Friday, May 02, 2003
posted by Randy on 12:32 PM |
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- Oligopoly Watch
If you are at all concerned about the effects of consolidation in the marketplace (media marketplace, beer marketplace-- he covers a lot of ground), peep tyhe above linked blog. It is very well done a super informitive.
- Indie Musicians Leverage Musical Trends to Thrive
Interesting NPR/"All Things Considered" reports about how some indie artists are thriving inspite of the music industry's crying about how the industry is losing money hand over fist. Unsuprisingly, it focuses on the folk scene. The narrarator is almost a paraody of low key NPR reporters, but it still is interesting listening if you have a spare 8 minutes and 15 seconds.
- Where Are All The Women Record Producers?
Anothe very good report from NPR. Actually, this one (a two parter) is better than that indie folk report. It looks at the reasons why there aren't so many women producers in the music industry. It's very thoughtfully done.
- Dixie Chicks Fans Cheer at Tour Opener
Considering the price of concert tickets these days, that should come as no suprise. Who wants to spend that much money to spend two hours booing?
- Ol' Dirty Bastard Signs to Roc-A-Fella
Some many great tid-bits to this story:
-He came to the press conference announcing the deal not to long after having been released from a mental hospital.
-VH-1 is working on a reality show following O.D.B. around as he readjusts to life out of prison and hospitals.
-"When a female journalist inquired what the rapper would be doing this evening, he replied, 'I gotta stretch my body tonight. Maybe get a massage. Actually, you're looking kinda pretty yourself!'"
- Affidavit: Drug Money Backed Murder Inc
If the government is going to go after every rap label that used drug money to pay for start up costs, they're gonna be pretty busy. What will be most interesting to see is if Murder Inc. corporate parent Island Def Jam gets caught up in the fall out.
- Johnny Cash Earns First Gold Album In 32 Years
American IV: The Man Comes Around shipped 500,000 copies to retailers (which is the basis for awarding gold and platnium records, not actual sales), Cash's first gold record since 1970's The World Of Johnny Cash
- Mansun To Split
The goth-shoegazing-blue-eyed-soul quartet are calling it a day. The had been working on a new album as of last year, but there is no word as to what will become of that material. For what is was, Attack of the Grey Lantern was decent effort. They never did make it big at all over here in the colonies. Hell, they hardly made a peep.
- 'Sgt. Pepper' Dietrich sells for $137,700
A cardboard cut-out of Marlene Dietrich that appeared on the cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band sold in an auction for $137,700. A dreadlock of Bob Marley's hair with a 1980 tour postcard went for $4,136, while Michael Jackson's pillowcase went for just $713 and Geri Halliwell's bikini went for $1,128.
- 'West Wing' Creator Sorkin Leaving Show
Also leaving, executive producer. Thomas Schlamme. This will be their last season on the show. The next season opener will feature President Jed Bartlett attempting to prove is worthiness as a president by amazing the whole world with a super spectacular feat: jumping a shark tank on a motorcycle.
- Ex-Wrestling Star 'Miss Elizabeth' Dies
One of my first teenage celebrity crushes, if memory serves correctly. Dead at age of 42, cuase not known yet. R.I.P. from all of us here at Rocktober.com. Here's a good page about her.
Thursday, May 01, 2003
Happy Loyalty Day
Whenever George W. Bush isn't breaking my heart, he's breaking my brain. Usually it is a combo of the two.
Wait I just read that whole page-- May 1 of EVERY YEAR FROM NOW ON is now Loyalty Day. Not that I' m commie or anything, but it seems that, um, May 1 is kind of already taken
. May Day, you know? Dancing around the flagpole, celebrating the workers
and what not.
Okay, back to the music. I try to keep politics outta this blog, but this one just broke my brain.
posted by Randy on 1:11 PM |
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posted by Randy on 12:50 PM |
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- More About The New iTunes Music Service
-The first steps have already been taking by hackers and tinkerers to turn it into a file sharing powerhouse
-New Apple Service Off To Quick Start, selling an estimated 275,000 tracks at 99 cents apiece in its first 18 hours open for business.
-Music stations coming to Apple Stores. Don't have a mac of your own to enjoy the new service with? Soon you'll be able to bring your iPod to or buy a blank CD at your local Apple store and buy all the tracks you are looking for.
-Griffin Debuts IFM - First Ever FM Radio For The IPOD. This is like the dumbest add on in the history of add-ons. Once you have loaded up your iPod with thousands of your faveorite songs, why would you want to get crap corporate radio?
-Why EMusic gets it (and Apple doesn't). Interesting arguments and well worth reading.
- Virgin Megastores Lead Campaign To Revive The 'Single'
2 singles for 10 bucuks? Are they serious? And this is supposd to save the single?
- Courtney Love Places Help Wanted Ad In The Village Voice
Full page. She's looking for a female bassist/guitarist-- but I'm not exactly sure it is legal to say so in the ad. Here's the text:
for International Rock Revolution!
Join Courtney Love's
Touring Band and get famous,
see the world!
Must play BASS or GUITAR (Really Play)
and look like a Goddess.
We like Emily the Strange, Lolita Goth,
Patty Schemel's drumming, Nuggets and
"Performance" the Movie. We love Flea but don't want you to play like him.
We start NOW.
Please send NTSC Video Cassettes to:
P.O. Box C238
New York, NY 10011
- Motown's Funk Brothers Dancing in the Street
Another neat article about Motown's house band getting the recognition they finally deserve, thanks to "Standing In The Shadows of Motown," but this story sort of buries two important points:
1. Artists like Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross turned down the opportunity to perform with the band again.
2. Following their successful U.S. tour (which I saw-- it was great), the group is planing tours of Australia and Europe. The guys are all 70 years old or so-- which basically means it's now or never if you wanna see 'em take their victory lap.
- Metallica to Play for San Quentin Inmates
If this goes off without incident, it will be amazing. I know Metallica fans. I've engaged them in the field. Metallica fans who have been on lockdown for years on end seeing them in person in prison? Holy smokes. . Metallica's St. Anger is due in stores June 10 and can be pre-ordered here.
You whippersnappers out there best cop Johnny Cash's Live at San Quentin to get a sense of history. Did you know there's also a Live at San Quentin album from B.B. King? I did not, until today.
- 'Bling Bling' Added To Oxford English Dictionary
"'Bling bling' will never be forgotten," [rapper BG] said. "So it's like I will never be forgotten. I just wish that I'd trademarked it, so I'd never have to work again."
- Baghdad Boy Band Bid for Big Break
The headline writer must of done a little dance of joy when this news tid bit came in. Anyhoo, Iraqi boy band Unknown to No One were discovered by producer Peter Whitehead (an instrumentalist who also played percussion on a bunch of Village People albums) after they upload their music to BandRegister.Com.
- S.F. sings blues for jazz: Fillmore rich in promotion but poor in viable scene
This is government smarts in action. Say you had a district in your city that had a rich tradition of blues and jazz clubs. Say the bulk of these clubs closed down ages ago becuase, frankly, the market for blues and jazz clubs has shrunk considerably. Say you've been trying for years to revitalize the district with shops and offices centered around bringing the clubs back (clubs, remember, that there is no audience for). Say the last full time jazz club in your city shut its doors. Would a month later be too late to open has a brand new city-run marketing office for your Jazz Preservation Society to help do its preserving? Some would say perhaps. Not in San Francisco, though. *Sigh* This city kills me sometimes.
Wednesday, April 30, 2003
posted by Randy on 1:04 PM |
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- RIAA Gets the Message About IMs
So, the R.I.A.A. has taken to IMing folks using Kazaa and Grokster, warning them that they are offering copyrighted works for upload and that doing so is illegal. What the above linked story points out is that this tatic was suggested by Verizon during the continuing you-must-identify-file-traders lawsuit. If you want to file trade but not be up for a bid in the pen, the R.I.A.A. and friends are more than happy to tell you how.. All this R.I.A.A. huffiness might be a lot of making a mountains out of molehills since Smut Trading Outstrips Tune Swaps.
- Artists Take Stand Against Radio Deregulation
Jackson Browne, Jimmy Buffett, Don Henley, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Stevie Nicks, DJ Spooky, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty, Tom Waits, Kevin Richardson of Backstreet Boys, Mya and many other artists and artist groups have signed a letter sent to FCC commisioner Michael Powell insisting that Congress and the public have a full opportunity to review and comment on any specific changes that the FCC intends to make in the biennial review of media ownership rules before such rules are issued in final form. Read the full letter here and be sure to contact your representatives if you agree (or disagree, for that matter-- democracy rocks!).
- Why Doesn't America love Robbie Williams?
Very well written piece in Salon.com that hits-the-nail right on the head about Robbie Williams and why he hasn't yet (and probably never will) quote-unquote "make it" it in America. There are a lot of good zingers in the article, but this was my fave:
"In truth, Escapology is a kind of 21st century Brit Band Aid album, a "Do They Know It's Christmas in Stoke-on-Trent?" where the needy continent is Robbie's self-esteem (and EMI's bank balance), but where Robbie is impersonating almost every Brit artist who has made it to drive-time radio in the U.S."
- Judge Dumps Loud Music Lawsuit
Though this decision doesn't make "If it's too loud, you're too old" a legal defense, it certainly paves the way.
- 'Me and Mrs. Jones' Singer Wins Lawsuit
Billy Paul was awarded $500,000 in a federal lawsuit which argued that Assorted Music (owned by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, who wrote and produced "Me and Mrs. Jones.") owed him royalties for his 1971 hit "Me and Mrs. Jones." Here's the funny thing about this story-- like four years ago my wife and I were discussing Billy Paul and "Me and Mrs. Jones." We wrapped up the conversation with the usual "I wonder where he is now" discussion but also tacked on the obligatory post- "Behind The Music" specualtion as to if he got ripped off or not. I guess now we know.
- Sony Music Forms Urban Division
Talk about being late to the party! I guess with Wyclef, Lauryn Hill and Will Smith not showing such strong returns anymore, it's about time to retrench. (Full disclosure: I work for an arm of Sony Broadband and have contact with Sony Music once in a blue moon.)
- Deee-lite Singer Sues Sega
Deee-lite frontwoman Lady Miss Kier, is suing the Sega for allegedly copping her image, vibe and trademark looks in the games "Space Channel 5" and "Space Channel 5 Part 2." She's gonna have to sue a lot of raver chicks after she gets done with Sega if she truly want s to protect her image. Oh wait-- reading down further she may have a case:
"The singer further claims that between May and July 2000 Sega asked to license her likeness, image and name for the games for roughly $15,000, but she declined. She is now seeking more than $750,000 for their misuse." Oops.
(full disclosure-- I worked for a year as Web Producer for Sega but had nothing to do with this game.)
- Serch and Destroy
Where is MC Serchof 3rd Bass these days? He's a morning radio personality at WJLB-FM in Detroit, of course. The above link is basically a puff piece, but still worth reading for all my old school heads out there.
- Views From The Hip-Hop Summit In Detroit
The event, part of a national effort facilitated by Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, was divided into two panels, each staffed with hip-hop powers, including Eminem, Nas, Doug E. Fresh, Noreaga, Rev. Run from Run DMC, T3 from Slum Village, D12, plus managers, producers and label execs. It was moderated by HHSA's Dr. Ben Chavis Muhammad, WJLB's MC Serch and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons. Here's one take on the conference and here's another. Both worth reading.
- Indigo Girls to Play During Lesbian Cruise
Are times that hard on the lesbian folk circuit? April 4-10, 2004-- so you have plenty of times to stack your chips for this Western Caribbean cruise. $999.00 if you wanna ride in steerage with the rest of your lesbian sisters united in the struggle, $4,399 for a deluxe apartment in the sky, far from the unwashed masses. More info is available here. The Indigo Girls' self-titled major label debut is still a killer after all these years. "Kid Fears," "Prince of Darkness," "Closer To Fine"-- hell, I just looked at the track listing again and they're all classics. VH1 Ultimate Albums, where are you when I need you?
Tuesday, April 29, 2003
Sorry 'bout missing yesterday-- I had pink eye all weekend and missed work on Monday. But here I am, back in the peak physical condition of my life. Regretfully, I had to miss The huge turnout at FCC meeting here in San Francisco
-- but I'm glad a lot of people came out and raised holy hell about media consolidation.
posted by Randy on 2:06 PM |
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- The iTunes Music Store: Open For Business
Well, I think Steve Jobs and the gang basically got it right but are missing a few things. Intergrated streaming, the ability to look at what other users have downloaded and material from indie labels. Otherwise, I think the new iTunes Music Store is super swell if you hear something great on the radio and just want the single and not the whole album. There's a lot of (mostly drooling) coverage of this out there-- here's the best of the bunch:
-Songs in the Key of Steve (from Fortune)
-Leader of the Digital Music Pack? (also from Fortune)
-Apple kicks off online music store Downloadable songs priced at 99 cents (SF Chronicle)
-I have seen the future of music and its name is iTunes (Salon.com)
--The 10-10-220 of File-Sharing (Slate.com)
- Chicks Against The Machine
Very good Salon.com coverage of the Dixie Chicks ' recent media blitz and how unexpected it was-- namely, the group stuck to their guns and maintianed that they still had real questions about the war with Iraq. Usually celebrites will go on "an apology tour" after something so publically embarassing, but the Dixie Chicks refused to play that game.
- Stroke-Stricken Vandross Has Tracheotomy
Modern R&B legend (I almost typed "giant" but thought better of it) Luther Vandross is still seriously ailing aftger his recent stroke-- has undergone a tracheotomy to fight off pneumonia. The surgery was perforemd in a way so that his vocal cords wouldn't be damaged. Get well soon, Luther, from all of us here at Rocktober.com.
- Second 'Austin City Limits' Fest Slated
Sept. 19 - 21 at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. Artists appearing include: R.E.M., Al Green, Lucinda Williams, Rosanne Cash, Mavis Staples, Liz Phair, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, String Cheese Incident, Patty Griffin, Alejandro Escovedo, Leftover Salmon, Topaz, The Derailers, Richard Buckner, The Gourds, Robert Randolph, Ween, G. Love & Special Sauce, Spoon, Galactic, O.A.R., Gomez, Doyle Bramhall, Ian Moore, Beth Orton, Beta Band, Old 97's, Abra Moore, Ben Kweller, The Shins, Asleep At The Wheel, Los Lobos, String Cheese Incident, Nickel Creek, and Pat Green. Three day passes go on sale May 3-- peep the official website for more info. I'm too lazy to do Amazon links for all those artists, sorry. But please, use the box in the upper right to connect to Amazon to do your own searches. I'm not gonna do 'em for the next story either:
- Dylan, Dead, Petty, Matthews On Bonnaroo NE
More good news for the stinky hippy set. Bonaroo NE Aug. 8-10 at Enterprise Park at Calverton in Riverhead, N.Y. Confirmed artists thus far, with more to come: The Dead (2 Nights), Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, String Cheese Incident, Ween, Gov't Mule, Medeski Martin & Wood, moe., Les Claypool's Frog Brigade, Yo La Tengo, Talib Kweli, Rusted Root, Soulive, North Mississippi Allstars, Yonder Mountain String Band, Disco Biscuits, Cut Chemist, Grandaddy, X-ecutioners, Kings of Leon and Los Amigos Invisibles. Tickets will go on sale here Wednesday, May 7th at 9:00 a.m. EST.
- MTV2 Expands Music Program Offerings
Peep the above link for a run down of the cool sounding shows coming soon to MTV2. The upside: The return of Headbangers Ball!!! The downside: There hasn't been a metal band worth a damn in like 10 years. The other downside-- since most of the new shows sound theycool it means that they won't last for very long in the MTV universe.
- RIAA piracy arguments, figures just don't add up
Another article pointing out that the R.I.A.A. continues to play fast and loose with the figures when it comes to sales and how they are (or are not) being affected by file trading. It's long and detailed, but worth trudging through.
- Rx for Music Industry: Seek Out the Old Geezers (NY Times registration required)
Harry Shearer, of "This Is Spinal Tap," "A Mighty Wind" and "The Simpsons" correctly points out in the above linked article that the record industry could make money by putting out records that appeal to baby boomers (like Norah Jones' Come With Me), but neglects to see that this actually isn't a great long term strategy because as much as they fight it, the baby boomers eventually will die. Still, I suppose it makes sense as a short term investment.
- Faster Than the Speed of Software (L.A. Times registration required)
Only in a company town paper like The L.A. Times would you get the above linked story: the music industry is too far ahead in their thinking and that's why software companies can't come up with Digital Rights Management software that works, meets the industry's requirements and is customer friendly. In the rest of the world, this story is: the record industry still has its head up its ass regarding what's feasible in regards to DRM solutions.
- Independent in vision, spirit and musical lineup (L.A. Times registration required)
Very good The L.A. Times feature about the folks who put together the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and why they've been (basically) successful and srill managed to keep the cool-than-thou flavor to the festival. The short version: book cool acts that have appeal but won't attract the mooks and don't get super greedy with the prices.
The festival, by the way, was this weekend. How was it? By all accounts, pretty cool:
-Eclectic Acts Rock Fourth Coachella Fest (Billboard.com)
-Beasties, Stooges & Libertines Rock Coachella Fest (Launch)
-Iggy, Beasties, White Stripes Lead Three-Pronged Invasion At Coachella
-The Hipsters On The Velvet Rope
-A mixed and frenzied bag at Day 1 of Coachella (The Orange County Register)
-Rock forged in the desert heat (L.A. Times registration required)
-Coachella ushers in 2003's festival season in style (LiveDaily)
-30 years later, Stooges reunite (Detroit Free Press)
- Fourtou Says Vivendi Has No Firm Offers
Doesn't anyone want Vivendi Universal's entertainment assets? Of course. It just that no one has offered a price that Vivendi is will to take. What kind of fire sale is it when the seller is demanding a higher price on their terms. They're the ones who are in debt-- I imagine the perspective buyers can always bide their time until bankruptcy court.
- Band Buys Trees to Offset Tour Emissions
Pearl Jamhas figured out their tour will create 5,700 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, so to make it up to Mother Earth they made a deal with cut a deal with Conservation Internationalto buy a 1,400 square-mile area of rainforest in Madagascar.
- Kid Rock, Korn's Fieldy, Bizkit's DJ Lethal On DMC's Solo Album
I'm filing this under "this may suck, but it might be brilliant." We'll have to wait until October to see.
- Black Eyed Peas Team Up With Timberlake In Studio, On Tour
Part of me instanly shudders at the thought of Black Eyed Peas working and touring with Justin Timberlake. Then I remember that they both like to work wioth good grooves, so I worry a little bit less. On the other hand, what happens to BEP if they are embraced by a pop audience? Eeek.
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