Thursday, February 28, 2008

Apple Record Retailer

iTunes climbed into second place among music retailers in 2007, behind only Wal-Mart according to the latest NDP Group research. Apple has sold over 4 billion songs to date.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Could this Warner Bros Records rumor be true?

Celeb blogger Perez Hilton is talks with Warner Bros. Records to become a music talent agent for the label, according to The New York Times. -Cynopsis: DIGITAL

I'd like to think I could pass that info off, but there is probably some substance to it. Shouldn't Warner Bros be looking in clubs, talking to music publishers, listening to music to find talent? It's out there. I can't imagine it's on a gossip blog. It's hard for me to hear this having worked with so many great people that are part of or have been part of the label. This place was all about putting out records that you had to pay attention to.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rosanne Cash on John Stewart

When I worked with Rosanne Cash she co-wrote with John Stewart, the result was Dance with the Tiger. I loved that he was the guy that wrote Daydream Believer. Always a huge Monkees fan, it impressed me immensely. He also wrote her hit Runaway Train. Rosanne fostered a lifelong friendship with John.

I just read the heartfelt piece Rosanne posted on her website as a tribute to him. He died last month . This piece was so beautifully written and self humiliating on her part that it was worth sharing with you. He was another unsung, yet highly influential part of music history. Click here to read.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Grammy Comment

I saw this comment on the Lefsetz Letter and I hope Julie doesn't mind that I'm posting it here. She summed up the telecast so well.......

From: Julie Ann May
Subject: Grammys Golden-Grey

What a great 50-years-ago show! If it had aired in Black & White it
really would have connected with its audience - then again maybe not all
of them back here in the east who were probably asleep by 10...

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Seeing Keith Urban last night at the Garden was a jolt to the system. It reminded me that rock is not dead; that there are still arena-filling musicians who are in it for the music and are appreciative for their audience, their band and crew. He could have played it safe, but didn’t and that’s what made it great performance.

He opened with Once In A Lifetime, which happens to be my favorite of his. That of course made me think ok, is it over for me? It actually signaled to tighten the seat belt, I’m in for a ride. He came out like gangbusters and never let up. He had sweat pouring down his face by song two.

Phil Spector has his wall of sound, Keith has a wall of guitars, 4 + him to be exact. The configurations were numerous. His band traded off on guitar (acoustic and electric), banjo, mandolin, bass and keyboards. Keith, unlike most artists afraid to let their band outshine them, embraced their talent and let them have as much fun as him. Yes, everyone on that stage was having a blast, which infected the audience.

Midway through the set, the band went to the base of the runway that dissected the floor of the Garden and did an acoustic set which was anchored with You’ll Think of Me. Musicians in the round, showing off their stuff in a more intimate way always struck me as country music getting it right. This part of the show came as close to bringing a little bit of Nashville to NYC and bringing the audience closer to the band. Speaking of bringing the audience closer, at one point, Keith made his way from the stage into the audience about 10 seats to my left. With a roadie holding the mic stand above his head, Keith played and sang being devoured by the fans.

A colossal HD screen behind the band was a bit unnerving. It was a little like King Kong devouring the city. The band was just TOO big. HD made it seem even more real. Note: See my iPhone photos above to get an idea of what it was like.

The most endearing touch of the night was his appreciation of not only the fans (he stayed after his band left stage to low five the crowd, hitting every corner of the venue to show his thanks), but his crew also. He gave them a big shout out while the HD screen was filled with a photo of them. No one has any idea what goes into putting on a show like that, unless you’ve actually done it. Those people are usually the unsung heroes, but not last night. Whoever was handling microphone duty deserves a big applause. They were popping up all over the stage and its many arms.

Strong guitar solos, sing-a-longs and just plain rock and roll made last night a music renewal.

With Keith’s show being so strong, it still leaves me scratching my head the Carrie Underwood was the chosen opener. It was like two different shows: The Vegas Review and the Arena Rock Show. Carrie has a nice voice, looks great (please take off those 5” heels so you can move and enjoy yourself), but lacks the soul to make her performance more than the safe show it was. She has not left American Idol behind her.

There were two stagings that unfortunately are embedded in my head for their inconceivability. One she is wearing what looks like a blue wedding dress gone awry with a very long train. (see bad photo above) Perched on two round tiers, she looked the blueberry bride on a wedding cake. I can only guess that with so much fabric surrounding her, she was immobile. She stayed that way for two songs. After she changed into a more appropriate jeans and tank top, she was atop the circles again. This time the lights lay low, so low she was only visible to about the first 10 rows. Attached to the lights were very big white sheets, which were affixed to the waist of her jeans. The only way to describe this is it looked like she had huge rolls of toilet paper rising from the air, as the lights lifted and they were attached to her pants! These elements were so distracting that I couldn’t even tell you what she was singing about. The sound was not the best. She closed with the very likable hit, Before He Cheats, which reminds me of Aerosmith. Recipe for Carrie: Be yourself. Wear Jeans. Take it down a notch. Have fun. Watch a Keith Urban show. Take notes.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Who Is The Grammy Audience?

Who do the producers of the Grammys think their audience is? Last night’s performance started off like a Lawrence Welk revue. If you don’t know who he is, this mash up clip from his TV show sums up last night’s Grammys. Lawrence meets the Velvet Underground.

These Grammys could have stood out as a way for the industry to shine, try and bring back music lovers, its former glory, celebrate 50 years of the awards and show that they are not out of touch. No time like the present, right? They missed the mark. I barely watched anything after the first hour, but my perception is it looked like a second rate high school production. How to lose the kids in 30 minutes: Love b/w Across the Universe. Tell them to go online and choose the best violinist to play with the violin orchestra backing the Foo Fighters. Hype Alicia Keys 29 performances during the show.

The most enjoyable moment for me was when Kid Rock sang with Keely Smith who was the first recipient of a Grammy. It was entertaining. She can still sing and exudes cool. Kid Rock was charming and held his own.

I believe John Mayer to be talented. I also believe Sheryl Crow is talented. I’m convinced both will go to the opening of an envelope if asked. What was that mess with Alicia Keys & Mayer? Amy Winehouse, who along with Feist were the minority of young musicians this special was sorely lacking.

Yes indeed, they missed the mark.

From Bob Lefsetz:
If you think this awards show is important, then you must have a
financial interest. It's everything wrong with the music business. It's
something for everybody, whereas we used to specialize in the exact thing
the individual needed right now. Play to the front row, not the upper
deck. Play to those who care. Ubiquity is history, niche is king.
Everybody knows this but NARAS, which probably doesn't even know that you
can use Google to search hard drives, not to steal music, but to get
what you need, to keep you alive. Whereas this show will put you to

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Parades, Super Fat Tuesday

There is a lot going on in NY today. For those who want to feast before the beginning of Lent, there is much reason to celebrate: It's Fat Tuesday! The Giants are the Super Bowl Champs! People are coming out in droves to vote!

The Giants were hailed as the kings of NY in a parade downtown. I've been to two of these parades. Unfortunately I didn't make it today, but Fred did. Check out his blog, Otillus, which pays photographic homage to the NY Nitty Gritty.

In 1986 Lucia and I ventured downtown to pay tribute to the lovable 1986 Mets. They were lovable to those of us who were fans. As we now know, most of the team almost didn't make it. Partying way too hard the night before will do that. These Giants had a day of rest. We were so far back, that what I remember is Mookie must be passing by as we heard the low howl of MOOOOOOOKKKKKKKK. We also were able to glimpse the top of Darryl Strawberry's head.

In 1998, Danny Clinch took Luscious Jackson downtown for a photo shoot among the parade goers and police. All I have on file from that day is the subway shot, which will have to suffice. They did take a subway to get down there.

Lots of paper, lots of face painting, lots of cheering. Did you vote yet?