Pharrell, Dre and Beats vs Hov, Bey and Tidal

This is getting dumb real quick. Pharrell is "among the artists in talks to be involved with the forthcoming relaunch of Beats Music -- expected in June, according to sources who spoke to Billboard last week "(Billboard) . He was not a part of the list of megastars associated with the rerelease of Tidal. These exclusive deals and divisions highlight the problem with music being licensed to specific products and services. 

On April 4th, Beyonce released a new song called "Die With You" exclusively on Tidal yet, it seemed to come with out the accompanying social media clamor and didn't blow up my radar like most things Beyonce releases. Plus, within moments of it's release, the track was available on YouTube.

These competing services could require listeners to pay Apple to listen to Pharrell and Dr Dre's music while subscribing to a completely different service in order to listen to other artists (or resort to illegal streams or downloads).

This situation is a set major set back. Of course artists should get paid to the max, but there are two parties at the negotiating table and you can bet the Major 4 labels: Universal, Sony, EMI, Warner aren't showing up hat-in-hand asking the almighty Streaming Gods to "please sir, please stream our poor artists' music, you can pay us pittance!" <- not happening. If these services further divide music into something resembling leagues or networks, it will bring us to a worse situation than where we were post-Napster.



Behold The Half-Assed Hubris of Tidal - STEREOGUM 
Rock it Out Blog: Tidal Not For All- A Panel Discussion - CONSEQUENCE OF SOUND 

San Antonio's Many Music Scenes


a long time ago I had a conversation with a friend who doesn’t come from the music world and I was describing our strategy for growing my band’s audience. Half way through she took pause and said something to the effect of, “I don’t like the idea of a band wanting only certain people to listen to your music. Shouldn’t it be for everyone.” That is certainly the idea, imo, for most bands: get the entire planet listening to your jams. At the time I felt, “I would rather have a small venue packed to max with die hard, educated music fans & critics, than a stadium full of dude-bros and screaming girls”.  

Why would a rapper go to a country & western bar to perform? Does that make sense? It would most certainly be interesting and one might walk away with a few solid fans, but as a rule: no. Targeting ones music to specific people is a default strategy, if your band has a banjo, you might not be performing at Tryst in Las Vegas. What about San Antonio? Are there different musical inclinations in different neighborhoods? Yes. San Antonio is one of the most income-segregated cities in the country, is in south TX, has a history of redlining, etc etc. Music preference as it relates to class is not causal but a correlative relation. You’re background doesn’t 100% dictate what you music you listen to but it has significant influence.

Having been back in San Antonio for almost 2 solid years now (lived in Austin for 10), I’ve noticed the many concentric circles of music participation in SA. EDM DJs and house DJs mix like water and oil, similar to punk and metal. Metal has a home but has become incredibly niche having escaped into the darkness somewhere. Parts of town remain isolated and are about an hours drive round trip to music events. The venues scattered outside of 410, exist in islands of nightlife, there is not much else happening around these locations. Promoters and organizers don’t only compete, they’ve black listed each other. (queue Rodney King). They have separate events, with more or less the same musicians, but often in different venues and are loyal to certain locations. In music, you don’t have just one function, you do it all. And you do it all, because there’s no money it. The competition is real.

The large scale venues/promoters/ talent buyers don’t get involved with the entry-level-daily-grind musician in any appreciable way here in San Antonio. They should. That’s how growth and innovation will take place in the San Antonio’s music and entertainment industry. The money and access should mix with hard work and need. Necessity is the mother of all invention, and those at the top don’t need anything.

The separated groups/sections interact with customers in their own way, resulting in the listeners and the audiences being separated as well. The separation is perhaps a result of geography (EDM & rock listeners in the north, house and indie downtown. Spanish language and hiphop urrvrywhere else), or a result of how the music groups/sections operate. (Remember when LiveIn210 would book at Josabi’s. What if Interpol and Lauren Hill came downtown? You could ride your bike over to catch some craft beer and a DJ.)

The groups/sections are concentric with occasional overlap, but these loyalties, grudges, competitions, & perceptions of inferiority need to change. San Antonio’s music scenes could unify into a more cohesive experience. An experience that’s a part of the new San Antonio. 

The music world is full of working class struggle and full of authentic, unique creativity. If the big shots could commit to incentivizing our music businesses in a way that isn’t some tepid gesture of charity, seed monies could work to fulfill the necessity only us grinders feel. There isn’t just real money to be made, there’s a facet our city’s cultural identity to be defined. 

Does the Music Industry Need a Title IX?

This morning a Coachella 2015 poster with only the names of females performers & bands with woman leads made the rounds in the social media world. Initial reactions of disbelief were standard, as well as armchair analyses defending the male-dominated lineup. While it’s not a whole reflection of all the women involved in the festival, claiming there are simply more male-fronted bands is inaccurate at best. Women in STEM, the gaming industry or even in starring roles in Hollywood indicates many cultural and policy shortcomings in the US. 

The music industry needs it’s own version of Title IX. This past October, The Fader magazine did a piece where they talked to 13 female producers, asking why they think there are so few female producers and engineers, 3 months later we get this Coachella lineup, with over 150 bands, a mere 26 (less than 17%) are led by or have female singers. Thinking women want to be singers or performers at half the rate men do, is ludicrous and thinking: “it’s a male dominated industry, that’s the way it is. therefore, it’s ok.” is absolute bullshit. No one should be accepting of nepotistic practices that keep half of America at arms length from achieving their greatest potential.    

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Festivals are America’s stages. There needs to be more gender & race representation across the nation’s stages, inside our studios and at the tops of music companies. Solutions to get more women in STEM, may also lead to getting more women in the music industry. Also, funding for the arts in general will help guide & influence our future in many ways.

Here are 50 women-led acts that are not performing at Coachella 2015:

Time To Start Buying Albums Again

Here’s a depressing chart that explains why people need to start buying albums again. 

The question I have for industry professionals is: why is it that I spend $9 a month on Netflix and $9 a month on Spotify, yet the music industry content suppliers are not getting a fair cut? Seems for every 1 hour of music created vs 1 hour of movie created, there’s more hands on deck on the movie side, yet for the same amount of monthly charge and same amount of content consumed, musicians get screwed? makes no sense. 

Stop Calling San Antonio a Rock Town

Stop Calling San Antonio a “Rock Town”or metal-town or whatever it is… 

We have to stop calling San Antonio “the 7th largest city” in America. It’s an embarrassing asterisk of a stat. Another common label citizens like to identify with is being a home town for rock & metal tunes. It is at least as inaccurate as the 7th largest city label and here’s why:

 San Antonio’s young population doesn’t listen to the radio and they don’t listen to stadium rock acts. San Antonio is largely Hispanic and if people got out of their safety bubble once or twice in the last 10 years, they would see that brown folks don’t solely listen to Spanish language music, if at all. Most 3rd (and even 2nd) generation Hispanics barely speak Spanish, not mention listen to Spanish language music. SA’s Hispanic population identifies and listens to hip-hop more than any other genre of music. (I’d love for you to find data on this). While cumbia and salsa can be found all over the city, it is not what people listen to in their cars, at home or in their earbuds. It’s mostly pop & hip-hop groups with a little bit of Coachella bands sprinkled in, or it’s all:

Electronic dance, trap, dubstep, and all the other subgenres of the current massive-not-so-underground-anymore rave festival things, are king. Just like the way Rock was king back in the day when people bought CDs, listened to the radio and watched MTV (no one does that anymore), people today listen to Calvin Harris while at CrossFit and then go home and make a YouTube playlist.

(this is in Lubbock TX for EDM- meanwhile a band that 99.5 KISS plays couldn’t fill 210Kapones on a Friday night)&nbsp;

(this is in Lubbock TX for EDM- meanwhile a band that 99.5 KISS plays couldn’t fill 210Kapones on a Friday night) 

EDM makes more money than rock music does. The highest paid performers in the world are largely pop, hip-hop and DJs acts. There exist high paid rock acts like Bon Jovi and The Eagles, but that’s only because our parents are still alive and shell out ridiculous amounts of money to go to an arena to spend even more money. A large number of bands that soared in popularity in the 90s, they barely sell out 1000 capacity clubs anymore.  99.5 KISS will air bands that can’t fill 210Kapones, but Skrillex and Flying Lotus continue to flourish without a home on the air.

In the WW2 era, big band and jazz were king, but a mere 20 years later, rock & roll became the standard. The jazz greats were pushed to the sidelines of popular culture. Today, this is not the case. Today’s greats are not fulfilling their potential because older generations cater to their peer group. Back when rock was king, it was mostly male performers. This phallocentric, narrow genre of deep voiced dudes with pretty hair-is a thing of the past. #sorrynotsorry. stop calling SA a rock town. That was then. This is now. It’s our time. Our time down here. but its all over once we ride up Troy’s bucket.