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