Hey, Did You Watch The Grammys?
January 31, 2014
"Why don't the Grammys matter? Because it feels rigged and cheap -- like a popularity contest that the insiders club has decided."
-- Trent Reznor
"I have a love-hate relationship with the Grammys because I don't see the music world as a competitive sport."
-- James Taylor
So, last Sunday night it was time for" Music's biggest night" ... the Grammy Awards Show.
I received dozens of e-mails from readers and friends asking what I thought of this year's show and some of the performances.
I answered all those e-mails (as I always do), and I'm not going to reiterate what was said in them all. (It would take up several pages easy)
But, the one question I will ask everyone after watching the show is this: Is it REALLY necessary for this show to go on for three-and-a-half hours?
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
BEATS MUSIC HANDS ON
In 2012, Beats set about acquiring subscription service MOG, and now after 18 months the fruits of that labor have arrived in the form of Beats Music.
It claims it's unlike other services because its suggestions are curated by humans rather than computers, and it also doesn't offer free listening. CNET Executive Editor David Carnoy went hands-on with the mobile app and had some surprising findings. Beats Music: Hands-on
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
HAVING A HARD TIME CHOOSING THE BEST STREAMING MUSIC SERVICE?
Need help getting started on all-you-can-stream services like Spotify and Beats Music?
We've got you covered. CNET has it covered: Find the best music streaming service for you
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
HERE'S WHAT YOU'LL SEE ON THE BEATLES SPECIAL 'THE NIGHT THAT CHANGED AMERICA - A GRAMMY SALUTE TO THE BEATLES'
The four-hour concert will be aired on CBS on Feb. 9th -- the actual day of the Beatles historic performance on the Ed Sullivan Show a half-century ago. The event and concert are dubbed "the night that changed America" -- and it was, yesterday and today.
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will rock out to mark the 50th anniversary of their British Invasion in a tribute concert featuring Stevie Wonder, John Legend Pharrell Williams, Joe Walsh, John Mayer, Annie Lennox, Dave Stewart, Katy Perry and Alicia Keys. Read more about what you will see and hear on the special
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
ANOTHER VINYL CHECK-IN: READ ABOUT THE SUCCESS OF FRIDAY MUSIC'S VINYL SALES
I first met Joe Reagoso when I interviewed him for a promotion job at MCA Records in the mid-'80s. I hired him, and he stayed with MCA seven years before leaving to work for Atlantic Records and EastWest, and then RCA.
He launched his own label Friday Music in 2001, and I interviewed him in 2011 about the label.
Today, Friday Music is one of the industry's most successful independently owned labels and has an extensive catalog of Classic Rock re-issues and as well as new music Joe has secured from some of the industry's heritage artists.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
PRINCE SUES MUSIC BOOTLEGGERS ON FACEBOOK
Prince is targeting a Facebook group and a Blogspot account that hosted links to copyrighted live performances
Named in the lawsuit are 22 individuals who face a damage claim totaling $22 million. The defendants "engaged in massive infringement and bootlegging of Prince's material," explains the complaint filed in US District Court in San Francisco. Read the story at TheWrap
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
INDIA ARIE BLASTS THE GRAMMYS
From The Grio.com. "While the hip-hop community is still reeling from Kendrick Lamar being snubbed at the Grammys, there's one artist who can truly relate to the feeling of not even being acknowledged on music's biggest stage; neo-soul singer India Arie.
Utilizing her personal tumblr, India has spoken frequently about the inconsistency of recognizing black music culture at the Grammys and this year was no different. And no punches were pulled: Read what she had to say
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
SOUNDCLOUD WANTS TO BE #1
TechCrunch reports that SoundCloud has raised $60 million at a $700 million valuation in its Series D round.
The funding round was led by Institutional Venture Partners with the Chernin Group, and participation from previous investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, GGV Capital, Index Ventures and Union Square Ventures. SoundClouds goal is to be the #1 audio platform on the web. Read More
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
APPLE SELLS RECORD NUMBER OF iPADS AND iPHONES
Apple sold a record number of iPhones and iPads in the first fiscal quarter of 2014, shipping 51 million phones and 26 million iPads. iPhone sales were actually shy of what analysts predicted during the quarter ending, but iPad sales exceeded average expectations for the December quarter. Read the story at TheWrap
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
CHECK OUT ICONIC ROCK&ROLL PHOTOGRAPHER PETER SIMON'S DVD WITH 50 YEARS OF HIS WORK
This is indeed an amazing journey through Peter's life and his work.
I spent the weekend watching this amazing 2-DVD set, and enjoyed it immensely.
It's been almost two years in the works, and has been through many morphs. The DVD runs over three-and-a-half hours and captures most of Peter's comprehensive career.
Check out Peter's work, and if you like what you see, by all means treat yourself to the DVD
* Bob Dylan Will Be a-Changin' Super Bowl Ads This Weekend
* 20 Grammy winning albums we still love
* 20 classic albums that didn't win Grammys
* Grammy Awards: The Complete Winners List
* Paul, Ringo and Cirque's 'LOVE' to cap Beatles tribute
* Elton's Vegas Concert Headed to Theaters
* Barry Gibb and Jimmy Fallon Do Everlys
* Flashback: The Who Reunite In '89, Seven Years After Saying 'Farewell'
* How Super Bowl Halftime Shows Sell Music: From MJ to Beyonce (1993-Present)
* Motley Crue to Retire Following Massive Tour
* Courtney Love Wins TWITTER Defamation Trial
* Why Everyone Should Own (And Play!) A Keyboard
* The Grammy Awards and Indie Music Marketing
* Unreleased Elliott Smith Tapes
* Seriously, How Do I Make a Living Off My Music?
* 26 Hilariously Inaccurate Predictions About the Future
* 30 years of Apple: From Mac to now
* Rich tweet: Icahn ups stake in Apple by $500 million
* Google's 10 Oddest, Most Intriguing Works in Progress
* Former homeless man finds success in the speaker business
* Amazon's surprising Bluetooth speaker
Short News Items ...
REZNOR NOT HAPPY WITH GRAMMY CUT-OFF:
About 45 minutes after the Grammys ended, Trent Reznor was still seething that Nine Inch Nails' closing set with Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Grohl and Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham was cut short. "Music's biggest night ... to be disrespected," he griped. Read More
BACK ON THE ROAD, WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM HIS FRIENDS:
Ringo Starr is hitting the road this summer with his All Starr Band, which will once again feature Toto's Steve Lukather, Mr. Mister's Richard Page, original Santana singer Gregg Rolie, Todd Rundgren and drummer Gregg Bissonette. The tour kicks off 6/6th at Rama Casino in Ontario, Canada and wraps 7/19th at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. "I love playing with this band," Starr said in a statement, "and I can't wait to get back out and play with them again."
Tablet ownership in the U.S. is increasing at a rapid pace, according to a new study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). All told, 44% of online U.S. consumers now own tablets such as the iPad and Kindle Fire, up from 38% a year ago. What's more, nearly three in four plan to purchase a tablet sometime in the future.
Roger Daltrey says the inevitability of a new record by the Who isn't so much a question of "when" as it is "whether." Speaking to the NME, he said that both he and guitarist Pete Townshend have the makings of a new LP should they choose to rise to the occasion. "Pete's got hundreds of songs so the only question is whether we get around to it," the vocalist said. "But he wants to make an album and I'm always ready and raring to go. We'll see."
"Sean Saves the World" looks as if it's in need of some saving itself. The comedy has shut down production after shooting only 14 of the 18 episodes ordered by NBC.
CRUE THROWING IN THE TOWEL:
Motley Crue are promising they will never, ever get back together after their planned breakup. At a press conference in L.A., the band signed a "cessation of touring agreement," which will take effect at the end of 2015, after the band conclude their farewell tour. Read More
BIEBS TURNS HIMSELF IN:
Less than one day after his Valentine's Day arraignment was set for charges of drunk driving and resisting arrest, Justin Bieber turned himself in to Toronto police for allegedly assaulting a limo driver in a separate incident late last year.
GRATEFUL DEAD 50TH ON THE WAY:
With the Grateful Dead's 50th anniversary around the corner in 2015, Bob Weir says the band "owe it to the fans, we owe it to the songs" to plan some sort of commemoration. The current band, Furthur, is going on hiatus after four gigs at a Mexico festival. Read More
Blondie and Bob Geldof have joined the packed lineup of performers at Amnesty International's Bringing Human Rights Home concert at Brooklyn's Barclays Center next month. Additionally, the human rights organization announced today that Susan Sarandon would host the event and that Yoko Ono, who is promising "some surprises," will make an appearance. Peter Gabriel and Sting will deliver pre-taped video messages about activism.
The 25th annual GLAAD Media Awards nominations are out and Elton John, Lady Gaga, Vampire Weekend, Goldfrapp and Tegan and Sara are up for the Outstanding Music Artist prize.
SECRET SEINFIELD PROJECT:
Jerry Seinfeld confirmed on WFAN's "Boomer and Carton" show that the mystery project he shot recently with Jason Alexander and Larry David in New York City is, in fact, something of a Seinfeld reunion.
'AMERICAN HORROR' SCARES UP RATINGS:
The finale of "American Horror Story: Coven" put its spell on 4.2 million total viewers Wednesday night, making it the highest-rated season finale of the FX drama, which has now aired three seasons. The "Coven" finale was also higher-rated than the season averages of the first two seasons, "American Horror Story: Murder House" and "American Horror Story: Asylum."
Pete Seeger, the banjo-picking troubadour who sang for migrant workers, college students and star-struck presidents in a career that introduced generations of Americans to their folk music heritage, died on Monday at the age of 94. Seeger's grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson said his grandfather died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where he'd been for six days. Seeger was an iconic figure who performed with the great minstrel Woody Guthrie and marched with Occupy Wall Street protesters in his '90s. As a political activist, he advocated for causes ranging from civil rights to the cleanup of the Hudson River.
At a 90th birthday party at Madison Square Garden for Pete Seeger in 2009, longtime admirer Bruce Springsteen paid heartfelt tribute. "At some point Pete Seeger decided he'd be a walking, singing reminder of all of America's history," he said. Watch the tribute here. Read More
Stephen Ferrera, SVP of A&R at Columbia Records, passed away at his home in New York on Monday after a battle with lung cancer. An accomplished musician, songwriter and producer, Ferrera graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music and the Julliard School where he studied percussion. Ferrera is survived by his wife Camilla, his 14-year-old daughter Grace, and 10-year-old son, Guy. A memorial service will be held 4p on Feb. 3rd at the Riverside Memorial Chapel (180 West 76th Street at Amsterdam Avenue, New York). In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Lung Cancer Research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center or at mskcc.org.
Tom Sherak, a longtime marketing and distribution who served three terms as president of the Academy and was recently named Los Angeles' film czar by Mayor Gil Garcetti, has died. He was 68. Sherak had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2001, and underwent extensive chemotheraphy last year. According to a Facebook posting by his daughter, the cancer was found to have returned and spread in January.
Quotes of the week
"You never know. They really are great to play with. They were a great band with Kurt (Cobain). That's what I experienced – just playing with a really good band, which is a very special thing. I should know."
-- Paul McCartney, backstage at the Grammy Awards Show after winning the Grammy for Best Rock Song together with Dave Grohl for "Cut Me Some Slack," answering whether he might play with Grohl and the band again.
"It's a Lifetime Achievement Award, but I feel like we've all got a lot more life left in us. It's a great afternoon; it's all about music ... The Beatles' music is still out there and that's what I'm most proud of."
-- Ringo Starr, accepting the award at the Grammy ceremony. (Editor's note: It's been 50 years, half a century, and their music is still with us. How many artists today will be heard 50 years from now?)
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Album That Has Nothing On Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' Wins Grammy Award
LOS ANGELES—Recognized with one of the ceremony's most coveted awards, an album that doesn't even begin to stack up to Fleetwood Mac's quintessential musical achievement Rumours reportedly won Album of the Year at the Grammys on Sunday night.
Album That Has Nothing On Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' Wins Grammy Award
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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