Chasing waterfalls? TLC hits Kickstarter to finance its final album

20 years after the release of CrazySexyCool, TLC is back for one last album: The two remaining members of the iconic RnB band took to Kickstarter Monday to raise funds for the production of a new and final studio album.

TLC is looking to raise at least $150,000, and promises to give fans who pledge $5 or more a chance to vote on one of the songs included on the album. From their Kickstarter page:

[blockquote person=”” attribution=””]”Every penny we raise during this campaign will go towards making this final album together with you! The initial goal of $150,000 will go towards a writing session in the studio with a producer and engineer. The money beyond that will go to booking music producers, writing sessions, mixing sessions, recording sessions, and SO much more. We want to work with the best in the business, so the more we raise means access to the best.”[/blockquote]

TLC isn’t the first band that is taking to Kickstarter to raise funds, but the RnB trio was notable for being a very public manifestation of questionable music industry practices. The band’s label generated more than $100 million in sales with the bands two first albums, but TLC had to file for bankruptcy in 1995.

Those experiences may have been one more reason for TLC to take their case directly to fans this week. Here’s how the band put it on Kickstarter:

[blockquote person=”” attribution=””]”While major labels offer artists multimillion dollar recording and marketing budgets, they don’t often give artists complete control of their own music. It is essential that we create our final album completely on our own terms, without any restrictions, with you.”[/blockquote]

Jay Z crushes sample troll who claimed copyright in word “oh”

It’s been a good week for Jay Z: the rap star chatted court-side with visiting royalty at a Brooklyn Nets game and, hours earlier, vanquished a sleazy shakedown artist that had been demanding royalties for Jay Z’s use of the word “oh” in the hit song “Run this Town.”

As a federal court opinion explains, Jay Z does not have to pay for sampling the syllable “oh” from a 1969 track called “Hook and Sling” by the late pianist Eddie Bo (you can hear both tracks below).

In the 15-page ruling issued on Tuesday, the judge stressed that there is little relation between what the copyright owner described as Bo’s “exuberantly-shouted” syllable “oh,” and the 2009 hit that features Rihanna and Kanye West: (my emphasis added)

Run This Town bears very little and perhaps no similarity at all to Hook & Sling Part I. The melody and lyrics are entirely different. The lyrics do not contain the word “oh.” .. [It appears] only in the background and in such a way as to be audible and aurally intelligible only to the most attentive and capable listener.

The decision is significant since it slams the door once again on so-called “sample trolls,” which are companies that acquire recordings and then use music-parsing technology to seek out people to sue. It comes after a different New York judge last year threw out a similar case brought by the same sample troll, known as Tuf America, against the Beastie Boys.

As critics have observed, the trolls have been deleterious for hip-hop as a whole since they ensnare musicians in legal thickets over tiny sound samples, meaning that landmark albums like the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique could not have been made in today’s copyright context.

In siding with Jay Z, the court sidestepped the issue of whether Eddie Bo’s “oh” could be covered by copyright in the first place, and instead relied on a lack of similarity between the works. You can read the whole ruling below (I’ve underlined the relevant bits) or just check out the two tracks and see if you can hear the “oh.”



Jay-Z Sample Troll

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Magisto: An iOS app that makes home videos cool

Although devices that shoot high-definition video are cheaper and more ubiquitous than ever, amateur videos themselves have not gotten any better to watch. That’s where a new iPhone app called Magisto comes in: It turns any simple iPhone video into a fully edited movie in minutes.

NTV Station Today: The Soulja Boy/Ice T Feud

NTV Station It’s a big week for the intersection of rap-related feuds and online video! Yesterday we brought you Shaq’s attack on Kobe, and today we have a comprehensive analysis of the Soulja Boy/Ice T back-and-forth that’s been popping. In the final analysis, who’s winning this battle of words — one of hip hop’s original giants, or the upstart kid who broke in with a lot of help from new media? And what does this reveal about the current state of hip hop? Steve Bryant has his theories, but maybe you have your own. And the Station is definitely the place to share them.