Kofi's hat

Kofi's hat

MP3s, music news and reviews, and a sprinkling of pop culture. Named by Aqualung's Matt Hales, after his son.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ink in my blood, a song in my heart. Metaphor is my middle name.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

RIAA, Beware the Non-Idle Fans of March

It's got a good beat, and you can dance to it, romance to it, study, work, play, and fall asleep to it. Yes, I do mean RIAA-free music! How- say, did you peek at the large artwork posted above, which prominently features the words "boycott" and "RIAA"? And the post title as well? Oh, you! Then you'll have guessed that March is Boycott the RIAA month.

The anti-RIAA event is the brainchild of Gizmodo. They note that the RIAA gets money from consumers, and then sues them. The suggestion follows: if consumers don't approve of the RIAA's behavior, they should send a message by not giving them more money. We are the ones in charge, albeit (mostly) in less fancy settings, and behaving less aggressively with our power than they do with theirs (bullies are like that).

We're funding some some pretty sleazy tactics, for instance the launching of a website to trick college students into incriminating themselves. It asks them to sign a notarized affidavit saying they will delete any songs they have downloaded and pledging not to download more songs. If a song is ever found on a computer belonging to anyone naïve enough to sign such a thing, the statement could be a handy tool to try to push them into settling a lawsuit. The blog Recording Industry vs The People is written by lawyers who often represent those sued by the RIAA, and documents other lousy misdeeds.

Gizmodo urges people to buy music from unsigned artists and those on independent labels. They recommend RIAA Radar (it's been in my links list for awhile, and will be sport bold print there during March). It's an American site (I don't know of an equivalent site elsewhere), and isn't perfect, but it's excellent. The site's color-coded system, indicates at a glance whether a recording has been judged "safe" (green), "unknown" (yellow), or given a "warning" (red) because it was released by an RIAA member.

RIAA Radar maintains several lists including an RIAA-free Top 100 List. From the list (or a search result), you can also click on the name of a record label (whether or not it's "safe") and get a list of their releases. So the site can be used both for checking artist/album status and for roaming around looking for new labels and artists to check out.

Gizmodo emphasizes that there are ways to support RIAA artists other than by buying their music. You can go their concerts and buy their merchandise. Billy Bragg and I wish you wouldn't buy their American Apparel merchandise though. Another idea: I've read about fans giving artists money directly, for instance if they've downloaded and liked their work.

Mentioning multiple causes in one post could cause overload, at which point one might be tempted to declare, "Screw this!", put on some blood diamonds and a fur coat and eat foie grois from a bowl made of a human skull.

But you don't even have a bowl made of a human skull do you? Therefore, one more issue. Jennifer Hudson wore a capelet to the Oscars.

She won, which might make some people think her choice is "okay" or even "fashionable", even though it was described as "bizarre" and said to make her look "like she's from another age or dimension", possibly having taken the item from Star Trek's costume closet to achieve the otherworldly effect. Evidently, Andre Leon Talley did this to her, not that I'm suggesting a boycott of Vogue, at this time. I do urge a boycott of capelets and if there's an all-capelet issue of Vogue, yeah, sure, I urge a boycott of that too.

March here: RIAA-and-capelet-safe posts.* Because it's time to take the streets back.

Still working on the slogan.

*Besides that one offending picture of J-Cape.

Freezepop - I Am Not Your Gameboy (on Fancy Ultra Fresh)

Artist website: Freezepop.net

Label website: Archenemy.com

Upcoming Shows:


7 - San Francisco - Elbo Room - 21+. Doors at 9 PM. $7 (according to venue, or $6, according to Freezepop) Tickets only available on the day of the show.

9 - Sacramento - Trauma - 18+ - Doors at 9 PM.

23 - Pittsburgh - Garfield Artsworks, with the Raccoonists. More details TBA.

24 - Wilmington, Ohio - Joe's Java - The Autobahn Festival. Tickets are $15 at the door, $12 in advance.

The Gossip - Coal To Diamonds (on Standing In The Way Of Control)

Artist website Gossipyouth.com

Label website: KillRockStars.com

Upcoming Shows:

4 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
6 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of The Hill
7 - Los Angeles, CA - The Troubadour
12 - Chicago, IL - The Abbey
14 - New York, NY - The Knitting Factory


Blogger Ekko said...

dude, i'm with you. i never post RIAA material and avoid any mention of artists repped by them. so many artists, like ryan adams, the killers, lily allen, and kaiser cheifs, e.g., owe a great deal to us bloggers and they repay us by never speaking out against their labels' use of lawsuits against kids who love music. i'm not a fan of folks who steal entire albums or who search the net for every cut of an album to avoid a purchase, but blogs who post on bands to help them shouldn't be punished. i was served a C&D by the RIAA for a song that I'd been sent by a promoter!

they're out of control. as long as we only publish a song or two and as long as their encoded as medium quality mp3s (and not .flac rips, e.g.), the RIAA shouldn't be on our asses.

6:20 AM  
Blogger trill42 said...

i was served a C&D by the RIAA for a song that I'd been sent by a promoter!

That's bizarre. I've never heard from them.

The war on music bloggers and music fans is a war on music. I think that's basic economics.

Jeff Tweedy gets that, yet at least one blog was taken offline for hours for posting Wilco songs from their forthcoming album. He should say something about this sort of thing.
I wish more artists would take a stand one way or the other on their labels' attacks against their fans. How can they not? Are they afraid to? Do they not care?

If someone opposes file-sharing, it's a genuine philosophical difference I can respect... but if they add, "And I want people sued and drained of every last penny!" then I'd think they're a jerk. That's allowed, but I don't want to help jerks. Posting someone's music and/or writing about them helps them...

Hmm, if the only people with common sense are people who would never work for the RIAA, how will it ever improve?

1:31 AM  

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