Google Shuts Down Video, Big Labels drop DRM and Indie 103.1 R.I.P

There is a lot to report in the music world this week, major changes, shifts in policy and the death of what may have been one of the best radio stations ever.

indie103 r.i.p.

Google (Down)Shifts Gears

Google is finally making some sense by shutting down the ability to upload videos to Google Video.  YouTube has finally absorbed it into its hungry gaping maws. The search engine giant has also confirmed that it is ceasing development of several of its services as they look for “ways to better focus our teams on the products that can have the most impact.”  These services include Twitter rival Jaiku, Dodgeball.com – a mobile social networking service that lets you share your location with friends via text message, and Mashup Editor – whose users will stop receiving messages in six months’ time.

DRM Going the Way of the Dodo

As the RIAA’s hearings go live, Apple is doing the unthinkable and following the lead of others (like Amazon.com) as it announced that the iTunes store will go DRM-free.

As Don Reisinger at CNET points out:

Amazon.com was making inroads because of its own DRM-free store, and Apple realized that the future of the music retail business requires no copy protection. Because of that, it had to make a judgment call: accept the possibility of losing iPod sales to remove DRM, or keep the DRM and focus on iPod and iPhone sales. Steve Jobs chose the former.

At last no more bullshit having to do with an “unauthorized” ipod message preventing you from transferring your own damn music to your ipod/iTunes library.

The End of Indie 103.1 On the Radio

When Indie 103.1 started broadcasting in Los Angeles, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing: it was as though my best cassette mixtapes had died and gone to heaven.  This Mortal Coil and Cocteau Twins alongside Ministry and Pigface.  I could swear they broke The Arcade Fire as it was the first place I ever heard them.




They definitely had something to do with the Mashup movement: the weekly mashup introduced the fusing of two or more popular songs into a new song.  Not quite like a DJ mix, but rather an self-aware collage that often underlined how the big hits were a little too similar.

Eventually Steve Jones from Sex Pistols started hosting a little show on Mondays that eventually became the beating heart of the station.  Even Suicidegirls.com got its own late night talk show.  Dave Navarro was a regular DJ.  It was an alternative music lover’s wet dream.

I knew even then that it was just too good to last.

As quoted at Buzzbands.la, from a spokesperson from Entravision the diversified Spanish-language media company behind the station:

“We’ve made the very difficult decision to cease broadcasting Indie 103.1 over the air. Instead, Indie 103.1 can be heard online on the station’s website: www.indie1031.com. A range of factors contributed to this decision, including changes in the radio industry’s methods of measuring listener audiences that make it difficult to continue broadcasting innovative formats like Indie 103.1 in the current marketplace. Moving forward, Entravision will continue to stay focused on our core business of Spanish-language radio, television and digital media.”

Indie 103.1 as we knew it, will move to an internet radio format.

Here is the official statement at www.indie1031.fm – from the real McCoys who ran the station (not the new brass that will try to convince you all is well):

Indie 103.1 will cease broadcasting over this frequency effective immediately. Because of changes in the radio industry and the way radio audiences are measured, stations in this market are being forced to play too much Britney, Puffy and alternative music that is neither new nor cutting edge. Due to these challenges, Indie 103.1 was recently faced with only one option — to play the corporate radio game.

We have decided not to play that game any longer. Rather than changing the sound, spirit, and soul of what has made Indie 103.1 great Indie 103.1 will bid farewell to the terrestrial airwaves and take an alternative course.

This could only be done on the Internet, a place where rules do not apply and where new music thrives; be it grunge, punk, or alternative – simply put, only the best music.

For those of you with a computer at home or at work, log on to www.indie1031.com and listen to the new Indie 103.1 – which is really the old Indie 103.1, not the version of Indie 103.1 we are removing from the broadcast airwaves.

We thank our listeners and advertisers for their support of the greatest radio station ever conceived, and look forward to continuing to deliver the famed Indie 103.1 music and spirit over the Internet to passionate music listeners around the world.

So in a way, you will still be able to listen to the “old, good” station at http://www.indie1031.fm/ but dang, for just a moment, it was great to turn a dial on that old legacy thing in my car called a radio and know that no matter what time of day, I would hear something wicked.  I knew a lot of the people who either developed the station, worked behind the scenes or showed up on the air there.  I am pretty sure some of you know more and knew them better, but that was thing: even if you didn’t you sure felt like you did when you tuned in.  It felt like a station for the people by the people.  And it was. For real.

Sure there is still KXLU which is true college indie if inconsistent and often hard to get a signal on.  And KCRW of course out of Santa Monica, if I tune in at the right time of day and don’t feel like listening to world news.  But neither of them is hosted by Henry Rollins, Dave Navarro, Steve Jones and his buddy Mr. Shovel, or the Suicide Girls – it’s the DJ personalities that make the station.

See ya radio.  You got nothing left for me.

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