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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Google+ Studio Mode Takes The Show Online

Love the excitement of a small house show, but hate the sweaty, pushing weirdos who inevitably crowd the kitchen and block your way to the bathroom after one too many craft beers (you hip kid, you)? Then has Google+ got a service for you! Now you can experience the energy and intimacy of live performances right from the comfort of your own living room.

Well, almost.

Google has recently rolled out a new addition to Google+ Hangouts called Studio Mode, which allows bands to host real-time streaming broadcasts of their live shows online. You may wonder how this is any different from websites like Stageit that already offer the same service to bands; the proof is in the sound. According to TechCrunch, Studio Mode operates “in stereo at a higher bitrate though a different codec.” The audio that you hear in Studio Mode is actually optimized for a music listening experience instead of a regular Google+ hangout. Doubt it? Check out the video below of OurStage act Suite 709 playing their song “Life Won’t Let You Down” to demonstrate the higher quality of Studio Mode.

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Universal Music Sneaks Unfavorable Reviews Into List Of Copyright Infringement Take Downs

Under the provisions of 1998’s Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), copyright holders can make a legal claim to remove online materials which breach said copyright.

In June, the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI) filed such notice on behalf of Universal Music Group, seeking to have illegal downloads removed from Google Search.

Among those illegal downloads were three URLs linking to two separate, middling reviews of Drake‘s Take Care LP. Both reviews featured a common link to a third, and far more brutal review.

An accident, as Techdirt suggests possible? Perhaps. But either way, this is an alarming illustration of the potential and, in fact, likely free speech stifling abuses of the DMCA.

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UK Music Big Wigs Want More Copyright Protections, Don't Like Google

Some of the biggest names in the UK’s music industry, both past and present, have banded together in the name of copyright. Pete Townshend, Elton John, Roger Daltry, Simon Cowell, and Tinie Tempah were just some of the music industry figures who signed their names to an open letter that ran in the Telegraph on the 24th. The letter, Musicians need strong copyright laws to excel globally, opines on Britain’s presence in the international music community and how it can be protected from the ravages of illegal file sharing.

“As a digitally advanced nation whose language is spoken around the world, Britain is well-positioned to increase its exports in the digital age,” the letter states. “We can only realise this potential if we have a strong domestic copyright framework… Illegal activity online must be pushed to the margins.” It was previously reported that the letter was going to cite Google as a primary enabler of piracy. Since the publishing of the letter it appears that the rocker are holding off their attack on the search giant, for now.

The letter goes on to reference the controversial Digital Economy Act as a key tool to fight the deleterious effects of file sharing. Some of the more hotly contested aspects of the law, including provisions that would allow the government to cut off internet access for repeat offenders, are not schedueled to be implemented until 2014.

What's In A ".music" Domain?

Every denizen of the Internet is well aware of ubiquitous domains like .com, .org, and .net. These are unrestricted generic top-level domains, or gTLDs, acting as a general organization system, by content, for every site on the Internet. Outside of these domains there are also a number of more specialized set of domains. These sponsored top level domains, or sTLDs”with extensions like .travel, .asia, .cat (not about pictures of cats), and yes, .xxx”are assigned by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) through their subsidiary, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). Only certain cites can apply for and receive these requested domains. For example, you can’t have a social network with the .asia domain unless the website is catering directly to an Asian audience. The question is why should this matter to you?

Occasionally, there will be calls to develop and provide new domains. Arguments can be made that the lack of usable domains across the net can stifle web creation. More domains should, conceivably, be a boon to websites looking to capitalize and appeal to a specific, niche audience.

Recently, the IANA has been mulling over the idea of releasing a new set of domains. During a four month period, various organizations could apply for a TLD at the low, low price of $185,000 per domain application. In late June, the IANA released a complete list of the proposed domain names along with the associated companies that are trying to get a hold of them. The list revealed, more than anything else, the companies that are trying to plant a digital flag in uncharted Internet territory.

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RIAA, Google To Go After Video-To-Mp3 Conversion Services

The Recording Industry Association of America has found a new target in their crusade against the violation of intellectual property. CNET reported that the RIAA asked them to remove software from Download.com, an Internet download directory which CNET owns and operates. This request from the RIAA comes in the wake of Google’s recent legal action against YouTube-MP3, a popular YouTube video-to-audio conversion service.

Youtube video-to-audio conversion services and applications are nothing new. This Wikipedia page has a full listing of the various audio ripping services out there. But fans of such services should know that they might not have much more time to enjoy them. Since their injunction against YouTube-MP3, Google has promised that they will pursue other audio ripping services in a similar fashion. While the site does not utilize YouTube’s API, Google is still pursuing legal action against the site as its primarily functionality is in violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.

It should be noted that CNET did not directly respond to the RIAA’s request, stating that, “CNET’s policy is that Download.com is not in any position to determine whether a piece of software is legal or not, or whether it can be used for illegal activity…As for removing illegal software, CNET has a record of doing that.”

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

The Best Social Media Sites You Might Not Be On Yet

Since you’re reading this post in a publication that is distributed through a music discovery Web site, there’s a good chance that you’re pretty familiar with the ins and out of the Internet. You’re on Facebook, maybe you’ve tweeted and there’s a good chance you’ve checked in on Foursquare. So, that’s it for social media, right?

Wrong. You can’t really think it’s OK to keep active with just the big players, the major social media platforms that everyone online is already familiar with.  These days, you can’t just be on Facebook or Twitter or MySpace (even though your band hasn’t been logged into for years). The reason is that the game is changing  every day. It seems every week there is some new social media or Web site that you need to get involved with. Since it can be daunting to peruse through all the different sites and understand both what they offer and what they can do for your band,  we’re going to highlight some of the more useful blogging tools that musicians like you need now.

Tumblr has been around for a while nowfounded on 2007, it’s a twentysomething in Internet years. But it really just began to come into its own in 2011, and now is as good a time as any to get into it. Why? There’s a few reasons. Tumblr’s simplified platform is easy enough for anyone to use and the various themes users allow anybody to make a clean, attractive blog. The ask and reply system allows for straightforward correspondence between users. But the most impressive aspect of the Tumblr experience? It’s personal. Facebook allows for mass communication, Twitter allows for mass broadcasts but Tumblr is far more intimate. The artists that do it right, like indie band Toro Y Moi or the Beastie Boys, combine little glimpses into who they are, from their interests to their lives. For more ideas and inspiration, check out the tumblrs for Tom Waits, Childish Gambino and OurStage’s own Bethesda.

Yes, you’ve heard of Google and chances are you’ve heard of (but maybe not used) Google+. Fair enough, you’re not alone if you’ve tried and not kept up with the search giant’s attempt to break into the social media game. However, it may just be the time to give it another look. A number of major name artists are beginning to make use of the burgeoning social media platform. Big names like Britney Spears, T-Pain, Mark Hoppus and Trent Reznor are all users. Google+ has already had it’s fair share of breakout stars, like OurStager Daria Musk. Daria has mastered the medium and became a sensation on Google+ overnight, with over 200,000 people tuning into her last livestreamed show. Check out footage from the Daria’s first Google Hangout concert below.

Finally, you would be forgiven if you’ve come across Pinterest and not thought anything about it with regards to your musical career. Pinterest is like an online cork board; users share images on their pinboards and can browse the pinboards of others for inspiration. At least at this early stage, Pinterest is like Tumblr but with a more human element, or Facebook without all the excess noise. While the number of musicians on Pinterest as of right now is limitedthe Backstreet Boys appear to have the the biggest presencethe service is still very young and growing fast. In fact, the invitation-only site has seen explosive growth in the past six months, growing from 2 million to 11 million weekly visitors between September to December of 2011. So while there’s no obvious strategy for musicians on Pinterestself-promotion is frowned upon and the service is image based for nowit would be good to get in on the ground floor of the wildly popular service.

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Michael Buble Jessica Black
David Bowie Lana Del Rey

Tuesday, May, 2011