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Catch me If You Can—The RIAA on MP3 Downloaders

RIAA LogoListening to music is a hobby for most people. Unlike before when you could only get music from record stores—which, unfortunately, many people would not afford— these days, it is quite easy and convenient to just download your favorites to enjoy at your leisure without the hassle of going out and buying the album. From a consumer perspective this is cool, right? But from the music industry perspective, this creates a never ending dilemma as sales continue to decline.

However, there is a legal alternative to getting free music by logging on to the Internet and finding websites that let you download your favorite hits. That alternative is streaming Internet radio. The Internet is always on and always available (well, almost always)….you will rarely find a person who does not use it, which makes Internet radio incredibly convenient. Since music files are all copyrighted materials, Internet radio providers often display ads to pay royalties to the recording companies, which in turn grant permission to play their copyrighted works. But, you say, I want the files on my computer…so what are the consequences of illegally downloading music?

Lawsuits Overview

Who hasn’t heard about the lawsuits filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)? These case charges were filed against thousands of Internet users from all walks of life. Its goal is not only to preserve the integrity of the copyright materials but, most importantly, to augment declining music industry sales. After realizing that sales continue to drop and that the efforts made did not create significant impact Internet users whom they sued one by one, the RIAA has tweaked their complaints a bit.

A New Route

While these lawsuits are still on-going, it is geared towards a new direction. Instead of going after each Internet user that has downloaded a music file, a letter of complaint will be sent to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This made it more sensible and efficient for the RIAA. First, your ability to download music files is dependent on your Internet connection, hence once you are dropped by your ISP, you will no longer be able to download files. Second, collaborating with handful of ISPs is much easier than going to court to sue individuals. This initiative has allowed the RIAA to differentiate regular users from the list of illegal downloaders.

The Supreme Verdict

The RIAA has gone so far as to take their case to the Supreme Court, but because of the fact that the RIAA initiatives to stop music piracy and copyright infringement did not seem to work at all, the Supreme Court was compelled not to review the case. This decision has triggered another action from the RIAA. Instead of going after small-time downloaders, they will only go after those users who are uploading more than a thousand files. This means that even if you download copyright materials, you are safe from charges as long as you will not upload these files for someone else’s benefits…at least for the time being.

Illegal music downloading is no doubt hurting the music industry—many Internet users are attracted to the widespread availability of free music downloads online. The consequences, while currently being applied mainly to those that make music available for download, can be devastating. The RIAA has switched tactics before though, so we recommend sticking to streaming Internet radio in case they start targeting individuals again—it’s free, convenient and legal.

Themed Musical Jewelry

Huge DiamondMusic has had a huge impact on jewelry design, with musical artists influencing the styles that become popular overnight. Hip hop music, for instance, made bling jewelry studded with diamonds a must-have accessory for any up-and-coming rap artist. However, not every musician can afford to load down on gold chains and diamond jewelry, and there are still other ways to express their musical talent choosing themed musical jewelry. page_go Continue reading Themed Musical Jewelry »

3 Things We Love about Comedy Radio

Who doesn’t like to laugh? Other than the Scrooges of the world, pretty much everyone just likes to laugh and have fun; it’s a much better alternative than crying as a way to exercise those facial muscles. This basic human need to let go of the day-to-day humdrum and have good belly laugh is the number one reason why comedy has been a booming business worldwide.

You experience comedy anywhere you go and every day of your life—when you’re riding the bus, you might overhear two young teenage boys cracking jokes to each; when you get home, you turn on the television and you see that a sitcom is on; you flip the radio on and hear the DJ wisecrack about something and you suddenly burst out laughing. Comedy is an intrinsic part of our lives; comedy radio is just one side of the comedy spectrum, but it’s a direct infusion of comic relief that you can access instantly thanks to the advent of Internet Radio and readily available Internet connections.

Comedy has been buzzing over the airwaves since the invention of the radio and had its heyday in the pre-television years with shows like “Amos and Andy” and “The Jack Benny Program”, but is still alive and well today, albeit in a different format. Stand-up comedy is the norm now, rather than the serial-type comedies of yesterday. Think about it: when someone cracks a joke and you ask them where they heard it, you almost always get the same answer—they heard it on the radio. So what is it about comedy radio that everyone loves so much?

page_go Continue reading 3 Things We Love about Comedy Radio »

Jack Johnson and Into The Sea

If you haven’t heard of Jack Johnson yet, you may soon as his sound and name are becoming more mainstream with the release of his new single “To The Sea.”

Johnson, born Jack Hody Johnson, is not only a singer and songwriter, but a filmmaker as well as a surfer. Growing up with a father who was a well-known surfer, Jeff Johnson, young Jack took an interest in the sport and began surfing at the age of 5. By the time he was 17, he became the youngest invitee to make the surfing finals at the Pipeline Masters on Oahu’s north shore. After an accident at the Pipeline that left him with 150 stitches in his forehead, not to mention knocking out a few of his teeth, he ended his surfing.

Jack also learned to play the guitar at a young age. During family gatherings, Jack said his dad’s friends came over and had singalongs. He felt it natural to write songs that anybody could listen to and this is the route he took as an adult.

Jack also attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated with a film degree. Now with music and film under his belt, it was just a matter of choosing what route he wanted to take. Johnson said during his college years, songwriting influences included Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Radiohead Otis Redding, G. Love and Special Sauce, Nick Drake, Ben Harper, The Beatles, Bob Marley, Neil Young and A Tribe Called Quest.

Jack’s professional career began after G.Love befriended him and would later record his song “Rodeo Clowns” The song would appear on his 1999 album Philadelphonic. In regards to his film career, soon after, Jack co-directed Thicker Than Water, a documentary surf film. He also composed the accompanying soundtrack. The film was released in 2000.

Jack Johnson’s music soon caught musician Ben Harper’s ear. Harper was especially interested in Jack’s debut album Brushfire Fairytales. The album was released in 2001 with Harper making a special appearance with his lap steel guitar.

In 2002, Jack and his wife Kim, created Brushfire Records, a company designed to release soundtracks for surf films.

Jack went on to direct and star in another surf film The September Sessions. The film was released in December of 2002. The soundtrack also featured Jack.

In 2003, Jack Johnson released his second full-length album On and On. It would be the first album to be recorded at Johnson’s Mango Tree Studio in North Shore, Oahu. Johnson said he credits most of the inspiration for the album to a childhood friend, Andrew Brown.

By 2004, Jack was performing at the Austin City Limits Festival and starred in the 2004 surf film A Brokedown Melody. In October of 2004, Jack returned to the Mango Tree Studio along with Zach Gill who played accordion, melodica and piano, to follow-up on his 2003’s On and On with the release of In Between Dreams, which was on the market March 1, 2005.

In 2006, the soundtrack Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George, was released by Jack Johnson. The album also featured Adam Topol, Ben Harper, G. Love, Kawika Kahiapo, Matt Costa, Merlo Podlewski and Zach Gill. The soundtrack was the first to make No. 1 since the Bad Boys II soundtrack in 2003, and it was the first soundtrack for an animated film to top the Billboard 200 since the Pocahontas soundtrack in 1995.

In February of 2008, Jack Johnson enlisted J.P. Plunier to produce his fourth full-length studio album Sleep Through The Static. The album was made using 100% solar energy at the Solar-Powered Plastic Plant studio in Los Angeles. The album was followed by a live album DVD of Johnson’s 2008 world tour entitled En Concert.

Then in February 2010, Johnson produced Animal Liberation Orchestra’s fifth studio album Man of the World. But it wasn’t until his release of To the Sea followed by a tour that brought him to the forefront. Johnson, not a mainstream performer, achieved No. 15 on USA Today’s alternative airplay chart for his single “You and Your Heart”.

Johnson’s album To the Sea was inspired by his newly founded appreciation for his life on the ocean and everything that entailed. Johnson’s father, who had died of cancer, sent Jack into a writing hiatus and on an introspective roll. The album celebrates his father, his father’s wisdom and passion for the ocean along with his love for his own wife and children.

Jeff Bachmeier is owner of, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit

Why Your Radio Portal Does “Radio Formatting”

Radio formatting is a way for traditional radio stations — and your favorite online radio portal — to program and broadcast material in order to reach a particular listening public. Formats have changed and mutated as music has evolved, reflecting new styles as well as the growth of listeners’ musical tastes and preferences.

Through time, radio formatting has become close to an art form, with stations learning more about how to direct their play lists to a specific demographic. Understanding the age, background, and ethnicity of a particular listenership has everything to do with capturing a targeted group in order to increase a station’s revenue. Good radio formatting is a marketing tool to get more listeners to tune in and stay tuned in.

Radio formats can be straightforward or complex. Some stations just play Country, which is simple to understand. Others combine a variety of play lists because they include cross over musicians or a combination of formats that are closely linked in other ways, such as Adult Alternative, Adult Album Alternative, and Adult Contemporary.

Format labels are there to help each radio portal or station define their target audiences. Sometimes these labels are a boon to listeners, making it easier for them to know what they are getting when they hit the dial. Sometimes, however, the labels can be confusing, especially when the lines of distinction start to blur.

Format Details
Alternative – This format includes punk and new wave material of the 1970s as well as the grunge bands of the 80s. Newer bands that do not fit into a top forty context are also featured in this context.
Classic Rock – Includes music from the 60s, 70, 80s, as well as some current releases.
Comedy – Features short comedic routines from current and past comedy artists.
Country – Music from both the present and the past within the genre.
Oldies – Geared towards adult listeners, this nostalgia format features “golden hits” from the 1950s through the 1970s, including rock and roll and popular tunes.
Smooth Jazz – This is lightweight jazz format that sets a mood with no demands on deeper listening. The genre is also called New Adult Contemporary
The Hitz – Geared towards adult listeners, this nostalgia format features “golden hits” from the 1950s through the 1970s, including rock and roll and popular tunes.
The 80’s – Pop, rock, and dance music from this decade.
The 90’s – Pop, rock, and dance music from this decade.

Format Details
Active Rock – Generally music that is designed to be played loud, such as hard rock, metal, and heavy metal.
Adult Album Alternative – Current music play lists for an adult audience. Usually the selections are of a wider range than found on “hit radio” and can include album tracks. This genre can incorporate many musical styles such as rock, folk rock, country rock, modern rock, blues, folk, and world.

Festival Concerts From Oldies to Today’s Music

By Michele Kadison

Radio has come a long way since the days when formats included one genre, limiting the listening public to fans of that particular musical style. As on-air stations began to see artists crossing over from one type of material to another, formatting began to change, expanding listenership and creating more opportunities for what we now call “oldies music” radio to expand. Additionally, as artists began to explore fusions in musical styles while taking greater risks, radio stations began to create alternative formats that allowed new music to flourish and be heard.

Not to be overlooked is how some of the important early live concerts in oldies music have affected this important evolution. These concerts were actually the forerunners of inclusively, bringing a wide variety of artists together onstage and introducing new genres to primed and waiting audiences.

Three Days of Peace and Music

WoodstockThe most seminal concert of this kind was Woodstock. Born from a concept created by four enterprising men (the oldest of whom was 26), the concert was initially formulated to raise money for a recording studio in Woodstock, New York where artists such as Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix were looking to hang their hats now and then. The idea was to create a festival called the “Aquarian Exposition”, which took its name from “the age of Aquarius” out of the radical hit musical of the time, “Hair”.

Grateful DeadThe concert took place on August 15, 1969, officially beginning at 5:07 PM and heralding in what was called “three days of peace and music”. The idea was new and the set-up for artists was unprecedented as well, as the entrepreneurs had to guarantee paychecks to the bands in order to persuade them to play. Woodstock Ventures was thus able to engage some of the biggest acts of the time, including today’s oldies music hits such as the Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Who, Cream, Grateful Dead, and Ravi Shankar. Some of these bands were paid more than they’d ever received for a concert, which ended up costing the entrepreneurs a sum that was considered enormous for the time, a whopping $118,000 for talent alone. Once these big name artists were committed, the festival gained credibility luring more artists to sign up. After all was said and done, Woodstock eventually cost more than 2.4 million dollars.

What’s Going On

JFK & Martin LutherThe 60’s was a decade that was chock full of political events. Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy were assassinated, the war in Vietnam was taking a huge toll on the country and its youth, and racial issues created a mounting pressure cooker. The generation gap that formed due to the draft, political divisions, and new affirmations on questioning authority in every way became a force of nature.

Sex, drugs, and rock and roll also defined the generation, separating those “on the bus” from those off the bus. Woodstock and that era of oldies music became the emblem of what was seeded in the 60s and an eventual part of our cultural lexicon as it defined what it was to be a part of the growing protest, which included draft dodgers, black militants, gays and lesbians, and everyone in between.

Hear Me, Film Me

Woodstock CrowdRoughly 500,000 people attended the Woodstock festival. A sound system large enough to accommodate this enormous oldies music audience spread out over a large outdoor space had to be created. This proved to be a challenge that eventually was solved and led the way to big business opportunities in the rock concert scene: the formulation of speaker systems that could handle overwhelming decibels while delivering clear sound to the people.

The festival promoters were smart enough to realize that they needed to chronicle the event, so they hired a cameraman/director of independent films to do so. Michael Wadleigh had never had an assignment quite like this. He got some New York filmmakers to help, including heavyweight director Martin Scorsese, but was still unable to get funding as film executives were gun-shy after the low box office profits from the filming of the Monterey Pop Festival. The deal they finally struck was to pay the filmmakers double or nothing once the film came out. The film, “Woodstock,” directed by Wadleigh and edited by Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker received the Academy Award for Documentary Feature and a nomination for Best Sound. Rock concert documentation suddenly became big business.

Crossing Genres

How the Woodstock festival played out is the stuff of legend and has been documented by many. That it brought together not only so many people, but also so many diverse oldies music sounds – from folk to ballad, Indian to hard driving rock n roll, and more, helped pave the way for crossing genres over the air ways as radio stations saw the huge appeal as well as the revenues to be made from the combination.

The second time around – not necessarily a charm

In the 1990s, impresarios tried to exploit the Woodstock phenomenon again. But the festival lacked the authenticity and soul of the original, proving that if people do not share common beliefs and values, cohesiveness is difficult to achieve. It is rare that a true original can successfully be replicated.

Alternative Sounds Open the Market

LollapaloozaYears later another type of revolutionary concert was envisioned and accomplished. The Lollapalooza festival, created in 1991 by Perry Farrell as a farewell tour for his band Jane’s Addition, managed to formulate a workable festival that unlike Woodstock, would bring itself to the people through touring.

Lollapalooza featured artists outside the mainstream such as alternative rock bands, hip hop and punk musicians, new generation artists, as well as dance and comedy performers. The festival exposed bands like Nine Inch Nails, The Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Souxie & the Banchees, and Hole as well as new and as yet unsigned groups. Grunge was featured as a viable genre, and mosh pits and crowd surfing reached their heights as interactive elements that defined the concert experience beyond its oldies music beginnings.

Lollapalooza CrowdMore people saw and participated in Lollapalooza than any other musical festival to date. Farrell coined the term “Alternative Nation” to describe the musicians and their fans who were the emblem of new music forms bursting the conventional stereotypes. All went well until 1997 when the festival stopped touring. It was revived in 2003, but as with the Woodstock festival of the 1994, it too lacked soul and drove people away due to high ticket prices, a reflection of the big business roots it had grown. In 2005 Farrell partnered with the William Morris Agency to make it a fixed destination in Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois where it has taken on a new success.

From the Concert Stage, to the Radio Play

Where we are today musically is due to the contributions of unique and ground-breaking festivals like the original Woodstock and Lollapalooza concerts. They set the stage for opening up the minds not only of people coming to hear the music, but also of studio executives, stadium impresarios, and most importantly, radio station programmers who recognize the importance of delivering the goods that stimulate listeners. As more bands and single artists appear on the stage, it is often through this type of concert exposure that they are able to make radio play; this approach has held true for artists from oldies music to the present. Opening up for a major act on a concert stage is a powerful way to get a record exec’s attention, especially if the fans are in full support. From there, if the radio stations are providing adequate venues to handle burgeoning sounds, everyone benefits.

90s Music Hits: What You Need to Know

90s music introduced a huge variety in musical styles and taste. Everything from pop, alternative, grunge, rap, punk, electronic, and one-hit-wonders hit the airwaves along with a wave of snazzy female musicians making huge inroads in the musical firmament. Musical artists turning up in the 90s opened up many horizons, and seemed to give each genre more permission to stretch its limits as far as possible.

90’s Music Hits: The Early Days

The early 90s brought in some great dance music with sounds from Technotronic “Pump Up The Jam”, C&C Music Factory “Gonna Make Your Sweat/Everybody Dance Now”, Snap “The Power”, Madonna “Vogue”, Sir Mix-A-Lot “Baby Got Back”, MC Hammer “U Can’t Touch This”, Ton Loc “Wild Thing”, and Vanilla Ice “Ice Ice Baby.”

Pearl Jam - 90s Music HitsR&B artists had some stellar 90s music hits on the charts, with En Vogue “Hold On”, Regina Belle “Make It Like It Was”, Skyy “Real Love”, Mariah Carey “Vision of Love”, Jeffrey Osborne “Only Human”, R. Kelly & Public Announcement “Honey Love R”, and Jodeci “Stay”.

Grunge was born with Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, and Blind Melon. Nirvana’s huge hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” gave meaning to what was being depicted as a meaningless world and alternative music fans were well satisfied. Techno/house/dance music became a growing phenomenon as the wave of electronic music signified a more powerful entry of the culture into cyberspace. DJs began to become prominent as they created their own name-brand mixes for clubs around the world.

The 90’s: The Halfway Point

Around 1995, music’s darker side gave way to a lighter feel with bands coming up like Hootie and the Blowfish, the Bodeans, and Sister Hazel. Britney Spears and Cristina Aguilera blew open the charts, creating a sexy pop sound that resonated with a wide range of listeners. Sexual innuendo was becoming more provocative and overt, with videos to back up the heat. Boy bands such as N’Sync, Backstreet Boys, and 98 Degrees ruled the day with their harmonies and distinct personalities that gelled into an ideal music biz product.

Dave Matthews Band were 90s Music HitsSome really powerful bands were rising through the charts in the 90s. Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Alice in Chains, the Goo Goo Dolls, the Foo Fighters, the Dave Matthews Band, Weezer, and Counting Crows all factored in strong during the decade. U2 was coming out with 90s music hits as strong as ever, Oasis had a hit with “Wonderwall” and REM issued their powerful song, “Losing My Religion.” Punk bands like Greenday and the Offspring along with heavy metal bands such as Metallica, Guns and Roses, and Jane’s Addiction were all strong influences on the music scene. Marilyn Manson typified the growing trend towards breaking down barriers in order to take the message to the limit.

Some of the strongest albums of the decade included “The Queen is Dead” by the Smiths, “Doolittle” by The Pixies, “It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back” by Public Enemy, “The Stone Roses” by The Stone Roses, and “Lies and Corruption” by New Order Power. Additionally we had the pivotal 90s music hits albums “Nevermind” from Nirvana, “Grace” from Jeff Buckley, “Blue Lines” from Massive Attack, “Different Class” from Pulp, and “The Good Sun” from Nick Cave.

On the R&B scene, En Vogue, Eryka Badu, Maxwell, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, TLC, Toni Braxton, Luther Van Dross, and Janet Jackson were going strong. Hip hop and Goth also entered the charts, becoming more mainstream as these relatively new genres garnered radio play.

The 90’s: Women of the 90’s

Shania Twain Songs are 90s Music Hits90s music was the decade where more women appeared on pop charts than in any former time. Artists like Sheryl Crow, Jewel, Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah, Liz Phair, Erykah Badu, Paula Cole, Shawn Colvin, Tori Amos, and Emmy Lou Harris created a diversity in sound that rocked the scene and brought a lot of great music to the listening public. Throughout the decade, Marian Carey was on the charts with nineteen 90s music hits; Gloria Estefan had nine; Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and Allanis Morisette all had seven; Madonna had six; and Janet Jackson had five.

From 1997 to 1999, Canadian singer, Sarah McLachlin created and toured the Lilith Fair, featuring only female singers and successfully demonstrating to the music industry that girl power was indeed something to be reckoned with.

The 90’s: A Lasting Influence

The 90s had a tremendous influence on today’s musical trends through bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, which mixed heavy metal and distorted guitar licks with expressive if not depressive lyrics. Radiohead also challenged listeners to pay attention to lyrics that delivered a strong message, asking more than had been asked of music fans in any other decade.

Sean Combs helped to expose more of the hip hop scene with his producing and business savvy. The growth of “gangsta rap” came out of the 90s, and new pop divas sprang up full-blown in the form of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Mary J. Blige and Missy Elliott delivered new and exciting images for females through their strong messages combined with danceable beats. Permission was being given to all musical artists to ‘get out there and do your thing.’ Cross-over became the order of the day towards the end of the decade as more and more artists enjoyed airplay in a variety of markets.

Many of the artists that came up producing 90s music hits through that decade still remain strong and consistent in the 2000s, demonstrating that this was definitely a time that spawned class acts with durability and dimension.

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  • About the Author:
    Jeff Bachmeier is owner of, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile.

    For more information please visit