Blog Archive

And the Nominees for the 2012 Canadian Radio Music Awards Are…

January 13th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

One of the major events at Canadian Music Week is the Radio Music Awards, a ceremony which honours first-time top-charting Canadian artists as picked by members of the radio industry.  The 15th annual CRMAs will be handed out on Friday, March 23.  Here's who's up for what:


Why Is This News?

January 13th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Headline in Rolling Stone:  “Fred Durst Documents Juice Face on Tumblr:  Limp Bizkit frontman struggles not to cheat by eating

Pandora Strikes a Deal with 16 Auto Manufacturers

January 12th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

A little while ago, auto manufacturers came to the understand the benefits of getting third parties to design highly sophisticated infotainment systems for their vehicles.  These new systems are now helping dealers move new cars off the lot.  

Pandora, the personalizable music streaming service, is at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas where they announced deals with more manufacturers.  From the Washington Post:

[Pandora co-founder Tim] Westergren announced deals with 16 car makers— from the first partner, Ford, to latest partner Kia— to incorporate Pandora into car dashboards or allow users to stream the service through their smartphones into car audio systems.

The Loudness Wars: A Legend Speaks Out

January 12th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

For the uninitiated, the Loudness Wars refers to the trend of compressing recordings so that they seem to come out of the speakers or headphones with the greatest possible default volume.  The thinking is that loud recordings stand out more and garner more attention which equals (so they say) greater popularity and higher sales.

The problems is that making something loud introduces distortion, increases listner fatigue and completely perverts the recording process.  All those subtleties of the performance--the loud-soft dymanics--are squished flat. Add in MP3s, crappy earbuds and the public's acceptance of so-so audio and we've seen a decline of high fidelity.

Bob Ludwig, a master engineering whose name probably appears on more albums than anyone else, has this to say about the recording process in the era of the Loudness Wars.

Fed Up With the High Price of Concert Tickets? Blame Wall Street.

January 12th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

I can't see much wrong to poke holes in Bob Leftsetz's theories about the current state of of the concert industry. Can you?

There’s been this b.s. that concert tickets went through the roof because of Napster, that the acts had to make it up somewhere. But that’s just lemmings trying to emulate rich lifestyles, to go back to the cause you’ve got to retreat to 1996, when Bob Sillerman rolled up the concert promoters into what was then called SFX and is now called Live Nation.

Ireland: A Land of Musicians, Not Musicals

January 12th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

I read an article in The Guardian that posed the question: Why is it that Ireland, a land of playwrights and musicians (including the likes of Samuel Barclay, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, U2, The Pogues, Van Morrison, Gary Moore, The Cramberries, and so many others) does not write or produce their own musicals?

Maybe the Irish don't take musicals seriously. Maybe they think of it as "artistically unsound." Or maybe Ireland simply lacks suitable locations.

The Velvet Underground Sues Andy Warhol

January 12th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Back in 1966 when the Velvet Underground was enjoying the patronage of Andy Warhol, he "produced" their debut album, The Velvet Underground and Nico.  Well, "produced" is a nebulous concept.  Basically he showed up in the studio for a few hours to offer words of encouragement and then went back to The Factory and his freaky friends.

Warhol did, however, design the album cover for that first record:  the iconic (and expensive to produce) peelable banana cover.  It's considered to be one of the most famous pieces of album cover art of all time.

Lately, though, that banana has been showing up on things like iPad covers and shoulder bags.  This has greatly irritated both Lou Reed and John Cale.

Like Shazam? Then Try the Shazam Player App

January 12th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Shazam is one of those apps you might not get until you try it.  Say you're in a restaurant and a cool song comes over the PA.  You like it but because it's new to you, you're in the dark about the title and the artist.  

But fire up Shazam so it can "listen" to the track and you'll have your questions answered in less than a minute. As a bonus, you'll get the lyrics, too.  It's pretty cool and when it works at advertised, it's magic.

Up until now, the people behind Shazam have had just that one product.  This week, though, they introduced the Shazam Player App for the iPod touch, iPhone and iPad.  

It works pretty much like any other player you might want to use, but it has some extras.  A glance at this screen shot will give you some idea of its offerings.

Check out the instruction video after the jump.

More on the Future of Radio in the Car from CES

January 11th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

The Consumer Electronics Show is on now in Las Vegas and there's no shortage of companies willing to show how smartphones and Internet content can be better and more tightly integrated with cars.  Manufacturers know that this kind of technology move cars out of the showroom.  

But you know who else loves this idea?  Advertisers.

Why It’s Important to Know Your Geography When Writing a Song

January 11th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

The most-downloaded song in the history of iTunes is the excreable "Don't Stop Believing" from Journey.  At last count, it has sold 4.5 million digital downloads, thanks largely, I suppose, to that maddenly ambiguous ending to The Sopranos.

There was always something about the song bugged me, even when it first came out in 1981.  Something about the song, but I just couldn't figure it out.  It took this article from to articulate it for me.

Bryan Ferry Marrying His Son’s Ex-Girlfriend Is Weird–But Not As Weird As This

January 11th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

I've been a Roxy Music fan for...well, forever, really.  Bryan Ferry has also struck me as the epitome of cool, even when he's doing those H&M commercials.  

And I kinda admire his ladykiller reputation.  He does have an eye for women.  I mean, some of those Roxy Music album covers were good enough when my buddies chickened out from boosting copies of Penthouse from the drug store.  But this is a little weird.

Bryan, who is 66, has just married his 29 year-old girlfriend.  That's fine--good on you, Bryan--except for the fact that Amanda Shepherd used to be his son's girlfriend.  Somehow that just doesn't feel right.

But it's not the weirdest relationship father-son-girlfriend arrangement I've ever heard of. Far, far from it.

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