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Enough Radiohead already! Updated

Radiohead_in_rainbows Sorry, can't help myself: Gigwise.com, a UK music webzine, is reporting that Radiohead has sold 1.2 million copies of "In Rainbows" in a little more than a week of preorders and live online sales. The number comes from the familiar "source close to the band," so try not to crack your teeth on the salt. After all, Radiohead's last two studio LPs have yet to go platinum (i.e., sell 1 million copies). Still, Gigwise's number is conceivable -- the album's really good, it's been four years since Radiohead's last disc, and you can't beat the price. As noted in yesterday's sour-grapes Radiohead post, a third of the 3,000 buyers surveyed by the Times of London paid the minimum of 1 pence (2 cents, plus an 80-cent processing charge), but the average amount was 4 pounds -- a little more than $8.

Continue reading Enough Radiohead already! Updated »

Radiohead's move to save CD sales

Radiohead_in_rainbows Maybe Radiohead isn't out to revolutionize the music business after all.

The band made headlines earlier this month by putting its new album, "In Rainbows," up for sale on its website in two versions: an $82 box set due in December, and a name-your-price download due Wednesday. Many observers, myself included, saw this as a bracing expression of faith by Radiohead in its fans' willingness to pay for music (albeit at no real risk to its members' ability to put food on their tables, given their ability to sell out arena-sized concert venues). But this may have been the wrong conclusion. About 12 hours before the downloadable "In Rainbows" became available, the band sent an e-mail to those who pre-ordered it, letting them know the files would be 160 Kbps MP3s. That's not CD quality, and fans quickly cried foul.

Continue reading Radiohead's move to save CD sales »

The cost of free file-sharing

The Associated Press reports that the jury in Capitol v Thomas (formerly Virgin v Thomas) found Jammie Thomas liable today for willfully infringing 24 copyrighted songs and assessed damages of $9,250 per track -- well above the $750 minimum, but nowhere near the $150,000 maximum, either. The grand total is a stunning $222,000.

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NAB hits the RIAA where it hurts

David_rehr_nabMany years have passed since my seven-year stint as a reporter in Washington, D.C., so I'm no longer fascinated by all things inside the Beltway. Still, I have a soft spot for bold lobbying, which is why I've enjoyed watching the National Assn. of Broadcasters so much this year. It's been a tough slog for the broadcasters, with fights over decency, webcasting fees, HDTV carriage on cable systems, the XM-Sirius merger and local ownership restrictions, among other issues. And yet, in spite of all the demands on its time, the NAB keeps cranking out nuggets of lobbying gold. The latest example is the belt-grazing blow it threw at the major record companies yesterday in response to their push for more royalties from radio stations.

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You must rmbr this

Rmbr_logo The camera's rapid shift from film to microchips has revolutionized the way people take, store and share photographs, making these tasks far easier in digital than they were in analog. One bit of drudgery that hasn't been eliminated, though, is the time-consuming task of labeling photos. Although your computer can automatically sort photos by date and even by common faces or imagery, it can't tell where the photo was taken, who's in it or what it represents. Providing that data makes the photos more valuable and interesting, yet it can be a lot of work. That's where rmbr.com hopes its funware will make a difference.

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Virgin v. Thomas

I wrote a column for latimes.com about a milestone reached today in the RIAA's litigation campaign against file-sharers, which recently entered its fifth year: of the 30,000 people sued or threatened with a lawsuit, one of these cases will actually go to trial. The lucky(?!?) defendant is Jammie Thomas of Brainerd, Minnesota, who's being sued by six record labels and/or label groups.

Continue reading Virgin v. Thomas »

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Times editorial writer Jon Healey pens opinion pieces about a variety of business issues, and blogs about technologies that are changing the entertainment industry's business model.

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