In the late 80’s, after I graduated music school, I did all kinds of different music related things. I played freely improvised music, wrote and recorded guitar based fusion and I did studio work for a number of Toronto artists. I would generally play/record all of the instruments on a track (guitar, keys, program drums etc.) and occasionally a video would be made of a particular song. The photos below are from one of the video shoots I was lucky enough to be involved with. And no, I’m never growing the hair back.
Gotta love it… They do everything “wrong” and still do phenomenally well…
I’ve always been drawn to artists like Willie Nelson. Artists that are completely themselves and yet also have the ability to navigate the popularity game. It’s not an easy road to take and Willie Nelson’s new autobiography, It’s A Long Story – My Life, gives a reasonably detailed account of his struggles to make it to where he is today.
And where he is, is awfully impressive. As he writes in the Introduction: “I’m thankful that I’m still here. By the time you read this, I’ll be eighty-two. I’m pleased to tell you that since turning eighty, I’ve written a couple dozen new songs, recorded five new albums, and performed over three hundred live concerts. I don’t say that to boast but to reassert my belief that the essence of my work as a songwriter, singer, and performer is based on the simple task of telling stories. Telling those stories has kept me alive.” I can’t imagine doing all of that music making by the time I’m eighty, never mind in a two year period. Willie’s certainly a creative powerhouse.
But the book is not all roses and like many artists, Willie Nelson is highly complex. Loving and cruel. A music industry insider and yet a rebel. A laid back homebody and a wandering troubadour. And ultimately, that’s what makes It’s A Long Story – My Life such a fun read. Go buy the book – it’s good.
Interesting short interview with Paul Krugman. His analysis of the incomes of past music “stars” is telling. From his research, past and current stars are very similar in terms of their income and that the majority of that income comes from live performance. My takeaway from the interview: Music was and is a tough business.
Here’s a cover of one of my favourite tunes, Only You by Yaz.
So many “ifs” in this PwC music industry study. But still, the gist of the study seem reasonable: Live music is where it’s at, recorded music not so much.
HOW TO REVOLUTIONISE THE MUSIC BUSINESS: RIP IT UP AND START AGAIN (Music Business Worldwide)
One of the best music business interviews I’ve read. Some impressively creative, forward thinking approaches to the music industry.
Great article with lots of intelligent insights. But, maybe it never was about creating a competitive service. Maybe it’s about building to sell and any patents Tidal controls.
Originally posted on TechCrunch:
In late March, when a group of A-list musicians gathered in Manhattan to show support for Jay Z’s new music streaming service, Tidal, expectations were sky-high. The music stars, many of the brightest in today’s pop constellation, were selling an artist-owned streaming service that they affirmed would “forever change the course of music history.” But a lot has happened since then.
Tidal CEO Andy Chen was replaced in early April. Kanye West, Jay Z’s best pal and label mate, deleted all of his tweets about Tidal after its app tumbled out of the App Store’s top 700. Even though West — in true Kanye fashion — later reversed course and tweeted his support for the service, the damage had already been done.
In response, Jay Z pledged that Tidal is “doing just fine.” In…
View original 769 more words
Very interesting article on CNET today. Never knew about safe harbour and how it relates to YouTube. Has to be particularly tough for streaming companies that are paying out royalties when YouTube is basically getting their content for free.
Quote from CNET:
How does YouTube get away with not paying out royalties? “There’s an inequality in the marketplace where we have a piece of the legislative framework called safe harbour”, explained Mulligan. Safe harbour rules are designed to give legal protection to companies such as, for example, Internet service providers in case their users do something dodgy using the service they provide. YouTube claims it’s covered by this law because the service is only a conduit for people to post content. As a result, said Mulligan, “YouTube has got a far bigger catalogue than any other music service will ever have under the current framework, and it does so because it doesn’t have to license it on a work-by-work basis.”
Don’t know what to think about Rihanna’s SNL performance last night. Even if you’re going to lip sync or sing along with the tracks, what is the point of starting a line and then letting the track finish it? Is that to acknowledge that the audience knows you’re singing to tracks or lip syncing? Maybe this is the latest cool thing and I’m even more out of touch than I thought I was…