Sound Bites: Sting, MP3.com, Buena Vista

Sting Zings Bush

British pop singer Sting sounded off with his views on U.S. President George W. Bush last week while in Los Angeles. "I'm concerned about him, generally," the singer told the New York Daily News. "I'm not sure he really understands a lot of issues. He seems to be given his lines by other people." In particular, he knocked Bush's decision to pull out of the 1997 Kyoto agreement, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions: "[He] said there was no scientific proof for it … but he says he believes in God, and as far as I know, there is no scientific proof of that, either." The singer added, "I do not have a political voice in this country. It's up to you guys to change things. I don't think Bush is at the helm of anything. That's my impression of him. I hope I'm wrong."

Extra Zero Makes TVT Happy

Over the weekend, the press reported that a jury at U.S. District Court in New York awarded large indie label TVT Records nearly $300,000 in a lawsuit against MP3.com. TVT founder Steve Gottlieb claimed victory but admitted that he was disappointed with the amount after the major labels collected more than $50 million from the Internet company in similar lawsuits. MP3.com's lawyers celebrated the finding. However, today the jury told the judge that there had been an error of addition, according to the Bloomberg News — essentially, a zero was missing, and MP3.com in fact owes the record label $3 million. A hearing is being held today to deal with the oversight.

Buena Vista Social Club Violinist Dies

Cuban violinist Pedro Depestre Gonzalez, who played with the popular Buena Vista Social Club, died yesterday after collapsing onstage in Basel, Switzerland. Depestre, who was 55, fell to the stage after performing a solo and could not be revived, according to the BBC. His bandmates canceled a show today in Cologne, Germany. The Buena Vista Social Club is a group of older Cuban musicians who were brought together in 1997 by U.S. guitarist Ry Cooder. The collective and its members have released several top-selling Latin albums and were featured in a 1999 documentary by Wim Wenders.

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