Saturday, 21 November 2009

Lily Allen proves she has no clue

The argument against P2P and file sharing of music is the people who need to get paid don't... or something akin to that (any further into this line of thinking and it's an artist vs record label discussion instead).

Lily Allen, the RIAA's poster girl for non-illegal downloading activities has done a complete howler. According to the NME, it's not piracy or illegal downloads she actually cares about - it's someone placing a value on her music.

In what has to be one of the biggest gaffs in recent history, Allen has gone on record saying, "If someone comes up with a burnt copy of my CD and offers it to you for £4 I haven't a problem with that as long as the person buying it places some kind of value on my music."

So don't pirate songs for free, charge your mates for the privilege and Lily will back you all the way. I wondered at the outset of her crusade whether she actually "got it" and this really just confirms she didn't.

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Thursday, 5 November 2009

Pet Shop Boys christmas ep coming

Score one for Twitter. The synth pop duo announced details earlier today of their forthcoming Christmas EP, released December 14th through Parlophone.

Tracklisting as follows:

1. "It doesn't often snow at Christmas" - new version produced by Marius De Vries and PSB.
2. "My girl" - cover of the Madness song produced by PSB.
3. "All over the world" - new version produced by Marius de Vries/PSB.
4. "Viva la vida"/"Domino dancing" medley. Studio production by Stuart Price.
5.  "My girl (our house mix)" - produced by PSB.

Should be a must buy on a few levels, including the first commercial release of "It doesn't often snow at Christmas" and possibly the first Coldplay song it's been okay to like!

The EP will be released on CD and download next month.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Frankie say... no more!

Loading up Spotify tonight I was elated to find that some of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's material was finally available. However, I was horrified to find yet ANOTHER "best of" as one of the albums available (interestingly, the band's debut album Welcome to the Pleasuredome is NOT available yet on Spotify).

Don't get me wrong, compilations - especially hits collections -  from bands form a very necessary role - they can get new fans interested, they can provide material otherwise unavailable (the between album single or a 7" only remix) and they can provide bands a stop gap breather period between studio albums.

Frankie Say Greatest doesn't seem to fulfil many of these points. The band broke up 22 years ago and only released two studio albums.

At current count, there's 4 greatest hits album - 1994's Bang... The Greatest Hits, 2000's Maximum Joy, 2003's Rage Hard: The Sonic Collection and now in 2009, Frankie Say Greatest. That's a lot of greatest hits for a band that only released seven singles.

This release features a second disc with bonus remixes and rarities. Let's face it though, if you have any of the other compilations like Twelve Inches, The Club Mixes, Reload - The Whole 12 Inches or any of the plethora of reissued singles you will have all these remixes already. The non-remixes are quite intriguing, only for the track "Our Silver Turns To Gold," a previously unreleased song demoed at Mediterranean Studios in 1985.

Still, one track doesn't not warrant an album purchase. Especially in the era of iTunes.

As with the 1994 and 2000 hits collections, this time around "Relax" has been released AGAIN as a teaser single with 2009 remixes. A couple of these - by Lockout and Chicane - find their way onto the album as bonus material. Whether we'll get a full single re-issue like in 1994 and 2000 is anyone's guess.

Frankie aren't the only band to receive the business end of a label's greed. The Police have notoriously been reissued over the years. Their Every Breath You Take: The Singles was famously reissued a few years later as a completely new compilation called Every Breath You Take: The Classics. At least ZTT have chosen new names for each subsequent Frankie best of.

I'm excited Frankie are on Spotify and that I can finally listen to them. I'm happy Trevor Horn is clawing back some more of the money he lost on the Frankie experience. I'm not happy one of my favourite bands of the 80s is still being exploited 25 years later.
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Tuesday, 3 November 2009

File sharers spend big

Does it come as a surprise to ANYONE the recent news that the most prolific music file sharers are also the most prolific spenders?

In a recent BBC news report on file sharing which discusses a recent survey conducted by MORI, it states that the average file sharer also spends an average of £77 a year on paid for music.

Is that it? In my music buying heyday, I used to trot off to Berwick Street and spend around £80 EVERY Saturday. I had some awesome stuff to show for it too - promos, bootlegs, rare deleted releases.

However, this really rings true for me. Most people who have a passing interest in anything maintain just a moderate level of interest. If you're not a diehard U2 fan, are you really going to take the time to find and visit file sharing sites, when iTunes is right there?

The problem with legit outlets like iTunes is they still don't have all the variations of a release that a fan might want. Take the Voxigen remix of "I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing" by Pet Shop Boys. I scoured the shops for months searching for this. The CD this was on was only released in Holland, and to acquire it would cost me around £40 (if I could ever find it). Of this £40, neither the label nor the band would see a penny of this. This remix has yet to show up on any legit download site.

This new news about file sharer spending further muddies the water of the cut and dry scenario bodies like the RIAA are advertising, mainly file sharing is theft, thus must be punished. I believe that enough people who actually know what they're talking about (and I don't include the RIAA) will agree that the best way to discover new music is via services like file sharing, free downloads and - more and more - streaming services like Spotify.

With services like Spotify and We7 now replacing the need for ownership with access, the question of piracy and file sharing could soon be a thing of the past if only they could get their catalogues in order. With issues like international licensing still an issue, this won't be resolved any time soon.
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