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Indie Record Labels Would Support Spotify Boycotts By Their Artists

WASHINGTON — In mid-July, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke and his longtime producer and collaborator Nigel Godrich announced that they were pulling their songs from Spotify. They argued that the online streaming service may be good for its investors, but it was bad for artists’ bottom lines. All the press attention and debate that followed have not caused a mass boycott, the company told HuffPost.

But in multiple interviews, owners and executives of indie recording labels across the country said they would support the decision of an individual artist who wanted to pull out of Spotify — although few seemed to actively encourage it.

At least one more prominent artist told HuffPost he will pull out of Spotify. Eric Hilton, who is one half of the band Thievery Corporation and also runs ESL Music, said in an email that he will be joining Yorke.

“I’ve always spoken out about Spotify and today’s streaming sites 100% negatively. Thievery Corporation intends to join [Yorke] and not participate with Spotify, which is especially dangerous to the livelihood of artists,” Hilton wrote. “Thank you Thom Yorke for having the guts to stand up to the new techno-feudalistic gulag exploiting all artists.”

At the time of publication, Thievery Corporation’s recordings were still listed on Spotify.

Spotify did not agree to comment on the record for this story. Nor did any of the major labels that HuffPost contacted. A Spotify source said that Yorke’s label, XL Recordings, had asked the company to pull the singer’s songs off the site. XL Recordings refused to comment.

The indie labels were more forthcoming. Besides supporting the decisions of their artists, some also suggested that Spotify might actually be helpful to bands just starting out.

Laura Ballance, co-founder and owner of Merge Records, said she would let her artists pull out of Spotify. She noted that one of them, the singer-songwriter Mark Eitzel of American Music Club fame, had requested a temporary ban.

“We would let them refrain from having their music up there if that is what they prefer,” Ballance explained via email. “The only artist we have had do that so far is Mark Eitzel. He had us keep his record off Spotify for the first three months after it came out.”

But Eitzel and Hilton are music veterans. They remember what it was like to actually make a living off CDs and vinyl. Profits from Spotify may never equal profits from the old days of Tower Records. Indeed, expectations that Spotify cash could pay a band’s rent are low. “It’s not like we get a ton of money from Spotify anyway,” said Todd Hyman, owner of Carpark Records, in discussing why he’d be willing to pull an artist off the streaming service.

Instead, labels and artists tend to see Spotify as just another tool to get their music noticed, similar to MTV in the ’80s and early ’90s, when it helped hip-hop and grunge go mainstream.

Chris Manak, who performs under the name Peanut Butter Wolf and founded the indie hip-hop and soul label Stones Throw Records, said he appreciates “the promo aspect” of Spotify.

“I barely think the good outweighs the bad,” he wrote via email. “But don’t really push my artists for or against it. Maybe I need to talk to Thom Yorke.” Manak added that he would support his artists if they wanted to leave Spotify.

Caleb Braaten, the founder of indie label-of-the-moment Sacred Bones, agrees. “If a band wanted to be pulled from Spotify we would happily do so,” he said. “Spotify for up-and-coming artists is more of a promotional platform than a money-making one … As we know now Spotify is not a money-making platform for anyone besides Spotify.”

Jasper Goggins, label manager for Mad Decent, noted that artists still need to get their music in front of consumers. And consumers are listening through Spotify.

“As a small independent label I feel it is our primary duty to expose our artists to a larger audience and the best way to do that is to get their music in front of active consumers,” he explained in an email. “By removing music from Spotify, you’re basically cutting off your nose to spite your face. Of course I would love it if the royalties were higher, but we also have the majority of our music on Soundcloud and that is the complete opposite model. We pay Soundcloud for the bandwidth!”


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David Guetta, forced to flee the stage in embarrassment


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At a recent show in Paris the pop star, David Guetta, was forced to flee the stage in embarrassment when at the start of his show he hit the play button on the wrong track.

Instead of hearing Guetta’s usual pop-house hits, fans were inadvertently treated to a personal self help CD that had been prescribed to Guetta for treatment of crippling chorophobia – the irrational fear of dancing.

Guetta took to Twitter to release the following statement: “To all my fans, I’m sorry that you had to find out that I have been pre-recording sets and not playing live.”

“Please understand that this is not due to lack of talent or laziness but because of this crippling phobia, for which I am seeking professional help, as was heard when I accidentally hit play on my coping CD.”

The EDM star claimed that the condition developed in childhood following a dancing accident at a school talent show which left the performer “acutely embarrassed” and a “confirmed bed wetter.”

The pop star went on to further say that ordinarily he doesn’t “even look at the crowd. I’ll just twiddle some knobs on the mixing desk thingy. When I do have to look up to the crowd I’ll close my eyes as if enjoying myself, or I’ll let my golden locks dangle in front of my eyes so I don’t see people dancing.”

“Ironically with no-one dancing it probably would have been one of my shows that I would have actually enjoyed.”

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Hacker Barnaby Jack dies in San Francisco

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Barnaby Jack, a celebrated computer hacker who forced bank ATMs to spit out cash and sparked safety improvements in medical devices, has died in San Francisco.

A police spokesman said that he was found dead on Thursday evening by ”a loved one” at an apartment on Nob Hill and that foul play had been ruled out. The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office said it was conducting an autopsy, though it could be a month before the cause of death was determined.

His sister Amberleigh Jack, who lives in New Zealand, told Reuters he was 35. She declined to comment further, saying she needed time to grieve.

Jack was due to appear at the Black Hat hacking convention in Las Vegas next week, demonstrating techniques for remotely attacking implanted heart devices. He said he could kill a man from 30 feet away.

His genius was finding bugs in the tiny computers embedded in equipment such as medical devices and banking machines. He received standing ovations at hacking conventions for his creativity and showmanship.

He became one of the most famous hackers on the planet after a 2010 demonstration of ”Jackpotting” – getting ATMs to spew out bills. ( )

The hacking community expressed shock as the news of his death spread via Twitter early on Friday.

”Wow … Speechless,” Tweeted mobile phone hacker Tyler Shields.

Jack’s most recent employer, the cyber security consulting firm IOActive Inc, said in a Tweet: ”Lost but never forgotten our beloved pirate, Barnaby Jack has passed.”

Jack had served as IOActive’s director of embedded device security.

”You grimy bastard. I was just talking up about your awesome work last night,” Tweeted Dino Dai Zovi, a hacker known for his skill at finding bugs in Apple products. ”You’ll be missed, bro.”

Friends and fans alike Tweeted memorials to Jack’s Twitter handle, @barnaby_jack, on Friday.

Dan Kaminsky, an expert in Internet security, Tweeted that he had hoped the news of Jack’s death was a prank: ”God, the stories. Nobody caused such hilarious trouble like @barnaby_jack.”

Jack’s attacks on ATMs brought him the most attention, but his work on medical devices may have a bigger impact.

Two years ago, while working at McAfee, he engineered methods for attacking insulin pumps that prompted medical device maker Medtronic Inc to bring in outside security firms and revamp the way it designs its products. (

He followed that up with work on heart devices that he was to present at Black Hat next week in his first presentation at the annual convention since 2010.

Jack told Reuters in an interview last week that he had devised a way to attack heart patients by hacking into a wireless communications system that links implanted pacemakers and defibrillators with bedside monitors that gather information about their operations.

”I’m sure there could be lethal consequences,” he said.

He declined to name the manufacturer of the device, but said he was working with that company to figure out how to prevent malicious attacks on heart patients.

By Jim Finkle

Nick Cannon (@NickCannon) – Me Sexy

Nick Cannon releases his brand new video for Me Sexy, the first single from his upcoming album White People Party Music, due out this fall.