Thursday, July 28, 2005
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
But for now, since not many people have actually investigated this issue, and instead people tend to make sweeping statements based on moral judgements of the people involved, I'll just point out that the moral judgments of people who file-share as altruistic or at least valuing music highly (rather than as freeloading bastards) seem to be more justified.
The Leading Question, a music industry research group, conducted a survey of 600 music fans who also own computers and mobile phones. the results?
"those who regularly download or share unlicensed music also spend an average of £5.52 a month on legal downloads through sites such as Apple's iTunes Music Store or Napster. Those who were not illegally filesharing spent just £1.27 a month on digital tracks.
""The 2005 Speakerbox research shows that music fans who break piracy laws are highly valuable customers," said Paul Brindley, director of The Leading Question.""
The Guardian article quotes BPI (like the British RIAA) director saying
""It's encouraging that many illegal file sharers are starting to use legal services. But our concern is that file sharers' expenditure on music overall is down, a fact borne out by study after study," said Mr Phillips. "While a third of illegal file sharers may buy more music, around two-thirds buy less, and that two-thirds tends to include people who were the heaviest buyers. That's why we need to continue our carrot and stick approach to the problem of illegal filesharing.""
This is plainly bull. I haven't seen any studies that compare the same people, pre-filesharing and post, to show that how people's buying habits have changed. It would be a pretty stupid study to undertake, considering that paid-for music downloading is much newer than free music downloading. --i.e. the study would be tracking the growing availability of paid downloading, not the growing propensity of people to do it.
Phillips is trying to shift the interpretation of these results - he wants them to mean that the same people who paid for fewer tunes, are paying for more now. But that's not what the study addresses - the study addresses the question of what KIND of person fileshares. Why is this important? Well, from a strictly capitalist perspective, one might want to know how people behave, so that you can market products to them, and design delivery mechanisms that appeal to them.
Rather than do that, the content cartels are attempting to define free music downloaders as de facto bad, for moral reasons. They are attempting to change behavior and preferences. This seems like kind of a losing battle, or at least an expensive one. Even though there seems to be a tidy profit in threatening weak-positioned file sharers with lawsuits in exchange for settlements...*
which brings me to some non-capitalist points -->(which have become The Blog Entry That Ate Everything, including My Dinner And I'm Hungry, So Will Continue It Later)<--
*At some point I want an expose on this - is this what content industries are now? companies that make money by suing people over the use of already created content? From what I hear, this is true in patents even more - companies patent everything possible, and have lawyers who just troll around looking for people to sue. Or individuals patent everything defensively for the same reason - then you don't even have to make market or sell it, you can just wait for someone else to use the same idea and sue them. seems like the opposite of "promoting the progress of science and the useful arts."
Friday, July 22, 2005
total volume of music files on my computer:
10.81 GB in my itunes. Honestly, I haven't been listening to much of it these days. It's true. however if I had an mp3 player, I would totally set it on random and start soaking in all of it, and weeding out a lot, probably. Soon come.
last CD I bought was: ummmmm. I haven't bought a CD in a long time. I really can't remember. I usually trade, get sent them, download or listen to vinyl. The CDs I listen to are the most are mix CDs from friends.
song playing right now: embarassingly, In The Pub. Before that, it was "When the world was our friend" by Gold Chains and Sue Cie.
five songs I listen to a lot these days:
I was poking around with versions of Wozzeck for a while, and Dimmu Borgir, and Astor Piazzolla.. but not all of them listened to a lot, I guess. Combined with latest excursions into commercial radio (partly courtesy of joe's recommendations) the list looks like this:
1. Astor Piazolla "Cafe 1930"
2. Krumble "Gazoline Serious Blast"
3. Trina feat. Li'l Wayne "Don't Trip"
4. Phillis Dillon "Perfidia"
5. The Ying Yang Twins "The whisper song" - various more and less censored versions.
Piazolla is who I've been listening to most often of the digitally stored music I have access to. That and CDs in the car - David Last, mixes from Aaron Spectre, Dj C, Kid Kameleon, Subtek, ERS1 (wheel up!), Gutterbreaks, and lots of other clever beasties..
1) will you submit to random bag searches, and
2) how exactly is that going to stop someone who wants to get on the subway when there are multiple entrances to multiple stations mere blocks apart from each other, and
3) - bonus!- are you REALLY prepared, now, every time you pack a bag to go out, to think about what a cop will think about everything you put in it?
and I'll jump straight to the fact that The ROLLING STONES apparently have a song critical of the Bush regime on their latest album. It's called "Neo-con" This is fine. great, actually. look how mainstream criticism is becoming - maybe that will one day translate into political awareness or even action on the part of more mainstream music fans (what if Wal-Mart refuses to sell it?)
However, I would like to point out that the description of the song includes this point:
"he lyrics don't flatter in any way National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice."
I'm quite happy to talk about Condoleezza's lying, power-mongering, fascist, blood-soaked, race-baiting ass till the cows come home. But somehow, that the critique from the Stones is apparently notable for treatment of a woman and a woman of color, is, erm, unsurprising I guess. I guess I should wait for the lyrics to come out, huh? Maybe I'm projecting too much..
When trying to find the actual lyrics I keep coming across people saying "(those awful) feminists have a problem with Stones lyrics." Uh, yeah, people who get irritated by objectification of women might be irritated by Stones lyrics. Somehow, the Stones manage to survive, and people who hear feminists talk manage to either totally ignore them, or maybe think for a minute about language, lyrics and their uses. (although I like the essay linked, I have to say there is also not enough talk about the feeling I sometimes get when a whole roomful of men (or mostly men) chant sexist lyrics happily. Whatever the critique and the complexity of my personal, individual relationship to sexist lyrics (and as someone who has put Mystikal's self-admitted raping self on more than one mix CD).. I can't deny the unpleasant and threatening effect of the roomful-of-chanting-men. I ask all y'all to think about it - it's an important thing to think about, anyway, when you are not in the minority in whatever way.. what would it feel like, really, if I was in the minority? If I was the only one in the room?
On that note - on the subject of context - there was a recent shooting in my town. Apparently, a group of young women hanging out on the sidewalk were "disrespected" by a group of young men, who used "foul language." When one women took issue with that, an argument ensued. **(edited because I have read contradictory stories about the conclusion of this event, but the point can be made with general facts..)**
So when people have a discussion about verbal harassment, about men commenting publicly on women (or to them) - let's think about the risks women run when their acts are misconstrued. The threat of rape or sexual violence is in the air, in our society. It happens too often (and not just from strangers, of course). But anyone who's been raped and made it public (or even sometimes just told a few people), or been part of a rape case, or seen public discussion of a rape case, knows that women's behaviour (and clothing) is part of the discussion about how much they actually "invited" what happened to them.
I always think of this when people complain about "political correctness." If you have less power in a particular environment, if you are the one facing greater risks, you have ALWAYS had to think about how your language can be misconstrued. Most people who are complaining about it just reveal to me that they have been pretty sheltered before, if they never thought about it. More generally, the point about all this back-and-forth about whether "man-bashing" is as bad as "woman-bashing" (as well as any other "this-bashing" and "that-bashing") is that the context of power and threat is different for each side.
To go back to music - I'm minded now of being in Sizzla's home neighborhood with Irie-la a few years ago. An amazing experience, at an outdoor block party where the man himself, along with Military Man, Anthony B and a host of other amazingly talented performers were getting up on the decks. And hearing the way the MCs got the crowds going: "t'row your hand in the air if you nah f*ck batty!" "t'row your hand in the air if you nah suck p*ssy!"
Well, not having a problem with either of those things, I felt a little weird.. and also cultureshocked, like, really? 600 people out here, and none of them suck p*ssy? at all? But when it got to ""t'row your hand in the air if you BURN battyman!" it shifted again.
Before that there had been shouts (it was bobo dread territory on the weekend of Easter, mark you): "Burn jesus!" and "Burn the pope" - Both being self-intentionally symbolic entitues, as well as the first being long-gone, the second being far away, and also well able to protect himself.
Basically I felt divided right down the middle. the music was so powerful - viscerally and achingly spiritually moving.. and yet as a queerminded person I felt quite unhappy and unsafe. Now the scene is not transparent, and it's possible there were crews of queer Jamaicans at the party, not sweating it, like some folk get down to dancehall in NY clubs I've been in. And it's damn sure that there were individual queer Jamaicans (whether they knew it or not) at the event, since, isn't it something like 10% of all people fall on the entirely homo side of that spectrum, Jamaica like everywhere else..
But the context was pretty different from the queer/friendly dancehall nights - as it would be in some OTHER NY clubs I've been in. the feeling, generally, was awful. Overall, it was one of the more intense experience, to be intensely pleased and joyful and simultaneous intensely threatened and put off by an outpouring of hatred and threat of violence. And there is no shortage of violence towards queer folk in JA (or most other places).
kay, I'm not sure where this is going now. But it's how some of things on my mind these days flow together.
(I'm not unaware that race complicates the context of this - as a white women at these events, or critiquing homophobic and sexist lyrics.. and for sure, in talking about wider issues, nothing trumps anything else as the "real problem" or "real oppression." But let's not bullshit around about the actual, physical threats folks face, and our roles in condoning or questioning or trying to change them).
Thursday, July 21, 2005
(the press release)
Sat, July 30 from 4-8 PM in Union Sq., Somerville, MA. Free and open to the public!
The Library of Vinyl Experience (LOVE) and the Somerville Arts Council are throwing a HIP HOP HISTORY JAM outdoor in the middle of Union square! This community hip-hop event will revolve around a series of thematic DJ sets re-presenting 6 eras of hip hop history in classic Beat Research style (e.g., mixed and mashed with a side of edutainment).
Some of Boston's best DJs/Mixologists will be taking the lead on each set:
Wayne&Wax - Jamaican Roots
DJ Yamin (Beats not Bombs) - Funk & Soul
DJ Def Rock (of Monstamind/Megabug fame!) - Birth of Hip Hop
DJ Drama (Elemental Compounds) - Old/Middleschool
DJ Flack (Mashit/Beat Research) - Golden Age
DJ C (Mashit/Beat Research) -Back to the Future
If that was not enough, LYRICAL and BRICK CASEY are hosting this event which will feature the ever amazing LOSST UNNOWN!
CRITICAL BREAKDOWN and the MASSIVE RECORDS family will be there too!!
Really, you want to come to this one (but if you miss it, try to get to the other crazy events below!). In the meantime these links ought to get you in the mood!
Monday, July 18, 2005
ok it's a self-referential tangle, but sometimes words lean that way.
I have nothing deep to add at the moment, suffice to say : I'm glad these brains are out there percolatin'
things brewing here as well. soon come.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
I'l post a report from the gig (thanks all you lovely peeps who came out early! if it goes regular we can do it again and I'll get to play later.)
but this is just a really really funny thing. Really funny commentary on a hitherto-understudied grime+rap performance technique. also dry british wit at its finest (Kid K assures me all this language is from the noble sport of cricket)
Thursday, July 14, 2005
while the mind boggles at the idea that Australian content-owners will start suing those outside Australia, it puts Australian music bloggers, music fans and suchlike in a pretty bad position. And does it mean that Sony's Australian office could sue someone who runs a website somewhere else, from Australia? The question of jurisdiction onthe internet is pretty unsettled in the US, internationally it seems even weirder.
looks unpleasant.. and also completely fucking ridiculous.
the property analogy is once again failing. If I tell you where to buy grey market goods, where a free box is, or where you can buy stolen goods, I am not breaking the law. Somehow the copyright cartel has gotten so many of those involved in the law (and those whose lives are supposedly dedicating to interpreting it) so twisted up over property rights that it's acceptable to punish people for simply pointing people towards a place where something that COULD be illegal (regardless of the silliness of the law) could be done? In defense of property, all else falls by the wayside?
maybe what Proudhon means was not "Property is theft (of the object in question from the common good)" but rather "Property is the state's theft of the rights and obligations we have in respect to each other as humans living on this earth" ?
so much of this is about communication, as much as it is about ownership. That's why the legal arguments keep reaching towards the First Amendment, in the US, because in a real way, all of this restricts our ability to speak freely. As many now remind us, speaking (in) code, may be illegal - where's my DECSS T-shirt?
But that argument, about the communication function of property, has not been so succesful in the higher courts at least. And in the public? I get the feeling that a lot of people know we are losing something as all of these judgments and laws chip away at our rights and our impulses to create, share, and take. but folks don't know how to put it into words.. This is frustrating.
Meanwhile, there's so much easy, and seemingly intuitive language to assert our most despotic "rights" over property. I was thinking about this the other day. The visceral feeling so many have about ownership, about what is rightfully theirs. And how easy it is to trade on that. But it's such a poorexplanation for why the state gets involved in regulating how people interact over objects and ideas. Or rather, people turn to the most basic and unrealistic economic or psychological assertions (usually unsupported by anything more than "human nature") to back up their "right."
It still seems like property rights get much more of a pass as an absolute moral right, one you can assume will be mostly supported by the powers that be, and by other people. While things like good taste, obscenity, blasphemy, insult, and harassment can be debated forever.
this also seems particularly American to me, the supremacy of the "THAT'S MINE" assertion.. although that's mostly just idle speculatin'
**edited to add this coincidental bit of news. On the subject of criminalizing communication in assertion of property-owners' apparently limitless right to profit.. Apparently the British Columbia Supreme Court has ruled that people who in good faith bought copies of the Harry Potter book that a bookseller sold earlier than the official release date are ENJOINED from talking about the book. Yes, they could be sued by the publishers if they talk about a book they read.
When did copyright owners (or content creators) get the right to control every single possible act relating to a work, and the also when did they get the right to make money off any conceivable aspect of using a work?
this is insanity.
if you want to send him your good wishes, you can, by clicking
Monday, July 11, 2005
Hopefully it will be a monthly, but as usual that depends on the crowd, which means you, Bay Area massive! truly a great lineup.. this time fflood, Kid K, Maneesh AND myself will be taking the early part of the night, sharing the decks until 11:30 or so. Kush Aurora is a really interesting live act not to be missed, as is Bruce Lee Hi-fi.. so come early and stay late!
hope to see y'all there
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
AUDIO CRASH: there were so many San Franciscans/Oaklanders that we felt quite at home.. big up 5lowershop and assorted/affiliated humantypes. At least 20 of them came down in the veggie bus. Filthmilk represent! and the 5lowershop distro set up tempting vinyl treats (like all the Sonic Belligeranza records except the one I played later with FFF's tango-breakcore madness).
Not huge attendance, but everyone seemed quite smiley. I took the opportunity to throw down one of my harder and wackier sets - most of it at 100(200)-105 bpm. Plenty of The Bug, Rotator, Krumble, DJ C/Wayneandwax (big up the A It Dat remix!).. as well as some newer Mashit ragga from new head Murderbot (some nice jumpup and classic ragga references) and more ragga courtesy of 45 Thieves.. I've been playing the A-side for a while, but the B-side is much weirder and mixes nicely with Fabolous.
so yeah started with Aphasic and Moabit/Seeed, headed through ragga, into breakcore and ragga and laced it all through with a west coast G-funk kind of thing. I realized I nearly played 4 different songs with Nate Dogg in'em although I switched to instrumentals of a few. Near the end was one of the J*Star mashups - "This is how we do it" over Madness' version of Swan Lake. Surprisingly good, actually, though half those records fall more on the gimmick side. I'm also feeling the version of "Tequila" that I have on a Death$ucker white label, and the Rotator remix of Dj/Rupture.
Kid K was, for once, harder and maybe a touch less accessible than I was! It was a great set though - some awesome Hellfish & Producer, lots of mp3 exclusives..
the rest of the night was pretty good - Megabitch threw down some Death Chant tracks, and lots of other good stuff. Bass Binnie Laden hit up some killer hard sounds, Baseck got up for a minute after Kid K and scratched and cutup like the fiend he is and transformed into Sonic Deathrabbit and pulled out some more stops..
Also an interesting early set from Violent Fingers - from San Diego, live violin and midi-controller-glove thingy.. kinda dark and dreamy I especially liked it when she got dubbier-glitchier as opposed to gothick (though that's just me)..
And right before my set was a fun due called Lowtech - although they sported pretty up-to-date laptops, I guess the keyboard was kinda old. Still no sticks and stones music here - it was punky-poppy-breakcorey fun. Seemed like with some more gigs under their belt they'd be a jolly live act.
There was more, especially from the 5lowershop crew but I forget - I think some pure noise got played by someone called Semtex? a nice range of stuff to round out the evening. Big up the one like the Rtype, although I think we had to split before he was through..
Overall a great time, and eager to come back to LA.