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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Notes From the "Seattle City of Music" Press Conference

posted by on October 30 at 10:30 AM

-Mayor Nickels kicked off the Seattle City of Music event with an "informal" (and inaudible, since he was speaking at the foot of the Paramount stage without a mic) press conference. When told by someone close enough to hear that Nickels said "nothing substantial," the ever-quotable Dave Meinert replied, "Well, he's a politician." As soon as Nickels was done, the Fleet Foxes' "White Winter Hymnal" played, crystal clear.

-The theme of the night was to "grow" Seattle as a city of music, according to Nickels, who took the stage with a mic for what I guess was the formal part of the presentation. He said Seattle is a "great place to make music" and he wants to make it a "great place to make a living making music." He then rattled off a list of non-music-related Seattle based business, and told the story about his mom dropping him off for a date at a Rolling Stones concert. He claimed, dubiously, that "Austin has nothing on Seattle."

-The 12-year plan has three fronts: music education, music venues, and music businesses. The idea is to foster all three of those things, although the specifics of how to do that were still pretty vague.

-James Keblas argued that Seattle's strength was that it's "not LA or NY," to say nothing of Austin.

-Growing the music business in Seattle seemed to hinge on growing the wider economy, a rising tide and ships and all that, which is bad news given how the actual economy is going, although the guy from the chamber of commerce lost me when he started talking about "specialty beverages." He was one of three guys in suits, including Nickels, to invoke the word "soul" (not one of them accompanied the invocation with a black power fist, sadly).

-Tom Mara from KEXP told us that the station's CD collection could more than fill two accordion-style metro busses, and that he hopes to see it fill three someday.

-Megan Jasper from Sub Pop and Josh Rosenfeld from Barsuk were the first people to acknowledge that times are actually kind of grim for the music business right now, to say nothing of the wider economic meltdown. Returning to the theme of Seattle's exceptionalism, Rosenfeld said that there isn't another city where everything comes together as it does in Seattle.

-It really is bizarre to hear that voice come out of Vince Mira's body.

-The New Faces look like the Jonas Brothers and sound like Interpol. They'll probably be huge.

-Somewhat depressingly, the goal for music education is primarily just to restore all the programs and funding to historic levels. One speakers called music education a "race and social justice issue." The Seattle Rotary wants you to donate musical instruments to them to give to schools.

-The VERA Project's Dustin Fujikawa was probably the most engaging and animated speaker of the night, and he brought up some serious issues—gentrification, health care, a living wage—that I'm not entirely sure this plan can really address.

-Things were dragging on, so we skipped the last round of speeches, about music venues.

-The goals of the plan are great, of course, and, as a parasite on the music industry, I absolutely hope that Seattle remains and improves as a City of Music. But there was not much in the way of specifics last night, and it really seems like fostering music education and music businesses is going to be challenging in a time of economic downturn. There are some cost-effective things that could be done to make Seattle more hospitable to music venues, but most of them involve reversing the clampdowns—noise ordinances, nightclub stings—that this very administration has initiated, or else things that are out of the Mayor and the City's jurisdiction, such as the WSLCB's puritanical regulations (in Austin, LA, and NY, I'm pretty sure you can drink a beer onstage). Still, there are some really good people behind this thing; I remain tentatively hopeful that some concrete good will come out of this.

-Oh, also, the official "Seattle City of Music" website that I couldn't get to load yesterday is up and running now, and while it's, again, long on goals and short on specifics, it has a more detailed list of, really, pretty inspiring goals than I was able to jot down from last night's speeches. Check it out.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Also Tonight: Seattle City of Music

posted by on October 29 at 2:00 PM

Also tonight, the Mayor's Office of Film + Music is hosting a press conference/concert at the Paramount Theater to announce its new "Seattle City of Music" initiative, a 12-year plan which, true to its comma/colon-free name, aims to solidify Seattle as a city of music, with grants for local musicians, funding for K-12 music education, and more (maybe they could make it legal for musicians to drink onstage). Greg Nickels will host the event. Blue Scholars, New Faces, and Vince Mira will perform. It's free to the public, but an RSVP is required. The official, not-loading-right-now, website is http://www.seattlecityofmusic.org/.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sound Level and Residential Law

posted by on October 15 at 3:02 PM

This in from J:

Smurf1.jpgFor nearly a year, my bands have been practicing in my living room in the Fremont neighborhood. Yesterday some poor fool plopped down the $495,000 needed to buy the cracker box shaped town home next door.

What are my options? We practice twice a week. We're always finished before 10 PM We're not THAT loud, in fact standing on the street in front of the house you can hear the drums, but it doesn't sound much louder than a stereo.

What are the laws concerning decibel levels and the cutoff time for noise complaints?

I'm hoping nothing happens and no one complains, but should they decide to raise a stink what can I tell them and how can I deal should the cops be called.

Initial thoughts are that if they aren’t that loud and they’re finished by 10, they should be OK. If the police are called, they will come by to give a warning before anything. But that means that the police will be coming by. Always use "Sir" and "Ma'am" when dealing with the police.

Another option is to put on tighty-whities, cover yourselves in Vaseline, stand on the edge of the neighbor’s yard, and play with Smurfs.

King County Noise Ordinance

Seattle Municipal Code - Noise Control

Disturbing the Peace


Monday, October 6, 2008

Business vs. Filesharing

posted by on October 6 at 3:55 PM

Forbes has an interesting (if you're a nerd) interview with Last.fm's Chief Operating Officer Spencer Hyman. Among other things, he gave a succinct breakdown of the finite means by which revenue can be made off of music on the Internet.

There only are a limited number of ways you could make money. It's advertising, it's subscriptions, it's e-commerce and then its using the data for smart purposes [market research].

The interview is mainly about Last.fm verses Myspace, as the latter recently launched its new Myspace Music function.

One of the big stories with MySpace Music was whether streaming the music legally would be successful in driving song purchases via downloads. How's it fared for you?

When we launched free on-demand earlier on in this year in the States, the amount of e-commerce we were generating more then [sic] doubled. It definitely does work.

Legal, free streaming is a newer phenomenon on the Internet. What's the issue?

We always said to the labels, "You have to let us do this," because what's happening at the moment is people are getting the recommendations off of Last.fm and then they're just going to all the illegal peer-to-peer sites.

They're more than familiar with that problem. What's the state of the digital music business today?

I think what you've got with the Internet is the fact that the labels and the collective side have realized that they need to make sure there is proper sharing of all the revenues which are generated with all the content creators. And I think that's correct. I think the problem, though, is that there is a lot of posturing going on, on both sides, as to what the right model is to monetize that. The [potential] market is huge, but at the moment, it's all on the peer-to-peer networks.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Fun with Royalties

posted by on September 30 at 11:27 AM

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- For five years, Apple's iTunes Music Store has been the Internet's most successful music store. But now that music publishers are seeking a higher share of its proceeds, Apple is threatening to shutter iTunes.

The Copyright Royalty Board in Washington, D.C. is expected to rule Thursday on a request by the National Music Publishers' Association to increase royalty rates paid to its members on songs purchased from online music stores like iTunes. The publishers association wants rates raised from 9 cents to 15 cents a track - a 66% hike.

Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) declined to discuss the board's pending decision. But it adamantly opposes the publishers' request. In a statement submitted to the board last year, iTunes vice president Eddy Cue said Apple might close its download store rather than raise its 99 cents a song price or absorb the higher royalty costs.

"If the [iTunes music store] was forced to absorb any increase in the ... royalty rate, the result would be to significantly increase the likelihood of the store operating at a financial loss - which is no alternative at all," Cue wrote. "Apple has repeatedly made it clear that it is in this business to make money, and most likely would not continue to operate [the iTunes music store] if it were no longer possible to do so profitably."

The Copyright Royalty Board is a three-judge panel that oversees statutory licenses granted under federal copyright law. That includes setting royalty rates for music sales. The current proceeding followed the expiration last year of a 1997 decision that had governed sales of so-called physical music products like CDs for a decade. The board's forthcoming decision, its first affecting digital sales, will set royalty rates for the next five years.

It's hard to believe that Apple will actually shut down iTunes if it doesn't get its way. Apple has shrewdly used the store to help sell iPods, its most popular product. Before the computer manufacturer opened the store in 2003, there was virtually no place for iPod owners to purchase digital music on the Internet. So iTunes helped grow the market for the device by appealing to people who didn't want to patronize illegal file-sharing services and risk a music industry lawsuit.

Publishers don't seem to be buying the bluff either.

They argue that the digital music market is growing and that they should get a higher rate because all parties in this squabble will ultimately prosper. "I think we established a case for an increase in the royalties," said David Israelite, president of the National Music Publishers Association.

Israelite said he opposed any attempt by companies like Apple and its record label allies to do away with the fixed royalty rate. "Apple may want to sell songs cheaply to sell iPods," he said. "We don't make a penny on the sale of an iPod."

Via money.cnn.com


Friday, September 26, 2008

Best Buy to Get Exclusive Retail Deal for Chinese Democracy

posted by on September 26 at 3:20 PM

I'm sure all the other music retailers are totally bummed:

Best Buy will be the exclusive retailer for Guns N' Roses' decade-plus-in-the-making new album "Chinese Democracy" before year's end, sources close to the situation tell Billboard. Some details of the deal are still being worked out, including the release date.

The news brings a semblance of closure to the bizarre history of
"Democracy," which Guns N' Roses has been working on since the mid-1990s.

Since then, every original member of the once-mighty group has left besides vocalist Axl Rose, and millions of dollars have been spent working on the new material.

"Democracy" was most recently on the Interscope release schedule in March 2007. The endless delays encountered by the project reached comic levels this spring, when soft drink manufacturer Dr. Pepper offered to send a free can of the beverage to "everyone in America" (excluding ex-GNR members Slash and Buckethead) if "Chinese Democracy" were to arrive anytime during the calendar year 2008.

Via billboard.com


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stranger Columnists Ann & Nancy Wilson of Heart Make Snopes.com!

posted by on September 25 at 12:07 PM

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As readers undoubtedly remember, last week Stranger columnists Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart teamed up to write a dynamite open letter to John McCain, Cease and Desist, You Old Fart by Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart.

Well, this week, Snopes.com—the Library of Congress of urban legends—investigates the Wilson sisters' Stranger work.

Thanks for the attention, Snopes-ers, but you've got it wrong wrong wrong. As I type this, Stranger columnists Ann and Nancy Willson of Heart are seated to my left, busily working on their next column, Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon is the Apotheosis of Modern Art by Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart. (Actually, Ann's the one doing the work right now—Nancy's watching that hilarious Sarah Silverman video.) But thanks for playing!

Re: Myspace to Launch New Music Feature Tomorrow

posted by on September 25 at 11:48 AM

Looks like big indie labels like the Beggars Group (4AD, Matador, XL, et al.), Domino, and Koch won’t be joining the MySpace Music party. As they did with commercial radio, the major labels appear to be strong-arming smaller competitors out of potential revenue-enhancing endeavors. Read the following press release for more details.

MySpace Music Launches Without World’s Leading Independent Labels And Artists

Said Charles Caldas CEO Merlin, Global Rights Body For Independent Sector:
“It is incredibly disappointing that MySpace will launch their new service without having finalised a deal with the world’s most important independent labels and artists. It certainly makes Chris DeWolfe’s public statements, that the "indie bands are really the heart of MySpace", ring extremely hollow.
“What is absolutely clear, however, is that any independent deal struck without an equity component (as was done with the majors), will see independent labels face a situation whereby their major competitors will profit from the use of their repertoire without an appropriate upside opportunity being extended to them by MySpace Music and its Major Label equity partners.
“Whilst Merlin continues our negotiations, we remain extremely concerned that with MySpace Music the major record labels are acting not only as competitors, but through their equity stakes in the venture, as the clients/end user as well. Without an equitable participation by independents, that creates a situation that is both unhealthy and dangerous.
"Merlin, the global rights agency represents the largest basket of rights outside of the majors labels, with a US market share equivalent to that of the smallest majors”


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Myspace to Launch New Music Feature Tomorrow

posted by on September 24 at 4:30 PM

Myspace's "much-anticipated," decidedly clunky, garish sounding music feature is set to lauch tomorrow.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Make room, iTunes. MySpace is hoping to shake up the digital music scene.
In a bid to spruce up its popular online hangout, MySpace plans to flip the switch Thursday on a much-anticipated service that will give its roughly 120 million users free access to hundreds of thousands of songs from the world's largest recording labels.
The catch: the music can be played only on personal computers connected to the Internet and listeners have to tolerate advertising splashed across the screen. Anyone who wants to transfer a song to a portable device like Apple Inc.'s iPod will have to buy the music through Amazon.com Inc.'s year-old downloading service, which sells songs for as little as 79 cents apiece.
Unlike much of the material at Apple's iTunes store, the music sold through MySpace's new service won't contain the protections that limit how many times a track can be copied.
MySpace is hoping to set itself apart from iTunes even further by allowing its users to create an unlimited number of playlists containing up to 100 songs apiece — a sharing concept similar to music services already offered by Imeem and Last.fm.
If MySpace's plan pans out, people will regularly post different playlists on their profiles and expose their friends to new music.
The recording labels are betting these implicit recommendations will cultivate more interest in more songs and eventually generate revenue to help recoup some of the revenue that has evaporated as CD sales have plunged from $12 billion in 1999 to a projected $5 billion this year.

This sounds a day late and a dollar short to catch up to iTunes' dominance of the market.

Via The Associated Press

Crocodile Hires Eli Anderson as Talent Buyer, Roy Atizado as Director of Live Entertainment

posted by on September 24 at 1:23 PM

This just in from Crocodile PR spokeswoman Kerri Harrop:

Hello friends,

Things are moving right along at the Crocodile, with all sorts of demolition taking place. It really is a bit of a mess right now, but I sure think you will be pleased with the results.

Before the rumor mill starts going bananas, I just want to give you all a heads up and let you know that Eli Anderson has been hired as the Talent Buyer for the club, and Roy Atizado has been hired as Director of Live Entertainment.

You might remember Eli from his days at Sonic Boom Records, where he not only helped folks pick and choose aural delights for four years, but also managed to snag the coveted title of “Seattle’s Sexiest Record Store Employee” in The Stranger’s annual poll. After a year in Boston, where he did not win any awards or titles, but managed to maintain his indie rock cred by working for Forced Exposure and at Great Scott, Eli returned to our fair city and was promptly hired to assist with booking and promotions at the Crocodile. Since the club’s closure last year, Eli has been working with Frank Nieto at 230 Publicity and doing part-time booking at Chop Suey.

Many of you know Roy from his long involvement in the music world. Dude has spent the last 20 years working in virtually every aspect of the business. He’s been a tour manager, an artist manager, and is very experienced on the production end of things. Roy has worked many a day and night on the behalf of artists — coordinating sales and marketing at the distribution level, and making sure all the T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted. Roy has spent the last three years at Chop Suey, where he has been General Manager for two years. He’ll also DJ for you, if you ask him nicely.

In addition to the fine local team of Eli and Roy, the Croc has also hooked up with the Doug Fir in Portland to help out with some of the booking. The Doug Fir will assist with national touring bands, and ensure that the Crocodile receives the same fine quality of booking that takes place in one of our all-time favorite Rose City rooms.

So, what does this mean? Will Eli be up and down I-5, more often than a serial killer? Will the Crocodile change its name to something more woodsy? Should bands send their press kits to the Doug Fir? In short: no, no, and no.

Bands should send their demos, press kits, and pretty pictures to the dynamic duo at 2nd & Blanchard. They’ll be working out of the office in October. Or, Rocktober if you prefer. The Crocodile will continue to be a room that is open to all — from baby bands playing their first shows, to major national artists. Eli and Roy look forward to working with the pool of talented booking agents and promoters in Seattle, and far beyond.

We’re still a long way off from opening the doors, but, if everything goes according to schedule, look for the grand opening to take place sometime in late January or early February, 2009. There are some good surprises in store, and I am confident that the room will sound great. I spent a good chunk of time talking with Jim Anderson this week, and he’s really giving it his all.

As always, I am here to answer any further questions you may have about the club, its staff, and how many mice I have seen in the space. Please note that this is not a “normal” sort of Press Release, and we aren’t making a big deal about this news. While the booking and organization of the club is important, the last thing we want to do is start inundating you with every bit of minutiae pertaining to the club.

But, y’all asked, and so y’all received.

Contact info below. I hope this finds you well, and happy.

Best regards,

Kerri


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Historic" Mechanical Royalty Deal Reached for Interactive Streaming, Limited Downloads

posted by on September 23 at 12:20 PM

The recording industry, music publishers and online music services have revealed the details of a landmark royalty deal for streaming and limited downloads of music, which was first announced June 18.

The agreement proposes a mechanical royalty rate of 10.5% of revenue, less any amounts owed for songwriter performance royalties, for digital service providers such that offer interactive streaming and limited downloads such as subscription and ad-supported services. When the settlement was first announced, details were kept confidential until they were submitted to the CopyRight Board in draft regulations.

In the settlement, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Digital Media Association, the National Music Publishers' Association, the Nashville Songwriters Association International and the Songwriters Guild of America have all agreed to the new rate.

The deal doesn't address rates for physical product, permanent music downloads or ringtones, but all of those issues, as well as today's agreement, are expected to be ruled on by Oct. 2 by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Judges.

For a good breakdown of what exactly Interactive Streaming and Limited Downloads entail, read this Los Angeles Times article.

Read the RIAA press release.

Via billboard.biz


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wanna Be a Music Intern for the Stranger?

posted by on September 18 at 12:47 PM

Do you like opening mail, sorting promo cds, compiling calendar listings, and fact checking? Ok. But how about getting on the list for shows, getting the keys to Line Out, and maybe getting your work in the Stranger? If so, email music@thestranger.com with a resume and some writing samples. Thanks.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mayor Offers Tax Cut to Smallish Live Music Venues

posted by on September 17 at 12:19 PM

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels announced incentives to boost live music venues in the city this morning in a press conference at Neumos. Prefacing the initiatives with an anecdote about Travel & Leisure magazine rating Seattle seventh in the country for quality live music experiences, Nickels expressed a desire to elevate our ranking.

To accomplish this, he proposed to waive the current 5-percent admissions tax on ticket sales for venues that meet the following qualifications:

1) capacity under 1,000
2) host/present live music on average at least three times weekly
3) hire at least 16 musicians weekly on average
4) have committed fewer than four violations of any one or more civil or criminal laws regarding health, noise, licensing, taxing or permitting in the last year.

The tax cut, which would take effect January 1, 2009, theoretically will create a more beneficial environment for new clubs to open and for existing clubs to “hire more musicians,” the mayor said. The ultimate goal, as Neumos co-owner Steven Severin stated at the press conference, is to “put more money in the pockets of local musicians.” He roughly estimated that the admissions tax can cost his club around $2,500 $3,500 a month from gross ticket sales. Severin also noted that this move may not necessarily translate into lower cover charges, as many variables factor into those prices.

Further, Nickels announced the inauguration of the music venue assistance program, which allows local businesses a single entry point to city government. The guidebook, overseen by Office of Film and Music head James Keblas, provides resources to help entrepreneurs attain success in the live-music industry. It can be accessed at www.seattle.gov/music/nightlife.

Representatives from Tula’s and Triple Door, as well as a Brazilian musician named Jovino Santos-Neto, the last of whom—somewhat oddly—waxed abstract and poetic about the power of music, supported the measure. Becca Minkoff of Triple Door asserted that the tax exemption will enable her business to take more risks and attract bigger acts.

One reporter asked Nickels if this measure was intended to counter the negative response to the city’s crackdown on some nightclubs. He replied that the reprimanded clubs were not live music venues and said that the city periodically needs to takes these actions to ensure a safe yet vibrant nightlife.

The Seattle Nightlife and Music Association (SNMA) approved of Nickels’ small-business-friendly initiative. SNMA President/Havana owner Quentin Ertel remarked, “This is a great step in the right direction. It shows that the Mayor is on the side of small business, but more importantly it shows that he is on the side of music."


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

RE: Death of the Record Collection

posted by on September 16 at 3:11 PM

And despite the fact that record collections are being sold, deserted, becoming too expensive to own, Sony has announced that they plan on bringing vinyl back.

Via Punknews.org:

After focusing on CD and digital releases for the past few years, Sony/Legacy has announced plans to begin releasing vinyl again. Beginning this month, the long-running major label will begin reissuing Columbia, Epic, and RCA releases.

The first batch of releases includes mainstream arists like Boston, Blue Oyster Cult, Jefferson Starship and Cheap Trick, but also Lou Reed's classic, Berlin, and Social Distortion's 1990 album, Social Distortion.

Good luck with that, Sony.

Death of a Record Collection

posted by on September 16 at 12:45 PM

Right now, my esteemed colleague Dave Segal is on the phone negotiating the long-delayed transport of his record collection from Orange County. Segal has been here for just over a month; these should have been here just days after he arrived. "These are extremely valuable to me," he's telling the person on the other end of the phone. "I'm not going to let this go." It sounds pretty grim.

Last week, I was in NYC. I walked by Other Music, Victory Records, various little vinyl boutiques, and while, on some abstract level, I wanted to support all these businesses, I didn't come home with a single record. At my kind host's stylish but small railroad apartment, we listened to music on a nice set of speakers plugged into mp3 players and laptops. They had maybe two boxes of records. I can't remember whether or not they had a turntable set up (I don't think so).

At home, I have the same brand of shelving as every other vinyl owning young person, the one made out of 16 squares perfectly sized for 12"s (your model may have 25 squares if you're fancy). It's half full of vinyl, half full of books and other media. I have a few crates worth of records on additional shelving or in actual crates on the floor, but I'm lately convinced that I'm never going to fill the rest of this shelf up with vinyl, let alone have to someday spring for the 25 square model.

I find no joy in this conclusion. I would love to live in a house lined with shelves of records. I would prefer my living room to look like these. I just don't think it's going to happen.

Vinyl is relatively big and heavy. Airlines are charging for extra baggage, and even when they weren't, traveling with vinyl (say, enough to DJ with) is grueling compared to traveling with mp3s or even CDs. Shipping is apparently a drag as well. Apartment space for record shelving is limited.

Music is expensive. We're diving headlong into what looks to my admittedly not economically expert eyes like a serious recession/depression, and records just aren't a necessity as much as food and shelter (Segal will likely debate this point with me). Rising fuel prices only aggravate the flying/shipping issues as well. As much as I want to support these small business and be a parton of artists, I just can't give any more than I can afford. Before this job, that meant buying records as carefully as possible, downloading what I couldn't afford to buy, and supporting artists at shows and by buying other merch. Now, it frequently means building my collection through promotional copies. Both means meant more CDs and mp3s than vinyl making their way into my collection. Morgan Geist might complain that I'm not listening to his records on the proper hi-fi setup in the ideal format, but audiophile gear is a luxury that most music fans probably can't afford. Hell, even Sasha Frere-Jones is selling his record collection.

These are gloomy, doomy times—every time someone in New York asked me how work was going, I would reply that it's great, the music business is tanking, print journalism is tanking, so print music journalism is the most exciting place you could hope to be. In seriousness, it's an awesome job, I feel fortunate every day to have it, but I'm not sure it'll ever launch me comfortably into the middle class. I think I may never own a home; maybe I won't be able to hold on to all the music I love for posterity either. Maybe formats—or other, larger paradigms—will shift and force people of my class situation to leave certain things behind. I think record collections, as opposed to mp3 collections, will only become increasingly a thing of class privilege rather than of ardent music fandom (I suppose it was always this way; perhaps music fans of less means have just moved from dubbed cassettes to mp3s).

Sacrilege, maybe, but as much as I love the look and feel of vinyl, records are only of marginally more value to me than the equivalent mp3s. Or: If I have to, I can let record collecting go. At least it'll be easier to move when rising rent finally prices me out my current place.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This Just In: Music Industry Still Clueless

posted by on September 10 at 2:44 PM

shooting-yourself-in-the-foot.gif

Forcing Muxtape to shut down, administering onerous royalty rates to internet radio stations, pulling tracks by popular artists off iTunes… floundering major labels still can’t buy a clue, and this article in Advertising Age by Simon Dumenco reiterates the dismal state of things. For example:

[I]t's been a depressing summer for the delusional record industry. We're seeing a total disconnect between labels' unrealistic, old-school revenue expectations and what the market can bear. On the streaming-music front in particular, the sad reality is that advertising revenue isn't, and may never be, there to fully support the music industry's wishful-thinking profit margins… [T]he music industry… would prefer that you only listen to music when and where they want you to. And that's no way to figure out the path to future revenue.

As a music journalist (i.e., a parasite on the record industry’s bloated corpus), I derive no schadenfreude from the biz’s prolonged slump. In fact, I wish boom times would return. I would like to see record profits, from the tiniest artist-run indie imprint to the most mammoth major. Alas, I also wish I could perform 360º slam dunks… And it seems like the odds of major-label execs devising a fruitful business model in the current digital free-for-all are as likely as me beating Kobe Bryant in a one-on-one game.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Great White Settles with Pyrotechnics Disaster Victims

posted by on September 8 at 1:48 PM

According to the Associated Press:

Members of Great White, whose pyrotechnics sparked a Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed 100 people, have agreed to pay $1 million to survivors and victims' relatives, according to court papers filed [Sept. 2].

The settlement offer is the latest stemming from the February 2003 fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick. Roughly $175 million has now been offered by dozens of defendants to settle lawsuits over the blaze, which also injured more than 200 people and was the fourth-deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history.

The band does not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which requires the approval of the more than 300 people suing, among other conditions.

The blaze began when the band's tour manager, Daniel Biechele, shot off streams of pyrotechnics at the start of the concert. Sparks from the pyrotechnics ignited inexpensive packaging foam the club owners had used as soundproofing around the stage. One band member, guitarist Ty Longley, was killed in the fire.

Though the band members were never charged, Biechele pleaded guilty in 2006 to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter and was paroled in March after serving less than half of his four-year prison sentence.

Maybe those city-enforced sprinkler systems aren't such a bad idea after all.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Music Imitates Politics

posted by on September 3 at 1:14 PM

Idolator reports today on Slipknot and the Game's heated race for the top of this week's Billboard sales charts, a race which has devolved into, yes, a recount:

When I saw the SoundScan charts this morning, I felt kind of bad for Slipknot. The masked metallers haven't been having the best string of luck recently, and now their album All Hope Is Gone was narrowly beaten out for the top spot on the album tally by LAX, the new album from tormented name-dropper the Game. How small of a margin did they lose by, you ask? Try 13 sales. Well, apaprently I wasn't the only one who felt bad about this: Slipknot, upon seeing this statistic, gathered up its brooding rage and did what any red-blooded American would do: They demanded a recount from the SoundScan folks. You can probably guess what happened next.

Yes, the SoundScan people found some 1,244 sales hiding within the bowels of their system, or maybe at a neglected Hot Topic somewhere in the 'burbs, and that was enough to give Slipknot the one-week win over the Game. All Hope Is Gone's final sales total is 239,516 to LAX's un-revised 238,382; whether or not the Game is going to further appeal his own SoundScan total is unknown at this point, but surely he's at least comforted by the fact that his first-week sales beat out those achieved by his former cronies in G-Unit earlier this summer.

Great, now the rockstars are acting like politicians.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Monday Bumbershoot vs. My Money

posted by on September 2 at 1:28 PM

After spending most of Saturday and Sunday moving all of my worldly possessions halfway across town in a Volkswagen Golf, and dropping more than I had in my bank account on first, last and deposit, I arrived for the third and final day of Bumbershoot, exhausted, broke, and late. When colleague Dave Segal caught me trying to pour a cup of water from an empty water jug in the Press Room, it was time to go view some music. We agreed to walk to the Sky Church for Feral Children, and were met with a cursory line held by a security guard who continually allowed teenagers to cut in front of us. Inside the Church, Feral Children were several songs into their set. They looked somewhat anachronistic under the array of flashing and blinking lights afforded by Paul Allen. Sound quality from the side of the room was a bit sub-par, and the lights made me dizzy. Neverthless, several quality songs were witnessed before I was forced to move on.

photo by Dagmar Sieglinde

Next it was off to Arthur & Yu on the opposite side of the Center. A Mirror Pond ($7, plus a $1 tip) was much needed after bumping into approximately 37 people during the traverse. It was, of course, not nearly enough alcohol to curb such crowd-induced anxiety, but my financial situation rendered me incapable of purchasing more.

BB8%24Beer.jpgMy $8 beer two minutes after its purchase.

Arthur & Yu put on a fine set of subdued, relaxing numbers, including some new material that went well under the setting sun.

BBArthur.jpgphoto by Blush Photo

After Arthur & Yu, Mr. Segal and I stopped at the Horn of Africa stand, where he purchased a delicious iced tea ($2), and I tried a lentil Sambusa ($2), both of which were excellent and bargain-priced relative to most things in the Center during the last three days.

We then foolishly attempted to "stop by and check out Del [the Funky Homosapien] real quick." Predictably, the Fisher Green Stage lawn was packed with droves of hip-hop fans and marijuana smoke, the combination of which rendered Del almost invisible. Our photographers clearly had a better view:

BBDel.jpgphoto by Blush Photo

Due to the aforementioned lack of view, and my attention span deficit, my focus fell on the statue guy to the right of the stage. He was dutifully shaking hands and doling out hugs when not being a statue, but some just weren't interested.

BBstatue.jpgKid won't make nice.

Thankfully, Mr. Segal wisely pulled me out of my trance in time to make it to what was to be the apex of both our Monday Bumbershoot experience, Battles. I'd never seen Battles before, but I'd heard plenty of good things about their live show, and they did not dissapoint. Drummer John Stanier's sparse-but-thunderous drumming is the perfect backdrop for the band's minimalistic future-rock structures, and the sound at the Broad Street stage was true quality. With the air here containing equal parts marijuana smoke and patchouli, Battles' precise sound cut through the fog like razor wire.

BBBattles.jpgBattles heal the masses, by Blush Photo

End tally:

Total dollars spent: $13
Total acts seen: 4
Total number of people bumped into: 347
Winner: My new landlord.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Dinosaur Juniors

posted by on July 28 at 2:20 AM

I always mix up Truckasauras and Terrordactyls. And now I've just discovered Pleaseeasaur. Are dinosaurs the new wolves?


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Barf Poll

posted by on July 23 at 12:22 PM

BarfingBarbie.jpg

People who barf at bars or clubs should have to clean it up or pay a throw up fee. One bar owner told me there was a guy that came into her place twice that barfed right off the barstool. The guy didn’t even try to make it to the bathroom. He paid his tab like nothing happened, stepped over his lake of barf on the floor, and left. He was a cowboy or something. The bar staff called him Howling Wolf.

For every episode of barfing at a bar or club, there is someone who has to clean it up. This is bullshit. If you yuke, you should either clean it up, or a pay a throw up fee. Even meticulous barfers who think it all goes in the toilet. They usually leave bits and pieces that have to be cleaned.

Should there be a throw up fee?

What should the throw up fee be?


Friday, July 11, 2008

King Cobra For Sale

posted by on July 11 at 9:36 AM

Huh.

King Cobra, Seattle's new rock & roll nightclub and venue is for sale!

King Cobra is a rock & roll club in a great location, next to the Comet Tavern, and across the street from Neumo's. It has a great sound system, a capacity of 475, and a growing reputation throughout Seattle as a great place to see a live show. We have a waiting list of bands who want to play. And our calendar is currently filling up with more quality shows every day.

King Cobra is currently a venue for live music 3 to 4 nights per week. The remaining 3 or 4 nights can be used for more interactive events that encourage audience participation. These events could include karaoke, rock band contests, game show night, and ssp wrestling. We make good use of the 4 projectors and a flat panel tv.

King Cobra is also open for DANCE CLUB nights, and comes with a complete dance floor lighting system with light jockey computer control system, plus DJ equipment, including Technics Turntables, CDJs, Mixers, and monitors.

The current owners, and some citizens of Seattle, would like to sell King Cobra with it's current format, including a great calendar of upcoming events, and an all-star cast of employees.

We regret that we are forced to sell King Cobra.

The business is for sale because of these reasons:
1. Personal financial issues
2. Management mistakes
3. Lack of experience
4. Lack of marketing

Details:

1. Lease is 12,912.46 for about 6,000 sq. ft
2. Basement "greenroom" or private party room available at 1869 for 1869 square feet. Stairs lead down directly from stage. And there is a direct entrance to greenroom from 10th Street.
3. There are 2 years on the lease, and a 2 1/2 year extension
4. Currently, drink sales are 50,000 per month, but can be more with proper marketing, and as we book concerts with bigger draw. The previous owner did sales of 80,000.
5. Sales numbers are for drinks and food only, not including ticket sales.
6. We are up to date on all taxes and bills.
7. We have a good reputation with the city, the Liquor Control Board, and the police.

8. Sprinkler system installed throughout the building, including basement

9. Fully equipped kitchen included
10. Breaking news: we are now approved for all-ages concerts (bar with I.D.)

11. Asking price is 425,000

If you are interested, please contact Jamie Garza at jmegarza@yahoo.com

Thank you,
Jamie Garza
Owner
King Cobra


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fuck You Apple, We're Not Cattle

posted by on July 9 at 8:22 AM

groceryaisle.jpg

Dear Apple,

I tried (all frikking day long) to transfer an iTunes library from one PC to another. Someone bought a new computer and asked me to transfer their iTunes library to it. "No problem," I said.

Five hours and three calls to Apple Support later, I failed. You see, it was the Playlists that were important. The person didn't want to lose their Playlists. But I lost them. I printed out the twelve page instructions for 'How to use your iPod to move your music to a new computer' and followed them exactly. But I still lost the Playlists. I would have lost the music too, but thankfully I had backed it up.

How about 'How to use this motherfucking rage I'm feeling?" How about that, Apple?

I hit 'Apply' and everything vanished. Nothing transferred, no music was there. I was so pissed off I could not speak. Then I got to hold for fifteen minutes waiting to talk to a human and got to put those minutes on my phone.

By the time I spoke to someone I had built up a day's worth of frustration. I said to the Apple person, "I'm not cattle, don't treat me like cattle. I am a thinking, feeling, human being who can operate computers."

What gets me is that they know if they make it difficult enough, you will have to go online to the 'help' section where you are shown endless advertising. Then you call them and you are so frantic to fix the problem you give them your email address and they send you more advertising. And finally, you will have to go into the Apple Store, where you will spend every cent to your name.

Apple knows if we see enough product, we will buy. It's like at the grocery store how they put the milk and the bread as far away from each other as possible. They know if we walk through the grocery store, we will buy beer, Kit-Kat bars, and steak.

Hear me now, Apple people. We're not cattle, some of us can walk through the grocery store and not buy beer, Kit-Kats, and steak. (We may browse Heavy Metal Magazine, but we don't buy it.)

Apple needs to simplify the instructions and stop cramming advertising up our asses. You know and they know it doesn't have to be that complicated.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Work Stereo

posted by on July 8 at 9:11 AM

At the place where I spend most of my evenings there is a stereo. My coworkers do not understand what a privilege this stereo is. They can’t see that the full control they wield of this stereo is a mighty gift, a gift rarely enjoyed by the huddled masses cowering near minimum wage. There is no mandated corporate bullshit megamix on loop. No required easy listening. There is an iPod dock and limitless possibilities, unless those possibilities contain swearing. And what do my coworkers do? They piss on this luxury right in its face.

First, there’s the playlist lacking any semblance of innovation. There isn’t a single song on there that hasn’t seen heavy rotation on FM radio. There’s no rhyme or reason behind why the songs are grouped together: “Baby I Love Your Way” moves into “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” on to four Bob Marley songs. “Hit Me Baby One More Time” is followed by the Gin Blossoms and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” then there’s a Backstreet Boys jam and maybe “What if God Was One of Us.” A brief history of commercial radio, chaotically chosen and piled together in a sloppy heap and put on shuffle. In the list’s inception the creator expends virtually no energy, instead opting to inquire meekly: “What songs have I heard a billion fucking times before, and what can I do to hear them again?” Many of these songs appear to have been chosen for “ironic” value, but seriously, if you keep telling the same ironic joke repeatedly, every three minutes for several hours, day after day, eventually the recipient of that joke is going to start daydreaming about ways he can poison you. With iPods like these, the freedom afforded through the stereo had been utterly disregarded, no chances taken. Even if the songs aren’t "good," they’re familiar, and that’s all some people need to crawl though their workday.

Yet I can’t decide which is worse: squandering your gift on radio banality, or exploiting it with vapid independent internet garbage? There are some young college kids who work at my shop. They listen to music like a god damn fourteen year old girl. It’s like they’ve embraced every swoopy-haired emo power pop band trying to make a million dollars on Myspace, and they play them, all the time. Normally this stuff chunks by under my radar, purposefully, but now it’s in my face whether I want to deal with it or not. It sounds sort of like the "Emo" I listened to a decade ago, but it’s devolved. Its forefathers had barely figured out thumbs - there really wasn’t room to dumb it down any farther. When New Found Glory was getting a lot of attention I never thought about what the bands that would later reference them as inspirations would sound like. I didn't want to think about it. Now I get to ALL THE TIME. Pop punk is the ”Boy Band” of the 2000s. At work I hear group after group - I don’t know most of the band names and don’t bother to check. Because they are all doing the same thing (namely, playing Warped Tour). Every song is a formula, each lyric purposefully picked to stimulate a teenager’s angst gland. To finger it delicately, but defiantly. With 5150s. And jump kicks. The messages are innocuous and clichéd; there is no emotion in the Emo. It is now merely the streamlined essence of a former "independent" scene. If a bunch of a band's songs use the ubiquitous halftime/double-bass judding breakdown then they get to call themselves “Hardcore.” For people who get off on actual hard music these bands are the equivalent of dry-humping in stiff jeans. Just like high school, all over again.

Some effort had to be spent finding these crappy bands. Obviously a normal person can ignore them with great ease. Is the attempt to reach out and discover these groups worthy of any praise? When it comes to choosing music for the work stereo which is the greater sin: taking no risks and only listening to what the radio tells you, or trying to “think outside the box” and getting trapped in an arguably stupider one?


Friday, June 13, 2008

Songs for Moms

posted by on June 13 at 1:08 PM

In what is sure to go over about as well as wearing a clown suit to a funeral, I've decided to take on the task of making my mother a mix CD for her birthday. I'm broke and I feel like my heart is in the right place, but I am pretty sure it's going to be a flop. I don't even think my Mom listens to anything besides 97.3 KBSG, and even then probably only likes Billy Joel. Am I setting myself up for failure? What are good songs for Mom's? Should I just buy flowers? Will I flop like Jeff did with his mom?

Track listing after the jump...

Continue reading "Songs for Moms" »


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Jimmy Page Phase

posted by on May 28 at 1:11 PM

One way musicians learn is by listening, studying, playing to, and mimicking the music that they like. For guitar players, a high percentage of them go through a Jimmy Page phase. The same could be true for keyboard players and Stevie Wonder, or bass players and Flea.

This in from ‘Kev’:

pagephase.jpgMy band’s guitar player is a big Jimmy Page fan. Particularly Zeppelin II Jimmy Page. But he’s taken it too far. He’s starting to wear unbuttoned tight blouse shirts and bell bottoms. He’s let his hair grow long and I swear the other day I heard him speak with an English accent. He's from Ohio.

He has been watching tons and tons of Zeppelin DVD’s and recently bought that two DVD set that was released in 2003.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Zeppelin, and that 2003 DVD is incredible. But I think it’s starting to take away from our band’s originality. We had a show last week and someone asked me if we were supposed to be a Zeppelin cover band.

A response: Well Kev,

Does your band sound like Led Zeppelin? Ask yourself that. If you think you might sound too much like them, maybe try to change up a couple sections, or effects, or production, that can give your band more of its own sound.

Influences are a good thing. Don’t be ashamed. But also, don’t copy them. Try to harness the parts of Zeppelin’s sound you like and put your own spin on it.

Ride out your guitar player’s Page phase. Don’t hassle him too much about it. If he’s spending hours a day learning Page riffs, that will prove useful once he can incorporate them into his own style.

If the blouses have dragons on them, get him out of the blouses. Tell him people are starting to ask you if you’re a Zeppelin cover band, and you’re worried the blouses may be contributing to the confusion. Take him to Goodwill and keep him out of the dragon section.

As for the English accent, we as humans are chameleons. With all the hours your guitar player has spent watching Page interviews, it is very possible he’s picked up a thing or two speech wise and isn't aware of it.

Encourage him to go out a little more. Take him to see some live shows. Get him a Lynyrd Skynyrd DVD.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Oh yeah! Your Zune is SOOOOOO cool.

posted by on May 20 at 9:07 AM

Every time we post something about Microsoft's Zune MP3 player, we get all these, "You Apple drones don't know what your talking about!" comments.

I have never been a fan of the Zune, which was rolled out in the most idiotic way by Microsoft. In classic MS style, they put all sorts of restrictions on its use, and only when they discovered that, "Hey, no one wants to by a useless MP3 player that acts as cop, judge and jury on the purchaser!" did they roll back some of the restrictions.

Well, how about this Zune fans (from the front page of the business section in today's P-I):

Microsoft Corp.'s Entertainment and Devices Division is full of people thinking about upcoming Xbox 360 video games, Windows Mobile software and Zune music products.

One group in the division does it for a different reason -- to figure out how best to put ads in front of the people who use them.

The division's 40-person advertising business group has been working behind the scenes since October to expand Microsoft's advertising footprint outside the realm of traditional Internet search and display ads.

On Tuesday, Microsoft is expected to show some of the first results of the group's work -- including a plan to test advertising on the online site Zune Social and, in a limited way, on the Zune music devices themselves.

Okay! I get it! When you release a device that fails to "capture the imaginations" of the public, you just make it worse by putting advertising on it! Can't wait!

Mark Kroese [head of the Division] acknowledged that users may be sensitive to the idea of advertising on a music device. Overall, he said, the company will use feedback from the pilot program to decide how to proceed.

How about this for some feedback:

Dear Microsoft,

You are the dumbest people on earth if you think this shit will fly.

xo, Terry

And one more time for fun. Here's that great picture of the egg-shaped-headed John Richards and Mr. Gates.

11-13zunegates_lg.jpg
(Courtesy of Google images and, like, a million websites...)


Monday, May 12, 2008

Mess with King Cobra…

posted by on May 12 at 12:23 PM

KingCobraChe2.JPGAnd you get Fruity Pebbles. Seriously.

There was King Cobra friction last week. Words exchanged. Disagreement and name calling arose. Shoulders had chips on them. A source was finally cited. (Pictured to the right: Owner Che Sabado as the Flintstone Godfather, Bamm-Bamm Rubble.)

Friday night, a meet up was arranged. I was to talk face to face with booker Jason Rothman, owner Che Sabado, and Bobcat, the club’s web designer / DJ / wrestler. Apprehensive and alone, I entered the club.

Once inside, a cold Pabst beverage was placed in my hand and the threesome said there was something they wanted to show me – in the back alley. “What could be in the back alley?” I thought.

KingCobraAlley1.JPG

KingCobraAlley2.JPG

KingCobraSteps.JPGIn the alley, the henchman Bobcat put me in a headlock, and I was shown the Fruity Pebbles. “You made a big mistake,” Rothman sneered. Sabado slowly and meticulously opened the box.

I pled, “Not the Fruity Pebbles, ANYTHING BUT THE FRUITY PEBBLES. Please, I’ll never not cite you again.”

Then they showed me to the upper level of the club where more cereal awaited, with milk this time. It was delicious. Rothman said, “Fruity Pebbles is fortified with vitamins and minerals. It’s a fun, wholesome, and tasty way to start your day.”

After the cereal fun, we talked about numbers and operating costs of the club. “King Cobra has nothing to hide,” they said. “We want to be known as a place that’s good to bands.”

KingCobraUpstairs2.JPG

KingCobraUpstairs1.JPG

Lastly, we bro’d down, cried into our beers, and buried hatchets. Face to face there was love. On stage, the Femurs and No-Fi Soul Rebellion had killer sets. King Cobra is a great club.

KingCobraBroDown.JPG

(Pictures taken by Matt Harvey)


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Poll: Waive or No Waive?

posted by on May 7 at 12:05 PM

According to several people who were at the show, King Cobra waived the cover charge last Friday when the place was empty. By night's end, the room was full. They passed a hat around so the bands could make some money. From yesterday’s comments on Payout: The Split:

wave.jpgWhen the first band started the place was pretty empty so the club waived the cover charge. By the end of the night the club was full. All those folks were buying lots of drinks. The bands had to "pass the hat" to raise money. When confronted the club said the bands were lucky to get the $$ from the passing of the hat. Bullshit move by King Cobra.

Statement from King Cobra booker, Jason Rothman:

We did in fact pay the bands at the end of the night. It is true they passed the hat too, but I PERSONALLY gave the lead singer of Blackie (a blondie tribute band) $100. Now that is far from a windfall, but it is definately $100 more than anyone would have received if the club owners did not do something to get people in there.

If you have any question about how we treat bands ask Neon Nights,
 Emeralds,
 Brent Amaker & the Rodeo,
 Tennis Pro,
 Iceage Cobra, the Whore Moans,
 the Greatest Hits,
the Cute Lepers,
 Strong Killings,
 the Pharmacy,
 or the Pleasureboaters
 to name a few. I am willing to bet they will tell you a much different story about how they were treated. All we were trying to do was create a situation so bands could (and in fact did) get paid.


Update interview of Jason and owner Che Sabado. They said:

From 8 to 10:30 there were no paid customers. By 10:45 we were sending employees home. Those are employees who lost wages. It was a terrible night numbers wise. We waived the cover and tried to make the best out of a bad situation.

Which room would you rather play?


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Payout: The Split and Your $37

posted by on May 6 at 1:28 PM

split.jpgYour band plays a local show. It’s a Wednesday night, you’ve hustled on self-promoting and there was a decent turnout to see you. You made posters, hung them yourself, and made sure people were there. For a school night, it’s a good show.

The end of the night arrives and you are handed an envelope with $37 in it. The posters you made cost you $30. The manager says, “Sorry, the headliner (who no one came to see) had a guarantee, and we took $50 for the posters.” $50 for the posters? The club didn’t put posters up. You saw one poster in the bathroom that the club made. You tell the manager about the posters you hung and he says, “Sorry.”

It was a four-band bill, after the headliner and poster fee, they split the money evenly between the other three bands. You give your band members $5 each and consider it a good promotional show – “To get the name out there.”

Other clubs pay the bands after the bar makes a certain amount. Some clubs pay a percentage of the door. The club has costs. There are sound engineers, bookers, and promoters to pay, lights and equipment to run, and employees to pay.

Sometimes the bands that have made the club money don’t make money themselves. But it’s worth it, because you had a good show, and hopefully you can get a weekend show there and make some money.

One question – who keeps the club honest? It sure seems like you should have made more than $37.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Payout Scams: Vanishing and the Count

posted by on April 29 at 1:35 PM

scammoney.jpgYou’re on tour and you just played a show at a good club in another city. It’s the end of the night and it’s time to get paid. The manager calls you into his office and shows you a chart for the breakdown of the payout. The club bases their payout on attendance.

If there had been six more people there, according to the manager’s numbers, you would have gotten another hundred dollars. His figures are way off. You know there were at least a hundred more people there. And over the course of the evening, maybe two-hundred more. You tell him you think his numbers might be off but he stonewalls you. He sits back in his chair, smirks, and says, “Nope, those are the numbers from the door man. He has a click-counter.” The manager sounds like a robot. The words are scripted. You realize it’s a scam, but what can you do?

You don’t want to piss him off and get on his bad side, because you want to play there again. You try again to tell him you think there were lots more people there than his numbers show, but he gets agitated, “Look, I don’t know what to tell you, this is what the doorguy gave me.” Not wanting to make a scene and get blacklisted, you suck it up and take the money. You’ve been ripped off, but it’s such a good venue, you want to play there again. (So you can get ripped off again!)

Venues hold the cards when they base the payout on attendance. You can hire your own door guy to count, but that’s someone you have to pay.

Negotiating a guarantee beforehand is the way to go. Print out the email that says how much you get paid. When the club tries to lowball you after the show, or tell you there is no food buyout, having that email is nice. (Even if it’s a local show.)

Another scam is the vanishing bar manager. At the end of the night, they are nowhere to be found. There’s no one there to pay you. It’s late, and you need to get on the road. You try to call the manager, and harass the staff for an hour, but they tell you there’s nothing they can do. You wait until the tour is over and harass the manager for three months with emails. Maybe you’ll get paid, maybe not.

Usually touring bands are taken care of. Usually club managers are on the level. But when it comes to the click-counting power sleaze and the vanishing bar manager, you have to watch your back and be as proactive as possible. That $100 they take from your cut is spent fast.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Musicians Going Green; Happy Earth Day

posted by on April 22 at 11:09 AM

Jack Johnson and Willie Nelson top the list of musicians who are practicing earth-friendly habits--Jack Johnson built a solar-powered studio and Willie Nelson sells his own biodiesel fuel in six states.

Also on the list, Dave Matthews Band, who apparently didn't lose too many points when they dumped a bunch of shit on people (and I don't mean with their music):

4. DAVE MATTHEWS BAND The U.S. rock band, through environmental nonprofit Reverb, has calculated the CO2 emissions from every stop on its upcoming summer tour and purchased the renewable energy credits to make up for the footprint left by each venue, hotel, flight, tour vehicle and even fan travel. Fans can sign up online for a carpool.

But they forgot Piebald. They aren't a good band at all anymore (I still like If it Weren't for Venetian Blinds...), but they've been using using vegetable oil as tour fuel for years now.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

National Record Store Day, This Saturday!

posted by on April 17 at 10:12 AM

recordstoredaybanner.jpg

Record stores across America are dying. Maybe everyone stealing music from the internet is what's killing them. Maybe bands giving their albums away for free is what's killing them. Maybe it's MySpace, maybe it's YouTube, maybe it's YOU.

In order to celebrate independent record stores across the nation, give them love (and business) Alliance of Independent Media Stores, Coalition Of Independent Music Stores, Music Monitor Network, Newbury Comics, Value Music Group of Indie Stores have founded April 19th as Record Store Day.

"On this day, all of these stores will simultaneously link and act as one with the purpose of celebrating the culture and unique place that they occupy both in their local communities and nationally," says RecordStoreDay.com. Record stores across the nation will be having sales, selling exclusive merchandise, hosting in-stores, and giving away free shit all day long.

A bunch of local businesses are participating. Here's the rundown of what'll be happening around town:

Easy Street: In-store performances by Mark Pickerel and Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter at the Queen Anne location. 5 pm, free. Also, everything in both stores not already on sale will be 20% off all day long.

Everyday Music: Enter to win an autographed copy of the Tom Waits box set People Take Warning! Murder Ballads & Disaster Songs 1913-1938. There will also be free CD samplers, a storewide sale, and other goodies.

Silver Platters: All four locations (Queen Anne, Bellevue, Southcenter, and Northgate) are offering 20% off on all vinyl, box sets, CD singles, and Billboard Collections CDs, and one day only DVD specials (starting at $3.99). Each location has it's own in-store specials and they also have tons of live music through the day.

Queen Anne:
1:00 The Mary McPage Band
2:00 Matt Jorgensen + 451
3:00 Pat Monahan
4:00 Kim Archer Band
5:00 Bee Simonds
6:00 Speaker Speaker
7:00 Low-Fi
8:00 The Pharmacy
9:00 How and Lightning

Bellevue Crossroads:
1:00 Interlake High School Jazz Band
2:30 Tribaljazz
3:30 Amateur Radio Operator
5:00 Hadley Caliman

Southcenter:
1:00 DJ ECM/Slantooth

Sonic Boom: Both locations (Capitol Hill and Ballard) will be selling Cupcake Royale cupcakes and new Sonic Boom slip mats, with all the proceeds going to the Vera project. They'll also have exclusive vinyl including a Stephen Malkmus 10" and 7"s from Built to Spill, Death Cab, Black Keys, REM, and more. There will be other free surprises included with every purchase, and a sidewalk sale with CDs, rock books, posters, and more starting at $1. 10% of Saturday's sales will be donated to Music4life. Topping it off, they have live music and DJs all day.

Capitol Hill:
1:00 Vinnie Blackshadow
3:00 John Roderick (Long Winters) DJ Set
5:00 The Dutchess and The Duke

Ballard:
3:00 Vinnie Blackshadow
4:00 Aqueduct
5:30 Mono in VCF
7:00 The Moondoggies

Of course, there are more stores around town that shouldn't go ignored--Jive Time, Bop Street, Wall of Sound, and Singles Going Steady.

For more information about Record Store Day, visit www.recordstoreday.com.

Got something going on at your store? E-mail megan@thestranger.com and I'll add it to the list.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Everyday Music to Move to Broadway and Pine in June

posted by on April 11 at 3:30 PM

EMlogo.jpg

Everyday Music is one of the few businesses still open on east side block of Broadway between Denny and John. For the past month or two, all the neighboring stores have been relocating in preparation for the light rail construction that's supposed to start later this spring. But Everyday has stayed put mostly because they still didn't have a place to go.

"They wanted us out at the end of March," says the store's manager David Miranda. "And we had been searching for a new place since November. For awhile it looked like we were all going to be out of jobs."

But Everyday has finally found a new home--Miranda happily reports that their plan is to move into the building on the corner of Broadway and Pine, the one with the Jimi Hendrix statue in front of it.

"Our doors are going to be right behind the statue," he says. The building is set to be developed in two years, so Everday will only be able to sign a year and a half lease, but it will buy them some more time to find a more permanent solution. "We want to stay on Capitol Hill."

There is another downside--"It’s about half the size of the space we're in now," says Miranda. "So were feverishly trying to condense everything."

Still, a smaller space is better than no space at all. They should be in the new building by June 1st.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

About Prince Playing Coachella...

posted by on April 10 at 10:43 PM

He's supposedly getting $4.8 million to do it.

Q: What's Worse Than Perez Hilton Running a Record Label?

posted by on April 10 at 4:25 PM

A: TAG Body Spray running a record label.

From Billboard.com:

Island Def Jam Music Group and Procter & Gamble's TAG brand are teaming for a joint-venture hip-hop label, which will be led by Island Urban president Jermaine Dupri.

"My goal is to find artists that have longevity written all over their face," says Dupri, adding that TAG is expected to launch two artists per year during the course of the three-year deal.

According to Dupri, Proctor & Gamble, which produces TAG body spray, approached Island via ACME Brand Content Company for the joint venture. P&G views the union as a great way to reach its pop culture-influenced teen demographic. The label launch is also part of TAG's initiative to cultivate relationships with the urban community through programs that give opportunities to aspiring MCs.

Neither IDJ or P&G would comment on speculation that TAG artists will be supported with up to, but not limited to, $10 million in marketing dollars, an unprecedented figure for any contemporary new artist.

"Most artists get probably $1 million for a marketing budget," says Dupri. "The TAG artists will receive 10 times the typical marketing support. It will give these artists a chance to be and feel just as big as a Kanye West because the marketing budget is 10 to 20 times as much as the average. While it's not actually $10-20 million, the numbers are up in that area and further north."

Looks like the wealthy deodorant industry has some money to throw into the dying music industry.

Tag4sickcats.jpg


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Chuck Klosterman Wonders: If the Money's Not Going to Music, Where is it Going?

posted by on April 8 at 3:22 PM

And with a new Esquire essay, "Teenage Music Purchases: Anyone Seen My $4.2 Billion?", Klosterman shares his simple theory on the matter and asks "What is happening to all the money not being spent on music?"

When the Associated Press did its (now annual) story about How the Music Industry Is Failing this past January, it tried to answer my question with one sentence: "The recording industry has experienced declines in CD album sales for years, in part because of the rise of online file-sharing, but also because consumers have spent more of their leisure dollars on other entertainment, like DVDs and video games." This is a rational explanation supported by the precipitous commercial rise in both idioms. (Video-game revenue has more than doubled since 2000, and DVD sales grew from $2.5 billion in 2000 to $23.4 billion last year.) The only problem is while CDs, DVDs, and video games are physically similar, and they're sold in the same outlet, the experiences they offer aren't logically connected. I don't see why not having to pay for a Band of Horses album would make a person any more likely to buy a copy of Knocked Up, as opposed to buying four gallons of gas or a pair of sunglasses or a turtle. I don't think young people swap out items in their "leisure" budget that explicitly. What seems more likely is that this extra $4.2 billion -- unequally distributed among all the music fans who didn't pay for music in 2006 -- entered the overall economy in lots of disparate ways. And while we'll never know exactly where all those bones disappeared, my specific theory is this: A lot of the money not spent on music in the twenty-first century is being used to pay off credit-card debt that was incurred during the nineties. In other words, not paying for In Rainbows today is helping people eliminate the balance they still owe for buying Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness when they were broke in 1995.

Read the whole thing here.


Monday, March 31, 2008

Who Owns Your Music Blog? or "DAILY SWARM WHAT UP THE FUCK!?"

posted by on March 31 at 12:07 PM

Hat tip to the thankfully revived Gerard vs Bear and story via thedailyswarm:

Pop culture-focused social media site Buzznet, based in Los Angeles, has raised a big-ish third round of funding, as much as $25 million, we have learned, and that Universal Music-owned Interscope has invested a few million in it. We haven’t been able to confirm the other investors, but last year the company raised about $6 million led by Redpoint Ventures and Anthem Venture Partners. The previous investors might have put some of the new money as well.

The site’s primary focus is on music and offers related blogs, videos, photo-sharing and band-related features. In particular, Buzznet has struck alliances with indie bands by promoting specific online community channels for them. The company has also been working with established popstars, like Avril Lavigne.

Also, recently, investors Bob Pittman, of the Pilot Group and Sling Media’s Jason Hirschhorn traded their equity stakes in the influential indie music blog Stereogum for an ownership percentage of BuzzNet. We have confirmed through sources that Buzznet now fully owns Stereogum. Not sure how this plays into the new funding, but the financing may be used in making some other music and entertainment related content acquisitions and possibly rollups, our sources say.

The company has not responded to our repeated e-mails.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Poll: Sweet 16

posted by on March 26 at 11:31 AM

LineOutBracketCrop.jpgIt’s March Madness tournament time in NCAA Basketball Land. The joyous spirit of head to head competition abounds. It’s also tournament time on Line Out. Sixteen teams are left. You decide who moves on. Mano a mano, a Buzzo. Will it be a Kaz – Slats showdown? And James Murphy vs. Tim Harrington looks to be an interesting match up. The ‘Elite 8’ will be played Friday. Final Four next week.

Here are the teams that have made it to the round of Sweet 16:

1. KazPWRFL Power
2. SlatsPain Cocktail
3. EYEBoredoms
4. King Buzzothe Melvins
5. Barflythe Saturday Knights
6. Robin PecknoldFleet Foxes
7. James MurphyLCD Soundsystem
8. Jackie Hell
9. GeologicBlue Scholars
10. Tim HarringtonLes Savy Fav
11. Ms. Kristen Dupré - Elliot Spitzer prostitute
12. Amy Winehouse
13. Phil CollinsGenesis
14. ‘bing’ – Anonymous Commenter
15. Ben GibbardDeath Cab for Cutie
16. Lemmy KilmisterMotorhead

Jump ball. Play ball:

You Know It's Going to Be a Good Day When...

posted by on March 26 at 10:07 AM

You wake up to news that Clear Channel's stock dropped 22% yesterday.