The Grammys ... What Do They Mean In 2015?
January 30, 2015
"I have a love-hate relationship with the Grammys because I don't see the music world as a competitive sport."
-- James Taylor
Like all industry awards shows (The Oscars, Tonys, etc.), The Grammys seek to reward "the best" in each category -- based on excellence, I would assume)
Like all industry awards shows, sometimes we agree with the choices, and sometimes we say "What the f**k?!"
I never liked going to The Grammys when I was in "the biz." I loved the parties, but I just found the show way more entertaining on TV. That way, I could get up and get my snacks from the fridge, or even change the channel when the show dragged with talent I didn't want to watch. And who REALLY wants to watch ALL the talent they put on? But the parties, they were terrific. Even if your label had losers, the champagne flowed.
But I digress.
All this leads me to a great article I read this week 'Why The Grammys Will Never Represent Real Music,' by Tom Barnes on Music.mic.
Here's the opening of the article: "Every year the story is the same, though the names are different. In 2015, brilliant acts like War On Drugs, FKA Twigs, Sun Kil Moon, Aphex Twin, Kelis and Lana Del Rey lost out to the Iggy Azaleas, Ariana Grandes and Ed Sheerans of the world in the nominations alone. The Grammy, an award that purports to celebrate the best music of the year, consistently snub the innovative and beloved in favor of the formulaic and commercial. This year won't be any different -- next year won't be either. That's because there are huge systemic problems with the voting system. The Grammy Awards are broken, and there's no reason to expect that to change."
Mr. Barnes isn't just griping in generalities. He writes about the Grammy voting system and its flaws. And goes on to say "Members are allowed to vote in up to 20 categories and the four big categories — Album, Song, Record of the Year and Best New Artist. Voters are "directed to only vote within their area of expertise," but since "the vast majority of the nominations are chosen by people who have little real expertise in a given field," as Grammy voter Rob Kenner wrote forComplex, there's not all that much to choose from."
Check out the article and see if you agree.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
CDs SOUND BETTER THAN VINYL?
Thanks to reader Jon DeLong for the article 'Why CDs May Actually Sound Better Than Vinyl' from the L.A. Weekly.
A great article … at this point it's all a matter of personal audio taste, ain't it?
But still, a great read...Check it out
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
MORE SUED OVER PRE-1972 SOUND RECORDINGS
Google, Song Apple's Beats, Sony Entertainment, Google, Rdio, Songza, Slacker and Escape Media Group (the parent company of Grooveshark) have been served with simultaneously filed lawsuits alleging exploitation of pre-1972 sound recordings without license or payment.
The seven new filings follow similar lawsuits filed by Flo & Eddie (The Turtles) against SiriusXM, Pandora and others over a loophole that many music services have used to not make the usual payments for use of recordings released prior to 1972. Thus far, the majority of the court findings have favored the musicians. Google, Apple, Sony, Rdio, Songza, Slacker, Grooveshark Targeted With Pre-1972 Music Lawsuits
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
SOUNDEXCHANGE HAS RECORD YEAR WITH $773 MILLION IN PAYMENTS TO ARTISTS & LABELS
SoundExchange today announced a new record with total year-end royalty payments reaching approximately $773 million (up 31 percent from $590 million the prior year).
The fourth quarter 2014 distribution also increased from the previous year with more than 38,800 payments totaling approximately $183 million. In addition to breaking records with its payments, SoundExchange also moved the industry forward in 2014 in many other important respects. read more
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
SUPER BOWL COMMERCIALS
18 Super Bowl XLIX Ads: Watch This Year's Buzziest Commercials.
From puppy love to a scantily-clad supermodel eating a burger, preview the ads that will air during the most expensive time slot of the year. Full story at TheWrap
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
'IDOL' WINNER SUES TO GET OUT OF CONTRACT
You might think winning 'American Idol' would make one happy. Just how happy is another thing.
Phillip Phillips says he's been "manipulated" and in a move with huge implications, he is seeking to void his recording, management and merchandising deals with 19 Entertainment. 'Idol' Winner Sues to Escape 'Oppressive' Contracts
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
THIRD MUSIC INDUSTRY REUNION IN LOS ANGELES THIS APRIL
I remember when Jon Scott was talking to me on Facebook a few years ago about putting together some kind of reunion of music industry veterans.
Jon really put his heart and soul into putting the first reunion together, and now, three years later, the event has grown in size and "a splendid time is guaranteed for all."
This year the event is set for Wednesday, April 29th between 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm at the Sagebrush Cantina (23527 Calabasas Rd, Calabasas, CA). The informal event is open to all members, past and present, of the music and music-related industries free of charge.
These events have become tremendously successful, with each of the first two drawing a larger crowd of colorful legends on both coasts originally anticipated. And now, according to Scott, "The demand for a third necessitates that we do it again. Not only do past attendees want to come back, but we are hearing from great folks around the country who upon learning about our first two events want to participate going forward."
Scott explains, "I really thought the first Los Angeles Music Industry Reunion would just be a one-time event, but it was such a smash and the follow-up in New York was even bigger. Now even more people keep asking, 'When is the next one?' I am thrilled that music friends attend these events and have a wonderful, rare opportunity to connect with colleagues they haven't seen in years."
Organizer Jon Scott sums it up: "Keep in mind, this is not an 'official' convention or seminar being put on by an industry trade association or publication. As a matter of fact, we have two leading trade publishers from separate publications on the organizing committee. There is no agenda and no charge; just bring your smile and your stories!" Scott continues, "Lots of laughs, legends, and the amazingly positive synergy of just hanging with each other!"
For more information about the forthcoming third Music Industry Reunion coming to Los Angeles, call Jon Scott at 818-981-9876 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
BETWEEN THE GROOVES
BIG BLUE LAYOFFS:
TechCrunch reports "Rumors have been swirling and IBMs stock has been rising on reports that the company is planning a huge round of layoffs of up to 26% of its workforce, or 118,000 people. TechCrunch has been digging and has found out from two separate sources that there will in fact be job cuts, but not anywhere close to this magnitude." Read more
WHOA! CHEAP MOBILE PHONE SERVICE:
Cablevision will offer a WiFi-only mobile-phone service called Freewheel to customers in the New York metro area starting next month with unlimited data, talk and text that will cost $9.95 for its broadband Internet subscribers and $29.95 for anyone else. Read the whole story
Exceeding all expectations, Apple on Tuesday reported record net profit of $18 billion -- or $3.06 per diluted share -- during its fiscal first quarter. That's nearly 40% better than the $13.1 billion in net profit that Apple reported this time last year. The company that Jobs built credited its record quarter to robust iPhone and Mac sales, as well as outstanding App Store sales. Read the whole story
The FCC on Thursday redefined broadband as speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. That new standard -- a significant increase -- means 17% of the U.S. population lacks access to broadband service. The FCC's redefinition of broadband could make it harder for cable companies and telecoms to argue that the market is competitive, given that many people only have one option for service at 25 Mbps. Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS
Slash on His Famous Guns N' Roses Riff, His Grandma's Inspiration and How Les Paul Once 'Wiped the Stage' With Him
Hear Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Rihanna New Song
Read Tom Petty's Statement on Sam Smith Settlement
We're Getting a Buddy Holly Hologram -- What Does His Wife Think?
Slacker Debuts New Station Featuring Top 120 Alternative Hits Of All Time
How To Hack The Music Pirate
19 WTF Celebrity Cameos You Missed in Movies and on TV
For Sony music and video, PlayStation is now the name of the game
Bust the cable TV bundle for $20 per month, some strings attached
A sub-$100 in-ear headphone for bass-centric music listeners
This just in: CDs are still a lot more popular than LPs
Dayton Audio B452 review
Meet MediaTek, the brains powering your next budget smartphone
NHT SuperBuds earphones
Apple Watch to start shipping in April
Short News Items ...
LENNON ART IN BOOK:
The new book, 'John Lennon: The Collected Artwork,' features another side of the late Beatle's creativity. Just as he united with Yoko Ono as a partner, he also took on her approach as an artist. Look through a gallery of his best work here. Read More
"It is now my duty to completely drain you." Those words from Nirvana seemed especially prophetic as a Sundance crowd prepared for the world premiere of 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,' a new documentary compiled from home movies, notebooks and more. Read More
SMITH SETTLES WITH PETTY:
Over the weekend, The Sun reported that Sam Smith had quietly and amicably settled a copyright dispute with Tom Petty over the likeness between Smith's three-time Grammy-nominated "Stay With Me" and Petty's Full Moon Fever hit "I Won't Back Down," co-written with ELO's Jeff Lynne. In a statement to Rolling Stone, Smith's reps have confirmed that "Stay With Me" is now co-credited to Petty and Lynne, adding that while there are undeniable "similarities" between the two singles, it was a "complete coincidence."
Sly Stone was awarded $5 million after a Los Angeles Supreme Court jury found that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was cheated out of over a decade's worth of royalties by his former manager and an entertainment lawyer.
SHANIA SHOW TO TV:
Shania Twain is returning to TV screens, for one night only, in the exclusive concert event, Shania: Still the One Live from Vegas, airing February 28th, at 9p ET on ABC. The special recaps Twain's successful two-year residency in Las Vegas, which came to an end in December.
RINGO GETS MAJOR GUESTS FOR NEW LP:
Ringo Starr will not go quietly into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. About a month before his induction, the ex-Beatle will release his 18th solo album, 'Postcards From Paradise', which will contain 11 original songs. Starr said in a statement. Joe Walsh, Dave Stewart, Richard Marx, Peter Frampton and Glen Ballard, among many others, will make appearances on Postcards.
SUGE IN TROUBLE AGAIN:
Hip-hop mogul Suge Knight reportedly ran over a man with his vehicle at a promotional shoot for the upcoming Universal release, "Straight Outta Compton," Thursday in Compton. Full story at TheWrap
Justin Bieber apologized for 'Arrogant' and 'Conceited' Behavior on 'Ellen'. The star posted a confessional video on Facebook Wednesday night alongside the message "here we go." He begins by explaining that he taped Ellen earlier in the day (the episode airs Thursday), and since it was his first public appearance in quite some time, he was really nervous.
TIM TRIBUTE TO GLEN CAMPBELL AT OSCARS:
Tim McGraw will perform "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" as a tribute to the Oscar-nominated Glen Campbell at the 87th Oscars. The song appears in the documentary 'Glen Campbell … I'll Be Me', which follows its famous subject (he contributed to many classic '60s pop records in addition to building a solo career in Country music) as he struggles with Alzheimer's.
Edgar Froese, the founder of pioneering electronic band Tangerine Dream, has died at the age of 70. According to Tangerine Dream's Facebook page, Froese passed away "suddenly and unexpectedly" from the effects of a pulmonary embolism. He was residing in Vienna, Austria.
Quotes of the week
"Taylor Swift is amazing, I sang with her in London once but didn't get to properly chill with her. Then, at the American Music Awards, I got to sit down with her and chat. She's a role model. I really respect her. And she manages to sell a lot of records and make a lot of people happy financially, but also to keep that soulfulness, that honesty."
-- Sam Smith, telling GQ about one star who is way nicer than everyone else.
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
I Would Never Ask An Audience To Put Their Hands In The Air Were I Not Willing To Do The Same
COMMENTARY BY 2FRESH
When I take the stage, it is my foremost responsibility to ensure that those attending my concert enjoy themselves, and that is an obligation I do not take lightly. With a crowd of thousands relying on me to deliver an exhilarating performance, it is crucial that every one of my fans trusts that I will do not just what is necessary for them to have a memorable evening, but also what is right.
So, in order to remove any doubt about my commitment to the people in this or any amphitheater, let me promise you all this: I would never, ever ask an audience to put their hands in the air were I myself not willing to do the same.
Simply put, when I issue such a weighty commandment, I do so fully prepared to join along with the audience every step of the way, throwing my own hands up and keeping them up until we blow the lid off of this joint—together. 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.
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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.
"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
"When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people becomes an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk: culture-death is a clear possibility." -- Neil Postman