File sharing neo-Napsters Kazaa and Morpheus seem to be on their last legs, not because they've been found to be transgressing the law and rightfully brought to book, but because they're unable to afford lawyers to match those of the record industry. It's an old story, and unlikely to make the millions of happy peer-to-peer MP3 merchants slap their foreheads and realise the error of their ways. The networks aren't turned off, but development of the clients will stop: next in line, AudioGalaxy -- which seems to be the beat hoover of choice among many I know. Interestingly, people are now offering cheap ADSL connections that don't support MP3 transfers -- it does make the contention ratio less of a problem, but would you want to sign up for it?
On the other side, the American record industry association RIAA failed to get its requested airtime rates through the Library of Congress -- which would, if passed, have shut down most of the small Internet radio stations. I didn't know until recently that the money this would have raised would go not to the people who make the music that the radio stations play, but to the people who sell the most records: this makes the fact that the RIAA's proposed rules also had an incredible burden of logging and reporting doubly unsupportable.
And while we're on good news: stuff I have heard online and subsequently bought in the past couple of weeks: Múm, an Icelandic lounge/electronic band who are -- of course -- as weird as a juggling pig and great friends of psychedelic muppet Bjork; RØyksopp, a Norwegian electronic/lounge band who are rather more mainstream; Boom Bip and Doseone -- er, abstract hip-hop, it says here, and who am I to disagree; and The Streets, a Brummie urchin and his mates being all tough yet vulnerable in a junglist two-step way.
All good stuff, and I'm glad to wave a small flag for them, buy their CDs and say loudly that the Internet is the best thing to happen to music since Edison waxed his cylinders.
And -- it's my birthday today! Hurrah! All down to the Liberty Bounds, where cheap beer and lots of it are the order of the evening.