Before the night of the 5th America’s Got Talent season finale took place, who would have thought that anybody else could be America’s favorite than Prince P and Jackie? True enough, every show has its own twist of fate; you can’t expect anything more unpredictable than the result of a talent show. After putting his best foot forward the night before the finale, Michael Grimm was announced as the next America’s Got Talent victor. So: what’s he been up to since his big win? Continue reading After the Show—Following Grimm »
Some of the most colorful, spirited and controversial figures in music history were active during the 1960′s, and most of them hailed from the United States. The 60’s was a decade of social unrest; the young adults of the baby boomer generation had entered their 20’s, and an unpopular war was raging halfway across the world. Young men and women joined together like never before, and the revolutions that followed were unlike any others mankind has ever seen, for they centered on music, art, literature and so on. Music, in particular, played a very important role in rallying the generation towards a common goal, and artists like Bob Dylan chronicled this age with skill and delicacy. Continue reading Opinion: Chroniclers of our Age »
Rock is one of the oldest and most widely appreciated genres in the music industry. While it has evolved into numerous different sub-genres, its base meaning is still literally “to rock the world”. Many bands have made their names universally known by sticking to rock’s proven form and style. This seems to have changed in 2010, however, as last year was the worst year in the charts for rock in the last four decades.
Many people think that rock is vanishing from the chart after seeing only a handful of rock songs in 2010’s UK Top 100 singles. Only three entered the chart, a significantly lower number as compared to 13 rock songs in 2009 and 27 in 2008. Though the three-year trend showed a significant decrease, nobody anticipated it being this low. The highest rank achieved was 25th, taken by Journey with their song “Don’t Stop Believin”, a 1981 song that saw a rebound in popularity due to Glee’s remake of the classic hit.
Another track “Hey Soul Sister” from US band Train, which was also popularized by Glee, hit the chart at 83rd rank while Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days are Over” sits at 93rd. Florence and the Machine’s “You’ve Got The Love” was also ranked 59th, but it fell under the dance genre rather than rock. From the Top 100 Albums of the Year, similar to the singles chart, only 27 discs were categorized under the rock genre.
Guy Garvey, a singer belonging to a band (Elbow) that has had six Top 40 singles in the last decade, said that rock music lives on as always. He added that the fans are grabbing albums and going to the web to download many track at one time. On final note, he said that the singles chart doesn’t really reflect the popularity of guitar music.
Based on reports, R&B and hip-hop registered almost 50% of the Top 100’s biggest hits in 2010 while pop registered a 40% share, leaving dance records at 1%.
No doubt you feel a twinge of envy after hearing the story of the couple Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl, considering that Sean is the only child of the late John Lennon and Yoko Ono, while Charlotte is a magazine runway model. The two dwell in simplicity, their main activities together being sketching, talking about films and going to cafés. Their story resembles a clip from Godard movie; both unreal and ideal.
When they wrote the song “The World Was Made for Men”, the couple said that they were just kidding around one day. The song was created based entirely on a lush harmonious collaboration of voices, and was first heard on last year’s album “The Acoustic Sessions”. Charlotte said that they both wrote the song and wondered if they would have a band eventually. This dream later became a reality for the two when they launched GOASTT.
Looking at how Charlotte entered into the music industry, we see that she had just been a typical musician with nothing more but her old acoustic guitar, given to her by her father. Music initially just served as her diversion when the fashion industry was on its ebb.
On the other hand, Sean was not a newcomer to the music industry. At the tender age of 20, he was the back up for his mother’s album “Rising”. Then he joined Cibo Matto, a New York pop group with an inclination toward art. Nevertheless, when he decided to go solo, his music did not earn him attention from fans. This was seen on his first album “Into the Sun” which was released in 1998. The album was a compilation of psychedelic pop songs which was launched through the Beastie Boy’s Grand Royal Records. In 2006, he made his second solo album, “Friendly Fire”, but again did not gain much attention.
Everything changed with the launch of GOASTT, which seemed to give Lennon the energy to graduate from the small time circuit. Having Charlotte beside him has definitely changed things for Sean Lennon.
They just don’t make music executives like they used to. The music executives from the “old days” had an ear for music and were often songwriters themselves. They also had the knack of recognizing talent, and many a music career owes it to the keen ears and eyes of dedicated music executives. Don Kirshner was one of the greatest music producers of the old guard, an exclusive group of people that is dwindling every year. He died in January 2011, leaving behind a family, a legacy of great music and a life’s worth of tremendously successful careers. He was recognized all over the world as a man who knew his music inside out.
One of my favorite Don Kirshner artists is Neil Diamond, a man who owes his stardom to Kirshner’s ardent promotion. Neil Diamond went on to sell 115 million records worldwide, a feat exceeded only by the likes of Barbra Streisand and Elton John. Kirshner had a special place in his heart for men like Diamond, who were songwriters themselves. In fact, Don Kirshner respected anyone who knew how to mold a song. Kirshner himself had incredible songwriting skill and was formally inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2007.
Kirshner also had an active family life. Unlike most in the industry, he stayed faithfully by his wife for fifty years, raising two children and being as much of a hero in the house as he was in the industry. In an industry tossed and turned by controversy, divorce and mistrust, Kirshner rose above his peers as a standard of excellence. In fact, I am more touched by his achievements at home than I am by his achievements in the industry. His death depressed me a little because I know that his generation is almost gone and there are precious few in the music industry today that can fill his shoes. My only consolation is that his music will live on forever.
The evolution of music has been marked by one singular concern: making music as personal and as individual as possible. Look at the development of music in the west. It began with concerts, where hundreds of people would collectively experience an orchestra or band playing pieces composed by men like Beethoven. The musical experience got even more personal with the invention of sound recording equipment and playback instruments like the gramophone. Now music lovers could appreciate music in the comfort of their own homes (well, at any rate, the cream of the society that could afford such devices could appreciate music in the comfort of their own homes…). Continue reading Clothing That Controls Your Music »
Have you ever been to a record store selling used and promotional copies? You’ll see many CD’s reading “For promotional use only – no reselling”. You probably had to think twice whether to buy a copy or not, wondering if it could be some sort of illegal sale. If you have ever bought a “Promo” CD before, you can rest assured that the FBI is not going to show up at your door and arrest you while your neighbors look on in horror.
Just recently, a higher court in San Francisco ruled that buying and selling of promo records is not in any way copyright infringement. Promo records are copies that are distributed by record labels, mostly to radio stations and some music critics, before the actual release date.
It was a big name in the music industry, Universal Music Group, that sued a California resident, Troy Augusto, about 4 years ago. The record label sued Augusto for allegedly reselling their promo CD on eBay. Similar actions would have been taken had the case favored UMG. Prior to suing Augusto, UMG’s standard practice was to send notifications to eBay with the objective of stopping the auctions. In court, Mr. Augusto firmly argued that he has the rights to sell the copies because he owns them, and stated that the First Sale Doctrine is applicable in his case.
The First Sale Doctrine dictates that if you own a book or recording which you legally acquired, you retain the right to do whatever you want with it. You can give it to a friend, have the library keep it, or sell it to a record store. This rule makes borrowing a book from library possible. Thus, it annoys publishers and music labels as their profitability opportunity is impacted.
The Supreme Court originally ruled when this doctrine was codified that anyone who has bought anything in these categories are given the full ownership as long as the products is not being copied or reproduced. This case clearly showed that there is a distinction between copyright sale and sale of copy, so buy with confidence!