Music News Briefs

Following the highly successful release of three Beatles outtakes sets a few years back, Capitol Records announced last week that another set of unreleased recordings, this time from former Beatle John Lennon, will hit stores November 3. The four-disc set will include over 100 home recordings, studio outtakes, and other works never released in public. Titled The John Lennon Anthology, the set was put together with help from Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, and their son Sean Lennon. Also included will be 60 pages of notes, including art, writings, and photos.

It was also revealed last week that musicians will have a new outlet for selling their music that will allow them a generous 50% royalty. Digital Automatic Music (DAM) is a program developed by MP3.com that enables artists to sell and market their music with "zero startup costs and receive a fair split of the proceeds." According to MP3.com, the typical label deal gives artists a $1-2 royalty from each CD sale, and has the artist paying for production costs and management fees, making the actual take even smaller. The DAM program pays a true 50% royalty rate---with no signup fees, administration costs, or colorful accounting. For example, if a CD sells for $7.99, the artist receives $4.00.

"We don't try to gain control of an artist by having them sign over the rights to their music. Once an artist does that, they are hostage to their record label. Our contract is designed so that if we're not delivering value to an artist, they can exit and lose nothing. The artist is always in control," says MP3.com president Michael Robertson.

Artists sign up for DAM by reading an "easy-to-understand" contract and filling out a form from the website. They then select a retail price between 4.99 and $9.99, and upload the songs for the CD. Because there are no signup fees, no monthly fees, and no minimums, there is no risk or cost involved with signing up for the program. MP3.com handles CD production, sales, and order fulfillment.

Each artist is also provided with a web page for news, tour, fan club, pictures, and other information. An early adopter of the program was Tim Holmes of Reproductive Pumpkin. "The damn problem for artists is not only the lack of distribution, but also exposure. The DAM program offers one solution to both problems."

And finally, Kenny G has officially been displaced as this decade's musical blowhard. 24-year-old Geovanny Escalante has blown the longest musical note into a sax on record, at 1 hour, 30 minutes, and 45 seconds. Previous record-holder G had held a note for over 45 syrupy, boring minutes. According to a Reuters report, Escalante accomplished the feat after months of practicing a circular breathing technique that allowed him to simultaneously inhale through his nose and exhale into his mouthpiece. To make sure that there was no doubt of his accomplishment, in attendance were lawyers and notary publics, along with the regulars at the bar where the event was held. A videotape was also reportedly made.

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