04 Sep: The Digital Dispute Over Mechanical Royalty

Lots of confused, angry, and wide-eyed rumblings due to Spotify’s latest legal pronouncement. The Hollywood Reporter explains: What {Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons member Bob} Gaudio’s lawsuit alleges — as did the prior class action — is Spotify is violating the reproduction rights of publishers and songwriters. Those making a mechanical reproduction of a musical composition can obtain a compulsory license and bypass having to negotiate terms with publishers. However, those doing so have…

31 Aug: The Patronage Economy and Fan Accessibility

Here’s an enthusiastic TED Talk from Jack Conte, co-founder of Patreon and one-half of Pomplamoose: Conte: What gets me super excited to be a creator right now, to be alive today, to be a creative person right now, is realizing that we’re only ten years into figuring out this new machine, to figuring out the next hundred years of infrastructure for our creators. And you can tell we’re only ten years in as there’s a…

26 Aug: The Zen of Consistently Recording Songs, Not Albums

Author James Clear recently published an enlightening post about goals vs. systems. He proposes that one can find effectiveness in a project by focusing on systems and jettisoning goals. The general idea is this: a goal to complete a novel in three months is intimidating, and this looming target often triggers anxiety and procrastination. Regardless, you should have a system planned out to reach that objective, such as ‘write five hundred words each day.’ Clear…

23 Aug: Dubset’s Major Move

TechCrunch: Spotify and Apple Music could soon get the legal grey area of music like remixes and DJ sets that today live unofficially on SoundCloud. Sony Music Entertainment today became the first major record label to allow its music to be monetized through unofficial mixes thanks to a deal with rights clearance startup Dubset. That means Sony’s master recordings will be indexed by Dubset, and rights holders will be compensated even if just a tiny…

19 Aug: The Gated Reverb Conundrum

Do I know someone over at Vox? Perhaps there's some psychic mind-link? I ask because the music topics the site covers in its ongoing video series are coming from my unbeknownst internal wishlist. I mean, here's an eight-and-a-half minute video on gated reverb. Holy cats. Okay, so we’ve got to talk a little bit about music production trends. These trends represent sounds, styles, and motifs that, at best, enhance a song and, at worst, shackle…

18 Aug: Destroying the Perfect

On the Building New Law podcast, Seth Godin had this to say: We always destroy the perfect before we enable the impossible. For example, sonically CDs are not as good as vinyl, and MP3s are not as good as CDs. But this degradation is necessary to get to the technological point of ‘every song in your pocket,’ and audio quality will someday catch up. And we’ve seen it before. The eight-track tape: sounded like crap…

16 Aug: Decoding a Pocket Symphony

Posted by the Polyphonic YouTube channel, this video essay illustrates all the remarkable things that happen in the three minutes and thirty-nine seconds that comprise The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.” It is remarkable when the details get laid out: the convention-defying sections of the song, the ingenious chord combinations, the metamorphosing moods and transitions, even how the deceptively simple lyrics reveal a deeper meaning. “Good Vibrations” is indeed a “pocket symphony.” Wikipedia: The making of…

15 Aug: My Every Day Album Discovery Routine

I was recently asked, “what are you listening to these days?” I explained that I listen to a lot, and it’s because every day I aim to listen to an album I’ve never heard before. A couple of years ago I was writing a ‘best of’ list and came up short for my top ten favorite albums of that year. I realized I didn’t listen to a lot of new music and that made me…

13 Aug: Songwriters Getting Paid as the Robots Listen

There are a few options for businesses to legally play music on premises, whether that business is, say, a nightclub, restaurant, or hair salon. An in-store music service like Mood Media (formerly Muzak) can supply channels of pre-cleared tunes for a subscription fee. These services are like radio in most cases, as the business won’t be able to choose any particular song that’s played. The business could also just play music by friends and enter…

09 Aug: The Upside of Music Piracy

For a legacy act, taking a nuanced stance on the effects of music piracy is surprising and somewhat brave. But that’s what Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell is doing in a recent interview with Ultimate Classic Rock: “The way the band works is quite extraordinary. In recent years, we’ve been really fortunate that we’ve seen this new surge in our popularity. For the most part, that’s fueled by younger people coming to the shows,” Campbell…