Prophetic Musical Gestures & High-Speed UFO Chases!

A couple of tantalizing tidbits from the news this week, certainly not the most meaningful but definitely interesting.

Quoth Wired:

The recording industry and U.S. radio companies have squared off for decades about whether AM and FM radio broadcasters should pay royalties to singers, musicians and their labels. Broadcasting music without payment is akin to piracy, the industry says.

What?? And here I thought this was satire…Wired continues:

But now the debate is getting meaner; there’s more at stake as the recording industry seeks new income avenues in the wake of wanton peer-to-peer piracy and declining CD sales in part due to the iPod and satellite radio. A U.S. House subcommittee could vote as early as Thursday on a royalty measure.

Taking it to the House of Representatives? Yawn. C’mon, guys. Can’t you do something more, y’know, creative? Well apparently, yes you can!

On Monday, the recording industry sent the National Association of Broadcasters — the trade group representing the $16 billion a year AM-FM broadcasting business — a can of herring to underscore that it believes its arguments against paying royalties are a red herring. The NAB says its members should not pay royalties because AM-FM radio “promotes” the music industry. [Emphases mine]

Red Herring – get it? Well if you don’t know what words and colloquialisms mean, their next gift should clarify things for you:

The herring present followed another gift — a dictionary, a bid by the recording industry to explain what it saw as the difference between fees and taxes. The NAB describes the latest royalty proposal as a tax.

Those cads! A can of herring, and a dictionary? Could they possibly top those?

And two weeks ago, the recording industry, under the umbrella group musicFIRST, sent the NAB four digital downloads: “Take the Money and Run” by the Steve Miller Band; “Pay me My Money Down” by Bruce Springsteen; “Back In the U.S.S.R” by Paul McCartney and “A Change Would Do You Good” by Sheryl Crow.

As Dave Barry would say, I’m not making this up. Kudos to you, recording industry. While I find your argument (as I have most of your technology-restricting arguments since around 1998) draconian and stultifying, at least you’re saying it with some real flair and panache. You can read the full article here.

Moving right along, when I read the headline (again from the fine folks at Wired) British Police in High-Speed Chase … With UFO, my interest was piqued. When I read the opening line,

In a close encounter with the future of transportation, a police helicopter almost hit what its crew insists was an alien spacecraft. And then they chased it. Seriously.

I wanted to say “Heck yeah!” and “Finally!” Something you probably don’t know about me: As a teenager I was a huge UFO and conspiracy theory buff. I knew a lot, then, about the state of alien abductions and UFO sightings ’round the world. As one friend in my house church community here likes to say, “You used to be cool, Mike, and into UFOs and stuff. Now you’re just into theology.”

Oh, how we’ve fallen.

So this article! The original, from the Telegraph, sez:

A police helicopter crew gave chase to a UFO after it almost collided with their aircraft near a military base. The pilot was forced to bank sharply to avoid being hit by the mystery aircraft as the helicopter was returning to the Ministry of Defence base of St Athan, near Cardiff.

The helicopter crew are said to have crossed the Bristol channel in pursuit of the UFO, but lost sight of it and had to turn back due to a fuel shortage.

I don’t often utter phrases like this these days, but those police officers are my heroes. Having the cajones to give chase to a flippin’ UFO is amazing. I salute you, Brittian’s finest! Full story here and here.

3 Responses to Prophetic Musical Gestures & High-Speed UFO Chases!

  1. Benjamin Williams June 26, 2008 at 1:17 pm #

    I’ve not seen a UFO, however there were three ghosts who “lived” in the house I grew up, two “men” and a “lady”. RIAA needs to chill, good thing most of my favorite hymns are public domain, won’t be long before they start going after congregations. Oh wait

  2. Drew June 26, 2008 at 2:43 pm #

    Here’s the weird thing: record labels now pay major market radio (which means a lot of small market radio thanks to mega-corporations like ClearChannel) large sums of money to play their music. How else did people like Leona Lewis come literally out of nowhere this summer? Popularity is a commodity because it leads to much greater record, tour and merchandising sales. It’s really not about the music, but the revenue generated around a few very bright stars that major labels develop to bring in more money for the label. MTV will only play a rotation of about 40 videos here and there and generates revenue not through music, but through the personalities that the labels create.

    So this whole deal with the RIAA is looks like they are trying to make money on both sides. Labels pay for the music to be played in regular rotation not unlike an advertiser buying time. Then the radio stations basically pay them back for it because popularity the labels pay for generates advertising revenue for the radio station? Hmmm…

  3. Stefan June 27, 2008 at 7:36 am #


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