Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Ultimate Liner Notes: UK Startup Decibel Builds a Comprehensive, Relational Music Database

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The Ultimate Liner Notes: UK Startup Decibel Builds a Comprehensive, Relational Music Database

Google Acquired Simplify Media To Launch Android Music Service? - ITProPortal.com

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Google Acquired Simplify Media To Launch Android Music Service? - ITProPortal.com

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Thuggin 'N Things

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Wakey Wakey

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Afternoon Delight

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Grooveshark: All You've Ever Wanted. and More.

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Hey Guys-
today I'm going to spotlight what's in my opinion the best music service out there, unequivocally.

This group is the first to successfully figure out and model what the entire industry has been struggling with since the conception of P2P. No one wants to pay for music, or any other media content accessible from the internet, plain and simple. No amount of litigation, ad campaigns, or education can reverse the financial losses the music industry has suffered and will continue to suffer.

With this in mind-- Escape Media Group -- created Grooveshark, which has successfully modeled a legal, revenue creating, easy to use, attractive service. While Grooveshark is picking up pace quickly, their market potential is tremendous.
Livegraph
So lets get into the thick of why this service trumps everything else on the market.

1) Front End Design:
The application like interface of Grooveshark is truly incredible. The service is packed choc full with features-- presented in a way thats intuitive, and straight forward. Its so easy, even a caveman could do it...

2) Features: Grooveshark is far more than a pretty face. It not only allows you to stream almost any music you want at breakneck speed-- you can share and organize your music to suite your preferences with equal ease. This is where most other media streaming falls short. All for FREE.

I was able to aggregate my entire music library onto my account as quickly as I could search the artists. And if I can't find something I wanted from my own library- I can upload it! This means- no more bothering with backing up my music to my external, or worrying about storage capacity on my mp3 device or smartphone. Grooveshark allows you to have your entire music library floating in the most accessible place in the world-- THE INTERNET.

Another nice thing Grooveshark does is allows you to Beta many of their new releases if you're a "VIP" which costs a minuscule $3 a month--

Best New Feature-- A "Desktop" Grooveshark-- that runs through Adobe Air-- which interfaces just like your favorite music app-- you'll forget your streaming music.

This is the most comprehensive application of cloud computing for music I've seen...which is
where the industry is headed-- so props Grooveshark!





Thursday, February 11, 2010

Alternate Business Models for the Musician

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Today's post is more of a short summary of an enlightening article by Mike Masnick entitled
"The Future Of Music Business Models (And Those Who Are Already There)" originally posted @ TechDirt

Mike's main framework for his article is his formula of "Connect with Fans (CwF) + Reason to Buy (RtB) = The Business Model "

This framework is substantiated by a number of different examples, that can be paraphrased into the following points:

-STOP FIGHTING music piracy-- as an artist you should post your music on your site for free-- use this to your advantage as an advertising tool
-- One approach is to release the music in conjunction with tour dates: in order for the fan to download the music they must click through a series of info about your group and dates

-Make your webpage interactive: let fans connect and share through phone apps, text, & posting content-- such as videos or pictures they've taken at your shows
-Some artists have posted their music in forms that allow fans to remix songs through web apps-

-Offer REAL incentives to buy your merchandise-- such as special bundles that include things of real value for fans- such as your signature, limited edition releases, etc. etc.
-Some artists have gone as far as offering tiered packages in which the fan buys personal time, or interaction with the group-- this is a great idea and can be rolled out through social media as a marketing piece

-Consider fundraisers in which you auction yourself or possessions in a way that raises awareness for your group or your person

The Clutch point of this article is with the new tools offered by Web 2.0 and social networking- there are many unique and creative ways to raise money and fan awareness-- stop fighting the new technology and embrace it. Thats where the future is headed. no matter how hard anybody tries to stop it. BE CREATIVE. BE PERSONAL. BE PERSISTENT.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Technology for Musicans

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Hey Guys!

Hope everyone is doing fine through all this snow. Since I haven't given much of an inside view on my own interests and connections to music and or the music industry- I'm going to give you a culmination of my personal preferences as well as a great idea on what it takes to make a powerful but inexpensive home studio. While there is a mountain of reasons why power has shifted away from major labels- the proliferation of cheap consumer technology- is certainly a contributing factor. Whereas in the past you would need a a good amount of funding to get into the studio and track a professional LP- today you can get going yourself for just a couple hundred dollars.

I have been playing drums for about ten years, I also casually play- and I do mean casually- guitar, and keys. I've been playing in bands since middle school and love to perform/play live music. I have also always been fascinated by recording.

My first recording set up ever was a VM3100 Pro Roland Mixing Board

that connected to my Dell Desktop VIA a PCI slot, which powered my Logic RPC Software (before they were bought out by Apple.) This never served me very well because for the life of me, as a middle school and high schooler, I could never figure out how to manipulate the software very well. There was also no technical support on that product line, as Apple had recently bought out the company. This whole package ran me about $700 at the time. I still use the board a lot today for purposes of preamp and expanded inputs for live sound. It comes with a number of useful onboard effects.




From there I shifted my attention to Apple's Garage Band-- after purchasing an Fast Track USB Mbox.
You can purchase a Fast Track Mbox for $100 or less- and it comes bundled with M Audio "Session"- a piece of software that is the closest to a PC garageband Ive seen. However, theres many glitches with this software and I didn't find it to be adequate for my needs at the time.
Garage Band is a great utility for those that are new to recording, and has many professional capabilities for a free piece of software. With the right microphones and input device you can get some fairly professional stuff out of garageband.

From there I moved onto the Mbox Mini packaged with Pro Tools 8 LE-- which is what I currently use today. This set up is really what I recommend for someone on a very tight budget looking to get the biggest bang for their buck. While you will likely want to expand your Pro Tools Plugin package-- LE comes with everything you need to get started-- and has all the necessary EQ, Delay, Reverb, Compression, etc. that you will need.


The biggest downside of the Mbox Mini is that its no good for live recording-- because you can only record two tracks simultaneously . While this sounds like a disadvantage-- chances are if youre working with this package you don't have a good set up to do live recordings well anyhow. The way to get the best quality and eliminate bleed through is layering tracks one by one. While this is tedious it allows the most control and will give you the best quality sound.

In all likelihood you're going to want a MIDI keyboard to accompany your new virtual instrument capabilities. The most effective solution for this is the M Audio Key Rig 49.

The Keyrig will only run you about $100 and comes packaged with all the drivers you need to jump straight into Pro Tools. It plugs in through your USB connect and as far as I can tell has very little if any lag.

Another essential piece of hardware for a project studio is of course, studio monitors. Trying to mix through your headphones is the equivalent of attempting to work with Photoshop on a monitor that has a poor resolution, and doesn't represent all the colors. I recently bought a pair of monitors for my home set up- and so far they work well. They deliver everything I expected and were the highest quality at the lowest price I could find. Mostly emphasis on lowest price.


The M Audio Audiophile series- in my personal opinion- offer the best return on price, at least in the lower end of the spectrum. I got the AV40's delivered to my doorstep for only $150. These speakers are definitely bass deficient- but thats to be expected for their size. I would not recommend them for professional applications- but they're more than adequate for getting your mix in the ballpark. Its easy enough to burn a CD and try out your mix in the car, on your home stereo, etc- to refine the final product/ mastering.

In terms of mics for a home set up-- you should really have a couple good dynamic microphones. Where I would really recommend investing your money though, is in one good condenser. You can get decent condensers for very cheap- in the $100 range--
or go all out and drop a couple grand. If theres a place to invest money in a home setup- its def with the Mic's, because thats going to be be your greatest limiting factor.

**NOTE: All of these recommendations are geared towards someone with very little money to throw around. The set up I've acquired is based on a student's budget, or lack there of.**

Once youve got your recordings- theres a number of ways you can proliferate this content:

Theres a number of social music networks Im subscribed to you can also check out on the right hand side of this blog.
(the content proliferation could be another whole post on its own, so I'll save that for later in the interest of length)

In terms of getting up on mixing-- I would recommend the texts Ive used in my MultiTrack Recording Classes:

Happy Recording!




Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Music & Cloud Computing

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Hey Guys!
Sorry for the lag in posts- this first week and a half back at school kind of diverted my attention. This semester Im taking 18 credit hours of class- so that has the potential to get slightly intense. What is nice is that Im taking "Marketing of Recorded Music" as well as "Multitrack Recording II." Im pretty psyched about Multitrack II-- Im getting in the studio six hours a week, really learning a lot about mixing and mastering.

Anyhow, since Im apprehensive about making this blog a home of personal commentary-- lets get straight to todays topic-- The Future of Cloud Computing and Music.

While it would appear that services in general are moving in this direction-- with more and more application based streaming (Grooveshark being the premiere in my opinion)-- there haven't been any huge jumps forward in the public eye. The closest the modern world is coming to this idea is on demand streaming from cellphones and ipod touches. Everyday internet and cellphone network coverage get better-- PMP's get smaller and powerful, lending towards a more favorable climate for full access subscription models- yet no one service has really dented market share from superforces like Apple's Itunes. Until now...Sort of.

Apple just recently acquired music startup La La. At first glance Lala looks like any other on demand music streaming site-- so how is that useful to Apple? What Lala holds that others don't- is a music storage service that allows users to store their personal library of music on the internet so that they can access their music from anywhere.

It is speculated that Apple will leverage their hardware (Ipods,Itouche's, Iphone's) and software (Itunes,Itunes Store) to incorporate an update which automatically loads user's library of music to their own URL, giving users a viewing space for their music thats accessible anywhere. The very witty part about this is that Apple wouldn't be required to get any new licensing because this music thats loaded to the web, is the user's personal collection. This not only gives the user a more convenience and utility-- but also allows Apple to enable the user to sidestep the technology curve of media player storage space.

This is an extraordinarily smart move by Apple-- as it fortifies their monster market share, protecting them from any subscription models that might steal customers away.

If anyone can pull this one off-- it would certainly be Apple-- and this model of incorporating the user's existing music collection is pretty revolutionary. It will interesting to see how this plays out.

If youd like more detail on this check out Michael Robertson's post @ http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/19/apples-secret-cloud-strategy-and-why-lala-is-critical/ Also a special thanks to a great mentor for keeping me current-- TechCrunch is great.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Game Theory In The Music Industry

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This was written in the context of an Introductory Game Theory Honors Seminar- Spring 09

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Can I have your number? Can I have it? Can I have it?

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Hey readers-
Happy New Year!!! Hope everyone had as good of a time as I did. I must say I was very pleased with my Steak and Shrimp Tepanyaki New Years dinner.

But straight to the chase-- this post I'm going to be discussing the implications of the Cellphone Industry on music. 2009 was a particularly big year for the smart phone industry-- which can only mean good things for the music industry as well.

The mobile industry is one of the first to introduce music bundling packages with preexisting service plans. Bundling is one thing youre going to hear me talking about again and again-- but I truly believe that bundling will be an integral part of any comprehensive solution to (re) monetize music in the future.

But before delving into the bundling aspect-- first I would like to substantiate how important the mobile industry has become to music revenues. Just take a look at these next few figures--




































The obvious takeaway is that ringtones, and ringback tones have been a nice cash cow for the industry AND people are interested in listening to music content on their phone-- whether its through streaming or using their mobile device as an mp3 player.

Next I would like to address the potential mobile music subscription bundling has. Whereas ISP's have no real incentive to package web services such as music streaming into their existing model-- the cellphone industry can use such services as real differentiators to leverage specific phone models or service plans.

In the interest of keeping this post short and sweet I will just drop a few quotes to substantiate the claim above-- starting with a major label head--

“Ultimately, we will see all sortsof products come with music –home stereos, cars and potentially televisions. Music can become an important element that enhances the value of consumer electronics devices,providing consumers with a very complete and satisfying experience.”

Thomas Hesse, President,Global Digital Business, Sony Music Entertainment

Next two mobile heavy hitters:
("Comes With Music":When consumers buy aNokia Comes With Music phone, they gain
unlimited music access for a year and can download songs at no additional charge.)

“We believe that Comes With Music will transform the way people enjoy music. With unlimited music access for a year, fans can enjoy their favourite artists or delve into new genres without having to worry about individual track or album purchases.”

Tero Ojanpera, Head of Entertainment, Nokia

("PLAY": PLAY provides unlimited access to 2.2 million tracks for the company’s mobile and broadband customers that sign up to the service, without additional charge while their subscription is ongoing.)

“ The mobile and broadband markets in Denmark are highly mature, hence focus is more on
customer retention than customer acquisition.TDC PLAY is vital for us in our aim to keep our customers and stabilise our turnover.”

Eva Berneke, Senior ExecutiveVice President & Chief Strategy Officer, TDC

Clearly the writings on the wall are pretty clear-- introducing music into non traditional venues is where the future of music lies. Bundling happens to hold a very customer friendly incentive-- and cellphones are, so far, the easiest medium to execute this model through.

“ We have to help fans find music wherever they are at the moment they want it. If we can do that we will find ways to monetise it.”

Douglas Merrill, President, Digital Business, EMI Music

“ A big album worldwide will sell about seven million units but many more people will enjoy
the album. This is about lighting up all these other consumers.”

Rob Wells, Senior VicePresident, Digital, Universal Music Group International




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