Progress or Piracy?

New Walkman Has Music Industry Howling

Oddly, some of the biggest hits for the past five weeks haven't been music at all. Ripe sampler-fodder like "She Touched My Weenie" and "That Woman"--straight cribs of Clinton's testimonies--have settled at top positions. But it's not likely Rio listeners will want to go jogging with Bill hedging around in the earphones. The market for the Rio player will demand a market of major-label releases available on MP3. With the current state of the industry, that means consumers would effectively have to turn to illegal trade just to get the music they wanted. In the meantime, smaller labels might do well to fill in the breach, says SonicNet's Goldberg. "I just read that a Billy Squire song is going to be up and available for download--but who cares?" he says. "What will be cool is when you get [smaller labels] Dischord or Kill Rock Stars or Matador--where you've got people with really good taste--that start to use the medium to distribute stuff."

As it stands, it's not even clear whether Rio will make it to market. A second hearing is slated for Monday "The RIAA has really sat on their hands for two years and . . . they see that the train has left the station and they're not on it," says MP3.com's Robertson. "Now, they're throwing rocks to make it stop."


Signal and Noise

Honest, Thrifty, Wealthy, Wise: The Greater New York Councils of the Boy Scouts of America treated Yahoo! cofounder Jerry Yang in style last Thursday with a reception at Windows on the World. The kerchief-and-bolo set honored him with a "Good Scout Award" for the kids-oriented search engine Yahooligans and for "living his life according to the ideals of scout oath and law," said a spokesman. Which must've come as a surprise to Yang, who was never a scout...

Scrawls of the City: For one of the eeriest hauntings this season, Shimon Attie's spectacular laser historiography "Between Dreams and History" debuts Thursday (and runs for three weeks) at the intersection of Ludlow and Rivington streets. For over a year, Attie has been collecting the written and visual testimonies of the long-term neighborhood residents (mostly immigrants and refugees) and will beam them onto the brick and mortar. The effect is a mix of drive-in movie theater and ghost story. Call Creative Time at 206-6674 ext. 263 for details.
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