Friday, May 29, 2009

All Things D interview with Irving Azoff

The WSJ's D7 Conference covered a lot of ground. Kara Swisher interviewed artist manager, Ticketmaster CEO and soon to be head of Ticketmaster/Live Nation's new endeavor, Irving Azoff. Irving stated what seems obvious to most, except those at the major record labels: Labels have always lagged in embracing new technology, in fact they fear it. Rather than use it for their best interests, they'd rather sue consumers. Irving, as it is with any manager, believes in the live experience. That is where a manager's bread and butter has always been. He also stated that branding will be a big factor for musicians and that Madison Avenue has been a even better source of revenue for recording artists now.

Jill Sobule performed. She recently asked fans to donate money via her website so she could record her new record. She received over $80,000 in donations and the album came out three weeks ago. She wrote and performed a song inspired by attending last year's conference. She was never a fan of Rupert Murdoch. He came up to her at the D6 conference and said he liked her song, gave her a hug and she said he was nice. Inspiration comes from many places.

After watching several of the interviews from the conference, I'd love to know who chose the red chairs. They don't look comfortable. They give the impression that it's a matter of minutes before the dentist will enter the room to do a root canal.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Mike Williams' band Goodfinger has a new album out: Killing With Kindness. Along with Michael LaMorte, they are the songwriting duo who wrote and performed the music for the upcoming children's animation/music project, The Rattles.

Goodfinger is fronted by Scrappy Calloway, who's sultry vocals breezy through the album. Scappy's vocals work their way around a song much in the same way Terri Nunn of Berlin did. Listen to Another Night On My Own. This song would be perfect on the radio or remixed for the dance floor.


Outside could have been recorded in the late 70's/early 80's. It's infused with all the stuff that made the early CBGB's bands so exciting. Goodfinger would have been a perfect opener for Blondie or Television. Since I mentioned the 70's/80's, I have to point out that Goodfinger do a sinister cover of Squeeze's Take Me I'm Yours.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Green Day

On Friday mornings, I'll check to see what music is on Good Morning America. Today was a winner: Green Day. The band gets the crowd involved, uses the whole stage and plays their hearts out. The Ramones references have been around since the beginning of the band, it especially rings true with the economic length of their songs.

Wal-Mart is not selling their latest record, 21st Century Breakdown. They wanted a "clean version". Green Day refused to alter their art for the sake of a retail chain. Kudos to them. As lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong said, "They want artists to censor their records in order to be carried in there," he said. "We just said no. We've never done it before. You feel like you're in 1953 or something."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Young Girls Crown A New American Idol

The NY Times takes an analytical look at American Idol, discussing the well run machine that it is. The author states that America voting Kris Allen as the winner, reflects the mood of the country in selecting the more down home choice. I think he won because the young girls love him and with the exception of Howard Stern, they are probably the ones who voted and voted more than once. With close to 100 million votes cast, American Idol is the one place in the media that can draw the same numbers that a show like The Ed Sullivan Show used to.

Friday, May 15, 2009

MySpace Left Out

A posting on today's Cynopsis had a list of the top ten video streaming sites. MySpace is not among them. Just a short year ago, people were still turning to MySpace to hear music. YouTube seems to be the destination for both video and audio. Thousands of songs have user made videos which are essentially stills edited together with the music and uploaded as a video. It's an easier way to hear a song. The MySpace player still takes time to load, which could be sending users to YouTube. YouTube is easily accessible from computers to iPhones.

Top Online Video Brands Ranked by Total Streams - April 2009
Including Month-over-Month and Year-over-Year Growth

Video Brand Apr-09 Streams (000) M/M % Change Y/Y % Change Share of Streams
Online Video Usage 9,452,996 -2.3% 24.2% 100.0%
YouTube 5,490,204 0.2% 35.5% 58.1%
Hulu 373,290 7.1% 490.4% 3.9%
Yahoo! 203,628 -12.2% -8.1% 2.2%
Fox Interactive Media 201,362 -3.0% -38.8% 2.1%
Nick Kids and Family 175,917 -10.3% 15.9% 1.9%
MSN/Windows Live 164,422 -2.7% 9.8% 1.7%
ABC.COM 148,830 -15.9% 144.8% 1.6%
MTV Networks Music 143,356 15.7% 359.6% 1.5%
Turner Digital Network 130,559 -5.1% 60.0% 1.4%
CNN Digital Network 112,469 8.7% 32.7% 1.2%
Source: Nielsen VideoCensus

The audio is not the best, but if you want a quick reference, it's a great resource.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Amiercan Idol: The Only Game in Town

Major record labels did listeners a service: they narrowed the playing field. Before the Internet, the labels would be the place for an artist wanting a career in music. They had the time, money and people power for a finite number of acts to promote each year. Acts needed producers and studios to make the records. Radio was king for turning people on to your music. Hearing your favorite band live was (and still is) the ultimate experience. Now anyone can make a record and they do. Most bands write, record and produce their own records. Radio is so narrowly programmed that there isn't much room for a new artist to be heard. American Idol is the only game in town now for massive exposure. I think Ryan Seacrest said that 88 million people voted for the top two spots left in this season. I realize many people vote multiple times, but that is an insane number.

Danny was voted off the show. This is probably the best thing to happen to him. Besides going out on the Idol Tour, he doesn't have to play by their rules and for a rock singer, this is a plus. He got the exposure. People know his name. He'll have no problem getting a record deal. What he does with his career and how he handles it, will determine how successful he is. Daughtry hit the jackpot when America chose Katherine over him. It seemed crazy at the time, but the word Idol is in the shows title. Of the two that are left, either Adam or Kris would make a great Idol. Adam has the androgynous, pop voice and Chris has the adoration of the little girls. The stage is set for a night of massive exposure that used to come only to those who slogged it out on the road, put in their 10,000 hours and had a producer to helm their latest record. Can't see Adam or Kris trashing a hotel room.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mosaic Music Video

Editing YouTube clips and make a music video. Very clever.

Here are the creators notes:

The video's official release date was April 21, 2009. It took our team over 1 month to privately annotate the videos before publishing it publicly!

The YouTube Mosaic Music Video is a digital piece of art that was made from 1.4 million tiles, and thousands of unique YouTube video stills. It is an original, interactive video of it's kind, and maxs out YouTube's annotation editor.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Miss Vicky

1968 and 1969, were among other things, boom years for American Pop Culture. So many memorable moments, both good and not so good, happened in that two year time period. My 1969 memories include the Mets being crowned the Amazin's, Neil Armstrong landing on the moon and the marriage of Tiny Tim and Miss Vicky on the Tonight Show. Tiny Tim always fascinated me. The first time I saw Andy Kaufman on SNL, I thought here's the next Tiny Tim. Not that they had all that much in common, except that they were outsiders who were so interesting.

Ms Vicky was 17 years old when she married Tiny.

Sonic Boomers has a piece written by Ms Vicky that's an interesting short read. It's apparent that her life with Tiny was too large for her. She is now blogging and she reveals a little more about their short time together. The girl from NJ is living in a rural area of Tennessee. She does have 6 chickens 4 of which are named Ginger, Maryann, Laverne and Shirley. She talks about singing Why on the Ed Sullivan show with Tiny. The clip is a fun view, especially knowing that wardrobe gave her the ensemble.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Worst Album Covers

I was forwarded a link to the 50 worst album covers.
This one is downright creepy.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Indie Music Not Hear on Radio

The Future of Music Coalition released the results of an analysis they completed to determine what radio is playing.

The results:

Using playlist data licensed from Mediaguide, FMC examined four years of airplay – 2005-2008 – from national playlists and from seven specific music formats: AC, Urban AC, Active Rock, Country, CHR Pop, Triple A Commercial and Triple A Noncommercial. FMC calculated the "airplay share" for five different categories of record labels to determine whether the major labels’ ratio of airplay share has changed at all in the past four years.

The data indicate almost no change in station playlist composition in this period. Specifically, the national playlist data indicated very little measurable change in airplay share from 2005-2008, with major label songs consistently securing 78 to 82 percent of airplay. The format data showed some modest increases in airplay for indies on some formats (Country and AAA Non-Commercial, in particular) but otherwise the data from year to year changed very little. An examination of airplay by release date showed that many formats leave only small portions of their playlist for new material, with current songs sprinkled in among well-worn hits.

Not surprisingly, there is only 18% dedicated to non-major label musicians. I guess the flip side to this is that most people are not learning about new music from terrestrial radio. It's YouTube, friends and social networks leading the way to discovering new artists. Does this make it easier for news artist to get heard? It certainly is more accessible for them.