Dylan and Cohen cross paths on Duckworth

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John Gushue
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Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, as fate should have it, will each be in St. John's this weekend. Dylan will be celebrating his 67th birthday with a concert at Mile One Centre on Saturday night; the next evening, Cohen opens a three-night run up the hill at the Holy Heart auditorium.

We have tickets to see both, and I'm mightily looking forward to each show. This week, we start with some of the websites that follow two musical legends.

Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, as fate should have it, will each be in St. John's this weekend. Dylan will be celebrating his 67th birthday with a concert at Mile One Centre on Saturday night; the next evening, Cohen opens a three-night run up the hill at the Holy Heart auditorium.

We have tickets to see both, and I'm mightily looking forward to each show. This week, we start with some of the websites that follow two musical legends.

Bob Dylan

www.bobdylan.com

As official sites of musicians go, Bob Dylan sets the gold standard - which ain't bad, considering Dylan has been setting boundaries, and then breaking them, for more than 45 years running. Fans should consider checking in regularly (this is how I got tickets, in advance, to this weekend's show) for inside tips and such, although the great value of the site is its complete database of Dylan lyrics. There's plenty else to sample, including external links to an array of official videos.

Expecting Rain

www.expectingrain.com

The news section on the Dylan site is actually pretty sparse; it, wisely, directs fans to Expecting Rain, a Norway-based fan site that is, simply, voluminous in its listings. If something is being said about Bob Dylan, somewhere, a link will likely show up here. Amazing.

Theme Time Radio Hour

www.xmradio.com/bobdylan

In 2006, Dylan started a new career as a DJ, as host of "Theme Time Radio Hour," on the XM satellite service. You can listen here (through an online subscription), and also learn more about the show.

Leonard Cohen

www.leonardcohen.com

Not that many years ago, I wouldn't have expected Leonard Cohen to even have a website; he had withdrawn from society into the world of a Buddhist monk, and his recording career seemed to have wound down.

However, at 70, Cohen is in full flight: a new inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as weird as that still sounds), and he has just launched his first tour in 15 years. His site has been freshened up with new content, offering the basics, pushing the new product (newly remastered editions of three albums) and some videos featuring music and interviews. The forum section may draw in some fans.

Leonard Cohen Files

www.leonardcohenfiles.com

The look and feel of this fan site is dated, although the content is up to date. There is, indeed, a lot here to keep you occupied for quite a while.

Elsewhere this week

DRM, RIP: Napster reborn

www.napster.ca

Well, fancy that: people will be going to Napster to download music they can play any time they want, as often as they like. The difference now is that they'll have to pay for it. Napster relaunched itself on Tuesday, as the now-legal gateway for music downloading. Like Amazon, but notably unlike iTunes, Napster is ditching DRM, or digital rights management, the coding that is meant to prevent illegal copying but has basically just become a nuisance to consumers.

Napster's decision to drop DRM should be a signal to the labels: the strategy ain't working. Moreover, customers are willing now to drop a little cash ($1.19 per download) to get a decent, clean copy. Readjust your business plan, folks.

We Tell Stories

www.wetellstories.co.uk

Fiction meets the Internet, in a much more vital way than mere text might suggest, in We Tell Stories. The Penguin-sponsored site launched in March, and invited six authors (well, seven, to be precise: Nicci French is the pseudonym of a couple that lives and writes together) to compose a story using web tools, like a mashup with Google Earth.

In other words, as the narrative moves, so too does the user. One of the hooks for Penguin is that the stories are all based on literary classics.

John Gushue is a news writer for CBCNews.ca in St. John's. E-mail: surf@thetelegram.com. Read past Surf's Up columns and daily updates at his blog: johngushue.typepad.com.

Surf's Up

John Gushue

Organizations: Napster, XM

Geographic location: St. John's

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