Archive for the ‘ music ’ Category

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

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.

random monday update

I’m just going to tell you right now this will be a boring post. If you want to be really bored, keep on reading:

I go to San Francisco this week for a sales meeting with a fruit company. That should be interesting.

Gotta give props to Flash for the great recommendation on the band Stateless… really liking this self-titled album. It’s an interesting blend of Brit-rock, electronic trip-hop, and ambient soundscapes. There are elements of Radiohead, Massive Attack, and a hint of Sigur Ros throughout… all good influences.

While I’m talking about Flash, head on over to his blog to answer his question of the week about embryonic stem cell research. I don’t know what my answer is yet.

Twitter is interesting. I find this strange compulsion to broadcast my rageful inner thoughts on the thing, and somehow at the last second find the willpower to not press ‘send’.

I’ve heard of people having internet addictions. I wonder if I’m coming down with one.

Prison Break is over for this season. I really thought they were going to end it this time around, but looks like we will have another season. I like the show a lot, though the beginning of this their third season was a little far fetched. Oh well, just a TV show right?

Something walloped our house in the middle of the night two nights ago. Like really hard… I thought there would be a dent in the side of the house. There wasn’t.

George Bush Sr. “endorses John McCain” today. Goodie.

I agree with Tim that the Knight Rider movie Sunday night was an absolute travesty. I gotta admit that I was really looking forward to it, and also gotta admit that I couldn’t stand more than about 8 minutes of that horrendous show.

Tim also says piano playing is for stupid heads… yeah, I’m just gonna let that one sit.

defining artistic brilliance

It’s so difficult to find artists these days that are truly re-defining in their sound and ushering in a new era of popular music. Hats off to this fine group that has taken a classic hit and reworked it in a truly fresh way while still maintaining a sincere and brilliant retro flavor…

best christmas album of 2007

It’s not too often I get amped up on a Christmas record. I find a lot of it mundane and most of the time I’m going back to the old stuff that I grew up on.

But if I can just say, Bebo Norman’s new record “Christmas From The Realms Of Glory” is likely the best Christmas album of 2007 and has quickly become one of my favorites. There are several reasons why: Musically it’s very solid, and Bebo has a great voice, and the arrangements of the songs are surprisingly unique.

But I think the most catching thing about this album is the raw simplicity with which it is delivered. It’s very acoustic driven – guitars, piano and Hammond organ, some layered banjo, and dulcimer. Somehow this album seems to capture the true spirit of Christmas for me. A lot of times Christmas music is so overdone – sweeping orchestral arrangements, cliche sleigh bells, dripping with consumerist gloss. But I feel like Bebo brings the focus back – the celebration, the joy, the seriousness, the weightyness that Christmas is, comes together on this album.

A couple highlight tracks…

Joy To The World:
I never really cared for this song all that much before – I always thought it sounded forced – but this is my favorite track on the album. Bebo plays this as though he were walking down the middle of a country road on Christmas morning with snow all around him, just belting this song out to all of his neighbors. He actually sounds happy playing this – you can’t help but smile.

The Rebel Jesus:
This is a cover of a song written by Jackson Browne in the early 90’s. I have never heard a more honest Christmas song. This lyric cuts deep and forces you to critically think about the way you celebrate Christmas every year…

We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
We get the same as the rebel Jesus

Overall it’s a solid album, honestly and intentionally done, and you should check it out. If you want to take a listen, click here.

ok fine… maybe

OK I concede, sometimes my job has its high points… I’m posting this from my new iPod Touch… so ha, suckers!! On wait, I forgot for a moment that I still sit in a cubicle.

dear radiohead

Thank you for the new album. I was pleased to be able to download it from your website this evening and pay whatever price I desired to purchase it. I happened to spend $5.00, and I hope that’s ok with you. You made the purchase process really simple and I was happy to find that the entire process took less than four minutes. So now I’m about to load the tracks onto my iPod and listen to the album for the first time. I’m looking forward to it and I’m sure it will be great.


Christian Music Part 3: It’s Really All About The Lyrics

I was remiss in getting Part 3 of the Christian music series up quickly on my site… would love for you to check out the entire post!

“We want to look at two different songs, similar in style and intent – one from what we would call a “typical” Christian artist, the other from an artist we feel conveys the message of Christianity in a more compelling way… These two songs (one by Audio Adrenaline the other by The Normals) both tell the story of life, grace, and forgiveness through a song, but they do it in different ways. Stated briefly, Audio Adrenaline’s song tells it’s story abstractly while The Normals’ song uses concrete imagery.”

Check out more here….

Christian Music Part 2: What Can We Do Better?

I mentioned last time I’m partnering with Tim to write a series about the Christian music industry. Here’s a bit from our latest post…

“While musically a Christian album is often tolerable, if one were to actually dissect the lyrical content of your average Christian song you’d be left with a pile of feel-good anecdotes, spiritual cliches, interspersed with a healthy dose of “Hallelujahs” and other standard worship words… Reading a Christian song is almost like watching a Brady Bunch episode: Catchy intro, problematic situation, tension, feel-good resolution. These songs are easy to write. It’s the same plot line with the characters switched around, and ultimately it cheapens the Gospel.”

Check out more here….