David Kirkpatrick

May 19, 2010

OK Go and Earl Greyhound

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:18 pm

Caught OK Go and Earl Greyhound last night at the Granada Theater in Dallas (sorry, but I completely missed the opening third act) and the show was great. OK Go had some recent issues with their previous label — EMI — and the current state of the recording industry, and are (at least for) now one of those DIY bands out there working without major label support and have formed their own label, Paracadute Recordings. And, at least for now the move has done nothing to lower the quality, bells or whistles of the tour. Bells — literally. They performed one song solely on handbells. Made generous use of a confetti cannon as well, plus played a great set.

Here’s a video shot at the show:

The very pleasant surprise from the show was discovering Earl Greyhound, a three-piece that puts the “power” in power trio. Imagine combining psychedelic/acid rock a la Pink Floyd before Syd Barrett was institutionalized and grunge reminiscent of Soundgarden. Great stage presence and impressively heavy.

Here’s a video for Earl Greyhound’s “S.O.S.”:

Be sure to check these guys out.

Head below the fold to see OK Go playing “What to do” on handbells. (more…)

February 22, 2010

More on radio performance tax legislation

Filed under: Arts, Business, Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:32 pm

Here’s the auto response I received from Kay Bailey Hutchison on impending legislation that would apply a “performance tax” on every song played on the radio. Just one more bad idea from the flailing and dying music industry. Kay Bailey was the only politician to send something other than a blanket “thanks for contacting me” response.

Hutchison’s email:

Thank you for contacting me regarding royalty fees for performers whose work is played on over-the-air radio, also known as performance fees. I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Current law requires free over-the-air radio stations to pay song royalties to songwriters and producers. However, unlike cable, satellite and Internet radio, over-the-air radio stations have historically been exempt from paying performance fees. This exemption recognizes both the unique role played by free over-the-air broadcasters in the communities they serve, and the fact that performers receive exposure from air play that promotes album and merchandise sales.

Recently, new mediums in broadcasting, including satellite and Internet radio, have emerged. Performers are paid for their music in these mediums, raising questions about parity and fairness. While the emergence of new broadcasting mediums has caused some to question over-the-air broadcasters’ longstanding exemption, I remain concerned about imposing royalties on them in these difficult economic times. This concern is particularly relevant to small broadcasters.

I will closely monitor this legislation as it evolves, particularly with respect to addressing the potential financial impact on the smallest broadcasters, and I will keep your views in mind. I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will not hesitate to contact me on any issue that is important to you.

Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator

Hit this link if you want to do something about this ridiculous piece of legislation.

February 19, 2010

More recording industry shenanigans

This time it’s going after radio with a new performance tax proposal. Okay, the industry is foundering on the rocks, has alienated the bulk of its customer base under the age of twenty five and due to technological developments has forever lost its stifling stranglehold over the creative process and product distribution. That’s not to say the music industry doesn’t have a real and necessary role to play in today’s marketplace, but the old ways are gone and are not coming back. It’s time to face the future and meet the challenges of today or shut down and get out of the way for a new paradigm that can.

What is the response from the industry? More ill advised lawsuits against consumers and now an attempt to force a “performance tax” bill through Congress to punish radio, the one-time bread and butter of the music business.

From the link:

The recording industry wants to impose a performance tax that would financially hurt local radio stations, stifle new artists and harm the listening public who rely on free local radio.

Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas) and John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), along with RepresentativesGene Green (D-Texas) and Michael Conaway (R-Texas), and many other members of Congress have sponsored legislation and efforts against the performance tax.  Others still need to hear your voice.

Here’s more detail from the NoPerformanceTax.org website:

For more than 80 years, radio and the recording industry have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship: free play for free promotion. And it works. It’s a relationship that has sustained businesses on both sides.

In fact, radio’s free promotion of artists translates to as much as $2.4 billion annually in music sales for record labels and artists. And this doesn’t even include the enormous revenues they receive from concerts and merchandising.

But the labels–like many businesses–are struggling in this economy. They have failed to adapt to the digital age, and find their business model is broken. And now they want to impose a fee called a performance tax on local radio stations to subsidize their losses.

A performance tax would threaten the local radio stations that communities depend on. It would financially hamstring stations, stifle new artists and harm the listening public who rely on free local radio.


In short, the money generated from the performance tax would flow out of your community and into the pockets of the major record labels – and three out of the four are foreign-owned. The record labels would like for you to think this is all about compensating the artists, but in truth the record labels would get at least 50 percent of the proceeds from a tax on local radio.


Congress has continually recognized that local radio is different from other musical platforms and should not be subject to a performance tax. Local radio is free, so everyone, regardless of income, can have access to it. Local radio also has to fulfill certain public service obligations that other platforms do not. And importantly, the free music that radio plays provides free promotion to the record labels and artists – up to $2.4 billion annually.


There are currently two bills pending in Congress that would levy a performance tax on local radio – H.R.848, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (MI-14) and S.379, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT). Your members of Congress need to hear that you strongly oppose these bills.

Additionally, anti-performance tax resolutions have been introduced in the House and Senate in support of local radio. In the Senate, Sens. Blanche Lincoln (AR) and John Barrasso (WY) introduced S. Con. Res. 14, and in the House, Reps. Gene Green (TX-29) and Mike Conaway (TX-11) introduced H. Con. Res. 49. Both are known as the Local Radio Freedom Act. Many members of Congressalready support local radio and resolutions against the performance tax. Others still need to hear your voice.

I suggest you hit the site and check all the information out for yourself, but if not, here’s a shortcut to taking some action against this ridiculous tax — Take action now!

February 5, 2010

The recording industry, RIAA and intellectual property

Filed under: Arts, Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:05 pm

In a Daily Dish post titled, “Copyright and Incentives, Ctd.,” which covers a much more broad concept behind copyright, intellectual property, patents and trademark issues, a Dish reader provided a very succinct view of how and why the RIAA and music industry have gone completely wrong in battling their customer base over digital recordings:

The record companies’ problem is that technology — the internet on the distribution side and the laptop and other personal recording technologies on the creation side — has made the record company’s traditional role as financer and distributor of works increasingly irrelevant.  They are using the intellectual property laws to protect a distribution model that is largely outdated.

I’d say you could even argue the RIAA is abusing intellectual property laws and slowly killing itself and the entire existing recording industry in the process.

January 21, 2010

OK Go on today’s music industry

Filed under: Arts, Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:23 am

Short version: YouTube, change your tracking metrics so our label (EMI) will let our fans embed our videos again. Long version (after reading through the lines): the industry is completely broken, but we’re in too deep to walk away.

From the link:

We’ve been flooded with complaints recently because our YouTube videos can’t be embedded on websites, and in certain countries can’t be seen at all. And we want you to know: we hear you, and we’re sorry. We wish there was something we could do. Believe us, we want you to pass our videos around more than you do, but, crazy as it may seem, it’s now far harder for bands to make videos accessible online than it was four years ago.

See, here’s the deal. The recordings and the videos we make are owned by a record label, EMI. The label fronts the money for us to make recordings – for this album they paid for us to spend a few months with one of the world’s best producers in a converted barn in Amish country wringing our souls and playing tympani and twiddling knobs – and they put up most of the cash that it takes to distribute and promote our albums, including the costs of pressing CDs, advertising, and making videos. We make our videos ourselves, and we keep them dirt cheap, but still, it all adds up, and it adds up to a great deal more than we have in our bank account, which is why we have a record label in the first place.

(Hat tip: boing boing)

OK Go – This Too Shall Pass from OK Go on Vimeo.

July 3, 2009

Music industry loses another toe …

… in yet another self-inflicted injury. You get the feeling the RIAA, ASCAP and other industry organizations are out to destroy commercial music. The industry has evolved, these tired dinosaurs haven’t and keep flailing about damaging everything in their path.

From the link:

A digital rights group is contesting a U.S. music industry association’s assertion that royalties are due each time a mobile phone ringtone is played in public. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) filed suit against AT&T asserting that ringtones qualify as a public performance under the Copyright Act. ASCAP, which has 350,000 members, collects royalties and licenses public performances of works under copyright.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), however, asserts that copyright law exempts performances made “without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage,” which would include a ringtone heard in a restaurant.

Click here to find out more!The organization further argued that the move by ASCAP could jeopardize consumer rights and increase costs for consumers. The EFF filed an amicus brief for the case on Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.”These wrongheaded legal claims cast a shadow over innovators who are building gadgets that help consumers get the most from their copyright privileges,” the EFF said in a blog post.

February 10, 2009

Live Nation, Ticketmaster exposing all that’s wrong …

… with the flailing music industry. The recording end has its own set of problems, but live music has been plagued by bad promotion and draconian ticketing fees. A number of bands have fought against Ticketmaster — maybe that should be a sign things aren’t all that great  — but no one has succeeded.

If this deal goes through, ticket prices for events handled by the new monopolist will go up. Anyone who thinks otherwise can get in touch. I have a Nigerian associate who’d love to talk to you. 

From the link:

Concert promoter Live Nation Inc. and ticketing giant Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. confirmed their merger plans Tuesday and got right to work addressing antitrust concerns that have taken center stage.

Ticketmaster Chairman Barry Diller, to be chairman of the new company — which would be called Live Nation Entertainment — sought to dispel the notion that the deal would lead to higher ticket prices.

”Ticketmaster does not set prices. Live Nation does not set ticket prices. Artists set the prices,” he said, without mentioning the ticket surcharges Ticketmaster relies on for much of its revenue.

Under the deal announced Tuesday, each Ticketmaster share would be replaced by 1.384 shares of Live Nation stock. Ticketmaster shareholders would own 50.01 percent of the new company, while Live Nation shareholders would have 49.99 percent. Live Nation Chief Executive Michael Rapino would be the new company’s CEO.

October 15, 2008

No quick debate reaction tonight, either

Filed under: Arts, Media, Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:51 pm

I wasn’t able to get a quick reaction to last week’s debate because I attended a party hosted by Ludacris and Universal Music— and really who would sit in front of the television instead of gettin’ down with Ludacris and his crew?

Foiled again by the music industry. I’m missing tonight’s debate to attend a show. Oh well, concert halls beckon.

I intended to watch last week’s debate on the DVR and post my reactions the next day or so, but my recording was too choppy to mess with. I’m going to try again tonight with this debate, but the weather is dicey, so we will see what happens. If I can, I’ll get my reactions up sometime soon. It’s all disappointing because C-Span emailed me all their blogger tools for live blogging and getting tweets to them to post after the debate and comment on in the studio.

August 15, 2008

A chink in the RIAA’s legal armor?

Filed under: Arts, Business, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:59 pm

I love the music industry. I even have a vested interest in the music industry succeeding. It’s just the old system no longer works. Digital files, and their inherent purity through virtually unlimited copies, have changed the entire ballgame.

The RIAA either does not get it, or more likely doesn’t like the fact their psuedoextortionist racket no longer rules the land. The major labels didn’t get it for the longest, but I do think these behemoths realize accommodations have to be made in order to remain viable, ongoing concerns.

I’ve blogged on the evils of the RIAA and the troubles facing the music industry here, here and here.

Now there’s some decent legal news on the asinine lawsuits the RIAA continues to file against ordinary people who get caught up in their quasi-legal dragnet.

If a new trial is granted for Jammie Thomas, the RIAA may find itself in a very difficult legal position going forward. And hopefully an actionable position from those it’s already railroaded with frivolous, punitive lawsuits.

From the WSJ link:

Judge Davis told the jury that making songs available online for distribution to others was copyright violation and that the record companies did not have to prove distribution took place. He has since learned of a federal district-court case in Phoenix that ruled that making songs available was not copyright violation. He is weighing granting Ms. Thomas a new trial.

If one is granted, one outcome could be a higher bar for what record labels need to prove to demonstrate that copyrights have been violated. For example, evidence that more than a handful of songs on a shared file folder were distributed to others may be needed.

“It’s going to be more difficult for them to prove” if they can’t simply rely on showing that songs were in somebody’s shared file folder, says Brian Toder, a partner at Minneapolis-based Chestnut & Cambronne who is representing Ms. Thomas.

March 15, 2008

Music reviews

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:44 pm

I completely understand what bullshit record reviewing is because long ago I reviewed records for Detour magazine under the non de plume of MC EZ2ME. Many times I would be given a very large stack of LPs and cassettes (all my reviewing was done just on the cusp of the CD revolution) and I’d give each one about eight seconds of song one to determine if it would make the cut of the two or three reviews I’d do for that issue.

I’ve always had a very jaundiced eye toward any half-assed criticism since then. Of course, at least I listened to the music I reviewed

 From the link:

Some months ago, in questioning arbitration-type criticism, I asked, rhetorically: [W]hat’s the value of the 250-word [album] review when samples of the music are available everywhere, for free?

It is now clear, if it wasn’t before, that that type of criticism is officially dead, or at least hopelessly corrupt:

How is it that a magazine can review an entire album–and assign a star rating to it–without actually hearing the album?

Case in point: the “review” of Warpaint–the new album by THE BLACK CROWES–in the March issue of Maxim magazine.  The writer–who has not heard the album since advance CDs were not made available–wrote what appears to be a disparaging assessment anyway, citing “it hasn’t left Chris Robinson and the gang much room for growth.”

Incredulously [sic], the magazine gave the album a two and a half star rating–although neither the writer nor the editor could have heard more than one song (the single “Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution”).

When approached for an explanation, the magazine described the review as “an educated guess preview.”  Huh?

It seems Maxim is fairly equal opportunity, genre-wise:

Then, there’s this:

RAPPER Nas was shocked when Maxim gave his new album, “N – – – – r,” a 21/2-star review – because it isn’t even finished yet. “I’m finishing the album now, and it will be out April 22,” Nas told Page Six. Maxim has since apologized for the premature review, but Nas doesn’t care. “I’d prefer [a review from] Playboy,” the rapper said. “That kind of stuff doesn’t reach my radar or effect anybody around me. I don’t know what a music rating from Maxim is . . . I don’t know what it even means really.” Maxim also reviewed the Black Crowes’ album, “War Paint,” without listening to it in its entirety.

Again, it’s entirely possible that the reviewer was privy to some leaked working Nas tracks, but this is getting ridiculous.**

(Hat tip — the Daily Dish)

March 4, 2008

Seth Godin lectures the music industry

Filed under: Arts, Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:48 am

Seth Godin did a presentation on the music industry for recording executives. Here’s a link to a transcript of that talk.

I’ve blogged about the recording industry, the RIAA and some solutions being bandied about, and I think Godin has some interesting things to add to the conversation.

From the transcript:

The next thing we talked about, this technology wasn’t as good as we hoped when we started. And it’s had a lot of side effects, the biggest one of course being it’s digital. And once you make it digital, all of a sudden the math changes. Because, it used to be if I gave you my record, I didn’t have my record anymore. And now, it’s if I give you my record, I still have my record. And that’s different. I’m not saying it’s better, I’m not saying it’s worse. I’m not saying it’s moral, or immoral, I’m just saying it’s different and we got to accept that. And, one of the side effects of that is that something has fundamentally shifted here. Now, I’m going to give you a little bit of a preview which is, I think the internet is the new radio. And I think we’re needing, in the record business, people in the record business are going to have to think about the fact that, that might be a really good thing, not a really bad thing. And, we’ll come back to that in a minute.

The next idea is this idea that American Top 40, Casey, I don’t even know if he is still alive but its doesn’t matter so much anymore. And the reason it doesn’t matter is because of something called the long tail. I don’t know if you’ve read this book, you should go out and read it right now, you can read it in 45 minutes. And what Chris Anderson [author of The Long Tail] pointed out is this, if I look at Netflix, what I see is that Netflix rentals, half of them are products Blockbuster doesn’t even carry. If I look at Amazon sales, half of Amazon sales are products that are unavailable in any Barnes & Noble store. If I look at the iTunes music store, half of iTunes sales are titles that you could not buy if you went into any record store. What happens when you give people an infinite number of choices in any genre, polka, doesn’t matter, they spread out. And two things occur. One, they go down the tail and start finding what’s just right for them, and two, sales go up. And so what this means is that the very structure of “how do we force as much attention as we can to the top 40” is actually the opposite of what leads to more consumption.

And then the last one, you’ve seen it before, is this idea of suing the very people you’re trying to talk to is unfortunate.

(Hat tip: Boing Boing)

February 12, 2008

Downloads and the music industry

Filed under: Arts, Business, Technology — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:20 pm

This is an interesting release about music downloading.

From the link:

A fascinating new paper from the Journal of Consumer Research investigates the seven-year war on music downloading that unfolded among corporate music executives and music downloaders. Markus Giesler (York University) uses a performance-ethnography approach, studying the music marketplace as a cultural stage on which consumers and producers interact as dramatic players to reach their conflicting goals.

As a record producer during Napster’s emergence in the late ‘90s, Giesler had first hand experience dealing with several issues: How does market evolution change price-value relationships for music” Will this fundamentally new way of music consumption herald the end of the music market” Was there a common pattern of historical transformation at work that, once revealed, could be used to better understand other instances of market evolution”

To answer these questions, he sought to identify both the fundamental cultural tensions that drive the performances of downloaders and producers on the market stage, and the dramatic plot structure that integrates the war on music downloading into a historical narrative of market evolution.

“These findings yield some novel theoretical insights for the study of market system dynamics,” Giesler says. “This study has argued for more attention to the idea that markets are staged compromises between sharing and owning.”

February 7, 2008

Mark Cuban on music

Filed under: Arts, Business, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:52 pm

Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and business iconoclast, blogs over at Blog Maverick and had two recent interesting posts about the music industry.

He’s in the movie-making business now and noticed motion picture soundtracks just don’t sell that great. In this post he posits creating value toward drawing people to the theater and moving the soundtrack by offering the soundtrack on a download basis with the purchase of the movie ticket. There’s more to the post, and Mark throws out a few extra ideas along with the soundtrack giveaway. Interesting idea and worth the read.

In the second idea, from an earlier post titled, “The Album is Dead … “, Cuban thinks about how to shake up the music industry. (more…)