Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michael Jackson and the Zombieconomy

This is the title of Umair Haque's post yesterday. He points out the Jackson would have earned about $12 million a year over 25 years from record royalties. How much did the label make? At this rate why would anyone record for a record label he asks. Be a hedge fund manager they make millions of dollars each year. Why aren't we rewarding creativity?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson

You've probably heard that Michael Jackson died this afternoon at the age of 50. I was an intern at MTV when the Billie Jean video was delivered. Gale Sparrow was my boss. She gathered everyone around a TV to watch the 3/4" tape, which was fresh from Epic Records up the street. I think we watched it a few times. It was ground breaking: the music, the choreography, the production. We were all sucked in. Needless to say, that launched the Thriller album, which is the second or third biggest selling album of all time. It was a magical moment being one of the first to experience that video.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bobbleheads at a baseball game makes sense, but when the bobblehead is Barack Obama, there is an absurdity to it. That was the beauty of Baracklyn night at the Brooklyn Cyclones game last night. The New York Mets A baseball team wound up victorious in a game that had sideline festivities that included the already mentioned bobblehead, which you received upon entering the stadium and a Barack impersonator who threw out one of the "1st pitches". I heard that Obama girl threw another "1st pitch", but I wasn't paying attention. The team donned red, white and blue uniforms and the PA system played an interesting lineup of songs including Born In The USA and I Fought The Law. Minor league teams always have interesting promotions, this one is at the top of the list.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Perfect Songs For Trying Times

I was thinking about a few songs that I haven't heard in the past year. Even though most of them are about 25 to 30 years old, their sentiment resonates with what is going on now. I've also come to believe that the British seem to have a stronghold in socioeconomic related songs.

Here's a list with choice lyrics cited:

#1 To Hell With Poverty - The Gang of Four
To hell with poverty. We'll get drunk on cheap wine.
Great live, no one moves like Jon King, Andy Gill's guitar is mesmerizing.

#2 World Destruction - Time Zone
This is a world destruction, your life ain't nothing.
The human race is becoming a disgrace.

The Democratic-Communist Relationship,
won't stand in the way of the Islamic force.

I still have the 12" of this record, a pulsating collaboration between Johnny Rotten and Afrika Bambaataa. Video begins with a Ronald Regan speech.

#3 Low Budget - The Kinks
Circumstance has forced my hand
To be a cut price person in a low budget land
Times are hard but well all survive
I just got to learn to economize

I'm shopping at Woolworth and low discount stores
I'm dropping my standards so that I can buy more

Ray Davies play on words and cheerful almost drinking song-like chorus, almost makes you forget you have no money.

#4 Career Opportunities - The Clash
Career opportunities are the ones that never knock
Every job they offer you is to keep out the dock

From the album The Clash. Bleak song that drives home the point that unemployment needs to be dealt with.

Dave Stewart on Tranparency in Accouting

In Billboard Magazine, Dave Stewart makes a point that managers and artists have been pondering for years. When you buy a shirt with a credit card, you and retailer can see the transaction in 1.6 seconds. Why is it when you sell a record, the record labels do not give the artist access to the accounting (unless you audit them) and there is no transparency? It's a digital world and the labels are still living by that 50 year old structure. It also helps their bottom line, just ask Cher and the estate of Sonny Bono. They are suing for back royalties on Sonny and Cher records due to what they claim is illegal/creative accounting.

Mobile Website Creation For Bands

There is a new company called gigdoggy which allows bands to create mobile websites for there gigs in minutes. The platform is called Fanternaction, which is in beta form. The platform was developed by Greg Whiteside, a singer/songwriter. It's free.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Popkomm Cancelled

Sign of the times: The German music festival Popkomm has been canceled this year due to an anticipated 50% drop in attendance reports Billboard.biz.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Trent Reznor Bows Out of Social Networking

The first musician to successfully utilize the Internet, Trent Reznor has had it with social networking sites. From the NIN forum:

I will be tuning out of the social networking sites because at the end of the day it's now doing more harm than good in the bigger picture and the experiment seems to have yielded a result. Idiots rule.

The few people who ruin it for the rest, made it just too much of a burden for him to continue to use Twitter, etc. Trent did point out that he is in love and doesn't mind letting us know.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Nanomedia: Can It Create Viable Stars

In Fred Wilson's blog, avc.com, he talks about his Internet radio station, fredwilson.fm. Each day he adds one song that means something to him at that moment. Today it's What Is The Life by George Harrison, which reminds me that I still need to get All Things Must Pass. He figures he has about 60 listeners per day, which amounts to 1300 visitors per month. This is nanomedia. He points out that HypeMachine put all these nano sites, including music blogs, together and what you have is one big, huge hunk of media and lots of listeners/readers.

The numbers don't lie, but what we don't have is a filter for finding the site that works best for you. This is something that I've argued the record labels were good for. Finding new music now isn't hard. There is just so much of it available that you want to find the good stuff. If you find a blogger who has the same taste as you, you're in luck. All of this media is a great thing for diversity, but it's probably not going to let us discover the next U2, Dave Matthews Band or even the next Weezer. How can you capitalize on all this media for one act? Whoever answers that will have written the next chapter in the music business.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Buying Your Own Music On ITunes with a Stolen Credit Card

Well it's definitely a different approach to garnering a large royalty check. In my favorite story of the week, TechDirt, reports that a group of DJs in the UK were arrested after it was found out they used stolen credit cards to purchase their own tracks on iTunes. They received $330,00 in royalties after spending about $750,000.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

For those of you missing The Shield

Shawn Ryan, the creator of the unmatched TV series, The Shield is back with FX. I'm not sure how they will match the magic and perfection of The Shield, but I will watch Terriers when it airs.
The following was a post on today's Cynopsis.

FX approved a dramedy pilot called Terriers from writer Ted Griffin and Shawn Ryan. The plot is set in the world of private eyes about an ex-cop who teams with a younger hot-shot. Griffin and Ryan will also executive produce; Fox 21 will produce.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The New Rock Stars are from the Tech World

Diggnation took it's show to Webster Hall in NY. According to a blog on the WSJ, the hosts, Chris Rose and Alex Albrecht presented a show that "was more raucous than its usual format, with frequent audience participation".

According to the WSJ, the majority of “Diggnation” consists of the hosts chatting about top stories on Digg, the social-bookmarking site Mr. Rose founded (his day job is as its chief architect), and as its most popular links have broadened from technology to other topics, so too has the scope of the show.

When typical music venues are now the sites of sold out "tech" shows, you have to think they are encroaching on the live entertainment audience, which used to consist of music and theater. Rose and Albrecht claim their audience at the core is geeks, but a lot more mainstream than it used to be. Could it be that the bulk of today's live music shows do not offer enough entertainment and an event like Diggnation does?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Cupcakes and Concerts

Cupcakes and Concerts should be an album title. Is it a new trend in live music? Washington DC's 9:30 Club is selling a cupcake that was custom made for the club, reports Celebrity Access. Club owner Seth Hurwitz said they have been working with chef Josh Short for over a year to get it just right adding, "We expect this will create a secondary cupcake market for scalpers. So come early and buy them in advance."

Cupcakes are not new to live shows. Brandi Shearer treated her fans to after show treats from the Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery. Brandi fell in love with the tasty morsels and had then on hand to show her appreciation to the fans after the last show in her residency at the Living Room.

Photo Credit: Gabriel Trujillo

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

McCartney Another NY First

Paul McCartney is set to be the first concert at Citi Field according to today's NY Daily news. The Beatles were the first to play Shea. McCartney was one of the last to sing there with Billy Joel and now he'll be the first to grace the new stadium. Said McCartney "So, to be the first to play this stadium is incredible. I am really looking forward to a buzzing show."

The shows are set for July 17 & 18, with rumors swirling that a third show might be added for July 21st. Tickets go on sale Monday, June 15 at 10:00 A.M. EST online exclusively at www.507TIXX.com and by phone at 718-507-TIXX.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

DRM Contributing Factor to Illegal Downloadin

According to a posting in TechDirt a Cambridge law professor found that restrictions put on audio files by record labels, promotes illegal downloading. ... the study found that users get frustrated by the restrictions put on legally purchased content by DRM and copy-protection technologies. Instead of rolling over and accepting this, they often change their behavior -- choosing to download unrestricted, illegal content in the future.

It states that users become frustrated with the limitations and illegally download the file, which has no restrictions. I would agree. Most purchased audio files are now DRM free. I curtailed my iTunes purchases because of the restrictions. If I upgraded my OS, or changes an external hard drive or made any changes to the iTunes library, there was problems with the tracks I did download. Once again, it seems like the artist suffers for the mistakes of their label. Audio cassettes did not kill recorded music, as it was thought. Illegally downloading has not killed recorded music. I've mentioned ad nauseum the reasons the major labels are bleeding money, so I'll spare you the list here. The album is now the promotional tool for the tour. Bands, sink your money into touring and getting yourself on the road. Make fans one by one, which will then grow to two by two and before you know it, you're playing in front of 100+ people. Record your live shows, release singles, enjoy playing.