29 October 2007


While we're on the subject of the election, here is an interesting one.

Disgracefully bigoted theocratic kooks Family First have had an interestingly bad week with one of their candidates busted for being the subject of what appears to be gay porn.

You have so got to love that.

(Thanks to Pharyngula)

Firing up for Kevin 07 Election 07

Those of you who read this blog from Australia will already be aware that the next Federal Election has been called, and has been set down for Saturday 24th November. I will be leaving it a little bit longer before I do my traditional election round-up, but I did want to draw your attention to the poll facility that I have set up over in my sidebar.

It doesn't tell me how you voted or when, so feel free to go and register your vote, safe in the knowledge that I don't know what you selected. I have two polls to choose from:

1. Who do you think will win the election; and
2. Who would you like to see win the election.

You'll notice that for the first poll, I've only put the political parties with a realistic chance of winning in. OK, the National Party will rule in a coalition if the government wins, but for the purposes of the second poll, I'm talking about winning a majority outright.

And if the Greens or the Democrats win, I reckon that either would have a fair shake at winning the James Randi Educational Foundation's USD $1 million prize, because there would have to be something paranormal about this, based on the probabilities involved.

I may have stuffed up the first one by not specifying Liberal/National, but you knew what I meant (I hope).

26 October 2007

72nd Skeptics' Circle

The 72nd Skeptics' Circle is now up at The Quackometer. And as always there is fun for all the family.

Making news this time around is my debut on this excellent blog carnival, with one I did a week or so ago, "Filthy, rotten lies".

Grabbing my attention this time around:

I've been a little slack in reading Skeptics' Circle lately - apparently Infophile's last one was excellent. But I'm getting there.


22 October 2007

Scalping and hedge funds

Here's one for you.

Is it beyond the realm of possibility that hedge funds use scalping as an opportunity for arbitrage profits?

Arbitrage is the activity where you buy something somewhere, knowing full well that you can offload it again somewhere else for a profit.

Consider this: Roughly about 40,000 tickets for the Big Day Out in Melbourne went on sale to the paying public at about $120 a pop. This translates at revenue (excluding freebies) of about $4.8 million.

They're currently retailing on Ebay at upwards of $200 each (buy-it-now prices).

This is a pretty hefty capital gain in anyone's language, and it’s not too hard to see where the attraction for an unscrupulous hedge fund operator might lie.

Working against the hedge fund manager is, if we use our Big Day Out example, a limit of 4 tickets per purchaser. This isn’t too hard to get around – it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if someone wrote something that automated the whole process.

Having said that, I’m unsure whether there was some kind of visual verification like what is required for my blog comments. I’m also unsure if these can be gotten around quite so easily.

And selling them on Ebay pretty much guarantees anonymity (for the hedge fund, at least)as well as the ability to conduct some kind of very basic future hedging through a reserve/starting price guarantee mechanism.

Of course, the 14 day limit on auctions also conspires against quick sales, but you can see where this is heading.

And, of course, we know that there isn’t much that hedge funds won’t do in order to churn a quick profit.

So I suppose that my question is this – what are the practical limitations that I'm not considering? I know they're there, I just don't know what they are.

A Mercy Killing

Even though the poll still has four days to go, I am aware that the answer "yes" to the question, "Should I disable the auto-play function on my Last.fm widget" is clearly going to romp it in.

Therefore, I'm deeming it unethical to continue the poll and I will be disabling auto-play forthwith.

And I might just go on the record to say that I'm not happy with any of you who voted "yes".

Edit 22/10/2007: I would be disabling it forthwith, except for the fact that this stupid browser (IE7) won't allow me to fix it. I'll do it when I get home and can use Firefox.

Edit 22/10/2007: Done.

21 October 2007

The Big Day Sell Out

Once a year, a few friends and myself scrape up some cash and head off to the Big Day Out.

The line up is usually pretty good, and for about AUD $120 or thereabouts, we get to see an enormous line-up of bands. Normally about 20, if we really push it.

And this years' line up is no different. The early names announced look a little like this:

Good or what?

I missed the 2007 BDO through general slackness - I just didn't get my shit together in time to buy a ticket. But it normally doesn't sell out until late December, or early January.

This year, 40,000 tickets went on sale on 12 October. And this week, it sold out.

What is disgraceful about this, is that this early exhaustion of tickets can only be driven by one thing.


I've been critical of concert promoters in the past. They're a disgusting lot who have the solution to scalping, but have the nerve to say that they don't have the answers. Or worse:

"We think scalpers are disgusting and we are taking steps to ensure that they don't spoil the fun for everyone else."

Or words to that effect. Which is just disgraceful lies on their part, because the answer is plain as day - put purchasers' names on the tickets.

The theory behind this is a very easy one. At the gate, when they check your ticket, they can also check to see that you're holding valid photo ID confirming that you're you.

Yet they (being promoters Lees and West) won't do it. Why not? They already confirm your ID when they verify your drinking age?

Now I have to decide if I'm going to cough up the cash and go for a scalped ticket. This is a 24 carat DISGRACE!!!

Right now, I am really, really, pissed off and looking to take my frustrations out on something.

Maybe I'll have a barbie that day, and call it the Big Day In.

In any event, I'd love to hear any stories from anyone who has been bitten by scalpers. Or just plot some revenge.

19 October 2007

Poll: Yes or no

I've been looking for an excuse to use Blogger's new poll thingy for some time.

Regular commenter morisetn thinks that I should disable the auto-play functionality in my Last.fm widget:

If you don't fix that last.fm box I'm going to have to boycot your otherwise excellent blog. It scares the poop out of me! Plus, at work, it means that I can't just innocently check to see if you've replied. Leave the player there, just turn the auto-play off!
So it looks like I have to put it to the vote, even though my blog is not normally a democracy.

What do you think?

Head over to the right of your screen and scroll down to underneath the Last.fm widget and make your vote count!

18 October 2007

The Gentle Art of Homeopathic Killing

This is really part 2.

Part 1 is here.

We discussed how The Quackometer was stomped on from a great height by the Society of Homeopaths because he wrote an unfavourable post about homeopathy.

You all know what I think. And if you look at Orac's post where I initially found this, you'll see the Streisand Effect going gangbusters.

So I thought I'd join in the fun - now that I have Andy "Le Canard Noir" Lewis' permission to re-post.

So without further ado, here it is:

The Gentle Art of Homeopathic Killing

by Le Canard Noir

The Society of Homeopaths (SoH) are a shambles and a bad joke. It is now over a year since Sense about Science, Simon Singh and the BBC Newsnight programme exposed how it is common practice for high street homeopaths to tell customers that their magic pills can prevent malaria. The Society of Homeopaths have done diddly-squat to stamp out this dangerous practice apart from issue a few ambiguously weasel-worded press statements.

The SoH has a code of practice, but my feeling is that this is just a smokescreen and is widely flouted and that the Society do not care about this. If this is true, then the code of practice is nothing more than a thin veneer used to give authority and credibility to its deluded members. It does nothing more than fool the public into thinking they are dealing with a regulated professional.

As a quick test, I picked a random homeopath with a web site from the SoH register to see if they flouted a couple of important rules:

48: • Advertising shall not contain claims of superiority. • No advertising may be used which expressly or implicitly claims to cure named diseases.

72: To avoid making claims (whether explicit or implied; orally or in writing) implying cure of any named disease.

The homeopath I picked on is called Julia Wilson and runs a practice from the Leicestershire town of Market Harborough. What I found rather shocked and angered me.

Straight away, we find that Julia M Wilson LCHE, RSHom specialises in asthma and works at a clinic that says,

Many illnesses and disease can be successfully treated using homeopathy, including arthritis, asthma, digestive disorders, emotional and behavioural difficulties, headaches, infertility, skin and sleep problems.

Well, there are a number of named diseases there to start off. She also gives a leaflet that advertises her asthma clinic. The advertising leaflet says,

Conventional medicine is at a loss when it comes to understanding the origin of allergies. ... The best that medical research can do is try to keep the symptoms under control. Homeopathy is different, it seeks to address the triggers for asthma and eczema. It is a safe, drug free approach that helps alleviate the flaring of skin and tightening of lungs...

Now, despite the usual homeopathic contradiction of claiming to treat causes not symptoms and then in the next breath saying it can alleviate symptoms, the advert is clearly in breach of the above rule 47 on advertising as it implicitly claims superiority over real medicine and names a disease.

Asthma is estimated to be responsible for 1,500 deaths and 74,000 emergency hospital admissions in the UK each year. It is not a trivial illness that sugar pills ought to be anywhere near. The Cochrane Review says the following about the evidence for asthma and homeopathy,

The review of trials found that the type of homeopathy varied between the studies, that the study designs used in the trials were varied and that no strong evidence existed that usual forms of homeopathy for asthma are effective.

This is not a surprise given that homeopathy is just a ritualised placebo. Hopefully, most parents attending this clinic will have the good sense to go to a real accident and emergency unit in the event of a severe attack and consult their GP about real management of the illness. I would hope that Julia does little harm here.

However, a little more research on her site reveals much more serious concerns. She says on her site that 'she worked in Kenya teaching homeopathy at a college in Nairobi and supporting graduates to set up their own clinics'. Now, we have seen what homeopaths do in Kenya before. It is not treating a little stress and the odd headache. Free from strong UK legislation, these missionary homeopaths make the boldest claims about the deadliest diseases.

A bit of web research shows where Julia was working (picture above). The Abha Light Foundation is a registered NGO in Kenya. It takes mobile homeopathy clinics through the slums of Nairobi and surrounding villages. Its stated aim is to,

introduce Homeopathy and natural medicines as a method of managing HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria in Kenya.

I must admit, I had to pause for breath after reading that. The clinic sells its own homeopathic remedies for 'treating' various lethal diseases. Its MalariaX potion,

is a homeopathic preparation for prevention of malaria and treatment of malaria. Suitable for children. For prevention. Only 1 pill each week before entering, during and after leaving malaria risk areas. For treatment. Take 1 pill every 1-3 hours during a malaria attack.

This is nothing short of being totally outrageous. It is a murderous delusion. David Colquhoun has been writing about this wicked scam recently and it is well worth following his blog on the issue.

Let's remind ourselves what one of the most senior and respected homeopaths in the UK, Dr Peter Fisher of the London Homeopathic Hospital, has to say on this matter.

there is absolutely no reason to think that homeopathy works to prevent malaria and you won't find that in any textbook or journal of homeopathy so people will get malaria, people may even die of malaria if they follow this advice.

Malaria is a huge killer in Kenya. It is the biggest killer of children under five. The problem is so huge that the reintroduction of DDT is considered as a proven way of reducing deaths. Magic sugar pills and water drops will do nothing. Many of the poorest in Kenya cannot afford real anti-malaria medicine, but offering them insane nonsense as a substitute will not help anyone.

Ironically, the WHO has issued a press release today on cheap ways of reducing child and adult mortality due to malaria. Their trials, conducted in Kenya, of using cheap mosquito nets soaked in insecticide have reduced child deaths by 44% over two years. It says that issuing these nets be the 'immediate priority' to governments with a malaria problem. No mention of homeopathy. These results were arrived at by careful trials and observation. Science. We now know that nets work. A lifesaving net costs $5. A bottle of useless homeopathic crap costs $4.50. Both are large amounts for a poor Kenyan, but is their life really worth the 50c saving?

I am sure we are going to hear the usual homeopath bleat that this is just a campaign by Big Pharma to discredit unpatentable homeopathic remedies. Are we to add to the conspiracy Big Net manufacturers too?

It amazes me that to add to all the list of ills and injustices that our rich nations impose on the poor of the world, we have to add the widespread export of our bourgeois and lethal healing fantasies. To make a strong point: if we can introduce laws that allow the arrest of sex tourists on their return to the UK, can we not charge people who travel to Africa to indulge their dangerous healing delusions?

At the very least, we could expect the Society of Homeopaths to try to stamp out this wicked practice? Could we?

I've said it before - homeopathy is a horribly convoluted web of complete lies. I sometimes think that anyone who buys into this rubbish deserves anything they get. Can people be protected from themselves?

But I guess that we have to accept that saving lives and money is an admirable aim, no matter if credulity and gullibility are the cause.

16 October 2007

Filthy, rotten lies

Homeopathy is the silliest altie school ever.

Oh sure, some of you will say, what about reiki, therapeutic touch and some of the other wacko stuff out there?

Those ones are built around what is really only a couple of dodgy concepts. Most of which, even hardened woos can’t bring themselves to accept.

But homeopathy? Well…

*deep sigh*

…I’m going to come out with it now. Homeopathy is simply a deeply convoluted web of lies, and Homeopaths have got to be some of the least-principled woo merchants running around. It’s completely unrealistic, and the excuses that homeopaths come out with to avoid contradicting themselves are just iffy concepts piled upon many others. I refuse to believe that by piling all these ad hoc hypotheses upon each other, nothing registers anywhere in the pea-sized brains of homeopathetiques as being bogus and silly, eventually.

Reiki and therapeutic touch come out looking positively angelic, by comparison. If still equally ludicrous.

The next host of Skeptics’ Circle is The Quackometer. The owner of this blog, Andy "Le Canard Noir" Lewis has been ordered to take down a post that homeopaths found offensive.

Orac has posted the text of that post here. I may even seek permission from Lewis to reproduce it on this blog myself. Yes, folks, the Streisand Effect appears to be in full swing, here.

Myself, I’m going to use this blog post to have a good laugh at homeopathy.

Homeopathy basically works on this principle espoused by it’s inventor, Samuel Hahnemann, that like cures like.”

So what you do, if you’re suffering from anything is to take something that causes the same symptoms. In what could be the grossest over-simplification ever, homeopaths liken this to how vaccines work.

Let’s just ignore that last sentence completely, because vaccines are nothing like how homeopaths say their remedies work. I’ll illustrate with an example.

Imagine that you have cholera. You’re shitting fountains of poo. And you’re a homeopathy fan.

You drag your sorry arse off to the homeopath to get treatment, because the thought of visiting a doctor is somehow wrong to you. So what does he prescribe for you?

Because homeopathy works on the basis that like cures like, our homeopath in this instance might prescribe a laxative.

That’s right. You’re in danger of dehydrating to death, so the stupid quack decides to ensure that your death is a speedy one by prescribing something that will actually hasten your demise.

Most people would do a double take at this glaring stupidity. Obviously, so did homeopaths, because the very thought that curing withdrawal symptoms for recovering alcoholics with a hearty dose of strychnine must have been a bit on the incredulous side.

So Hahnemann then decided that dilute solutions were enough.

But for some completely unfathomable reason, he postulated that the more you dilute something, the stronger it becomes. Soon enough, incredibly "strong" solutions were created to the point where the presence of even a single molecule of the substance in question becomes extremely unlikely to the point of improbable.

The ad hoc hypothesising that went on here is simply breathtaking:

  • Water became a medium that developed a "memory" of the substance dissolved in it.
  • The shaking of the solution energised the (non-existent) ingredient.
  • Serial dilutions increased the active potency of the ingredient, but decreased side-effects such as death.

And so on and so forth.

And here's the kicker - no viable evidence for the efficacy of homeopathic remedies has been found. We would need controlled double-blind tests to be done, and so far, nothing.

Yet, on the basis of this glaring lack of evidence, homeopathic remedies continue to be sold.

Yes, folks. "Sold". Homeopathy is a multi-billion dollar business. It can certainly afford the testing.

On top of that, you have these half-wits suppressing dissent by petitioning The Quackometer's hosting facilities to take down the offending post. A post, I might add that pointed out the sheer immorality and lunacy of peddling homeopathic remedies for malaria, HIV/AIDS and TB in Kenya.

This is a DISGRACE!!!

The point that I want to make is that homeopathy is built on so many ad-hoc hypotheses, risible inconsistencies and surly non-cooperation on the subject of testing that it is time that it was recognised for what it is: A horribly-constructed web of lies.

It's time for homeopaths to be put out of business.

15 October 2007

Style guide decree #1

Looks like I can now call Richard Branson, multi-billionaire and Virgin supremo a colleague.
News.com.au reports that the newly ordained minister of the Universal Life Church officiated at his first wedding on a Virgin America flight between Frisco and Vegas recently, which was also Virgin America's maiden flight between these two cities.

This probably makes Branson the highest profile minister within the church. Good oh.

One of these days, I'll do a Style Guide for this blog. Until then:

Branson will be henceforth known as "My colleague, Rev Sir Richard Branson" in the first instance.

Whenever I mention him, that is. Not that I'm likely to mention him again.

Rock epic of the month: "Heart + Soul" (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) 2003

Rock epics of the month is a series of posts where I'll look back on classic examples of what I think is the greatest excess of rock and roll - the rock epic.

Some of you might have noticed my last.fm widget that I'm now using to provide you with some audio entertainment at this blog. I like it, but occasionally, I can't get a tune I like onto the playlist.

This happens particularly with album tracks that were never released as singles.

This month, I will be looking at one of these. "Heart + Soul" came out as the closing track on the excellent second album by the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Take Them On, On Your Own, where it clocks in at 7:24.

BRMC main men Robert Levon Been, aka Robert Porter and Peter Hayes had impeccable rock credentials. Been was the son of Michael Been of 80s rockers The Call, but had adopted the surname Porter to avoid the legacy of his old man. He has since reverted back to Been.

Hayes, on the other hand, was a refugee from Anton Newcombe's dubious crackhouse of rock and roll casualties The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Together with on-again-off-again drummer, Nick Jago, this band showed exactly why The Jesus And Mary Chain were so important to music. Actually, the BRMC were often criticised for their closeness in sound to this band, but I never believed this to be a bad thing.

There are really two major schools when it comes to rock epics. One is a suite of loosely (if that) connecting tunes tied together thematically, and the other is a song that builds and builds and builds to an almost sexual climax.

Heart + Soul is an excellent example of the latter school.

Opening with some nice harmonic guitar work it quickly crashes into the main riff. The verses are sparse, and there is a chorus with a fantastic vocal hook, which rings in the memory, "Save me!"

The middle of the song is where the feedback starts, and taking a lesson from their heroes, the JAMC, they just build on this to the end, speeding up in the process while Been hollers "Save me! Save me!" over and over before the song crashes in a mix of riffs, drum fills and feedback.


Anyway, I do hope that you enjoy this. This was recorded in Wolverhampton, England, and if you can ignore the fan singing along with the song, should be rewarded with some half-decent (for a bootleg) sound quality:

09 October 2007

Has Kylie Minogue finally been exposed?

So I was reading MX on the way home, as you do, and I came to the bit about the recent Q Awards in Britain.

Ian Brown, former singer in what I regard as one of the greatest bands ever, The Stone Roses, had just received an award. Inexplicably, so too had Kylie Minogue.

Brown allegedly had this to say about Minogue:

"I don't think she's cute. I don't think she's good-looking. Her music's rubbish - she makes music for little kids.

"I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm putting her down, but there's a lot of great minds out there making music and she's not one of them."

This is truly one of those moments where, one would think, that the music media turns and says, "Hey, that kid's right. The Empress truly has no clothes on," before turning on this media darling in a spectacular bloodbath of stinging criticism and unmitigated censure.

Minogue somehow gets away with particularly grievous musical crimes against humanity, and I'm tipping that her next album, due in November, is one of the world's truly memorable musical disasters. Or at least holding my breath.

Incidentally, for the pair of you who regularly read this blog, I do plan to finish off my gratuitous character assassination of Minogue soon. Just getting around to it, is all.

08 October 2007

The day the music industry died

There are some industries that just make your blood boil with rage. Some are exploitative. Others just plain nasty. And some are morally and ethically bankrupt.

Some will happily sell out their own parents for a buck or two, before moving on to their siblings. Others will happily market to kiddies, the less able and true bleevers.

The worst will hypocritically defraud their employees while using hamfisted tactics to ensure that no one is defrauding them. And if no one is defrauding them, they will simply invent scenarios where such fraud is still being perpetrated.

But when it comes time at the end of one's career to sit up and declare to the saint who guards the entrance to retirement heaven that they've been diligent and ethical workers in the service of all things fair and good, there will just be some who, in an ideal world, should be on their way to retirement hell. And usually, it will be for having taken a flying leap and clearing that thin line for each and every single sin in the first three paragraphs by a country mile.

Yes, it's been a long time, but it's time I handed out another flogging to the music industry, an industry that is consistently setting the limbo bar lower and lower on ethical activity.

In this landmark case, a woman was fined USD $220,000 for sharing 24 songs. This will send her to the poorhouse. At the Sydney Morning Herald online, this blog post prompted 386 responses over the space of a weekend.

I suppose the first question is, just who, exactly, was she defrauding? This is the central question when it comes to this case.

Copyright infringement is based on the underlying principle that intellectual property, such as music, may only be played if you've paid for it. But let's be perfectly clear here, if you've paid for it, you still don't own it.

The rights to the music itself is still owned by the copyright holder. Which means that the CD you just bought can't be played over loudspeakers in shops, or podcast. You really only own a sort of licence to the software. And this is over-simplifying things quite a bit.

The whole thing is massively overcomplicated and it's really only the manufacturers who benefit. Really, it could should be simpler than this. If you have paid for it, it should then be yours to do whatever you like with it.

This includes uploading it to the net for everyone to access.

So somewhere along the way, someone has let the side down, and sold all of us out.

Let's go back to this case. 24 files were illegally shared. Who was being defrauded? The article doesn't say what Jammie Thomas was doing in this case, so let's just make it up and say that she was downloading and not uploading. (She was downloading, incidentally)

In this case, Thomas would have downloaded a file that would have been sitting there to download or not. The file itself doesn't move, it is only copied.

Would she have been depriving the entities who created and manufactured these files of any money? One would have to prove that by downloading these files, Thomas definitely didn't intend to pay for them.

Yet in none of these cases, as far as I can tell, are any of the plaintiffs/"victims" being asked to provide evidence of this. This is morally dubious - although legally, this may be enough to demonstrate a prima facie mens rea of dishonesty, whoever said the law was moral?

More importantly, where's the gap where the stolen goods were and aren't any longer? For theft to exist, surely someone should actually be deprived of something?

Oh, OK, so that missing thing is the right to benefit financially from something. This takes us back to the previous question - how do we know that our downloader didn't intend to pay for the downloaded files?

So now we've gone circular, let's look at the next item on the agenda.

What is the actual idea behind copyright?

Copyright is supposed to ensure that the creators of artistic works are adequately compensated for their efforts. The copyright itself may be sold and if it is, it’s usually to the record company in exchange for certain things, such as recording and marketing costs, all of which appear to be surreptitiously charged back to the performer eventually. Even if the performer doesn’t end up losing money.

So musicians (and other creators) get shafted, eventually.

If a musician doesn’t use a record company, they’re a lot better off morally, but they don’t usually sell. Mainly because there’s a lack of several things:

1. Marketing. Record companies exist to market ready-made product. And not a lot else.
2. Recording. Record companies can fund recording facilities and provide a red carpet to skilled personnel that would normally not be available to mug wannabes.
3. Distribution. An area under threat by the internet. Regardless, record companies do this.
4. Payola. We know that record companies still do this. Denial only makes you look silly.

But here’s the thing. Do musicians need any of the above?

1. Marketing. Musicians like to get their product across to as wide an audience as possible. Apart from the musician’s own megalomania and vanity, is there any reason why this desire needs to be satisfied?
2. Recording. Is there any reason why a one-stop access point to the personnel and facilities above is required? Wouldn’t this kind of arrangement be considered anti-competitive in any other industry? Why can’t musicians arrange this sort of thing themselves? Wouldn’t it be better if musicians sourced their finance through commercial arrangements outside the music industry, as they’d be arguably better off?
3. Distribution. It’s the 21st century, people.
4. Payola. Really, payola is just a kind of marketing. So is it required, as I pointed out when I looked at marketing?

I’m now going to throw the baby out with the bathwater by suggesting a fifth one?

5. Compensation. Music and other artforms are hobbies. What specifically is being compensated for that doesn’t exist in other hobbies? Should musicians, for example, be compensated at all? Given that record companies own the rights in quite a lot of instances and still claw costs back from musicians, isn’t it a complete and utter lie to suggest that musicians are actually even getting compensated?

So it is looking increasingly bad for record companies. On the one hand, they do actively market the goods they sell, and should probably expect to be paid for this.

On the other hand, when what is being marketed heavily is the Britneys and Justins of the world, aren’t we rewarding general rubbish by even contemplating paying for any of this in the first place?

The world would certainly be a better place if corporate juggernauts like the Pussycat Dolls had no chance of recouping their marketing costs by selling CDs to kids. They’d be forced to tour instead and make their money the old-fashioned way.

And as for struggling up and coming musicians, shouldn’t they work a day job and practise their hobby at night, like every other hobbyist out there?

And this goes for creators of other artforms as well, although the effects of file sharing will be less.

I’d like to go all the way and lump musicians into the same basket as other entities in the music industry. Really, I would. It’s just that you can’t make a case that they’re as consistently evil as the record companies themselves, no matter how hard you try.

However, by frequently doing deals where their rights are assigned to record companies, they’re almost complicit.

Musicians should just sell their wares. If it gets copied, this is all well and good. There really isn’t a case that can be made where copyright holders get preferential treatment over anyone else selling round plastic discs that have stuff on them.

One big-name act has actively embraced this philosophy, and has recently made the announcement that it will now "sell" its next album online. It won’t even come with Digital Rights Management, it will just be regular, glorious MP3 files. The best part is that these particular musicians have even gone so far as to make paying for the download completely optional, and the end user can choose how much they pay, if they pay at all.

In this article in The Times Online hysterically titled “The Day The Music Industry Died” it is pointed out that Radiohead’s strategy is not even new. However, they’re the biggest band to have tried it to date. Hell, the Brian Jonestown Massacre has made their entire back catalogue available as downloads in Ogg Vorbis format for years.

The best part, though, about this strategy, though is that it cuts out the record companies all together. You have to love that.

We are at the dawn of a new era. One where one group of social parasites – artists, or at least recording artists - is forced into legitimacy and another – record companies – is wiped from the face of the earth.

I would be savouring and enjoying this, however, it will all come just too late for Jammie Thomas. And this is really upsetting.

Disclosure – this blogger is a musician in his spare time while he works a day job. So there.