Does Your Next Song Have “Hit” Potential?

Today I ran into an article that introduced me to “HitLogic” – a software that focuses on analyzing music to predict its “hit” potential! Now this is one of those moments when I absolutely love technology. As a performer, having access to such service provides valuable insights. As an artist manager or producer, having access to such service provides valuable insight too. It is basically a win-win tool.

It is technological advances like these that make me appreciate technology. Whether “HitLogic” actually works or not, it is nice to know that there are now resources easily available to positively aid musicians careers.

For more information on “HitLogic”, visit this article – http://www.musicradar.com/us/news/tech/hitlogic-half-price-reports-for-all-607847

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Musical Nostalgia

I purchased my first CD at a very young age. Holding it in my hands and knowing it in was mine was pretty neat. Playing it over and over again until I knew all the lyrics to every song was an even better feeling. Those days seem to be over though. Technology has provided us all with convenient ways to listen to our music now. Every day it seems as though there is new evidence pointing to the fact that streaming is the evident future in the music industry. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the effortless convenience that is opening up my Spotify account… listening to my favorite artists as well as easily discovering new ones! Is streaming changing the way we relate to music though?

I am sure I am not alone in saying that there is a certain beauty in owning music from that band you have followed and loved for years. Then again, there is also the music quality you can hear in say a vinyl than you could never hear while streaming that contagious song you can’t get enough of. It is true that streaming exposes us all to unlimited amounts of music we would probably never had discovered or even had the ability to purchase (even if we wanted to). As music consumers… or simply music lovers… we are able to appreciate the technological advances that make life a little easier however, every now and then we are entitled to feel a little nostalgia about the good old days and questioning how streaming is changing our musical experiences.

Article link served as inspiration. Read “Why I Rushed Out To Buy An Apple Classic: Soon It’ll Be Too Late” as it will surely take you for a stroll down your own memory lane. – http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/why-i-rushed-out-to-buy-an-apple-ipod-classic-soon-itll-be-too-late

Music Streaming Vs. Music Downloading

Music streaming has changed the music industry. It is easy to recognize that music streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, or YouTube continue to overpower downloading services such as iTunes or even the more physical music goods such as CD’s and Vinyl. This year, streaming has become even stronger and more apparent within the industry. Although many streaming services have the free subscription option, consumers are now willing to pay for the actual premium subscription option in order to have less advertisements. While physical music sales and downloads continue to weaken, it is only fair to wonder how long it will take for music streaming to take over completely the music industry? It would also be fair to wonder if the beauty of actually owning music from our favorite artists will disappear with time? It will be interesting to see how music streaming will monetize its services so that everyone involved, artists included, can benefit? It is important to ask such questions as both consumers and simply music lovers. For now, we can only wait to see how streaming (and any other technological advances) will continue affecting music in the near future.

Article below provides recent numbers and facts in relation to the same thoughts mentioned above – http://www.cnet.com/news/streaming-music-swiping-sales-from-music-dowloads/

Concert Review: My experience in Yanni’s live concert

Concert Date: August 24th / 2014

Tour: “World Without Borders Tour”

Place: Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, Boston MA, USA

Photo: Isabel (my mom), me and Pablo (my dad) on first row waiting for Yanni

Photo: Isabel (my mom), me and Pablo (my dad) on first row waiting for Yanni, big fans!

This summer I’ve had the big privilege of seeing live one of my favorite artists, the Greek piano player and composer, Yanni.

Yanni’s music is influenced by a big variety of sounds and melodies from all around the world. Therefore, in his actual band we could see people from: USA, Germany, Cuba, Paraguay, Taiwan, Canada, England, Venezuela, Armenia and Russia. We can found a big variety of instruments in stage on the tour. Violin, cello, percussion set, drums, bass, keyboards, a grand piano, trumpets, horn, trombone and even a set of harps. Moreover, Yanni has played live with entire orchestras adding also different folkloric instruments like the charango (Chile/Peru/Bolivia), duduk (Armenia), Chinese flutes, didgeridoos (Australia) and so on.

Yanni’s track list is mainly from their greatest live hits “Yanni Live at the Acropolis” (Greece, 1993) and “Yanni Tribute” recorded in Taj Majal and in the Forbidden City of China in 1997.

A two hour concert in which we can travel between oriental and mid-east melodies, piano ballads, voices as instruments, fast drum beats and percussion, and even a tropical latin solo performed by the harpist, the percussionist and the bass player.

Photo: Yanni’s Band (Google)

Photo: Yanni’s Band (Google)

From all musicians, I would like to point out Charlie Adams and Samvel Yervinyan. 

CHARLIE ADAMS

“From the USA, Charlie has been with Yanni from the beginning performing on drums in rock bands when they were kids. Charlie’s energy, stage performance and stamina gets every audience on their feet all around the world” (words from http://www.yanni.com/orchestra

Photo: Charlie Adams playing (Google)

Photo: Charlie Adams playing (Google)

Charlie is extremely extrovert and energetic, and as you see his special feel with Yanni playing live, it’s absolutely clear that they’ve been playing all their life together. I remember Yanni said joking that Charlie never tells anyone what clothes he would wear on the shows, so it’s always a surprise. Mainly associated with local sports, Charlie usually comes in with a t-shirt supporting a team, which the band prays to be the correct one. Charlie had “Boston Celtics” (basketball local team) shirt that day. One as Yanni fan knows that his best moment during the show is the drum solo during the song “Marching Season”, which is a very difficult song focused on the drums and the piano together, with many time changes.

You can watch this from a performance that they did in Brazil this tour:

SAMVEL YERVINYAN

“From Armenia, Samvel has been widely recognized as one of the world’s premier violinists and has been a star performer among Yanni’s orchestra for the past decade” (words from http://www.yanni.com/orchestra

Photo: Samvel Yervinyan playing (Google)

Photo: Samvel Yervinyan playing (Google)

Samvel has a very passionate way of playing. An exquisite technique combined with a very marked vibrato and attack dynamics. His unique interpretation gives Yanni’s live performances a big added value as his imposing presence arouses the stage. My peer Yarub Smalait, from the Perfomance Masters told me that he had the chance to meet Samvel and assist to one of his classes-workshops once. He described him as an amazing player with the same characteristics described before, and had a great time during his teachings.

An amazing video of Samvel and the rest of the band performing for Yanni’s shows:

Photo: Yanni live in Boston (picture by me)

Photo: Yanni live in Boston (picture by me)

Finally, I would like to point down Yanni’s motto of “One World, One people”. He expresses his rejection to lines in maps, as we came from the same place and we all want the same in life. We are not different at all, and music is his way to express this point. Therefore, it is no surprise that we could find musicians from all over the world on Yanni’s shows. It’s definitely a very warm audio-visual vibe there.

Photo: Yanni and me excited applauding

Photo: Yanni and me excited applauding

I would definitely come back to see Yanni again and recommend this great show to all musicians and new age/world music lovers. Feel free to share here your opinion about Yanni or share artists from the same genre, which I would love to check.

Until next time!

Felipe

Local Live Music Scenes

I have always enjoyed exploring the local live music scene in whichever city I have lived in and visited. Open mics and jam sessions are my favorite. You get to meet interesting people, locals and expats, share each other’s culture, listen to them play some popular songs and improvise 12 bar solos. I guess being a musician myself made me like these events even more cause I often found myself jamming with people I was meeting for the first time. Living in Singapore gave me the unique opportunity  to jam with people from all over Asia. Playing the blues with a local percussionist, a British Guitarist, an Irish bass guitarist, a Singaporean fiddler and an American Dobro player is what I defined as the ultimate experience of music diversity. Until I got to Spain…

On my quest for live music, I found myself in an abandoned old stable ( Yes the kind meant for cattle/horses).

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The Entrance to the “Underground” music venue.

“Welcome to the underground music scene” is what a familiar face told me. The following pictures are of one my frequented bars in Singapore, The Beast (www.facebook.com/thesgbeast). Now these are the kinds of venues I am used to visiting if I want live music.  Great service, good food, a variety of specialty brews, well thought out furnishings and an incredible PA system.

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On the contrary, the abandoned stable, as one would expect, was quite the opposite. Bricks all over, broken walls, bare wires running through the length of the ceiling, uncoordinated furniture, and just a few light bulbs to give the venue a delicate lighting. And then the music came on..

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Interior of the venue

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Odd mismatched furniture scattered around the venue

The band consisted of 2 guitarists, a bassist a hang drum(my first time seeing the beautiful instrument) and Cajon percussionist, a octopad player, a vocalist and a saxophonist. The best genre to describe their music was ambient music. The kind you hear in the background of a movie, or while playing a video game on your PlayStation. This was my first experience hearing this music live and it was a treat to the ears. It was a jam, nothing rehearsed, with each song lasting a minimum of 15 minutes. The music was mellow with the occasional upbeat build in tempo.

Watch a clip of the video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g35wlq6cv3Y&feature=youtu.be

The audience maintained pin drop silence, something I found very unusual, as I have always associated live music with socializing.

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Over the next few months I intend to post more about unusual and different live music venues and live music .

Is there music Business in Ecuador?

Ecuador is a 13-millon inhabitants country in South America. Its neighbouring countries are Colombia and Peru. Ecuador has four different climatic regions with a lot of different cultures. Why is this important? It is one of the reasons why there are many different kinds of music. In the last 20 years, there has been a huge increase of  musicians because there are different music schools and there is an increasing amount of places to show their talent.

Now, this rapid increase has caused some more questions to answer. Are these new musicians interested to make money out of their talent? Do they want to live from the music? Of course they do, and here we start with problems because there are so many cultural factors that people have to change. For example, there are artists that they don’t get paid. Also, there are organisations that make festivals which never take place and then artists do not get paid. How do we have Colombia so near but comparing to the music industry so far?

Mr. Architect it would be a pleasure to own a house that you designs but is it ok if I pay you the first half in 3 months? and the other half with some product like an exchange?

Sounds funny or not? This sort of deals seem unrealistic but this is happening to the musicians in every single show that they make. The music is also a product, it takes a lot of time and effort to make a show, record a disc. etc. We the musicians have to change this, we are the only ones that can teach people that we are also working and deserve to get paid in a just way. I know it is difficult but if all the artists make this, say no when we don’t get paid for our product or sign a contract, or be offered to get paid at least the 50% after a concert, and say no to that, then things are going to start changing. I thing artists can also work altogether and make their own shows or festivals to win money an also teach the inexperienced bands to think in this way. It all starts in one point and this could be one of them.

My recommendation: always sign a contract the moment that you shake hands with the organiser and write all the  clauses like how to get paid and when, all what you need to perform, transportation, etc. In Ecuador, the music Industry it is still in diapers but there are people that are trying to be smarter with musicians because they think they have the power, they own a place or organise a big event. They are nothing if we don’t perform, be smart and sign a contract with them and make this happen!!

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First Assignment in Global Music Business

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One of my first homework assignments since arriving on Berklee Campus was to create an album cover and an accompanying 10 song track list about my personal life.  This assignment was for my Entrepreneurship and Innovation course.  After changing my cover idea several times, I stuck with the decision that the above cover and track list were most suitable.

The concept behind the idea of the “Fresh Princess” had a lot to do with the 90’s sitcom “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, in which a teenager from the city of Philadelphia, in search for a better a life, leaves the “hood” and moves to the suburbs of Hollywood, California.  Similarly, I was born and raised in Philadelphia, and moved to the suburbs of Prince George’s County, Maryland after my single/ newly divorced mother got a new, higher paying, job.  Additionally, the use of a childhood photo imitated Lil Wayne’s, one of my favorite artist & music business men, Tha Carter III and Tha Carter IV.  In turn, my 3 minute presentation of this assignment was a short freestyle using the original “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”‘s anthem with a twist of my own lyrics.  My classmates helped me out with a classic drumming on the desk to the theme song’s beat.

The track list of my album are all self made up titles that describe my journey from birth in Philly, my move to Maryland, my journey through high school and college to my growth of how to love and realizing my personal dreams and goals that I will accomplish.  Of course, I had a track dedicated to one of my favorite rappers/ actors/ activist/ poet/ human artists/ fine asses of all time, Tupac Shakur, in “My Letter To Tupac”.  The final track on the album is entitled “Super Bowl Champs”.  This is a metaphorical title, describing my sight of the “end zone”, and upon accomplishing my music career goals, I will be a champion.  Coincidently, it shares my confidence in my favorite NFL Team, the Philadelphia Eagles, and their journey to Super Bowl XLIX.

Here is the link to the original “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” Theme Song if you would like to get a visual idea of the “Fresh Princess”: