Monday, January 31, 2011

The King's Speech Is Alive With Music

In the ever shrinking film budget world, it makes sense that filmmakers/producers are now selling the music rights.  The NY Times has an article which focuses on the British company The Cutting Edge Group.  They can provide all the services needed to put music in a film from hiring music supervisors to selecting the film's composer. What they are now doing is buying the rights to the music from the producers.  Soundtracks don't sell like they used to, but there are many other ways Cutting Edge can reap monetary benefits. They usually buy the rights for a sum between $50,000 to $200,000. This enables them to collect royalties every time the film is played, sell soundtracks, etc.  The film producers give up any rights to future royalties on the music, but they more than likely get the music the way it should be, as opposed to having the music budget cut (I know from any music supervisor I've ever worked with that the music budget is the first to get cut in a film production).  As Iain Canning, the producer of The Kings Speech said, “What we wanted to do was get the music that would do the images justice.”  They were able to do this by selling the rights to Cutting Edge.  The infusion of money, allowed the producers to hire Alexandre Desplat to score the film. He is nominated for an Oscar for his work. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Charlie Louvin RIP

I got to meet Charlie Louvin and see him live while I was working with Amoeba. The energy and love of music that he exuded in his performance was contagious.  He passed away at 83.  Age was not a factor for Charlie. He was young at heart and loved playing.  All Things Considered did a nice piece on Charlie. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cake Is #1 With Lowest Sales Ever Recorded

The good news for Cake is that they scored their first #1 album, Showroom of Compassion according to Billboard. It debuted at the top of the charts last week.  The bad news for the recorded music industry is that the album only sold 44,000 units. This is the lowest debut since Soundscan started recording sales in 1991.   15 years ago,  acts would get dropped the next week if they debuted with that many units sold. This week's sales topped last week's lowest selling #1 in Taylor Swift's Speak Now. It was her sixth consecutive week at #1 with 52,000 units sold.  This has got to be bad news for record labels who solely rely on recorded music sales.  It doesn't mean anything to artists who always made their money touring and selling merchandise.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Don Kirshner's Golden Ear

It seems like I've always known about Don Kirshner.  His name was on the credits of the Monkees TV show and their albums. He later hosted his one of the first live music TV shows, Don Kirshner's Rock Concert.  I watched it every week. The talent was so diverse that you could see the Rolling Stones, The New York Dolls or the Allman Brothers. 

Don died this week from heart failure at age 76.  He like Jerry Weintraub and a list of others, either hailed from the Bronx or Brooklyn.  Don was from the Bronx. These guys realized early on that they may not have the talent to be a songwriter or an actor themselves, but they did know a hit.  Neil started Aldon Music, one the most successful publishing companies of the early rock era.  He signed Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Doc Pomus, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, Mort Shuman and Neil Diamond.  The amount of hits written by this group is staggering.  Don paired the Monkees with some of the best songwriters, many whom wrote for him including Boyce and Hart who are forever associated with the group.  From there he took on The Archies who scored with Sugar, Sugar.  He later had his own record label.  He was immortalized by Paul Shaffer who portrayed him on Saturday Night Live.  Gilda Radner played his daughter, Karen.  In real life Don did not have a daughter named Karen. 

Paul talks about his relationship with Kirshner in the LA Times.
 "He was a great character, a lovable character, certainly the most colorful character I’ve ever met. He was very fast talking, always very emotional about the music he loved and the music he was making. He was the ultimate when it came to promoting the songs he loved. He’d go on these runs and talk so fast that sometimes he’d break himself up."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Guster Is In The House

Guster is in Daryl's House.   I have such respect and love for both artists music, but would never have thought Guster would be dropping by Daryl Hall's.  As a new father, Adam didn't make the trip. The event was described on the band's website.
It's a show, on the interweb, where you go to Daryl's house and sing songs together (Daryl's songs, Guster's songs) in his studio while a renowned chef makes duck a l'orange and steamed mussels in the kitchen.  Then when the music is over you drink a lot of wine, eat good food, ask Daryl a million questions about what it's like to be a rock star, and pee in the snow in Daryl's backyard.  At least, I hope they included this in our episode.

Guster surprised everyone by choosing to cover an obscure Daryl solo song (from the album Sacred Songs) Babs and Babs (another surprise:   it's about the left and right brain).  There were a few selections from Easy Wonderful, which is Guster's latest arsenal of power packed tunes.  In the show Ryan describes their music as Pop, the same way one would describe the music of Harry Nilsson or The Lovin' Spoonful.  He's spot on.  On that note, here's the Claparoo of the show:  Do You Love Me.  Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Calling All Deadheads

Curious Sense is developing a Grateful Dead social game for online and mobile devices. They want your input.  The survey welcomes those who are not yet Deadhead also.  The game is schedule to launch in August of this year. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Why Was Train on the Bachelor?

The bigger question might be:  Why was I watching the Bachelor to know that Train was on it?  Can't figure that band out, who their audience is or why they make the decisions they do. 

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

DMB: The Music Business Paradigm

Dave Matthews Band has decided that after 20 years of touring, they would take a break in 2011.  An article in Slate breaks down the touring success of the band.  The article makes the obvious reference to the Grateful Dead.  DMB knows and appreciates their fan base the same way the Dead did.  DMB differs in that 6 of their 7 studio albums have hit the number one spot on Billboard's charts and they have sold 30 millions records.  Here is the most telling sign of the success of this band:  In 2010 they grossed $72.9 million by performing 62 shows in 50 cities with an average ticket price of $58.69 the article points out.  (The band's website says they performed 89 shows this past year.  The article might be referring solely to summer touring.)  While other acts are charging upward of $100 a seat, DMB is charging about 50% less. This allows fans to attend more than one show a tour and encourages ticket purchases.  The fans more than feel like they got their money's worth and are encouraged to be part of a community.