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Lily Allen incites mails

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Mailbag Well, that didn't last long. Lily Allen closed her music business yesterday blog - cheekily named after a Billy Bragg lyric - after four days, citing abuse from freetards. Last night she signed up to a pledge not to persecute freeloaders that much.

"i've shut down the blog, the abuse was getting too much," she posted. "i'm proud of the fact that that i've been involved with this debate but i'm passing the baton on to other artists."

Allen had pasted a story from anti-copyright site TechDirt - which suddenly and quite miraculously discovered the power of copyright. Bit of a learning curve for everyone, then.

We've got some mail about that.

"Presumably that loud cracking noise in the background is the smiles breaking out on the fossilised faces of the FAC members," writes Tim Cuthill.

Single issue fanatics like TechDirt's Mike Masnick don't want P2P to go legit, which is the obvious and progressive solution, but for creators' rights to be abolished, leaving artists to sell T-shirts and play live. The Legacy Acts Featured Artists Coalition argued as much in the statement that sparked the story, but then said it didn't real mean it.

But wait. What does a dial-up connection really mean? Steve C asks:

"It's utterly impractical for infringers to be able to download any media file, in fact all they'll be able to do is send basic emails and have functional web access."

In the age of megabyte sized web pages, how would you define ‘functional web access’?

I don't know. If you turn images off and use a proxy, such as Opera Turbo, you can browse pretty well on a lousy connection. He adds

What happens when little Jimmy gets home-working Dad a non-functional remote desktop due to bandwidth limitations?

Well, presumably Dad would kick little Jimmy's backside pretty hard. Steve can have the last word:

I accept Jimmy needs a kicking, but if Dad loses his job because of Jimmy? A little excessive, I feel.

Time for an ASBO?

So which of them in the non-FAC FAC club is going to be reimbursing online gaming companies such as CCP (don't know how Blizzard and WoW works - or indeed any other company hosting MMORPG's, in this respect) when thousands of customers at a time stop buying TimeCards because their connection speeds can't handle it? I'm curious as to which they think will cost them more?

Sean Jand

What about artists who don't want to do the performing monkey thing? Sean Bagguley isn't impressed:

While I'm not a huge fan of Lily Allen—I think I may have two of her tracks on my iPod—she is bang-on about the FAC.

Exactly how are the studio-based artists like Enya or Mike Oldfield supposed to perform their music "live"?

Enya's musical style requires hundreds of layers and tracks—on some tracks, over 500 layers for the vocal parts alone (according to a Sound on Sound interview with one of her producers) How is she supposed to split herself into 500 instances while on-stage? Hire a massive choir? Any idea how much those cost? (And how much it adds to have them miked-up so people at the back of Wembley Stadium, or the fields of Glastonbury, can actually hear them?)

Mike Oldfield's main selling point is that he's a *multi-instrumentalist*. I.e. he plays *every* instrument on his tracks, with only a few occasional exceptions. Now, Mike has held a couple of concerts during his career, but they've invariably been of the "hire a full-on orchestra, backing band, choir and the massed bagpipes of the Royal Scots Guards" variety, mainly done to promote the album. There's no way in hell a concert like that makes a profit.)

Now, someone is bound to jump up and claim that these are "real"  musicians. That they don't make "real" music.

To these people I have two words: "Doctor Who". I bet you can't find anyone who doesn't recognise it.

Its original arrangement, by Delia Derbyshire and the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop, is a classic of the musique concréte form recognised by almost everyone in the UK. (Derbyshire's arrangement lasted, in a modified form, almost to the end of Tom Baker's tenure. Samples of it were reused in the 2005 series.)

This is the most well-known footstep along the path which led to today's electronica, dance and sequenced music forms. Any music which uses synthesisers, samples or even a software sequencer like "Logic" or "Cubase" (or "Garageband")  to arrange it all, owes its very existence to the pioneers of this musique concréte movement in the 1940s. (Yes, folks, it predates both rock and roll!) Computers have made it easier, and somewhat cheaper, but you still have to have some musical talent to make something that people want to listen to.

Concerts are not cheap to produce, even for traditional guitar'n'drum bands. It doesn't help that audiences love a bit of spectacle to go with their music. I suspect this is a side-effect of the "MTV" generation: we're used to getting pictures with our sounds now.

There are thousands of musicians, songwriters and composers who have absolutely zero talent for acting and performing live. Why should they be penalised for not being able to do something that has precisely fuck all to do with *music*?

And that's, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is why the FAC can just FAC right off.


She should stick to talking about stuff she knows about like, cricket - it was a very good interview she gave on TMS in the summer!

Charlie Clark

I think she knows a trick or two about the music business. Anyway, according to Tim Cuthil we've sold out:

Now, in the past the Reg has not shied from pointing out the shortcomings of wannabee "D"-listers and is in fact the organ that first brought the word "celebutard" to my attention (and I thank you for it), usually in connection with some starlet from across the pond. However I've also noticed over time a strange tendancy for the Reg to refrain from putting the boot into our own, home-grown vacuous celebutard even when it is richly deserved (as it is here). You guys even once resorted to censoring a post from myself in which I dared to speculate on the possibility that Andy Warhol may have had people like her in mind when he made his famous "15 minutes" quote. I have some theories as to why and I wonder if you'd be so good as to tell me which one's correct?
  1. Lester's shagging her. Now I know this sounds unlikely, but then the platypus exists so I'm leaving it in.
  2. The Moderatrix is shagging her. I'm sure this one's out of the question as the bean counters as the Reg would have cottoned on to the Pay Per View angle here by now.
  3. She owns a chunk of / is a contributor to El Reg. This one's well onto the list of possibilities as I'm quite sure that she could have mistakenly thought she was investing in a Latin-American restaurant chain.
  4. She know where the bodies are buried. Actually I'm not sure that she knows anything at all, bar how to con the BBC into giving her a cushy job, but it's possible that she might have picked up something on the grapevine and equally possible that she might have remembered it (assuming she had a wax crayon and a piece of paper handy at the time).
  5. The Svengali character pulling her strings knows where the bodies are buried. Now this one's my top candidate. Everyone knows that she's a sock puppet for some new meejah types and it's entirely plausible that whoever that is has a set of compromising pictures that they could trot out.
  6. She is actually amanfromMars.

So then, which is it? :-)

I think it's (6), Tim. But don't tell anyone. ®

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