PONO Is Here ... And People Who Have Heard It Are Raving
March 14, 2014
A MUST READ FOR ALL THOSE ATTENDING SXSW THIS WEEK OR IN THE FUTURE: "To be sure, music is not the be-all and end-all of the fest, which runs March 7th to 16th. With so much happening simultaneously, and much of it easily viewed vicariously through social media, it's time to reconsider your approach to SXSW. Seeing every buzz band ever blogged about won't actually help you find the future of music or save your job -- whichever you're trying to accomplish. You need to operate outside of the mania that sets in once you touch down in Austin. To that end, we've laid out some simple rules." The New Rules of South By Southwest
"You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the PoNo Zone!"
-- (With apologies to the late Rod Serling)
According to everyone who has heard what PoNo music sounds like, it is another dimension. A new audio dimension that could radically alter the way we hear the music that was made for us to listen to in any format better than an MP3 or a sterile CD.
From the PoNo webpage, "PonoMusic is an end-to-end ecosystem for music lovers to get access to and enjoy their favorite music exactly as the artist created it, at the recording resolution they chose in the studio. We offer PonoMusic customers the highest resolution digital music available. PonoMusic is more than just a high-resolution music store and player; it is a grassroots movement to keep the heart of music beating. PonoMusic aims to preserve the feeling, spirit, and emotion that the artists put in their original studio recordings."
It's been almost two years since Neil Young trademarked slogans to accompany his burgeoning MP3-replacement service, and he unveiled his PonoMusic service this week He will be selling the PonoPlayer, which has an suggested retail price of $399, via his PonoMusic.com website.
Young launched his Kickstarter campaign Tuesday to raise funds for his new digital music service and player Pono, bringing in Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, David Crosby, James Taylor, Tom Petty, Sting and a slew of other musical icons to provide testimonial to the new service in an accompanying video. Just listen to what all the artists in the video say. I can't wait to get my hands on PoNo and listen.
By 11p Tuesday night, less than 10 hours after launching a Kickstarter page (where the total is now over $2.7 million!) to raise money for his new digital music service PonoMusic and its accompanying player, Young surpassed his goal of $800,000. Young and the PonoMusic team had set an expiration date of Tuesday, April 15th to raise the necessary funds. Neil Young Reaches $800,000 Pono Kickstarter Goal in 1 Day
The service will also be available on Kickstarter, which will offer the player at a discount, beginning Saturday, March 15th. The service's mission is to deliver what it calls the "highest-quality music" to consumers. Watch the video and read more
ALSO check out HANDS-ON WITH NEIL YOUNG'S PONO SYSTEM
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
THE L.A. TIMES PROFILES UMG'S LUCIAN GRAINGE
Even though many have written off the recording industry as a casualty of the digital age, Universal Music Group's Lucian Grainge is determined to reinvent it.
"He's the great hope for the music business," said Irving Azoff, manager of the Eagles, Christina Aguilera and other acts. "He started as a song plugger and a publishing guy. He understands the entire worldwide record business. And he gets technology. He understands that's the future of the business." Read the article
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
PLAYING LIVE IS THE TICKET
"Live is definitely the way that 90%-plus of [artists'] revenue is made in a year. If all of these artists have to pay their bills by going on the road, that means they are going on the road. Just like we all do. We go to work because we've got to pay the bills."
That's what Michael Rapino, the 47-year-old chief executive of Live Nation, says (and a whole lot more) in this article on The Standard.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
ASHTON KUTCHER & GUY OSEARY INVEST IN BOX
From the Los Angeles Times, "Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary have invested in Box Inc., a Silicon Valley online storage company on the verge of a hotly anticipated initial public stock offering.
Kutcher and Oseary are backing Box through their A-Grade Investments fund, Box Chief Executive Aaron Levie said in an interview. The investment was part of a $100-million funding round in December that valued Box at about $2 billion. Read the article
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
iTUNES RADIO PASSES SPOTIFY FOR 3RD POSITION IN STREAMING MUSIC
Apple's online music service has already surpassed Spotify among U.S. users and is nipping at the heels of iHeartRadio, says a survey from Edison Research. Read more
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
"SOUNDS OF SILENCE" CELEBRATES 50-YEAR ANNIVERSARY
Today their acclaim is universal, but in 1964 Simon & Garfunkel's debut LP Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. ... only sold about 2,000 copies. A mix of Paul Simon originals, folk covers and traditional tunes, its highlight was a Simon composition recorded on March 10th, 1964, "The Sounds of Silence."
Simon and tenor Art Garfunkel honed the song in Greenwich Village coffeehouses before they recorded "The Sounds of Silence" with producer Tom Wilson. Backed by just two acoustic guitars and an upright bass, 'The Sounds of Silence' was drowned out by the wave of Beatlemania that swept America in 1964.
Discouraged, the long-time friends split up. Simon moved to England and Garfunkel returned to college in New York. Read more at Ultimate Classic Rock
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
COULD YOUTUBE HAVE A RIVAL?
Comcast cable is tinkering with a video-sharing service to challenge YouTube. Word is going around that Comcast is working on a giant-killer: A service to challenge YouTube, which for years has grown and thrived without a natural rival.
Comcast's service would be global, but it's going to have a hard time matching YouTube's scale anytime soon -- presuming it gets off the ground at all.
For more on the cable giant's gambit, watch the video at TheWrap
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
IT'S ABOUT YOUR CABLE BILL ... AND MORE
Did you know that your unfair cable bill is because the most expensive channels aren't the most watched? Don't watch much ESPN? Tough. You're paying more for it than your favorite network. Full story at TheWrap
Watch Out, Cable Companies: More Avid TV Viewers Planning on Cutting the Cord ... Netflix still tops in streaming, but Amazon Prime on the rise, a Morgan Stanley study finds. Full story at TheWrap
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
FROM ROLLING STONE: THE BILL GATES INTERVIEW
At 58, Bill Gates is not only the richest man in the world, with a fortune of $76 billion: He may also be the most optimistic.
In his view, the world is a giant operating system that just needs to be debugged. Read what he has to say "if I could wave a wand and fix one thing." Read More
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
TV STILL RULES
Traditional TV Viewing Is Still Way Ahead of the Internet and Mobile ... According to the report of discussions conducted by Nielsen and Simulmedia, with a core group of researchers, marketers and C-suite executives from all sides of the media industry to discuss the future of video advertising, consumers spend nearly 159 hours watching video each month, including nearly 147 hours on TV. And advertising dollars follow suit: Nielsen research found that $78 billion was spent on TV advertising in 2013, and eMarketer estimates that online video will attract $5.72 billion in 2014. However, consumers are increasingly viewing video across screens, says the report.
For the full report, please visit Nielsen here.
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS
* Apple is asking record labels for exclusive iTunes releases
* 'Spinal Tap' at 30: No One Knows Who They Were or What They Were Doing
* Rob Reiner on 'This Is Spinal Tap'
* Music's Top 40 Money Makers 2014: The Rich List
* Mick Jagger, Martin Scorsese Enlist Olivia Wilde for 1970s HBO Show
* Jimmy Page to Receive Honorary Doctorate From Berklee College of Music
* 'Mad Men' Creator Likens Final Season Arc to Beatles' 'Abbey Road'
* How Jim Morrison Inspired Matthew McConaughey's 'All Right' Quote
* Andre 3000 Practiced Guitar Six Hours a Day for Hendrix Biopic
* Kiss' Paul Stanley Likens Other Rockers' Memoirs to Toilet Paper
* Majority Of Millennials In Study Still Not Cord-Cutters
* For those of you who watch tech stocks ... watch Apple
* The 24 most exciting products coming soon
* Netflix Topples YouTube In One Video-Watching Classification
* 10 Marketing Lessons From The Selfie Seen 'Round the World
* 10 Most Addictive Video Games
* Minors Seek To Continue Video Privacy Fight With Viacom, Google
* This ultrabook is thin, light, and goes all day
* The Web at 25: Dot-com bubble bursts and breaks me, too
* Three ways to make your HDTV sound better
Short News Items ...
'IDOL' CONTINUES DROP:
CBS topped Thursday (3/6) as Fox's "American Idol" fell to a new series low. "Idol," got a 2.4 rating in the key demo the previous two Thursdays. Last Thursday, it fell to a 2.2. "American Idol" at 8 had a 2.2/7 and 9.7 million viewers.
U2 are reportedly delaying their next album and tour so they can schedule additional recording sessions with producers Ryan Tedder and Paul Epworth. Earlier this year Bono said, "We want the album to come out this summer, but you don't want to let anyone down."
BRUCE DOC COMING TO HBO:
A new documentary about the making of Bruce Springsteen's latest album will air on HBO next month, a few days before his group the E Street Band receive a special award at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The half-hour film, 'Bruce Springsteen's High Hopes,' will detail the making of the singer-songwriter's most recent record, High Hopes, which came out earlier this year and debuted at #1 in 20 countries. The film, which premieres April 4th at 9:30p ET, will feature scenes of studio sessions, rehearsals and interviews with Springsteen.
DRUGS DID THE DOMINOES IN?
The excellent 2010 documentary 'Eric Clapton: The 1960s Review' told the story of the guitarist's decade-long rise. In this preview of the follow-up, The 1970s Review, his band Derek and the Dominos crash and burn after cutting the masterpiece "Layla." Read More
'The History Of The Eagles' DVD has now sold one million plus copies, making it one of the best music DVD sellers already.
ZEPPELIN GETS READY TO FLY AGAIN ... ON RECORDS:
The song remains the same, but this time Led Zeppelin are throwing in a few extras. The group will soon reissue their first three albums in deluxe editions with previously unreleased bonus tracks. It's "a portal to the time of the recording," says Jimmy Page. Read More
THE CIRCLE GAME:
It's a match made only on British television. Cheryl Cole is returning to UK's "The X Factor" for the eleventh season, which means she'll reunite with former boss Simon Cowell, who had fired her from the U.S. version of the show. The pop star posted an image of herself choking Cowell on her Facebook page on Monday.
A reinvigorated Coldplay invaded an already crowded SXSW schedule, headlining the city's inaugural iTunes Festival. The band's 11-song set included the debut of four songs from their upcoming album, Ghost Stories.
MADONNA IS BUSY:
Madonna's got something in the works with Avicii. The material girl announced an upcoming collaboration with the EDM star last Friday night over Instagram.
BEATS MUSIC AND CHEVY:
Chevrolet is in its fifth year as a "Super Sponsor" at SXSW in Austin, Tex., and is using its presence there to make several announcements. The sponsorship relationship gives Chevy category exclusivity, although in the past other automakers have had a presence there. Read the whole story
SAMSUNG INTRODUCES MILK MUSIC:
Hypebot reports that Samsung has launched Milk Music Studio for all Samsung Galaxy users. The new service, which includes more than 200 web radio stations and 13 million songs as well as customization options, is operated by Slacker and is currently being offered for free without any advertisements. The service allows users to skip up to seven (7) songs per hour per station. Read More
'TRUE DETECTIVE' SCORES:
The HBO drama series "True Detective' scored its highest total viewership to date on Sunday night's finale. The maiden season of the show went out on a high, drawing a record 3.5 million total viewers. Sunday night's season finale became a (murder) victim of its own success, crashing HBO GO as well. The series has enjoyed a gross audience of 11 million total viewers, making it HBO's most-watched freshman show since "Six Feet Under," which had an average gross of 11.4 million in 2001.
Jerry Corbitt, who played guitar in The Youngbloods from 1965 through 1969 and again in a mid-'80s reunion, died over the weekend from lung cancer, his one-time bandmate Jesse Colin Young announced in a Facebook post. He was 71.
"The Basketball Diaries" director Scott Kalvert is dead at age 49. Kalvert was found at his home and pronounced dead on the scene in Woodland Hills on March 5th, at 1:55p. His death is currently being investigated as a suspected suicide. Kalvert was a well-respected music video director, who worked with artists such as Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch ("Good Vibrations"), DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith ("Parents Just Don't Understand"), LL Cool J ("I'm That Type of Guy"), Salt 'N Pepa ("Shoop") and Cyndi Lauper ("I Drove All Night").
Hal Douglas, whose booming voice was known to generations of moviegoers and TV watchers, has died at 89. Douglas' daughter Sarah told The New York Times that the Connecticut native with the famous baritone died of pancreatic cancer last week.
Quotes of the week
"I just always loved that the album actually ends, almost like 'The Sopranos' did, in the middle of a song. It's just, 'Cut!' – you know, that last note of 'Her Majesty'?" he said. "So I just admire it in artistic expressionism, looking at wrapping up the show. I'm writing an ending, and it will – whether I like it or not – frame the entire 92-hour experience of the show in some way. So I was impressed with how the Beatles dealt with that responsibility."
-- 'Mad Men' creator Matthew Weiner discussed his love of the Beatles' 'Abbey Road' and even used it in a metaphor for the end of his series, which begins its seventh and final season April 13th, in an interview with Buzzfeed.
"We said, 'Who's the biggest Australian act in the world?' The Bee Gees. On my playlist I have a huge disco section — I like disco music from the Seventies a lot. The Bee Gees made great records and 'Stayin' Alive' was simply a great song. The lyrics are in our wheelhouse. I told Steve (Van Zandt), "Tomorrow night, 'Staying Alive,'" and he goes, 'You got me on that one. I don't know how we're gonna do it.' And Tom Morello said, 'I don't want to have any other ideas. Because I want to see how you're gonna pull that one off.' Steve's going, 'I can't imagine it.' I go okay, I'm not going to be able to sing it where they sang it, so I have to think about Marvin Gaye on 'What's Going On' and 'Trouble Man' and I'm thinking of blaxploitation pictures. I thought, if I bring this thing down to my key and I play it like a blues, this is inner-city blues; it could slip right on to 'What's Going On.' I had to find my voice in it. I got the lyrics up on the computer and just started to sing it. When it sounded believable to me I knew we'd be fine. It was like, 'Okay, I can be this person in this song'."
-- Bruce Springsteen, in Rolling Stone, talking about performing the Bee Gee's classic "Stayin' Alive" while on tour in Australia
"Been lookin' for loopholes."
-- W.C. Fields, a staunch atheist, reading the bible on his deathbed, in response to a question from his friend Gene Fowler 'What the hell are you doing with that?" Read more of The 21 Wittiest Comebacks Ever to End an Argument
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
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.
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