Blog Archive

In a Metal Band? Want to Play with the Big Boys Next Summer?

November 25th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Heavy MTL is a helluva thing for metalheads.  Next year's event will happen at Parc Jean Drapeau the weekend of August 11.  If you're in a metal band and would like a shot at playing the festival, here's what you do.  From the press release.

Montreal's local concert promoters Dungeonworks and Evenko have teamed up along with Labryinthe, the one stop Metal T-shirt shop and Katacombes, Montreal's favourite metal venue to present ENROUTE Heavy MTL contest for bands to win a prestigious spot on Canada's most premier metal festival.

Starting NOW, bands can sign up to win their chance to play this year‘s Heavy MTL at Parc Jean-Drapeau on August 11th & 12th, 2012.

The two winning bands of Heavy MTL 2012 Battle of the Bands will each be offered a spot on the 2012 lineup, as well as tickets to the festival!


Courtney Love Lineage

November 25th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

As someone who LOVES obscure trivia, I love this story.  It’s complicated, so try and follow along.  More than forty years ago, Paula Fox wrote a novel called Desperate Characters.  

In 1971, this book was made into a movie starring Shirley Maclaine.  Then the book went out of print and the movie was forgotten.  

However,
Desperate Characters was been re-discovered about ten years ago and was reissued in paperback, turning Paula Fox into something of a darling in New York publishing circles.


The Last Word on Nickelback’s Detroit Lions Problem

November 24th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

This could be an interesting day for Nickelback.  With their halftime show coming up this afternoon at the traditional Detroit Lions Thanksgiving game, over 55,000 people have signed a petition imploring Lions management to find someone else.

Obviously, it's too late and the gig will go ahead as planned--although you have to wonder what kind of abuse the band will endure.

But here are a few things worth adding to the controversy:


I Like This: Peter Hook’s The Light

November 24th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

I think it's safe to say that the original line-up of New Order won't be performing together anytime soon. However, Peter Hook is rather busy with his new band, The Light.

After touring through the US, Canada and Mexico earlier this fall--I was at the Toronto show and enjoyed it immensely--there's a new EP, the palandromic 1102/2011 (entitled that because it was recorded on February 11 of thsi year)--coming December 5th.

Three tracks feature Rowetta (Happy Mondays) performing Joy Division tracks.  Hooky sings "Pictures in My Mind," which was an unfinished Joy Division song that was eventually recovered from a stolen rehearsal tapes that disappeared in 1977.  

To be more specific, it comes from the era between when the band was called Warsaw and when they recorded Unknown Pleasures as Joy Division.  A must for all JD fans.  Obviously.


Can Computer Code Predict a Hit Record?

November 24th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Contrary to what a lot of people believe, you cannot brainwash the general public into liking a song. The recording industry has decades' worth of examples of artists who were gigantic failures despite millions in marketing and promotional dollars.  

The maxim has always been you can never, ever predict what people are going to like--or hate.  But there are a chosen few within the music industry who have "golden ears."  Over the years, they've acquired a reputation of being able to hear a hit when no one else does.  Those people are treasured.

The problem is they're expensive.  What if you could get a machine to pick the hits?


Relax: The CD Isn’t Going Anywhere Anytime Soon

November 24th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

It all seems to have started with an article by an anonymous writer for Side-Line magazine.  "The major labels plan to abandon the CD format by the end of 2012 (or even earlier) and replace it with download/stream-only releases via iTunes and related music services."

Rubbish.  Sheer bull feces.  No named sources, no comments from the major labels that are apparently leading this charge.

But that hasn't stopped this "assertion" from spreading far and wide on websites and forums.  "Did you hear?  They're going to stop selling CDs any second now!


iPods Sales Continue to Fade

November 24th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

I'm just about done the Walter Isaacson book on Steve Jobs.  On the chapters involving the iPod, I was reminded that they once represented about 50% of Apple's revenue.  FIFTY per cent!

There's no need to rehash how game-changing the iPod (and later iTunes) has been.  But with the introduction of the iPhone and the iPad, the iPod's days of dominance are done.

Sales are down 27% year-over-year.  More than half the iPods sold were Touches, which has more in common from an operating system point of view with the iPhone and iPad than it does with any of its siblings and ancestors.  

So how much longer will Apple continue to make iPods?


New Live Chili Peppers For Sale–But Why So Expensive?

November 24th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

I've always been a fan of live recordings.  When Pearl Jam started putting out those official "live bootlegs," got my bands on a bunch of them.  When Peter Gabriel had a mail-in offer to get a recording of a show that I had seen, I ordered one for $20-ish.  Two months later, a CD arrived in the mail.

Then back in 2004, I went to the second-ever Pixies reunion show.  Before I went in, I pre-ordered a CD of the gig.  Thirty minutes after the band left the stage, I had a freshly burned recording of the show in a custom case.  "Magic," I thought.  I think I paid $15.

All that sounds rather quaint now given what anyone can accomplish with the Internet.  Which brings me to the Chili Peppers.


What Does Your T-Shirt Say About You?

November 24th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

This is for people who believe that rock music is bad for you.  There used to be a company called iSwag.com which did business-to-business work.

About ten years ago, they conducted a study of teenagers to find who wears what when it comes to music t-shirts.  They determined that kids who wore Britney Spears t-shirts were three times more likely to go to summer school than kids who wore Limp Bizkit t-shirts.


Weekly Music Sales Report: 23 November 2011

November 23rd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

When was the last time we saw seven releases selling over 10,000 copies each?  It's been forever.  Then again, it is the Christmas shopping season, so we should see some big sales numbers over the next four weeks.
Overall album sales spiked up 5% (although 3% less than what we sale the same week last year).  This means year-to-date sales in Canada remain 1% ahead of 2010.


How Mobile is Changing the Music Industry

November 23rd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

I'm in Arizona right now, having just spoken to a group of financial people.  Part of my keynote had to do with how things like smart phones and tablets have wrought great change on the recording industry.

Fast Company also has some opinions on the subject.

Mobile devices have completely changed the way we consume music. It wasn't so long ago that I would physically go to a store to browse for an album. Today, I can stream pretty much any song ever recorded on my smartphone, for free, anywhere I have access to the Internet.


Could iTunes Be Used by Foreign Governments Spy On You?

November 23rd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

This sounds like something out of a hacker novel.  A company from the UK called Gamma International was found selling software to "foreign intelligence services" that used some kind of security hole in iTunes to spy on targets.  

The hole has since been fixed, but this whole thing should give us pause.  Using iTunes in cyberwarfare?  Read on:

A reporter for a German magazine caught a British security firm boasting about how they can use Apple's megapopular software to infect target computers with malware on behalf of foreign governments. At a booth this past September at Germany's Cyber Warfare Europe conference, representatives from Gamma International UK showed how their FinFisher product service could insert spyware via iTunes at the request of intelligence, security, and police agencies worldwide.


Did a Ramone Almost End Up in Metallica?

November 23rd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

It was twenty –five years ago that Metallica lost bass player Cliff Burton in that bus accident in Sweden and we’re still hearing stories about how they came to find a permanent replacement.  

You may have heard that Jesse “The Body” Ventura applied for the job.  You may have heard that of Les Claypool, later of Primus, thought about the job.  

But did you know this one:  CJ Ramone of the Ramones was approached by the band?  Not once, but twice.



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