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Author: "Scott Janovitz"

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Streaming Services And The Future Of Music(ians)

david byrneA few weeks ago, artist David Byrne published on his website an essay entitled “How Will the Wolf Survive: Can Musicians Make a Living in the Streaming Era.” In it, he relays his view that, unless changes are adopted in the way musicians earn from streaming music, musicians will wither and their heretofore steady stream of art will dry up. Streaming services, he says, impart legitimacy to the act of consuming music without paying for it.

This reinforces the idea that music is something you can (and should) get for free, even if now it’s “legal.” For consumers this is a pretty amazing deal—it’s like Napster, but legal! The government tends to view things that way too—what’s good for the consumer is theoretically encouraged and supported. Sadly, consumers and businesses that cater to their demands don’t often take the long view; they’ve been known to overfish huge swaths of the oceans, spill oil over and over, chop down all the trees in a forest and then wonder why the topsoil that would support reforesting has washed away. So, I wonder similarly if streaming-on-demand might be similarly a business model that will deplete the resource—we who create music—that it depends upon. Many industries have depleted the resources they depend on, it’s not like it hasn’t happened before.

Byrne goes on with a point-by-point discussion of the common responses to this troubling vision, and suggests four things that could drastically improve – or at least illuminate – the challenges he sees. He calls for a better split of the monies paid out from the streaming services, a chance to opt-out, transparency in accounting, and an end to “free” streaming services. It is worth reading in full, and note the ways in which he defines the services he’s critiquing, specifically excluding non on-demand options like Pandora.

Billy Bragg responded to Byrne’s view in a speech given at an event sponsored by Music Tank (which he subsequently adapted for his own Facebook page). Bragg mostly agrees with Byrne’s perspective, making some distinctions that are experiential, and some that are simply uncertainties, but then disagrees with one key element of Byrne’s four suggestions:
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ACϟDC’s Malcolm Young Reportedly Suffers Stroke, Band May Retire

acdcRumors have been circulating that rock legends ACϟDC may be retiring after an incredible 40-year career due to the deteriorating health of guitarist, singer, and songwriter Malcolm Young. At first it was reported that Young, whose brother Angus is the lead guitarist and more public face of the band, was stricken with terminal cancer, but word is now that he actually suffered a stroke, which has left a blod clot in his brain. Note that this is all unconfirmed. The effects of a stroke can vary wildly from patient to patient and Young could certainly have a near-full recovery, but even in that case, it seems unlikely that he would continue the rigorous schedule of a touring rock band. A press conference is expected tomorrow.

What can be said about ACϟDC? They have been the world’s premier hard rock band for my entire life. Just when I was ready to write them off, I happened to catch them a couple of years ago and was absolutely blown away by their performance. They survived the death of their iconic lead singer, Bon Scott, only to come back with the landmark Back In Black record, continuing their career with a string of hits and an incredibly loyal fan base that renewed itself each year. We wish them the best. (h/t The Orstrahyun)

One of the best Malcolm vocals:

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Memorializing David Lamb Of Brown Bird

brownbird_wide-47c9642c986e4b1547dee56f8784369be8809108-s6-c30Last week, the world lost Dave Lamb of the acclaimed folk duo Brown Bird. In the days since, many friends and fans mourning this loss have looked for a way to show their love for the man and his music, or to pay tribute, and two such avenues have opened up.

The first is the most time-sensitive. The artist studio / house where Brown Bird lived and worked, and where artists of all stripes have found a home, is in foreclosure. They are currently running a campaign to raise funds to save the place, with some spectacularly original and appealing rewards for donations. Obviously, this would be a great way to honor Lamb’s life’s work. Click here for the campaign page where you can view the rewards.

Another route, and one that will continue to help others, is to make a donation in Lamb’s memory to Dana Farber Cancer Institute, where he received a bone marrow transplant. Click here to read more.

Nirvana Celebrates HoF Induction With Surprise Club Performance

nirvanaThe remaining members of Nirvana bolted the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction as soon as it ended, heading over to Brooklyn’s Saint Vitus to play a 16-song set. Standing in for departed frontman Kurt Cobain was a cavalcade of friends and fans, including Joan Jett, St. Vincent, and Kim Gordon, all of whom performed with the band at the ceremony, plus Dinosaur Jr.‘s J Mascis and Deer Tick‘s John McCauley.

Below is the set list and a couple of clips from the 230-person audience. (And a bonus video at the bottom for old time’s sake, of Kim Gordon applying makeup to Dave Grohl while Krist Novoselic decorates Cobain’s medical coat before a performance, from the great film 1991: The Year That Punk Broke).

Setlist:
Smells Like Teen Spirit (with Joan Jett)
Breed (with Joan Jett)
In Bloom (with Joan Jett)
Territorial Pissings (with Joan Jett)
Drain You (with J. Mascis)
Penny Royal Tea (with J. Mascis)
School (with J. Mascis)
Lithium (with Annie Clark)
About A Girl (with Annie Clark)
Heart Shaped Box (with Annie Clark)
Serve the Servants (with John McCauley)
Scentless Apprentice (with John McCauley)
Tourette’s (with John McCauley)
Aneurysm (with Kim Gordon)
Negative Creep (with Kim Gordon)
Moist Vagina (with Kim Gordon)

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Dawn & Hawkes After ‘The Voice,’ Crowdfunding New Record

dawn and hawkeFresh off a nice run during NBC’s The Voice, Dawn & Hawkes are wasting no time in capitalizing on the popularity they garnered on the show. The indie-folk duo also known as Miranda Dawn and Chris Hawkes just launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund their first full-length record. You could look at it as spending $25 on a very advance copy of what will surely be a great album, or if you’ve got $3,000 burning a hole in your pocket – and I imagine that’s most of you – you can get yourself a private house concert. Don’t worry, there are options in between, too. For now, click here to check out your options, and enjoy their winning version of The Beatles‘ “I’ve Just Seen A Face,” plus a unique performance of their song “Yours and Mine.”


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Grohl And Novoselic On The Tonight Show

145651__nirvana_lA confluence of events, including the impending induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has put Kurt Cobain and Nirvana in the forefront of our pop culture consciousness lately. Susceptible as anyone else, I threw on Nevermind last night and, holy shit, did it sound great. Can you imagine a record like that becoming the biggest thing in the world today? I burned out on listening to it years ago, but now it sounds totally fresh again. Anyway, remaining core Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night, talking about how quickly the band got huge, destroying their instruments, as well as what it was like when Paul McCartney joined them in the studio.

R.E.M.‘s Michael Stipe will induct Nirvana into the Hall of Fame tonight. Word is that Joan Jett will be on hand to help them celebrate with a performance. Watch the Tonight Show interview below.

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Bonnaroo Club Stage To Feature Bronze Radio Return And More

The lineup for the 2014 Bonnaroo Club Stage has been announced and it looks like a pretty stellar bill. Our very own friends Bronze Radio Return will be there, which alone should be enough to steer you away from the main stage for a bit. But add to that a number of emerging favorites, including Skinny Lister, who dropped by our studios last year for an exclusive session, and our hometown heroes Speedy Ortiz and, well, you might do well to consider how you’re going to divide your time, festival-goer.

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Flea + Former Mars Volta Members = Antemasque

flea-600-1397057872Rolling Stone reports: “Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has teamed with Mars Volta nucleus Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala and mid-era Mars Volta drummer Dave Elitch to form the new band Antemasque.”

This should be interesting. As played-out as RHCP have been for well over a decade (more, if you’re like me), Flea is obviously great at what he does and is a natural musical adventurer. He previously collaborated with Mars Volta, who have since broken up, but were also known for experimentation and blurring genres.

Check out some studio footage of the new band at work.

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G. Love & Special Sauce Return: Watch “Good Life”

g. loveConan O’Brien‘s Team Coco has really taken on a digital life of its own, with some great premieres and exclusive music content. Here we have the newest from G. Love & Special Sauce.

Since the success of his 1994 smash single “Cold Beverage,” the artist also known as Garrett Dutton has been quietly refining and enriching his career as a performer and producer in the Philadelphia music scene, with a few recent acclaimed solo albums.

Now he’s back with the original lineup of Special Sauce, celebrating 20 years since their debut album and promoting the newest, Sugar. Check out this great looking and sounding performance clip for “Good Life.”

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Paper Bird Release ‘Rooms Remixed’

Paper BirdsBoulder, Colorado’s Paper Bird have just released Rooms Remixed, which, of course, is a collection of remixes of their rootsy 2013 LP Rooms.

We recommend checking out both (via Bandcamp), as they are each distinct and beautiful animals. The original LP is a shimmering burst of Americana-infused indie pop, where the new album is an adventurous and often darker take on the same songs, displaying the interpretations of a variety of other artists.

Watch this new video and listen to the whole thing below.

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