Got Gnarls Barkley?

A few things coming out of the U.K. lately indicate that online music is the future.  Of course, there's the Beatle announcement, but more interesting is the surprise success of Gnarls Barkley, who achieved a Number One hit through download sales alone:

“Recent successes from Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz and the Arctic Monkeys show how digital can be complementary to physical,” said Jamieson. “The lesson of history is that new technology expands the market for music and that is why record companies are so enthusiastically embracing the new digital formats.”

The Monkeys broke out via lots of downloads, the Gorillaz aren't even a physical band (although they recently played live in NYC).  With all of this in mind, I'm glad iTunes is holding firm to their pricing model.

Protestin’ in the Free World

More proof, if any were needed, of Bush’s similarities to Nixon. Neil Young has written, not a song, but AN ENTIRE ALBUM about the Bush Crime Family’s malfeasance:

SXSW Managing Director Roland Swenson, referring to Young’s indelible 1970 protest song “Ohio,” said, “Neil, we need a new song.” Young must have taken these words to heart, because he’s just finished writing and recording—out of the blue—a new album called Life in War, according to filmmaker and Young confidant Jonathan Demme, who describes it as “a brilliant electric assault on Bush and the war in Iraq.” The linchpin track, “Impeach the President,” features an edited-together Bush rap set to a 100-voice chorus chanting “flip”/”flop.” The album, with Young on Old Black, Rick Rosas on bass and Chad Cromwell on drums, took three days to finish. No word on when Reprise will release the album, but the Demme-directed concert film Heart of Gold arrives June 13 on DVD.

All You Need is Cash – Beatles Downloads Coming

According to numerous sources, an effort is underway to remaster the entire Beatles catalog and ultimately make is available for digital download, though it’s doubtful iTunes will be allowed to sell the songs:

Neil Aspinall, a former Beatles road manager and managing director of Apple Corps, was a witness in the company’s trademark lawsuit against Apple Computer (APPL).

He said that the company was digitally remastering the entire Beatles catalogue, which would pave the way for selling the songs online.

“I think it would be wrong to offer downloads of the old masters when I am making new masters,” he said in a written statement submitted to the High Court in London earlier this month.

“It would be better to wait and try to do them both simultaneously so that you then get the publicity of the new masters and the downloading, rather than just doing it ad hoc.”

A spokeswoman for Apple Corps confirmed Aspinall’s statement, and said that the company is preparing to make the Beatles catalogue available through online music services.

A funny twist to all this: It turns out Sir Paul McCartney recently gave video iPods to his tour crew, and betrayed some curiousity about a notorious mash-up of Jay-Z’s Black Album and the Beatles’ White Album:

Though the remix was subjected to a cease and desist order by EMI, the move did win Danger Mouse one interested potential fan – Paul McCartney, who listened to the album in his car.

“McCartney remains really interested in what’s going on in the creative world,” the source explained, “He likes to know what’s going on.”

This interest in modern music culture also led McCartney to take UK DJ, remixer and musician The Freelance Hellraiser (Roy Kerr) along with him on his tour.

Kerr won fame with a mash-up called “A Stroke of Genius”, which combined an instrumental edit of The Strokes’ track “Hard To Explain” with Christina Aguilera’s pop hit “Genie in A Bottle”.

The DJ was given unique access to McCartney’s own tracks in order to create remixes to play to the audience before each show.

New Beatles?

I’m a bit dubious about how fresh these so-called “new Beatles” tracks will sound. With three separate double CDs of outtakes already in circulation, not to mention countless bootlegs, what’s left that hasn’t been heard?

The Beatles are set to release an album of new material this summer to coincide with a show taking place in Las Vegas, featuring the fab four.

Producers of the live show reportedly have access to over 200 hours of recorded material from the band, which will be used to create the new album.

Neil Aspinall (Head of Apple Corps) explains “It involves the creation, by the re-mixing and re-mastering of the Beatles’ recorded performances, of completely new music, which will be featured in the show, and which should lead to the release of the show album”.

Surviving band members Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and producer Sir George Martin are all involved with the project.