114 posts tagged music

On Free Music

I go around and around in my head and continue to end up back in the same place: as a consumer, I love services like Spotify and Rdio. As someone who has plenty of friends in the music business, I worry about their futures. As a music fan, I can’t help but wonder if we’re creating a situation that will greatly change the amount and type of music offered in the long-run.

Music will never go away, but if the number of people who can make a full-time living at making music dwindles, that will change the landscape of the industry. We can argue whether that’s good or bad, I just wish we would all recognize that we’re doing it to ourselves.

If you get a chance, read Derek’s full article. He’s also linked through to a number of other gems. For example: I knew that Spotify varied its payment agreements between different labels, distributors, and indies, but I did not know that Apple is less compromising and gives everyone the same deal to work from.

Overall, Webb still has a very positive outlook for independent—as he calls them: blue collar—musicians. That said, I would like to hear more from artists who are starting out today. From what I understand, Derek Webb established himself before the industry began its digital transformation. I think he’s a great example of an artist that is constantly looking forward, not resting on past success, and trying new things, but I can’t help but wonder if anything would be different for him if he were to start from scratch today, without the support of a music label or the old industry infrastructure.

8-Track Tape on Kickstarter

A new project from The Autumn Film

If you were lucky enough to catch The Autumn Film a couple months ago at the Walnut Room, for one of their rare Denver shows, you would’ve heard a number of new songs that they’d been working on together. They’d shared demos of some of those songs with me on a few months prior to that show and I’d already fallen in love with a couple of them, but it was fun to see how much things had evolved.

Fast forward a little bit and this new collection of songs, their followup to The Ship and The Sea had a name: 8-Track Tape. (I even whipped up the little graphic you see on the Kickstarter widget to help them give it a visual presence.) A couple weeks ago, I happened to be over at Reid & Tifah’s house for dinner and got to listen through the most-recent rough mixes of each of the songs. It’s a solid and delightful collection and I couldn’t be more excited for them to finish it up and get it in people’s hands.

The band is self-funded—they’re truly independent—and turned to Kickstarter to help get the record out the door faster than they could have on their own.

iTunes Match Not Laundering Pirated Music, It’s Driving A Subscription Future

(emphasis mine)

That’s all well and good, but notice who will receive payments: labels. When people talk about the music industry, what they usually don’t factor into their equation are independent artists who are not on a label and don’t have a major-label distribution deal. They also neglect to factor in the (usually) one-sided contracts other artists sign with labels that often ensure they don’t get a cut of royalties like this. In reality, I suspect the artists themselves—signed or not—will see very little money from iTunes Match, if any.

Jack White’s Third Man Records tells the world: Your Music City is not dead

Fascinating article on the new-old music empire Jack White has built for himself. I’m more an more convinced that the days of the CD were more of an anomaly than a norm.

How architecture helped music evolve

by David Byrne

In this TED talk, David Byrne makes the argument that for hundreds of years—if not most of mankind’s musical history—we have tailored the music we write to where it will be performed. The fact that Bach or Mozart wrote certain pieces of music with certain characteristics—short notes versus drawn out sustained layers, for example—had a lot to do with what was available to them and where they thought the music would end up being performed.

Now, he argues, we can even split our compositions between the studio—recorded music to be “performed” in MP3 players connected directly to our heads—and live venues of all kinds. I’d agree. The bands that I see most successful between both their studio recordings and their live performances have perfected this technique of tailoring their music to the venue.

Overall, he asks the question: is it bad that architecture or “venue” influences our musical decisions and concludes that it’s not. This is a refreshing view to me. So often, a lover of a certain genre or time period of music infers that everything should mimic that sound, instead of allowing music to evolve with culture, over time.

From Arcade Fire’s Manager

Read that last part twice. Arcade Fire owns their masters, not a label. And they’re one of the most successful acts in the world. Welcome to the future.


Music. Design. Inspiration.

Last week, designer-extraordinaire Blake Allen contacted me about his new project with Josh Sullivan called Designers.MX and asked me if I’d be willing to contribute. Ask me to make a mix and design an album cover for it? Yeah, it was an easy yes.

The site launched today, you can listen to the mix I contributed and mixes from some other designers. I’ve been listening all morning. Really good stuff. It’ll be fun to see this collection evolve.

Visit the Link

Wore It Deep

by The Tree Ring

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, this is one of the most creative music videos I’ve seen in a long time. The Tree Ring held a house show in an attic. To be admitted, you had to bring a small house lamp with you.

There are a lot of touches I love in this, but I don’t want to spoil it. That said, the mustache just needs to go. You’ll know what I mean when you see it.

Be sure to check out the Vimeo page for all of the credits.

(via The Fox Is Black)


by James Blake

Yes to this. 1,000 times yes. This 3-disc EP for James Blake was crafted by Jan T. Sott for R&S Records (as far as I can tell). What a brilliant, yet simple idea. I wish I’d thought of it.

Visit the Link

Diddy-Dirty Money ft. Swizz Beatz – Ass On The Floor

An interesting article from the perspective of an music industry blogger stuck in the tension between artists/promoters who want the help of bloggers and the recording industry that wants copyrighted material completely controlled, across the entire Internet.