Showing posts with label music industry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music industry. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls blogs "why i am not afraid to take your money"

Thanks to Jessica for sending this onto me. I felt the need to repost.

Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls recently blogged:
artists need to make money to eat and to continue to make art.

artists used to rely on middlemen to collect their money on their behalf, thereby rendering themselves innocent of cash-handling in the public eye.

artists will now be coming straight to you (yes YOU, you who want their music, their films, their books) for their paychecks. please welcome them. please help them. please do not make them feel badly about asking you directly for money.

dead serious: this is the way shit is going to work from now on and it will work best if we all embrace it and don’t fight it.
Read more of her blog entry here.

This is why I've been waiting to buy CDs from artists until I see them live. There is no middle man, and often you can get the CD cheaper than if you bought it at the store. The money goes straight to the artist. And call me old-fashioned, but I like having an actual CD to listen to instead of purchasing from itunes.

Palmer also goes onto say (and I love this):

feel ok about giving your money directly to paul mccartney. he may be rich, but he still rocks. show you care.

feel ok about giving it to fucking lady gaga if you’ve been guiltily downloading her dance tracks for free. rejoice in the fact that you are directly responsible for several threads in her new spandex spacesuit.
I do love the spacesuit. Is there any way to get around the $20 of fees ticketmaster will add to a $48 ticket? I think not. I'm glad people are buying them, I guess. Just not me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

R.I.P. Ellie Greenwich: a pioneer of women in the music industry

It seems like famous people are dropping like flies lately. But there is one person's life that I'd like particularly like to celebrate: that of Ellie Greenwich, songwriter of such hits as "Chapel of Love," "Da Do Ron Ron," "Be My Baby" "Leader of the Pack," "River Deep - Mountain High" and dozens more. Greenwich was part of the songwriting hit machine in the Brill Building in New York City.

At a very young age, Greenwich and Carole King blazed a path for women in the music industry at that time dominated by men. Women hadn't really been on the creative production side of the music industry at that point, with few exceptions they had been mostly singers or administrative types. Greenwich found great success as a songwriter and partnered with her husband Jeff Barry. Greenwich and Barry wrote songs for the popular girl groups of the early '60s like the The Ronettes, The Crystals and The Shangri-Las.

In an interview with NPR, Greenwich reflected on being a woman and working in the production side of the music industry,
It wasn't that accepted back then, a female being in that end of the business.
She even had a little bit of difficulty working with other female artists;
At first it was like, 'Well, who does she think she is, giving us orders here or telling us what to do?' But on the other end, if you were very open to them, they saw you could be their friend, and then it became an asset to be a woman dealing with girl groups.
Ellie Greenwich gave us dozens of hit songs, like silly bubble gum pop with nonsensical choruses, and some with heart felt meaning. Let's remember her as she held her own against the British Invasion and paved the way for women who wanted to have a creative role in the music industry.

Ellie Greenwich died Wednesday August 24th of a heart attack in New York City at the age of 68.

This is my favorite Ellie Greenwich not-so-famous tune: "Maybe I Know" performed by Lesley Gore (I fell in love with this tune when my junior high performed the musical "Leader of the Pack" based on the music of Ellie Greenwich):

And just for fun, this is the same tune performed by They Might be Giants.

Read more about Ellie Greenwich and watch more videos here at Pitchfork.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Rebuttal No. 2: World popularity: Beatle songs have been done on panpipes ... have MJ's?

The debate continues...

When we posted the original link to Jamie Freedman's question about whether Michael Jackson was more popular than the Beatles or Elvis Presley, and then our rebuttal, we didn't anticipate the vigrous debate it would stir up in the comment sections of the two posts.

She has posted a second rebuttal, basically saying that while the Beatles were popular in many parts of the world, in some parts, such as Third World nations, Michael Jackson was more well known.

Here's a good question: How many cover albums of Michael Jackson songs are out there? A quick search on for "Michael Jackson tribute" brings up less than 10. Search for "Beatles tribute" and you come up with 156. And those are the ones still in print.

And the styles on Beatle cover albums available range from symphonic to reggae to bossa nova to bluegrass to acapella to soul to blues to classical guitar to jazz to pan pipes and even to church pipe organ. Given that range of styles, would you say the Beatles weren't known everywhere and much more so?

As Jamie said, she respects the Beatles and we, in turn, respect Michael Jackson and wish his family the best. .

But there will never be anything like the Beatles. Michael Jackson was certainly a dynamic talent to be reckoned with, no question.

Read more here...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Counter rebuttal: Michael Jackson vs. The Beatles in worldwide popularity

Frenimies: Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson

I've heard many fantastic opinions and facts commenting on whether Michael Jackson was more popular worldwide than The Beatles.  I guess Elvis and, as one smart lady suggested, Frank Sinatra are out of the running.  Really, this is a ridiculous comparison since you can't compare the world music industry of the 80s to that of the 60s. The world is a different place, record distribution and radio/television is different and music is itself, of course, totally different.

Read my original post "Was Michael Jackson more popular worldwide than The Bealtes or Elvis?" here.

Read the counter rebuttal "No, Michael Jackson was not more popular than The Beatles" from The Beatles Examiner here.

My response to Beatles Examiner Steve Marinucci is this: you, and many others, have spent a lot of time quoting record sales and musical influence; unfortunately record sales equals popularity in this world of music we live in. I personally don't own any Michael Jackson records (I'm a much bigger Beatles fan by the way) and I know all of his hits. All of them, word by word.

Read more of my article and some of the fantastic comments that readers have left arguing one side or the other.

I'm pretty proud of the debate I started...  : )

Rebuttal: No, Michael Jackson was not more popular than the Beatles

Hey readers. 

What's so funny about this to me is that it was just a theory I had. I'm a HUGE Beatles fan. Anyone who knows me or has read my blog for a little bit knows this. I've taken University classes, I've written and given papers at conferences, I have lots of books and posters... hell, I've got a blog (and hopefully a book eventually) inspired by The Beatles.  I wrote my freaking undergraduate THESIS on The Beatles.

I love me some MJ, but not like I love me some John, Paul, George and Ringo. No way.

The comparison of MJ's popularity to The Beatles or Elvis (or Sinatra) is ridiculous. You can't compare the music industry of the 50s/60s to that of the 80s. Although many of you have brought up some terrific points.

My point was really that in the third world, where folks don't have the financial means to buy records, there is really no way to account for "fandom" and "popularity." So what is popularity if it's not based on numbers? Like I said you don't need to own any MJ to know his music, the same can be said about The Beatles.  Their music permeates every corner of our world.

Here are some of the comments I've gotten on the topic on facebook, check out for other (more colorful responses):

Michael *was* more popular. Past tense. That hasn't been true in almost 20 years, though.

I actually really agree with you. Or at least I scoff at the knee-jerk orthodoxy of the opposition. The fact is, the Beatles are much more hallowed among 1) older music critics and 2) white people. The rest of the world, I call it a wash.

Didn't MJ transform the 80s into HIS decade?

The other writer makes a big deal about MJ fading in his later period both in musical output and personal troubles, but post-heyday repertoire from former Beatles was often lackluster as well, and who gives a damn about his scandals? Or, is it all the more telling that we celebrate him so in spite of them?

I think, Jamie, for those born after 1970, Michael was almost unquestionably bigger. for the boomers, The Beatles were bigger. I do believe it's a generational thing.
Great shot of Paul and Michael, though.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson the most popular artist in the world?

I have a theory that Michael Jackson is the most popular musician in the world, more popular than Elvis and The Beatles.

I'm not saying that more people have heard of him than The Beatles or Elvis, but that he has more DIEHARD fans across the world that LOVE his music and idolize him.


I once read a story (and now the image is left in my memory) of a man somewhere in the world on a camel with a huge boombox blasting some MJ. I wish I could remember where I read that.

I also heard a story on NPR yesterday that a reporter was at a party with people who were too cool to dance. The DJ, desperate to get the party started, played an MJ track and everyone started dancing. Then he played another and another and another and worked the crowd into a frenzy.

You know, something like this...

Even if you don't own any MJ, you will know it.

Please let me know what you think of this theory. Especially if you do not live in the Western/first world. I'm interested to know.

One thing is for sure, the guy led a tough and misunderstood existence. But he brought the world some amazing music and will be greatly missed.

Thanks for the grooves Michael!

Please share any stories that you might have of being far away from Motown and seeing or hearing some Michael Jackson in a unexpected place. I'd like to know.


So after I posted the original article on, the Beatles Examiner posted this rebuttal. What I noticed about all of the folks who disagreed with me is that no one really understood what I was saying: record sales, money, music industry stuff and ratings prove NOTHING when we're talking about third world and non-western countries. But folks kept quoting numbers and charts.

So I wrote this counter-rebuttal and then the Beatles examiner wrote this second rebuttal. It was fun. My post received a lot of hits and many many of people yelling at me and each other.

I still hold true that Michael Jackson is the most well loved entertainer in the world at this moment. We can look at this topic again in ten years and re-evaluate.