Your latest reason to join the RIAA boycott

First off, go read this article, which has a parenthetical subtitle – “It ain’t good news” – that’s likely to win the award for Biggest Understatement of 2007.

If you’re too lazy to click on the link…well, first off, that’s embarrassingly lazy. But since I’m nothing if not an enabler, I’ll summarize for you, anyway: the Copyright Royalty Board has made its decree on the royalty rates that are to be paid by internet radio stations.

Per Orbitcast.com, the ruling is on a “per play” basis – so Internet radio stations will have to pay the cost of one song to one listener – effective retroactively for 2006, plus an additional fee of $500 per channel per year.

The rates to be paid are:

2006 – $.0008 per performance
2007 – $.0011 per performance
2008 – $.0014 per performance
2009 – $.0018 per performance
2010 – $.0019 per performance

Can anyone explain to me how one of the largest music-related organizations in the country can be run by people who are apparently not diehard music fans? Internet radio is such an awesome tool for people to discover new music…and this royalty schedule is likely to kill it stone dead, or – at the very least – knock out those participants who tend to offer the widest variety in their playlists. This strikes me as a move no less damaging than removing the limit of radio stations any one company can own in an area; it immediately blows the little guy out of the water, which inevitably results in less choice and more stations interested in business over an actual interest in music.

Disgusting.

Quick, before the lawyers step in…

…check out the 350+ concerts streaming at WolfgangsVault.com, part of a huge archive left by the late promoter Bill Graham, who recorded just about every concert he produced in San Francisco (Fillmore West), New York (Fillmore East) and lots of other venues. I’m currently listening to “Bye Bye Love” from a Cars’ 1978 show at the NY Palladium, and I have to say, the quality is pretty damn good.

Looking for new music? Last.FM can help

Earlier this year, I thought I’d try out Last.FM, which claims to learn what you like by tracking your listening preferences (in iTunes) and uses that information to provide a list of recommended artists. So I downloaded the iTunes plug-in – called the “iScrobbler” – and cued up my “Best of 02-06” playlist (as I was mainly interested in finding new new music).

After a night of recording my tastes, Last.FM provided a series of recommendations, from “popular” to “obscure.” Two of the top recommendations – Belle & Sebastian and the Kooks – jumped out at me, so I gave B&S’ The Life Pursuit and the Kooks’ Inside In/Inside Out a few listens. The result? Both albums are on my Top 10 list for 2006.

Damn computers.

Give your mp3 player some good drugs

Some of ye might be well aware of this site, but for those who aren’t in the know, you can literally spend hours getting lost in the mp3 section of WFMU’s Beware of the Blog site (as well as the site in general). Tons and tons of oddball mp3s, rare albums shared in their entirety, and lots more. If you’re looking for those really different things to hear, this is a great place to waste your days as well as fill up those iPods with all sorts of kooky things to enjoy. There are even links in there for WFMU podcasts if you want even more. This is what the Internet was made for, folks.

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