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Internet music distribution - how do the artists get paid?

John McCrea from Cake, interviewed at This Modern World.:

It's a leaner business. In terms of how long we have to stay out on tour, that's just being turned up and up and up by the fact that our recorded music is now, for all intents and purposes, worthless to the people that listen to music. Generally people under thirty tend to think you're a chump if you pay for music. The value has been transferred over to the shiny and valuable iPod player and away from the music itself. It's increasingly necessary for us to play more and more shows in order to pay our bills and accountants and managers, et cetera. Despite a lot of hype about Myspace, it's getting harder, not easier, for bands to make ends meet, and I know that that's not a popular statement, but it's the truth. I'd like to see some sort of solution to it.

By fnord12 | August 30, 2007, 2:31 PM | Music | Comments (0)| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

Whores, Freaks, Saints, and Angels by the Dirty Beatniks

Note: This is one i tried to figure out myself, so i'm sure there's lots of mistakes (especially that 'sword of God' part). Help would be appreciated.

Something won and lost in desire drove us there
Something good where our feet is
Now we seek his electricity
Even if it ain't our turn
Even if we ain't next in line
We'll say "No really. It's OK. We're fine."
And then we'll be with some people that we... don't really want to be with.
Laughing like idiots.
To an artist's auntie's Jesus.

Last year there was this tranquil room that we'd hide in.
You wanna hold off
When we feel our arms stretch out to our sides
We feel ourselves blinded
Into the darkness
Into the dull noise
Into the century of heat

The velvet pollution
Into the city
That's where you'll find us
Slightly walking
Slightly dreaming
Slightly walking
Slightly making dreaming sounds

An anaconda makes no noise
And the lightning just adds to the light
And the rain washing nothing away
No one's going anywhere
Everyone's here to stay

Whores, freaks, saints, and angels
We're all beautiful
We're all dangerous
We're all users
We're all takers
This is how i got made.

I haven't fallen to the sword of God
And preachers screaming to my face.
I haven't fallen the edge the sword of God

Screaming. As i just stared up.
Stared up in his arms.
I watched his beatiful veins
Move up his arms
Into his neck
Into his face.
I just stared as his beautiful face.

Whores, freaks, saints, and angels
We're all beautiful
We're all dangerous
We're all users
We're all takers
This is how i got made.

By fnord12 | August 30, 2007, 9:21 AM | Music | Comments (0)| Link

Elvis... was a hero to most

How Did Elvis Get Turned Into a Racist?

So why didn't the rumor die? Why did it continue to find common acceptance up to, and past, the point that Chuck D of Public Enemy could declare in 1990, "Elvis was a hero to most... straight-up racist that sucker was, simple and plain"?

Chuck D has long since repudiated that view for a more nuanced one of cultural history, but the reason for the rumor's durability, the unassailable logic behind its common acceptance within the black community rests quite simply on the social inequities that have persisted to this day, the fact that we live in a society that is no more perfectly democratic today than it was 50 years ago. As Chuck D perceptively observes, what does it mean, within this context, for Elvis to be hailed as "king," if Elvis's enthronement obscures the striving, the aspirations and achievements of so many others who provided him with inspiration?

Elvis would have been the first to agree. When a reporter referred to him as the "king of rock 'n' roll" at the press conference following his 1969 Las Vegas opening, he rejected the title, as he always did, calling attention to the presence in the room of his friend Fats Domino, "one of my influences from way back." The larger point, of course, was that no one should be called king; surely the music, the American musical tradition that Elvis so strongly embraced, could stand on its own by now, after crossing all borders of race, class and even nationality.

"The lack of prejudice on the part of Elvis Presley," said Sam Phillips, the Sun Records founder who discovered him, "had to be one of the biggest things that ever happened. It was almost subversive, sneaking around through the music, but we hit things a little bit, don't you think?"

The quote i always heard was "The only thing Negroes can do for me is shine my shoes and buy my records."

But this site has the info on that:

Some said he made the remark while in Boston. Elvis had never been to Boston. Others said they heard it on Edward R. Murrow's CBS TV show Person to Person. But after Elvis' manager Col. Tom Parker demanded an appearance fee, CBS balked and Elvis didn't go on the show.

The Jet article of 1957 further confirmed what friends and associates knew about Elvis all along: He truly loved and respected black musicians.

"A lot of people seem to think I started this business," he told Jet. "But rock n roll was here a long time before I came along. Nobody can sing that kind of music like colored people. Let's face it: I can't sing like Fats Domino can. I know that."

That second link also has more from Chuck D:

Recently, Chuck D explained that his attack was against the Elvis whose roots were whitewashed by his legacy.

"The Elvis that died wasn't the same Elvis that was coming up", Chuck D said. "They said he was king. Based on who and what? Based on the quality of the people judging or the quality of his music? What does 'King of Rock and Roll' mean growing up in a black household? My Chuck Berry records are still in my house. Little Richard is still in the house. Otis Redding and James Brown. The King of what?"

Chuck D, a founding father of hip-hop and pop musicologist, said that accepting Elvis, and by extension other white crossover artists, might be easier for black Americans now that black artists are getting more credit and exposure.

Several years ago, the Fox TV network sent him to Graceland to do a black-perspective news story about Elvis. The assignment opened his eyes.

"Elvis had to come through the streets of Memphis and turn out black crowds before he became famous," Chuck D said. "It wasn't like he cheated to get there. He was a bad-ass white boy. Just like Eminem is doing today. The thing about today is that Eminem has more respect for black artists and black people and culture today than a lot of black artists themselves. He has a better knowledge where it comes from. Elvis had a great respect for black folk at a time when black folks were considered niggers, and who gave a damn about nigger music?"

So there you go. You are absolved for any Elvis music on your ipod.

(And no, i don't know why Chuck D was working for Fox.)

By fnord12 | August 16, 2007, 5:11 PM | Music | Comments (4)| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

I Am The Walrus by the Dead Milkmen

Hey you kids! Cut that crap out!
I know who your parents are!
You wouldn't do this if Nixon were in the White House!
C'mon! I'm the walrus, dammit!

A young watusi watches 'I Love Lucy'
And I think 'what can this mean?'
A goat goes to school
And makes us look like fools
And I think 'what can this mean?'

They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!

Sold my niece to Edwin Meese
And I wonder what life's about
Talked of tires
While your dog caught fire
And I wonder what life's about

They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!

Yeah! Some nights I'm lying in bed,
wonderin' what would happen if Nancy Sinatra suddenly freaked out and
climbed a tree and decided she doesn't want to do 'These Boots are Made for
Walking' any more, and all she ever wanted to do for the rest of her natural
life was hum the 'Theme from S.W.A.T'.

They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!

Poke out your eyes and move to Portland
Kill your wife and move to Portland
Burn down your home and move to Portland
Come on everybody!
We're movin' to Portland!

They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!
They call me the walrus!
Yeah I am the walrus!

By fnord12 | August 16, 2007, 9:07 AM | Music | Comments (0)| Link

Rodrigo Y Gabriela

Check these guys out, especially Gabriela. This is some really innovative acoustic guitar playing. Note what they say in the beginning: this isn't flamenco music; they are actually influenced by thrash metal.

Now i just need to lock myself in a room for a month to learn how to play like this.

(H/T to Carlos)

By fnord12 | August 13, 2007, 1:22 PM | Music | Comments (0)| Link

I know... i improooooved it

George Eliot's real name is Mary Anne Evans
When i see a book by her, i say, "Thank heavens."

By fnord12 | August 13, 2007, 9:36 AM | Music | Comments (0)| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

Lovesick by Lisa Germano

(This is the Underdog remix if you are playing along in your head)

You're not my Yoko Ono
You said those words to me
You say some hurtful things now
None cut so deeply

Those visions of beauty
Those visions haunt me
Illusions of hope
And they drive me crazy

You're not my Yoko Ono
You said those words to me
You have too many problems
Always in therapy


You are a constant patient
You stop me being mean
Give me some inspiration
Is that why you hit me?


Those visions of beauty
Those visions haunt me
But i like them
I'll keep them
I'll just go crazy

You're not my Yoko Ono
You said those words to me
You say some hurtful things now
None cut so deeply


By fnord12 | August 9, 2007, 11:12 AM | Music | Comments (1)| Link

The Meme dies here

Robn invited me to do one of them internet meme things you see on blog sites that actually have readers.

My ability to make predictions is terrible, mainly due to the fact that people are insane and irrational. I was sure, in 2003, that Howard Dean was going to be our next president, for example. Instead the primary voters nominated a solid block of wood. Min will also tell you that i'm constantly stunned by how stupid people are: i keep expecting people to act in ways that make sense.

But for fun, here's my guesses (actually, fears and hopes don't count as predictions, so i'm covered when they all turn out to be wrong) about what i see happening 15 years from now:

What do you fear we'll likely see in fifteen years?

  • A world completely dominated by corporations. Republican administrations do everything in their power to weaken the federal government's power to regulate, and Democratic administrations basically spend their time ineffectually trying to repair the damage but not actually making any forward progress (being generous about the Dems actually, since while they may be slightly left-of-center on social issues, they tend to be just as "pro-business" as Republicans). The movement to privatize basic public services and resources continues with little organized protests, putting more of the things we take for granted under the control of people who are only interested in maximizing profits. Meanwhile, corporations are becoming more and more global, making puny single-country governments less and less relevant. Irrational fears of a New World Order conspiracy, and the belief in American exceptionalism, prevent us from strengthening the power of the UN into a functional world government. I think the change will be subtle. We will continue to elect our government reps, but these people will have less and less ability to make changes that benefit us. Hell, this may have already happened.

  • Hand in hand with the point above, we'll see our country become less and less democratic, with more and more of our civil liberties eroding. As corporations become more powerful, they'll need puppet governments to keep us in line while they extract our resources and keep us working. Again, this will be subtle. I don't see us turning into a 1980s style latin american dictatorship over night, but the effects will be similar.

  • Oil scarcity. Despite reading a lot of de-bunkings, i'm still a (somewhat skeptical) believer in the peak oil theories. I think oil will become more and more difficult to extract and process as we move to the more unconventional sources such as tar sands. Therefore oil prices will increase dramatically and become less affordable to ordinary people.

  • I'm the only person (except record company executives) in the world who thinks this is a bad thing, but i think the internet will continue to replace conventional methods for music distribution. This will result in the amateur-ization of music since it's impossible to support a full time devotion to music when you are providing your content for free. It will also result in a sea of mediocrity as it becomes impossible for listeners to find new music and for the truly great musicians to bubble to the top and have an impact. I know you don't agree and i'll admit i can see some positive aspects of this as well but i'm an old man who fears change.

  • The collapse of the concept of a shared universe at Marvel comics. With creators seemingly feeling increasingly restrained by continuity issues, the (wrong) philosophy that long histories are a barrier to new readers, and the fact that the entire US comics market seems to teeter on the brink of disaster, i worry that the thing i love most about comics is not long for the world.

  • The beginnings of an apocalyptic future dominated by spam-generating supercomputers, which will culminate in the great Chrono-War of 2038.

What do you hope we'll likely see in fifteen years?

  • Assuming the peak oil thing happens, i'd like to see it turned into a positive, getting people to live more locally and sustainably - find jobs near where they live, supporting food growers near where they live, building houses that don't require a constant flow of artificial heating to stay warm. Sort of a "from the post-apocalyptic ashes" kind of hope, but it's the best sort of thing that i can muster.

  • It's always possible that the netroots thing actually goes somewhere. I'd like to see a takeover of the Democratic party from the left the way the christian right and other conservative groups took over and redefined the Republican party in the late 70s. I think it can happen. I think that the leaders of the netroots movement need to be less supportive of the current democrats in order for it to work, but they can be influenced by their readers so it's a possibility. I think that, plus changes in demographics in the south, will cause significant changes in the democratic party, but the question is, will it happen in time?

  • The one thing we're still good at is gadgets. We don't use our technological power to create solar powered homes or viable mass transit, but we can build neat toys. It's hard to imagine something better than an 80 gig iPod, but what about being able to download your entire musical library directly into your brain? Virtual reality porn (what, you think they aren't working on it?)? A computer that's even faster than the one you have now!! Eh? Eh?!???

  • The past decade or so has seen a resurgence in Godzilla movies. The special effects keep getting better, but they have lost the charm of the movies from the 70s. I think someone is bound to realize this and find a way to put the fun back into Godzilla. I am not predicting more Godzilla movies. Instead I am predicting a weekly televised sporting event, similar to professional wrestling, except with everyone in rubber monster suits fighting on miniaturized sets. And that's a really positive development, so don't go saying i'm pessimistic or something.

What do you think you'll be doing in fifteen years?
God, in fifteen years i'll be... old. Who cares what i'll be doing?

Ok, let's see:

Least likely, most desired: My immortality and related body-altering super-powers kick in. I leave the planet, exploring the vast mysteries of outer space. Eventually i return to earth and conquer it, imposing my terrible-but-just vision upon the masses.

Vaguely likely, desired: Min and i build our earthship lakehouse in the mountains. We grow a percentage of our own food and run a vegan bed & breakfast to pay the rest of the way, leaving only to tour with our band.

Most likely, least desired: Saddled with debt from a half-completed earthship, i am forced to return to my corporate job only to find that i am no longer qualified for my old position. I spend the rest of my life in mindless middle-management positions...

...uh, who gave me this assignment? They are in big trouble. This is depressing.

The way these memes are supposed to work is after i'm done i'm supposed to name 5 people to answer the same questions on their blogs. But (also due in part to a lack of readership) i'm not naming anybody. I don't care what you think - you people are crazy. So, much like my family tree, this branch of the meme dies with me.

Update: I mean no slight to my small but loyal group of actual, non-imaginary readers. But you're crazy too, and you know it.

By fnord12 | August 2, 2007, 3:17 PM | Comics & Godzilla & Liberal Outrage & Music & My stupid life & Science | Comments (2)| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

Losing My Edge by LCD Sound System

Yeah, I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge.
The kids are coming up from behind.
I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge to the kids from France and from London.

But I was there.

I was there in 1968.
I was there at the first Can show in Cologne.
I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge to the kids whose footsteps I hear when they get on the decks.
I'm losing my edge to the Internet seekers who can tell me every member of every good group from 1962 to 1978.
I'm losing my edge.

To all the kids in Tokyo and Berlin.
I'm losing my edge to the art-school Brooklynites in little jackets and borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered eighties.

But I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge, but I was there.
I was there.

But I was there.

I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge.
I can hear the footsteps every night on the decks.

But I was there.

I was there in 1974 at the first Suicide practices in a loft in New York City.
I was working on the organ sounds with much patience.
I was there when Captain Beefheart started up his first band.
I told him, "Don't do it that way. You'll never make a dime."
I was there.
I was the first guy playing Daft Punk to the rock kids.
I played it at CBGB's.
Everybody thought I was crazy.

We all know.

I was there.
I was there.

I've never been wrong.

I used to work in the record store.
I had everything before anyone.
I was there in the Paradise Garage DJ booth with Larry Levan.
I was there in Jamaica during the great sound clashes.
I woke up naked on the beach in Ibiza in 1988.

But I'm losing my edge to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent.
(And they're actually really, really nice.)

I'm losing my edge.

I heard you have a compilation of every good song ever done by anybody.
Every great song by the Beach Boys - all the underground hits.
All the Modern Lovers tracks.
I heard you have a vinyl of every Niagra record on German import.
I heard that you have a white label of every seminal Detroit techno hit - 1985, '86, '87.
I heard that you have a CD compilation of every good '60s cut
and another box set from the '70s.

I hear you're buying a synthesizer and an arpeggiator and are throwing your computer out the window because you want to make something real:
You want to make a Yaz record.

I hear that you and your band have sold your guitars and bought turntables.
I hear that you and your band have sold your turntables and bought guitars.

I hear everybody that you know is more relevant than everybody that I know.

But have you seen my records? This Heat, Pere Ubu, Outsiders, Nation of Ulysses, Mars, The Trojans, The Black Dice, Todd Terry, the Germs, Section 25, Althea and Donna, Sexual Harrassment, a-ha, Pere Ubu, Dorothy Ashby, PIL, the Fania All-Stars, the Bar-Kays, the Human League, the Normal, Lou Reed, Scott Walker, Monks, Niagra, Joy Division, Lower 48, the Association, Sun Ra, Scientists, Royal Trux, 10cc, Eric B. and Rakim, Index, Basic Channel, Soulsonic Force ("just hit me"!), Juan Atkins, David Axelrod, Electric Prunes, Gil! Scott! Heron!, the Slits, Faust, Mantronix, Pharaoh Sanders and the Fire Engines, the Swans, the Soft Cell, the Sonics, the Sonics, the Sonics, the Sonics.

You don't know what you really want.

By fnord12 | August 2, 2007, 8:58 AM | Music | Comments (0)| Link

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