Fiona Apple CD almost here (but should we care?)

Here’s an example of P2P filling an economic niche not being satisfied by the Labels. The New Fiona Apple CD (previously discussed here and here and here).

As I wrote before, I was impressed with this innovative new work, and was willing to purchase it on CD. Apparently, the music was too quirky for Sony’s taste, and they brought in a new producer. The reworked CD, to be released next week, lost some of its edge, and I prefer the original. (I’m curious as to what the artist actually thinks about both versions).

My question is simply this: Why not simply release both verisons?

From the Times, here’s our Ubiq-cerpt:™

"According to Ms. Apple, things were going
well until executives at Sony began asking her to submit individual songs for
their approval. Only then would they determine how much more recording money she
would receive. Sony had already sunk nearly $800,000 into recording the original
version of "Extraordinary Machine."

"They basically wanted me to audition
my songs," Ms. Apple said, visibly offended…

Unhappy with what she termed an "unlivable" arrangement, Ms. Apple
threatened to abandon the project.

When the Brion-produced version of
"Extraordinary Machine" showed up on the Internet earlier this year, Ms. Apple,
upset that her unfinished work was available, thought Sony would scrap the
album. "Who is going to give me money to make songs that are already out there?"
she recalled thinking at the time.

Little did Ms. Apple know that a
group of fans was pleading with Sony to release her album, which they thought
had been shelved. Both Sony and Ms. Apple say it was not. On the Web site they railed against the "corporate giant" standing between
them and their beloved.

"Please give us Fiona and we’ll give you money
back," read one poem posted on the site. Hundreds of foam apples were sent to
the company, and in January a dedicated band of protesters, led by the Free
Fiona founder Dave Muscato, stood outside the Madison Avenue offices of Sony BMG
chanting, "We want Fiona."

She is quick to credit her freefiona fans
with her comeback. "It’s good to know that if you organize you can make change,
because that’s certainly not what I was doing," Ms. Apple said, "I was walking

There is a hard core group of fans who love to buy up all the variations of their favorites. Is it a long tail phenomena to offer even more niche versions of well known, big selling bands?

As mentioned, I’d like to buy the original version. Note that the Beatles have turned releasing alternate takes into a cottage industry (See Anthologies One, Two, and Three). There’s several Rolling Stones variations (Blues or Jazz) and we’ve even see an older Dave Mathews Band CD that was released as an alternate take on a leaked internet CD.

I suggest that Sony release the original Extraordinary Machine on disc . .  .



Re-emerging After a Strange Silence
NYT, September 26,

Category: Music

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Category: Investing, Technical Analysis

Economists Name Least Useful Indicator

Category: Economy

Yale Endowment Manager: Index

Among individual investors, David Swensen isn’t a household name. But he is an icon in the world of big institutional money managers such as endowments and pension funds.

Mr. Swensen’s fame comes from his oversight of Yale University’s $15 billion endowment fund, which, since he was hired 20 years ago, has returned an average of 16% a year, far outpacing the market and other funds run for universities. Before arriving, Mr. Swensen had never overseen an institutional portfolio, and he brought to the job an unconventional approach for dividing up the portfolio among different asset classes. He is now Yale’s chief investment officer.

Five years ago, Mr. Swensen set out to write a book that would bring the lessons he learned to individual investors. Instead, he says he found that the option most accessible to individuals — mutual funds — often makes it impossible to beat the market. And even when they do find good managers, individuals end up shooting themselves in the foot, he says.

So while Yale relies on actively managed portfolios, Mr. Swensen says individuals should just stick to index funds, especially those run by not-for-profit companies. He also likes exchange-traded funds, which trade on exchanges like stocks, but says "buyer beware."

Excerpts from an interview with Mr. Swensen follow:

WSJ: You had hoped to give small investors a road map for beating the market based on Yale’s approach to investing. What happened?

Mr. Swensen: I found when I started down that path that individuals just don’t have the same set of investment opportunities available to them that we do here at Yale. In fact, the evidence showed me that the mutual-fund industry has completely failed to provide reasonable active-management returns to individuals.

WSJ: To say that it completely failed — that’s a pretty harsh statement to make.

Mr. Swensen: I think the evidence is there. The crux of the failure is with the for-profit management of funds for individuals. Mutual-fund managers have a fiduciary responsibility to investors. Obviously, if they are operating in a for-profit mode, they have a profit motive. When you put the profit motive up against fiduciary responsibility, that fiduciary responsibility loses and profits win.

continued below . . .

Yale Manager Blasts Industry
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, September 6, 2005,,SB112597100191832366,00.html


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