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Justin Bieber and One Direction Will Revitalize Pop Music…

01/04/2012 2 comments

Justin Bieber

…just like N’Sync, The Backstreet Boys, and Brittney Spears did. At least some people say they will. We suppose Mr. Bieber already has. He has sold plenty of albums, and already had a fantastically successful tour for millions of screaming fans all around the world.

One Direction

One Direction seems to be headed in the same direction. The British music clan has a sound that is not terrible foreign to the mainstream American music market. But perhaps it is their “boy-band” quality that has all the US girls going crazy. Marketing is a powerful thing, and the music business has figured out how to create hugely successful artists based off of many other things besides music. That is not to say that their music isn’t good, but our culture seems to be longing for the nostalgic sound of the “boy-band” that has truly been lost for almost a decade. Their record “What Makes You Beautiful” debuted at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, the highest for any UK act since Jimmy Ray – do you remember him? Didn’t think so, 1998 was too long ago.

Mr. Beiber is turning heads and ears continually. Many have commented already that his newest single, “Boyfriend” is quite different, and more mature than his previous music. We would like to agree. The sound of this record is more organic, and less electronic than his previous records, and therefore more edgy for the music environment that its being released in. We are surrounded by the influences of Electronica everywhere our ears turn – and while Electronica is lovely in its own right, the time to define the 2010s as a musical decade is now, and that sound in pop music is very much a 2000s thing. Musical decades do not follow traditional calendar alignments. Generally speaking, they extend into each other slightly – e.g. 2002-2012. If you don’t believe us, review your Billboard charts and wait until you hear what the number Billboard Hot 100 record is in January 2013…

The best part about these two musical juggernauts, is that there is speculation they will be collaborating soon…

Top 5 Records of 2011.


On this first day of the new year, there are many topics that could be covered: politics, sports, music – ah yes, music. Last night many of you were dancing the night away in celebration of 2012 to a smorgasbord of dance tunes, though at this moment, we would like to take a second to highlight the best records that graced our ears – dance music or otherwise:

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5. Firework

Our feelings about Katy Perry as an artist are mixed at this particular juncture, though the pervasiveness of her influence on pop culture and music can not be understated, and neither can the effect of this record. Though it was originally released  in October 2010, it last charted on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 2011. Perry stated that it’s her favorite song on the album, and that it has a “fantastic message”. It was certified platinum is 6 countries, and had just about every adolescent girl in the United States of America obsessively listening to it for at least 2 months, on average. That last stat is pure speculation for the record.

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4. Someone Like You

Adele is a charm, truly. So talented and gifted, many of you may feel like she should be at the #1 spot…but we felt differently. We have seen other blue-eyed soul artists in the past, but none have had quite the same effective in recent memory as this beautiful British vocalist. She has sold nearly 20 million copies of her albums “19” and “21”. She openly cites various soul singers as influences on her music, and with the type of response she has been getting as of late, there is no telling how far her music can take her. In all honesty, there is no one who can match her vocally on the mainstream music scene. It would be nice however, if her sound was appropriately categorized as “Soul”, though it seems her “appearance” allows her to magically float into the category of pop.

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3. Grenade

Bruno Mars single handedly revitalized Pop/R&B in 2011. His classic approach to soul records, in a contemporary pop context was incredible. The emotional merit of “Grenade” was unmatched as far as R&B records were concerned last year. His proficiency as a songwriter and performer is super-ceded only by the passionate redeeming and yet powerful vocal qualities he possesses. Mars stated in an interview that “Grenade’ represents the OTHER side of love – where you’re in love with a woman and you know for a fact that she doesn’t love you the way you love HER.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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2. We Found Love

For many reasons this could have been #1, but the #1 song is just too good. Nonetheless, Rihanna made an impressive display on this record, though for the umpteenth consecutive time, she received zero writing credits to match her vocal contribution, which has become the standard for her and her most successful chart-topping singles. Luckily for her, mainstream pop music is being taken over by House music – which by the way is a derivation of Black disco records, formed out newly developed music technology and the record crates of Black post-disco DJs in the last 1970s and early 1980s. Then enters Calvin Harris, a House DJ who apparently has a very clean knack for writing pop lyrics, granted Rihanna’s records mostly sell because of how she looks, it can not be taken away from him that his “We found love in a hopeless place” line was instantly classic, and found a home in many broken and nostalgic hearts of listeners around the world. It held the #1 spot on the Hot 100 chart for 8 weeks, and will probably remain in the top 40 well into the late Spring/early Summer.

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1. Need You Now

This is just a phenomenal record. This is what you call a timeless record, because it will transcend the boundaries of time and genre. Everyone can relate to this song. It peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 chart, stuck behind a Taio Cruz record. Even though we love Taio, that just doesn’t seem correct. This is easily the greatest crossover success in 2011.  Though this song was released in 2009, it was still eligible for the 2011 GRAMMYs because of its re-release in a pop radio format. The record cleaned up at the GRAMMYs, earning Best Country Song, Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year – and that’s saying a lot considering the nominees and the fact that this is at it’s core, a country song. Truth abides in every lyric of this song, and even if you aren’t a fan of Nashville, you would be foolish to deny the character of the sound, and the authenticity of the emotion.

Are you ready to completely abandon CDs? The choice has been made for you.


Today, Side-Line Music Magazine published an article, outlining the plans of major  worldwide record labels to completely abandon the CD format as we know it. The  reasons seem to be quite obvious: low demand for the traditional “album” outside of  limited edition releases and labels will spend less money distributing the album. But  does the digital download devalue the music? Does the CD, and the tape, and the 12  inch vinyl before it, offer a quality that is unmatched by simply digital consumption?  Will we further devalue music because of the ability to instantaneously access it?

One party stated that a possible upside might be the label will spend less money on  the album in total, thus allowing for less money to be recouped from the artist, and  therefore allowing the artist to generate more income from the album’s release –  wrong. The label will just allocate the “costs” to some other phantom expense on the balance sheet, probably into marketing as this fascination with the juxtaposition between social media and music continues to climb at an unprecedented pace.

Many business around the world will become defunct, with the consolidation of music distribution becoming more and more concentrated into the hands of the few, to be rationed out to the masses. These “hands” will more than likely iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and Facebook, who has recently been inking deals with several music streaming services in order to add integration into its user account architecture. Amazon is the most interesting of the bunch, as it is currently the world’s largest CD distributor, and probably in the top 5 globally ranked online streaming services as well. This is going to put a lot of pop into this stock, for those of you interested in that sort of thing.

This transition is supposed to occur over the next 5 years, and Amazon is poised to be the basket that will hold all limited edition releases of CD albums in the not to distant future. So it seems that with the devaluation of the album, it will find itself resurrected in other forms. Clearly the labels expect to increase their profit margin on their musical product. But who is to stay the world’s heavyweight digital music companies won’t jack up the prices on the labels over time…food for thought.

Year of the Overachievers

16/10/2011 2 comments

This has been an eventful year in Rap Music. Dr. Dre tried to make a comeback. Super groups were formed: The Throne featuring Jay-Z and Kanye West, Wayne and Drake have an album coming out soon, also, the Bugatti Boyz, Rick Ross and Diddy are suppose to drop early next year. Outside of that, the most surprising thing about this year were the Rookie debuts.

It all started on March 29… Wiz Khalifa released his first album “Rolling Papers” under Atlantic Records. Critics stated he wouldn’t break 100k first week. He ended up selling 197,000 albums and was number one on Nielsen SoundScan charts. Multiple hits on the radio, and a strong “Steelers” campaign with “Black and Yellow” have turned him into a superstar.

Astonishingly, Rapper Big Sean didn’t make an impact with sales – only selling 85k. Still, he did exceed expectations with his singles. He has two number one Billboard singles “Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay” and “My Last”. His other single, “I Do It”, was in the top 5 , and it also got him an endorsement deal with Adidas.

Another rapper to make an impressive statement was Jay-Z’s protégé, J.Cole. The North Carolina born lyricist puts his heart on every track, and he speaks about real issues. He didn’t have a big following, and was projected to sell around 115k. He actually doubled that total, selling 217,000 copies his first week on the charts. On deck for a release is Wale, after having a disappointing rookie campaign. With only 28k albums sold under Interscope, he was eventually dropped from the label. Wale gets a second chance to put DC back on with his sophomore album “Ambition” which drops on November 1st under the Maybach Music Group. Hopefully this time around he’ll trend like his peers and beat the odds.

By Jon Matthews

Categories: Music, Uncategorized

Independent Artists & Labels, Top 3 Ways to Use Spotify For Advertising


Many of you know what Spotify is. If you don’t, this is the run down in short: $10 per month, unlimited streaming and offline access to a 15 million song catalog, syncs between all wi-fi devices, etc… This program is additionally brilliant, because there are many ways in which you can market yourself as an independent artist, or independent label:

1. Make phenomenal music.

This might be a given, or implied for some of the readers of this post, but just for clarification this point must be restated. If your music is trash, please re-evaluate. We want you to be successful, and if you don’t have a quality product, all Spotify will do is quickly advertise your skill-set, or lack there of. Practice your craft, hone your craft, study your craft, and then, showcase it – not the other way around.

2. Make your own playlist.

When you make a Spotify account, you will be able to create playlist, name them, and share them. So if you have your own material, why not create your own playlists that your friends will be able to see, subscribe to, and share with their other friends on spotify, and other popular social networks? [e.g. facebook] It makes perfect sense. If you’re a label, create a top track playlist for your artists best records. If you’re an artist, do the same for yourself. Limit your guest appearances. This is your show.

3. Market that playlist.

Tell all of your friends to subscribe to it. Post it all over your own social media accounts – you can do that right through the Spotify desktop application. Drive as much traffic to the list as possible, so that you will create a buzz and a following that syncs seamlessly with all of your other marketing efforts. Contrary to popular belief, you should still be using Twitter, Myspace, and anything else you can find to get your music out to the digital public.

Categories: Good Stuff, Music Tags: , ,

Internet Radio and Automotive Integration


If you haven’t heard, many of the world’s leading car manufacturers are planning to incorporate cloud-based music streaming services directly into their vehicles…talk about CDs being dead. Imagine having Spotify or Pandora built into your head unit, and having unlimited access to it in your vehicle? This is where things are headed.

Surprisingly, the United States is the current market leader for this type of technological integration, with Europe being second and China being third. Ford, Scion, Hyundai, Buick, BMW, Lincoln, Chevrolet, and Mercedes-Benz all currently offer music applications in their vehicles. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight a company whose product has infiltrated the scene as the standout choice for this new type of product service – Pandora.

Pandora went public a few months ago as you all know, and it was blessed with a quick spike around noon of it’s first day on the market, only to fall well below its opening price to settle at 12. We have found some interesting information about this company in an article posted on 4-traders.com:

“Pandora makes its service available through a variety of distribution channels. In addition to streaming its service to PCs, Pandora has developed applications for smartphones and has partnered with the makers of more than 200 consumer electronics devices, including Alpine, Panasonic, Pioneer, Samsung and Sony.

Pandora also has developed relationships with major automobile manufacturers—including Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Mini—and with suppliers to major automobile manufacturers in order to integrate the service into current and future automotive sound systems. Furthermore, General Motors, Hyundai and Toyota have announced plans for future Pandora integrations.”

This poses to be a good way for Pandora to pay back it’s debt, as many people have written it off as a smart and revolutionary way to interact with music media, that will eventually bankrupt itself because of the unprofitable business model that it is based on. Only time will tell. Personally, we would prefer Spotify to take over the app-cloud based music software integration in these vehicles with complete syncing capabilities between your tablet, or smartphone. $9.99 per month for unlimited access to 14 million songs?

 

That would be nuts…For the record, this is a PERFECT example of MUSIONology.

Stay tuned.

Top 5 Reasons to get #Spotify | Top Reasons #Spotify > #iTunes


 

This will be a simple, straight forward learning session. As technology continues to grow expontially, we are continually presented with fascinating product developments. Spotify is it for the music lovers. $10 unlimited monthly access worldwide, to 15 million songs. Besides that ridiculously awesome fact, the following are the top 5 reasons why you should get #Spotify today:

5. No MP3s – You will no longer have to use up memory for your music. Everything is stored on a cloud, and streamed to your device – whether it’s your phone, tablet, or computer.

4. Integration with Social Media – You can log into your FB account, and share your play-lists. If you don’t want them public, that’s fine, but if you allow them to be open to the public, then we can share your musical tastes and play them from any of the devices listed above, anywhere I want! Anywhere in the world!

3. Song Artwork – Spotify recognizes MP3s and automatically gets the artwork for you. Remember when #iTunes only got artwork for MP3s purchased using iTunes? No more. Spotify will place artwork on MP3s that you downloaded from “3rd parties” or imported from CDs. It doesn’t matter.

2. Instant Access to New Releases – You can here the new albums the very day they drop. No waiting in line or running from the RIAA, only legal, high quality streaming of the entire album for you.

1. “Share To” – This is our favorite feature. You can share your music…on Facebook, Twitter, Windows Messenger, or between Spotify users all within the program interface. That means that if I have 4 or 5 songs I want you to hear instantly, I can send them directly to your Spotify library instantly, and you can listen to them anywhere in the world, on the device lists above.

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Now it goes without saying, that this new product will undoubtedly add more fuel to the battle between these new emerging DRM music streaming services and traditional radio as well as CDs and physical album sales. Truthfully, it is still unclear as to why the RIAA continues to battle to heavily against the transformation of this musical technology age, because it will only benefit from the progression of this technology as time marches on. Stay tuned…