Entertainment Music

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Nialler9: Not just once around block

KickAss Torrents has become a target of music industry court takedowns to block Irish internet access to the site
KickAss Torrents has become a target of music industry court takedowns to block Irish internet access to the site

There's a pretty good chance if you're reading this that you've heard of KickAss Torrents. The Bittorrent download site has become, like The Pirate Bay before it, a target of music industry court takedowns to block Irish internet access to the site.

The Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA), the music industry body which represents the interest of major labels Sony, Universal and Warner, has asked the High Court to order internet service providers (ISPs) like UPC, Vodafone, O2 and Digiweb to block access to KickAss Torrents by their customers. The ISP Imagine is not named in the case but has promised to block the site if the other ISPs are made to do so.

Last year, IRMA succeeded in blocking The Pirate Bay, saying that access to illegal file-sharing websites costs them €20 million in revenue annually.

Because of IRMA's actions, Ireland has been one of the first countries in the world to block websites in this fashion and the case will be watched internationally by those looking to do something similar.

IRMA's thinking is understandable. By blocking access to popular sites where music can be downloaded, you make it harder for people to find what they want on illegal sites and the hope is that they turn to legal means of accessing that multimedia content.

The only problem is that blocking one website at a time doesn't actually work. It's a game of internet whack-a-mole. You can still access the Pirate Bay by using one of its mirrored URLs.

The entertainment industry continues to hold on to regional restrictions because it gives them marketing control, but the number of people becoming versed in ways to bypass those restrictions is rising, making that control slip from their grasp.

Consumers want more choice, not less. That's what the internet provides. That's why people are accessing the larger catalogue of the American Netflix or watching something they missed on BBC's iPlayer. People want convenience, choice and easy access. Technological tools giving people that are still a faster resource than court orders which take months to win.

New artist of the week

Things are hotting up around the Bristol singer-songwriter as 2014 approaches.

Ezra's music is of a folk persuasion with a pop sensibility. His voice has a soulful dusty tonality. There's also a bluesy rock quality to him as heard on the title track of his latest Did You Hear The Rain? EP.

Budapest is his calling card so far, a rollicking old-fashioned pop song with Ezra's gravelly singing voice leaving the biggest impression. He has a huge European tour lined up next year with gigs at The Sugar Club in Dublin and McHughs in Belfast in February.

Tracks of the week

Scientists are still conducting rigorous laboratory tests to determine why Daithí's summer single Chameleon Life wasn't a smash hit all over the world. While we await the conclusive empirical results, the young Galway fiddling dance musician has another upbeat garage pop track with the soulful Senita on vocals that gives him another bash at domination.



If you really want to know what all that Snapchatting, Tumblring and Instagramming has done to the young generation, you may find the answer in the frazzled multifarious music of Norwegian 26-year-old Magnus August Hoiberg. His music is an attention deficit mix of trap, EDM, R&B and hip-hop. It's OK if you don't understand it, it means you truly are old. Embrace those slippers under your bed, grandpa.



Vintage rappers get their old-school rap on and it's one of the best rap songs of the year.

Bus-a-Bus is joined by Q-Tip and some little-known hypemen called Kanye and Lil Wayne for a soul-sampling rap shakedown.


Netflix pick of the week: Episodes

Joey from Friends does something else of worth in a satirical US comedy about making an American adaptation of a UK TV show.

Poor old Matt LeBlanc. A man who became so synonymous with his Friends character Joey Tribbiani that his next move was to play him again in the flop post-Friends spinoff show Joey.

Episodes is a show from Friends writer David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik and features LeBlanc playing a fictionalised version of himself for real this time but with a much greater return. The show is based around two successful UK TV show writers, married couple Beverley and Sean Lincoln (English comedic actors Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan known for their roles in whacky hospital comedy Green Wing), who are offered the chance to remake their show in LA for American audiences.

Their noble and naive idea that the US network won't interfere with their vision is quickly quashed with LeBlanc drafted in to play the lead role.

As the show fundamentally changes plot into something called Pucks!, the Lincolns' relationship is tested by the gruesome Los Angeles TV industry machine.

The show originally aired on BBC in the UK and Showtime in the US in 2011 and reactions were mixed. The show has plenty of chucklesome and satirical moments that makes it perfect for Netflix viewing.

It's just been renewed for a third season to air next year so maybe this is an example of critics disagreeing with the audience?

Irish Independent

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