That A&R Thing Again ... And Adele's Multi-Platinum Success
October 14, 2011
"You look for stars. You look for the makeup of artists who can have long lasting careers and who could be headliners."-- Clive Davis
I don't known when Clive Davis said that, but it sure sounds like what everybody in the music biz was trying to do at one time when they signed new artists.
Then came MTV in 1980, and along with it, manufactured artists who made good videos and were a disaster in live concerts, as well as those who were flavors-of-the-moment and faded fast. More disposable artists meant labels had to fill the distribution/sales pipeline faster. Unfortunately, it was filled with mostly more disposable artists. More garbage in means more garbage out. It's a cycle that will keep repeating because it's all short-term.
One need only look again at the current album charts to see the multi-Platinum success of Adele on her current album "21," while her previous album, "19," also sits in the top-20 albums as well.
Adele sure doesn't look like what 99.9% of all music execs think a video artist should look like these days and I'm sure there aren't a whole lot of posters of her on the bedroom walls of teenage girls. She's not "hot" like Britney, Rihanna and others, but she sure is smoking up the charts. She's a multi-Platinum success story because of the MUSIC and her TALENT.
Music, talent, great songs. Maybe that's why Tony Bennett's "Duets II" debuted at #1 and is still in the top 5 on the album charts. Maybe that's why so many Country artists have albums in the top 10 or top 20.
I've said before that if I worked at a label I would want all the multi-Platinum disposable artists on my roster as well. There's no such thing as having too many customers, right?
But while those flash-in-the-pan "artists" are selling I'd make it a mandate at the label to sign artists who might end up having multi-Platinum long-term success. In the end, it would make any label stronger financially, and it would attract newer artists to those labels as well.
None of this is news to anybody in the business, or that was once in the business.
What's surprising is that an artist like Adele has achieved such success despite all the mediocre music on the radio and selling at retail. It's a good thing when something like this happens.
It should happen more frequently.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
AMAZON'S KINDLE: A COMPARISON
Amazon's 7-inch Kindle Fire looks to hit the tablet sweet spot at $199, but you can't make a tablet for $199 without cutting a few corners. The device is poised to shake things up in the tablet world when it's released November 15, but is it all it's cracked up to be?
Read more here: http://tiny.cc/edi40
Considering the impressive rate at which Amazon's new Kindle Fire tablets are selling, it may be the first real challenger to Apple's iPad. Within the first 24 hours of availability, consumers put in an estimated 95,000 pre-orders. Now, over a week later, "Demand for the device shows no signs of slowing," reports AllThingsD.
Read more here: http://tiny.cc/6imws
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
BERKLEE MUSIC'S CELEBRITY SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
Each term Berklee provide 16 scholarships to high performing online certificate program students.
You can contact their Student Advisors to learn how you can become eligible for a Berklee music scholarship. The application deadline: is October 30th, 2011 and Winter Term begins January 9, 2012
Check it out here: http://tiny.cc/rrgrz
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
GOING MOBILE INDEED ... AND APPLE RULES
Mobile devices now make up 6.8% of all U.S. Web traffic, with Apple's iOS representing a 58.5% share of all mobile traffic, according to a new report from comScore. Marking another watershed moment, the iPad now accounts for more Web traffic than iPhones, comScore finds. Among iOS users, the iPad now accounts for 46.8% of all traffic generated, compared the 42.6% generated by iPhones.
Read more here: http://tiny.cc/9gcv6
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
MORE GOOD READING ABOUT STEVE JOBS
Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and Pixar, leaves us with a legacy of both influence and technology that will undoubtedly touch lives for generations to come. Read more here: http://tiny.cc/snb24
Until the Apple founder came along and rescued Lucas Films' fledgling computer graphics division, animation in Hollywood was a dying art. Now, people expect great computer-animated films. Read more about that here: http://tiny.cc/91etp
And read how Steve Jobs' music vision transformed the industry here: http://tiny.cc/8yuas
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
A FEW MORE LABELS BITE THE DUST
RCA has folded the Artista, Jive and the J Records labels.
Read about it here: http://tiny.cc/fph34
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
ECHO NEST IS POWERING THE INTERNET'S MUSICAL BRAIN
Read how The Echo Nest is powering the Internet's musical brain here: http://tiny.cc/byarb
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
CNET'S STEVE GUTTENBERG ASKS "WHAT AUDIO PRODUCTS NEED TO BE INVENTED?"
They are just refining speakers, headphones, amplifiers and players, but what new products do we need?
Read the rest here: http://tiny.cc/szs0u
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
NETFLIX KILLS QWIKSTER ... NOW WHAT?
You've probably heard by now that Netflix is canning its plans to launch a new, completely separate DVD-by-mail division called Qwikster, and will continue with a combined streaming and DVD service, both available through the Netflix website.
But have you heard that the company is still considering at least one aspect that would have been new for Qwikster -- providing video game rentals? That's what Netflix Vice President of Corporate Communications Steve Swasey told CNET -- though there's no timetable yet for the decision.
Read more here: http://tiny.cc/vxuqw
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
FUTUREHITS AUTHOR JAY FRANK LAUNCHES DIGSIN
Jay Frank, author of the book FutureHit.DNA and former music executive at CMT and Yahoo! Music, has announced his new music company DigSin.
The way DigSin works is that fans sign up for a free subscription, and artists sign with DigSin for individual songs instead of for their entire musical output.
Read more about it here: http://tiny.cc/zhy7j
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 11
NEW SERVICE ULTRAVIOLET LETS CONSUMERS BUY DIGITAL MOVIE RIGHTS
UltraViolet, a new home entertainment service, starts Tuesday, looking to revive depressing DVD sales and rentals by allowing consumers to buy movie discs and their future digital rights, allowing access to content via cloud-like service for all consumer devices.
Read about it here: http://tiny.cc/s47k7
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 12
LIFE IMITATING ART
Remember the Pre-Crime Department in Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report"?
Well, an internal U.S. Department of Homeland Security document indicates that a controversial program designed to predict whether a person will commit a crime is already being tested on some members of the public voluntarily, CNET has learned.
Read about it here: http://tiny.cc/wbiob
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 13
GREAT (BUT EXPENSIVE) WIRELESS SPEAKERS
If you're willing to pay a premium, the Bose SoundLink Wireless Mobile speaker is the best portable Bluetooth speaker on the market.
Read about them here: http://tiny.cc/0fuye
Short News Items ...
iPHONE 4S BLOWS OUT:
Despite a lukewarm press reception to the introduction of the iPhone 4S model last week, consumers are rushing to buy the new model. Apple announced this week it had booked more than 1 million pre-sell orders in the first 24 hours. In a statement Apple senior vice president of worldwide product marketing stated: "We are blown away with the incredible response to the iPhone 4S. The first day pre-orders for iPhone 4S have been the most for any new product that Apple has ever launched."
WINEHOUSE BOOK FROM DAD COMING:
Amy Winehouse's father has signed a deal to pen a memoir for HarperCollins. Mitch Winehouse's book, "Amy, My Daughter," is projected for a worldwide release in summer 2012. The memoir will focus on the late soul singer's life, from her childhood through her major success and struggles with addiction.
Paul McCartney married for the third time on Sunday, exchanging vows with businesswoman and heiress Nancy Shevell in a small civil ceremony at the Marylebone Town Hall in London. The ceremony was followed by a reception at McCartney's home, with guests including his fellow Beatle Ringo Starr, George Harrison's widow Olivia and television journalist Barbara Walters, who is Shevell's cousin.
THE KID DOES GOOD:
Kid Rock will set out on a brief tour this fall to raise money for local charities in each city on his itinerary. Rock, who typically plays arenas, will be focusing on intimate theater venues for this round of shows.
The nominations for the 2nd Annual American Country Awards were announced and Jason Aldean and the Zac Brown Band led the way with eight nominations each. On their heels were newcomers Thompson Square, who scored seven nominations each. The Band Perry and Taylor Swift also figured prominently in the process, tallying six nods.
MONSTER DVD AND MORE:
Lady Gaga has announced a live Blu-Ray/DVD release that chronicles her own blockbuster "Monster Ball" tour set to hit stores on Nov. 21. Two other Gaga items are also slated to arrive on Nov. 21: a new, 17-track edition of "Born This Way," as well as the pop star's "Lady Gaga x Terry Richardson" book. The extended "Born This Way" album, "Remix" album and "Monster Ball Tour" DVD will be bundled together in a package called "Born This Way, The Collection."
Adele's "Someone Like You" spends a third week atop the Billboard Hot 100, earning Airplay Gainer honors and racking up more than two million downloads sold to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
ROBBIE & MARTY:
Since they first teamed up on "The Last Waltz" 35 years ago, Robbie Robertson and Martin Scorsese have enjoyed a prolific working relationship, collaborating on such films as "Raging Bull," "The Departed" and most recently "Shutter Island." Now the two are pairing up again for Scorsese's upcoming movie, "Silence," about two 16th-century Jesuit priests facing persecution in Japan, reportedly starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Benicio Del Toro.
Multiple sources have told TMZ that Whitney Houston was nearly kicked off a Delta Airlines flight for refusing to buckle her seatbelt. According to sources, the singer "got diva" with a crew member who told her to buckle up on board a flight in Atlanta yesterday, but relented when told she would be removed from the plane
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER DEPT:
Facebook, the world's largest social network, took a giant step into its mobile future by releasing the highly anticipated Facebook for iPad app this week.
CD BABY STORE UP ON FACEBOOK:
CD Baby formally went live with its new MusicStore for Facebook, a new option for the independent musicians and labels who distribute downloads and CDs through the company, after soft launching last week.
Paul Simon has announced plans to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his landmark album Graceland with a tour reuniting him with the musicians who played on the record.
PETTY LIVE ON WAY:
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will release a live vinyl LP consisting primarily of tracks from last year's "Mojo" on Record Store Day's Black Friday on November 25th, which supports independent record stores, . It will also include a new version of his obscure "Sweet William," a heavy blues stomper that was originally a B side to 1999's Echo track "Room at the Top."
IDOL MCCREERY DEBUTS AT #1:
"American Idol" winner Scotty McCreery makes history as his debut album, "Clear as Day," bows at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart with 197,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. McCreery is the first Country act to debut at No. 1 with their first studio album, and at 18-years old, the youngest man to open at the top of the chart with their debut release. Previously, the youngest male to bow at No. 1 with their premiere album was Omarion, who was 20 when "O" started at No. 1 in 2005. Surprisingly, McCreery, who turned 18 on Sunday (Oct. 9), is also the first "Idol" winner since 2003 to hit No. 1 with their first studio set.
Former Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh was found dead in a Chicago hotel room on Saturday, October 8th. Staff at the Raffaello Hotel discovered the body when Welsh, 40, failed to make his 1PM checkout. No foul play is expected and the cause of his death is still unknown. In an eerie tweet dated September 26th, Welsh wrote, "dreamt i died in Chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). need to write my will today."
The Music Industry Past, Present & Future, And The Internet I answer questions on EconTalk
I did an interview about the industry and the Internet at EconTalk with host Russ Roberts. Russ is also a professor of economics at George Mason University, blogs at Cafe Hayek, and has written three novels that teach economics. He's also the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap video. (And if your understanding of the economic meltdown that occurred needs to be enlightened, this video will do it)
In the interview we talk about the evolution of the music industry, the impact of the digital revolution, and I give my reasons for believing in the virtues and potential of the Internet in enhancing the music industry. I point out, as I have many times here in the newsletter, that the internet allows numerous artists to make money from their music and it can enhance revenues from live performances by expanding an artist's base. We also discuss the challenges facing record companies and I suggest that the full potential of the Internet as a distribution channel has yet to be fully exploited. There's a lot of ground covered, but based on the comments already posted of those who have tuned in, they've enjoyed it.
Read more about it by clicking here.
Quotes of the week
"I saw Bruce's first gig in London, I think at the Odeon house. That blew me away. Second only in my favorite gig list to Otis Redding in 1967. But I don't think it's connected to 'Solsbury Hill.' I remember that once I met Bruce at CBS. He had an armful of Roy Orbison records under his elbow. So I think he drew from rich veins of rock history and absorbed and pulled them together in a very interesting way with a great band."
-- Peter Gabriel, talking about Bruce Springsteen in Rolling Stone
"I remember when radio meant something. We enjoyed the people who were on it, even if we hated them. They had personalities. They were people of taste, who we trusted. And I see that vanishing."
-- Tom Petty, in Rolling Stone in 2002 talking about his record 'The Last DJ'
"They asked me, and I said no. It's not my thing, you know? It wouldn't be a pleasant experience for me. I'm frankly not a big fan of reality TV -- I know there's a zillion people who watch the show, and it would probably be 'good for my career,' but I don't know, it's just not my thing."
-- Weird Al Yankovic talking to Billboard.com Assistant Editor Jason Lipshutz. Good for your career? No. Bad for the show? Yes.
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Nation Waiting For Protesters To Clearly Articulate Demands Before Ignoring Them
NEW YORK-As the Occupy Wall Street protest expands and grows into a nationwide movement, Americans are eagerly awaiting a list of demands from the group so they can then systematically disregard them and continue going about their business, polls showed this week.
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
The BlogsCheck out Jerry Del Colliano's (the founder of INSIDE RADIO) daily blog, by clicking here: http://www.insidemusicmedia.blogspot.com
Check out attorney Ray Beckerman's website at: http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com where he prints news about the RIAA's ongoing activities
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