Archive for the ‘Music Business’ Category

Bad news for Nashville music in pairs yesterday

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

It was a little bit of a shock to me to learn yesterday that Ticketmaster has decided to close Nashville-based Echo, which is a company I’ve danced close to for some time but never danced with, if you know what I mean. I have friends that work there, and have followed their trajectory for some time. But:

Staffers were told today they will lose their jobs in 60 days.

And then, on the same day, to learn that Passalong Networks is soon to be no more? I mean, not that any demise within the music industry is altogether shocking at this point, but the impact of both closures being announced on the same day makes it seem a little freaky.

I hope my friends who work at both companies are able to find work quickly.

What makes a song demo work in Nashville?

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

The Nashville Feed has a great entry today about the “science” of cutting a killer demo, but the write-up goes on to demonstrate that it’s really anything but science. Several anecdotes from hit songwriters and producers nail the dilemma: music professionals often claim to prefer a work tape, because they say they want to hear their own interpretations, but a good many of the so-called “golden ears” on Music Row don’t seem to be as objective as they might claim. From what we’ve observed (and I’m not just talking about our own pitching, but what we’ve been witness to in various pitch sessions), a slightly less commercial song wrapped up in a well-polished demo has a better chance of being noticed than a slightly more commercial song recorded at home with just a guitar and some less-than-stellar vocals.

Perhaps the best of both worlds might be to make a home recording, but use a great singer. That’s an approach we’ve thought about taking, but in the end, we always feel our songs are better represented by studio demos anyway.

Anyway, the entry goes on to include a bulleted list of “how to make your demos real contenders,” and based on Karsten’s and my experience, there’s some good wisdom there. For example:

Trust Your Musicians: “In Nashville the session musicians are the best in the world at getting demos done,” said Hambridge. “Songwriters are not usually producers, but good musicians spend so much time in the studio playing on all kinds of songs that they often know exactly what you’re going for. Listen to their ideas.”

That’s one thing I haven’t written about often enough here: how impressive the talent is in Nashville. The first time we took a demo into the studio, we were completely knocked out by how quickly the musicians picked up the melody and laid it down for the recording. The guys were milling around, chatting with each other while the scratch demo was playing on the studio speakers, apparently not paying any attention. Yet when they all sat down to play it through, they had it sounding nearly radio-ready on the first take.

Part of that, of course, is song structure. We intentionally write pop songs, and pop songs by definition have straightforward chord progressions, so it’s not like we typically give studio musicians much of a challenge. But the quality of musicianship is so high that they even replicate the turnarounds and licks without appearing to try.

There are more tips, and some good anecdotes at the Nashville Feed. Click on over there to read the rest.

And as a bonus, here’s some video from the “By Surprise” demo session we did back in ‘05:

When a $300 order is a potentially bad thing

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

I just had to renew Honey Bowtie’s subscription to Billboard and I did it, of course, on Magazines.com. But that’s a $299 order (side note: yes, Billboard is a ridiculously expensive magazine, but it’s such a great way to follow a broad cross-section of the industry), and because I’m running several tests on the site that I don’t want to skew with such a huge order, I had to very carefully step around all the spots on the site that would have tracked me and added my purchase to test results.

I am such a geek.

Creative reuse

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

Good to see that Hall & Oates have a healthy attitude about allowing their music to be repurposed, even if that repurposing is done with more than a hint of irony.

Speaking from his home outside of Aspen, Oates credits Yacht Rock for rekindling interest in his band — and lowering the overall age of Hall & Oates’ fan demographic.
[...]
And musically, it means that the time is ripe for a Hall & Oates mashup album — the first of which is in the works from Gym Class Heroes.
[...]
Oates calls the final product “the most unique steps I’ve heard coming out of hip hop in quite a while,” and says he’ll give permission to anyone to use his music, so long as the intentions are good. “Once you make a record, it’s out to the world. Who cares?” Oates says.

I’m a bigger fan of Daryl Hall creatively than I am of John Oates, but from what I know of the two, Oates deserves most of the credit for this laissez-faire attitude toward reuse. Color me impressed, oh mustached one.