Video for Talib & Hi-Tek’s Dope Song ‘Ballad of the Black Gold’

Here’s a dope video from fans of Talib and Hi-TeK for the song Ballad of the Black Gold which addresses the issue of oil.

I’m glad we have artist providing crucial and compelling sound tracks to key issues of the day.. This is what good art is all about for many of us..

Here’s a few links to the video

Reflection Eternal “Ballad of the Black Gold” from Sam Ellison on Vimeo.

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=141263322556552&ref=mf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB-dwYVzCVI

Here’s commentary on the song from Talib and Hi-tek

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lhn5LTpgoME&feature=player_embedded

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Oscar Grant Trial: Oakland Protestor Looks Back & Speaks out (Why I Engaged the Police)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIVKWc8pdj0

Last year during the Jan 7th 2009 protest, (Oscar Grant funeral/ Oscar Grant Rebellion) many saw a young man with a black hoodie and locks engaging the police about their thoughts and feelings around the murder of Oscar Grant.. The man was seen on tape asking a series of questions about how the cops felt, their thoughts on officer Mehserle whose name was not known to the public and how they would feel if it was one of their kids on the Fruitvale BART station platform that night…The brother would not let up as he spent a good 30-40 minutes going up and down the police line asking each and every officer similar questions… He reminded them that he was a citizen, born and raised in Oakland and wanted to know if he should feel safe riding BART… It was pretty compelling as images of this brother engaging the police were seen all over the world..

I never caught dude’s name being that shortly after filming this, the police were given orders to clear the intersection of 14th and Broadway..The guy in the black hoodie and dreads was probably one of the first to be arrested and roughed up that night. According to him, the police wasted no time making a direct b-line to him..

We finally caught up with 23-year-old Jonathan Levy who was the protestor shown in the film..  Looking back to the events 18 months ago on the eve of the Oscar Grant verdict, Levy explained that he didn’t know too much about the particulars surrounding Grant until the day of the protests and his funeral. He said he felt compelled to go downtown and voice his concern and when he saw the line of police, he decided to approach them.

He explained that like most young men in Oakland his interactions with the police have not been positive. Oscar Grant’s murder struck a nerve. In engaging the police, Levy noted that he made it a point to stay within the lines of the law. In fact on several occasions he asked if his questions were illegal or if he was doing anything wrong. He never got a response.

Levy noted that his questions connected with a couple of the officers. He felt that all of them should’ve been out there protesting with the people and speaking out about the wrong doings of former BART officer Johannes Mehserle. Some of the other officer, were chomping at the bit as his questions got under their skin. As was mentioned earlier Jonathan was arrested, roughed up. His brother was beaten. He was charged with of failure to disperse and unlawful assembly. Charges were dropped the next day.

Levy explained that he had no regrets as to what he did. He was ready and willing to accept the consequences and in fact felt it would’ve been hypocritical to have runaway after asking those questions. He wanted to make a larger point about the importance of seeing justice for Oscar Grant and his family.  He also noted that he fully expects to be out there with the community on 14th and Broadway  6pm.. the night of the verdict.. He also said its important for folks not to riot out of respect for what the Grant family asked for.. ‘We still gotta live here’ , he noted..

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The Decline of Music Download Sites…

The Decline of Legal Music Download Sites

by Jerry Del Colliano

(When it’s 100 degrees plus all summer in the Arizona desert, a man’s thoughts turn to ice hockey).

Nielsen is reporting trouble for the music industry, which has been losing CD sales almost exponentially for a decade and now faces a significant decline in legal digital downloads.

Revenue is flat at the halfway point of this year (+0.3%).

Ringtones are down 24% since they peaked in 2007 according to Business Week.

There are arguments being tossed about that consumers have completed building their digital libraries for iPods and other mobile devices, but how does an active music buyer ever complete adding new music?

The uncertain economy is a factor.

But I’m not sure you can blame this on the economy.

All this and news that total music sales – estimated to be down to $7 billion in 2012 for all kinds of recorded music speaks to a much greater problem.

There are several considerations that come to mind:

1. Pandora and sites like Pandora allow consumers to have their music and eat it too for no fee or a voluntary fee (to exclude commercial interruptions). Keep an eye on this. Apple is. I think Steve Jobs will offer a streaming music service (among other things) using the Lala technology that it recently acquired to do what may constitute as Apple’s version of Pandora (minus the genome) tied into iTunes.

2. YouTube and other sites allow consumers to satisfy their passion for music at no cost – and remember, the recession is a factor not an excuse. Proof? Lady Gaga gives more music away for free than John Scherer’s Video Professor gives free learning CDs for computer programs. Yet, Gaga sells more music and more entire albums than any other artist.

3. Apps are competing for the time consumers used to spend on just iPod-delivered music. Even several years ago my college students told me they were bored with their iPods but didn’t want to give them up. I said, “what about radio?” They laughed. But today’s apps compete for time. Not the entire answer, but a nuance that is worth factoring in. Keep in mind the one thing that never declines – text messaging – and you have another.

4. Filesharing is alive and well and will go on. In spite of what record labels have tried to stop it, illegal filesharing proliferates. Listening to music you don’t own or that nobody ever paid for is still as easy and relatively safe from wrath of the RIAA than ever. I don’t think this explains the decline in legal downloads, but peer-to-peer filesharing certainly has not declined to create a demand for paid music.

5. Record industry solutions like Rhapsody, Vevo, Rdio and other emerging platforms in which the labels make more money are not popular with consumers. Translated that means: no growth factor there.

The labels have cooperated by supplying their music to initiatives with which they feel comfortable and that is a problem. What record execs are comfortable with is a wrongheaded solution. Their solution should pay greater attention to that which the consumer is comfortable. This disconnect has never been patched in the entire 10 plus years that the music industry has been in decline.

The Big Four record labels – or as I like to call them The Last Four Standing – are, believe it or not, still calling for negotiating a voluntary deal with ISPs so that they can charge their customers each month for any use of music.

A recent letter circulated by Universal’s Jim Urie seeking support expressed outrage that “Governments outside the U.S. are legislating, regulating and playing a prominent role in discussions with ISPs (Internet Service Providers)”.

It isn’t going to happen here and the labels seem to be betting the ranch on their call for action that is destined to fail.

The Bloomberg Business Week article said the bottom line is “As digital downloads slow, the music industry is scrambling for a strategy to keep revenues rolling in”.

And therein lies the problem.

The labels don’t know.

Haven’t known.

And have no clue what the consumer is telling them.

To young consumers, filesharing and free plays are their generations replacement for music radio.

Peers have more credibility to Gen Y than corporate radio which has virtually eliminated music experts and music loving live, local djs.

Apple devices and cool cell phones are not a radio – not a “CD” player but a gateway to on-demand entertainment.

A Ford Sync or an iPad should be the template from which to salvage the record industry from its doldrums and yet there is no major game plan in the music industry to understand how powerful these new portals are. And yet the labels are reportedly resisting Apple’s bid to use its Lala technology to offer a music stream available anywhere. They just don’t get it. The labels don’t get to decide. Times have changed.

And, I’ve saved the best for last.

Forgive me if you think it’s naïve but if the labels spent more time, money and effort to discover new artists and genres, they might be helping themselves a whole lot more than trying to cram a relative handful of existing artists into the devices of their choosing on their terms rather than the consumers.

Just sayin’.

written  By Jerry Del Colliano

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