My proposal to save the music industry

Warning: This plan does not involve the use of the words units or paradigms or digital content strategy or platform.

1.  The use of mp3s will be for streaming and marketing only.

2.  The default format for the music business will be 88.2/24 bit .wav files or above.

3.  Music listeners will preview all purchases online.

4.  When they want to own a recording, they purchase the files and the files are deposited in their cloud account from the server of their online store.
4a.  Listeners will own those recordings even if they drop their streaming membership.
4b.  Listeners are able to do with those files as they see fit — resale is not permitted.  If some sort of embedded id number is put into the files to track ridiculous anti-artist file sharing, so be it.

5.  There will be a minimal monthly charge to stream and file purchases should be $5-7 per recording.

6.  If music listeners consume more music, the price they pay will drop or the perks they receive will increase.

7.  New bands with new recordings can sell at lower prices and older, more established acts that have paid their dues are free to sell their recordings at higher prices.  Prices for recordings can move up or down as demand moves up or down.  Dynamic pricing will be a part of the music business.

8.  Some sort of equipment subsidy should be adopted so that listeners are listening on equipment that makes their listening experience better, not worse.  Maybe increased consumption entitles listeners to upgraded music gear.

9.  A non-PR oriented music filter should be built into these stores so that new recording artists are able to develop organically.  The filter should not be centered either around paid publicity or fan voting — neither one currently works.

10.  Artists and music labels will put their 88.2 .wav files in one location that all stores will use to move files to customers.  They will received detailed but not invasive information regarding who is streaming/listening to their music and who has purchased it.  They will be able to get enough information to establish relationships with listeners outside of the store.

Listeners will be able to preview music and not be ripped off.
Listeners will be encouraged to consume more music as they consume more music.
Listeners will have a great sounding format that is easy to purchase online.
Listeners will be able to bring back the music business.

You heard it here first.


New music listening Thurs March 29, 2012

@@@ Madonna: MDNA.  I like the production, but the recording engineers have chopped all the low end out of her voice (because she can’t sing) and she sounds 12 years old.  Her songwriting remains focused more on spectacle and shock rather than, well, songs.

@@@  Georgia Ann Muldrew: Seeds.  Dense arrangements dating back to early ’70s soul.  The arrangements surpass the songs.  This music is a Curtis Mayfield thing with a twist of Stevie Wonder but fronted by a woman. I like the loose flow of the tunes, but I think the lyrics are somewhat cliche.  If there were some unique vocal sentiments on this record I would be jumping up and down, but the lyrical average-ness does not take you higher.


New music listening Monday March 26, 2012

Checkin’ out some music from CFUV’s weekly email.

@@@ Lee Fields: Truthful Man.  More emotive than James Brown.  Am I crazy to want some new soul that isn’t so close to the old soul?  There is one interesting section where there are some catchy more modern background vocals, but it’s so authentic I can’t make it through the whole tune.  Maybe something’s wrong with me.

@@@ Nneka: Soul is Heavy.  A little dubbed out, a little rocked out in the chorus, and a lot of female flow on the mic over thick drums.  I prefer Michael Franti’s Yell Fire.  It’s not the same exact formula, but it’s not far off.

@@@ Lee Ranaldo: Between the Time and Tides.  I thought Sonic Youth had its moments (Daydream Nation) but a bit hyped and lacking in songwriting, or uninterested in songs whichever.  This is more tuneful — I like his voice.  I wish the production was a little more stripped down, but I like this more than I thought I would.

New music listening Friday March 23, 2012

No inspirational thoughts about how great the music business is today.

@@@ Duke of Straw has this Neal Casal as his favorite song of the week.  Nothing ground breaking but a strong voice.

@@@ Check out some ambient tape lo-fi from Russia’s Curd Lake over here at Russian Adults.  I dig the third tune, kinda haunting like that Mike Watt answering machine message on Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation.

@@@ Over here at Abeano Music you can read about and check out the band Virginia Wing.  It reminds me of the Mamas and the Papas, I think the chord progression is similar.

@@@ I don’t know why a blog that features acoustic music almost exclusively would be KickKickSnare, but it’s a whacky world.

Here’s a pretty straightforward indie ballad by St. Lucia.  He’s got a good voice, I don’t care that much for the song but check it out.

@@@ We’ll wrap up this week’s listening with a tune off Vijay Iyer‘s new record Accelerando.  I could have sworn I heard a riff from Michael Jackson’s tune ‘Human Nature’ tucked into this tune.  I shit you not.


New music listening Thursday March 22, 2012

@@@ You can hear Joe Walsh‘s new single over here at Rolling Stone.

@@@ Pushing my luck with the Amber Waves of Twang under-appreciated list here.

They have Hotel Lights and this tune on their list.  More Byrds like pop than the country/roots bands they’ve had up there up to this point.  Not exactly my cup of tea, but this sound is pretty popular.

@@@  Over here at Burning Ambulance you can read about Rhode Island trio Pilgrim and their debut Misery Wizard (Metal Blade).  There are some pretty trippy abstract vocals around 2:45 so make sure you don’t miss those.

@@@  Quick Before it Melts has a post up about Little Girls over here with this video.  I don’t like this emerging branch of the indie music tree.

@@@ I always dig how much self-released music Olive Music reviews.  They have a post up over here about Othreim and you can check out their mathy, proggy, nerd metal down below.

New Music listening Wednesday March 21, 2012

@@@ Back on the Amber Waves of Twang underappreciated records of 2011 which you can find here.

@@@ The Barr Brothers: Self-titled. I would call this orchestral folk roots music.  Good production, singer has a strong voice.  I think a lot of folks could get into this music.

@@@ Mark W. Lennon: Home of the Wheel (Vagabond Tune).  A more ragged voice and a more country feel.  More good playing, people who dig the roots music should check both of these records out.

@@@ Esperanza Spaulding: Radio Music Society.  I would call ths an album of jazz fusion songs — smooth and unchallenging to listen to.  She’s worked really hard on her vocals though her songs sound a little awkward to my ear.  It’s an intricate album, but sterile sounding.  More of a showcase than a heartfelt expression.  I will fully admit that I find the Esperanza Spaulding marketing show to be extremely annoying and it prejudices me against her music, but if it works for folks, have at it.

Read the AllMusic email blurb below and tell me this album isn’t aimed at non hardcore music listeners to make them feel smarter for buying this record:

Esperanza Spalding’s fourth album, Radio Music Society (a companion piece to Chamber Music Society in name only) is one of enormous ambitionpolished production, sophisticated, busy charts, and classy songwriting — that consciously juxtaposes neo-soul and adult-oriented jazz-tinged pop. It employs a stellar cast, largely of jazz musicians, to pull it off.

@@@ Anti-Flag: The General Strike.  (Side One Dummy).  A revved up California Orange County punk/rock fhybrid.  Solid, but I’ve heard this formula too many times to get excited.

New music listening Tuesday, March 20 2012

@@@ I appreciate what Amber Waves of Twang has going on over here.  10 2011 albums that flew under the radar.  Don’t get all obsessed with release date.  I’m still finding great music from 2011.  I’d rather find something great from 2010 that I hadn’t heard about rather than some 2012 biscuit.

@@@ The New Familiars are at the top of the above list.  Their 2011 album Between the Moon and Morning Light is up on Spotify but they have mostly live videos up on Youtube.  These guys are happenin’.  No pretense, no marketing bullshit, just folks playing straight ahead roots rock ‘n roll.

@@@ I try to stop by Invisible Oranges when I can.  There’s a post up over here on the band Sigh and their new record In Somniphobia.  If you’re into the genre mashup these guys might work for you.  A hot stringy punk bass sound, some double pedal kick drumming, some epic proggy guitar playing and yer classic heavy metal vocal gruntfest.

I give them big points for waving the freak flag — they’re just rocking their own formula unashamedly.

@@@ Bunch of new music discussed over here at Music Under Fire.  All their tunes are embedded on the page so you can be super lazy and check out a bunch of new music.

@@@ Tanlines Mixed Emotions is not getting a lot of buzz as much as it’s getting a big paid for push.  They were profiled on NPR and if it makes it to NPR there’s a 95% chance there’s a PR campaign going.

Isn’t this whiteboy disco?  I think this is white boy disco.  So I don’t know what the wrapper says, but this candy bar is white boy disco.  It’s a decent pop tune, nothing particularly unique at any level as far as I can hear.

There’s a comment on their Youtube video page where someone says ‘This song makes me feel like everything is gonna be okay.’  Wow is all I can say.  I don’t want to be a downer but this tune is not going to make anything more or less okay.

@@@ The Shins: September.  Singer has a good voice, tasteful arrangement, really nice tremolo guitar sound behind the chord progression.  Sound A-, lyrics B-.

New Music listening Monday, March 19, 2012

Just a reminder that this is not a music review blog.  It’s a links blog as well as a diary of a hardcore music listener.

Today I’m checking out a few bands from Aquarius Records SXSW showcase.

Vaz — Guitar/drums duo.   I’m checking out Demonstrations in Micronesia from 2008 out on Load Records.  Strong B+/A-.  Noisy, but still within the realm of songs.  The drummer is the star in this group.

Shit and Shine from the UK.  I’m listening to 229-2299 Girls Against Shit.  It’s a sort industrial rock hybrid.  Aquarius calls it art rock, I don’t know what that is.  It’s all right, a little repetitive but it’s artsy so have at it.

Night Control.  Not rock, kind of spooky softer rock — a lot of reverb on the vocals, ringing guitars.  A little like the Cure.  It’s all right.

Conclusion:  I starred Vaz in my Spotify whatever and will check some more of their music later.  The singer is a little flat and detached — that doesn’t always work for me, but I really dig the drummer and the noisiness of what they do.