"Weird Al" Has Some Things The Industry Can Learn From
August 1, 2014
"For the last decade and a half, the music industry has been in sort of a free fall, with everybody trying different things to see what works. I just thought this is a good idea that makes the most sense. Let's give it a shot, and see if it works."
-- Weird Al Yankovic, whose new videos have been watched a total of 46 million times, in The New York Times
I never imagined that when Capitol A&R man Bruce Ravid walked into my office at the Capitol Tower one day back in 1979, and begged me to listen to a parody of The Knack's monster hit "My Sharona" called "My Bologna" by an accordion-playing student at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo named "Weird" Al Yankovic, 35 years later that same accordion-playing student would end-up with a #1 album, and still be making music after all these years. (I think I also told Bruce to get out of my office after he played me the record! )
If memory serves me well, Bruce Ravid heard the song back then on the famous "Dr. Demento" radio show, went to see Al, and convinced Capitol to sign him. We did, and lo and behold "My Bologna" went on radio stations everywhere.
That was then, and now, this past week, I read a terrific article on The Future Of Music Coalition website by Kevin Erikson titled '5 Things "Weird Al" Yankovic Can Teach Us About The Music Biz'
From that article, "Last week, beloved musical humorist "Weird Al" Yankovic dropped his new album 'Mandatory Fun.' Propelled by a set of eight viral videos, it quickly rose to the top spot on the Billboard charts, his first ever #1, with over 104,000 album sales. Al recently told the New York Times, "I wasn't thinking, 'Oh, I'm on the bleeding edge of marketing, this is going to be a business model that will change the world." But as a longtime (possibly obsessive?) fan of Al, I'd suggest there are still a few things we can learn from him. "
Erikson then goes on to list the five things the industry can learn from Weird Al's latest success: Exclusivity can matter; fair use is great, but actual permission can enable you to do more; vinyl really is back; every artist's path is different; and there's enduring value in being a really nice person.
Check out the article for yourself at the hyperlink above,
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
SONY'S MAJOR LABEL SHENANIGANS REVEALED IN 'AMERICAN IDOL' LAWSUIT
By copyright and intellectual property attorney Wallace E. J. Collins III, Esq..
"19 Entertainment, the record company founded by "American Idol" creator Simon Fuller, has sued Sony Music Entertainment for allegedly cheating artists such as Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson out of monies due to them. The lawsuit sheds light on some controversial accounting practices at the major labels and explores the minefield that is the various incomes streams that now comprise the modern music business. Issues raised include how a major label accounts for revenue generated from platforms like Spotify and iTunes, how advertising expenditures are treated, and whether Sony is required to share proceeds from battles on the copyright litigation front."
Read the rest at the hyperlink above and then click on 'Blog/Current News and Information'
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
VINYL SALES WAY UP MEANS PRODUCTION PROBLEMS
Jack White's #1 album debut with vinyl accounting for 30% of his sales, as well as his creative approach feels like another breakthrough in the land of vinyl. But according to one Pitchfork writer, the vinyl scene is showing signs of stress as limited production facilities devote more time to higher profile projects. The bottom line is that somebody's got to build some new presses. (Editor's note: And what a great niche business for the right investors!)
Joel Oliphint takes a look at the current state of vinyl and limits on production that are only going to get worse. I think a press-building project would make a great crowd funding campaign and/or a great sponsorship opportunity.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
FROM CNN: 1974 A YEAR FOR THE GOOD & BAD IN MUSIC
From CNN, "We had joy. We had fun. We had loathing. In 2006, this website conducted a highly unscientific survey to find the worst song of all time. One year stood out in its bad-song production: 1974.
That included two of the top five -- Terry Jacks' "Seasons in the Sun" and the runaway top choice, Paul Anka's "Having My Baby" -- and several more leading vote-getters, including Paper Lace's "The Night Chicago Died," Maria Muldaur's "Midnight at the Oasis" and Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods' "Billy, Don't Be a Hero."
And yet the year wasn't a pop-cultural wasteland. Far from it, as a matter of fact. As a year for movies, 1974 is often ranked as the best since the sainted slate of 1939.
Read the rest: Remember 1974?
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
PANDORA STOCK IS DOWN ... WHAT ARE INVESTORS THINKING?
Critics are circling Internet radio company Pandora after shares fell as much as 14.5% and closed down 10.3% Friday following the company's second-quarter earnings release. Shares were down over 2% in Monday afternoon trading.
Revenue and user growth can lead analysts, investors and onlookers to overlook a lack of profitability. Top-line performance was strong. Driven by mobile advertising, Pandora revenue grew 38% to a record $218.9 million in the second quarter. Read more: Are Investors Losing Patience With Pandora?
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
TEST YOUR BROADBAND SPEED
Is your broadband fast enough? Are you getting what you've paid for?
Find out now with CNET's free Bandwidth Meter Speed Test. You can compare your speeds with friends on other ISPs to see whether you're getting the best value you can from your broadband subscription.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
PIRATE BAY LAUNCHES A MOBILE SITE
Torrent site has just rolled out a mobile version: The Pirate Bay has now launched a new, mobile-optimized site called The Mobile Bay.
The new version provides buttons to search and browse as well as view recent torrents or the top 100. Like the desktop site, the mobile version of the website is filled with ads. On iOS, visitors won't be able to actually download torrents from their mobile device if it's not jail-broken, but the BlackBerry and Android app stores have a variety of torrenting clients to choose from.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
SMART TVs ARE THE THING
Smart TVs will represent 54% of all TV shipments next year, 63% in 2016, and 73% in 2017. Streaming devices -- those separate devices that make ordinary TVs smart or "connected TV" -- also are contributing to the growth rate. Smart TVs To Dominate TV Shipments
BETWEEN THE GROOVES ... SOME MORE RECOMMENDED READING
Beau Phillips is a former radio DJ and award-winning program director and VP/GM at influential Rock stations. He most recently was EVP/Programming, Marketing & Promotion of Dial Global (now Westwood One Radio Networks, America's largest radio syndication company). Prior to that, Phillips was SVP/Marketing at VH1, part of the MTV family.
Over the years, he met the biggest bands in rock and collected funny, decadent and profound stories. As Beau says, "I was invited backstage, on stage and under the stage."
'I Killed Pink Floyd's Pig' is a collection of funny, decadent, outrageous stories from Beau about rock's greatest superstars. It's your all-access pass ... a behind-the-scenes VIP tour of when rock was great. When air was clean. When gas was cheap. When disco sucked.
There are chapters about partying with Van Halen (under the stage), flying a red-eye with Keith Richards, Led Zeppelin's tossing TVs out windows, Joe Walsh trashing a hotel room, and more, including a chapter that explains why Beau "killed" Pink Floyd's pig.
I read the book this week and agree with Lee Abrams when he says, "Can't design the future without recognizing the past and Beau's book is a tour de force of memories from that magical era we fortunately survived."
For all of us that survived that "magical era," and others who want a peek at what I was when it was fun, Beau's book is a fun read. Check it out
(Beau is currently President of Rainmaker Media, a creative marketing/promotion agency that's developed inventive campaigns for companies including Nintendo, CBS-TV, Amazon.com, Sears, Unilever, Snapple, E*Trade and others)
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS
Mick Jagger & Chadwick Boseman Talk 'Get On Up,' James Brown and a Rolling Stones Biopic
Top 10 Earning Dead Musicians
Is 'Weird Al' The First Artist to 'Pull A Beyonce' Successfully?
Led Zeppelin Continue Reissues With 'IV' and 'Houses of the Holy'
Paul McCartney to Reissue More Wings Albums With Unreleased Material
Smokey Robinson, Elton John Premiere: 'Tracks of My Tears'
Jeff Tweedy's New Jam
Lollapalooza 2014: 10 Non-Headliners To Watch
Rewinding The Charts: On July 29, 1967, The Doors' 'Fire' Lit Up The Hot 100
Business-Oriented Social Networks For Musicians: Gigmor, AAMPP, Jammcard
Marketing Your Music By Liveblogging At Reddit Live
6 Tips For Making the Most of Your Music Festival Gig
9 Tips For Successful DIY Tour Booking
6 Tips For Showing Up In Your Facebook Fans' Newsfeeds
10 Ways To Ruin A Song
How to pick the right headphones -- for you
Why the Most Overused Joke in Movies Needs to Be Retired
Should You Be Paid For Your Social Media Posts?
Pandora Co-Founder Tim Westergren's Political Donations Show a Singular Focus
Spotify's Most Streamed & Viral Tracks US, UK & Global
What I Learned About Songwriting From Being Stuck in Traffic
Why Modern Computing Devices Drive Us To Distraction
Would You Hire These Famous People Based On Their Former Job Applications?
Find and Promote New Music Tech Sites and Apps With Product Hunt
All-in-one sound bar handles Blu-ray, Netflix, and Bluetooth
Apple now rumored to launch iPhone 6 on October 14
Short News Items ...
HOFFMAN'S LAST DAYS:
The late Phillip Seymour Hoffman's final film, 'A Most Wanted Man,' hits theaters this past week. To honor the occasion, we're reprinting David Browne's cover story on the tragic final days of the greatest actor of his generation. Read More
'PURPLE RAIN' 3O YEARS LATER:
July 27th marks the 30th anniversary of Prince's Academy Award-winning rock musical "Purple Rain." Celebrate with this exclusive excerpt from chapter five of Alan Light's upcoming "Let's Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of 'Purple Rain'." Read More
TechCrunch reports Beats Music has updated its iOS, Android and Windows Phone applications with a few new features, including a way to tune the Beats recommendation engine manually for better suggestions, a new history view for The Sentence, the Songza-like Madlibs playback engine, and Verified Badges, which add a checkmark to celebrity profiles so you know they're the real deal.
BIG STAR ALBUMS REDUX:
Big Star's influential first two albums, 1972's '#1 Record' and 1974's 'Radio City', which have been bundled together as a '#1 Record/Radio City' two-for-one album for years, will once again be available to purchase as separate albums on September 2nd.
The ACM Honors -- a continuation of this year's ACM Awards to hand out the Academy of Country Music's off-camera awards -- has announced its honorees. Kris Kristofferson is one of four songwriters receiving the Poet's Award, Merle Haggard is the recipient of the Crystal Milestone Award and Carrie Underwood has been named the winner of the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award.
GAGA & TONY:
Lady Gaga had just sung a Nat King Cole song at a New York benefit in 2011 when she got word Tony Bennett wanted to see her backstage. "I was so nervous," she tells Rolling Stone. Now they're preparing to release the duets album they first discussed back then. Read More
Following on the heels of new episodes of network TV shows moving to the digital space -- "Arrested Development" on Netflix and "Community" on Yahoo TV -- now comes word that old episodes of "Seinfeld" may be going to Netflix.
LOVE FOR DARLENE:
E Street guitarist Steven Van Zandt says he promised to make an album for '60s hitmaker Darlene Love "about three decades ago, depending on where you want to start counting." To make it worth the wait, he's enlisting Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and more. Read More
e/code reports Seattle-based Rhapsody International says its streaming music services have passed 2 million subscribers, up from 1.7 million in April.
Dick Wagner, the guitarist, songwriter and bandleader who worked with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Kiss and Aerosmith, among others, died Wednesday (July 30th) at the age of 71 in Phoenix.
Manny Roth, founder of the New York City club Cafe Wha? -- where Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen and more played in their formative years -- has died. He was 95.
Dick Smith, the Oscar-winning makeup artist who turned teenaged Linda Blair into a possessed demon in The Exorcist and made special dentures to give Marlon Brando jowls in The Godfather, has died following a long illness. He was 92, USA Today reports.
Quotes of the week
"I feel for the guy. He knows he's got the headlines if he wants them. But I don't know what he's trying to do. So I feel slightly disappointed and baffled."
-- Robert Plant says he is "disappointed and baffled" by Jimmy Page and his attempts to fuel the reunion rumor mill, in a new interview with Uncut (via NME)
"Bottom Line: The three new lies ... Just kidding; I don't know; It's OK."
-- From Ken Van Durand's latest edition of Curmudgeon in the Wry
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Maybelline Introduces New Ideal-Woman Rubber Mask To Use In Place Of Makeup
NEW YORK -- Touting it as their most stylish and advanced beauty product to date, officials from global cosmetics brand Maybelline unveiled Thursday the Ideal-Woman Rubber Mask, a flexible facial covering that can be worn over the head in lieu of makeup. Read the rest and laugh
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