"Before lil b blessed us with this ultra-rare meme creator I felt like life had no meaning. I went though the day dreaming about based god memes, but I never got to make them. But now I can make them anytime I want! It is hard for me to articulate how incredible this app truly is. I hope every one in the world is able to get this app. TYBG. PROTECT LIL B AT ALL COSTS."
The always-tense discussion of how musicians make money -- and ought to make money -- in the era of YouTube, streaming services, and easy piracy turned into a fiery debate between a diehard punk rocker and a major rock band manager at the SF Music Tech Summit yesterday.
In a packed mid-morning conference room at the Kabuki Hotel, Dead Kennedys guitarist East Bay Ray insisted that "society needs to demand" an end to rogue piracy sites, and punish Google and other advertising networks that do business with them. Ray, whose real name is Raymond John Pepperell, held up a screenshot from the site MP3Skull.com showing links to free downloads of the Bay Area punk icons' music and, next to them, ads for companies like Alaska Airlines and 1-800 Flowers.
Nearly 13 years after suing Napster, the filesharing site that started it all, the grouchy old men of Metallica have had a come-to-Jesus of sorts with the power of the Interwebz: Today, drummer Lars Ulrich announced that Metallica's music will be coming to Spotify.
He even gave Napster co-founder and Spotify investor Sean Parker a hug. Onstage. In public.
The holiday shopping season has a long history with the audio-video sector, but mostly as a time to shave a few dollars off second-tier home theater equipment. There remain plenty of opportunities to trample someone for a $25 Blu-ray player, but looking through this year's Black Friday circulars and Cyber Monday email blasts revealed a new lure being dangled prominently: Beats By Dr. Dre headphones.
Let's give credit where credit is due: There likely wouldn't be as many consumer-friendly headphone options these days without Beats. Previously, headphones occupied a much smaller, older-skewing market of enthusiasts. Then came the iDevice revolution, and, in its wake, Beats, which offered a glossy fashion accessory that put style back in compressed audio. Hip-hop icons, video vixens and extreme athletes -- and therefore younger demographics -- adopted them without hesitation. And in the period leading up to Christmas, various retailers are promoting and even discounting Beats.
But before pulling the trigger, consider that this isn't a case of more for less; it's definitely less for more. Beats By Dr. Dre are the NASCAR of headphones. And not just because of their garish colors and exaggerated branding. Beats are all about rumble: Eventually you'll come to realize that, despite the excitement, constantly turning left can only get you so far.
Here's something we can get behind: A cheeky new site that lets those who shoot endless smartphone video at concerts see just how thoroughly they're ruining them for themselves and everyone else.
Called OMGig, the minisite lets you turn any live YouTube clip into a chiding demonstration of the idiocy of shooting smartphone video at concerts. It's simple: Pick a video on YouTube and replace the "youtube.com" part of the URL with "omgig.com." Then you'll see two hands holding up a white iPhone while the tiny video plays inside. Behind the phone you'll see a blurry full-sized video of the show -- mostly obscured by the phone and the hands, just like at a real concert.