Secondary Ticketing Needs to Change

As an advocate of the future of Live Music as both a consumer and provider I would like to express my frustration in secondary ticketing. In May of 2014 I remember sitting down at my computer to purchase a ticket to my favorite band, Zac Brown Band at Fenway Park. It was an hour after the tickets went on sale that I went to select “purchase” but soon realized I was an hour too late. 70,000 tickets had been sold within thirty minutes. A ticket that went from a reasonable price of $60 with a decent view, quickly jumped to $170.

The secondary ticket market in 2012 was about a $3 billion to $5 billion business, growing at a rate somewhere between 12 percent and 24 percent. As of 2013, only a few states prohibited reselling tickets or made it unreasonable to do so. The practice is prohibited in Kentucky and Michigan, although Kentucky doesn’t establish any penalties for a violation. Massachusetts limits the markup to $2 but allows a broker to add a service charge to recoup the expense of buying the ticket. Rhode Island and North Carolina both limit the amount charged above face value to $3. New Jersey has a more generous policy that enables brokers to charge up to 150 percent of the ticket’s face value. In Hawaii, Indiana, and Maryland it is currently illegal to resell a ticket for a boxing match at more than its face value (according to the Maryland Code, this law only applies if you are an event “promoter”). Indiana also prohibits the resale of tickets to any sparring or other unarmed combat match for more than face value, while Maryland limits it to boxing, wrestling, and kickboxing. Although, selling a ticket for any other type of event is legal in those three states.

Radiohead have announced a partnership with ethical ticketing company Ticket Trust. The issue of secondary ticketing has become a hot topic, with noise being heard far and near, a number of bands have stepped into the fray. Radiohead’s management issued a statement blasting the practice of secondary ticketing. “Secondary ticketing is wrong on so many levels… the band’s enjoyment of their own shows has been marred by the knowledge that a great many of their fans have been obliged to pay well over face value for their tickets”.

With new ethical ticketing companies such as Ticket Trust there is no reason why artist shouldn’t be protecting themselves. If there is money to be had, then the artist is deserving of it. And as an artist supported by fans of all different economic standing,  one would hope to be represented as an artist that doesn’t rip off their fans. Music is to be enjoyed and accessible to all, not survival of the fittest or… the richest.

R&B is King

I think growing up I had a major misconception of what R&B meant. At times, I thought it was only Luther Vandross and Quincy Jones slow jams. Then, I heard Prince for the and my perspective on the genre shifted, accordingly. Yet, all the while, my ignorance still brought me to the conclusion that it was a stlye of music which had a devoted following, which solely existed on a niche station somewhere in the XM/Satellite radio-sphere.

Maybe it was D’angelo that finally made realize I had been sorely mistaken. Then came Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Maxwell, and the rest of the neo-soul pantheon, who each left an indelible mark on my heart in the shape of behind-the-beat rhythm sections and make-you-swoon vocals. Whatever it was I was hooked.

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Around that time, an album that sort of fell into the genre, but also had elements of hip hop and electronic and everything else music has ever known, fell into my lap. It was Frank Ocean’s, Channel Orange. I’m not sure this was the advent of the elctronic-infused R&B that dominates radio stations and soundcloud homepages, alike. But it was the freshest (both badass and refreshing) style of music I had heard in years. I was not the only one who had this opinion. The album was ranked number one of the year by numerous critics, won a grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album, and went gold in numerous markets around the world.

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Whether or not Channel Orange catalyzed the most fashionable trend in music today is a subjective debate, but it is undeniable that since 2012 R&B has become the hottest genre around. The past year has been no exception. A review of iHeartRadio’s monthly playlists revealed that the genre was the most popular of 2015, followed by Pop, Rap, Country, and Latin.

As a lover of the genre, my motherly instinct leads me to believe this overwhelming success, a testament to the artistry of R&B, might actually serve to hamper its progress. Not that success is an inherently  bad thing in music, but I feel that in many cases it leads to a diluting of originality–a siphoning out of the elements that made an artists who they were. Since achieving worldwide fame, contemporary R&B superstars such as The Weeknd, Miguel, and, of course, Franck Ocean have put out music that I listen to regularly and really respect. As long as these aforementioned stylistic tastemakers do not succumb to the pressures of stardom, the genre will continue to push musical boundaries for years to come.

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Source: http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/hip-hop/6777117/rb-iheartradio-top-ranking-genre-2015

 

Life with a Sound Track

Imagine if your everyday life had a soundtrack. The places you visited from Paris to Hollywood, the same everyday route you took to school or work, the local park down the street or even the closest beach you jog in the morning had a specific soundtrack associated to that location.

Musicians and music lovers alike have had a form of doing this for years through playlist. A group of college students going on a road trip might construct a playlist, or a compilation album that would then become the sounds of a memory forever associating to that road trip. A sixteen year old girl going through a break-up might decide to create a playlist of heartbreaking pop hits.

Adding location awareness to music apps is fast becoming a major mobile trend, as is evident by a rash of new mobile music apps hitting app stores of late. Use of location technology is taking many forms. Many, if not most, are designed to let users tag a location with a song. The result can be a localized, crowdsourced playlist, add context to the discovery of a new song or even be used as a way to find concerts and live shows. Other apps flip it around a bit by letting users in the same area determine what the venue should play. Think about the data local businesses could collect.

For those Spotify Premium listeners, Spotfiy early this year created a new feature for their mobile device app that has tempo detection to the rhythm of your Stride. Here is how it works: Pick from a playlist, such as “Recommended For You,” “Pop Hits,” or “Electronic Moves,” and you’ll hear a woman’s voice say, “Start running to detect tempo.” Your stride shows up as pulses on the green circle until she says that she knows your stride. It takes a few seconds—about ten paces. Then you’ll get a track with matching beats per minute. Genius.

Imagine if these two amazing app features together in one. As a provider of music and sound catalogs such as Spotify, this would open up a whole new world of revenue for musicians. This would create jobs for composers, DJs, playlist makers from all over the world giving them the opportunity to compose and invent infinite sounds/compositions for streaming services. This could re-inspire the consumers value of music and appreciation for it; along with allowing non musicians to compose and create the film score of their own life using the catalog provided by the service.

YOUTUBE RED TO PLAY ITS ROLE IN THE INDUSTRY

With the provision of videos and also a source of new music discovery to numerous people around the world, YouTube has proved to be one of the successful online sources to provide entertainment to audience. YouTube has built its viewership on the basis of free, ad-supported videos and a growing roster of digital stars. Viewers want more choice when watching their favorite content, more ways to support their favorite creators and, above all, to watch their favorite videos uninterrupted.

A solution to this is the start of You Tube Red, which plays an important role in engaging users with content being provided and it will also bring in returns for the content that has already been created. This feature was launched on October 28,2015 with the motive of providing users with an ultimate YouTube experience. The advantages of this service is that it lets users enjoy videos across all of YouTube without ads, while also letting you save videos to watch offline on your phone or tablet and play videos in the background, all for $9.99 a month. The membership is valid across different devices and whenever you log into YouTube. It is also said that YouTube Red will get better with member only access to new and original content from other YouTube users. With YouTube Red, you’ll be able to support the people who make your favorite videos while watching what you want, when you want, on any device you want, uninterrupted. This is currently available in the U.S for free with a one-month trial. It will come to other countries very soon.

A YouTube Music app will be launched soon which will gather official and fan uploaded music videos available to view at one place. This will also be an advantage for Red users to view them without any advertisements. However, some videos will be taken away from the free service if the content creators do not agree to license them. In my view, this seems to be a good service in providing ad free content to viewers. It will rope in a lot of customers when it starts in other countries.

Adele, a silence well-orchestrated

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One week ago, nobody would have expected to get so much news and content from Adele, the world critically-acclaimed pop-star. On October 21st, she published a letter on Facebook in which she explains the creative process of the album “25” and apologizes for the long silence because “you know, life happened”. One day after, she reveals the release date of the new album which is basically one month after. On the same day, the new single and video “Hello” is released. That’s a brilliant commercial coup from Adele that makes all the internet crazy and enthusiastic about hearing the singer in a new production.

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The strategy of the management and label was pretty clear : Get the most out of the last album (which is full of hits and sold 11,2 millions copies in the US) by making it highly profitable for a long period of time (4 years till now). Creating silence and mystery really worked well, Adele announcement came like a bomb! I personally don’t think the reasons of that absence were so “philosophical” as described in the letter, it’s a mix between the time needed for the new album production including the songwriting (and I even wonder if most of the songs were already written way before) and marketing strategies. This is not a coincidence if the release date is just before Christmas, that’s a holy period for the music business. Imagine how much albums of Adele will be wrapped under the tree : “How thank you, that’s exactly the CD I wanted, Adele is amazing, …”

It’s also important to mention that Adele worked a lot on her image by loosing a lot of weight for example. She needed time to fully perform that new strategy and now she gets the benefits of that effort even though I’m sure she would have sold a lot even without working on that aspect. Her voice is far beyond any superficial judgments.

The recent numbers of sales and streams are unbelievable : more than 70 millions views on Youtube 4 days after the release of the video. According to Billboard, Adele would have sold already 450,000 single digital songs in US.

The radio critics are ultra-positive about the new song. For example, Mike Mullaney, WBMX Boston assistant pd/md says :“The amount of passion for this artist and this song is truly incredible. Just look at social media, people’s reaction to the song and support for her as an artist. She is just dominating Facebook and Twitter”. Sharon Dastur, iHeartMedia senior VP programming integration adds : “It’s incredible. With an artist like Adele, expectations are already set so high, and she’s far exceeded those expectations. She draws you in with her compelling storytelling and really has a voice like no other. I can’t tell you how excited I am for this project.”

We can be almost sure that the new album will break records and go beyond the sales of “21”. Adele has everything to be highly competitive : Powerful songs, powerful voice, high effective image, a big database of fans, a wide social media presence… Everything is ready to make the new album of Adele a unique success in the music industry history.

Yeezy Season 2 proves to be anything but Neutral

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Vanity Fair / Karla Otto

The synergies formed when music and fashion intersect are influencing a new form of creation and consumption. While mixing fashion and music is not a new idea, many well known artists and brands (i.e. Puma x Solange, Rihanna x Dior, etc.) have started to capitalize on creating unique experiences that bridge the two worlds together, including potential candidate for the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Kanye West.

His latest project Yeezy Season 2, which he presented last week at New York Fashion Week (NYFW), was anything but neutral.  A great example of how the music industry is disrupting the fashion world, Yeezy Season 2 was inspired by North West’s Play Doh creations and featured a breath of neutral monochromatic looks, urban silhouettes and many shades of human.

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Vanity Fair / Karla Otto

…there’s something about the way clothes fit and feel and the emotion that they give you and the details of them that I’ve been passionate about and addicted to since I was five years old.

The central “human” theme of the line, as identified by Kanye in an interview with Vanity Fair, was bought to life not only in the clothes and new song “Fade” dropped during the presentation, but also in the way the show was shared with the world. Streamed in over 40 theaters across the world, Mr. West created a unique experience that has solidified him as a force to be reckoned with in both the fashion and music industries.

While it has taken a few tries for Kanye to get this right, we can definitely learn a lot from his goal of penetrating the fashion world and diversifying his talents as an artist. We can also expect exciting things from him in the future, starting with his mission of transforming sportswear through the influence of music.

Sportswear is less than 100 years old, so we are in the middle of the expression right now for what this will say for human existence. There’s something that the Romans, they presented, that the Egyptians, they presented. With us, we have a time now that’s a mix between music, the advent of rock ’n’ roll to hip-hop, the 808 drum machine, the concept of tennis shoes or the sweatshirt. Where can that go?

Also, check out this brief clip from the presentation:

The British Invasion Continues: Jacob Collier

For years, British artists have been invading and inspiring American music.  It all started with the Beatles in the 60s.  From Adele, to Jessie J, to superstar Sam Smith, British musicians have proven time and time again that we Americans love their music like none other.  In comes Jacob Collier, a prodigal multi-instrumentalist whose Youtube videos are absolutely mind-blowing.

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Jacob Collier

 

At only 20 years old, Jacob sings, plays piano, bass guitar, various synthesizers, electric guitar, drumset, and many many others with a musical maturity well beyond his years.  Taking heavy influences from jazz, as well as blues, funk, gospel, classical, and even hip hop, Jacob’s performance is definitely a very unique, and extremely listenable sound that he can call his own.  He’s gotten the support of huge faces in the industry such as Quincy Jones, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock, just to name a few.

 

Here are a few of videos.  Hopefully you groove and “stank face” as much as I do.

 

A Pink Felt Tipped Pen

Brushing the dust off of the covers of that stack of Rolling Stones taking up space on your kitchen table, one falls to the floor and you pick it up. On the cover is some hi-res, glossy photo of some current musician, or, as the magazine has evolved, some other pop culture icon of the moment. They stare back at you, as bold-print typeface shouts article headlines at you. As interesting as they seem, you flip through and discover most, if not all, of them are written by men. Lester Bangs stands out as one of the most iconic rock critics of all time, spending his short-lived (figuratively and literally) career at

Lester Bangs stands out as one of the most iconic rock critics of all time, spending his short-lived (figuratively and literally) career at Rolling Stone crushing hearts of spiky-collared punks across the globe. Bob Boilen’s claim to fame is NPR’s music branch, particularly those Tiny Desk Concerts you can’t seem to stop watching on YouTube. You’ve probably heard Ryan Schreiber’s name thrown around– he’s the guy that made Pitchfork a thing to love/hate. The list goes on…

And sure, there’s Lisa Robinson as womankind’s claim to fame in the realm of music journalism, but aside from here, there’s not nearly as extensive of a list. While there are plenty of multi-talented female music critics out there writing for all of the publications and more that exist, the issue lies in that we don’t know their names.

And so, as an aspiring music journalist myself, I find that earth-shattering.

Of course, the writers that exist today are well worth their positions, male or female. We simply need some fresher faces for the latter. If women are to make any strides in the music industry, it all comes down to exposure. Musicians have to get discovered, executives have to pull out their claws- and the writers have to document it all. Talent lies within every facet of the music industry, but if none of the goings ons are being publicized, then are we truly making any new strides?

Women have to pick up their pink felt tipped pens, cross their Ts, and dot their Is in order to further break barriers in the music industry. Okay, they don’t have to be pink. Whatever their favorite color is. But I’m making it my personal duty to ensure there’s always a feminine perspective to be given. After all, without women, half of rock and roll’s greatest songs wouldn’t exist to be critiqued.

Until next time, always be yourself. Unless you can be Beyonce. Always be Beyonce. 1419269050tumblr_navcrsaZSl1s6nynxo1_500

Madonna & Child

In case you haven’t checked any of your social media accounts recently, this happened:

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Don’t worry, Drake feels the same way you probably do- highly uncomfortable. The unwarranted kiss happened during a performance of her new song at Coachella this past weekend. Of course, we’re used to Madonna being overly sensational…

…with her getting vocal on Instagram…

…her “British accent”…

…and her no-holds-barred attitude…

…so we really shouldn’t be all surprised that she did something like making out with Drake on stage at Coachella without his permission. And yet, while I’m not necessarily surprised, this is certainly unsettling. Not that some of her previous antics weren’t- but even glancing back at the Instagram post, it not only contradicts much of what she’s stood for in the past, it also totally demolishes any path for women’s rights she’s begun to pave.

Yeah, I said that. Putting out songs in support of teen pregnancy and confidently strutting around in her iconic cone-cupped lingerie sets onstage, there shouldn’t be a doubt in your mind that Madonna is proud to be a woman, and embraces it any way she can- even if that means her own…Madonna-y way. But this smooch with Mr. Degrassi turns the tables. In an age where consent means everything, Madonna completely demolished any progress that’s been made.

And shame on her for that! Whether or not Drake ended up being okay with it in the end has nothing to do with the fact that she shouldn’t have done it in the first place. His reaction makes it clear that he had neither an idea nor intention to engage in a kiss with her- and yet she seized her moment, on stage in front of thousands of Californian music lovers, and did something “so Madonna!”

Her antics in the past may have been entertaining, in their own way. Perhaps even admirable, for the courage it must have taken her to do something so publicly. But this matter comes down to consent.

And, in a world where it’s usually the other way around- men violating the consent of women- this action is also perplexing. Though I’m wording that a bit extremely, and the meat of that topic is for another blog, another time, violating consent can be something as little as hugging someone who never asked for it and doesn’t want it. Which just so happens to be all too common of an occurrence in the star-studded world: Men grabbing female companions for a glamour shot, sneaking kisses on their cheeks at award shows, anything they can. So why would Madonna turn around and do something she’s been seemingly fighting against with everything else she’s been doing?

Perhaps in her eyes, she sees this as a power move. Perhaps she sees it as absolutely nothing. We can’t know for sure until someone asks her. Just don’t tell Britney. She might get jealous.

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Shoutout to Andrew for contributing the idea for this post.

 

 

 

Prince Royce The Next Latin Crossover King?

We all know the main Latin king and Queen of crossing over to the English pop world and that is Pitbull and Shakira. Now, Prince Royce says he is ready for change and wants to be Latin’s next crossover king. The Bronx/Dominican star Prince Royce known as making his bachata tunes, Darte Un Beso and his rendition of B.B. kings Stand by Me is ready to change his voice (literally) and is officially up for the challenge. Meeting his vocal coach Mauli B. who has worked with Katy perry and Boyz II Men tells Royce to change every syllable with “nay” on his new single with Snoop Dogg, “Stuck on a Feeling.” Coach says, “and put your finger right here,” while Royce presses the tip of his nose.

Royce Rojas first language is English but is famous among spanish people and has four No. 1s on Billboard’s latin songs chart as well as being voted among the most beautiful by People in spanish. He has done all this and more, by singing bachata which is a Dominican folk style filled with acoustic guitars and lots of romance. This April coming up he will be releasing his first English language Pop album with his new label home RCA. He has confirmed to be involved with Chris Brown and Magic singer Nasri and al though a risky move that could upset loyal falls and fail to capture pop lovers, its one he is willing to take. “What i put out in English, that’s who most people are going to think I am – that’s why I’m being so careful,” said in a recent Billboard interview. “I love hip-hop, R&B, techno and Latin,” Which is what Prince Royce grew up listening to and what the album has an overall combination of.

People didn’t always agree with him starting off with Bachata as people warned him that singing pop and doing English joints was the way to go, but he didn’t listen and that was the best thing he could have done. He was first signed to Indie Imprint Top Stop by the Salsa legend Sergio George, who co- produced his first self titled album in 2010. His cover “Stand by Me,” racked up more than 70 million youtube plays and 471 million clicks for his single “Darte un Beso.” He knows crossing over wont be easy, and although artists like Ricky Martin have had a smooth transition going from Spanish pop to English pop, for Royce it’s a different rhythm and a different language which makes it twice the challenge for him.

RCA president Tom Corson knows the risk but he says, “You have to bring them along with you in that journey. Some artists can do it, some can’t – We’re convinced he can.” As far as I see it, he’s doing great so far as his new single “Stuck on a Feeling” is #17 on mainstream Top 40 chart. As a latin woman I am excited to see him on the rise as he begins his journey as an international global star and can’t wait to see what else he does in the near future!

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Check out his latest single here