Wednesday News: Blurred Lines verdict, original audiobooks, Australian Romance conference, and “best” Australian books
The ‘Blurred Lines’ Verdict Could Be Bad for Music – So a Los Angeles jury ruled that Robin Thick and Pharrell Williams engaged in unintentional copyright infringement of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got to Give it Up,” to the tune of $7.4M. I think this is a disastrous verdict, and hope that it will be appealed (remember that the ‘Pretty Woman’ case went to the Supreme Court), because the line this case drew is one that could conceivably make a good deal of music vulnerable to legal threats. This short analysis from Spencer Kornhaber introduces some of the salient issues.
No one contends that “Blurred Lines” is a straight musical copy of Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up”; unlike with Sam Smith paying royalties to Tom Petty, the issue is less about chords than about “feel.” The “Blurred Lines” groove hits the ear a lot like the Gaye one—the musicians admitted as much—but when, exactly, does feel become infringement? It’s a complicated question, and it reportedly turned the courtroom into a concert hall: Thicke performed on piano to show how common it is for popular songs resemble each other; Gaye estate’s musicologist turned the two tracks into stripped-down jingles so that jurors could compare core elements.
The entire history of popular music has, in large part, been driven by songs that evoke other songs, whether when Bo Diddley’s strumming style birthed rock or the “trap” beat transformed hip-hop over the past few years. It seems counterintuitive, but creative copying often accompanies innovation,. . . –The Atlantic
Straight To Audiobook: Authors Write Original Works Meant To Be Heard – Say what you want about Amazon – they sure are pushing the innovation envelope. Now Audible, which is owned by the retail giant, is contracting with authors to write stories that will go straight to audio (sort of like the decades before television when soap operas and other stories were written for radio). Phillip Pullman, among others, are participating in this audio experiment. Personally, I think this is pretty cool, although I wonder if print/digital books will be published after the audiobooks are released, or whether they will remain oral performance pieces.
Audible now has about 30 original audio works in the pipeline. One, which has already been released, is The Starling Project starring Alfred Molina. It was written by bestselling thriller writer Jeffery Deaver and it’s more like a radio drama than a book.
Radio dramas, original stories and podcasts are now all part of the audio scene, says Michele Cobb, president of the Audio Publishers Association. It is still a small part of the industry but she’s excited to see where it’s headed.
“It can interest people who might not listen to a book but might be interested in a different type of program,” she says. “So I think there becomes just a wider range of opportunities — when we’re recording more and when more people are listening — to be a little more experimental.” –NPR
Rural romance writing gets the capital all steamed up – I alluded to the Australian Romance Readers Association Conference in an earlier news post, and this story isn’t so much a rundown of the conference as it is focused on Rural Romance, which is a very popular subgenre in Australia. Although not quite the same as the U.S. small town or cowboy Romances, there does seem to be crossover, especially around the appeal and specific characteristics of life in a small community. And despite the kind of cheesy title of the piece, it has a surprising element, specifically the men who attended the conference, some of whom were not afraid to talk about their appreciation of the books.
Len Klumpp was born in the New South Wales town of Moree, and has lived and worked in country towns his entire life.
He travelled from Tamworth, where he is an airport safety officer, to sit in on one of the many seminars at the gathering.
He, along with many women and a number of other men, were drawn to a question and answer session, featuring four established rural romance writers.
“They have given me such great pleasure reading their books,” he said.
“It shows that men read rural romance as well.” –ABC Australia
‘The best book ever written in this country’ – Speaking of Australian books, this is a short but interesting piece on one of Australia’s best loved books, Check out the post, and the book, and if you know about the book, please tell me if this is, in fact, the ‘best Australian book ever written.’
It has been called “the best book ever written in this country.” Others have labeled it a “cult classic.” But this is not a seminal Australian novel.
The Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book (AWWCBCB) first came out in 1980 and sold more than million copies worldwide before its re-release four years ago. –news.com.au
Yes indeed it is the best book ever written (it made it to NZ as well)! My mum was amazing with that book.
It was a near sacred ritual picking which cake you were going to get for your birthday.
I had the swimming pool cake and the castle cake shown in the article and my little brother chose that infamous train cake, not displayed on that page but still awesome are the witch cake and the monster cake which terrified me as a four year old(no-one ever made the monster cake but it scared the heck out of me ).
There’s a picture of my little brother at one, with a huge handful of icing which he’d just snatched from my dad’s birthday computer cake…
Basically that book is a common childhood memory for a lot of kids.
The copy I have is a UK edition called ‘The Australian Women’s Weekly kids’ birthday cakes’ so different cakes than those shown – but we did make several over the years – the piñata cake was fun – and it’s my go-to book for the butter cream recipe at the back.
OTOH, I use their grown up cake book far more – so much so that it doesn’t have a cover, so I’ve no idea what it’s called. Their ‘Favourite Boiled Fruit Cake’ is my Christmas cake, and it’s lovely.
My experience is that the recipes are great, and just work. (‘Beautiful Biscuits’: also a seminal work,,,)
However the book that has that nostalgic quality for me is ‘Make Your Children’s Party a Wow!’ by Jean Brown, which my mum would have used for our birthday parties. Again there’s something so achievable about the cakes – a train made from carriages of mini rolls each with Licorice Allsorts’ wheels, with a child’s name iced on every carriage. The cosmopolitan sophistication! Or – seriously – a biscuit stuck on to white paper with a little icing, which allowed the hostess to draw arms and legs on. as if the biscuit was a little person! Or the mind-bending suggestion: ‘Use a pastry cutter to make circular sandwiches’.
The fun we had…
Absolutely the best Australian book ever. I spent AGES poring over it as a kid trying to decide which cake I wanted mum to make. Sadly, her cake-making skills didn’t extend past the number cakes so I only ever got the 3, and then years of Viennetta ice cream cakes since the only skill required was the ability to open a box. I stalked copies on ebay for a while, then bought one as soon as they re-released it a few years back so I can give them a go for my daughter. Sadly it’s missing four or so of the original cakes, I assume due to copyright issues, but it’s still amazing. I would much rather eat the swimming pool cake with the yummy “vienna cream” from The Book than some professionally-made three-tiered fondant monstrosity!
i agree this is the best book. My children love choosing their cakes from this book each birthday. I have made the train cake at least 3 times for my son. I always use the cream icing from this book. It is always nice to be able to say that you made the cake instead of buying one, and the cakes are usually easy enough that even if you aren’t very artistic they turn out well.
IIRC, Tamora Pierce has a book that was written for audio-first.
I haven’t listened to it yet but I picked up Six Degrees of Assassination which is described as “An Audible Drama” and looks to have a whole host of British actors performing the characters. The author, MJ Arlidge, is unknown to me but he is apparently a well know screen-writer as well as author. Seems like it would be a great fit for authors like Dick Wolf who is mostly known for his work on Law & Order. I’m looking forward to seeing where Amazon/Audible takes this.
Goodness, that cake book sounds like something I must immediately track down.
I loved radio dramas and would stay up until midnight to listen to an old time radio show that broadcast The Shadow, The Saint and others. If any of the Audible offerings are similar, I will be all over that.
Yes, I grew up with that cake book. Sometimes I even got to choose my cake!! When it came to my first child’s first birthday, I was all “I need my own Aussie Women’s Cake Book.” So I got the latest edition at the time – and shock horror, it was missing some of my favourites (I needed Mickey and Minnie Mouse Disney characters – I assume back in the day they didn’t actually have permission to use the exact characters). So a fossick through second hand book shops and I have 3 editions, with some classic 80s calculators, Aussie animals (not much use in NZ) and overall a great mix of ideas for boys and girls. It’s part of the excitement of the lead up to birthdays for the kids to sit and look through the book to see what they want to do. Good instructions using clever but not-tricky decorative ideas. I think this might be my gushiest review/comment ever.
I have the Australian cake book. I tried the doll cake, but it was a fail for me. However the pictures were lovely to look at. I wouldn’t call it the best Australian book, but the kids loved to look at the pictures. I made their cakes from recipes off the internet instead.
surely, an author has the choice? They don’t have to write specifically for Audible.
My only concern is the narration as, in truth, I prefer a single narrator telling me a story, I’ve listened to a couple of dual narrations, but it always sounds like one is speaking from another room. I used to love radio plays, so full cast might be OK, but they simply have to get the production right. Sound quality is very important to me
I have that book and have made many of the cakes in it for my children including the dolly varden one.
Best book? Ah…no….Best kids cake recipe book? Yup!