Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Check out NPR's story regarding eMusic iTunes Jr.:

What were these "terms?"
Simon Wheeler, the UK-based director of strategy for Beggars Group, said that the new pricing model by itself wasn't the problem.
"It's not that we don't like tiered pricing," Wheeler said in an email. "We do that with many services ... it was how eMusic wanted to impose the tiers onto our catalogue that was the issue."
He demurred from discussing his specific concerns with the changes eMusic had made. But Wheeler made it clear that as eMusic brought major labels into the fold, it hurt his bottom line.
"They have been an important partner for us," he wrote, "but since adding the Sony and Warner catalogues it has affected our revenues, [and] with the addition of Universal's catalogue we expect the revenues to decline again."
The decision to split with eMusic was a product of that anticipation.
"We will lose some income, but we accept that, as a price ... less painful [than] what we see the outcome of accepting the new terms would be."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

RIP eMusic

Until further notice I will now be referring to eMusic as iTunes Jr.

They have just informed me that in order to raise their prices by adding music I don't care about they are having to sever ties with Domino, Merge, and Beggars Group. "Please know we have done everything we could to keep them from leaving," eMusic iTunes Jr. reassures me. Hey, I have a novel idea. Don't raise your prices by adding boring/bad/ancient music I don't care about and those record labels won't leave. They've leaving because of your stupid decision iTunes Jr..

I want to compare the list of "Coming Soon" bands on iTunes Jr.'s site (aka the marquee artists they're adding) with the list of bands they're losing from the aforementioned labels. Keep in mind that many of the artists they are adding are spectacularly good... but ask yourself when was the last time they released a good album.

Coming Soon
U2, Jay-Z, Sonic Youth, Beck, PJ Harvey, Marvin Gaye, the Who, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Nine Inch Nails, the Supremes, Steely Dan, Velvet Underground, Weezer.

A number of these artists are dead. Half of them are no longer active at all. The rest of them have recently put out a stinker, or a series of stinkers. Every single one of them is past their prime.

Now consider some of the artists from the labels that will be leaving indefinitely:

Arcade Fire, Spoon, the National, Vampire Weekend, the xx, She & Him, Caribou, Titus Andronicus, Deerhunter, Warpaint, Destroyer, the Mountain Goats, M. Ward, Radiohead, MIA, My Morning Jacket, Yo La Tengo, Antony & the Johnsons, Atlas Sound, Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai, Bon Iver, Beirut, TV on the Radio, Wild Beasts, Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors.

Every single one of those bands is active. And you could be forgiven for mistaking that for a list of "some of the best bands making music currently." Fifteen of these bands have appeared or will appear on my best albums lists from 2008-2010.

So. In order to secure the back-catalog of a bunch of has-beens, iTunes Jr. is raising their prices and sacrificing the cream of the crop of current music. If that's not losing your way, I don't know what is.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Track list for my cousin Emily's "save the date" mix tape...

...which I didn't know was a thing, but it's kind of cool.

1. 'It Takes Two' by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock
2. 'Rock with You' by Michael Jackson
3. 'Love You Madly' by Cake
4. 'This Mus be the Place (Naive Melody)' by Talking Heads
5. 'Everywhere' by Fleetwood Mac
6. 'Drop and Roll' by Breathe Owl Breathe
7. 'Re: Stacks' by Bon Iver
8. 'Green Light' by John Legend & Andre 3000
9. 'My Family's Role in the World Revolution' by Beirut
10. 'O.N.E.' by Yeasayer
11. 'The Message' by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five
12. 'She Wants to Move' by N.E.R.D.
13. 'Walcott' by Vampire Weekend
14. 'Sabertooth Tiger' by Breathe Owl Breathe
15. 'Walk on the Wild Side' by Lou Reed
16. 'Money Maker' by Ludacris
17. 'Cupid Shuffle' by Cupid
18. 'Big Ole Booty' by Big Sam's Funky Nation

Yeah, my family's cooler than yours.


Pumped for Sam and Rachel's wedding on New Year's Eve in Pittsburgh and Emily and Kent's during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Good times.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The most important election since... well, since the last one, I guess.

I find it distressing that grown adults exist who truly believe (a) their causes and candidates are uniformly righteous and/or (b) their opponents are unreservedly wicked. At the same time, I am a little jealous. A small part of me wishes I were capable of seeing the Democrats as god-hating Commies or the Republicans as power-hungry fascists.

That kind of clarity of vision has its attractions--else Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann would be jobless. It certainly tends to be more appealing than uncertainty, indifference, and confusion. Most of us would rather embrace a selective clarity, an artificial certainty. It's easier to get through the day. There are few things more central to one's identity than assurance that they are a bunch of idiots. Nothing brings a group together like the certainty that outsiders are the spawn of Satan. Hatred is better glue than love.

But that's the thing. The world is confusing. People are clueless sinners.

I'm going to vote, and I'm not happy about it. You also ought to go do your civic duty and vote for someone who will probably destroy your community, if they do anything at all.