Monday, July 20, 2009

Jamba Juice is a Bad Neighbor

At the moment, it appears the tasty pulp pushers at Jamba Juice have stolen (yes, stolen) the work of one of my favorite social conspirators, David Rees. Rees writes the awesome Get Your War On (before that, it was My New Filing Technique is Unstoppable), which was the work that Jamba Juice's soon-to-be-fired ad agency, Neighbor, stole.

The agency will most likely first claim the images are commercial clip art, and not an infringement. This is bullshit - they used the EXACT same clip art in EXACTLY the same style. I'm a longtime GYWO reader, and the Jamba Juice ripoff looks exactly like Rees' work. Exactly.

I'd have thought Rees had struck a deal with Jamba Juice and was now able to bathe in orange pulp or something.

What can you do?

Send an email to Killeen (She knows everything!) at Neighbor, and contact Jamba Juice corporate at 510.596.0100 x5785. Tell them you think they stole someone's work and demand (yes, DEMAND) some free Jamba. Then write David Rees an email and tell him which flavor you got.

via MeFi.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Brain Dump: CalPERS is suing ratings agencies

California’s credit rating, the lowest of all U.S. states, was cut for the second time in as many weeks amid lawmakers’ failure to close a $26 billion deficit that left the most-populous state issuing IOUs to creditors. Moody’s Investors Service said it lowered California’s credit rating two steps to Baa1 from A2 and said it could be reduced further if legislators don’t quickly address the state’s cash problem.
Bloomberg, July 14th, 2009.

CalPERS filed a lawsuit against the three biggest credit-ratings agencies, accusing them of issuing "wildly inaccurate and unreasonably high" ratings on structured investment vehicles that saddled the California pension fund with at least hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.

The suit, filed last week in California Superior Court in San Francisco by the nation's largest public pension fund, ratchets up the unflattering scrutiny of Moody's Corp.'s Moody's Investors Service, the Standard & Poor's unit of McGraw-Hill Cos. and Fimalac SA's Fitch Ratings over their culpability for the financial crisis.

Wall St. Journal, July 17th, 2009.

CalPERS has yet to publish a public statement regarding the lawsuit. The timing, however, is impeccable, and I'm curious what's at stake in this outcome. On one hand, the ratings agencies have a degree of influence on the cost of borrowing money - on the other, CalPERS may have opened the door for legal discovery, a process that typically uncovers all kinds of malfeasant treasures.

I think CalPERS has the upper hand here - the ratings agencies are the ones with something to hide, and PERS has the legal power to uncover it.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

iTunes and CD TEXT data: FAIL

Filed under: What were they thinking!

The last hour or so has been wasted by banging my head against the wall trying to figure out why iTunes (and Windows Media Player, for that matter) wouldn't recognize the track information I'd burned to the CD (a dataset called CD TEXT). What's *completely* annoying as a music producer is that iTunes ignores by design(!!) this basic set of data. It's a lot of information, and I hate (HATE!) systemic redundancies, especially "there's GOT to be a way to do this!" timewasters like this one.

I cannot fathom, other than OMG PIRATZ!1!, what the engineers were thinking when they ignored even the option to import CD data from the CD TEXT fields.

FAIL for shame, Apple.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Groove Addicts behind The Goode Family

Following up on my post about music licensing and television royalties being the primary economic engines for producers, here's a video clip from Groove Addict's YouTube channel giving a bit of insight into how they produce the unique sound of ABC's The Goode Family.

Top Gear Goes Home

BBC America's Top Gear visits Inyokern, California.

Where the money is right now

Maman also made sure that MTV credited him so that people would know exactly who to call when they heard the tune — a shrewd move that ensured the song would continue to pay dividends long after the first airing.
The bottom line is that connecting with music supervisors is more important than ever. They're the ones who are going to get your songs on TV and commercials, and that's where the money is right now from upfront fees and royalties.
Elie Maman in Mix Online.

A couple of years ago, I posed the question: Are ad agencies the new record labels? My answer today is "Not really". Ad agencies answer to their clients, and to have an in-house label would create a potential conflict of interest (a point driven home by Eric Korte in this clip). I would say, however, that ad agencies have complemented (or co-opted, depending on how you look at it) one traditional function of record labels, which was the testing and "breaking" of new music.

Critics can bemoan "selling out" all they want - this is the reality for music producers and artists.

Last point: the detail about getting an onscreen credit being the trigger for royalty payments. IANAL, so I'm not sure if that's actually a devil-in-the-details fact, but nonetheless, I urge all music producers to have an entertainment attorney in their camp.