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Indie 69 Oct 2010 Playlist Released (again… finally)

October 23, 2010 3 comments

sryAs the cover art says… sry. I really thought I’d have it ready a few days ago. Nope. But all is well now and I’ll have (hopefully) Nov on time as well as the best of 2010 coming right up. Hard to believe 2010 is almost over. Time to make a point of getting sunshine.

I decided to just take a little time off, I guess.

This month’s playlist is my largest ever. Again to make up for the lost time, it’s been embiggened.

U can grab it HERE (and in all the usual places) By the time you read this it should be seeded.

I think you’ll find a lot to love in there, too. Dog in deep for some real surprises. The musical landscape is so spread out right now. Sort of a sprawl. Genres are named, introduced, dominated and hated on in a matter of minutes now. But all this is good. Good for us. Because out of all the artists out there trying to sound like the latest thing, one or two will emerge with their own voices rising above the din of crap, giving us something amazing to listen to.

I’ll give you an example. Let’s create a genre. ElectroRetro-Buzz-Gaze*.

Now love it. Now hate it. Okay, it’s finished. ElectroRetro-Buzz-Gaze* is dead. I’ve declared it. That was easy. And somehow I feel like there’s around four or five people I’m better than now. Weird. They are so out of touch.

As fun as all this is, it’s easy to forget that there’s always been crap and the good stuff does float to the top. And I don’t mean the charts. I mean in our memories.

And then it’s nostalgia and must be destroyed. I guess there’s no winning, is there?

Have a fantastic month (what’s left of it anyway)and I look forward to seeing you for a (late) roundup in a few days. Most of you have found what’s out there already this month, but I’m going to go for it anyway. Mostly because I have not downloaded ANY of the other playlists this month, which is rare. Might as well let you know what I found.

From my basement to yours….

Cover art credit:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/unicornsof911/394387488/

Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic

creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

 

*Before this was published, Pitchfork discovered the genre and Paste declared it dead.

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Top 13 ways to bring Radio back from the Dead

September 16, 2010 2 comments

Radio Towers

Towers of Love

I’ve probably made my love for radio fairly clear on this blog. But I’ve never really explained it in detail, given my reasons and my hopes. Your imaginary curiosity combined with my lack of mp3s to easily and quickly post this week means my chance has arrived. This will be a long read. But the rewards will be many.

My love for radio started when I was very, very young. (yes, it’s going to be THAT kind of blog post,sorry) It all began with AM, oddly enough. Those weird stations you could pull in across the country on just the right night, with just the right weather conditions. UFOs, weird religious shows, oddballs, really old music, all of it.  Then I found my first truly independent AM station, which was probably a pirate radio station considering most nights they played noise music and strange stuff like the joyous Residents and a bit of the old Throbbing Gristle. I remember thinking “you can do this on the radio?”. Turns out you can. Then I found left of the dial FM and I was hooked.  There were a couple of years there when so-called “alternative radio” kept my attention, until they became the Limp Bizkit/Korn/Sublime networks.

Can we just come to a mutual understanding that Sublime (or at least its surviving members) doesn’t practice Santeria and leave it at that? It’s pretty clear and they’ll be getting no argument from me anymore. And we are all clear on how many joints you smoke in the morning as well as at night. It’s 2. Perhaps a total of 4 per day or more.

In my region, radio died a few years ago. We still have two truly independent stations in the area, but they are usually just out of range. In the city itself, you have to tune to obscure cable radio to find independent radio that is not the local NPR outlet or a jazz/classical only station. Pretty sad for a major area.  I can think of at least 3 religious stations. Only one of them AM. I’m sure there are more. Then we have your usual 2 country stations, 2 classic rock stations and countless pop nostalgia stations focusing on the 80s and now even the 90s and 2000s. And those aren’t even over yet. One top 40-ish station (even if something that is not your typical top 40 fair crosses over and makes it to the top 40, they still won’t play it) and one rap station that honestly sounds more like the top 40 station than a real rap station. Your average normal will say that’s diversity. It’s not. Many of these stations are pre-programmed and identical no matter where you go in the country. Anyone who has taken a road trip recently can testify to this. Once you leave an area, you can count on another area having a station with different call letters and not much else. There’s a “The BUZZ” in every major area. (I just made that name up.. I think..) And their playlists are identical, as are their on the air personalities, if they even have any.

Living in southern California for a short period of time at the end of good commercial radio, I witnessed those last few years of radio personalities. DJs that still chose content to play, participated in playlists and actually had an interest in the artists being played. And they even expressed opinions. Those days are also over. The only place you’ll find DJs still talking about the music between songs is on geezer rock stations. And these classic rock stations are only doing it because they know it’s a proven formula for their audience.

Now I find out the radio industry would like mandatory FM receivers in every mobile phone. Some say this is a way for them to “save radio”.

WTF??

You want to save radio? How about you actually bring radio BACK from it’s coma. I’m going to do the industry a favor and hand this over for free. You can even pretend it was your idea. I know some of you will be surprised at how money-focused some of this is. But the reality is that you cannot operate a commercial station in a major market and reach a large audience without considering the money side of things. Things just do NOT have to be the way they are. You need to bring the new audiences back to radio. And music needs radio back in order to bring back large-audience curation.

Here are the top 13 ways you can save radio and bring it back from the dead….

13. Start doing better research into your potential audiences. Yeah, numbers suck. Marketing sucks. Polls and estimations suck. But it’s a game none of us are going to be able to avoid now. Embrace it. But do it the right way. Listen! A lot of your radio audience is not part of the crowd that hangs at the mall or regularly frequents Starbucks, or even the local retail stores. I can guarantee you, whatever method you’re using to figure out what the radio audience wants is grossly inaccurate. That’s part of why no-one listens to radio anymore. You just got it wrong for far too long and delivered crap because you thought it was what we wanted. The truth is, probably a good 50% of the people you made contact with regarding listening habits wouldn’t know what they wanted to hear unless someone told them what it was. So what do you do? You ask those people. And what do they tell you they want? More of the same. Ungh! Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want you to go out and find a bunch of indie hipsters and only listen to what they want. That would probably be a worse disaster. But you need to find SOME of those people. And people who actually love radio.

12. Get rid of the anti-DJ creep that’s been going on for over a decade now. It all started with “less talk… more rock” BS. Radio programming by computer is worse. I don’t need to prove that to you now, do I? It’s obvious at this point because radio is dying or in some places dead already. It’s a nostalgia fest catered to state workers and soccer moms that love Coldplay. People whose lives ended with high school. Harsh? Yeah. But it doesn’t make it less true. The only way to get past this crap is to put actual people in charge of deciding what gets on the radio. AND let them TALK about the music they pick. And give them some time. Which brings us to the next thing…

11. Give new formats time to build a loving, loyal audience base. Like I mentioned above, many of these people don’t know what they want until they’ve had it for a few years and miss it when it’s been taken away from them.  They will tell you NOW that what they have is fine. But the truth is, it takes time for people to warm up to any kind of new ideas or diversity they’re not used to. Arrogant? A little. But again, not any less true. When those first numbers come through, don’t drop the ball. And you MUST continually mix things up. Don’t over-play one genre, but focus on the NEW.

10. Once the programming feels like it’s found it’s sweet spot, don’t freeze playlists. I know it’s a temptation. But that’s how it starts. A year later when your audience is telling you they want to hear the same STP and Nirvana tracks over and over (of course now the bands would be different), you’ll listen. And then gradually your audience numbers will drop. See, that’s a great way to not gain a NEW audience. It can be a hard balance, and difficult to do when your audience die-hards are asking why “you’re playing all that new crap.. that’s ghey”. But you have to not listen at that point. That’s the bad advice that will spell your doom. That new song that pisses off 50 of your old fans (vocal ones) may be the ONLY reason 500 NEW listeners (quiet ones that do not give you feedback yet) are listening at all.

Read more…

Indie and New Music Playlist Roundup July 2010 (second update)

July 20, 2010 7 comments

I was looking over the blog, sifting through the other playlists I finally got around to downloading yesterday and I thought to myself.. “something is.. missing..what could it be? Did I forget to post that 9000 word essay/rant that nobody will ever read? Yeah.. I flushed that into the world.. hmmm” and then it dawned on me.

OH CRAP!!!

The monthly playlist roundup is missing, that’s what! Well, here it is. Better late then never, as they say. And “they” have pretty low standards, really. From what I’ve gathered in the short time I’ve had to listen to a handful of these, it was another good month with a lot of great summer music. I know they’re “darlings” and all, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Neon Indian. Just feels right for summertime. And that new Get Up Kids is really an unexpected departure. Not sure if I *love* it yet, but it’s a strong like. I’d take it to meet the parents. But no shelf in the bathroom for toiletries yet.

So let it begin..so much new music that if you don’t find SOMETHING you like, you like nothing. Fact.

(EDIT: This has been updated twice now, with 2 playlists added. The amount of music out there is mind blowing. And the people putting these together are dedicated and loaded with taste. Keep it up, everyone!)

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The Indie Rock Playlist July 2010 THE Indie Rock Playlist – July 2010 – Great collection as always and there’s a website now! Criznittle’s list is always a fantastic sampling of what’s new. Check out the site often. It’s pretty new and I imagine it will be updating and changing often now. You can download several tracks directly from the site as well as downloading all of them via torrent.

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Blalock's Indie Rock Playlist July 2010 Blalock’s Indie Rock Playlist – July 2010 – Really found a LOT of stuff this month I didn’t hear elsewhere. And again, amazing site and community. I need to participate more when I get the time.    The third community playlist should be coming soon. Join up and contribute!

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SaG's Indie Electro Rock Playlist July 2010SaG’s Indie Electro Rock Playlist – July 2010 – I didn’t get the chance to get it this month, but I will. Link is a multiupload link. If for any reason the link goes dead, just Google the full name and month/year and you will find tons of places to grab it from.

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Cut The Crap Summer Jams 2010Cut The Crap Summer Jams – Summer 2010 – Replaces June and July playlists. And I agree with him. Cut the crap and just “Download That Shit”. LOL

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Joydue is Missing in Action – For the life of me, I could not find a single link for a July 2010 Joydue playlist. Bummer. Maybe it’ll be back next month. Hope so.

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Navigator's Fresh!! Indie Playlist July 2010Navigator’s Fresh!! Indie Playlist – July 2010 – 502 MB of new music. They have a radio show I see and you can find them on MySpace and Faceblech. Did not get a chance to sample this one but I’m grabbing it this instant.

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Snipe the Hype Vol 2 cover artUPDATE! Snipe the Hype Vol. 2 came out on the 22nd and I missed it. So grab it now as I am! Thanks, rebjukebox! This is a great collaborative playlist from daKradha and Samy. I love all these collabs! More, more more!! You can grab it HERE.

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Jimbo Playlist July 2010

I understand Dakradha is working on this playlist, The Jimdo Indie Rock Playlist, which you can grab HERE (the “play” button on the image here does not work but works fine on their site). And if you like Indie Rock en Espanol, scroll down that page for a bit of that. I’m grabbing it.

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and..

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Samy's Indie Rock Playlist Summer 2010Samy’s Indie Rock Playlist – Summer 2010 – GREAT to see Samy’s list back. It was beginning to feel like these things were going to start dropping like flies left and right. But nope, almosy 700 MB of new music to grab from Samy this month (actually the end of June). Plenty to choose from and tide us all over until the next Snipe The Hype.

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Indie 69 July 2010Indie 69 New Music Playlist – July 2010 – This guy again? Why doesn’t he just quit?

Testimonials:

“Everyone knows you’re a fake.”

“Chillwave? Lo-Fi? ptheh!”

“Who is this guy?”

“DADDY!!???”

“Embarrassing”

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AND Some newcomers! (to me anyway)…

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Music Birds Cereal July 2010Music, Birds & Cereal – July 2010 Indie / Rock Playlist – I have NO idea. It’s a mix of old and new. But there’s enough new to qualify for a mention in my opinion. They have a site as well, here.

They could really use some seeds. As of posting this the count was ONE.

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I F^(in& Love Music Playlist – July 2010 – A small playlist with a nice selection. No cover art. Hope he or she keeps it up and expands a little.

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If I’ve missed anything or anything needs correcting, let me know in comments and I’ll add it/fix it. Thanks for reading, enjoy downloading and if you love it.. BUY it or go see the band. See you with another roundup EARLIER in August.

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.fishcustard.is.yummy.

Indie 69 July 2010 New Music Playlist Released.

July 4, 2010 11 comments

Indie 69 July 2010 Cover Art

Indie 69 July 2010 Cover Art

Wow. So that was a pain in the ass. I go to upload this evening and once again… I get the

MUSIAYLIST BUG at TPB.

It seems it’s IMPOSSIBLE to upload anything with “New Music Playlist” at the end of the upload name, no matter how you separate it, no matter that it’s not over the character limit. Nothing fixes it except placing it at the beginning of the name. *

So this month, the Indie 69 2010 New Music Playlist is called….

NewMusicPlaylist Indie 69 2010

Combine that with a captcha system that is itself WRONG 75% of the time, cover art that despite being the exact size TPB requires to be included in a torrent description is rejected over and over. Even when you use their own re-sizing tool. A description field that won’t let me include links to cover art credit where it’s due. A tracker that rejects torrents being re-upped once they’ve been deleted because of a torrent name bug they refuse to fix, without adding new files so the tracker thinks it’s a different torrent. And you have the ULTIMATE testing of one’s patience and tolerance. Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE The Bay. Endlessly. But how many hoops do I have to jump through to SHARE, exactly? Well, it turns out, quite a fucking few. It’s a free service, one that has served the world like no other service ever has. And I temper my frustrations with a modicum of respect and admiration. But it’s still FRUSTRATING. And I’ll be damned if I’m not going to mention it. A lot of people would just quit. So instead of being selfish about it, I’m just going to vent here a little instead. Mm-kay? Good. Now I’m done with that.

THAT is not the reason for the playlist being late again. There are a hundred personal reasons for that. And I won’t bore you with any of it. But I’ve been keeping very busy lately, making people I care about think I don’t care about them. Letting things slide when I never would have before. And just generally being grumpy about it all while trying to smile as some people around me look oddly puzzled about it all simply because they’re not around to see what I do all day. When that’s the reason why I have to do it. Others are not doing those things, so someone has to. That someone is me right now. Then they check my blog and say “hey, didn’t he say he was asleep?” and “Oh… I see he has time to BLOG”. But the reality is I schedule all my posts now and when I do these things like blogging, answering e-mail, putting together playlists, I do it all at the loss of my own time. And yes, sometimes that time is for sleep. But if I know you personally, and you see something like a Twitter notification or a blog post from me… that does NOT mean I’m awake. Just want to make that clear. And please do not superimpose your own anger over my words. I’m not even remotely angry. I don’t have the energy to be angry. I cannot think of a single person I’m mad at. Period.

This month’s playlist, as long as it took to finally come together, is one of my favorites. In spite of the fact that there’s a ton of what some call “Chillwave” this month. A genre I’m not always fond of. But people seem to be playing with it a lot and breaking rules, so there’s some interesting stuff you shouldn’t be so quick to categorize just yet. Give it all a chance and I bet after a few listens you’ll find yourself coming back to a LOT of these tracks as I have. I like lo-fi stuff a lot. But some artists have taken it way too far and in my opinion, when it sounds like crap.. sometimes it JUST sounds like crap. You have to attack lo-fi with material that elevates itself above the low production value or you just end up with a non-catchy, un-hummable, noisy, muddy mess with zero value. Luckily, there’s not much of that here this month. As a matter of fact, I need a new MP3 player with more space because of this month and last month. A lot of stuff I just cannot bring myself to delete and replace with new tracks. And unless you have one of those iPods with practically unlimited storage, I’m sure you know exactly what I mean.

Enough jibber-jabber.

You can find the NewMusicPlaylist Indie 69 July 2010 HERE and at all the usual haunts.

Stay cool and I’ll see you in.. ohcrap… AUGUST already? Make the summer last. It feels like a short one. (TWSS)

P.S. – If you’ve found the chatroom and it’s sadly empty, that’s because I have had NO time for chatting. I’m sure that will change at some point. But not right away. Sorry about that. Go there, stick around and maybe others will show up if you actually wait around for the next person to do what you did. I know people are looking for it and using it a lot because “indie music chatroom” is oddly one of the top searches that lead to this blog. But I think they are ALL popping in for 1 minute and not sticking around. Stick around and wait for the next person. Or don’t. But either way, it’s still there. I’m not.

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*Does it have something to do with PL being used in Perl scripting? PL is a filename extension. Is it a security measure/error? Hard to say. And I don’t have time to go there and beg for an answer.

Indie (and new music) Playlist Roundup, June 2010

June 9, 2010 9 comments

Sorry, this thing is usually done a lot quicker, earlier in the month. But this month has been a doozy for me. So much so that I have not downloaded all of these as I usually do. Did you know, by the way, that the end of a sentence is not where a preposition should be AT? I didn’t. Still do not. For me, that’s still where it’s usually at.

NE-ways. Here’s the list of lists containing links to the playlists so you can download them and fill your players and computers with so much new music you will be compelled.. yes COMPELLED to spontaneously purchase at least 5 CDs and attend 3 shows. Much like the Men’s Warehouse, I guarantee it. Minus the guarantee part. And the part where I sound like I’m falling asleep recording the promo. Hmm. Might be a regional reference. (but you should do those things anyway)

Check out the great cover art this month, too. My fave is the BIRP cover. Paper party ribbons or something. Very nice.

How lucky are we to have SO much new music to sample every month? The more the merrier. Sure, we get dupes here and there. But there’s so much to choose from and so many discoveries to be made. SO lucky. This used to be so difficult. Finding that odd station on the left of the dial, listening through the hours of hippie-dippy-hour DJs to get to that one guy in the middle of the night with his finger to the pulse of the new music world. And then sometimes missing the back-announce, never to find out who did that one song that had the thing in it that sounded like the gods having an orgy in a sand-pit with their feet on fire and then went SHOOOM – Bashow!! Yeah, the “good” old days. …. are.. over. Finally. But I miss you, radio. I really do. More on that later. For now… THE LISTS!

(Disclaimer: I visit these torrent sites using NoScript, allowing only stuff required to use the site and no more. You should do the same. If any of them do anything nasty, I’d never know because I remain protected and vigilant. So proceed with caution when using any site you’re not familiar with. Train your noscript patiently and carefully, only allowing necessary scripts)

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Indie Rock Playlist (Criznittle's)Indie Rock Playlist(Criznittle)June, 2010 –  Have not downloaded it, but grabbed the torrent file. The list of songs looks like another great one.  As always, if you can only get one, this is it. Always great, diverse and inclusive of the near-mainstream to the obscure. The original. The one. The NEO of playlists. But without that kinda sucky third movie.

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Blalock's Indie Rock Playlist June Cover art.Blalock’s Indie Rock PlaylistJune, 2010 – What can be said that hasn’t been said already. Always reliably great selection. And a great community at BIRP.

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SaG's Indie Electro Rock Playlist June, 2010 Cover Art.SaG’s Indie Electro Rock PlaylistJune, 2010 – Have not grabbed this myself but it comes highly recommended! Could be just the thing you need.

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Cut The Crap Playlist cover art, May 2010Cut the Crap: Link to TPB profile in case he changes his mind – as of June, 2010 according to this blog (CAUTION:BIEBERBLOG lol), the Cut the Crap playlists will no longer be torrented. They will be distributed via Zip file. If you keep up with the blog, you’ll be able to find the links there from now on. The blog also has an awesome music submission page using google docs. Too bad this one is no longer going to be on the torrents. But at least it’s still around, which is good because this one tends to be very different than the others.  Still no June playlist though, as of today. You can find the May 2010 one here. (EDIT: The reason there’s no June playlist is because he releases his playlist at the END of the month, not the beginning. So that explains that. This one (May) is the most recent.)

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Joydue’s Indie Rock PlaylistJune, 2010 –  (cannot find cover art) Another playlist that tends to be very different from the others.  A lot of stuff I’ve never heard of. Catch up time. Tried to find the cover art, but it’s not in the torrent and the blog appears to be invite-only. On purpose? Not sure. But that’s how it is right now. Invite only.

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Navigator's Indie Rock Playlist June, 2010 cover art.Navigator’s Fresh!!! Indie Playlist June, 2010 – Have not tried this one, new to me. Even though Google reveals it was on Mininova back in 2009. Not sure how I missed it. Don’t know much about it other than the tracklist, which looks interesting. It leans a bit toward what you’d probably hear on the few “alternative” stations still around for some of the tracks, direct indie tracks for the rest. Leans on the rock side of things it seems. Which isn’t a bad thing, since the others don’t focus on that as much as a whole. So this is good. Grab it.

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Dakradha/Samy/Snipe The Hype – Nothing this month, but watch here for the next edition(s). I really love the fact that these two are working together now, even if it means we won’t get a PL as often.

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Indie 69 June 2010 Cover ArtIndie69 New Musiaylist June, 2010 –  That’s right. Musiaylist. A new word. (curiously similar to “New Music Playlist”) Invented by TPB’s recent habit of removing random characters from torrent names when their captchas fail more than 3 times. ARGH! I mean, I love the site, no denying it.. but WTF??!! And no way to fix it without abandoning the torrent and starting over. Let this be a lesson for me (and anyone else), pay attention to the torrent name after the captcha fails more than once. Chances are, something is going away when you’re not looking in the right place at the right time. FAILICIOUS! I’m hungry for hearts of facepalm!

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That’s it for June. Dakradha and Samy are missed, to be sure. Criznittle is still back (yay) and there’s a few new faces on the block. If you find or know of other playlists, comment please and I’ll edit them in/eventually try them. Have a great June and I’ll blog in-between about Internets stuff up until July, which is already stacking up to be a GREAT month for new music of all kinds. Keep the true indie spirit alive as these people have. And make your own playlists, then share them. But most of all.. and this is VERY important…

SEED. El Seed, senor. And keep the bittorrent angle alive. Don’t be a slave to bandwidth that can be controlled, stopped, inspected, scrutinized or manipulated in any way by others. Bittorrent will free us all. Direct download alternatives are great. Wonderful. Perfect. BUT.. try to stay in the bittorrent world at the same time.  It can be frustrating, but it’s so worth it.  They say in space no-one can hear you scream. In bittorrent, no-one can hear you DMCA. No matter HOW much that metaphor sucks.

and it does.

Love ya all, have a great “rest of June”.

Indie 69 June 2010 Playlist Released

June 4, 2010 4 comments

Indie 69 June 2010 Cover Art

Indie 69 June 2010 Cover Art

Sorry for being so late this month. The extra time I set aside for it was probably worth it.

Due to a very personal near-tragedy, this month’s playlist almost didn’t happen. I remember a time when I swear it almost felt like each opportunity I was presented with to be a flake was greeted by me with near-enthusiasm. Even when it came to things I loved. But those days are long gone. I’m certainly no “Mr Responsibility”, not by a long shot. But I have changed in these last 5 years or so. Everything seems immediate, important, vital. When you almost lose someone you care about and love, things come into focus or you shut down.  I guess in a way I’m lucky I haven’t been taking the latter road. Time will tell.

I didn’t have as much time to focus this month, which could either be good (randomized, less focused or predictable) or bad (dupes, too much focus). It’s hard for me to tell. I just try to make it as diverse as possible and trust my ears as your ears by proxy. In other words, instead of only adding things  “I” would like, I listen for quality, originality and diversity. And a few that I’d like, too.

New this month, finally, are Zune HD wallpapers. I’m sure there are not very many of you out there with Zunes, but if you do have one I hope you like ’em. I still have no idea if the iPod or other players use the “wallpaper” thing at all. I know my old gigantic Creative player didn’t. There’s not much else that’s new other than the music. And again if there are any dupes please forgive me this month. I just didn’t have as much time. That said, there are some GREAT new tracks this month. And I have something so amazing right now, sitting right in front of me in the form of an advance CD, that I’ve promised not to share until the time is right. And it is KILLING me. It’s so good. Won’t be long now. Album of my summer and probably will be for a lot of you as well. You’re gonna love it.

Enjoy the music and look out for my monthly Playlist Roundup to catch all the other playlists coming out this month, all in one place.

And remember, if you don’t want to have 5 copies of the same new song that was added to ALL the playlists in a particular month, use uTorrent (I’m sure other clients allow this, too). When you start to download and that first screen pops up you can de-select songs you don’t want to grab. Just un-check them. Of course it’s always helpful if you seed the whole thing, but being selective can save disk space and time. I get it.  🙂

You can grab the Indie69 June 2010 New Music Playlist HERE.

FUNNY : When I uploaded, I double checked the name so something is going all funny at TPB. Then when I tried to edit, it saves and it’s exactly the same when I re-check it.

I’ve been through this kind of thing before and when you delete and try to re-up it’ll tell you it “already exists in the database” and won’t let you upload. So for now, until it lets me edit and actually change it, the name of the torrent is:

Indie69 June 2010 New Musiaylist (LOL!!)

…and in all the usual places. Enjoy, seed, share, go see the shows.. go buy the CDs or the downloads if you love what you hear. And tell everyone you know about the playlists and the artists. Spread the word. See you here in the blog and in July for the next playlist. I still have thousands of words to publish and I’m never satisfied, so I’ll be “letting go” of these posts that I keep re-scheduling and re-editing as the month goes on.  And if anything happens to me that would deny me access to the Internet for any extended period… this blog would just keep on publishing without me for quite a long time. Thank you, WordPress scheduling.

Image and cover art Credit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/paradisecircus/25882660/

Creative Commons – Attribution – Non-Commercial – Share-Alike

Alternate Cover art sources –

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lrargerich/3796091862/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lrargerich/3795264491/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cobalt/167189240/

Finished covers and alternate covers can be found within the playlist folders along with Zune and Zune HD wallpapers and maybe other stuff.

p.s. – Can you spot a theme or region this month? How about an old track? Comment if you noticed anything.

Apple, Comcast and the slow death of the push-pull Internet

May 16, 2010 3 comments

Balancing

Finding a balance.

Some of you may already have your iPads. You may have pre-ordered early enough to have it in your hands. You may have already had a chance to play with it and marvel at its unique interface. Perhaps less unique if you’ve seen a sci-fi film in the last 20 years, but still unique and elegant to most(and to me). I wouldn’t want to (or suggest that I have the power) to take anything away from your happiness. But any apology I provide will not change the reality we now face as these commonly-called “walled gardens” starting to become the norm rather than the exception. Apple, Comcast and many of their ilk are slowly, quietly destroying the foundation of computing and the Internet. Some are even going as far as allowing no access to file systems or even the hardware itself. (hmm. who could that be?)

“Oh, we don’t want to complicate your experience with things like dirty old file systems, and if you open it up it gets your fingers all ewwwey and dirty anyway. That would ookey. Here. Watch this, it’s shiny!”

In other words, “hey, 10 to 30 percent of our users, go f^(k yourselves” followed by that laugh we all know. The laugh you hear from someone who just said something awful to you and gets away with it because they “didn’t really mean it at all”, right? Something like…

“hahaha.. yeah, I’m not sure anyone is going to read a blog post written by YOU that goes on THAT long..hahahahah! Silly.. so silly.. you’re so funny..isn’t he the funniest? that’s kinda refreshing, that kind of hopeless,charming faith in the patience of readers…hahahaha.. how long have you been doing this blogging thing now? yeah.. that’s a LONG time, huh? oh.. gosh.. so serious.. hahaha.. oh you know I’m just teasing you.. jeeze.. hahahaha”

And then you have to go to a shrink to have him help you build and discover the “internal tools” necessary to prevent you from waiting outside such people’s houses at night to inject them with a sedative so that you can tie them up in your basement, skin them alive and pour rubbing alcohol on their exposed musculatures. Or.. something.**

See, from the beginning of those tcp/ip stack early days of dial-up, there has been a sort of sense that someone, somewhere, would like to take the open, free Internet and turn it into TV.  A magical land where mysterious, hidden and magically powered creators toil away in the dark and produce the images, stories and places you’ve always wanted to see.  A place where only a select few, who knew the right people, went to the right parties and graduated from the right southern California universities were allowed to create these images.  Because to let just anyone have potential access to millions of other human beings at a moment’s notice, on the same level as these vaunted few, would be a travesty. While we sat in our comfy chairs and grumbled about the onset of the “spam” problem and the “commercialization” of the Internet, something far more sinister than over-zealous small business was happening slowly. An awareness grew. The moment a user did anything beyond downloading, chatting and surfing (say, like a server of some kind), even back then, ISPs were quick to fire off an e-mail to you explaining that you either had to shut down or pay a higher fee for what was clearly “business-level” access. In other words, even if you were clearly NOT a business, if they noticed that you were serving more traffic than you were consuming, regardless of the strain or lack of strain on their infrastructure, you got shut down. These problems sometimes resolved themselves through competition, but not always. Back then, it all depended on how much competition was in your region. Usually, in most places in the US, not much.

Luckily for the Internet so far, it’s taken many, many years for the people in charge of old media to take us seriously. I think the moment when it all became interesting to them was the moment the news media started talking about how all these “Internet” people (said using the same tone they would use to describe your common aol chatroom trolling  kiddie fiddler of old) were getting all these songs and eventually movies for free. Oh sure, there were dot-coms.  We even had a boom and bust. But it was fear that really got their attention. Up until, say, the threat to and eventual murder of Napster, we were not taken seriously. Only when we became a credible threat to their bottom line did they finally truly notice exactly what was going on behind the curtain. We were dismantling their empire while they were busy trying to create “marketing buzz”, “tie-ins” and “viral campaigns”. Right.Under.Their.Noses. Oh, I may hate nostalgia, but part of me misses the late 90’s underground optimism. Your (print) BoingBoings and Mondo2000s, that sort.

As we found new ways to manipulate and mash-up their “properties”, perhaps making a subconscious, collective statement, they fought back with the DMCA, the RIAA and the MPAA.  Instead of competing and winning back lost customers, they lashed out. Instead of taking responsibility and fixing what was broken, acknowledging missed opportunities and moving forward, they pointed fingers and manipulated numbers to gain sympathy. They “re-educated” young people into believing that making a copy was the same as physical theft. In much the same way as the new right has spent countless years and money perpetuating the myth of the “liberal media”, pushing the already conservative at the core for broad appeal media even further right, garnering sympathy from those of us less informed or educated about the history of such things. Now you can’t watch the news without .0002 percent of an ill-informed, barely-veiled racist and borderline-fascist-while-calling-everyone-else-fascists minority screaming its manufactured, impotent outrage while getting 28% of the media coverage. Using some of these same methods, they have nearly convinced a new generation that they need a mandatory middle-man between them and their culture. And it’s a powerful, angry, jealous middle-man. One who is prone to temper-tantrums and random financial violence toward old ladies and children. Do not tempt the righteous fury of this corporate-man-beast-god. It will devour your parent’s college savings like a pack of hyenas on the rotting carrion of a lost kill. See, they never really tapped that hippie thing, so it’s a little personal. And don’t think for a second that the people behind these two successful, sleeper-cell like causes are not one and the same.  The very same people who buy up radio and TV stations/networks while funding new laws to make it easier to do so are also the people who own 80% or more of what you watch, read and listen to. And they DO want to control the methods of distribution, the most important of which is the Internet. As you see partnerships grow in places like, say, YouTube, ask yourself if the changes you see happening make it easier or harder for you to be exposed to new media being produced by PEOPLE rather than corporations. And how easy do you think it would be to accuse, say, Universal Music Group of violating a rule or copyright as opposed to them accusing little old you of the same? Are you in “good standing”? Are they? Chances are, they’ve spent millions of man-hours removing content created by fans of their artist’s(the ones they OWN) work. Usually to fill a void they’ve abandoned or ignored in their catalog. Or in some cases, tributes to long dead artists. Even songs playing in the background at parties or in a (shudder) criminal act of accidental ambiance. So who, in reality, is truly in “good standing”? Not UMG, not by any standard other than the one required by the YouTube legal department. You know the one. The department that makes the real decisions. The department that calls the shots at Google.* (all while small towns across America are doing everything short of public sex acts to make Google their new ISP)

All while raking in record profits and sobbing in public about their “losses”.

And let’s examine the role of ISPs a little closer. Recently, Comcast won a court battle with the FCC in DC Circuit Court. The battle was over whether or not the FCC had the power to prevent Comcast from throttling users based on what protocol they were using. Comcast claims it was simply a matter of traffic shaping to deal with high demand and certain users “hogging” bandwidth to the extreme and had nothing to do with the protocol at all. In spite of the fact that bittorrent was the protocol in question. What people quickly forget is that bittorrent is not the only protocol ISPs have been blocking and interfering with. It’s well-known, common knowledge that in Canada, for instance, ISPs throttle Skype calls. You can count on it like clockwork. After a certain number of minutes, you’ll have to re-connect or will be unable to establish a stable connection again for some time. That’s not about bandwidth hogging, it’s about trying to make your competition look bad. It’s pure and simple anti-competitive behavior. And if it were happening in any context outside the Internet, people would either lose huge amounts of money over it or in some extreme cases, go to jail.

and.they.won.

See, it may not seem like a big deal. Especially if you’ve never created anything and tried to distribute it over the Internet. There are a lot of free “services” that will host your content. Most of them will want to wrap your content with ads for other content*** or make users jump through hoops to get at it in various ways. Then you have the paid services. And if you suddenly find out an audience larger than your family and friends  actually wants what you’ve made, watch the hell out. Here come the bandwidth bills and mandatory account upgrades. Essentially, most likely without fully realizing it, what this circuit court judge has done is make it easy and legal for Comcast to shut down the little guy (or the medium guy in the case of Skype). Sure, most of the time bittorrent is used for downloading content backed by large media owners and distributors, against their wishes. But it’s not the only use for bittorrent. Period. There’s no getting past this point and truth. It’s essentially like making mom and pop CD stores illegal because MOST of them illegally re-sell promo CDs that were never meant to be sold.  It’s not just unfair, it’s illegal. You cannot do that in most countries. And in the ones you CAN do it in, you can just as easily pay the local police enough cash to burn your competitor’s store down or shoot and kill him in his driveway as he arrives home from work. Some would want you to believe this has something to do with suppression of the free market and over-regulation. But this just simply is not the case. Anti-competitive behavior and it’s prevention through regulation is the absolute foundation of a truly free and fair market. And the keyword here is not fair, it’s free. As the proponents of what they call a free market will claim from time to time, free speech has limits. You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater, right? Well, anti-competitive behavior is the “yell fire” of the free market. If it is not prevented, a truly free market cannot survive. Everyone must play by the same set of rules, period. Right now, you have the people who you should be most wary of doing their damndest to be the ones re-writing the rules. (following the lead of Banks perhaps?) They would love it if it were illegal to have a marketplace that essentially doesn’t charge to rent a metaphorical table space to sell or promote your goods or services. What the rest of the reasoning world would call a FREE MARKET. And that IS what bittorrent is. It’s like a virtual free table space. Or close to it. Beyond the act of initially “seeding” a torrent, as long as there is demand for what you have on display, the downloaders take care of the rest of the bandwidth needs. No excessive bandwidth overage charges, no inquiring calls from your ISP, no hosting account, no “business account” (another term for what is commonly known as a protection scheme).

The.Way.It.Should.Be. Many would like to take this thing we call bandwidth and convince us all that it needs to be watched like a hawk, treated and charged as if it were at a premium and regulated so the “pipes don’t clog”.

These people know that the word is spreading. Artists left and right are jumping the middle-man ship and going it alone or with partners that serve them primarily or only them. This new DIY spirit is spreading amongst big, established acts now as much and as often as it is with new, younger, indie acts. The early signs of it happening in film are there as well, with big name directors as well as small, experimenting with new ways of funding and distributing/monetizing their films. If you don’t think this scares the steaming crap out of stale, middle-man curators of old, you’re… well.. wrong. Knowing this and coupling it with the fact that there is NO larger, better-known and used protocol that virtually removes the cost of mass distribution than bittorrent, you can see the big picture start to come into focus. Of course they want to block or slow it. Sure, they’ll tell you it’s piracy they want to stop. SURE.. sure. Suresuresure. They also know that it costs FAR less to bribe politicians and use money to influence lawmakers than it does to actually try to compete with the larger, hard-to-tap-into emerging culture. And unfortunately for them, it’s a “free culture”.

Now that I’ve written all this, it really feels like I could have summed it up with just a few simple ideas. Don’t believe the hype and educate others. Spread the word. Contact congresscritters. When you hear people talk about the “free market” right out of college after reading Atlas Shrugged 30 minutes before your conversation, put what they say in context. Nudge them toward the concept of taking those ideas out of the “similar to the liberal pollyanna utopian vision” realm and into the real world, where it counts. Isms are always great (and seductive) living in a conceptual bubble. They tend to deconstruct themselves predictably in potentially disastrous ways when applied without reasonable adjustments. Like rock star boyfriends. It’s all fun and games until you’re pregnant and the rent is due.

And MOST of all, get out there and PUSH. If you create things, USE the Internet in smart ways to distribute. Because if we don’t in greater numbers real fast, we’ll look insignificant and the control goes right back where it was before, to the people with the most money to pay for unneccessary services and middlemen. Remember, you already pay for the Internet. And last time I checked, it was 2-way by design.

*Fair? Probably not on a certain level. But do you think it’s possible for one of the world’s largest corporations to take a stand once in a while against what can only be described as a dying business community in order to fight for what they know is right, once and for all? Does anyone honestly believe that with the right set of brains and the money to get the job done, Google could LOSE in a fight for say, fair use? If they became the aggressor for once instead of reacting against threats only, maybe they’d have a fighting chance. We’ve certainly done our part to turn Google from a garage project into what it is today. And if you think it was the seed money, investments or “good bidness sense” that did it, do us all a favor and just find a new cave to live in. Because without its users, Google was and IS nothing. Period. No matter how fancy, how perfect or how improved it’s been over the years, nothing any one or two people did in that company made as much of a difference as DEMAND did. We needed Google back then, and they were there giving us what we demanded. No demand, no users, no Google.  Part of what made them into what they are today was right place, right time. And you need look no further than the practical admission of this in their motto.. “don’t be evil”. That’s not the motto of someone who thinks they ONLY worked for what they have(keyword:only). It’s the motto of a young Arthur who just pulled Excalibur out of a f^(#|4g stone!!!

**Never actually happened. Honest.And I wouldn’t even know how to start when it comes to skinning people. I wouldn’t know, for instance not to corkscrew the legs or start up the middle of the leg. Or to skin UP to the head and Grab the lumps where the ears are, underneath and separate them carefully by cutting them off as close to the skull as possible. Nope. No idea.

***Torrent sites display ads just as much if not more than the so-called free distributors. But would they ALL if they didn’t always have to feel like they were taking such a HUGE risk? Think drug war for a second.  The moment the risk factor is removed, free, open torrent sites that are ad-free or ad-light would pop up in the hundreds. In the first week. Of course people always want to make money, but there are also ALWAYS people who want to do something else.

Image Credit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/cyanocorax/2207816424/

Creative Commons – Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

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