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Monday, July 28, 2014

ENTERTAINMENT and POLITICS - 99% Invisible Episode 124: Longbox


R.E.M.’s  Out of Time is the most politically significant album in the history of the United States. Because of its packaging.

In 1985, the pop charts were full of Prince and Sheena Easton and the youth of America were being corrupted. Tipper Gore and other elite women of Washington formed the “Parents Music Resource Center” (PMRC) to put pressure on the creators and distributors of “objectionable” music.

There were Senate hearings, and eventually those little black and white Parental Advisory stickers started appearing on albums.

This set off a wave of censorship across the country.

For more: http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/longbox/

Saturday, July 05, 2014

SCIENCE/TECHNOLOGY - R.I.P. The Compact Disc, 1982-2008?

I recently came to work with two large tote bags filled with compact discs and dumped them out on a table in the middle of the office. To me, they were garbage. But for the vultures that are my fellow NPR Music producers, it was like finding a mountain of free money. They shuffled through the pile, grabbing everything that caught their eye. At one point, Stephen Thompson held up my discarded copy of Radiohead's OK Computer and incredulously asked, "Why would you get rid of this?"

For about a year now, I've been slowly purging my once-proud CD collection. Twenty-five years' worth of music, from the first disc I ever bought (Pink Floyd'sThe Wall) in 1984, to more recent releases.

Of course, I'm not really getting rid of them. I'm ripping everything to a massive hard drive hooked up to what has become my stereo: my computer...

But I'm also purging my CDs because I believe they're a dying format. There's never been a more obvious trend. CD sales continue to plummet at a breathless — and, if you're one of the big labels, alarming — rate. Meanwhile, digital download sales continue to climb...


Wednesday, July 02, 2014

ENTERTAINMENT - The 9 Most Powerful Lessons Punk Rock Teaches You

“To me, punk rock is the freedom to create, freedom to be successful, freedom to not be successful, freedom to be who you are. It’s freedom.” – Patti Smith

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

ENTERTAINMENT - Sony Walkman at 35: looking back at the most iconicmusic player of all time

What's your first Walkman memory?

The Sony Walkman is 35 today

Today, the Sony Walkman turns 35 years old. The Walkman is, therefore just a year younger than I am, and I certainly feel like we've grown up together...
If you weren't there, it's hard to explain just how much those of us who were lusted after the Walkman.
From Sony's first models, through to that yellow one you could take in the shower, the Walkman range was THE gadget of the 80s and 90s, and we all wanted one like the kids want smartphones today. More, even....
It was a very cool gadget though, and you have to remember that the combination of a ghetto blaster at home, and a Walkman for going out, meant that you could now record your favourite songs off the radio and take them with you. This was life changing for youngsters of the day.
We were the first generation to be able to do this, and it's not overstating the issue to say it changed music, and how people listened to it.
It also scared the willies out of the music industry, which for the first time was facing a threat to revenues from kids with dual-deck home systems making bootleg copies of albums while also recording the Top 40 off the radio to avoid having to buy singles.

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