Before We Begin ... Just Sayin'
November 30, 2012
Questions: Am I the only one who thinks Nicki Minaj looks like a complete clown with her pink hair? Am I the only one who thinks she's a complete hype?
If you've never seen any of R. Kelly's 'Trapped In The Closet' series, it's a must. Just go to YouTube and type in the name and title, and I promise you'll laugh harder than you have in years while watching this musical soap opera unfold. Jimmy Kimmel frequently shows new clips when they are released, and they are all hysterical.
Rihanna has hit single after hit single, but her new album "Unapologetic," which debuted at #1 on Billboard sold only 238,000 copies. Next week, expect the album to drop big-time. (In a tweet this week, Billboard editorial director Bill Werde predicted a 70% drop next week. Source: http://tinyurl.com/d2wlyqu )
I wonder if Green Day is having any second thoughts about their idea of releasing three albums within a very short time. The second album in the trilogy, "Dos!" drops from #9 to #75 in one week. Meanwhile, the first album, "Uno," dropped from #82 to #189 after nine weeks on the album chart. (It peaked at #2)
Write your own punch line for this one: Yoko Ono is behind a new fashion line from Opening Ceremony inspired by a series of drawings titled "Fashions for Men." If her body of musical work is any indication ... well, you get the picture.
Lindsay Lohan arrested again? That news gives new meaning to the word redundant.
The bad news: Psy's novelty-hit "Gangnam Style" video on YouTube has reached 805 million views, making it the most-watched clip in the online video giant's history. (Definitely a factoid for a future Trivial Pursuit edition)
The good news: Psy's achievement puts prior champ Justin Bieber, whose "Baby" video grabbed the same record after its bow two years ago, into second place.
Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday ... now here's the newsletter.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
MAKING IT IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY: L.A. WEEKLY'S 2012 MUSIC ISSUE
This year's Music Issue tackles the question of how to succeed in the music business. With the old economic model in the shitter, perhaps permanently, how do aspiring performers and impresarios find their audience?
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/cxrd9lb
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
MAKING IT IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY 2: BERKLEE'S 2012 'MUSIC CAREERS IN DOLLARS AND CENTS'
Download Berklee Music's 2012 report on salary ranges for positions in the U.S. music industry.
Download it for free here: http://tinyurl.com/ceg6fq4
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
THE NEW MYSPACE IS LOSING MONEY, JUST LIKE THE OLD MYSPACE
Justin Timberlake might be wondering now about the investment he made in MySpace.
According to Business Insider, a little more than year after Interactive Media Holdings -- which is mostly owned by the Vanderhook family -- took control of MySpace, the company has lost more than $40 million on $14 million in revenue this year.
MySpace expects to lose another $25 million in funding next year, according to the documents. Meanwhile, the company is out looking to raise $50 million in investment, says Business Insider.
Read more here on CNET as well: http://tinyurl.com/bpte47j
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
APPLE LAUNCHES NEW FEATURES IN iTUNES 11, AND WHY YOU MIGHT CONSIDER A NEW iMAC
Apple's next major version of iTunes is here.
Read about it here: http://tinyurl.com/cvjrqes
Eweek's Don Reisinger gives you 10 reasons why you should buy a new iMac.
After flipping through this slideshow, you too may be convinced Apple's thinnest computer yet is the desktop for you. READ MORE
AND...iPhone 5 Puts Apple Back on Top of U.S. Market
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
READ STEVE VAN ZANDT'S FAREWELL TO FRANK BARSALONA
In an exclusive essay, Steven Van Zandt remembers his friend and mentor, the rock & roll talent agent Frank Barsalona, who died last week at age 74.
"The music business as we knew it went with him," writes Van Zandt. "I will miss him every day."
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
VIDEO-ON-DEMAND NOT IMPACTING CABLE AND SATELLITE TV
Subscription VOD services like Netflix and Hulu Plus have had "little impact on cable, satellite and telecommunication premium TV - despite scuttlebutt to the contrary," according to a report by London-based Futuresource Consulting, writes Erik Gruenwedel in Home Media Magazine.
"Indeed, premium TV continues to dominate the U.S. home entertainment industry, with 86% of homes paying for monthly bundled service. Revenue rose 4.3% in 2011 to reach $94 billion."
Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
Vdio, the new video service from Skype co-founder Janus Friis, has launched in private beta, apparently touting program deals with Disney, Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, AMC, BBC America, Lionsgate, Paramount, CBS and DreamWorks Pictures.
Janko Roettgers writes on GigaOm, that contrary to initial reports a year ago, Vdio now doesn't plan to compete with Netflix, but rather with iTunes and Vudu. And it will launch in the U.S., at the same time as in the U.K. TV shows available on the service include "Breaking Bad," "Family Guy" and "Doctor Who." Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
IF YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT UPGRADING TO WINDOWS 8, READ THIS
From CNET, "User interface design guru Jakob Nielsen is none too pleased with what he's found in Windows 8, which he calls a "misguided" product.
Nielsen, who has spent much of his career analyzing all kinds of user interfaces, including most notably Flash software for Web animation, says that the new Windows 8 user interface "smothers usability with big colorful tiles while hiding needed features."
Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/cg9jqbg
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
TABLETS ARE CHANGING E-COMMERCE
Beyond just driving sales, tablets are literally reshaping the world of ecommerce, according to a new report from ecommerce solutions provider Monetate.
"The rapid rise of tablet computing is not only driving e-commerce, but is changing the market's landscape, prompting many traditional retailers to respond by revamping their online storefronts to accommodate devices like Apple's iPad," AppleInsider writes, citing Monetate's research. Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 11
VEVO SEZ THEY HAVE PAID ARTISTS $200 MILLION
The company boasts that its royalty rate is higher than any other music-video service.
Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/cs38yav
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* The Beatles' audition tape famously rejected by a record executive in 1962 has finally been uncovered after 50 years. Rejected Beatles audition tape discovered
* Mini Bluetooth speaker with some pop. The Beats Pill outperforms the Jawbone Jambox and has a couple of intriguing extra features. Read more
* Sony has announced that PlayStation Plus subscribers will be able to add Music Unlimited Premium membership to their accounts for a limited time at $12 per year. Read more
* Apple's new iMac to arrive November 30th. The 21.5-inch model will be available on that date, while the 27-inch model will begin shipping in December. Read more
* The holiday season is fast approaching. If you have a tech enthusiast in your life, it can be hard to find something that person will like. Never fear, CNET's assembled a list of the best tech gifts, and all of them are available for under $50! Read more
* Streaming video, sound bars and speakers highlight CNET's roundup of the best home theater gifts for the 2012 holiday season. Read more
* No matter which way you slice it, RIM is still toast. Shares of BlackBerry-maker RIM have skyrocketed. Don't let that fool you, though -- RIM isn't making a comeback. http://tinyurl.com/dyt5wve
* Analyst cuts estimates for Microsoft's earnings growth in 2013, saying PC makers have been slow to introduce devices and there's confusion in the market about the new OS. Read more
Short News Items ...
AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS HAD LOWEST RATINGS EVER:
The 40th Annual American Music Awards slid 21% to an all-time low for a 3.4/8, its lowest-rated telecast to date, and drew only 9.5 million total viewers. It didn't even rank in the Top 20 shows of the week. (Gee, and with such stellar artists like Keisha, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj and Psy, who woulda' thunk it?)
Saturday Night Live's Dec. 15th show will be hosted by Martin Short and the musical guest is Paul McCartney.
DO WE CARE? DEPT:
Chris Brown left Twitter this week.
Adele's "21" has reached a new milestone, becoming the 21st album to sell more than 10 million copies since Nielsen SoundScan began keeping track in 1991. It took the English singer's second album 92 weeks to reach 10 million, which qualifies 21 for diamond status from the Recording Industry Association of America. Read more: Best Selling Albums Since 1991 (Soundscan Era): Adele Joins Elite Club
PAGE READIES ZEPPELIN RARITIES:
Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page tells Rolling Stone he's remastering all the band's studio albums for reissue, and he promises plenty of alternate takes and other rarities. "I'm not just throwing on any old flotsam and jetsam," he says. "This will be really substantial stuff." Read More
NEW YEAR'S ROCKIN' EVE:
This year's Ryan Seacrest-hosted 'New Year's Rockin' Eve' on ABC on Dec. 31st will feature Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepsen and Neon Trees performing with Swift in Times Square, with Pitbull, Brandy, Fergie, Flo Rida, Karmin and OneRepublic joining the broadcast from the West Coast. This year's show will include a tribute to Dick Clark, the show's longtime host, who died at age 82 this spring.
NEIL YOUNG PITCHES IN:
Adding to the growing list of charitable efforts after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, Neil Young and Crazy Horse have announced a benefit concert December 6th at the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City.
Justin Bieber was booed at the Canadian Football League's Grey Cup championship game this weekend, The Associated Press reports. The Toronto crowd booed when Bieber was shown on the Jumbotron screen and booed again when an announcer said his name. Bieber later took the stage for a medley of "Boyfriend" and "Beauty and a Beat," and was again met with jeers.
ELTON DEDICATES CHINA SHOW TO POLITICAL DISSIDENT:
Elton John caused a stir this week by dedicating his show in Beijing to Chinese political dissident and artist Ai Weiwei, The Associated Press reports. John made the dedication minutes into his set, saying the show was for "the spirit and talent" of Ai. The artist is a touchy subject in China, and the crowd was noticeably surprised by John's dedication, several audience members said.
In a preview of the Jimi Hendrix rarities album "People, Hell and Angels," engineer Eddie Kramer plays a teaser of the song "Somewhere," featuring drummer Buddy Miles and Stephen Stills on bass. "That's a fantastic example of Jimi's control of the wah-wah," says Kramer. Read More
GRAMMY HALL OF FAME RECORDINGS:
Recordings by Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan are among 27 inductees into the Grammy Hall of Fame, along with entries by AC/DC, Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Billy Joel and Whitney Houston. McCartney and Wings' "Band on the Run," Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'," AC/DC's "Back in Black," Sinatra's "Theme From New York, New York," John's Elton John, Joel's "Piano Man," and Houston's "Whitney Houston" will join the Hall of Fame on display at the Grammy Museum.
AC/DC are iTunes holdouts no more. The entire AC/DC catalog is now available by individual track or album, with the full studio collection going for $99.99.
GROHL TO KEYNOTE SXSW:
Dave Grohl will be the keynote speaker for the 2013 SXSW Music and Media Conference and Festival, with the opening slated for March 14th at the Austin Convention Center.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN:
Eric Clapton has announced a spring U.S. tour that will culminate in the Crossroads Guitar Festival in New York City's Madison Square Garden. Clapton will hit the road starting March 14th in Phoenix and wrap up after two dates at MSG on April 12th and 13th for the Crossroads festival. The Allman Brothers Band, John Mayer, BB King, Brad Paisley, Gary Clark Jr., Jeff Beck and more are also set for the Crossroads festival
ON THE ROAD AGAIN, TOO:
Bon Jovi's 'Because We Can' tour will hit the road in February with recession-friendly prices. The group's upcoming dates will feature seven price tiers in most markets, including more than 1,000 tickets priced at $19.50 before service fees in every city.
DR. DRE RICHEST MUSICIAN IN 2012:
The hip-hop mogul earned a reported $110 million thanks largely to selling a 51% stake in his Beats headphone company. Who else mad oodles this year? http://tinyurl.com/ckm8sfk
BEACH BOYS OUT ON DVD:
If you missed them on tour, on November 20th, the Beach Boys released their brand new DVD, 'The Beach Boys: Live in Concert,' filled with 21 live performances from their recent 50th-anniversary world tour.
STONES DO BEATLES:
The opening song for the Rolling Stones first O2 performance was "I Wanna Be Your Man," which John Lennon and McCartney wrote for the Stones when they needed a hit in late 1963. "John and Paul flogged us a song which we've never played onstage before," said Keith Richards.
LENNY DOES MARVIN:
Lenny Kravitz has signed on to play Marvin Gaye in the upcoming Julien Temple-directed biopic of the R&B great, a rep for Kravitz confirms to Rolling Stone.
WINEHOUSE PLAY A NO GO:
A play about the life of Amy Winehouse has been scrapped after the late singer's father denied permission to use her music and likeness, according to the New York Times. The Royal Theater in Denmark has canceled the production, which was set to open January 30th, after the reaction from Mitch Winehouse.
A new documentary on Kurt Cobain from filmmaker Brett Morgen is in the works and expected to be out in 2014, the New York Post reports. Morgen's latest effort is "Crossfire Hurricane," a documentary on the Rolling Stones that currently airs on HBO and uses old and never-before-seen footage to tell the band's story.
SPIKE LEE JACKSON DOCUMENTARY GETS LOW RATINGS:
The Spike Lee documentary 'Michael Jackson: Bad25' at 9:30 drew a 1.2/4 -- down 25% from last year's ABC Lady Gaga special "A Very Gaga Thanksgiving" -- and had only 4.5 million total viewers.
Frank Barsalona, 74, the pioneering music agent whose Premier Talent agency revolutionized the rock concert business, died last Thursday (11/22) after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. Barsalona began his career at N.Y. talent agency GAC, where he booked the first U.S. appearances by the Beatles, the Stones and the Yardbirds.
Earl Carroll, the lead singer and one of the founding members of the '50s doo-wop group the Cadillacs, died Sunday from complications of diabetes and a recent stroke. He was 75.
Photographer Ken Regan, best known for his iconic images of Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and Jimi Hendrix, died of cancer on November 25th, Rolling Stone has confirmed. A spokesperson for his studio declined to give Regan's age, calling him "ageless."
Chris Stamp -- one of the two early managers that launched the group's success -- who not only co-managed The Who with the late Kit Lambert but also co-founded the group's Track Records label and executive produced most of its albums and film projects starting in 1968, died from cancer on Saturday at the age of 70 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Pete Bennett, a legendary promotion man and friend to many celebrities, died of a heart attack in his home in New York last week. He had claimed to be 67, but stories over the years often listed his real age as up to 10 years older.
Mickey Baker, an influential guitarist and half of Mickey & Sylvia, has died at 87. An in-demand R&B session man who played with the likes of Ray Charles, Louis Jordan and LaVern Baker, he also co-wrote and performed on Mickey and Sylvia's 1957 classic "Love Is Strange."
Michael Dunford, composer and guitarist of the progressive rock band Renaissance passed away on Tuesday, November 20th, 2012. He had just returned home from the first leg of the band's North American tour and suffered a massive Cerebral Hemorrhage while dining at his home in Surrey, England.
Stephen Metz, 70, who helped TV stars John Travolta, Scott Baio and the Patridge Family launch successful recording careers, and was one of the producers for the Broadway production of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, has passed away.
Quotes of the week
"If it was Bob Dylan, Nicki Minaj would have had him sent to the cornfield! Whereas, if it was Bob Dylan with us, we would have brought the best of him out, as we did with Phillip Phillips. Just saying,"
-- Steven Tyler, talking about the current judges on 'American Idol' on MTV News Monday.
"I watched a concert of One Direction on the TV the other night, you know just to check [it] out. It reminded me very much of our early concerts, when we were pushed around among the audience and we would kind of float. [T]hey were like, floating above the audience, and they looked like, really distinctly uncomfortable. I remember feeling that same uncomfortable feeling of being pushed around in this very weird place about 50 years ago. It was a very funny moment, because it was very similar to the things we've been through."
-- Mick Jagger, commenting on his recollections of early Rolling Stones mania after watching that One Direction concert
"Some combinations of people are toxic, you know? You have to find the right one that isn't just going to explode into fiery ash and destruction."
-- Taylor Swift, on finding inspiration for her love songs through her personal life, to Harper's Bazaar
"It would be weird if the board wasn't discussing whether I was the right guy to do the job."
-- With Groupon's stock in the tank, the shrinking coupon giant's CEO and founder Andrew Mason said Wednesday that he would be surprised if the board was not thinking about firing him.
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
New Season Of 'Downton Abbey' Jumps Forward To Year 2121
LONDON-Fans of the wildly popular period drama "Downton Abbey" were delighted Friday when producers announced that, following another successful run on British television this fall, the show has been renewed for a fourth season, which they confirmed will be set in the Roaring 2120s.
Series creator Julian Fellowes told The Hollywood Reporter that while many details of the upcoming season have yet to be finalized, fans can look forward to more "salacious scandals, romantic intrigues, and social transformation" as Intergalactic Warlord Ransom Glomphus III, his headstrong daughter Empress Zampthor, and other descendants of the Crawley family struggle to adjust to life on their colony in deep space following the First Interplanetary Strife.
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
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.
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Smart Marketing Consulting Services has been in business sixteen years, and consults clients in the music, entertainment, attraction, media, and technology industry on branding, marketing, online exploitation, maximizing new media, and more.
"And the beat goes on, the beat goes on ... drums keep poundin' rhythm to the brain."
"Work is life, you know, and without it, there's nothing but fear and insecurity." -- John Lennon