Posts filed under “Music”

The Daft Punk Album

daft punk (Click Spotify before reading)

Don’t believe the hype. Its success had little to do with the marketing campaign. Other than it motivated core fans!

That’s the story here. Kind of like when Apple introduces a new product. Daft Punk fans, earned over two decades, track the band incessantly, and when they heard a new record was imminent, they couldn’t stop talking about it. They’re the ones who made the SNL ad and the Coachella video go viral. Otherwise, the ads were dead in the water. I.e. nobody who didn’t care before cared now, the ads didn’t wake up the masses, the fans did!

Not that every fan is happy with “Random Access Memories.” Many are angry that it’s a return to the seventies as opposed to a step forward into the electronic stratosphere.

But one thing “Random Access Memories” has that most albums do not is a hit single.

And a hit is not something that can be quantified, rather it’s something you HEAR, that makes you feel warm and excited and energized and desirous of nothing so much as playing it again. The launch pad was primed, but it was “Get Lucky” that ensured blastoff.

And now with streaming media, we live in a totally different era. The listening threshold is tiny. Used to be you had to wait to hear multiple tracks on the radio, distill public opinion, only fans bought without hearing first. But the buzz has caused immense streaming on Spotify.

This is the new model:

1. A long hard slog of a career. Instant is for pussies. True musicians are lifers.

2. Energization of the fan base. Gatekeepers have never had so little power. And I say good riddance. Because unlike fans, gatekeepers are not loyal. Program directors can find a zillion reasons not to air your follow-up single. But a hard core fan will always check it out.

3. Excellence is key! Not only is the single fantastic, the rest of “Random Access Memories” is highly listenable.


It is.

But there are exceptions to every rule.

Exception number one… Excellence eviscerates all rules. If you’re fantastic, you need no social media presence, you don’t have to do anything but release your music.

Exception number two, a sub-set of number one…”Random Access Memories” is playable through and through. And that’s a rarity today. Oh, the hard core fan base might play your album, but the hoi polloi will not, which is why your career is stuck. In the Internet era, we only have time for great. So if you can deliver this, and I can’t think of another album in 2013 that has, go ahead and make your album. Otherwise, continue to woodshed and be in the public eye.

Yes, that hearkens back to Exception Number One also… Justin Timberlake went on a scorched earth publicity campaign to sell his album. The label had to force the single up the chart. It all worked, but isn’t it interesting that Daft Punk required no Grammy appearance, no hosting of SNL, no endless hype to break their album.

Then again, Daft Punk sold three hundred thousand-odd albums and Justin Timberlake three times as many.

But this is a good thing. It allows room for growth.

Yes, there’s time for the uninformed to get on the gravy train. In a world where everybody’s overwhelmed, many are immune to hype, they’re busy with other things, they come to the party later. And that’s fine. That’s even better. Continued slow growth keeps you in the public consciousness.

Also, one can argue that “Random Access Memories” is a streaming phenomenon. That sales are on an old metric.

One thing’s for sure, “Random Access Memories” is the album of the year. The one everybody’s talking about. With almost no backlash. It’s closer to “Rumours” than it is to “The 20/20 Experience.”

Meanwhile, you should check it out:


Taking their cue from the Rolling Stones, who perfected this paradigm, Daft Punk knows you’ve got to start your LP with a killer cut. “Give Life Back To Music” grabs you instantly, and that’s necessary in the Internet era. And you’ll love Nile Rodgers’s guitar.


The surprise cut! The one that got little buzz, as opposed to the ones with Giorgio Moroder and Paul Williams, “Doin’ It Right” is a classic album track, the one that won’t get airplay, but becomes your favorite. It puts a smile on your face, especially when the untreated vocals begin.


By all rights, this should be awful. With a vocal by Buzz Aldrin. But I LOVE this! And you will too!

And, of course, there’s “Get Lucky”…

“Random Access Memories” is the first album in eons I don’t want to take off, that I don’t want to abandon to listen to something else. It’s the album that shouldn’t have been made. An expensive project in an era when everybody bitches they can’t afford to cut endlessly in the big room. A seventies album in the twenty first century.

I’d like to say many more “Random Access Memories” will follow. But I know this is untrue. Because no one wants to put in the time, the focus today is on the trappings instead of the music, people believe if everybody knows your name, you’re home free.


Music still rules.


P.S. Want to know what it was like in the seventies, listen to “Random Access Memories.”

P.P.S. This is just the beginning. Next comes the tour. Wherein Daft Punk will be bigger than both the Stones and U2. Just you wait and see!

Spotify link


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Category: Music, Weekend

The Van Halen Principle: Brown M&Ms

Brown M&Ms from Van Halen on Vimeo. Source: Wonkblog

Category: Music, Weekend

More Clueless Stones . . . ?

Check this out:

“Mick’s Message to the Bay Area”:


It’s like a bad SNL skit, a bozo politician doing an inadequate job of reading from the Teleprompter.

And how about this from the Echoplex:

That’s the video on the Stones’ official YouTube page. Listen to Keith’s solo starting around :35, if you’re not laughing, you’re used to hearing your three year old play the guitar.

How did they get it so wrong?

You know the drill… You play the Super Bowl and you put up the shows the next morning, while the memory is still fresh in the public’s brain, before people forget the hype and excitement of the moment. Hell, I can’t even remember who won last year’s Super Bowl, I’ve just about forgotten “Argo” won Best Picture. We’re inundated with so much information, the news cycle is so fast, that if you don’t capitalize on your fame in days, you’re missing out.

So the Stones do their fiftieth anniversary shows last fall.

It’s kind of like Zeppelin at the 02. There may never be another show, you’ve got to overpay to go now, to be part of the excitement. And then MONTHS later, when there’s no buzz whatsoever, the band puts up shows at the same inflated ticket prices. Huh?

Where’s the manager?

There is none.

And you need one. An act without a manager is like an attorney representing himself, he’s got a fool for a client. You need a third eye, an opinion from outside the maelstrom, to give you perspective.

The entire Rolling Stones YouTube page …was an afterthought. How do I know? Because the views are so low. Remember when the Stones used to premiere videos on TV, how they used to work the public into a frenzy? Now there is no frenzy, there’s no cook creating the perception that if you don’t go, you’re a loser. All you see is greed.

And if you’re that damn greedy, do it like the rest of the superstars. Scalp your own tickets.

That’s the Michael Cohl model. We pay you a lump sum, and you can’t ask how we got that money.

But for prior tours, Cohl had a team of experts, a seamless machine, selling fan club memberships and merch and raking up the capital. This tour is a positively last minute venture with no vision and even poorer execution.

1. Perception Is Everything In The Music Business

Yes, the tickets could theoretically be worth $600, but if you ask for that much, you’re separating yourself from your audience. Sell platinum tickets with B.S. perks, a laminate and the ability to meet Ron Wood or some other superfluous member of the band (I’d say Charlie, but I’m not sure he can speak.)

You build your fan base not on the rich who can pay anything, but the poor who can’t afford much. Yes, in today’s rich versus poor society, and if you don’t think there’s class warfare, you didn’t notice that Obama got reelected, you have to appear to be one of the people if you want to sell to the people. There are not enough 1%ers to fill arenas at these prices.

2. Ticketmaster

The public hates Ticketmaster, even though everybody in the business knows it’s a front for the acts. Yup, those inflated fees go to the promoter, the buildings, on previous tours even to the Stones. You need a scapegoat. But the Stones messed up here, there is no scapegoat, the blame falls squarely on their shoulders.

3. Don’t Be Afraid To Share The Money

You pay professional management its commission so you can make more money. It’s kind of like hiring an accountant…they don’t come cheap, but they save you more than their fee, because that’s what they do all day long, taxes. Mick Jagger is hobnobbing with his rich socialite buddies, he’s got no idea what’s going on in the music business, which seemingly changes every six months. He needed fresh, experienced eyes on this.

4. There Are No Secrets

The Stones, like Led Zeppelin, were built on mystery. But there is no mystery today. So either you can be like many old farts and restrict taping and photography, which is kind of like telling kids not to have sex, or you can embrace it. If the Stones are crappy live, they should have their official site filled with fan videos, which we all expect to be crappy. We then go to the show to hear the real deal, up close and personal. But when the official videos sound crappy…you think the band is.

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Category: Music, Weekend

What You Need To Know

1. Fame is fleeting. Used to be very few could get through the sieve, now with fame up for grabs, from reality TV to YouTube, it’s easy to break through, but nearly impossible to sustain. 2. Quality counts. If you want to have longevity. It’s too hard to game the system, too hard to stay…Read More

Category: Music, Weekend

Every Genre of Music. Graphed and Sampled

Crazy cool interactive graph of all musical genres, including samples for every example. Looks like it required a Herculean amount of labor. (note it worked better on IE/Safari than Firefox) click for interactive site Source: Furia via boingboing

Category: Digital Media, Music

Stones Tickets? Disaster

It’s a disaster.

And it’s hiding in plain sight. All you’ve got to do is go to their site and see what’s available, your jaw will drop.

Enthralled with the ancient British rockers, the mainstream press has completely dropped the ball on this story. So busy reporting last weekend’s club gig, the sycophantic reporters refuse to do any…reporting. To see that the bottom just dropped out of the Stones business.

Yes, go to Rolling Stones

And click to “Get Tickets.”

Then pull up May 3rd’s gig at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, America’s number two market, home to more poseurs than anywhere but the Cote d’Azur.

First you’ll be stunned how seamlessly AXS works. We’ve been told for eons that Ticketmaster is an unbeatable champion. But AXS is faster, easier and just an all-around better experience.

So pick the May 3rd gig. If you can’t navigate to this page, stop reading this now, you’re too ignorant to get the points I’m going to be making anyway.

Select 2 seats. Don’t allow for splits. There are frequently single seats available in good sections for the most desirable gigs.

Select “Best seat at any price level.”

Then click on “Find Tickets.”


You can sit right down front!

But it gets better!

You can still get 8 seats together in desirable sections!

Which means…

Sales are horrific.

It’s even worse for the May 20th gig. You can still get 8 seats together right down front!

How did this happen?


Let me tell you how this works. AEG pays the Stones whether they sell out or they don’t, whether anybody shows up or the hall is empty.

This is a far cry from the way business was done in the years the Stones became the “World’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band.”

Used to be there was a guarantee, and then a split after break even.

But then Michael Cohl revolutionized the business.

And then Bob Sillerman rolled up the promoters and the acts had a field day, raping big time promoters for huge guarantees.

And the small shows got squeezed out, only the big ones counted in the mind of the public. And the Internet burgeoned. And suddenly, scalping became rampant. Even via the eBay company StubHub, never mind by individuals speculating.

And the game was rigged. There were so many pre-sales and holdbacks that demand seemed to outstrip supply in all cases. So resale prices went through the roof!

And until 2008, everybody was loaded with cash, the rich still are, they want to go to the show not to see it, but to say they were there.

And Mick Jagger is pissed these people have more money than he does. He wants to fly private and vacation without the hoi polloi, so he needs to rip you off, he needs to get all that money!

That’s what the inflated ticket prices are all about. Making sure scalpers don’t get the markup.

But this time around, prices are so damn high the public is balking, which surprises even me, because this truly looks like the last tour. But what we’ve learned here is the mania surrounding recent Stones shows has been created by the press, there’s just not that much demand, people cared more about Miley Cyrus and Beanie Babies. Yes, parents care more about their kids than decrepit rockers.

The initial shows last fall did well. Because of the mainstream press around the marketing angle of fifty years…

But just like the Cream comeback was an event in London and a dud in New York City, the bloom is off the rose, there’s no story, people just don’t care.

Do they care for $100?

A lot more.

Then again, the Stones have been doing weak business for eons. You could always get a ticket.

So where does this leave us?

In the land of Kid Rock. Where everybody scales back, where we have a reset, where even the execs take less.

Because what once was is no longer.

The Stones have jumped the shark.

And that means most of the other classic rock acts have too.

Furthermore, if you think the Stones are phenomenal in concert, you haven’t seen them, or are used to the Grateful Dead. They lock on occasionally, otherwise, it’s rough.

So if you’re against paperless ticketing, you’re a weasel. That’s what delivered $600 tickets, fear that the scalpers would take too much of the profit.

And if you’re against airline style variable pricing, you’re part of the problem too. Because if we had such a system, AEG could lower the price and sell out. But now they can’t.

Oh, they’ll find some way to fill the hall. The biggest stars paper, from Springsteen to Kenny Chesney.

And a loss is in the offing, unless the Stones give back.

But they won’t.

But maybe they will. Dainty dropped out because he couldn’t come up with the money. Maybe if AEG does a great job they’ll get a better, profitable deal in the rest of the world.

Yes, at some point, everybody drops out. The deal becomes too expensive. Not only for the promoters, but the public.

But this is what income inequality has wrought. Acts pissed that record sales have dropped have raised ticket prices so high the public has now cried UNCLE!



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Category: Music, Weekend

Constant Creation

Here today, gone tomorrow. That’s the modern paradigm. When what you want to do is stay in the public eye, in people’s minds, you don’t want to be forgotten. That is why the album format is working against you. 1. If you’re making an album-length statement, a story, a concept, go for it. But twelve…Read More

Category: Music, Think Tank

The Making of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon

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Category: Music, Weekend

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Category: Music, Weekend

Pink Floyd: Money in Studio

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Category: Music, Weekend