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There's a really nice profile on producer Mike Crossey (The 1975, The Gaslight Anthem) over on SoundonSound.
"After these years of working predominately with pop music that involved a lot of programming, I had a period of rebellion to it, during which I fell out with computers and wanted to work all-analogue and solely with tape machines,” remarked Crossey. "I was inspired by the Steve Albini approach and worked with many guitar bands. These days, I'm somewhere in the middle, and so last year I was talking with my manager about finding this mythical band that blends pop, commerciality, programming and electronic elements with being a guitar band with real instruments, credibility and...
Jason Tate on 07/25/14 - 04:02 PM
Over 700 indie labels have come together for an initiative promoting fair and transparent accounting to artists and music companies in respect of digital revenues.
Representatives of Domino, Cooking Vinyl, Epitaph, Because Music, Glassnote, Mushroom Group, Nettwerk, Ninja Tune, Secretly Canadian, Saddle Creek, Sub Pop, Tommy Boy, XL Recordings and the Beggars Group, representing 4AD, Matador and Rough Trade, are among the 700-plus signatories of the ‘Fair Digital Deals Declaration’ – a firm commitment from the global independent community to treat artists fairly in relation to the digital exploitation of recorded works with third parties.
Jason Tate on 07/15/14 - 06:13 PM
Glenn Peoples, writing for Billboard:
People are still buying albums -- millions of them each week -- but new releases are accounting for a smaller percentage of those sales. Looking at the last five years of album sales, current release sales have fallen 38.1% while catalog sales have dropped 22.4%, according to Billboard analysis of Nielsen SoundScan. This disparity in rates of decline has meant catalog sales account for a greater share of total sales than five years ago.
Jason Tate on 07/15/14 - 11:46 AM
Steven Hyden, writing for Grantland:
CDs outsell vinyl records many times over, but CDs don’t have nearly the cachet or booster-ish press coverage. Even cassettes have been revived by indie labels like Burger Records, which are successfully remaking cheap, junky, and sonically wobbly plastic-encased media as collectible boutique items. (This partly explains why, at this very moment, there are cool kids listening to White Lion tapes post-ironically at the trendiest dive bar in your neighborhood.) CD buyers, meanwhile, are made to feel like we’re living in a Richard Matheson story.
Jason Tate on 07/14/14 - 01:20 PM
I just wanted to direct some attention at the Women's Audio Mission.
Women's Audio Mission is a San Francisco based, non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of women in music production and the recording arts. In a field where women are chronically under-represented (less than 5%), WAM seeks to "change the face of sound" by providing hands-on training, experience, career counseling and job placement to women and girls in media technology for music, radio, film, television and the internet. WAM believes that women's mastery of music technology and inclusion in the production process will expand the vision and voice of media and popular culture.
Jason Tate on 07/11/14 - 05:30 PM
Nilay Patel, writing for Vox, looks at the economic missteps in Taylor Swift's recent Wall Street Journal op-ed.
Taylor makes a nice little argument in favor of paying for music. "Music is art," she says, "and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It's my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album's price point is." This is an impressively-constructed syllogism. It is also deeply, deeply wrong.

The single hardest economic problem posed by the internet is the end of scarcity.
Jason Tate on 07/09/14 - 09:40 AM
Ryan Bort, writing for Esquire:
Summer festivals are the perfect analogy for how consumers interact with music in 2014. Our relationship with the industry is more fragmented and there are more pipelines for consumption than ever before. We have access to and are familiar with more artists than we can keep up with. They're on our friends' social media feeds, covered by the blogs we read, and we can listen, pass judgment, and move on to the next thing in an instant. We stream rather than buy. We listen to individual songs, not entire albums. We don't want to commit. Even if you claim to be a listen-to-the-whole-album purist, I've seen you bouncing around from one or two War on Drugs songs...
Jason Tate on 07/08/14 - 02:10 PM
New research suggests that musical talent is largely innate.
Even after taking practice out of the equation, however, "over three-quarters of the genetic variance in music accomplishment remained," they report. This means that the aforementioned "genetically influenced propensities” to practice “are not sufficient to explain all of the genetic influences on accomplishment."

Rather, the researchers conclude, musical accomplishment is determined in large part by “a host of other genetically influenced factors, such as musical aptitude or basic abilities.”
Jason Tate on 07/08/14 - 11:07 AM
Paul Blest, writing for The Runout:
It’s not about capitalism, or classism, or (laughably) adhering to a “corporate model,” or musicians trying to make a quick buck off of their fans. It’s about basic respect for another human that made something that you genuinely get enjoyment out of. If anyone alive in punk rock is adhering to a corporate model, it’s the fan that refuses to pay a fair price for shows, merch, and music. All of the hallmarks are there – benefitting, for the least amount of money, off of someone else’s work. These are sometimes the same people that claim to be “activists” (although their activism often amounts to nothing more than a few tweets) or in favor of workers’...
Jason Tate on 07/08/14 - 10:38 AM
Tim Cohen of The Fresh and Only's, writing for for Impose Magazine, gives his take on how artists should view critical feedback.
I agree that music is meant to be heard, discussed, danced to, felt by many and the world over. And each has the unalienable right to like or dislike whatever one experiences. This reviewer seems to identify as part of a bigger group, i.e. the listening public, and asserts that “nobody,” not one of them, wanted us to create said album. “Wow!” I thought for a second, “It really IS us against them, isn’t it?” But, reviewer: Speaking on behalf of more than just yourself, as an editorial journalist, is not only dangerous, it is symptomatic of a greater confusion....
Jason Tate on 07/07/14 - 10:25 PM
Charlotte Richardson Andrews, writing for The Guardian:
For all the films and programmes about women's role in punk, their recognition has been a problem since the 1970s and it looks like very little has changed. Women were a part of punk from the beginning as musicians, promoters, venue heads, artists, provocateurs, community organisers, documenting their local scenes in zines, films, books and photographs. As LA punk veteran Alice Bag has pointed out, punk started out as an inclusive and diverse movement, but was quickly annexed by white dudes. Women have had to fight for space and recognition in punk ever since.
Jason Tate on 07/03/14 - 10:55 AM
David Greenwald, writing for The Oregonian:
There will be no blurred lines this summer. After a year in pop that prided itself on reckless masculinity, Robin Thicke is pleading for his estranged wife's return and the rest of the pop world seems to have learned a lesson from the firestorm of critique his "Blurred Lines" caused. From the charts to the club, 2014's male-fronted tracks are hands-free affairs that eye the altar, not the bedroom.
Jason Tate on 06/26/14 - 10:19 PM
Musicians are playing a song all day, every day, as part of the Kjartansson exhibit.
As part of the New Museum's solo exhibition devoted to the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, a group of 15 musicians have been playing a single song all day, every day the museum is open. When the gig ends along with the show at the end of the month, they estimate it will have been performed roughly 6,000 times, for 308 hours, and with the help of several dozen gallons of beer.

Submitted by MelissaMDaniels
Jason Tate on 06/26/14 - 09:26 PM
Tyler Osborne wrote a piece for Haulix on why paying to play for shows sucks:
From personal experiences, I have known many small bands to make last minute calls to family and friends hoping people will buy tickets to a show - even if there is no way that person can attend - just so the artist can perform for fifteen minutes an hour and a half before some mid-level national headliner comes out and half heartedly thanks the ‘local talent’ that opened the show. In situations such as this, which happen daily in cities and towns across the country, who benefits except the absent, uninvolved promoter? No one.
Jason Tate on 06/17/14 - 06:41 PM
Megan Seling, writing for Wondering Sound, has put together a really thought provoking piece on Warped Tour's lack of women.
“There’s really not a lack of women,” he [Kevin Lyman] says, interrupting me before I’ve finished asking the first question. “If you’ve got 20 bands that have women in them out of 120 bands, that’s one out of six bands.”

“You think that’s OK?” I ask, surprised that he would be so comfortable with such a one-sided ratio.

“That’s absolutely OK,” he says.

Update: Kevin Lyman has posted a variety of responses on Twitter.
I encourage @mseling to start her own music festival, she has good taste in music and seems to have it figured out.
Jason Tate on 06/16/14 - 09:32 PM
Honda is putting over $50 million dollars into their advertising strategy centered around music.
Peyton also reports a direct impact on car sales from the Civic Tour over the years, but declined to share specifics. Instead, he points to a 34% lift in purchase-consideration as measured from ticket-buyers when compared to prospective auto-buyers who didn’t attend the tour. “It helps us know that we’re fishing exactly where the fish are,” Peyton says. [...] Honda's amped-up investment immediately places the brand among the most active spenders in music, let alone automotives, which for years have been led by Chevrolet.
Jason Tate on 06/12/14 - 12:34 PM
David Carr, writing for the New York Times:
Late last Thursday, I stopped at the fruit stand and some big, vivid red grapes caught my eye. The vendor said a two-pound bunch would be $6, which seemed steep. I was about to tell him as much, and then came to my senses and gave him the money. I wondered why I hesitated when it came time to pony up and realized that, as just one more participant in the Something for Nothing economy, I’d grown accustomed to getting all sorts of lusciousness for the price of zero.
Jason Tate on 06/11/14 - 02:24 PM
Rex Sorgatz makes an interesting argument that "rare" media no longer exists.
With access to infinite bytes of media, describing a digital object as "rare" sticks out like a lumbering anachronism. YouTube - the official home of lumbering anachronisms - excels at these extraordinarily contradictory moments. Here, for instance, are the Beatles, performing a "VERY RARE" rendition of "Happy Birthday". That sonic obscurity has been heard 2.3 million times. And here is a "Rare Acoustic" version of Slash performing "Sweet Child O' Mine". Over 26 million have devoured this esoteric Axl-less morsel.
Jason Tate on 06/10/14 - 01:30 PM
FiveThirtyEight has begun crunching the numbers on boy bands.
Why does this matter? As I’ll get to later in this series, it can seem weird that a team of college sophomores are specifically targeting preteens with substantially sexed-up songs. I’m not trying to pull off one of those ludicrous “we need to protect our children” crusades, but no matter how we slice it: Isn’t it slightly off-putting that this has become, for a significant number of artists, a reproducible business model?
Jason Tate on 06/04/14 - 11:37 AM
Writer, and friend, David Greenwald has written an interesting piece on Medium looking at "How should a music critic be?":
Do we need 100 aggregations of every headline? 50 takes on every review? 25 thinkpieces on every inflammatory video? The web has opened up culture writing to a broader, necessary range of voices, and maybe having more options means expanding our overall readership—or maybe it means, in our aging niche, everyone gets by with less. I would never tell anyone to stop writing: our competition is YouTube (and Netflix), not each other, but sometimes, after a full week of stone-turning controversy essays, I wonder how many readers can smell the stench of desperation.
Jason Tate on 06/03/14 - 12:07 PM
Danah Boyd wrote a thought provoking piece on how the idea of "selling out" is now practically dead to teens. And to think, just a few years ago that was the biggest slam thrown at bands.
These teens are not going to critique their friends for being sell-outs because they’ve already been sold out by the adults in their world. These teens want freedom and it’s our fault that they don’t have it except in commercial spaces. These teens want opportunities and we do everything possible to restrict those that they have access to. Why should we expect them to stand up to commercial surveillance when every adult in their world surveils their every move “for their own good”? Why should these...
Jason Tate on 05/27/14 - 02:50 PM
Billboard is reporting that Spotify now has 10 million paid subscribers, and 3 million of those are in the US.
The news of Spotify’s growth comes as speculation mounts about the company going public later this year. The anticipation has grown as Spotify has advertised for SEC regulatory staff, agreed a $200 million credit line with several Wall Street banks, inked a partnership with Sprint wireless partnership, expanded in Latin America and acquired EchoNest, a data service.
Jason Tate on 05/21/14 - 11:35 AM
Yeah, I know I'm a nerd ... but this data looking at "the skip button" and how it's used and how often on Spotify fascinates me.
First, lets look at how often a song is skipped within the first five seconds of play. I call these quick skips. The likelihood that a song will be skipped within the first five seconds is an astounding 24.14%. Nearly one quarter of all song plays are abandoned in the first 5 seconds. The likelihood that a song will be skipped within the first thirty seconds rises to 35.05%. The chance that a song is skipped before it ends is a whopping 48.6%. Yes, the odds are only slightly better than 50/50 that a song will be played all the way to the end.
Jason Tate on 05/16/14 - 11:31 PM
Long time staff member, Lueda Alia, wrote her inaugural post today over at her new personal blog, Alueda.net. The topic is one we've touched on a variety of times on our website (most recently in the post about what to do in college to prepare for a career in the music industry) and it reaches through a variety of at-large societal issues: success, competition, internships, hard-work, and collaboration. Ms. Alia makes an interesting argument that interns are not all that different than artists being poorly compensated for "exposure" at major festivals:
The way many interns are treated is no different than the way musicians are treated when they work for years for the chance to perform...
Jason Tate on 05/16/14 - 04:35 PM
Billboard has "ten new school pop-punk bands you need to know about" -- because of course they do.
You Blew It! are an intriguing pick, as they combine elements of the so-called "Emo Revival" to go along with pop-punk. This means they're cleverer with their guitars than your typical punk crew and on this year's fantastic "Keep Doing What You're Doing" album, they use the soft-to-loud dynamic for maximum emotional impact. To sweeten the deal, they're signed to Top Shelf Records, home of recent buzzy emo bands like A Great Big Pile of Leaves and (deep breath) The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die and come from Florida, home state of pop-punk forefathers like New...
Jason Tate on 05/08/14 - 09:47 PM
Of course someone would compile the research to see if it supports Jay-Z or not in declaring lacrosse soft.
But let's take Jay-Z's line literally for a second. Is it actually true, as Major League Lacrosse claims, that lacrosse is, as sports go, pretty hard? Are its athletes as fit, on average, as athletes in other sports? Do they have equally strong muscles, or equally impressive aerobic capacities?
Jason Tate on 04/30/14 - 11:22 AM
Insanul Ahmed has written an interesting piece for Complex looking at the recent criticisms of music criticism expressed by Lorde, Iggy Azalea, Grimes, and others.
I made it a point to mention the author of each of the pieces Complex has published. There’s a very important distinction between what the individual members of the Complex staff think about an artist/album versus what Complex does as an organization. As I often have to remind people I meet in real life, just because I represent a brand, that does not make me the brand. So just because David Drake didn’t like Iggy’s album, doesn’t mean me or Justin Monroe also don’t like it. We’re all entitled to our own opinions though we...
Jason Tate on 04/28/14 - 11:31 AM
According to a new study by researchers at the University of Sussex, women really are more attracted to men who can produce music.
The researchers believe it provides the first scientific support for Charles Darwin’s theory that the prime function of music is to aid sexual courtship. Dr Charlton said: "The ability to create complex music could be indicative of advanced cognitive abilities. "Consequently, women may acquire genetic benefits for offspring by selecting musicians able to create more complex music as sexual partners."
Jason Tate on 04/25/14 - 11:46 AM
Maria Konnikova, writing for The New Yorker, on the science behind why we yawn:
Rather than empathy, the contagious nature of yawning may be highlighting something very different. “We’re getting insight into the human herd: yawning as a primal form of sociality,” Provine says. Yawning may be, at its root, a mechanism of social signalling. When we yawn, we are communicating with one another. We are sending an external sign of something internal, be it our boredom or our anxiety, our fatigue or our hunger—all moments when we may need a helping hand. In fact, yawning may be the opposite of what we generally think. It’s less likely a signal that you’re tired than a signal that it’s time for...
Jason Tate on 04/25/14 - 11:31 AM
Billboard's profile of Dana Giacchetto reveals that Microsoft once made a (very low) bid for Sub-Pop Records.
Giacchetto says his greatest deal was the 1994 Sub Pop sale to Warner. "I can now reveal that Universal was the top bidder, $25 million," says Giacchetto, "but it wasn't the right creative fit. Sony Music bid $5 million. David Geffen bid $8 million -- I told him his bid was way too f-ing low - and Microsoft bid a paltry $4 million, frankly insulting. Bill Gates, who at the time considered himself to be 'the future of entertainment,' couldn't have been a more dull character. It definitely would have made Microsoft a bit more hip, which in hindsight might have actually made...
Jason Tate on 04/24/14 - 10:58 AM
A new study has found that when reviewers were told the author of a legal brief was black they consistently rated the piece lower in quality and identified more errors than its identical counterpart. Evan Soltas, writing for Vox, has more:
Arin N. Revees, the president of Nextions and the author of the study, argues that the implicit racism happened because reviewers take the racial information she provided as a cue for how they should judge the work. When the author is supposed to be white, reviewers excused errors as out of haste or inexperience. They commented that the author "has potential" and was "generally a good writer but needs to work on" some skills. When the author is...
Jason Tate on 04/23/14 - 07:17 AM
Vox reports on a study that looks at how country music is happy in bad times, sad in good times ... and pop-music is the opposite.
The researchers behind the study, Coastal Carolina University's Terry Pettijohn and Southern Mississippi's Donald Sacco, take as their dataset the Billboard country songs of the year from 1946 to 2008. They used text analysis software, and manual chord analysis and tempo measurement, to identify lyrical themes and musical properties of the songs. They then compared their findings to an index measuring the overall well-being of society, using indicators like unemployment, inflation, personal income growth, the suicide and homicide rates, the divorce rate, and...
Jason Tate on 04/19/14 - 12:11 PM
Tim Hirsh, writing for EDM.com, has written an article on why Outkast "flopped" at Coachella -- placing the blame on (you should have guessed) EDM.
We all like to party and dance around. But now a great deal of people that come out to festivals have an expectation of immediately accessible music. You could have wandered into Dillon Francis’s Coachella set without knowing a single song and absolutely loved it. EDM, in a live setting, has a way of being instantly entertaining – and here’s the kicker – in a way lyrical, 90s-style hip hop really has no chance at matching. When you’re accustomed to thousands of perfectly synced strobe lights and the energy-building peaks and valleys of a...
Jason Tate on 04/16/14 - 10:55 AM
Coca-Cola's head of global entertainment recently sat down with Billboard to talk about their music strategy.
I think the payoff is it allows us to have another sensory experience for the brand. The vision is to have the same expression through music where people can find that happiness, that uplift, that positivity through music, through a Coke Spotify page, through something we’re doing on our web site, through one of the experiences we’re creating around the world. It's creating that consistent experience around music that brings to life our brand and what the brand means.
Jason Tate on 04/16/14 - 10:40 AM
Larry Rohter, writing for The New York Times, breaks down the process behind getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
After a dozen or so nominees are chosen, their names are submitted to a larger group of more than 600 voters, who include previous Hall of Fame inductees and a mix of music industry figures and critics. Voters receive an advocacy sheet for each nominee, are supplied a link that allows them to listen to tracks that are meant to exemplify the candidate’s work, and then they cast their ballots, with the top five or six vote getters emerging as honorees.
Jason Tate on 04/10/14 - 11:04 AM
Maura Johnston (disclaimer: she's a friend) writes a really interesting piece for Vice on the current state of music writing and poptimism.
"Poptimism"—which has long been in place in the ideological arsenals of music critics, from Robert Christgau on down—is not about blindly accepting every piece of radio-ready music that comes down the pike and hailing it as the next important thing. Instead, it's about throwing out the artificial distinctions that elevate Serious Mass-Appeal Music (usually made by men, and with guitars) over Frothy Bubbly Stuff (which often appeals to women as much as, if not more than, it does men). This is not to say that it tosses out complexity in favor of...
Jason Tate on 04/09/14 - 03:30 PM
The Verge looks at how crowdfunding still has a trust problem. The Dangerous Summer fans respond, "no shit."
At the same time, the all-or-nothing absolutism of Kickstarter funding also ensures that you only pay if production can realistically be achieved. In the case of the Healbe GoBe, you could spend $199 expecting to get one for yourself, but if the product isn’t popular enough, the company might take your money without delivering any tangible return. And that's not a rare occurrence, given that only 10 percent of Indiegogo projects are fully funded.
Jason Tate on 04/04/14 - 11:28 AM
Owen Pallett has attempted to use music theory to explain the genius of Katy Perry.
Let’s start by talking about the ingenuity of the harmonic content. This song is all about suspension—not in the voice-leading 4–3 sense, but in the emotional sense, which listeners often associate with “exhilaration,” being on the road, being on a roller coaster, travel. This sense of suspension is created simply, by denying the listener any I chords. There is not a single I chord in the song. Laymen, the I chord (“one chord”) is the chord that the key is in. That is, the song is in G but there are no G-chords. Other examples of this, in hit singles: Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and Stardust’s “Music Sounds...
Jason Tate on 03/25/14 - 04:09 PM
FiveThirtyEight crunched the data to find the "fastest rapper in the game" -- the results?
Joey Bada$$, who manages 180 wpm, is the best amateur of the bunch, followed by DyMe-A-DuZiN (179.7 wpm) and Shawn Chrystopher (174.2), but none comes close to Twista’s 280 wpm.
Jason Tate on 03/24/14 - 11:37 PM
David Carr writing for the NY Times on the current state of the cross section of brands and music:
And in a move that might seem redundant given the irony that she had already coated herself with, Lady Gaga invited the performance artist Millie Brown on stage to drink a bottle of neon green liquid and vomit all over her. Her actions — to happily shill for Doritos, then deliver a lecture on the importance of independent thought — perfectly encapsulate the conflicted state of the industry.
Jason Tate on 03/19/14 - 08:53 PM
Interested in how Facebook sees music for the next few years? This interview with employee Ime Archibong gives a lot of insight.
For music specifically -- I know I'm one of the "music" guys at Facebook, I've been tremendously bullish on it. Music, [as I said], is a form of communication. Facebook is in the business of facilitating communication between two people. There's no reason why this overlap isn't going to continue happening. It's been happening for the last decade on the platform. If anything, the products, the way it shows up, the way it actually happens has continued to grow up and evolve as a business and will continue, to use a business term, "up and to the right." So I'm...
Jason Tate on 03/19/14 - 08:44 PM
David Pakman writes an interesting piece for Re/Code on how much the average consumer paid for music at the height of music buying -- and then compares it to what is going on now.
The data shows that $120 per year is far beyond what the overwhelming majority of consumers will pay for music, and instead shows that a price closer to $48 per year is likely much closer to a sweet spot to attract a large number of subscribers.
Jason Tate on 03/19/14 - 08:40 PM
Tshepo Mokoena, writing for the Guardian, asks if we should have a problem with Beyonce's "Drunk in Love" due to the domestic violence portions.
There was a degree of criticism from blogs and the mainstream media around the time of the album's release, although much of the dust from that seemed to have settled up until Sunday night's Grammy performance. But why? On a record that critics lauded as Beyonce's most feminist to date, and one she proudly dubs her most honest so far, it's strange to see two major stars shoehorn a domestic violence reference into a track that otherwise celebrates love and all the glory of marital hook-ups. Plus, it's annoying to have a few lines detract from...
Jason Tate on 01/28/14 - 10:54 AM
John Roderick was recently interviewed on the CMD+Space podcast, and he brought up some intereting thoughts on the internet, bands, marketing your music, and how having more of everything has led to us being statisfied with worse. I found the podcast from Marco's blog, and he pulled out some interesting quotes:
I hate to sound curmudgeonly, but … what is inevitable is that the mean quality of everything is declining. In the early ’70s, it was very expensive to make a record, and you had to be really good at it to even get into the studio to give it a shot. The record companies were very selective, and the music that made it all the way out to the marketplace was astonishingly good....
Jason Tate on 01/21/14 - 03:41 PM
Joshua Hunt, writing for The New Yorker, has published a really interesting article on what devices and music is popular in prisons.
The radio provided hours of welcome distraction for Demmitt, who had come from Sheridan’s adjoining detention center, where, he says, he spent weeks without a radio while confined to a small cell for at least twenty-three hours a day. The radio was unlike any Demmitt had seen outside prison, with a transparent plastic body that revealed the landscape within: a single AA battery rested at the bottom of its circuit board, while its antenna—one and three quarter inches of copper wire coiled around a small ferrite bar—peeked through a white Sony logo, just...
Jason Tate on 01/20/14 - 10:37 AM
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