Friday, July 07, 2006

Danah at NZMIC
Danah Boyd gave a talk to interested music folks at the NZ Music Industry Commission's offices, Monday night. Here's some random notes from it. Enjoy.

Myspace's initial growth came from band promoters in LA - myspace founder Tom was closely aligned wth them. The promoters set it up so that if you wanted to get into their shows, and their VIP areas, you had to be on Myspace. They'd announce shows there exclusively.

Bands need to have your band name on the home page, not just in the webpage address - to help Google's search function.

Keep it live, keep it interactive - ie put up an early version of a song/or/ a live cut of a song, then send out a bulletin - "check out this tune". Or put up a list of "what i'm listening to now"

Put up video, not just music vids, but random stuff - Myspace pays for bandwidth.

Personalise pages with photos, not just cover art.

For bands, they can use Myspace to send out bulletins, as a way to keep their fans informed on upcoming gigs etc. She suggests using hacks to utilise the site.

Not just about attracting a huge number of friends - there are automated programmes that do that - Bands are now wanting comments rather than a huge number of friends - comments that include a fan's location.

Pre-release your music/video via Myspace - adopted by fans and spread thru their friends.

Myspace has 2 terabytes of data uploaded daily.

Danah noted that is more popular here than Myspace.

Danah says Murdoch has added lawyers and lobbyists to Myspace, but has largely left it alone.

Curently, Myspace is focussing its resources on dealing with the moral panic - two thirds of the staff are searching out porn on Myspace and eliminating it. Danah says they need to be focussing on music, which is their strength.

Myspace has no quality assurance - they expect their users to do it. They throw up 3 or 4 new featrures a day and see if they work.

She thinks next big thing will be mobile, which means it wont be in the States. Phones as multimedia devices. In the US, Kids over 18, with a credit card can get a mobile phone.Under 18, your mobile has to be linked to your parents phone account.

Notes that the Sidekick does IM (instant messaging) via AOL - There are 4 times more downloads to Sidekicks than any other phone. About 500,000 in use in US and Germany.

She asked Myspace the % of females on the site - they can't even do the data for that. They are not running much in the way of statistics at all.

One point that didn't get touched on in the Myspace talkfests - a lot of unsigned NZ bands are using Myspace to create a web presence. Rather than spend mega-dollars on creating and hosting their own site, they use Myspace, to host music, photos, video, etc. they can customise it, make it their own, and it's free.

Oh, and Robyn notes that "interested parties can out examine photographic evidence of the Great Blend." And here's Robyn...

and speaking of photographic evidence, Me and James Littlewood (occasional PA contributor) grinning... maybe it was the free coffee, or our cheery dispositions, who knows...

and Matt and me...

From Matt's blog on the PA Great Blend... snip...

Myspace of course was built to run friendster into the ground. Whereas friendster still placed its emphasis on dating and such, Myspace blew it open. Not only the combining of blogging, dating/networking, music, pics etc. into a utility site, but the fact that the HTML coding left it wide open for a flood of teenagers to do what they liked with their pages, and basically recreate their identity online. And basically what is being a teenager? Its appropriating and projecting an identity of an idealised self. Hey, I do it all the time. Ill take a compounded reality with a side of fries, thanks. On the panel, I also raised discussion about sub cultural movements finding a foothold on myspace (Uh huh, yes, emo) like Danah said, its all about gLOCALisation (yeah drop that one next time youre having one of your wanky debates on campus)

But yeah, thrilling enough as it was to be regarded as a myspace expert, next thing Im getting thronged hard by academics, media and tech heads and my consultancy service as youth market internet analyst is in great demand! Watch for me rolling up in my Porsche blinging high as a kite on powdered tiger penis any day now!!!

Even Danah herself wants to interview me for her research but she was in the same boat as me, she wanted to catch Timmy the Schu man laying down beats, while I didnt want to miss Emma Green @ Fu because her myspace says shes single and I think Ive got a crush on her..."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Why the loudness wars are killing today's music - link
"Pull out a vinyl record from the 70s or early 80s, and listen to it. Odds are it'll have a big dynamic range -- it'll be whisper-quiet in some parts and booming loud in others. You'll pick up new nuances every time you listen to it. Now listen to any music track recorded in the last ten years, and it'll be radically different. That dynamic range is gone: The entire track is loud, all the way through..." Apprently it's all Oasis fault. Bloody rit-pop.

Why music lovers need a record cleaner - link
"Record Outlet, a small music store in Thousand Oaks, carries used vinyl records as well as CDs. Store owner K.C. Staples said business has been as good as ever.
"Vinyl sales have never really slowed down," he said. "CD sales have slumped, but I'm seeing more junior high through high school young adults buying more records."

HONOUR AMONG THIEVES, or DJ Morality Headscratchers part 1 - Link
When clearing a tune for a compilation becomes a nightmare.... especially when you realise the label you are dealing didn't clear/pay for the samples in the tune you want.

The above links are from the esteemed Andrew Dubber - here's more, in his own words...

"I've recently been maintaining an email list for close personal acquaintances. I send out a message a couple of times a week, containing a plain text list of headlines and links to news, blogs and articles about Online Music. I'm ready to expand that select list to The Wireless constituency. If you'd like to get that email, drop me a note ( and I'll add you. "
Thoroughly reccomended if you're involved in music....

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ring the alarm playlist, BaseFM, Saturday July 1st
Sunshine sound system - As of lately
Hopeton Lewis - Take it easy
Carl Bradney - Slippin into darkness
Joe Gibbs - Angola crisis
Cut chemist - The garden
Manzel - Midnight theme (Dopebrother remix)
Wilson Pickett - Engine No 9
Dizzy Gillespie - Matrix
Barrington Levy - Collie weed
Bob Marley -Stand up jamrock
Ini Kamoze and Capital D - World a reggae
Freddie Kruger - Something good
Esso Trinidad Steel band - I want you back
DJ Vadim feat Demolition man - Leeches
JStar - Musictime
Brentford allstars - Racetrack
Cornerstone roots - Forward the sax
Mad Lion feat KRS One - That's it
Nina Simone - Funkier than a mosquito's tweeter
Breakestra - Stand up
Edwin Starr - Easin in
Nas - Where y'all at
Wu tang clan - Uzi (Pinky Ring) inst
Gianfranco Reverberi - Nel Cimitero di Tucson (as sampled by Gnarls Barkley for Crazy)
Prince Fari - Same knife
Nomo - Divisions
Zapp - More bounce to the ounce
Jackie Mittoo - Get up and get it
Zilver zurf - Moment is gone (Kieser Velten remix)
Scientist - African daughter dub
Bombs - Under mi sensi remix
Nightmares on wax - Flip ya lid

Righto, last show for three weeks, Big Matt and friends will be filling in while I'm having a break. Current holiday research - Fear and Loathing in las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson. There's a clue, huh?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Murdoch owns your ass? Billy don't think so. is the place to be, if you want people to hear your music. It's rapidly become an essential promotional tool for every musician, big or small, in the last year. As a networking tool with other musicians both local and offshore, it's unbeatable (at least until something new comes along that's even better, as is the way of the internet). Sure, you need your own website, but you gotta be on MySpace too.

However, all is not what it seems, with the glories of MySpace. In mid-May, British musician Billy Bragg removed all his music from his page on MySpace, taking issue with the site's Terms and Conditions. The problem being this tricky little sentence...

... by posting content an artists agrees to: "Hereby grant to a non-exclusive,fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the rights to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate ,publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit and distribute such content on and through the services."

Myspace spokesperson Jeff Berman said: "Because the legalese has caused some confusion we are at work revising it to make it every clear that MySpace is not seeking a license to do anything with an artist's work other than allow it to be shared in the manner the artist intends. Obviously, we don't own their music or do anything with it that they don't want." (Source:

The Register noted that "It's the return of the old favorite, the ambiguous ownership contract. Myspace is actually using a boilerplate text designed to allow it to republish the content. Five years ago Microsoft was forced to change a similar, but even more acquisitive click through contract. Microsoft's Passport sign-on permitted the company to:

Use, modify, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, publish, sublicense, create derivative works from, transfer, or sell any such communication.

The terms included the right to grab trademarks and business plans. Microsoft retreated after a storm of protest. But Redmond wasn't the first to attempt this, nor has it been the last. Apple had introduced a similar click through before retreating, and two years ago Google attached almost identical terms to its Orkut service. That was in 2004, the bloggers' love affair with the ad giant was still untarnished, and very little protest was heard."

There is also the growing number of hysterical media reports on abducted children/sexual predators associated with Myspace. Visitor to our shores, danah boyd, refers to it as the moral panic surrounding MySpace. She has written extensively on the subject. Try Identity Production in a Networked Culture: Why Youth Heart MySpace, her address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in February. (her interview on TV3 with John Campbell can be viewed here)

Here's one solution for parents, as suggested by LA Times columnist Chris Erksine...

"Keeping a close eye on teens is akin to trying to watch hydrogen atoms bond. But there might be a simple solution to all this: dads.

Dads? Yes, dads.

We'll just join in. If we can get enough fathers to join, pretty soon will go from being a very cool site to being about as hip as a yard sale at Bob Newhart's house.

For, if there's anything a teen doesn't want to be seen with, it's a dad. At the mall, they'll walk 20 steps behind. In line at the movies, they'll press up against the people in front, pretending they're with them. I don't mind. Usually, teens smell like bad fruit anyway. I think it's that mango deodorant they wear.

"I think I need to be on MySpace," I tell my daughter.

"You?" she gasps, as if swallowing a wasp.

"Me," I say...

"You really want this?" my daughter asks.

"Consider it a Father's Day gift," I tell her."
(excerpt from a column titled "Maybe rename it DadSpace?")

The latest on the T&C outcry?

On June 27, Bragg announced on his MySpace page that "MySpace have changed their terms of agreement from a declaration of their rights into a declaration of our rights as artists,making it clear that, as creators, we retain ownership of our material. Having been adopted by the biggest social networking site on the block, I hope their recognition of the right of the artist to be sole exploiter of their own material now becomes an industry standard because there is much more at stake here than just the terms and conditions of a website."

He goes on to discuss how musicians are traditionally expected to sign away the rights to their music to a record company for 50 years - he prefers to license his music out to a record company for ten years, then the rights revert to him, to re-license as he sees fit.
Ive always had a problem with that arrangement, arguing that the recordings Ive made should provide my pension not that of some record company executive... Every few years, the reversion clause kicks in, my back catalogue returns to my ownership and I begin the licensing process all over again. Not only does this strengthen my hand in contract negotiations, it also allows me to take account of new technologies in a rapidly changing industry." Read Bragg's post at his MySpace page here.

MySpaces' new terms and conditions relating to music, etc are below, and in full here.

" does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, "Content") that you post to the MySpace Services. After posting your Content to the MySpace Services, you continue to retain all ownership rights in such Content, and you continue to have the right to use your Content in any way you choose..."

And then there's the moral panic from clueless parents around the planet....
Tunes for daze
Brand new Cut Chemist (Jurassic 5) tune, off his solo debut The Audience's Listening, out July 11.
if you havent heard this, Mark Ronson feat Alex Greenwald - Just (Radiohead cover) here.
DJSussex - Gnarls Barkley vs Beasties mashup here.
Gnarls Barkley - Crazy is all over the show, here's the origins, plus covers of it by Nelly Furtado, Twilight Singers, and more.
Soulsides tribute to the late producer Arif Mardin, with tunes from Aretha, Donny Hathaway, Chaka Khan.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

MySpace hysteria descends.
Campbell Live is promoing one of those "what are your kids up to on the net, and what happens to all that personal information they put up?" stories for tonight's show, have a look-see.

Official blurb goes like this... "My Space and Bebo are online social websites where your children can make friends and share interests. But how much information are they safely sharing? And could the confessions they make in cyber world come back to haunt them in the real world much later in life?"


CORRECTED Just spied at PA that dahnah boyd is on Campbell Live tonight - might not be total media hysteria, then?

Russell Brown's Public Address is hosting MySpace commentator danah boyd this Saturday...

"It's been a while between drinks, but we have a new Karajoz Great Blend for you all - well, those of you in Auckland and Wellington anyway. Our star guest this time is danah boyd of Berkeley University. She's probably the leading social commentator at present on MySpace and related phenomena. There's a Wikipedia entry for her, you may well enjoy Identity Production in a Networked Culture: Why Youth Heart MySpace, her address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in February, and her blog is here (you may care to leave a comment welcoming her to Aotearoa).

The Auckland event is Saturday, July 1, at the Grey Lynn Community Centre. Danah will be joined there by Justin Zhang, Robyn Gallagher and Peter McLennan on the panel; Matt Gibbons and his Starlords collaborator Bruce Ferguson will be in the house, Great Blend TV will screen, and SJD will round out the evening playing songs from their next album. It's likely that I'll add a panellist or two, and there may well be a surprise guest with some things to say about digital media."

Hope you RSVP'd cos it's all full up. Now excuse me, but I must crawl back into my hole to continue thinking up pithy things to say for saturday night. If you're at the Auckland event, come up and say hello. I'm very polite and well-mannered, thanks to by good upbringing. Honest.

I'll also have a new post on MySpace going up tomorrow, specifically music-related.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Saturday June 24
Freddie Cruger - Simply fresh
Lee Scratch Perry - Jungle lion
Scientist - Rasta dub it everywhere
Lloyd Charmers - Look-ka py py
The emotions - Blind alley
Rare earth - Big John is my name
Katzenjammers - Cars
Antibalas - Makossa
Open souls - They don't even know
Scrappy - Off the lead
Reggie Stepper - Drum pan sound Bomb re-edit
Damian Marley - Move
Chuck Brown and the soul searchers - Bustin loose
Bobby Byrd - I know you got soul
Jorge Ben - Umbabaraumba
Fat Freddy's Drop - Flashback (Jazzanova mashed bag remix)
International observer - Vale bengali
Zilver Zurf feat desmond foster - Moment is gone (Kieser Velten remix)
Barrington Carey -Love u forver (Boxsaga inst mix)
Breakestra - You don't need a dance
Stevie Wonder - I wish
Shaggy & Barington Levy - Broadway
Tanya Stephens - 1-1-9
Esther Philips - Use me
Detriot emeralds - You're getting a little too smart
Christina Aquilera -Aint no other man (now, don\'t go giving me a hard time about playing a song by this trashy little tramp - this tune is absolute killer, produced by Gangstarr's DJ Premier, and if playing it makes me a pop whore, well, I don't care).
Jose Feliciano - California dreamin (The Rub remix)
Grant Phabo, Carlton Livingston, Lone Ranger - Message to you, rudy
Turbulence - Stay focus
Cut Chemist - The garden

June 17 playlist, Ring The Alarm
Joe Dukie and DJ Fitchie - This room
Horace Andy - Jah provides
Jurassic 5 - Red hot
Jackie Mittoo - Champion of the arena
J Osbourne and Burro Banton - The truth
Les McCann - Hey Leroy, your mama's callin
James Brown - Stone to the bone
Earl Rodney - Juck juck
Desmond Dekker - Bongo girl
Barrington Carey -Love u forver (Boxsaga mix)
DJ BC - Take it meany (Fugees mashup)
Faith Evans - Mesmerised
Salmonella Dub - Tui dub (Mad Professor remix)
People under the stairs - Hang loose
Hot grits - Mr nice
Singers and players - Matter of time
DJ C and debaser - Crazy baldheads
Shaggy and Barrington Levy - Broadway
Border crossing - Searching for mr manuva
Reggie Stepper - Drum pan sound
Nightmares on wax - Flip ya lid
Cookie monster and the girls - C is for cookie (Larry Levan mix)
Megablast feat Coalman - Listen to rasta
Bob Marley - Stand up jamrock (Ashley Beedle edit Instrumental)
JStar - Fall in love
Zilver Zurf feat Papa Dee and Silvia Moreno - Good vibes