Are Major Recording Companies About To Sell Out Their Artists?

DLD Conference 2012 - Day 2

“Sony, Universal and Warner — the “big three” record labels, which control 89% of global music sales — are nearing a deal with SoundCloud, the popular Berlin-based music site that since 2007 has allowed its 250 million monthly users to upload and stream music. The deal would grant SoundCloud licenses to play big three-copyrighted music (and “avoid legal trouble”) in exchange for a 3-5% stake for each company in SoundCloud’s estimated $500-600 million net worth (plus a chunk of future revenues). That’s $15-30 million per record label to not sue SoundCloud. The kicker? The musicians might not see a dime of it.”

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The Dream Of Speed-Reading (And What It Does To Our Brains)

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“It is much more difficult to gather ideas of any complexity at all using Spritz than it is in ordinary reading. Complex ideas, like those routinely presented in philosophy or literary fiction, require a lot of rereading as you go. Also, when the sentence begins in a Spritz display, you can’t tell how long it’s going to be: a terrific drawback for comprehension.”

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Should Playwrights Be Worried About Piracy If They Digitize Their New Plays?

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“Since theater is a live art form, to me there’s nothing about digitization that intrinsically makes piracy easier. Unlike the music and film industries, where digitization (and the attendant problem of piracy) has had a vast and industry shaking effect, I don’t anticipate the same thing for theater. As a friend once said, the worst piracy tool of the century is the photocopier.”

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A Creativity Pill? A Doctor Looks At The Evidence

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“I started painting from morning till night, and often all through the night until morning. I used countless numbers of brushes at a time. I used knives, forks, sponges … I would gouge open tubes of paint–it was everywhere. But I was still in control at that point. Then, I started painting on the walls, the furniture, even the washing machine. I would paint any surface I came across. I also had my ‘expression wall’ and I could not stop myself from painting and repainting [it] every night in a trance-like state. My partner could no longer bear it. People close to me realized that I crossed some kind of line into the pathological, and, at their instigation, I was hospitalized.”

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The Heart Of Opera? Why, That Would Be Germany

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“According to the opera statistics website Operabase, last year 7,230 opera performances took place in Germany, one-third of the world’s total. The United States was a distant second, at 1,730 performances, followed by Russia and France, at 1,441 and 1,288, respectively. Austria ranked sixth, at 1,252 performances, and Switzerland ninth, at 795.”

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Is This MySpace For Art?

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“On the ART:I:CURATE site, collectors and artists create profiles – think Myspace, but for visual artists rather than musicians – and can buy and sell work. ART:I:CURATE members can also give their digital mark of approval with a Facebook-esque “like” button. In addition, ART:I:CURATE organizes exhibitions in non-gallery settings including apartments, warehouses and hotels.”

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Dancing While The Bombs Are Falling

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“The audience was in ‘the hole’ when the siren went off about 9:15. They evacuated to the safe room downstairs in the costume department, as did the dancers. We sat. The atmosphere was both rational (what are the chances of a rockets hitting right here?) and fearful (what if?), experienced and fresh, trying to keep the morale positive and alert; selfies were taken….We heard a few loud booms outside, presumably the iron dome intercepting the projectiles, and the sirens stopped.”

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The Deep Comfort Of Mediocre Sitcoms

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“The easy tropes and practiced banter, the reliable fulfilling of a sitcom’s tasks, contributed to a sense of permanence. … Here was a world void of dread, danger, and anxiety, a place in which work and play were indistinguishable, in which jobs just meant different aesthetics attached to the same basic glee.” Exhibit A: Just Shoot Me.

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Is This Young Man The Next Leonard Bernstein?

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“Now 24, Matthew Aucoin has become one of the most sought-after young voices in classical music. He also is one of the most ambitious, setting himself the goal of transforming opera into something other than musical spinach for a new generation. He is as close as the art form comes to a triple threat, racking up accomplishments as a composer, conductor and pianist.”

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Aspen Art Museum Set To Move Into A New Home And (Perhaps) A New League

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“After three decades of shoehorning contemporary-art exhibits into a former power plant on the outskirts of this wealthy Rocky Mountain enclave, the museum plans to triple its footprint. It will relocate in August to a new home designed by Pritzker prize winner Shigeru Ban in the center of town – a move that illustrates the growing clout and ambition of Aspen’s stewards.”

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How Electronic Dance Music Has Taken Over Vegas (And America)

Hakkasan Las Vegas: 7,000 capacity and bigger than the White House.

“If you were looking for evidence of how EDM has taken over America, and Las Vegas in particular, you wouldn’t necessarily need to go to Hakkasan. You could just drive from the airport to the strip and look at how many of the giant billboards now advertise not legendary singers or magicians or entertainers, but DJs.”

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The American Who’s Dancing With The Bolshoi

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“For the past three years, since he made headlines by becoming the first American — and first foreigner — to be named a principal dancer at the storied Bolshoi Ballet, Hallberg, a blond, elegant dancer from the American heartland, has lived what he calls two separate lives — his American life, in New York, and his Russian life, in Moscow.”

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Actress Elaine Stritch, 89

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“Ms. Stritch’s career began in the 1940s and spanned almost 70 years. She made her fair share of appearances in movies, including Woody Allen’s “September” (1987) and “Small Time Crooks” (2000), and on television; well into her 80s, she had a recurring role on the NBC comedy “30 Rock” as the domineering mother of the television executive played by Alec Baldwin.”

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Actress Elaine Stritch, 89

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“Once, when she went to the Actors Studio for a tune-up, [Lee Strasberg] just waved her away with ‘Elaine, you were born with The Method’.”

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Philadelphia Theatre Co. Hangs On And Hopes

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“Its finances are precarious, the mortgage is in foreclosure. Real estate agents are busily showing its home to potential buyers. A possible savior – Philadelphia’s Roberts family – might offer a helping hand, but not yet. As the Philadelphia Theatre Company hangs on by a thread, theater leaders say its loss would be a blow – artistically, and to the city.”

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Architect Randall Stout, 56

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“Mr. Stout, an associate in Frank Gehry’s office before establishing his own firm in 1996 in Los Angeles, explored the relationship between architecture and energy in holistic designs that were no less sculptural and humane for being ecologically responsible. Sustainability helped shape form.”

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