IFTA nod for The Secret Of Kells

THE SECRET of Kells has been included in the shortlist for Best Film at the 7th Annual Irish Film & Television Awards. The product of years of hard work by local studio (Kilkenny) Cartoon Saloon, the animated feature has been going great guns on the international film circuit over the past year so it’s no surprise to see it included in the running for the IFTAs.

This vibrant animation is a spirited retelling of the provenance of Ireland’s mosted cherished artefact, the Book of Kells. With the Viking hordes approaching, the monks of Kells are forced to turn their attention from transcripbing manuscripts to building barricades. The future of the precious book is in jeopardy and it falls to Brendan, young nephew of the abbot Cellach, to save the day.
The Secret of Kells is Cartoon Saloon’s first feature film and was directed by Tomm Moore with Nora Twomey as his co-Director.

Congratulations to Tomm, Paul Young (producer, who is also working with us at The Devious Theatre Company in the upcoming Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay) and all involved both in Ireland and overseas on the continued success of the movie.

If you’re interested in hearing from the director himself, I produced a series of podcasts for the Kilkenny Arts Festival last year, one of them being a post-screening Q&A session with director Tomm Moore. Grab it here via iTunes.

iTunes To Go DRM Free?

DRM sign, Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan.JPG
Creative Commons License photo credit: gruntzooki

It looks like iTunes is possibly going (completely) DRM-free? Great news for music lovers but whether or not it actually materialises is another thing. There are plenty of alternatives in the marketplace for DRM-free music downloads but according to this BBC article, it looks like Apple (who already sell DRM-free tracks from the EMI label) are about to sign off on a deal with the rest of the big four including Sony, Warner and Universal which would see all DRM copyright restrictions lifted from the iTunes store.

It might also bring about a change in pricing on the iTunes store – more for recent tracks, less for older tracks, but Apple’s pricing is a whole other kettle of fish.

We all knew it was going to come around eventually, right?

Update: TUAW has the details on price changes for 2009.

MySpace, Record Labels Team Up For MySpace Music

The much rumoured and often spoken about ‘MySpace Music’ service has come to light, as I read this morning that MySpace have officially announced their new ‘MySpace Music’ service, a partnership between News Corporation and “three out of the four top record labels”.

The service is looking to become a one-stop shop for everything music; DRM free downloads and music sales, ticket sales for gigs and tours, band merchandise, ringtones – everything and anything goes.

It is a good move for the record industry and a great play for MySpace whose existing music service is used by millions of bands worldwide (I’m even in there) as a platform for showcasing music, listing gigs and connecting with fans.

Couple with that the ability to sell your tracks, merchandise and tickets directly through MySpace and you really have a powerful promotional tool for aspiring and established artists.

That said, with the deal seemingly focusing around the participation of three major record labels (EMI were holding out as of Friday), I would hope the the tools established by the service would be available to the smaller bands and those unaffiliated with record labels.

While the record labels look for ways to dig into online sales and catch up with the rest of the world, independent artists have been steaming ahead, safe in the knowledge that you don’t need a record label in order to release music. I’ve worked with enough bands over the last few years to see first hand you don’t need a record label to succeed and gone are the days of needing millions of dollars, pounds or Euro in order to record, launch and promote a single, EP or album.

Thomas Hesse, the President of Global Digital Business at Sony BMG Music Entertainment said in Thursday’s article on CNET that they are simply “aligning our efforts to reach fans through every conceivable platform”.

I haven’t seen any indication of what percentage of the market they’re trying to grab, likely away from Apple’s iTunes service, but here’s to hoping they don’t forget about the independent artists and make their new resources available for everyone.