Back To That Lemonade Again
February 14, 2014
"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade' is a proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and a can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune."
-- From Wikipedia
Proverbial phrase or not, it certainly does encourage "a can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune" when it comes to the music biz.
This week, volume #49 of 'Now That's What I Call Music' tops the Billboard Top 200 chart.
This commentary from Rolling Stone sums it up all too well: " NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL #1? Finally, a hot new debut album to lead 2014 out of its winter doldrums, scintillate pop music fans everywhere, launch the record industry to dizzying new heights, cure cancer and unite the world in peace and harmony! Hang on. The album is 'Now 49' – containing the same old hits we've been hearing for the past year, from Lorde's "Royals" to Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball." Cancel the excitement. 'Now 49' sold 98,000 copies and hit #1 in its first week, the 17th such compilation to do so over the years. But it's just a reminder that the year's charts have been so dismal; with the exception of Bruce Springsteen's 'High Hopes' a month or so ago, the year is just holdovers and retreads. Interestingly, 'NOW 49' appears to be a physical CD phenomenon, as it's just #6 on iTunes' albums chart; online listeners have the tracks already and don't need an album. ( Read more on Rolling Stone )
Once again, nothing could provide yet more evidence of the need for the industry to seek out REAL artists who can sell multi-Platinum without having to take their clothes off, or feed the seemingly endless supply of gossip and entertainment media with their antics. (Miley Cyrus has basically showed us everything and her album is at the bottom of the top 20. Obviously, we've seen enough, so now it's back to the MUSIC. If it ain't all that great, it doesn't sell)
Yes, finding and signing artists that can achieve such success is not easy. But, the payoff can be huge. (Remember a girl named Adele?) And that's why great A&R men/women in the music industry were once so well-respected and well paid. Maybe at some labels they still are.
But one only need to look at the charts, and read the commentary above to realize that cranking out the same old disposable music every month isn't going to pay the bills in the long run.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
THE MUSIC MASHUP COPYRIGHT LAW AND HOW ARTISTS ARE FIGHTING TO ENSURE THEIR WORK IS SAFE
Steven Tyler, Don Henley, Sting, Ozzy Osbourne and Britney Spears have different music styles. But they are united in telling the U.S. Patent and Trade Office that artists who write and make music, not copyright law, should determine who has rights to make remixes, samples and mashups that include their songs.
The Office questioned whether existing copyright law needed to be updated to reflect innovation in the digital economy in a task force report last year and asked for comments on a large number of different copyright issues, including the question of mashups. Read the story at TheWrap and more on Rolling Stone
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
FROM CNET: A Q&A SESSION WITH FORMER ELEKTRA RECORDS HEAD JAC HOLZMAN
Jac Holzman is legit. His track record in the music industry stretches back nearly 65 years -- that's the lifespan of about 12 iTunes -- to when he founded Elektra Records out of his college dorm room in 1950. He went on to sign acts like the Doors, Carly Simon and the Stooges, but don't mistake him as a label exec lost in a bygone era.
As waves of technological change have washed over the music industry, Holzman worked to stay ahead of the break, testing how the conjoined worlds of music and technology could enhance each other. He was served as the chief technologist at Warner Communications (later Time-Warner) and developed Warner Music Group's e-label, Cordless. Read Jac Holzman: From vinyl to apps to what comes next (Q&A)
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
THE CANNIBALIZATION OF THOSE TALENT SHOWS: ONE DOWN, MORE TO COME
If you haven't heard already or read it elsewhere, the 'X Factor' was canceled by Fox after three seasons. The network's decision arrives after Simon Cowell announced he'll return to U,,K. version of the talent competition Read the story at TheWrap or on Rolling Stone .
And here's a list in Rolling Stone of why 'The X Factor' failed: 16 Things That Went Wrong for 'The X Factor'
'American Idol' has returned with its lowest ratings to date, and 'The Voice' (though currently a ratings winner) has yet to produce a real star that can sell lots of records.
Obviously, too much of a good thing ('Idol' at its glorious height with gargantuan ratings) meant clone shows had to follow, and follow they did. The result? Too much of a good thing means it all becomes a bit tiresome.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
IS SURROUND SOUND OVER?
Music-surround formats never really caught on, and now the appeal of listening to five or more speakers for movies is fading fast.
CNET's resident audiophiliac, Steve Guttenberg, tells us why. Read more
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
SONGWRITING SUCCESS TIPS FOR FREE
Learn the secrets to songwriting success
Five successful songwriters -- Rachael Sage ("Sacrifice"), Byron Hill ("Born Country"), Kent Blazy ("If Tomorrow Never Comes"), John Ondrasik (Five for Fighting), and Doak Turner (founder of The Nashville Muse) -- weigh in on how to write a great song.
They cover such topics as: How to Write Through Writer's Block; Co-Writing; Knowing When Your Song is Finished; Recognizing When Something Special is Happening; and more
It's a free guide that will surely change the way you think about and approach songwriting.
Get your free copy today!
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS
* Bob Seger Enters the Rock Hall
* How The Beatles Went Viral in America
* Beatles channel debuts on Apple TV
* Dave Grohl on Beatles Tribute
* Elton John Stuns Australia
* A Great Big World Premiere Joyful New Video
* Queen's 'Greatest Hits' Becomes First Album to Sell 6 Million in U.K.
* Katy Perry Ties Rihanna For Most Pop Songs No. 1s
* Stunning color footage of a young Joni Mitchell, 1966
* Top 10 Girl Groups Of All Time
* How to Create a Music Marketing Budget in 4 Simple Steps
* How To Create A Great Band e-Newsletter
* Best headphones for under $50
* Place your bets: An Apple tablet, laptop -- or both?
* Steve Jobs time capsule dug up after 30 years
* Chromecast is about to get even better
* The best tech accessories under $25
Short News Items ...
OLD LENNON INTERVIEW SURFACES:
In 1968 an English college student wrote to a Beatles fanzine requesting an interview with John Lennon. Remarkably, Lennon himself answered, inviting the student to his home. The tapes, purchased by Hard Rock in 1987, are being released to the public for the first time. Read More
BEATLES SPECIAL DOES WELL AGAINST OLYMPICS:
"The Night that Changed America: Grammy Salute to the Beatles" earned a 2.1/5 and 14 million viewers this past Sunday night.
BEATLES JACKETS TO GO UP FOR SALE:
George Harrison and Ringo Starr's jackets from the Beatles' 1965 film 'Help!', which they also wore on the cover of the movie's soundtrack, will be auctioned off among 200 other pieces of Beatles memorabilia, the BBC reports.. The jackets come from 'Help!' director Richard Lester's private collection and are expected to sell between approximately $82,000 and $115,000 when they're made available through Omega Auctions next month.
LIVE BRUCE JUICE:
By the time Bruce Springsteen wraps his current tour of South Africa and Australia, he will have released three times as many live sets as he did in the first 50 years of his career. Manager Jon Landau tells Rolling Stone about the singer's new "raw" show downloads. Read More
AND BOSS DATES ANNOUNCED:
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band have made it official: They'll return to the U.S. for a series of live dates beginning April 8th in Cincinnati. The band, currently in Australia, will focus on markets they missed on their 2012 tour. Read More
TWEEDY ON THE TUBE:
Parks and Recreation character Andy Dwyer may need to reconnect with his MouseRat bandmates, because another legendary Pawnee band might be reuniting. Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy will appear on the show, according to Entertainment Weekly, in a music-themed episode about a band that may or may not reunite set to air this spring.
CHUCK D FOR RECORD STORE AMBASSADOR:
Public Enemy's Chuck D has been named the latest Record Store Day ambassador, joining a list of past advocates including Jack White and Iggy Pop. "The founding members of Public Enemy were, and still are, DJs," he wrote in a 500-word missive accepting the role. Read More
SONGWRITERS HALL INDUCTEES:
Former Kinks frontman Ray Davies and folk singer Donovan are among the five hitmakers entering the Songwriters Hall Of Fame this year. They join an increasing number of rock musicians, such as last year's inductees Aerosmith and Foreigner, whom the Hall has honored alongside Tin Pan Alley songwriters and "Early American" songwriters from the 1600s through the 1800s.
U2 TO OSCARS:
U2 will perform their nominated song "Ordinary Love," from the film "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," on this year's Oscar show. And U2 say they hope to release their 13th album this summer, after the delay of recording "Ordinary Love," their Oscar-nominated tribute to Nelson Mandela. "We were on a roll," says drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. Bono has jokingly referred to the untitled album as 'Insecurity.'
LENO AND FALLON SCORE BIG IN GOODBYES:
Jay Leno's final "Tonight Show" brought in the franchise's most viewers since May 14th, 1998 -- the night of NBC's "Seinfeld" finale. Last Thursday's farewell earned a 3.8 rating in the advertiser-sought adults 18-49 demographic. The number makes Leno's curtain call the top "Tonight Show" since Jan. 22nd, 2010. "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" followed Leno's last night's "Tonight Show" with 6 million viewers overall -- the show's biggest audience since a special 11:56 p.m. ET telecast on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 5th, 2012 -- which averaged 6.1 million viewers. Read the story at TheWrap
AND FALLON LOCKS UP HIS FIRST WEEK:
Lady Gaga, Tim McGraw, Arcade Fire and Justin Timberlake will join U2 as The Tonight Show's opening week musical guests when Jimmy Fallon takes over on February 17th. He's also lined up a formidable list of actors and comedians as guests, with Will Smith, Jerry Seinfeld, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell and Bradley Cooper all scheduled to appear during the first week.
DYLAN'S GOSPEL RE-ISSUED:
In the summer of 1969, producer Lou Adler gathered 27 of the best backup singers in L.A. to record the music of Bob Dylan in a marathon two-day session. The result, Dylan's Gospel, is set for reissue after being out of print for decades. Read More
JACKSON FANS GET $1.36 EACH FROM LAWSUIT:
A court in Orleans, France has ruled that five Michael Jackson fans were able to prove that they had suffered "emotional damage" and awarded them each €1, or approximately US $1.36, for their trauma. The five were among 34 fans who sued Dr. Conrad Murray, the man who administered a lethal dose of anesthesia to the pop star, following Jackson's death. The BBC reports that the fans, who were all members of a Michael Jackson fan club based in France and hailed from France, Switzerland and Belgium, used witness statements and medical certificates to prove their cases. The attorney said that the fans would not be claiming their euro, but instead hoped that people recognized the verdict's symbolism. Specifically, they hoped that it would help them gain access to Jackson's Los Angeles grave, which is closed to the public. (Editor's note: Place your lawyer and jokes about France right here)
MAGAZINES DOWN AGAIN:
The total circulation of U.S. consumer magazines declined 1.7% from 323.8 million in the second half of 2012 to 318.7 million in the second half of 2013, including both print and digital replica editions. These drops were partially offset by growth in digital circulation, which soared 37% to a total of 10.6 million digital copies. Read the whole story
Shares of Apple rose 1.4% on last Friday after the Cupertino-based company revealed that it's repurchased $14 billion in company stock over the past two weeks. Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, told The Wall Street Journal the company now has bought back more than $40 billion of its shares in the past year. "It means that we are betting on Apple," Cook told the Journal. Read more
THE 'WALKING DEAD' VERY MUCH ALIVE WITH VIEWERS:
AMC's "The Walking Dead" returned for its midseason Season 4 premiere on Sunday, drawing 15.8 million total viewers. The premiere drew 10.4 million viewers in the key 18-49 demographic. Read the story at TheWrap
Shirley Temple Black, who as the most popular child movie star of all time lifted a film going nation's spirits during the Depression and then grew up to be a diplomat, has died. She was 85. Black died late Monday at her home in Woodside, CA according to publicist Cheryl J. Kagan. No cause was given. From 1935 through 1938, the curly-haired moppet billed as Shirley Temple was the top box-office draw in the nation. She saved what became 20th Century Fox studios from bankruptcy and made more than 40 movies before she turned 12. Read more
Sid Caesar, a television pioneer who reigned as the king of live TV sketch comedy in the 1950s with his inspired brand of mimicry, pantomime and satire on the classic comedy-variety series "Your Show of Shows" and "Caesar's Hour," died Wednesday. He was 91. Caesar died at his home in Beverly Hills after a brief illness, according to his biographer and friend Eddy Friedfeld. Read more
Quotes of the week
"I think water's, like, a really important thing."
-- Miley Cyrus, in W magazine, explaining why water purification is one of her pet causes.
RUNNER-UP FOR STUPID QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Rolling Stone magazine decided to put recently deceased actor Philip Seymour Hoffman on the cover this month, and Drake is "disgusted with that," because he says it was his face that was supposed to be immortalized on the new issue. The rapper is also upset for allegedly being misquoted about Kanye West in his interview for the magazine, and took to Twitter on Thursday to vent his frustrations. Full story at TheWrap
"Martin Scorsese is my favorite filmmaker of all-time. 'Goodfellas' is the reason I wanted to make movies and dedicate my life to that. I would paint his house if he asked me to."
-- Jonah Hill on Martin Scorsese
"I hate my music! "I'm sick of it – like turn it off!"
-- Madonna, told ET Canada in an upcoming interview. During a segment on the 55-year-old's exercise regimen, host Roz Weston asked about the best Madonna song for working out.
"Every culture is known by its music. I haven't heard many melodies lately. To think that when we had the melodies, everything would seem to go right. Today, there's no melodies, just the drum. We went the entire circle, by drum all through all the instruments and all the symphonies and this and that and we're back to the drums."
-- The late Sid Caesar, in a 2005 Television Critics Association panel for PBS's "Pioneers of Primetime."
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
New Study Finds Only 88% Of Guitar Center Customers Become Famous Musicians
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA—Contradicting conventional wisdom that shopping at the musical instrument retail chain guarantees one a renowned and highly successful career in music, a new study released Monday revealed that a mere 88% of Guitar Center customers go on to become famous musicians.
"While these findings may surprise anyone who has ever watched a Guitar Center customer noodle around on a Martin that is well out of their price range or play a slightly off-key rendition of Joe Satriani's 'Surfing With The Alien' through a Marshall practice amp, our data indicate that as many as 12 percent of these individuals will never make it big," the study read.
New Study Finds Only 88% Of Guitar Center Customers Become Famous Musicians
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.
Smart Marketing Consulting Services
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