Categories
Rock Biz

Music executives panic! How can we continue to make money now that people have more choices?

"We’re running out of time. We need to get money flowing from consumers and get them used to paying for music again." So says Ted Cohen of music consulting firm TAG Strategic at the Digital Music Forum East yesterday. And who was on the hit list for most of the attendees at said conference? Well Steve Jobs of course, probably the only person making money in the digital space right now.

Everybody is complaining about the Digital Rights Management (DRM) these days and rightly so. It puts such a burden on consumers that they feel that it is so much easier to download the stuff for free from a P2P network then put up with all the BS the majors throw at them. Add to the fact that there is so much crap out there and you have a recipe for disaster.

I have always said that musicians need to be paid for their art. Absolutely no doubt about it. The difference is that the musicians that I tend to deal with have embraced all the new digital technologies out there as a way to promote their music. The do so by making DRM-free downloads of their stuff available because they know that if people like what they hear, the majority of them will pay for their music by either buying their CD or using a service like eMusic or CD Baby where they can support the artist and not be burdened by a DRM download.

The bottom line is that people will pay for quality content. They will not pay for shit. If the major labels continue to pump out The Pussycat Dolls (sorry girls I really love you, drop me a line sometime!) and American Idol rejects, they have only themselves to blame.

It is a new world out there and those that want to be able to make a living selling music might best stop and have a listen to what they are putting out there instead of putting all the blame on consumers who have put up with their drivel for too long. A revolution is upon us and like all revolutions, the impact won’t be fully understood for years. Make no mistake about it though, the days of major labels exploiting musicians for the bottom line will eventually fade away. The content creators will gain the upper hand over the content distributors and this is how it should be. Nobody ever said the system was fair but for too long musicians have been treated as indentured servants. If major labels cannot partner with musicians in a truly fair and equitable arrangement, then the musicians will just turn to all the alternative modes of distribution available to them now. And if they do so, the issue of whether to use DRM or not will quickly become moot. In the battle between technology and content, content will always have the upper hand because people are willing to pay for quality content. If you make them jump through hoops to access it they will simply skip the hoops and access it another way.

UPDATE! It seems that Charles Cooper over at CNET agrees. Check out his Perspective column Forget DRM. It’s the music.

Later.

Later.

Categories
Rock Radio 2.0

Will Podcasting Kill Radio?

During Podcamp Toronto one of the sessions I attended was a round table on whether podcasting would kill radio (You can check out the Podcamp Toronto wiki for archived video of the session). One of the points I tried to make and I will reiterate here is that there tends to be too much emphasis on the mode of distribution, the way people recieve the content and less emphasis on the quality of the content.

The reason that radio is having such a hard time these days and why podcasting poses such a threat is that the content on commercial radio is so poor. The same songs, the same inane banter and most of all the volume of ads are turning people off in droves. Some will point to satellite radio as a beacon of hope but while satellite radio has the content, it lacks the context. Podcasting is becoming more and more popular because it is created by people passionate about their content and who are eager to put it in some sort of context for the listener. People will always need and appreciate a good filter, especially with respect to music. If my podcast (or blog for that matter) recommends a certain band or record you will probably be interested in checking it out if you value and trust in my opinion. I am putting that band or record in context for you to accept or reject as you so choose. You certainly cannot deny the passion that I have for rock and roll (because I write and broadcast the stuff for love not money) and so at the very least you know I’m not using the music as a front to hawk a stereo store or car manufacturer.

In podcasting, quality content is king and putting that content into context is the whole purpose of the programming. While the whole aspect of advertising and monetization is coming, the most popular podcasts will always be about the love, not the money. Radio was once like that and perhaps the pendulum will swing the other way in time but until then, podcasting will not kill radio but it is going to become a bigger and bigger digital thorn in its side. And if you love the art of radio as much as I do, that can only be a good thing.

Later.

Categories
Rock Radio 2.0

Drastic Plastic Program 3 Amigos Spectacular Playlist on CKUT FM for February 26, 2007

Img_0116_1 Well last night’s Drastic Plastic Program on CKUT FM was another 3 Amigos extravaganza with myself, Doug Ford and Armitage Shanks holding court on all things rock and roll. It was fun because we all brought something different yet complimentary to the Drastic Plastic Program table and I think that is why the Drastic Plastic Program is so much fun to do and hopefully listen to.

I took a look at Gothenburg, Sweden based label Crusher Records, a very cool psychedelic garage rock record label that releases all their stuff on gorgeous 7” vinyl. Armitage Shanks brought in some great up and coming indie gems from England including an exclusive listen to a demo from The Brent Flood which I thought was cool. And Doug hopped into the time machine with a snapshot profile feature on The Prisoners with a tale of how bad luck and corporate mishandling cut down one of the Medway Delta’s finest underground mod/garage rock bands of all time.

The podcast of the show is available for download for the next week (http://secure.ckut.ca/cgi-bin/ckut-grid.pl?action=showpodcast&show=1,22:00). After that you can always listen to the show at the CKUT archives on streaming audio. Here is last night’s playlist (Band – Album – Song):

  • the Marahajas – 7" – "Weekend Sparks"
  • the Mainliners – 7" – "Daughter of Dimes"
  • The Sacred Sailors – 7" – "You my Friend"
  • Mastica – 7" – "Scemo Chi Spara"
  • The Bromheads Jacket – Dits from the Comuter Belt – "What ifs and Maybes"
  • The Bromheads Jackets – Dits from the Comuter Belt – " Rosey Lee "
  • The Playing Fields – Hello New World – "Glass & Concrete "
  • The Brent Flood – Demo – " Heavy Petting"
  • The Prisoners – A Taste of Pink – "Better in Black "
  • The Prisoners – A Taste of Pink – "Coming Home"
  • The Prisoners – 7" – "There’s a Time "
  • The Prisoners – Last of the Fourfathers – "Whenever I’m Gone"
  • The Prisoners – Hurricane .. The Best of – "Pop Star Party"

Later.

Categories
Rock Radio 2.0

Check out the Drastic Plastic Program on CKUT FM tonight!

Make sure you surf over to http://www.ckut.ca tonight between 10:00 – 11:00 PM EST and have a listen to our monthly 3 Amigos show on the Drastic Plastic Program. I will be joining UK indie guru Armitage Shanks and rock and roll miscreant Doug Ford for an hour of cool rock and roll fun. Tonight I have decided to turn my attention to the very cool Crusher Records label out of Sweden so have a listen and rock out to some snotty, fuzzed out garage rock and roll. And who knows what those other maniacs have up their sleeves!

Later.

Categories
Rock Radio 2.0

Adventures at Podcamp Toronto or How to Organize a Conference for 322 Creative Geeks and Live to Tell the Tale

Podcamptoronto200x75 Having spent the weekend at Podcamp Toronto I don’t know what impressed me more, the incredible organization, the outright giddy enthusiasm from everyone that I met or the fact that all this incredible information (and food!)was available for free. To say that Podcamp Toronto was a resounding success is to make a considerable understatement. With podcasting occupying its current position as one of the most hyped about technologies of 2006-2007 it is easy to get jaded and start to ask yourself what it really all means. Podcamp Toronto was like an adrenalin injection directly into your creative nexus and the effects will far outlast the 2 days that everybody spent within the confines of the Rogers Communication Center at Ryerson University.

Obviously I have plans to produce a podcast for The Rock and Roll Report. That being said, it is easy to get sidetracked from your ultimate goal when you are tackling something like this on your own and instead of producing some kick ass podcast on rock and roll that you want everybody to listen to you are instead spending months trying to discern the differences between various USB audio interfaces and what the hell is the difference between a dynamic and cardoid microphone anyhow? Being at Podcamp Toronto was a creative kick in the ass. The enthusiasm was infectious and everybody I met wanted to help, really help me get my podcast off the ground. There was no bullshit being doled out by anybody which was refreshing in itself.

Podcamp_1
The sessions that were scheduled throughout the 2 days were quite varied in what they dealt with which was great because you don’t want to spend too much of your time dealing with only technical issues, or financial issues or legal issues for that matter. What was nice is that they comprised a real cross-section of the things you should consider when producing your podcast and they were actually helpful in helping you to make some decisions on what you need to do. It was nice to spend one session discussing monetization options for podcasting and then another debating whether podcasting threatens radio (oh it does…..and it doesn’t) and another session getting all geeky learning about some incredible websites and services that you can use to extend your podcasts’ reach to the world.

If you are ever considering creating a podcast or perhaps are currently producing one, you owe it to yourself to attend a PodCamp. What probably impressed me most was that there was no distinction between those presenting and those attending. Everybody was riffing off of everybody and the exchange of ideas was positively inspiring.

A good podcast, like any creative endeavor requires passion. For those attending PodCamp Toronto that passion was evident in spades. I can’t wait to get started. As one attendee said “just press record.”

Throughout the week I will post my thoughts about the various sessions that I attended. The cool thing is that you can always download the sessions as podcasts and videocasts yourself and check out what you missed. Very cool.

Later.

Categories
Rock Radio 2.0

“We are the media.” Adventures at Podcamp Toronto

PodCamp Toronto Feb. 24-25 is FREE!
Hanging out at Podcamp Toronto and embracing the incredible concept that "we are the media." At no time in history has there been such an opportunity for average people to get out and create a presence in the world where they can make their voices heard. I’ll be blogging from Podcamp Toronto over the next two days to let you know how things are going and hopefully to post a few helpfull links if you have been thinking about putting together a podcast like I am.

UPDATE! I think it is a better idea if I provide a rap up of my thoughts on the Podcamp for Monday so tune in then!

Later.

Categories
Record Labels

The Rock and Roll Report Record Label Spotlight is on Crusher Records

I originally published this 2 years ago but I am republishing it today because on the next Drastic Plastic Program on CKUT 90.3 FM I will be part of our monthly 3 Amigos spectacular and will be focusing on this very label as well as playing theit latest release from the excellent band The Marahajas (have a listen to "Sometimes I Miss Me ". What is so impressive about Crusher Records is their incredible crafstmanship. They put out vinyl 45 records that are amazing in their high quality. Thick vinyl, sturdy packaging with great artwork on the covers and kick ass garage rock and roll punk that is a perfect combination of vicious guitars, snot nosed vocals and wailing organ that just drips rock and roll attitude. So have a listen on February 26th, 2007 between 10:00 – 11:00 PM at www.ckut.ca and enjoy their stuff.

Established in 2004 in Gothenburg Sweden, Crusher Records is intent on spreading "great psychedelic garage rock and roll sounds all over the world" and with their first batch of releases they are certainly well on their way. Currently with three great bands on their roster- The Mainliners (check out the MP3 of Dead Man’s Hall ), Dead Man (download this MP3 sample of Ship Ahoy ) and The Sacred Sailors (download the MP3 of You My Friend ), Crusher Records is a record label headed in the right direction. Check them out ASAP. They of course have a MySpace page located at: http://www.myspace.com/crusherrecords .

Later.

Categories
Rock Biz Wanna Be a Rock Star?

A new way for musicians to collaborate online

I just read about an amazing program on Macsimum News called Audio Fabric. According to the developer it is

a service that enables musicians to play together live over the Internet using any type of instrument-acoustic, electric, MIDI, or voice. Musicians in different locations can play together as if they are in the same room using their ordinary broadband Internet connections.

Now I am a strong proponent of playing together in the same room or on the same stage but the possibilities that this program presents to musicians is pretty mindblowing. It doesn’t have to replace human contact, just compliment it. Pretty cool.

Later.

Categories
Rock Biz

Universal Sues MySpace Yet Again?

Universal Sues MySpace Yet Again?

Majors Wants To Have Their MySpace And Eat It Too

by Moses Avalon,

MusicDish Network Sponsor

Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the music biz, Universal Music reminds us that it’s never too late to alienate allies. MySpace was bought by News Corp for $580 million, and now UMD wants to take just about all of it. They claimed MySpace as “a vast virtual warehouse for pirated copies of music videos and songs,” and is suing for close to $1 Billion.

Last month UMD made a deal with MySpace to play it cool with them in exchange for their promise to do whatever they can to prevent infringement through use of their service. Apparently they are not doing enough. Now UMD is suing and asking for the max: $150,000 per infringement. At this rate, with the tens of thousands of sites that use unauthorized content, MySpace will be forced into a dot com retirement home.

The UMD suit comes almost to the day that MySpace claims the release of a tool that will alert copyright holders that they are being jacked. MySpace would then remove any of the infringing content. This is in concert with the already in place Gracenote fingerprinting technology that supposedly prevents the posting of unauthorized music. “Clearly it doesn’t,” says UNI, “The foundation of MySpace is its so-called ‘user-generated content.’ However, much of that content is not ‘user-generated’ at all. Rather, it is ‘user-stolen.'” The suit cites major stars like U2, 50 Cent, and Prince as acts whose recordings have allegedly been posted without permission on the site.

Now we know that UMD is just looking out for their artists. Yeah we know that. And we know that they are legally in the right. But jees. MySpace is the best thing to come along for artists to promote themselves without a major label. Oh wait!!! Could that be a motivation for UMD to sue?

MySpace claims, “We are in full compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and have no doubt we will prevail in court.” They are referring to the DMCA’s so-called “safe-harbor provision” which says that a dot com host is not responsible for what gets posted on its server; a defense that has thus far not impressed Courts. Can you say, Napster, Nutella, Kazaa and Grokster.

Representing the UMG plaintiffs are Steven Marenberg, Elliot Brown and Gregory Fayer of Los Angeles’ Irell & Manella.

The case is UMG Recordings Inc. v. MySpace Inc., 06cv07361.

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright © MusicDish LLC 2007 – Republished with Permission

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

Record Review: Dead City Riots – Always is Never The Same (Casket Music Copro Records)

Dead20city20riots I hate to use the term “modern rock” when describing a band because it makes everything else that you don’t refer to as “modern” to be hopelessly retro but Glasgow, Scotland’s Dead City Riots are modern rock and roll personified. Often reminding me of Pearl Jam with more consistent hooks, “Always is Never the Same” is an amazing rock and roll journey that absolutely rocks with razor sharp guitars, great hooks and amazing songwriting. Have a listen to “Bridge Jumping”, “Where’s my Pill?” and especially the fantastic “Kill the Summer.” And when you think it is all full bore rock and roll they hit you with “A Better High” a gorgeous ballad about seperation.

A highly recommended CD and a great listen at full voilume. Check out their MySpace page and have a listen.

Later.