For the estimated 2.4 million people incarcerated in the United States, without access to many of the pleasures that we all take for granted, the ability to listen to music is deeply valuable. As our friends at Jail Guitar Doors have demonstrated, music can play an important role in rehabilitation and healing. After all, music is a universal language, a cross-cultural unifier that builds bonds of empathy and understanding.
But some former federal prisoners are now arguing that their access to music has been wrongly compromised after leaving the prison walls behind. In a recent complaint, five former inmates allege that SanDisk Corp. and Advanced Technologies Group LLC (ATG) are taking advantage of an exclusive contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to financially exploit this vulnerable population at a time when their focus should be on successful reintegration into society. In the class action suit, filed in a United States District Court in Michigan, the former inmates assert claims for Sherman Antitrust Act violations, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, conversion, unconscionability and violations of state consumer protection laws.
This month, on the eve of a headlining performance at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival, the rock band Wilco released a surprise new LP entitled Star Wars, making it available for free download through the band’s official website, in exchange for an email address (it’s also available for free though leading digital retailers iTunes and Amazon).
After we’d all had a few days to listen, the band followed up with an emailed note to everyone who downloaded the album:
[…]Now a bit of background… We consider ourselves lucky to be in the position to give you this music free of charge, but we do so knowing not every band, label or studio can do the same. Much of the “music business” relies on physical sales to keep the lights on and the mics up. Without that support, well, it gets tougher and tougher to make it all work.
Teenagers Talk About Music, the Internet, and their Beloved Napster
Tuesday, August 29, 2000
Younger fans’ perspective on what music they like, how they want to
acquire music, and what they think about Napster, has been the subject
of a little bit of research and alot more speculation. This focus group
featured two guys and three girls who live in various affluent suburbs
of Chicago and attend high school together. The guys happen to be in a
band; the girls are supportive yet sardonic fans of theirs. read more
Vinnie Van Go-Gogh is a DC musician [Rake & From Quagmire] and operator of www.OASTEM.com. VvGg spoke at the 2000 New York Music & Internet Expo on redefining success as a musician. The issue of emerging distribution channels is of keen
interest to him, as he tries to exist along side the realm of commerce that is the music community. read more
Tim Owen from Jade Tree on websites, chat rooms and selling records online
Monday, December 20, 1999
Tim Owen and Darren Walters started Jade Tree back in 1990 for the same
reasons that many people start small labels — they were interested in
putting out a couple of records that they liked and that nobody else was
interested in releasing. Over the past 9 years, Jade Tree has grown immensely,
from a part-time hobby into a full-time record label, representing bands
like The Promise Ring, Jets to Brazil, Kid Dynamite, and Joan of Arc. read more