Music and tech news roundup

March 31, 2009


First off, the zed equals zee happy hour was a rousing success, with lots of terrific conversation. It was fantastic to meet so many Boston musicians and bloggers face to face, including some of the people behind Boston Band Crush, The Limits of Science, Electric Laser People, and Paul Lamere of Music Machinery and his colleagues at The Echo Nest. It’s a measure of how friendly the crowd was that there was waaaaaaay too much money on the table at the end of the night; if you came out last night, join us for the next zed equals zee happy hour in a few months and the first round is on us.

More news:

Activision and Red Octane have announced that DJ Shadow is signed up to help develop and test the hardware for DJ Hero, set for release later this year. The turntablist may also appear as a playable character. There are not-terribly-substantiated rumours (which I’ll happily spread) that Daft Punk may also be involved in the new game. [via Resident Advisor]

On a related note, MTV reports that Rock Band has sold over 40 million songs, for nearly a billion dollars in revenue.

According to a recent report, live music has now overtaken recorded music in revenue in the UK (£904 million vs £896 million). Although that includes neither sponsorship revenues nor digital licensing, which makes me wonder a bit about the author’s job title of Chief Economist. No word on whether the numbers include Rock Band downloads. [NME] [EDIT: removal of unwarranted snark; see comments for details]

Mission of Burma is blogging the recording of their new album! [via @clickyclicky]

DIY donk. Remix any track into the Northern England sound of bouncy techno. Music Machinery’s donkified version of The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” made me laugh out loud, although I still had to turn it off after about 15 seconds.

DIY…keybass? bass keytar? Whatever, it’s pretty awesome.

MP3: Amanda Palmer – Such Great Heights* [more Amanda Palmer]

*the anti-donk version


  1. So you’re saying you didn’t make it to the lyrics of the donkified SGH? Big mistake — Ben Gibbard as Alvin. Although it does make me wonder what donkifying the Amanda Palmer version would sound like. Chipmunking a lugubrious low alto (high tenor, even) female voice gives you, what, generic pop princess? Maybe when I get home from work.

    As regards “Chief Economist,” the intent of the report seems to be to characterize spending by consumers, which would definitely leave out sponsorship and at least some kinds of digital licensing. Of course, I’d have thought that would leave out performance royalties, as well, so that might not be any better an explanation.

  2. Oh, actually, you’re right on two counts.

    First, I did make it to about 300 milliseconds past where chipmunked Ben Gibbard comes in.

    Second, I realized this morning that the report was only focusing on consumer spending, and I’ve edited the post accordingly.

  3. I’ve emerged from my guitar hermit state to comment on this a week late. The happy hour really was a rousing success. So nice to finally meet you in person, Debcha! I hope your voice has returned : ) It was also great to talk to “guest blogger” Scott, Paul, and as always, the BBC’ers. Hope meet-ups like this continue after Z=Z returns to Cambridge!

  4. Great to meet you too, Nick! And yes, we plan to host more z=z meetups – look for the next one in August.

  5. I have mixtapes from 1996 full of this exact sound. I’m getting a little frightened that this constant push back to the sounds of the late rave movement is going to result in the ultimate ironic dance music revival, the actual return of Happy Hardcore. I don’t think the credibility of electronic dance music can survive a second round of that nonsense.

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