20 Watts

Editor’s Pick #303: Happy Birthday Pacman by Isabel Alcantara

PREVIEW: Watch The Go! Team’s video for “Junior Kickstart.”

Today, in 1980, the video game Pacman was released in the United States, and what a glorious day it was. So, what is everyone doing in celebration?

Google – famous for their celebratory “google doodles” – released the first ever interactive google doodle, which lets you play Pacman on the actual logo (and once you lose it takes you on a google search of Pacman’s anniversary).

Also, although “Junior Kickstart” was realeased in 2003, on The Go! Team‘s debut album- Thunder, Lightning, Strike – the video is nothing short of perfect for celebrating the glorious creation of the video game that not only became and icon of 1980s pop-culture, but also contributed for my irrational fear of colored ghost and my love of fruit.

So, happy birthday, Pacman. I hope it’s just as stressful for you as any other day in your maze.

— Isabel Alcantara, Photo Editor

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20 Watts’ Best of 2009: #15 The Decemberists’ Hazards of Love by jmlittman

The Decemberists' The Hazards of Love is #15 on our Best of 2009 List

PREVIEW: VISIT The Decemberists’ Myspace
TOP TRACK: The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid

Words may not be able to give the lyrical genius of The Decemberists’ Hazards of Love justice.

The album began as an attempt by Colin Meloy to write a song called “The Hazards of Love,” a title inspired by Anne Brigg’s 1964 EP of the same name. Meloy was instead immersed in a fanciful concept, and the instrumentals, as well as the lyrics, read like a play. The gentle folk-inspired guitar lines play behind the voices of two lovers, while a harsh, screeching guitar plays over the villains.

The lyrics, even in old English, are entirely cohesive and each track sheds more light onto the stories vivid characters. Hazards of Love deserves to be listened to in the same way that Romeo and Juliet is meant to be read or watched. It’s worth every second you’ll spend googling the obscure old English lyrics and tracing the voices back to their respective characters. It’s even worth the eerie moment when you’ve strung together all the events, so you’ve actually realized how creepy and off-putting this storyline can potentially be.

The album imagines a dark Shakespearean reality where ominous villains threaten a bizarre romance between a young maiden and a shape-shifting creature. Though the musical journey ends in tragedy, the listener’s time has been well spent in this fabricated universe.

— Jen Littman

Pirate Bay Creators Locked Up by kayzimbo

The verdict is in and The Pirate Bay founders have been found guilty of “assisting the distribution of illegal content online.” (The Guardian). The Pirate Bay trial is the most recent case against a file-sharing music network (brings me back to the good old days of Napster). The website began in Sweden, and the entire trial took place there. The four founders, Gottfrid Svartholm WargPeter Sunde KolmsioppiFredrik Neijand and Carl Lundstrom, were banking on the defense that the website was not for profit, but only to provide free music to the public: their punishment says otherwise. Not only was each founder sentenced to one year in prison, but all-together they were fined £2.4 million ($3.4 million). This leads the general public to believe that maybe they did make profit and maybe their motives were not completely utopian. 

While The Pirate Bay did not host any files, they provided a search box similar to Google’s, where the user could type in any artist, song, movie, or other media outlet and usually find good results. The media came in torrent files, which means that when a user downloads it, he/she is not downloading directly from the website’s server, but from all of the other file-sharers who also have that song/movie on their computer.

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Ayo Technology: Songbird by dannyb123abc
April 10, 2009, 3:31 pm
Filed under: Free 4 All | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Welcome to the launch of Ayo Technology, the newest addition to the 20W community. In this segment, resident expert Dan Bagnall will bestow upon us weekly blogs about the hottest music software trends and newest gear to hit the market.

In this installment he introduces a dope new music application (the biggest threat to iTunes) that has finally made it out of beta testing. It’s name: Songbird.

Imagine the power of Mozilla’s Firefox with the music functionality of iTunes and low and behold you have Songbird. Songbird is a cross platform, open-source media player that is under active development. Built upon the Firefox architecture, users can customize their Songbird anyway they like thanks to “add-ons.”

A few key add-ons come bundled with the download such as mashTape, a feature to discover Flickr photos, YouTube videos, last.fm biographies, Google news and more for the currently playing artist. Another favorite feature is “Concert Tickets,” powered by Songkick, where you can discover upcoming shows in your area based on the artists in your library. The consolidation of a web and media browser will have you never switching between windows again!

Download it now at www.getsongbird.com

— Dan Bagnall

Subscription Based Music Services To The Rescue by shabutie31
March 31, 2009, 10:25 am
Filed under: Industry News | Tags: , , , , , ,

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In boardrooms across the globe label execs are pondering their next key move in the battle against piracy. It may come as a shock, especially with the booming success of iTunes, however only 5% of all online music downloads are legal.

One sunny afternoon while anxiously twittering the intern to bring them some more damn coffee, these execs decided it’d be a good idea to drop this war on the individual and bring it straight to the source: the Internet Service Providers (ISP). In typical Major Label fashion, discussions have formed and dismantled between both parties, due to the unrealistic expectations of the majors.

I used to be a non-believer in subscription based music services. I mean, who doesn’t want to own a physical copy of something they just paid for. Then I got to thinking…every song at my fingertips, whenever, wherever I’d like, boy oh boy, that sounds like downright bliss. While such services aren’t new, its just taken AGES for the majors to get on board and license all of the catalogs to one subscription provider with a well-built interface capable of supporting the subscription based model.

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