Get this stupid song out of my head

Since I can’t get it out of my head after inexplicably hearing it coming out of a car window on 16th Street this morning, I’d like to get The Freshman by The Verve Pipe into your head, too. That link up there? It’s the first hit for ‘annoying song freshmen’, although Google thinks I meant “freshman”. I guess I sort of did, but isn’t the word plural in the chorus? Sing it to yourself, you’ll remember. And now you feel my pain.

Now I can die happy

Originally uploaded by thetejon

The concert was, and I don’t hesitate to use this word, amazing. The openers, Street Sweeper Social Club, featuring Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine, were cool. They put on a good show. If I still ever listened to music, I would think about buying their new album next week. We did not stay for Jane’s Addiction, so I can’t say anything about them. When we arrived, having bought presale tickets through, we found that not only were we not on the grass, but we were actually on the floor, right in front of the stage. Now, my friend and I are not really the type (Or the age, I guess) to crowd up front, but I could have held a conversation with Trent at a more or less normal volume from the distance we were away. Not with the crowd there, sure, but that’s an idea of the how close we were. By the way, note to other bands – this is how to treat your fans. Presale tickets just required that you sign up at the website. When we arrived, there was a longish line to get in, and a short line to get presale tickets at will-call. I handed them my id, they gave me my tickets. They had my name printed on them. We went straight over to the presale entrance line, where they checked id again. So we couldn’t possibly have scalped them, even if we had wanted to, and we barely had to stand in line. Plus we got awesome seats. Do you notice how this makes you money, makes your fans happy, and works perfectly with or without the horrors of music piracy? And then Nine Inch Nails came on. This is a text I sent the wife:

This is [expletive deleted] awesome. I’m getting goosebumps every time they start a new song

They played a great variety of stuff. They played the song from The Crow soundtrack, which was surprising. They played “Gave Up”, one of my favorite not-as-well-known songs off 1992’s Broken. They closed with “Head Like A Hole” and encored with “Hurt”, much to the delight of the crowd. For most of the concert, I was just standing there, thinking, “I can’t believe I’m here listening to Nine Inch Nails live”. I’m looking forward to telling the kid someday how I left her with the wife to go see them. “Dad, you’re old”, she’ll probably say. But that’s okay.

Nine Inch Nails Setlist Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD, NIN|JA 2009

Edit this setlist | More Nine Inch Nails setlists

Thanks, Trent

I think I posted a while back that I’m going to see Nine Inch Nails next week. I’ve been a fan ever since I saw the video for Head Like a Hole on MTV a million years ago, but I’ve never been to a show. This is their last tour “for a while”, which maybe means forever, so I just bought tickets. I just found out today that Jane’s Addiction, the worst band in the history of the Universe, is actually going on after Nine Inch Nails. This is the best news ever. Now, I don’t know if there are Jane’s Addiction songs that don’t suck – the only ones I know are the few that got on the radio back when I was actually listening to the radio. But the ones I know are truly and amazingly awful. Sorry if you’re a fan, but that just means you have bad taste in music. It’s really your fault. In any event, I’m pretty excited.

Why don’t I listen to many female artists?

Where Are The Women, Esquire?

Not good enough, Esquire. So what are you really saying with this list? Either, that women aren’t making much of anything you deem essential, or that men can’t handle music written and/or performed by women.

Sarah totally ripped off my Facebook comment for that sentence. This got me thinking. I don’t listen to a lot of female artists, and I’m not sure why. I like Garbage a lot, and any music collection should contain Version 2.0. The wife is a big fan of Alanis Morissette’s Under Rug Swept. I had only heard her one big hit record, and if that’s all you’ve heard, try this one, it’s like it’s by someone else. You know, someone talented. And there are some other female artists who are pretty good, but I just don’t listen to them. It’s partly because I feel like a traitor to my beliefs every time I think about giving money to a record company. I haven’t bought a cd outside of Nine Inch Nails in at least two years. I thought about buying a Jill Sobule cd because of how awesome what she did with her last cd was, but I’ve never knowingly heard a song by her, so I didn’t buy the cd. Anyway, if you know a female artist that I absolutely have to hear, let me know in the comments. Whichever sales pitch is best, I will buy that cd. Unless the wife owns it. Bonus points if I can legally obtain the music for free while paying money from something that I can’t copy instantly and perfectly. Update to add: I downloaded the four songs Jill Sobule is currently sharing and will listen to them tomorrow at work. Update again to add: Meh to Jill Sobule. I didn’t like the songs. I still think she’s cool for her business model, though.

WalMart caves on DRM

BoingBoing | WalMart now says they’ll keep the DRM servers on forever I wrote about this when WalMart first announced that they were revoking your ability to play the music you “bought” from them, but it looks like they’ve changed their mind, just like Yahoo. Well, not quite like Yahoo, but the same idea. They’re going to leave their DRM servers on for some undisclosed additional time. BoingBoing seems to think they’ll leave them up permanently, but the press release doesn’t actually say that. Regardless, WalMart is paying real money for their mistake, and it’s always nice to see that. Except in this economy where we need WalMart to keep the entire country from going bankrupt. Then it kind of sucks.

If you buy anything with DRM, you are stupid

And there’s another in the long list of music retailers who decided to turn off their DRM servers, effectively taking back the music you “bought”.

As the final stage of our transition to a full DRM-free MP3 download store, Walmart will be shutting down our digital rights management system that supports protected songs and albums purchased from our site.

WalMart is actually telling people to burn their DRMed music to cd so they don’t lose it. This is a pretty callous way of telling customers that WalMart doesn’t care about them. I don’t really understand how there can’t be a better solution. Is it really that hard for WalMart to leave a server running that just always says, “yes, you’re authorized”? It is increasingly clear to all those paying attention that any business model that depends on some sort of DRM is doomed to fail. And those who buy DRMed goods are doomed to lose them when the seller decides not to support it anymore. Let that be a lesson – DRM is anti-consumer. Always. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either mislead or lying.

That’s my daughter!

Originally uploaded by Nine Inch Nails

No, not the picture. That’s clearly not my daughter. No, the wife was taking her to get her hearing tested and had some issues finding the place she had to go. The kid was fussing, so the wife turned on the radio, thinking she’d tune in a station that doesn’t exist, and maybe the white noise would calm the kid down.

Well, the last time I was in the car, I was listening to Nine Inch Nails, and that came on instead of the radio.

Sure enough, the kid stopped crying right away. I think she might have fallen asleep.

Would this business model work for writers?

I’ve spoken before about alternative business models for authors – some way to get paid for writing while at the same time embracing digital distribution and the economics of infinite goods. Techdirt talks about music artists getting fans to help pay for the creation of a new album – fans give money and the artist uses that money to produce the album. Then, the artist has some options for what to do with the music after it’s created, like selling cds or giving it away for free or whatever they want to do. This might work for writers, too. Not all writers, maybe. But let’s say you’re a talented writer without a book deal. You set up a blog and connect with people who love the type of books you want to write. Give away free short stories or excerpts from your novel-in-progress. Then take money to produce the book. People who donate maybe get a discount on a paper copy, or a signed paper copy, or whatever other non-scare goods you might be interested in producing. If you’re really good with your non-scare goods, you can give away the resulting ebook when you’re done writing. This builds more fans, and helps you get more money to produce the next book. I think it’s harder for authors to do this than musicians, because it’s harder for the author to come up with compelling non-scarce goods to sell. They have no equivalent of the live show (At least for the vast majority of authors). But at the same time, producing a book, especially an ebook, is vastly cheaper. In fact, with a little computer knowledge, it’s almost free. So what your fans are really paying for is your time more than the production of the book.

Record labels are stupid

For whatever reason, has a really crazy archive system, so this link may not work for you, but apparently someone has released an old NIN album on vinyl without Trent’s knowledge or approval.

You may have heard there’s a new re-release of The Downward Spiral on vinyl. I heard that, too. I have no idea what it is or what’s on it because the band has had no involvement in it.

How typical of the music industry – a band finds new ways to make money without treating fans like criminals, and some label that has rights to older music decides that it’s going to support the artists by cutting them out of the loop. Way to go, record label! That’ll show everyone that you’re still relevant!

Way to go, Yahoo

Techdirt | Yahoo Offers Refunds Or DRM-Free Music In Exchange For Shutting Down DRM Servers Looks like Yahoo is going to make things right for customers who bought DRM’ed music at their old store. They’ll either replace the music with DRM-free editions, or give refunds. Unlike Microsoft’s band-aid (Keeping the DRM servers up for a few more years), this is an actual solution, righting the wrong that Yahoo did to its customers by “selling” them music that could be taken back at any time.