The Circus Was In Town Again
August 29, 2014
"MTV still has an awards show for music videos even though they no longer show music videos."
-- Seth Meyers, in his monologue for this week's EMMY broadcast.
Before we begin with the articles and news this week, it is once again time to discuss (albeit briefly) the annual circus, known as the 'MTV Video Music Awards.'
Sunday's 'MTV Video Music Awards' hauled in 8.3 million viewers, but the show was down 1.8 million viewers from last year, which of course is now infamous for Miley Cyrus twerking all over everything. Read that story at TheWrap
This year's the broadcast actually delivered more tweets than viewers: 12.6 million. Maybe people who can only tweet short 140-character text messages don't have the long-term attention span necessary to garner better ratings.
Gee, less viewers than last year even though Madame Beyoncé was the big draw and there were all those divorce rumors out there about her and Jay-Z? Maybe, those rumors weren't enough to spark ratings for the show as they did for the ticket sales for the Beyoncé/Jay-Z tour. And now, Beyoncé's father comes out and admits that's exactly what the rumors were created for with a "Jedi mind trick." That, and to sell more Beyoncé albums. ( Read more about that )
Not Nicki Minaj undergoing a wardrobe malfunction (not at all surprising considering the size of her derrière), Miley Cyrus asking a homeless man to accept her award (who has a police record and an open warrant out for his arrest) or Katy Perry dressed as Britney Spears I assume that was supposed to be clever), could rustle up the audience that still watches MTV for some reason.
And of course being a circus, there had to be clowns, and sure enough, the Kardshians were there. You can read this hysterical post here on thesuperficial.com about the Kardashians checking their cell phones during the moment of silence for Ferguson, Missouri asked for during the VMAs. And to even think for a second that doing so was a real sign of sincerity and social consciousness from the network that gave us such broadcast gems as 'JerseyShore,' 'Teen Mom' and 'Teen Mom 2', defines "theater of the absurd."
The ratings were down, and there was no "water cooler" about the show chatter online or off.
"At one time, MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated,” Prince has said.
How very true.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
AND ABOUT THAT MTV PLAN TO HELP THE RECORD BIZ SELL MORE ALBUMS … HURRY! ALBUM SALES HIT AN ALL TIME LOW
In the July 18th issue of the newsletter I wrote an article titled 'Best Joke Of The Week: MTV Has A Plan To Help Sell Albums" based on the announcement by Shannon Connolly, Viacom's SVP of music strategy, telling Mashable that music videos are not enough to sell music and albums, so MTV was going to create the types of programs needed to help the industry generate more album sales.
"We're focused on launching #1 records. We're starting out with bigger artists and the plan is to continue to refine the program so it works for both superstars and emerging ones."
Well Shannon, can you hear the screams of "HELP!!!!!" coming from inside the halls at almost all record labels?
This week, Billboard has an article titled Album Sales Hit A New Low and it is indeed a sad story about music retail.
From the article, "As streaming gathers momentum, the U.S. music industry keeps breaking sales milestones -- the wrong kind. This week's 3.97-million album sales tally is the smallest weekly sum for album sales since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. It's also the first time weekly sales have fallen below four million in that time span."
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
ABOUT ALL THE TAYLOR SWIFT HATE OUT THERE
This from a post by a great singer/songwriter, Ms. Janis Ian, this week on Facebook:
"Kudos to Peter Cooper for his article on Taylor Swift in today's Tennessean. I just don't get it. If you don't like someone's music, don't listen. If you don't like someone's religion, don't join it. If you don't have anything to say but worthless bile, shut the f*#! up. When did it become acceptable to attack everything and everyone you don't agree with? Didn't that used to be the purveyance of politics?
Really. I say again, as I've said from the first -- Taylor Swift is remarkably talented, remarkably poised, remarkably generous … and always has been. That she manages to use art to answer anger is just another indication of her prowess. She's a damned fine songwriter who has grown up in a fish bowl and managed not to be spoiled, arrogant or selfish. I can't think of another artist in her generation who can say the same.
Why aren't these people attacking performers whose work is openly misogynist, racist, homophobic, or just plain illiterate? Is it really that much more fun to spout drivel about Taylor because she's so successful? It's pathetic.
These petty, mean-spirited, stupid remarks are just another form of cyber-bullying. As an artist and as a human being, it disgusts me that people would behave this way.
And anyone who complains about her "deserting" Country music? Get your history straight. That's been said about everyone from the Carter Family to Dolly Parton. I challenge you to define "Country music," anyway. Better stick to Louis Armstrong's quote: "All music is folk music. I ain't never heard a horse sing a song."
Thanks for posting the above, Janis!
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
INDIE VINYL CLUBS ARE GROWING
Indie subscription services of all kinds are doing quite well these days. In music we're seeing everything from Drip.FM's digital subscriptions to Turntable Kitchen's combination of meal fixings and vinyl in a box. Marc Hogan recently took a look at vinyl subscription clubs for Wondering Sound. He shows that, though some have folded, a wide range of such clubs are finding unique niches and variations on the theme of subscription vinyl. Indie Vinyl Subscription Clubs Are A Booming Niche
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
PAUL MCCARTNEY GIVES AN EXAMPLE OF HOW REVISIONIST HISTORY IN CELEB MEDIA CAN CHANGE ONE'S PAST
From Business Insider comes this great article by Rob Wile, 'Paul McCartney Gave A Profound Example Of How Celebrities Can No Longer Control Their Own Pasts '
"The reliability of historical accounts of events big and small has never not been an issue for society … But with the rise of what might be called celebrity fascination fulfillment culture, sorting out truth from someone's unsourced but heavily read account seems to have risen to a new level of absurdity.”
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Paul McCartney explained why he wrote an entire song, "Early Days," for his recent album "New," about this phenomenon."
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
COMMENTARY ON HOW INDIES ARE FINDING WAYS TO BENEFIT FROM STREAMING
"Streaming music is a music lover’s dream. We now have access to the work of a wide range of artists, either for free (with ads) or for a small monthly fee. Popular artists are even making money on the model, with heavy rotation with services like Pandora, Beats, and Spotify. For smaller artists, however, the results aren’t always great.
“For better or worse, a future where most music is available for streaming looks unavoidable. Recognizing this, independent record labels and their artists are finding ways to ride the wave on their own terms." Read more by Peter Getty
BETWEEN THE GROOVES
ITEM: The shift in revenue from sales to streaming continues with SoundExchange paying $161 million in the last quarter to artists and labels. It the largest Q2 payment to date and an 8% increase in payments from 2,500 digital radio services in Q2 2013 to Q2 2014. SoundExchange Q2 Payments Up 8% To $161 Million and more
ITEM: Call it a bluff, but millennials say they are determined to take back their digital privacy -- and in the process, reshape the entire ad-based media ecosystem. Recent revelations that companies manipulate user experiences for research purposes appears to have raised suspicions among millennials. Read the whole story
ITEM: A threat to Nielsen? Growing TV-media measurement company, Rentrak, continues to add millions of TV set-top boxes it can access -- double its levels of three years ago. By the end of 2014, Rentrak will glean data from 26 million set-top boxes in homes, helped to these higher levels through deals made with pay TV providers DirecTV and Cox. Read the whole story
AND LOOKING BACK…
Thanks to Portland DJ Clarence Duffy for this wonderful and nostalgic look back at how truly wonderful it was to shop for music when Tower Records was THE place to go.
What a true joy it was to walk those aisles with vinyl all around you, posters everywhere, and music playing in the store. It was "the best of times" in the music industry.
There's even a promo for Tower Records that John Lennon taped during an in-studio radio appearance on KHJ in 1974. The album he was promoting at the time was 'Walls & Bridges'
Check it out: Fantastic footage documenting the Tower Records shopping experience
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS
One Musician Gets A Record Deal Through Tinder, Another Can Pay Her Rent Solely From YouTube
Bob Dylan Releasing 'The Basement Tapes Complete' This Fall
Are Taylor Swift and Country Splitting Up for Good?
John Lennon's Killer Admits He’s ‘An Idiot’
Bob Dylan Details 31-Date North American Fall Tour
The World's Highest Paid DJs 2014 [INFOGRAPHIC]
Musicians' Fragrances Not Big Sellers
Watch Gwen Stefani, Avril Lavigne, Dave Grohl & Tons More Sing Goodbye to Chelsea Handler
Beyonce's Dad Claims the Jay Z-Solange Incident Was a Ticket-Selling Stunt
Building Your Music Career While Keeping Your Day Job
Start Building Your Music Career By Focusing On Regional And Niche Music Publications
McDonald's Big Digital Push Includes Music As A Customer Reward
OK Go, Weird Al, and the YouTube Shortcut to the Top of the Charts
Prepare Yourself and Your Music for Music Licensing
Bruce Springsteen's 'Outlaw Pete' Reborn as Children's Book
Windows 9 unveiling set for September 30, report says
This Is What Reality Shows Like "Pawn Stars" Look Like If You Remove All The Filler
TiVo's cord-cutting DVR debuts for $50
This big, all-American design brings out the best sound from any pair of headphones.
Audio-Technica AT-LP60 turntable review
Most anticipated tech of 2014 (pictures)
Apple wearable rumored to join iPhone 6 in September
Apple iPhone 6 event officially set for Sept. 9
Short News Items ...
SEE YOU IN COURT, DEPT:
Internationally renowned visual artist Maya Hayuk has sued singer Sara Bareilles, Sony Music and Epic Records for copyright infringement after Bareilles used images and a video of Hayuk's artwork to promoter Bareilles album and tour. The artwork in question was a mural that Hayuk was commissioned to create for the Bowery Mural Wall, an outdoor exhibition space in lower Manhattan. The piece was on display from February until earlier this summer. A remarkably similar piece of art appears in photographs and a music video used to promote Bareilles “Little Black Dress Tour” on various forms of social media.
TechCrunch reports you may soon be doing more twisting, turning, and jumping around when you go to the movies, if startup Audience Entertainment succeeds in launching a new type of in-theater interactivity. Read More
ALL TOGETHER NOW:
VentureBeat reports As Spotify is the largest pure music service in the world, the company can do some pretty interesting things with the data it collects from listeners, as is evident with its latest feature, Serendipity, people playing the sane song in real time. Read More
Oscar-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese is planning to direct a movie about the iconic punk rock band The Ramones, an individual familiar with the project has told TheWrap. There is no timetable in place since there's no writer on board yet, but Scorsese wouldn't turn his attention to the Ramones project until after he wraps his next movie “Silence,” which heads into production next year.
It's been five years since Prince put out a new record in the U.S., since he limited the release of his '20 Ten LP', but that will change this fall. On September 30th, the artist will release two new records: 'Plectrumelectrum', his long-teased album with the group 3rdEyeGirl, and his recently announced solo LP, 'Art Official Age.' He will reportedly hold a series of special events and live dates around the world, details for which are forthcoming, to celebrate the albums' release.
BOB IN THE BASEMENT:
After countless bootlegs and one overdubbed 1975 LP, one of rock's legendary sessions is finally getting a proper release with the November arrival of Bob Dylan's 'Basement Tapes Complete' box. See the complete track listing here. Read More
John Ridley earned his first Academy Award this year for his '12 Years a Slave' screenplay. Now he's in the director's chair for 'Jimi: All Is By My Side,' the Hendrix biopic starring Outkast's Andre Benjamin. Take a look inside the film with these advance shots. Read More
VAMPIRES STILL DRAW BIG:
HBO's vampire drama “True Blood” ended with a ratings bang for its series finale Sunday night hitting a season high and performing on par with last season's finale. The “True Blood” finale at 9p sucked up 4 million total viewers, a season best and off marginally from last season's finale, which had 4.1 million total viewers.
Two weeks after the Beatles released 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,' they started work on another omnipresent event: an appearance on the first live global satellite broadcast. The band agreed to perform a new song: '"All You Need Is Love." Read More
Richard Attenborough, whose powerful movies including “Gandhi” brought awareness of subjects like war, pacifism and apartheid to millions, has died. He was 90. Read more at TheWrap
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
George Clooney Enjoys Another Rousing Evening At Home With Mummified Members Of Rat Pack
BEVERLY HILLS, CA—Turning up the volume on his record player while wearing his best sharkskin suit, George Clooney reportedly spent another evening at home Thursday with the mummified members of the Rat Pack.
“Hey, Frankie, how about you tell that story about the hostess from the Sands and I pour us some more gasoline -- three fingers on the rocks, right?” said Clooney, who, after distributing the drinks and clearing everyone’s plates, reportedly grabbed the chemically preserved corpses of Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., dabbed the beads of embalming fluid running down their cheeks, and propped them up on the bar stools in his billiard room.
Read the rest and laugh: George Clooney Enjoys Another Rousing Evening At Home
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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