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My final two pieces on SXSW were finally published on the Boise Weekly blog.

Read my review of Steven Soderbergh’s new documentary on Spalding Gray here.

“Though his one-man shows may not resonate with the average fan of mall security guard movies, Spalding Gray had a gift for examining universal truths.”

Invincible

The other piece that came out yesterday was my email interview with hip hop emcee and community organizer Invincible. She was busy down in Texas.

“I think women and all non-hetero-male gender’s perspectives are missing from most people’s Hip-Hop collections so it is long overdue to bring a balance.”

Forgetting Dr. King’s dream of justice by Bill Moyers & Michael Winship

NPR’s ombudsman asks ‘Where are the women?’

Looting Main Street by Matt Taibbi

The Fed in hot water from Talking Points Memo

The push to legalize marijuana is real from The Atlantic

New journalism centers for public media from Save the News

TSA concedes body scanners store and record images from EPIC

Mountaintop removal crackdown could mean more than offshore drilling

Everything you need to know about Obama’s new fuel-economy rules from Grist

I had too many great sources for my first-ever music feature in Boise Weekly, which came out in newsprint yesterday in Idaho. So I wanted to share a few more things these folks told me on the record. First of all, my title for the piece was “The Future of Music Will No Longer Fit Into the Containers of the Past: Strategies for Working Musicians from Industry Innovators at SXSW.”

Had to cut my opening line: “Sixth street is the cultural center of Austin, Texas, a city whose identity as “live music capital of the world” is now a registered trademark, just like its favorite slogan “keep Austin weird.””

One of my favorite things that Leeor Brown of Terrorbird and Friends of Friends told me about Been Meaning to Tell You, the latest record by Ernest Gonzales is: “It’s only a month later and Ernest’s amazing album is not a brand new record anymore! Four stars in Urb is already old news. I can’t go back to NPR a month later and be like, would you write that up again?”

Page from Ernest Gonzales' book

My friend Casey Rae-Hunter, communications director for Future of Music Coalition said: “When you look at the mobile space you’re going to be seeing people are going to get really used to accessing music in the cloud. They might eventually get used to not even ‘owning’ a digital file. Or maybe they will download it and they’ll have it on their home computer or stored on a server somewhere, but they’ll be able to access it via broadband or wi-fi or cell network on all of their devices.

“Apple bought Lala, and they may introduce a ‘cloud locker’ component to their iTunes service. That would let you play your stuff on any Apple device from wherever you are.”

My friend Eddie Sumlin of A Visual Sound didn’t make it into the piece at all but added: “I think the future of music is gonna be about creating authentic experiences. Radio is dope. I listen to people all around the world because I respect what they program. I go see certain artists because they bring a certain type of thing live. They do something that you could never experience digitally.”

Casey also said: “One reason the major labels are struggling is that they kind of lost the ability to inspire fans. Everyone’s trying to figure out how to compete with free. Well, you have to be able to sell to the hardcore fan. What the industry might need to figure out is how to monetize the behavioral activities the customers are already engaged in. And that’s the expectation of access on-demand. It’s conceivable that consumers will embrace streaming pretty much across the board if the business models allow it and the stuff is licensed and available. There’s an entire new generation that simply wants to be able to get what they want when they want it on whatever gadget they’re using. And it would be an added benefit if they wouldn’t get sued and it compensated artists.”

Finn Riggins rock out in a parking lot

I asked Bryan Calhoun, VP for new media at Sound Exchange, what he was doing ten years ago when Congress created the nonprofit royalty-collection agency. He replied: “Roughly ten years ago, I was doing A&R and marketing for record labels. There are hardly anymore A&R people period. With all the tools available to people, everybody can record, release and market themselves. Barriers to entry were still there ten years ago. The big problem now is getting above the clutter. So how do you stand above the rest, get into a position to make a living from your music? 2200 bands showcasing? What’s the end goal? Getting signed to a major record label? More and more people don’t see that as the holy grail anymore. Many artists and managers are looking forward to their contract expiring so they can do their own thing.”

Of working for Sound Exchange, Bryan told me: “I’ve got probably the coolest job. I contact artists and tell them I’ve got money to give them. Our board of directors is made up half of label people and half of artist people. Those are the people that get paid from Sound Exchange so it is in their interest to do their job efficiently.”

I asked Priya Dewan, US label manager for the mighty Warp Records, about their acquisition of new artists to the label. She said: “We’re constantly looking for new talent and signing new talent. New artists and existing artists putting out great new records… We can’t count on our back catalog. The more new cool and fresh new artists we get the better our chances are. People come to us because we have such a great roster.”

I asked how the Internet’s openness has contributed to Warp finding new musicians.

She said: “We’ve got specific sites that we visit to find out about up-and-coming artists. Talking to other artists, going to shows, reading blogs. A combination of things get us interested in the artists. Anybody who suggests a good music blog to me gets added to my Google Reader. I check that once a day. A lot of times our artists tell us about new artists. We get at least 10 to 15 demos a week on a slow week, physical and digital. When we put out a Grizzly Bear or Battles record, we’ll get a whole lot of demos that sound like them. I can’t think of an unsolicited demo we’ve listened to, where we called them back, and it resulted in signing.”

There was also more I was going to write about Finn Riggins, but Boise Weekly editors felt there had been a lot of coverage of their trip to Austin, so I kept it narrowed down to a partial list of their team and the story of vocalist/guitar player Lisa Simpson seeing some talented buskers. The one other funny thing she told me about sixth street in Austin was about a guy running down the street, pulling up his shirt to reveal a ‘Truffle Shuffle’ and yelling, “MTV Spring Break!” She said she looked at this dude, flashing his chest, and thought, “Is that for real? What is he on?” Ah, sixth street during SXSW. I miss it already.

View of 6th Street from patio stage of The Wave

TOP STORIES

US oil company donated millions to climate skeptic groups, says Greenpeace

The obscenity of war by Amy Goodman

Citizens united against Citizens United by David Swanson

Police: Teaching kids to mistrust govt. makes couple ‘unsuitable’ parents

FINANCIAL SHENANIGANS

Bailed out banks are even more powerful now than before the crisis

Elizabeth Warren: Bank lobbyists fought for very thing they’re now against

Supreme Court hands victory to mutual fund industry

Student loans: Govt. is now officially in the banking business

TECHNOLOGY POLITICS

Google goes evil, gets in bed with Verizon by Josh Silver

PR firm behind propaganda videos given $25M stimulus contract

Google says China’s ‘great firewall’ blocked search

Fox News has best quarter in network history from Mediaite

POLITICAL INTRIGUE

Thanks health bill, for $250M back to abstinence-only education

Naomi Wolf thinks Tea Parties help fight fascism from Alternet

Brown vs. Democracy in California by George Lakoff

States high on marijuana tax as budget cure

Plagued by bad memories? Call Death Bear

TOP STORIES

Letter sent to alleged drug kingpin details DEA surveillance

CPB’s new local journalism centers initiative from New Public Media

FCC removes gender from advertising nondiscrimination rules

Victim-blaming is alive in the school paper at American University

HEALTH REFORM

Ten things you didn’t know were in the health bill by Emily Badger

David Frum on health reform: ‘Repeal is literally impossible’

Insurers find loophole in health bill, say they don’t have to cover sick kids

The strange tale of ‘black liquor’ and $25B from The Takeaway

CLIMATE AWARENESS

Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change, says James Lovelock

Landmarks went dark worldwide to mark fourth annual Earth Hour

The Yes Men trick the world from Campus Progress

Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood promises bicyclists will finally have a voice

POLITICALLY SPEAKING

Nader on Attention deficit democracy from Common Dreams

Obama is ‘delivering, but for financial institutions’ says Chomsky

CNN claims only Dems want to close Guantanamo Bay prison

Watchdog files complaint against ‘deceptive and illegal’ Hannity concerts

Democrats include $250m for abstinence-only education in health bill

The Secular Coalition for America, a national advocacy organization representing secular Americans, expressed its deep disapproval over this reversal.

“2009 marked the first year in nearly three decades that federal birth control funding was focused unequivocally on science-based sex education. No federal funds were spent on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs–programs not supported by scientific consensus. We are greatly disappointed that health care reform was used as a vehicle for extending this theocratically-motivated program which ignores science,” said Executive Director Sean Faircloth.

Blogger Michael Petrelis, a gay rights activist, is curious how certain progressive cabinet officials feel about this aspect of health reform, but isn’t holding his breath waiting for a response:

I’d sure like to hear from gay White House staffers Brian Bond, the gay liaison, and Jeff Crowley, the head of the Office of National AIDS Policy, about the supposed benefits behind allocating so much money for abstinence programs long-debunked by scientific research. Anyone care to wager that Bond and Crowley don’t say a thing about this outrageous waste of money?

Mississippi Governor: Media gave health bill ‘longest wet kiss’ in history

Sen. Schumer: A vote for health bill will be ‘asset’ in November elections

Wannabe Senator willing to ‘work across the aisle’ for GOP ideas only

Obama’s surprise 1st Kabul visit since ordering surge (Note my photo)

CA legalization battle heats up

Ahead of state-wide vote, marijuana legalization battle heats up in CA

TOP STORIES

Did the CIA use Bybee memo for protection? from Firedoglake

The health bill is a bonanza for insurance industry by Bill Moyers

Key differences between progressive & liberal thinking by David Sirota

Germany to expand nuclear plant phase-out by 28 years from Al-Jazeera

WAR ZONES

McChrystal admits Afghan atrocities, press yawns by Allison Kilkenny

US casualties double in Afghanistan from Press TV

Obama declares Afghan war ‘absolutely essential’

Did Iraq just elect a mass-murderer? by Joshua Holland

BROADCASTING

Internet radio station makes leap to airwaves

WORT outreach coordinator directs a symphony of volunteers

Is there too much marijuana on prime time TV? from NORML

Planning a new station or relocation? FCC clarifies transmitter site rules

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