Blog Archive

Hit Music: Here’s Why We’re Doomed

August 14th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Running a record label is a very risky business because you can never, ever predict what the public will like.  You can spend millions on advertising and promotion, if the audience doesn't care, you're pooched.  But that one big hit can erase years and years of misses.  That's what keeps the business going.

Obviously, labels would love to be able to increase their chances of success.  What if you had some secret way of coming up with more hits more often?

That's why there's such interest in algorithms like Score a Hit, computer programs that analyze past hits looking for patterns, characteristics and attributes that can be used to write more hits.  

Noisey talked to Tijl De Bie, an artificial intelligence researcher from Bristol University.

According to your research, music has gotten more predictable since the turn of the millennium compared to the 70s and 80s. Could you elaborate on that?

Mostly in the late 70s and a bit into the early 80s, our equation didn't do well at all. On the other hand, in 2000-2010 it was fairly easy. Also in the first half of the 90s it was easier than average. I think this means that music in the times when it was easier to predict hits using our method was more formulaic, to use the same term. There were less surprises, whereas in the late '70s for example, hits were different to other tunes.

Relax, Killing Joke Fans. Jaz Coleman Has Been Found…in the Sahara

August 14th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

There was quite the pallaver last week when the members of Killing Joke let it be known that their singer was missing and that they were a little concerned.

It's not like Jaz Coleman hasn't done something like this before.  The last time he went AWOL in 1982, he turned up in Iceland, apparently planning to wait out the coming Apocalypse.  At first, his bandmates thought he was a little crazy.  Then they ended up joining him. When the threat passed, everyone went back to the UK and got back to work.

This time, Jaz went south, ending up in the Sahara.  From Killing Joke's Facebook page:

More Music from the Inbox: 14 August 2012

August 14th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Now that the Olympics are over, life can get back to normal.  Then again, if you didn't give a rat's ass about the Olympics, things never really changed all that much--except when it came to watching TV.

Plenty of new music came through the inbox over the last two weeks.  I made the first pass.  And performing the second and final pass this time is Juliette Jagger.

Artist: Saul Williams, “DNA / Coded Language”

Album: Volcanic Sunlight

New Limited Edition Live Album from U2

August 13th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

It's taken a while, but there's finally a collection of performances culled from the 360 Tour.  There's a catch, though:  you have to sign up for the U2 fanclub for $50 if you want a physical copy.  Or you could just save your cash and watch for the inevitable postings on YouTube.

Here's the tracklisting.  And you can find more details here.

Disc One

1. Even Better Than The Real Thing
Recorded At Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, 15th May 2011

2. The Fly
Recorded At Spartan Stadium, East Lancing 26 June 2011

3. Mysterious Ways
Recorded At Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town 18 February, 2011

Deconstructing the London 2012 Closing Ceremony from a Musical Point of View

August 13th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

I thought the closing ceremony to the 2012 Olympic Games was...okay.  Let me deconstruct that:

Good points:

The Who:  I thought Roger Daltrey was in good voice and it was cool to see Pete windmill that Telecaster. But I wonder why Pete didn't sing his usual "Don't cry/Don't raise your eye/It's only teenage wasteland" part in this song.  Could it have to do with his hearing issues?

John Lennon:  (Doing the inevitable "Imagine") and Freddy Mercury's singalong. But it's interesting that the two biggest showstoppers were delivered by dead people.

Pet Shop Boys:  Don't try to understand them.  Just go with it.

Kaiser Chiefs:  Hell, they fooled me.  When they rode in on that fleet of modcycles singing "Pinball Wizard," I though it was The Who.

Auria: AWESOME App for Musicians and Producers

August 13th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

It wasn't all that long ago that a 48-track recording required renting a recording studio for thousands of dollars a day.  Now all you need is an iPad and $50.

This is Auria, a $50 app from the Apple App Store.  Record, edit, mix, add effects and mix a recording using an iPad and a peripheral device or two.  My GOD, this is cool!

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