PreDaTor News: Jam Master Jay / Online CD Sales / CMA Awards / CD copy-protection
A coalition has been formed to raise money for the family of Run-D.M.C. "turntablist" Jam Master Jay, real name Jason Mizell, gunned down in New York last week. While speculation abounds as to the motive for the killing, a diverse group including bandmates Joseph "Run" Simmons and Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Jay-Z, Aerosmith, Ashanti, Irv Gotti, rap entrepreneur Russell Simmons, and Island Def Jam CEO Lyor Cohen are pitching in to fund the education of Mizell's three kids, as well as a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of his killer.
Meanwhile, the market research company Comscore is the latest to report that CD burning and file-sharing are dreadfully impacting online music sales, to the tune of a 25% online sales drop-or $545 million-for the first nine months of 2002 from the same period last year. One likely culprit, the Aimster file-swapping site, has now been ordered by a federal judge to employ filtering technologies to block such swapping of unauthorized copyrighted works. The ruling is the result of an RIAA move for a preliminary injunction, part of its lawsuit against the service-which is now called Madster--over copyright infringement.
Country music made headlines with the annual Country Music Association awards, in which the great Alan Jackson, who had set a record with 10 nominations, won the big five: Entertainer of the Year, male vocalist, album ("Drive"), and both song and single of the year for his simple, understated comment on 9-11, "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)." Also in Nashville, Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer Steve Wariner has started SelecTone Records, which will release his next album, "Steal Another Day," next February.
Rapper MC Lyte will distribute her SGI/CMM label through ARTISTdirect's iMusic. Also in rap, the weekly "Hip-Hop Nation: Notes From the Underground" TV show, up to now available on only five NBC stations, has a national syndication deal greatly expanding its viewer potential into 100 stations, or 75% of the nation's TV households.
On the online front, subscribers of Listen.com's Rhapsody, who are already allowed to burn to CD tracks from Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, can now burn tracks supplied through BMG Entertainment for 99 cents apiece. Newly available at the newly relaunched, advertiser-friendly MP3.com site are digital music tutorials for newcomers, increased coverage of digital hardware and software, expanded artist information, 40 channels of streamed radio from Radio Free Virgin, and a chart tracking its most popular downloads and streams.
In tech news, Macrovision Corp. is acquiring both Midbar Technology Ltd. and the assets of TTR Technologies Inc., bringing together three top CD copy-protection technology developers in a concerted effort to enable acceptable consumer CD-burning and transfer of music files. Turning to artists, Truth Hurts' recent hit "Addictive" is the focus of a lawsuit filed by famed Indian composer Bappi Lahiri, who claims that the song blatantly steals four minutes of music from a 20-year-old recording of "Thoda Resham Lagta Hai," sung by the legendary Lata Mangeshkar. The suit further asserts that "Addictive"'s producers - including Dr. Dre - are guilty of "cultural imperialism" for not crediting Third World artists.
Paul McCartney's recently completed 50-date North American arena tour will probably be the year's biggest, having grossed approximately $100 million and breaking numerous house records. And finally, Lonnie Donegan, king of England's "skiffle" music style that predated the Beatles, is dead at 71. Donegan inspired the likes of George Harrison, Mark Knopfler, and Van Morrison, and had a big hit in the U.S. in 1956 with a lively version of Leadbelly's "Rock Island Line."
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