April 1, 2004

Filesharing Claims More Victims? [3:29 pm]

Well, that’s what (a lazy reporter at?) the NYTimes says. EMI to Cut Artist Roster and Close 2 CD Plants

EMI, which also produces the Rolling Stones and Coldplay, is doing better than the industry as a whole, where sales slipped more than 7 percent in 2003, according to estimates from IFPI, an anti-piracy trade group, because consumers continue to download music illegally from the Web. On Tuesday, music industry representatives said they would take legal action against 247 people for illegal file sharing in Europe, the first time that legal action has been taken outside of the United States.

The bulk of the EMI job losses stem from the outsourcing of compact disc and DVD manufacturing. [ [...]

Music producers industrywide have been increasingly outsourcing the making and distribution of their discs. In July of last year, AOL Time Warner sold its CD, DVD and video manufacturing units to Cinram. Sony and the Bertelsmann Group still produce their own compact discs, but analysts maintain that it is only a matter of time before all the major recording companies outsource manufacturing and distribution.

“That’s where the music business will end up, without a question,” said Mark Harrington, an analyst with Bear Stearns in London.

EMI will also be cutting about 350 “niche and underperforming” artists from its roster, the company said, and combining some music labels and some marketing departments. The company did not specify which artists would be released. EMI let go about 400 artists and eliminated 1,800 jobs in 2002, with positive results.

Reading the whole article, there’s certainly a question in my mind what the discussion of the filesharing suits has to do with the rest of the story. Although I may just be biased, consider that all you have to do is substitute “workers” for “artists” and this just becomes an all too common story about corporate downsizing to maintain the bottom line…….

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Thank Goodness No Mod-chipping! [12:05 pm]

Wouldn’t want to break the law, now, would we? Making Music With Speak & Spell

Hacked musical instruments, and the distinctive sounds they produce, will be the focus of Bent 2004, a weeklong festival of circuit-bending music and art that opens Thursday at Spaceworks at The Tank in New York City.

“Circuit bending” is the art of modifying existing electronics, usually those found in children’s toys, to create new sounds and unique musical instruments. Festival events will include a concert series, a gallery exhibit of “bent” instruments, how-to workshops for beginners and experienced artists, and a family day for fledgling benders.

The idea for the festival was sparked by Spaceworks curators Mike Rosenthal and Daniel Greenfeld’s desire to host a hands-on musical event, one that visitors could participate in. Anyone can be a circuit bender, Rosenthal and Greenfeld insist. [emphasis added]

[...] “I want people to feel empowered and enthusiastic. I want them to go home and take apart all their toys,” said Rosenthal.

“Open those toys up. Spend some time with them. Cut up the circuits and hang them on the wall. Hook them up to speakers and listen to them. See what’s going on in there. Toys are cheap — there’s no reason to be afraid.”

So far, anyway…….

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April Fools [9:45 am]

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