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-- The Times has a lengthy look at the cassette, a format it recently realized never really disappeared. The cassette is known for being a good format for audiobooks (you don't lose your place when you stop listening) and there are plenty of cars on the road that still have a cassette deck. But, the real difference may be what Thurston Moore, of Sonic Youth, describes as a reaction to "unsexy" filesharing. Music has become easier, he explained to The Times, so the cassette - especially a mixtape - represents the extra effort a person is willing to invest wikipedia has an entry on “cassette culture” that delves into tape-trading). And just like vinyl, the cassette allows the fan to put in that extra effort. The cassette's revival may be small and remain underground, but it seems more artists are choosing the format. Fans are seeing more and more cassettes on merch tables at concerts. And with people like Moore singing the cassette's praises, revivalists will keep the nearly dead format from dying completely. (Times Online)

-- CNET’s Digital Noise offers a list of ten music-tech trends that will shape the next decade. Some are obvious, like streams (over downloads) and cloud-based services (over hard drives). One interesting prediction has to do with how artists communicate with their fans. The noise created by direct-to-fan messages and social media will implode upon itself, writer Matt Rosoff predicts, leaving artists where they were before email and Facebook took off. "There's a word for receiving "personal" messages from your favorite 100 bands--it's called 'spam.' Eventually, this cloud of self-promotional noise will dissipate, and will be replaced by old-fashioned word of mouth." Rosoff goes on to say only artists that put on a great live show will generate word of mouth and cut through the noise. While that is a very possible trend, word of mouth will not be limited to excellent live performers. Touring does not break artists of all genres. If the Internet age has shown us anything, it's that people will stop and stare at new, exciting and interesting performers. (Digital Noise)

-- It may be the least populated state in the union, but it's worth mentioning that Sam Goody is pulling out of Montana. A store in Great Falls will close on January 23, and another in Billings is also set to close. Trans World purchased Sam Goody in 2006 and re-branded most of the stores as f.y.e. The stores in Montana are just two of 125 stores that Trans World is closing by the end of January. (Great Falls Tribune)

-- Imeem was fined $1.8 million by a U.S. district court after it failed to appear in court to respond to a lawsuit brought by the Orchard Enterprises. A MySpace spokesperson told GigaOm that the company, which acquired Imeem in November for under $1 million, was not involved in the suit (meaning the acquisition did not include certain liabilities). The judge ordered Imeem to discontinue streaming, copying and reproducing the Orchard's music. Compliance is all but guaranteed. Since it was acquired, Imeem has ceased all streaming. (GigaOm)

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