RIAA Sued Under Mafia Law
Mac World reports: Online chat rooms and bulletin boards populated by file-swapping fans are filled with postings comparing the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to a Mafia-like syndicate. Now, one target of the group's lawsuits against alleged music pirates is asking the judicial system to back that assessment.
A New Jersey woman has filed a lawsuit against the RIAA under anti-racketeering statutes, charging the group with using scare tactics to extort money from the individuals it sues.
Michele Scimeca is one of more than 1,000 alleged online file-swappers sued by the RIAA since the middle of last year. The group filed another batch of 531 lawsuits on Wednesday. The RIAA has settled a number of those lawsuits -- and therein lies the problem, according to the complaint Scimeca filed in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey.
"Instead of merely providing service of the complaint upon the various defendants, including Ms. Scimeca, the Plaintiffs have opted to include a letter discussing and prompting settlement of the copyright infringement action," the complaint states. "This scare tactic has caused a vast amount of settlements from individuals who feared fighting such a large institution and feel victim to these actions and felt forced to provide funds to settle these actions instead of fighting the institution."
The complaint argues that the main intent of the RIAA's lawsuit campaign is to extract financial settlements from those sued, and charges the group with violating Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) laws. - Click Here for the Full Story
More details at the full story link.
AP reports: Millions of U.S. music fans will soon begin receiving refund checks as part of a $144 million settlement of a price-fixing lawsuit against five distributors and three retailers.
Checks for $13.86 each were mailed Friday to about 3.5 million consumers who bought CDs, vinyl records or cassettes between 1995 and 2000 and filed refund claims by last March.
Attorneys general for 43 states and territories filed the antitrust lawsuit in 2000, alleging the companies illegally conspired to raise the prices of their products by imposing minimum pricing policies. All the companies denied any wrongdoing. - Click Here for the Full Story
Snoop Goes Rock?
siN's metal news reports: Attendee's of this Summer's PROJEKT REVOLUTION tour will be able to see SNOOP DOGG put on a 'rock' face, who will be tweaking his performance a bit for the audience.
"I got me a band now, the Snoopadelics, who I've been rollin' with for the past year, and it's makin' me feel like I need to be a little more in that direction, that's why I jumped on this tour faster than any rap tour that was offered to me. I wanted to do something that was different and big and could change the face of the game, and Projekt Revolution is the next level."- Click Here for the Full Story
Rare Blind Melon
Rolling Stone reports: Many Blind Melon fans figured that the last of the band's music was released in the form of Nico, an outtakes collection issued a year after singer Shannon Hoon's 1995 drug-related death. However, former guitarist Christopher Thorn recently stumbled across some lost gems while going through the Capitol Records vaults, and he's planning another rarities set. - Click Here for the Full Story
More details at RS
NME reports: JOHN LYDON has said he was booked on the flight that blew up over LOCKERBIE - but missed it because his wife took too long packing.
The former Sex Pistol said he and his wife were booked on Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York which exploded mid-air in 1988, killing over 250 people who were on board. - Click Here for the Full Story
Blabbermouth reports: The Sun reports THE DARKNESS frontman Justin Hawkins, who studied for a National Diploma in Music Technology at Huddersfield Technical College, wants to spend around $186,000 of his $3.7 million fortune on creating the Justin Hawkins Studio at the college. "Justin rang a couple of weeks ago to catch up," his former tutor Rick Cocker explained. "The first thing he said was, 'I suppose you want to discuss the Justin Hawkins Studio.' He'd remembered a chat we had when he graduated over a few pints I'd said I hoped he wouldn't forget us when he became rich and famous. I said we'd build the Justin Hawkins Studio. I'm also talking about getting him up here to speak to the new students a couple of times a year. It would be a fantastic opportunity for them."- Click Here for the Full Story
BW&BK reports: The upcoming PS2 game MTX: Mototrax will contain an early recording of a song titled Don't Get Close' (a song from the upcoming SlipKnot album). MTX: Mototrax hits streets March 3rd and will feature the following tracklisting (not in this order):
A.F.I. 'The Nephilim', BLACK LABEL SOCIETY 'Doomsday Jesus', THE DESCENDENTS 'Everything Sucks Today', THE DISTILLERS 'Dismantle Me', DISTURBED 'Intoxication' - DOPE 'Burn', FAITH NO MORE 'Digging The Grave', JET 'Take It Or Leave It', METALLICA 'Motorbreath', THE MISFITS '20 Eyes', PENNYWISE 'Now I Know', THE STOOGES 'Funhouse', THRICE 'Artist In The Ambulance' and Slipknot - Don't Get Close', 'The Heretic Anthem' and 'Wait And Bleed'. - Click Here for the Full Story
BW&BK reports: The Swedish progressive metallers, who will open for the upcoming ICED EARTH/CHILDREN OF BODOM North American tour will issue The Inner Circle, right around the start of the tour (tentatively, April 27th). The band has been working on the dark/moody concept album for 5 months, since the end of last Fall's tour with ARCH ENEMY. The theme surrounds the travials/pains endured by the loved ones of a member of a religious cult. Punctuated by snippets of religious rhetoric, female backing vocals and a string quartet, from the Gothenburg Symphony, it's an interesting listen, almost painful to experience the emotions it uncovers. There's a sense of embarrassing voyeurism taking place, the listener being thrust in the midst of an uncomfortable situation. - Click Here for the Full Story
Check out the full story link for track listing and details on the album and concept from the band.
Bowie, Dylan, Ozzy, &
Joplin Bio Films.
Billboard reports: Musicians often lead crazy and fascinating lives, so it is no surprise that people would want to make movies based on their exploits.
David Bowie is said to be planning a feature film based on his life, and Jude Law has reportedly expressed interest in starring as Bowie.
Then there is the much-discussed Ozzy Osbourne movie, which is expected to land at MTV Films/Paramount Pictures. No one has been cast yet since the film is still in development.
Meanwhile, Paramount has signed on to make a Bob Dylan biopic with the singer/songwriter's cooperation.
Renee Zellweger will star as Janis Joplin in the Paramount film tentatively titled "Piece of My Heart."- Click Here for the Full Story
Check out the billboard article for more details on these projects and more music bio flicks in the works.
P2P & Labels Deal?
Billboard reports: The record business is showing increased interest in selling music through peer-to-peer services.
Billboard has learned that the major labels are engaged in private conversations with companies connected to popular P2P services with an eye toward making authorized label content available through the likes of Kazaa and Grokster.
Most of the talks are with Altnet, a commercial service distributed through Grokster and Kazaa. Exploratory discussions with P2P operators also are taking place on a limited basis, sources say. - Click Here for the Full Story
Label Cuts Hit Artists
Billboard reports: As record companies cut costs -- in some cases, dramatically -- to stem losses, artists are feeling the squeeze.
From majors to independents, labels are re-evaluating contracts, negotiating tougher deals, curbing studio time and in some cases limiting the number of tracks on an album, mainly to save money.
"It's not about contract flexibility," RCA Label Group chairman Joe Galante says. "It's about the reality of the marketplace ... There isn't anything that we're doing that doesn't cost us more money. So, something's got to give."
Nowhere is the squeeze on artists more evident than when it comes time to renegotiate contracts. - Click Here for the Full Story
Check out the full story link for some illuminating details including labels trying to get part of artists touring and merch sales and hiking recoups.
RI Fire Memorial
AP reports: Families, friends and scarred survivors gathered Friday at the site of a nightclub that burned to the ground one year ago during a rock concert, listening as the names of the 100 people killed in the fire were read aloud.
The service at the site of The Station also included 100 seconds of silence after 11 p.m., about the time a band's pyrotechnics sent a shower of sparks into the air last Feb. 20, setting fire to flammable foam placed around the stage.
More than 1,000 people attended the service, which ended with the lighting of a 4-foot-tall, plywood heart with lights for each victim. Many of the attendees wore black baseball caps with the words "The Station, Feb. 20, 2003" etched in white letters. - Click Here for the Full Story
AP reports: The "American Idol" judges said William Hung bombed with his gotta-see-it-to-believe-it rendition of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs."
But rejection turned out to have a silver maybe even platinum lining. In the weeks since he got booted by the TV talent show, the 21-year-old Hung has become an insta-Net celebrity, sought after by talk shows, record producers and Idol dreamers everywhere.
The music channel Fuse and New York-based record company Koch Entertainment offered him a record contract and music video production deal, but the offer, made just after Hung's volleyball singing gig, drew a polite smile but no immediate acceptance.
He's grateful for fan support and the thousands of people who have signed online petitions trying to get American Idol to invite Hung back. Reportedly, the show wants him for the "loser" special, "Uncut, Uncensored and Untalented." Hung was noncommittal about that possibility. - Click Here for the Full Story
Herald Sun reports: PRODUCERS of new Australian movie Thunderstruck have done some fierce negotiating to shoot key scenes of the AC/DC fan flick.
They had several meetings with the Fremantle Cemetery, where the band's former lead singer, Bon Scott, is buried, to stage a key concert scene -- and the cemetery agreed.
The movie is about five hardcore AC/DC fans who pledge to bury their best friend next to Bon Scott's grave. - Click Here for the Full Story
More on the grave filming by clicking on the full story link.
Duran Duran Hit Again
Herald Sun reports: DURAN Duran could enter the top 10 of the UK album charts for the first time in a decade after re-releasing their Greatest Hits album in anticipation of their Outstanding Contribution award at the Brits.
The band have not been in the top 10 since The Wedding Album in 1993. - Click Here for the Full Story
I Ate Your Microphone reports: downset.'s forthcoming new album "Universal" on Hawino Records has been pushed back to an April 20th release date. In the meantime, you can check out four songs from the recording titled 'Forever', 'Black Glock', 'Jumpin' Off' and 'Smiles And Cries' on a media player at their official website, www.downset.net. - Click Here for the Full Story
I Ate Your Microphone reports: Cold are heading out on tour for a couple of months alongside Sevendust from the 7th April, drawing to a close in the first week of June. A full itinerary will be disclosed fairly imminently. - Click Here for the Full Story
Alarms Secret Hit
Ananova reports: Ageing post-punk band The Alarm have scored a top 30 UK chart hit - with a stunt disguising themselves as an unknown younger group.
Recording under the pseudonym The Poppyfields, they are at number 28 after selling more than 4,000 copies of their 1970s-style punk single 45RPM.
In its accompanying video The Alarm are replaced by teenage Chester rockers The Wayriders who mime along to the song.
Singer Mike Peters, 44, said it was done to prove how much image affected sales.
He added: "We wanted the song to be judged on its merits and stir up the water a little bit. We decided we would do something where it was judged purely on its own musical value." - Click Here for the Full Story
Pistols Anarachy Honor
Ananonva reports: The Sex Pistols' Anarchy In The UK has been named the most influential record of the 1970s.
Fresh from his stint on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, John Lydon has come out top in the poll by Q magazine.
It beat Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody and the Donna Summer disco classic I Feel Love in the list of the decade's landmark records.
Released in November 1976, Anarchy In The UK caused instant outrage, compounded by the punk rockers' infamous four-letter outburst on Bill Grundy's Today programme.
"The 1970s are often remembered for disco, flares and platforms," a Q spokesman said. - Click Here for the Full Story
RIFTrock reports: The Foo Fighters have started writing material for the follow-up to 2002's One By One. The band has several songs already completed, and hopes to release a new full-length on RCA Records by the end of the year.
Frontman Dave Grohl told Billboard.com what to expect with the new album, "We're going to make the best balls-out record we've ever made, and we're going to make it in a studio. We're not used to studios, only basements." - Click Here for the Full Story
Anthrax Ozzfest Plea
siN's metal new reports: ANTHRAX's drummer Charlie Benante discusses not getting on Ozzfest: ANTHRAX has always been a band that gave other bands- old and new, a chance to go on tour and expose them to our audience. We've done this since the early days because we felt that this was important to music. We wanted these bands that we were into, to be appreciated by others. Let's make tonight's show a great SHOW, something special. That's the way we would think. I do not see this kinda thing anymore. Not One band will take ANTHRAX out with them. I don't understand it? The last band that showed any love was PANTERA and I love them all for it. What happened?? This game that is played now in the touring world is killing bands. Music and touring as we know it will not exist like it once did. Think about how much s*** has changed since 1995. Don't you see that exposing other bands to your audience can only broaden the rock/metal scene? I'm so sick of the "LIP SERVICE" that we all get from other bands who say"oh man we gotta do shows together" and yada yada yada. Another Ozzfest is coming and guess what band is not on it? It's hard some times to deal with this s***... it's like not being picked on a team when you were younger. I wish AMERICA was more like EUROPE, they don't discriminate - ANTHRAX are on a bunch of festivals this summer. I wish things would change over here ... I really do. PUT US ON!!!!!! WE WON'T DISSAPOINT! - Click Here for the Full Story