Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pet sounds...if your pet is a pit bull

The song "John B. Sails," better known as "Sloop John B" after the Beach Boys' version, has been covered by a lot of artists.

One such artist is Devasted. Their version is here.

No, there aren't any multi-tracked harmonies on this one.

Monday, July 20, 2015

When pop radio stations break the shackles of the three-minute format

Last week I was driving to work, flipping through the radio stations, when I landed on K-EARTH 101.

For those of you who do not live within the range of Los Angeles radio, you should know that K-EARTH is an oldies station. Of course, the definition of an oldies station changes over time. When I moved to southern California in the 1980s, K-EARTH was playing songs from the 1950s and 1960s. Today, they play songs from the 1990s.

But that morning, the station was playing a 1980s song - "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell.

That happens to be a song that I enjoy, so I left my dial (actually, not a dial any more) on K-EARTH 101, knowing that I would enjoy that song. Of course, I knew that K-EARTH wouldn't play the excellent medley that included both "Tainted Love" and "Where Did Our Love Go." Why not? Because oldies stations, like other pop stations, strictly adhere to the three-minute format and play the shortest version possible of any song. If you want to hear the full versions of songs, you need to go to a station where Zeptember and Rocktober are celebrated.

So I listened to the end of "Tainted Love," wondering what K-EARTH would play next.

But the song didn't end. Miracle of miracles, they began playing the opening notes of "Where Did Our Love Go."

As I was reflecting about the monumental and historical nature of this...K-EARTH faded the second song about a minute into it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Two of our greatest singers on one...um, unforgettable song

No, this has nothing to do with Nat King and Natalie Cole. But it's unforgettable nonetheless.

Lately I've been leaning toward a Bob Dylan song from his Nashville Skyline album, the recorded collaboration between Dylan and Johnny Cash. As you listen to "Girl From the North Country," you are struck by something. Dylan sings in his Dylan voice. Cash sings in his Cash voice. And then, in one magical moment, the two voices unite together in unison.

Well, sort of unison.

Dylan and Cash have/had dominant personalities and distinctive singing and musical styles. But what they don't/didn't have was technical facility. So when those two cantankerous souls reach the part where they sing in unison, it isn't quite there.

You can find the track on Spotify or on your favorite music service. Or perhaps you can find a subsequent recording that the two made on Cash's TV show. Back in 2007, D.A.N. helpfully shared a video of that performance. Unfortunately, by the time I reached D.A.N.'s post in 2015, I saw this when I tried to play the video.

So I have to rely upon D.A.N.'s description of that performance:

This live version has a little more spontaneity in its feel than the album version that I think it adds another level of authenticity and although both singers are definite in their "country voices", there is still a bit of a contrast between the two....

This live duet does seem slightly tentative as well actually. Dylan idolized Cash and I think that really comes through in the performance as he does seem a little star struck by the man in black, even though they worked together before.

If you read between the lines of the euphemistic words "spontaneity," "authenticity," and "tentative," you can just picture how the live performance sounded.

Actually, the recorded version of the duet is available on YouTube. The true magic occurs at 1:51.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The truth about Larry Norman...and Robert Johnson

I ran across an April 8, 2014 post, written by Allen Flemming, at a site called "The Truth About Larry Norman." It began like this:

The United States Library of Congress has chosen Larry Norman’s album Only Visiting This Planet album to be deemed a National Treasure. The only other Rock album was U2’s Joshua Tree (an album depicting U2’s vision of America).

When I first read that, I questioned the statement's accuracy, since it was hard to believe that only two rock albums were culturally significant. It turns out that the statement was correct - sort of. These were the only two rock albums in the 2013 class of inductions (source: Variety). For the 2013 class, non-rock albums such as Isaac Hayes' "Theme from Shaft" were included, and rock songs such as Creedence Clearwater Revivals' "Fortunate Son" were included.

If you look at the entire Recording Registry, however, you can find a lot of rock albums that were included in the years before and after 2013, ranging from "The Velvet Underground and Nico" to "OK Computer." And there's a lot of other stuff also.

So, why is Larry Norman in there? The Library of Congress explains:

"Only Visiting This Planet" is the key work in the early history of Christian rock. Norman was a veteran of the American rock scene of the 1960s (as well as a street corner evangelist) and his songs were musically assured and socially aware. Many earlier efforts in this genre concentrated on joyful affirmations of faith, but Norman also commented on the world as he saw it from his position as a passionate, idiosyncratic outsider to mainstream churches. "Only Visiting This Planet" was recorded at George Martin's AIR studio in London with a group of top studio musicians that included John Wetton of King Crimson (and, later, Asia) on bass. The album set new production standards for Christian music. For some, Norman and his work are still controversial, but, regardless, his influence remains strong. Selected for the 2013 registry.

On the other side of the spectrum is this culturally significant recording. This is another man who was only visiting this planet, but the common impression is that this man ended up in a different place than Norman did:

"The Complete Recordings." Robert Johnson. (1936-1937)

The recordings made by Delta bluesman Robert Johnson in 1936 and 1937 had a significant impact on fellow bluesmen, as well as on such rock musicians as Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. Considered by some to be the "King of the Delta Blues Singers," Johnson's emotive vocals, combined with his varied and masterful guitar playing, continue to influence blues and popular music performers to this day. Selected for the 2003 registry.

I encourage you to visit the registry list. I may revisit it again in this blog.

Friday, April 10, 2015

GWAR's Oderus Urungus sold his soul - well, his body - for rock and roll

This GWAR story is getting weirder and weirder.

I previously linked to a post that described how William Brockie, executor of the estate of his son Dave Brockie a/k/a Oderus Urungus, has sued the surviving members of GWAR, claiming (among other things) that GWAR withheld his son's ashes from him.

Well, GWAR has responded. This is part of what Courthouse News says about the case:

According to Gwar, Brockie signed his son's body over to the band, who then assumed the costs of funeral arrangements, including cremation, two services and a plot in Richmond's historic Hollywood Cemetery. Brockie did not attend any of his son's memorials, the band alleges, and that his father was only named executor of the estate by default.

The real battle, of course, isn't over Dave Brockie's ashes, but Dave Brockie's money. More here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A band is being sued over a former member's cremated ashes

I read Courthouse News Service regularly, and sometimes I come across some really interesting things.

For example, the father of a deceased lead singer of a band claims, among other things, that the band members stole the lead singer's cremated ashes.

You won't be surprised to learn that the band in question is GWAR - the costumed favorite band of Beavis and Butt-Head.

Details on the lawsuit can be found here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

At least the CSI people don't use Kinks songs for show musical themes

A long time ago, a couple of people were planning a new TV show called "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." I suspect that during one of those planning sessions, the following conversation took place:

Who do we want to use for the show's musical theme song?


No, I'm asking - who?


Abbott and Costello never get old.

Throughout all of the various shows in the CSI franchise, one constant has been the use of a song from the Who as the theme song for each show. The producers choose a snippet from the song to use as the theme. For the first show, based in Las Vegas, "Who Are You" (without the profanities) was used. The Miami show used "Won't Get Fooled Again." The New York show ended up using "Baba O'Riley"; sadly, the excerpt didn't include the "teenage wasteland" part.

Well, a new CSI show is premiering this evening: CSI: Cyber. It was probably an effort to choose an appropriate song here, since much of the Who's heyday occurred before the advent of the personal computer. Townshend, to my knowledge, never wrote a song about inserting punched cards for an IBM System/360 to read.

But the song that they chose ended up fitting, in a way.

Presumably some of the bad guys will be infiltrating systems from distant countries, so "I Can See For Miles" works on that level.

How long will it be until we get the CSI: Junior Sleuths show? We need to get "My Generation" in here somehow.

P.S. If you're looking for my CSI post about "Alpha Beta Gaga," it's here.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

And yes, it plays the song

At Hobby Lobby in Upland.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Air France Ambiance, January - February 2015

Between the time that I was perusing the shops at LAX and looking at a water-less Aquaboulevard, I was on a plane. The Air France Los Angeles-to-Paris flight offered a variety of onboard entertainment options, including several music channels. One of Air France's music channels was called "Ambiance Air France," a mixture of French and non-French artists curated to provide a particular ambience.

The airline obviously changes the playlist from time to time, but this is the playlist that I heard.


Unfortunately, the contents of this playlist were not posted in the onboard magazine, so I didn't know what I was hearing until long after my flight had ended.

Here is what Air France says about its music selection.

L’art du voyage selon Air France c’est aussi une invitation au voyage par les sens. En proposant à bord de ses avions mais aussi sur le net, des sélections musicales invitant au rêve, à la relaxation et au ressourcement, Air France met à la disposition de tous des morceaux et contenus rares voire exclusifs d’artistes du monde entier, reconnus ou à découvrir.

OK, the airline says it in English also.

The art of travel according to Air France is also an invitation to a sensory journey. With its unique selection of music on board and on its website inviting you to sit back, dream, rest and replenish your energy, Air France offers a broad repertory together with rare and exclusive content from artists all over the world, both well-known and rising stars.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Joe Cocker's part in the evolution of a song

The Beatles were at a critical point in their careers in late 1966. Musically, they were creating much more complex songs that could not be played on the stages of the day. Politically, there were people in the Philippines and the southern United States who wanted to kill them. Personally, they were all settling in to domestic life (three were married, and Paul was in a relationship with Jane Asher).

So they shook up things a little bit.

Some of the changes in their lives wouldn't happen for several years yet, but in late 1966/early 1967 they decided that they didn't want to issue another Beatles album. Instead, they wanted to issue an album by an entirely new group, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band.

The album started with a declaration that the performers were Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band. Crowd noises could be heard - not real crowd noises (the band ceased performing live in 1966), but fake ones. After a couple of minutes, the band introduced Billy Shears, whose voice sounded incredibly similar to Ringo Starr. Billy sang a song called "With a Little Help From My Friends." A nice song, but in later years no one would refer to this song as the highlight of the album.

A little while later, someone else sang that same song. And it sounded a little different.

The singer was a man named Joe Cocker, whose voice and physical gyrations would grace several other hits over the next decade and a half. But at the moment, he had transformed this incidental song into something that cowriter Paul McCartney later called a "soul anthem."

This would lead to another transformation, when a off-Broadway singer named John Belushi began to gain fame for his Joe Cocker impression. I couldn't find a video of Belushi singing "With a Little Help," but I did find this gem (which does include a little excerpt of the song).

The video above is an excerpt from the show "Lemmings," a show about death that was clearly not ready for prime time.

A few years later, Cocker and Belushi would perform together on a late-night television show. After that, people started dying. Lennon. Belushi. Harrison. And now Cocker.

But both surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, paid tribute to Joe Cocker and his amazing, transforming voice.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

What is the state song for Tennessee? I'll give you my opinion.

State legislatures, who have nothing better to do, come up with all sorts of state symbols, including mottos, insects...and songs. A list of the official state songs can be found here.

As you look over the list, you'll discover that some states have problems making up their minds. New Hampshire, which gets along fine with a single motto - "live free or die" - has a whopping ten official state songs.

Tennessee has several songs, but like many other states, the multiple songs are meant to address multiple musical genres. You have your waltz ("Tennessee Waltz"), your bluegrass song ("Rocky Top"), your biometric song ("When it's iris time in Tennessee")...and your rap song.

Well, I should clarify. It's your BICENTENNIAL rap song. (Tennessee's bicentennial, not the nation's.) Written in 1996 "to provide a fun and easy way for citizens and students to learn and retain some Tennessee's history," this rap song exposes the gritty underbelly of Tennessee's major cities.

Well, actually it doesn't. Here's the first verse.

Oh, how proud we are of thee!
Volunteer State since 1812 -
Glad our fathers picked here to dwell!

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but the word "thee" usually doesn't appear in a rap song.

I have not yet found a recording of this piece, but I suspect that its relation to rap is similar to Taylor Swift's relation to country.

I hope that someday Tennessee decides to establish an official loopy hip-hop song. This is my candidate.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Jimi Hendrix estate wasn't pleased with a Devo video. But what does the Bob Marley estate like?

I'm surprised that I've never told this story in the Empoprise-MU blog before, since it's certainly been top of mind for years.

Several years ago, Devo released a video compilation entitled "The Complete Truth About De-Evolution," covering the period from the band's origins to the Smooth Noodle Maps album. In addition to historical material, the collection includes official Devo videos that were released during the period. Obviously "Whip It" (the band's one massive hit) is included, along with other Devo-authored originals, but the collection also includes Devo covers of songs by others. Some of these covers offer notable differences from the originally recorded versions; Devo's cover of the Rolling Stones song "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," for example, brought the band a lot of attention. The collection also includes two other Devo covers: "Worried Man," and "Are You Experienced?"

Well, if you have the original Laserdisc version of the collection, you have all three cover songs.

If you, like I, have the DVD version, one of those songs is missing.

The Rhino Records DVD ... received much criticism from fans of the band ... because of the ... omission of the video for "Are U Experienced?." A comment on the back cover of the DVD addresses this: "DEVO regrets that 'Are U Experienced?' is not included in the program. The current executors of the Jimi Hendrix estate were determined to prove to us the old adage - 'To seek permission is to seek denial'."

However, if you want to see the excluded video, you can go to YouTube.

If you watch the video, you will see some black 80s hip-hop kids who run into a mysterious artifact from the past - a peace sign. The scene transitions to a lab, where four of the members of Devo look respectably scientific. Mark Mothersbaugh, however, wearing the peace sign with a Sonny Bono haircut, goes through strange bodily transformations. The Jimi Hendrix estate presumably took notice when a black hippie, looking like you-know-who, emerged from a coffin and played a guitar solo for some really groovy chicks and dudes.

Or perhaps the estate noticed the line that Mothersbaugh added to the song - something that clearly wasn't in the original:

Not necessarily beautiful, but mutated!

In summary, a perfect Devo-esque sendup of the generation of peace and love - and if you know Devo's creative origins, you'll understand why Devo has this attitude. Gerald Casale was at his school, Kent State University, one day:

As I ran from them I wheeled around in the direction of hideous, mass screaming to see Allison Krause laying on the ground, a huge pool of blood spreading out around her, coagulating in the bright heat of the sun. My mind snaps.

Devo wasn't the only one to turn on peace and love - the National Lampoon crowd did with "Lemmings" also. But Kent State ensured that the 1960s peace and love message wouldn't resonate with Devo's inner consciousness.

Unfortunately, Devo's video take on the Hendrix song apparently didn't resonate with the inner consciousness of Hendrix estate.

Because of this, some Devo fans - well, at least one of them - have been watching the Hendrix estate like a hawk. If the executors object to jokes about the man, exactly what DO they endorse?

While we're waiting on that, another 1960s cultural icon who died early has his own estate managing his family's affairs, and they have come up with an interesting endorsement.

Reggae legend Bob Marley’s name is being used to market an international cannabis brand after a tie-up between the singer’s family and US private equity group Privateer Holdings.

The product will be sold as “Marley Natural” in a deal which Privateer claims will “honour the life and legacy” of the Jamaican behind hits including I Shot the Sheriff and No Woman, No Cry. It will also tap into the Jamaican's “belief in the benefits of cannabis”.

The products are due to come on to the market in 2015 in areas where cannabis use has been legalised.

The messages that I have read from the private equity group concentrate on the healing powers of the herb, but don't delve into the religious significance that the herb held for Marley.

No, Marley didn't just smoke weed because it felt good. Marley was a practicing Rastafarian:

Ganja is considered the "wisdom weed" by Rastafarians, as its use helps one to gain wisdom. Rastafarians use it as a part of a religious rite and as a means of getting closer to their inner spiritual self, Jah (God) and Creation.

Ganja is also seen by Rastafarians as the herb of life mentioned in the Bible. Rastafarians use of ganja is justified by the following Psalms 104:14 that says, "He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle and herb for the service of man, that he may bring forth food out of the earth." Rastafarians also say it was found growing at the grave of King Solomon in the Bible.

Recent political initiatives in the United States have provided an environment in which a private equity firm can actually sell marijuana - something unthinkable a mere few years ago. And the Rastafarian religion is connected to this particular marketing effort.

However, there have been other political initiatives in the United States that have gained even more traction - namely, gay marriage. And the Marley estate would be hard-pressed to cash in on that.

If you are Rasta you would not be homosexual, yet if you were homosexual you might 'claim' to be a Rasta

But what of the Hendrix estate? While Jimi was known to partake of a substance or two, the official Hendrix estate merchandising arm isn't selling Purple Haze potions yet. It has stuck to album reissues, calendars, books, and the like.

At least for now.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

So this came up (Taking Tiger Mountain)


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bozell's headquarters location is mentioned in a hit song

Louis F. Davis, Jr. was an Ohio native who attended a conference at the University of Nebraska, and ended up getting a job there. The job? To conduct and arrange a version of "Hair" that could be performed in a dinner theater setting. Originally slated to last for eight weeks, the show ended up playing for six months. At its conclusion, Davis made a promise to himself:

[Davis] made himself another promise at the time – that he would try anything except writing country music.

Protecting himself from such a cruel fate, he ended up accepting a job at an Omaha, Nebraska advertising agency, Bozell & Jacobs (known today as simply Bozell). There he made the acquaintance of the firm's senior vice president and creative director, a man named William Fries. Fries and Davis collaborated on a series of commercials that would change both of their lives. You see, the commercials starred a character named C.W. McCall. Fries described what happened after the commercials began to air:

“As soon as the spots started to air, people began writing letters to the Metz Baking Company wanting to know more about C.W. McCall and Mavis and this little soap opera that was going on,” Fries reminisced. “It was just amazing. Fan clubs were springing up and people were calling into TV and radio stations wanting to know when the spots were going to air.”

The popularity resulted in the release of a limited edition record by the Metz Baking Company that sold 30,000 copies. The record? "The Old Home Fill-er-Up an’ Keep-on-a-Truckin’ Café."

However, most of us are familiar with C.W. McCall from a record that came out a couple of years later called "Convoy." The record includes a hidden tribute to the town that Fries and Davis then called home. You see, the convoy kept on getting longer and longer, until at the end of the song, the following conversation took place over the radio:

Ah, 10-4, Pig Pen, what's your twenty? OMAHA? Well, they oughta know what to do with them hogs out there fer shure.

Fries ended up in Colorado, and Chip Davis ended up creating Mannheim Steamroller (yeah, them) - while remaining in Nebraska.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Is Amanda Bynes mentally ill...or are we?

Over the last several weeks - no, the last several years - much virtual ink has been spilled over the plight of Amanda Bynes. She's exhibited erratic behavior. She's used Twitter as a worldwide therapy session, ranging from making accusations about various people, to declaring whether she, or other people, are pretty or ugly.

One morning the reality of Bynes was so disturbing that I shut off Twitter and listened to the radio. Perhaps it would be nice to get away from all of the negative reality.

So this song popped up that declared that it's "all about that bass," in an effort to declare that negative body image messages are demeaning. Or, to put it another way, if you're not skinny, that doesn't mean that you're ugly.

This was followed by another song in which the protagonist spent a lot of time hiding in her apartment, binge eating, and throwing up in her bathtub. But then we get to the joyous chorus:

You're gone and I gotta stay
High all the time
To keep you off my mind
Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh

So I went back to the less depressing reality of Twitter - at least Bynes talked about English legal affairs on occasion. (I won't bother to link to the tweet; she'll delete it soon anyway.)

P.S. Since this is a music blog, it's worthwhile to at least touch upon Bynes' musical talents. (No, this doesn't count.) Apparently, some of her younger years were spent on stage in productions of "Annie" and "The Music Man," among others, but I couldn't find a record of the parts that she played in those musicals.

Monday, November 3, 2014

More on Taylor Swift - and Disney - from Daniel Messer

In addition to the points that I made in my recent post - namely, that some artists can make more money from continuous streaming than they can from a single non-repeatable purchase - I ran across some other points from Daniel Messer. The subtitle on his post about Swift's removal of her songs from Spotify? "That'll Stop That Piracy."

Swift herself has been an outspoken critic of music piracy and streaming services, which is funny because my paying for Spotify means I’d never had to pirate a Taylor Swift song. (Not that I’d want to, but if the need was there….)

But it doesn't just end with music services. Messer used to work in a library, where customers could check out popular DVDs - such as Disney's "The Lion King." In fact, customers checked out the DVDs so much that they got worn out. When the library wanted to replace the DVDs, it ran into a little problem.

We couldn’t buy a new copy of The Lion King if we wanted to because it was “in Disney’s vaults” and not for sale at that time. Disney used to pull this in order to create false scarcity and keep the demand, and prices, high for their content.

Messer then posted three sentences. One will bring tears to your eyes. The other two will bring tears to Disney's eyes.

I watched disappointed kids walk away from the desk, being consoled by their parents. “Don’t worry, honey. We’ll just go home and download it or something.”

If you can't get something one way, and you really really really want it, you'll get it another way.

Taylor, somewhere some young girl is crying - and learning what "ripping" is.

So are you listening to Taylor Swift now? (Swift vs. Spotify)

In a post last week, I noted how listening habits had changed over the years, and that people who used to buy records or 8-track tapes now stream their music, paying for the privilege one way or another (either via a monthly fee, or by listening to ads). I also noted that if someone really likes a particular song, then the artist can make more from a streaming model than could be made by buying the song.

Taylor Swift is not convinced.

(Source: Wikipedia)

The Shake It Off singer hasn’t been too keen on sharing her music with Spotify. Swift’s most recent album, 1989, wasn’t on the service, and she initially held off on allowing Spotify to stream her 2012 album, Red. But the 24-year-old, whose music seems to have its own copyright patrol service, had been showing signs that she wouldn’t work with Spotify since July....

Needless to say, Spotify is arguing that Swift made a mistake when she pulled most of her songs off of Spotify.

We love Taylor Swift, and our more than 40 million users love her even more – nearly 16 million of them have played her songs in the last 30 days, and she’s on over 19 million playlists.

TIME estimates that a leading artist such as Swift could make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in song streams for a new album. That revenue, of course, is now denied to Swift, at least for now. This may be a stunt to get a higher royalty, or perhaps Swift is never ever ever ever coming back to Spotify.

Is Swift's VEVO page next?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I don't know why I had such trouble finding this song

It was early Monday evening, and I was dining at the Chipotle in Upland. Retail establishments has assembled scientific evidence that you have to play music to get people to buy buy buy. Therefore, this Chipotle was playing music to encourage us to eat more or whatever.

But while receiving the subliminal motivation to buy more chips, I heard a song that sounded interesting. It was a reggae style song, with a smooth singer, and with the chorus "I love you in every way."

Since my dinner date is not impressed with reggae, I restrained myself from searching for the song right then and there. But later that evening, armed only with the chorus and the style of music, I began my search.

Early evidence indicated that the song that I heard was a Buju Banton/Wayne Wonder song called "Bonafide Love."

But then I listened to the track and, while it was the correct tune, I realized that this was not the version that I heard at Chipotle.

Then the Who Sampled Who website provided another hint, referencing a Delroy Wilson song called "I Don't Know Why."

So I went to Spotify...and found no such song.

I did, however, find a song called "Movie Star" that matched the tune...but this was not the version that I heard at Chipotle.

Eventually, I did find a YouTube video.

Finally, I had found the exact version of the song that I heard at Chipotle. The video labeled this version as an "extended" version, which seemed to map to what I heard while eating. ("Movie Star" is less than three minutes long.)

After some further investigation, I discovered that this extended version was only released on one album:

In 2006, Heartbeat re-released the Best of Delroy Wilson...Original 12 and added six bonus cuts, including the soul nugget "I Love You Madly," the Wilson- Dodd originals "Rain from the Skies," a previously unissued extended mix of "I Don't Know Why," a killer cover of Theo Beckford's "Easy Snappin'" that has never appeared digitally before, and the stunner "One Last Kiss," originally released on 45 by the Wilson Brothers in 1965, to close the set out. How do you make a classic like this one better? Add more vintage, top-notch material, which is just what Heartbeat has done. This is an essential collection for fans of rocksteady music.

Unfortunately, this particular album wasn't on Spotify. And I couldn't find a digital version of the album on Amazon.

But I still had the YouTube video, which I could listen to via This Is My Jam.

Which could then get scrobbled on last.fm.

And you know what can happen when I do that.

Monday, October 27, 2014

That's $1.846 (and counting) that Sarah McLachlan got, no thanks to Sony

For better or worse, most of the music that I've listened to over the last several years has been electronically logged. I may not publicize my location or my credit card purchases, but I certainly publicize my tunes.

For example, if you look at this page, you can see all of the times that I've listened to the Sarah McLachlan song "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (Junior Boys Mix)," from the "Bloom (Remix Album)."

Yes, I listened to that song 30 times over a two-year period. On March 27, 2008 at 9:13 (time zone unknown), I first heard - excuse me a moment...

Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo - dooooooo

What was I saying? Oh, I first the song in March 2008, and I listened to it pretty regularly after that, but stopped listening to it on June 26, 2009 at 14:23.

Why would I start listening to the song, and then stop?

Well, as I previously stated in these two posts from 2008 and 2009, I first heard the song after Steven Hodson played it and shared it on last.fm. In fact, I was so inspired by hearing the song that I bought the entire CD at a Barnes & Noble in Montclair, California in August 2008. However, my listening habits changed, and rather than putting a CD into a CD player and listening to it, I would take the songs from the CD, convert them to electronic format, and listen to them on a computer or phone.

Except for the Bloom (Remix Album). As I noted in my second post:

If you look at the first page of my library, you'll see a lot of scrobbles from the Röyksopp and Midnight Juggernauts albums that I recently purchased, but you won't see a lot of scrobbles from the Sarah McLachlan album that I recently purchased. Why not? Because the CD had a copy-protection scheme that I never bothered to master, so I never downloaded the songs to my computer.

Which, in present-day terms (even for me) means that I hardly ever listen to Sarah McLachlan.

It's important to remember that back in 2009, last.fm wouldn't let you just choose to stream a particular song, even if you had an electronic copy stashed away somewhere. You could listen to your electronic copy, but of course I didn't have one of "Fumbling" because of the DRM junk. So I couldn't regularly enjoy

Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo - dooooooo

So as I streamed other music on last.fm, and eventually on Spotify after last.fm changed its streaming model, "Fumbling Toward Ecstasy (Junior Boys Mix)" remained out of sight, out of mind. As you can see, I never listened to that song from the Bloom (Remix Album) ever again.

But if you look at my last.fm records, you'll see this series of scrobbles for "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy - Junior Boys Mix." (See the difference?) These are my Spotify scrobbles, which began on October 23, 2014 at 1:06, as I was assembling the Emu201410f Spotify playlist that I tried to mention here.

Here is a better link to that playlist, which not only includes Sarah McLachlan, but also some NEW Midnight Juggernauts, and the Osmonds.



So what does this mean financially for Ms. McLachlan? First, it means that she got some cut of the $18.46 that I paid for the CD back in 2008. Second, depending upon how last.fm pays the record labels, she got some cut of some or all of the 30 plays of the song from 2008-2009. Third, she's getting some cut (perhaps a penny per play - more here) of my current Spotify plays of the song. If my penny per play estimate is accurate, it will take hundreds of Spotify plays before she makes as much money as she did from the percentage that Sony gave her in 2008.

But that is entirely possible.

Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo - dooooooo

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Test post of Spotify playlist Emu201410f


A rather eclectic playlist, but I like it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Leader of the pack - forming the super supergroup

(Yes, this is an instance in which you will find a story here that is not being reported by any other reputable publication. Hint, hint.)

The four gentlemen were sitting in a conference room at a hotel near O'Hare Airport, staring at a conference phone. A voice was speaking from the phone.

"Good evening, gentlemen," said the voice. "I'd like to thank you for coming here, although I'm certain that the $100 million paid to each of you had something to do with it."

("They got $100 million too?" mumbled one of the four.)

"As you have probably guessed, you have been asked to join together in a joint musical endeavor. Because of your high standings in the music industry, my supervisor believes that your joint endeavor will provide immense riches - I mean immense musical creativity - ah, who am I kidding? Immense riches." The voice laughed. "I need the four of you to decide upon a spokesman for the group, and then we can proceed."

There was the briefest of silences, and then the mumbler spoke up.

"The choice of a spokesman for the group is obviously a no-brainer," he stated. "With all deference to you old guys, I am the 21st century genius in this bunch. I have revolutionized all forms of entertainment, and my wife Kim isn't too shabby either. So, Charlie or whoever you are on the phone, Kanye will be the group spokesman."

An even briefer silence took place before the next person spoke. "Kanye, your work is so derivative," he said. "It's one thing to get a random video together, but you need to create a philosophy behind the video - one that is informed by current events. Now you may have spent your days watching your wife's sex tape, but I was there at Kent State, and my experience resulted in a philosophy that not only informed my band's successful audio output, but also its successful video output. Our video for 'Beautiful World' was the most revolutionary-"

Gerald Casale was interrupted in mid-sentence by the third man. "Revolutionary?" he exclaimed. "I invented video! Without my pioneering work in video, all of your flowerpot stuff would be nothing! And as for success, you guys were one hit wonders. I've had success on my own, I've had success with a band, I've had success with Linda Ronstadt, and I have more Liquid Paper than the rest of you combined!"

"Shut up, hat boy!" said the fourth man.

"You're a fine one to talk, surfer boy," replied the third man.

"Now you shut up, Nesmith. And you too, Casale. And especially you, West. All of you are wonderful in the studio with Auto Tune and everything else, but you haven't been performing live for fifty years like I have. Why? Because you're too scared. This supergroup is going to have to go out on tour at some point, and you won't be able to hack it. And as for the inventiveness that you all brag about, you haven't invented anything! I, Mike Love, invented surf music. I, Mike Love, invented car music. I, Mike Love, invented introspective music. I, Mike Love, invented Brian Wilson. And I, Mike Love, have continued to revolutionize music to this very day. In fact, Charlie, you don't need these other three! I, Mike Love, can be your supergroup! Who needs that Wilson dude? Who needs Al Jardine? Who needs what's-his-name who writes songs for Manilow?"

"Shut up, Mike!" yelled the voice on the speakerphone. "My boss says that all four of you will be in this group, and all four of you will be in this group! And if you know what's good for you, you won't quit. Just saying." He paused. "We'll table this discussion of group leader for a later time. Right now, I'd like to introduce you to your new manager and producer." There was a pause. "Gentlemen, meet Malcolm McLaren."

The room was quiet.

"I thought he was dead," said Gerald Casale.

A new voice emerged on the speaker. "But there are buffalo gals in HELL! And as for innovation, you pretenders..."


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Music-related phrases that you never saw, and will never see

When reading the music press, there are certain phrases that do not shock you; "Heavy Metal Star Arrested for Drugs" is one example. But there are certain statements that you will NEVER see in the music press. Here are a few examples:

"Madness spent the last three months in Hollywood recording their new album."
(If there is any band that represents the word "English," it's the band Madness. Perhaps they'd spent two nights on the Sunset Strip, but after that it would be "time for tea" and they'd scurry back across the pond.)

"Kanye West is refraining from promoting his recent acoustic album."
(Unlikely on at least two levels. Even if Kanye were to grab an acoustic guitar and sing without Auto-Tune, it is very unlikely that he could keep his mouth shut about the endeavor.)

"Oasis has reunited with both Gallagher brothers, but will not release a new record and will perform all concerts at free venues."
(I'm not ruling out a future reunion of Oasis, but if they do reunite, they will reunite for the same reason that the Sex Pistols reunited - money.)

"Pat Boone is promoting his album of heavy metal covers."
(Oh wait - Boone DID do that.)