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Our ed-in-chief W. Kim Heron came in a little while ago to offer a tip for the few of you out there who still buy CDS and believe that musical artists should actually be paid for their endeavors. Kim was in a local FYE store earlier today where he discovered that every single CD in the place is on sale for $9.99. That's certainly a deal -- for some CDs more than others, of course. But a chatty store clerk informed Kim that this is an "experiment" of sorts -- that if it does well, this could lead to the $9.99 price being an ongoing thing. In other words, all CDs may sell for $9.99 from now through eternity (or at least until absolutely no one wants CDs anymore). It does sound a tad like even more desperation in these, um, desperate economic times, especially where the mainstream music biz (what biz? where?) is concerned. But, hell, if you can buy a copy of, say, Abbey Road (though you may want to wait for the upcoming remasters...so that's not a great example) for $9.99 (which is cheaper than it is at Costco)...well, why the hell not? The chatty clerk also told Kim that as a result of the experiment, Warner Bros. had either threatened to cut off their shipments to FYE or had already done so. But then Warner Bros, once one of the greatest labels on the face of the planet, has during the last few years a) released Paris Hilton's pre-jailbird solo album, and b) just given the insufferable Perez Hilton (the Bunny label must have a thing for Hiltons, I suppose) his own custom label...so what the fuck do they know, anyway? Believe me, that Paris Hilton disc is not worth 99 cents, let alone $9.99. Anyway, if you're so inclined, knock yourself out.

By the way, in other music news, just in case you haven't heard yet, the legendary Les Paul passed away today. Having seen him perform during the last decade, I kinda figured he might just beat the odds and live forever. Yeah, the guy was 94 -- but when push comes to shove, Les Paul's importance and influence on modern culture probably surpasses that of both Michael Jackson and John Hughes combined, as important as those two were to the pop world. That's not hyperbole. As every damn news source in the world is reporting today: It's impossible to overestimate the man's impact and talent. He was a giant among giants. I met him once years ago at the annual NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA, right at the height of the big-hair metal daze. Dude simply said, "These kids today seem more focused on how they look rather than how they play." Rest in peace, Mr. Paul. Hopefully, folks will continue to remember how important you were every time they hear someone play an electric guitar or listen to any recorded music for years to come.

This man (with late wife Mary Ford) changed the world. What have you done recently?

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