Saturday morning Throwback. Primitive Radio Gods. ‘Standing Outside a Broken Phonebooth with Money in my Hand’ Shout out to Vinh.
Saturday morning Throwback.
Primitive Radio Gods. ‘Standing Outside a Broken Phonebooth with Money in my Hand’
Shout out to Vinh.
Just got Collie Buddz’s new EP ‘Playback’, free download from colliebuddz.com. This is his first release since his self-titled debut in 2007, which is a classic. I’m pretty disappointed after waiting a few years for this one. The one standout song, ‘Come Down’, has been out for awhile and I already had it. And the rest is just ok. ’Hope’ ft. Demarco has some energy, but I just expected more outta Collie Buddz…
Been off the blog for 2 weeks. We’re back in full effect. Gonna give you a song a day. Here’s Kid Cudi to put you in your zone.
I really enjoyed Wayne Rosso’s latest post regarding Google Music (“Google Music: Who Cares?”) over at Wayne’s World, especially this part:
Frankly I think that they’ve all gone about it the wrong way. For the last decade I’ve been thinking about where the real money is in digital music and it’s in search and discovery. The trick is to monetize that activity. If I were one of these dopey label heads, I’d have gone to Google (in fact every search engine) years ago and offered my entire catalog for unlimited streaming and playlist sharing for 70% of the search revenue. If someone wanted portability charge 49 or 59 cents per download. Google knows exactly what the numbers are and could predict the search revenues almost to the penny, thus almost totally eliminating any risk on the part of the labels and I’d be willing to bet that those revenues would amount to billions. After all, search is how Google became a multi-billion dollar company. Don’t demand ridiculous advances; revenues would be flowing in instantly and paid quickly.
It’s interesting to imagine a potential model where all music is available for streaming, and where the revenue is built in to the search functioning. It’s also frustrating that the labels would probably never go for it, and that if they did miraculously bite on such a model, it would leave the independent musician in the dust. The mechanics of monitoring publishing & licensing rights are just too complicated and time-consuming for many independent musicians, and I can’t imagine it would be profitable for Google to welcome every indie artist with open arms (i.e. an easy-to-navigate interface for collecting revenue).
The dual explosions of both the internet and more affordable record production options has left the indie artist with something of an albatross around his neck: with so many avenues into both the production and distribution stages of a record, a lot of great music gets lost in the difficult-to-navigate frontier of Music 2.0. Projects run behind schedule and over budget, and those that are completed struggle for any visibility to the consumer. The vast majority of indie artists are funding these recordings with their own money, and when it comes time to promote their new music, they are often at a loss for the time and/or energy to do so effectively; most indie studio sessions are usually booked around a pre-existing career/family schedule, and these artists have to get back to their day-to-day life.
I think the smartest thing a motivated artist could do right now is focus on the production, distribution, and promotion of a single or EP. The format was once immensely popular with record companies, because it offered a quick turnaround: the time and money required for the production of a single or EP are decidedly smaller than that of a full-length album, and the current consumer is quite comfortable with the playlist-ready single format. Recouping the costs of such a production is a far easier feat than that of an album, and that model can help support the long-term development of an artist. Too many great artists crash-and-burn after the initial promotion of a new record, and it takes time to develop a dedicated following and significant buzz about your music.
Q Division Studio owner Jon Lupfer once said to me, “There are now going to be a lot fewer of those $300,000 records—-if you then have to be part of a lot more $5,000 records, that’s fine.” He was talking about the widening musical middle class (see my previous post on this subject here). I envision that as the music industry recovers from the slow beating it’s received in the last decade, we’ll see a more pedestrian class-system exist within the industry: the mega-star sex symbol will cease to be the new model of success, and it will be replaced by something more business savvy. The major labels will do far less promotion of a “lifestyle” or image associated with an artist, and will instead act as gatekeepers to lucrative business deals with corporate partners. The mega-successful musician will have contracts for a video game soundtrack, a film soundtrack, and other commercial placement. This image of success will be every bit as awe-inspiring as that of Michael Jackson or Madonna, yet it will exist within the reach of the steady, focused independent musician. 50 Cent’s deal with Vitamin Water, or Diplo selling Blackberries, that’s the new image of success, and it’s one that even the least camera-friendly artist can aspire to. 50 and Diplo got their start with mix tapes and DJ sets, making use of the affordable audio equipment and internet publicity available to them at the time. For the middle-class musician, such opportunities will be available, albeit on a smaller scale. Independent film, boutique commercial production houses, and even independent video games are thriving, and are in need of affordable, professional music to supplement their products.
There’s a new blue-collar approach to the industry that is viable today in a way it never was before (save for the tough-as-nails indie artist like Mike Watt or Ani DiFranco). Whatever Google Music turns out to be, it won’t be a healthy paycheck delivered to every artist with an email account, but it will give them yet another option to diversify their avenues for success. It will be another weight added to the indie side of the scale as a more balanced music industry emerges, but it will also most likely be confusing to use with any degree of financial effectiveness for the independent artist.
Jackie Mittoo - ‘West of The Sun’ I’ve been listening to a bunch of Jackie Mittoo lately, and was planning on posting a song, and then saw that tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of his death. Strange, after the same thing happened the other day with Alex’s post on Ahmet Ertegun. For those of you who don’t know Jackie Mittoo, if you listen, to reggae music at all, you’ve heard him. In house keyboardist/organist/band leader in the classic Studio One days, Mittoo played on a bunch of early Wailers hits, was a member of the hugely influential Skatalites, and played on records from most popular Jamaican artists at the time. This tune’s got some great organ licks, classic jazzy horns, and feels kinda christmassy to me too. I don’t know, maybe it’s the tamborine? Happy holidays from the Monitor Send!
Jackie Mittoo - ‘West of The Sun’
I’ve been listening to a bunch of Jackie Mittoo lately, and was planning on posting a song, and then saw that tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of his death. Strange, after the same thing happened the other day with Alex’s post on Ahmet Ertegun.
For those of you who don’t know Jackie Mittoo, if you listen, to reggae music at all, you’ve heard him. In house keyboardist/organist/band leader in the classic Studio One days, Mittoo played on a bunch of early Wailers hits, was a member of the hugely influential Skatalites, and played on records from most popular Jamaican artists at the time.
This tune’s got some great organ licks, classic jazzy horns, and feels kinda christmassy to me too. I don’t know, maybe it’s the tamborine? Happy holidays from the Monitor Send!
Here’s a fascinating and well-reported piece from tinymixtapes.com. I love the part about the “sizeable musical middle class.” I really think that’s what will happen, but that middle class will still need some sort of structure beyond what’s currently available.
Have you heard of Ahmet Ertegun? I never met the man, but he was one of the most revered figures of the popular music world. A Turkish immigrant with a deep love of music, his mother bought him his own record cutting lathe at the age of thirteen. He went on to found Atlantic Records, and later served as the Chairman of the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Hame, helping obtain royalties for a number of bluesman and songwriters who’s music had been used over and over again, yet had wallowed in near-poverty. He helped nurture the careers of Joe Turner, Ray Charles, The Drifters, Ben E. King, Solomon Burke, Otis Redding, B.B. King, Neil Young, Aretha Franklin, Mick Jagger, Bonnie Raitt, Led Zeppelin, and more. All this from someone with a simple love of music, and a desire to get his favorite artists out to the masses.
Of course it was a different world then; the American culture was ripe for the explosion of R&B and rock n’ roll that Ahmet helped bring. With an initial investment of $10,000, he got his small record label off the ground, and sold something fresh, exciting, and dangerous to the consumer.
It’s a different landscape now. Many people confuse “vulgarity” with “exciting,” the studio world is horribly fractured and fragmented, and the major labels are taking their last breath. There’s an overabundance of independently-made music bubbling up through the various channels we have available, which is not to say that this music is bad, or somehow less exciting than that which Ahmet helped promote; just that there’s so damn much of it, and there doesn’t seem to be anybody steering the ship with the careful, steady hand that Ahmet reportedly provided.
Something will give. Jay Electronica, Justin Bieber, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are all recent examples of what the internet buzz can provide for an artist. But no one has really broken in, say, the same fashion that Nirvana did. But somewhere out there is an artist writing some amazing music right now. They’re going to get a blog and a bandcamp page, going to book their own tour and make their own youtube video. They’ll sound fresh, dangerous, and potent; they’ll have an impact, and then others will follow. And maybe somewhere out there is an Ahmet Ertegun keeping his eye on the big picture: on the studio costs and tour itinerary, on the licensing possibilities and social networking trends. Someone is going to feel so inspired by the music they hear that they’ll be willing to put up their own capital and take the steering wheel of this drifting ship. Or, at least I hope so.
I know this one’s been out awhile and you’ve probably heard it a bunch, (hopefully, for your sake) but I think Gyptian’s ‘Hold Yuh’ is the best song of 2010. I had to put it up.
If you haven’t copped the new EP from Iron & Wine, go do it now. It’ll be the best $2.99 you ever spent. I kinda like Iron & Wine, but this is some new shit. Reminds me of Bob Dylan’s ‘A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall’ but with lush synths and all around perfect instrumentation. Here’s hoping ‘Kiss Each Other Clean’ (full length album due Jan. 25th) is anything like this material.
Another Pre-release single off of Diddy/Dirty Money’s ‘Last Train to Paris’. (Out in 4 days:12/14/10) Produced by Jerry Wonda and mixed by Serge Tsai at Platinum Sound NY, I witnessed first-hand the process of this record from start to finish. Love how it came out! The video’s not bad either. Don’t know about you, but I”m actually looking forward to the album.