Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pandora And The CD

I rarely cross-post from my Music 3.0 blog, but I think this topic is important enough to make an exception.

Regardless of the trends towards online digital music, CDs are still important. Sure, you may sell a few, but it's the hidden advantages of the format that everyone overlooks.

Take Pandora for example. I came across the following section on their submission FAQ.

To submit music to Pandora, you'll need these items:
1) a CD of your music
2) a unique UPC code for that CD*
3) this CD to be available through Amazon as a physical CD (and not just as MP3s)**
4) the legal rights to your music
5) a standard free Pandora account, based on a valid email address, that will be associated with this submission
6) MP3 files for two of the songs from your CD
Once you have all of these items ready to go, you can submit your music to Pandora for consideration here: http://submitmusic.pandora.com/.
Take notice that the only way to get on their playlist is to have a physical CD for sale.

It's the same thing if you want your music reviewed. It doesn't matter if it's on a blog or traditional media, you're not legit until you have a physical product that you can send to the reviewer. I saw this exact situation for myself a couple of years ago when I was producing the first SNEW album. I was all for releasing it digitally but the band insisted on a CD and they were right. Even though the music was released online months before the CD was available, they couldn't get a single reviewer interested until the physical CD was released. As soon as that shiny plastic disc was available, they were perceived as a viable entity and received more than 100 reviews (almost all of them great, by the way). For their recently released CD, "We Do What We Want," there was no question that it would be available on as many formats as possible, and once again we've been rewarded with at least as many reviews, band interviews, and a ton of airplay. I'm convinced that it wouldn't have had nearly the success without the physical product.

It used to be that pressing CDs was a pain since you had to not only pay for them up front, but keep them in inventory and distribute them as well, but even this isn't much of a problem these days. Services like Kunaki not only allow you to press CDs on demand, but they'll drop ship them as well. They look like a million bucks (as long as your artwork looks that way) so that old worry at the "CD-R look" doesn't apply.

So while there's no doubt that the music world is more digital than ever, the CD is still a useful distribution tool. Ignore it at your own peril.
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"I Want You Back" - Isolated Bass

Staying with our bass theme for the week, here's the isolated bass part for the Jackson 5's first hit "I Want You Back." Although everyone assumes that Motown great James Jamerson played bass on the track, it was actually bassist/saxophonist Wilton Felder of The Crusaders.

1) The sound is typically Motown, even though the song was recorded in Los Angeles instead of Detroit. It's very present with a lot of high end, and the part is very even without sounding too compressed.

2) By today's standards, the track is a little shaky, with lots of little timing mistakes. There's even a couple of mis-fretted notes and a phrase or two that sounds a little tentative. A producer today would not have kept this though, and probably would cut a few takes and then cut and pasted them together, or just move a note here or there.

3) But the feel is great, the song was a hit, so who cares about the inconsistencies.



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Follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

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Bootsy's Basic Funk Formula

Staying with our bass theme for the week, here's a funk lesson from the master - Bootsy Collins. Of course, Bootsy came to prominence by playing on some of James Brown's biggest hits ("Sex Machine", "Super Bad") and then with Parliament-Funkadelic before starting his own Rubber Band and Sweat Band.

Even though this is short, it's an introduction to playing funk from the man himself.



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Follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating the music business.

Monday, September 6, 2010

"Uprising" - Muse Isolated Tracks

Today we'll be analyzing something a bit more modern than usual. It's "Uprising" by Muse, from their 5th studio album The Resistance. This was the first single off that 2009 album, which was recorded in Italy and topped the charts in 19 countries. The single also topped Billboard's Alternative Songs chart for 17 weeks. This track consists of drums, vocals and bass.

1) The bass sounds like a synthesizer that's sequenced since it's so perfect, along with the filter sweep in the middle of the song. Could be a pedal that's manipulated in the mix. Anyone know for sure?

2) Likewise, the drums are pretty perfect and don't vary very much. In fact, it's mostly kick and snare with the occasional crash cymbal that's mixed low.

3) Good sound on the drums though, especially the snare.

4) Excellent vocal sound. It's present yet doesn't seem too compressed. It's mixed back in the mix, which I think is important for a rock band since the band loses some power if the vocal is too loud. Not so on a pop song though.



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Follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating the music business.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Beatles "You Really Got A Hold On Me"

Here's one last Beatles post for a while. It's an outtake from the Let It Be film that shows them having some fun with a song that they used to do back in the clubs before they even had a record deal.

It's always great to see musicians smiling. It's even better when it's our heros.




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Follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating the music business.

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