Blog Archive

I Like This: Hatchback

December 30th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Whilst rummaging around the interwebs, I found an entry from Gawker entitled “Nine Awesome Songs (and One Great Mix) You

Unsolicited Advice for Music Journalists

December 30th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

A blog entry from Andrew Dubber caught my attention. Entitled "Music Journalism is the New Boring," he calls out some music journalists as lazy.  Here's an excerpt:

1) You can’t complain about a dull year in music if all you do is report on the pile of CDs that ended up on your desk as a result of public relations and major label marketing. If you were looking for urgency, relevance and innovation in that lot, you’ve misunderstood the process. No matter how much you shout “Challenge me!” at your stereo, it’s not going to oblige if you keep putting Coldplay CDs in it.

2) Even if you are looking outside the pile, chances are you’re still looking in the wrong places.

The Way Things Used to Be: Albums With Dozens of 100,000+ Weeks

December 29th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Some interesting stats from Billboard drawing from album sales as tallied by Nielsen SoundScan:

There have been fourteen albums that have had 30 or more weeks of selling 100,000 copies in the US since the SoundScan area began in 1991.

Alanis Morissette, "Jagged Little Pill" - 64 (1995-1997)
Britney Spears, "...Baby One More Time" - 50 (1999-2000)
Creed, "Human Clay" - 49 (1999-2001)
Celine Dion, "Falling Into You" - 43 (1996-1997)
Shania Twain, "Come on Over" - 42 (1997-2000)
Hootie & the Blowfish, "Cracked Rear View" - 40 (1995-1996)
Santana, "Supernatural" - 39 (1999-2000)
Backstreet Boys, "Millennium" - 34 (1999-2000)
Usher, "Confessions" - 33 (2004-2005)
Spice Girls, "Spice" - 32 (1997-1998)
Billy Ray Cyrus, "Some Gave All" - 31 (1992-1993)
NSYNC, "No Strings Attached" - 31 (2000-2001)
Kid Rock, "Devil Without a Cause" - 30 (1999-2000)
Adele, "21" - 30 (to date) (2011-2012)

The F-U to the Beatles Hidden in Old Mac Computers

December 29th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

If you're a longtime Mac user, you may remember the System 7 OS, which arrived in the spring of 1991.

It was around this time that Apple, the computer company, was involved in the first of its many trademark skirmishes against Apple Corps, the Beatles record label.

If users went to System Preferences > Sound > Sound Effects, they'd find a file called Sosumi.  It was a short sample of a xylophone that could be assigned to any event on the machine.

This, however, was a problem.

America’s Latest “Most Notorious Markets List”

December 29th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Digital piracy continues to be a major bugaboo for the US government, thanks to relentless lobbying by groups like the RIAA and the MPAA.  How do you think the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was written?  The text could have been cut'n'pasted directly from an email from one of these organizations.  That's how bad the bill is.

The Office of the US Trade Representitive has just issued a new Notorious Markets List.  On it are countries that are rife with pirates and website that engage in piracy.  

Let's take a look, shall we?  And as we do, notice all the references to the Great White North.

When People Can Steal Any Music They Want, They Steal the Hits

December 29th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

With the Internet and a little torrent knowledge, it's possible to acquire just about any song from any band you want.  The entire catalogue of recorded music of the whole universe is available.  

Yes, there are those who source out the newest and coolest.  That might even be you.  But here's a secret:  you're in the minority.

When people steal music, the vast, vast majority of them steal the hits.  The same songs heard on the radio ad nasuem.  The same videos played on TV.  The same albums racked up from at Wal-Mart.  And this is repeated hundreds of millions of times each year.

TorrentFreak has posted its list of the most searched phrases and keywords for one of the most-used torrent sites through all of 2011.

The first thing you'll notice about the list is that movies and TV shows rank far, far ahead of any music. Why?

The Last 78 RPM Record Label

December 29th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Although it took many number of years, a standard rotation speed emerged after Berliner's rotating disc won out over Edison's cylinder in the early 20th century.  That speed was 78 revolutions per minute.

From about 1925 through to 1948, the 10-inch 78 ruled the recorded music world.  But then came Columbia's 12-inch long-playing album followed by RCA's 7-inch 45 RPM single.  Both were improved by the introduction of stereo technology in the late 50s.

Still, the 78 lingered.  While all the large and large-ish labels abandoned the format--and really, it was very inferior--there was at least one guy who carried the torch until 1970.

A Mexican Drug Cartel Has a Radio Station?

December 28th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Not just a radio station; a radio network.  From Wired:

Arranging drug sales on a cellphone, cryptic email or even a pager? That’s strictly for the small-time dealer. If you’re a Mexican drug cartel, you have your own radio network.

Since 2006, the cartels have maintained an encrypted DIY radio network that stretches across nearly all 31 Mexican states, even down south into Guatemala. The communications infrastructure of the narco-gangs that have turned Mexico into a gangster’s paradise consists of “professional-grade” radio antennas, signal relays and simple handheld radios that cost “millions of dollars” — and which the Mexican authorities haven’t been able to shut down.

Weekly Music Sales Report: 28 December 2011 (Plus Year-End Stats for Canada!)

December 28th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

This past sales week (Monday, December 19 to Sunday, December 25) was unbelievable key to record labels and retailers.  Would they managed to eke out a meagre sales gain over 2011?  So much was riding on Michael Buble and Adele.

I don't have the Canadian numbers for the past week--they weren't issued because of the holidays--but I do have some very interesting year-end stats. Let's start with those.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers to Play Private New Year’s Party for Chelsea FC Owner

December 28th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

On the 8-square-mile Caribbean island of St. Bart's, there's a road from the town of Gustavia that leads high into an area called Lurin. I know it well because I've climbed it many, many times.  

Just before you reach the summit--there's a radio tower and an awesome restaurant called Santa Fe (if you ever go, ask for Emmanuel and tell him I sent you)--take a right.  That road will lead you down to Gouveneur, one of the finest beaches you'll ever see. There's a public parking lot amongst the trees and a private gate that leads...somewhere.

Actually, I know where it goes.  And come New Year's Eve, the most exclusive private rock'n'roll party on the planet will be held on the other side of that gate.

Pearl Jam Again Proves They’re Really, Really Nice Guys

December 28th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

You may recall a post from these pages about the theft of an autographed Pearl Jam guitar.  Twenty years ago, a teenager named Josh Hardy was given a 1972 Telecaster as part of a Make-A-Wish Foundation project. Josh treasured that guitar until he died of brain cancer three months later.

Care of the guitar fell to Josh's brother, Ben.  Then it was stolen from his Burlington, Vermont, apartment. The guitar was eventually recoved--but with the autographs missing.  They had been scrubbed off so the guitar could be sold or pawned off.

Although nothing can ever replace the original autographs--the ones that delighted Josh so much in his last days--there was something Pearl Jam could do.  

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