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Loaded: Bidding two sad farewells

Another week, and yet another independent record store announces its closure. Comet Records is set to shut its shops in Dublin and Cork on Friday, April 15. Named after the Halley's Comet phenomenon, it first opened in Dublin in 1984.

It has traded in a number of venues since then, and has been based in an eye-catching, graffitied building in Cope Street for the past 22 years. With City Discs also gone, Temple Bar's long tradition of quirky, independent shops is fading fast. The Cork venture started in Washington Street in 1990, but closed in 2004. It reopened two years ago, but faced the same battle to woo customers as its Dublin sister.

Meanwhile, all CDs, vinyl and DVDs are selling for €4 a piece, with further discounts offered to those who buy in bulk.

Despite the closure, the Comet name is set to live on. "We will be attending the many Irish Record Fairs events in the coming months, and are building the sites www.cometrecords.eu and www.cometrecordsonline.com for rare Irish releases and collectible items," says Comet's Brian O'Kelly.

  • The plight of record shops such as Comet is understandable when one considers that global record music sales fell by $1.5bn last year. According to the annual Recording Industry in Numbers report by international music industry body the IFPI, total revenues fell by 8.4pc last year.

And overall physical sales -- the term used in the industry for sales of products such as CDs -- fell by 14pc year on year. And it's that trend that's hitting the indie stores -- and behemoths such as HMV -- especially hard.

  • LCD Soundsystem are set to bow out in style tomorrow night with a farewell show in Madison Square Garden, New York. With tickets reportedly changing hands on the black market for $1,000, interest in James Murphy and his cohorts is intense to say the least.

But fans will be able to experience the show thanks to Pitchfork, who will be streaming the gig in its entirety from 2am on Sunday. Incidentally, the online magazine posted an excellent track-by-track guide to this remarkable band.

  • A website that illicitly sold Beatles downloads in 2009 has been ordered to pay almost $1m to rights holders. Bluebeat.com claimed it was circumnavigating copyright law by offering "psycho-acoustic simulations" of music by the Fab Four (left) and other acts including Coldplay and Radiohead.

Company boss Hank Risan offered a baffling defence: "Psycho-acoustic simulations are my synthetic creation of that series of sounds which best expresses the way I believe a particular melody should be heard as a live performance."

Essentially, Risan was claiming that these digital recreations just happened to sound exactly like the originals.

US district court judge Josephine Staton Tucker was not impressed, calling this explanation "obscure and undefined pseudo-scientific language [that] appears to be a long-winded way of describing 'sampling'". Bluebeat have now been banned from offering any music by the labels which are suing them.

In November 2010, the Beatles finally licensed their music for digital sale on iTunes and they have reportedly sold five million tracks since then.

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