In 2009 we conducted a study of online distribution of pirated media. The questions were: “How do they make money?”, “Why do the sites survive?”, and, “Who pays the operators?”. The answers were strange, and changed noticeably over the course of a single year.
The pirate media distributors stream their wares out of server farms on sovereign native people’s territories in the West, and in Sweden, Ukraine, and China to the East. Using legal loopholes, bribery, and protection from mob and government interests, the sites not only survive, they thrive and propagate.
Often it seemed there was hardly any money making involved, where it begged the question why so much time was being spent mounting the pirated materials beside the distribution of malware to steal private data. Ad revenue visibly increased every month, however.
22% of studied pirate streams had ad placements for major corporate interests on Jan 1st, 2009. By June major corporate placements had gone to 39.5%, and by September, 52.5%. By Jan 1st 2010 it was 91%. It is what the slaves to cliche call a tipping point. [Read more →]
What is it about hip Swedes with english accents? Moneybrother released Real Control in 2009 and has been touring the US, a show you should have caught. I did, at the Jefferson Theatre in Charlottesville. Great room, but being taken unawares by Anders Wendin blew it away. This man is a huge star. I bought an album from him after the well received set. Lanky, handsome, real, and a showman. Against Me! fleshed out the evening with their continued de-identification implosion tour but Moneybrother was the revelation. Later I looked up the band and found out about Monster and the earlier Moneybrother albums.
Real Control seems to be the first release entirely in english. Anders sings in native Swedish and German too. Then I had the chance to listen to the album. Then again, and again. This is a very good album. The best of punk, rock, Frankie goes to hollywood and ABBA and Violent Femmes and on and on, with a voice like Joe Strummer, if he had had range. A lovingly crafted album, a sonic psycho-emotional journey far more effective than prozac. Great to dance to, to make love to, to party to, to stage a resistance to.
The album makes me mad, happy, sad smiling, dancing… it is a real gift.
So give the brother some money.
Bragging rights claimed by: Lou Wright ’Sup (though you had the kewl kids on the lower east side which has not been the cool place for twenty years, and Moneybrother ain’t even playing NYC – catch em at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park)
So I drove a couple hours to catch Against Me!, (full disclosure: Against Me! is one of my favorite current bands) in Charlotte, VA for their 2010 pre-album (White Crosses) release tour. A note on the venue, the redone Jefferson Theatre is beautiful, and has perfect sound… but they sell this brand of beer called Nobel, which I unfortunately tried… gym-sock beer… it was the first time I ever returned beer to a bar. Not a good omen, it turned out.
In the crowd an excited fan told his friend, “You are gonna love these guys… they are as good as it gets…” His friend nodded eagerly as the support acts played. (Standout: Moneybrother) Finally, Against Me! took the stage to massive cheers. What happened? All that is revealed is Warren Oakes must be a genius. The greatest live act in America, with a host of rocking songs, played the weakest, most tired set imaginable in the lovely Jefferson theatre. Was it just a bad night? Strain from the White Crosses Album reviews? [Read more →]
April 19th, 2010 · Reviews
Kick Ass is garbage. The only cool thing in Kick Ass is inappropriate, and that is Hit Girl, the killer child. She is the entire movie, and kick ass himself is a whimpering, masturbating, pointless waste of space. For a moment he gets the limp notion of standing up against evil, but he does it, well, limply.
The only truth in the movie (spoiler follows) is when Hit Girl says, “If not for you my father would not be dead.” Too true. And as soon as the movie ends, we see kick ass having quit his fight, making out with a girl, and still leaving the meting out of justice to a now orphaned and unmasked hit girl.
Pathetic fare for pathetic, irresponsible Americans. The movie is superficially cool and fundamentally boring, trite, and insignificant save its violation of decency in exploiting children. Why can’t they just stop wasting everyones time and make a movie of Transmetropolitan, the only good graphic novel ever.