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Monday, December 29, 2008

Heath McConnell's Photography

My big brother finally got real and started sharing his talent: Heath's Photography Site. Don't be shy- check it out! Hire him.

I think this is when his skills first dropped:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Music Pics (I'm On the Fence) - 12/23/08

I'll be honest with you...I listen to a lot of music. I love it. It moves me. Good music. Bad music. Great music. I'll try it all. Another tidbit- most of it sucks. A few artists, songs or whatever come along and captivate me, but that's few and far between. Of 100 artists, I maybe like 10, and maybe only 1 of those is even really good. But that's just me.

Here are three I'm not too sure about...

Malbec (Dawn of Our Age): They're interesting. I've heard it before, but then I haven't. Certainly reminds me of my coming of age days, so that's always a plus. Easy to listen to, but then nothing overwhelming. One of those you keep in stock...for those in between times.

Jaime Record (Rocket): Been around Jaime's music for years. When she used her real last name. When she sang backup or whatever. Now she went P/K/A on us. She's got a great voice. Songs are decent. The old school team is in play. But is that Jewel I hear? No, but too close for comfort.

Joe Purdy (Canyon Joe): Though my Facebook status said I was starting to fall for Joe, that was on the first round of the second song. Then came the third song. Then the forth. Then the fifith. And so on. His music certainly started to move me. Original (or should I say classic) singer/songwriter fare. It's nice. But it gets boring, I must say. I hate to say it, but it does.

Check em out, players.

~ Brock

The Elusive 'Original - Not "Other" - White Meat' from Sacramento



For those select few of you who watched my early film work - Gang Affiliation - you know the second volume was to include a certain clucker I met in Sac-Town while visiting The Tsais. Production was halted. We missed the window.

Now my grill is warming and I've got a few ideas for you...

I'm still looking for this guy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Grilled Lamb with Red Wine Sauce



Grilled lamb!

A1 and Heinz? You might as well stick to Sizzlers (not that I mind Sizzlers, mind you). For me, I love a good sauce with a good meat...a good homemade one. Here's an easy red wine sauce that hits the sweet spot with lamb or steak.



1 1/2 Cups red wine
1 1/2 Cups chicken broth
5 baby carrots
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
5 quarter sized orange rind pieces
1 tsp thyme
small grip of Italian parsley

Pour liquids in small saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce to low-medium (no bubble simmer). Add remaining ingredients and let simmer for about 40 minutes. It will reduce to about half the amount. You can go longer if you want- maybe an hour...it will become more intense and flavorful...just don't forget about it.

Drain through a mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a bowl. Serve with meat.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Monday, December 15, 2008

Music Review - Jurassic 5

Sometimes it's nice to enjoy a band that's like wine...not a Beaujolais, but a cab...something that's been around a while, maturing with age. That's Jurassic 5 to me. I get a scent of my high school days with Cool Moe Dee, Run DMC, and the like, but they're still fresh; relevant today. Check em out when you get a chance. I've been listening maybe 6 or 7 years - I've come and gone, but always come back to em. I'm kind of that way with Common too- he's another one you gotta try.

Guys like Lil Wayne, T-Pain and all them might be hot right now - especially hot considering they're actually selling music in this mess, but I wonder where they'll be in 10 years. My guess is that Common and J5 will still be dropping it. Lil Wayne? I doubt it. He found a gimmick and it took. That gimmick won't last, and I don't think he'll grow out of it.

As long as Common's acting doesn't get to his head, and as long as J5 can still make enough money to keep going, they'll both still hit it right.

~ Brock

A Little Bit of the Carribean

Thinking about Bob Marley or Sandals Resorts? I was, so I whipped up something with a quick reference to better days on the warm beach.

The Bananas
2 bananas sliced
oil
sugar
cinnamon

Fry the bananas on medium heath until they're browned to how you like them. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the top. (Note: They'll be oily, and they stick to a paper towel, so think of a better absorbent...maybe a slice of bread.)

The Chicken
6 chicken legs
2 limes
1/4 C brown sugar
1 red chile
1 TSP minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, minced
salt
pepper

Marinade the chicken in this stuff for 2 - 3 hours. Light up a grill to about 350, and cook them suckers, turning frequently, about 30 or 40 minutes. Let the juice run clear; no blood. Watch the direct flame- you don't want em burnt.

The Shrimp
12 Shrimp
1 C orange juice
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt
pepper

Marinade the shrimp for 30 minutes or so. Put them on a skewer and grill them next to your chicken for the last 10 minutes, turning frequently and basting with butter.

You can also make extra dipping sauce with the same marinade from your chicken (make it fresh, don't use your chicken marinade).

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Culinary Adventures in Orange County

Maybe you wouldn't guess, but I'm not big on laying down a lot of green for good food. Maybe it's the Barstow in me, or maybe it's the TVP I grew up on - there's just something about expensive restaurants that piss me off. It kills me to pay so much for food. Some of my friends like to wine and dine on c-notes, and that's just not me. I'd be happier spending under $10 on some good noodles and boba. It's not that I don't like the food, mind you. It's the philosophy of spending too much money on it. To each his (or her) own.

Well, I couldn't say no when a friend gave me a gift card to French 75 (part of the Culinary Adventures crew). Tammy and I were excited to check it out, and with our friend watching Tristen for a few hours, we were off.

I had duck and Tammy had scallops. Both were excellent. The portions surprised me too, because I left feeling like a stuffed turkey (but maybe that had to do with the appetizers and souffle, but who knows).

Anyway, to you folks that don't mind $$$$ on dinner, check it out. A great night out.

Brock

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fresh Pesto




To me, pesto is sort of an acquired taste. It's strong, but it's so good. I've tried the Trader Joe's bottled version and maybe even a couple other ones, but you just can't beat fresh. And, you can't beat yanking the basil out of your garden- rather than buying a box of it at the store. Organic or not, still with dirt on it or not, store bought basil isn't as fresh as the stuff from your backyard. Here's an easy pesto that's good on pasta or pizza or whatever.

2 Cups fresh basil. Lay it out on a cutting board and lay a moist papertowel over it. Pound it with the back of a knife to bruise and release flavor.

1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts and walnuts. Use your imagination with the proportions, but the last one I did had about 80% pine nuts and 20% walnuts. Put them all in a dry pan with low-med heat...toast until fragrant, but DO NOT BURN. Stir/shake constantly. Take out and set aside.

Take 5 large cloves of garlic still in sleeves and toast on dry pan. Take out, cool, remove skins, and coarsely chop.

Take out your processor and push in the basil. Add the toasted (cooled first) nuts on top. Drop 1/4 olive oil. Add your toasted garlic. Process until smooth.

Scoop out into a bowl. Grate 1/4 of fresh parmesan cheese over the top. Add fresh cracked pepper. Add kosher salt to taste. Stir it all.

Now this is the important part...too many people just plop their pesto (or sauce or whatever) with whatever amount of pasta they've cooked. They just don't care about finding the right consistency.

Cook your pasta according to instructions. Be sure to choose a pasta that will capture as much of the pesto as possible, like a spiral or bowtie. Drain.

Add your pasta to your pesto until it's covered to the right consistency. Don't add too much or too little pasta.

Separate into bowls add a bit more kosher salt on top for taste [Note: Why I Use Kosher Salt] , and if you like a little spice, add some crushed red pepper.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Rumble LA strikes again


Don't waste another Thursday night at home in front of the tube...join Future Sounds at the Rumble LA. Doors open at 8PM.

~ Brock

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taiwanese Fried Chicken Roll (with no Chicken)




This is an all time favorite at Thanksgiving. I've had it at many restaurants, but I'll be honest with you...mine is better than any of them! If you're in Rowland Heights, you can try Sim Ba La or Good Time Cafe - those are pretty good if you can't make it yourself.

Here's how you do it:

1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb chopped assorted fish cake. I like to buy all this at 99 Ranch Market.
1 C finely chopped onion
1/2 C finely chopped carrot

Chop everything and drop it into a large bowl. Mix well.

In a small bowl, add 2 Tsp cornstarch, 1 1/2 Tsp sugar, 1 Tsp cooking wine, 1 tsp sesame oil, salt and pepper. Mix that up well. Scoop it out into your bowl of food and stir and mix everything well. Ensure all the clumps of cornstarch are broken up and mixed in well. Set the bowl aside for a few mintes.

Meanwhile, decide if you're going to use tofu paper or seaweed. Either way, you're going to moisten a towel or paper towel, but if you're using seaweed, it can't be too wet or it will shrink and rip. Experiment with a sheet or two in seeing how much moisture you need to make it workable, but without ripping it.

Lay out a sheet, add mixture to form a churro-like roll at one end of the sheet. Roll the sheet and tuck in the edges to form a roll. Make as many as you can with the mixture.

Heat up 1 inch of oil in a frying pan to medium-hot heat. Fry the rolls, turning frequently, for about 10-12 minutes.

Take out, slice and eat with Ketsup.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Friday, November 21, 2008

Asian Spiced Crispy Wings

I'm a firm believer that good food doesn't have to take all day to prepare and doesn't need to have 500 ingredients. Simplicity can be gourmet. These wings are inspired by the flavors of Korean BBQ and teriyaki, but skip over to the frying pan for a crispy texture and juicy interior.

A grip of wings
1/4 Cup soy sauce
1/4 sugar
1 dash of sake
2 squirts of sesame oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tsp of fresh ginger, minced

Marinate the wings in the mixture for at least 1 hour. Drain off the wings and set aside. Get a plate full of corn starch and roll the wings in to cover.

Heat up 1inch deep vegetable oil to medium-high heat. Fry the wings on one side until golden brown, then turn em over. Drain off oil and top with green onions.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cream Cheese Puffs


You've had them at places like PF Changs, but why not enjoy them at home? They're simple to make and require three ingredients: wonton wrapper, cream cheese, and oil.

Lay out a wrapper, stuff it with a tablespoon of cream cheese, and wet the ends with water. Squeeze to close.

Heat up oil to medium heat (not too hot, or they'll burn before they turn golden brown). fry them around until the color is right. Be careful, because the cheese is super hot when they're ready.

Dip them in a sweet chili sauce or whatever sauce you like.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Music Reviews - 5 Picks

If you're wondering what my reviews are all about, it's about finding you good music to enjoy. Stuff you probably haven't heard. Not necessarily tomorrow's stars...just some good tunes I found for you.

Think of me as your filter:

David Serby is one of those bands that is clean cut, fun and reminds you of better times (unless you're my age, then it reminds you of what you think might have been better times for your grandma). I don't want to hear any, "but I don't like country music"...that's just plain silly. Just grab your gal and swing her to the left. (Country/Americana)

I was partial to Albert King when I found him, because he's from the High Desert. He's only got one song up on Myspace, which is very disappointing, but you'll enjoy it. Typical blues with a snort of gospel, and a voice to match. (Blues)

Metric-Metric-Metrick caught me off guard. Suzzane Vega-ish, '80's-sh, fresh-ish, and progressive. I like it. You'll like it. (Electronica/Pop)

Little Willie G ain't so little. A little Bryan McNight, a little Stray Cats with and some straight up...is that Samba? I don't know, but he's not bad. (Gospel/R&B)

If you're part of the Abercrombie and Fitch set, you will like Lovers Make Liars. One of the few types of music I actually hate...with a passion...but I'm well-rounded, so check em out: Lovers Make Liars. (Pop)

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Music Review - 5 Picks

I've heard some complaining that there's too much food and not enough music, so take this...

The Blacks played our (Future Sounds) recent Rumble LA party and tore the place up. A three piece you don't want to miss. (Indie Rock)

Prime is one of those rappers you want to keep an eye on. He brings the essence of original West Coast style with beats and lyrics that speak today. He's on the move up and I would not be surprised if someone stretches out a hand with money...which I hope he refuses and keeps doing what he's doing. I've been following him for a while now and he just gets better with time. (Rap/Hip Hop)

Pacifika will be in your kitchen, in your bedroom, in your shower...you move to them. A nice Latin song with independent tones. (Latin)

The Moldy Peaches is an interesting compost of indie and folk. Yes, you heard them on Juno, but listen deeper. (Indie Folk)

Brent Gunter makes you want to dance...or watch someone dance. Sure, there's the genre that you know, but he brings his own taste, style, twist to it. Don't let the "smooth jam" fool you into giving up. Give him a shot. (Indie Flamenco)

Snoop around.

~ Brock

Pineapple Fried Rice




Making fried rice at home is easy and it's natural to make so much you have leftovers for a few more meals. Pineapple adds a nice tangy component to an otherwise typical savory meal.

Here's the low down...

Cook 2 cups of rice in a rice cooker or on the stove. I prefer a calrose variety, but use whichever you like. Let it cool to room temperature.



1 small brown onion, sliced
2-3 sweet Chinese sausages, sliced
1 cup drained and chopped pineapple
vegetable oil
2 eggs, scrambled
Oyster Sauce
Soy Sauce
Salt
Pepper

First, fry up the onion with some oil, until browned, but still crunchy. Flip it into a large bowl.
Next, fry up the sausage with some oil...maybe 3 or 4 minutes (it's not precooked, so be sure it's cooked). Flip into the bowl.
Fry the scrambled egg with oil, then flip into the bowl.
Same for pineapple.

Scrape out any burnt stuff in your frying pan, add new oil, then add your rice. Fry that up for a couple minutes, then add all the items from your bowl. Add about 2 TBS oyster sauce, and 1TBS soy sauce, add salt and pepper to taste. Personally, I like my fried rice to have intense flavor, so you need to experiment with amounts...I might do twice what I said here. Fry everything together until it's nice and fried.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Monday, November 3, 2008

Poached Egg with Basil & Pimiento Vinaigrette

Using fresh ingredients sends your dishes over the top. I grow my own herbs, so I popped this basil straight off and into my mixing bowl. And you have to think about the pairing of textures for this one. I think a poached egg needs something crunchy or crusty to round off, but you also need to consider mopping up the yoke and crackers were not the right choice for that. Try a toasted french or sourdough bread on yours. Anyway, it was a nice and quick breakfast!

Poached Egg

Boil 2 cups water and 1/4 tsp salt in a shallow, small frying pan, then lower to a non-bubbling simmer. Ease egg into it and poach for 4 minutes (soft yoke). Make your vinaigrette while you're doing that.

Basil & Pimiento Vinaigrette

For 1 egg, use about 5 or 8 basil leaves. 4 or 5 small pieces of pimiento. 1 TSP olive oil. 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

You'll notice I added Brie to my crackers. That's up to you. I think eggs and cheese pair well, but with a poached egg, I didn't need the cheese.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Japanese Fusion Hits a High Note on My Table

Let me be honest with you. There are times, as a cook, when you know you’ve dropped the bomb. You’ve hit that magical place of gastronomical heaven. If you’re lucky, it’s a dish. If you’re really lucky, it’s an entire meal. I was really lucky last night.


This is a long one, so stay focused.


First, a snapshot of the warzone. Not too crazy, considering the end result.


Now the full deal.


This is Japanese fusion. Why? Because it’s not 100% Japanese…it’s a fusion of tastes and presentations from elsewhere. The focus is, of course, Japanese. An interesting component to Japanese food is the general simplicity. Minimalistic. I paid homage to the simplicity, but added some ideas of my own.


Now some play-by-play shots (recipes follow)...



Seasoned Carrots with Spring Onion Bows

2 Carrots – julienne

2 TSP Mirin

1 ½ TSP caster sugar (powdered sugar works)

6 Spring onion tops (5 inch green parts)


Mix first three ingredients well and marinate for at least 3 hours. Cut green part of onion at least 5 inches long. Blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds; let cool.


Line up carrots like a matchstick bundle. Tie a bow around with the spring onion top.


Citrus Miso Sauce

2 TSP miso paste

1 TSP shoyu

1 TSP Mirin

½ juice from lemon


Mix ingredients well.


Peanut Sauce

1/3 Cup crushed peanuts

2 tsp Shoyu

1 TSP dashi stock

1 TSP sugar


Mix ingredients well.


Inari Pockets with Four Ingredients

3 – 4 Large spring onions, chopped

4 – 5 garlic cloves, minced

1 TSP shoyu

½ TSP toasted sesame seeds

6 Inari


Drain Inari well (if using canned ones used for making sushi). Mix the first four ingredients; set aside. Open tofu pockets and stuff with spoonfuls of the mix. Place on foil and in a broiler for 4 minutes. Flip and broil for another 5 minutes.


Pan Fried Taiwanese Sea Bass

1 Taiwanese sea bass steak

2 TSP shoyu

1 TSP sugar

½ TSP sesame oil

1 TSP fresh sliced ginger


Marinate fish in zip-lock bag with all ingredients for 1 hour. Lightly oil frying pan and fry on medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn and fry 4 -5 minutes. Top with sliced green onion.


Daikon Pedistals with Shrimp and Carrots in Bows

1 daikon, peeled

6 ram shrimp, tail on

6 Seasoned Carrots with Spring Onion Bows

4 cups Dashi stock


Cut daikon into 6- 1 ½ inch pieces and drop into boiling dashi stock. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, make your carrots with bows (see recipe). When you have 10 minutes left with the daikon, make your shrimp. For shrimp, salt, pepper and garlic the shrimp, then fry up with 1 tsp of oil.


Arrange diakon on plate. Set 1 bundle of carrots on each daikon. Surround by shrimp. Drizzle Citrus Miso Sauce (see recipe) over. Shake toasted sesame seeds over plate.


Spinach with Peanut Sauce

1 grip of spinach

Peanut sauce


Blanch spinach for 30 seconds in boiling water. Drain and swirl onto plate. Drizzle peanut sauce (see recipe) about.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oven Roasted Brisket with Yam Fries and Pickles


I was out with food coma within 15 minutes of eating this meal...

Brisket-

Preheat oven to 325. Meanwhile, prepare a rub with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, crushed bay leafs, and cumin. Slather it on real good and leave it to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Once it's good, slide it into a Pyrex and pop it in the oven for 2 hours. After 2 hours, drop the temp to 275 for another 2 hours or more. Take it out and let it sit for at least 30 minutes, covered loosely in foil. Slice thinly against the grain.

Yam Fries-

Preheat oven to 500. Peel a good sized yam and cut it into fries. Make a large bowl of ice water and slosh the fries in there about 30 seconds. Rinse for about 1 minute. drain and dry. In a large bowl, glob some olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic, and mix well. Spray a baking sheet with oil and arrange the fries in a single layer. Bake for about 30 minutes, turning once midway.

BBQ Sauce-

I make my own, but I'm still working on the consistency...a little too thick for my liking, but I hit the taste dead on.

1 onion, minced to almost a paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Cup Whiskey
1/2 Cup Worchestershire
1 Cup Brown sugar
1 can of crushed tomatoes
salt
pepper
Cayenne

Fry the onion for 5 minutes, then add garlic for 30 seconds. Add whiskey, then everything else. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 1 hour or more. I'm thinking of either leaving the tomatoes out, or adding a much smaller amount. Give it a shot and let me know.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Algerian Chermoula

Algerian Chermoula is an awesome quick fix for flavor!!

You like a little spice in your life and food's a good way to get it. This mixture doubles as a marinade or topping. I'm gonna try it on a nice cod or some other white fish, but for a quick appetizer, I made it for french bread with Brie.

Full pack of cilantro
2-3 small red peppers
olive oil - 2tsp
juice from 1/2 lime
1 TSP toasted cumin seeds (dry toast in a skillet)
salt
4-5 cloves garlic
pepper

Drop it all in your food processor and pulse until it looks appealing.

Check out this guy's recipe...he has a different take on it.

Happy Eating!

Brock

Friday, October 3, 2008

Recipes From The Scrutiny




Back in 2004, 2005, and 2006, I worked on a food and wine blog, The Scrutiny, with a buddy of mine. I posted a large number of great recipes on there you should check out, like my Cuban Sandwich, Chinese Salty-sticky Rice, and mushroom and cream pasta.

Check it out.

~Brock

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Inconsistencies on Reports Over Streaming Royalties

On September 23, Betanews reported that the agreement reached between DiMA, NMPA, RIAA and others concerning streaming royalties put a cap of 10.5% "less performance royalties." Betanews reported that the "performance royalties" referred to was for sound recordings. Billboard, on the other hand, claims that the performance royalties referred to in the agreement are for "compositions." That's a BIG difference. Which is it?

We need to see the agreement or details on it.

Mechanical Royalty Rates Frozen by Copyright Royalty Board

The National Music Publisher's Association (NMPA) announced this afternoon that the US Copyright Royalty Board ruled today that mechanical royalty rates will not increase- they will stay at $.091 per song for physical CDs and downloads for the next five years. Apparently, this decision was largely influenced by Apple's recent claim that it would shut iTunes down if the rate increase occurred. This is MAJOR news for everyone involved, because the rate has been in a state of somewhat uncertainty for about two years. Reports of the decision abound online.

An ancillary ruling was that ringtones will incur a mechanical royalty of $.24 (this is a first for ringtones), and publishers may now charge a 1.5% late fee for past due royalties (also a first under the statutory scheme).

Publishers may cry foul (they wanted more). Songwriters may cry foul (they wanted more). David Israelite, NMPA's CEO claims this as a victory for songwriters (I guess he was scared the CRJs might eliminate mechanical royalties or something). Apple is (for now) content, but the most direct benefit of this ruling is for the consuming public...it will help keep music costs down.

Next time you go to iTunes to buy music, be thankful the price didn't just go up.

Brock

Mechanical Royalties Could Make History Today (and so might iTunes)

The Copyright Royalty Board is expected to increase the statutory mechanical rate by roughly $.04 today. If it does, Apple claims it will shut down iTunes. That's because Apple will foot the tab that increases the amount of income to songwriters. Apple claims that it won't raise its song rate above $.99 to absorb the new cost, so it would rather shut down.

Hmmm...that's a good one. It holds what, 80% of the digital market? I'd say that's a pretty big bluff. In reality, it probably gives Apple a good reason to change up the pricing scheme to make labels a little happier, since they seem to be pissed that Apple established a monopoly in the digital music market and dropped the value of music so much....without label input as to price.

Either way, it's expected to be a huge day in the music world and I'll keep you posted.

Brock

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Chicken Skewers


Quick and simple. Tasty and healthy. These chicken skewers fit the bill and take about 15 minutes of energy to make. Here's the plan:

About 10 chicken tenders
1/4 C soy sauce
2 TSP sesame oil
1/8 sugar
1 TSP ground ginger

Place it all in a zip lock bag and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes. Take it out and let it warm up for 15 minutes or so.

If you have an indoor electric grill, us it. Otherwise, I use a cast iron griddle (ridged side). Cook about 7 minutes on each side or until done.

These are great with sweet chili sauce.

Enjoy,

Brock

Internet Radio Getting Closer to Solving Royalty Problem

Internet radio stations are getting closer to solving their problem of royalty rates. For quite a while, the concern has been that the current proposed royalties would put every single independent radio station out of business, leaving only the 'corporate' trash. CNET reports that the Webcaster Settlement Act passed the House and Senate and is on its way to the President. It doesn't answer the royalty question, but it permits the involved parties to negotiate an agreement towards a lower rate. They have until February 2009.

What will the new rates be? It's anyone's guess, but at least we know it will be lower than the rates everyone's worrying about now. That is, unless the parties don't reach an agreement.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Streaming Royalty Issue Heats Up

The streaming royalty debacle goes back quite a while, but 2008 has seen its share of headway on the issue. In May, ASCAP announced a favorable ruling giving it “legacy” (back pay) royalties from AOL and Yahoo to the tune of millions of dollars. Keep in mind that ASCAP is a performing rights organization that represents performance rights only, and only as such rights relate to compositions (as opposed to sound recordings). That was great news for songwriters, composer and publishers who – up to that point – may have been uncertain as to how the law would treat streaming for royalty purposes. But the case really only answered two questions: 1) are performance royalties due for streams; and 2) if they are, how much. It left a host of other questions unanswered.

Then along came the RIAA.

Last week, the RIAA (representing the recording industry, i.e., record labels), and DiMA (representing digital media outlets), and other trade groups, reached an agreement concerning the ‘other’ piece of the puzzle: the mechanical royalty. The agreement only applies to interactive streaming and limited download scenarios, and does not address non-interactive streaming, such as your standard Internet radio station. Likewise, it does not address digital downloads. The agreed rate is 10.5% of net revenue, reduced by the amount of performance royalties. In other words, it’s a royalty cap. Betanews reports, however, that the cap relates to performance royalties for sound recordings, leaving an additional royalty tier for performance royalties due to ASCAP and the other Performing Rights Organizations.

Three royalties for a single activity? Sounds like it.

This all sounds like good news, because if the Copyright Royalty Judges adopt the agreement, it will clarify any uncertainty as to which royalties are due for interactive streaming activities, and how much will be paid. The agreement also created a byproduct acknowledgement: mechanical royalties are required for interactive audio-only streaming, but not for non-interactive audio-only streaming (i.e., Internet radio).

That’s an interesting non-point, because most Internet radio stations are non-interactive audio-only, so they won’t be paying mechanical royalties. But yes, they’ll still be paying performance royalties for both the composition and the sound recording. What will they Pay? At this point, Internet radio really doesn’t have an answer. The more intriguing question is whether this agreement between the music industry and the trade groups is in contemplation of a new music delivery method yet to be unveiled.

For now, even though this is a substantial milestone in royalty clarification, there are many questions unanswered. The Copyright Royalty Judges are expected to rule on a few royalty matters on October 2, and we may see additional revelations concerning this agreement. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ad Placement in Song Lyrics?

You must be joking. It was one thing hearing Jennifer Garner in Alias say, "Quick, the Ford F-150..." Product placement can be somewhat innocuous in a film or, sometimes, in TV, but in song lyrics? You've just gone too far with that one.

I've heard the songs...references to cars, cell carriers, etc., but knowing that the lyrics were written to incorporate a brand? It's pathetic. It crossed my mind when Lupe Fiasco had that song that listed off everything he likes "...False t-shirts...green Now-N-Laters..." you had to wonder...did they all write him a check or is it real? Art ceases to be art when it's not real. Then it's just PROPAGANDA!

You can go on and on about how the music industry is on a crash-and-burn course, and I agree that creativity will ultimately solve the problem. BRAND PLACEMENT IN SONG LYRICS IS NOT CREATIVE!! It is lame. Keep it real.

Read about it here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Why Pay Royalties on a Preview?

You gotta ask yourself, would Honda charge a fee to have a picture of its Accord in an ad...to sell the Accord? That's what the PROs want. They want web retailers to pay royalties for 30 second clips of music used solely as a preview intended to elicit a sale of music. We'll see how that one goes.

What I see is an industry needing to make up for a loss in CD sales, but is the right choice to start charging for uses that have no monetary value in and of themselves? I don't think so.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Turkey and Shrimp Meatballs


Bold, is how I describe it. You can't find these at IKEA or Trader Joes...maybe not anywhere. Why? Not because they're not amazing, but because people stick to what they know. Don't be one of those people...try this:

1 pound of ground turkey
1 pound of raw scrimp
1 handful of fresh mint
1/2 handful of fresh Italian parsley
1 small chili
1 egg
Olive oil
salt
pepper
cinnamon
cumin

Here's what you do:

Drop the turkey in a working bowl. Mince shrimp until they're almost like a paste...add to your turkey. Chop your mint and parsley, drop it into your bowl. Dice your chili and drop it into the bowl. Add salt and pepper how you like it. Add at least 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Take 1 tablespoon of cumin and dry toast it until fragrant, then grind it into a powder and drop it in.

Mix up the stuff well, and drop 2 glugs of olive oil in for good measure. While you're at it, crack an egg in too. Mix it all very well with your hands.

Let it set in the fridge for 30 minutes. Take it out and roll into as many 1 inch balls as you can make.

Pour some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and let it warm up. Cook them bad boys for about 10 minutes, shifting them over and around often.

They're good by themselves, or with your favorite condiment - ketchup sweet chili sauce, etc.

Amazon to Start Selling Wine Online

Wine is good. Amazon will start selling it online in October 2008. Good news for enthusiasts.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

DRM Keeps Gamers Pissed

You know, as a copyright owner and IP lawyer, I support copyright protection and enforcement. But, there's a point where you see that some protections actually encourage piracy. The release of a DRM-laden SPORE is sending gamers into anti-establishment mode because you just don't want to pay full price for a game that can only be installed 3 times. What if you need to uninstall and reinstall? What if this? What if that? There may be many, many legal reasons for needing to install the game more than 3 times.

At Costco, you know you've got to wait in line to get out because those people with the yellow marker are waiting to pretend they're counting what you have in your cart for loss prevention. You accept it because that's how Costco has been for years. A small price to pay considering you can buy massive quantities at low prices.

But then Wal-Mart thinks they can start doing the same thing? Forget that. It makes me want to run for it and clock that old lady as I dash. It's human nature.

What's my point? The more difficulties you implement in a product, the less likely someone wants to pay for it. They just want to steal it. My opinion - more access will equal more sales, because if it's just as easy to buy as it is to steal, why take the risk? Human nature is skewed towards risk avoidance. More people steal because you can find what you need for free easier than you can to pay for it.

Brock

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Next Evolution in DVD Portability?

RealNetworks announced a tool that will enable you to copy your entire DVD collection to your PC. Starting at $29.99, this could make it so your movies are as portable as your music collection. Pretty sweet - although I'm not sure how storage limitations are going to impact viability of having your entire library on a single PC.

RealNetworks reports that you won't be able to email or share P2P any of the films, which they say "stops the worst violations people can do."

Give it a spin later this month.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Crispy Chicken on Cold Pasta with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Granted, something with a red-pink tint probably looks more fitting on a donut than pasta, but I had to take a chance.

While walking the other day, I noticed a pomegranate tree FULL of the fruit. I snatched a few and headed home. I thought about making a vinaigrette, but didn't feel like eating a salad. Hmmm....chicken...pasta...ok, how about this one.

Take some chicken breasts (slice into the size you see above) or buy 'tenders.' Salt and pepper generously. Take 2 slices of bread into processor and make bread crumbs. Smash the crumbs into your chicken. Heat 2 - 3 Tsp oil in a pan and fry on medium heat until golden brown and crispy...maybe 5 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, drop some angel hair pasta into boiling water and cook according to your notes. When it's done, run under cold water until the noodles are cold or drop into ice water then drain.

Pull some fresh basil off your bush and pound it with the back of your knife, then slice it up. Also toast a handful of pine nuts for a couple of minutes (don't burn them).

Find your favorite vinaigrette recipe and replace the citrus in it with fresh pomegranate juice. For mine, I used an orange juicer and made about 2 cups of juice. I drank whatever I didn't use in the dressing.

Enjoy,

Brock

Cable Companies Help Erode Copyrighted Content Value (at least to the content owner)

The Second Circuit recently gave an opinion passing the value of content into the hands of the cable companies and away from the people who own it.

You know the drill...you sign up for cable and Entourage is on at 10pm. You want to watch it before work at 5am while you're on the treadmill. You're sick of all those devices below the plasma screen, so you opt for the 'remove DVR' service, which allows you to store a show digitally and REMOTELY (i.e., not in your house and not on your equipment) for later viewing.

Funny thing, those copyright owners...they thought the cable companies should get a license to permit that activity. But, the court said "nope."

This is a horribly decided case. With the increase in ways technology can deliver content, the ability to protect copyrights seems to have diminished...at least as to the copyright owner. But there have never been more ways to exploit a copyright, or to locate so many "value points" for copyright exploitation. In other words, we can get it out there like never before, but we can't find a way to make people pay for it...who gets punched in this scenario? The copyright owner.

I'd love to see the day when copyright protection co-exists at the same advanced stage as copyright exploitation- which should also co-exist at the same advanced stage as the ability to monetize it. As for right now, exploitation and delivery is light years ahead of protection and monetization.