Categories
Rock Biz Wanna Be a Rock Star?

Net Neutrality and Why Indie Musicians Should Care

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If you haven’t already, you will be hearing a lot about the issue of Net Neutrality this year and while it might seem to be a esoteric, technical debate for geeks, the implications to independent musicians could be great. Or as a recent article in Exclaim magazine stated “net neutrality is about three seconds away from being one of the Most Important Issues Facing the Music Business Today.”

Future of Music Coalition Director Ann Chaitovitz ran a commentary in a recent issue of Billboard Magazine explaining how the open internet is absolutely necessary for creativity and commerce to flourish online and I urge you to read the commentary and educate yourself. You can read it at this link.

The Internet holds a lot of promise of what musicians can do with their music instead of being beholden to a record label. We are starting to see a lot of experiments taking place where the artists is regaining control of his or her muse. Some will work and some will fail but at the very least there is a legitimate chance for artists to make a living while being in control of the modes of distribution of their music. Net Neutrality in my opinion is essential to this. Make sure that you are informed as to the impact of things like network throttling can have on independent music on the net. Regardless of which side of the debate you may ultimately take, your future could well depend on it.

Later.

Mark

Categories
Rock Biz

The Black Crowes Manager Issues An Open Letter To Maxim Magazine And James Kaminsky

(Ed’s note: I don’t normally publish syndicated material anymore but in this case I though it was important and highly enlightening to see how the mainstream press works…)avril-lavigne_march-08.jpg

The Black Crowes’ manager issues statement:

In my thirty years in the music business, I have never once written a letter to any publication to discuss or oppose a “review” of my artist’s work. Any artist or manager who has survived a dramatically changing musical landscape, and experienced some longevity throughout, has a clear understanding that both good and bad reviews are part of the scenery.

However, this letter was not written to address a bad “review” but rather a fabricated album review that your magazine published even though your “music critic” had not heard more than one song.

In our business, a fabricated review is a serious concern that may ultimately harm all artists because it calls into question the credibility
of the entire review process.

A February 20th email response from a Maxim representative stated in part:

“On the rare occasion that we are not given music because of our lead time or unavailability of the tunes, we make an educated guess … Of course, we always prefer to hearing the music, but sometimes there are big albums that we don’t want to ignore that aren’t available to hear, which is what happened with the Crowes. It’s either an educated guess preview or no coverage at all, so in this case we chose the former.”

Categories
Rock Biz

Sonicbids “Get A Gig Guarantee” Promotion

SonicbidsSonicbids has kicked off a special year-long Get A Gig Guarantee promotion. Sonicbids’ mission is to help bands get gigs; based on the belief that independent music belongs everywhere –– on festival stages; in video game consoles; on film screens; in college theaters; on the radio; in advertisements; on club stages and at sporting events. The Get-A-Gig Guarantee speaks to how important this mission is for the company by giving artist members a free 6-month membership extension if they do not secure at least one gig over the course of the next 6 months – no strings attached. For more, visit www.Sonicbids.com.

The Rock and Roll Report is a Sonicbids partner and if you are in a band it is definitely an effective way to get your music heard. If you want to submit your music to The Rock and Roll Report through Sonicbids just click on the Sonicbids logo in the top right of this very website. Thanks.

Later

Mark

Categories
Odds & Sods Podcast Rock Biz

Rock and Roll Odds and Sods: Podcast News, Rolling Stone Boycott, The Return of Hair Metal, the Sad Tale of The Fags and Israeli Rock and Roll

Sorry for the dearth of stuff on the site over these last few days but things have been pretty hectic personally and I have learned to not write just for the sake of writing. I would prefer the content to be sparse but good as opposed to overflowing but shit. Of course the content could be sparse and shit but that’s beside the point…

Just received two essential components (finally!) for Rock and Roll Report Studios and will actually begin recording Episode 1 of the Rock and Roll Report Podcast (The Phantom Podcast?) this week. It’s been frustrating to say the least but I think that once I get going things will run a lot smoother. The plan is to have the first episode out the week of October 22, 2007 (probably the 24th) and then every week thereafter. The only decision I face is whether to produce a show the week Rock and Roll Report Radio is on. Since CKUT provides a podcast feed for the show for a week after broadcast I will probably only produce three podcasts a month and see how that goes.

rolling-stone-magazine.jpgThe Day in Rock reports that Fox News columnist Roger Friedman is calling for a boycott of Rolling Stone Magazine. Now I have a love/hate relationship with that mag and I can see that if you are of a politically conservative bent you would have a lot to gripe about but Friedman’s reason is not due to the content of the magazine. Friedman’s complaint revolves around the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the fact that Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner essentially controls the nomination process for this ridiculous institution. Now if you shake your head at some of the decisions made for these nominations (why is Rush still not nominated again?) you will definitely want to read Friedman’s reasons for the boycott but really, why don’t we boycott both the magazine and the “institution” and get on with listening to cool rock and roll played in sweaty little clubs, you know, the way rock and roll should be celebrated.

Well if you thought the days of ‘80s hard rock and hair metal were behind us think again. According to Kris Osborn of Time.Com, some of the biggest concert draws of 2007 were reunion concerts by bands like Ratt, Tesla, Poison, Quiet Riot, Ozzy, White Lion and the like and the response to the semi-reunited Van Halen seem to bear this out. The interesting thing is that the shows seem to be attracting young concert goers who weren’t around for these bands’ first kick at the can. Can you blame them? Hard rock and metal have always contained a great mixture of sleaze, glam and fist pumping fun that makes it quite clear you are at a rock show and not a political convention. People want to lose themselves for a couple of hours and this stuff is a great way to do it. Cheap, fast and disposable. That is sometimes the best definition of rock and roll and I guess this just goes to prove that people want more than angst on stage, they want to rock!

hifi-handgrenades.jpgOne of the best CDs that I received last year and played quite a bit on Rock and Roll Report Radio was Light ‘Em Up! By The Fags and it was with considerable sadness that I learned this summer of the band’s demise. Billed as a logical successor to Cheap Trick, The Fags had what many thought was it all. Great hooks, cool songs, a great sound behind the vocals of main man John Speck, this was a band that seemed poised for great things. Unfortunately major label politics and other business mis-cues killed the band in its crib. Read all about Speck’s experiences with the Fags and their doomed run at the brass ring in The Fags Get Screwed. If you are interested in what John is up to now check out his new band HiFi HandGrenades.

Finally, if you thought all that came out of Israel was religious conflict and strife you will be happy to know that the Jewish Music Group has announced the release of “Israel Unleashed: The Best Rock And Metal From The Holy Land”. Featuring the very best unsigned rock and metal bands from Israel it is scheduled to be released November 27, 2007. For a full track listing check out http://www.jewishmusicgroup.com/album.php?id=131.

That’s it for now. I know I haven’t featured any blitz bands in awhile but if your jonesing for a rock and roll fix I suggest that you click on any of the band links from this week’s Rock and Roll Report Radio playlist and check out what they have to offer. I think you your ears will be amply rewarded.

Later.

Mark

Categories
Rock Biz

Win an All Expense Paid Trip to Record at Real World Studios!

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Have you always dreamed of recording your music in a professional studio? TuneCore, Eventful and Solid State Logic (SSL) have teamed up to send one band (up to five people) on a one week all expenses paid trip to England to record at Real World Studios, one of the top five recording studios on the planet. The artist or band with the most “demands” at leading online events site Eventful wins this grand prize, which includes studio time, round-trip airfare, ground transportation, food, lodging, an engineer and assistant and 100% unlimited access and complete lockout of “The Big Room” for five days. (Approximate retail value: $25,000.)

Thanks to SSL, TuneCore and Eventful, one lucky band will be able to record at the same studio and use the same state-of-the-art SSL gear as The Cure, Bonnie Raitt, Super Furry Animals, Beth Orton, Goldfrapp, Deep Purple, Robbie Williams, Paul Oakenfold, Sigur Ros and more.

“The Big Room” is world renowned for its 72-channel SSL 9000 XL K series analogue console, its large selection of vintage Neve modules, and its varied array of outboard equipment custom installed to take every advantage of this state-of-the-art facility, all in a room famous for its intoxicating view of the flowing mill pond. Real World’s team brings a wealth of experience, passion and commitment to help music artists realize the full potential of the studio.

To enter, bands will register as a Performer at Eventful and opt-in to participate in the competition. They then need only encourage their fans to “demand” them using Eventful’s Demand service. The unsigned band with the most Eventful “demanders” at 12:00 pm (Pacific Standard Time), October 31st, 2007, wins the grand prize. Bands with the second and third most demanders each win a Solid State Logic Duende DSP processing engine (ARV: $1495.00 each). The top ten (10) bands with the most demanders each get one album, with an unlimited number of songs (total not to exceed seventy-four minutes) placed for free into all digital stores they choose to which TuneCore delivers, including the first year’s maintenance and storage. (ARV: $45 each.)

Find out more at http://www.tunecore.com/realworld.

Categories
Odds & Sods Rock Biz

Odds and Sods: Popular Rockers Die Young and Rick Rubin Says Record Labels Don’t Get it

I was was roaming around the web trolling for music news I came across the usual assortment of crap but two things really stuck for me today but for completely different reasons.

keith-richards.jpgIt appears that the longevity of Keith Richards is a bit of an anomaly according to How rock stardom can take years off your life. It seems that the rock star lifestyle (you know the ol’ buggaboo of sex, drugs and rock and roll) that comes with the territory once a rock star becomes popular causes them to die pretty quickly. Citing examples of Kurt Cobain, Buddy Holly, Sid Vicious and Pete Doherty (oops he’s not dead yet!) as rockers who keeled over once stardom struck, British scientists claim that after extensive study they have come to the conclusion that “The results suggest that the most dangerous time for a star is during their first flush of fame. Stars are over three times more likely to die than ordinary people in the first five years after chart success, and in the first 10 years they are still at more than two and a half times the risk. And right up to 25 years after launching a career in showbiz, rock and pop stars are still more likely to meet their maker than the rest of us.”

What does this say to the young wannabe rock stars of today? What kind of a message does this send to them? I can just here the local garage band huddled in their rehearsal space with their collective finger poised over the “send” button of their email program- “Boys, this could mean we may become, you know popular and then we could die!” Rock and roll is a vicious game indeed!

rick-rubin.jpgAt the other end of the spectrum you have Rick Rubin perhaps being a bit to honest when the recently named co-chairman of Columbia Records stated in the New York Times magazine that “I have great confidence that we will have the best record company in the industry, but the reality is, in today’s world, we might have the best dinosaur. Until a new model is agreed upon and rolling, we can be the best at the existing paradigm, but until the paradigm shifts, it’s going to be a declining business. This model is done.” I’m sure that the powers that be at Columbia didn’t expect this so quick in Rubin’s tenure but really, the man was just stating the truth. The old model is dead and right now everybody is staggering in the dark trying to come up with something that works in this Web 2.0 world. Until the major record labels face the fact that they are no longer the gatekeepers to the music anymore, the sooner we can figure out what will make both them and the artists they represent money, the sooner we can start promoting new and exciting artists without fear that taking a risk means the end of life as we know it. It is pretty cool that Rubin is so upfront and at least he is a “music guy” as opposed to a bean counter so don’t rule out the majors just yet.

Later.

Mark

Categories
Rock Biz

Record Store Review.Com Needs Your Help

In this world of ever dwindling independent record stores, a site like RecordStoreReview.Com is invaluable. Unfortunately it is also expensive to run. They need $1000.00 to cover their expenses this year and so far they have only raised $131.00. If you can spare the cash, why don’t you kick some their way and help them out?

Thanks.

Mark

Categories
Rock Biz

CD Baby Goes Digital

antidrm.pngI have raved about CD Baby before and The Rock and Roll Report is a CD Baby partner affiliate and proud to be so and now I hear that they will be offering DRM-free MP3 downloads in the near future. This is very cool as it is just one more avenue that indie and unsigned bands can use to get their music out there.

Speaking of which, I gotta apologize for the state of On Random Play here at The Rock and Roll Report. It is undergoing a complete re-think and I am in the process of making it much easier to use. Essentially the idea is that if you read about a band on The Rock and Roll Report or hear a band on Rock and Roll Report Radio or the podcast you will be able to buy the CD or download it from On Random Play and support both this site and the band in question. Have patience as that part of the site should be revamped in the near future.

Later.

Mark

Categories
Live Rock and Roll Rock Biz

Fck CMJ!

flipping-the-bird.jpgThere is a group that has formed to create an alternative to the annual CMJ music event in New York City because they feel that it has become too corporate. Called the unCMJ Music Fest (formerly the fckCMJ Music Fest), the organisers are aiming to put together an all ages festival that caters to indie music fans and not the music journalists and publicity people that they feel have ruined CMJ. According to the organisers “The unCMJ Music Fest is about music, not marketing opportunities” and is scheduled to take place October 19 – 20, 2007.

You can find out more about the festival at http://www.myspace.com/fckcmjmusicfest.

UPDATE! Well it seems the fine folks at CMJ (or at least their legal eagles) are not too happy with the unCMJ Music Fest and have forced organisers to change its name to un C. em J. Music Fest. Get all the grizzly details at This Day in Rock.

Later.

Mark

Categories
Rock Biz

At&T Censors Pearl Jam. Band Argues for Net Neutrality

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I have been pretty quiet these last few weeks as I lie low for the summer relaxing but this kind of stuff really pisses me off. AT&T deleted portions of Pearl Jam’s webcast performance of “Daughter” last Sunday as they closed Lollapalooza due apparently to some anti-Bush statements inserted into the song by Eddie Vedder. According to AT&T as quoted in Rolling Stone’s Rock and Roll Daily:

When asked about the missing performance, AT&T informed Lollapalooza that portions of the show were in fact missing from the webcast, and that their content monitor had made a mistake in cutting them. During the performance of “Daughter” the following lyrics were sung to the tune of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” but were cut from the webcast:
– “George Bush, leave this world alone.” (the second time it was sung); and
– “George Bush find yourself another home.”

It is of course extremely ironic that AT&T stresses that they have content managers on hand during these live webcasts to “cut down on excessive profanity since the broadcasts are not age-restricted” and they have committed to posting the full, uncensored version in the future but this would never have come to light if fans hadn’t informed the band themselves. On top of that, if the intention was to cut down on profanity (i.e. swearing) what in the hell did singing lines about George Bush have anything to do with that? Has the name George Bush entered the vernacular as a swear word now? Since when did expressing an idea become profane?

I have a 12 year old son and he is exposed to all kinds of music that comes in for The Rock and Roll Report, some of it with the infamous “explicit lyrics” warning stickers on the jewel box but my approach to “questionable content” is to educate him as opposed to preventing him from listening to the stuff. I will explain that it is either an artistic form of expression, a way for the artist to express themselves in much the same way as the people that they are singing about or quite simply the “profanity” is merely there for the shock factor. Of course this doesn’t always wash with him but the point is it is my job to educate him or even possibly not let him listen to a particular song (although we all know that this will just make a kid seek out that which they are prevented access to so that doesn’t really work). It is not up to some corporate entity to do my job as a parent. If they are so concerned that there may be profanity during a webcast, post a warning and leave it up to the parents to deal with it.

Censorship is insidious. It starts with cutting out “excessive profanity” and then moves to unpopular or contrary opinions until before we know it the corporate controlled media is literally preventing us from hearing the full range of ideas and emotions that are part and parcel of a truly democratic society. The Internet is a wonderful method to give these full range of ideas their due and many people are concerned that the increasing corporate grip on this method of expression will eventually turn the Internet into another form of the excessively regulated, corporate controlled airwaves. This lies at the heart of the argument for net neutrality and it is something that I firmly believe must be legislated into existence before the AT&Ts of the world snuff out this bastion of global self-expression.

Do I sound paranoid? Your damn right I am! The Internet has allowed me to express myself through both the writen word and through the medium of radio, podcasts and perhaps in the future video. I am not beholden to any agency, I do not have to clear what I say to anybody and it is up to those that listen to Rock and Roll Report Radio or who read The Rock and Roll Report to decide if what I say and play has any merit. That is the way it should be. Everybody seems to sprout off in the West about freedom of expression and yet when that expression goes against those in power or expresses a controversial viewpoint, we start hearing about “freedom expression run amuck.” That is quite frankly a crock of shit. If you truly believe what you are saying is valid you should have a soap box to express it. I will decide for myself if it is or is not worth my time and attention thank you very much.

UPDATE! Saw this on Punmaster. While I’m not surprised this just blows my mind.

AT&T ADMIT THAT THEY HAVE CENSORED IN THE PAST. Pearl Jam and their fans were less than thrilled when anti-Bush statements from their set at this year’s Lollapalooza were edited from a Web cast by AT&T’s Blue Room. AT&T soon apologized, saying that the incident was “a mistake,” but are now admitting that they have censored performances in the past. The company claims that they “have taken steps to ensure that it won’t happen again.” Fans are now claiming that some anti-Bush statements were also censored from performances from Bonnaroo earlier this summer, despite the fact that AT&T claim only to censor bad language That said, Pearl Jam used profanity nearly 20 times in the broadcast that was not edited out. Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready wrote on the band’s Web site, saying, “I don’t however believe that a capitalist corporation such as AT&T has the right to subvert the First Amendment of the constitution to which we all are accountable. This happened on the night we played Lollapalooza. I was dismayed to hear that the act of censoring free speech was used to edit our song ‘Daughter’ for a Web cast. Surely the American listening public can discern for themselves what they deem acceptable to hear. We can think for ourselves, AT&T. … Say no to censorship, it leads to dictatorship!”

So I can say “Fuck” but not “Fuck Bush?” My head is starting to hurt…

September 24, 2007 Update! It appears that AT&T are now modifying their censorship policy. They say they will not edit audio content although they might edit visual content if there is “strong sexual content.”

Uhhh, doesn’t this sound like the whole Elvis hip gyration controversy of the ’50s?

Later.

Mark