recognizing Arthur C. Clarke’s third law

Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Music of the future and music of the past

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songkickSongkick launched as a social network-enhanced site to buy concert tickets. Since then, however, it has been adding a lovingly compiled and growing database of all things related to live music. Wired calls it a crowdsourced concert scrapbook, which is a pretty good description.

Users can add entire concerts in addition to fleshing out their online collection of shows by uploading  photos, videos, scans of setlists, ticket stubs and flyers, their own original reviews, links to professional reviews and other elements.

It requires a download and – in these early days – the UK is disproportionally represented. But it’s already fun to browse around, and users already are jockeying for bragging rights based on quantity and exclusivity.

The oldest concert entry I could find was 12 July 1962, the Rolling Stones at the Marquee Club in London. Then I did what everyone else will do and tried to stump it by searching for obscure bands and venues. That’s kinda easy to do – especially because people enter their own metadata, so places turn up with multiple name variants – but that will change as users fill in the gaps.

Information about upcoming concerts is gathered from 29 ticketing agencies, so it has a strategy for completeness going forward. You can also have it scan the music on your computer so it can track those artists for you, in addition to tracking whichever other criteria you indicate. Then Songkick will send you alerts and updates as you specify, along with networking all this data among your Songkick friends. Integration with Facebook and MySpace is in the works.

(Title lyric by John Miles.)


Written by chris

June 12, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Posted in Internet, marketing, music

We put this festival on, you bastards, with a lot of love

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marilyn mansonThe weather looks characteristically rainy for this weekend’s Download Festival at Donington Park in England. But this year I’ll be watching on the free 24-hour live video stream – it’s back, having not been offered last year. Live Nation says all of the main stage acts have signed the requisite clearances, and Kerrang will be chiming in with interviews and other bits. There’s also blogging, Twitter feeds and additional digital stuff, both for those in slogging through the mud and those enjoying it from the comfort of their home.

The lineup includes Marilyn Manson, Faith No More, Def Leppard, Slipknot, Chris Cornell ,Limp Bizkit, ZZ Top, and many, many others.
(Title lyric from Oasis.)

Written by chris

June 9, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Turn off the radio. Turn on the video.

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BugglesSony Music Entertainment joined Universal Music as a content provider and equity stakeholder for Vevo, the music video destination site also part-owned by Google’s YouTube. The labels also promise additional exclusive content like interviews and profiles.

Indie label consortium A2IM signed up as well, and both Warner Music Group Corp. and EMI Group are in talks to do the same.

It’s hard to imagine a reason anyone with the rights to music videos wouldn’t license them to these guys, since they’ll get a share of ad revenue from Vevo and its related YouTube channel without any risk. As for Vevo itself, the business model calls for selling downloads, tickets and merchandise in addition to ads.

(Title lyric from Cheap Trick.)

Written by chris

June 6, 2009 at 11:12 am

After a while you start to smile, now you feel cool

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Beatles_RockBandEven in the unlikely event you’re not interested in the game itself, the cinematic for The Beatles: Rock Band is well worth watching – here it is (pictured, too).

Amidst all the hoopla, there was one thing in the announcement at Microsoft‘s E3 press conference today that I don’t think got enough press. “All You Need Is Love” will be released on 9/9/09 – simultaneously with the game – exclusively as a downloadable song through Xbox Live, with all Apple Corps Ltd, MTV Games and Microsoft proceeds benefiting Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières. Wondering about that careful wording of donors, by the way? I counted more than a dozen corporate logos representing the companies who have a legal and financial stake in this game.

(Title lyric by Lennon/McCartney.)

Written by chris

June 1, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Posted in Games, music

Tagged with , ,

The pleasure is to play

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Motorhead MotorizerAdam Hatton, singer and sometimes guitarist of British band Dragon Eye Morrison, has been having fun with Microsoft’s Songsmith music creation software. The latest song to get this treatment is Motorhead’s immortal metal anthem Ace of Spades (link goes to The Young Ones version!), which now sounds like Lemmy stepped up for open mike night at the  Bluebird Cafe.

(Title lyric from Motorhead.)

Written by chris

June 1, 2009 at 1:11 am

Say what you want, ‘cos this is a new art school

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Dark Kniight of the SoulSpeaking of mashing and remixing, the entire new album from Danger Mouse can now be heard here as part of NPR’s Exclusive First Listen series. Dark Knight of the Soul is an impressive document of artistic collaboration, the DJ/producer/artist working with Sparklehorse and guests including Iggy Pop, Frank Black, Vic Chesnutt, the Flaming Lips, the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys, the Cardigans’ Nina Persson, The Shins’ James Mercer, Jason Lytle, Suzanne Vega, and probably others.

So can you buy this album? Kinda. You can purchase a jewel box containing a poster and a “custom designed” blank CD-R for $10 or, for $50, all that plus a limited edition (5,000 copies) hand-numbered art book of original photographs by film director David Lynch.

Why is the CD-R blank? The official statement explains: “Due to an ongoing dispute with EMI, Danger Mouse is unable to include music on the CD without fear of legal entanglement. Therefore, he has included a blank CD-R as an artifact to use however you see fit.”

My cynical nature twitches at this non-explanation explanation, especially remembering that Danger Mouse zoomed into the public consciousness with the Grey Album, a critically acclaimed project that threw down a virtual gauntlet to the traditional music industry. But regardless of its genesis or motivation, I think the project is genius.

(Title lyric by Paul Weller/the Jam.)

Written by chris

May 23, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Bugs Bunny had the props on the Eastside spots

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cabcallowayI’m a huge fan of remixing, collage, and other artistic endeavors made possible by technology. I think copyright laws need to be revised to acknowledge the digital age. And I love animation. So I’m unsettled but not dissuaded by a DVD currently being advertised on TV.

Hip-Hop Nursery Rhymes strips the audio from classic public domain cartoons and replaces it with nursery rhymes declaimed in a rhythmic, semi-hip-hop style. Even worse, the ad warns that this is only Vol. 1.

There’s no way I’m going to taint my memory of these cartoons by watching this stuff, but I’m amused at their inclusion of what I’m pretty sure is Fleischer Studios’ wonderful The Old Man of the Mountain. It features Betty Boop at her sexiest, a fabulously rotoscoped Cab Calloway and His Orchestra (the archetypical hep cat, pictured), and an unmistakably lascivious title character; in fact, in its day there were calls for it to be banned from theaters.

There’s a blog, too! My favorite entry so far is a complaint that a major retailer refused to carry the DVD on the grounds that it is “stupid.” The company interpreted that rejection as evidence that major retailers think African-Americans won’t buy “good, clean music for their kids.”

(Title lyric is from Coolio, Ghetto Cartoon.)

Written by chris

May 23, 2009 at 10:37 am