Today’s Discovery via Lala.com

Of course, I’ve known about Maura O’Connell almost as long as I’ve lived in Nashville, but when “Phoenix Falling” from this 2006 album rolled around on a playlist (which I started by selecting Cheryl Wheeler), I knew in a heartbeat what I want to be listening to this afternoon. No disrespect, Cheryl, but this stuff is knocking me out:

And after I listened to this album, I listened to her newest, Naked With Friends, which I’d first heard about listening to an interview with Maura on the podcast edition David Hooper’s Music Business Radio.

A Contrary Opinion

Demand for a subscription music service has been capped, and a mobile app won’t help drive incremental demand even if it is a good product.

via www.businessinsider.com

I never did try Rhapsody (or the Napster subscription service), I guess I’ll have to check then out to see how well they work. I know a couple of people who’ve tried it and speak well of it. But when I read “demand… has been capped” at fewer than a million subscribers, I just have to think… somebody’s missing the boat. Hell, could just as well be me…

Spotify – The Devil You DON’T Know

The European online music service Spotify offers six million tracks—a practically limitless catalog spanning Aaron Copland to ZZ Top—in an interface as polished and intuitive as Apple’s iTunes. And unlike the pay-per-song iTunes, Spotify’s entire library is free for the taking, assuming users can tolerate an occasional advertisement.

via www.thedailybeast.com

…because you have to be somebody to get it.

The question is, what sort of licenses has Spotify been able to negotiate that iTunes cannot? Is Apple beholden to the labels for the 99c/track model? If not, is iTunes the Spotify killer?

Oh, and, “an occasional adverstisement” is NOT free… and… who gets THAT money? Remember, the reason the labels wanted to kill Napster was not because Napster was ripping off the artists, but to preserve the labels’ ability to rip off the artists. If Spotify is in league with the labels, how is it any different on that score?

A Paradigm Shift in 280 Characters

LMDFA09_1-310x176 Last month, Nashville's Leadership Music held its annual Dale Franklin Awards Banquet at which the honorees were producer Allen Reynolds, music executive Jim Fogelsong, and some country crooner named Garth Brooks. The morning after the gala event, I learned that the esteemed Mr. Brooks had used his after dinner remarks to rail against the evils of all things digital in the music business.

During the event, I'd noticed the editor of Music Row posting to Twitter from the venue about the goings on, so I posed the question to him: "What exactly did Garth say about digital last night?"  To which he replied:

Screen-capture-1 

To which I replied:

Screen-capture-3  

And there, in two 140 character statements, is the essential paradigm shift that the arrival of the Celestial Jukebox portends.

Music 3.0 – The Historical Premise

Note: December 27, 2010:  Much has changed since this essay was first posted in September, 2009.  For starters, the referenced service “Lala.com” has been acquired by Apple, Inc., and is now defunct as we await the delivery of whatever cloud music service the people who brought you the iPod and iTunes and the iPhone have up their sleeve.  And, as mentioned at the very end, the Beatles are finally available in digital format, but only through iTunes, and only for download, still no streaming.  Both topics have been addressed in prior posts).

– – – – – – – –

The glimmer of a new beginning came at the end.

The “end” in this case is the final scene of a documentary called “Any Day Now,” which follows the summer, 2008 tour of a Nashville-based musicians’ collective called “Ten Out Of Tenn.”

10Tenn The movie documents how ten mostly Nashville-based musicians pooled their resources and put together an extraordinary tour.  All the participants are accomplished musicians and recording artists at various stages in their careers – one or two ‘major label’ names, some coming off major label deals, mostly talented indies still forging their careers amid the ruins of the dying music “industry.”

But what is most compelling about both the movie and the tour it follows is the ‘Ten ouf of Tenn’ experience and its spirit of shared resources.  Traveling individually, each of these artists would have had to book their own gigs, make their own travel arrangements, drive their own cars or rentals, and played their own shows.

By pooling their resources, the ten together could afford to hire a bus and a driver.  And they all became each other’s band.  The film shows them all playing in different combinations, all the accompaniment you could possibly want right there in the pool.  Want to play solo acoustic?   No prob.  But if you need a keyboard or a bassist or even a cello, well guess what, there’s somebody already on the bus who plays what you need to embellish your sound on stage.

Hiresphoto In the film, each of the ten principals performs one of their songs.  The stage performances are interspersed with segments depicting the sort of antics you might expect of creative personalities filling their days on the road.  Each of the performances is captivating, and the all of the clips in between are entertaining and engaging and offer a good sense of just what being on such a tour would be like.

But it is the penultimate scene that seals the deal and, I think, firmly places Ten Out Of Tenn — both the tour and the documentary — squarely astride the shifting paradigms of today’s music experience.

In this nearly final scene the musicians have finished their last show, but no one wants to leave the venue.  Not the audience, not the musicians.  And so the players come down off the stage, and with unplugged acoustic guitars lead their audience in an enthusiastic sing-along of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.”

In that moment, the proscenium that separates the troubadours from their audience was erased.  The artists became the audience and the audience became the artists.  And I as I felt the chicken skin bubbling up on my arm I turned to the friend who’d invited me to the screening and said “THAT’s ‘Music three-point-oh.'”

Which statement I will now try to defend.

As I see it, “Music 3.0” is the perfect description of the tectonic shift that music — live and recorded – is now experiencing.  And following the transitions from 1.0 to 2.0 gives us some idea what to expect from 3.0

Read More

Chuck Klosterman Sends Up The Beatles

via www.avclub.com

The Beatles: A band so obscure you cannot find their music on iTunes.

As I type that, the remaster release of "I'll Be Back" (from "A Hard Day's Night") is playing on the speakers at a Starbucks. So far, I don't hear any difference. But then, there's quite a din in the room, and I don't recall any Espresso Machine sound effects on the original…

Scenic Ireland – October 2006

In October, 2006. we spent two weeks driving all over the most scenic parts of Ireland.  Well, let’s just say that the parts we saw — the west and southern counties of Mayo, Galway. Kerry, Cork and whatever is in between, are among the most dramatic landscapes we’ve ever seen.  We only saw SIX of the THIRTY-TWO counties in Ireland.  We have been trying to get back there every since.

Ireland - County Mayo

Burrishoole Abbey in County Mayo

This slide show was delivered via flickr.com, in the days before we started using Lightroom to process and upload photos.  Looking at the image quality now (January, 2010), I can see we need to go back and recreate this gallery.

Honeymoon in England: September, 2000

Click the image to open the slideshow:

Honeymoon in England – September, 2000

We were married on September 23, 2000.  Two days later we flew off to spend week in England and and a week in Bavaria.

The first part of the week in England was spend at a bed and breakfast near the town of Oswestry, in Shropshire, in the Costwolds near the border with Wales.  In fact, there was a stream on the property, and the opposite of the stream was Wales.  The second week was spent in London after a stop in Stratford on Avon.

The photos here are not in precise chronological order; the locations include Stonehenge, Harlech Castle in Wales, Ludlow Castle, Brunelle Castle, Ann Hathaway’s Cottage in Stratford, and other locations in England, then the Tower in London and Hampton Palace outside of London.

Kodachrome Classics

Return with us now to those colorful days of yesteryear… colorful, because everything was photographed with a magic film stock called “Kodachrome.” Yes, the very same film immortalized in the Paul Simon song that will play when you click the “play” in the lower right corner of the player window that pops up when you click on the image below:

“Ground Strike” – Columbia, Maryland – Summer, 1973

Most of the photos in this collection were shot with a Nikon F2.  State of the art at the time, and I’ve still got it in a drawer, but it’s an antique now.  The photo of the lightning strike above was shot with my first “serious” 35mm camera, a Konica…. something, I don’t even remember the full designation now.  It was considered very advanced because it had a built-in light meter and was capable of aperture-preferred automated exposure control.

I took that Konica with me when I moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 1973.  In January of ’74 I met Georja Skinner, and she introduced me to the marvels of Nikon.  Later that year when my parents went to Hong Kong they brought back a Nikon F2, which was my primary camera until I got my first digital SLR in 2003 – a Nikon D100.

After living in Los Angeles for a little over a year, I started really jonesing for the colors, smells, and cool air of autumn.  So Georja and I made a camper of sorts (no bed) out of a 1968 Volkswagen and headed east.  We stopped in New England, New Jersey, New York, and Maryland, and then wound our way back west along a southern route through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Most of the photos in this collection are from that trip, the “Ozone City Circus Continental Crusade.”  I’ll have to see if I can find the black and white photos of us in our circus outfits we made along the beach in Santa Monica before we left.

The last few photos are from the trip we made to England for 5 weeks in May of 1976.  There are probably a lot more from that trip, but these are the only ones so far that I  have scanned-and-Photoshopped back to life.