Monday, December 12, 2005

What have you been reading, listening to, watching?

David Byrne Radio/Lawsuit Threats
I've already bought 3 CDs I never would have thanks to David Byrne radio. But the recording industry is pretty much dumb as bricks, so they threatened him with a lawsuit for streaming too many of a single artist. Keep in mind, Mr. Byrne already pays a fee to stream the music to begin with. He justly rants:
Is there a reason a radio station can play Springsteen ‘round the clock but I can’t stream Missy Elliot? Answer: You CAN pay for this, Dave. However, you would have to license every song separately, and pay for each one too, instead of as a lump sum, as you do now.

For example, KCRW can feature a single artist in their broadcasts, but can’t post those shows online. Terrestrial (broadcast) radio pays publishing fees, but not performance royalties — a holdover from radio being viewed as a promotional tool. Streaming radio is not? Huh?

From Lawrence Lessig’s book Free Culture, citing an estimate: “...if an Internet radio station distributed ad-free popular music” — as mine does — “to ten thousand listeners, twenty-four hours a day, the total artist fees that radio station would owe would be over $1 million a year. A regular radio station broadcasting the same content would pay no equivalent fee.”
Meanwhile there's a new playlist up, with no more than 4 tracks by a single artist within a 3-hour period. It's "Rednecks, Racists and Reactionaries: Country Classics"

"Best of" Lists
The end of year film lists are pointless right now, because most of the films at the top won't have a wide release until well after the year has ended. So consider these recommendations for early next year, unless you are a film critic, or live in LA or NY.
American Film Institute List ("The 40-year-old virgin" made the top 10...?!)
Broadcast Film Critics List
LA Film Critics announce winners and runners-up in major categories.

After combining these lists, which 2005 films should you make sure and see?
Brokeback Mountain
A History of Violence
King Kong
Good Night and Good Luck

Most interesting, King Kong now occupies the highest rating for the year on Metacritics. At 95 out of 100, it's the 3rd highest rated film of all time, behind The Godfather and Dr. Strangelove. It couldn't really be that good, could it?

Book Recommendations
Kevin Drum and the Washington Monthly offer up some political book suggestions for Christmas gifts. My only beef is that he calls these "last-minute" suggestions. Christmas is 2 weeks away, people. When it's the last minute, I'll let you know.

Movie Awards Blog
The NYTimes has a new blog, devoted to the award season for films.

Weekend Box Office
1. Chronicles of Narnia
2. Syriana (in a shocker, 2nd place?!)
3. Harry Potter, blah blah
4. Walk the Line
5. Yours, Mine and Ours

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