10 facts about the music of the Beatles that you (maybe) did not know …

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In a Rolling Stone Article I found an interesting article naming 10 facts of Beatles recordings you might be interested in. For the first time I was impressed by an article like this:

The 49-year-old composer and sound engineer Scott Freimann has already followed the work of the Beatles at a young age and wrote a number of successful books about the band. For example, “Deconstructing Sgt Pepper”, “Looking Through A Glass Onion” from the “White Album” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” on “Revolver”.

As a sound engineer and Beatles expert, he has put together ten facts about recording techniques and musical references that you probably did not know:

1. Paul played the lead guitar on “Ticket To Ride”.

Widely recognized as a bass player, Paul McCartney played lead guitar in various pieces. As in “Ticket To Ride”, “Taxman”, “Sgt Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band” and “Good Morning Good Morning”.

2. The Kazoos in “Lovely Rita” have been recorded on pocket combs, wrapped in EMI toilet paper.

The toilet paper was “very thin,”  because EMI was really stingy. Their roady Mal Evans was sent so that he gets it.

3. The bridge in “A Day In The Life” was inspired by “Hey Joe”.

Paul McCartney was a big fan of Jimi Hendrix, directly after his arrival in the UK. Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” inspired the down-sliding bridge to “A Day in The Life”.

4. The intro to “I Feel Fine” was borrowed from Bobby Parker’s “Watch Your Step”.

John Lennon was a fan of R & B guitarist Bobby Parker of Louisiana, whose hit single “Watch Your Step”, the Beatles had played in 1961 and ’62 at concerts. The riff inspired “I Feel Fine”. Led Zeppelin used the same riff still much more apparent on ‘Moby Dick’.

5. “Her Majesty” originally appeared as a part of the “Abbey Road” medley.

When the 23-second “Her Majesty” was cut out of the medley, which was the second side of “Abbey Road”, it was packed to the end of the tape. As it later turned up there, the band decided to let it as a hidden track on the album. “The last chord is missing because it was the first of ‘Polythene Pam'” said Freimann.

6. John and George sung “Frere Jacques” on “Paperback Writer”.

You can hear parts of “Frère Jacques” in the backing vocals.

7. George played bass on “She Said She Said”.

It is a rare Beatles recording on which Paul McCartney did not play.

8. Paul played drums on “Back in the USSR”.

On “Dear Prudence” as well.

9. “Good Morning Good Morning” was inspired by a cereal advertising.

The World’s most widely known, with the exultant cock.

10. The flamenco guitar intro to “Bungalow Bill” was actually a Mellotron.

Beatles fans have long speculated about which Beatle played guitar at the beginning of “The Story Of Bungalow Bill Continuning” by Freiman however, it is merely “someone who plays a sound on the Mellotron and then triggers a loop.” A Mellotron is an electromagnetic piano, which is now named for legal reasons, Novatron.

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Is Amazon working on a Music Streaming Service?

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Amazon really seems to hit the ground running lately. First came the conjunction with Amazon Prime, a new video-on-demand service and a few days ago Amazon has announced the FireTV then, the counterpart of Apple TV. And apparently that was not all.

After Amazon released Fire TV, a streaming device for TV only a few days ago, now a contract indicates that in the next few weeks Amazon will also introduce a music streaming service similar to Spotify. While Amazon Prime customers currently can already stream movies and TV series for free , such an offer for music is still lacking at the moment.

Just like Spotify, Amazon might also offer a free  service in the streaming like the Spotify limited version and a premium subscription, which presumably would be a part of the Prime Offer. A contract between Amazon and the music label states suggests a deadline for the signature on May 1, 2014, which is a timely launch of the streaming service. Especially after the price increase Amazon Prime (of 29 € to 49 €) a music streaming service is another great incentive for customers to complete the Prime subscription. Amazon would therefore also make their own hardware (the Fire TV) even more attractive.

But even this leaked contract is real it’s no guarantee that Amazon will ever actually launch a streaming service. 

The contract, which publishers are being asked to sign by May 1, states the following:

“…If you provide a signed copy of this Agreement to us or our data manager that includes any changes, additions, or deletions (handwritten or otherwise), no such changes, additions, or deletions will have any force or effect…”

Here’s the full contract.

Jack White’s World Record

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Jack White fans should unquestionably highlight April 19th in their calendars, because on this day their idol will make them even more proud being fans. For the Record Store Day on the same day, Jack White has announced something special: the musician wants to record the title song of his new album “Lazaretto” in the studio of his label Third Man Records in Nashville and then (within 24 hours) directly press it on vinyl. Within hours, fans can then buy the record directly from the labels website, according to the website of Third Man Records.

While “Lazaretto” is pressed on vinyl, the artwork for the cover will be created at the same time.For this, photos of Jack White’s performance while recording are used and clamped in front of the medium. The finished Singles then go back to Third Man Records, where they are intended to be distributed among the people on the same day. With this feature, to manage the entire production of a single in only one day, Jack White could hit a world record. Whether he makes it or not all will be revealed in two weeks.The vinyl single will therefore be limited to a certain number of pieces: “As long as fans stand in line it will further be printed.”

White has been working on his new works for quite a while, a few days ago he announced the new album “Lazaretto” which appears in June 2014. With “Highball Stepper” White already published a first taste of the new record.

 

Japan levels down the Global Music Market

IFPI’s Digital Music Report provides a comprehensive overview of developments in the licensed online marketplace, detailing how record companies have transformed their business models for the digital age, showcasing markets around the world and explaining the industry’s efforts to tackle online piracy.

IFPI’s Digital Music Report provides a comprehensive overview of developments in the licensed online marketplace, detailing how record companies have transformed their business models for the digital age, showcasing markets around the world and explaining the industry’s efforts to tackle online piracy.

After taking a breather in 2012, the music industry this year is confronted with less encouraging figures. During the launch of “Digital Music Report” in London Last year, the Association IFPI announced that 15.1 billion dollars were generated (10.86 billion euros) worldwide. This represents a decline of 3.9 %. The main reason for this is the Japanese market. If you would you ignore the result of Japan, you would get a fairly stable balance sheet. Nevertheless, the music market would come up with a global decline of 0.1 %, says IFPI chairman Frances Moore said. In Japan, a very diverse environment, which relates to label activities and licensing, still is the main concern. Max Hole, CEO of Universal Music Group International, is convinced that the current situation of the market participants points out the need for new sales and distribution opportunities even more.

“Nevertheless we are still on the road to recovery”, said Moore. Especially the digital music market prevails reason to be content, which with a turnover of 5.9 billion U.S. dollars (plus 4.3 %) lead to 39 % of the total result. The optimism of the previous year, where the industry was able to report a growth of 16.5 billion U.S. dollars in sales, for the first time since 1999, is still present. “Most major music markets have returned to growth and Streaming and subscription models are successful “, said Moore.

Above all, the U.S. markets have stabilized and also in Europe for the first time in 13 years an increase to be announced. The Austrian native music industry association also announced a positive outlook: In Austria, the deficit in the previous year was 2 % (150 million euros turnover), but according to the President of the Association Hannes Eder, “a plus for 2014, is a realistic goal”. ifpi-graph-2013 The international association also underlined that streaming services are likely to have a significant proportion. “It is clear that music streaming and subscription services are a mainstream model for our business,” said Moore. Currently there are 28 million paying users of services worldwide using services such as as Spotify or Deezer.

In this regard, something also has to happen in Japan. The Japanese market that is responsible for almost a fifth of the global turnover, compared to the U.S. market has not yet developed so far in this regard. The digital business could recover during the year though, new offerings and market participants are still in the starting blocks.

Digital music services in the previous year have for the tenth time in a row been responsible for more sales and an increase of 4.3 %. Using Streaming and associated subscription models more than one billion U.S. dollars will be achieved, which represents an increase of 51.3 %. Despite a slight decline, according to Moore, the download area still remains the central pillar . The physical sales contributed 51.4 % of total revenues, in 2012 it was still 56.1 %.

Basically, it is important to further raise awareness of legal, digital offerings, says Moore. Because it still is the most serious threat to the music industry and piracy remains. According to a study by comScore / Nielsen, 26 % of Internet users consume music illegally. Moore stated however, that these figures relate only to desktop PCs and laptops, mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are not yet taken into account. “The more we need to counteract “.

The future of music streaming

Online streaming services just like Spotify are regarded as the best example of the future success in the music streaming market. However, recently it was shown that many users do not imply the equal success. As announced in an interview with Daniel Ek in the Wall Street Journal, Spotify for example runs millions of losses every year  – mainly because of the high license fees. Also the future of streaming services could look better. According to a research streaming services as currently structured have no hope of achieving profitability.  That is, barring a radical overhaul in the way royalties are structured, or a miraculous shift in the way music fans are monetized. “Music subscription services are all losing money, and that is going to remain the case until they find a way to monetize a worldwide user base,”  the report states.

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Spotify is seen as one of the most popular music streaming services on the Web and yet the crowd puller is not profitable for the operators. The reason for the low profits : licensing costs are too high. According to the WSJ article, the music streaming service has achieved a turnover of 252 million U.S. dollars in 2011 and doubled the following year in 2012 with 576.5 million U.S. dollars. However, although enough users have subscribed to the service and in general a high revenue is being generated, one can not achieve the intended green numbers. Just like sales, which have risen, the total loss has also increased: from 60 million to 77 million U.S. dollars.

If you believe Daniel Ek, this relatively high  loss is mainly due to the music industry, asking for an enormous amount of money. The CEO explained in the interview that since the launch seven years ago, a total of half a billion dollars has been paid to rights holders – roughly 70 percent of sales. Given this fact, it will  not only affect the service itself but the whole concept of music streaming on the internet. Because one can assume that Spotify as a leader, compared to competitors such as Pandora or Rdio , it has the largest business potential.

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If the market leader already stumbles , the whole industry is likely to stumble. How do you want to save yourself from this dilemma? Daniel Ek strives new markets in Asia to achieve higher sales, so that the 77 million decrease as soon as possible and profits instead of losses are generated. In addition, the founder hopes that the music industry lowers the royalties. Such negotiations are already underway.

Chaos and Creation @ Berklee

Week 4 in Berklee Valencia’s first record label practicum. The past weeks were in a way eyeopening but I also perceived them as being chaotic in terms of finding a name for the label and in getting to know the main idea of this practicum – experiencing the creation of a new label from scratch.  After this weeks meeting I am feeling positive towards the project again. Last week over 30 artists at Berklee sent in over 100 songs which had to be listened to. 12 artists then finally made it to the finals. Now it all lies within each artist’s interview which we will take part within the following week. Since we have listened to their music that we think will suit our purpose for our label, the most important attributes we are looking for now are “commitment and motivation”.

In the last week I felt the need of a proper team structure of all the members, since without this nobody really will feel responsible or know what he was doing. So we spontaneously called in a team meeting with all the members, which was followed by a meeting of the smaller groups. Ferran also attended this meeting, in which the main ideas again were discussed and future plans were set up. The most important outcomes were the following:

  • In this particular stage of our label the main focus now is on the A&R process and finally registering a name. The next step will also be creating an image for the label. We then insured that everybody knows that although we have people who are responsible for each department (Legal, A&R, Marketing, etc.), this only means that they are main interlocutors when we communicate outside the label. In the end all of us should be working as a team now and get things moving for the label.
  •  Second Ferran made clear that “WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS STAY IN VEGAS”. He said that “we are trying to be as much professionals as possible, so any artistic commentaries, label opinion, audios & videos recorded by ourselves, and any material that we receive as part of all the process is IN HOUSE USE ONLY please.”

That is it for this week. Next week is going to be exciting in terms of finding out who will be in the finals of being chosen for to be signed to our record label.

One Hit Wonders – How Bizarre

How Bizarre was probably the only major hit coming from New Zealand, a country with a small music scene compared to Australia, for example. Here’s the story:

OMC is short for Otara Millionaires Club and is a play on s a suburb of Auckland, in which not millionaires, but mainly poor workers live. Before founding the band the lead singer Pauly Fuemana was a gang member in Auckland, New Zealand. He received his musical training in a New Zealand juvenile prison. The band originally was formed by his brother Philip in 1993. In 1995 Philip leaves the band and Pauly Fuemana replaces him with keyboardist Alan Jansson. Pretty soon afterwards they released their debut single “We Are The OMC”,  which only had moderate success in their homeland. Still they managed to get signed with Huh ! Records with which they finally released their debut album, How Bizarre (1996 ), from which came their hit-single.

"The richest man in America said before you become successful you must always learn to fail first."

“They say before you become successful you must always learn to fail first,” Pauly Fuemana

How Bizarre written by Pauly Fuemana and Alan Jansson was their first single, produced by the latter and was released on CD and Maxi Single CD format.This song is about being the lead singer Pauly Fuemana being a gang member and juvenile in New Zealand. It reached # 1 of the New Zealand Charts in early 1996 and later became one of the few songs of this island to rank # 1 in Australia too. Eventually it became an international hit, reaching  #1 in 8 different countries including Australia, Canada, and the US. Touring alongside U2, Cheap Trick, The Cardigans, Cher, Smashing Pumpkins and the Wu-Tang clan, OMC even performed on an aircraft carrier as Bon Jovi’s support act. How Bizarre the single and album sold more than four million copies and netted $11 million in royalties. Pauly said in 2007 he received $5 million of that. He lived like a rock star driving a Hummer and gave vehicles and cash to his friends and family. But Pauly was also confronted with huge bills from overseas tours and was involved in a feud over his percentage of the royalties.In 2006, he was declared bankrupt. Liquidators said Pauly and his girlfriend’s luxurious lifestyle had not contracted when the royalties began to diminish.

Pauly died of pneumonia in 2010, aged 40, at Auckland’s North Shore Hospital. His older brother Phil and former band member died of a heart attack in 2005 at the age of 41.

One Hit Wonders – Come on Eileen

The Dexys Midnight Runners are probably one of the most underrated bands that have emerged from the confusions of (post-) punk in the early 80’s. Although half the world knows them only because of the phenomenally successful world hit “Come On Eileen”, the Dexys have always been much more than this: they were a punk band, they were a soul band, they were an Irish folk band and they with “Do not Stand Me Down” they have released a masterpiece of New Pop, which flopped so bad that, after another two unsuccessful solo albums, mastermind Kevin Rowland had to retire from the music business.This is the story of a man who had been down so long, that he did not even know what the top feels like.

The Dexys Midnight Runners, with singer Kevin Rowland and guitarist Kevin “Al” Archer as its founding members, were formed in 1978 in Birmingham, Englan. Kevin Rowland is seen as the great lost son of British pop culture. Son of Irish immigrants, he was a rough-anarchist who was arrested 13 times, stole the master tapes of his record label  as he felt cheated and wrote much-quoted lines like: “the only way to change things / is to shoot people who arrange things.” The name band originates from “Dexedrine”, a drug used by music fans known as Northern Soul , referring to the energy that the drug gives, driving to dance all night.

Photo of DEXY'S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS

The debut album “Searching For The Young Soul Rebels” was released in 1980. Among the songs was “There There My Dear” – along with the radical line in which Rowland  claimed that one could just change something in which you shoot those responsible. Kevin Rowland is still surprised today: “They probably just did not understand the lyrics, otherwise the song would never have come on the radio.” The musicians, especially those who had the wind instruments had to play as hard and loud as possible, up to the points at which their lips were bleeding – just to meet Rowlands vision: to combine the melodious passion of the soul with the raw energy of punk. With a new cast the Dexys released “Too-Rye-Ay” in 1982: The musicians wore dungarees, instead of the wind instruments played Celtic fiddles and with “Come On Eileen”, the band had a hit. On 23 April 1983 it reached number one of the U.S. charts. It reached # 1 on the charts in the UK in 1982 and in the same place in the Billboard Hot 100 the following year. Kevin Rowlan in this song tried to process the story of a girl next door – Eileen. It changed everything, as Rowland admits today, “I liked the song, but I liked all that was not what he caused.”

"I tend to be obsessed, but I try to take things easier - a bit easier"

“I tend to be obsessed, but I try to take things easier – a bit easier”

After two consecutive albums that flopped The Dexys separated in 1986. This was followed by dark years, with drugs and depression. In 1999, Rowland released an album with cover versions. He was ridiculed and pelted with bottles at a gig – not least because he was wearing on stage and the album cover women’s clothes. In 2012 the band released a new album One Day I’m Going To Soar under the name Dexys.

 

One Hit Wonders – Informer

While Hip-Hop has always has been musical heritage of African Americans artists, there are notable exceptions of whites who dare to try rapping. The following case is about a Canadian who created a fusion of Reggae and Hip-Hop, rapping with a speed that made everyone prick up their ears. It is  Snow, with his hit Informer – a title that should never miss at any good trash party.

Darrin Kenneth O’Brien was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. At age 16 he moved to Ajax, Ontario, where he grew up in a culturally diverse neighborhood. The musical environment there was heavily influenced by dancehall and reggae, which was merged to rock and pop creating a very unique style. In 1988 , the Jamaican DJ Marvin Prince saw O’Brien rapping at a party and very soon they became friends. In the next five years they played music together,rapping over the beats created by Prince on the turntables. During a trip to New York, Marvin Prince introduced him to the rapper MC Shan, who in turn invited him to meet the Canadian producers David Eng and Steve Salem. Very soon Snow signed a contract with Motorjam / Elektra Records to release his first album “12 Inches of Snow” in 1993. The same album on which the song Informer appeared, being released as a single.

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Shortly after Informer was launched, Snow was sentenced to one year in Jail for assault. While the Canadian was in jail, Informer became a hit. Informer managed to rank # 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, in the Eurochart Hot 100 and in Australia , Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand, Germany , Ireland, Norway and , of course, his native Canada. Another interesting fact is that Informer appeared in the book of Guinness World Records twice: The best-selling reggae single in the U.S. history and the top-ranked reggae single in history.The album sold over eight million copies  and the song was in the Billboard charts for seven consecutive weeks. A second single, Girl I’ve Been Hurt, reached # 19 in the Billboard Hot 100. But in 1994 , the outlooks for Snow were not very encouraging:  While being on tour, DJ Marvin Prince discovered that Snow was taking most of the royalties. Prince argued that he co-wrote five songs and also co-produced the album with Shan, Eng and Salem. The MC and producers stated that they were unaware of the association between Snow and Prince and also denied that Prince has co-produced 12 Inches of Snow and co-authored five songs . The Court dismissed the application for Prince in terms that there was no “viable claims” for a partnership with Snow .

After the successful album 12 Inches of Snow, the Canadian rapper and David Eng expanded their horizons to Asia, where they hoped to find a new music market. Snow’s second album, Murder Love , appeared in 1995 after being recorded in Jamaica, Canada and New York. Although the album featured collaborations with Buju Banton, Sly and Robbie and Ninjaman, among other legends of reggae and dancehall it was not successful in the U.S.. After this , followed the Justuss ( 1997), The Greatest Hits of Snow ( 1997) and Cooler Conditions (1999 ), which could not rank on any chart list either. Snow then launched The Mind on the Moon ( EMI , 2000) and Two Hands Clapping (Virgin, 2002 ). The latest Snow is a 2009 song , Adore You.

Besides the musicals disappointments of the later years, Snow suffered personal loss: Tamei Edberg, his wife was diagnosed with cancer and died on November 27, 2009. Months later, Snow organized a charity event called Closure For Cancer. In addition, the Canadian opened an NGO called Pure Snow which assists “tenants living in non-profit housing”. Overall Snow in his native Canada  is seen as a symbol of ethnic identity of their country, because he does not hide his race or nationality when it comes to making music – especially dancehall reggae. The last media attention Snow received was because of the fact that NSA leaker Edward Snowden and ’90s one-hit wonder look very alike. Also that Snow’s song was called informer and Snowden is an informant.

One Hit Wonders – You Get What You Give

Stardom is a double-edged sword, especially when one seeks to unmask it, showing its emptiness. You can complain about fame, but by the time it gets to you, you’ll encounter a contradictory place. Being in this situation, there are only two ways of dealing with it: either you choose to accept that you are now on the side at which the darts are being shot at, or you decide that it is just not your thing. The latter illustrates the life of Gregg Alexander, former leader of the band New Radicals.

The New Radicals was a band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1997 primarily focused on its front man, vocalist, songwriter and producer Gregg Alexander. The talented multi-instrumentalist from Michigan who at age 20 had already recorded two solo albums, was the only steady member of the band. Being exposed to the music business from this young age, Gregg Alexander was soon very aware both sides of stardom: the glamorous side and the miseries it brings with it.

"Fashion shoots with Beck and Hanson  Courtney Love, and Marilyn Manson  You're all fakes Run to your mansions  Come around, we'll kick your ass in!"

“Fashion shoots with Beck and Hanson – Courtney Love, and Marilyn Manson
You’re all fakes – Run to your mansions – Come around, we’ll kick your ass in!”

In 1998 the vice president of MCA Records, Michael Rosenblatt, approached the New Radicals and offered them a record deal including $600,000 to record their first (and only) album “Maybe You’ve been Brainwashed Too”. The first single from the album was also their biggest hit, “You Get What You Give”. It reached  #30 on Billboard Hot 100 Airplay in January 1999, #36 on the overall Hot 100 and #8 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart. It reached #5 in the United Kingdom and #1 in Canada and New Zealand. Overall it has been played over one million times on U.S. radio. But with the hit single Gregg Alexander also caused a lot of stir within the media for his criticism of the entertainment world, complaining about Beck, Marilyn Manson and Courtney Love. According to Alexander, the main purpose of this criticism was to test the media attention. As one response Marilyn Manson said “I do not dislike to kick my ass, but I will be used in the same sentence as Courtney Love … If I see him ( Alexander ) will break your skull … “. Also several U.S. institutions (i.e. the Health System, the Food & Drug Association and the media establishing paranoia for Y2K), were harshly criticized in his lyrics, but in the end nobody really noticed. But ignoring the social criticism, it’s just about the happiest, most infectious song you can ever imagine.

Gregg quickly found out that he was no becoming part of the business he was criticizing and did not feel comfortable being part of it anymore. After being forced by his label to record a second video clip to promote the album, he gave an interview stating that the group would cease to exist, also claiming to have reached his goals and that the dynamics of shows and promotional tours were nothing for him. “The fatigue of traveling and getting three hours sleep in a different hotel every night to do boring ‘hanging and schmoozing’ with radio and retail people is definitely not for me,” he once said.

" I lost interest in fronting a ‘One Hit Wonder’ to the point that I was wearing a hat while performing so that people wouldn’t see my lack of enthusiasm."

” I’ve lost interest in fronting a ‘One Hit Wonder’ to the point that I was wearing a hat while performing so that people wouldn’t see my lack of enthusiasm.”

Ever since, Alexander retired from the active music business and up until today has been working as a producer and songwriter for other artists ranging from Sophie Ellis Bextor (“Murder on the Dance-floor”) to Ronan Keating (“Love is a Roller coaster”) and from Rivers Cuomo (Weezer) to Enrique Iglesias – all under the pseudonym “Alex Ander”. His biggest success as a producer was in 2003, when a song he wrote for Michelle Branch featuring in Carlos Santana’s album (Shaman – “The Game of Love”) , earned him a Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration. Today it is almost impossible to find our  regarding what he is up to, either as a producer as an artist. Well, I think he had his one hit. He had his platinum record. He had the riches, the fame and the success. And then, as soon as he achieved all those things, he walked away from it, dropping his microphone in an act of either rebelliousness, intelligence, anxiety or some combination of all three. He figured he was destined for one-hit-wonders, anyway, so he quit while he was ahead, driving home with an extra hundred bucks in his pocket, rather than putting it all on red for one more spin aimed at landing him thousands.