Public Enemy Fights the Power Online
Although rappers the Beastie Boys, alternative band the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and rockers Def Leppard said this week they would make music available online, they are offering only a few songs or music that can only be listened to while logged on.
For $8, about half the price of most retail CDs, listeners can download the Public Enemy album's 14 tracks for playback on their computers later. A CD of the album is available for $10.
"I have told the public, the industry, and the technology at hand that Public Enemy's statement with There's a Poison Goin' On was going to be unprecedented and that it would enter the market place like shrapnel from diverse technological areas," the band's frontman Chuck D says in a statement.
The album is available in the a2b, as well as RealJukebox, and marks the eighth album for Public Enemy, which has racked up three multiplatinum albums, three gold albums, four gold singles, and a platinum home video.
Chuck D has made no secret of his distrust of major music companies after the band's falling out with their former label, Def Jam Records, in 1995 after their disastrous release Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age.
"The downloadable aspect that we are presenting here for $8 once again backs up my theory of providing consumers with options they've never had before," says Chuck D.
Among the songs featured on the album is "Swindler's Lust", a tirade against music companies that Chuck D released for free on the Web earlier this year.
D, whose real name is Carlton Ridenhour, made waves in the industry last
year by blaming distributor PolyGram for delays in releasing the band's
album Bring The Noise 2000, and then posting tracks from it on the Internet
for free in the MP3 format, which offers no copyright protection.
7:09 pm et Public Enemy uses Internet to fight music industry
With the release of ``There's a Poison Goin On'' through music Web site Atomic Pop (http://atomicpop.com), Public Enemy says it will become the first major music act to offer up an entire album for download.
Although rappers the Beastie Boys, alternative band the Red Hot Chili Peppers and rockers Def Leppard said this week they would make music available online, they are offering only a few songs or music that can only be listened to while logged on.
For $8, about half the price of most retail CDs, listeners can download the Public Enemy album's 14 tracks for playback on their computers later. A CD is available for $10.
``I have told the public, the industry and the technology at hand that Public Enemy's statement with 'There's a Poison Goin On' was going to be unprecedented and that it would enter the market place like shrapnel from diverse technological areas,'' the band's frontman Chuck D said in a statement.
The album is available in the a2b format developed by AT&T Corp. Fans can also listen to the songs on a player made by multimedia software company RealNetworks called RealJukebox, which is based on a2b technology.
It is the eighth album for Public Enemy, which has racked up three multi-platinum albums, three gold albums, four gold singles and a platinum home video.
Chuck D has made no secret of his distrust of major music companies after the band's falling out with their former label, Def Jam Records, in 1995 after their disastrous release ``Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age''.
``The downloadable aspect that we are presenting here for $8 once again backs up my theory of providing consumers with options they've never had before,'' said Chuck D.
Among the songs featured on the album is ``Swindler's Lust'', a tirade against music companies that Chuck D released for free on the Web earlier this year.
Chuck D, whose real name is Carlton Ridenhour, made waves in the industry last year by blaming distributor PolyGram for delays in releasing the band's album ``Bring The Noise 2000'', and then posting tracks from it on the Internet for free in the MP3 format, which offers no copyright protection.
The Beastie Boys, for their part, Wednesday announced they would offer three previously unreleased tracks through Web site http://launch.com. The tracks, to be released one at a time, will be free, but delivered in a secure format so they cannot be copied.
In a humanitarian twist, for the first 1 million people who download a song, the band and launch.com would donate $1 to help Kosovo refugees. Microsoft, whose Windows Media Player is needed to listen to the songs, will match the donations.
Red Hot Chili Peppers and Def Leppard said Tuesday that starting June 4
they would post songs from their upcoming albums on the Internet in a ``streaming''
format, meaning listeners can only hear it while online.
8:49:38 Public Enemy Is The First Multiplatinum Artist To Offer A
Full Album For Digital Download
Revolutionary rap group, Public Enemy and Atomic Pop, the 21st century music company, today announced the full Public Enemy record THERE'S A POISON GOIN ON, will be available for digital download via www.atomicpop.com. The album will be priced at $8.00 using the a2b musicsm player, or RealNetworks' new RealJukebox. This is the first time a full album, by a platinum-selling act, has been offered for purchase in downloadable form.
The download of THERE'S A POISON GOIN ON, also marks the first time the a2b music technology will be used to securely download a full album.
"Making the Public Enemy album available in downloadable form is consistent with our commitment to make music available to active fans through the Internet," said Al Teller, founder and CEO of Atomic Pop. "We will continue to embrace the emerging marketing and promotional opportunities that the net has to offer."
have told the public, the industry, and the technology at hand that Public
Enemy's statement with There's A Poison Going On was going to be unprecedented
and that it would enter the market place like shrapnel from diverse technological
areas," adds Public Enemy's Chuck D. "The downloadable aspect that we are
presenting here for $8.00, once again backs up my theory of providing consumers
with options they've never had before. These options are the modern day
equivalent of Dylan going electric."
3:03 am edt Public Enemy Attacks Music Industry With Poison
In fact, corporate-owned radio stations and white-owned ones that play black music are one of the poisons P.E. leader Chuck D takes to task on the new cut "Crayola".
"They've made a cancer out of black minds," the 38-year-old rapper said recently from his home in Long Island, N.Y. "They'll play music to kill [listeners] softly, but not give them any information that they can use to unite with one another and the community."
Uniting the community has been a top priority for Chuck D since Public Enemy pioneered the notion of thematic rap albums in 1988 with their second disc, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.
While hip-hop has since passed from renegade to royalty status, P.E. have continued to hammer away at now-familiar themes such as self-sufficiency. In the process, the band has eschewed trends such as gangsta posturing and R&B-flavored rap for experimental music that has not always clicked with the hip-hop community.
There's a Poison Goin' On -- which was released online last week by Atomic Pop (www.atomicpop.com) but doesn't hit stores until July 6 -- shifts the spotlight pointedly on the music industry itself with songs such as "Do You Wanna Go Our Way???" and "Swindler's Lust."
Also woven into the album's aggressive soundscapes are social commentaries such as the cinematic "I" (RealAudio excerpt), in which Chuck D (born Carlton Ridenhour) assumes the perspective of a homeless person traipsing from one end of town to the other.
As muted jazz trumpets float through the background, the singer walks past young people who value "keeping it real" in the ghetto more than their own history or self-worth. "The crazy kids of Generation Wrecked/ Dissin' pyramids while praisin' projects," Chuck D raps.
"You take a homeless person and put him next to a Lexus," Chuck D said. "And you have the homeless person getting shot and the Lexus blowing up. People will feel more sympathetic for the material item as opposed to the human being. As I walk through the 'hood, I see all these things from a different mindset."
Walter Leaphart, a television producer who has managed Chuck D since 1994, said the rapper is intensely focused on both business and art. While concert tours are rare in the rap world, Public Enemy has mounted 38 of them since forming in 1982, including treks through China, Egypt, Poland and Brazil. And last year, Chuck D extricated the group from its longtime contract with Def Jam and linked up with the Internet label Atomic Pop.
Leaphart said the rapper's knack for staying on point extends to his recording habits.
"The studio's dark, he has a light and his lyrics," the manager said from his Los Angeles office. "He'll make changes as he goes along. He's really a perfectionist in terms of his delivery. He has no problems doing 15 takes. If he stumbles on a word, or if it ain't clean to him, it ain't going down."
Although some members of the Public Enemy camp sat out the recording of There's a Poison Goin' On, Chuck D said they are still part of the group. DJ Terminator X (Norman Rogers) now owns an ostrich farm in North Carolina; controversial, outspoken sideman Professor Griff (Richard Griffin) works as a bail bondsman in Atlanta.
What may surprise some listeners is the prominence of rapper Flavor Flav (William Drayton) on the new disc. During the early 1990s, the precursor to modern rap cutups such as Ol' Dirty Bastard and Busta Rhymes racked up arrests for assault and nonpayment of child support, and was charged with attempted murder for a domestic dispute that involved gunfire. That charge was dropped after Flavor Flav agreed to get treatment for a drug habit, and the rapper -- who rarely speaks to the press -- has since said he's formed a relationship with God.
On There's a Poison Goin' On he steps up front and center for the foreboding police-brutality tale "41:19" and produced as well as raps on the party boast "What What."
"Public Enemy is me and Flavor vocally," Chuck D said. "That has to go as the first and foremost rule. If he feels like it might be too much of this or too much of that vocally, then he's not gonna want to participate. And then I say, is it this or Flavor? Without Flavor there's a big chance there could not be Public Enemy."
Chuck D said he would like to take Public Enemy on the road in August, and his and Griff's rock band, Concentration Camp, is planning its live debut in July. In the meantime, Chuck D said he's concentrating on fighting what he calls societal poisons through avenues such as the Internet.
elements in society that are killing us slowly, whether it's spiritually,
mentally or eventually physically," he said. "Maybe technology is a rock
that a lot of us can grab onto in order to exist in the next century."
Chuck D Speaks About New Album, Internet
5:23 pm edt P.E. Album Posted For Download
10:14 am edt Public Enemy Album A No-Show Online
New Public Enemy LP Track By Track
Released jointly by the band and on-line record company Atomic Pop, '…Poison…' includes two tracks previously available for free MP3 and MP4 downloads from www.public-enemy.com, 'Swindlers Lust' and 'Do You Wanna Go Our Way???'. The album is due to be released through shops in mid-June. In the meantime, the only way of getting hold of the album is to order it on-line at Atomic Pop's website www.atomicpop.com.
Writing on the message board at public-enemy.com, PE leader Chuck D hints that on-line fans will be getting more exclusives from the band in coming months, and invites fans to remix PE tracks and post them on-line. "I'm givin shit away from the vaults," he says. "There will be many more songs and albums comin' with different sounds, etc., plus wait until we have the accapellas so the board can remix for the planet. This is gonna be scary for the adversaries."
Here, in brief, is Music365's track-by-track run through of the new album. A full review will appear as soon as our reviewer has had the chance to properly listen to the album!
Side Of The Wall: 2000
You Wanna Go Our Way ???
The Sheep Next The Shepherd?
Mass Of The Caballeros
3:03 am edt Public Enemy Album 'Spaced-Out'
Net Effect: Public Enemy and Atomic Pop drop da bomb with an online
album. Can the labels withstand the shock waves?
And Public Enemy are not the only act bum-rushing this show. An expected announcement of a tour-sponsership arrangement between Alanis Morissette and MP3.com, with rumors of Morissette getting an equity stake in the controversial website, led to further rumblings of emergency meetings at Morissette's label, Maverick Records, and its parent company, Warner Bros. (The website devoted to the singer's tour with Tori Amos now makes vague promises of "streaming...concert performances"; a spokesperson for Maverick denies that any changes were made to the initial agreement.) Then, on May 3, Real.com unveiled its free RealJukebox, software that makes creating, organizing, downloading, and playing MP3 music as easy as putting a CD in that little sliding tray on your computer.
Still, the Public Enemy announcement, along with Teller's heavyweight rep in the music biz, has put Atomic Pop at the head of the pack. Offering music, videos, articles, and an online store, the site comes across as equal parts record label, music magazine, and retail outlet. "We've deliberately blurred the lines between those categories," says Teller. "That's why we call ourselves 'the 21st Century Music Company.'"
The deal itself is pretty futuristic: Public Enemy will retain ownership of their masters while netting a bigger chunk of the royalties, even while pricing Poison at a Fugazi-like $10 online (the CD, which will cost approximately $16, hits stores June 21). But aren't PE worried about alienating fans who aren't online? "We're not worried about anything," replies lead singer Chuck D. "There's nothing romantic about walking into a record store, spending $400, and coming out with 20 CD's."
Despite these developments, music industry analysts are still awaiting the emergence of a truly Net-driven hit artist or recording. "That's what we're all chasing," says Teller, "the ability to break artists online." Some in the industry doubt it will happen. Tower Records COO and exec VP Stan Goman calls proponents of Net-driven music "a bunch of 30 year olds living in a dream world. The total sales of records over the Net are just not that significant, and direct delivery through the Net is even more insignificant."
the artists and execs forging ahead, Goman's derision sounds quaint. Deploying
an artfully mixed metaphor, Chuck D proclaims: "The dam has burst, the
shovel is in the dirt, and the highway will follow, going north, south,
west, east...and up."
12:43 pm edt Public Enemy downloads challenge to industry: Chuck
D. of Public Enemy is waging a war against the record companies in the
Through a partnership with Internet record label Atomic Pop, the mega-successful rap group is making the album "There's a Poison Goin On ...." initially available only via the net and through free digital downloads.
According to Public Enemy mastermind Chuck D., this is part of the group's plan to usher in the age of digital music -- and give a heads-up to major labels hesitant to embrace the new medium.
"This is a shovel in the dirt," says Chuck D., whose group first appeared on the rap scene in 1987 with "Yo! Bum Rush the Show." "You hope the artists will get a bigger percentage of what they sell and that the consumer can buy the music for less. It's inevitable and it's gonna happen a lot quicker than we think."
may depend on your modem
For those who prefer holding CDs in their hot little hands, Public Enemy is selling the entire album online through Atomic Pop or Internet retailer Amazon.com starting May 18, more than a month before it's available in stores and via other e-commerce sites.
music turf wars
Rather than waiting, many top recording artists and groups -- Public Enemy among them -- are trying to bypass the big guys and do it on their own.
Canadian songstress Alanis Morissette recently announced that the Web site MP3.com will sponsor her North American tour. As the site explains, "MP3 is a file format which stores audio files on a computer in such a way that the file size is relatively small .... Typically 1 MB is equal to one minute of music or several minutes for spoken word/audiobooks."
The Beastie Boys placed MP3 files of rare songs on their official site until their label, the Capitol-licensed Grand Royal Records, asked them to take down the music. Nevertheless, the group has promised to place another round of tracks on their site.
And rocker Tom Petty, whose most recent album, "Echo," came out in April, offered a free MP3 version of the single "Free Girl Now" on MP3.com. Petty's label -- like CNN Interactive, a Time Warner company -- asked him to take down the track, so he teamed up with MP3.com on his own.
on the Web
Chuck D. says that the band signed with Atomic Pop in part because founding chairman Al Teller, who worked with Public Enemy at MCA Music Entertainment and CBS Records, understands the explosive growth of digital music. Teller, in turn, raves about the band's early embrace of the medium.
"Chuck D. ... deeply understands the profound impact Internet technology will have on bringing an artist's music directly to fans, as well as the enormous empowerment the Web provides artists to that end," Teller says in a statement. "Our relationship with Chuck D. and Public Enemy will serve as a strong example of the alternatives rapidly becoming available to artists on all levels."
"We're setting the template for artists. We're telling them that if a label doesn't want to give them a chance, they can do it another way," says the rapper.
All noble technological premises and promises aside, the deal is an extremely lucrative one for the rap group. While Chuck D. doesn't divulge details, he freely admits that money talked, at least partially. Under terms of the agreement, for example, Public Enemy is not forced to deliver a set number of albums, is not tied to Atomic Pop for any definitive amount of time and retains the rights to master recordings.
"The deal is impeccable," says Chuck D., "in terms of our percentages of what we create and own. As far as Public Enemy is concerned, we're known all over the world, so when we do something, someone will want to get it from somewhere. And we know that people want to support someone who makes a statement."
Public Enemy, considered one of the most definitive and controversial rap groups, is best remembered for such classic albums such as the 1988 platinum "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back." It fused offbeat samples and traditional funk with Chuck D.'s politically charged lyrics.
The next release, "Fear of a Black Planet," hit the Top 10 and featured the hit "Fight the Power," which became the anthem for Spike Lee's film "Do the Right Thing." Their most recent release was the original soundtrack for Lee's 1998 film "He Got Game." This was the first film soundtrack created entirely by a rap group -- it peaked at No. 26.
"The music business is afraid of losing control. The companies are basically big banking systems. And they know that anyone can become a record company in terms of distribution, and that strikes fear into their hearts. This is a technology that record companies can't control. The public had a hold of it first, and that's the reason for a lot of the paranoia."
"We're not shooting down offline distribution, but it's not the priority," the rapper says. "Online downloading is our priority, and offline distribution is secondary."
Chuck D. says he envisions a day on which consumers can get music cheaply and quickly, while artists create and sell without the interference of record labels.
"I foresee that more artists will be able to come into the marketplace without the need for some stupid A&R person," says Chuck D. "The demo will be eradicated, and people can set up their own labels. This won't replace the majors or independents, but we'll also have digital downloads of artists.
bottom line is that consumers will have more musical choices."
Chuck D is many things to many people
Born Carlton Ridenhour, Chuck D made his mark in the early 1980s when he hooked up with Hank Shocklee, a kindred spirit in music and politics. The two recorded the song Public Enemy No. 1, which caught the attention of producer Rick Rubin, who signed the rapper to his new label, Def Jam. Chuck assembled a group, including rapper/jester Flavor Flav and master DJ Terminator X, and they became Public Enemy, one of hip hop's greatest bands.
Public Enemy attracted a lot of negative attention in the mid-80s, mostly through the controversial statements of choreographer Professor Griff. The resulting ruckus spurred the group's eventual breakup and re-formation without Griff. PE has continued to record albums of immense power, maintaining influence in both music and social politics. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is one of PE's biggest-selling CDs. The cuts "Bring the Noise" and "Don't Believe the Hype" broke through to white-dominated radio and to MTV, exposing new audiences to hip hop. We're giving away a copy of this CD, autographed by Chuck D himself. Enter our contest for a chance to win.
Over the past few months, Chuck D has made his mark on new territory: the Internet. Recently, he posted a track from an upcoming PE album, Bring the Noise 2000, on the band's official site, Public-Enemy.com. It was an MP3 file that anyone could download and play for free. Def Jam, worried about lost profits, demanded that the track be removed. In response, PE posted a new song, Swindler's Lust, which attacked the recording industry for trying to suppress free digital distribution. "So this is anti-corporatism," says the band. "Watch the reaction to this lyrical swirl."
Not long after, Public Enemy and Def Jam parted ways. In April, the band signed on with Internet upstart Atomic Pop, which will release PE's next disc, There's A Poison Goin On exclusively on the Web before putting it on store shelves. Press releases chronicling PE's move to the Internet are available on the hype section of the band's site.
What does this mean? It means that a major musical act has taken a stand for musicians who wish to distribute their music without the industry eating up most of the profits. As you might guess, the industry is not pleased. In Chuck D's words, "It seems like the weasels have stepped into the fire. The execs, lawyers, and accountants who lately have made most of the money in the music biz are now running scared from the technology that evens out the creative field and makes artists harder to pimp. Let 'em all die. I'm glad to be a contributor to the bomb."
Hilary Rosen of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has practically accused Chuck D of biting the hand that feeds him, saying that he knew what he was getting into when he signed the dotted line. Chuck won't deny that he has signed contracts, but the battle he wages is not for his own benefit -- it's for the future of music. Hilary and Chuck are actually friends, even though their statements frequently put them at odds. While the RIAA tries legal remedies that would keep it in firm control, Chuck states, "I'm the first artist that actually can look at the major label contract and whatever they give me, and say [to the industry], 'I'm going to fight for this MP3, because I believe in it.' I have nothing to lose."
He airs his views publicly on the Terrordome, the editorial section of the PE site. He attacks the wrongdoings of the music industry while informing artists who suffer under its yoke. A message board allows anyone to respond, and Chuck is always ready to answer any questions aimed his way. There is an air of respect among the people who frequent the board; they know that what they are talking about today will have serious repercussions for the future of music.
Chuck D's presence on the Web is legit: He is not just a "guest star" on any of his sites. Ask, and he shall answer. Dis, and he shall defend. Proof of his knowledge is in his choice of terms; in many instances, Chuck has been documented as calling the Web "The Wild Wild Web." Happily, this is not a coincidence -- he calls it this because he is a longtime fan of our show.
Another fan is Kyle Jason, the musician/producer prodigy whose latest project, the EP Generations, has gathered critical acclaim. One of the few people whose intelligence and vision can match the great Chuck D, Kyle had a lot to say to us about the future of music: "Artists have to go out and earn their keep again.... If we sold 2,000 albums in Cincinnati, you can rest assured that next week, we're going to be in Cincinnati, doing whatever it is we gotta do to make sure that we're earning our keep there." Chuck D adds, "We will see artists sell 513 copies and treat it like an accomplishment instead of a failure."
It's not just the artists who will benefit from new online distribution models; listeners will experience a new kind of freedom as well. One of Chuck D's other projects, bringthenoise.com, is a new harbinger of this freedom. Listeners can tune in to the site to hear broadcasts of music submitted by unsigned artists. MP3.com is perhaps the best-known source of free music that anyone can download or upload. Chuck D sung the site's praises in an earlier MP3 feature on our site.
The Internet has created many opportunities for artists and listeners. With those opportunities come many problems. What do you think about Chuck D's words? Go to our message boards and type away.
parting thoughts for the Wild Wild Web: "With Public Enemy, the industry
thought, 'We'll push them way to the back, and we'll kill them off.' They
will always see me! Whether it's at a big meeting, they'll see me. Whether
it's out there in the world, at a conference, they'll see me. Whether it's
up there amongst their groups, they'll see me. I'm like a virus to their
system that just won't go away!"
Chuck D on MP3: Vulture's the Culture?
"The lawyers in the music industry have skewed the business to work beneficially for them and not for the artist."
One of the most vocal proponents of MP3 files is Chuck D of Public Enemy, a group that was named best rap group by Rolling Stone Magazine in 1991. His song "Swindler's Lust," recently released on the Net, attacks the music industry for excessive greed and unfair business practices. Chuck D feels MP3s can give artists an edge when trying to break into the music scene, allowing them to bypass the costs and politics associated with radio retail and record companies.
But it's not as if Chuck D hasn't faced any personal conflict over the MP3 debate. When he made a few Public Enemy tracks available online last October, he started getting calls from his record company's lawyers. They demanded he take down the files, stating that releasing music on the Net was a copyright violation, a claim that is at the heart of the MP3 debate.
Record companies state they are protesting MP3 files to protect that artists as well, but Chuck D isn't so easily convinced: "The lawyers in the music industry have skewed the business to work beneficially for them and not for the artist. So there's a lot of hypocrisy when the record companies start to say they're looking out for you."
like IBM and Sony have created new formats for music files which carry
copyright information to help reduce the amount of music piracy online.
Although this is a step in the right direction, the challenge remains to
find a way to distribute music online that both artists and recording companies
can agree upon. But for now, the debate continues.
11:00 am edt Public Enemy In Amazon Exclusive
In addition, Public Enemy's new single "Do You Wanna Go Our Way???" is now available for free digital download in the MP3 format from Amazon.com and Atomic Pop and in the MP3 and G2 formats from RealNetworks. The single will be available on both sites for 30 days.
is also offering fans an exclusive interview with Public Enemy founder
and MP3 supporter Chuck D, as well as co-sponsoring a contest in which
10 winners will receive signed copies of Chuck D's autobiography, "Fight
The Power: Rap, Race, And Reality."
Atomic Pop/Amazon.Com To Sell New Public Enemy Album; PE Single Will Be
Available Via Free Download
Amazon to Sell New Public Enemy Album
Do You Wanna Go Their Way? There's a Poison Goin' On
Returning after an unhappy parting with former label Def Jam, Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Terminator X and crew are back with a new record, "There's a Poison Goin' On," and an aggressive Internet campaign to get PE's music directly into the hands of its fans. To the band, this campaign is as important a statement as any lyric on the album.
"The music is significant," says Chuck D, "but the record itself is more significant, because of how it's going to come at the public. It's going to come at the public in non-conventional means. It's going to enter the marketplace like shrapnel with the use of software on the Internet. These are bold ventures into a bold new world."
This is no lip service to the 'Net. While "There's a Poison Goin' On" will be in stores on June 21, PE's new label, Atomic Pop, is taking Internet orders at its Web site. The label will ship you the CD for $10, and if you only want the digital information, you can get the MP3 for $8.
Can PE pull it off? Chuck D has no fear, but he says the big labels do.
"The middlemen are screaming at this process, because it cuts them out. They're laying in the back for us to fail. I like to tell the world 'if we sell one record, we're successful,' because it's a shovel in the dirt. And the shovel in the dirt is going to lead to a six-lane highway."
With Chuck D's herald-the-apocalypse vocals and Flav's court-jester interjections, there's no mistaking this for anything but a Public Enemy record. But the group's hip-hop roar has continued to evolve, and there are some trippy things going on within the stacks of sound on many of these cuts.
"The intention with this record was to try to make something for the 21st century. It's like Redman meets Pink Floyd meets Rage Against The Machine and crashes into the Chemical Brothers. That's the sonic thrust of it. Anybody who knows anybody about Public Enemy knows that we've never made two records alike. It's a blessing and curse. The topics are relevant. They follow the line of Public Enemy discussion. Sonically yes, there's dense layering, but it's gonna be different."
Witness the first single, "Do You Wanna Go Our Way???" [RealVideo]
"Do you wanna go our way? Because this is the new way," Chuck declares. "We're coming at it like a messiah. There's no other record that sounds like this in hip-hop. We guarantee that it's going to catch on like a virus if it's played ten times, cause there's nothing like it. You don't make records like that intentionally. You luck up on those records. I've made four of them in my past. 'Public Enemy No. 1,' 'Bring the Noise,' 'Rebel Without a Pause,' 'Welcome to the Terrordome.'"
Lofty company for the PE aficionado. Yet for the video for their prized track, the band tried to keep scale in mind, something Chuck feels is increasingly called for.
"Companies are making out-there, crazy videos, spending two million dollars, making them on ten-dollar songs! In R&B, to make a ten-dollar song and a two-million-dollar video... why? For TLC's 'Scrub.'... Good song, good R&B, urban song, but the video is like, why'd they have to go to outer space for that, why spend all that money? I believe that you have 16-millimeter songs out there. If you have a 16-millimeter song, it compliments a 16-millimeter video. "Respiration" by Black Star... straight-up-there video... 16-millimeter video that compliments their song, which is raw. It's a raw song with a raw video. Once you start seeing a raw song with a three-million-dollar shined-up video... there's no call for that. Our video is done by straight-up computer tech heads (directors Jonathan Woods and Christopher Adams). It's as crazy as the song."
9:49:18 Atomic Pop Partners With Amazon.com To Sell The New Public
Enemy Record Exclusively Online Prior To The Traditional Retail Release
LOS ANGELES (May 3, 1999) - Atomic Pop, the 21st century music company, today announced their partnership with the leading online retailer Amazon.com to be their sole partner in the four week exclusive online sale window of their upcoming release from the multi-platinum and revolutionary rap group Public Enemy. THERE'S A POISON GOIN ON will be available exclusively online through Atomicpop.com and Amazon.com from May 18 through June 20, prior to its availability in traditional retail outlets on June 21, 1999.
"Atomic Pop's partnership with Amazon to launch the new Public Enemy album is an example of the ways in which we intend to maximize our consumer reach online," said Al Teller, founder and CEO of Atomic Pop. "As a label, our online initiatives are designed to create immense awareness and buzz for our releases, prior to their availability in the traditional retail market place."
THERE'S A POISON GOIN ON will be aggressively priced at $10.00 online, more than a 40% discount from retail list price.
Beginning May 3, 1999 Atomic Pop and Amazon will make available a free digital download of the eagerly awaited first single from Public Enemy, "Do You Wanna Go Our Way???," coinciding with the first day pre-orders will be taken by Amazon.com. All pre-orders will ship upon the online street date of May 18. The free digital single will be available on Atomicpop.com and Amazon.com for 30 days in the MP3 format.
"Free digital downloads are a great way to create awareness for new releases," said Jennifer Cast, general manager of Amazon.com's music store. "We're thrilled to be working with Atomic Pop to promote Public Enemy's upcoming CD and to be the exclusive retailer for the four weeks before it hits the stores."
In addition to the digital single Amazon will offer fans an exclusive interview with digital visionary and founder of Public Enemy, Chuck D, as well as a link to a contest in which 10 winners will receive signed copies of Chuck D's autobiography, Fight the Power: Rap, Race, and Reality."
Enemy re-wrote the rules of hip-hop and are ready to re-write the rules
of the music business with the marketing and promotion of their upcoming
record THERE'S A POISON GOIN ON. Public Enemy made their debut on the rap
scene in 1987 and continues to be one of the most influential and controversial
rap groups of all time. They have released seven albums, which rank among
the greatest records ever made, selling millions of copies worldwide. While
Public Enemy was on hiatus in the mid-'90s, Chuck D soldiered on expressing
the power of the Internet and it's potential to change the way artists
release, promote, market and distribute their music.
8:35 am edt New Net Music Player Launches With Offspring, P.E. Tracks:
RealNetworks' RealJukebox plays, records in multiple near-CD-quality formats.
"When there's that much interest on the Internet, I want it to be something that we address and actively participate in," Offspring singer Dexter Holland said. The California punk band is offering "Beheaded" -- from its 1989 self-titled debut -- in the a2b format exclusively through RealNetworks' site.
The company also has an a2b version of the new Public Enemy single, "Do You Wanna Go Our Way???" -- from the album There's a Poison Goin' On, due May 19 on the Internet label Atomic Pop -- along with links to dozens of songs by Eminem, George Clinton, the Reverend Horton Heat, the Donnas and others (at realguide.real.com/category.rxml?category_uid=405).
The free RealJukebox software will "really explode this market [and] pave the way for legitimate music online," predicted Alex Alben, vice president of RealNetworks' Music Group.
RealJukebox allows listeners to play songs and record them from CDs in both the MP3 and RealAudio G2 formats. It also lets users play songs in the copyright-secure a2b format, and the company expects to announce more supported technologies in the months ahead.
RealNetwork executives said that by offering the new program to the 60 million registered users of their existing RealAudio and RealVideo software, they hope to make RealJukebox the standard for listening to, recording and organizing music on a computer.
To calm the music industry's fears about online piracy, RealJukebox is set by default to record songs from CD in a secure mode, although that feature can be turned off. When the feature is on, songs are encrypted and tethered to an individual's copy of RealJukebox, preventing the music from being posted online or sent to others by e-mail.
Real plans to introduce watermarking for files in the months ahead, so that if the other security measures are skirted, a distributed song can be traced back to the original recorder.
"When the labels [realize], 'Everybody has this player, and this player supports various security mechanisms that we like,' then I think that's just going to accelerate putting legitimate content on the Web," Alben said. "We think we're helping labels to grow this new market."
Holland said the Offspring offered "Beheaded" as a reaction to seeing numerous unauthorized online postings of "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" (RealAudio excerpt) and other recent hits.
"Downloading one song is a cool thing, but it's part of the bigger picture," Holland said. "I really want to be involved with our audience through the Internet."
The Offspring's most recent album, Americana, is currently #7 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The band appears playing "Beheaded" in the recently released teen movie "Idle Hands."
While the music industry has been slow to embrace the online distribution of music, several recent deals suggest major labels' trepidation may be dissolving. Last week Alanis Morissette, who won two 1999 Grammy Awards for her song "Uninvited" (RealAudio excerpt), announced that music site MP3.com would help sponsor her summer tour. Morissette and co-headliner Tori Amos will both issue an unreleased track online in an as-yet-undetermined format.
Analyst Mark Hardie said RealNetworks' broad user base will help expand the number of people using their computers for music needs, but won't necessarily draw the music industry online any faster.
"Their reach is important in terms of starting the consumer conversion over to acquiring music digitally," Hardie said. "[But] the reach is not what convinces the music industry. The music industry recognizes it's in a period of transition toward digital delivery, and the fact that applications exist that are likely to be broadly deployed helps in their decision-making process. But it's not the only thing."
"There's still concern about the whole idea of downloading," said an executive at one major label imprint. "It's not about the equipment yet; at least that's not what I'm hearing. It's not about, 'Oh my God, they have this player, it's going to blow the whole world open.' "
Unlike other recording programs, RealJukebox lets the user listen to music as it's being converted into a downloadable format.
Songs recorded at 96 kilobits per second in Real format take up less space on a computer hard drive than songs recorded in MP3 at the same rate, Alben said, although many MP3 recorder programs use 128 kbps, a higher standard, as their default setting.
On the free version of RealJukebox launched Monday, the highest recording rate is 96 kbps. An expanded RealJukebox Plus, with higher recording rates, will be offered for sale eventually.
A version of the free program for Macintosh computers also is planned, though no release date has been set, according to a RealNetworks representative.
company plans to announce deals with manufacturers of portable MP3 players.
The first, scheduled for unveiling Monday, is a partnership with Thompson
Multimedia, which will release a portable player for both MP3 and RealAudio
G2 files in October, Alben said.