Friday, 26 September 2008

US Woman Convicted of Music Theft Granted New Trial

A US judge granted a new trial to a woman convicted of pirating music files and denounced the awarding of $222,000 in damages to record companies as "wholly disproportionate" and "oppressive."

Jammie Thomas, a single mother from Minnesota, was convicted last October in the first such online piracy case in the United States for sharing 24 songs through the Kazaa file-sharing network.

She was ordered to pay $220,000 or $9,250 per song, in damages to six record companies: Capital Records, Sony BMG Music, Arista Records, Interscope Records, Warner Bros. Records and UMG Recordings.

But the judge who presided over the case ordered a new trial on Wednesday saying he had erred in his instructions to the jury with his interpretation of whether Thomas had actually distributed the music or not.

Chief Judge Michael Davis of the US District Court based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, said the jury instructions had "Substantially prejudiced Thomas's rights." He said "Based on the Court's error in instructing the jury, it grants Thomas a new trial."

In his ruling, Davis also called on the US Congress to amend the Copyright Act and condemned the jury's damages award against Thomas.

Noting that she "sought no profit from her acts," Davis wrote that "Thomas's conduct was motivated by her desire to obtain the copyrighted music for her own use.

"The Court does not condone Thomas's actions, but it would be a farce to say that a single mother's acts of using Kazaa are the equivalent, for example, to the acts of global financial firms illegally infringing on copyrights in order to profit in the securities market," he said.

"The damages awarded in this case are wholly disproportionate to the damages suffered by Plaintiffs.

"Her alleged acts were illegal, but common," the judge added. "Her status as a consumer who was not seeking to harm her competitors or make a profit does not excuse her behaviour. But it does make the award of hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages unprecedented and oppressive."

The Recording Industry Association of America and major music labels have brought suit against thousands of people in the United States for illegally downloading and sharing music, with most agreeing to settlements of between $3,000 and $5,000.

Thomas was the first among those being sued to refuse a settlement and instead took the case to court.

Industry analysts say illegal music downloading and file-sharing remains prevalent despite the surge in interest in legal music sites such as Apple's iTunes.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

MySpace Music Slammed By Independent Label Boss

Following the launch yesterday (September 24) of MySpace Music in the USA, Chairman of the Beggars Group of record labels, Martin Mills, has slammed the new service for not signing up influential independent record labels.

Mills has criticised those behind the service for not enlisting more independent labels, which he says were influential in the initial growth of MySpace.

All of the major record labels Universal, Warner Music, EMI and Sony BMG are signed up to the service.

In a statement, Mills said:

"It is both disappointing and astonishing that MySpace, built on the music of independent artists and labels, should, now it has the majors as partners, choose to launch without those that have been at its heart, and whilst treating independents as second class citizens."The service's independent content, sadly, appears to constitute only the independent distribution arms of the majors by virtue of their deals with their parents, and the orchard."We, however, believe that independent music and artists are worth every cent as much as that of the majors, and will not be supporting this potentially exciting new service until we see fair play."

The Beggars Group owns the Rough Trade, 4AD, Matador, XL, Too Pure, Merok and Young Turks labels.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Online Music Store, DJ History, Launches Today

A new online music store launched today (September 19th). The site,, will sell downloads of rare vinyl tracks claiming to "do the digging, so you don't have to".

Co-curator Frank Broughton told The Guardian "We'll never be as big as iTunes, but we'll always be more interesting. The store is aimed at DJs, music geeks and anyone who wants great, unknown music,”

There’s a section on the site called Secret Weapons, a monthly release of killer tunes DJs normally keep to themselves.

Broughton says "The label is about the people on the forum. They suggest things to license and they get to show off their amazing rarities and do legal remixes and edits of favourites from their collections,"

"The forum attracts hundreds of brilliant unknown DJs as well as massive names like dj’s like Francois Kevorkian, Darshan Jesrani, David Mancuso, Prins Thomas and Greg Wilson. They've all contributed in some way. It's a community filled with experts, and they all share what they know."

For more information go to:

Primal Scream Stole the Show at Vodafone Live Music Awards

Scottish veterans Primal Scream stole the show at last night’s (September 18th) Vodafone Live Music Awards ceremony in London, picking up awards for Best Live Act and Outstanding Contribution to Live Music.

At London's Brixton Academy the rockers closed the awards ceremony with a superb set, which included their recent single 'Can't Go Back', '90s classic 'Rocks' and 'Beautiful Future', the title track of their new album.
The Ting Tings opened the show with 'That's Not My Name’ before walking away with the Xfm Live Breakthrough Award, presented to the band that had made the biggest steps in the world of gigs this year.

Mark Ronson won the Best Live Male award and The Spice Girls won Best Live Comeback gong, beating off The Verve and Led Zeppelin.The Best Live Female award went to Kate Nash and Kings of Leon picked up the award for Best International Live Act.

Glasvegas also took to the stage to perform an acoustic version of ‘Daddy’s Gone’.

Scottish music festival, T in the Park bagged the 4Music Festival of the Year award.Vodafone Live Music Award winners are as follows:
Best Live Male: Mark RonsonBest Live Female: Kate NashBest Live Act: Primal ScreamBest Live Return: Spice Girls XFM Live Breakthrough Act: The Ting Tings4Music Festival of the Year: T In The ParkLive & Unsigned Act: Kiddo360Best International Live Act: Kings Of LeonSony Ericsson Tour of the Year: Take That Arena TourOutstanding Contribution To Live Music: Primal Scream

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Six Charged Following Music Share Investigation

Six people have been charged by Cleveland police, in connection with a police enquiry into illegal music file-sharing website, OiNK.

A 25-year-old IT worker from Middlesbrough has been charged with conspiracy to defraud. He has been bailed to appear in court later this month.

Five other people have been charged with copyright infringement penalties.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that one man has been charged with conspiracy to defraud and five others have been charged with copyright infringement.

"They will appear at Teeside Magistrates' Court on 24th September."
The IT worker was originally arrested and released on police bail in October 2007 after police raided his home.

The charges follow an Interpol-led investigation into illegal music downloads, involving music industry bodies the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and the British Phonographic Industry.

Other arrests were part of Cleveland Police's operation Ark Royal into music industry piracy.

The operation was launched last year after the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry revealed that the member’s only download site had already leaked sixty pre-release albums in 2007.

OiNK, which had servers based in Holland, was closed last October following a joint operation between Interpol, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and the British Phonographic Industry.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Mercury Prize Winners Elbow Look Set to Return to the Top 10

Elbow are set to return to the top 10 after their album, The Seldom Seen Kid, scooped the Nationwide Mercury Prize on Tuesday (9th Sep).

Before Tuesday night’s ceremony, Elbow’s fourth album was at no.61. Based on sales up to Thursday, it is now at no.9 in the midweek charts. It’s also the best-selling album on both Amazon and iTunes in the UK.

An Official Charts Company (OCC) spokesperson said "They definitely look like they'll back in top 10 by the weekend,"

The band beat 11 other acts to the prestigious prize for album of the year. Singer Guy Garvey said it was "quite literally the best thing that's ever happened to us".

Garvey dedicated the prize to the man who inspired the album's title, Brian Glancey, a close friend who died two years ago. Garvey said "The album is dedicated to him, because you don't get more seldom seen than someone who's dead, and I think he'd appreciate the gallows humour in that,"

He continued "I miss him every day, he was a great man and he should be stood here in many ways. Some of his music will be coming out soon and everyone else will know how great he was as well."

The OCC spokesperson added "The Mercury is a fantastic showcase. Elbow have been around for such a long time and it's clearly bringing them to a wider audience.

"All the nominees have benefitted, simply from being nominated" He added.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Colin MacIntyre Announces UK Dates

Colin Macintyre former Mull Historical Society musician is set to play UK dates which will coincide with the release of his new single.The second single from Colin's album The Water will be 'Famous For Being Famous', released on the 22nd of September on Future Gods Recordings.

The new single’s download release will also come with two previously unreleased tracks of Colin's: 'You & Me Ground Zero' and 'When Loser's Become Friends'

The Isle of Mull musician will play the following dates:
20th September Glasgow (King Tut's)21st September Liverpool (Academy 2)28th October London (Cargo)29th October Manchester (The Ruby Lounge)

Meanwhile 'You're A Star', the opening track of 'The Water' has been confirmed as the title track for a new ITV mockumentary film written and co-directed by Irvine Welsh, the Trainspotting author.

The film, 'The Good Arrows', is due to be screened in January 2009 on ITV. Colin will also be performing in it.

The Music Frontman, Rob Harvey Slams Download Culture

The Music singer Rob Harvey admits that he feels let down by the digital revolution. Harvey claims music has become too disposable due to the rise in downloads and the fall in record sales.

Speaking to BBC News Harvey said: "Songs have just become an accessory now, they're not something to believe in anymore and they can't change lives like they used too."

The frontman also criticised big bands for giving away free downloads and not helping unsigned acts, saying "I think it's becoming increasingly more difficult for unsigned bands to do anything and I find it bizarre that bands who give music away act like saviours when they could quite easily be helping smaller bands on the label who can't afford to even tour."

He stated "I just feel there is less investment in real music now."

Bands such as Coldplay and Keane allowed fans to download singles for free. Other bands have made albums available for nothing such as the Charlatans, Prince and Nine Inch Nails.

"Music is throwaway now and you can just get hold of a song by pushing a button," he said.

The Music are to release new single, Drugs, taken from Strength In Numbers album, on the 13th October. The band are also due to start a 6 date tour of the UK in October.

Tour dates are as follows:

22nd Iron Works, Inverness
23rd Kinema, Dunfermline
25th Fat Sam’s, Dundee
26th Moshulu, Aberdeen
27th Picture House, Edinburgh
29th Roundhouse, London

Monday, 1 September 2008

Digitalism – Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh – 23rd August 2008

By the time I arrived at the Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh I missed the first of the two support acts for tonight’s sold out gig, We Are Electric DJ. However I managed to see the second support act, Craig Brown aka Satellite Dub.

Satellite Dub won a competition run by STV, DF Concerts & 32Music to give an up and coming new act the chance to support one of the festival acts at the Edge Festival, which runs alongside The Edinburgh Festival.

A worthy winner in my opinion, Satellite Dub could give the likes of the Chemical Brothers, Orbital and Daft Punk a run for their money, delivering groovy beats with a thunderous, pumping, heavy bass managing to get the crowd ready for Digitalism no problem.

The indie-dance crossover duo from Hamburg gets everyone going from the offset with their distinctive heavy dance tune Zdarlight. The heart pumping heavy distortion, deafening beats and incessant strobe manage to add to the enthusiasm and energy levels of the Edinburgh crowd.

The sweat soaked crowd remain like this throughout tracks such as Idealistic and the celestial overtones of Jupiter Room. The set was brought to a close with the heavily distorted, rough grooves of the infectious track, Pogo.