Music Industry

How Signing a Major Record Deal Nearly Destroyed My Music Career

Terra Patrick has a fascinating story at Digital Music News laying out the details of how she used her authenticity to build a following on YouTube and then watched the label wreck it… … the mandate that came from my team at the label. They needed me to be “less accessible” and more untouchable. All these kids on YouTube saw me as an equal, as “one of them” – did I want to be a YouTube star, or did I want to be a rock star? They threw down the gauntlet, and there was no question in my mind. I…

How to illustrate music and process – The NYT and Disney

Accompanying an otherwise rote Jon Pareles piece about how Diplo and Skrillex made a hit with Justin Bieber, is a remarkable video. Alongside interview snippets of the three artists run graphics of the various sounds. The graphics change as the sounds change and as the track is explained and built over the course of the video. It’s a great example of using a visual medium to explicate audio. I can’t embed it here, so click this link to see it: (It’s also amazing to catch glimpses of Skrillex manipulating Ableton on his laptop. The speed and deftness the result…

What does it mean when a “traditional” record store “sells” downloads?

Yesterday I was pottering around FYE in Kingston scanning the “New Releases” display and came across the above (click the image to see it blown up). It’s a slim-line CD case with a folded piece of paper in it. There is no disc in the box and no barcode on the card. The front of the card has the (obscured) full title of the album and Earl Sweatshirt’s name on it. The back has a basic tracklist, copyright information and little else. I asked the manager what it all meant. No artwork, no disc, no barcode. She explained that the…

Got a spare $10,000? – Moog “re-issues” three modular synthesizers for you

Moog Music Inc. today announced their plans to recommence a limited run manufacturing of three of their most sought after 5U large format modular synthesizers: The System 55, the System 35 and the Model 15. These three modular synthesizer systems were originally created and manufactured by Moog in 1973. Start saving now! Limited editions! 55 of the System 55 at $35,000 each, 35 of the System 35 at $22,000 and 150 of the System 15 at a very affordable $10,000.

In Music, Uniformity Sells

If it works, throw more of it at them… Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, scientists found that the more popular a musical style grew, the more generic it became—partly due to the glut of artists that flock to a burgeoning sound and the drop-off in innovation that tends to accompany demand.

The case for CDs

Compact discs may be more out of vogue than ever, but some albums will always sound best with lasers Steven Hyden at Grantland makes the case for CDs.\

Skinny Puppy demands compensation after learning music used for Guantanamo Bay torture

Vancouver band demands compensation after learning music used for Guantanamo Bay torture. Cevin Key, the band’s keyboardist, says the band at first planned to design an album cover based on an invoice for the U.S. government, rather than sending a physical invoice. But after learning that the government had allegedly used their music without permission, Key says the band was told it could bring a suit against the Department of Defense. Amount of damages sought? $666,000

Explore the history of Pop — and Punk, Jazz, and Folk — with the Music Timeline

The Google Research Blog has a really interesting visualization of changing trends in modern music. It’s based on the albums uploaded by uses into their Google Music accounts. This link is to the description of the data, the methodology and the caveats. You can search by artist or album, or just glide along the timeline to see the changes. And this link is to the actual visualization itself Explore the history of Pop — and Punk, Jazz, and Folk — with the Music Timeline.

The Full Story Behind the ‘Chinese Democracy’ Leak (Or: How the FBI & RIAA spent millions pursuing a guy for promoting a record for them)

The Full Story Behind the ‘Chinese Democracy’ Leak (via Antiquiet). A good long read about how the FBI and the RIAA spent millions and millions dollars pursuing the guy who leaked parts of Chinese Democracy. By the actual, real, leaker. (Who had the track up for less than an hour, and didn’t allow downloads) Dog, meet tail… Now get ready to be wagged.

A (very) quick video explanation of how your ability to sell stuff you purchased legally is threatened

You walk into a record store and buy the new UK import CD of 2NE1’s new record 2nd, (because you are in the mood for some k-Pop and glitter). You listen to it a few times and move on. You have a yard sale and put out a few CDs for sale. A kid buys it from you. You’ve got a bit of money you can use to buy more CDs. The kid gets started on a whole new trajectory of glitter-pop and hipness Sounds like a pretty normal day-to-day transaction, no? Well, yes, but it relies upon a legal…

How the 808 drum machine got its cymbal, and other tales from music’s geeky underbelly

Trent Woble at TheVerge has a fascinating story from the NAMM convention on Don Lewis, a pioneer of electronic instruments and a consultant to Roland. The feature then goes on to highlight a few of the out of the way innovations on display at the convention. Look at all those knobs! See all those dials!

Recording Business Case Study – 1 song, 7.5 writers, 18+ versions

A funny/sad/ridiculous tale of how record companies often don’t know their asses from their elbows. Told with grace and humor. Let’s be clear, this is the recording industry* we are trying to protect with our constant attempts to pass internet-killing legislation. *I say “recording industry” because I think that is a different animal than the “music industry”. Unfortunately, too many people, including the uploader of this video, use the terms interchangeably. (Thanks to my friend and ex-housemate Eric, who is a high-powered entertainment lawyer in LA, for sharing this)

Are the USPS’s New International Postage Rates the Final Nail in the Coffin of Physical Media?

On January 27th the USPS will be raising postal rates. The First Class Forever stamp goes up by 1 cent. Other First Class prices also go up by 1 cent. Priority Mail goes up by 6 to 10 percent. other rates go up by similar amounts. But hidden among the run-of-the-mill price hikes there is one rate chart which is threatening to kill off international mail order sales. This is a new rate called First Class Parcel International Service (.xls) For instance, a four ounce parcel to Europe (like a single CD) goes from $6.12 to $12.75, an increase of…

Do you like sub-bass? Hip-hop? Repetition?

A couple of days ago the top NY producer posted Just Blaze posted a collaboration with Trap scene wunderkind Baauer. It is a killer. And what an intro! I don’t know if it is for sale anywhere, but you can guarantee that DJs all over the world are ripping the track right now and will be including it in their sets tonight.

‘Boil the Frog’ – From Kraftwerk to Professor Longhair in 14 steps (via Sha Na Na)

Here’s another fun way to waste time on the web. Choose two artists and Boil the Frog will link them for you. The coder’s blog post tells you how it works. Reading that post explains how it took 14 steps from both Kraftwerk to Professor Longhair AND Roska to Professor Longhair. Each reload gave a slightly different path, mostly using different songs from the same artists. Asking to go from one long tail artist to another quite different long tail artist yields a larger number of steps. Not surprisingly, it took me 23 steps to get from Disclosure to Iris…

Beyond lies the wub: a history of dubstep

Here’s an *excellent* primer on the history of Dubstep from Joseph Lately over at The Verge. The story touches on all the key points (Croydon, pirates, MAH, cheap software) and includes interviews with British and American producers and thinkers. There is a Soundcloud mix of some of the big songs (and some non-obvious) so you can listen along. Highly recommended reading and likely to become a touchstone in journalism about dubstep. Beyond lies the wub: a history of dubstep | The Verge. PS. The Verge is known as a gadget/consumer electronics site, but this shows that they were not kidding…

King Britt Talks Vinyl With Dust & Grooves

King Britt Talks Vinyl With Dust & Grooves on Vimeo Elion from Dust and Grooves interviews King Britt. Have a look at the video and consider contributing to the Kickstarter campaign for the Dust and Grooves project “A Photography Book About Vinyl Collectors”. Britt also tells his version of “the great vinyl massacre of ’87” – his involves a video arcade.