02 May
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artists, music songwriters hits charts

On this day, back in 1985, Lili Allen was born from illustrious parents and some 24 years later she would have one of her songs being a hit (hey, number ONE in Belgium, no less) with " F**k You Very Much", a song she wrote thinking of either the British National Party (a racist and homophobic extreme right wing party) or Georges W. Bush (the working title of the song was after all GWB...). The song happily spells F**k You in the chorus and seems to move effortlessly in a very pop way while using words like "hate" or "racist", words that usually don't do it so often in Top 40s so it's curiously a breeze of fresh air in a world where labels may tend to pressure bands to write songs about boys and girls...

Well, she wasn't the first one to confront mainstream radios and record stores with a dilemna: how to play , or to put on your counter, a song containing fowl language ? It hasn't stop her song to become known and played a lot on radios, and we can extract a few songs that, like hers, use fowl language to maximum effect. Let's not be over prude about this.

Well before her time, in 1981, US punk band The Dead Kennedys (the name of the band is already quite an...

19 Apr
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advertisement, music history, music industry

Some interesting numbers were gathered by Venture Harbour about music related companies on social networks.

Well, these numbers have to be taken with a pinch of salt as we all know by now that robots and fake accounts have taken over the asylum and social networks had to suppress A LOT OF fake likes and followers: Lady Gaga was recently downgraded by 66.000 but hey, she still has a few millions on the counter. So, who are those companies attracting attention and followers?

1) YouTube – 92,970,897
2) iTunes – 28,783,496
3) Pandora – 5,090,634
4) Gibson – 4,236,485
5) Spotify – 3,811,993
6) Rolling Stone – 2,348,000
7) Pitchfork – 2,189,000
8 ) Deezer – 1,992,207
9) Amazon Mp3 – 1,861,031
10) Soundcloud – 1,653,634

Hardly surprising to see Youtube at the top as it's the favorite legal streaming place for most teens. Gibson, the famous guitar manufacturer, trails YT by a good 88 millions fans with "only" 4,2 milllion followers, which is not bad considering the concurrence: Spotify, the magazine Rolling Stone and AmazonMP3 are behind them !

Music Instruments

1) Gibson – 4,236,...

16 Apr
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artists, music marketing

Once upon a time, in a country far far away, there were two minstrels that had heavenly voices and who's touch on their dulcimer was paved with gold and enchantment. They came drapped in mysteries and many strange stories were about them, where they come from, who they really were and what they looked like. And then, there were the magic sounds and the magic moving pictures, how do you call it, ah yes, videos. Done by a genious called Michel Gondry, he of the same country far far away. Their sound was magic and they illuminated the country with their music. Everybody was singing their praises and everybody was happy. Including the two minstrels.

But things get old and princesses get tired and a few years later, the charm surrounding the minstrels duo started to fade away. They knew it and tried desesperately to hold on to it, hoping that the people would still love them but helas, time is volatile and the better days of the two minstrels seemed to be now behind them. They did music for a castle show called Tron which disappointed many and it felt like they were by now history. All the glamour and all the gold, the heavenly voices and the magic dulcimers, all was gone...

15 Apr
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music industry, piracy

The European Commission has recently released a report ( Digital Music Consumption on the Internet: Evidence from Clickstream Data) which is generating fury from many sides of the music industry (labels, IFPI,...) as it shows numbers that don't quite match the ones we all were accustomed to: piracy, it seems, doesn't hurt much digital sales.

In an official EU report done by using Nielsen Clickstream data covering data coming from the internet habitds of 25.000 users during 1 year (Fr, Germ, UK, Italy and Spain) , numbers show that illegal downloaders are more active in legal downloads (10% more) and legal streaming (40% more) than internet users not involved in downloading illegal acquired content. This goes hand in hand with the long known idea that illegal downloaders listen first to the music before buying it.

The report goes on by saying that it seems that digital music piracy does not harm much digital music purchases (whether it by legal downloads or streaming) when sufficient legal offers, and especially streaming, is about. It also add that the influence of illegal websites on legit music downloads suggest there would be 2% less clicks on legal...

11 Apr
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music history, music industry, music instrument

Years ago, I had the chance to write a song on an album that went platinum. The excellence of the artist, the magnificients songs (the others, mine wasn't. Hum, we composers we're all the same, aren't we ? ;), the marketing campaign of that album, everything made that album a gigantic hit in France and french speaking territories. It gave me the possibility to renegociate my publishing contract and get real money. I used all that money to put together a (rather comfy home) studio in my lovely attic. It costs me a (small) fortune also: some state of the art expensive synths, a big Akai sampler, a good digital desk, some patchbay, a brand new computer, a (by then) huge 21" screen that was as big as it was large, some expensive softwares that seemed so fast but couldn't really even handle 4 audio tracks at the same time if i put too many plug ins in the chain...

Today, i only have left a dusted patchbay and a sampler I don't use anymore. Everything else has been sold or given, updated to newer and better equipment that has cost me literally 10% of what I paid 15 years ago. I have a great Imac that never fails, as many external 1 Tb HD I want, two screens that are as large...

09 Apr
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music history, politics in music

Well, we're not going to lash out on Maggie Tatcher and her politics, let's concentrate on her influence on the music scene in the UK and OMG she was very good at that !

Well, there hasn't been someone as iconic as The Iron Lady as far as hatred from the workers and low middle-class goes and she was the perfect firestarter to hundreds of songs and bands dismissing her lack of emotions and her fearless unguilty ultra-liberalism that was the end of millions of jobs in the North, the eradication of complete communities' spirit in some cities, the materialist rat race we're still enduring these days, the explosion of an already damaged society and a totally assumed endless materialism: it all, or nearly all, comes down to Maggie Tatcher who, even when health minister, had already started to do just fine by supressing free milk for all. Her iron fist on all things political was so well pictured in the amazing Spitting Images show: she was The Main Vilain of the era and found a perfect duet partner with Ronald Reagan.

But apathy wasn't going to be the rule as many bands and artists from the early 80's had grown on Punk and were politically educated and not ready at...

03 Apr
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artists, music history

Sometimes, you're just a lost sailor on a demented sea and you just don't see the what's and the why's of what's happening to you And sometimes you do. You have a very, very clear view of what you want, you're no longer battling desesperately, you know what you're aiming. Just like when I wanted to play with Frank Tovey, more known as Fad Gadget, cos it felt so damn right.

I met Frank thru Daniel Miller, early 80's. I was feeling trapped in Belgium and wanted to move to London where things seemed to really happening musically. I asked Daniel if he knew anyone wanting a musician and he told me he was now working with this guy, Frank, who wanted to go out and play some gigs. We immediately got on great with Frank cos he was such a cool guy but above all we could really cement on our bad, cynical, dead cold, terrible sense of deadly humor. And on our love for electronic music which, in these days, was in its infancy...

I had sold my ARP 2600 to buy a Yamaha CS 40 M to play live with Frank and, with Phil Wauquaire on bass, we were ready to take the world...aboard an old bashed-up Honda Civic. We had rehearsed in my attic and the first gig we played was in Brussels,...

29 Mar
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music history, music instruments

I was once the proud owner of a black ARP 2600, the one with the alledgely infamous Moog filter, i did broke my piggie to get one and I had to go to the UK to buy it second-hand. It was love at first sight but I wouldn't say it was the amazing synth people think now it is (a great sfx machine tho) and all the producer of the first recording i ever made wanted was "bullets", the not-so-gloryfying syndrum type of sound that was to be found on many disco records of the time ( it was a cover version of Radioactivity with a band called Digital Dance).

I sold it to get a Yamaha CS-40 to go on tour as synth player for Fad Gadget. I did later have a Korg MS20, a Roland 100 (the central part), a Roland Jupiter 4, a Sequential Circuit Sixtrak, well, i had a few. My learnings and first contact was with an EMS AKS so i think i have a rather good upbringing and experience of synths. But i was a rather poor "musician" and had to sell them to get to the next one. Of course I would love to have keep them altho the Sixtrak was really boring and the CS40 weighting a ton.

But a few decades later, people seem to have forgotten how one-minded these synths really were. How their...

28 Mar
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artists, Depeche Mode, music industry

I'm still not bought by what i've heard from Delta Machine. While all the elements could be interesting (analog synths, blues backbone, great songwriter, great vocalist), there's something too sketchy for me, too heterogeneous, the sounds aren't blending to my taste.

But what do i know? Martin L. Gore is a fabulous songwriter, Dave Gahan is a brilliant singer and it should work, shouldn't it ? Still, doesn't do it to me and I'm actually pushing back buying Delta Machine cos I don't want to be disappointed but I have the guts feeling I would....

So, to stay positive, let's see what Daniel Miller, honcho of Mute Records (once Depeche Mode home as they are now on Sony/Columbia but Miller stays in the equation) has to say about the 13 albums the Basildon guys did. He's opening up in a great interview on Electronic Beats. Let's synthesize it all (and add up a few loose infos :)

Speak & Spell (1981)
First singles "Dreaming of Me", "New Life", "Just Can't Get Enough"
First time in studio, Blackwing Studios, Daniel Miller produces, heavy Vince Clarke involvement, very fun album to do and done in a very short time.

A...

27 Mar
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artists, music history

Drugs are a bloody waste of times and if one doesn't realize it soon enough, (bad) chances are drugs will win and kill him or, probably worst, leave only an empty shell of a man.

No one else better than survivor Keith Richards knows that. As he's saying it himself in that good BBC video interview, he was at the top of the bill for years and sure thing magazines had his orbituary ready to be printed. But somehow, he escaped tens of time and is now proudly standing at the age of 70 years old (he will be in december of this year), still playing, still recording and having a great look at his life and his path as one of the most prestigious rock guitarist ever.

So, did he snort his dad's ashes ? Of course not, but we won't throw a stone to Mr Richards for telling the joke nor to the journalist who made an headline about it. And there's more than meet the music and hear the legends about him: Keith Richards has written a great biography and everyone is surprised but the man can write incredibly well. No ghost writers were used here, this is the work of Mr Richards and he sure stands out as one of the most articulate musician which is not exactly what was expected from...

26 Mar
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music industry, piracy

Spain has a terrible record at fighting back at piracy. There are some clues "why", plus we cannot rule out the very hard times they are facing economically: while more than 50% of the spanish youth is on the dole, money is scarce but the desire to have access to cultural content doesn't of course go away . The fact that the SGAE (leading Spanish copyright management organization) is under investigation for disloyal administration and misappropriation of funds doesn't help either.

But a new law is soon to be scrutinized in the Spanish Parliament and if it pass it may very well be an incentive to see such legal ways internationally. The problem is...money, of course.

Piracy might well be a way of thinking/being for a small number of people but the reality shows it's mostly about money coming down from advertisements on piracy sites and big funds coming in thru links and pop-up commercials sometimes coming from well established companies. Up to now, such companies could say they didn't know where their pop-ups would end up and they could get away with that lame excuse. But the spanish law will legiferate that: from now on, if it passes, the law will require...

25 Mar
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artists, music history

Going to a gig is always a pleasure and one cannot wait to whistle its favorite song when the smooth singer on stage announces it and the band gently sweep softly into play mode. Well, fortunately, not all bands are like that and while we can think of a few dangerous performers (Alan Vega, Fad Gadget, Jim Morrison,...) the top of the bill is without any doubts Iggy Pop.

Iggy, born James Newel Österberg Jr in Detroit back in april 1947, is quick to herald Jim Morrison as his mentor but the student outwins the teacher. Iggy Pop's gigs have always been a mixture of voyeurism and fun but sometimes danger as Iggy loves nothing better that taunting the crowd and looking for reactions. Honestly, if Iggy didn't show his d*ck, it probably wasn't a good show. But The Stooges were really dangerous and provocative and there isn't a live album as mixed in blood and sweat as Metallic KO, recorded in Detroit on two occasions (october 1973 and february 1974).

The February gig was preceded by Iggy insulting a Detroit bike gang called "The Scorpions" on radio and calling them "a bunch of pussies"...Of course, the bikers wouldn't let that pass and they were in numbers at the...

22 Mar
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music history, music instrument

I guess starting to become aware of the music surrounding you in the early seventies could somehow make of you a lover of guitars or a hater of thy instrument. I did become allergic to it as it seemed most songs on the radio back then were just gearing to THAT moment: the guitar solo. And to me, that hideous whaling sound of tortured strings was met with unhappiness: the spandex brigade hadn't me as a fan, all the contrary.

But things got better when i started to reevalutate my stance on the instrument when confronted to wall of sounds like The Stooges or The Velvet Underground: there the six string instrument had a goal and a purpose and thru the soundscape it was creating I could hear and see a meaning. And no solos :) Later on, how couldn't you get in love with such artists as Robert Fripp, making the guitar a n audio controller/generator: sound was at the center of the equation and not an excuse to propel a testosterone solo attack on my senses. All this jabba jabba to get to the point of: when it's about guitars, i'm touchy :)

So, when i hear about Patrick Grant Tilted Axes, it's all big smiles as there is a project that develops something interesting: a...

21 Mar
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artists, music history, social comments

Yesterday we spoke about Depeche Mode creating awareness thru a charity:water campaign and it's good to see that some bands use their name and influence to try to make things moving the right way in a society very much geared to glitz, make believe and total cecity when it comes to social problems.

Well, Billy Bragg, the english songwriter, had an epiphany back mid-seventies when he saw The Clash performing a seemingly violent decerebrated music called punk with socially charged lyrics. His life as a musician was changed as he started to spice (left wing) politics atop his music and he's been known to put his money where his mouth is as he's been involved in organisations working "on the ground" since the beginning of his carreer.

IN 2007, he received a call from a friend, a counsellor in a UK jail, who had set up a guitar class for inmates but was stuck with his limited access to music instruments and he was wondering if Billy couldn't help somehow. That immediately stroke a chord (pun intented) in Billy's mind and heart as he knew "how playing guitar and writing songs can help an individual to process problems in a non-confrontational way". He bought some...

20 Mar
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artists, Depeche Mode, music history

Depeche Mode isn't stranger to charity causes as they already teamed up with the very top-of-the-line swiss watches maker Hublot in 2010. At the time, they organized a concert at the London Royal Albert Hall and all monies from that concert and the auction of 12 very prestigious watches went to the Teenage Cancer Trust. The event and watches sales generated more than 600.000 £ !

Now, as we're seeing the Delta Machine your and promotion accelerating, Depeche reunites with Hublot for another cause: charity-water is a NGO determined to give access to clean waters to people who usually don't. Hublot has designed a rather dark Depeche Mode watch serie (only 250 watches will be build and sold) and will organize special events at specific points during the Delta Machine tour to create awareness to the essential water supply problems.

I guess this is how things are done now: sponsoring creates awareness to a problem, a cause, a feeling and the name of the very wealthy companies behind it will be seen with a 'White Knight" eclairage: just like Red Bull gave the world a fantastic moment doubled with an amazing marketing campaign where their name and logo weren't on the...

19 Mar
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artists, music history

In a rather sad chain of events, Peter Murphy, once singer of goth iconic band Bauhaus, has been arrested by the LA police for an alleged DUI (driving under influence) hit-and-run. Police found some substances in the car and the bail has been put at an astounding 500,000 dollars. We sincerely hope this will soon be just a bad memory for Peter.

It isn't the first time an artist get caught in the public eye but it always hurts. In recent years we've seen huge icons falling in front of our eyes. We've seen Rihanna and Bobby Brown battling it up, we've seen Britney Spears spiralling down LIVE, we also have seen Randy Blythe (singer of Lamb Of God) charged over fan death (and quite recently acquitted) but Phil Spector's descent to Hell must be the most impressive one, such is the weight of what happened to Phil Spector and his victim, Lana Clarkson, on February 3 2003.

After a well documented night at the House Of Blues, Phil Spector took the B series movie wannabe starlette to his Dupuy's Pyrenees Castle. Three hours later, she was dead and apparently Spector said to his chauffeur that "I think I've killed someone". Later on, Phil Spector declared it was a suicide but...

18 Mar
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artists, music history

...Not to mentionned the saxophone !

Well, the world knows about songwriter Jacques Brel who penned incredibly emotive songs that have been covered by Bowie, Nina Simone, Edith Piaf, Sting and zillions others. People know also about Front 242, a band that generated a new sound nearly entirely by itself (with a BIG helping hand from DAF) as Electronic Body Music (EBM) launched a thousand bands.

What is less known, and still in debate actually, is how Flamenco, the famous spanish music and dance, some would even add attitude, is probably called so because of ...the Flemings (inhabitants of the northern part of Belgium). Let's dive a bit into History....

Flamenco (VXIII century) is a cultural melting-pot from Andalusia(Spain): it were originally chants, hand claps/feet stomping and later on was driven by guitar. The influences are numerous as one can see spanish tradition but also romani (gypsies) and arab folklore. But what has flamenco to do with the Flemings you're asking me ?

We're coming to that: people say the word "flamenco" descends from catalan writers and means "knife". Others mentionned the animal as the pose of the dancer does makes one...

15 Mar
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artists, music instrument

Well, you cannot quite take your gigantic modular synth in the cabin yet, but the European Parliament calls for a revised "Air Passenger Rights" that will settle down and harmonize how air companies view musicians taking small instruments with them, in the cabin, in Europe. The precise wording will generate smiles on thousands of musicians' faces as it was, up to now, very much different from airport to airport and from companies to companies...

Here it is: "the air carriers must accept smaller instruments into the passenger cabin and must clearly indicate the terms and conditions for the transport of larger instruments in the cargo hold”.

Very often, musicians have to deal with this on face value and their loved guitar, or horn, or trumpet, can be accepted in the cabin with them in Brussels, but put in the cargo in Paris. And if the way bagages are handled by workers is bad for a simple luggage, one can imagine how bad it can be when it's a fragile music instrument. This happen to Dave Caroll from canadian band Sons Of Maxwell who's guitar's neck was broken after being mishandled by United airlines people. Originally, United didn't want to accept to pay Caroll...

14 Mar
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artists, copyrights, music industry

Thanx to the excellent Make It In Music for pointing us an article on CMU about Ten Tips for New Bands.

And looking at the article, we would say that those tips seem obvious from a distance, but many bands, even already established, do not take enough attention to point 4: "Write an agreement between bandmates".
It all looks great when starting a band with your pals and, honestly, it doesn't feel like anything bad can happen but when money is involved (we wish you to make some when selling your work) EVERYTHING can happen.

So, yes, write down an agreement with your mates as to whom gets the credits : who wrote the song ? who wrote the lyrics ? What about putting down all the band members name as arrangements credits ?
Don't forget: there are several copyrights when commiting a song on "tape": composer/lyricist/arranger and who paid and owns the copyright on the sound recording (the producer, often the record company).

Make sure also that you identify clearly who owns the band's name. I know, it seems odd to want to be sure about that point (remember, for now you're just 4 friends playing in a rehearsal room and your conquest of the World hasn't...

13 Mar
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charts, music industry

After posting yesterday this picture of two mugs, one with The Beatles and the other one being One Direction, the question arose to who's actually buying music, who was buying it back in the sixties, and who sends One Direction to the charts now ? Of course, Beatles video show histeric young kids at concerts but today's histeric crowds buying Beyonce and One Direction are 12, not 16 or 17 like the ol' films show...Music buying people have extended both in younger age kids and older adults classes.

A definitive answer actually isn't easy to find altho it's possible to find multiple answers to multiple questions but still, the charts are seeing two One Direction's albums in the 2012 Top Ten Best Selling albums. 2008 RIAA demographics show that 44,7% of music buyers are above 40 years old while only 28,3 % are below 25 years old. So, the answer might be that younger audiences and music buyers are more focused in what they buy (charts oriented music) when older audiences spread their acquisitions on a much larger base of music. The problem is also to be able to decipher when parents buy music to their kids with their credit cards: i told ya the situation was blurred and...

12 Mar
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artists, music history, promotion

Interesting and sincere interview of Dave Gahan, from Depeche Mode, in Electronic Beats.

It's very difficult to make an album. Oh, these days you can throw a loop in GarageBand and get a weird sample going on and make it work, many people do, but having enough creativity to do an album is something else. Every band or artist feel the same when they're done with the album, when the sessions are over: they feel like it's impossible to extract ONE MORE MINUTE OF SOUND FROM THEM. They are bleeded out, dryed up, they've been as far as they could and, honestly, the idea to do it all over again, coming up with 8,10 or 12 new songs, is just dreaded...

So, what about if it's your 13th album and your band has been going on for 33 years ? You kinda feel it's complicate to come up with songs that excite you enough that you want to go further than just the twiddling of a verse. And that's the dilemna for Depeche Mode!They have it all: the success, the money, the recognition, the cult status but where is the real envy, does all the positive things make you wanna battle on one more album ?

Something different and rather emotionnal happened too: the label is no more Mute...

11 Mar
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artists, music industry

After all the displays of attention on the infamous Women's International Day, and while everyone is now cruising to the next WID without caring much, let's have a look at some numbers showing exactly how disproportionate the amount of women in music really is. Frightening.

female:pressure is a support network and database of women working in the electronic music and/or digital art. They have collect numbers that show how litle women are represented in these fields and call up for a welcome change indeed.

See for yourself:

In Belgium, at the famous Dour Festival 2012, there were 232 acts, only 5 or them were female artists and 17 were man and women together in a band or so. 210 acts were only male.
Sonar, the very famous Barcelona festival, had 2 female artists and 58 male ones.
In the UK, the Supersonic Festival had 100 male artists and only 8 female ones.

The amount of women being signed to labels is also rather staggering. Let's take Mad Descent, the label that just made the headlines with Harlem Shake: only 2 female acts for 27 male acts...
And that's on one side of the desk: there are very, very few women executive or A&...

07 Mar
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artist, fans, marketing, music industry

Trent Reznor and Tom Yorke were amongst the first big artists to turn their back on the music industry as it was last decade and go rogue by selling/distributing/promoting their work by themselves, thru their own channels and for a price they would fix themselves.

Many people had hopes for a free-for-all internet where music would be immediately released by the artists themselves and people would pay for the music directly to the artists, freeing them from the "Evil Record Companies". Thing is, after a few attempts that worked well, it appears obvious that retribution thru a pay-as-you-want model doesn't work too well and for some weird reasons the fans don't want to pay all the time as much or as often as the artists would want them to. Trent Reznor saw that at his own expense when he financially backed a release by rapper Saul Williams and soon realized that only 18% of the 150.000 people who downloaded the work actually paid for it. But by the same token, Trent did release a few records directly and they did great: Ghost I-IV was very successfull as it was offered in divers formats and forms and sold about 750.000 copies in about a week and grossed around 1,6...

06 Mar
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music industry, streaming

This is it, let's brace for impact as the big boys are entering the china shop: the battle for streaming 2.0 is about to start before our ears.

So, back in the old days, you had radio-like subscriptions (Pandora jumps to mind as the bigger one for a while, soon confronted by Rdio, Spotify and Deezer for the most notorious) and the offer was large and offering a good catalogue, with possibility to have the subscription paid by ads. Artists and content creators were paid a scandalously little amount of money per stream played but that's another aspect: the thing is consumers loved it.

So, bigger companies are starting now to get into gear to launch new streaming services that will be offering more More MORE to the audience: the questions being how to offer as much as possible within a business model that works and at the same time being different in order to beat the others. So, who's new on the starting line ? Nothing else but Google, Warner Music's owner (who, despite being the smaller of the remaining three majors has a lot of power and cash) and...Apple (of course, do you really think they will pass on global streaming when they have a store that has a quasi...

05 Mar
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artists, music industry, promotion

2013 does indeed feel different than the other 12 years since the Great Debacle that started in 2000. The latest IFPI document states it clearly: sales are on the rise, thanx to digital is taking more shares of the overall sales and the industry seems to have decided to go WITH it rather than fighting it blindly.

Other tendencies are emerging too: albums are defintively on the downway, a fact clearly shown by the # album in 2012: It's Adele's 21 which came out in...2011. Little did Steve Jobs know that Itunes and its business model would be the end of the album supremacy: people now do prefer to buy on a track-per-track basis and there's nothing one can do against it. Of course, the old Music Industry was built on the idea that singles were mostly there to promote the album thru radios and the big money was made on the sales of the album. But the explosion of the track-per-track sales has put an end to that: the Top Ten of best selling albums account for 37,7 million units while the Top ten of best selling singles obliterate that with 87,1 millions singles. Normal to sell more singles, sure, but if you take away the fact that the #1 album was already 2 years old and in...

04 Mar
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music industry, promotion

Ok, the good news is that salesa re up and the music industry is having its first rise in 13 years !

The bad news, however, is how does one make itself heard in the surrounding noise created by the release of about 80.000 albums per year (we're talking western world here) and roughly 3.000.000 singles (the right number is impossible to get, this is an estimation and the total amount is probably bigger than that...) ? The answer isn't easy but unless you've got yourself a deep purse and are willing to spend millions on marketing, chances to get thru are tiny.

So, get inventive, try to come up with great ideas and, if possible, ones that get your name and latest recording across. Doing a video that goes viral is of course everybody's wish but it's impossible to break down a setlist you need to follow to be sure you'll get that 100.000.000 Youtube views. Spending zillions on a radio campaign can help, sure, but there's nothing like a fresh and new thing to propel yourself to new hights. So, what to do ? Start maybe by thinking outside the box and be brave, seek higher and try to impress by going to new places with new means.

Björk, the icelandic artist who was...

28 Feb
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music industry

The music industry nearly came to full stop when Universal Music Group completed its buy-out of EMI in september 2012 and therefore owned an unprecedented 38,9% of the market share....

Of course, that situation wasn't pleasing the indies or the two other majors (Sony and Warner) as such a stake equals a monopole. And it wasn't pleasing the EC either, Brussels seeing there a vivid counter-example to their policy of open competition. So, in order to accept the deal, Universal had to sell, to disinvest some of EMI sub-labels. And so it did, along the months.

Let's have a look:

Mute, the exciting label home to Depeche Mode and Nick Cave, was sold to BMG.
Sanctuary, the big UK indie who signed Iron Maiden in their early days, was sold to BMG too.
Parlophone, the iconic UK label, was sold to Warner. That deal doesn't include The Beatles.
Co-OP, a huge indie distrib service, has just been sold to PIAS.
The Now! serie, a line of compilation albums that have already sold more than 200 million copies, has been sold to Sony.

So, what looked like a catastrophic deal at first turns out to be a relatively sweet operation for Universal...

27 Feb
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General
music industry

Hooray ! Hooray ! IFPI's numbers for 2012 show that, for the first time in 13 (thirteen) years, the music industry numbers are on the up !

Ok, not by much (0,2% compared to 2011) but it shows indeed a change in the curb as 2011 was itself not a bad year with the downhill ride the industry has been living since 1999 more than slowing down: the curb goes uphill now. This said, HMV and Virgin Store Paris' demise are not to be ignored: it's not the entire industry doing better but some aspects of it are rising fast. Yes, digital numbers and streaming are starting to show grrrrrreat numbers.

Some breakdown numbers: the industry is worth 16.5 billion $, a number largely boosted by digital sales going up ( now representing 34% of total market value, coming from 25% in 2011) and smartphones opening new markets and new territories.

Digital sales are up then and part of the good news is that digital sales of full albums are up too with 17% more sales than in 2011. Subscriptions services (official licence services like Spotify or Deezer) are now more than 10% of the market share globally and is expected to cross the 20% share in Europe soon. The effect of global...

26 Feb
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artist, music history, promotion

For a man everyone thought was dying, David Bowie is doing rather well.

First, there was the pristine black-out observed to the second by everyone involved in the recording of "The Next Day", Bowie's new album that will grace the shelves of this earth's remaining record shops on March 12. The world grasped in admiration (most people did) when discovering the perfect return single from David Bowie on his birthday: "Where Are We Now" is a delighful sad track, deeply immersed in the Berlin Trilogy's era that many people see as Bowie's most amazing moments in music history. A moment stuck in space and time. An image immobilized on the screen in a world that goes faster than ever.

Secondly, there's the way Bowie communicated about it: he didn't. His friends did, his producer did, his musicians did, but not a word from Bowie himself. It went as far as having a quite extraordinary article in The Guardian where people close, and less close, to Bowie are being interviewed about him...Same goes with NME who features a masked pic of The Man and a 6 page review on him without a single word from Bowie himself...Are we witnessing the Perfect PR campaign ? It succeeds in...

25 Feb
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charts, music industry

By now, everyone and their neighbour know about "Harlem Shake" and how that phenomenom only took a single month between the first video that sparked it all and getting at the top of the Billboard charts is truly fascinating. The phenomenom is also interesting as a new change in how charts are being calculated promises to send more novelty records at the top of the charts, somehow distabilizing the usual food chain of hits.

So, what happened ? Basically, Baauer released the track on a free website in june 2012. There wasn't even a video, or in fact there was one that was so bad the label shelved it.

It all went bezerk when Dizasta Music youtubed a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vJiSSAMNWw) on January 30th.

This video, the original video of the phenomenon, went viral (its viewings exploded) on February 2nd.

On February 6th, video memes stated to proliferate (there are thousands of Harlem Shake memes...) and to this day, more than 70 video remixes have more than 1 MILLION views EACH.

On Feb 11th, the phenomenom was global and gained main news coverage on Feb 14th.

Where...

22 Feb
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General
artists, music festival

Technology is cool, live shows are cool, but the intersection of the two, with a bit of social media addiction add to it, has become really annoying.

You can't go to a gig now without having the girl or the guy on your left, your right, behind you, or in front, taking the phone out and extending the arm high trying to take a blurred picture of the band or even a full video... While journalists are allowed to do it during the first three songs then disappear, plain spectators taking pics don't stop and often will ruin your show. It was already hard to get a good glimpse of the gig for the small among us, it's now becoming a pain for all to see something in this ocean of arms holding up their cell.

Some artists are now becoming increasingly angry at that social phenomenom and Jack White was at the center of a media frenzy when The Guardian publlished an article saying he was banning cameras and people using their cellphones for tweets during his performances. His label quickly released a statement: “The only thing that we’ve ever asked of the audience is to not take pictures or videos while holding up their cameras, phones, etc that block other peoples view or...

21 Feb
Published by jean-marc,
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advertisement, music industry

Ok, OK, tagged campaigns or headphones only events aren't new to the most geeks of us, but Sony Japan has strike a cool chord with this campaign.

After Tupac playing "live" a few years after his departure from this planet, are we about to experiment yet another crazy idea ? Sony has teamed with a few top notch advertisement companies (Naked Communications and Frontage) to launch a campaign to sell their new line of headphones. The idea is that the audience sees posters and target them with their smarphones. They are immediately being shown a concert by the band they choose (4 different bands were proposed). They were also handled the said-headphones to experiment this augmented reality show in the best conditions possible. The campaign was very successful and open for more ideas from the same barrel: expect in a few years to have full shows ready for such consumption, a bit like VOD but with bands and "live" performance.

Headphones are one of the hot topics of the moment and silent discos or even silent performances are rather common: there's a lot of interesting ideas floating around. You can go to specific discos and dance while wearing a headphone. In some...

20 Feb
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General
artists

Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr., more known as Snoop Dogg, Snoop Lion or DJ Snoopadelic, is a man constantly on the move, something he may have promised to himself when being jailed as a teenager or standing
trial for murder (he was acquitted).

The fact is....never a rapper of that importance has seemed so eager to quit that costume everyone likes to tailor around artists: he has worked with many people outside hip hop be them Korn, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Gorillaz, and the list goes on and on. He is also a keen enthusiast for what may seem to some like weird outside-the-biz commercial endeavours: a porn movie, a foot-long hotdog, skateboard, a radio-controlled version of his 1974" Coupe Deville, TV shows, a bicycle, etc...But don't think of him as a cool guy who embraces love and peace as he's also collecting legal troubles and has (very) frequently to do with The Law. He also lives in a 500 sq meters mansion with his 20 pitbulls. Yes, 20. Whatever angle you want to take him, he seems a complex personality, oscillating between a Long Beach bad boy and the stoned gentle giant.

Musically, he has come up with an impressive suite of stylish songs (and a few...

19 Feb
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movie soundtrack, music

Very interesting article in SPIN about 40 movie soundtracks that have changed the way music was thought by bands, especiallly by alternative bands, groups that could expand on a music heard in a movie without losing the interest of its demographic.

For instance, no doubts that the soundtrack of "Forbidden Planet" has led many youngsters to electronic music (it's actually interesting to notice this love of pure, raw, weird electronic sounds is actualy making a huge come back with the development of the Eurorack scenes and the availability of many electronic modules these days).

There are also very few doubts that the cinematic music of Morricone has impress bands like 80's sweeties The Pet Shop Boys, and closer to us Goldfrapp and somehow led to Godspeed! You Black Emperor.
Or that Clockwork Orange paved the way for Kraftwerk with its cold and icey use of Moog synthesizers. And what about Eraserhead who can be seen as Grand Father of Gothic music, along with Danny Elfman and his haunting themes for Tim Burton's movies?

If there ever was a movie that will launch a music style to the higher places, it must then be "Saturday Night Fever" who made disco...

18 Feb
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artists, music industry

Lady Gaga started her "Born This Way Ball" tour last april in Asia and the (so-far) 98 concerts make up for one of the biggest grossing 2012 tour it's also an enduring process that can end up in tears if things don't go as planned....And it did happen: Gaga has to cancel more than 20 dates in North America...

Stefani Germanotta is suffering from an inflammation of the hip joints known as synovitis: it's a bit like a tennis elbow for the 360° dancer/singer/choregrapher/entertainer Gaga is and there's no real cure as only surgery and rest will do. While this is already a crushing news for her fans, it's even more of a bad news for her accountants and for Livenation.

This said, she can rest at ease as this tour has already accumulated more than $168 million with an average crowd of about 31,000 little monsters per gig. About 20 concerts are to be scrapped and around 200.000 tickets will have to be refunded (a loss of +/- 25 million dollars). Livenation will lose some funds as they pay big advances to local promoters. Let's not forget too that Gaga employs about 100 crew per gig and the cancellation of nearly the entire US Tour is bad news for them too. Some bad...

15 Feb
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music history, music industry

A very interesting article by the always right-on-the-spot Mark Mulligan displays once more the uber importance Apple has on music sales.

Some of you may remember our november 2012 arrticle where we showed how Steve Jobs "tricked" 2 of the 3 main music industry CEO into accepting to deal with Apple as digital music reseller (http://blog.kollector.com/blog/man-who-said-no). The third one, Andy Lack, wanted to have a percentage off Ipod and other Apple products sales as hit was obvious to him Apple was in it for the sale of hardware and not music per se...Can you imagine how well the music industry would be if the three CEO would have all stand firmly and get a % on all Apple sales from Jobs ?

And now, more than a decade after the Apple coup, Itunes and Apple do celebrate a very important milestone: 25 billion tracks have been sold thru The Store and everytime Apple sells an Ipod, an iphone or an Ipad (or an Imac, etc...) it's all benefit for the music industry as music sales go up. The proprietary aspect of Apple OS is such that the common user has to buy music from the official channel and download...

06 Feb
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Depeche Mode, music industry

A strange phenomenon happens around the last Depeche Mode single "Heaven".

To say that Heaven is diversely appreciated is an under statement altho everytime Depeche fans are fighting whether the last single sucks or not and how it does compare to Violator, widely considered as Depeche Mode best album ever and father of two of Depeche's best singles: Enjoy The Silence and Personal Jesus. But Heaven is nowhere near those two singles and even die-hard fans have a problem defending this electronic ballad while others claim the B-side is much better. Ok. Why not. But let's take a few steps back and see what's happening around Heaven as this is far more interesting.

In the few days that have passed since Heaven was released, quite a few "remixes" and "covers" have appeared and while it's not our role to review them, the social phenomenom it is becoming shows so well that a band is only as big as its fans make it, it is only as big as what's surrounding them. In this case, the relatively quiet features of the original song are being revamped and remodeled and the rumour, while not blasphemous, gives the band a bigger aura than the qualities of the song itself couldn't...

05 Feb
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crowdfunding, music industry, videogames

In a brilliant article in BillboardBiz, Hany Nada demonstrates how the music industry could in fact benefit from some of the business models used in videogames, and especially in MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game).

First, the music industry should probably brace the fact that some people will never ever again pay for music.
The internet has savagely damaged some behaviours, and I agree it's too bad, and no HADOPI nor ACTA will change that: users just go deeper in the net and start using ways to go around blockades.
This is terrible but sock it to it.
Secondly, the music industry should have a clearer picture of who's who in the new ecosystem and what makes the numbers. Not everyone buys a CD, or download a track and not everyone is willing to even buy full albums no more. Still, some people do and the industry has seen worst years than 2012.
Third, and more importantly, the record industry might win big at looking at videogames or at...Las Vegas.

See, casinos know too well what makes people play, play and play: great rebates in hotels and the food is cheap. What makes the numbers ? Casinos have identify three kinds of...

09 Jan
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crowdfunding, music industry

There's no doubt one of the key words for 2012 was "crowdfunding" as pledge has become a very valid solution for bands to finance recordings, releases or tours with the help and the engagement of their fans.

Yes, there's life outside that dreaded "like" button on Facebook which seems to be the final frontier for many people's investment in a band or a project. Now, thanx to crowdfunding, there are ways to interact and actually make giood for things you would like to see airborne.

Kickstarter has had a great year and the numbers are astounding:

2,241,475 people have pledged a total of $319,786,629 which have successfully funded 18,109 projects !
Around 5.000 projects were for or around music while games have generated 83millions $ funding....Actually 17 projects raised more than one million $ which kills the preconceived idea that pledging only workds for small peanuts.
And it actually help projects to gain exposure as no less than 10% of the Sundance Film Festival were pledged thru Kickstarter and one pledged movie is even nominated for an Oscar...There are many different things that went thru crowdfunding money this year: from the bus stop in...

19 Dec
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Kollector, music industry

Midemlab, an international pitching competition of innovative startups working in the music industry, as listed its 30 finalists and KOLLECTOR is being nominated in the "Marketing And Social Engagement" category. We will pitch and demonstrate at Midem (january 2013) how Kollector can help everyone in the music industry.
What we do ? We're trackings down radio broadcasts in REALTIME and WORLDWIDE.

For all those involved in releasing music, information is power. You gotta know where, when and by whom your records are being played.

This intel is already not easy to access on a national basis and we can help there. But if you want to get accesss to that information on an international basis, you are up for a big challenge. But we can help there too: we're listening to thousands of radios worldwide and we add radios stations on a weekly basis.

There are many useful and business savvy things you can do with this information:

Now, at last, you can:

Estimate your royalties: you can have an overall view on the finances that will come down from radio broadcasts.
Follow up on your promo campaigns: no more...

19 Dec
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music industry

The "Globe And Mail" did an overall 2012 résumé on how small bands and artists are struggling as the old business model is dying and a new one, less favorable to newcomers and small to medium-sized bands, is slowly shifting into places. Let's dissect some numbers and expand...

LEGIT DOWNLOADS AND PHYSICAL SALES

For the first time, digital music sold more than physical music, according to a report from Nielsen/Billboard. That's 8,4% more for digital while physical goes down 5 more %. Big sales are still happening and ACDC, who finally accepted to have their music on Itunes, sold 696,000 digital songs and 48,000 albums in one week only. Not bad but it doesn't hide the fact that buyers were probably "from te old skool" while 64% of youngsters prefer watching music for free on Youtube rather than purchasing it.

So,what sells, outside of the blockbusters ? Well, niche style do sell to their core audience but the pop world, the mainstream music, is harder than before as non-legit downloads still bite a huge share off the pie. But 2012 has seen exciting new music coming up and it's been good to see left field artist like Grimes making good sales...

18 Dec
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General
music industry, streaming

As said here a few weeks ago, things are happening in the music industry.

One of them seems to be everyone finally gets it: digital sales are up and there's no going back. Already digital is a hefty part of revenues (Warner's digital sales account to roughly 33% of its revenues now) and digital portals are paying labels and artists more than they ever did. Which isn't much when detailled individually and the debate is still raging on whether the common rate per stream actually allows songwriters and artists to make a living. On the other hand, it's more than one would get from his work being pirated so there you go: we need to work upwards, not downwards.

And this is something that business savvy people and companies have understand as the money invested in music start-ups is 34% above what it was in 2011 ! We're talking lots of green here as 600.000.000 $ have been invested in music dedicated new companies.
If one details the numbers, Spotify, Deezer and Sonos (wireless Home Music system and hifi music players) account for most, but even below them one can see and feel the excitement music start ups generates these days.

We believe a new crop of...

17 Dec
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music industry, videogames

Well, it had to happen sometimes and we're glad it now has: a videogame soundtrack (Journey, a very cool game) has been nominated for the first time at the Grammys in the Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media. Its opponents, let's not believe in unicorns as they all badly want to win this, are nothing less than the ubiquitous Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight Rises), John Williams (The Adventures Of Tintin - The Secret Of The.... Unicorn), Howard Shore (Hugo), Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) and Ludovic Bource (The Artist). Sounds like an Oscar nomination list, doesn't it ?

So, yes, the young american composer Austin Wintory is going to feel rather breathless when they announce the winner at the Grammys February 10th. Will he wins ? Well, his soundtrack can surely be proud and tall as it's lush and beautiful, very large and dense and he does have a chance.

This will remind Hollywood and the music industry that, while they do have hard times, the music industry worldwide is a bigger business than theirs and deserves to be studied and learned.

As an example, the original soundtrack for "Journey" features 18 tracks and is 58...

11 Dec
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General
music industry, streaming

Let's start with a confession: at first, as a musician who did live from his music, I hated Spotify from the word go. The idea that the cherish result of my work would be paid 0,005 Euros everytime someone would (eventually) listen to it was such a deterrent that it kinda blurred any decent thinking I might have about it.

And then, once the initial shock was passed, and despite still thinking the amount paid by Spotify was a disgrace, I started to look for more numbers and stories, reading things here and there, speaking with other artists and labels and my vision started to get clearer and it appears now that we need to step back and look at the big picture cos streaming is not responsible for the crisis endured by musicians and not the cause and not another punch in the artists face but maybe, on the contrary, an indispensable tool to add to what musicians need now: an effective array of diverse means to attract more people in a market that is no more reduced to the area around the pub your band is playing at on sundays.
I repeat: streaming is only one tool musicians need to add to other means of converting fans to buyers, or to find new fans. Furthermore, let's...

10 Dec
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artists, marketing

What is there to do on 21/12/2012 while waiting for the End Of The World promised by the Mayans (the real ones, not Jake's friends from Sons of Anarchy) ? Well, you could go to Das Gift, a Berlin bar who's owners (Rachel and Barry Burns, a scottish couple deeply in love with Arts and Music....and Whisky. Actually Barry is in...Mogwai) lend their place to Lars and Peter and their bi-monthly Taste The Doom event.

To put it mildly, ha ha ha, Taste The Doom mixes tasting whisky and listening to heavy atmospheric and apocalyptic music...Sounds great innit ? It's even getting better: Lars Lundehave Hansen and Peter Voltava (Pure) open the bar to about 30 people and make them taste 7 of the best whiskies there are while entertaining you with 7 high-class selection of rather loaded and dark music (ranging from Badalamenti to Throbbing Gristle, Nick Cave and Corrupted or Buried At Sea, all fun stuff)... There can't be a better end of the world: a real match made in Heaven. Or is that Hell ?

It's interesting to note that Peter and Lars are two respected musicians and composers and they're acting here as kinda curators between two worlds that have at first little to do...

05 Dec
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music industry

Spot-on article in Sidewinder.fm about the failure of music discovery and recommandations sites: very few, if none, are actually successful business and the amount of start-ups that came and went is straggering.
Why is that ? Is it become we're bored with the same algorithm that will propose us the same records and artists ? Is it because the plot itself is doomed and wherever you go, if you like Coldplay you will be proposed Radiohead and Pink Floyd at any given moment ? Kyle Bilin, who write the excellent and rather bold article, points out that in fact listeners have more than enough music to listen to and very little time to explore new ones (which are, as noted above, more or less the same ones on all the sites and for obvious reasons). Finding music takes a lot of work and dedication and I'm not sure the recommandations proposes the right ways to do it...

They should be more like videogames than Itunes copycat. The recommandation algorithm that tricks you into liking bands you already know isn't working no more cos you've seen it elsewhere. Music recommendations sites should inject a little bit of drama and adventure. It should make you feel like the shop...

04 Dec
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General
music history, music industry

The music industry is blessed with a few tools that can help amateurs and pro alike to fine tune their campaigns and adjust their efforts to have people interested in their music.

Kollector is one of them: it helps all to know exactly where, when and by whom their music is being played on radio. Worldwide. And in real time...It will help estimate royalties, know the markets of a specific artist, help putting together PR and tours. And also get a feel for what's cooking out there, what artists enjoy airplay and what the tendencies are...You should try it...

One of the most famous app there is, Shazam, is pretty useful too. Basically it will tell you what's the name of a song and what's the name of the artist based on a melody you will whistle, or a few fragments of the song itself. It works rather well...

Shazam can also "feel" the markets and tell you what artists and songs are hot, based on the tags most frequently used. They were able to sniff Lana Del Rey and Frank Ocean for 2012. Here are a few names they've been dropping as attracting the masses' attention for 2013:

Aluna Georges
Becky G
Angel Haze
Baaeur
Rhye.

...

03 Dec
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General
music industry

Let say you're just been touring and finally didn't spend as much as you thought, or merch sales have been better than planned. What's to do with the extra cash ? Give it to a Pro !

While there's no doubt that anyone in the band could do with some extra dollars, the project itself (the band, the artist) could have great use of that cash too. What's the best way to invest it ? Not in strings, no, not in some hunky-dory new software, not in a new stereo for the van. The best way woulkd be to...give it away to some pro to make your band shine better.

Get a pro photo session: just like every amateur thinks he can make great music with GarageBand, the same poor judgement exists with photos as everyone swears they make great pics. And it's wrong, it does really take good equipment and a great eye to make good band pictures. Get a Pro !

Get a good mastering engineer or a good remixer. Same story: people who have been trained for years know better how to give the final touch to your work. Get a real mastering engineer, or get a good remixer to add that last thing that will make your work shine ! Get a Pro !

Get some...

29 Nov
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General
music history

There are very few bands that have been as important as Kraftwerk, and there's no doubt the german group is out there with the likes of The Beach Boys (a prime inspiration for the Dusseldorf Four) and The Beatles and therefore there's no surprise Kraftwerk has been nominated to get into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame. Which is funny cos at the same time they started out by trying to really stay away from that damn US rock n roll sound Germany was buried under after WW II.

What is fascinating, always, is when there's a crossover between genres and styles and things get combined then transformed into something new (read http://blog.kollector.com/blog/everything-remix-everything). Kraftwerk decided to use new instruments and develop a romantic and european feel with machines and imagery and going as far as possible from rock music (even if they were in fact fans). This would be the start of electropop and later on the breeding start of multiple genres like Eurodance, New Beat, Cold Wave, New Wave, Electro Dance, EBM, techno, house, French Touch, Electronica, IDM but also genres like technopop,...

28 Nov
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music history, politics in music, social comments

There's quite an article in Coilhouse about misoginy in Industrial music and it really does call your attention as we take too many things for granted and while some attitudes from bands can be taken for simple provocation, the article points out most of what was once a scene build on boldness and adventurous thinking is now very much only a pile up of dangerous cliches and aggressive sexism.

As said in the article "The giants of industrial used subversive tactics to challenge audiences and create new awareness" has now turn to be "a disturbing trend of sexism, racism and anti-intellectualism". Bands like Combichrist or Nachtmahr seem to carry high the torch of violence lyrics against women and their aggressive videos display the band's dangerous stance for displaying women being nothing but objects of lust prone to betray the Alpha Male.

Men do tend to see the world thru a tainted illusion that women want them badly, whatever they do or say, and that women do feel the same way and while rock music has always been macho and superficial, it has most often exagerates the male message in a rather glamourous and silly way, not in what now seems to validate...

27 Nov
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music industry

It's funny how, when an artist is successfull, there seems to be 10 of him or her, they don't sleep no more and they do a movie while writing three new albums, score a musical and do a duet with Rihanna. And play in your town next week while doing a televised interview in Camberra and a PA in a club in Ibiza. David Guetta is one of these. The uber known DJ doesn't stop making records or duets and he's the epitomy of ubiquity: you just cannot get down on a dancefloor without moving on AT LEAST 3 of his tracks. Well, now expect to meet him and his fans all over the world with this PlayGuetta app.

Powered by Soundrop, a norwegian company which app creates listening rooms (within Spotify) where you and your friend can listen to music you like and interact with the next tune to be played, quite like Turntable.
PlayGuetta offers that, well it does if you join Guetta's mailing list. And after this small marketing savvy trick to get your email, you can enjoy music live and chat with people who have the same musical taste as you. Realtime.

Now, recommandation is the hot topic of the month and it does bring back that friendly advice one could get from a record store...

23 Nov
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artists, music history

There's something inbuild in our brain, and in the planet around us, that seems to breakdown advances in all matters as down to three factors:

COPYING
COMBINING
TRANSFORMING

Thru history, again and again, we can pinpoint changes are the effects of elements that have been studied by someone, then transformed and combine to get to a new level that, itself, later, will see new changes that will elevate in to the next level.

The very same logic applies to art and to music: of course, there are still geniuses and people so in control with their own talent that they transcend it and take it to create something new, but everyone and everything does come from an idea that's been evolving and meeting another one, combining with it to transform it into something new.

Take heavy metal. It comes from a term coined in a William Burroughs book back in the early sixties. Blues, on the other hand, originates from the songs of the slaves, back in the XIX century. And, electric guitars were born around 1928 with a hawaaian guitar made by Rickenbacker. 1950's rock music, which was merely a new arm of rythmn and blues, itself a development from jazz which...

22 Nov
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music industry, streaming

Ok, for a few days we had a go at the bright side of streaming music: the longer life of the tracks, the recommendations, the playlists. It all is fine and nice and extremely addictive and from a pure consumer's point of view it's brilliant. But then, there's the artist's point of view where he/she is being paid roughly 0,006 € per stream and that is an angle we just cannot forget. But can we forgive ?

Damon Krukowski, he of the excellent Galaxy 500 band and now in Damon & Naomi, has some interesting thoughts on the matter on Pitchfork. He sat down and made some maths and wherever you look at it, it's an abyss for small artists and newcomers. Comparing to the superb 1988 Tugboat 7" from Galaxy 500, it would take 13.000.000 streams on Pandora to earn as much as the 1000 Tugbat they released back then. Something is wrong with the maths at Spotify and Pandora ? No, they actually count very well, they are just not in the business of making selling music a mean of living for artists, they are in the business of their own capitalization. They're selling to customers an access to something they hardly pay. They are procuring these customers a formidable and economical...

21 Nov
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music industry, streaming

Following our article about Spotify identifying itself as a saviour of music as it does give music a longer lifetime thru recommendations and playlists, we are willing to experiment what they see as the future of music: streaming albums and singles that are recommend to you thru the Playlist, that immaterial pad in the back that serves as your mobile audio library.

As usual, there will be the leaders (people doing playlists and sharing them) and followers (people who listen to playlists but fail to do some on their own- it's fine.). They can be thematic or just artists compilation, they can be just like cassette your parents used to do back in the ninieties (saturday-O-rama, Down To The Ocen, Drive Drive Tape).

And then there will be mags playlists or special occasion list like this one from AIM (The Association of Independent Music) which celebrates decades of independent music in the UK. This 3 hours and 50 tracks long playlist has been curated by Sean Adams. Curating is surely one of the ways of this future shaping in front of us: people-in-the-known passing some of their knowledge thru a specific media, be it a playlist, a series of articles or an exhibition...

20 Nov
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music industry, streaming

Captivating article on Daniel Ek, boss of Spotify, in Quartz, where the journalist asks the question that irritates thousands of musicians across the globe: how am I to make any money with only 0,006 € paid each time someone plays my music ?

According to Ek, who we believe has strong data to show, it will take about 200 streams of his song before an artist will make the same amounf of a download but the period of "bliss" his music can enjoy is much, much larger.
See, before it all went bad, a CD was pushed during its initial period and you would see it peaking weeks later and having a drop in sales. With Spotify, you're adding other elements to the equation: when the initial period is over, the music is still being pushed thanks to the people's playlists and the fans talking about it and then the recommendation process kicks in. This, to him, is the beauty of streaming: it is like paying an artist everytime the needle is on the record and not just once when you buy the record...This extended period where a record enjoys being picked up by fans and consumers is somehow the return of the mythical long tail.

Ek believes that the music industry will stop...

19 Nov
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social comments

Influential rapper GZA (from Wu Tang) is to team up with MIT scientist Chistopher Emdin (author of the book Urban Science Education For The Hip-Hop Generation) in order to try to infuse the desire to learn more about physic and physic concepts among the afro american students. Studies show that this community is very low in numbers when sciences is about and the pair plan to change that with a rap/physics educational scheme that will visit ten schools across New York.

It's good to be able to break that stereotype of rap being only about big cars, big wallets and big bitches with this 'let's bring it back to the community" action that will see GZA set up an album (called Dark Matter) and tour schools with conference/interactive workshop/freestyling moments that will see the rapper and students exchange rhymes about sciences.

Incentives, besides the plain pleasure to be able to rap about...quantum physics, will be that the best rhymes will be posted online and hopefully get viral among a community which has very little seniors in sciences. This could be the start of a few vocations and hopefully the end of many rap clichés.

16 Nov
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music history

The very famous Dewaele brothers, more known as Two Many Dj's, present an hour long movie dedicated to David Bowie and soberly called Dave.

This movie is their hommage to David Bowie seen thru three different era and faces with a preference to the period most see as Bowie's best: mid70's to early eighties. That's of course is left to discuss.

The soundtrack is of course filled with Bowie's music and a few remixes done by the brothers, including some versions of Heroes which will make holes in your socks. The music/film can also be enjoyed 24/7 on the very remarquable http://www.2manydjs.com/?page=radiosoulwax. This streamed radio is exceptionally rich and a real wiki for the people still looking for great music and a real aural emotion, not just a quickie in the backroom of some autotuned producer.

Now, it's interesting to notice Bowie's legend is shaping more and more like Marlene Dietrich's and I'm sure David loves the irony, stuck in his NY appartement and repeatinly saying NO to all demands and bribes to return to the world of Music. This said, what would he join in today's poor parade of fake...

14 Nov
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music industry

In a riveting report by the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) some new numbers have come up and with them some great news (labels still invests and reinvest large amount of money in A&R, streaming rovenues are exploding) and some bad ones (new acts don't seem to be around long enough to generate long lasting spending fans, revenues are down).

Just a few numbers out from this report you should really read if interested in music: in 2011, record labels have invest 4,5 billion $ in A&R and marketing alone.
The last big majors have about 5.000 artists while indies gather tens of thousand (meaning: too many to count ?).
23% of these artists are new signings and while everybody trumpets the internet allows anyone to do its own distribution and promotion, a huge 75% of artists still think it's vital to be signed by a major.
So, let's break down this down: the music industry, while hurted, is still a hig investment industry: 16% of their revenues were reinvest in A&R while other industries invest less in R&D: pharmaceuticals are at 15,3%, software companies 9,5% chemicals are at 3%. Interesting, no ?

While all...

07 Nov
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What do you do when you love movie soundtracks, movies and records ?
Well, Spencer Hickman, a Rough Trade man, went for it and decided to release movie soundtracks on his label, Death Waltz Recording Company. On vinyls, yes, no less than vinyls altho from January 2013 there'll be CD's as well.

And not any soundtrack: quite specifically tense, mysterious, angst filled soundtracks like Donnie Darko or John Carpenter's Halloween series. Plus some other dark nights classics like Escape From New York or Zombie Flesh Eaters.
All the records have brand new artwork done by artists hand-picked by Spencer for specific projects. We're talking limited editions and we're talking sleeve notes. Information and entertainement packed as very collectible items on a movie genre that attracts only night creatures and twisted minds. How sexy is that ?

Once again, boldness and fan guided business will probably see this label doing well and we, as films fan, soundtrack fanatic and vinyl amateur, can only applause and make a toast, holding high a glass of this excellent blood A+ 69.

http://www....

06 Nov
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music industry, music songwriters hits charts

It's been 60 years since the UK has an Official Single Charts, and my oh my while 32.000 tracks have seen the Light of being in the charts, only 123 singles sold more than a million copies.

And the winner is Elton John with his Candles In The Wind double A-side. It sold more than 600.000 copies the day it was released.
A few fun facts: the first Beatles hit is only 8th, with She Loves You peaking at 1,9 million copies but Macca has a WIngs song at 4 with the famous Mull Of Kintyre.
Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Relax made it to the top 10 (2 million copies sold) with a banned video....
There are no singles from the decade 2000in the top 10 and only one in the top 20. Actually, Adele is only number 42 with a miserable 1,36 million singles sold. But it will change soon as 10 singles have passed the million copies sold in the past three years. One reason is probably that in the digital world, singles stay on sale while in physical form it used to just dry out and not being re pressed.

more fun and numbers : http://www....

05 Nov
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artists, fans, music industry, social comments

The other day, we linked the picture of a poster showing tens of turntables (http://alturl.com/wft56) and it appears, thanx Laurence, that it's a picture taken from Grand Royal, a short-lived (6 issues) but very cool magazine done by The Beastie Boys between 1993 and 1997.

At the time, The Beasties Boys were faced with mails from fans and they really didn't know how to handle it so they decided to go for a real printed magazine instead of a simple newsletter. Hey, why making things simple when you can complicated them ? :) It was a lifestyle magazine, filled with The Beastie Boys interest and fun: kung-fu movies, basket-ball, moog synths, jokes and humour and while it was a success, it was a handful to tame and advertisers hated the very untight schedule: max #2 was released ONE YEAR after its planned release date....The magazine began to sell more and more until 1997 when the band decided to stop doing a printed form and go online. It didn't survive the end of The Beastie Boys record label (Grand Royal Records) and the 6 magazines are now Ebay sensations.

The content was various, from Adam Yauch (RIP)'s interview of Ted...

25 Oct
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music, social comments

Spotify conducted a survey in the UK about what the people are listening when having a romantic moment. And it has some surprising finding and others that seem obvious....

1. Dirty Dancing soundtrack
2. Marvin Gaye, Sexual Healing
3. Ravel, Bolero
4. Berlin, Take My Breath Away
5. Barry White (anything from his collection)
6. Marvin Gaye, Let's Get It On
7. Righteous Brothers, Unchained Melody
8. Celine Dion, Titanic soundtrack / My Heart Will Go On
9. Serge Gainsbourg, Je T`aime
10. Whitney Houston, I Will Always Love You
11. Aerosmith, I Don`t Want to Miss A Thing
12. Kings of Leon, Sex On Fire
13. Rodgers & Hammerstein, Sound of Music
14. Tchaikovsky, 1812 Overture
15. Grease soundtrack
16. Donna Summer, I Feel Love
17. Boyz II Men, I'll Make Love to You
18. Abba, Mama Mia
19. Tom Jones, Sex Bomb
20. Star Wars soundtrack

Now, say what ? How can the Star Wars be an incentive piece of music when flirting, or trying to flirt ? I know women apparently love a man in uniform, but really ? Or is it the heavy breathing from Dark Vader ?

And it'...

24 Oct
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politics in music

It's great to have fans, and it's great to have famous fans too. But sometimes famous fans' endorsement can be the kiss of death....

See what happened to US singer Kelly Clarkson. She was going well in the charts with her new album "Stronger" and had sold 41.000 copies in one week when dropped to 25.000 copies the week after and some analysts (including Billboard) point the fall to Clarkson's tweet about her liking US politician Ron Paul. It doesn't help when the politician you express your admiration too has some pretty extreme stands towards same sex marriage or the death penalty. This may sound strange to our Euro readers but the USA is still an open wound when one touches a few still-not-resolved issues like these two.

Other examples of artists doing well, or worst, because of political reasons are known: back in the Bush days you had the Dixie Chicks girls who started a song during one UK gig with the following words that didn't go down too well for conservatives in the US: "Just so you know, we're on the good side with y'all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." They lost their main...

22 Oct
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music history

No one can ignore the power of music as an entertainement medium but too many times this entertainement value is all you have in a band or a song: WYSIWYG. And this is rather sad when one remembers how some artists have mix together music and social comments (two words that now automatically inprint Facebook when we see them, no ?) to entertain while taking a stand of the situation of the world: many artists including Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan but also Matt Johnson (The The) and Throbbing Gristle or John Lennon also commented on the situation of the society thru their music. Many alternative european bands actually have/had a fairly strong position on politics. We're not saying all music should be filled up with political or social statements, we just wish more music had a fuller meaning than just being a commercial vehicle which only wants you to forget about the world for 3 mins 30 seconds.

"Rocking The Wall" is a documentary made by a US company about "the power of rock music as a force for social change and liberation" and it explores how music helped musicians to deal with this gigantic issue on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Most of the bands are (rather old...

19 Oct
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movie soundtrack, music history

We've been told Skyfall, this year's Bond, isn't bad at all as far as the movie goes but the title song is here sung by Adele and it definitively won't leave any memories...

There are very few music themes as remarquable as the Monty Norman's immortal James Bond theme and, with the help of Vic Flick and that incredible guitar riff, is no doubts one of the best lmusic theme ever bar Morricon's Good, Bad And The Ugly, Hitchcocks' The Birds, Jaws, Star Wars and Indiana Jones.

This strange mixture of bombastic brass, major seven intertwining with minor notes and diminished fifths who give that incredible suave melange of tension, drama, excitement and expectation. Truly a wonderful piece of timeless music. Let's look at some of Bond's finest musical moments...

1962: the original theme, penned by Monty Norman and played by the John Barry Orchestra.
1964: the lavish Shirley Bassey in Goldfinger
1973: the very raw Paul McCartney/Georges Martin's Live And Let Die.
1985: Duran Duran sings a John Barry's impeccable A View To A Kill
1987: A-Ha does the same with The Living Daylight
1995 sees Bono and The Edge delivering "Golden Eye"...

18 Oct
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music instruments

Technology in music isn't only concentrating on keyboards and softwares, it also makes waves by using unusual techniques with unusual components and raw materials to create instruments that look stunning and sound great !

3D printing is a process where one can create forms and shapes by adding material, any material, where usually the same would have been done before by cutting a material down, "old school" kinda. Several people and companies have been starting to use 3D printing machines (and thinking) to build guitars. Spider, a New Zealand company, is making cool looking guitars using nylon powder and this is for sure a sector that will flourish as musicians want and love personalized musical instruments. But very few 3D printed acoustic guitars were out there, if none.

In the US, Scott Summit, whose day job is to print custom body prosthetics parts, plays guitar as a hobby and always dreamt of owning a great guitar that even departed Jerry Garcia, from cult band Grateful Dead, would have loved to own. So, he decided to toy with the idea of designing a splendid acoustic guitar using 3D printing techniques. His fear was that the material used (plastic)...

04 Oct
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artists, crowdfunding, music business, music industry

Ok, we had months of aaaaah and ooooh with crowdfunding and many people were/are excited about this new way of "maybe" being able to raise funds for recording and releasing an album. But what if, what if it wasn't all that great ?

Well, not everyone is Amanda F Palmer and her success story with fans/internet direct sale/crowdfunding is by now a classic case everyone pushes forward when explaining how the same thing could happen to their own band. But it ain't always true as 56% of pledges are failures and don't get to their targeted number. And pledging for money does place you in a weird situation towards your fans: somehow the picture isn't the same as you're not making an album in mysterious conditions and bring it out of the mist at your fans' great expectations...See, you've been asking them for money months in advance and told them all about ideas and even did a video and told them all about the process...Where's the mystery ? Doesn't that transform your band in a simple association of musicians begging for an allowance ? It does kill most of the charm and we're not even talking about the destruction of the aura your band had for the fans! It does kill the...

03 Oct
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artists, music industry, promotion

Back in the Middle Ages, women were portrayed as curvy and confortable and one only has to look at Rubens' paintings to have a pretty good idea of the average (bourgeois) woman back then. But the combined arrival of graphic advertising and consumerism has allowed the birth of the myth of a seemingly perfectly formed and dreamed body linked with irrepressible coolness. And we all know that most people aren't shaped like Kate Beckinsale and if they are, it never last long. It's the dictatorship of illusion: eternal youth mixed with incredibly fit and thin bodies.

The Music Industry is selling dreams, tunes and looks with artists they sometimes try to shape under the same recipe: they must look young and totally gorgeous altho the macho stated of affairs accepts men to get out of shape while they don't want that to happen to women singers.

This very precise top of the iceberg has shown its tip a few times in recent months. First there was the very sad comment coming from Karl Lagerfeld about Adele: he likes her voice but thinks she's too fat. Then there has been the recent "scandal" that's Lady Gaga gaining some weight while touring the world. And now, famous uber...

06 Sep
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copyrights, sync rights

Is there a nasty war about to explode between GEMA (the german collecting societies for music rights, also known as Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte, working hard to satisfy its 65.000 members) and german clubs ? Seems like it. Let see what the factions are...

Basically you have clubs who were paying up to now a steady rate at GEMA which is in charge for collecting the money and redistribute it to the rights owners. Starting from january 1st 2013, new rates will be applied and while it won't have much terrible effects on the smaller clubs or events, it could be rather devastating to the big clubs: the rates will integrate what kind of events it is, the surface of the place, how long will the event be for and the price for the tickets...When you know that some clubs have two floors, some of them are huge places, that the tickets are 10€ and the night is in fact 48 hours long, you can imagine what it does to an accountant...

For a small free happening, the GEMA fee could be around 80€ for a 200 square meter place which is not bad when you consider that right owners do need to get paid. But for big clubs, the...

06 Sep
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artists

Gwilym Gold, an english songwriter, is about to release "Tender Metal", an album that's never quite finished, thanx to the technology he developped with the producer Lexxx and clever people from the Goldsmiths University in London.

The listener has to listen to the songs thru a software called Bronze, only available for Ipod and Ipad for now, and the songs will for ever be changing, modulated thru Bronze which alters the elements, replaces riffs and verses and chorus differently and ever so lightly changes the perspectives of the songs. Don't expect anything radical sounding from one listening to the next, Gold' s moody electronic pop won't suddenly change into a frantic dubstep climate, but we think there's something interesting there.

To start with, it solves once and for all a dilemna all artists are facing in studio: is this the final mix ? WIth Bronze, it's never the final mix, things are changing everytime you're listening to the song and you're in for infinite possibilities altho it all depends of the amount of audio data Bronze can play with, of course. It also somehow re-invents an aspect of ambient music as once imagined by Brian Eno on his hospital bed...

05 Sep
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charts, music industry

One of the collateral damages of online sales of music per track is in fact the factual death of the album...

What was once a container (the album) for ten songs or so that would include a couple of singles is , more than ever before, these days rejected by buyers as the crowd buys now on a track-per-track basis and tend to ignore the album. So, we're looking at albums charts that get severly deflated to the point of not being much anymore.

Numbers ? Get this: Rihanna's latest album (Talk That Talk) entered the UK charts at number one in novembre 2011 and sold 163.000 albums in its first week. Compare this with Oasis' "What’s The Story Morning Glory?" who sold 347.000 copies when it came out in 1995..We're talking more than 50% of straight fall here...

So, when Rihanna (who has sold a few millions albums on the planet than you very much) enters back the charts in its 38th week at the creepy figure of 9,578 album sales (cd AND downloads...) we can surely say the album charts don't mean much anymore. The BPI (UK charts) has released the appaling figure of 13,8% of fall for albums sales since 2011. It has become so bad that record companies would like to...

04 Sep
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music history

Hal David, he of the famous Bacharah-David songwriters duo, has passed away at the age of 91 and we can only praise the immense talent of this generous man.
Let's just look at the lyrics of "Do You Know The Way To San José" to penetrate ourselves with the amazing quality of such lyrics:

"LA is a great big freeway/put a hundred down and buy a car/in a week, maybe two, they'll make you a star/ weeks turn into months/ how quick they pass/and all the stars that never were are parking cars and pumping gas." (thanx to the great article in The Independent linked below this).

So my mind was wondering how perveted by boring lyrics and litterary blandness the charts are under now and I started to research if that could be actually be verified and attested by serious research and data. And, well, it can ! But not at all in the direction we think....Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D in cognitive science at the NYU, has published last september an interesting article on the importance of sexuality in the lyrics of popular music and he has come up with amazing data and conclusions !

In 2009, out of 174 songs in the Billboard Top Ten, 92% of songs had sexually oriented...

03 Sep
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music instrument

I guess someone had a bad day at the Gibson office when they decide to call their automatic tuning guitar the ROBOT guitar ( or GOR) , or maybe that's humour of the dry kind ?

Because let's face it: the world of guitar had retain a bit of poetry in this world of midi and dazzling electronics until Gibson released back in 2007 a guitar that would automatically tune itself in about 15 seconds.

Additionally to that, the GOR Guitar (the poetry never stops...) has 7 factory presets you can tune the guitar to: Open E, D Modal, Drop D, Open G, Standard' down one half step and Double Drop D. ALl this is nice, but isn't a damn good ol' blues better with a few strings that cry to their mama ? The technology used was designed by Tronical, a german company.

How does it work ? Well, each string tuner has a small servo motor synched with the bridge and the pitch is altered by bringing automatically the string's tension down at the bridge. A ion battery is in charge of the system and it will be good for about 200 automatic tunings.

But Gibson isn't the first nor the only company with such a system as Transperformance has been modifying guitars for decades....

31 Aug
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music history

Dancing has always been part of popular music and it seems the Olders were always afraid of these legs that move mysteriously in rythm and were blasphematory...This is surely because they had forgotten music and dance were primarely executed to praise the Gods way back when even vinyl didn't exist and piracy wasn't yet on the agenda of the Homo Sapiens.

But Rock and popular music has always been flirting with the edges of what the mainstream thought was "just too much": Elvis' pelvis wasn't shown on TV when performing in his early days, The Stones and The Doors were asked to change the lyrics of songs on live TV, Kylie Minogue had a global hit teaming with a steaming video (Can't Get You Out Of My Head), Madonna has based most of her career on sexuality and very recently the world was on fire when told that Lady Gaga was singing in studio naked. People seem surprised altho we're living in a society which has become over sexualized. And the more we've moved from the sixties, the more sex has been involved in lyrics and the videos have become raunchier and more explicit as the years were passing by.

But despite being flashed every two minutes by sexy adverts or...

30 Aug
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hits, music, music history

Is pop music going slower and more sad by the minute ? Seems like it according to two behaviorists Phd from Canada !

Dr. Schellenberg and Dr von Scheve have analyzed more than a thousand US popular music hits from 1965 till 2009, looking at tempo and mode (major or minor, determined by the tonic/main chord of the song). Most of pop songs used to be in fast mode and major chord but there has been a steadily increase (they have doubled in fact) in hits being slow tempo with minor chord (usually a sad song). Plus there has been a strong increase in songs that are "emotionally ambiguous": fast tempo song in minor mode.

Not surprisingly, lyrics have taken the same way: there has been a decrease in references to social interactions and positive emotions and an increase on angry and antisocial wording! I guess, if you start scanning songs in the sixties, you'll have a good quota of social references and even politically charged songs and going thru the seventies lyrics start to be more centered on mindless fun; the eighties are quite a sad era lyric wise, the Nineties is a hymn to hedonism and since the 2000 lyrics are most often than not repeated sentences hammered...

29 Aug
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hits, music business, music industry

Well, it used to be quite simple: the ones with the big bucks could easily plan out who will have a hit during the summer, put together a well-crafted media plan showing to all involved how much the Mega Company believes in the artist and the specific song and, after many, many remixes to be sure the song is no turkey, that the video was appealing and radio programmers reacted well to the song, there were little doubts the artist could indeed have a hit. That, of course, depending on how the other bands and labels would do (better songs, better media plans and partners, better videos, higher ranking radio programmers, etc...).

Now ? Damn, the internet has again change all the rules :)

Take three of the latest big hits: Fun's We Are Young, Gotye's Somebody To Know and Carla Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe didn't started that way at all: it was more like a gigantic rumble, growing and growing that went viral on Twitter and Youtube and everybody got to send that link over and over again. There, no carefully media plan, just a good song, a good video and that magical ingredient no one knows which makes a hit or a miss...But basically, it's all about expanding from your...

28 Aug
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artists

Are we so biased and buried under the massive bulk of informations available on the net that we're doomed to short-circuit it to its most common denominator, I name the lolcat ?

Fortunately, not everyone has lost it and LapTop Rocker Jason Forrest and wizz-kid Greg Sadetsky had a brilliant idea they quickly launched back in january 2011: Network Awesome was born.

The basic idea was to go thru Youtube immense's richness and come up with programs curated by people-in-the-known. No more complicated yet stupid algorithms coming up with recommandations that sound like they were made by 6 years old kids: you have real people proposing you hours of TV programs dedicated to well-developed themes ranging from weird East European 1970 animations to blackexploitation movies, Brian Eno in his early days, wild TV programs or zombies. All this is at the same time explained and replaced in an historical context with articles and comments, making this a very contemporary museum you can visit at your will.

These TV programs, hosted by Youtube but played on the Network Awesome page, are seeing 6 different programs a day and the archives are available for you to browse and...

27 Aug
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artists, movie soundtrack

Nick Cave is a very busy man....Since doing the Birthday party back in the days when piracy meant you liked Adam And The Ants, he has made The Bad Seeds an essential pivotal rock of indie music, had a worldwide hit with Kylie Minogue in real Serge Gainsbourg style, wrote a couple of books, made some cool movie soundtracks with fellow Bad Seeds member Warren Ellis, he's also now pondering whether or not he'll become a scriptwriter outside of his third collaboration with Jonah Hillcoat, movie director...

"Lawless" is a violent and corrosive movie about prohibition, a virile gangster film which cuts deep into the myth surrounding prohibition and the glittery image we have from this era.

Nick Cave took some time off from his busy 9 to 5 schedule (he insists to have working hours, a good way of discipline artists' wondering hours if i may say so) to answer The Guardian in an interesting interview putting this new line of creation under the spotlight and telling the readers more about the story and the process behind Lawless, including some funny anecdotes on the movie score he performed with the impromptu band put together for the occasion: The Bootleggers.

Now...

20 Aug
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music industry, youtube

A new study released by Nielsen on consumers interaction with music in the United States shows some pretty interesting data...

...one of them is that 64% of teens listen primarly to music through Youtube rather that on radios (56%) or Itunes (53%) showing if still needed that price matters especially that only 50% will listen to music from a CD. But old media still have some power as RADIOS are still the number one source for discovering music (48% discover new music with radio, 10% thru friends and only 7% thru Youtube).

Friends have still a saying in 2012 as a positive recommandation from them will see a purchase, 25% or buying will echo from a music blog/chat room and only 12% will come from an endorsement from a band. Hmm; someone is doubting bands have good taste ?

Price, more than ever, is a concern as 63% think a digital album is good value (round 10 €) while only 55% think the same of a physical one ( round 15€) and instant buy laughs at the long tail as 33% of teens buy a track within one week of its release where only 21% of 18+ will do the same.

So, to make a quick résumé, here are a feew tips to bands: post your music on Youtube, lower...

13 Aug
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music industry

These are exhilirating times for copyrights and internet and we're seeing moves that may seem like frogleaps or giant moves depending on who's looking and where (Kit Dotcom's arrest and liberation, Spotify in the US, ICloud 'legalization' of whatever music is on your hard-disk for 25$ a month - from which 70% goes to the record companies and publishers while Apple retain 30%, etc...) but the following is certainly important: Switzerland is moving closer to Global Licence as Federal Swiss Dept of Justice has given up to the end of 2013 to the concerned sources to find a consensus.

Over copyright on the internet, you have several attitudes: you can storm in the residency of the CEOs of companies hosting illegal (and legal) content and find weeks later that judges will free them anyway as the matter is highly volatile and can see many interpretations (one of them being the company hosting the content merely provides a way to stock things but doesn't really inbreach the laws just like you can buy a car that will propel you at illegal speeds but the car manufacturer is not liable if you do so). You can also put together hard laws like French Hadopi which punish illegal...

03 Aug
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music business, videogames

While sales of music is experimenting sharp downhill plunges for the last ten years or so, the videogames industry is more alive than ever, and thanx to tens of millions across the globe, top hits (especially violent First Person Shooter) keep on smashing sales records after sales records, making the movie industry look like amateurs and the music one like the poor parent.

"Call Of Duty: Black Ops" (which has voices of great actors like Gary Oldman or Ed Harris) is one of these uber-violent FPS (you can actually turn down the blood splatches and the profanity. In certains countries, dismembering is even forbidden or only available as an option. Yummy...)
Furthermore, Call of Duty uses music from the Rolling Stones (Gimme Shelter, a perfect song for an FPS...) and you would believe this has boost sales of the game ? Wrong way: it's Gimme Shelter the album that has enjoy sales in the wave of the game: nearly 20.000 albums were sold within the month...Other numbers that gives music exec' nightmares ? Callf Of Duty sold 5,6 MILLIONS copies the day of its release, making it the biggest lauch of ALL entertainement industry (music-movies-games) ever and earned the game...

02 Aug
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music history

Mojo, the influential UK music magazine, has teamed up with Electrospective to get some key people inside Abbey Road studios to answer a few questions about electronic music.

Each panelist had to answer a simple yet essential questions:

Daniel Miller Big Honcho of Mute Records explains how Depeche Mode broke on the US market and why it's still quite a mystery
Martyn Ware from The Human League/Heaven 17: How was it to make electronic music in the early days ?
The amazing sound alchemist Matthew Herbert explains how DJ culture impacted with electronic music
Bill Brewster, the author: what about Futurism ?

Other panelists include Andy McCluskey from Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Trevor Jackson and Mark Jones.

It's very interesting to hear and see how things that are now casted in concrete and seem obvious weren't back then: Human League had decided (and wrote it down to be sure it wouldn't be broken) of a few rules like: NEVER USE A GUITAR and they had a list of words they couldn't use, like...LOVE :)

Very interesting indeed, and rather moving too: here we can see why music is so deeply connected to the people doing it...

01 Aug
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music industry

We all know by now that the Universal-EMI merger was initially rejected by the EC as it would have mean UMG would be worth about 40% of all recorded music in the world, a quasi-monopole.

So, the EC and Universal worked together and they came out with something that would push the EC to OK the merge: Universal would disinvest some of the EMI acquisition and offer first option to the Indie labels would them want to buy it. The package would consists on quite a few acquisitions of EMI along the years, Mute, Virgin, Parlophone and Chrysalis being among other less known labels (read the nearly full list on http://blog.kollector.com/blog/more-about-universal-divestment). The urgence of the situation is dramatic as UMG has to pay several billion € to CitiGroup by mid-september.

Several labels Supremo immediately reacted postively to the offer: Richard Branson (Virgin), Daniel Miller (Mute), Kenny Gates (Pias), etc...while Martin Mills (from Beggars fame) thinks UMG is missing a point and should actually offer the indie artists the opportunity to buy back their own work: "If there is any...

31 Jul
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movie soundtrack

Might be summer time, might be because this oldie is a goldie: Steven Spielberg speaks with John Williams about the music of Indiana Jones.

Maybe you feel the same: doesn't it look like Steven Spielberg has spend half of his live directing (great) movies and the other half is spent explaining how he did it for DVD bonuses ? Well, in this video, John Williams (who scored Indiana Jones) get to explain how the main theme (the very famous tatalaaa tatalaaa) came about with actually two different themes they mixed as one being the main hookline and the other a bridge...Another interesting point is how much music is being used below the Indiana movies: they are pretty filled up.

John Williams, known for his full blast symphonic scores is the second more nominated person Academy Award, losing only to ...Walt Disney. He won 5 Academy Awards, 4 Golden Globe Awards, 7 BAFTA Awards, and no less than 21 Grammy Awards...His credits include no less than ET, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Superman, Close Encounters and...Tintin.

Son of a jazz musician, he went to Julliard School to perfect his skills and his career in movies started in 1960 with Checkmate but his big break...

30 Jul
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Many things have been said about Universal Music Group wanting to disinvest some of EMI which was bought a few months ago from CitiGroup but now we can have access to some real infos.
Here's what UMG is about to put on the market, according to a letter send by EMI's CEO Roger Faxon last friday. This is supposed to alter the EC view on the merge which it founds too opposed to the customers' benefit.
Note that the EC will wait for the third parties' approval on this before accepting the UMG-EMI merge.

UMG would sell:

Parlophone (including Alice in Chains, Babyshambles, Blur ,The Chemical Brothers, Divine Comedy, Gorillaz, Interpol, Kylie Minogue, Lily Allen, Paul McCartney, Pet Shop Boys, Queen + Paul Rodgers, Radiohead, Supergras, The Verve...but of course not The Beatles)
Mute (Depeche Mode, who are out of contract anyway, Goldfrapp)
Chrysalis (mostly old 70's bands. UMG keeps Robbie Williams)
Ensign (old bands)
EMI (Pink Floyd,...)
EMI Classics
Virgin (WITH David Guetta)
Virgin Classics
Several UMG specialized labels will be put on the market
Note that these disvestments only relate to the...

30 Jul
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music

Music can be many different things, and one of them for sure is: IT CAN HEAL. When feeling blue, music can lift you off and make you travel thru some of the pain. Music can indeed be many things...and some more.

There's nonprofit organisation called Music & Memory who's working on a very moving documentary called Alive Inside which describes the case of several deeply affected Alzheimer patienst who were non-reactive to the outside world but radically changed and 'came back" when music they used to love is being played to them thru Ipods and such. A very famous neurologist (Dr Oliver Sacks) is part of this project which wants YOU to give some. This starts as low as a ONE DOLLAR pledge so the production team can finish the movie (which includes paying ...music rights. Hmmm.)

There's a very emotive moment when Henry, a non-active patient who didn't even recognize his daughter when she was visiting him, has been given some headphones and started to listen to his all-time favorite artist: Cab Calloway. Then, he starts to swing and swerve and sings and he's back among the living: when the music is turned off, he becomes chatty and alive and even describes the...

27 Jul
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hits, music history, songwriters

It's now official altho most of the people involved in the musical community and with a few hours of flight suspected it for years but spanish scientists have analysed the data from popular music from 1955 to 2010 and yes, the verdict is without any doubts: modern popular music is just getting dumber and louder...

Laurie Tuffrey, from the excellent The Quietus, reports that spanish scientists have analysed more than 450.000 songs from popular genres (rock, pop, hip hop, metal, electronic) and they looked deeply in three main points: loudness (volume), pitch (harmonics, chords, melodies, tonal arrangements), and timbre (sound color, texture, tone).

They have come up to some interesting conclusions and can pinpoint it to three main changes if we want to look at how popular music has eveolved along the years:

- pitch sequences get narrower (there is definitively less variety in pitch progression)
- homogenization of the aural palettes ( frequent tones get more...frequent, less inventivity in the sound palette)
- loudness gets louder and louder (killling most of the dynamics in songs)

The very sad thing is that, yes, modern popular music...

26 Jul
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artists, record labels

It's no secret Dave Gahan has been playing live a few days ago in Los Angeles with Soulsavers (very short video: http://youtu.be/DlboBmp-KRw). He also appears on their album.

What's more intruiging is the interview he gave to Clashmusic about Depeche Mode being inbetween record companies, or maybe even between record companies and...no record companies ? This rumour has been running for quite a few years tho (read Side Line link below).

When asked about it, Dave has had the most interesting answer, stating that Depeche are not signed to anyone, that Daniel Miller would love to have Depeche with Mute again, that Depeche is currently recording at Martin Gore's place in LA and they are working to find a way to do it with Daniel (and therefore Mute) adding to that they are their own executive producers. And speaking of producers, Dave Gahan hinted that Martin Gore might be the producer, assisted by Ben Hiller.

Now, Depeche Mode is a group of considerable size and they can very probably fill up arenas despite the decline in music sales and the credit crunch (the crisis is so bad that certain keyboard manufacturers have...

25 Jul
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artists, music history, politics in music

Matt Johnson, also known as The The, is a great character and a brilliant songwriter.

Very few like him can compose a catchy song that you will enjoy and probably whistle all day long and at the same have strong lyrics that actually mean something far above your typical boy-meets-girl 4 mins song format. Matt always succeeded in painting songs that are filled with great hooks and an always gotcha chorus while writing words that would live by themselves. And he always had a great sense for backing singers (he made duets with Neneh Cherry and Sinead O' Connor well before they were known).

But there's one facet of Matt that earns him even more the qualificative of "songwriter": just like previous politically engaged musicians like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan (in his early years) and Billy Bragg, Matt knows politics and life are deeply intertwined and not wanting the see the big picture by ignoring the small ones isn't what he does: Matt has always been involved in writing about politics, how Britain has lost all its excentricity and some of its very peculiar heritage to become USA's 51st state and how everything has now become leaded by global corporates. Poilitics...

24 Jul
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politics in music

We cannot say if this is a really funny hoax or a real cyber attack with a funny twist but the Huffington Post reports a very strange story indeed...

Not wanting to get into politics at all here, but the Post runs a story about the internet security systems company F-Secure who has received several mails from the AEOI (Iranian Atomic Organisation) about a cyber attack that has taken over some of the computers at the Natanz and Fordo plants, forcing them to shut down. And the icing on the cake coming from the malware virus is that the computers play "Thunderstuck" by AC DC full blast while doing so.
The email received by F-Secure read: "There was also some music playing randomly on several of the workstations during the middle of the night with the volume maxed out. I believe it was playing 'Thunderstruck' by AC/DC."

Now, if I was ACDC, I would cut a direct deal with the CIA as it's already known that their music is being used in locations all over the world in order to cut suspects' will and force them to open up to the agents.

source:...

23 Jul
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Not many people outside Universal Music Group (or CitiGroup, the seller) were happy when the already gigantic Vivendi company bought EMI Music back in November 2011...

What happens when a group owning a huge share of the music market acquires a company that will propel its overal part of the cake to about 40% of all recorded music ? And even more in some countries like France! This means that they pretty much own the industry as the leverage of their position can obstruct about anything...Imagine that at Christmas time they decide to launch major albums from major artists in all territories at the same moment: they can pretty much block the retailers, the radios, the medias to only expose their own artists.

Of course, IMPALA (the independent music association IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent independent music companies in Europe) was very strongly against this merger who would have seen its members fighting a lost Monopoly battle where you're facing an opponent who has all the majors hotels in all the main streets... The EC did study the acquisition and emitted a note in June acting that "the proposed acquisition could reduce competition in the...

20 Jul
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artists, music history, music instrument

Very funny and interesting article about Isao Tomita and his Moog III C (C stands for cabinet)... In a way, Walter Carlos and Tomita are a bit like The Stones and The Beatles: Walter would be more adventurous and raw while Tomita would be more family friendly and safe. He actually says it himself " I believed that, even if you're using a machine like Moog, the music has to be something the whole family can enjoy.".

So, initially Isao san was a classical musician but he felt frustrated as, for him, everything had been said in classical music after Wagner. He wanted to experiment with sounds so when he heard Walter Carlos' Switched On Bach (which was originally sold in Japan in the sound effects departement of the record stores...) it really made such an impression on him that he decided to get a Moog IIIc, you know, l'armoire normande of electronic music (funny to think the US Moog did a gigantic synth while at the same time, the UK EMS did a suitcase...).

Problems started to arise when the Moog came to Japan: the customs didn't believe it was a music instrument and Tomita had to show them pictures of people playing the thing so they would let the machine in...And...

19 Jul
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crowdfunding, music industry

Jeanne PI is an astute US blogger who has teamed with University professor Mollick to go thru some numbers about Kickstarter and see if some main conclusions can be drawned from them.

And they did come up with rather interesting figures:

Most projects rarely reach above the target: only 25% of them gather more or less what has been asked for and only 50% get above the 10% mark. So, don't go out and ask for the moon: stay reasonable.
When a project flops, it flops big: 9 out of 10 failed pledges don't even raise 30% of what was asked.
A short campaign works slighlty better: don't go out spreading the time allowed to the crowdfunding operation too much.
Be clear and DO a video: there's a 15% chance of success without a video andit goes up to 37% chance of success with one.
The more Facebook friends you have, the more likely your operation will turn out to be a success: with 10 Facebook friends you have a 9% chance of succeeding/ With 100, that goes up to 20% and 1000 Facebook friends will fire you up to 40 % chance...

And, if the crowdfunding is successful, how many people actually deliver the project in time ? Well, not many: only...

18 Jul
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music history

Ivan Novak from Laibach depaints the beginning of Laibach in an excellent video (see link at the bottom) emanating from the John Peel Center For Creative Arts and seeing that from a distance, the angle taken by them (to create something that had no direct routing to american culture/blues) was indeed an interesting way.

The same basic idea was also at the center of the creation of bands like Kraftwerk or DAF and this "Gesamkunstwerk" ("total work of art", an attitude on art started by german philosopher Trahndorf early 1800 which somehow implies a knee down from individualism for the good of a common cause) worked great: Laibach came with a sound but also with an image, a powerful twist on early national-social images which gave them troubles but successfully deployed their artistic vision above the simple pop band with songs made in a formulated way.

The imagery used by Laibach was of course profoundely disturbing/totally hilarious for a reason: one cannot exactly make sense between the naivety of 4 guys walking in the nature and pretending to go invade Germany but it worked and this mixture of profane wagnerian opera meet early electronics/industrial was a good...

17 Jul
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Synesthesia is not a disease, nor is it extremely rare, it's a condition in which the stimulation of one sensory pathway (sound, smell, vision,...) leads to automatic and involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway (a sound will trigger a color, a letter will always appear in a certain color, sometimes numbers will be seen at different distances, etc..). So, yes, it's funky, women are more subject to it, it runs in families, and no you can't turn it off. If I tell you Nikola Tesla was a synesthete, that immediatelt makes it uber cool, no ? ;).

And what about sound synesthesia ? In this case, synesthetes see colors and shapes when music is being played and their reaction to the sounds will more or less be the same, even years apart. We asked 4 friends to tell us more about it (this is just informative and in no way a scrupulous scientific experiment).

Lori Ann lives in NY, she's a music lover and some musical genres will be more pleasing than others: EBM and aggrotech will always trigger things nicely while rap is a no-go zone.
Classical music is marvellous: "fabulous colours... harpsichord is like a shower of silver and gold sparks...

16 Jul
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artists, copyrights, music industry

These days seem a long way from the sampling era and while no one seems to mind the mash up mixes there are still people suing others for sampling their music, sometimes rightly so.

But doesn't every track starts from an idea you had, or heard, or which was generated by something you read or saw ? Basically nothing starts from a white page: something triggers in you an idea or a souvenir and there you go: a new song is born. And to be truthful, it may happen that artists have started from a sample, a chord, a feel they liked in another song and build something new on it, up to the point where the sample (if there ever was) is in fact buried deep, deep down in the new song and can actually totally live without it and often does: it's then taken out of the mix and all that stay is a chord or a feel. And that's not illegal nor nasty.

VMG Salsoul has released a song by the Salsoul Orchestra called 'Ooh I Love It (Love Break') back in 1977 and they are suing Madonna for allegedly using the strings and the brass off that song in "Vogue" (written by Madonna and producer Shep Pettibone) a song she released back in 1990 (6 million singles sold, plus it's on the album "...

13 Jul
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music industry

Very interesting breakdown of numbers by Virginie Berger, french blog/PR agency/artists management company who, as usual, succeeds in giving strict facts a face and a meaning.

In her more recent blog entry, which served as start for this article, she goes thru Soundscan's latest US and Canadian mid year figures for 2012 and oh my oh my, it's not looking good.

Total album sales are down 3% compared to numbers last year and Adele's 21 still ride a looong way from the other main sellers (Lionel Ritchie and One Direction follow from a distance).
Digital album sales are up 13% while physical ones are down 11% (which goes hand in hand with the fact that record stores are unfortunately closing down and this is largely due to the impossible leverage against Amazon, Itunes or other digital stores).
The positive side of it, and a tendency on the fragile market, is that digital singles sell better than last year: the female teenage audience is still a happy buyer market. Numero uno is australian/belgian artist Gotye who has ship out more than 5,5 million copies of "Somebody That I Used To" followed by We Are Young (Fun) and Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)....

12 Jul
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artists, copyrights, music history

Jazz is, probably most than any other music genre, a constant rework of classics. Bands take themes and improvise on them, re-approach them with their own ideas and influences.

Miles Davis, a giant among men and musicians, did release a song called "Solar" for the 1954 album Walkin'. The song was put down for copyright a few years later, in 1963. The song, and the album, was a success.
Problem is, you see, that Larry Applebaum, from the US library of Congress has dig an old record called Sonny, recorded by Chuck Wayne in 1946. The song can be heard on http://blogs.loc.gov/music/2012/07/chuck-wayne-sonny-solar/ and it clearly sounds chromatically too close to be "just a mistake"or two composers finding the same scale of chords randomly. The ressemblance is uncanny, isn't it ?

The "similarities" were known by some but never have we been able to actually hear Chuck's version and, well, it does add to the claim some people have about Miles Davis propension to get ownership of songs rather hastily, but that doesn't make him less of a Giant.

And everyone in the music business has...

11 Jul
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artists, movie soundtrack, music

The entire planet knows by now that Batman's next opus (The Dark Knight Rises) is about to be unleashed and already reviews of premieres are talking about standing ovations and delirious responses.

I have no doubt it will be a thrilling movie, I'm a big fan of Christopher Nolan, and Christian Bale is undoubtely one of the best actor around, especially when one need to paint the internal turmoil one experiments: then he's out there with the Tim Roth, Gary Oldman or Philip Seylour Hoffman, all actors who's eyes can act on their own and make you uneasy with the simplest and nearly invisible twinkle.

The score is written by Hans Zimmer and I know most of you are already shivering. The guy is uber good, has a huge Moog (he has good taste) and he surely makes movie soundtracks that are immersive and wide, slighlty disturbing when needed, has some cool guests (Johnny Marr...) but, for me, a bit too much on the heavy Tokai drums...

Part of the gigantic media frenzy around the release of the movie, the soundtrack can already be listen to online on http://www.empireonline.com/news/story.asp?NID=34498...

10 Jul
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movie, movie industry, movie soundtrack, music history

It's not the first time a movie on Jimi Hendrix is being derailed by the Hendrix Experience Estate as they seem to dislike any initiative: they already turned down a movie script with Lenny Kravitz to act as the legendary guitar player (!).

But this time, John Ridley ( a novelist/movie director) will tell the story from a totally different angle one can expect as this movie will be the (true) story of a woman named Linda Keith, then Keith Richards' girlfriend, who discover a musician called Jimmy James and convince him to turn himself into Jimi Hendrix and will, despite the initial closed doors she encounters, get the left-handed genius to truly believe in himself. Far above another boring story about a musician and drugs/rock n'roll, this biopic might very well turn into a masterpiece and show how this very hard working musician bursted into the scene (the years are 66 and 67) and took music to an all different level.

Interesting enough, we found a 2 years old text from the director himself who talks about Linda Keith (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129855398 but...

09 Jul
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Now, that's a very interesting artist: an engineer who for years used to be in straight 9 to 5 jobs during the day and metal musician at night but somehow felt frustrated...

So, he decided to put the two things together and actually started using his collegial knowledge to build his own instruments and controllers and came up with several striking visuals means of making sound that somehow do represent the sounds they're making: a compressor-like gun who punches bass drums that go thru your belly and a giant steel wheel that makes drone sounds real, a strange looking caterpilar-like machine with a rubber chain and a large plate containing 8 microphones as a mouth piece....Tristan perfoms under the name of "Author & Punisher", a quite astute name that does describe well the process of creating the instruments and make them deliver what he wants.

Where Einsturzende Neubauten used industrial machinery and left overs to produce sounds, Tristan actually builds instruments that will provoke reactions in sounds: he controls them and massively interact physically with the machinery rather than having a single finger press a neat keyboard and delicately trig the sound...

29 Jun
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artists, music industry, promotion

Industrial music, once at the forefront of music innovation, has been comatose for quite a few years now and is self-feeding itself all the possible cliches associated with their hard image but sonic banality. Out of this desolated sea for inspiration, a few bands still strive on originality and electro act Psy'Aviah, from belgian label Alfa-Matrix, is one of them.

They have launch a very cool and friendly campaign against apathy and routine, that very same feeling that was once one of the elements at the birth of industrial music but they do it in such a great and warm way that it does transend all styles and genres and actually opens up their work to people they would have never reached in a hundred years.

This experiment is called Urban Sharing and consists of small packages being placed in the city. The packages have hand-written lettering on them, pushing people to take the packages and explore its content (a thank-you note for picking up the envelope and the latest CD from Psy'Aviah).

In their own words:

One  of  the  main  reasons  behind  the  idea  was  that  people  often  fall  into  routines,  and  forget  to  open   their  eyes  ...

28 Jun
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Sometimes, death suits an artist well...Many people in ze show-biz knew about Michael Jackson being in deep physical/psychological/drug troubles and many didn't think he could pull up the gigantic dates he had booked for his return.

All sad that his death is, it's been three years now, there's no hiding his departure opens up alleyways of megagigahyper deals to the two astute managers who control his artistic present and future. For instance, John Branca and John McClain just signed a deal with Pepsi (yes, them, again) so the soda company could exploit the image of Jackson on a billion of cans with the slogan "Live For Now". I know, i find the motto rather disturbing myself...

Furthermore, Sony has signed in 2010 the biggest deal ever as they paid 250 million dollars for retaining the rights on MJ records until 2017 and have the OK for exploiting (i think the term is right) 7 posthume albums.

Wait, the one-arm bandit thing doesn't stop here: le Cirque du Soleil has a Immortal Tour in rehearsals (tickets from 60 $ to 190$), Ubisoft has a videogame in the making, and there shall be an interactive museum in Vegas where the willing consumer will be able to...

27 Jun
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music festival, music industry

Very interesting article in The Stool Pigeon (link at the bottom of the page) on the hard time currently faced by the live music festivals.

It might be odd to think something is broken between the music festivals and the audience while only weeks ago the buzz was all about Coachella and some festivals indeed do well, but the thing is that, yes, these are hard days for an industry that has been expanding so much since the mid nineties.
Not anymore...And there are very solid reasons behind that and it shows how much the music industry is an eco-system: if it goes sour in one area, the others do feel something is not right. Let's summarize some of the reasons why festivals aren't doing so well these days.

1/ There's a bad credit crunch out there and everyone suffer. When people used to go to 4 or 5 big music events before, they now only go to a couple of them.
2/ If the crisis is bad for the 40+ audience (the larger demographic music buyers besides Top 40 music), it's terrible for the youngsters who make most of the crowd.
3/ There's no more rock music in the charts therefore less exposure. It might come as a shock for many, but only THREE rock...

26 Jun
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artists, music history

Funny to think Berry Gordy, the Tamla boss who send hundreds of songs to the top of the charts, refused to release "What's Going On" when Marvin Gaye approached him with the song...

He tought it was too uncommon and "heavy" for radio but accepted to release it nevertheless...It went on to become Motown's fastest selling single and Benny directly asked for an album to be made. Marvin obliged and came back with a nine songs album. It was first mixed without Gaye but Marvin had it scraped and eventually gave Gordy an album with all the songs intertwining from one to another, something Gordy thought would kill all possible airplays. The album went on to be a massive succes, both commercially and in the press.

At first, Marvin Gaye wanted to stop all musical activities as he was heavily depressed after the death of his musical partner. He contemplated going into baseball but failed...He eventually started to write music with some musicians who had an embryo of what would become the song "What's Going On". Marvin had an epiphany about making soul music with contemporary social comments and roots and the album is in fact the story of a Vietnam soldier coming back to...

25 Jun
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artists, charts, music history

Just like Trevor Horn owned the world of pop with Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Prince owned the world of pop for a few years and left a trace that will never vanish.

What should we call the man who owned pop music between 1984 and 1989 ? Jamie Starr ? Christopher ? Alexander Nevermind, Joey Coco, The Artist Formely Known As Prince, The Artist or just Prince ?
Fact is, very few artists have had so much influence on pop music and the fair proof to that is how e-ve-ry-one was trying to have that Minneapolis sound back in the mid-eighties. Prince was then extremely productive, often working round the clock in the recording studio and rehearsing new songs with his band, The Revolution, and a new song would take him...one day to do from the moment he dreamt it to the moment he would finish recording the instruments (all of them, thanx to the Linn Drum and the Oberheim 8 voice synth) and mix it (often ending up not using one instrument or more in the final mix: songs like Dove don't have a bass, Kiss doesn't have reverb....).

If you can bear the bad synchro, the video (unauthorized by Prince but then he's putting a "cancel" on everything that doesn't come directly...

22 Jun
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music history

Not every music style comes solely from the usual tree that is blues > rythmn blues > rock and krautrock is one of these, typically european, strange outlets of music that don't automatically link themselves to an american born form of music.

While rock music was a direct child from the blues, in Germany an entire generation of musicians start to twiddle around with a music style linked to experimental music, endless grooves and free form: we're encountering then long pieces of music which are combining improvisations on steady beats and noise/electronics. And somehow it does go back to tribal music, from which originated blues...Upwards from Can and krautrock comes post rock and ambient.

Krautrock has two major acts representing it at the beginning with early Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream but Can can be seen as a wilder and grittier form: a solid, psychedelic and somehow groovy exponent of a generation of german musicians who wanted to break away from the american mould by injecting more european roots, classical avant-garde and social/political (silent) comments. One can hear influences from Sly And The Family Stones or Zappa, but mixed with rage, anger...

21 Jun
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As musicians, we often dream of owning what we consider to be classic electronic instruments but they are more often than not rare or too expensive to buy. Some of them were already far above the normal payday of an artist when they were first on the market and years later you can add rarity to that, with a few more zeros...

The chance is we now can have access to great soft synths that can reproduce very well, and sometimes to uncanny levels, the sounds and ways of some of the classic instruments.
Arturia, a french company dedicated to electronic music instruments, is specialized in giving life to instruments that wouldn't be available to most: the huge Modular Moog, the Yamaha CS80, Oberheim machinery or the Arp 2600. They are using a technology called True Analog Emulation which enables the computer behind the interface to reproduce the behavior of the analog synth rather than messing about with samples. So, in fact, you're really working a very, very close replica of the original.

The MiniMoog V , available today for free, sounds big and ballsy and very close indeed to the original. Diverse composers have design some sounds and while some sound as...

20 Jun
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music

Totally fascinating endeavour from Dr Bob MacCallum, a bio informatician at the Imperial College of London. He had the wonderful desire to learn how music evolves and believe Darwin dictates music evolution as well: there's a process that select the strongest, even among music loops.

So, Bob has put together a program called Darwin Tunes and started with a few short 8 sec loops that were randomly programmed by code. These little 4 bar loops then reproduce themselves when being add to another loop and together they give birth to a loop programmed from the music "genes" they come with. Sympatoche, isn't it ?

Where it becomes totally uber fascinating is that turns out to be a social happening as anyone can participate and somehow decide of what generations of loops will survive and creates infants. You can add your vote to the ones of other people as you will be asked to choose between loops randomly picked up for you. And you can take the place of Nature itself as you will decide which loops are the strongest and kept in the run for the next baby boom...The loops that have many votes will reproduce themselves more often with other loops, the ones will less votes...

19 Jun
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artists, music industry

Ok, ok, we've been here many times, but this letter from The Trichordist (Artists For An Ethical Internet) shines an interesting light on the ethical (?) behavior behind the ways of millions of people who access music without paying for it.

We don't want to go on again about how downloading music without paying for it is stealing from the artist as many excuses are then brought up like:

1/ If I like the album, I then buy it
That doesn't show in stats, people. Maybe you wanted to hear what's the album like and then thought about buying it but numbers show it's NOT the case.Or maybe you forgot to buy the album finally ?

2/ I don't pay the artist cos the label is screwing them anyway.
Well, if the artist has a bad deal with the label, that's up to him to re-evaluate the situation and probably not up to you.

3/ we're in a new millenia: copyright is wrong and artists should all share their work.
And ride an Unicorn, sure. If you go to a restaurant, you're paying the cook and the waiter for a service, you don't run away once you've eaten.

4/ Iphones and computers are essential, music isn't.
So, why do you have so much music...

18 Jun
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artists, music history

The crowd may only concentrate on the singer or the cutest band member, but one key to commercial (and artistic) success is often a great producer, someone (it can be a team sometimes) who takes a rough gem and tailor it to make it shine and rise. There always were such individuals that could take a song and make it sound crisp and tantalising and thru history we can pinpoint some names: Phil Spector, Benny Gordy, Georges Martin, Holland Dozier, Brian Eno, Butch Vig, Rick Rubin...

One of these producers who really owned his time in pop history was Trevor Horn. He came to the attention of the public early 80's as the Buggles bass player of an embarrassing and huge hit "Video Killed The Radio Stars" (actually, in the video of that song, you can see the ubiquitous movie soundtrack maestro Hans Zimmer and his gigantic Moog) and later on did set up a label that would become iconic of his sound and vision: ZTT.

One of his signing was Frankie Goes To Hollywood and their anthem called "Relax" was going to be the soundtrack of many, many clubs in 1984 despite being banned by the BBC: as a revenge it went to top the charts for five consecutive weeks and their following...

15 Jun
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music industry

There seems to be at last light at the end of the tunnel the music industry has been in for the last few years: both the PRS (England) and Price Waterhouse Coopers come up with figures showing there will be now a visible curve going up.

Since the early 2000, the sales of physical music hasn't stop going down, largely fuelled by an entire generation not used to pay for content but also due to the over-exposure of music as a commodity: it's everywhere, in every ad, in evey movie or videogames. And at the same time the production means' price needed for creating music has come down considerably and making some entire music styles nearly very economical to make, and by many people. Furthermore, music has seen the explosion of mobile phones as a competition for youngsters' money...

So, internet downloads + over-availability of music + over-crowding of musicians (or so-called musicians) and therefore an offer everyday more important + competition from other leisure sources has seeing sales going down A LOT and there was no hope. Additionally, the digital portals (Itunes, Amazon, etc..) has seen the implosion of the albums as people who buy digital music often go for a...

14 Jun
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artists, music history

There are out there musicians and weird artists, and then there's Sun Ra.

Herman Poole Blount was a strange man, no doubt about that and his music legacy is immense: eclectic jazz musician and very good keyboard player, innovative (he was one of the first musician to experiment with electronic music instruments and Robert Moog actually gave him a prototype of the Minimoog) and proud, he was also claiming he came from Saturn and initiated a complete philosophy around space and the galaxies...
He was also a tough if not cold blooded band leader as it wasn't uncommon he would leave the musicians he didn't want in his band no more stranded abroad. It had become so usual for him that the US State department had to forbid him to do so.

There's a very good article in FactMag about Sun Ra and his work/philosophy/heritage/ways of being.
We also leave you also with a 1974 movie he was in at the peak of Blackploitation) and several sources of informations about this amazing person.

Factmag article: http://www.factmag.com/2012/05/25/the-essential-sun-ra/
Don Lett's documentary:...

13 Jun
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website

Today, at 1pm London time, Icann (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) will announce the lucky winners and owners of what is a little revolution: new internet suffix and names are about to be unveiled.

Up to now, we all had to deal with only 22 suffix (.com, net, org, etc...) and countries (.fr, be, co.uk, etc...) and this has been very restrictive as all good ones seem to be taken (that is until someone comes and imposes newly made names like tweeter or instagram). But things are about to change and the internet is about to get boosted up again with brand new suffixes names that will surely open up alleyways of creativity (and bad.taste).

Icann has received about 2000 applications for the new TLD (top level domains) names and grossed about 250 million dollars doing so and no doubt there'll be huge battles on selling these names back to the companies who will try to not loose sights on the internet like they did back in 1992 when no one thought this thing will ever work...

So, expect names like yournewcar.nameofthecarcompanyhere or yummy.nutella or even yourbandsname.music and even more as the names will be available to all to buy sooner or...

12 Jun
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artists, music history, politics in music

It starts out like yet another rock music documentary where the band obviously believes he's the greatest thing since The Beatles but you soon cannot help to feel something is about to burst open...

And it does. Rebel Scum is an extraordinary documentary that begins with a Bible Belt punk band called "The Dirty Works" performing and then, suddenly, out of nowhere, his singer Christopher Scum starts to violently hit himself on the forefront with the microphone and obviously starts to bleed intensively while continuing to sing...You know this is not going to be an average movie...

And from then on, it's a deep dive into an abyss of addiction, delusion, bad times and even worst times again and again. But you cannot stop watching it cos it's one side of reality few music documentaries show: there's the glitter and the strass with Pop Idol where everything is just about how well the singer re-sang that Wilson Pickett song and how it looked good with that Armani suit on and then you have the sad reality of people stuck in a system where drugs, alcohol, family disfunctions, religion and hopeless hope just drive people in the gutter...

I watched Rebel Scum with...

11 Jun
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artists, music history, promotion

When everyone and the neighbour's band is on tour, how do you grab the media's attention to get exposure cos you need to fill in the seats ?

There are so many bands touring now (hey, even Metallica feels obliged to do so as royalties checks aren't what they were no more), one need to be able to uphold the attention and get the customers to buy tickets. And sometimes, your tour just competes with someone else already getting shares off your market: Madonna is currently touring and so does Lady Gaga. How does Madonna diverts the attention to HER tour and dates while Gaga seems to have little problems having The Press publicizes her cancelled gigs in Indonesia (the concert's content has been judged devilish and therefore non grata) ? Well, what about a good combination of neo-nazi controversy and an hefty dosis of untamed sexuality, hmm ?

Madonna's latest album isn't bad, but sales are (relatively) and her tour is experimenting troubles selling seats so there she flashes a video showing a right-wing french politician with a svatiska on her front and in Istambul she performed a song in her bra (nothing unusual) and showed some flesh which drove the audience mad....

08 Jun
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artists, music industry

In a market which is schrinking everyday, one needs to find new ways to get exposure and revenues and we've been long advocate of bands trying to break thru with the licencing of tneir songs for commercials, videogames and movies.

Of course, it's easy to say but harder to do but this should be on the to-do list of every band who wants to make a revenue these days: send your works to supervisors who deal with commercials, movies and videogames.

An example ? The sweet-sounding Jezabels: without a label but their own, this aussie band has succeed in opening many doors thru intensive touring to build up an audience and airplays on a specifically indie-oriented state-funded Triple J radio. That landed them support which eventaully climaxed with a few pretigious australian awards.

But what was really the push to more exposure, and paving the road to international tours and festival bookings was the inclusion of one of their song as the soundtrack for the Red Bull backed BMX rider Danny MacAskill video: it started at 20.000 views the first day and topping more than 20 millions in 18 months...

So, bands and artists: when you have new material ready and if...

07 Jun
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artists, music history, politics in music

Graceland is the title of an grammy awarded multimillion selling 1986 album by Paul Simon. Up to here that phrase seems fine, no ?

Well, what about scraping it, revisit history a bit more and replace that phrase in its context: Graceland is the title of an grammy awarded multimillion selling 1986 album by Paul Simon, an american rockstar who's latest album was a flop, who ignored a UN embargo on South Africa, a country under a strict shameful apartheid regime and went to go to Le Cap to record it with south african musicians and was therefore very heavily criticized by critics and politicians as he had knowingly break the ban on that despictable regime.

There's a controversy that's been going on for 24 years about what is considered one of the best rock albums ever (altho the NME called it "the rotten fruit of apartheid") and a very interesting Joe Berlinger movie is concentrating on what exactly happened, the point of view of all involved (Paul Simon, the south african musicians but also the ANC who thought the embargo leak by Simon was quite a treason) and the reunion tour that took place a few months ago.

This movie also debates on then position...

06 Jun
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music history, music instruments

Diego Pascal Panarello has a dream and this dream is going to Yakutia, a very eastern Republic in Russia, to complete a very emotionnal and interesting documentary on one of the oldest instruments there is: the jew's harp.

What seems to be a simple toy is in fact a very ancient music instrument and roots itself very deep in human history. It's been played in all continents in differents forms and shapes but all based on that unique flexible metal (or bamboo) reed attached to its frame.

But Diego found out in his research that the jew's harp is also a national music instrument in the desolated republic of Yakutia: there it has been linked to chamanism and nature for thousand of years. With hours of rushes consisting of interviews of players and lovers of that instrument, Diego wants now to embark on a voyage to this rather unknown part of Russia and discover why and how such a tiny instrument is linked to the history of an entire country.

Furthermore, Diego seems to be a fantastic story-teller as this trailer suggests..We're not only for a music history documentary, we're also in for a hypnotic and tantalising adventure as Diego travels from Sicilia to...

05 Jun
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music industry

It's not the first time, nor the last, we're speaking about crowdfunding and, indeed, crowdfunding is one of the best thing that happened to artists.

It works for bands who want to finance the release of an album, it works for movies who want to get rolling but also for individuals who have an idea they want to try within the shape of a start-up and, hey, it even worked for myself to help an album of mine being released.

It did work very, very well for Amanda F*** Palmer who wanted 100.000 dollars to finish her album and send out a plea thru Kickstarter where she wanted to raise that sum within a month: she ended up with more than 10 times that. Yes, more than ONE MILLION DOLLARS. Her proposal was coming with many, many goodies and was indeed very clever and she was ready to lower the price of the subscription to an amount nearly symbolical but which actually made the 5$ bargain brighter and the 25$ one even better and the 100$ subscription a real treat !

1$ would get you the full album as download and about 4000 plegers went for that one
5$ would get you a luxuriously packaged album download and pdf with pics and all (see: no production costs..)...

04 Jun
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artists, politics in music

Sabina England, multimedia artist, poet, filmmaker (see her excellent short movie on the left hand side) and playwrighter is going to hate me for this, but under her punk stance and fierce eyes that say fuck-you-world she's in fact a deeply romantic artist and her work embodies all the hopes, sorrows, violence, prejudice, desires, lust and envies, macaber angles and sunny moments that we all have inside ourselves when we haven't been eaten out alive and spit out on the pavement by The System.

At the same time, she doesn't play the game right: as a Desi (in Wiki, Desi refers to the people, cultures, and products of the Indian subcontinent and, increasingly, to the people, cultures, and products of their diaspora), some might expect a docile woman, waiting to fill in the shoes that have been carved for her by traditions, centuries of ways of doing/being. No way, no way, she's a strong opiniated woman with ideas, dreams and behaviors that will set your world and hers in fire if you don't look twice and see all the superb humanity, the warm Understanding and the Love behind it all.

As a brown skinned woman living in the West, she has to suffer being an outcast even...

01 Jun
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artists, music history

William Orbit and Madonna wrote one of the best pop songs of the nineties with Ray Of Light (co-writing it with Clive Muldoon, Dave Curtiss et Christine Leachelle) and he's been important in giving back Madonna some musical credibility with the album of that name (containing the equally pristine Frozen). It's also the album that definitively launched Madonna in the UK and the lady herself tweeted to Kate Perry (gotta love the internet) it was her most fullfilling record. Nice.

MDNA, Madonna's latest album, did land as numero uno in many countries around the world but has also the sorry privilege to have one of the worst sales drop in history: no less than 86% on its second week in the US charts. Mind you, the first week was enough to secure her multi golden records around the globe.

WIlliam Orbit was one of the producers on this album which list up some of the more demanded producers in the world, altho William Orbit would be the one with the more credible and music oriented track record and he has, rather curiously, lashing out on the Madonna fan website most of the (bad) thing he feels about the record.

And everything goes: from the choice of the main...

31 May
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artists, music history

You've got to hand it to Noël Gallagher, ex-Oasis, he has a big mouth, knows how to use it and how to give plenty to the medias, but this interview he gave at Coachella 2012 is filled with some interesting thoughts and many, many four letter words starting with f. And even a clean shaved gesture to the camera of his middle finger. That's our Noël :)

His comments about the state of the music industry, or what's left of it, replaces the artist at the middle of the equation.

(Manchester accent ON) "The consumer gets more powerful now and the consumer is king so the consumer gets what he wants. But as I understand it, the consumer didn't f*** want Jimi Hendrix but they got him and it changed the world. And the consumer didn't want Sergeant Peppers, but they got it and they didn't want The Sex Pistols and they got it. And now there's an attitude in the music business where it's like "let's keep the consumer happy" cos that's f**** what keeps the music business go around. (...) F*** the customer, the customer doesn't know what he wants, you f*** give it to him".(Manchester accent OFF)

Well, you can say whatever you want about the Gallagher brothers but this is...

30 May
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advertisement, music industry

More than ever, people are now discovering new bands thru advertisements: 69% of the Y generation finds new music thru adverts and 68% of them thinks it's ok to have bands linked with brands (GMR study which we hoover above here: http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/music-more-important). Licensing music has become an important mean of getting your music to be known, specially in an age where CD sales suck and only works as appetizer for touring and the merch you sold at the gig only pays for petrol...

So, your job as a musician is to find where to licence your great tracks and you, or someone around you, should start pitching it to music supervisors in movies and in adverts. Ryan Fitch is Music Supervisor at Saatchi And Saatchi, a huge multinational advertisement company (with a strong interest in art actually). There's an interesting interview of him in Sonic Scoop which is filled with insights on how, what and by which means to pitch your work.

There are now quite a few online places selling music ready-to-be-licensed and Ryan talks about "Jingle Punks" and "Pump", good companies indeed to which...

29 May
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music industry, politics in music

I like the Tin Tings. I mean, as a pop band they do have a few cool tunes one can whistle, they do have a few catchy chorus and no doubt they can make a crowd having fun.

Their latest marketing idea seems exciting from a distance but do raise quite a few questions as how far a band can link with a company to generate interest and funds and make the public nothing more than a trapped cow to milk. Take this: Tin Tings associated with a french telephone company to stage up a concert where the crowd had to "share" , "like", "tweet" and "foursquare", all this with an hashtag named after the event's sponsor.

The results were showed in realtime on multiples screens and every 100 shares or tweets, a curtain would fall and a new element would be shown to the happy crowd. 100 shares would give you a dancer with a chinese dragon mask, 100 more would give you dancers disguised as angels, etc...All this to a climax with the people not even interested in the songs but in how their manic smartphone habit would actually change how "riche" the band's performance would be and how the ending of a concert will turn out to be.

This might look fun but again it totally diverts...

22 May
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music history

There was a time long ago where mp3 didn't exist and one could still released an album and hoping people would buy it and make it possible for him to live from his music.
And the scariest thing wasn't that people would copy it on cassette but it was merely about the sound quality of the LP...

Paul McCartney doesn't need an introduction, even for people who have discover music with Daft Punk or MGMT, and he surely doesn't need the money, but he surely likes us to remember who he was/he is and no one can blame an artist for wanting to have a legacy about his work. This documentary is about "RAM", an album he did with his long-departed wife back in 1971. The album was a commercial succes but somehow critics thought at the time it was not interesting. Now, 40 years later, they do....

Artists are fragile creatures tortured by they need to be good and being heralded as being great, and most of the time they may do the total opposite of what's needed for their art in doing what's great for their career. But ultimately, what's left is music people can drown in and appreciate its richness and how it makes them feel.

That's the real succes of an artist: not...

16 May
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music history, politics in music

Thanx to the amazing Network Awesome, we bumped into a great documentary about Sufism, its music, the questions it raises and the emotions it surely delivers.

In a society which is going into panic mode at the simple use of the word Islam, Sufism is a very attractive and strange mystery for us westerners but we tend to ignore it's in fact a rather popular movement even tho it's the total opposite of what fundamentalists want to see in the Coran as it symbolizes the Love for a God rather than the Fear of a God. Furthermore it has a message of Universalism and Tolerance which is something we do need in this tormented world.

Music in Sufism is of the higher importance as it elevates the Sufis nearer to his God, as do poetry and writings, altho many would argue, especially fundamentlists within Islam, that music isn't allowed and that Sufism isn't even Islam....Just like some chords were banished from the allowed scale back in our European middle ages, it seems the power of music in Sufism, and Sufism itself, is raising questions and questions are always a good thing.

Think for yourself and dance closer to the Gods !

the original article:...

16 May
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artists, music history, promotion

As pointed out a few months ago, seems like the 80's are by now officially uncool and totally dried out of all its usable content and the 90's are officially and most definitively the decade to swear by these days, and it's not the Tupac hologram that will deny this :)

Garbage, the band which symbolizes the 90's with Nirvana, have a new record out and it's always a pleasure to listen to the Butch Vig guys and gal having a go at their rather specific mixture of radio friendly rock/pop formula. Shirley Manson has a great voice and she knows how to use it to devastative effect.

This new album, called Not Your Kind of People, seem to have been slow at coming out as it's been started in october 2010 but let's not forget Butch Vig is an uber-busy succesfull producer and he may have had little time for this new record. The album will be released on their own Stunvolume label on May 22 and a tour will soon follow.

The interesting thing, and we'll keep you posted, is that MTV will stream live their NYC concert. Seems like MTV is back with a vengeance too, with the short adverts that made them so famous, and so is Myspace. My my my, it really feels like the 90's...

15 May
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digital sales, music industry

Very interesting article by Mark Mulligan in "The Music Industry Blog" about the amount of tracks available digitally (16 millions tracks on offer seem to be rather average) and what forms this impressive number.

One would believe that original tracks and cover versions would cohabit in relative same numbers, or with a slight dip for covers but the situation is all different: the digital music services are filled up with cover versions, often really bad and unimaginative ones, and karaoke redditions of hits. Let's take Lady Gaga: only 6% of the Gaga songs being offered to you are from the actual lady we all love and cherish ! 94% are covers or karaoke tracks !

This doesn't pan out nicely for the offer actually as it seems obvious most of the offer is poor material...Aside the huge digital music services, what the industry, and the people, might need is quality above quantity: a real recommandation/discovery service that's as good as what you now sadly departed record shop would offer, not a giant mall with nothing but sub-level music...

Read the original post on...

14 May
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politics in music

This sounds like an amazing documentary: "The Tailenders" , by Adele Horne, tells us about Global Recordings Network, based and born in LA since 1939, which's aim is to produce audio versions of the Bible in all 8000 languages spoken on Earth (the Youtube short clip tells us about 12.000 tho).

Far from us the idea to speak about religion, this is a mined area, but Global Recording Network is indeed on a mission. Adele Horne, a US filmmaker specialized in documentaries, was always fascinated by an old and primitive cardboard record player her Evangelical christian family was sent when she was 8 years old. She later went on to learn more about GRN and wants to tell us this fascinating story: how Evangelists are recording the "message of Jesus" on records in all possible languages and send missionaries in remote locations all over the world and tries to bring "the good word" to people who, in most cases, have never heard a recording before, never heard about "progress" or about a different "religion".

Exposing indigenuous populations to what seems to us a desesperately and impossible low tech audio playback solution but is probably the most advanced item these...

11 May
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application

It had to happen, and actually it's been happening since 2010: Google has developed a system using sensors, lazers and GPS positionning, enabling a computer to really see the road to up to 70 meters around the vehicle.

And this is no science-fiction nor PR stunt: this computer-driven car, based for the moment around the obvious emblematic Prius, has been given its licence in the State of Nevada. The car has already been driven for more than 200.000 miles and Google is adamant to say it may spare the life of up to a third of the annual road accidents victims. There are a few alarms systems used in today's pointy end of the market cars, but none allow for the car to be driven automatically, like the Google Car demonstrates in the video.

And it seems to be the next step in automotive security: once you were alarmed by a buzz that something was happening, but in the near future the steering wheel will take over and gain control over you if the car's system sees a danger it thinks you haven't notice.

I'm fine with it, up to a point, as this might be the good side of this new technology. The bad side is that you're being traced already by your GPS system, now...

10 May
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copyrights, politics in music

In Germany, at the last Berlin elections, the Pirate Party made it to no less than 15 seats on the 141 available at the regional Parliament. That's enough to get the other political movements attention, I tell ya....

But what do they want ? Their platform very much revolves around legalization of file-sharing sites, legalization of cannabis and generally more freedom and less state involvement in citizen's informations and data. It also wants open governement and the availability of API's to be able to control said-governement (which is actually a really cool idea).

All this sounds interesting, but do they really know the subjects ? One wonders after reading a surrealistic debate (in Der Spiegel) between a german pop artist who lives, or tries to, from his music and a Pirate Party member who's one of the 15 elected at the Berlin Abgeordnetenhaus. (House of Deputies). Clearly, the Pirate Party member doesn't know what he's talking about and it feels like he's finding excuses for downloading illegal material more than having a vision of a society where culture will be available to all at the speed of light and for little or no money.

Something somewhere...

09 May
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copyrights

Well not quite, but seems like Yoko Ono and Paul Mc Cartney are putting water in their wine concerning the use of The Beatles' songs in movies and TV's. Well, and money in their bank, sure.

"Mad Men", the TV show winning Emmy's after Emmy's, has been given the Go Ahead to use the Beatles recording of "Tomorrow Never Knows" for one of his highly regarded episodes. The price is rumoured to be about 250.000 US $ which doesn't seem to be such a big sum but it's the very rare acceptance of Paul, Ringo, Yoko and Olivia Harrisson which makes the headline here. The Beatles have always be extremely choosy about their work and who can use it, and kudos to them for that: artists too often give away all rights and controls of their work to record labels, managers or publishing companies. Of course, artists need to be open minded and work hand in hand with the industry but giving away ALL rights is bound to be painful later.

Usually, The Beatles say No NO NO to the use of their master recordings but sometimes there's the off one-million coup like last year when Sony paid that sum for the use of "Baby I'm A Rich Man" in The Social Network. The trick is then to cover the song...

08 May
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politics in music

Someone's got to stop Michael Moore singing: while being a very funny, entertaining AND interesting movie maker, as a singer he's ...euh...challenging to say the least but we'll pass on this as it's for a good cause.

There's undoubtely something happening in this western world where more and more wealth is being accumulated on one side (the 1%) and more and more poverty/less and less freedom taking over on the other side (the 99%) but the Occupy Movement (which we talked about a few times already) is fighting to get things rights. And it's good to see artists who decide they can make people aware of the situation and put their name and talent down on realizing an album as this. There are 99 artists on this 4CD compilation and all funds will go to help the movement.

Aldous Huxley, the visionnary man, wrote in 1947: "...think of what ninety nine percent of the human race want – food, shelter, a secure family life and to be left alone by bosses and busybodies. Unfortunately the one percent who are interested in power and ideals and ideologies are the ones who call the tune". And that tune doesn't sound right no more for hundreds of thousands of people fighting for...

07 May
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music history

You know by now Adam Yauch, known as MCA within The Beastie Boys, has sadly leave the planet and his biography is already in the past sense in WIkipedia...

He was also very involved in doing movies and actually had shoot a few videos for The Beastie Boys, including their live gig/movie 'I Fuckin Shot That ! (http://youtu.be/PD5XZacG7kw) and directed a movie/documentary about basket ball (http://youtu.be/1ZoQQetDOt0). Yes, he was more than just a big funny mouth...

Interesting too, he was very active for Tibetan freedom and helped organized benefit concerts for that cause. It's good to read and see that some artists do something else than buying expensive cars and huge Malibu villas with their money. We actually seem to move to a period in history where some celebreties use their name, influence and money to do good for this world.

You'll be missed....

his Oscilloscope Laboratories website: http://www.oscilloscope.net/
about him: http://worldcat.org/...

04 May
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music history

Usually a band forms, rehearses, has a few bumps up and bumps down, makes some records, get some recognition (or not), flops or succeeds and, most of the times, its end is dirty and nasty, with members of said-band lashing out on the other members all their hatred and bad feelings and it's all over the papers. See with Oasis, or The Beatles, or even the band in your area: it seems like the split of a band needs to be ugly.

With James Murphy's LCD Soundsystem, nope. And the ending was so happy and climatic that they even did a documentary about it and it looks and sounds superb: "Shut Up And Play The Hits" shows the emotionnal last 48 hours of a band that will be remembered as one of the main bands from the last decades. Their mixture of rock, dance and punk even generated the music style known as "dance punk". One of their most famous song is the so-funnily called "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House" but other great moments are "All My Friends" or "Someone Great".

The reason for ending the band aren't all clear: it seems James was feeling his age was getting in the way (42 years old) in a business so devoted to youthful energy and strass.
I bet he will...

03 May
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movies, music history

Our stereotyped image of Africa (a continent swamped under a raging sun, making it hard for people to walk around with leather jackets and mohicans...) somehow stops the thought of having Punk ever happening there, but it did, altho on a rather small scale. In fact, South Africa had seen an authentic punk scene.

And, like in the UK, Punk was instrumental on making black people and white people come together. But with a major, major difference as Apartheid was official in S.A. back then, and the young white punks could literally be draft in to go and fight/shoot any sign of Black Uprising. This has make up for a very peculiar punk scene, where elements of race and "class" was of significant importance.

The Afrikaans Punk scene could see youngsters come together and the music would be a mixture of straightforward punk, ska, reggae but also african music beats and feels. A documentary ( Punk In Africa)has been made and is being showed actually on many festivals screens, including the greatly-named "Too Drunk To Watch" punk movies festival Berlin.

The documentary takes us thru 4 different chapters:

1. Origins and Early History (early 1970s)
2....

02 May
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music industry

97,751 albums were released last year. Makes one wonder if his/her latest creation is really worth all the efforts and love when soooooo many records are being unveiled and sent out in the world, doesn't it ?

There's an excellent, if not slightly depressing on a first look, article in The Trebuchet (see link at the bottom) where the writer puts in perspective all the wonders that have come with the digital age where everything is possible for anyone as all the tools are there to be used and can give a shine to anyone's work and make it appear OK at worst. What is peculiar is that less effort is needed to create music, and at the same time the more something is effortlessly done, the less the appreciation will be as explained in the 2009 Harvard Business Review who was talking about the "Ikea Effect" (people like a furniture they just build and it's out of proportion with its value).

Do all these programs that make music so much easier to be done actually shoot in the knee of music ?
Isn't the over-abundancy of music, where one can't even make free music enough of an appeal, going to actually kill music faster than file-sharing will ?
Now that...

30 Apr
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music, music instrument

Now, guys, let's experiment something...Let's take a normal pop or rock radio station and listen to it a couple of minutes.

Ok, now, tune in to a classical music radio station....Amazing, isn't it ? When you listen to pop, and then to some classical music, it's like jumping from a cold water swimming pool to a warm one: or coming from a mono recording to a stereo recording. All the harmonies (missing a lot in rock music) , all the spectrum, all the spatialisation, all the arrangments: all that seems to have been erased and forgotten in many, many recordings nowadays.

Ok, we do gain many, many wonderful things and I'm personally totally mad about electricity, electronics and great melodies, but too often do we put classical music on the side and forget how wondeful it can be and how some composers were total genious. And how some classical melodies would totally fit pop music. It's all great to be a DIY man and to deal ourselves with all the chain in recording a song, but we do missing now some of what can make a great record greater: a producer, a sound engineer, an arranger...

Serge Gainsbourg knew about that, and a great exemple lays in Jane Birkin's...

27 Apr
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festival

The gambling has paid off: tickets for the TWO Coachella festivals (spread over two week-ends with the same bill) were sold-out really quckly.

148 bands were asked, contractually no doubt, to do exactly the same show, at the same place, revisiting the same dressing room, same backstage and playing to 100.000 people, again. It's kinda hard to redo a performance and get excited you know ? Apparently, some bands even pushed the envelope to redo exactly the same jokes...It's a new combination: bands are expected to play the same things, taking away a vital part of excitment and no doubt some felt (even more) like a product.

What is fascinating is how the event happened also elsewhere, for people who weren't there. Livestreams were very well organized, pristine sound and images, and the Youtube Coachella channel enjoyed more than 7 millions views...I actually saw M83 from the confort of my own home, 15.000 kms away, live. That kind of coverage is bound to be imitated and probably bettered by other festivals. Are we seeing here the beginning of a trend as it makes more people aware of the festival > more hits on the festival's website > more viewers for the...

26 Apr
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music history

We too often picture musicians and composers as being totally self-centered and wanting nothing more than just money and fame and everything that comes with these two tips of the music iceberg ( damn this actually sums up most of them :)) and we tend to forget some are really multi talented artists in areas we don't expect them to be. Some are, for instances, very good writers and story-tellers and their biography can be very interesting as well as written with upmost bravado and form.

Take Keith Richards who appears to be nothing but a drug/alcohol casualty: he's an avid reader and his biography, Life, is witty and funny. And yes, he does say a few things about the size of Mick Jagger's pride.
Patti Smith, already a poet, has written a beautiful book called "Just Kids" and she deserves the National Book Award she got for it.
Pete Doherty, he of Libertines and drug addiction fame, has a very beautiful "Books of Albion" out and it's as fragile and tender as his songs.
Wolfgang Flür, ex-Kraftwerk percussion player, has a rather enigmatic book called "I Was A Robot" where he explains how...

24 Apr
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music industry, psychology

Are we not having a "Twelve Monkeys" moment ? That excellent Terry Gilliam movie was showing how Bruce Willis is being send back to different moments in time to search for the single moment or event that had change the curse of the planet.

Well, in 2011/2012 we have been witnessing a few events that may well show the beginning of something new too: people visibly want free data and content from the internet and they are very unhappy about having their use of the internet being controlled...

Some has to do with the desire of the people to have things available to them for free or at the lowest price possible but also as fast as possible: information is instant and global, and so distribution must be too...But there's also greed and companies running into spaces where money can be made out of loopholes in laws: we had the FBI organizing a gigantic coup on Kim Dotcom's MegaUpload multinational operations (which seems to fold down completely such are the procedural irregularities staining the case).

Politically, things have moved too: you have the Pirate Party in Germany who has claimed no less than 9 % of votes in Berlin (that's 15 seats!) , you have...

24 Apr
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music history

We have come a long way since the mid-seventies when electronic music started to go more popular and affordable (altho still expensive) with instruments like the Minimoog or the Prophet 5 and some people today are amazed when you tell them the first synths were actually monophonic and had no memories or presets !

They would also quite not believe you if you tell them synths could hardly speak to each other as there was no real norm of communication between them except the occasional CV IN-CV OUT and GATE IN-GATE OUT which, to be honest, wasn't fucntionning very well.
Synths were also very prone to overheating, making the damn oscillators go all bonkers when it was about tuning...Sequencers were few and far between, and the Man was the one who had an Oberheim 4 voices while the Gods were the ones owning the huge and very expensive Moog modulars.

Midi, the protocol invented early 80's, was a great step forward in the sense that, at last, synths could be hooked and work together, allowing for multitrackings and dubbings. Before that, it was pretty much DIY as i witness in Blackwing studio Daniel Miller (as The Silicon Teens), when he had lay down a very low...

23 Apr
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music history

Our article on Kraftwerk and their 8 Moma concerts did create quite a wave and lots of interest as there seem to be many people out there agreeing on the idea that maybe baby, Kraftwerk still playing live while no new songs have come out in decades was a bit on the exploitation side, while others claimed it's perfectly ok to do so, and many maney bands do it.

Our point was also about the idea that an artist needs to be creative or somehow he degrades its own work. But it isn't easy for an artist to be able to create years after years and still have relevant things to say, especially in pop music where things last for two seasons then go rotten...

Karl Bartos was responsible inside Kraftwerk for most of the now-classical melodies and since he left the famous Dusseldörf band, he hasn't really stopped, whether it's in releasing albums on his own, producing and working with Bernard Summers (New Order), teaching at the Berlin University Of The Arts, develop a free Iphone app, Karl has move on and keep working. In fact, a new album is due to be out later this year or early 2013...

Recently on tour in Sweden, StereoKlang has met the man and asked him a few...

20 Apr
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music history

Yes, we are very biased when it's about Mute Records, the worthy legendary UK label without whom electronic music wouldn't be what it is today.

Elektro Diskow, Stuart Paterson's label and website, has a fascinating rendez-vous with Daniel Miller where Mute's boss goes back in rewind mode and replaces his career, and Mute Records, and the blossoming 70's electronic music scene, in the context and it's indeed totally riveting as Daniel is, we're not afraid of big words and long phrases, something like the Benny Gordy of Electronic Music. Told ya, we love big words :)

- You'll read how Daniel was a pitiful guitar player despite all the efforts of Paul Kossof who will become a legend in its own with Free.
- How Daniel soon became addicted to krautrock when hard rock started to invade UK.
- How Punk came about the same time as cheaper synths and machinery, allowing a new crop of artists to get into music without knowing a bloody chord.
- How Frank and why.
- How The Silicon Teens were a wet dream that came true with Depeche, a few months later.
- How Nitzer Ebb used to do 10 gigs a week-end.

All this and more is to be found here...

19 Apr
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music industry

In an intruiging research done by the two members of the Clique Research Cluster (Eire), two astute researchers (Conrad Lee and Pádraig Cunningham) have combined datas extracted from Last.FM listeners living in more than 200 different cities across the globe.

Some very interesting patterns came out of this and more particulary the fact that some cities seem to lead the way in terms of music listening habits and ability to lead trends. And the internet is probably responsible for this as big cities used to be the essential places if you wanted to see/hear a band: now, all you need to do it tune in your favorite streaming platform...

For instance, Montreal seems to lead the way in North America when it's about indie music and the other cities at the tip of the iceberg are Toronto and Los Angeles while New York is a distant 10th. Even more surprsing is Richmond being suddenly catapulted as 5th more important US city as far as music trend setting are concerned. Maybe its influential college radio is key to this position ?

For Hip Hop, Atlanta leads the way in front of Toronto, once again, but surprisingly enough, LA is very low in this chart. Somehow, and they...

18 Apr
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music industry

There's little doubt the emotionnal highlight of Coachella 2012 has been Snoop Dogg dicing microphones with Tupac, resuscitated as an hologram.

While the technology itself is 'only' a luxurious version of pepper's ghost, a make-believe trick used since 1860 and seen more often entertainment parks, it has been used in pop concerts since 2006 where Gorillaz appeared at the MTV awards as they supposely are: cartoon characters. It has also been used since then by Mariah Carey or the Black Eyed Peas but never did it reach the emotionnal climax of seeing a rapper dead for 16 years jumping and moving so vividly years after his departure from Stage One. Oh, and while I write this, Tupac The Hologram's Twitter account has more than 23.000 followers....

What is sure is that they are now talks of taking the hologram on Tour with Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg and there's no doubt some people are busy making crazy plans to bring back to life stars of yesterdays that could easily fill up concert halls. This said, Elvis has been playing live concerts for years with his moving image above his musicians so there's nothing really new about mixing up archives and live gigs, but here the...

17 Apr
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music marketing, record labels

Universal has acquired EMI recordings a few months back but the EU hasn't yet declare the sale to be holy in its books.

On March 23rd 2012, the EU has announced it launches an official investigation in the sale of EMI recordings to giant major Universal by CitiGroup. The EU has apparently some very serious questions on the quasi-monopole position Universal would find itself in if the sale gets approval: Universal would then be about twice the size of its nearest rival and that would seriously cause competition problems on the market as the EU wants to ensure consumers will still have choice with large offer of music whether in physical or digital formats.

A few days ago, Martin Mills (he of Beggars and 4AD famous label) spoke to CMU and talked about the multiple dangers of having a market being dominated by one huge company: that would be a problem not only in the physical market (shelves in shops and magazine front covers would be under serious pressure to feature Universal artists first) but that would also suffocate the offers and sustainability from other labels. Another point made by Mr Mills would be that, if pop artists would benefit from being signed on...

16 Apr
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music festival, music industry

These are exciting times where music lovers can indeed be closer to the bands they like more than ever, even if they physically can't...

Take Coachella, for instance. This great festival, specialized in offering many hot bands of the moments and unexpected reunions (it nearly is a Coachella speciality: PIL, Big Audio Dynamite, Jane's Addiction, Love And Rockets, Orbital, Jesus And The Mary Chain, etc...) has seen this year the fastest tickets sale ever and has actaully decided to have the same bands playing over two week-ends. So, if you missed M83, Dr Dre or St Vincent, your chance to see/hear them again will happen on April 20-22...

Can't go ? No sweat: tune in to Youtube or www.coachella.com and you'll be able to see the bands Live. Still can't go and you missed it ? Again, no sweat, you can go to http://www.youtube.com/user/coachella/videos and you'll be able to see many, many extracts of gigs that happened there in HD with a great sound.

So, the internet after all isn't all about piracy and myriads of bands giving away their work to get above the noise...

13 Apr
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artists, Karl Bartos, music history

Who would have think that Kraftwerk, the elegant german band initiated by the two rich kids Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider (soon join on percussion by the two middle class workers Wolfgang Flür and classically trained Karl Bartos) would have sold out 8 consecutive shows at the Moma museum in New York City in less than an hour ?

There's no doubt that Kraftwerk is one of the most important group in the history of music, period. But one can doubt about its real actual legacy when, 50 years after it's been created, Kraftwerk is now the sole lawyers-powered trademark of Ralf Hutter who shows himself on stage in his fluo pyjama and three rather anonymous musicians. We're a far cry from the uber creative nucleus that were Hutter-Schneider-Bartos-Flur between Radioactivity (1975) and Electric Cafe (1986) before Kraftwerk somehow began to slide down in a different mode punctuated by the immense love of cycling that was Hutter's addiction. Back then, a normal day at Kling-Klang studio (their Dusseldorf hide-out) would see them cycling during the afternoon, going to have an ice-cream at daybreak and start long, loooong nights in the studio. Somehow, this immensely slow...

12 Apr
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advertisement, music industry

Separating music from alcohol and drugs consumption would be like deliberately remove x and y from maths or salt from french fries (belgian fries as it turns out but that's beside our point from today) and we surely don't want to do that today and are even going to concentrate on beer and rock music.

A london-based company, Signature Brew, is very cleverly asking rock bands to be part of the brewing process of a beer that would therefore be totally personal to them and to their fans. So far, two Signature Brew have been issued and sold really well as one of them, The General beer, title of a Rifles song (one of the bands having design a beer), has already seen 6000 bottles sold ! There are a few more bands lining up for that great idea and this connection between beer and rock must for sure resonates well for rock bands and fans alike.

Signature Brew goes quite deeply in the entanglement of the band and the beer's taste as it's asked to the band to actually design the beer: they need to go and taste some and refine it with the help of a microbrewer in the UK. One of the beer is crisp and rather fizzy while the other one is more like mexican beers. Of course, the...

11 Apr
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artists, movie industry

I really wasn't looking forward to it: sitting in a movie theater looking at Sean Penn, whom i really like as an actor, impersonating Robert Smith, the archetype gothic fixture, had to be above what i can take. The snippets I've seen (Penn talking all so slowly and seemingly having problems thinking straight, Penn walking, or rather moving extremely slowly, with his wheeled luggage) didn't fired me up at all. On the contrary.

And i was wrong ! I was wrong ! From what seems to be a totally impossible scenario (a washed-up has-been rockstar in his fifties tries to find the nazi prison guard of his departed father he hadn't seen in 30 years) comes up a very beautiful and tender movie in one of the most difficult genre there is: the tragicomedy. Beautifully filmed, patiently edited too as it never feels out of rythm, "This Must Be The Place", by italian director Paolo Sorrentino, is a complex and intruiging 2 hours charm that shows how great an actor Sean Penn is, how music can be a strong catalyst, how a road-movie always work when done with heart, how the most incredible scenario or basic idea can be transformed in something great when creativity meets cleverness and...

06 Apr
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artists, record labels

Mute is an extraordinary label I can't help falling in love with again and again.

After spending my youth dancing to the sounds of Depeche Mode or Fad Gadget, after questioning Daniel Miller's sanity when he signed Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds on a label previously only dedicated to the Love of Synths (and soon realizing he was right, of course), after seeing Mute fall into the arms of EMI but successfully bouncing back to independence again, this exoskeletal ear and heart of Daniel has recently seen new crops emerging and these are true discoveries and brilliant artists. And, once again, Mute cuts all codes by signing amazing people who make amazing music you wouldn't think could fit in with Mute because they don't correspond to the old electronic label image. But they do because... they are extraordinary artists on an extraordinary label.

Beth Jean Houghton is "just" that.

She started playing guitar relatively late, around 16, and her first musical offerings were very folk indeed and somehow that tag follows her, but the latest album from Beth Jeans Houghton And The Hooves Of Destiny “Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose" is definitely not folk, nor innocent or...

05 Apr
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artists, movie industry, movie soundtrack

Just like russian dolls, when you thought you were for ever at last rid of Dakota Fanning as the de-rigueur-white-face-eerie-young-girl, there pops up her sister, Mary Elle Fanning, looking as white as her older sister, just like if the Fanning parents had bought a stock of acrylic white paint and immerged their entire family in it...

Francis Ford Coppola, who directed total chef d'oeuvres like Apocalypse Now, Godfather but also great movies like Rumble Fish and Cotton Club, has had it with Hollywood and since 2000 has decide to produce and finance his movies himself . His latest movie, Twixt, pictures Val Kilmer as a rather failed writer going into a small town to promote his latest and uninteresting book about witches. Of course, things will happen there and being 2012 it involves of course vampires and errie soundtracks that all look to Danny Elfman. Twixt also has Tom Waits, Bruce Dern and Joanna Whalley on the bill. So, it can't be bad.

There's a very interesting interview of Francis Coppola where he sums up a few ideas which begin to surface here and there about what may become of the real place of the artist in this new digital era. He's saying that his...

04 Apr
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music history

All too often do we hear people saying "how things were so much better back then" and while this "back then" is referring most of the times to the sixties or the eighties, i'm always surprised people actually believe that.

Ok, as a musician one can say some era were better than others in some aspects but there are always two sides to a coin (and who's using coins these days ?):
Yes, the late 60's must have been exciting as from the distance of time it looks like a gigantic Tsunami of Love but still, the times were hard and making a buck back then meant you nearly had to build your network yourself.

The 70's have seen new instruments coming up (synthesizers): it's not everyday new sources of sounds are being put at musicians's disposal, but they were expensive and rather unreliable. Punk was also an extremely exciting period where everyone could actually have a decent shot at making it with a DIY attitude and most of what you needed was the desire to do it but at the same time promoters would kick you off if if there was a mohican hundred meters from the café.

The 80's ? Well, besides having to wear ridiculously large shoulder pads and stupid...

03 Apr
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music industry, record sleeve

The good news is: the US RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has announced the 2011 sales figures and they are not bad: the Music Industry weighted $7.01 billion and music shipments went up 0.2 percent - a first since 2004. Digital sales account for 50% of it but the odd thing is that bloody vinyl that won't just die as, wow, LP sales were 5.5 million and the, i'm trembling while writing this, 45rpm doubled its market share !

Quite amazing in this era where most of us don't even know the names of all the bands featured in our mp3 player, isn't it ? And to double the fun, we celebrated a few days ago the 45 years anniversary of the most well known record cover ever: Sgt Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles.

Originally conceptualized as being a band playing music by The Beatles, that cover was very expensive for the times. The picture was done by Michael Cooper but Peter Blake did the actual cover and all the cuts and repainting. The illustrious sleeve shows The Beatles looking at The Beatles, surrounded by celebrities and iconic people of the era: you have the obvious (James Dean and Marilyn Monroe among others) but also the strange ones...

02 Apr
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artists, music industry

While the music industry is looking for better days and the live market is saturated (some huge festivals are even forced to call it a day), there's a brand new sector which is booming above all expectations: cruise ships linked to music !

In recent years, promoters have merge together vacations and music in a newest form: embark on a cruise, the Carribeans is a must, and see your favorite band, surrounded by roughly 30 other bands sometimes, during 3 or 4 days of musical nirvana. It's all there: the music, the drinks, the food, the fun...just add some sun, a very specific festival site (the sea, with the stage often build over the swimming pool on deck A), the feeling of being a respected customer (bar people are here 100 times more pleasant than your usual festival beer tent attendee and they are never miles away), the specificity of the location, the let-go attitude one gets into...

And it's a definitive success as points it out a good article in The New York Times. Reasons of the success ? They are several but somehow the link between enjoying a holiday while seeing bands you love is a golden one: everyone feels it is a special place and bands love it as...

30 Mar
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artists, music industry

Great article by Phlippe Cornet on Front 242, the mandatory band who's one of Belgium's best export with beer, chocolate and surreal politics (altho we don't export that, having too much fun with it).

Usually, an article on 242 is always focused and surcharged with superlatives and words like muscles or sweat but this one, without rejecting what makes F242 so spectacular and energetic, goes deeper and exposes Daniel, Patrick, Richard and Jean-Luc as what they are: four musicians/friends who sometimes fight together and have doubts, sometimes create amazing pieces of music, sometimes disagree and sometimes just forget about it and go on with the job which is being an amazing live band, a powerful electronic machine de guerre who put the B in 120 DB but also a band with questions about the world they live in and have been perpendiculary talking about since the early 80's.

It's also a band in limbo as their last album (Pulse, in 2005) was largely ignored by the masses but there's more to loose when you come from 300.000 albums sold (like they use to do in the heyday of the early nineties, when the EPIC-PIAS connection was working full blast on "making the most of...

29 Mar
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artists, movie soundtrack, politics in music

Acrassicauda was the first Iraki heavy-metal band and as such it has been thru hell...They kinda could play gigs under Saddam's regime but headbanging wasn't authorized as it was too reminescent of the orthodox jews headmoves when praying (!) and they had to compose a song to the glory of the ex-dictator.

Vice magazine, a Montreal-born pop cutlure mag, wrote about them back in 2004 and that started interests from readers everywhere, and maybe too much interest from islamic factions which started to persecute Acrassicauda, thinking they were Saddam's protegees or, wost, US Forces protegees. Life began to be extremely difficult for them and they had to flee Irak and went to Syria. In 2007, the documentary "Heavy-Metal In Bagdad" (with Spike Jonze as exective producer !) started to be filmed and that angered the Syrian authorities who threw the band out of visa. They had to go to Turkey and sell all their equipment to be able to survive.

The Vice Magazine somehow felt guilty of such troubles as they were the ones behind the exposure of Acrassicauda to the world, and the documentary was their project. They decided to give 40.000 us $ to the band and relocated them to...

28 Mar
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artists, politics in music

Ai Weiwei is the most famous chinese artist alive, if not the most known alive chinese person period. And chinese authorities cannot quite make up their minds if he's a danger for them or a useful windown to the West as proof there's some freedom in China (well, the CIA did the same with Jackson Pollock*** in the sixties to proove there was total freedom in the West so why not...). This said, they did come to sort of a conclusion last year as they took him into secret custody for 81 days..... You see, Ai Weiwei is one of the stars in modern art and while his name rings good for China, even if he would say bad things about it, the Chinese authorities think that what happens in China stays in China, or so they hope. But AI Weiwei will never stop.

Son of a famous poet who suffered a great deal during the Anti-Rightist Movement, AI Weiwei is a man of many talents and a strong voice for reforms in China. His art is being shown in the biggest art galleries all over the world and there's something rather Warholian about him and his art as he, like our ol' pal Andy, sees himself as a brand. But there's more to Ai than an astute communication person, he's very vocal about...

27 Mar
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artists, contracts, music industry

Bram Stoker, the man who wrote Dracula, was a clever and educated man (he graduated with honors in...mathematics) and the contract he dealt with the publishers of what was originally called "The Un-Dead" and later became Dracula when first published in 1897 was a tough one for the publishers and got Bram a very good royalties deal.

At the times, authors would received about 10 to 15 cents top from the sales of a book, while dear ol' Bram got 20% (altho he wouldn't get anything from the 1000 books sold). We all know what happen after that: Dracula became a hit (and Bram lost the rights on his book for the USA, the reasons for that are still unknown...)

This is the perfect moment to once again state that artists shouldn't sign anything just because a label manager in a record company, or a manager, or a publisher, or a record producer, tell them they are the best thing since sliced bread. If your work excites someone enough to the point of handling you a contract, chances are your work could excite some other people as well and you'll have the choice to sign up something better by making them altering the contract the way you want them.

Of course, we're a...

26 Mar
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artists

Most of you won't know who the hell Ginger Baker is, and to be honest I had to look it up for a few more details as most of his celebrity comes from having been the drummer in Cream, one of Britain's most celebrated super bands ever, back in the sixties, more than 50 years ago. He was only second to Keith Moon, original drummer of The Who, as far as wild behaviour was concerned, and introduced to rock music two items some love to hate: the double bass drum and the impossibly long drum solos...

He was also a noticable drug casuality and his attitude was, and still is as you can judge by the video trailer of a documentary on his life, erratic and rather violent. This said, he's also one of the first european musician to have an interest in high-life, that nigerian style of music, and did bring Fela Anikulapo Kuti, then known as Fela Ransome Kuti, to the attention of the world. Later on, he did participate in various bands like Hawkwind, the grand-father of heavy-metal, and PIL, yes the Public Image band fronted by John Lydon, ex-Sex Pistols singer.

One may enjoy his music or not, but Ginger Baker displays in one minute more personality and attitude than hundreds...

23 Mar
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artists, contracts, copyrights, music business

The US Congress passed a Copyright law, back in 1978, stating that after 35 years, songwriters will be able to reclaim publishing rights from record labels and publishers if they introduced termination notices at least two years before the recoup date. This means that, on january 1st 2013, many artists will have back the publishing rights on songs they wrote, or co-wrote. And we're talking artists as important as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Pink Floyd (for recordings done in 1978) but the list will go on and on as years go by.

That sounds good, no ? But not so fast: some major labels, EMI USA at the forefront, are arguing that the artists were by contract their employees and therefore all works performed as employee belongs to the company (corporate authorship). Which means that EMI USA, along with other labels and publishing companies who did have artists as employees, are fighting to retain copyrights on songs written by the artists who were signed with them...Without getting into the nitty-gritty of things, one-sided unbalanced contracts are already the norm for most contracts, the artists being all too eager to quickly sign a deal, so 35 years seem...

22 Mar
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advertisement, marketing

In some ways, Red Bull is the 2.0 Coca-Cola but contrary to the american beverage, the austrian company is putting its money where its mouth is and has been deeply, and cleverly, involved with the cultural aspects of youth culture for decades.

Besides investing money in Formula One, soccer teams and motorcycle racing, Red Bull has developped for the last 20 year very strong connections with music/culture and it's astounding to realize how knowledgeable they actually are. This is still brand content marketing, sure, but with real flair, attitude and initiative.

Red Bull Music Academy will be 15 years old in 2013 and it has been visiting cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Toronto but also Melbourne, Cape Town and Sao Paulo. They mix together panels and musicians, artists as diverse as Cosey Fanni Tutti (from electronic music pioneer band Throbbing Gristle) , famous producers Andy Weatherall, Mike Ronson or Macy Gray and create events and plateforms that go a long way from being simple concerts with 20 meters square logo of the company above a stage and some band boringly performing its catalogue of songs. It's all done in good taste and with a very striking...

21 Mar
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advertisement, artists, music industry

In an interesting article from Billboard, it seems major brands are using more and more indie artists for the music in their commercials and it goes much deeper than just a few notes on the packshot at the end of the TV clip.

And this is to be linked with a blog entry we had a few months ago: Y generation people don't mind when brands and bands are connecting (http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/music-more-important) which is good for bands in an era where synchronisation rights can be an important stream of revenues..

And even Bon Iver goes along with that, and even more: they refused to play at the Grammy's Night but their music is featured in a few adverts and they're even endorsed by a whisky company !

Why is that ? What attracts major brands in using often obscure music by obscure artists to pimp up up their commercial videos ? Well, it seems that in this new digital world, indies/underground artists can upscale a product and the less-sexy the product is, the more the music will make it shine in a better light, especially towards a younger audience. And it's also easier, cheaper and...

20 Mar
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artists

Sometimes, a song is just good enough and it's better not to reach out too much to discover more about the artist. You're getting caught by the sounds and the melody, and maybe the video hits the right chord but sometimes, it's only skin deep: there's nothing behind the song...Or worst: the band is hollow and vain and all they wanted was those 5 minutes of fame.

And sometimes, the song touches you, and the story behind the artist or the band just makes it shines specially and the deeper you go, the more interesting the artist is. Baloji is that. And more.

Born in Congo but raised in Belgium, Baloji ("sorcerer" in Tschiluba language) was a slam artist in a band called Starflam and he could have stay that way, rhyming the nights away with his rich and witty lines, but he decided hip hop wasn't somehow enough. A letter from his mum which he hadn't seen or heard of for the last 15 years after he ran from home, led him to undertake a journey back to his roots, back to Congo but also back to Ostend where he could feel common vibes with Marvin Gaye, another man in exile who took cover in the belgian city-by-the-sea. And an album was born from the incredibly emotive...

19 Mar
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artists, music industry, record labels

The illustrious Temptations and its 13 plaintive lawyers are sueing Universal Music Group for allegedly having being cheated out of revenues coming from digital downloads, and we're not talking small dimes here as this lawsuit, if lost by UMG, could mean millions of dollars having to be paid to artists such as Nirvana, Eric Clapton, Kiss, The Police, The Who, etc...

What's the grunge ? The use of the words "licences" and "sales". See, in a 1993 Universal contract, it says UMG would pay The Temptations around 16 % percent of revenues coming from "sales" when they would pay 50 percent from "licences" revenues. And UMG seems to consider that digital downloads and ringtones are sales, and not licences. We're talking a big, large, very large amount of money: UMG would have to pay The Temptations about 3 times more what they've been paying them so far, and we're talking more or less about 17 years of digital sales, aren't we ?

So, in what is going to be a trial to remember, we'll see lawyers from both sides arguing that digital sales are or are not licenced products. And no doubt The Temptations' lawyers will call Steve Jobs' ghost at the hearing as he wrote a...

16 Mar
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artists, music industry, music marketing

It's not that long ago that Myspace was the absolute place-to-be and no band could do without having a Myspace page. Then, in 2008, numbers began to fall and Facebook took over as primary social network. What happened ? Where is Tom ?

Launched in 2003, Myspace quickly became an indispensable tool in every band's promokit and it was even neck-to-neck with Google as the most visited US website in 2006. Bands and fans were coming in flocks and Myspace was flooded with zillions of profiles and everyone was Tom's friend.

The company was acquired in 2005 by News Corp, a Rupert Murdoch's company for 580 millions $ . They had huge ideas to make this profitable, and initiated a deal with Google for online ads, making their purse heavier but also making the user experience slower and filled with even more ads here and there. Then, contrary to Facebook, they kept the door closed to outside developers, where Facebook open themselves up (and everyone remembers how free games and apps on Facebook really made it go up and up and up). Then, for no reasons at all, people started to migrate from Myspace to Facebook, and Myspace has not been able to cut that flow.

In 2011...

15 Mar
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charts, music industry, radios, streaming

Spotify's success seems unstoppable, despite many labels (especially indies) removing their artists from the swedish streaming service as they pay-out per stream is extremely low.

Yesterday was a historic day as the US data from diverses streaming companies like Spotify, Rhapsody and Slacker have been added up to the Billboard Hot 100 charts, the US singles popularity chart (which is based on radio play and sales while it's solely based on sales in the UK). This move illustrates very well the change of balance we're witnessing these last two years between digital download sales (no one hardly buys CD singles no more) and streamings. To give a number, Nielsen data shows that 494.000.000 songs were streamed last week while only 27.100.000 singles were legally obtained. All those numbers may look good to the users, yes they love Spotify and streaming and why shouldn't they as the offers are very interesting, but the thing is: this is killing the smaller labels.

Do the maths: Itunes will pay the labels 0,40 Euro per download while Spotify will only retribute 0,002 Euros. If we take that with the numbers of singles sold last week in the as a simple calcalation...

14 Mar
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artists, marketing, music industry, music marketing

I'm unsure if Steve Jobs knew back then that Itunes, and the sales of music thru internet portals, would seriously indent albums sales and take away from the music business one of its bigger money making object: the album.

Back in the days, if you liked a song that wasn't a single, you had no choice: you had to buy the album. Nowadays, this is no longer the case: you can just buy on a song-per-song basis and hard facts are there to prove it as people are more into buying a couple of songs from an album that letting it go and get the entire thingie. This album being no longer the anker around which bands or artists would make entire marketing/promo campaigns, some have decide on the contrary to use the time between their releases as a teaseing period that would be magnified and used to its full potential to prepare fans/superfans to the release of new material.

Emily White, who manages artists thru her Whitemsith Entertainement company, has a great blog entry about this subject and focus on two different exemples: Bear In Heaven and Imogen Heap.

Bear In Heaven, who's last album received the Best New Music Award from Pitfork Media, has decided de stream...

13 Mar
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artists, music artists billboards songs, politics in music

We have it good here, in the West. We can safely make music and while the production tools costs are going down every day, we still can complain about bad sales and piracy and Spotify paying artists 0,002€ per song streamed. And we have shows like Pop Idol or The Voice mis-educating people about what's an artist and what it takes to become one...

While we're doing these things confortably (I mean, the more upset we are is when the broadband access is down, right ?) other artists and musicians are confronted to far worst situations. Take Tinariwen, the "african tuareg blues" band from Mali who just won a Grammy Award: they are as far from your basic top 40 music band as it can be....

The core members of Tinariwen actually met in 1982 and are quite the focus of attention on the Tuareg movement as this used-to-be-but-not-anymore forgotten (rather desertic) region of Africa is wanted by many people; multinational corporates (the region is rich in petrol and uranium), drug smugglers (very useful platform to Europe for the South American cocaine cartels), AQMI terrorists (the north african leg of Al Qaida) and diverse people, communities and countries wanting a piece...

12 Mar
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social comments

Forget about X-Factor, The Voice or any programs about cooking, pimping up your car, your house, your sex life or your looks, here comes the latest in TV brainwashing: the Apocalypse is near and everyone should be prepared !

Recently launched in the US, two shows have a go at FEAR, you know, that thing that makes you an easy target for anything unrationnal and a great and laughable bait for below-the-belt populism politics, advertising for SUV weighting easily more than 2.000 kgs, free publicity for "the right to defend yourself" and generally making humans look even more selfish and self-centered they already are most of the time when it' s not Christmas.

In these shows displaying how low people can go when it's about that primal need and urge to defend their family, what's better than a little bit of producers-induced paranoia ? And why just a little bit, why not going for the full dosis ? You will see family, husbands, wives and children all defending their turf and right to exist, no matter what comes at them. These shows are guaranteed to change for ever the look you'll have at your fellow neighbours or the files at the supermarkets: you will hate them cos...

09 Mar
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artists, music industry

That title from The Music Void is so good, we had to let it spread here too :)

In a very interesting, but sad, article, The Music Void describes and accounts the enormous amount of monet Whitney owed Sony and how little her estate, and her daughter specially, will get from all this. It IS terrible.

This happens so often. Artists are so excited at the idea of signing a deal that they don't read the small letters, or they don't deal with a contract accordingly: this should be done with no affect or feelings. It's a business move in a business laced with feelings and emotions.

Yes, it's cool to be signed by a label but don't forget you're the one bringing the music, they are the ones bringing the know-how, the network, the manpower, the means and the angles to make your work come out as well as possible and have it promoted the way it deserves and gain results. You NEED to look at that contract like a deadly serious thing and kinda forget all the nice things the label owner told you over dinner. Of course, you need to "feel" the label, you need to be able to relax there and sense if they can take you and your band to wherever you want to go: you must TRUST...

07 Mar
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marketing, movie industry, music industry

Another great exemple of crowdfunding: the investors of "Iron Sky", a sci-fi movie where nazis would have flown to the dark side of the moon in 1944 only to come back and invade us now, were 1 million Euros short.

Instead of doing more rounds for "normal" finances, they decide to let it happen with money send by the movie/sci fi internet community and got their budget wrapped up easily. It has to be said that they were already known within the science-fiction crowd as they had done "Star Wreck" a few years ago and they were coming with a great idea that was fun to play around: imagine, as The Quietus puts it, " Starship Troopers meets Mars Attacks but with an extra twist of trashy John Waters humour". That says it all and is in our book a sure hit at good taste in bad taste land. Music wise, the obvious band to participate was Laibach, a serbo-croatian band who has played with IIIrd reich imagery and rhymes for decades and who can put pedal to the metal when needed.

What becale cult the very same minute the idea came out to the scenarist while having a sauna, did i forgot to tell you guys it's a finnish movie ?, will be in all good movie theaters in the...

06 Mar
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artists, politics in music

Just when the West seems to slowly fall into boredom yet again, and with a music scene as dangerous as a sunday afternoon you would spend at home, Russia comes up with good news: yes, some people are also using the music media to pass on feelings and opinions that are a long way from your everyday "girl meets boy" love song.

Pussy Riot, a feminist punk band from Moscow, famous for their situationist protests and invasion of public spaces, is seeing some of his members being jailed and risking up to 7 years in prison for various "crimes" or, as the State puts it: "suspicion of committing a crime and violation of public order" mixed with a good dosis of "inciting people to hate religion" in a country where the bishop wears a 40.000 Euros watch...That's enough to have them stuck in a prison cell up to the hearing in late april...Two members of the band, both mother of young children, are on a hunger strike to protest their arrest.

Organised like a art movement that would have a 360 set up in order to strike flash gigs fast and move up qucikly, with up to ten band members and people gravitating around them, editing videos, releasing songs, organizing protests against...

06 Mar
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artists

Frank Tovey, an english musician signed on Mute Records, has passed away ten years ago and an exhibition in New York celebrates at the moment the work of that unique musician/performer.

Frank came from a performance background and his live shows were raw, strong, unique and festive in a strange way: it wasn't rare he ended up the concert covered in feathers or even physically hurt as he had more than a tendency to immerge himself in his shows and, in a way not unlike Iggy Pop's, his body was at time merely a tool to display emotions and intense involvement. He therefore often ended up bruised and battered, but the crowd loved it. He was a pionneer as he successfully mixed together electronic music, performance, punkish attitude, slick humour and great songs (to name a few: Back To Nature, Ricky's Hand, Lady Shave and Collapsing New People).

Mute Records has released a few years ago a great documentary (directed by his daughter, Morgan) about his life and one can see why this man was so unique: music often see performers that act and pose and reflects while Frank got into his own skin and lived the moment. He was a music performance at its best. Nothing...

05 Mar
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music industry, promotion

If you're an artist, i'm pretty sure your ego must sometimes get boosted up to 11 when seeing how many "Like" your update status has been blessed with this morning. And yes, there's nothing guilty about enjoying it.

But you do know also this doesn't always convert to real factual support or even sales do you ? Here are a few numbers showing one more time how hard it can be for artists and bands to convert the easier thing to do in this world (saying I 'like' to a comment or an update) into what a real fan would do: actually buying a CD or a DVD or going to a gig...

First, dont' be hard on yourself: the competition is harsh and there are millions of bands and artists fighting for recognition and the social medias are filled with new bands everyday. And people don't spend as much as they used to on music, meaning the pie is smaller or the same, but there are more bands wanting to have a share of it: Tunecore says less than 1% of the bands on its platform gets more than 1280$ in sale per month and only a few thousand albums sell more than 10.000 units per year.

Secondly: what doesn't work for you works just about right for huge companies with huge...

02 Mar
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artists, movie industry

Tim Burton, the man who goes filming with all his friends, wife, music composer, monteur, Sisters Of Mercy record collection, dog trainer et all, got fired from Disney in 1984, days after they released his short film "Frankenweenie", on the sole excuse that it was too scary for kids and Disney was an all-family entertainement company. What did they expect from a frankly gothic moviemaker like Tim Burton who's first movie was "Vincent", a six minute black and white stop motion movie about a boy fantasizing he was bloody Vincent Price ?

The talented man, who after all did gems like "Edward Scissorhands", "Beetljuice" and "Mars Attack", must feel like Karma does well as Disney has resign him (for two movies, the first one being the terrible terrible and it's not a typo if I repeat terrible "Alice In Wonderland") will release in october a 3D full feature remake of the movie that saw them fired him. It surely must feel good to have this gentle revenge on The Establishment. It's just a shame Disney doesn't seem to know how to work well and creatively with Burton as their latest co-work, "Alice In Wonderland", is nothing but a giant druggy nothing.

In Burton's version of...

01 Mar
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movie industry, music business

Crowdfunding is one of newest ways found to finance Art (music and movies primarely), and some numbers are starting to come in and show that, yes, it works for some...

A few months ago, we wrote about Vynilmania, a documentary on the love of albums and 12" and vynil (http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/crowdfunding-way-go), and how crowdfunding generated 37.000 dollars where the people behind the project had plead for 33.000 dollars, and more and more projects are funded using this method: whether they are start-ups, building roofs for families in Nigeria, providing solar cells for schools in the UK, comic webseries, etc...crowdfunding does attract people in giving some money for not much in return, just a name on a plate or on a record cover or on the credits of a movie...

It's interesting to note, while we're speaking about crowdfunding and movies, that 10% of the movies presented at the Sundance Film Festival were funded that way ! One of them was "Me@At The Zoo", a documentary on Chris Crocker, the teenager who was seen on Youtube crying, crying and crying and praying...

29 Feb
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movie soundtrack

There is little doubt about which 2012 movies are actually most anticipated: you have "The Dark Knight Rises" (release date july 2012), with the excellent and dark Christopher Nolan at the helm on the left hand side and Promotheus (release date early june 2012), by veteran Ridley Scott on the right hand side.

While we're not going to dig deeper where it hurts (both movies are based on old if not ancient stories -prequel or sequel- and wouldn't it be time for Hollywood to invest in something really new for a change ?), and while i can openly declare i'm sure both movies will be spectacular, rather disturbing and highly entertaining, they both will have very special music in order to have the movie fan even futher engaged emotionally and make these two movies more than a simple Hollywood blockbuster syndrome.

Let see what we have on the composers front here. We have two men who know how to spell tympanis and glockenspiel but they both have a different approach from movie soundtracks. One is poweful and rather bombastic, but very very efficient, while the other is more from the Morricone school of thougts....

The ever present Hans Zimmer is busy finishing...

28 Feb
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artists, music industry, promotion, radios

UPDATE: online collection to be launched may 1st 2012 !

We can safely say that, without John Peel (OBE as in Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), the face of music in Europe would be totally different. We probably would still have dinosaurs bands and triple-LP concept albums as the famous english radio icon (no one had been airing for so long: from 1967 until his sudden death in 2004) has been instrumental in giving new bands and new sounds a dedicated platform on the BBC. He was among the first one to play psychédelic music on Radio One but also gave progressive rock an audience. You are forgiven, John ;)

But what John Peel will surely be always associated with is how he gave punk music a(n) (inter)national window thru his night program on Radio One and his eclectic and very large taste in music has allowed many bands to come out and have their music played to larger audiences. His radio sessions with bands coming in and recording music were also very popular and are remarquable historic stepstones of Music.

In an important move, the John Peel Center For Creative Arts dedicated to give a new lease of life to an old building in...

27 Feb
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artists, music history

When we thought it was all clear and simple: banks owned the world, the financial crisis is their fault, the music industry is hurt but not dead and a new business model is on its way...But no, nothing is sure no more as The Sex Pistols have signed a new record deal with Universal for the re-release (35 years after the original) of an expanded version of "Never Mind The Bollocks, Here Are The Sex Pistols".

John Lydon, a very clever and articulate man when he thinks it's worth it, has these great words about the new deal: "Music can be great, when done by the great. The Sex Pistols are the greatest. Universal now has a trophy room, music is the imitation of nature, the Sex Pistols are nature, so please give generously. Thank you."
To which the Universal PR replies: ""To be given the opportunity to re-evaluate the Sex Pistols catalogue is every music lover’s dream. We’re looking forward to working with the band and celebrating their impact on worldwide culture."

My oh my, no doubt this signature is going to be blessed with a few funny ups and downs as these two are made to get on well !

When Punk came about, music in Europe was all about progressive...

24 Feb
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artists, music industry

In a rare but not unseen move, Motorhead is asking its fans to NOT buy the Motorhead latest box set that just came out and which is priced at, yes, 600 bucks and in which the english band had no saying whatsoever.

This new box contains 15 cds and lots of added freebies like posters, etc... but no new songs or unheard material which, of course, pisses Lemmy Kilmister (who in a previous life was part of Hawnkwind): "Unfortunately greed once again rears its yapping head. I would advise against it even for the most rabid completists!".

Like many, many bands, Motorhead has to fight against bad contracts and rip-off deals they made when starting and with labels being sold and resold over the years, it happens often that tapes and ownerships get into greedy hands that don't care much and who don't even have a contact with the band. This seems to be the case: the band wasn't even involved in the set and even tho they will get publishing money, they won't get royalties on a collector item that's going to deprive their fans from some money they could spend on a set that Motorhead itself is putting on the market...

When the debate about copyright is going public...

23 Feb
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artists, music industry

It's not easy to be the ex-guitarist and founder from The Smiths (especially when the ex-singer Big Mouth can't stop act like one) or to look like a slimmer and healthier version of Trent Reznor, but Johnny Marr does very well these days and his brain is evidently clear and sharp.

A bit of history: Johnny Marr is a brilliant guitar player/composer, he put together one of the best rock band in history (The Smiths), then went on to play with one of the most underrated UK songwriter who's new work we miss a lot (Matt Johnson from The The), formed and played in the superband Electronic (Bernard Summer from New Order/Joy Division, joined by Karl Bartos (ex-Kraftwerk) for some songs) and has more recently enjoy success with Modest Mouse and The Cribs. He's currently working on a solo album but do find time to make very interesting university lectures and this is where we join him thanx to an article that came out in the Irish magazine Independent News.

In his lecture, Johnny (who i played soccer table against a few years ago and he did beat me, bastard ;)) goes back in memory lane to serve his point: if you want to have a real success (in my book it means being able...

22 Feb
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artists

Funny how pop/rock music has always intertwine with the devil or other obscure cults and spiritual figures or religions and manage to keep it an issue rather hard to deal with.
Frankly, we think it's rather funny. Artists have always wear their hearts on their sleeves in pre-Pop Idol days and it's rather normal they make their beliefs reflects in their music. But some people gives it too much credit or attention for what is sometimes just not credible, overblown or too simply not their business....

In the middle age, there was a type of music chord you weren't supposed to play..It was called Diabolus in Musica or tritone. These unsettling chords were supposed to be pleasing to the devil as they are apparently sexually charged. Blues has often been deemed as linked to the devil and everyone knows the story of Robert Johnson meeting the devil and where the devil himself tunes Robert's guitar and allows him to then play wicked chords...Let's not even go into voodoo music or cajun stances...

If we take pop music, the older ones among us surely recall The Rolling Stones "Sympathy For The Devil" or "Their Satanic Majesties Request" and the Goat Heads Soup...

21 Feb
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artists

Little did Steve Jobs know back then that Itunes would somehow sound the end of the album per se and having it digitalized, cut down into all its separate parts and sold on a track per track basis or as a full album, pushed people to alter their way of enjoying music by just buying a couple of songs off the album. It has to be said that, too often, albums are made with fillers holding together a couple of singles. Artists, you can do better. No, you NEED to do better !

This of course is a giant loss for artists and the music industry as we go from a system that sells singles taken from full album you would buy if enjoying the single to a system where you buy only the tracks you like...And this is like saying a movie should be cut to the only essential scenes (let's take away all the slow parts and concentrate on the action moments or the romantic gatherings). Might work for some movies tho, but in most cases one would lose the plot, the feel, the mood and end up watching nothing but a 10 minutes action pack trailer.... Albums in music are like that: you need the ups and downs, the slopes and the main straight to enjoy at full capacity all the assets the music comes...

20 Feb
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copyrights, music industry

Thanx to Guillaume Deziel (https://www.facebook.com/guillaume.deziel) manager from the Quebec band Mister Valaire, I have been happily exposed to a very entertaining and informative movie called "RIP: A Remix Manifesto".

Starting with a very simple demonstration and exemple of a musical mash-up, the excellent documentary from Brett Gaylor takes us down the dark alleyways of copyrights, or how it started back in 1710 (actually, on the very same day of my birthday - lol - ) with a 14 years long period during which a work from a printer was protected against other people reproducing it...And now it has escalade in something that clearly needs to be refined and adapted to the times because technology has more than ever its saying here. And we have moved from a civilisation of passive people to one of zillions of possible collaborators: very economical, if not open sources, tools are there for everyone to pick up and mash things up to create the culture of tomorrow's world which, for the first time ever, starts today...

This documentary begins with some Fight Club like laws:

1/ Cultures always build on the...

17 Feb
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music history

Forget about New Wave and the eighties, seems like the 90's revivial is finally about to kick in serious.

Things rarely happen on their own, and even more so when things start to happen globally...If you take the success and seemingly unstoppable rise of dance music acts in the US (Deadmau5 and Skrillex) and find out that, at the same time, in the UK, Mancunian huge 90's band Stone Roses reform for some very highly paid gigs (and so are The Inspiral Carpets, the Happy Mondays and The New Kids On The Block. And so is Aqua. OMG can we survive yet another Spice Girls reunion Tour?) you can slowly but surely relay all the dots and see that, yes, there's something very nineties brewing up.... Archetype's 90 grunge band Nirvana still scores high thanx to Dave Grohl's Foo Fighters, Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails is present as ever in the movie world, De La Soul reforms...yes, the Nineties are back. If they ever leaved...

Here's a list of what seem to be the most notorious 90's bands

1. Nirvana
2. Pearl Jam
3. Radiohead
4. 2Pac (a reform is out of the question!)
5. Red Hot Chili Peppers
6. Beck
7. The Smashing...

16 Feb
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copyrights, music industry

(the link to that rather incredible video interview is below)

This is a rather surrealistic interview, and we Belgians surely know about surrealism so you can trust us: it's worth watching ! The interview is between a sharp and intelligent Tech Crunch columnist/writer called Andrew Keen and a sharp and clever tech inventor called Bram Cohen, founder of famous P2P tool Bit Torrent.
To put down the facts, here's what Wikipedia says about Bit Torrent: "BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol used for distributing large amounts of data over the Internet. BitTorrent is one of the most common protocols for transferring large files and it has been estimated that peer-to-peer networks collectively have accounted for roughly 43% to 70% of all Internet traffic (depending on geographical location) as of February 2009".

So, we're not talking small thingy here, we're talking about a kind of device that allows people to share data, be it legit or illegal, and that internet activity is worth surely no less than 40% of the entire internet traffic. Let's also cut down the chase and make it real: it is used a lot by people illegally sharing music, movies...

15 Feb
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artists, music industry

In an understandably positive but interesting blog entry, Bandcamp establish how, from sources of Google searches, people have finally end up on Bandcamp and bought music they were initially looking to acquire illegally. All this cos they found themselves on a cool looking website page, set up by the band they wanted music from and said-music was available at a very decent price, and even sometimes a price them, the fans, could decide...

So, from rather cold and blunt searches with phrases like “lelia broussard torrent”, “murder by death, skeletons in the closet, mediafire" and even “maimouna youssef the blooming hulkshare”, the fans were directed from torrents and affiliiated grey sources to Bandcamp where they can nicely sit down, listen to the tracks, not having to care for virus or governamental spys, and calmly take the decision to open up their purse and buy the music. Cos Bandcamp offers a real alternative to grey markets: the music is there, you can experiment it and enjoy it, and the share going back to the band is big as up to 85% goes back to the artist ! The band has a transparent page that goes by bandname.bandcamp.com: easy as pie !

So, bands...

14 Feb
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Sony Music UK is under heavy critics as it appears the price of Whitney Houston's The Ultimate Collection rose up 60% ( from £4.99 to £7.99) 30 minutes after the sad death of the US singer.

Now, we all know death sells well in music and we're all aware of the 27 club thingie (altho Withney wouldn't belong there but you catch my drift: deaths is easily marketable) but greed has to stop somewhere. Of course, Sony says the mistake was just that, a misreading of the price in the Itunes store but, come on...The last records from W Houston were flops, but this move from Sony UK is cruel, greedy and cold blooded...

We have all witness the sobs and lamentations of everyone about the departure of Whitney, but the truth, just like with Michael Jackson, is that everyone knew she was in deep trouble and a shadow of herself and she needed to be protected from excess and helped. What we see here is a physical death after a mental one. She's been destroyed by her toxic lifestyle, sure, but also cos, once you're out the limelight, doors are closing fast and very few care. One thing the biz knows is how hard it is to deal with success, and once you had it, the lack of it....

13 Feb
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music artists billboards songs, music industry

Yes, it's a scandal ! And nothing for The Artist either ! ;)

2012 has seen the obvious success of Adele, and it's rather refreshing altho not utterly exciting but it has to be said that, besides the dress of Nicki Minaj, it's all well sedated and organized in Grammysland.
And why wouldn't it be ? When an industry is accepting Pop Idol or X Factor as a decent way of finding out new "talents" and mistaken 6 small weeks of reality TV for 3 years of musician apprenticeship, it's pretty normal we get to see and hear what the Industry deems as success and talent...

But, once you pass the fact than Lady Gaga didn't take home anything shiny, you get to discover interesting winners in these Grammy 2012. Cos everything isn't happening in only 5 categories, there are 78 different categories (down from 109 last year) and some boost real talents and success that are both in terms of sales and in terms of artistic values. (on a sad note, let's not forget the Academy has decided early this year to edit out the Latin Jazz award and cut down the Latin field from 7 awards to only 4 - a huge thing in the USA where there's a striving latino scene).

- Best CD package of...

10 Feb
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politics in music, promotion

By now, if you're an avid reader of this blog, you surely have seen that while we're not dipping too much into politics, we're still a looooong way to be Tea Party material for sure. Politics and music have always been linked, politics in music as well, and so does music in politics...

Barrack Obama, running for a second mandate as Numero Uno in the USA, has made public his Spotify favorite list. Now, that's quite a change from earlier elections where candidates had to look uber serious and only concerned by America. Here, we have a president that sings, smiles, dances, cries...and whether you think his 4 years at the helm were a huge success, a moderate one, a just-about-right or a total disaster, Obama will still come thru as someone who knows when to let go and get to that famous bridge. Amen to that. (see below a few videos of President Obama singing. In tune. Yes.)

So, his Spotify list ? Well, there are some rockin tunes there for sure, and a couple of I-wouldn't-be-caught-alive-singing-that, but overall it's rather ok....This said, when we wanted to hook up to his playlist on Spotify, we had a pop up asking us if we had a Spotify account or not ? Knowing...

09 Feb
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artists, music industry

We had a little column on monday about the musical intermezzo from the 2012 Superbowl and how empty, hollow and ego-histerical were the performances of the two entertainement divas on that stage. There are ways to make yourself heard in 2012, but maybe there are more important things to do than just piling up another million dollar in a secret bank account in Caymans Islands, no ?

Artists, musicians in particular, have always been at the forefront of mass movements and (r)evolutions. One cannot deny the latest crisis on the planet, with the 2008 demise of some US banks being the iceberg tip of a worldwide financial domino catastrophy, has taken its toll on all aspects of the economy, and the music industry really didn't need that. But there you go: one can pretend all is well and parade like nothing happens and some others, like Tom Yorke from Radiohead, can go out and use their fame and public side to emphasis on issues that are socially and humanly important.

In an interesting interview in superb internet mag Dazed, Robert Del Naja (of Massive Attack fame) explains how the attitude to revolts and mass manifestations have changed recently, especially in the...

08 Feb
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artists, music industry, promotion

Seems to us like Lady Gaga has got it all.
Well, maybe if they had push Superbowl forward her year would have been complete but she doesn't seem to care that much for the mainstream, and maybe this is why we just cannot dislike her: she knows she's a monster and like it that way. And so do her 47 millions Facebook friends, her 19 millions tweeter fans, and oh my oh my she does break the deafening silence of Google + as she has no less than 330.000 followers there ! When Madonna seem unable to live without mass adoration, Gaga has capitalized on her immediate (millions of ) fans and quirkiness. And it works.

Gaga is about to start a gigantic Gaga Ball Tour and while she didn't have the announcing platform Madonna had (announcing her tour hours after the gigantic Superbowl extravaganza was great timing, as ever), she surely knows how to make the more geeky fans of her getting tickled and excited with the very pleasing feeling of being special, being cared for by the Star herself and being offered special treats and things not everyone has. Which are exactly the kind of thing fans/superfans want...She has just rolled now www....

07 Feb
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artists, music industry, promotion

Making a video can go multiples ways...but all of them are time-consuming and most of them imply a rather large amount of money that needs to be spend in order to get something of good technical quality. There are enough rather technically unacceptable and very, very low-fi looking videos around and if you want yours to come across the ambiant deafening noise, you need something that will touch your fans, make them fall in love with your song, make them buy the song, or the album it's on, having people talking about your and your music and attracts new fans as well

There's now a new possibility to have great looking videos made by technically savvy image people: outsource them to the biggest movie industry on the world: Bollywood !
Drew Smith, a canadian artist, did just that: he commandeered a Bollywood director to shoot a video on his latest song and the result is of very good quality, whether you like it or not: images and sounds lare top notch, and while the plot is frankly derivative from the idea of the song in the first place, the end result is charming, pleasing to the eye and the mind and..Drew has people talking about him! And frankly i don't see...

06 Feb
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artists, music industry, promotion

By now, half of the connected people in the western world know that:

1/the Giant have beat the Patriots at the Superbowl and frankly the face of the earth has changed ;)
2/Madonna was lip-synching during the Superbowl musical intermezzo
3/M.I.A has show a middle finger and NBC couldn't do anything about it

What is so surprising is how disconnected some artists are. I mean: singing at the Superbowl is a great launching plateform and I'm pretty sure Madonna's latest single ( a painful rip-off from an already terrible Toni Basil song) will benefit entirely from it but woudn't it be possible to use this very well covered moment by propagating a positive message instead of focusing on shameless self-promotion ? Wouldn't it be great to use these few minutes for a cause that's bigger than the invited musician's ego (cash invitation I guess) ? And what about the very ridiculous middle finger showed by M.I.A during her rap ? Is that an impressive political statement or what ?

I was never big on "Live Aid" or any "Feed The World" initiatives as I thought it was very easy for musicians to jump on a stage and pretend to care for 15 minutes before dashing...

03 Feb
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artists, music industry

There's no doubt we need music as much as we need artists that are above us mere mortals. When confronted to the boys next door's band or to the Pop Idol of last year, we can only gasp and ponder what it is all about...People can dance to a great tune on saturday night, but ultimately what they want is gaze the entire week on a great looking picture of a REAL artist, someone who has things to say and say them loud, someone that will frankly makes us travel much further than the cash-out page on Amazon or Itunes: artists that makes us dream, us humans, that we're better than what we really are.

Undoubtedly, Lana Del Rey has been the mystery artist of 2011. Everyone has heralded her as the Indie Comet of the year, that she made it on nothing but a great song and an eerie video. That she didn't need a major to succeed or agents with zillions of network to make it. We're all so wrong. To make it clear: no, she didn't make it overnight, no, she isn't an indie dazzling phenomena coming from nowhere, and no she isn't even indie. So what ? She is a hard working artist who slowly but surely made it cos she successfully added up all the right ingredients (whether you like her...

02 Feb
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artists, politics in music

Punks are being chased down and arrested by police in the Indonesian province of Aceh. This has happened already twice, but the most recent assault from the Police took place during a caritative show given by Indonesian punks for orphelins.
Police raided the place and took with them 60 punks whom they sent out to a reeducation school to "put them back on the right moral path". The Punks were then shaved, being thrown in a river to wash down (strange method but there you go..) and given clothes more in relation with the moral dress code of the Sharia-driven province.

Aceh Human Rights Coalition's Evi Narti Zain accuses the Police to have been violent, beating the Punks and treated the teenagers like criminals and clearly human rights were violated.
The Aceh Police spokeman says the Punks weren't badly treated and that they will follow reeducation so their morals will match those of the other people in Aceh.

More on this disturbing story: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/aceh-punks-arrested-for-re-education...

27 Jan
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copyrights, movie industry, music industry

It's uncanny how as soon as the immediate menace of Sopa and PIpa seems to fade away a new agreement, rather secretly discussed between all countries in the world since 2008, is about to emerge and oh my, doesn't that one have an ugly head: ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) wants to establish new international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement.

While ACTA sounds fine for counterfeit goods (come on, no one serious about what she/he wears would want to be taken alive with a fake Vuitton bag) and all generic medecines (we don't mean the illegal sugar pill one buys on the internet on the promess it's the best weight control pill ever) , ACTA comes with a new array of measures about copyright infringement on the Internet that actually will be very counter-productive and rather against the tide. Not mentionning being organically prepared as a weapon against freedom and self expression on the net.

Copyright infringments need to be tackled down for sure. And there are ways to do it, and there are ways to just blast in the store with an armoured vehicle. Studies have shown that consumers are willing to buy content they would otherwise...

26 Jan
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movie industry, music industry

Ok, enough with the rumour saying Megaupload was in fact really shut down cos it was about to unleash MegaMusic and hurt really badly the music industry and Itunes in the process (something we talked about on Dec 20th http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/megaupload-music)...What's next ? The Illuminati have hidden a nasty secret worm in every Mission Impossible movie illegally downloaded ? When whispering Megaupload in reverse 3 times, there's an image of a luxurious Mercedes SUV appearing in your coffee mug ? Enough nonsense !

We think it's a good time to look at some points that can be made out of the very internet intense two weeks that just happened

x The Feds didn't take any gloves when doing this international mission: they wanted MU out, they got MU out. It's scary, cos such power could be used in other circumstances. We can see more and more countries and states, not all rogues or tyrannies, pulling the plug off internet when interior troubles appear, or when they want to shut down informations sources. We should think about it: who owns Internet ? Isn't there a real urgency in making it...

25 Jan
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marketing, music industry, music marketing

Captivating exposé by the eloquent Emmanuel Legrand (http://legrandnetwork.blogspot.com/) this morning at Huis 23, an interesting collaboration between Brussels' famous concerts hall AB, Poppunt and Muziekvlaanderen.

Done with datas covering one full year of radio airplays, legal digital downloads and national/pan european charts, Emmanuel succeeds in giving a precise and factual report on the cross-borders circulation of European music repertoire within the European Union. Under what seems to be at first a rather heavy-duty pile-up of numbers and colorful drawings rapidly emerges fascinating obesrvations on how 6 countries (France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Poland) in Europe act and reacts when it comes down to radio airplays.

I would advice you to download and read the report (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/32444317/Report_European%20repertoire_Jan%202012...) but here are some of the major foundings of Mr Legrand:

* Local repertoires does work rather well nationally but most artists do...

24 Jan
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artists, music industry

So, you're online, gently browsing thru the Disney Store, looking for a gift you need to buy to your sister-in-law's children and gee isn't it hard to choose between all these pink tshirts and princesses outfits. Well, there are a few branded tshirts with The NightMare Before Christmas and that's a success among many, many Disneypark fans but that was as far as it went for Disney in terms of brutal originality... Until now as Disney has just released a Tshirt direclty inspired from Joy Division's iconic sleeve "Unknown Pleasures".

Most of the alternative music websites are going awol about it and while i'm sure Disney's lawyers have prepared themselves to return Joy Division's lawyers phonecalls any moment now, one can wonder about the rather distateful feel behind it. It is one thing to name a gloomy rock band after what if historically a group of enslaved jewish women forced to have sex with german offciers in the concentration camps, it is a totally different matter to use that specific cover design to make a commercial tshirt one hope to sell a lot to keep the investors happy and see many young, and less young, visitors of the Disney Parks gently stroll around in...

23 Jan
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music instruments

Things are getting heated up again around Gibson guitars...After being raid in 2009 for alledgely importing illegally endangered and rare ebony woods from Madagascar, a case still not closed, 20 armed (!) Feds raided again several Gibson offices a few months ago on the wings of a rather "only-in-America" retroactive law called the Lacey Act which prohibits the commerce of wood and wood products that were taken or sold in violation of any law meant to address illegal logging or species conservation, be them american laws or international laws... This year, the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) also sees protests by several organisations and individuals against the NAMM supports to the Relief Act, which could, they say, seriously impact on the regulations over rare woods.

Now, everyone knows the famous Gibson Rosewood but not everbody knows its rare wood came from the Brazilian rain forests until 2003 even tho Gibson promessed the Rain Forest Alliance never to use its woods anymore. And where this story takes a complete new turn is how the politics get into it: Gibson's boss is a known republican (altho he also gives donation to the Dems...) and his side of...

20 Jan
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music, music industry

One can sit down and procrastinate all day about the state of music and how he/she can't make a living from his/her passion anymore...And it's obvious and we all know it: for normal sized bands, touring, selling CDs and merchandising at gigs, providing extra content to the superfans, trying to get some synchro money going on and getting your rights from radio broadcasts are about what's left for the artists to get money from.

On the shelf you can now add: giving lessons of your instrument(s) using Skype and Paypal... And it starts to happen more and more, there was even an article in the New York Times about an ukulele virtuoso named Matt Dahlberg. You can tune in Skype and he'll teach you how to play the Star-Spangled Banner in a matter of minutes ! And once you dig in, you find other very good musicians using Skype to connect with people wanting to learn an instruments; violins, bagpipe (a huge succes with neighbours), guitars, of course, you can learn about any instrument you want. Altho i did look for synthesizer lessons that would be given on a Moog IIc but didn't find any :)

some examples:
ukulele:...

19 Jan
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artists, music instrument

You saw the post about the US study showing that, if blinded, people would consider the Stradivarius (the Tesla of the violins, the Champagne of the strings instruments, the truffe noire of the four stringed bows) as sounding flat and rather less musical than modern 1.000 dollars equivalents ? Well, here it gets worst :)

I'm pretty sure the DigiEnsemble (8 musicians and singers from Berlin) doesn't mind the contradiction between having been classically trained (read: sometimes rather stubborn when it comes to novelties and re-intepretation of the classics) and being a chamber music orchestra using state-of-the-art new millenia instruments with portable phones and latest generation laptops.

You can see them here, controlling audio samples of classical instruments using portable phones and Ipads. While the sounds aren't too bad and the expressions/vibrato/bowing they can give to the instruments using the gyroscope is frankly uncanny at times, and strangely they do have rather the same body language that if they were playing their cellos and violins...

Now, guys, try the same with full-on tuxedos and a larger repertoire and I can predict you quite a (well...

18 Jan
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movie industry, music industry

If, just like us, you have one eye on your music and one eye on the net, you cannot ignore that, today, Wikipedia is shutting down its english speaking site for 24 hours as a protest towards two US laws that will seek chambers approvals in the US in the forthcoming weeks.

SOPA, and soon PIPA, are not just attempts to block content to be exchanged between internet users, using well known websites. While attacking a vicious problem (illegal downloads) that needs to be tackled down of course, it just cowardly opens its nets large enough to have any kind of content to get tagged as illegal.

The point that Wikipedia tries to make is obvious: there you have an encyclopedia (with its good and bad sides) developped by millions of users and which could be closed down if SOPA or PIPA are adopted by US congress and US senate under the sole argument that these laws are "censorship-on-the-button": Wikipedia (but also other sites like Boing Boing and, if pushed to the limit, a research you would do on Google...) has in its pages uncleared material being pinpointed or linked to, or phrases from writers being quoted from books they published, or small samples of music shown...

17 Jan
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music industry

Sometimes, a good picture makes far more sense than a long article...and this article from theatlantic.com is just that: a simple drawning tells you how much a musician needs to sell in order to reach 1.160 US $ wage per month. Which, by musician standards, is already quite a reach as permanent wages is something few musicians experiment...

Just to cut down the chase to a few phrases, if a musician hopes to do 1.160 US $ a month, he will need to sell:

143 self-pressed CDRs
155 "real" CDs sold thru CD Baby
...here the gap is getting bigger: 1.161 CDs sold if he has a high end deal with a label
12.399 tracks sold on Amazon (unfortunately one of the consequence of digital music: people buy more on a song-per-song basis)
...and here's we're getting in the "I wish it was a joke territory but it's not":
849.000 Rhapsody streams
...if you think THAT was funny, wait till you see the Spotify streams necesseraly so the artist goes back home with 1.160 US $

4.053.000 streams. FOUR MILLION FIFTY THREE THOUSAND streams.

I rest my case.

...

16 Jan
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music industry

2011 sales figures in the UK clearly show pop music (as in "popular music", heard a lot on the biggest radio stations and seen on TV, often used in adverts, etc...) has largely outsold rock sales in albums or singles this year. This is a first since 2003.

What's happening ? Do the masses turn their back on Evil Rock N'Roll ? Or are the radios more concerned with Political Correctness ? Or does the X factor, The Voice, Pop Idol, etc...finally succeeding in making most people believing what matters is the enveloppe, not what's in it ? I can recognize a good song when I hear one, but when you're made to believe TV show after TV show that an artist can be created in a matter or weeks and what is important is how well she/he sings an old classic, things can go wrong down the line...

Despite releases by rock heavy sellers like Coldplay or Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Pop Music is occupying 18 spots on the 2011Top 20 album sales, evidently pushed by albums from Adele, Lady Gaga or Rihanna...

UK Top 20 Albums Of 2011
01 21 - ADELE 3,772,000
02 CHRISTMAS - MICHAEL BUBLE 1,292,000
03 DOO-WOPS & HOOLIGANS - BRUNO MARS 1,214,420
04...

10 Jan
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music industry

Dave Kusek is, to put it mildly, a man with a CV. He was the brain behind the Synare drums and the first music dedicated sofware (Passport). He also co-share the development of the MIDI standard, that little thing we take for granted but which finally allowed electronic instruments to talk with each other. Now, he's appointed VP of Berklee Media, the online arm from the probably best known music school in the world (Berklee College Of Music).

So, when Dave speaks, we should really listen...He has put online a presentation of Global Music Business and his points are very interesting, especially when it comes down to what we've been advocating for months here, on the Kollector Blog: the relation from the artist to the fan, and the artist's second most important to-do thing: create a special relationship with the fans and make them SUPERFANS. (the first important to-do thing is, of course, make great music).

To cut it down to a few phrases, here is what we have in 2012:

-the label model is no longer dominant
-CD sales have collapsed
-digital revenues aren't enough
-touring profitability is a challenge

this is what an artist should aim...

09 Jan
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artists, music history, songwriters

Where is David Jones ? Where is The Thin White Duke ? Where is Ziggy ? Decades of music fans can indeed wonder where their favorite workalcoholic singer is, and what he does these days...The thing is: David Bowie turned 65 yesterday and while even older stars like Keith Richards plan to go on tour yet again, the thin chameleon hasn't been seen or heard in ages. His last works were an album in 2003 and a song in 2005, a couple of commercials (one with...Snoop Dog), some apperances on stages with bands like Arcade Fire or Dave Grohl's Foo Fighters, some awards and discreet chanting here and there but nothing like the Bowie we're used too...

And it's missing. The Man had different periods (psychedelic folk/glam rock/white soul/Berlin/Mainstream Bowie/Tin Machine/electronics-bass and drums), he also had true visionnary moments and his music did capture most of the Zeitgeist indeed: no one can forget his Ziggy days nor his Berlin stance which probably launched a new musical genre by itself (New Wave is at least 5 pages off David Bowie's attitude and music/vocals cues). Now, in 2012, one wonder: what is Bowie doing ?

David Bowie also did something totally unique by...

30 Dec
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music industry

Kollector can indeed help you.
Here are some of the articles we published this year that were about Kollector and how it can bring indispensable informations to everyone in the music industry.

Le Monde talks about Kollector http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/le-monde-talks
Some numbers about Freddie http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/kollector-loves-freddie
Finnish Heavy Metal Band goes global http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/today-finland
Abba in the Kollector system http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/dancing-queen
Kollector in South America http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/kollector-diego
How Kollector works http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/see-how-kollector-works
Virginie Berger on Kollector...

30 Dec
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music industry, music marketing

The pie is getting smaller but there are more and more people wanting to have a share. Marketing is needed...
Bands, artists, you NEED to get on top of the new tools to get heard and seen.
Being great is one thing, sure, but making it known is essential.

Here are some of the articles we wrote about music and marketing this year...

Labels and artists desesperately need to go 2.0 if not 3.0... http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/how-structure-20-record-company
Are Facebook Pages working against bands and labels ? http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/facebook-shot
Crowdfunding is one way to go, yes http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/crowdfunding-way-go
It's all about making events http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/stageit-glimpse-future
From fans to superfans http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog...

29 Dec
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music history

Here are some of the articles on music history who did appear in the Kollector Blog in 2011:

Suicide, the amazing NYC band that opened up the gates for Techno http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/suicide-synths
Portishead, or how to survive trip-hop http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/portishead-trip-hop-2011
Niles Rodger (Chic): from the FBI most wanted men list to the top of the charts http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/nile-rodgers-chic
Phil Spector: the agony and the exctasy of an immense producer http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/phil-spector-genius
History of girls in bands....http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/girls-groups
Love them or hate them, Daft Punk made history...http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/oh-l%C3%A0-l%C3%A0-daft-punk...

27 Dec
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music instrument

What would a musician do without an instrument ? Well, we're pretty sure he or she will find a way to make some noise anyway :)

Here are ten articles we wrote about music instruments...

Mute synth http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/mute-synth
Circuit bending ! http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/circuit-bending
The invention of the Wah Wah pedal... http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/who-invented-wah-wah-pedal
The Minimoog http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/minimoog-how-it-all-began
Modular synts are evil !!! http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/modular-analog-synths-are-just-wild-be...
Walk thru an orchestra... http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/hear-orchestra-within
The Haken...

27 Dec
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music industry

2011 saw some important moves in the music industry, if only because EMI called it a day and got eaten up or Spotify opened his gates in the USA....Here are some of the articles on the music industry one could read on the Kollector Blog this year...

More and more time is needed to connect and digital platforms are here to help: http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/digital-platforms
One of the most visited website on the planet about to unleash music site: http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/megaupload-music
is Warner Music Group soon going to take a dive ? http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/majors-only-2
Some numbers on how Spotify cannibalizes CD sales http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/spotify-cannibalizes
And more numbers on Spotify: http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/spotify-whats-it-artist
Streaming hurts small...

26 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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General
artists, music history, songwriters

Ok, this is the festive season and you try to emerge from the never ending party your live seems to have become....Here's some informative but fun articles we wrote since june 2011, launch of the Kollector Blog that will help you get thru the week :)
First, let's cover some of the artists we wrote about...

Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the Robin Hood of the Afro beat ! http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/fela-kuti-robin-hood-music
Amy Winehouse, the star that went dark too fast http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/amy-was-great-artist-she-really-really...
A documentary on the great Joe: http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/joe-strummer
Kollector loves Freddie Mercury: http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/kollector-loves-freddie
When underground music gets into the mainstream (Skrillex) http://blog....

23 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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music industry, songwriters

Remember Thomas Dolby, with his perky New Wave hits "She Blinded Me With Science" or "Hyperactive" or the very european "Airwaves" ? Well, since he made it big back in the eighties, Thomas hasn't stop to move and, just like the intemporal watcher in the sci-fi serie Fringe, it seems he has always been there when important things happen. Let's recap...

Back in 1981, Thomas releases Europe And The Pirate Twins, following it three years later with The Flat Eath which contains the very haunting "I Scare Myself". He will have later a few more albums released (collaborations with Ruichi Sakamoto, Aliens Ate My Buick,...) and does a few soundtracks. He also produced some records, one of them being "Steve Mc Queen" by The Prefab Sprouts, one of the very best album from the 80's imho.

In 1993 his career takes an interesting turn as he establish a company called Headspace which designs a music compression algorithm called RMF. It was frankly ahead of its time as it envisionned the moments where internet would just mean the end of the control artists and labels had on music files: latest versions of RMF incorporates a watermark...The company also releases software...

22 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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General
artists, marketing

After the excellent "The Wilderness Downtown" video which went viral by incorporating a cooler than cool Google Maps integration, the great canadian band Arcade Fire is doing it again !
With the help of Vincent Morrisset, they propose a specially dedicated website where you can watch a clip for their song Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) but also have a go at interacting with it.

On http://www.sprawl2.com/, you can choose between watch the normal video but also interfere with it with your own webcam or with your mouse. You can somehow intervene with the way the characters in the video move, it's funny and will no doubt benefit from quite a buzz.

Now, there are a few things one can deduct from this, besides the fact that Arcade Fire is indeed a great band...
1/ one need to multiply the offerings to fans, make something happen, build something with consistency.
2/ a dedicated website per operation has the advantage to make things less crowded on the band's main website, it's easier to understand (and another website with good links and can no doubt up your Google ranking).
3/ don't be afraid to...

21 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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artists, fans, music industry

First a few words about Myspace relaunching its operation today : "Get over it, Justin. People will never go back to Myspace and revamping it will not make people come back. Remember when Myspace was the totally new rad place to be in and all the bands on the planet had a page there ? Well, it's gone. For ever. Dating back an old flame? Naaaah. It's sooooo 2005 all over again"
Justin ? Justin ? He hang up on me !!!

Now, let's quit 2005 and fly to december 2011.

Funny how solutions appear here and there the second after a problem is being identified!
Two seconds later, some clever guys put together a cool idea.
And on the third second, they have secured a first round with a Venture Capital firm and get a zillion dollars to see them thru the years and put a deposit on a Tesla sportcar :)

Well, 2012 will be the year of the Digital Platforms for bands. You know, they are the digital equivalent of a manager: it's a mix of all the tools a band, an artist need today.
For example, it puts together all access to social networking once you upload a video, it's dispatched to al the virtual-places-to-be, you put concert dates, merch stall and...

20 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music industry

That should be interesting: MegaUplaod, the site we all will deny we're using here and there but still attracts zillions of visitors per day, is deeply entangled in a battle with Universal Music Group after the major took down the Mega Song, a promotionnal video made by artists who, in a strange twist, are lovers of the Mega Empire.

The founder of Mega Upload knows he's a "bad guy" and a convicted felon but that doesn't stop him to be rather furious at UMG who put down the song last week, apparently for copyright infringement. Said song has been composed by no less than one of the Black Eye Peas team member and is promoted by a few known girls and guys showing up their face on the video and saying how much they love to use Mega Upload to send out big files which is by itself hilarious as we all know Megaupload's core business is file-sharing, especially movies and TV series...

Now, Mr Kim Dotcom (he swears it's his real name) tells Torrent Freak (http://torrentfreak.com/from-rogue-to-vogue-megaupload-and-kim-dotcom-11...) Mega Upload is about to unleash a music site that...

19 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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music history

A unique chance to see/hear the incredible Requiem from Wolfgang Mozart this evening, live from London.
Tune on http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/interactive/2011/dec/16/mozart-requiem-l... at 8:30 pm GMT and enjoy the experience ( King's College choir + the excellent Aurora Orchestra).

Live stream seems to be getting important in this era where it's vital to touch as many people as possible and generate interest. You have dedicated websites offering bands and events a dedicated platform to present gigs, concerts or release parties. http://www.bandome.com is one of them, worth checking.

With concerts becoming more and more expensive, will bands and labels concentrate on offering yet another experience based this time around a live gig ?

19 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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artists, fans, music industry

There was a time where it seemed having a song being played on radios and a video on A rotation at MTV was all you needed to have a hit or a song that was doing well...

Now, things have changed, the pie that's the music market has to be shared with other ways of entertainment: videogames and smartphones have eaten up the largest part of it. So, bands have to find new ways to attract fans, and make them superfans: those are the ones who don't just click on "Like" on Facebook but actually love the band enough to buy the records and, maybe, the merchandising.

Manchester Orchestra, a band from Altanta, has come up with a neat idea to put the fans in the middle of the game: they want them to sing the chorus on their song "Virgin". They built an entire website around this project (http://www.webuiltthishouse.com), allowing you to sing the song, record it (there is even a clik at the start of the song, with the lyrics and all) and send it automatically to Soundcloud where an avatar is being created for you. Later on, after one month, Manchester Orchestra takes all the voices (excluding mine cos I sing like a crow on Prozac...

15 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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music industry

In a mesmerizing altho short piece, Wayne Rosso, from the excellent Music Void website (http://www.themusicvoid.com/2011/12/warner-sony-picking-up-the-pieces/), envisions clearly a world without Warner as he decrypts what seem to be the last uncertain moves from Warner Music Group.

To summarize, Warner (11% of the US market ) may have a hit in the US with Michaël Bubblé's Christmas album, but insiders reveal releases schedule is empty and WMG may have to "let some people go". Apparently, WMG is in talks with Sony for a distribution deal, leaving WMG to be just an overblown production label...

Len Blavatnick, the uber wealthy russion capitaine d'industries who bought WMG in may 2011 for 3,3 billions $, may have done a rather short lived investment...After the sale of EMI to Universal, and EMI's publishing arm to Sony, observers weren't exepecting the last Majors to crumble some more. No so soon....

In short, list of key artists per major label:
1. Universal Music Group
Black Eyed Peas
Mariah Carey
50 Cent
Gwen Stefani...

14 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music instrument

Mute Records, the iconic record company home to Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, Erasure and now very cool new acts Beth Jeans Houghton, Josh T. Pearson, S.C.U.M, and others, finally comes full circle and is releasing the perfect Xmas gift for all musicians or wannabee musicians: a small two oscillator synthesizer (equipped with a sequencer/pulser, yes....) controlled by touch and tilt: the Dirty Electronics Mute Synth. And it is shaped around the Mute logo too.

The more you squeeze it, the louder it gets or the crazier the sounds could go: this device is truly amazing and sounds lethal indeed. There are no knobs, there are no confort zone for you to rest on: this synth is dysfunctionnal by design and that's one of the beauty of it as sounds come and go and will never, ever be reproduced twice. Don't even ask about a memory patch, duh :))

This incredible instrument is so much at home in the Mute Catalog, and it would be a great add under your Christmas tree (sale price is about 70 Euros).
I want mine signed by Daniel Miller :)

http://www.mutebank.co.uk/mutebank/mutebank/Mute-...

14 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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advertisement, music industry, promotion

There are moments like that, where you get a small but significant "victory": Le Monde, one of France's most read daily newspaper, has a small article on Kollector, and it feels good.

Besides the fact that it makes new users converging to the site and register, it also feels good to see that the article is picking up things that you feel are important in the Kollector project: its transparency and how this could be a game changer tool for the music industry, and not only in the redistribution of radio's royalties.

Kollector does that, and even more:

- Realtime worldwide statistics giving you a precise and accurate view of your radio broadcasts.
- First hand transparent factual data to help you and your publisher to estimate airplay royalties.
- Time saving application optimizing the management of your audio works.
- Data you can share with your partners to overview in realtime and nationally/internationally your promo campaigns .
- Comparative watch to ensure new territories and markets.

Using Kollector to track down your songs on the planet's radio will tell you so much more than just where and when it's has been played: it...

13 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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artists

Trainspotting (1996) was a defining moment for more than one person or band: it established Ewan Mc Gregor as an actor, it showed the movie world Danny Boyle was someone to count on, and it definitively put Underworld, a band orginally named Frrrreur (spelling ? ) in 1979, on the map as a great, danceable, original electronic band and the "Dubnobasswithmyheadman" album will be a classic for ever.

Now, Danny Boyle and Underworld have been called up to produce the Opening Night at the London 2012 Olympics. Eat your heart out, Decouflé !

What can we expect ? Loud sounds, spectacular new technologies and mesmerising, if not slightly trippy, moments and hooks. All this while the USA's charts see more and more electronic dance acts taking it by storm and huge dance festivals are emerging as the latest trend to count on: electronic dance music is now définitively going global and mainstream...

13 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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copyrights, music industry

In a move they want quite discreet, Google has just acquired Rightsflow, a NYC company specialized in music licensing.

Looks very much like a well calculated chess player move to us: Google wants to put behind the numerous troubles Youtube (which they purchased back in 2006 for 1,65 B $...) had with rights owners. They only just got rid of a class action started by the National Music Publishers Association and very clearly want to send a strong message to all: they want to identify rights owners, they want to pay them and yes, we want no more law suits so we can continue to propose free music and free videos...

The move goes two ways: on the left hand side Rightflow can help them identify rights owners and eventually pay them, on the right hand side, they now have a dedicated speaker and negociator for rights. This can only be good and not only for Youtube: Google Music will certainly benefit from the experiences of the acquired music licensing company...

I will be VERY interested to see the first numbers of sales thru the Youtube bands shops. That alone should inject some needed money for the artists and groups...

...

12 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music industry

Virginie Berger, a french journalist, blogger, manager and new media specialist, has quite a few valuable things to say as her knowledge of the new tools for the Music Industry is proven.
Her blog, now at http://virginieberger.com/, often sees interesting articles on how to act and move in this new Digital Age where choices (and wrong ways) are numerous.

Midem is just relesing a short presentation she did on the available circuits and tools needed these days. She explains well the 2011 landscape available to the music community to promote, expand and sell.
With an important question: while Myspace is evidently out of fashion and abandoned by most, why is it still quite relevant ? The answer is...well read it on http://blog.midem.com/2011/12/virginie-berger-digital-music-new-tools-fo...

12 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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artists

The most elegant man in rock music, Nick Cave, has, again, decided to move on.

After having been frontman in iconic bands such as The Birthday Party, The Bad Seeds and, more recently, Grinderman, after achieving multiple awards and even mainstream charts success with the murdorous ballad "When The Wild Roses Grow" (with Kylie Minogue), the australian artist has declared, right in the middle of a concert, that Grinderman will no longer exist...

Where will he go from here ? Inspired singer and lyricist, Nick Cave is also a writer and has released books and novels since 1988. His latest novel, "The Death Of Bunny Monro", makes Bret Easton Ellis' books look like roses in a spring garden: Bunny Monro is dirty and depraved, highly immoral and violent. It's the works of the best to make us shiver and shake when sharing experiences, especially when written with such talent. "The Death Of Bunny Monro" also came out as an audio book, and an Iphone app, which was carefully scored by Cave (and Warren Ellis, his musical partner) like a movie soundtrack: slow, emotionnal work that takes you by surprise...

Where will Cave go from here ? Another band ? Another book...

09 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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artists

Everybody that somebody in the US is talking about Skrillex and there has been articles about him as far as in the very mainstream New York Times. This good looking fella started his music career as lead singer in an Emo group but eventually really made it around 2009 after he started to create his own music, a powerful mixture of dubstep and glitch with pop structures and strongly distorted sounds: a mixture of Daft Punk meets Venetian Snares with The Prodigy as godfathers. Voices and samples are strectched out and influences can even be traced back to Babylon Zoo, a UK band who were among the firsts to play with highly pitched voices (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_9MI2ymN6s) if you don't count The Chipmunks that's it.

Skrillex got his break when he made the theme song for Reptile, a videogame from the Mortal Kombat franchise and ended up touring with the very successful DeadMau5.

Very much in the mood of the time as we already said here, these new sounds vaguely associated with dubstep at the start areindeed the latest underground sounds to make it to the open and into the charts. It's an...

08 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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General
politics in music

Jim Morrison would have turned 68 today if he hadn't die in a french hotel in 1971 at 27 (aaaah, the famous 27 years old tag).

History recalls a turbulent teenager, a great looking lead singer in black leather fronting out an interesting band in an interesting political era: the rise of the Youths in the USA, the psychedelic movement, music rapidly becoming a decent business venture as rock music started to flood the Nation. He was also one of the first "controversial" singer on stage, directly interacting with the crowd (and as such is praised by many, including Iggy Pop) and engaging people as his shows were hectic and filled with tension and subdued sexuality and angst/nervosity...

The music of The Doors still sounds good these days (a testament to analog recording equipment and talented musicians and producers) and we can still feel in it the poetry of the lyrics but also the radical (for the time) meaning they sometimes had. Jim Morrison was known to be troubles and people still recall his problems with the Police and how The Man arrested him on stage. Of course this boosted even more The Doors' reputation for being anti-establishement, something that, at...

08 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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General
hip hop, politics in music

...and the answer is a big, loud YES. This article from Al Jazeera is very, very, very interesting as it lays down and explains the fact that the White House is using rap as a promotionnal tool or shall we say, to give to islamic countries around the world another look at racial and religious integration.

It isn't the first time the USA uses such device, and why not ? They had already send jazz bands around Africa to counter-balance Russian propaganda there, back during the Cold War, and the CIA has used Jackson Pollock*** as proof of the freedom allowed to the individuals and artists in the USA in the 50's...

Hillary Clinton makes no mystery the White House uses rap as a promotionnal tool and when asked about it, this is what she replies (quote from Al Jazeera) :
*"You have to bet at the end of the day, people will choose freedom over tyranny if they're given a choice," Clinton observed of the State Department's hip hop programme in Syria - stating that cultural diplomacy is a complex game of "multidimensional chess". "Hip hop can be a chess piece?" asked the interviewer. "Absolutely!" responded the secretary of state.

Where it starts to be funny...

07 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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music industry, social media

A very, very interesting insight from Darren Hemmings, head of Digital Marketing at indie giant PIAS, about how the new Facebook News Feed is actually rather counter-productive for bands and artists.

Bands know that, in order to communicate more efficiencly with Facebook fans, they need to set up "pages". And while a page is already a bit of a (calculated) bummer as you need to take Facebook ads if you want to proactively looking for more fans, and you cannot message them, it has become an essential tool for bands. Everybody knows Myspace has passed the state of death already and most social activities are happening between Twitter, Facebook and the odd Tumblr or Soundcloud. What may come as a sad surprise is actually the level of pages actually seen by the fans: less than 7% !

The newest change in Facebook is that fast-moving News Feed as it seems to favor the amount of information rather than the quality of it. As points out Dave Hemmings: "qualitative recommendation is foregone in favour of sheer quantity". And considering we already getting only a share of the actual info (my band is great, we have a new song out, check it and make your friends listen to it as...

07 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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music industry

Pop Music is a strange phenomenom: it tries to encapsulate in a few minutes all the dreams, hopes, fears of the Young, mash it up with the mood of the era and its instruments and there you have it: 3'30" anthem of pure unadulterated fun the older generations can't get. Hopefully.

K-Pop is just that and more: they learned all the lessons of boys (bands) meet girls (bands) , they mashed up manga culture and Fast&Furious with glimpses heard on Rihanna's records, mix that with a bit of Lady Gaga's attitude, add some spice (sexual tension and innocence intertwined) and there you go: it's like the East has understand all the rules of pop music and decided to make it its own. Japan Pop was eaten up in a decade and gigantic shows are already spreading across the West and the odd K-pop song makes the charts here and there, thousand of miles away from Seoul, where it was created...The music can be syrup at times or annoying Crazy Frog sounding, it mixes dance, electropop, hip hop, rock and R&B and swipes the East, not unlike what happened in Europe with rock music since the 90's..

While we can dismiss it as being just an industrial product, the same can be said...

06 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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General
movie industry, music history

We spoke briefly about Network Awesome a few weeks ago as they had a great Martin Rev's interview (http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/suicide-synths) and we can only thank them to do such a great job at exploring the archives of movies and videos related to Pop Culture and coming up with gems, things that have been forgotten but are important parts of what Popular Culture is.

Incidentally they are using curators which is far better method of recommandations than using algorithms at spotting up what you may like: specialists looking out for things that you may enjoy and be interested with are better than suites of ones and zeros telling you that if you loved "this", you surely will love "that".

Curators at "Network Awesome" put together videos spotted on Youtube, or else, and provide us with very valuables informations and documentaires, interviews and reportages on a large variety of subjects from Art to Music, Movies and Trailers and back again. These guys are doing society a service by curating what's been done and which shouldn't be diluted under tons of wannabee music videos that will soon be...

06 Dec
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artists, music history, music industry

The Chemical Brothers are one of the longest living electronic band around, and man didn't they survived a few trends, always at the tip of the latest dance fad.

Starting in 1993, at the peak of the sampling wave, they went from being Big beat to full electronica, techno (of course) , and seem to now embrace neo-psychedelia. Very agile and always with a finger on the pulse of clubs, they are one of the only arena electronic bands, swimming with ease when crowds numbers are huge.

The Chemical Brothers will release the concert film "Don't Think" in early February. It was shot at the Fuji Rock festival in Japan and promesses a full experience of sounds and psychedelia. The soundtracks has been mixed in 7:1 and I didn't even know I had enough ears to listen in that format...

the website: http://www.dontthinkmovie.com/

05 Dec
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movie industry

This well written piece of The Hollywood Reporter talks about the extraordinary Fellini movie La Dolce Vita and the battle going on for whom owns the right to it.

It seems that after the many sales of catalog to one company to another one, the movie actually might belong to the public domain...or to a pornographic movie company. Who knows ? A complex US laws (aren't they all ?) also attributes an additional copyright period to american companies that would still benefit from overseas copyright. Meaning any back catalogue piece of film that sees some restoration work could benefit from some more years of ownership....

More or less the same case applies to record companies catalog and publishers' works as sometimes after the forth consecutive sale no one knows who owns what and in which territories...

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/la-dolce-vitas-legal-war-269533

05 Dec
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music industry

Music is most of the times about making us experiment feelings thru melodic/rythmic patterns that are organized and structured by the artists known as musicians. And while some of it is very organized (most of the hits on the charts are pushing buttons according to known structures and chords chains, they don't want to upset you in any ways and give you a song you're sure you're heard before), some of it isn't and risks are boldly taken by the artists.

It's not a secret the artists keener to take the risks are on companies liking taking risks. And while there are only a few major left now, their rooster mostly are proven bands and solo artists they know the crowds will love. So, in a cosmic move that's rather funny, it's great to see that the fastest selling artist of the last 6 years is Adele, an english singer signed on XL recordings, an english indie label home to bands like The Prodigy, Radiohead, White Stripes, etc...yes, charts acts but with more than a hint for originality and musical adventures. And we love it.

Adele's 21 album has been 21 weeks at the top of the US Charts, a performance unseen for the last 11 years (2011) ! Columbia, its distributor in...

02 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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music industry

If you have no musical talent whatsoever but are desesperate to show off and proove to your friends you're rock harder than them, here's your chance: let your Iphone do the job...

Smule, a company set up by Standford ex-students, offers several Iphone and Ipad musical instruments like a piano, an ocarina (great to play the Final Fantasy themes) or a trombone and just about a-ny-one can play these simple yet coherent apps. There's even a software called Songify which records your voice and will put it in a song-like structure. It makes huge numbers on Youtube already !

While you're laughing (or crying) cos as a musician you have master your craft for thousand of hours only to see complete amateurs actually coming up with songs, it won't hurt you too much then to know that Smule is indeed a profitable company and there are zillions of people loving this extreme make over of "How To Write A Song": there are more than 25 millions of Smule products consumers and no less than 350.000.songs have been created using the several Smule apps.

I personally cannot wait to see the first Songify song making the charts :)))

02 Dec
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music industry

In an era where music sales are fragile and not even labels can predict what will stick on the ceiling when they release a "record", bands have to look out for means of making a normal retribution to their work.

Gorrilaz, the brain child of Damon Albarn from UK pop band Blur, has a great defined line since day one, and hiding behind a cartoonesque band was just a great, great idea that has prooved to be artistically AND musically a well deserved success. Singles like Clint Eastwood or Feel Good, Inc and Style are gem pop songs while definitively timeless and creative. On the look side, well, here's at last a band that never ages: the band members are all cartoon and as so they are pliable and willing...

In their last move, and just in time for the release of their Greatest Hits, Gorillaz and Converse have ink a deal so that there will be some 60$ shoes with distinctive Gorillaz look and colors. The incredible thing is while this contract would have send any X generation fan crazy about his favorite band making it with the Devil Corporate, this just feels normal and, dare I say the word, even COOL.

The band's website is definitively worth the visit, hey...

01 Dec
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music industry

Interesting article by Dave Fortune in Music Void: he has organise live concerts in Canada for 25 years and they had something good going on. Then LiveNation comes in, buys the company and places at the head of the office someone who has no clue about how to organize great concerts fans will remember but who's great at doing endless Excel sheets and marketing plots...All with one unique idea: "to cut costs !"

In order to do so, in order to able LiveNation stockholders to have a very Merry Xmas indeed, they are ordered to cut costs everywhere possible and by doing so they, for example, "have to let go a certain amount of people' working around the concerts, or reduce services, or using cheaper PA's, etc... By doing so, by schrinking the number of knowledgeable people or reducing costs as much as possible, the experience of Live Music has become more of a business oriented area than a fan experience which is , after all, the one that matters most as the fan will decide at the end of the day if that artist is worth it on stage, and if he wants to buy the albums and the merch'. By making the fan's experience a smaller thing, by reducing costs so much that it's no more a...

01 Dec
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music

Today is dedicated to a pandemic disease that has already taken tens of millions of lives around the world, in every categories of people, gender and social origins, middle age people like children, heterosexuals like homosexuals, drug addicts or plain simple citizen: the disease is stil here and still cannot be cured.

In the artistic world, AIDS has taken some world famous artists like Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Freddie Mercury, Silvester, Klaus Nomi, Jermaine Stewart but also Israeli's female singer Ofra Haza, disco singer Sharon Redd or Liberace, that so-tacky and funny flamboyant piano player who made Las Vegas his own...

December 1st is here to make us remember the disease is still around us, taking lives and that there is no cure yet...

30 Nov
Published by jean-marc,
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artists

When Martin Gore (Depeche Mode) and Vince Clarke (Yazoo, Erasure) unite, it's an EP and it's called VCMG...

The "Spock" EP is on sale from today, and you can listen to it on Beatport.
http://www.beatport.com/artist/vcmg/229464/tracks

Now, is it exciting ? Do we really get the best of both worlds, the dark sides of Martin Gore, his taste and talent for melodies that will stick in your ears like glue, and the very danceable side of Vince, who was after all responsible for Depeche Mode's early hits (Vince left the band in 1981).

So, 22 years later, Martin and Vince re-unite on this neat EP. Prepare yourself for some instrumental techno not unlike the early Plastikman.

http://mute.com/vcmg/vince-clarke-and-martin-l-gore-announce-details-of-...
https://www.facebook.com/VCMGofficial

30 Nov
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General
artists, politics in music

You know at Kollector we're very much into people taking pride in their work as artists and while mainstream music rules fine in most cases, there's nothing like someone standing up from the crowd and being the voice of a generation, or a cause, or a movement, (or just for himself) but with a difference: a unique individual who never takes NO for an answer.

And Joe Strummer, who sadly passed away December 22 2002, was that: a loud, opiniated but charming man, very politically aware that stood up for the rights of the People, but also an exceptional artist : he was member of the iconic band The Clash and helped give Punk its best letters. He was also very involved in politics and took part in many Rock Against Racism concerts, AIDS campaigns, and his last records were actually pressed carbon free as Joe Strummer had trees replanted to offest the carbon foot of his releases...

Together with The Clash, they released two of the best rock albums ever: Sandinista and London Calling.

Julian Temple, an excentric and adorable english movie maker, has made a magnificent documentary on Joe Strummer http://www....

29 Nov
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politics in music

You know we love Henry here. Not only because he wrote a couple of classics, not because he has a great face we don't see enough in movies, not because he has a tatoo on his back the size of Brussels, but because he's articulate, clever, curious, addicted to his neurones showing the way up, dictatorial about where we could go if we were thinking from time to time. His stance might be directed at America first, yes, but at the same time his stance can be read globally: it comments what we are as people and how hollow we can be and his views are definitively very enlightning.

As you may know, Black Friday is the opening of the winter season in the US, and usually shops open at 04:00am, and some even at midnight... lines of people are standing on the street, waiting to get that apparatus they have been dreaming to own for months now...Incidentally, Black Friday is also a 1869 financial crisis where two gold speculators drove the USA to the brink of economic collapse. Rings a bell ?

Apple has never had a better black friday shopping day EVER: 400% above expectations...

Link to Henry Rollins' article:...

28 Nov
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politics in music

In an interesting blog entry from Tunecore, numbers show that only about 6.000 artists made more than a 100 $ in their monthly statement. Not afraid of big numbers ? Ok, Tunecore artists are...600.000: so that's only ONE percent of musicians making a decent (and sometimes very, very decent, income from their art)
(http://digitalaudioinsider.blogspot.com/2011/11/tunecore-releases-some-f...)

This is why it's not surprising the Occupy Movement started in NY a few months agois reaching more and more musicians as they are also part of the 99% of people off the Rich Grid, and they suffer directly from the effects of the big R, the recession hiting the planet. Moby, Kayne, The Kiils and many, many more artists are joining in as the peaceful movement grows and grows. What are the Occupy Wall Strert about ? Simple, yet worth the effort:

"Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of...

28 Nov
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General

Bill Bailey is a very funny stand-up comedian and not a bad musician altho he learned his tricks by constantely listening to The Monty Pythons and that's bad, really bad...

Musically, he's a weird and necessary person in this world: he invents wild instruments (the six neck electric guitar is a wet dream for anyone raised on Led Zeppelin...) and his raunchy reddition of Metallica songs on old cars's trumpets is exactly how Metallica should have done it in the first place !

In this long but worthy video, Bill gets into some fascinating and funny grooves with the Beeb's Orchestra (directed by the uber-talented Ann Dudley) and it's as funny and interesting: his ways of explaining how to strike different feelings with the appropriate chords is nothing short of fascinating.

Thanx Billl !

his website: http://www.billbailey.co.uk/

24 Nov
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artists, music history

Freddie Mercury was larger than life, a genuine entertainer, a great singer, an exuberant baroquian character that came up with some pure gems of songs. He passed away twenty years ago but his way of doing things still resonates in many bands today, be them Mika or Lady Gaga. We included here a documentary about him as the man deserves attention, he was far more than just a singer fronting a band.

At Kollector, we've been tracking 10 Queen's songs, and collectively they have been broadcast more than 19.000 times ! "Bohemian Rhapsody" of course is at the front with 4115 trackings since june 2011 with most of the trackings from canadia rock classic Radio K97 but Australia is the country most addicted to Queen's airplay. The song has been played 183 times these last 24 hours. Impressive, non ?

24 Nov
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advertisement, artists, music industry

We had a blog entry the other day about how the Y Generation sees very little evil at all into corporates funding artists. And maybe this is one of the ways Music can expand and grow: commercial companies seeing the benefits of being a sponsor. Just like in the Renaissance where artists were being able to survive and do their work thanx to rich benefactors...

In this case, Rolex his a sponsor for the Arts since 2002. More than 170 artists from different fildls (dance, film, literature, music, theatre and visual arts) have been assembled into doing a one year project between a mentor and his protege. People like Youssu N'Dour, Martin Scorcese or Peter Sellars have teamed up with youngs gifted artists and have interact with them for a period of at least 6 weeks, assembling new pieces or just communicating together...A bit like If Yoda a swiss watch was wearing to Jedi Padawan lessons to give :)

Brian Eno (universally known as a musical genius since Roxy Music to his work with U2 and others) has mentor Australian born artist Ben Frost (a post rock musician now living in Iceland) and together they made music, talked philosophy and arts....Here is a very interesting 5...

23 Nov
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music industry

Racism is a very sensitive issue but it needs to be tackled and chased.

Too often, pop videos portray the artists like semi-Gods living a dream, and this Florence And The Machines vidéo does just that but worst: it's drowned in horrendous pure-white-woman VS evil-black-man clichés and some of them carry very despictable racist imagery and creepy hidden meanings. The video has already attracted nearly 1 million viewers on Youtube and starts to make quite a noise because it does indeed make you travel thru white supremacy ideas and dogmas at the sound of a seemingly innocent pop song...

We leave you with this excellent article from Racialicious.com who dismantle the imagery behind what seems to be an innocent video...

http://www.racialicious.com/2011/11/22/no-light-no-light-white-supremacy...

23 Nov
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music industry

For a label, there's nothing easier to deal with than a dead rockstar. Executives don't have to mingle with the often tormented or, at best, needy artist, they immediately speak with the grieving widow or the artist's estate, all too ready to accept what the living lost wouldn't never have. And frankly, besides the fact that the artist for some reason never shows up at interviews, it's rather easy: all ils being marketed inhouse and very little can go wrong...This is why you see odd compilations, badly mixed rough demos, b-sides from old albums that never made it come out around Christmas, surely the best time to fee the fans' endless desire for more tracks from the departed Star. And we can understand the fascination for an artist, especially a young one and aren't there plenty around ? The Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, the Buckley's, the list goes on and on...

So, here comes the new Amy Winehouse: a truly great voice in a unique, strong-minded individual unfortunately out of control. Her 'new' album will hit the stores early december and no doubt will she share the charts with artists who just wish they had a tenth of the talent she had.

Kollector has been...

22 Nov
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music industry

Sometimes, it's ridiculous. When you're talking about Keith Richards (and friends) taking the stage and knowing he's about 67 years old, one can wonder where he find the energy, stamina, boldness to still go up there and perform. This said, nobody would ever blink twice if we had to tell you 'famous 67 years old bluesman takes the stage'.

There's something magical about old men still playing great songs that made them famous decades ago, but when the songs are about teenager frustration like I Can't Get No (Satisfaction) or controversial subjects like Sympathy For The Devil (the song most associated with the Hells Angels stabbing at Altamont in 1969), one cannot hide it might be time to retire...

But then again, no one says anything against an old painter having a new exhibition or a movie director finishing a hit movie at the age of seventy something so why should we even mention the fact they've been around a few decades and just concentrate on how great their latest work is....

here's Keith Richards talking about his latest project: a jam with his old friends from The Rolling Stones...

22 Nov
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music history

Brian Eno, apparently, has a great phrase about The Velvet Underground, that iconic rock band from the seventies: "The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band." And more or less the same can be said about Suicide early records: they may have sold little but their influences has been huge on electronic music and you can hear in their work traces of what will later be known as techno, synthpop, industrial and especially electroclash. Some say their music was totally avant-garde but Alan Vega said in 1980: "... I never heard anything avant-garde. To me it was just New York City Blues.".

Their live act was one of clear menace, heavy waves of analog distorted sounds with frantic, unreal vocals calling up ghosts in the hall. And sometimes, the crowd didn't want them to pursue: there's a famous bootleg from a Brussels' concert wich only lasted 20 minutes before the band was thrown off stage...

Martin Rev speaks with Network Awesome about these days, technology, the mainstream, punk music...in very eloquent ways. Respect.

the article:...

21 Nov
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music industry

In a bold move, ST Holdings, a UK company distributing more than 200 labels, has decide to take away all its music from Spotify, arguing that streamed music is cannibalizing sales.

It isn't the first time an indie label, or an indie distributor, declares Spotify is detrimental to music sales (and even Coldplay says so as they decide to not let portals stream their latest album) but this time a NPD Group study comes up with a survey clearly showing that streaming services eats up music sales as the legal streaming music users are less likely to buy music now that they have access to all the music they want for less that 10 € a month...

Spotify replied by saying they are offering a solution that works against piracy but this is clearly missing the point: streamers have to come up with a reasonable income for creators and labels, not only for huge acts or majors who are counting on massive numbers to hide for low retribution.
An example: 5.000 Spotify streams will get you about 10 € (5.000 x 0,002 € a stream) when 5.000 track downloads at iTunes generates 4.950 €...
See what we mean ?

...

21 Nov
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music instrument

Let's start with something light this week: Gwydion, from germany's Konkreet Labs, has taken an old 1950's cooking book and housed a small 139 $ Meeblip synth in it !
It looks great, sounds awesome and oozes cooliness like if it was born with it !

Now, besides being cool, this little booksynth is a great viral trick that will have Konkreet labs name being on quite a few lips these followings weeks. Well done guys!

more on Konkreet Labs: http://konkreetlabs.com/news/
more on MeeBlip: http://meeblip.noisepages.com/what-is-meeblip/

18 Nov
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music

Build in 1876 to host 500 classical music students, the Conservatoire de Bruxelles has today more than a 1000 students and welcome the world famous Concours Reine Elisabeth once a year.

Now,...it's a dump ! Ceilings are falling, some of the rooms are deemed dangerous of access by the Fire Brigade, and even the majestuous Hall's activities have to be tone down as the place is now becoming a risk hazard... Look at the clip directed by the students themselves, it's...embarrassing that a state funded school like that is being neglected. Try a society without culture and art and watch it crumblinb back to the Dark Ages !

But lets be positive: this will probably trigger some to open up their wallets and come with some welcome doe and resolutions so this place gets the lifting its students and teachers deserves.
They have a website dedicated to finding funds http://www.conservamus.be/cms/index.php?lang=en and a Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=139446508486&ref=ts

18 Nov
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Kollector, music industry

Let me tell you some about Kollector : it was actually started by two rights owners wanted to have a clearer picture of what their catalog was doing abroad.
Basically, for a very low price affordable to all in the music community, Kollector offers an incredible service: a worldwide realtime radiobroadcast tracking application meaning it scans the radios on the planet and detect when your songs are being played.
It can tell you, with real factual data, where (country, name of the radio) and when (date and hour) a song was played on radios.

These very valuable datas enable you to have access to:
- Realtime worldwide statistics giving you a precise and accurate view of your radio broadcasts.
- First hand transparent factual data to help you and your publisher/your collecting society to forecast airplay royalties.
- Time saving application optimizing the management of your audio works.
- Data you can share with your partners to overview in realtime and nationally/internationally your promo campaigns .
- Comparative watch to ensure new territories and markets.

One amazing plus is that Kollector opens up cultural diversity for...

17 Nov
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advertisement, fans, music industry

In a recent survey done by GMR, a few minor mindblowing ideas have been shattered. Seems like the Y generation (people born between 1980>1999) is shuffling the cards very differentely that others before them.

First: 68% of them don't mind too much the connection between music and brands. That's a radical departure from the X generation (people born 1960>1980) who dispised as much as they could the interactions between their favorite bands and commercial companies.
Secondly: 75% of the people would rather have no sex than having no music ! This data is brutally different when asked women (92% of women needs music more than sex while only 55% of men can do without sex. Hardly surprising :)
Thirdly: 48% of people think the internet is a better place to find music than asking their friends. Ouch, that hurts.
Four and last point: commercials is the right place to break a band as 69% of the people have been introduced to new music by commercials...This and movies: lots of work can be achieved thru placements.

This pictures a rather strange image of the youngsters, no ?

17 Nov
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music instrument

The Jew's Harp, or guimbarde as it's called in ze french (and in the picture), is often considered like a minor instrument, something only hobos or old bluesmen play but it is very reducing as that weird instrument is rather rich harmonically speaking, can hit low notes as much as high notes and sound uncanny like a synthesizer at times, or a digeridoo at others: that alone tells you how wide its range and richness can be...

Tran Quang hai is a world famous ethnomusicologist, 5th generation musician, and more than a virtuoso at the Dan Moi, the Vietnamese jew's harp.
But he's also a specialist of diaphonic chant, believed to be one of the oldest human chant, used by Inuits and shamans...Getting spooky, no ?

see this amazing clip for siberian chant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYqrWRiS204
Tran Quang Hai website http://tranquanghai.info/

Kollector is also about cultural diversity !

16 Nov
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music industry

The Music Industry is in a bad state as we all know...
The Majors are slowly eating up each other, Itunes is snapping a giant bit in all the songs they sell, Spotify and other streaming platforms keep on hammering great offers they can't refuse to music lovers and small/medium labels are suffering a lot: each release see them holding up their breath as no one knows these days if it will sell some, or just sell 1/3 of what the last album sold...
But we can cry about it or we can fight about it. More and more crowdfunding platforms are emerging here and there, usually there are a couple in each country, and the system does work for most.

In a general coup d'oeil, Paidcontent goes over the succes story of some of these crowdfunding site. Quite a few known bands have been going thru that business model: fans subscribe to a project, pre-pay for it. and follow its evolution as more and more fans gather. If the project doesn't get enough financial support, the money isn't used and everyone goes home. If the funding is a success, that allows the artist to go forward with his project. Some big names have used crowdfunding: Gang Of Four, Funeral For...

15 Nov
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music industry

Very interesting article in "The Music Void" about the then-newly appointed Sony CEO Andy Lack who was under a charm attack from Steve Jobs trying to get the big guys at the top of the Majors into the Itunes frenzy.

Being the man he was, it wasn't too hard for Stve Jobs to seduce Doug Morris (Universal) and Warner (Roger Ames) as they seemingly didn't see all Steve wasn't in it for the Love of Music but for selling tons of Ipods and Apple computers and devices and that the real target was to sell Apple hardware, not music.

Andy Lack saw the tactic behing Turtleneck Man and wanted a percentage on all Ipod sales...That move alone, if followed up by Morris and Ames, would have changed the situation the music industry is in these days: the labels (and therefore, hopefully, the musicians) would earn on the sales of the machinery their music is played on. Sounds logical, no ? Well, it wasn't at the time and if Universal and Warner would have join cause with Sony, Apple wouldn't be today The Mother Of All Major Labels by now and the music industry would benefit from the digital revolution and not be a victim like it is now.

Today, Andy Lack is head of new media...

14 Nov
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music industry

Well, it's time to dig up one of the worst secret of rock music: all the incredible stories you hear about bands are probably true. And if they are not, just relax and wait as they will come true some days :)

Slipknot, the very visual Nu Metal band, is gross, and in fact, they're making it part of the attraction: the worst they get, the more their audience will love it and frankly why not ?
Some bands are selling the sex appeal of their female lead singer and one can wondering why not selling horror and disgust, sickening images and dense anxiety with Silent Of The Lambs imagery ? It works !

In this rather surreal exposé, Slipknot tells 7 crazy and frankly gross stories that happened to them. Sometimes you need to read them twice such the story seems impossible or demented. But no, they are true..

oh, btw, this Slipknot video has been seen by more than 20 million people. There's a market for gross stories :)
the 7 stories: http://www.spin.com/articles/crazy-clown-time-slipknots-7-grossest-stories

14 Nov
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graphics

Ok, this isn't music related but still interesting and bearing nearly the same name as your beloved radioairplays tracking application: Lille is seeing a great CNAP (French State funded National Center for Graphic Arts) exhibition and if you're around it's a well worth visit.

3 floors of art, most of it being challenging and providing interesting points of views and reflections about ourselves, the medias and how they interact with our live, the attitudes, the economics and the evolutions (or devo-lutions) of our societies.

As part of this exhibition, the thrilling "Logorama", a 14 mins long animation build around names and logos. Incidentally, this movie is made by H5, a french company with Etienne De Crecy's brother (from Superdiscount, probably the best French Touch CD ever)

14 Nov
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graphic design, movie industry

Ever wondered where you saw that movie poster before ? Sometimes, differences between two movie posters from two different movies are very few and far between indeed. This said, it's obvious the message has to be clear and directly touch the targeted audience: there's not much room for doubts and wandering toughts. But sometimes the lack of difference is...uncanny at best !

Let us take you to http://www.ufunk.net/insolite/les-affiches-de-films-se-ressemblent-toutes/ when Christophe Courtois has assembled together movies posters that look so much like each other one wonder why they just didn't use the original poster and just changed the title....

11 Nov
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vinyl

Besides the audio loss inherent to an mp3 download, one also experiment nowadays the very sad disapperance of the record cover...Vinyl albums and twelves inches had the space to display what sometimes turned into real art...Record Covers !

UK's Andrew Heeps from Art Vinyl had a GREAT idea. As a music lover, and very good businessman, he has developped the already successful commercial venture of selling iconic albums in frames you'll put on your wall but can open to get the record out and play...Already 100.000 of these special frames have been sold. The common price for these items are about 50 UK £ and a shirtlist of iconic records and sleeves has been selected, but you can put any album sleeve, or 12" sleeve, in these astute frames...and your wall starts to be an art gallery http://www.artvinyl.com/en/gallery/index.html

Just in time for Christmas, non ? ;)

http://www.artvinyl.com/index.html

10 Nov
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Kollector, music history, radios

"Dancing Queen", a disco hit dating back from august 1976 from superstar swedish band Abba, is still rising high on the radios playlists. We introduced the song in Kollector and let a few days pass, just to see how a 35 years old back catalogue song would do. And surprise, surprise, there's still life in the old dog ;)

In the last month, "Dancing Queen" has enjoyed no less than 1200 radio airplays and it still hold on very well on radios as its been favored especially in (by order of airplays received) Germany (158 trackings), United Kingdom (154 trackings) followed closely by France, Canada and The Netherlands. To give an idea of the performance, Swedish House Mafia's "Save The World" has enjoyed"only" 4 times more airplays during the same period, which shows how resilient and still royalties wise important "Dancing Queen" is !

Kollector can help all in the music community. You betcha it can!

10 Nov
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Kollector, radios

As you may know, Kollector can track songs all over the world, in realtime, and in all transparency. And in fact, Kollector gets even more interesting when it's about to gather international datas on your airplays: realtime numbers of your airplay is very, very hard to get and very expensive (that is if you DON'T use Kollector as Kollector is very reasonably priced and available to ALL in the music community), and international numbers are night on impossible. Not with Kollector...

Diego Torres, huge argentinian star, has his latest hit-song "Color Esperanza" (his video has enjoyed more than 4 million views on Youtube...) appearing on quite a few different countries, from Spain to Mexico, Chile or Argentina on the Kollector dashboard. Kollector can even tell you that, at the time I write this report, the latest radio to play the song was Kiss Fm, in Malaga (Spain), at 21:55 local time. And the most dedicated radio to play Diego Torres's tune was Cadena Dial Andalucia Este, in Spain too. With Kollector, you know how many times the song was played, where, when and how it fares out in the weeks since it's been in the system...

How is that for gathering factual...

09 Nov
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music history, music songwriters

There is no doubt Portishead and Massive Attack are to be highlighted as some of the best bands from the Nineties, and as the most known acts from a mainly UK scene called Trip-hop.
Trip Hop was basically an experimental sounding leg of breakbeat with influences from soul, reggae/dub, ambiant, funk and jazz which occasionally made it into the charts with songs like Unfinished Sympathy (Massive Attack huge hit) or Glory Box.

In an interesting and frank interview, Geoff Barrows from Portishead answers questions about the band, the state of the trip hop scene, why Nineties bands are part of pop culture, or not, and an bold, but probably true, statement about why the music scenes don't glue together no more. Interesting, didn't we say ?

the interview http://www.spinner.com/2011/10/07/portishead-interview/
Portishead website http://www.portishead.co.uk/

09 Nov
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music instrument

Just when you thought you were on the safe side and you were übercool cos you could listen to Stress by J.U.S.T.I.C.E. and survive the exercice, another underground musical movement disrupts your zenitude...
Circuit Bending isn't new (1984 or so) and it has been around for quite a few decades but this punkish DIY philosophy of electronically altering small electronic guitars or toys or low end musical synthesizers is interesting as it relies on defaults and distortion and random events, things a classical musician (it can be a rock musician who has a classic approach of music) wouln't even think doing.

Circuit bending is very interesting cos it somehow shows disregard for the safety of well packaged/well thought about electronic tools or accessories we take for granted. But beyond the case, after you've been opening it there's a new world, a cahotic one that negates the safety of ours....A world made of randomised effects and noises aiming at challenging your views on sounds and sonic experimentations. And enjoy yourself.

Uhum, that was deep ;)

part II of the documentary: http://www.youtube...

08 Nov
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music history

(do look at this clip, it has Slash doing a most amazing solo...)

"Le Freak c'est chic" must be one of the biggest let's-go-dancing anthem ever: even tho it was written and released more than 30 years ago it always works... That's when you know you have a classic on your hands...

The story of his co-writer (Nile Rodgers wrote this song back in 1978 with the sadly departed Bernard Edwards) is one of these amazing rollercoaster stories: starting as a guitar player and session man, he played with various acts like Screaming Jay Hawkins (i puuuuuuut a spell on you), Parliament or Ben E. King, Rodgers met Edwards early seventies and some years later they would be one of disco's greatest assets with hits like 'Le Freak C'est Chic' and the absolutely gorgeous 'I Want Your Love". They also produced and penned songs for Sister Sledge. In a way, they were Disco. Later on they produced many acts, like for instance Diana Ross and her famous "Diana" album.

Nile Rodgers loves music and his history is one of love and care for artists and sounds, one that transcends music genres, races and creeds (he produced Duran Duran, Bowie and Madonna) but he's also a man who had to...

07 Nov
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music business, music industry, vinyl

These days, we hear more and more about crowd-funding for music related "products": records (but also movies) are being made possible by the injection of funds from the public, charmed and interested in a specific project.
The idea of crowd-funding isn't new but it attracks more and more people and groups who relay on this social based dynamic to get running on a documentary, an album, an art project.

Vinylmania is one of these great project: an italian vinyl lover wants to make a 75 minutes documentary about how he got entangled in music and he visits 11 different cities in the world, meets many different people, all as bitten as him by the love of music and it's paramount object: the vinyl. His film embodies so well the love for music and its physical presence, something we're losing when buying an mp3: lines of codes lost among other lines of codes can't compete with a 30cm Long Playing with a cover, an artwork sometimes as important as its musical half.

see here for more infos about Paolo Campana and his documentary project: http://www....

02 Nov
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movie soundtrack

We were talking a few weeks ago about the Majors' decision to let the CD behind, to concentrate on digital and only use the shiny plastic for limited editions - be them "pure edition" (low cost low packaging CD) or luxury editions.

This move is commandeered for several reasons but here are two obvious ones: digital sales is picking up steam against CDs and retail shops are simply disappearing from the main streets.
In an era where social recommandation is the talk of the town and allows nearly every music startup a decent first round of the table, the end of the record shops (the ultimate place for real curated, knowledgeable recomm') sounds like an ending to all hope to see a music industry rise above the last ten gloomy years. That would be true if the love for music had disappeared but many, many people across the globe still have that special relationship with music, be it on vinyl or CD. And even tho they disappear from Main Street, we can see dedicated music shops appearing here and there. There will always be a place for music lovers to gather around.

The music loving english director Jeanie Finlay has done a beautiful crowdfunded documentary on...

02 Nov
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music history

There are so many stories running on Phil Spector, how he used to scare all his artists when coming in the studio with his guns, and costumes that matched the handgrips color, how he was just totally obsessed and manic, and how, sadly, someone died in his Hollywood mansion and consequently Phil Spector ends up now in jail...

But what isn't a legend, a rumour or a bizarre story is his true incredible visionary talent. Between 1961 and 1965, Phil Spector owned Pop Music. Or let's say he owned the last leg of Pop before the newest crop of bands and songwriters (The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Stones,...) would come in and decimate the charts with a new sound, a new image, a new rebel spirit. He was probably the last tycoon of Innocent Pop, this american bred of devastatingly sad love stories sung with trademark heartbreaking naivety and innocence but in fact filled up with strong sexual tension and unassumed teen dreams. Where others would put a guitar, a bass, tiny little drums and a simple melody, Phil Spector would just add 3 basses, 3 guitars, 2 pianos and 3 drummers, all working out to extract magic out of a 3 mins long song. At most. Phil Spector didn't do little...

31 Oct
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music, videogames

Yes, it's that time of the year where banshees do take life and come banging on your door...

Remember you must fill up that basket with sweets and mashmellows and enjoy the ghoulish season. We found a very seasonal Ipad application. I don't think it was ever Steve Jobs's vision on how to use the Ipad, but between the Animoog (http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/making-music-ipad) and this nice Halloween app we find it difficult resisting the purchase of that great Apple product.

Trick Or i-Treat ?

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31 Oct
Published by jean-marc,
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music industry

In a report earlier this year, the IFPI noted that Germany is now Europe's largest music market (and the world's third) and that didn't go too well in Britain, traditionally seen as the Ol' Europe main competitor on that level.

A few explanations were given for that good german performance: a solid physical CD sales market helped by a strong national retail network while Britain has seen some mainstreet music sales points closing (most notably Woolworths), a good crowd response to "pure editions" CD (simplified lower priced packaging CD released a few months after the full-sail CD) and to luxury package has helped too. It's interesting to note that both extreme work well, probably reaching their own target of music lovers: simple fans and superfans. Adding to that, the specificity of the German artists, with a few very strong acts like Rammstein, Lena or even the old Scorpions all generating good sales.

Another interesting fact is while the German CD market is also in decline, the UK physical CD market is further down the "natural plounge curve" which sees the decline of physical sales crossing the line of moving-up digital sales: Britain may soon regain its first...

28 Oct
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music business, music industry

Ok, ok, we went thru this a few times, but Rolling Stone comes down with some pretty good analysis of what is made off the sale of 5 different medias:

1/ Streamers services (as Spotify and Mog)
2/ Itunes
3/Youtube & Vevo
4/Internet Radios (as Pandora)
5/ CD (remember that small silverish plastic circle ? that's a CD, as in cee-dee)

Basically, CD were bringing home far more money for the labels and the artists (about 10 Euros for the label and +/- 3 Euros for artist + songwriter) , but the new Music Economics dictate differently now:
- streamers will pay roughly 0,002 Euros a stream to artists (labels does the same)
- Itunes takes its 30% share and gives the label 40 Euro Cents while the artist and the songwriter shares 21 Euro Cents
- Youtube pays 0,70 Euro Cents per 1000 viewings to the label who shares with the artist according to the contract (usually round 15% of gross sales)
- Internet radios are paying such a small amount of Euro Cents that i don't dare writing it down. Ok, it's 0,0007 Euro Cents a stream.

Now, we can all gather round and make a group hug and cry at how the music industry went down...

28 Oct
Published by jean-marc,
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social media

Huge companies like Google or Facebook use gigantic amounts of servers to keep all the datas flowing.

Facebook's immense servers plants are located in the USA but they recently acquired ground near Lulea, in Sweden, only 100 kms away from the North Pole. Servers, you see, need to be kept as cool as possible and it does help if the surroundings don't get burned down by a scorching sun everyday. Could have come up to Belgium, really ;)

The 30.000 square meters plant will open in 2014 and will be entirely powered by hydro-powered stations. The weather outside should cool down the plant 8 months of the year while diesel generators linked to a huge dam will keep the operation safe. Google actually uses a similar Let's Go North tactic as they have a servers plant located in Finland and refreshed by the icy waters of the Baltic Sea.

http://www.modernghana.com/news/358045/1/thats-really-cool-facebook-puts...

27 Oct
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music history

We often are talking about the 5th Beatles that never made it, the guy who was replaced the day prior to recording the songs that would put then english band so high in Pop Heaven, or we can talk about the french guitar player who was playing with The Police but left before Roxanne hit the charts, you know, the guy who was in a band before that band broke big and who's name is forgotten by us...

But in this case, we're talking about Syd Barrett, guitar player and songwriter within Pink Floyd with whom he collaborated on albums up to 1968's A Saucerful Of Secrets.
After that album, psychedelic drugs had taken the most of him and he was unable to perform live. Or to record. He would be defintively replaced by David Gilmour.
Syd, on his own, made two weird but splendid albums: The Madcap Laughs and Barrett. Syd was to die nearly anonymously in 2006.

Now, his estate have finally put together a superb book about Syd's writings, paintings and art. It's well worth looking at it.

more on the book: http://barrettbook.com/

27 Oct
Published by jean-marc,
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music

Dubstep is a relatively underground style altho Rihanna has dwelled into it in her recent albums. It was born in the UK back in the 90's, from the ashes of 2 step and garage, two dance styles, and is kinda a bastard son of smokey nights playing dub with heavy, heavy grim basses....

In this rather interesting exercice, some classic songs have been redone in dubstep style and it's rather well done. And funny.

http://soundcloud.com/bruno45ize/sets/20-dubstep-remixes-of-classic

26 Oct
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artists, music business, music industry

We all know the industry has to face crumbling physical sales and digital ones don't quite make up to it, if only because people now buy more on a song-per-song basis than full albums. Some like to lament, some prefer to act. As Mister Valaire, a band from Quebec, is doing and their exemple is worth the attention.

Lost in the gigantic noise zone that is the internet, there's something like 5 million bands on the now as-good-as-dead Myspace, these fierce canadian musicians had an album out 2005 in (Mister Brian) which flopped with elegance but already proposed to the buyers an extra to the physical album with access to some digital content.
In 2007, weeks before Radiohead "pioneereed" the pay-as-you-want In Rainbow, Mister Valaire digitally released the "Friterday Night" album for free, under Creative Common licence, and the album soon reached 27.000 downloads about one year later. From the 27000th download onwards, the email adress was asked from the people downloading the album, providing a very valuable marketing angle. In 2009, the album reached 40.000 downloads, and Mister Valaire awarded itself a well-deserved Golden Hard Disk Trophy.

In 2009, their...

25 Oct
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music instrument

Moog, the US company famous for the huge Moog synthesized shown on the groundbreaking Walter Carlos record or the Minimoog (the first all public synthesizer in the world), have come up with a real cool software synth specially designed for the Ipad and man, does it sound cool or what.

Contrary to most softsynths for mobile phones or Ipads who are simply rather good looking apps but sonically deceptive, Animoog really takes up the touch sensitive screen and makes it a complete WYSIWYG sound machine: you can really SCULPT music and use the screen as a XY axe where you draw the sounds you want to hear. And this is taking us back to the genesis of sound synthesis where one mimes the effect of the filter :)

After Gorillaz and his Fall album (http://thefall.gorillaz.com/), will we see/hear more artists using the Ipad as central part of their recordings ?

the words according to Moog Inc website:

Animoog, powered by Moog’s new Anisotropic Synth Engine (ASE), is the first professional polyphonic synthesizer designed for the iPad. ASE allows you to dynamically move through an X/Y space of unique timbres to create...

25 Oct
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music business, music industry

In these hard times for the music industry, one may wonder why there's not more boldness and audace as, after all, the greater the risk the bigger the reward can be...But no, what we see is less risks and more marketing plots.
Like this one: take a legendary band who had its moments way back in the old millenia, stir the medias, pump up how great they were, how successfull they have been and plan a few, a very few, dates. BINGO !

The Stone Roses, a proverbial UK band, has just done that. And the funny part is that they were already a nostalgia band with their sixties sound and the full Summer Of Love surrounding their works. Oh, they weren't bad, it's just that one may be surprised that their reunion gets to highs never seen before: tickets prices are rocketing and the band will make something like 19 millions $ for just three shows. More that they ever made, back when they were in their prime. Yes, nostalgia does sell more than new tunes !

http://www.spinner.com/2011/10/21/stone-roses-reunion-tickets-going-for-...

24 Oct
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music business, music history, music industry

In an interesting article from industrial online mag Side-Line, the editor points out that it seems major labels will soon abandon CDs as the end consumer primary source for music and that format will only be used as limited editions package filled with goodies and extras.

It makes sense: we're seeing the last moments of a format as digital downloads are slowly but surely taking more importance but that's not the main reason: CD costs money to be manufactured, and money to be stored in shops that are already reducing the space allowed for music and record companies need to squeeze as much as they can in these very hard times for the music industry. Already the end consumer has slowly killed the album as he's keener to buy song on a one-per-one basis, deprieving the industry from revenues on albums...Furthermore, the way the public listens to music is more and more dematerialized: people buy music from Itunes or digital portals, or listen to streaming sources, but the music main source isn't CD no more. Plus add to that equation piracy downloads and you have there the recipe for the end of a music format: CD's will slowly get put aside and will remain as an extra-...

24 Oct
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artists, music business

If you're a little bit serious about the music biz, or if you are "simply" a music lover, you cannot ignore the phenomenom that's Lady Gaga. In a few years, she has grown out of being a rather obscure indie musician to a planetary status of POP STAR, with no less that 25 millions album sales and 70 million singles sales plus a media coverage that's about permanent.

Now, we can ask ourselves how worthy she is, but we all know the charts align good artists or terrible but successful business coup without second thoughts, and the most flamboyant and creative artist can share the Top Ten with horrendous copycats, bad singers equipped with AutoTune or lavish singers who sell their physical assets more than their dubious songs. We cannot ignore the fact that the mass is often ill driven and it will buy a marvellous piece of music one week and fall down for a vicious marketing trick the week after.

So, what's the deal with Lady Gaga? This little video-clip "deconstructs" how she succeeds so well: simply put, everything is being taken care of. The songs are good more often than not, her looks are great and polarizing, the PR approach is intense but...

21 Oct
Published by jean-marc,
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music history

If you want to talk music history, there are a three major towns who can't escape your savvy radar: London, Nashville and New York. Others do jump from time to time, and for specific genres, but these three towns are at the center of major musical earthquakes...

New-York gave birth to no less than THREE major music styles in the seventies: Punk (yes, Punk was infanted in the US, not in the UK), Disco and Hip-hop. One can't seem to make a connection at first glance, but these three majors music styles were all born from the streets, and from musicians/artists where some major styles before were more the fruits of the business itself: Motown, or Sun Records, or the Teen industry and alike. Here, you had musicians who, by mixing influences and shaking them hard, came to create totally new forms of musical expressions, would they be escapist like Disco, or violently rebellious like Punk, or strongly motivated by social inadequacy like Hip Hop.

This very interesting BBC reportage goes back where it all happened: the streets of New-York in the seventies...And this reportage starts with the sound of one of the best movie soundtrack ever: "Taxi Driver", by Bernard...

21 Oct
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music history

I was going thru Ebay the other day, and was absolutely amazed at the value some instruments obtain now, years after they're no longer available in the shops. Nor that it matters that their value goes up, but seeing how rare some have become conforted me that there are some great music instruments musems out there to preserve them, to show them, to express how music is an international language and can be produced with zillions of different instruments and obey (or not) to different codes and harmonies. Music is probably the most common language we all share on this blue planet and this need to be remembered.

Two museums jumps to mind: one in Phoenix (Arizona), large, with an incredible light, loaded with great instruments and with extensive possibilities of trying some of them yourself. Its mission, accomplished as it seems, is to gather instruments from all over the world and celebrate the ways differents cultures do different music.

The other one is here, in Brussels (it actually gave the idea to the Phoenix people): it's located in an amazing Art Nouveau building, and is much smaller, more mysterious and...

20 Oct
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music history, music instrument

"Don't You Want Me", a seminal electropop track written by The Human League, was once more the result of test and trial, or "we're so damn glad it worked at the end of the day" syndrome.

It was a huge hit in the UK back iat Xmas1981, did very well abroad too, and has been since used quite a few times in commercials and movies (Ocean Thirteen jumps to mind).

Not many people know Phil Oakley, singer in Human League, hated the song so much it was relegated to be the last song on the LP. Lead vocals were recorded in the toilet of the producer's studio (Martin Rushent's Genetic studios) and the girl's voice had to be recorded 60 times before deemed good enough to be in the mix...

Sometimes accidents and a let-it-happen approach is the best thing that can happen to a band. Like most great tracks: a mixture of accidents, hazard and epiphany...

more on this song and how it was recorded: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul10/articles/classictracks_0710.htm

20 Oct
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music industry

Many people were laughing out loud when Google threw in an hefty sum of money to buy Youtube a few years ago but I reckon we may see the end of that smile as we do think this is going to be major.

In a few weeks, Youtube partners will be able to sell merchandising (in a word: anything related to your band or your label or music related business) on Youtube and this option opens up for indie labels or artists as well as Amazon and alike. Now, studies have shown that 3 billions (and we mean BILLIONS) videos are watched everyday on Youtube and 127 millions viewers are passing thru the site daily. That's a LOT of consumers waiting for nothing but a simple button allowing to buy the song they just watched, a concert ticket, or a tshirt, or a DVD or a cap or any other goodies the sellers can throw at them...

Just to give an idea, people watching videos on Facebook are only about a third of that...Can't wait for Google + to integrate the Youtube merch shops directly and see Youtube becoming a major sources for revenues...It's been a long time for Youtube to come up with a business model other than simple ads, but now the time has come...

the news by Youtube...

19 Oct
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music history

Few guitars are as iconic as "the Strat". First produced in 1954, originally on-demand painted with laque colors eminating from the car industry, the Stratocaster made it big with Dick Dale, Buddy Holly and The Shadows (where Hank Marvin made extensive use of the tremolo arm). It was then more a matter who didn't use the guitar as it was even picked by The Beatles who courageously didn't fall for Fender but for the Rickenbackers: Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix were among the Strat's biggest fans and users.

Fender has actually no less than 7 Strats affiliated to Hendrix in some forms, be it a replica done with the blessing of the Hendrix estate or simple inspiration. This said, solos on Purple Haze and hey Joe weren't made on a Strat but on Noel Redding's Telecaster ( a guitar later send to fame thanx to Talking Heads).

1980 Hendrix Stratocaster
1991 Fender Custom Shop '67 Reissue Stratocaster
1997 Fender Custom Shop Monterey Stratocaster
1997 Hendrix Tribute Stratocaster
1998 Hendrix Voodoo Stratocaster
2000 '68 Reverse Headstock Stratocaster
2002 Woodstock Clone

Early models Strats are still very high on demand and reach...

18 Oct
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music history

Merely novelty acts before the fifties, girls groups were huge in the early sixties as the growing industry started to work with teams of music composers/authors backboned to bold record companies like Tamla Motown, Red Bird or Philles Records. Production standards were very high and the public loved it, making huge stars from groups like The Supremes, The Ronettes or The Shirells.

When rock music started to happening and push pop music in a relative second role, groups like Labelle were soon marketed as slightly glam' (Lady Marmelade http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDlHaZz9PNo) and opened the door to disco with groups like Sister Sledge (We Are Family http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNAQ8LLptUo) or Silver Convention (Fly Robin Fly http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_77OclyEvo).
The eighties saw a different kind of group girls, moving from the relative naivety of the first ones to bands with (slightly deeper) lyrical content or blatant innuendos: from Bananarama (Cruel Summer...

18 Oct
Published by jean-marc,
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cloud music, music industry

Things start to be very interesting in the clouds...A new company called Gobbler is offering a service to all musicians and composers who wish to save, back up and share their compositions with fellow composers or partners. Well, that is musicians using Mac, but the Windows app is about to be unleashed too.

How is that different from other services? Well, for a start, it does recognize the DAW software program you're using (Logic Pro 6 and above, Pro Tools 6 and above, Cubase, Reaper, Garage Band, Ableton, Reason, Record, Presonus Studio One, Nuendo, Digital Performer...) and won't intervene in the architecture of the files saved: a very useful plus when sharing a song with partners across the globe or when your own computer crashed and you wish to reload the song you were working on.
Furthermore, it uses a clever algorithm to compress your files as what you send is what you'll get...They are using a FLAC lossless compression on all the audio, but if for some reasons the end result isn't the same as the original file, Globber will keep the uncompressed version. Not bad, he ?

Pricing is about to be settled: for the moment everyone gets 25 Gb to play with...

17 Oct
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music history

Daft Punk is the most famous band to come out of the French Touch movement, a 1995> 2000 music genre based around house music and filtered samplings from funk and disco. This genre (which ancestor track is probably the famous Dee-Lite Groove Is In The Heart http://youtu.be/etviGf1uWlg), has attract worldwide success but also criticisms due to the extensive use of often never credited samplings. Art has always been based on recycling and adapting older forms of arts, adding up newer views and angles, and we can say with samplings that what matters is not where things come from, but where you take these things. But damn: pay credits to the original artists !

This said, Daft Punk has launched all by itself a sound that is totally recognisable and while one can be dubious at the endorsement Daft Punk had with several multinational corporates, or the excrutiating heavy-footed self complacency they have shown, songs like Da Funk or All Around The World (and its marvelous Michel Gondry video) will never fade out. And if they do, it will be thru a filter device ;)

part II of the Daft Punk fan documentary:...

17 Oct
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music history, politics in music

This is what happens when you let soul music, jazz, R&B and psychedelics recreative drugs mix into a rhythmic, danceable form of music: you've got the FUNK.
Getting away from the usual soul formula (progressions of chords) to dive into a far more rythmical way (the emphasis is put on the first beat, melodies are build on fewer chords, the rythmical patterns are complex and intertwining), Funk was a tremendous new form of music which emerged in the USA mid-sixties. It would later explode into different new forms of music that would spread from afrobeat (Fela Anikulapo Kuti http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/fela-kuti-robin-hood-music) to disco to electrofunk or House, Hip Hop and even French Touch!

Let's not forget the important weight funk music had on the ghettos and the "Say it Loud..Im Black and I'm Proud" slogan helped many to get up and fight for their civil rights.
Take a dance lesson with Jaaaaaaaaaaaames Brooooooooooown: http://youtu.be/Zdz88MBWomo
100 Funk songs...

14 Oct
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artists, movie

Sabina England is a genius. And a very funny woman.

Her video "Allah Saves The Punk" takes us back to the early black&white silent movies and it's moving, scary and fun while informative about the clash of generations that can exist within the same society.
This short movie goes far beyond just one culture and religion (Islam) as about the same scene could be found within other cultures be them christian, jewish, happening in Sicilia, or in Nigeria, in a poor family or a rich clan. It's all about how people can be blind and hermetic when drilled to adress hate before love or ignoring the natural differences between people and how some seek changes and openess while others indulge in fears and close-mindedness

Born in Britain, raised in the UK and the US of A, Sabina was declared deaf at 2 but that didn't stop her to become a movie maker, a poet and a theater playwriter: against all odds, she has become a true artist and a visionnaire who's work transcends races and creeds and becomes international.

her website http://www.sabinaengland.com/
more on Sabina England...

14 Oct
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music industry

We spoke about it a few months ago: the guys in the english group Queen have a slight problem with their singer being temporarely unavailable due to death (what a bad excuse...) and Brian May just had an epiphany: what about having Lady Gaga replacing good old Freddie ? She's about as flamboyant as he was, got a sacré cool wardrobe and could fit in like a glove.

Gee, i'm glad it's friday :)

our article about Queen looking for clones http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/queen-wants-live-forever
the original article http://www.avclub.com/articles/brian-may-would-like-lady-gaga-to-be-the-...

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13 Oct
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artists, music history

Interesting inside view on how David Bowie recorded one of his best song ever: Heroes.
The place ? Hansa Studio in Berlin, the year is 1977. Bowie is very busy indeed, he has just released one of his greatest, but rather uncommercial, album with Low but also produced The Idiot and Lust For Life with Iggy Pop.

Bowie's method and unorthodox ways were conforted by the presence of Brian Eno and Robert Fripp. While the basic backing tracks are often resume of jamming done with a "normal" band playing around some chods structures, everything else is very experimental: Brian Eno fiddles with an EMS Synthi while Robert Fripp delights himself in discipline and feedback. All that with the limitations of recording in these days: you can't really sync two multitracks machines and you are down with what's in the studio: nothing less, nothing more. And this is where David Bowie's personality comes into play: while the recording process is laidback, David gets very tense when writing lyrics and often picks up subjects commended by the Gestalt...or outside the window.

Riveting stuff from an amazing album.

...

13 Oct
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politics in music

Very interesting article in Pop Matters based on a documentary, "The Birth of Punk Islam" by canadian born Omar Majeed, describing how Islam Punk creates a few tiny but reel waves in the US muslim community.

In a culture eager to find a normality between the Soufi dancers on one side and the integrists haters of music on the other side, US muslims artists find themselves between a rock and a hard place...Yet that doesn't stop them for trying to get their music across. One could think that's enough of a challenge, but they're raising the bar real high: they're playing punk music which already attracts prejudice and misunderstanding from most people anyway.

Add in the equation young rebels trying to find themselves in an US society obsessed by 9-11 and you have a cocktail ready to go Go GO!

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12 Oct
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music instrument

The wah-wah pedal is one of those incredible inventions born from hazard and visionary moments from individuals...
Del Casher was a guitar player and session musician in the USA and he was always in the look-out for special effects. He was very much in love with the wah/mute effect used by trumpet players when they sometimes cover the cone of the instrument, giving it a voice-like effect. Around the same time, the british music organs company VOX wanted to establish its range in the USA and Casher was incororated in the "Vox Ampliphonic Orchestra", a band that would show the organs at work. There was a device called the MRB, a medium range loudness device but the price of a knob was deemed too expensive for the company so instead they installed a rotary knob. And while you were turning that knob up and down, the coming and going effect was tantalizing to Del Casher: this is what he was looking for... But how to operate it while playing the guitar ? A US engineer called Brad Plunkett changed the knob into a pedal and there it was: the wah-wah pedal was born. We're talking 1966 here but it took 3 years to reach that magical moment where the Mc Clyde Wah-wah V846 pedal...

12 Oct
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artists, music festival

We spoke about it a few months ago in our feature on Amon Tobin (http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/amon-tobin-injects-new-dimension-live-...): live electronicmusic is where things happen, and some major acts in that scene are taking giant steps with shows so impressive that the mainstream starts to notice and the big media follows...

The very important New York Times runs an article on Deadmau5 (Joel Zimmerman with a weird mouse hat) who just played NYC's Ballroom six soldout dates in a row. Deadmau5 starts where Daft Punk left: a very danceable but edgy sound, impressive live shows that make rock concerts look old and boring, and uncompromising yet intelligent music.

Seems like a global synchonicity is shaping up to make electronic music the next big thing. Again.

the article in te NY Times (also about Skrillex): http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/12/arts/music/electronic-music-that-plays...
the show's images:...

11 Oct
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music history

It's funny how the eighties is the only decade that seems to make it comeback every year and no one shouts ENOUGH ? All decades have their glossy appeal and a few words can describe them (the fifties are early rock n'roll and rythmn&blues, sixties are psychedelia music, seventies long hair bands or punks, etc...) but the eighties seem to shine so much for some, like if it was the decade that musically couldn't go wrong.

But it did :)

Rolling Stone has made a poll about the 80's worst songs...And yes, Rick Astley is in it...
Find out here http://www.rollingstone.com/music/photos/readers-poll-the-10-worst-songs... what are the 80's musical worst moments.

11 Oct
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music industry

This is interesting: an indie music label is denting heavily in the US markets. Its secrets ? A niche in itself (classical music, not the usual mainstream Justin Bieber) a tactic: curationned compilation albums done from licencing deals and a modus operandi: all albums are heavily featured on search engine requests when you type "classical" or such... And we're talking huge market share here: X5 (the scandinavian record company we're talking about) had a 20% US classical music market share in 2010 and 10 Billboard number ones...

This is done by curated compilations with great titles like "The Best Videogames Music played by the London Symphonic Orchestra" or "100 Most Essentials Piece Of Classical Music", etc...They release about 200 compilations a month, have a in-house mastering unit, 10 producers who probably don't take long lunch breaks and make sure their work is available thru all digital shops and come up real high in search engines requests...Clever guys...

This shows also what seems to be the next "recommendation playlist war". You see, if you're a Coldplay fan, chances are you'll like some Pink Floyd and some Cure so there's nothing really new for you...

10 Oct
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music industry

These geeky and cool people at Visual.ly have come up with a nice graphic display of the music sales tendencies since 1973 and it does look both thrilling and desesperate at the same time :)
An interesting data is the price of music and how it came down since the LP: while a minute of music did cost you 0,55$ in 1977, now it only cost you 0,26 $ thru Itunes and we're not even counting how much it costs you if you're a Spotify user: at 10$ a monthly subscription, lets just say we need to get into microdollars...

At least, with this poster-like graphic the decline looks good, it's the big picture that hurts...

This said, we can still be positive: people still love music and musicians still love doing music. We just need to rebuild a platform where everyone is contented....

http://visual.ly/evolution-music-impact-digital-music-industry

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10 Oct
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music industry

It had to happen, and StageIt seem to have nailed something interesting: a mixture of direct live stream/concert/social event that forms a very interesting new way of getting some revenues and direct interactions with the public/fans/patrons.

The idea is simple enough: it's basically a pay-per-view online broadcasting service. You plan a concert, a live performance, a rehearsal, a music lesson, etc..decide of a day, a price ticket and length of the event, audience in the virtual hall and there you go: online viewers buy tickets, watch the live event, chat with you, and can even add some $ notes if satisfied. StageIt takes 40% of the revenues and provides the streamflux and tickets box. advices and notes on how to set the gig up.

Now, this is a very exciting new way for the artists and I'm convinced that this inventive system will see some original and evolved form of entertainment pretty soon.

http://www.stageit.com/

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07 Oct
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General
politics in music

Even in an industry self-dubbed as open minded, it can be dangerous to come out of the closet and declare yourself gay. Nor only will you start being a flag for homophobic people but you can somehow have doors shut in front of yourself cos you're entering a territory that scares some people, and this industry isn't half as open as it says...And physical anti-gay attacks have rise 13% between 2009 and 2010 in the USA alone.

This interesting article from SPIN shows how uneasy the entire situation can be: being openly a gay artist still isn't "easy". http://www.spin.com/articles/special-report-homophobia-haunts-indie-rock
The Boy Georges' interview is brilliant and so insighful : it sets the score on how the situation of gays in the medias has evolve...

06 Oct
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General
music history

Funny how unaware people were back in the mid-80's when the CD came and de-throned the vinyl that one day even CDs would be considered as obsolete or old, dusty dinosaurs....Ah là là, while the sound of the CD added some clarity compared to vinyls, and the shops gained shelves spaces, the artwork around the vinyl was a huge lost for all when one has to sit and excruciate his eyes trying to decipher a CD cover artwork.

This fun article goes back to some of the best record covers, and while you may think it's covering too many old skool albums,I agree, it actually stops at some chronologic point as ...the albums disappeared, only to come back recently as deluxe versions. Now, there's no real point to debate on how much the music lover lost when the huge album vinyl cover became a tiny small booklet under a plastic box, but what about now when most covers have disappear to be replaced by...nothing, or not much: a banner, a small jpg, and if you're lucky you can download a cover and print it on your home Epson.

Now, how cool is that ? (sarcasm included)

http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/8093...

05 Oct
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General
music history

"The Ghosts, they are everywhere, everywhere, in the lobby, in the elevator ! They want so much attention!" so said the Chelsea's hotel biograph, Sherill Tippins, who's been told by a medium friend .

When does a building acquire a different status than just stones mixed with cement ? When do walls start to talk ? When do a place start to have a life of his own and become haunted by its inhabitants ? Can a simple hotel be more than just rooms to rent and a lobby for a 20$ breakfast ? The 1880 NYC hotel has surely obtain his extraordinary status if only by the quality of his tenants: from Tennessee Williams to Marylin Monroe, Sid Vicious, the beat poets or Bob Dylan, the list never ends.

The Chelsea has just been bought by Joseph Chetrit, a mysterious and rarely-to-be-seen real estate tycoon who's architect promess the hotel will remain as such, with his history and feel.
I'm sure 100 ghosts will see that it does.

the inspiration article : http://www.npr.org/2011/10/03/140294070/at-nycs-chelsea-hotel-the-end-of...

...
04 Oct
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General
music instrument

Diego Stocco is an amazing dude who can really make anything funky and groovy...Give him a tree, some leaves, a branch, whatever, he'll make a song. Give him a dry cleaner machine, he'll make a symphony (http://youtu.be/FCLqfiSKGKE) ...

But he can also make you shiver as this very talented individual as a knack for large, very large soundscapes, be them intimate and smooth (music with a bonsai http://youtu.be/qvyHHX6hNkY ), deep down south sounding - with a difference ( our video extract) or filled with angst and panics (Experibass http://youtu.be/jdYj7dMYwxM). As you can see and hear, he often builds his own instruments !
He makes great use of his talent in his sound design career (the DTS sound signature http://youtu.be/bhQntkY1Ank ), does lotsa videogames (Assassin's Creed) worked with Hans Zimmer but also provide soundtracks as in Sherlock Holmes, Takers, etc...

His website is an experience in itself: http://diegostocco.com/

...
03 Oct
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General
music industry

They had it coming: it seems that Facebook has finally reached a plateau where customers start to feel annoyed and angry enough, or just bored of the novelty, to start leaving the site. Oh, this isn't a scoop: Facebook's growth has been slowing down these last months, hardly a number to keep Mark Zuckerberg awake at night, but curious people should begin to wonder why, even when taking on account certain markets start to saturate. And the battle for World Domination between Google and Facebook has started, with Facebook on a hurry to outrun Google + on the more geeky aspects and that may well signify the end of Facebook....

Another new element comes into play and added up to the recent updates on Facebook one can feel a certain number of Facebook trendsetters and users aren't ready to take it all: the launch of the Spotify/Facebook app was so badly handled that a certain amout of users have decided to leave Spotify and Facebook. And it's more than just these two companies being under the radar for intruding too much into their users' life: Pandora is being taking to court for privacy issues. It seems like the ALL IS GO approach of the social networking is finally facing...

03 Oct
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music history, music industry

While this era seems to have entirely digest music as purely a form of entertainement and in no way a form of social protests and civic statements, things weren't always this...euh...sedated.

There was indeed a time where lyrics were indeed seen as a weapon by the establishment and especially by the TV networks. By then, rock music wasn't a sonic background to sell cars, food or drinks, and bands weren't always behaving. In this article, the editor selects 10 moments where bands have been censored or ask to change lyrics, or songs, when performing live.

Funny to see the american singer Neil Youg sing:
Ain’t singin’ for Pepsi
Ain’t singin’ for Coke
I don’t sing for nobody
Makes me look like a joke
This note’s for you.

Ain’t singin’ for Miller
Don’t sing for Bud
I won’t sing for politicians
Ain’t singin’ for Spuds
This note’s for you.”

while now all a band, a label or a publisher wants is to be picked up and serve as musical alibi in an advertisement campaign :)

...
30 Sep
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General
music industry

We've talked about it a few times: Spotify and other means of legit digital streams are ok but the payroll isn't. Far, far from that. Many musicians consider the 0,002 € a stream an insult, and we need to understand their point of view... Globalization is good, long tail, blah blah but serves only those with a certain amount of followers: it doesn't add to your visibilty as such. Spotify and other streamers have an interesting angle, sure,but they shouldn't squeeze the money factor just because they can and it does well for their business model!
By doing so, they are making musicians (and small labels) miserable and, despite the colorful image of the artist living in an attic and delivering his best work while being hungry, artists need to feel good to create, or at least to feel in a kinda confort zone. You can't concentrate when the bills are piling up! Cos streamers might sound good to the end-consumers but to bands it often cannibalize CD sales. Spotify and all the other legal streaming services needs to come out the bush with a real plan to help the Music Industry, not to just fly in and rampage thru what's left of it...

Cameron Mizell, NYC musician, has an...

30 Sep
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General
music history

...or was it recession and poverty in a city, Detroit (USA), a town condemned to fade away ? In either case, Detroit, the center of the US auto industry, has seen, and probably been part of the creative incentive, the birth of Iggy Pop and the Stooges but also the birth of a vital electronic music movement: Techno.

One of the striking aspect of techno is how this underground dance music came from the input of afro-american musicians, more often associated with funk bands and gospel songs while early techno was offering a totally different sonic reward: cold electronic futuristic noises mixed with dance beats...

This interesting documentary replaces Detroit Techno into its context. Don't expect tips on how to make your grandma get up and dance but learn how it all came together: a shambolic flux of events that gave birth to a great music movement. With interviews from Richie Hawtin, Jeff Mills, Carl Craig, Eddie Fowlkes, Derrick May, etc...

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29 Sep
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music industry

A recent swedish study shows some interesting datas about the effect the swedish company Spotify had among Swedes. Since Spotify started, back in 2009, the decline of illegal downloads has been of 25 %! In fact, Spotify users had outnumbered in 3 months the amount of people recognizing they were illegaly downloading music.

This said, the big picture isn't that pretty: the moment Spotify started to put limitation on his original streaming offer going from free illimited time to seriously reduced offer of "free" music, one can immediately see 15% of the Spotify users went to pay for a full subscription while 31% were going to go back to other streaming services, or file-sharing services...

The problem seems to be that people accept to have some amount of ads when using a streaming music system but it has to be easy to use, and free.
From the moment it slopes into a paid mode, an overwhelming % of users will go back to wherever they can find what they're looking for: free music. Now, more and more people are used to have free music/free movies/free tv shows: it is impossible to go back unless the Industries find a way to have the end-consumer have free...

29 Sep
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music history

Miles Davis passed away 20 years ago and his legacy still resonates in many, many different music styles and bands be it a cool jazz outfit, a funk group or a meditative quartet. The man was an obvious genious, very hard to pinpoint in a corner, very passionate about his art and rather disinterested in human beings. He had a reputation of being obnoxious, moody, despotic if not violent at times and few are the people who have really approached him, wich is a shame as his secret recipe for chili saus was something to live for apparently...

If you're aware of his discography, you'll make no objections if i put highlights two amazing LPs this very well-dressed man did: "Kind of Blue" (1959) and my personal favorite: "In A Silent Way" (1969).

blog on Miles http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2011/sep/28/miles-davis-20-yea...
official website http://www.milesdavis.com/us/home
very well informed site http://www.plosin.com/MilesAhead/
Miles...

28 Sep
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General
music, songwriters

Damon Albarn, singer of famous english 90's band Blur and also main prime suspect in the excellent Gorillaz, has recently been to Congo where he recorded "Kinshasa One Two", an album done in 5 days with local musicians (among them Nelly Liyemge, Jupiter Bokondji and Bokatola System) plus Dan The Automator, Richard Russel and others. All benefits of the operation will go to Oxfam as part as the DRC music initiative.

This isn't the first time Damon Albarn works outside of the "occidental pop music" confort zone as he did the music for a chinese opera and already released an album called Mali Music in 2002.
At Kollector, we're very aware of the cultural diversity ingredients forming this world's radio broadcasts and we're happy to have people from South Africa, Chile, Samoa islands or Jamaïca (for example) joining us and following their tracks with Kollector.

Listen to the full Kinshasa One Two album: http://hypem.com/search/DRC%20Music
Damon Albarn on Mali Music: http://youtu.be/5lGRQVkXEts
Damon Albarn's Monkey - 'Journey To The West trailer...

28 Sep
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General
music history

There are few artists who have really change the way music is perceived and played, and even fewer who have been so radical in their stand that they totally infather a new musical genre. Iggy Pop is one of them.
Probably born from an overdose of The Doors meets MC5, Iggy Pop and his Detroit band The Stooges have been so radical in their way to play rock music that we can safely bet it has been instrumental to the birth of at least 2 music genres: heavy metal and punk.

Iggy's sheer determination to make the audience react and stand up has tag him as an icon of live performer of the extreme, and he does in fact hurt himself often (as we speak, he's off for 6 weeks as he broke his foot on stage...). His career has been a rollercoaster of great reviews and bad sales, drugs addiction and redemption, but his association with David Bowie has seen two albums that will stay for ever as two absolutely great monuments of music: "Lust For Life" and "The Idiot". GET THEM NOW!

If Iggy comes by your town and you have never seen him playing live, get a ticket now. If you have seen him live before, chances are you already have a ticket :)

Iggy playing Lust For Life...

26 Sep
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movie, music festival

"You Instead", from english director David Mackenzie, is a movie shot in only 5 days during the "T in the Park festival" which is the background/motive/albi for a love story filmed guerilla-like...
The end result seems like an exhilirating movie, powerful and immersive, rather magical at times, all happening within that short amount of time adding tension and ambiance to the plot. And the fact it's based around these new tribal gatherings that are festivals is no mistake: can we detect a social theme there ?
Can this be the start of a new Rave revival as we're also encountering a movie shot in the US around a massive festival: "Electric Daisy"?. Raves, rather underground back in the 90's, are coming back big time and now it's all happening in stadiums and huge fields with tens of thousands of electro fans. And dollars. At the same time, more and more festivals are experimenting financial troubles...Are festivals the penduluum opposite to the virtual world: the body-against-body experience versus the me-in-front-of-my-screen status ? It'll be very interesting to see how 2012 shapes up...or down.

interview of David McKenzie...

26 Sep
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music industry

It had to happen. This world's new obsession of the month is Facebook going all musical with the help of a specially designed Spotify application. Does it work ? It does. Is it swell and all groovy ? It's not.

Digital Music News has tested the beta and oh boy, it has some inbuilt problems, not only in the way it works, but in the way it's been thought off. It will be asking the consumer to go thru walls of requests, endless ads, login interfaces, etc...Ok, it's only a Beta, but do we really need that ? Do we really need the world of the internet being split between 3 megacorporates that have decide they will share Music and sell it to us the way THEY want it: Itunes, Facebook and Spotify ?
http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/stories/092311fbspotify#eC65NaKY5maIfk3W...

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26 Sep
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music history, music industry

There are a few people out there who have shaped music history by being themselves and go thru with their dreams: it eventually grew to become big, then huge, then history....

Daniel Miller is one of those unique gifted individuals whose talent was to actually follow his heart and assemble with musicians he loved.

In an industry where most things take months and 10 lawyers, Daniel Miller, head of legendary record label Mute (house of Depeche Mode, Erasure, Moby, Fad Gadget, Nick Cave, Diamonda Galas, but also new signings Beth Jeans Houghton, Josh T. Pearson, Big Deal and S.C.U.M.) makes a deal by just talking true and shake hands and actually starting a relatiionship with an artist or a band.

This is what happened when he signed Depeche Mode (without any doubt one of the biggest band in the history of pop) and this is what will happen if Daniel sees a band he loves in a pub...

Here's the man talking in this 2011 video. Very interesting.

http://mute.com/

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23 Sep
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music history, music instrument

Stevie Wonder is a musical monument (and a very funny man too) who's career started way back in 1961 when he was signed bu Benny Gordy on Tamla Motown. He soon had a major hit with "Fingertips" in 1963 and enjoys massive recognition and success since then.
He teamed up with Malcom Cecil and Robert Margouleff for 3 records that definitively put him on a global status with songs as vital and cult as "Superstition" or "Living For The City". he was also among the major artists to use this new invention, the synthesizer. His co-producers had a gigantic beast called TONTO (The Original New Timbral Orchestra) consisting of huge Moog synthesizers all combined in strangely shaped wooden cabinets.
The video illustrates how one of the most soulful musician alive teamed up with two guys and a Godzilla-like synthesizer..

more on TONTO: http://youtu.be/nGfR3G6si_M
Stevie and his ARP 2600: http://youtu.be/Hzp6ly1mOIE

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23 Sep
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music history, music instrument

Few instruments have been as groundbreaking as the synthesizer as it opened up an entire new music world. And one synthesizer can be seen as the originator (besides the AKS/VCS3 synth): the Minimoog.

This documentary is fun and interesting and comes up with a few laughs as we discover how the Minimoog actually had a flaw in the filter design and how Bill Hemsath, its inventor alonside Robert A. Moog, designed it during his lunch breaks from parts that were laying around...Bill is the inventor of the dreaded pitch wheel, responsible for thousands of really annoying moog solos but it's ok as he didn't know at the time ;))))

It also comes from clips showing Kraftwerk using Minimoogs on Radioactivity and we even have a glimpse of Florian operating his ARP Odyssey, pictures of the first designs that, with a 40 years bumper, don't they look funny :)

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22 Sep
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General
movie soundtrack

We don't know about you, but here we're salivating at the prospect of the next David Fincher movie: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", based on the best seller book, and movie, Millenium.
Why ?
Great casting: Daniel Craig has more than James Bond in him and it's good to see him landing a role like this one. It also has a nice vilain, Christopher Plummer.
Great movie soundtrack: what we can hear coming from the hands and brains of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross sound so powerful, a far cry from Social Network (more in the right frame of mind)
It has David Fincher directing :)

More on the writer, Stieg Larsson http://www.stieglarsson.com/The-Girl-With-The-Dragon-Tattoo ( 20 millions book sold of his Millenium trilogy)
The first trailer, with the Led Zeppelin cover: http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/trailer-girl-dragon-tatoo

22 Sep
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General
music

Dame Evelyn Glennie (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, yes !) is an internationally known and respected Scottish virtuoso percussion player of great talent and equally great humour. She has a few trademarks that distinguish her from most musicians, one of them is that she plays barefoot, be it in the recording studio or on stage, and she also appears to come to the Ted talks with a motorbike bag filled with musical sheets and diverse paraphranelia which is a long way from your common Diva holding up a Vuitton leather bag.

She has played with a lot of respected musicians like Björk or Bobby Mc Ferrin and has a longlife stand for musical education.
She also composes music for films, does lots of conferences and talks and even has her own line of jewelry. Her talks concentrates on how to REALLY listen to music thru your entire body. She replaces music its real place in our human experience.

Oh, yes, by the way, she's been deaf since she's 12.

a movie about her: http://youtu.be/Edkx6ovQ9YM
her website: http://www.evelyn.co.uk

...
21 Sep
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copyrights, music industry

Very interesting article by Bob Stanley (part of the legendary and groovy Saint Etienne band) about the EC extension of copyrights laws from 50 to 70 years. While it does sound good for artists and labels indeed, it also extends the ownership of the masters to whom has now the right to use them and that comes with unexpected results. At the end of the day, it really is important to know how to use this extention of copyright so all can benefit from it.

It could mean that some companies not eager to invest money in forgotten artists will be able to keep their hands on the masters while it would have been possible for these artists to re-release themselves, or reshop for a new label, their own tracks: it's not sure all the labels will jump on this copyright occasion and rework their back catalogue for the pure sake of Art.

It also means that many small labels used to dig up reliques and treasures from the vaults of public domain works will no longer been able to do so.
What matters more: having a record out with a song of yours and eventually being called up and play live gigs, generating some radio money, or just NOT having your work out there?

We...

21 Sep
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General
politics in music

We tend to forget music as we know it now wasn't always the aural background to a car advert (Eminem and Chrysler, Peugeot and Universal) or hymn to a luxurious perfume, nor were rebel looking Hollywood actors like Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt cream of the cream of the Hollywood chain food.

There was a time, children, where John Wayne and Charlon Heston were the top of the iceberg and anything left of them was deemed anti-establishement and DANGEROUS. Rock music was starting to grow but it was mainly all nice and satinized until some decided to sing about politics and changes and how things really were beneath the surface of well-oiled western civilisations.

Some songs have been mirrors of that. Time Out, the London magazine, has a long article about 100 songs that changed history but we will narrow that countdown to 5 songs. 5 only. But 5 songs that scared The Man a lot...

PUBLIC ENEMY: "Fight The Power" the 1989 song was an undestructable element of Spike Jones's amazing movie Do The Right Thing and it has that drive that will last forever. It was all about the Ghetto and not two years later was the background sound to the LA Riots...

FELA: "Zombie...

20 Sep
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General
music industry

Queen, the band that survived its flamboyant singer Freddie Mercury, has maybe found a way to clone itself and perpetuate their music for eons to come. We're not sure it's a great idea and if the artistic legacy of Queen needed that but no doubt this will be the talk of the town and a great commercial success.

Roger Taylor, the drummer, is launching a rather clever search for 5 musicians and 3 singers that can go on tour and present a show based around Queen, with songs, films and various extravaganza that will present to the public an idealized version of Queen.

This is an interesting move based on the growing successs of tribute bands that start to make big headlines and full venues around the globe. We already had Elvis singing on a screen with his backing band going thru the motion of a "real" gig but this promess to be spectacular as it will be produced by Taylor himself, helped by some of the people behind Le Cirque Du Soleil. We're of course a far cry from "rock n' roll" here, this is pure business and somehow a normal extension of the sorry tendencies we're seeing these days: everyone can be a singer or a musician, and nothing can stop you...

20 Sep
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General
music instrument

The theremin is nothing new, it was invented back in the 20's by Leon Theremin, but there's something so magical about making music with an instrument you actually never touch. I don't mean the stacks of violins one can control thru a midi software, I mean a real, genuine and physical instrument you can use and make sounds with.

The theremin is rather simple: you control the oscillator's frequency with one hand while the other one controls loundness. Very handy when you want to make creepy sci-fi sounds, but if you get to be a virtuose like Pamelia_Kurstin it takes the instrument to new highs. See her using the theremin like a double bass, or a violin, it's quite amazing. She also gives some explanation from 5'30" and her freshness/enthusiasm is energizing!

Moog has come up with a very reliable and reasonably priced theremin: check it here in this perky video: http://youtu.be/stobfk1Mfjk

19 Sep
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music instrument, songwriters

Not all is bad on the internet for music: there's more out there than piracy, insulting streaming revenues and Pop Idol wannabees: there are also thousands of bands working their music these days by sending bits and pieces to each other and producing albums without actually never recording in the same room and, as posted this morning, even big recording studios offer new ways of making music and mixing it...

Eric Whitacre has stumbled quite by accident in the beauty of intertwined art when he got a fan posting a video of her singing one of his composition. An idea started to grow: what if he was to put together a choir of people all singing his melody, but recorded in the confort of their own home...And it worked, he soon had a piece made with 185 people...Was it enough ? Probably not as he soon embarked on a project with a 2000 people choir which ended up being a huge Youtube success.

This is Eric explaining the ins and outs of that remarkable digital adventure.

19 Sep
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music industry

Abbey Road, the famous London studio who has been home to The Beatles, Radiohead, Oasis and that NY lady who wears meat dresses on stage, offers new online services to all: you can now have them mix your songs or master your album for rather reasonable prices !

You can upload your songs audiotrack per audiotrack, no fx, no timing issues to be revolved and no midi channels, and world famous engineers will use their, experience and the outboard at Abbey Road's studios to give that extra ooomph your own recording may need. Price go from £550 for 1 to 24 multi-tracks and £750 for 25 to 48 tracks extravaganza. You can also have Abbey Road to do the mastering (£90 per track and as low as £250 for an album)

This is an interesting development: an amazing studio offering highly skilled and experienced engineers (altho don't expect Georges Martin - unfortunately he's totally deaf now - to turn up) and great outboard equipment a musician on its own can't afford. Prices are reasonable for the kind of quality one might expect and you can even credit Abbey Road on your cover !

http://www.abbeyroadonlinemixing....

16 Sep
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music industry

Bob Lefsetz is a famous blogist, oh wait: in fact he started his letters way, way back when the internet wasn't even experimented with, or just about. He has many readers, some famous like Quincy Jones or Steve Tyler, and a few well-publisized ennemies as his troubles with Kid Rock or Gene Simmons (the Kiss bass player) are notorious.

Well, when Bob speaks out, we listen. This guy has been around for decades and his knowledge about the music industry, its ins and outs, and his sheer understanding of what an artist should represent talks sweet to us.
His latest blog entry is so right on target: it makes one realize how we've got it so wrong now, how the music bizness (it's not a dirty word it's a reality) pushes fabricated puppies that aren't the real McCoy and how some people are ready to sacrifice all they have for fifteen frames of success but they aren't artists at all and consequently will fade away once the fashion they copied will sound tacky. Problem is the collateral damage: what's on display consists of empty shells looking like artists but not sounding anything like what the fans want.

As we pinpointed here a few days ago, these bad times in music...

16 Sep
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music history, politics in music

If there's one musician who has paid a high price for his political actions and social stands, it surely is Nigeria's child Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Beaten in his flesh by soldiers, harrassed by Police forces, his family and friends subjects of pressure and physical violence (his mother was thrown out the second floor by the Army when they raided Fela's Kalakuti Republic in Lagos!), Fela paid in cash his strong, proud and vital comments about Africa, Colonialism, Panafricanism, Music, Weed, Women, Politics. He was an educated and witty man. And an astounding musician who has inspired many, many musicians.

Born from an educated Yorouba middle-class parents (sugar on the cake: Fela's grand-father was the first ever African musician to record - it was for EMI in the 1920s), Fela Ransome Kuti was always involved in politics and his journeys to Europe and the USA gave him a unique perspective on an Africa he dreamed being strong, independant and proud of its roots. Not a Muslim nor a Christian, Fela was seen as a rebel and a iconoclast: he was a free spirit always fighting for his ideas and, man, were they offensive for the Nigerian governements, too hastily ready to bend over...

15 Sep
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composers, music

Oliver Sacks is a brilliant british neurologist also author of many bestsellers, including Awakenings (1973) which served as base for the Robert de Niro/Robin Williams movie of the same name.
He is also known for his works on autism, deafness, de Tourette and degenerative cerebral diseases.
The New York Times once described him as "poet laureate of contemporary medicine". Of course, he had faced many criticism from fellow doctors and scientists: it's never easy to defend theories when they go against the tide...Yes, jealousy on his success probably adds to the bill and it's a shame as he's a true humanist and only wants to put the person back in the middle of the equation instead of considering the sick person as just being the vehicle of a anormality or disease.

In this warm clip, Dr Sacks talks about an odd condition called "amusia" which could be described as "musical deafness". The patient is, among other things, unable to recognize familiar melodies and cannot detect wrong or out-of tune notes.

Sounds like some composers you may know ? ;)))

http://www.oliversacks.com/

15 Sep
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music, psychology

At first, we didn't know if this video from France24 (a french news tv station) was a set-up or not as it's so...easy-going.
We scrabbed a little bit, learned or re-learned a few things along the way until we stroke genious at 6'05 in the videoreportage: BINGE LISTENING is the new matte black :)
Naaah, only kidding, this video is interesting and fun as it shows you a violinist going under surgery while still playing the violin, yes sir. Then a jazzman telling you about music enhancing the protein values of your cells, yessss, the benefits of music for the alzheimer patients and finally an australian doctor urging kids to stay away from louspeakers as BINGE LISTENING IS BAD FOR YOU. He's right!

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KOLLECTOR: track your songs on radios in real time. worldwide.
register for the free beta version on www.kollector.com/en
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14 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
1 comment(s)
General
music industry, orchestra

We have it (relatively) cool here in Europe. Being a musician is hard, allright, success doesn't come easy and sometimes it doesn't come at all. But still we thrive and keep going, composing and playing and imaginating new ideas for songs and structures. We are in love with the actual making of the music: building something from thin air till it actually has a life in its own, a little world with its own images and feelings. We also love playing music, whether it's with a modular synth or an oboe, and we love listening and seeing people performing music. Still, life isn't easy for most musicians....

But it can be REALLY hard and you're looking at piling up tough times if you're a musician in most parts of Africa. Jobs are few and far between, you need to care about you and your family, you often need to take odd jobs in order to survive and on top of that you want time to play music...This is what the musicians from the "Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste" are doing: altho they are considered as middle class in Congo, they still fight hard times to even get to rehearsals, sometimes they build their own instruments and most of them are self-taught musicians. All of them...

14 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
1 comment(s)
General
cloud music, music industry

Very interesting numbers from a small indie band which has no label and therefore no distribution in stores. Uniform Motion can only count on himself for promotion and sales and they have been counting exactly what comes down to them after sales.

What the numbers shows is that, as felt by many, streaming doesn't make you a dime unless you are a Spotify/Deezer/Itunes boardmember or shareholder, a band with many, many followers or a label of some size: you do need thousands of thousands of streams (0,002€ a stream is not a number, it's an insult to artists and producers) to make it a valid option. Century Media, a US label, has decided to take away all his acts from Spotify, and very rightly so !

Digital sales thru portals are quite allright altho the 70/30 deal + starting fee of 35 € takes off quite a bite off the final price. Of course, selling a physical product is more interesting, but since non-signed bands can't get distribution we're back at step zero...

In this era, there's little money a band can make unless he tours, sells merch and has radioplays (where Kollector can come in to help you manage the audio works).
Many will be/are broken by...

13 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
politics in music

We already had Henry Rollins in our Kollector Blog, and he was on about "Selling Out" and that was insighful and funny (wich may very well be this blog's aim actually).
The ex-Black Flag and Hollywood's favorite thug (or good guy, Henry does well both sides on the screen) has here a very interesting monologue on how some feel the urge and need to rewrite history, and in this case Creationism.

He has that great phrase: "History isn't broken but it's being fixed all the same". Sooo true, Henry, so true !

Since Black Flag, Rollins has done many things, musically or politically. He's been doing various radioshows and TV ("The Henry Rollins Show").
Henry Rollins is also a strong voice for various political causes, including promoting LGBT rights, World Hunger Relief, Water Relief, ...He has also a strong position against US fighting wars abroad.

For the die-hards, a very cool video showing Mr and Ms Rollins at home :) http://vimeo.com/19458864
more on that interesting man on: http://henryrollins.com

...
12 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
music industry

Some of you may know that a band's rider is a document given to concert promoters and stating what the band wants/needs to have as for sounds and lights, stage set up and all.
An important part of the rider is about food and backtage accomodation, towels and drinks, everything that can make the band confortable while waiting to perform in the club/venue/arena/festival/etc...

Seems like the Foo Fighters have come up with the best rider, ever. It actually reads like a cartoon, and maybe it's for the best :)

http://www.shortlist.com/entertainment/music/foo-fighters-go-colouring

The Dave Grohl band may have beaten Iggy Pop who's rider is, well, we don't exactly know how to categorize it, it's weird and funny at the same time, very rock n' roll, man, and definitively a great read :)
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/crime/lust-laughs

Inthe video, a great reaction from Dave Grohl about a "fan" looking for troubles at a Foo Fighter show...

...
12 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
graphic design

Once in a while, we just find videos or musics that are just self-explanatory and beautiful...
Craig Shimala is a talented young multimedia artist from Chicago and some of his work is rather incredible, profound yet simple and evocative.

his website: http://www.craigshimala.com
an incredible vision of Chicago, still using that mirror effect to its best: http://vimeo.com/18203555
more videos from him: http://vimeo.com/cshimala

12 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
movie industry, music industry

There's something uneasy about rockumentaries as they are called: you have a director trying to get into the musicians brains and very often he's a fan and rather limits himself by being subdued and too sentimental when he should go for a more analytical approach, a factual scenario and in search of something to show, more than pretty faces switching on Orange amps and sitting in front of a mixing desk. Or maybe not ?

U2 has a movie coming out about themselves ("From The Sky Down") and word is it wasn't that easy for them to accept what director Guggenheim had edit. The movie revisits "Achtung Baby", the legendary U2 album recorded in Berlin, but it also sees the musicians sitting in and talking. And, gee, can Bono talk and talk and talk :)

Another famous rockumentary is Scorcese's "Shine Of Light", a movie he did around The Rolling Stones. It's glossy, charming, huge but really only scratches the surface.
http://youtu.be/lg5FWw5AXIQ
"Some Kind Of Monster" is a famous award-winning movie about metal band Metallica and all we can do is stare at that rather incredible documentary: it shows the band at a all-...

09 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
music instrument

It's funny how guitar players, bass players, pianists, horn players and cello people are so madly in love with their instruments, and we can understand that, and share that feeling.
But would you believe it if we were to tell you that synthesize players are sometimes as dedicated and physically bounded to that electronic instruments ? And in the midst of that you'll find a hardcore of people, a niche if you like, of people totally mad and crazy in love with MODULAR ANALOG SYNTHS.

Yes, synthesizers like they used to make them back in the late seventies, big, huge sometimes, chunks of metal and wood and knobs and ...other stuff that make weird noises. Of course, bands like Depeche Mode or NIN use these machines often and have been more than vocals about them. And there's a real modular synths movement bubbling up.

There's a new film, directed by Robert Fantinatto, "MODULAR, the documentary". It still is in production but It has us already floored at Kollector as this movie really transcends the love these musician have for these wild beasts of sounds...

some cool links about these synth/musical geeks:
...

09 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
2 comment(s)
General
Kollector

We have installed a live demo of Kollector : you can simply log in and watch in realtime the latest radiobroadcasts of about 20 songs we are tracking with Kollector.

We uploaded Move Like Jagger on the 6th and it has since then enjoyed 1880 radio trackings and that song was played 686 times in the latest 24 hours alone! It was played 234 times in Germany alone and, mind you, 16 times in Brazil and South Africa.

That's a lot of good promo to follow up on, tours to put together and royalties to track down indeed. And they may even want to know what other songs from the album would work by uploading that record in Kollector and have a global view on what's been playing most by the radios and in which countries. They may even decide to push up some more promo in some countries if they see the song bubbles up but doesn't quite make it yet...

I can write for sure what were the last songs (we follow) played:

1 09-09-2011 @ 7:59:51 Ya! Fm , La Radio Impactante Mexico Maroon 5 - Move Like Jagger
2 09-09-2011 @ 7:58:26 Radio Top 40 Germany Maroon 5 - Move Like Jagger
3 09-09-2011 @ 7:57:55 CIHT Hot...

08 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music instrument

This is a quite stunning piece of work from the people at Philips.
Ok, the song isn't great but how they succeeded in breaking the full orchestra in smaller parts and isolate each instrumentalist is quite reviting and spectacular indeed !
It's like being able to walk thru the hall and come closer to each musician as they're play their part. It's astounding to realize all the little bits of fiddling around that takes place and things you don't hear in the big picture but which are parts of the final sound and give it its color and harmonies....

(http://www.sound.philips.com/ows/) or https://www.facebook.com/philipssound?sk=app_244231455618113

The video we integrate with this is an interview of Geoff Foster, one of the top recording engineer for orchestral music. cool guy whom i had the chance to flood under hundred cups of coffee while he was in Brussels recording a soundtrack.

08 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
movie industry, music industry

Let's stay in the movie industry for a while as there are interesting parallels that can be build between movies and musics. And what happened to music since 1999 (the ever going down spiral of sales) has started to hit the movie industry as well. And if you think it cost a label (and the band, and the publishers, managers, producers, etc...) a lot when a 50.000 € album is being pirated, leaked, stolen, shared, etc...(use the word you want, result is the same: people buy now less music than ever), wait till this happens to a 500.000 € movie (and that's a cheap C serie movie): ROI is dead...We're now entering an era where budgets have to be cut by double digits numbers and the only ones to come out alive will be the one dealing cleverly and accordingly with the situation...

So, it's interesting to see how the new situation inspires people to do MORE with LESS. Take this clever little movie ( by Dan Trachtenberg) based around Portal, that amazing videogame (and the amazing brilliant song on Portal 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6ljFaKRTrI). It immediately has an mood, a feel, a look, a sound, a plot that starts...

06 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
music

We often know, or think we know, what music styles and genres are about (altho I'm pretty sure most of us don't have the slightiest idea what crunk is and who invented neo-dark folk) but how sure are we about the origins of the names themselves ?

This good piece in the Guardian (where else ?) reflects on that and comes up with some fun moments and accurate knowledge.
Let's just test this: what is the origin of Heavy Metal ? Hmmm ? It comes from a character in a William S Burroughs book (1962): Uranian Willy, the Heavy Metal Kid. How it ended up giving a name to a music genre more known for its knobs-on-eleven rather than it high interest for english high fly literature is down to a Humble Pie album review, in 1970. Uncanny, isn't it ? :)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/aug/25/origins-of-music-genres-hip-...

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06 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
movie industry

We at Kollector really enjoy it when Peter Travers from Rolling Stone gets going about how bad some Hollywood movies are and we cherish those moments when a little bit of truth is being spilled in this enjoyable un-political form. Yes ! Peter Travers, YOU RULE ! These are Peter's awards for the worst pile of garbage that came out of Hollywood this summer. Not our words, his :)

(sorry about the little advert before the actual movie...http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/blogs/the-travers-take/peter-travers-...)

What's the connection with music ? Well, look at how some labels decide to push artist "A" into the limelight with a big name producer "B" and guest singer "C" and often end up with a really really bad album and a couple of singles that are terribly mainstreamed, worked to the line to be self-digested for target niches of listeners but at the end of the day it will just flop cos people don't like albums filled with leftover songs of an uninspired session and no guts or no desire to go into exciting territories and...

05 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
politics in music

Politics is always a dangerous arena to get into, and we won't but this interview is far too funny to let pass.
Remember Devo, the US band that had their 15 minutes of fame back late seventies with their idiotic song "Mongoloid" and that wild Stones cover Satisfaction ?
Well, they kinda disappear then came back recently altho Mark Motherbaugh, the lead singer and musician, was always an estimated musician and owner of some pretty amazing synths. Devo gave this smart interview to Spinner.
(http://www.spinner.com/2011/06/15/devo-interview-nxne/).

The name "Devo" comes "from their concept of 'de-evolution' - the idea that instead of continuing to evolve, mankind has actually begun to regress, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society.

04 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
music, songwriters

I don't know about you, but I have sometimes felt really dumb reading a synth's manual and not being able to pass page three without wondering what the heck they are talking about as some manuals seem to be put together by scientists communicating to fellow members of their Uni and not good communication people trying to teach how to use that piece of equipment without checking if you're aware of quantic physics and fluids dynamics.

Well, i'm sure you'll be happy to know i passed that stage now :) In the meantime, some musicians are indeed smart scholars and this article tells us a bit more about some of the smarter musicians out there.
We can add to that list Frank Spinath from Seabound/Edge Of Dawn/Ghost And Writer who's a world known Phd in Psychology, Ryan Leslie the rap producer who came out at Harvard at 19 (there's a lesson to be taught from that !), Mick Jagger (degree in Economics) and Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine) went to Harvard...

http://www.spinner.com/2011/09/01/phd-musicians/

...
02 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
movie industry

Hilarious rant from the top movie critic at Rolling Stone (http://www.rollingstone.com/videos/at-the-movies/damn-you-hollywood-pete...
Peter Travers is upset at how Hollywood keeps on releasing crap movies and then they are all astouned when the public response is bad.

Same thing can be said about the music industry. Ok, let's forget about all the Justin Bieber and alike, bands and musicians have to concentrate to make albums that aren't made with a couple of singles and fillers, videos have to expand from the usual boy-meets-girl cliches, songs have to expand from the boring verse-verse-chorus formula, we ought to make our art BETTER if we want to extract from the crowd that rewarding experience of the I SO LOVE THAT and re-initiate a buying mode that has now to be shared with movies (the movie experience is still often great), mobile phones and computers...

(sorry about the advert before the videoclip...)

...
02 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
mastering, music industry

A few weeks ago, the Kollector Blog had an entry about Loudness and Compression, the two headed monsters that are destroying music even before it's been released ! In this interesting Quietus article (http://thequietus.com/articles/06872-loudness-wars-dynamic-range-compres...), more exemples and reasons why musicians, producers and labels should stay away from the damn big knobs and concentrate on having dynamics and subtleties rather than a big large wall like waveform that once was well-crafted piece of music...

The video is a short intro from Bob Ludwig, the american sound engineer which is to mastering what salt is to french fries !
And kids, remember: DIGITAL DISTORTION IS THE ANTICHRIST ! ;-)

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01 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
graphic design

It's not everyday one find a commercial website dedicated to make things move a little bit further than the usual mainstream and I suppose the longtail theory (and the fact that it does make "smaller niche" shine more) counts a lot and allow us to stumble on interesting things...

Dazed Digital is a very clever and exciting online mag (outburst from its sister mag Dazed And Confused) mixing up and mashing out videos, fashion, music and blogging. Launched by a famous UK photographer, it has making its goal to be thought provoking and we can only agree on the idea and enjoy its application.

http://www.dazeddigital.com/projects/just-tell-the-truth/ allows you to enter/confess your actual frame of mind and expose it to the world. Sounds familiar ? Not when it's put aside other entries, it starts to form a never ending work of art about your and their feelings....

01 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
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General
Kollector, music industry, popkomm

Time : 07 September at 9am till 09 September at 4pm
Location: Popkomm Media_Gate Gate A1-05, Airport Tempelhof, Berlin
Platz der Luftbrücke
Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany

Kollector is presenting its airplay tracking application on Popkomm and we are looking forward to many interesting contacts.
If you also going to be in Berlin for Popkomm, let's meet up: you can find us at the Media_Gate on Gate A1-05 (yes, it's a former airport ;).

Popkomm is the internationally established meeting place of the music and entertainment industry and will take place from September 7th to 9th on the former main airport Berlin Tempelhof. More information on http://www.popkomm.com/

Kollector is present in the "Popkomm Media_Gate" which is a new innovative event format where representatives of forward-looking digital music services will meet.

Popkomm is embedded in Berlin Music Week which ends with Berlin Festival on the following weekend. http://www.berlinfestival.de/line-up-2011/

01 Sep
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
movies, movie soundtrack

Why oh why didn't the Penguin win over Gotham City and spare us of all the greedy franchising and let's -tour-the-worlds-arena-and-make-millions-with-this-obsession ?
Feels like any idea these days has to be marketed to endless repositioning of its famed assets to be redeveloped for new audiences, and hopefully new market shares...
What's next ? The TV serial Lost double-cheese hamburger ? A special edition of the Ford Focus equipped with the Harry Potter GPS guiding system that gives you the faster road to Harry's Hogwarts school ? A special Mojito cocktail called the Inception and which guarantees you to be drunk before even drinking it ?

This said, this Batman Live Arena tour looks decadent enough for sure, and has great music played with frantic light show for sure...Let's give it a chance, but nothing will beat the original Gotham Saviour in a movie theater. With Christian Bale behind the hood.

And let's all concentrate on doing great, original art, not ready-to-be-franchised mashed up art...
http://hangout.altsounds.com/features/...

31 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
songwriters

Wired, the wonderful US magazine, has a very interesting article on how music tickles the brain, where and how much.
Basically, music triggers dopamine to ciculate in the blood, and that dopamine makes us feel good, or better. What is fascinating is that there's a peak moment which makes dopamine releases bigger seconds before an anticipated passage in the music: our brain likes to play with himself and delivers more dopamine when the brain is being tickled and waiting for a chord, a figure, something that will give our brain "food for thoughts".
It's a primal reflex for sure, but one based on the idea that, when music is being played, dopamine releases can be enhanced in some ways. We're all animal with boots, aren't we ?

So, they come up with an intruiging theory on why Beethoven somehow seems to trigger all the right points in his 5th Symphonia: our brain is teased to be expecting certain chords and changes but don't quite get them and by doing so the intensivity of dopamine is being boosted ! On another level, our brain does take repetition in music with boredom and disinterest and dopamine releases are then smaller: we deeply want to be astounded and...

31 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
movie soundtrack

We all love to be challenged, and some of us like to be heavily challenged :) Horror movies are back big time, they never quite went away, but the overwhelming success of the Harry Potter films, and the romantic vampires like Twilight or the TV show True Blood, have somehow succeeded in giving a mainstream credibility to harder spooky ambiances or foggy description of strange tales of magic...

There are no doubts soundtracks are an essential part of horror movies, and actually if you take away the sound from these movies, you're left with something that may not move you at all, but could make you laugh instead of being scared...

Let's explore and listen to ten great movie soundtracks that made you wish you didn't enter the movie theather or rented that DVD...

http://beatcrave.com/2010-10-26/halloween-special-10-greatest-horror-mov...

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...

30 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
music industry

Let's not be gloomy cos it doesn't help anyway: better look at the countries still into the habit of buying music.
A few funny facts: South Korea is a hot market while France and Germany see more sales than the US of A (relatively speaking as the diagram takes sales divided by GDP) . Interesting to know...
http://www.economist.com/node/18621481

On another hand, as this Economist article will explain to you, China, soon to become the world's first economy, is a disastrous market for music: it's Pirats' Heaven...
http://www.economist.com/node/17627557
Funnily enough, to complicate the game, China has just release a weird list of songs that are banned from their territories...It seems like Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Beyoncé are all stuck in the China Censorship Bureau for no other reason that showing up a lifestyle not feeling right. I guess they're scared that people start wearing meat dresses...

1. "Americano," Lady Gaga
3. "Aunt Beat," New Treasure Island Sport Band
6. "Bloody Mary," Lady Gaga
8. "Burning Up (...

30 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
music instrument

We're all quite intrigued when it comes to the equipment Depeche Mode uses. And while doing compiling this, it appeared to us that the Basildon' Four list of equipment is a catalog of all the great synths that have come out since 1981..
Here's that never ending list of Depeche's equipment from 1981onwards...get your saliva buckets ready...
(Not in the list but probably used: a Fairlight, a VCS3 and Sounds Of The Universe gear list not include but we know they're back in the analog/vintage machines and do use some stuff from http://www.schneidersladen.de/en/ )
Feel free to add instruments in the comments...

Korg KR55
Moog Source synth
Moog Prodigy
PPG Wave 2.0 synth
TEAC A3440 Tape Machine
REVOX A77 Tape Machine
Roland Promars
Roland TR808
Roland Jupiter 8
Prophet 2000
Octave Voyetra 8 Synthesizer
Emulator II
Yamaha DX7
Korg DW 8000
PPG Wave 2.3
Oberheim OB
two Prophet 2000 samplers
Akai s900 sampler
EmaxHD
Yamaha DX7II
EmaxHD
Korg DW800
Tascam 48 Tape
Tascam 38
...

29 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
graphic design

We often take heavy-metal for the musical equivalence of frontal lobotomy, and most of the times it does fit the description, even for the people loving that musical genre. But we shouldn't take for granted the people behind the instruments and think they are plain dumbed by the sheer ferocity of their music. Look at Nikki Sixx, bassist of Mötley Crüe, the legendary heavy rock outfit: behind the bandana and the make-up stands a real artist and a great photographer.
And a serious one-liner addict too: "I have a wonderful assistant," Sixx said during his talk with journalist Kristine McKenna, as his pictures flashed on a digital screen. "I tell her I need four amputees and a midget and she finds them."

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/nikki-sixx-addiction-softened-my-...

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KOLLECTOR: track your songs on radios in real time. worldwide.
register for the free beta version on...

29 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music history

The excellent Guardian have come up with a vital timeline displaying the history of Modern Music, with links to articles and pictures and more interesting things to explore. Way to go !

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/interactive/2011/jun/11/history-modern-m...

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register for the free beta version on www.kollector.com/en
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29 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
artists

The problem with myth is that they sell something foggy and mysterious, which makes the crowd go bezerk for them, but that stop us from seeing the truth, what's really beyond the things we think we know...
Let's try with a simple test, on a musical genre most music lovers (that's you and I) think they know...You'll be amazed how far from the facts we sometimes are...

1. Grunge began in Seattle
2. Grunge was overwhelmingly male
3. Nirvana came from Seattle
4. Kurt Cobain was murdered
5. Cobain didn't want to be famous
6. Cobain wrote most of Hole's second album, Live Through This
7. Nevermind was actually crap
8. Grunge was all dark, gloomy, woe-is-me music
9. Cobain was grunge's only casualty
10. Grunge had a great legacy

Write down the answers, and then go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/aug/24/grunge-myths-nirvana-kurt-co... and discover what THE TRUTH really is :))

...
26 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music industry, songwriters

Really amazing story from Paul Mawhinney, the man who owns the biggest record colllection in the world (and it's up for sale for a mere 3 million bucks) about his passion for some quite unknown artist from England who couldn't get a hit in the USA, was dropped from Mercury and about to be kicked by RCA too... when Paul came in and convinced an A&R guy from his hometown to press 700 copies of a 4 years old single for FM radios...It worked !

Music. If you believe you've got it, NEVER GIVE UP!

(more vital informations on this extraordinary song: http://www.flixya.com/blog/2224520/David-Bowie-A-History-of-Space-Oddity)

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register for the free beta version on www.kollector.com/en
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26 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
albums, graphic design

Seems like graphics are a pit without an end when it comes to album covers.

Oh, wait, most of today's music is bought without a cover as such ! Ask the old ones, they will all tell you the pleasure of looking an album cover for hours, deciphering what the band really meant by putting the bass player in front of the singer, or why they used bright orange with gold for the title fonts...
And then came the CD, this little piece of plastic that had an 8 pages booklet that was sold with glasses so you could read the tiny tiny tiny lettering.
And now mp3s: you don't need eyes no more, the cover is gone most of the time, and to think of it, most of the times you don't need ears cos they aren't no more trebles, the bass is gone and it's all compressed anyway :)

Naah, just kidding. We at Kollector we love album cover and we can only share with you this unique link to Record Cover Purgatory :)

http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/9374

25 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
1 comment(s)
General
albums, music industry

Now, let's think hard what records are really not for kids, whether their content is just too harmonically disturbing or its lyrical content far too off for them ?
We're glad someone actually took the time to put aside 5 records that fit the unfitness :)

http://www.daddybegood.com/archives/sharing/the-five-worst-albums-for-kids

24 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music instrument

In a rather intriguing move, Alan Wilder is selling in auction most, if not all, synths and instruments, drums, professional gears, clothes, CDs and vinyls he has collected along the years he was member of Depeche Mode, one of the bigger electronic band there is. This makes us for a unique event that will take place early september in Manchester.

Among the rarities that will be on sale, yes YOU can buy it, there will be rather unique piece of history like Depeche Mode acetate vinyls or test pressings, but also early eighties synths like Arp Odyssey and Oberheim 8....

COLLECTED - The Alan Wilder/Depeche Mode Collection
A Historic Equipment, Vinyl & Memorabilia Auction

Auction date : Saturday 3rd September, 2011 4.00pm
Venue : Zion Arts Centre (www.zionarts.com)
Address : 335 Stretford Rd, Hulme, Manchester M15 5ZA
Viewing : 10.00am to 8.00pm - Friday 2nd September, and 10.00am to 4.00pm - Saturday 3rd September
download the pdf catalog: http://auction.recoil.co.uk/download/
http://auction....

24 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
0 comment(s)
General
cd sales, music collection

Paul Mawhinney has been a music collector since he bought his first single at 12...And he has never ceased to add records and cd's and posters and paraphranelia up to the point that his collection is now based around 2 million singles and one million albums...And worth 50 million.
Problem is....Paul wants to sell it but cannot even get 3 million $ for it now...
Read this interesting news on how prices are perceived for collectors items...And don't miss the video, this collection is really thrilling.

23 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
advertisement, music industry

Just to tackle on from the hilarious but oh-so-true Henry Rollins rant on sell-out (?) songs being placed as soundtracks for adverts (http://blog.kollector.com/?q=blog/i-want-sell-out-now) , we have this as a counter example...Here are songs that forever and ever will be stained with the adverts using them as aural beds...This said, it's hilarious to notice The Rolling Stones "Start Me Up was used for Windows 95 or that a Violent Femmes song was used for a junkfood commercial when in fact its bass player is profoundly vegetarian :)

http://flavorwire.com/203000/10-songs-that-have-been-ruined-forever-by-a...

23 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
songwriters

"...the version with Blixa singing was seriously creepy. With a capital K..." dixit Nick Cave.
That line alone is worth the detour for that australian TV video.

In this excellent interview, Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue go deeper about "Where The Wild Roses Grow", that incredibly dark song which took the charts by surprise in 1995.

22 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
advertisement, music industry

You cannot ignore Henry Rollins.
The impressive and well-built (both brain and muscles) ex-Black Flag leader, has been touring the world with his own band and is now an educated TV Host (altho slighlty sexist at times) and movie star.
Here you can see him giving a well thought off speech about selling out....

Take it away, Henry, YOU RULE !

22 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music industry

It seems increasingly difficult to be able to decipher thru the various options available to music fans in terms of services...While Spotify is under renewed attacks on how little the payback is for artists (0,001 € a stream, camarades...), Apple exonerates for ever pirates by asking them 25 US $ to convert years of hacked music into legit stuff, Google Music doesn't pick up any speed at all...Why ? Cos it seems the amount of money they are ready to give out to labels (and that will be distributed to artists) is seen as far too low by major labels...

In the following article, they have calculated that the 100 millions check Google was ready to give to major labels is what Google earns in...72 hours. (via adverts, Google's revenues jackpot formulae).
Come on guys, get real! We have seen how years of piracy, labels greed, MTV-as-purveyor-of-music-when-you-want-where-you-want and new ways of spending cash (phones, videogames,...) have left the music industry dry. There are now more bands than ever, more music out to buy but less money to share. Why do megacompanies seem to do anything in their power so the money the artists, the creators, will get is minimal ?

...
19 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
movie industry

Oh, no, Steve Martin (The Jerk, Pink Panther, Roxanne, etc...) didn't take the time to write us a letter altho I'm pretty sure he would enjoy the deadpan humour set in some of our entries (not), but he did send once a very humourous note to a fan named Jerry. Oh, btw, the video shows here Steve Martin in an un-politically correct comedy act called Flydini. He loves magic :)

Incidentally, Steve is a very good banjo player with or without the Muppets to back him ;) http://youtu.be/TXyvCJlPgME

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2010/06/personal-letter-from-steve-martin.html

18 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music industry

These last few years have seen a total delirium in terms of compression on music: most tracks are now peak music, and very little of the dynamics or subtleties of a song are left for us to enjoy once the song has been mastered to death...Why ? Cos every song wants to be as loud as the other one, especially where it matters: on radios (who themselves compress a tad bit more...)

Here's a genuinely brilliant interview from Bob Luwig on mastering, vocals, and why too much IS too much...
http://musictechpolicy.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/the-mtp-interview-bob-lu...

17 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
movie soundtrack

David Lynch, the fantastic movie director of Blue Velvet, Eraserhead, Sailor And Lula and the list goes on and on and on..., will released "Crazy Clown Time", a 14 tracks solo album, on November 8th.

This album has been penned by the Master himself, with the help of singer Karen O (The Yeah Yeah Yeahs). No doubt will it be featuring haunting tracks filled with strange vibes and organic twisted sounds...

Incidentally, the video for "I know", one of the song featured on the album, was done by by Tamar Drachli and chosen by David Lynch as official video thru a competition that saw 450 entries.
Some funny facts appeared on the way Lynch likes to work and one of them comes from Angelo Badalamenti, the composer of Falling (Twin Peaks thema): Angelo and David would sit down at a piano and Angelo would play immediately the moods described by David. Then, Angelo Badalamenti would be on the set, playing his music live while the actors would do their part...Aaaah, the magic of movie making :)

On the side, when not busy jamming with his buddy Moby in his recording studio or having speeches about transcendental meditation, David Lynch has found the time to...

16 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
charts, music industry, songwriters

Interesting article in AV Club about the songs that are huge hits today and maybe future classics that could still be known and sung for years and decades to come. A song that, just like Yesterday by The Beatles, changes a band into a Pop Icon, a legend...So, which one of recents songs will be like Yesterday, but in 2031 ?

http://www.avclub.com/articles/what-is-the-yesterday-of-today,60168/

We at Kollector can verify the tendancies a song has to stay around and still being played years later, when the hype is gone, when the video has enjoyed zillions of viewings on Youtube and when it's already been covered by many bands. And we can safely say that, looking at the Kollector numbers, on a global scale, "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes is more than a candidate: it's a winner.

16 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music industry

Despite having been put aside since the late eighties by the CD, despite the arrival of various formats and especially the mp3, vinyll is not dead, and actually enjoys a second life these last years.
Sales are up, and even tho they count for a mere single digit %, the fact is: vynil is cult and here to stay. And, as music lovers, we can only smile and appreciate. And buy the damn black thing :)

Numbers ? Nearly 3 millions albums were sold in the USA in 2010, and that's vinyll's best year since 1991. Ok, it's a ridiculous fragment of overall sales compare to 26% digital download and the rest being CD, but it shows people still want sound quality (let's never forget mp3 are compressed and under quality digital reduction of the actual sound: it doesn't sound the way it is supposed to), an artwork they can look at without using their parents' glasses and something which has a texture and a smell: a full experience. LONG LIVE THE VINYL !

More to read here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/zackomalleygreenburg/2011/07/13/vinyl-vs-cd...

15 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
politics in music

Without getting into the nitty gritty of things that happened in the UK last week, one has to draw some lines between the 2011 explosion of violence and the No Future attitude Punk seemed to have 35 years ago.

The Guardian comes back to it in a interesting article written by Krissi Murison from the NME. If you think the punks were ever so empty back then, wait till you see today's youths: they don't even seem to have people talking for them, and the rare candidates have a hard time actually defining motives, desires, hopes and perspectives while The Clash were (self) educated, proud, politically aware, and ended up writing two of the best rock albums ever: London Calling and Sandinista.

The No Future attitude which was heavily featured and pushed by the medias was in fact counter balanced by hundreds of artistic outsprings from the punks: from graphic to the movies to books and paintings. Punk eventually died, yes, but it left an impressive artistic legacy.

Interesting also to see in Kollector how The Clash London's Calling and White Riots did get more airply than usual...

...

11 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music industry

We all know this is a challenging time for selling music, but the Music Industry seems to have hit an all-time low here as they are starting to sell Monopoly games based aroundhuge rock bands.
For instance, the Metallica Monopoly game is on sale, and you can now safely buy your hotels in Beverly Hills and put houses in Malibu with your Lars avatar and laugh all the way to the bank while Kirk spends some thinking time in jail...

Oh, by the way, they do this Monopoly limited edition with other icons like Elvis, The Stones, Kiss and AC/DC...
What will the future hold for us ? A Coldplay water filter system and the unique Beyoncé shopping mall caddy ?

LAST MINUTE: I just found out KIss has an amazing line of KISS (tm)tombs and urns...http://tinyurl.com/3qk3eqh

11 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
movie soundtrack

David Lynch, besides his involvement with meditation, is one of the greatest movie director around and even tho he does seem to create slowly, each one of his movie (besides the odd ball sci-fi Dune) is an event...and most of the time a great, thought provoking, deeply interesting piece of art and entertainement. We all know Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive and the cult serie Twin Peaks.

What is less known is David's involvement with music (he owns a recording studio off....Mulholland Drive) as he's himself a songwriter and a musician. He recently has teamed up with Moby to create original music. He also directed one of his latest music clip "Shot In The Back Of My Head" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8R5ddGNH9TQ

Here's a funny interview he gave some time ago: http://www.shortlist.com/entertainment/the-david-lynch-interview

David is also a man of many quotes and interesting insights. Here are a couple of them:
David on people watching movies on Iphones: http://youtu.be/...

10 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
politics in music

Hip Hop music was at the beginning a vehicle for social comments and self expression but has too often slide into being no more than cliches about fast cars, fast women and fast money...But in some countries, like Mozambique, it can still digs deep into people's everyday life, and troubles, and hopes, and its social message and comments still matter and influence. And in some case it matters so much that the artist ends up in jail because his message somehow unbalanced the Governement. Azagaia is a famous Mozambican hip hop singer recently jailed for some seemingly minor drug offenses but the truth is that his message and the impact it has on the people was too big to be ignored. His main problem seem to be in songs like "A Minha Geração" (where he sings about the governement) and "Arrriii" (on the influence the USA may have on the Mozambican affairs): obviously Azagaia has decide to use his artistic talent to express himself on internal politics and the small or the poor.

Just like Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, The Clash, The Jam and so many, many other bands that were in it for more than money and fame....

More on this:...

09 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
copyrights, music, music industry

The Cuba missiles crisis is long gone now (in october/november 1962, the Russians were building up missiles sites in Cuba, Kennedy stood up strongly and eventually had them put down. In exchange, he had to put downsimilar US sites being in Turkey. This dangerous moment also ended up with the creation of the red telephon between Washington and Moscow), but Cuba is still a very closed country and even tho it opens up to tourism, life there is still severely regimented.

So, it's kinda a sign when the Cuban Tourism Office opens up a club with Beatles name, Beatles logo, Beatles songs, Beatles lyrics, etc...Ah, and no, they didn't clear the copyrights issues or the licencing rights with Paul or Ringo. Or Yoko. Or Sean :)))

The thing is, you see, the Beatles music, long forbid on the island, has somehow be associated with a freedom Cuba didn't have bac then when the regime was at its peak and now singing it, playing it, whistling it, or doing accapellas with it, gives the islanders a real feel of/for freedom.

The New York Times has a godo view on this: ...

08 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
artists, music

Ok, that's an easy title for an article, but the Julian Treasure video is worth looking at, and listen to.
TED (www.ted.com) is well known for the quality of its talks but also for the insights and wit of their delivery. You often get great ideas and thoughts displayed in amazing fashions and styles.

In this demonstration from the english sound expert, one can see why and how it's important to actually go back to REALLY listening, to be in the moment and the experience of hearing rather than being subjected to waves of noise and not making a conscious choice about where to project your attention. I've told you: ideas worth spreading !

http://www.ted.com/talks/julian_treasure_5_ways_to_listen_better.html?ut...
http://www.juliantreasure.com/Julian_Treasure/Julian.html

05 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
movie soundtrack

Youtube is a marvellous maze which can contains anything from the most bizarre things to the worst kitch lolcats videos...It's also an incredible vault and sometimes browsing there can unveil things that were long forgotten. Some deserves to be that deeply hidden, some can really do with a second look cos they are captivating and brilliant moments worth seeing again.

Like this soundtrack from Alain Goraguer, a french composer who made himself a name by composing iconic french songs for Boris Vian (Fais moi mal Johnny, La Java des bombes atomiques,...) or arranging some of famous singer Serge Gainsbourg's extraordinary sixties albums. One of his biggest moment was when a Gainsbourg's song he did the arrangements for, "Poupée de cire poupée de son" sung by France Gall, won the 1965 Eurovision song contest.
He also wrote quite a few soundtracks and this is where we can dig this very strange yet captivating science-fiction cartoon called "La planête sauvage". We're a long way from Disney movies here, and the settings can be quite rough for the younger minds. Nevertheless it is a very poetic movie and a strong, inspiring soundtrack.

...

04 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music

(the vibes on this short video are just incredible)

It was ugly. The death of an artist rarely leaves people without an emotion, and the death of some polarize these emotions in rather violent fashion sometimes.
Rarely have people been so cruel on the passing of a star . And this was a fragile, erratic, wonderful artist with, yes, a terrible addiction.

Now that a few days have passed, it's time to go back and remember who Amy Winehouse really was, what an incredible singer/songwriter/talent we loose and how terribly tragic these recent years, and the medias, were to her.
This excellent Pitchfork analysis by Jess Harvell replaces Amy in context.
And it feels good.

http://pitchfork.com/features/articles/8011-appreciation-amy-winehouse/

The final word would be Oscar Wilde's: "A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal".

04 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
1 comment(s)
General
artists, music industry, social media

Let's try to not be patronizing, but some artists do concentrate a lot on the music, which is totally fine of course, but step 2 (making it known) is often forgotten or, at best, badly handled.
Jess Boyer, from Blog Zimbaland, has been putting down some interesting notes about it.

Basically, these 10 points are:

Not providing basic information: your mum knows you and loves you dearly, but you need to think larger and tell the world who you are and how great your music is.
Not creating connections: whether we like it or not, being on the grid is necessary to make your music known and appreciated.
Not writing about yourselves: come on, now you can let your ego run free :)
Not replying quickly: you still need the time to think about what to answer but, please, do reply.
Not having a consistent online persona: don't scare away your public !
Being scared of other bands: on the contrary, a comparative watch can make you learn you a lot.
Not linking: interaction is vital.
Not tracking social media success: it all adds up. you need to know where it's happening for you.
Not capturing fans data: in this age of one-to-one...

03 Aug
Published by jean-marc,
1 comment(s)
General
music instrument

It's not often a new, usable and fairly different instrument is born ! The other day, we posted something about Amon Tobin and he's in fact has been using this relatively new instrument, the Haken Continuum (first released in 2002), quite extensively for his latest work "Isam".

Basically the Continuum, invented by Dr Lippold Haken ( a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering from Illinois) is a a touch-sensitive keyboard with a playing surface of nearly 8 octaves (they have a 4 octaves version too) which can control midi instruments (synths, samplers, drum machines, MPC, etc...) but also generate intriguing sounds by itself thru a 32 voice polyphonic sound generator. Ok, it sounds very technical so let's just say this amazing and beautiful machine delivers great sounds and is extremely reactive and expressive, something that can be missed on most keyboards. This is due to the fact that the surface of the neoprene keyboard reacts to the smallest input, in a three dimentionnal way: pitch of the note, additionnal timbre control and slides between notes. The possibilities are immense and already famous composers are using it, like John Williams on the soundtrack...

03 Aug
Published by antoine,
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General
graphic design

We need to bring back the experience factor in music, and playing live is one moment to do so.
Amon Tobin (www.amontobin.com), a legendary electronic music artist on a legendary label (Ninja Tune) has take the live gig to yet another level. This is no more a simple reddition of an album or a physical presence on a stage, this is far beyond...well, words, really.

Amon has been working with Chicago based Leviathan studioand VJ Vello Virkhaus to provide a trully stunning live experience.

A more detailled video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLrt7-kIgIM and because we can't stop looking at it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeBuEPFf_SM
More insights about the artist in this interview:http://www.kmag.co.uk/editorial/features/amon-tobin-interview-0611.html

27 Jul
Published by jean-marc,
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General
artists

One must feel rather special indeed to be at the birth of an entire music genre, and surely Peter Murphy is one of these rare individuals who, on his own or with a band, have changed the face of music. With Bauhaus, his band, they put down the basis of Goth, a cavernous music/social genre which would explode back late seventies, go mainstream and send tremors as far as these recent years with, for example, the success of the Twilight books and movies.

Who would have think that, at the core of Bauhaus, lays an immense input from....reggae, a music genre generally associated with sunshine and beaches, not black clothes !

It's all here, in this article from http://thequietus.com/articles/06637-peter-murphy-bauhaus-interview with great and warm feedback from Peter Murphy about Mick Karn, Bauhaus or his own work.

27 Jul
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music industry

We all feel there's something really missing in music being sold in a digital form but there's no point whining about it as mp3 will not disappear.
What we need is to think about ways to enhance the experience of music, bring back that emotionnal link we do miss when a piece of music is nothing but a file on a computer or a song lost among hundreds of songs on an Ipod.

The excellent music think tank has been ...thinking about it and they came up with some good ideas on how to add high quality values to digitalized music.
It's all simple when it's writing down but how many bands, managers and labels really act about it ? Do you ?

http://www.musicthinktank.com/blog/7-ways-to-bring-back-the-physical-alb...

27 Jul
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music industry

We all know the music industry and its actors (artists, labels, publishers, promoters, composers, performers, producers) need to take a fresh look at what the situation is, and come up with real solutions or the drought of revenues due to the descent of sales will continue and jeopardize the future of music as an industry. Cos it's not all down to pyracy, cos it's not all down to the incredible amount of releases, cos it's not all down to the rise of new ways of spending one's money (videogames, mobile phones, computers,...), cos it's not all down to the impossibility for smaller bands to rise above the noise level.

The often interesting magazine The Quietus had a well done and thought about piece about this a few weeks ago. It's a long read, but straight to the point(s).

http://thequietus.com/articles/06318-how-the-music-industry-is-killing-m...

Here, at Kollector, we do believe radios and tv sync revenues, which were hard to follow until recently due to the lack of a tool like Kollector, will now take a growing part in the revenues available...

27 Jul
Published by jean-marc,
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General
jobs

Kollector is hiring PH developers.

Kollector is an incorporated company in full expansion. We are active in the growing copyright owners' market and we deliver an online based service tracking down radio stations broadcasts worldwide.
Kollector wishes to expand its scope and its team: we are actually looking for PHP developers (M or F)

Your job :
You will be developing our website with CMS Drupal tools.
You will be active in the thinking and evolution of our application developed with Cake PHP.
You will conceive, implement, and will follow up on the website and the 2.0 application under the direction of
the CTO (e-business applications, specially developed intranet applications – internet, website and Drupal modules, mobile phones development).

Your profile :

You are graduate or have a degree in computer science or equivalent, you are an engineer in computer science, or just really, really good at development (equivalent experience).
PHP and its concepts (POO/PHP/MVC) have no secrets for you!
You are mastering HTML/CSS!
You are at ease with javascript and Jquery framework.
You master databases...

26 Jul
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music history

We all love Heavy Metal. Yes, yes, i saw you oscillating your head, i saw your arms wanting to reach out an invisible guitar last time you've heard Metallica !
Dare I say that, if given a an audio tour long enough, all music fans, even the ones saying they don't like that genre, could come up with some tracks they appreciate, and they would be surprised to know it's actually metal, or some derivative sub-genres.
Who invented Metal ? Some say it's the MC5, some say it's Hawkwind, some go for the early Stooges,..And who is the main metal band these days ?
Pop Chart Labs have come up with that incredibly cool poster you can actually buy and put on a wall, just besides the Flying-V and that Slayer poster ;)
http://popchartlab.com/collections/prints/products/periodic-table-of-hea...

25 Jul
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music, promotion

There are little doubts that some of the future of music is in rich added values to the recording itself, be it a limited edition CD with more tracks or a great artwork embedded in glossy colors: numbers show it does make a difference (that is if you have a captive audience already, or a great concept to make your band known). And artists do need something that will make them shine above the average band: a promotionnal tool that will not only speak about you, but paint what you are and who your fan ultimately is...

So, the dazzling Icelandic artist Björk has recently come up with a new album, Biophilia, and a few ideas on how apps can be used to promote a record without being cheap publicity or just record covers with a few sound effects....

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2011/jul/20/bjork-biophilia-app
more on Bjork: http://thequietus.com/articles/06626-bjork-interview-biophilia

Karl Bartos, a very important one fourth of seminal electronic music band Kraftwerk, recently...

22 Jul
Published by jean-marc,
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General
composers, movie soundtrack

Nothing Trent Reznor is doing can leave the independant musician without interest. Ok, he might not be very well known outside of the alternative music scene, but if you have seen "The social network" movie, you surely have been sucked in its improbable yet effective music soundtrack: that was Trent Reznor slowly making its way up to your brains. And he did get an Oscar for that soundtrack which made more than a few "normal" composers slighlty unamused. As Nine Inch Nails (NIN) Trent did commit some of the best songs of the Nineties (Head Like A Hole: http://youtu.be/ao-Sahfy7Hg) and his Pretty Hate Machine album is still a gem of dark pop meets rock meets electronic.

Now, on to David Fincher, one of the best movie director there is. His track record is impressive: Seven, Fight Club, Benjamin Button, and the recent Social Network we were speaking about. David likes it when it's dark, he is right into his element when things aren't the way Hollywood likes us to believe: all white or all dark...

So, when two artists like Trent Reznor...

21 Jul
Published by jean-marc,
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General
graphic design, music industry

Alex Steinwess just passed away, aged 94. He is credited as the inventor of the record sleeve as, before he joined Columbia Records in 1939, vynils only had plain brown paper sleeves. By illustrating record sleeves, he successfully grabbed the crowd and Columbia saw a 800% jump in sales in a mere few months. In 1948, again a genious idea: he started using cardboard sleeve and the modern record sleeve was born!

Coming from the Parsons School of Art and Design, Alex Steinwess was inspired by Bauhaus allemand, russian constructivism but also surrealism and even psychedelia later on. He wasn't stubborn and loved to surprise and came up with some legendary record covers.

Let's celebrate this visionnary artist who changed for ever the way music was perceived.

http://www.hardformat.org/designers/alex-steinweiss2/
http://www.alexsteinweiss.com/
Alex Steinweiss, The Inventor of the Moderne Album Cover, 422 pp., 49,99 €. Collector edition 500 € (Taschen, 2009)

19 Jul
Published by jean-marc,
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General
marketing, music industry, promotion, record labels

There's no doubt about how big is the crisis in the music industry. And that goes well beyond the simple "hey, it's all down to piracy" because, frankly, that excuse is getting old but we all know that.
Too many artists ? Blame it on the usability and affordable prices of cool hardware and softwares but it's a great time for audio (and visuals) creators.
Not enough labels willing to invest money in developing artists ? Sure, there are cold feets but numbers don't lie (if you can get them)
Not enough creativity coming from the composers and re-spicing of old formulas for bands ?
Not enought ways to get the money you've earned in this business ? (altho Kollector has a clear idea about that precise point)
Too many other areas people can get entertained with ?(mobile phones, Ipads, videogames, movies,...)

The list is endless, and it's a topic one cannot hope to close in a simple blog post, but here's an interesting angle from Frank Woodworth on how to set up a record company that will
take full advantage of this time and age.

...

18 Jul
Published by jean-marc,
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General
music industry, vinyl

Don't diagrams look real cool when they are shaped like a camembert waiting to be spread over une baguette ? These nice moons show well how music sales have drastically changed format these last ten years: from CD sales to more and more digital formats and subscriptions to stream radios. One is also rather satisfied to see that digital sales of albums start to slowly pick up, after a few desolate years where punters were only buying digital singles. And guess what, vinyls seems to hit back too ! this said, the music industry isn't off the hook yet: attendance at concerts are getting lower (no wonder they are as the tickets price are rocketing to absurd levels) and one recent US study found out that people were in fact only listening to 19% of the Itunes music they had on their hard disc: the simple act of digitally buying music doesn't mean people are actually listening to it. Shock ! http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/stories/042911ten

15 Jul
Published by jean-marc,
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General
songwriters

There's no formula for hit songs. Really.
Ok, ok, there are the basic rules of thumb one need to know in order to entertain its listeners, but sometimes weird, strange songs coming out of nowhere hit the crowd right between the ears and makes it to the top, with little promotion for some, with a truckload of marketing tricks for others....

Does anyone remember "O Superman' by Laurie Anderson, the by-then-not-Ms-Lou-Reed-yet ?
Or Wichita Lineman, by Gary Campbell, with the strangest set of lyrics ever ?

This said, "The Guardian" tries to put a few ideas together on how to pen such a monument that may bring its originators money and fame, and I reckon they've got a few tips right.
But remember: originality pays too !

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2011/jul/14/how-to-write-a-hit...

Laurie Anderson and her vocoder made it big with "O Superman" showing what a novelty song can do to the charts
http://youtu.be/-VIqA3i2zQw

12 Jul
Published by jean-marc,
1 comment(s)
General
artists

We all have bands, artists we wanted to see but never came round to...And then we all dream of putting them all in a sole place, like a mythical music Festival people would still talk about in decades

Here are ten Festival Bills that never were...http://flavorwire.com/192858/the-top-10-coachella-festivals-that-never-h...