Opinions about the future of the music business cover a lot of ground, but one thing is certain: today's bands release albums at a much slower pace than bands did in previous eras. It's not just that Spotify and other streaming services have been taking their toll on sales; I doubt too many of today's top artists make albums at the rate Bob Dylan did early in his career. He released 21 albums between 1962-1981. The Beatles were even more prolific and released five albums in the U.S. in 1964: "Meet The Beatles!," "… Read more
The CD format is fast approaching its 30th birthday, so if you're under 40, there's a good chance you didn't grow up playing LPs.
I'm over 40 and still play and buy new records, but I'm curious about why younger people are getting into vinyl. Is it the sound, the feel, or the satisfaction of holding a nice hunk of vinyl in your hands? Here in NYC there are lots of places selling new LPs. I can't help but notice the vast majority of the titles are from young bands, and are bought by … Read more
Not every album is a song cycle or designed to be listened to as a complete work of art. But the songs were more or less recorded in the same time frame, and someone tried to create a musical flow, from one song to the next.
Some musicologists cite Frank Sinatra's 1958 album, "Only the Lonely," as the first "concept" album, for its sustained theme of late-night moods and melancholy. There were probably earlier pop song cycles, but it was definitely the Beatles' "Sgt Pepper" and the Who's "Tommy" that … Read more
Quadraphonic was the first music surround format, and the first to bite the dust. That was in the 1970s. The SACD and DVD-A formats debuted at the dawn of the century, promising vastly improved sound quality over the CD, and both formats flopped. Their futures looked bright, so why did they fail?
Of course the record labels knew selling a new format on the basis of sound quality was a risky business, so they tacked on 5.1 surround sound. There were millions of households in the early 2000s with multichannel home theaters, so selling new music surround formats looked … Read more
Most of the music people enjoy doesn't sound very good. That's not to say it isn't good music, just that it doesn't sound great. I'm not picking on digital or contemporary music; most of my favorite Motown and Stax soul music from the 1960s and 1970s sounds like crap. Most rock music from any decade sounds cruddy; that's just the way it is.
A lot of today's best bands, including alternative darlings Arcade Fire, make awful-sounding recordings. I'm specifically referring to their Grammy Award-winning "The Suburbs" album from 2010; it'… Read more
Colin Greenwood, bassist for British rock band Radiohead, has opined on the state of digital music since the unprecedented Internet release in 2007 of the group's album, "In Rainbows."
Greenwood makes clear in a blog post that Radiohead members, famous for such hit songs as "Creep" and "Fake Plastic Trees," remain fans of the Web's ability to connect artists directly to audiences while cutting out traditional middlemen, such as music labels, radio stations, and journalists.
But Greenwood also argues that at this stage of development in digital music, technology hasn't effectively … Read more
Radiohead is now notorious for innovative distribution after their "pay what you want" initial sale of their last LP, In Rainbows, breaking from the traditional label system. In many ways, they are leading the fight against major music labels. All this adds up to some interesting speculation on the leak of a new Radiohead song, entitled "These Are My Twisted Words."
Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has declared, in an interview with The Believer, that the band has no plans to record another full-length album, preferring instead to focus on singles. A one-off from a band that can afford to call the shots, or a sign of things to come in entertainment, not to mention software?
Yorke cites the creative burden of recording an album, but I have to think the decision is as much about marketing an album as it is recording it. As Yorke relates:
None of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again. … Read more
There's hardly a corner of the entertainment business John Doe hasn't explored.
He's not one of the people who waxes on about rights and wrongs in the music and film industries without any hands-on knowledge. The band Doe formed, X, was part of the first wave of punk rock bands that stormed Los Angeles in the late 1970s. The band's 1981 "Wild Gift" was named Album of the Year by Rolling Stone and The New York Times. Doe is also an actor and has appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows, including "… Read more
Update 6:30 p.m.: To include insight on from industry sources.
The fight between YouTube and a U.K. music royalties group appears to be heating up as Radiohead, Billy Bragg, and Robbie Williams have come out against YouTube.
Williams, KT Tunstall, and the members of the rock band Radiohead will meet Wednesday with other marquee music performers to protest "at how badly they are treated by record companies and music streaming Web sites like YouTube," according to a report in the Times Online, a U.K. publication. The artists will gather as part of a newly … Read more