The Newest Release for the Nintendo Famicom – A Chiptune Album

The Nintendo Famicom (also known as the NES to those of us in the west), is a classic console from the almost distant age of 1983, packed with games that have soundtracks that are loved and remixed to this day. Game soundtracks are as popular as ever, some even garnering releases on physical media such as vinyl. Developer RIKI has gone one step further, choosing a Famicom cartridge as the media to release their new chiptune album, 8BIT MUSIC POWER.

8 BIT MUSIC POWER is more than just a music album too. Each one of the 12 original tracks features an accompanying video in charming pixellated Famicom style. These graphics are created by Hiroshi Ono, famous for working on Pac Man, Galaga, Dig Dug and more. If you’re concerned about the quality of music that these graphics are to accompany, the project’s music include entries by popular Japanese video game and anime composers, such as Yuriko Keino (Xevious, Dig Dug), Keishi Yonao (YU-NO) and Hiroaki Sano (Lyrical Nanoha).

For those of you looking to get your hands on this throwback piece, unfortunately, it is currently only planned to have a limited release in Japan. It will be available for ¥3,800 on the Amazon Japan site from January 31st, with a limited run of “several thousand copies” available. If you wish to import, an adapter will be needed to play on American and European NES systems, but there is still hope for a NES release of the cartridge. Already western fans and retailers have surprised the manufacturer, Columbus Circle with requests for a western release, so it may just be possible…

Could projects like this among creative fans of classic consoles see a resurgence of music and homebrew games for the now-dated hardware? I certainly hope so, as even with the current age of HD graphics and sound, pixellated sprites and chiptunes still have a special place in many of our hearts.

Vinyl Sales More Profitable Than Streaming According to RIAA

In the modern digital age of Spotify, Netflix and other streaming services, you would expect tangible, physical media sales to pale in comparison and become a niche outlet. Surprisingly, this couldn’t be further from the truth as vinyl sales figures have increased 52% year-on-year. In contrast to this, streaming services became more widely used at a 27% rate. Additionally, vinyl sales accounted for $222 million while streaming revenue reached $163 million.

According to data analyst Joshua Friedlander:

“Overall, the music industry has become the most-digital in terms of all traditional media outlets – magazines, newspapers – in terms of transition. There is more optimism out there than there was. Two-thirds of the market is still physical [CDs]. It used to be monolithic. Now it’s a mix of things, a revenue diversification that makes a more stable source to grow off of. [Streaming] services have mostly grown through word of mouth. There hasn’t been a big Spotify advertising push. When you get a player like Apple involved, that really generates a whole new level of awareness”.

The data from the RIAA is fascinating and exemplifies how popular vinyl is becoming with collectors and music enthusiasts. Clearly, the future revolves around streaming technology, but it doesn’t provide the same satisfaction as owning a huge LP with gorgeous artwork. Pink Floyd’s prism design on Dark Side of the Moon is sublime and a visual masterpiece. Vinyl records also contain extras, printed song lyrics and sometimes divulge information about the recording process. I would hate to see the end of album art cover because some of the classic albums feature some of my favourite pieces of artwork. Storm Thorgerson sadly passed away some time ago and produced a huge array of distinctive artwork for Pink Floyd. Surely in 2015, we can find room to properly honor the classics through our love of vinyl.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information. 

Government Changes Mind – Ripping CD’s Now Illegal Again

Left Right Left Right, the government doesn’t quite seem to have a solid stance on the process of ripping your albums and movies. After being made legal last year, it would seem that the high court has once again ruled it should be illegal to copy a CD for whatever purposes.

The ruling last year stated that you could make a copy of CD for purposes such as a backup, or copy the music to an MP3 player or another such device (yes that’s right, it’s been illegal all along). You could do this as long as the original media (cd, film, ext..) had been acquired legally and that you didn’t share the content with anyone else.

The change in policy has been seen as a great move by UKMusic, who represent musicians, songwriters and others involved in the musical industry. In a statement, they said that the “Government acted unlawfully when it introduced an exception to copyright for private copying without fair compensation”.

An alternative plan to replace the funds lost by you copying that album from a CD to an MP3 would have been for MP3’s, CD’s, Blu-Rays and DVD’s to have a special tax put on them, with the funds going to the music and movie industries.

So if I’m understanding this right, because you buy a CD (therefore supporting the music industry and the company which produced it) you shouldn’t be allowed to copy that music to a backup disk for when the original breaks or even to your iPod or MP3. Seems to me like companies just don’t want people buying the CD’s anymore, because if it’s deemed illegal to do so and they start acting on it, people will stop buying physical copies and then we will no doubt see complaints about their lack of CD sales being negatively impacted.

Thank you Ars Technica or the information.

Image courtesy of DuplicationCentre.

UK Vinyl Record Sales Reach 1 Million

For the first time since 1996, 1 million vinyl records have been sold in the UK.

The Official Chart Company told the BBC that sales this year will reach £20 million – incredible for a technology that was practically “written off”.

“In an era when we’re all talking about digital music, the fact that these beautiful physical artefacts are still as popular as they are is fantastic,”.

The records don’t end there though either – earlier this month, Pink Floyd’s The Endless River became the fastest-selling vinyl release since 1997.

It has been suggested that this could well just be a niche thing, that probably wont go much further. In a world where digital music is king, it’s hard to see young One Direction fans popping down to HMV to buy their latest record. They’re more likely to go and download it (sometimes legally) or further still, stream it. One Direction celebrated 1 billion streams on Spotify just earlier this week.

It does however raise a point that many have been keen to discuss recently – are digital music sales and streaming making enough money for artists? Is this rise in vinyl a sign of struggling artists turning to more novel, material sales in an effort to generate a profit?

What do you think, is this just a fad for hipsters, or is it a sign of things to come for struggling musicians?

Source: BBC News

Record Labels Embarrass Themselves, Take down Kim Dotcom’s Own Album

In a twist of irony, the music industry group IFPI has sent not one, but two separate take down notices to MEGA about Kim Dotcom’s own album, Good Times. In one of the instances they were successful and the link to the Album stopped working last Monday. Of course the album was hosted on MEGA, and it shows a bit of how the music and movie industry abuses the takedown system with auto-generated, and often false, takedown requests.

With the ongoing lawsuit and the reputation the old Megaupload had, copyright holders are keeping a close eye on MEGA, though so far the takedown request have been relative small. On that note, I might point out that the the U.S. government just has joined the MPAA and RIAA in a new lawsuit in an attempt to get liquidised assets from Dotcom.

Torrentfreak noticed the file was missing and contacted both MEGA and Kim Dotcom for statements. Mega replied back that the explanation was a takedown notice from IFPI on September 1, claiming the link infringed on the copyrights of one of their artists. They listed a whole bunch, but didn’t specify which one, and Kim Dotcom wasn’t one of them. When Kim heard of this, he contacted Mega and got them to reinstate the link, but it was down for a day.

 

“This is an indication that someone at the IFPI is not doing their homework and that their takedown notices in general cannot be trusted,” said Mega’s Chief Compliance Officer Stephan Hall to TorrentFreak. IFPI’s actions have been sloppy, to say the least, and there is little faith to be put in the accuracy of the music group’s other takedown requests. Mega have also analysed big samples of notices and found most were automated keyword based takedowns that largely affected legitimate files.

 Thank you TorrentFreak for proving us with this information

Images courtesy of TorrentFreak.

Guitar Hero Said to Have Made More Money for Aerosmith than Their Albums’ Sales

The popular American rock band, Aerosmith, also referred to as “The Bad Boys from Boston” and “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band”, have apparently sold over 150 million albums, estimating each band member’s fortune at over $100 million. However, the most interesting news is that from 2008 onwards, the majority of their profits have apparently rolled in from a video game.

In 2007, the band is said to have licensed 29 songs to Activision, the American video game publisher behind the popular and very successful franchise, Guitar Hero. In one year’s time, namely in June 2008, the Guitar Hero: Aerosmith title went on sale, having said to have brought over $25 million by selling almost 600,000 copies of the game in the first week and reaching an estimated 4 million copies sold to date. In comparison, the band’s 2004 album, Honkin’ on Bobo, sold about 160,000 copies and received only $2 million in the first week of sale.

This is just an example of one band’s profits coming largely from endorsements, cross-promotions, concerts and even video games in this case, compared to their album sales and digital downloads. It is said that last summer, 11 albums had sold 500,000 copies, having only 5 albums doing so well this year. Some musicians are also suggesting a strategy where they should “make high upfront investments in albums, and then set correspondingly high prices on them at retail.” However, given the album sale decline, the latter strategy would only make the decline in sales faster.

All in all, Aerosmith’s strategy might seem to make the most sense. We all live in an era where it’s more or less free to make digital copies of songs, having music itself not being scarce at all. The key appears not to be the artist’s music, but their brand, having bands earning more from it than from their albums.

Thank you Vox for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Vox