Archive for May 12, 2011

MUSIC NEWS: Bronx Rapper Mele Mel Launches Fitness Show On Local TV

“If you want to get healthy through hip hop, the man known as Grand Master Mele Mel is ready to show you how it’s done.

The Bronx-bred hip-hop pioneer – real name Melvin Glover – will star in a rap-related fitness show airing this summer on public access TV in the city.

“The Bronx – and America – needs to get fit. We’re sofa kings, fat sofa kings,” the Grand Master, 49, said.

“The average American used to be a strong, respectable person. Now he’s fat and lazy and wondering when he’s going to get his next Big Mac. We need a more fit image. It’s got to be done, and I’m going to do it.”

“Grand Master Fitness with Mele Mel,” will air on BronxNet, along with Brooklyn’s Brick Arts Media Channel, and Manhattan Neighborhood Network.

BronxNet, which is producing the show, is in negotiations with Queens’ public access channel, QPTV, said a station representative.

The show plays to the best and worst about the borough – it’s the birthplace of hip hop, but also ranks worst in the nation in just about every health category.

“This is the borough of hip hop and what better way to engage people in fitness than through that medium,” said Michael Max Knobbe, the executive director of BronxNet and an avowed fitness fanatic. “It’s a perfect balance of culture and health.”

Mele Mel, a ripped 5-foot-8 rapper who often appears shirtless, says he doesn’t plan to just walk viewers through exercises while hip hop blares in the background. The show will feature some of that standard fitness show fare, he said.

“We’re going to mix it up. We’re going to go to different gyms, different playgrounds to see what people do to stay fit,” he said.

“Every episode isn’t going to be me and a bunch of people sweating to music,” he said. “I want to make it fun, and show people how to eat right.”

The hip-hop artist also promised cameos from his coterie of famed friends.

Years ago, he was one of the “break boys” or free-wheeling dancers who populated the earliest of hip-hop parties.

Then, at small clubs like The Black Door and The Dixie Club, he drew a following and even secured himself the historical footnote of being the first rapper in a long line of such performers to refer to himself as “M.C.,” or “Master of Ceremonies.”

His rap-related odyssey has continued for the better part of 25 years, taking him all the way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in which he was inducted in 2007 as part of the group, “Mele Mel and the Furious Five.”

Source: DailyNews

Article: BMI Says A Single Person Listening To His Own Music Via The Cloud Is A Public Performance by Tim Cushing

from the looking-to-the-sky-and-seeing-unlicensed-clouds dept

There’s no time like late on a Friday to send out disturbing missives. Companies who need to let staff go often find it easier to let the week “play out” before handing out the pink slips. Congressmen who need to shove through some questionable legislation often wait until the papers have gone to bed, or at least a majority of the voting citizens.

Martin Berenson, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for BMI has decided there’s no time like Friday evening to kick out an

Berenson chooses to couch his arguments in the relative safety of Capitol Records (and others) , a “subscription Internet music ‘locker’ service,” before launching a grazing attack on “cloud-computing” in general. While the legality of MP3tunes’ actions is still under question, Berenson expresses his concern that its legal arguments could “create loopholes in the copyright law relating to the public performance right.”

There’s a lot to unpack in this editorial, but what it all boils down to is this: BMI wants a chunk of this “cloud” money.

MP3tunes logically points out (in its arguments against Capitol Records) that a user making a copy on a “dedicated, private, remote storage device” and playing it back to himself is a private performance and, therefore, needs no licensing. Google, the and Public Knowledge have all entered amici briefs (or “broad attacks on the performing right,” according to Berenson) stating that, “if a user initiates a stream, it should not be considered a public performance” by the service.

This seems to be a logical thought: one person listening to his or her own music is not a public performance. But, won’t someone please think of the licensing? No worries, Berenson has that covered:

As previously noted, BMI argues that the public performing right has long applied to on-demand, interactive streaming. Additionally, it makes no difference if the audience for the transmission is only one person, who may receive the program at a unique time, and that MP3tunes’ attempt to make one to one transmissions into private performances is contrary to established law. We stress that it was only the existence of the unique copy made by each subscriber that was the critical factor that saved Cablevision from being an infringer. MP3tunes cannot evade that essential aspect of the court’s ruling on the grounds it would be more efficient to infringe with one copy in storage for all recipients.

Well, there you have it:

1.The right to collect licensing fees has “long applied” to streaming services, and since it’s been there before, it logically follows that it should always be that way, no matter the differences of each situation.

2.It makes no difference if only one person is listening — it’s still a public performance. BMI and their fellow performance rights groups have always been willing to grant individuals the rights of a crowd.

3.Storage efficiency = infringement.

But Berenson’s just warming up, and this is where it gets really interesting (and by “interesting,” I mean “ludicrous”):

The strength of the public performing right would be threatened by a ruling that broadens the Cablevision court’s private-performance ruling to otherwise-unlicensed services. Cloud computing will no doubt grow tremendously in the future and if MP3tunes’ argument is adopted by the court, unlicensed entertainment services in “the cloud” will steal audiences from existing licensed streaming services (as well as from more traditional media entities), and copyright owners will be harmed by such a ruling.

From that point, Berenson takes a quick run at Amazon’s Cloud Drive, mSpot and underdog neo-Luddites, Zediva (in particular, noting that Zediva’s DVD player farm “competes unfairly with licensed services” — which is a totally understandable statement, because the film industry has always been nothing but fair when dealing with competitors and customers).

While Berenson does not specifically attack or threaten Amazon’s new service/player, one can only gather from this editorial that the rent-seekers (BMI, ASCAP, etc.) are beginning to formulate their plan to get a piece of this hot, new action, if not already forming an orderly line outside the virtual door. The sentence, “The issues are not confined to MP3tunes,” seems to indicate that he considers these services to be next in line for the MP3tunes treatment.

After all, Berenson equates listening to unlicensed music streams to “theft” and there’s really nothing more sincere than an “editorial” from a self-interest group. In closing, he offers this baffling line:

These efforts to diminish or circumvent the performing right point up the need for heightened vigilance on our part.

Godspeed, BMI. The more you can do to separate people from their music, the richer you should become. And with an entire nation of individual listeners billable as one (1) crowd, the sky’s the limit. (Hence, the “pointing up,” I assume.) Just watch out for those pesky “clouds”.



Music News: Big Boi To Launch Kids Record Label with Daughter by Jason Lipshutz,

Outkast rapper Big Boi tells Billboard.com that he and his 16-year-old daughter, Jordan, have formed Purple Kids, a new record label that will launch in the coming weeks. The imprint will feature a roster of younger artists but will target fans of all ages.

“My daughter just turned 16 years old, and you can see it on MTV’s ['My Super Sweet Sixteen'], where they get cars, and things that depreciate and just don’t mean nothing,” says the 36-year-old rapper (real name: Antwan Patton). “I wanted to give my child something that she can grow and build and nurture. So I gave her her own label.”

Big Boi says that Purple Kids’ first signee is Gabbie Rae, a 12-year-old singing prodigy who has appeared on “The Tyra Banks Show.” The rapper, who already heads the Purple Ribbon All-Stars hip-hop label, says that he and Jordan are the sole partners on the new imprint.

As for Big Boi’s solo career, the Outkast member’s label situation slightly shifted when Barry Weiss took over for Antonio “L.A.” Reid as Island Def Jam’s chairman/CEO last March, but Big Boi says that all is running smoothly as he continues working on the follow-up to last year’s “Sir Lucius Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty.”

“I had a conversation with Barry Weiss, and he was like, ‘Hey Big, great album,’ and he’s ready for the next album,” says Big Boi. “And he wants it ASAP. So, you know, everything’s good.”



Article: U.S. Music Sales Down Just 1.3% In First Quarter, According to SoundScan by Ed Christman

Total U.S. music sales slipped just 1.3% in the first quarter from the same period a year earlier, thanks to a surge in sales during six of the last seven weeks of the quarter.

The relatively modest decline marked a sharp improvement from a 6.1% year-on-year sales decline in the first quarter of 2010.

Album sales for the quarter ending on April 3, including track-equivalent albums (whereby 10 digital tracks equals one album), are down to 111.8 million units from 113.2 million in the corresponding period last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan. In contrast, last year at this time, albums and track equivalents were down 6.1% from 120.6 million units at the end of the first quarter in 2009.

The slowing decline is due to a surge in digital sales, with tracks showing an 8.6% gain in the first quarter to 339.1 million units from 312.4 million units in the first quarter of last year. That gain is contrasted by the 1.1% gain that the configuration posted for all of last year, and is even more dramatic when compared with how tracks performed in the first quarter of 2010 versus 2009, when the configuration was down 0.9%, or nearly 1%, from the latter year’s first-quarter total of 315 million track scans.

Moreover, digital album sales were up 14.9% to 25.1 million units, from the 21.8 million units posted in the first quarter of 2010. While that’s less than the 16% increase posted for the first quarter of 2010 — from the 18.8 million units scanned in the corresponding period in 2009 — weekly digital album sales have already passed the 2 million unit mark five times this year, as compared to three weeks for all last year.

The surge in digital album scans has slowed the decline for the overall album configuration, with U.S. sales at 77.8 million units, down 5% from the nearly 82 million units in the first quarter of 2010. As part of that, the CD album, which has been declining at an 18%-20% clip over the last few years, also slowed to a 12.8% decline in the first quarter. Again, that was due to a 4.8% decline in CD sales the last seven weeks of this year’s first quarter, versus a 22.1% decline in the first six weeks.

The top selling digital album so far this year is Adele’s “21,” with scans of 456,000 units, which is almost half the 942,000 total units the album has racked up as the best-selling album this year so far.

The best-selling digital song for the quarter, Cee-Lo’s “F— You (Forget You),” scanned 2.15 million units, beating out Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” which scanned 2.11 million units.

In album market share (including TEA), Universal Music Group’s 29.3% barely held off a surging Sony Music Entertainment’s 29.15%.

Look for further analysis of the first-quarter figures in this week’s Billboard magazine, available Friday.



Article: The Recorded Music Industry: Crisis Or Opportunity by Bruce Houghton

危機 “When written in Chinese, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” – John F. Kennedy

The recorded music industry has been in crisis for more than 5 years. Instead of trying to “fix it”, wouldn’t both music and the industry be better served if we seized this opportunity to build something entirely new?

But what should the new music industry look like? It should be more transparent and fair, to be sure. But what else?

At the Rethink Music Conference, I heard many innovative ideas struggling to find traction. Others arrive in my inbox daily. But which are worth our time? Finding those answers keeps me up at night.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.



Music Videos: Pharoahe Monch Live At Brooklyn Bowl!!!

Source: BlowhiphopTV


The Miami Heat send the Boston Celtics home packing. Miami’s big three combined for 81 of Miami’s 97 points to close out the series. They will face the winner from the Bulls and Hawks series which at the moment the Bulls lead 3-2.