I probably sound like a bit of a stuck record at this point but I think it’s hard to understate just how much of a killer music device the iPad is. My hat goes off to Smule for really leading the way. They totally get it.
I can’t wait until 2015 when this music revolution is in full swing and my son is playing with all these apps. I wonder if he’ll still learn to play piano in the classical way I did?
“Audio blogging sites Gorilla vs. Bear and Weekly Tape Deck have launched a record label, Forest Family Records. The label will product limited runs of 7″, 10″ and 12″ vinyl as well as cassettes.”
CD’s are dead, long live digital! But there’s no doubt in my mind that physical formats will still play an important (but different) role in music. Especially when a whole generation of kids, who never really even knew what cassettes and vinyl were, decide to acquire some of that ‘post-digital’ cool factor.
For the record, I said it on the panel I was on at SXSW a few weeks ago, but I’m still waiting for the first cassette only exclusive by a major artist.
I just stumbled across this really great keynote from Clay Shirky a couple of years ago (via Seth Godin). He’s talking about the Cognitive Surplus, or put more simply, the amazing things you can do when you stop spending your spare time simply watching TV or consuming media. Definitely recommended viewing. I’ve posted before about my good friend Henrik Berggren, he’s a guy who definitely knows what he wants to do with his Cognitive Surplus. What do you do with yours?
There’s another poignant part at the end of this talk. It’s interesting to think about how we have a whole generation that will grow up just assuming that media isn’t a one way street. For them it’s as much about producing and sharing as it is about consuming. And I think that will have an important impact on the music business in the future too, as production and participation in music starts to become much more important for a mass-market that was previously content on just consuming it.
“I think records were just a little bubble through time and those who made a living from them for a while were lucky. There is no reason why anyone should have made so much money from selling records except that everything was right for this period of time. I always knew it would run out sooner or later. It couldn’t last, and now it’s running out. I don’t particularly care that it is and like the way things are going. The record age was just a blip. It was a bit like if you had a source of whale blubber in the 1840s and it could be used as fuel. Before gas came along, if you traded in whale blubber, you were the richest man on Earth. Then gas came along and you’d be stuck with your whale blubber. Sorry mate – history’s moving along. Recorded music equals whale blubber. Eventually, something else will replace it.”
I’ve posted parts of this quote before. But Tom Robinson just reminded me of it by retweeting a link to the piece in The Guardian. Brian Eno has some smart things to say, you should read the full article.
This doesn’t really warrant a whole 3min 30sec demonstration but it’s cool nonetheless. Thinking it would be more useful if it was wider, magnetic and could replace the white board in a school music room.
Really enjoyed this 20 minute documentary on the Amen break. Touches on copyright and culture issues surrounding sampling & remixing. Argues that this break has now become part of our music/cultural subconcious.
When I first started DJ-ing it was predominantly hip-hop, beats and drum’n'bass so the Amen break became pretty much a staple. Amazing to think about it’s history and how it’s played such an important role in the music I’ve enjoyed for so many years - from NWA to Squarepusher and many shades in between.
I still don’t get tired of it. A very quick search on SoundCloud pulls up quite a few tracks using the Amen break.
Muse’s The Resistance has won Best Art Vinyl 2009, I just heard the news being discussed on The Today Show with Andrew Heep and Phil Manzanera (former lead guitarist for Roxy Music). The initial question from the interviewer was obvious, does album art still matter in the digital age?
It would be easy to argue that in this digital age of downloads, hard drives full of MP3 files and streaming music that artwork simply isn’t relevant anymore. But I’d make the case that it’s as relevant as ever, but for different reasons and in different ways.
Album artwork has had a bit of a bad deal in recent times. Everyone’s looking for ‘the new artwork’, the interactive CD-rom (remember those?!), the iPhone app, iTunes LP. Now these are all very cool but we shouldn’t forget that it all starts with the original album sleeve design.
A band’s artwork acts as an anchor for an entire campaign. And it’s not just the traditional square artwork we know and love (and of course all the other physical manifestations such as posters, t-shirts and other merch). It’s the interactive flash banners prompting customers to go buy at iTunes, it’s the backdrop to a ‘tweet for a track’ microsite, it’s an avatar, it’s an image reposted on a hundred blogs. It can underpin a band’s whole presence on the web. Perhaps this ceases to be album artwork and simply falls under the catch-all title of ‘art direction’. Perhaps it’s more the overall concept that matters nowadays, but surely it all stems from the one definitive piece of album art. Here’s an interesting piece from Beggars’ David Emery on the subject taking Vampire Weekend as a case study. Would love to know what your take on the matter is?
At SoundCloud we’ve introduced the artwork player for these very reasons. It’s your album artwork (or your logo, photo or whatever else you want to project) and a play button. What could be nicer? Check out the player below and also this rather lovely mosaic player collection.
I read Seth Godin’s wisdoms every day at his particularly excellent blog. He gives these wisdoms for free. There’s payback though, I’ve also bought some of his books. And although I got a freebie the last time I saw him speak (pictured in the cheesy snap!) I would probably pay to see him again next time he’s in London. Seth is definitely a source of constant inspiration and guidance.
So my first piece of advice is that you should stick his blog in your feed reader.
My second piece of advice is that you should wait until his new book Linchpin comes out in January, buy it, and add some other titles like ‘Tribes’ or ‘Purple Cow’ at the same time.
My third piece of advice is to go and download this amazing free e-book that he’s compiled called ‘What Matters Now’ and then go and tell your best friends and colleagues to do the same. Here’s an extract that struck a particular chord with me. Hopefully I’ve done a reasonably good job in 2009 of sticking to advice like this and will get even better in 2010:
When the economy tanks, it’s natural to think of yourself ﬁrst. You have a family to feed a mortgage to pay. Getting more appears to be the order of business. It turns out that the connected economy doesn’t respect this natural instinct. Instead, we’re rewarded for being generous. Generous with our time and money but most important generous with our art. If you make a difference, people will gravitate to you. They want to engage, to interact and to get you more involved. If you make a difference, you also make a connection. You interact with people who want to be interacted with and you make changes that people respect and yearn for. Art can’t happen without someone who seeks to make a difference. This is your art, it’s what you do. You touch people or projects and change them for the better. This year, you’ll certainly ﬁnd that the more you give the more you get. - Seth Godin ‘What Matters Now’