Posts Tagged ‘music’

Music, Moby & Money

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

I came across an article via Twitter about Moby; nothing unusual about that you might say, until you realise the headline compared his seminal album ‘Go’ to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’.

Before some of you become apoplectic with rage (I fear for it’s too late already for some of you), both are landmark recordings, changing the face of the music industry, but in very different ways.


Much has been written about ‘Thriller’, so I’d not get into it here (I’ll save that for another time).

The phenomenally successful ‘Go’, by the mopey vegan owes its success to the fact that every track on the album bypassed the usual route to success by every recording on the LP being licensed for use for other parties, most notably ad agencies.

The full article can be read here – it’s an interesting read, & it demonstrates the value of thinking differently.


Moby & his manager bypassed the traditional route of approaching record company execs & formulated a strategy essentially targeting ad agencies & manufacturers.

The success of this now means that record labels, like film companies now effectively have an eye on ‘merchandising’, in this case the lucrative licensing market; indeed, acts may be dropped from their labels if they disagree over a licensing deal.


As much as labels complain about illegal downloads (which is a problem that does need to be addressed), licensing tracks has become very big business & a highly viable revenue stream, both for the label, but the client as well as the artist.


We’re aware artists are in a rapidly-changing musical & commercial landscape. Now more than ever, artists wishing to be successful need to have one eye on the marketplace, one eye on the Internet as well as constantly awareness of changes in technology.

Whilst it’s (mostly) given quality work is a must for any artist, those that can exploit a niche stand to secure an advantage in an increasingly competitive & crowded space.

Step Into The Blue……………

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

I’ve been trying various ways to bring my PC back to life, but it seems, in the words of an iconic sketch, it has ceased to be: it is a late PC. After weeks of searching online, testing, tweaking asking people, I must finally admit defeat.
I’ve been looking at barebones system, but I’ve not been able to find what I want. Circumstances, seem to be pointing in the direction of actually building the damn thing from scratch. It’s rather daunting, but I think I should be able to do it. I just need to get the confidence (& cash!) to get this started. That said, considering the expired machine was dished out of a skip & through trail, error & some help, I managed to get it working, so I should be able to do this.

On a more positive, if somewhat random note, I’ve been speaking to Riddimaster. His 80’s b-boy mashup mix finally got released by DMC & he heard of my computer woes. He has been looking out for deals online on my behalf, but has also been asking to collaborate. Obviously, distance & a lack of a working machine has been a bit of a pain, but he has solicited my opinion on some of his work & it seems the advice has been appreciated.

I’ve generally shied away from collaborative work. Partly because it involves spending even more time away from The Wife, long hours & losing your weekends, trying to catch up sleep.
There’s also the fact that traditionally, I’ve not derived huge benefits from working with others, but in retrospect, that was more down to inexperience & confidence issues. I’m older (& grumpier with a mortgage!), so really that’s something I need to get over, to an extent.

That said, any endeavour, artistic, personal or career, will at some point require a first step and/or a leap of faith – maybe I should just take a deep breath…………….

Still Bill – Wotta Guy………….

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

There are times, like now, when I feel that there’s just not much point in anything. Not a stark, need-to-seriously-contemplate-checking-out-of-life type thing (‘though I’ve had a few of those moments in my time), but more of a general frustration at life’s bad timing and general ‘suckiness’.Errant technology, life’s minutiae, the little irritants & peeves, continued & conflicting demands, petty dramas & drama queens, draining your energy & taking up your time. |So much so, you look back & say “what the HELL have I actually done? Why do I put up with this @$!£ ?”

I’ve felt like this for a while, then I saw the documentary ‘Still Bill: The Bill Withers Story’ on the BBC iPlayer. This is one seriously cool guy.

He grew up in a (essentially) rural backwater in the Southern USA, with a stutter he didn’t lose until his 20’s in a period of intense social change becoming a recording star in his 30’s after being told he was too old. His outlook, as a consequence of his upbringing, reflects the type of personality I wish I had or the person I should aspire to be.

He simply stopped at what some would call at the peak of his popularity. He always said he never quit; he simply decided to do something else. Considering the number and range of jobs, including engineer, military serviceman, making aircraft toilets, before becoming a singer/songwriter, this isn’t exactly the talk of a bitter & twisted has-been (although at times the cynic in him did lay close to the surface).

That said, his apparent contrary nature always seemed rooted in a straightforward, pragmatic honesty. His erm, withering take on the nature of ‘celebrity culture’, working with other musicians (including his daughter); indeed talking to his children, he’s direct but fair & honest. One of the things he said stuck with me: “In order to be great, or even good at anything you have to pass through ‘Alright’ & when you get to ‘Alright’,stop & take a good look around, because it may be the best you’re gonna get.”


And yet, when he went to a  centre for children with speech impediments, his concern & support of those students was all too evident, in complete contrast to his discussion with the interviewers elsewhere in the film.


Watching it  hasn’t stopped me from being grumpy, but at least it helped give me a sense of perspective. That & I don’t stay too mad too long.


Too bad he couldn’t adopt me.


Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Well, Reality TV season is in earnest: we’ve got ‘The Apprentice’ up & running – where DO they find them? If these are the best of the new generation of business leaders, then we’re totally screwed.

Dancing on Ice reaches it’s conclusion (by the time I’ve posted we’ll finally know who’s actually been skating & not simply making up the numbers – assuming there’s been more than The Wife & I have been watching….)

The Human Zoo that it Cowell’s current cash cow, ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ is back with us, in all it’s Hogarth-ian vividness.

Fresh from his stint trying to launch the X-Factor in the US, he’s back to try to rescue this show on these shores.

Not that anyone’s THAT interesed, but the strongets element, & paradoxically the weakest link is Ol’ High Trousers himself, Simon.

Allow me to elaborate:

The success of his shows have, initially been down to his personality (or some may say, lack of it). His acerbic comments & no-nonsense approach made him a hit. However, here in the UK the shows he’s associated with, are essentially built around him – take him out of the equation, then you’re left with  a series of relatively average talent shows.

In the States, however ratings rule – everything. In trying to break X-factor in the States, he was going up against one of his own shows, American Idol.

The fact he even got to get X-factor to air wasn’t down to his ‘Mr Nasty’ image – it was his close involvement in making  a very successful show with great ratings:American Idol.. You’re only as good as you’re last hit – this is never more true in the most commercial, competitive TV/media market in the Western world – America.

The latest to enter the fray is ‘The Voice’, based on an imported TV show where candidates initially have a ‘blind’ audition i.e the judges/mentors have their backs to the artist as they sing. Should more than one judge turn to ‘accept’ the auditionee, it’s up to them, not the judges to make the decision who they end up with. These, apparently, are the principle USPs. The Wife has seen a version of this show in her homeland so is familiar with the concept. I must say, that at the moment, what I saw was interesting, not just in terms of the artists, but how the judges select/accept/reject candidates, as well as seeing who the auditionees choose in the event of a tie.

We were spared the collection of deluded misfits & nutters, mangling songs beyond recognition; instead faced with a selection of individuals who, for the most part, could actually sing – I almost got confused for a moment.

That said, they did take a leaf out of existing shows, with sob stories in earnest, we got to see one of blokes from 5ive who no-one remembers audition. Actually, he was a nice bloke who took it on the chin when he didn’t make it.

Danny from The Script chose one fella who split my opinion; I thought he would benefit form Danny a a singer/songwriter, but I felt will:I:Am may have been a better fit for him artistically.

There were a couple I thought wouldn’t get picked as they sounded well off, but then the mentors’ clearly felt they had potential.

It’ll be interesting to see if the rest of the series lives up to the promising start. Let’s see……

Label Love? Mmmmmmmm…..

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Label Love Vol. 3 Cover Art

Came across this compilation via Twitter, the’ Label Love’ project. It appears to be a labour of love, featuring amongst others, contributions from Stones Throw & Tru Thoughts labels, &  I’ll leave them to best describe it:


‘Label Love is an eclectic yet unified bundle of unique sounds compiled simply for the love of sharing them with the universe – each track plucked and presented by label heads from Decon Records, Fat Beats, One-Handed Music, Stones Throw, Tru Thoughts, Wah Wah 45s, and Wax Poetics.

Each label evokes its own signature giving this collection a diversified and interesting flow of genres. Label Love consists of nostalgic classics, unreleased gems, and exclusive selections with the goal of expanding minds to new musical styles. ‘

The series is currently available via Bandcamp & best of all, they’re all FREE!!!

What ARE you waiting for?