The Tangled Web
Keeping you up to date on the Web's most intriguing music-related happenings and destinations. This week: 50 Cent exclusives on Launch.com, Widespread Panic and Ice-T release music through KaZaA, andWelcome to The Tangled Web, a weekly column launched with the recent redesign of Billboard.com. Each Tuesday, we will get you up to date on the Web's most intriguing music-related happenings and destinations.
UNCOMMON CENTS: Rapper du jour 50 Cent releases his DVD "The New Breed" today (April 15), but for fans who can't get to the store or just can't get enough of 50 Cent, Launch.com has an entire page of online video goodies dedicated to the artist.
In addition to streaming versions of 50 Cent's videos for "Wanksta" and "In Da Club" (the latter of which is in its seventh week atop Billboard's Hot 100), the site features a preview of "The New Breed" and three exclusive items -- a performance of "Patiently Waiting" with Eminem, a performance of "50 Shot Ya" taped live in the Launch studios, and an interview.
ALT.DISTRIBUTION: Though legal major-label subscription services are trying to make inroads to the digital downloads market, the peer-to-peer networks still reign supreme. Last week, two very different artists took advantage of this fact by releasing new music to their fans via Altnet, the commercial file-swapping service that piggybacks on top of peer-to-peer file-swapping network KaZaA.
Last Wednesday (April 9), jam band Widespread Panic made the track "Nebulous," from its forthcoming Sanctuary album "Ball," available to fans for free via Altnet's Kazaa Media Desktop. "Widespread has always been committed to bringing music to their fans by encouraging tape-trading and the like," a band representative said in a statement. "This is simply another step forward in that direction."
The following day (April 10), rapper Ice-T released his new album "Repossession" via Altnet, using new software that allows KaZaA users to purchase licensed music on an a la carte basis. The set sells for $4.99.
PHAIR PLAY: Liz Phair, whose first album in five years is due June 24, is giving fans a sneak preview by streaming three new songs -- "Extraordinary," "Why Can't I," and "Rock Me" -- from her official Web site via Windows Media and RealAudio.
Phair, who collaborated with songwriting/production team the Matrix as well as Michael Penn, R. Walt Vincent, and others on the new self-titled album, is asking fans to listen to the new songs and provide feedback on them via an electronic form. As added incentive, anyone completing the form will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a rare 7" single of the unreleased Phair track "Greased Lightning."