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January 24, 2007

David Pogue’s Rewrite of the Village People’s “YMCA” Lyrics [4:32 pm]

Ode to the R.I.A.A. (you might have to click twice; the NYTimes’ server sometimes thinks the URL doesn’t point to anything)

Young man,

You were surfing along,

And then, young man,

You downloaded a song,

And then, dumb man,

Copied it to your ‘Pod,

Then a phone call came to tell you:

You’ve just been sued by the R.I.A.A.!

You’ve just been sued by the R.I.A.A.!

Their attorneys say, you committed a crime,

And there’d better not be a next time!

They’ve lost their minds at the R.I.A.A.!

Justice is blind at the R.I.A.A….

“You’re depriving the bands! You are learning to steal,

You can’t do whatever you feel!”

….

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Regional Market Control In Digital Distribution [10:55 am]

How poorly it works, except as a mechanism for “control via obscurity” — which this article works to subvert. For example, did you know there are places where songs are available on iTunes at variable prices (i.e., different prices for different songs)? I didn’t. The insanely great songs Apple won’t let you hear

The iTunes Music Store has a secret hiding in plain sight: Log out of your home account in the page’s upper-right corner, switch the country setting at the bottom of the page to Japan, and you’re dropped down a rabbit hole into a wonderland of great Japanese bands that you’ve never even heard of. And they’re nowhere to be found on iTunes U.S. You can listen to 30-second song teasers on the Japanese site, but if you try purchasing “Killer Tune”—or any other tune—from iTunes Japan with your U.S. credit card, you’ll get turned away: Your gaijin money’s no good there.

Go to iTMS Japan’s Terms of Sale, and the very first three words, which berate you in all caps, are:

JAPAN SALES ONLY

So, what’s going on here?

Music labels have a good reason to lift up the drawbridge: iTunes spans 22 countries, often with somewhat uneven pricing between them, and the specter of cross-border music discounting has already been raised by services such as Russia’s much-sued allofmp3.com. But in Japan’s case, the blockade becomes downright tragic. If your knowledge of Japanese music barely extends beyond the Boredoms, you’re in for a shock at iTMS Japan: There are thousands of Japanese bands that play circles around ours—and they’re doing it in English.

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