Archive for March, 2008

radiohead: in rainbows

This week I’m sharing with you my “Five favorite albums that aren’t available on Napster but are available on Imeem”. So if we’re going to do this, let’s start it off right…

In Rainbows was released by Radiohead in October ’07 as a pay-what-you want download through the band’s personal website, to the delight of fans across the globe and the chagrin of many a major label. For better or worse most of the chatter about this album centered around the band’s unique distribution and marketing plan for the record, but let’s face it – this is likely the best album of 2007 and ranks up there in the category of masterpiece amongst the band’s catalog to date.

“Bodysnatchers” is a powerful track – reminiscent of the title track from 1995’s The Bends – and best listened with headphones to hear some amazing stereo perspective on the dueling guitar riffs. High point of the album for me is the sequence of “Faust Arp” followed by “Reckoner” – tracks perfect for a rainy spring day, or a drive through the country.

Enjoy the music….

Click here if the player is not showing in your feed.

five favorite albums that aren’t available on napster but are available on imeem

This week, in a little change up from my typical rants and random thoughts, I’m going to share with you my five favorite albums that are not available on Napster, but are available on Imeem.

I’m a huge fan of music streaming services – Napster and Rhapsody have been good friends for several years, and a great way to discover new music. For those who don’t want to shell out the money, or are on a Mac, Napster Free is a great way to experience the joy of streaming.

I recently got turned on to Imeem, which builds it’s content database off user-uploaded music… but it’s legal because the labels have all signed licensing agreements with Imeem so they get paid for the music plays. Free music sans guilt. Yay!

Because Imeem is essentially user generated there tends to be deeper content out there than you might find at Napster, and since some of my favorite artist’s music is not available at Napster, I thought I would spend this week sharing some of those albums with you. Look forward to #1 tomorrow… or don’t look forward to it, I don’t care… it’s coming anyways.

The List:
Radiohead – In Rainbows
British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?
The Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova – The Swell Season
Embrace – This New Day

why i believe (part 1)

I’ve been pondering the core of where my belief in Christianity comes from recently – not so much what do I believe, but why do i believe it? Below is an excerpt of free writing from my journal on Easter Sunday as I thought about this, with a couple minor edits for clarity sake.

I am a Christian.

And I am a Christian because I believe.

The Bible tells me that whoever believes in Christ as Savior will have eternal life. I believe this.

But why?

The short answer is that I don’t know why I believe. The Bible is full of things that I say I ascribe to and accept… much of which I don’t understand or am even aware of. But yet I do believe.

It’s not a matter of questioning what I believe. I guess in my heart I sense I know truth. That somehow I have found the right way, but I’m not sure how I came to this comprehension. Certainly my parents, grandparents, friends, teacher, and pastors over 26 years have had a lot to do with it.

Which begs the question, did I make a decision to believe as the result of a logical decision after considering all the options?

I know that I didn’t. I cannot comprehend even a fraction of all the options. Furthermore, the belief I ascribe to says that God called me – I didn’t seek him. Interesting.

But does that make it any less important that I understand why I believe? In order that I might explain my belief to others in a way that makes some semblance of sense, I don’t think so. It’s a fascinating point though… my belief is only possible and only validated because God allowed me to believe. Some are called to believe, but before they know that they have been called to believe I feel I must be able to talk to them about Christianity in a manner that can be comprehended outside of the certainty of faith.

So then, is belief the sum of knowledge of certain things known to be true and the balance of things that must be accepted simply through faith?

Faith is described as the “assurance of things hoped for” and the “conviction of things not seen”… things that we cannot approach physically. Is it possible that the entire crux of all religions – even atheism – require a certain degree of faith in things we cannot prove in a tangible world?

So belief systems boil down to two questions:

  • What are the things we can know which we can prove beyond a doubt, that can be verified and upheld in the physical world?
  • Second, what are the things that must be answered through faith – things out of reach of our finite minds and bodies which must simply be accepted with imperfect understanding?

I feel like if I can get my head around what these elements of Knowledge and elements of Faith are, I will have a better understanding of why I believe… and as a result, a fuller understanding of what I believe.

Someday (hopefully soon) there will be a Part 2 to this post, and where I’ll tackle this question. Until then, do you agree with my conclusion that a belief is founded on two primary elements of Knowledge and Faith? Is it necessary for us to understand why we believe what we believe? Do you understand why you believe what you believe?

solution process

Solution 1: Have a process.

Solution 2: If there is no process, claim you are building a process.

Solution 3: If the process isn’t working, claim you are solutioning a process.

why i (still) don’t watch lost

There are readers of this blog who will get very angry and/or disappointed over what I am about to write. And for that I apologize.

I do not watch Lost.

I was invited to attend a Lost party tonight – I probably won’t be invited back. Frankly, I wasn’t intrigued.

It’s not that I don’t get it or I don’t understand what’s going on, and therefore am completely lost. I know about the Others. I know about the hatch. I know about the polar bears, and the button, DHARMA, and the freighter, and that some get off the island and some don’t. I’ve seen enough bits and pieces over the last few seasons to understand the gist of the whole thing.

It’s not that the story isn’t visionary. Obviously these writers are extremely talented and pay incredibly close attention to minute details. And the production is stellar… they go to great lengths to make each episode top class.

I find the whole thing incredibly ridiculous, over the top, and not very captivating. I don’t care that it’s science fiction – I could get on board with that. It’s just one little mystery after the other, and every little twist and turn is supposed to get you all worked up into this silly frenzy, and you know what? I just think it’s so predictable. The story line has been worked over so many times to include every possible twist and turn that I’m really not surprised when anything happens.

Of course Michael can’t die when he slams his car into a dumpster going 80 miles an hour. Yes I knew that was a suicide note he pinned to his shirt and knew that he was going to try to kill himself.

Then there are all these debates about “is it a flash forward?” or “is it a flashback?” And these over the top suspenseful moments where they show some inanimate object – a crate, a box, a boat – what’s inside inanimate object? I don’t know, go to commercial.

And then there’s the over acting and weak dialog. You’re such a maverick Sawyer… I can tell by your glassy stare and consistent 5:00 shadow. Oh wait, I’m sorry, you don’t age anymore so you can’t grow a beard.

I really wanted to be intrigued tonight to go back and watch the first three seasons on DVD and catch myself up, but I was not. Sorry, it’s just not my thing. Sorry if that makes me a simple, uneducated, completely not culturally relevant, totally un-hipster, completely un-cool person that just doesn’t get it.

Now, invariably, there will be some follow-up comments here telling me what a fool I am and vast generalizations will be made about “you people” who watch 24, who just can’t comprehend the magnificent artistic masterpiece that is Lost. That’s fine, go ahead, have your fun. Note how said comments will be viciously personal, directed at the shallowness of my character because I am not willing to succumb myself to this culturally epic show that “everyone” watches. They really don’t phase me… I’m just not that interested.

two hundred thousand point two

Dear Tim,

Saturday was a monumental day in the life of your purple car. Amidst a cow pasture on the right and a really big hill on the left, your 1997 Chevy Cavalier surpassed 200,000 miles, officially making it the farthest operating car I have ever owned [including my Ford Contour from highschool which went through three engine blocks in three years, as well as the legendary Neal Mobile which gave out at 195,461 miles].

I would personally like to take this moment to thank you for changing the oil so regularly, as well as replacing the clutch after teaching Karen to drive a stick. Your diligence in the care and maintenance of this fine car have surely lent to it’s many long miles.

As of 200,000.2 miles, as evidenced by the odometer picture above, the purple Cavlier has made it’s presence known in 15 States, including among others Minnesota, Kansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. It has also suffered 3 batteries, 2 alternators, 2 transmission cables, 46 oil changes, and 1 male white-tailed deer.

As the purple car was originally purchased as transportation for Steph, I let her drive the last few miles towards the goal of 200k, with ice cream from Sonic in hand to celebrate the event.

Thank you to everyone for your support and to all who have provided rides on days the purple car has spent hospitalized at the local Firestone shop.


24: The Unaired 1994 Pilot

Sorry I’m full of a bunch of brainless posts this week… here’s another one. Since Fox won’t be giving us another season of 24 for a while, this will need to tide us over… “The Unaired 1994 Pilot” for the series. Thanks to my brother, Josh, for sending this one to me.

vote for the trees

Our friends down at Emma Marketing are planting trees during SXSW week! Go vote for the trees here… leafy friends need your support.

the sugar!

I’ve been looking for this video for the longest time. This is a clip from stand-up comic Lavell Crawford, performing in the finals for Last Comic Standing Season 5. He had a lot of funny moments during the season, but this is one of my (and Steph’s) favorites… especially the very end:

my music business

So my friend Jessi asked me the other day if I could answer a few questions about the music biz and artist management to help her out with a college project she’s doing. There are certainly more qualified people out there to answer these questions, but I appreciate that she asked and so I’m happy to share my thoughts, not only with her, but you as well… enjoy:

* * * * * *

Jessi: What is your background (education and experience)?

Me: I went to college at Belmont University and graduated with a double-major in Music Business and Business Management. I did two internships while in college. The first was with a small artist management company called CommonRock Entertainment who was, at the time, working with The Normals, Bleach, and Sanctus Real. The second internship was with the EMI Christian Music Group, working in their mainstream radio promotions department. And finally, once I graduated, I did one more internship with Creative Trust Entertainment – a larger scale management company who was, again at the time, working with Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, and Warren Barfield.

Jessie: How did you get your start in the Music Business?
Me: I moved to Nashville under the pretenses that I was a good musician and could write good songs. Neither were true. As such, I dropped the idea of spending a life recording and performing and instead took up an interest in the various business aspects of music. Artist management immediately appealed to me, and over time marketing, brand development, and web marketing became of interest as well. Ultimately my internships led to a job at EMI Christian Music Group, and I have been there since working in digital sales & marketing.

Jessi: Which artists have you worked with in the past and who do you work with now?
Me: Artist management has always been more of a passion for me than it has been a job, and as a result I have always been a part-time manager on the side in addition to my work with EMI. I have primarily worked with Beau Bristow (, an independent Nashville based pop/rock artist, over the past four years.

Jessi: Describe a typical day’s activities
Me: The great and fascinating thing about working in the independent music scene is that every day is different, and it is this way because every day is a fight just to keep the artist moving forward. There are so many artists – both on major labels and independently – vying for the attention of an audience. The independent manager’s constant struggle is to help the artist connect with people continuously, on a limited budget, and help grow an audience base, whether this is through performances, online awareness, publicity, partnerships, or any other number of opportunities.

If the artist is currently recording, most activities focus on publicity, like overseeing the design of the artist’s website, creating press packages, and connecting with media outlets to prepare for the launch of the new record. If the artist is on tour, activities center around keeping the artist moving on the road – advancing shows, pitching to venues, drafting contracts. The independent artist generally does not have their own booking agent, so the manager usually fills this role, which includes a lot of email and phone correspondence, and attending conferences to connect with buyers and venue owners.

The manager is ultimately the whatever-needs-to-be-done guy – whether its as a travel agent, web manager, publicist, roadie, booking agent, graphic designer, producer, merch guy, and sometimes most importantly, counselor.

Jessi: How do you view the future (technology and business models) in this industry?
Me: Technology, for better or worse, is everything in the future of our industry, and unfortunately we’ve been ignoring that fact for far too long. There are a ton of people evangelizing about what the “new model” is going to be for the music industry, and frankly, I don’t believe there will be one “new model”.

We’re going to see a ton of different models emerge over the next several years, and a lot of it is going to be propelled by what is going on in the independent music scene, because these artists are in the best position to react to market changes and provide their customer with what is being demanded. We’re going to see a hybrid of customers – some will want their music immediately through a digital format, and others will want to hold that physical copy of the album in their hands. Labels will need to efficiently provide opportunities for both.

As time goes on there will be a lot of different experiments carried out – some will work, and some will fail miserably: There will be artists who offer their music for free, or at a price to be determined by the consumer. There will be artists who offer subscriptions to their content for a set annual fee, and over the course of a year the customer gets all sorts of things like new albums, artwork, and show tickets. Some artists will begin to offer their new music in a serial-type manner, releasing EPs every few months instead of a new album every couple years. Labels will experiment with so-called 360° deals where they will be the wholesale provider for not only albums, but books, T-shirts, posters, and other swag as well.

I think the bottom line is that the new model will be experimentation as labels and artists struggle to cope with a new consumer base that believes music should be ubiquitous and free. Some will embrace that mindset, and others will fight it… the most successful will likely land somewhere in the middle, and at the end of the day, I have always felt that the most critical component of selling music is that the artist must have a relationship with the consumer. Music at it’s core is an emotional experience, and when the quality is high enough and a bond exists between the artist and listener, people will pay for it.