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jerryking : music_labels   29

How Spotify’s algorithms are ruining music
May 2, 2019 | Financial Times | Michael Hann.

(1) FINAL DAYS OF EMI, By Eamonn Forde, Omnibus, RRP£20, 320 pages
(2) SPOTIFY TEARDOWN, By Maria Eriksson, Rasmus Fleischer, Anna Johansson, Pelle Snickars and Patrick Vonderau, The MIT Press, RRP£14.99, 288 pages
(3) WAYS OF HEARING, By Damon Krukowski, The MIT Press, RRP£14.99, 136 pages

In April, the IFPI — the global body of the recording industry — released its latest annual Global Music Report. For the fourth consecutive year, revenues were up, to a total of $19.1bn, from a low of $14.3bn in 2014. Nearly half those revenues came from music streaming, driven by a 33 per cent rise in paid subscriptions to services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal...... It is worth remembering that 20 years ago, the IFPI reported global music revenues of $38.6bn. Today’s “booming” recording industry is less than half the size it was at the turn of the century.....The nadir for the recording industry coincided with the first shoots of its regrowth. ....In August 2007, the British record company EMI — the fourth of the majors, alongside Universal, Sony and Warner — was bought by private equity firm Terra Firma (Guy Hands, the fund’s founder and chairman) for $4.7bn; a year later, a Swedish company called Spotify took its music streaming service public. The former was, perhaps, the last gasp of the old way of doing things — less than four years after buying EMI, Terra Firma was unable to meet its debts, and ceded control of the company to its main lender, Citigroup. Before 2011 was out, the process of breaking up EMI had begun...EMI’s demise was foreshadowed before Hands arrived, with a blaze of hubris in the early 2000s. Forde, a longtime observer and chronicler of the music business recounts the “disastrous and expensive” signings of that era......Handspreached the need to use data when signing artists, not just the “golden ears” of talent scouts; data are now a key part of the talent-spotting process.

* to qualify as having been listened to on Spotify, a song has to have been played for 30 seconds.
* hit songs have become increasingly predictable, offering up all their pleasures in the opening half-minute. Their makers dare not risk scaring off listeners.
* for all the money that the streaming services have generated for the music industry, very little of it flows back to any musicians except the select few who dominate the streaming statistics,

.......On Spotify, music consumption has been reorganised around “behaviours, feelings and moods” channelled through curated playlists and motivational messages......The data Spotify collects enable the industry to work out who its market is, where it lives, what else they like, how often they listen to music — almost anything, really. It’s the greatest assemblage of information about music listeners in history, and it has profoundly altered the industry: it has made Spotify music’s kingmaker......when an artist travels abroad to promote a new album, the meeting with the local Spotify office is more important than the TV appearances or the newspaper interviews. ...Spotify enables artists to plan their band’s set lists so they can play the most popular song in any given city.............So what? What does it matter if one model of music distribution has been replaced by another.....It matters because Spotify has profoundly changed the listener’s relationship with music....Older musicians often wax about how, when you had to buy your own music as a kid, you listened to it until you liked it, because you wouldn’t be able to afford a new album for another month. Now you simply skip to the next one, and probably don’t give it your full attention. Without ownership, there’s no incentive to study...........Faced with the impossibly wide choice of Spotify, it becomes easier to return to old favourites — easier than when flicking through your vinyl or CDs, because the act of looking through your own music makes things you had not thought of in years leap out at you. Spotify actually makes people into more conservative listeners, a process aided by its algorithms, which steer you towards music similar to your most frequent listening.....The theme of Krukowski’s book is that the changes in the way the music industry works have been about controlling and eliminating excess noise. That’s in a literal sense and in a metaphorical one, too. Streaming has stripped music of context, pared it back to being just about the song and the moment....but noise is the context of life. Without noise, the signal becomes meaningless......The world of the old EMI was one of both signal and noise; where myths and legends could be created: The Beatles! Queen! The Beach Boys! Pink Floyd! It was never all about the signal. The world of Spotify is one of signal only, and if you don’t appreciate that signal within the first 30 seconds of the song...all may be lost
abundance  algorithms  Apple_Music  books  book_reviews  business_models  curation  cultural_transmission  data  decontextualization  EMI  gatekeepers  Guy_Hands  hits  indoctrination  iTunes  legacy_artists  music  music_catalogues  music_labels  music_industry  music_publishing  noise  piracy  platforms  playlists  royalties  ruination  securitization  signals  songs  Spotify  streaming  subscriptions  talent  talent_scouting  talent_spotting  Terra_Firma  Tidal  transformational 
may 2019 by jerryking
The death of cultural transmission
April 3, 2019 | FT Alphaville | By Jamie Powell.

music publishing = the business of licensing songs for films, television and advertising.

Valuing [a record label's] music catalogue is... crucial for anyone looking to bid for a stake in the business.

Despite the prominence of new music, established artists are still fundamental to recorded music's success. .......So let's think about these golden oldies as assets. Assets whose appeal has, arguably, only been heightened by the advent of streaming which, with its recurring revenues and growing audience, has made recurring payments from established acts even more bond-like in their cash flow consistency.
But like fixed-income assets with long durations, these cash flows are also sensitive to the smallest assumptions about their future viability. Assumptions which are not as rock solid as some investors might imagine. Let's use The Beatles as a point of reference here, as "The White Album" was UMG's fourth best-selling album last year. (If you're asking “why The Beatles?” Well, Alphaville likes The Beatles, sure. The Fab Four could easily be replaced by its other legacy acts, such as Queen and Nirvana).

But the problem for a prospective buyer is why we're a fan. To put it simply: we had no choice. We were indoctrinated.

On a long car journeys to coastal summer holidays, or at home on a knackered JVC stereo, we, like many of our friends, were limited to a dozen or so records (jk: finite resources). One of which, inevitably, would be some form of John, Paul, George and Ringo (and George).

Call it the cultural transmission effect. Music would be passed on generation to generation, amplified by the relative scarcity, physical space constraints and high prices of recorded media.

This provided a boon for the major labels as it not only meant lower marketing costs but reissues, limited editions, and remasters became an easily repeatable trick, as younger generations grew up to become consumers themselves.......The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Bob Marley are after all, great artists. Their music will live on. But that's not the question for a perspective investor.

The question is: to what degree will the royalties from these artists continue to flow? Assume Sir Paul and Sir Ringo will continue to grow exponentially richer off the back of streaming, and perhaps the quoted multiples don't look quite so mad. In this age it's hard to find assets which both grow, and have semi-predictable cash flows.

But if the next generation doesn't hold the same affinity to the artists which defined the first fifty years of the pop era, where does that leave the labels' back catalogues? May we suggest: in a tougher spot than most imagine.
Apple_Music  artists  assets  Beatles  biopics  bonds  cultural_transmission  digital_strategies  finance  finite_resources  golden_oldies  hard_to_find  indoctrination  legacy_artists  music  music_catalogues  music_labels  music_publishing  platforms  Rollingstones  royalties  Spotify  strategic_buyers  streaming  superstars  U2  UMG  valuations 
april 2019 by jerryking
Music’s ‘Moneyball’ moment: why data is the new talent scout | Financial Times
JULY 5, 2018 | FT | Michael Hann.

The music industry loves to self-mythologise. It especially loves to mythologise about taking young scrappers from the streets and turning them into stars. It celebrates the men and women — but usually the men — with “golden ears” almost as much as the people making the music....A&R, or “artists and repertoire”, are the people who look for new talent, convince that talent to sign to the record label and then nurture it: advising on songs, on producers, on how to go about the job of being a pop star. It’s the R&D arm of the music industry......What the music business doesn’t like to shout about is how inefficient its R&D process is. The annual global spend on A&R is $2.8bn....and all that buys is the probability of failure: “Some labels estimate the ratio of commercial success to failure as 1 in 4; others consider the chances to be much lower — less than 1 in 10,” observes its 2017 report. Or as Mixmag magazine’s columnist The Secret DJ put it: “Major labels call themselves a business but are insanely unprofitable, utterly uncertain, totally rudderless and completely ignorant.”......The rise of digital music brought with it a huge amount of data which, industry executives realized, could be turned to their advantage. ....“All our business units must now leverage data and analytics in innovative ways to dig deeper than ever for new talent. The modern day talent-spotter must have both an artistic ear and analytical eyes.”

Earlier this year, in the same week as Warner announced its acquisition of Sodatone, a company that has developed a tool for talent-spotting via data, another data company, Instrumental, secured $4.2m of funding. The industry appeared to have reached a tipping point — what the website Music Ally called “A&R’s data moment”. Which is why, wherever the music industry’s great and good gather, the word “moneyball” has become increasingly prevalent.
........YouTube, Spotify, Instagram were born and changed the way talent begins its journey. All the barriers came down. Suddenly you’ve got tens of thousands of pieces of music content being uploaded.......Home computing’s democratization of recording removed the barriers to making high-quality music. No longer did you need access to a studio and an experienced producer, plus the money to pay for them. But the music industry had no way to keep abreast of these new creators. “....The way A&R people have discovered talent has barely changed since the music industry began, and it’s fundamentally the same for indie labels, who put artistry above sales, as it is for major labels who have to answer to shareholders. It’s always been about information.....“We find them by listening to new music constantly, by people giving us tips, by going out and seeing things that sound interesting,”.....“The most useful people to talk to are concert promoters and booking agents. They are least inclined to bullshit; they’ll tell you how many people an act is drawing,”...like labels, publishers also have an A&R function, signing up songwriters, many of whom will also be in bands)....“Journalists and radio producers are [also] very useful people to give you information. If you know you’ve got particular DJs or particular writers who are going to pick up something, that’s really good.”
.......Instrumental’s selling point is a dashboard called Talent AI, which scrapes data from Spotify playlists with more than 10,000 followers.....“We took a view that to build momentum on Spotify, you need to be on playlists,”....“If no one knows who you are, no one’s going to suddenly start streaming a track you’ve just put up. It happens when you start getting included on playlists.”......To make it workable, the Talent AI dashboard enables users to apply a series of filters to either tracks or artists: to sort by nationality, by genre, by number of playlists they appear on, by the number of playlist subscribers, by their industry standing — are they signed to a major? To an independent label? Are they unsigned?
.......What A&R people are looking for, though, is not totals, it’s evidence of momentum. No one wants to sign the artist who has reached maximum popularity. They want the artist on the way up....“It’s the direction. Is it going in the right direction?”....when it comes to assessing what an artist can offer, the data isn’t even always about the numbers. “The one I look at the most is Instagram, because that’s the easiest way for an artist to express themselves in a way other than the music — how they look, what they’re into,” she says. “That gives a real snapshot into [them] and whether they really have formulated a world for themselves or not.”......not everyone is delighted with the drive to data. “[the advent of] Spotify...became the driving force for signings...“A&Rs were using their eyes rather than their ears — watching numbers change rather than listening to music, and then jumping on acts....they saw something happening and got it out quickly without having to invest in the traditional A&R process.”... online heat tends to be generated by transient teenage audiences who are likely to move on rather than stick around for a decade: online presence is a big thing in electronic dance music, or some branches of urban music, in which an artist might only be good for a single song. In short, data does not measure quality; it does not tell you whether an artist has 20 good songs that can be turned into their first two albums; it does not tell you whether they can command a crowd in live performance..........The music industry, of course, has always had an issue with short-termism/short-sightedness: [tension] between the people who sign the cheques and those who go to bat for the artists is built into the way it works..........The problem is that without career artists, the music industry just becomes even more of a lottery. It is being made harder, not just by short-termism, but by the fact that music has become less culturally central. “It’s so much harder to connect with an audience or grow an audience, because there’s so much noise,”
.......Today the A&R...agree that the new data has its uses, but insist it still takes second place to the evidence of their own eyes and ears.......As for Withey, he is not about to tell the old-school scouts their days are done....Instrumental can tell A&R people which artists are hot, but not which are good. Also, there will be amazing acts who simply don’t get the traction on the internet to register on the Talent AI dashboard.....All of which will come as a relief to the people running those A&R departments. .....when asked if data will become the single most important factor in scouting talent: “I hope not. Otherwise we may as well have robots.” For now, at least, the golden ears are safe.
A&R  algorithms  analytics  data  dashboards  tips  discoveries  filters  hits  Instagram  inefficiencies  momentum  music  music_industry  music_labels  music_publishing  Moneyball  myths  playlists  self-mythologize  songwriters  Spotify  SXSW  success_rates  talent  talent_spotting  tipping_points  tracking  YouTube  talent_scouting  high-quality  the_single_most_important 
july 2018 by jerryking
Ben E. King, singer of ‘Stand By Me,’ dies at age 76 - The Globe and Mail
WILLIAM GRIMES — The New York Times News Service
Published Friday, May. 01 2015,

King left the Drifters in 1960 and embarked on a successful solo career. “Spanish Harlem,” written by Leiber with Phil Spector, reached the Top 10 that year. “Stand by Me,” which King helped write, reached the Top 10 in 1961 and again in 1986, when it was used in the soundtrack of the Rob Reiner film of the same name.

“Because he recorded the work of so many great songwriters, his own songwriting is often overlooked,” Emerson said. “But he co-wrote ‘There Goes My Baby,’ and ‘Stand by Me’ originated with him.” He was also the principal writer of “Dance With Me.”

Rolling Stone ranked “Stand by Me” 122nd on its list of the 500 greatest songs. In 1999 BMI, the music licensing organization, announced that it was the fourth-most-recorded song of the 20th century, having been played more than seven million times on radio and television.
singers  obituaries  African-Americans  '60s  '50s  music  music_labels  soundtracks  songwriters 
may 2015 by jerryking
The Death of Soul’s King: remembering Sam Cooke 50 years after his death - WSJ
By MARC MYERS
Dec. 9, 2014

What has survived are Cooke’s hits, including “You Send Me,” “Cupid” and “Another Saturday Night.” All remain relevant and continue to be covered by contemporary artists. Overlooked, however, are two of Cooke’s other big achievements: In the late 1950s and early ’60s, the singer-songwriter pioneered romantic soul and created a formula for success that helped Motown and other black-owned labels cross over to the pop charts with original music.

In the late 1950s, Cooke was the first black singer-songwriter to figure out how to parlay male vulnerability into sweet pleas that resonated with integrated teen audiences.
soul  killings  anniversaries  '60s  '50s  singers  music_labels  songwriters  African-Americans  Sam_Cooke  music  Motown  black-owned 
december 2014 by jerryking
Venture: The (musical) schlock stops with Jingle Punks - The Globe and Mail
DAVE MORRIS
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Sep. 25 2014

Jared Gutstadt had been playing in struggling bands by night and working as a video editor at MTV by day, choosing tracks from “production music” libraries to soundtrack the action in the likes of Chappelle’s Show.

The music industry boasts dozens of libraries, the largest of which are affiliated with the major record labels, and millions of songs are available for licensing, from no-name tracks to cover songs to huge, prohibitively expensive hits. The Rolling Stones famously charged Microsoft a reported $3-million (U.S.) to license Start Me Up for an ad campaign for Windows 95.

Ready-made production music normally costs a fraction of that figure. The filmmaker or TV company licenses the publishing rights (the lyrics and structure of a song, as opposed to the actual recording), paying what’s known as a “synchronization” fee. In 2013, according to the IFPI, synchronization fees worldwide totalled $337-million. In addition, whenever the TV show or movie featuring the track is broadcast or reproduced on DVDs, the owner of the recording itself is usually entitled to another sum, producing a revenue stream that can be small, but potentially steady.

Gutstadt and a partner saw an opportunity to be the suppliers of the music for the shows he and his MTV co-workers were editing, and Jingle Punks was born. The opportunity to become more than a niche player emerged not long after.

“There wasn’t enough production music that was easily accessible for the tidal wave of content that was going to occur,” Gutstadt says on the phone from his office in Los Angeles. That wave was unscripted reality shows.

Jingle Punks’ technical innovation, spearheaded by co-founder and software developer Dan Demole, was to offer a curated selection of license-able songs organized by what Gutstadt describes as a “relational search algorithm.” Users can search for music using non-musical terms such as the names of movies, and select and pay for the use of those songs, all through the company’s website.
music  free  start_ups  MTV  digital_media  algorithms  licensing  licensing_rights  musicians  music_catalogues  music_labels  music_publishing  Dave_Chappelle 
september 2014 by jerryking
Book Review: 'Respect Yourself' by Robert Gordon - WSJ.com
Nov. 15, 2013 | WSJ | By David Kirby.

Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion
By Robert Gordon
Bloomsbury, 463 pages, $30
music  music_labels  Stax  book_reviews  books  soul  Memphis  Muscle_Shoals 
november 2013 by jerryking
Shoal mates
October 5, 2013 | G&M | Brad Wheeler.

Nestled in the northwest corner of Alabama, the small town of Muscle Shoals was sweet home to a pair of legendary recording studios FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios — and the Swampers, the backing band for some of the greatest music ever recorded. Now Muscle Shoals, a feature-length documentary directed by Greg (Freddy) Camalier showing at TIFF Bell Lightbox starting this weekend, is set to tell the story of FAME Studios's boss Rick Hall and the region‘s deep-soul sound that produced hits for Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and other musical icons of the 1960s and The film premiered at the Hot Docs documentary festival in Toronto earlier this year. Brad Wheeler highlights some of the magic moments in Muscle Shoals music
music  music_industry  music_labels  the_South  films  movies  '60s  '70s  Alabama  soul  Wilson_Pickett 
october 2013 by jerryking
The Lease They Can Do: What the Fight Over 'Used' Music Reveals About Online Media
April 03, 2013 | Businessweek | By Paul Ford.

What is a song worth to Spotify or competitors such as Rdio? To them, a song is an entry in a very large database—and they solve the licensing problem by managing the licenses in bulk, then allowing listeners access to their libraries of music. At some level, Spotify is not a music service but a license clearinghouse that specializes in music....So far, the large music labels have been able to negotiate with streaming services, but as the streaming music players get bigger their power will increase; Spotify is apparently looking for price breaks from the major labels.

The big question now is not “whose album gets made?” but more “who gets to listen?” Not just who, but when—and who gets paid for the privilege? Oh, for the days when record stores featured bootlegs and cats. The clerks might have been snotty, but at least you didn’t have to have endless discussions about databases and doctrine. No one, anywhere, had to know how often you listened to Supertramp.

That’s another part of the puzzle. Streaming services generate a tremendous amount of data that has value of its own; sooner or later it will be used to make decisions about what gets produced....So this is not about technology. Nor is it really about music. This is about determining the optimal strategy for mass licensing of digital artifacts. Songs are the commodity but the licenses are currency....So this is the task: Figure out how to make money, reward artists enough that they continue to make new things, and pacify the labels and studios, while also creating something that doesn’t rip off, confuse, or upset the audience. If someone can do that, then why stick to movies, music, or perhaps books? New forms of media could be sold as well. Tumblr blogs, animated GIFs, casual games, and the like could all flow into such systems. Right now, when media objects are sold, it’s often as art (like the six-second Vine video called “Tits on Tits on Ikea” that artist Andrea Washko recently sold for $200). A massive marketplace in ridiculous pictures could emerge. Flickr (YHOO)could turn into a mall. Pinterest could become … Pintere$t.
clearinghouses  music  online  Rdio  Spotify  streaming  licensing  licensing_rights  downloads  musicians  music_industry  databases  digital_artifacts  artists  markets  data  music_labels  Flickr  Pinterest  music_catalogues 
april 2013 by jerryking
Book Review: The Soundtrack of My Life - WSJ.com
February 22, 2013| WSJ | By DAVID KIRBY.
The Midas Touch
Janis, Bruce and Whitney listened to Clive Davis's advice— Laura Nyro, Loudon Wainwright III and Curtis Stigers didn't
music_labels  music_industry  books  Clive_Davis  book_reviews  soundtracks 
february 2013 by jerryking
He gave rhythm and blues a voice - and a name
August 16, 2008 | Associated Press via The Globe and Mail | by Hillel Italie who profiles Jerry Wexler, music producer (Atlantic Records) who died at the age of 91. He was a business partner of Ahmet Ertegun.
Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke and Percy Sledge were among other R&B greats who benefited from Mr. Wexler's deft recording touch.
obituaries  R&B  music_labels  Jerry_Wexler  Wilson_Pickett  producers 
august 2012 by jerryking
A New Spin for Corporate Music Deals - WSJ.com
June 13, 2007 | WSJ | By ETHAN SMITH
A New Spin for Corporate Music Deals
Warner Venture With Top Manager Aims to Build on Ties to Artists.

Brand Asset Group, as the newly formed venture with Chris Lighty, the manager of rapper 50 Cent, is called, aims to address one of the biggest complaints among record labels: Their inability to capitalize on lucrative revenue streams such as merchandise sales and image licensing that typically benefit artists and their managers.

For years, labels have been vowing to vault out of the narrow CD and download business and into the "brand" business. Executives have watched in growing frustration as their artists cash in on endorsements, sneaker and clothing deals and the like. Labels have spent millions marketing artists and building their brands, but have benefited from only one dwindling revenue stream.

"The music industry is growing," Warner Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. told an investor conference last week. "The record industry is not growing." He went on to say that his company is trying to expand into "many, many other businesses" beyond the sale and licensing of music.
music_labels  music_industry  branding  celebrities  talent_representation  music_publishing 
june 2012 by jerryking
Have Fun. Start Companies.
December 10, 2006 | New York Times | entrepreneur Kenny Dichter's life story as told to ABBY ELLIN.

We founded Alphabet City Records in 1996, producing music compilations for professional teams.

We became a national company that worked with all the major leagues. Two years later, in 1998, we were purchased by SFX Entertainment Inc., where I met my second mentor, Robert F. X. Sillerman. Bob taught me my second important business lesson: “Have fun. Make money. Have fun making money.
celebrities  aviation  apparel  entrepreneur  private-jets  concierge_services  serial_entrepreneur  mentoring  SFX  music_labels  college_moguls 
november 2011 by jerryking
What Was Going On - WSJ.com
NOVEMBER 25, 2006 | WSJ | By MARTIN JOHNSON.
The turbulent birth of one of the greatest R&B recordings of all time.

During the '60s, Gaye was known as a prince of Motown. The label churned out one hit after another, and Gaye's unique voice, both gritty and suave, was at the forefront of many of them....The song "What's Going On" was written by Obie Benson, a member of the Four Tops, and he didn't consider the tenor of the song, a tract about the disintegration of the social fabric in the black community, appropriate for the Tops. He shopped it around, even taking it to Joan Baez, but found no takers until Gaye read the lyrics. To Gaye, the song reflected the feelings of his brother, Frankie, who had just returned from Vietnam and was astonished by the turmoil that engulfed America.

The singer organized an unusually large session to record the song. He went beyond the usual stable of Motown musicians to add drummers and saxophonists from Detroit's jazz scene. He also recorded street sounds for part of the introduction. The result was a far more ruminative song than the usual Motown fare. Rather than a ditty about love or loss, this was a sober and sobering look at the state of black America.
R&B  Motown  Marvin_Gaye  jazz  music  rumination  music_labels  Berry_Gordy  singers  '60s  '70s  soundscape  turmoil  fusion  disintegration  African-Americans  social_fabric 
november 2011 by jerryking
Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration CD Album
For those daunted by the idea of wading through the multi-volume COMPLETE STAX/VOLT SINGLES series, this two-CD best-of celebrating the label's 50th anniversary is a much more manageable item. Featuring well-known milestones in the label's history, such as Booker T. & The MGs' "Green Onions," the Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There," and Otis Redding's "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay," and lesser-known gems like William Bell and Judy Clay's "Private Number," Frederick Knight's "I've Been Lonely for So Long," and Shirley Brown's "Woman to Woman," STAX 50TH is a well-chosen, informatively annotated overview of one of the 1960s and '70s' finest R&B labels.Spin (p.91) - 4.5 stars out of 5 -- "[A] fine introduction to Southern soul's greatest label, form its '60s R&B heyday to its '70s funk science.
music  anniversaries  Stax  the_South  soul  music_labels  '60s  '70s  R&B  funk  music_catalogues 
november 2011 by jerryking
Golden Oldies: Stax Releases A 50th-Anniversary Boxed Set - WSJ.com
APRIL 4, 2007 WSJ JIM FUSILLI. A joy from the first cut to the
last, "Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration" is a reminder of the glory
days of R&B, when singer, song & band came together with fervor
to spark body & soul. The music all but sweats with the musicians'
passion: No drum machines & no vocal bent to pitch by software. The
punchy horns are real brass & reeds, not lines played on
synthesizers. Now & then, a musician flubs a note or misses a cue,
but an absolute reliance on musicians' creativity can deliver brilliant
pop music that's timeless. Especially if the vocalists are the likes of
Eddie Floyd, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and the Staple Singers...Stax
began when Jim Stewart & his sister Estelle Axton started Satellite
Records in Brunswick, Tenn. They moved it to Memphis and converted a
movie theater into a recording studio; Stewart and . Axton retained the
theater's sloping floor and angled walls, creating a room that was
responsible for the label's distinctive clean sound.
Stax  soul  R&B  blues  anniversaries  music_labels  Jim_Fusilli  music  Memphis  golden_oldies  music_catalogues  pop_music 
june 2011 by jerryking
Abbey Road and the Day Studio Music Died - WSJ.com
FEBRUARY 19, 2010 Wall Street Journal | By ERIC FELTEN. 'A
great room acts like an instrument. . . . It has a voice.' studios are
going the way of the great auk. The digital-recording revolution has
allowed producers armed with laptops and a few padded rooms in a
basement to forgo the expensive environs of the traditional recording
hall. Yet this comes at a cost: The demise of great recording studios is
contributing to the bland, characterless sound of so much popular music
today.

Particular studios have been crucial in defining the sounds of whole
eras. Capitol Studios in Hollywood gave the Sinatra years their sonic
signature. What would Elvis's essential recordings have sounded like
without the cobbled-together peculiarities of the Sun Studio in Memphis,
Tenn.? The airiness of classic '50s jazz owed much to the acoustic
properties of an old Armenian church in Manhattan converted by Columbia
Records into its 30th Street Studio.
Eric_Felten  music_industry  music  authenticity  music_labels 
february 2010 by jerryking
Atlantic's Jerry Wexler Showed Aretha R-E-S-P-E-C-T - WSJ.com
AUGUST 19, 2008 | Wall Street Journal |by JIM FUSILLI

Obituary for Jerry Wexler
Jim_Fusilli  music_industry  obituaries  music_labels  Jerry_Wexler 
april 2009 by jerryking
The Manager as Double Agent - WSJ.com
June 3, 2008 WSJ article by Matthew Gurewitsch which looks at a
record labels' launch of a talent management agency representing
recording artists some of whom were not the label's clients.
branding  music_labels  talent  product_launches  management  artists  music_industry  talent_management  talent_representation 
january 2009 by jerryking

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