, people buying high-quality Oregon albacore can watch a video – activated by a barcode on the label – that introduces the buyer to the fisherman who caught that fish, the boat it was caught from and the processor who packaged it.”—New Seasons Market (via 2020) (via dalasverdugo)
“Touch and Go Records, a pillar of the Chicago music scene and independent and punk rock music worldwide, said Wednesday that it is shrinking its business, laying off an unspecified number of its two dozen employees and cutting ties with more than 20 independent labels.”—
I took enough music theory in college to get to the part where they make you wite in this early two- and three-voice style, which I’ve always found incredibly satisfying. Listening to this makes me want to go back and re-learn my part-writing rules.
“In other words, I’m right. I’m always right, but sometimes I’m more right than other times. And dammit, when I say “files don’t matter”, I’m really really Right(tm).”—Linus Torvalds, Re: Merge with git pasky II.
Beirut - My Night with a Prostitute from Marseille
This is from the just-leaked Beirut LP/double EP. At least one of the EPs seems to be pretty sonically different from his early stuff. People are already comparing it to the Postal Service cause, you know, it’s got synths. Feels more Euro-pop to me than Postal Service-y, which makes sense given Condon’s all-euro aesthetic. It would be very easy for him to get stuck in a genre ghetto so it’s nice to see him stretching his style a bit without losing his identity.
Starfucker covering “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” In a very 80s obsessed time, Josh’s sound represents one of the least self-conscious and most well-digested takes on the influence. Nice to see him taking it on directly here in such a straight forward and light-hearted manner.
I always wanted to see a business magazine that was exclusively about the vast, unspoken realities of real business: the failures, foreclosures, bankruptcies, auctioning off of assets, white-collar crime… you know, FORTUNE’s dark. mute sister, MISFORTUNE.
Maybe the time has come for some genius to actually start this magazine. It would be cheap and easy to staff it with legions of fired business journalists. If you could find just one socialist country to underwrite it as a propaganda venture — Hugo Chavez, maybe, or Iran… imagine the impact of a thing like that on newsstands. It would be like the return of the repressed.