UK newspaper The Telegraph reported March 3 that Sir Paul McCartney has signed a $6 million deal to release the Beatles catalog to iTunes for downloading. While The Independent and the Daily Mail have also reported the same thing, there has been no confirmation from Apple, EMI, McCartney, surviving Beatle Ringo Starr, or the families of deceased members John Lennon or George Harrison.
Another of the great ones is gone. Norman Smith had been a refrigeration engineer, but at 36, he decided to apply for an entry-level position as a recording technician at EMI in the UK. EMI had a strict caste system at the time and technical staff (the "white coats") were considered a rank below that of producers and even of balance engineers, who were allowed to sit in the mastering room. By 1962, Smith was promoted to balance engineer and was paired with George Martin for the first Beatles recordings. As balance engineer, he chose the microphones and recording equipment for each session and Smith is generally given a great deal of credit for the clarity and accuracy of the group's recordings from the beginning through the recording of Revolver in 1965. Because of Smith's age (he'd seen service in WWII) and EMI's dress code (ties and lab coats), Lennon nicknamed him "Normal." (Hence the title of Smith's autobiography: John Lennon Called Me Normal.)
In January 2008, Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) Senior Intellectual Property attorney, Fred von Lohmann filed an amicus brief in Atlantic v. Howell, a case that hinged on the Recording Industry of America Association's (RIAA) contention that offering files on a P2P sharing network was in and of itself evidence of copyright violations, whether or not it could prove the files were ever downloaded by others.
A study published in the open source science journal PLoS One investigates the neural processes of jazz improvisation. Johns Hopkins neuroscientists put piano players in a fMRI scanner with a special keyboard and asked them to perform different five-finger exercises: play a scale, play a melody, and improvise on either the scale or the melody.
The consumer and retail tracking NPD Group released the results of a study on how people acquired music in 2007. NPD's data show a marketplace undergoing transition—although, depending on who's parsing the numbers, that could be read either as great news or the end of the world as we know it.
The Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) aggressive campaign against its customers has most recently relied heavily upon the "making available" argument. The RIAA has argued that the act of making a recording available on a peer-to-peer (P2P) network was a crime, even if nobody actually linked to or downloaded the files. In October 2007, judge Michael J. Davis ruled in Capitol Records v. Thomas that the labels did not need to establish that the songs Ms. Thomas loaded to her KaZaa account were downloaded by others. Ms, Thomas was held liable for $220,000 in penalties.
As I was scrolling through the offerings at TDF a few weeks ago, I spotted a performance by the McCollough Sons of Thunder Brass Band. Hmmm, I thought I remembered my old friend Michael Cogswell mentioning to me that I ought to check them out. Actually, what he told me was that if I was ever able to hear them, I should cancel everything I could be doing and hie myself hence at oncely.
Bentley Motors, the 89-year-old, Volkswagen-owned manufacturer of bespoke luxury automobiles has decided that a high-end audio system would complete its definition of automotive excellence, choosing Salisbury-based audio manufacturer Naim to develop a "Naim For Bentley" system.