CES: All The New Toys & More
January 13, 2012
"Men have become the tools of their tools."-- Henry David Thoreau
The news about all the stuff coming out of the annual CES (Consumer Electronics Show) here in Las Vegas was (as usual) relentless this week, and it's still coming as I write this.
There's far too much to sort through, so I thought I'd just supply a short list of those stories CNET has reported on that I feel most relevant for you, the readers of the newsletter.
* The Beats and Monster brands are so synonymous that it's hard to believe the relationship is over. After a five-year lovefest that spawned dozens of headphones including the eponymous Beats by Dr. Dre and Lady Gaga's own Heartbeats, Beats is cutting ties and refusing to renew the partnership contract. Read about that here: http://tiny.cc/c0o3g
* Samsung introduces a new flagship TV, the "ultimate" LED TV with a redesigned Smart Hub and the next generation of Series 9 laptops (just don't call them ultrabooks). http://tiny.cc/0jgdd
* Toshiba glasses-free 3D TV demo: It works, just not very well. http://tiny.cc/yqdoy
* Get all up in gadget goodness on the show floor, examining every inch of weird and wonderful new products being unleashed. http://tiny.cc/vw04l
* A first Look at Cubify's 3D printer for the home. It makes chess pieces, bracelets, and 6-inch pumps. No joke. http://tiny.cc/dskhy
* Simple.TV's DVR without a hard drive or video output may sound crazy, but it could end up being a killer product for cable-cutters. http://tiny.cc/o8sur
* Soon you'll be able to control your TV by talking to it, and waving at it, and making inappropriate faces. The new TVs announced at CES are game-changers. http://tiny.cc/ul27e
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
FROM BUSINESS WEEK: NOT ALL ARTISTS ARE CRAZY ABOUT SPOTIFY
Adele is among a vanguard of artists including Coldplay, The Black Keys, and Tom Waits who have opted not to make their latest albums available on streaming-music services like Rdio, Mog and Spotify.
ead about it here to find out why: http://tiny.cc/g473v
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
WHERE WE BUY OUR MUSIC OFFLINE
Here's a U.S.-based breakdown from Nielsen Soundscan for 2011 as to where people buy their music in physical formats. (For the year, offline album purchases landed at roughly 198 million units)
Offline Album Purchases, 2011: Mass Merchants (Target, Wal-Mart, etc.): accounted for 52% of purchases; Chain Retailers (Best Buy, etc.) accounted for 33%; Indie Record Stores accounted for 12%; and Non-Traditional Retail Stores: 2%. Music purchased at various venues accounted for 1%.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
SPIN MAGAZINE REINVENTS THE ALBUM REVIEW
"The value of the average rock critic's opinion has plummeted now that a working knowledge of Google can get you high-quality audio of practically any record, so you can listen and decide for yourself whether it's worth a damn ... Um, but don't tell anyone we said that, okay?"
So writes Spin staffers in a post explaining how they're going to "reinvent" music reviews with the @SpinReviews Twitter feed, which aims "to be an exhaustively definitive listener's guide and argument-starter for virtually every album or EP or mixtape that matters in 2012. Within the confines of a 140-character tweet, we're hoping to take on more than 1,500 new records this calendar year alone, all reviewed by our eight in-house editors and a team of a dozen valued freelancers."
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/89rftqz
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
TIVO USERS LOSE INTEREST IN LIVE TV...DUH!
Back in 2004, Carly Fiorina, then HP chairperson and CEO, said the following, "In the digital era, the future is one in which consumers watch or listen to what they want to watch, when they want, at any time they want, on any device. This is a generation that will not wait for content to be delivered to them at a prescribed time."
I've run that quotes many times since because it sums up so much about what has happened with the relationship between consumers and media. So this news this week certainly comes as no surprise: Social media and second screen apps may be fighting a losing battle to preserve live TV viewing. New data from TiVo shows consumer preference for control and convenience trumps their desire to watch a program live.
Read the rest here: http://tiny.cc/8rnz0
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
AMAZON IS MORPHING INTO WHAT LOOKS LIKE A MAJOR MEDIA COMPANY
From Business Insider comes the question: How did an aging e-commerce giant like Amazon become one of the hottest company's in Silicon Valley? Along with a brand new cutting-edge campus, and a strong track record of employee loyalty and sound business practices, Amazon has become much bigger than books. In addition to Web Services -- which is now estimated to be a billion-dollar business powering back-end operations for some high-profile startups -- the company has established itself as a leading mobile and media powerhouse.
"It's not like being in Hollywood for movies or New York for publishing, but Amazon is increasingly looking more like a big media company," writes Business Insider. "For instance, Amazon Prime has morphed from a discounted shipping deal to an online video streaming service with thousands of movies."
The company also boasts a thriving online music store and related music locker service, as well as a publishing house that plans to put out more than 100 books this quarter. Meanwhile, "Amazon has rolled out mobile apps for all major mobile platforms" BI adds. Along with the success of its Kindle e-readers and Kindle Fire, Amazon is rumored to be designing a mobile phone for a 2012 debut.
Read the rest here: http://tiny.cc/na7ib
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
MOGEES: TECHNOLOGY TO TURN ANY SURFACE INTO AN INSTRUMENT
Mogees is a project that uses microphones to turn any surface into an interactive board, which associates different gestures with different sounds. This means that desktop drummers could transform their finger taps and hand slaps into the sound of a marimba or xylophone.
Users plug any contact microphone onto a surface -- be it a tree, a cupboard, a piece of glass or even a balloon. They can then record several different types of touch using their hands or any objects that cause a sound -- so one sound could be a hand slap, another could be a finger tap and another could be hitting the surface with a drumstick. Users can train the system to detect new types of touch recording them just once.
Check it out here and watch the video: http://tiny.cc/jwchk
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
FACEBOOK INTRODUCES TURNTABLE.FM LIKE FEATURE
From the Los Angeles Times: "Facebook on Thursday introduced a feature that lets users listen to music with their online friends and even host a private DJ session where one person spins tunes while others in the party listen. If this sounds like deja vu, it may be because you've heard about a similar service called Turntable.fm, where users can take turns playing DJ in virtual rooms."
Read the article here: http://tiny.cc/6cv4o
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
THE NEWS NETWORKS SOPA (STOP ONLINE PIRACY ACT) BLACKOUT
From Indie Music News (originally posted on SavetheInternet.com) comes this story: "You may have heard about the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. Simply put, it's a bill in the House that could open the door to widespread Internet censorship.
Opposition to the bill has reached a boiling point. Millions of activists, hundreds of startups, social media sites like Tumblr, Reddit and Twitter and even big companies like Google, Yahoo! and eBay have joined with Free Press and other Internet advocacy groups against it. This is one of the biggest tech stories of the year. Yet as a recent report from Media Matters for America shows, TV news has ignored it."
Read the rest here: http://tiny.cc/jd4be
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
TABLETS VS. LAPTOPS?
A new study suggests that almost half of all Americans believe tablets will replace laptops. But some of its other findings might surprise you.
Read the rest here: http://tiny.cc/d6g29
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* The Rolling Stone Readers' Picks for the most anticipated tours for 2012 is out. Check it out, and this great video clip of Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band doing "Jungleland" here: http://tiny.cc/aq07o and see why Bruce's tour is the #1 most anticipated. Wow. (And the question will be, how will he play such songs again without "The Big Man" Clarence Clemons ... he's featured prominently in this clip)
Short News Items ...
KEITH GETS EYES FIXED:
Keith Richards has undergone laser eye surgery and is "doing very well," says a spokesperson for the Rolling Stones guitarist. Richards underwent the procedure to correct his vision, which has been deteriorating in recent years.
GAGA NAMED AP ENTERTAINER OF YEAR:
When Lady GaGa's 'Born This Way' album was released in May, 1.1 million copies sold in the first week, partly aided by a dramatic discount from Amazon, which sold it for 99 cents. But it was an industry-shattering moment because an extraordinary 60% of sales in the first week were digital downloads. Altogether, it outsold the next 42 albums on the Billboard chart combined. As of October, worldwide sales had surpassed 8 million copies. Now, Lady Gaga has been voted Entertainer of the Year by members of The Associated Press as her latest single "Marry The Night" tops the Billboard Dance/Club Play song chart at #1.
GEE, WHAT A SURPRISE ... NOT!:
Snoop Dogg has a medical prescription for cannabis in California, his home state, but that doesn't fly in Texas. The rapper was arrested over the weekend after a drug-sniffing police dog found less than half an ounce of marijuana in a waste basket, according to reports.
IN THE MEANTIME, HOW ABOUT SNOOP CIGARS?:
Snoop Dogg is capitalizing on his infamous love for lighting up with a new line of cigars, Executive Branch, which he will unveil at the Coachella Festival when he headlines with Dr. Dre.
Paul McCartney's new upcoming covers album is titled "Kisses on the Bottom." The title comes from a line from the 1935 Fats Waller song, "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter."
GET WELL TONY:
Black Sabbath lead guitarist Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma just as the band have commenced writing and recording their first album in 33 years in L.A. with producer Rick Rubin
SQUIRE & HACKETT:
Though Yes will be busy with a spate of touring in support of 2011's "Fly From Here" and the new concert album "In The Present: Live From Lyon," bassist Chris Squire is also preparing to roll out his long-gestating collaboration with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett.
Pandora now has 125 million registered users with an impressive per-month listening average of 18 hours, according to stats shared at CES.
THAT AIN'T RIGHT DEPT:
A Brooklyn man says that preferential treatment given to Beyoncé and Jay-Z at the Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan over the weekend kept him away from his newborn twins, who were born prematurely around the same time as the superstar couple's infant daughter
Lady Antebellum singer Hillary Scott wed Love and Theft drummer Chris Tyrell in a ceremony in upstate New York on Saturday.
Elton John has signed on to pen a book about his personal experiences during the global AIDS epidemic, including remembrances of friends and peers who died from complications of the disease, such as Queen star Freddie Mercury.
FIRST GRAMMY PERFORMERS ANNOUNCED:
Foo Fighters, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean are the first artists to be announced as performers at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, which will be broadcast live from Los Angeles on February 12th.
In a collaboration with the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, Eddie Van Halen has donated 75 guitars to L.A.-area schools.
STAR SPANGLED KELLY:
Kelly Clarkson will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl on February 5th
KATY THE PEOPLES' CHOICE:
Katy Perry was the big winner at the People's Choice Awards, scoring five awards out of seven nominations, including prizes for favorite female artist, tour headliner, song ("E.T.") and music video, for her hit "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)"
NOTHING COMPARES TO SINEAD:
Sinead O'Connor sent out a desperate call for help on her Twitter account this week, only revealing afterward that the post followed a suicide attempt by pills the week prior.
MADONNA ALBUM INFO:
Madonna has revealed that her 12th studio album will be titled M.D.N.A. The record, her first for Interscope, is expected to hit stores before the end of March
LAWYERS IN LOVE, VOLUME #1,010,244, 347:
Longtime RIAA defendant Jammie Thomas now has another problem on her hands: the MPAA. The Hollywood trade group has now joined an RIAA appeal against an earlier, $54,000 penalty, with the goal of reinstating a much higher, $1.5 million fine for 24 swapped songs.
BING PASSES YAHOO:
For the first time ever, Bing surpassed Yahoo's search share in December, according to new data from comScore. Last month, Microsoft's search engine grabbed a 15.1% share of the U.S. search market, compared to Yahoo's 14.5% -- down from 15.1% in November. eWeek calls the decline a "precipitous drop at a time when percentage points, and even tenths of percentage points, come at a premium versus Google." Indeed, only tightening it iron grip on the market, Google saw its U.S. search share increase to 65.9% in December -- up from 65.5% in November.
Tom Ardolino, a longtime drummer of NRBQ, died on January 6th at the age of 56.
Bob Weston, a British guitarist who played with Fleetwood Mac, has died aged 64. Police say Weston's body was found in his north London home after neighbors raised the alarm.
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
"Rock & roll is dying because people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world. So they became OK with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be shit - therefore you should never try to be the biggest rock band in the world. F**k that! Rock & roll is the music I feel the most passionately about, and I don't like to see it f***ing ruined and spoon-fed down our throats in this watered-down, post-grunge crap, horrendous shit. When people start lumping us into that kind of shit, it's like, 'F*** you,' honestly."
-- Drummer Patrick Carney of the Black Keys in Rolling Stone
"There's always gonna be rock'n'roll bands, there's always gonna be kids that love rock'n'roll records, and there will always be rock'n'roll...Because you have things like "American Idol" and you've got radio stations that play music made entirely by computers, it's easy to forget there are bands with actual people playing actual instruments that rock. For the fans, I don't think it's gone away at all. I don't know too many people that give up listening to rock'n'roll ... right now, the current musical climate is not unlike it was back in 1991, right before Nirvana."
-- The Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, in Billboard (Read his whole interview here: http://tiny.cc/lx82l )
"Asked about the future, with intriguing prescience Jim predicted the techno music that emerged 25 years later. 'I can envision one person with a lot of machines -- tapes, electronic setups -- singing and speaking, and using a lot of machines."
-- From the pages of 'Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend'. These comments were made by the Doors frontman in 1969, roughly 10 years before rap and 25 years before techno hit the scene.
"There's nobody really in my league. There's competition everywhere. The whole music industry is competition. There are people who like other artists, those who like me and others who like both. Beyonce is a great artist, and I feel honored to be mentioned in the same sentence, but we're different performers with different styles."
-- An obviously egomaniacal Rihanna on her competition
"They can do amazing things. Nowadays people sell millions of records that can't sing."
-- Twisted Sister's Dee Snider in Rolling Stone, talking about the state of the industry today in discussing whether Tom Cruise can or cannot sing up to par for his role in the upcoming film 'Rock of Ages' based on the Broadway play
"She came in so prepared and so knowledgeable about what to do. She's as good as Ella Fitzgerald or anybody you want to come up with. And that's without her dancing and her philosophies about breaking myths that are incorrect and social situations. She's very strong. I know it sounds way out, but she could become America's Picasso if they leave her alone and let her just do what she has to do. She is very, very talented. She's great at piano and she dances wonderful. She's got it all."
-- Tony Bennett, talking about Lady GaGa, and working with her on his platinum 'Duet II" album.
"He said, 'I can't believe I'm out with Kelly Clarkson!' I said, 'I can't believe you used my full name!'"
-- Kelly Clarkson, recalling a recent cringe-worthy first date, to PEOPLE
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Blue Ivy Taken By Evil Witch Who Gave Beyoncé Her Beautiful Singing Voice
Moments after Beyoncé gave birth, a witch appeared in a cloud of smoke to claim her child, Blue Ivy, as her payment for giving the singer fame, beauty, and talent. (I guess Jay-Z couldn't pay her off)
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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