Mark Davis worked behind the Service Desk at the Naperville, IL Kmart in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Every month, corporate office issued a cassette to be played over the store speaker system — canned elevator-type music with advertisements seeded every few tracks. Around 1991, the muzak was replaced with mainstream hits, and the following year, new tapes began arriving weekly. The cassettes were supposed to be thrown away, but Davis dutifully slipped each tape into his apron pocket to save for posterity. He collected this strange discount department store ephemera until 1993, when background music began being piped in via satellite service.
A weekly internet radio show designed to help you focus. Streamed each Wednesday at noon, Pacific Time. Hosted by none other than Patrick Ewing (the game developer Patrick Ewing).
Each week we attempt to induce a two-hour state of Flow in the listener: the sense that your work is carrying you along effortlessly like a log in a stream. Long, uninterrupted sets of instrumental music carefully selected as a background for doing creative work. I aim to energize and focus the mind without ever feeling distracting or alienating.
YouTube’s Content ID technology lets a musician take a cut of the advertising that runs on videos using their music, which is great for the Zoë Keatings of the world.
I got started with Content ID a couple of years ago when someone from Youtube reached out to me and I was offered a content management account to “claim” the soundtracks of these videos. The videos are dance performances, documentaries, amateur films, slideshows, animations, art projects, soundtracks to people doing things like skiing, miming, calligraphy or just playing video games. I love the variety of them all. Who knew there could be so many different ways to dance to my music?
Unfortunately this arrangement is changing as YouTube reconfigures itself to become a Spotify competitor. One of the requirements of the new service stipulates that Keating must post her entire catalog to participate.
Is such control too much for an artist to ask for in 2015? It’s one thing for individuals to upload all my music for free listening (it doesn’t bother me). It’s another thing entirely for a major corporation to force me to. I was encouraged to participate and now, after I’m invested, I’m being pressured into something I don’t want to do.
When it’s Madonna and it’s 1986, who cares, because she’s trotting out virgin/whore dichotomy or wearing cone-shaped bras and people are in a tither — fine. But when an artist is funneling additional attention into a complicated and easily misunderstood political situation they can be contributing to a kind of simplistic viewpoint that gets people killed.
OK Go rocketed up through the indie rock world in large measure due to the band’s brilliant, lo-fi music videos, which have spread like wildfire on YouTube. But EMI, in a misguided attempt to wring every penny out of the band’s success, decided to block embedding on the YouTube videos — meaning the videos were unable to disseminate out through music and pop culture blogs, news sites, and personal blogs the way they did before the restriction. And that’s not a minor detail: the band saw a 90% drop in views when that restriction went into effect. As in, 100,000 views one day, 10,000 views the next.
It’s obvious what the bands have at stake in this situation: more people watching their music videos translate into more exposure. Which means more income for the band. One would assume that what’s good for the band is also good for the record labels. Why would they undermine their own success?
In cases like this, attacks on music blogs seem to be the latest example of the widening disconnect between the goals of the music industry’s promotional wing and its enforcement wing. Smart musicians and promoters understand that the Net is a powerful promotional tool, and know that sharing an artist’s music is the best way to earn new fans. The IFPI, on the other hand, writes clearly in its takedown notices that “Our top priority is to prevent the continued availability of the IFPI Represented Companies’ content on the internet.”
Guitarist Josh Carter explained that the band made the change because they have signed a record deal with British label BBE, and that the label was concerned that the name Charlie Everywhere could see to trademark issues. Carter wasn’t sure why, but said it was better to be safe, especially when the band is planning the release of their already recorded album and an international summer tour.