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Preserving our memories of classic music & film. Helping true vintage fans REDISCOVER oldies on digital!

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Carey

I haven’t posted a look-a-like in a really long time. I was sifting through twitter, and an old photograph of Richard Widmark caught my eye. I instantly thought of Jim Carrey’s “The Mask (1994).” How much you want to make a bet that Jim’s movie was inspired by Richard’s movie (who played a psychopath); I think this particular screenshot was from “Kiss of Death (1947).”

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Another forgotten group in today’s music history. Tony Orlando and Dawn was one of the hottest groups of the very late sixties and seventies. Dawn were Tony’s 2 amazing backup singers Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent.  I loved a lot of their music, and still listen to them today. They sang great hits such as “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole Oak Tree,” “Knock Three Times,” and “Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose?” Tony Orlando’s and Dawn’s music was so distinct and unique, I don’t believe I remember any other group that sounded like them. The minute you heard their music on the radio, we instantly knew who it was. The group was so popular in the 70’s that they even had their own variety TV show, which was aired on CBS. Joyce Vincent was asked to replace Mary Wells of the Supremes. However, before that was made official, Motown decided to disband the group. But Ms. Vincent did manage to record as backup on one or two songs on the Supremes’ album called “Partners.”  Telma Hopkins turned to acting, and has appeared in such movies as “How To Murder A Millionaire.” As far as I can tell, Tony Orlando still performs his same classic songs a couple of times a year. Listen with Rhapsody.

© VintageNewscast.com

Dracula

It has been a really long time since I’ve enjoyed a really good vampire movie. You know, one thing that I think is sometimes bad in the film industry, when one film becomes a hit, they try to repeat the same “formula.” I can understand that as a business; however, as a movie fan it can get boring quite quickly if everyone is doing the same thing. I think that was what turned me off from seeing another vampire movie for a while. But, “Dracula Untold (2014) was such a good movie, I had to Netflix it again. I cannot recall any vampire movie that I actually wanted to see again (except for the original Fright Night (1985)). The very handsome Luke Evens, best known for “Lord Of The Rings” and Immortals,” did a fantastic job in this movie. The special effects were spot on, the colors were brilliant, there are very few bad things I can say about this movie. The story line has completely changed from what we’ve traditionally known about Dracula; and I think that’s part of the reason what made this movie so great. Removing at least some of the classic traditions of Dracula, also removed some of his limitations as Dracula as well. Dracula is still a monster in this movie, but we also got to see him be a loving husband, and a loving father. Now, that is something unheard of in vampire-ism. Lots of action from beginning to end. In essence, the movie is about a king witnessing untold amounts of his people being ferociously murdered; and makes a deal with the devil to give him supernatural ability to take vengeance; and to protect both the remainder of his people and family.

© VintageNewscast.com

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Back in the 70’s, one of the things that I absolutely loved about Sylvester’s music, was the fact that when we heard it back in the day, no one was thinking about “is that guy gay?” “Get that faggot off my turntable, I don’t want to hear that sh**!” Think for a moment how powerful that is; considering the very fierce anti-gay climate in the 70’s (especially for an artist of color). The only other artist or group that kind of had that same effect in the disco era was “The Village People.” Although not everyone was gay in that group, The Village People had (and still has) the kind of timeless music that no one thinks about their sexuality when it is being plaid. They created the kind of music where our minds immediately shifted to dance mode, no questions asked! I think it’s safe to say that in the disco era, Sylvester was one of the greatest dance artists of his time, and we have truly lost a legend way too early. The Original Hits (1989), just about has all his big hits; including, “Dance (Disco Heat) (I have to do some research, because the background singer sounds exactly like Martha Wash),” “You Make Me Feel Mighty Real,” and a song he dedicated to all his fans called “You Are My Friend.” Patti Labelle has made this song her anthem, and has sang the song at the end of every performance. There is another hit that’s not on this album though, and it’s called “Do You Wanna Funk” on his self titled album “Sylvester.” Please Listen with Rhapsody.

© VintageNewscast.com

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Next Big Sound tracked an incredible 1.03 trillion streams in the first half of 2015. Many weren’t monetized.

If we added a time range from when music streaming really started; which is about 15-20 years ago (Rhapsody if I’m not mistaken is the original streaming pioneer, and should have been included in those figures), the above quote is an understatement. “Next Big Sound” is a company that tracks music streams, and it has generated a report that showed 1.3 trillion instances of music were streamed. The report included Spotify, Pandora, Sound Cloud, Vevo, YouTube, and Rdio. I”m pretty sure that that a huge bulk of those streams came from YouTube. I am pleased that we are in the trillion mark, because regardless of what platform you used to enjoy your entertainment, streaming is here to stay. It’s also exciting be it also proves what I’ve been saying all along, most people do prefer to get their music legally and support their favorite artists. Just think for a moment, the reports that were generated, didn’t even include other popular streaming services that are also legal, such as iTunes; and literally over hundreds of thousands of free and legal internet radio stations who are also paying the artist royalties! Things are starting to look up for the music industry. The future finally looks promising. Trust me, 1.03 trillion plays translates to a lot of money (collectively). My only concern is YouTube because of how it functions. Companies like Rdio Sound Cloud, Spotify, we know that every song is tracked and accounted for. However, with YouTube, there is no way they can verify (to my awareness) music without ads are being paid royalties by YouTube. I just can’t seem to find that information, it is possible that it could be one of those classified secrets they keep from the public. The only thing I can think of that will insure most artist get paid, is for YouTube to put ads on all non-monetized music videos. It doesn’t account for YouTuber’s possibly stealing money, but they are pretty good with weeding those people out. It’s the very old classic music I’m worried about.

© VintageNewscast.com

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I haven’t listened to this album for such a very long time. When I clicked play, I enjoyed it as though Celine released the album yesterday. It’s funny, because time has gone so fast, I don’t know if we’ve kind of forgotten about Celine, or she’s just dropped off the radar? Perhaps taking care of her husband? I don’t know what the numbers are, but I figure this must have been the biggest album of her career; I say this only because “My Heart Will Go On (theme from Titanic)” is on the album. The movie Titanic (1997) budget was $200 million dollars, and grossed $2.7 billion dollars! Even if hypothetically her album was a flop, having a theme song for Titanic means she was racking in the royalty doe! I don’t think anyone else can truly sing that song; although I know people have tried, but it doesn’t sound right. Besides having a song that is forever linked to one of the biggest grossing movies of all times on this album, there are also other great songs from this album. “Just A Little Bit Of Love” is one of my favorites, it fooled me when it started of slow, then boom, club mix! Very danceable. Another favorite of mine is “To Love You More.” The only song I felt was a little disappointment was “Tell Him.” As much as I love my Barbra Streisand, I hated that song! The song didn’t sound like what I would expect from two divas. Listen with Rhapsody.

© VintageNewscast.com

 

Don

If you’re one of those people that doesn’t scare easily when it comes to the possibility of hefty fines and jail time for downloading illegal content; then the annoyance of actually trying to surf just one of these public/private torrent trackers should be enough to reform you! LOL.. Before I continue, I’d like to start off by mentioning two important things. First, I’m NOT writing this article to try to convince you NOT to use torrents, or to preach to you that you’re evil for partaking in illegal downloads. However, I would like to share with you my experience with you as it pertains to using torrents. I started using torrents for well over a decade ago (close to two), and today using torrents has become more of a hassle than what it’s worth, and I’ll explain more in detail as I go along in this article. The time you spend trying to stay “safe,” while downloading illegally (which by the way there’s no such thing as “safe,” I don’t care what bullshit someone tells you! Yes, seedboxes are effective however, that doesn’t mean that one day the music industry can’t make law makers require seedboxes to keep logs, and or demand that accounts be deleted. Look what happened with Rapidshare? Their  business was nearly destroyed as the result of back and forth court battles. Everyone thought Rapidshare was the bomb, until a bomb fell on Rapidshare. So, don’t be so confident), and the money we spend on additional tools and mechanisms for downloading, and the amount of bad quality files/corrupt/fake/or infected files you come in contact with, you might as well do it the legal way (or as much as humanly possible). As the cost of legal streaming becomes cheaper (as well as FREE content providers such as Crackle:movies and Spotify:music), and as more content is offered, using torrent technology is now quickly becoming VERY antiquated. This becomes especially true when it comes to music; it makes absolutely NO SENSE to use torrents for music! To risk a cease and desist letter, AND still face legal action? For bloody what? When music is practically free via legal services like Spotify. I’ve seen a noticeable decrease in participation on many popular trackers, and it’s certainly not because of lack of available choices in music and movies (that should tell you something). Things have definately changed guys. Anybody that is still using torrents, it’s because of “force of habit.” The second important thing I’d like to bring up is more of a reminder, that the use of torrent technology by itself is NOT illegal, but the downloading of illegal content is. Example, if you’re downloading an old, and very well known public domain movie called “Night Of The Living Dead (1968),” downloading it using torrent technology is very legal. Or maybe you are using Linux/Unix OS, and like to download open source software made available for free, it is perfectly legal to use torrents. However, if you download the latest Jill Scott album using torrents, it is piracy. I think that it is important for me to take a minute to write about this, because soo many people have the wrong idea about torrents. They are no more illegal or less illegal than using Mediafire, Hotfile, or even DropBox. It’s not the service or technology that makes it illegal, it’s what you’re doing with it. The point of torrent technology is to share bandwidth, eliminating the need to pay a service for storage; such as Mediafire, Hotfile, etc. Thus making files that ARE free, actually free. By the way, you may hear that “USNETS,” are better,” this is an absolute lie. In fact, it is my opinion that you open yourself up to more exposed to infected files, and security breaches. People are so desperate to find ways not to pay for anything, that the public risk all kinds of shit in order to get these illegal downloads, while lieing to themselves that these things are great! I can assure you their not, and they’re just as unsafe. You see on the news what are happening to big banks, and they spend a lot of money keeping their systems secure and it’s still not perfect. And many of you don’t even have a bear minimum of a good firewall set up! And you’re telling other people to do what you do! Geniuses you guys are huh?

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Because of how torrents work, it became a very popular choice for those who wish to participate in illegal downloads. Back in the day, torrents were virtually hassle free, simply because most people were using it legally. Unfortunately, trackers now consist of both legal and illegal works. Even works found that are Creative Commons, are 99% of the time not shared with the licensing information on its terms of use. Trackers literally became a file dumping ground to tell you the truth. Nowadays, to download a torrent is like playing Russian Roulette. Now, torrent users have to deal with so much bulls**t. There are now ads popping up on the back end that are intolerable; sometimes those popups are able to pass through popup blockers. And don’t think searching for movies using a seedbox is any better. Many trackers are setup in such a way that you can’t just search and download directly from your seedbox; ’cause when you do you’ll get errors a lot of the times. Therefore, when this happens you must go directly to that tracker site, and suffer being bombarded with 20 million back-end popup ads regardless. I’ve also experienced a lot of trackers that just loop, and you have to guess which link will give you the right torrent. Some trackers present dangerous executable files instead of the actual torrent. I had to restore my computer a couple of times back in the day because of that. Many trackers are now using user submitted torrents to try and cash in on the piracy, by asking for “donations to help server costs.” Some trackers go as far as send you emails every other week to remind you to “submit a donation and become a V.I.P.” Now, chances are we’re using torrents because we are too broke to afford the kinds of stuff we’d like, why would I have any interest in becoming a V.I.P.? If a tracker legitimately have to ask for donation to cover costs, they need to get a new host because now-a-days they don’t cost that much at all. Some private trackers are now even charging for memberships. Once you’re in, they hit you with a trillion and one rules, the moderators are rude as hell, the members are often either whiny about the smallest things, or they they’re rude and think they know it all, and many are ungrateful. You’re just waiting for that one day your account would get delete for saying the wrong thing, or speaking up for yourself.

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Some trackers require you to log in once every month (sometimes even more than that), and if you don’t your account will automatically get deactivated and purged. Regardless if you’re on a private or public tracker, more and more fake torrents are produced. More and more fake torrents are being shared without being checked by the uploader, wasting the downloader’s time. If just one person downloads one of those torrents, then 50% of torrent users throughout the torrent world will have that same torrent. Torrents without subtitles or audio translations. Torrents with several hundred tiny zip files. Torrents with several hundred links to various torrent trackers. Torrents with embedded spam and malware that keep your computer infected with something. Torrents with region restrictions on videos. Torrents from users that don’t know what their doing, yet complain about you. Torrents that contain videos with removed audio and a “Cinavia” error (which I’ve seen on public domain movies believe it or not). Swarms with horrific speeds. Torrents with video bitrate that are so low, you are baffled that someone would even consider uploading. Never mind downloading the bootleg version of “Jurassic World (2015)” is illegal; the amount of bulls**t the average true torrent user goes through, it’s not even worth it. Music torrents with 0kb CDA files. Waiting indefinitely for someone to finally upload that special torrent that you wanted so bad; and if found, you discover that there are numerous file corruptions. Please, don’t think links are any better, because they are actually worse; with 0.2kb speeds and each link will be a different service requiring payment for each service. Unfortunately, because more and more people are now using the internet, more and more of those people don’t have a clue as to what their doing. In other words, there is absolute chaos in the torrent world.

MAD

Having said the above, it’s not worth all the hassle of using torrent technologies (unless you are downloading Unix/Linux software, public domain movies, Creative Commons, Copyleft, Open Source, GNU licensed software, public learning material, or any other legal files from a legally legitimate website). If you Google “Legal Downloads,” or “Legal Streaming,” you can quickly identify the truly legal ones by noticing repetitions (how many times that company appears (usually on sites that offer various lists of other legal downloads or streaming). Another clue is to notice what companies are the first to be listed by google. Google always verifies a site before they list it; so if Google thinks that a site could be illegal, they will not listed at all (Google Ads). However, because Google Ads are quite expensive, please don’t rely on seeing Google Ads alone. A small streaming company who’s already paying a lot of money for licensing fees, just may decide to opt out on using Google Ads and submit to search engines the old fashioned way. Have a site checker like Norton’s Anti-virus/Firewall bundle, it tells you of any suspicious links from right in your Google search. Since streaming services came to be, we have seen a steady drop in piracy and increase sales in both streaming services and pay-per-download. Now entertainment has become affordable and we don’t have to deal with the hassles of using torrents, and rude ass admins and moderators anymore! And most importantly, not only are there many streaming services that are LEGAL, you can now share the links with other members (or non-members) of the same streaming service, LEGALLY! Or just use YouTube; doing that is certainly a hell of a lot easier than waiting for months trying to get in to a specialty tracker; or risking a DMCA letter (keep in mind that more and more private trackers are using public URL announcements now). If a friend is not a member of your favorite legal streaming service, they get 30 second (music) to 2 minute (video) samples; or they can just simply Shazam it, or search for the song in their favorite streaming service. Stop being so scared! Legal streaming has completely changed the game.

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If you still stuck in a time warp, and you still don’t “believe” it’s now legal to share, then just take the time and read the legalese/license for your favorite service yourself (Spotify, Napster, Rdio, Slacker, whatever) at least. If you are new to music/video streaming, and don’t know which ones to start with, click here or here or here. For videos click here. Common sense should tell you that TV news would be reporting Facebook and twitter users being thrown in jail left and right (hellllllooooo?). Legal services like Napster gives you FULL access to their entire library (which is about 40 million songs by now) for a very low monthly fee. Easy to search; easy to create and save playlists; all in high quality; and easy to help the streaming community by rating your music. You also help the the movie goer community too such as Netflix; informing other users as to what to watch; informing the provider as to what to keep in their library and cluing what other kinds of movie licenses they should purchase and make available. Most importantly, if you have an HDTV, I think its best to subscribe to one of these services for best quality. Depending on the movie studio, most content made available is damn near Blu-Ray quality (some  services like Netflix even offer 4K streaming). You’re not going to get best quality from a 600mb torrent file; and most importantly a lot of ISP companies like Comcast, throttle, cap, or even block the use of bittorrent applications through their network; you will no longer have that problem at all with legal streaming; and you don’t have to be burdened with quotas or seeding (which also exposes your IP on public announcements). You get the highest possible quality, and whatever service you use, and you know it’s going to work! No incompatibilities, no spending hours searching, no begging for reseeds and hoping for the best. Do you realize how difficult it is to find certain music albums in the torrent world? It is sooo much better to just use Napster or Spotify and call it a day. I think you guys get the picture. Everything literally boils down to, within about a week or two, after a new album is released, will be made available on music streaming/YouTube. So why go through the hassle of using torrents to download it? Movies are usually made available on Blu-Ray about 6 months after it’s released in theaters (depending on how well it does, could be longer). So why bother going through the hassles of using bittorrent when you can easily order it from Netflix? In fact, do you realize that some times movie services like VUDU have selected movies still in theaters? You’d have to pay a little more, but it’s still cheaper than actually going to the movies (no need to download 300 tiny little zip files for one movie, then discover there’s a missing password, plus you know its a horrible bootleg anyway LOL).

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Honestly, between 3 of the biggest (low cost) movie streaming competitors, Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon, you have all the high quality movies you’ll ever need. Between Napster and Spotify’s FREE accounts, you’re just insane if you still use torrents to get your music at this point. There’s no reason why you should be using torrents for music; even if you’re a serious music collector; what are the odds of a tracker having all your out of print music anyway? Actually, scratch that, because actual collectors prefer to physically buy all their music and movies! It is easier, and most practical to get it from Spotify (did I mention that Spotify is both legal to use and FREE?). Look, I realize that torrents has always been somewhat political as well. Meaning, some people prefer to use torrents as a way of rebelling against the f**ked up music and movie industry who try to put both many fans and artists in the poor house with their greed. However, at the same time, now that entertainment is a lot more affordable, if we don’t use some of the legal services I’ve mentioned, our favorite actors, musicians, songwriters, etc are the ones who take a hit. If we continue not to use legal services like Napster and Netflix, there be will very few financial incentives for any artist or movie studio to create quality content, and we’d be stuck with even more garbage playing on the radio and on TV. There’s only so much we can take of movies like “Sharknado,” or any movies with giant spiders, or giant snakes made in a laboratory, or giant alligators, or genetically engineered leopard lizard creatures, or a virus turning an entire town in to zombies except for 3 people, or movies with extremely poor CGI, or predictable movies about college kids going away to some cabin for the weekend (usually to have sex) and some devil monster eats  them all up, or a bunch of doofie drunk kids decide to mess with a Ouija board (even though the instructions basically says “do not touch”) and all hell breaks loose. Grrrr. LOL

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Before digital technology and the internet came along, music and movies were never meant to be free. And it still not meant to be free. Back in the day, taping your favorite soap operas/talk shows/movies, and or copying your vinyls to cassette tapes for personal use did not hurt the music and movie industry; and it was indeed legal under fair use. Movies and TV shows are public access, and have been paid for by the ad sponsors; and records where ok because most people purchased their albums (even if you made a copy for your friend or brother, it still wasn’t enough to cripple the industry). But we also had a stronger sense of “fandom” back then; in other words people were proud to purchase the albums of their favorite artists; their posters hanging on the wall of their favorite artist or band; their favorite movie posters hanging on the wall; we were proud of purchasing things that became collectibles; collectibles that sparked conversations and helped to build tremendous fan communities (such as Star Trek); and in turn supported the artists/actors. However, in the digital age we have to realize that torrents are a whole different matter. Torrent users distributes copies to other users (exponentially) in mass quantities in literally a matter of seconds on ultra-high speed, which does hurt (and continues to) the recording and film industry (let’s not even talk about other forms of piracy). Unfortunately, I think the big problem is despite the ease of use, convenience, and safety of using Spotify, Napster, Netflix etc, many of us have grown too accustomed to solely using torrents and it has become somewhat of an addiction. Some of us have been doing it for so long, that we’ve developed an attitude of entitlement. I ask that my readers not perceive me as a moralistic blogger who wants to judge others who still use torrents. It’s just because “I’ve been there and done that,” that I write with a greater sense of wisdom. I’ve been downloading since the days of “Online Bulletin Boards” or “Electronic Bulletin Boards” in the early 80’s. That’s almost 40 years ago, so not only do I have thorough experience, I have good perspective. When I started downloading, I was buying legal shareware for a dollar a disk from BBSs. So it’s not that “I have a dream of waking torrent users up!” I’m just really thinking of the greater long-term effects of our continued torrent use down the road. If at least half of the 40 million free Spotify users would switch to paid premium account of $9.99 a month (a lot of torrent users spend more money than that buying blank DVD/blu-rays to burn all the Ultra-HD movies they’ve downloaded), that would help the music industry significantly. Spotify is already in essence giving you 3 months for a dollar; that is a huge discount.

Now, the new way of file sharing is sharing Spotify or Napster or YouTube on Facebook/Twitter, while helping others to discover at the same time. Sharing IMDB links, along with HULU and Netflix on Facebook/Twitter. Come and share with us (by the way, people on Facebook and Twitter are measurably nicer overall than members of a lot of these trackers you’re still breaking your neck to get in to) worry free! Not to mention, these services get free advertising by giving us the tools to allow us to share, AND, the actors and performers get paid. I apologize, I know I’ve written a lot, but I also know no one is really talking about this in depth, and we need to bring value back to good entertainment.

© VintageNewscast.com

Last Update: March 25, 2017