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Neverland Ranch: Musical School?

neverland Neverland Ranch: Musical School?Michael Jackson’s “Neverland Ranch” has been notorious for many things. It was the home of one of this century’s most eccentric pop stars. Now that home may become an equal opportunity school for music.

Due to a couple of criminal investigations, Michael Jackson had not lived at Neverland for more than a couple of years at the time of his death. He had all but retreated from the public eye due to the constant barrage of paparazzi and invasion of his privacy. In the end, Jackson’s worst enemy was himself, when he lost his famed ranch due to debt. page go Neverland Ranch: Musical School? Continue reading Neverland Ranch: Musical School? »

Catch me If You Can—The RIAA on MP3 Downloaders

riaa Catch me If You Can—The RIAA on MP3 DownloadersListening to music is a hobby for most people. Unlike before when you could only get music from record stores—which, unfortunately, many people would not afford— these days, it is quite easy and convenient to just download your favorites to enjoy at your leisure without the hassle of going out and buying the album. From a consumer perspective this is cool, right? But from the music industry perspective, this creates a never ending dilemma as sales continue to decline.

However, there is a legal alternative to getting free music by logging on to the Internet and finding websites that let you download your favorite hits. That alternative is streaming Internet radio. The Internet is always on and always available (well, almost always)….you will rarely find a person who does not use it, which makes Internet radio incredibly convenient. Since music files are all copyrighted materials, Internet radio providers often display ads to pay royalties to the recording companies, which in turn grant permission to play their copyrighted works. But, you say, I want the files on my computer…so what are the consequences of illegally downloading music?

Lawsuits Overview

Who hasn’t heard about the lawsuits filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)? These case charges were filed against thousands of Internet users from all walks of life. Its goal is not only to preserve the integrity of the copyright materials but, most importantly, to augment declining music industry sales. After realizing that sales continue to drop and that the efforts made did not create significant impact Internet users whom they sued one by one, the RIAA has tweaked their complaints a bit.

A New Route

While these lawsuits are still on-going, it is geared towards a new direction. Instead of going after each Internet user that has downloaded a music file, a letter of complaint will be sent to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This made it more sensible and efficient for the RIAA. First, your ability to download music files is dependent on your Internet connection, hence once you are dropped by your ISP, you will no longer be able to download files. Second, collaborating with handful of ISPs is much easier than going to court to sue individuals. This initiative has allowed the RIAA to differentiate regular users from the list of illegal downloaders.

The Supreme Verdict

The RIAA has gone so far as to take their case to the Supreme Court, but because of the fact that the RIAA initiatives to stop music piracy and copyright infringement did not seem to work at all, the Supreme Court was compelled not to review the case. This decision has triggered another action from the RIAA. Instead of going after small-time downloaders, they will only go after those users who are uploading more than a thousand files. This means that even if you download copyright materials, you are safe from charges as long as you will not upload these files for someone else’s benefits…at least for the time being.

Illegal music downloading is no doubt hurting the music industry—many Internet users are attracted to the widespread availability of free music downloads online. The consequences, while currently being applied mainly to those that make music available for download, can be devastating. The RIAA has switched tactics before though, so we recommend sticking to streaming Internet radio in case they start targeting individuals again—it’s free, convenient and legal.

Top 40 Radio Explained

In the radio industry, a song’s popularity is measured by the demand for the song based on the volume of requests from listeners and sales. The Top 40 is one of the music metrics that tracks the most popular songs within a current week, month or year. Top 40 playback became a dominant radio format during the 1960’s and was persisted until the 1980’s.

You may be wondering how Top 40 works: what is the process, how does a song make it to the Top 40? I will try to explain it further. Each week, the 100 most popular songs are put into a chart by Billboard. The Billboard chart is based on a national sample of top radio airplay and music sales. The Top 40 songs are then extracted from Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

Airplay is the first process in determining the songs to be included in the Top 40. Broadcast Data Systems (BDS), run by Neilsen, keeps track of the airplay. BDS uses a certain technology called digital pattern-recognition to capture songs that are being played on radio stations and music channels all over the US and Canada.  This recognition process is run 24/7 and captures over 100 million songs annually; the data gathered is then used by Billboard in compiling weekly charts.

The second process used in determining the Top 40 songs is monitoring the sales of albums in music stores. To track sales, Billboard then uses SoundScan, another technology developed by Neilsen that keeps track of record sales all over the US and Canada. When we purchase an album, sales data from the barcode is passed to SoundScan; the stored data is compiled and published weekly.

The methodology of Billboard in weighting the compiled data has changed over time. In the past, they were using 90% airplay and 10% sales to determine the top songs. Now, they use 80% airplay and 20% sales because of shifting trends in how many people listen to radio versus how many people actually purchase singles.

Most recording artists’ goal is to sell albums, and for albums to sell, their songs must be popular on the radio.  Once a song hits the Top 40 list, a massive rise in album sales is generally guaranteed. Top 40 has been a measuring stick for album sales and the trend will likely continue. Not making the Top 40 does not say that your success rate as an artist will be low; not all musicians are after big sales after all. Some are contented with the money they are making and the little spotlight time they get.

Jobs in the Music Industry

Having a career in the music industry does not mean you have to have a great voice or musical talent. There are a lot of careers within the industry that require other skills such as marketing, promotions, and design. Your dream to be a part of the music industry does not have to be crushed just because you cannot sing or a play the guitar or drums. The industry has a lot of opportunities to be involved with music, fame, and stardom. Here are some jobs to consider if you want to be a part of it.

If you are really passionate about some of your favorite bands or artists, being a promoter may be the job for you. Promoting bands can be a lot of fun and is a great job for someone with a lot of passion, an outgoing personality, and who loves live music. Promoting bands can be as simple as handing out flyers for their next concert, or as complicated as maintaining a website for the band. Music promoters’ jobs are to promote concerts.

If you like to be in control or naturally take on the role as a leader, you may want to consider being a music agent or artist manager. These jobs require a lot of organization, keeping up with schedules, and making things happen for the band or artist you are managing. You have to keep an artist’s best interest in mind to ensure a promising and successful career. A manager takes on a lot of responsibility, especially business opportunities, so that musicians can focus on creating and recording music. An agent works with promoters and managers to plan and implement concerts and live music shows.

Another great job in the industry, especially if you are creative, is to be a cover design illustrator. This person designs the covers of albums for an artist or band. You do not have to be musically creative in to be in the music industry, you can be artistically creative. Designing the cover of an album is very important and can also brand an image for the musician you are working with. Album covers are iconic and sometimes remembered forever.

One of the best ways to help a band strive in the industry is to be in radio. Traditional and Internet Radio stations also have a lot of jobs in this industry alone. You can be a producer, a DJ, or be in production and voice overs. Working on a radio program allows you the space and ability to introduce new talent and promote the talent and play music from your favorite artists.

If you like to teach or work with aspiring artists, you can work in the industry as a music educator. You do not need to work at a school as a music teacher, but you can have music studios and teach voice or instrument lessons. A lot of record labels have music educators that work with bands on technique, tone, tempo, and rhythm among other things.

The music industry is not narrowed down to just singers and musicians. There are a lot of opportunities to be a part of the industry for music lovers and creative souls.

About the Author: Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.

American Idol Judges

Season nine of American Idol has been going strong since the first weeks of production. The judges have narrowed down the thousands of contestants who auditioned for a spot in Hollywood. The show is now getting to the top twenty five performers. The judges have narrowed down and deliberated about the best of the best to present to the audience these top singers. The audience votes on their favorite singer to try to get them passed to the next round of competition. The judges are harsher in their evaluation and give critique and praise to contestant’s performance of the night. The judges can sway or influence how the audience will vote. Here is a look at who the American Idol judges are this season.

Simon Cowell has been with American Idol since day one. He is one of the most well known judges yet he is liked the least because of his brutal honesty and temperament. However, the man knows what he is doing and is a leader in the entertainment industry. He produces music competition shows in both the U.S. and the U.K. Simon has been in the industry for more than twenty years and has worked as an executive at Sony Records. His ear for talent has made him a pioneer in the pop industry as he has shaped and molded some of the top pop artists of our time.

Kara DioGuardi is highly qualified to a judge on the show. She is a seasoned veteran in the music industry and has her own personal success. She is a songwriter that has produced hits for top recording artists all over the world. She is part owner of Arthouse Entertainment, and it is a very successful lucrative business. She is one of the highest demanded songwriters in the industry. She has written songs that have made an artist’s career skyrocket to stardom, and her songs also appear in movies, television shows, commercials, and all over the world. She has even written award winning songs for Idol winner Kelly Clarkson. You have probably heard Kara’s songs on the Internet radio, a movie, or a traditional radio station being sung by famous singers.

A judge that everyone loves and who has also been there since day one is Randy Jackson. He is also a powerhouse in the music industry. Like Simon, he has also been in the industry for twenty years. He not only produces music, but he plays music as well. He toured with the band Journey and played bass guitar. He has been a vice president and major recording labels and has toured, produced, and worked with some of the best in the industry including Madonna. He helps the contestants of American Idol become stars and his critiques are invaluable. He not only performs in the industry, but he has shaped and produced some of the best performers and has contributed to albums that have sold millions worldwide.

The newest judge who replaced Paula Abdul is Ellen DeGeneres. Unlike the other judges, Ellen isn’t a veteran in the music industry. However, she does know a thing or two about stage presence and performance because she is an actress, comedian, and the host of an award winning talk show. Her critiques and perspective on the show offer some new light and a different perspective to the contestants and audience. She is a star in her own right as she has been a leader in the entertainment industry for acting.

*Full length bios can be found at www.americanidol.com

About the Author: Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.

Taylor Takes Over the Music Charts

You may have heard all the buzz about this talented, beautiful woman, Taylor Swift. She is an amazing artist that has won many awards this year and continues to produce chart topping hit songs. She has been on numerous magazine covers, television shows, and performed during music award shows. At only 20 years old she has taken over the music industry and has been a proven success not only in that industry but she can also write her own songs and act. She is a country pop artist and is accepted, admired, and appreciated by both country and pop music fans. Billboard magazine deemed her the respected title as artist of the year.

Taylor was born in 1989 and grew up in Pennsylvania. At an early age she showed an interest in writing poems and songs, performing comedy acts, and singing country music. Like a lot of other musicians, her talent may have been inherited by her grandmother who was a professional opera singer. However, instead of singing opera, she would sing country music accompanied by karaoke backgrounds. She also plays instruments such as a regular guitar and a 12 string, ukulele, and the piano.

In 2006, she released her first professional single that was played on every Internet Radio and traditional radio station. Her hit song called, “Tim McGraw,” topped the country music charts at position six. The song was written about her and her high school boyfriend, and the memories they shared together. It was a great start to her professional singing career under the recording label Big Machine Records.

After the success of her single, she released a self titled album that successfully went platinum, which means she sold more than 1,000,000 albums worldwide. The release of her second album, called “Fearless,” solidified her career as a success in the industry. This album stayed on the top of the music charts for 11 weeks, which is unheard of. “Fearless” included chart topping singles such as “White Horse” and “Love Story.”

Because of the success of the album, she was nominated for eight Grammy awards and won five American Music Awards. At the American Music Awards, she won the most coveted award as Artist of the Year.

Not only is she a great singer, but she is also an amazing actress. She has made cameos in other artists’ movies such as Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience and Hannah Montana: The Movie. In addition to having cameos in movies, she also hosted Saturday Night Live and performed some of her hit songs live on the show. She also appeared in an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. She is taking on the big screen next year in the movie Valentine’s Day.

Taylor Swift can sing, write songs, play music instruments, and act. Is there anything that this amazing artist can’t do?

About the Author: Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.

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  • About the Author:
    Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile.

    For more information please visit 977music.com.