Friday, 11 July 2008

When was the last time that you let loose?

Derrick Bostrom (ex Meat Puppets drummer) has uploaded some newspaper clippings from his collection. Most of them were from the 1980s.

Some of the more bizarre articles in his collection include:

(Thomas Turner sounds like a super fun guy. And I hope that Asti isn't still waiting for someone to light her fire!)


(I am horrified that this article was ever published. Derrick doesn't mention the publication date, just that it was from the 80s... which is really not that long ago. Do you think that we will ever look back on articles like this and find them funny?)
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Last.fm offers royalities for independent musicians

Last.fm has just announced that their Artist Royalty Program is up and running.

The site is now paying unsigned artists royalties whenever their songs are streamed.



You need to sign up for the Last.fm Artist Royalty Program to be included, upload your tracks, then you're good to go.

Last.fm says this is "a big day for independent artists as it marks the first time that musicians not affiliated with a label or royalty collection agency can collect revenue direct from a free streaming music platform. We’re very proud to now offer independent artists the same royalty opportunities as those presented to record labels acts."

If you are a musician, and are not yet on Last.fm, jump on the site and check it out (Last.fm can also link in with iTunes, so if your tracks have been played by friends or fans you'll probably be surprised to find that there is already an artist page set up for you that you can 'claim').

Not only is Last.fm now a revenue raising tool, but it is also an incredible marketing platform. You can add your gigs and events and view attendees, view listener statistics to find out which of your tracks are most popular, and push your tracks out to a whole new audience. Last.fm monitors the music that users are listening to, and can recommend similar artists based on tastes. Plus, social networking capabilities allow users to recommend your tracks to their friends. All of this helps users to explore new artists, and artists to find new audiences.

And the best part? It's all free.
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Thursday, 10 July 2008

Branding artists

At what point does a artist / brand collaboration go from being "commercial income to help an artist achieve their creative goals", to being a sell-out, or even damaging to an artist's career?

For me, Santogold's latest Converse promotions have been borderline. (I know that Julian Casablancas from the Strokes and Pharrell were also included in this campaign, but I think that because their reputations are somewhat more established than Santi's, a branded move like this is not as risky for them)

Santogold has said that "getting involved in branded promotions is one of the main ways artists can get their music heard now". And it sure worked for both Feist and Yael Naim with Apple.

Some may argue however that this is just an easy money maker. If the artist focused on touring, releases, web promotion and word-of-mouth they could expose themselves based on their existing talents, and keep their credibility.

But, what if you are an independent or emerging musician, and you've been having a hard time getting your music out there? It would have to be enormously tempting to take cash from a big brand like Converse. Particularly if offered the chance to collaborate with more established artists. The promotion would likely be enough to push up your album sales too, as I'm sure it did with Santogold's self-titled album released in April this year.

I think that my main problem with this Converse promotion is not the brand association. It is simply that it is an awful track. Santogold's album is one of my favourites so far of 2008, but this track is not indicative of her talent. (see the new video, which is actually much better than the track, below)

Santogold, Julian Casablancas, and N.E.R.D. Produced by Pharrell



BTW - this isn't the first time that Santi has sold her stuff. But in the examples below she hasn't created a track specifically for a brand... the brands have used her existing music.

Check out 'Creator' for VO5:


'Creator' for Bud Light:


And the Bug Light Lime remix of her track "Lights Out", which also appears on their recent commercial.
Lights Out - Santogold (Bud Light Lime remix)
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Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Remember this?

I've been going back through some old Australian tracks that I used to love as a kid, and I wanted to share them with you.

First up, is Icehouse's Electric Blue (1987)
This track made it to #1 in the Australian charts in November 1987. It's worth watching the video just for Iva Davies' incredible hair cut.





Next - Don't Go Now, from Ratcat (1990)
These guys reformed in 2006 for the Jack Awards, but I didn't get to see them... maybe it's a good thing. Sometimes it's nice to keep memories of how things were, rather than know how things now are. I know how upset it made me to see The Cure play live in Sydney last year.





One of my favourite television shows in the late 80s was Home and Away.
And maybe it was because of this that I was a pretty big Melissa Tkautz fan.
Here is Read My Lips (1991)



The '2008 remix' is no where near as good as the original.
(watch a send up of 'Read My Lips' done on the comedy show Fast Forward by Gina Riley - now best known as Kim from 'Kath & Kim')



I really liked Accidentally Kelly Street when Frente! released it in 1992. But their cover of Bizarre Love Triangle was an absolute favourite of mine (1994).




I also wanted to include Rick Springfield's 'Jessie's Girl' in this list (1981).
He was born in Australia, so I think it can still be counted as an Aussie hit. It's also a karaoke favourite.




What about you? Any 1980s or 90s Aussie hits to share?
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Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Halo is the new Cristal

Lil Wayne has had great success with his latest album, Tha Carter III, with it selling over 1.5 million copies in its first week in the US.
He now hopes to build on this success with a non-musical venture - releasing his own line of champagne.

He is calling the bubbles 'HALO', and managed to give the drink some subtle product placement in his new video for Lollipop.




Perhaps Halo could be the new champagne-of-choice for rappers?
There has been a gap since Frederic Rouzaud, the Managing Director of Cristal said in 2006 that he didn't like the association between his product and hip hop.

This led to Jay-Z (amongst others) boycotting the brand, with Snoop Dogg unable to perform Bo$$ Playa, because of the line "Where's the Cristal, you like to get wild".
“I tried substa-shizzling Krug,” a frustrated Snoop Dogg confided, “but it just don’t flow.”

Perhaps Halo isn't as easy to rhyme as Cristal... but it's got to be easier than Dom Perignon or Piper-Heidsieck.

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LilAl and LiLo?

Could Lily Allen REALLY have asked Lindsay Lohan to feature on her latest album???

Pitchfork points out that there is a link between the two (apart from Lily allegedly being thrown off her table in Les Deux to make way for LiLo last year):

- Lily Allen has worked with producer Mark Ronson in the past (most recently appearing on stage with him at Glastonbury)
- Mark Ronson is the big brother of DJ Samantha Ronson
- Samantha Ronson and Lily Allen are rumoured to be in a relationship (or may just be really good friends)

The story is that Lily and Lindsay are collaborating on a track title "Wherever You Go", which is to appear on Lily's new album.


Photo from Pacific Coast Online
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Monday, 7 July 2008

Bloc Party's secret

I have just spent the last few minutes sitting on Bloc Party's website, watching their countdown.

In anticipation of the counter hitting zero, I could only guess what surprises the band had in store... Bloc Party had given no indication of what I might expect, having blocked all the rest of their site content.

My initial thoughts were that the band may stream a new track on their site, as they are currently working on their third album. NME mentioned that some fans had suggested the lack of site content may have meant that Bloc Party were launching a new site.

But, what happened as the last second disappeared, has left me none the wiser.

At 00:00:00 a message appeared on the screen:


Is Zane Lowe going to be interviewing Bloc Party? Playing their new track? Giving away some big secret? Is it just a plug for BBC1?

Zane already has history with Bloc Party - having premiered the video for "The Prayer" before anyone else in the world.

Any ideas on what it could be?

UPDATE
Below is a video of Kele from Bloc Party in the BBC studios, dropping the new single 'Mercury'

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