Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Leaking music

Leaky labels (from NPR)

Change in marketing strategy for music. Free? Really? Maybe it was intentional. It probably was.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Music and Technology

Article in the Economist

Has some interesting implications about making music without necessarily having the years of skill building and technological prowess.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Digital Mixtape: The Savior of Rap

For quite some time, darkness fell over the rap world. Quality seemed lacking. Piracy plagued profitability. New talent rarely achieved a title greater than "one hit wonder". I mean, the industry was so desperate that they turned to Nick Cannon for a hit song... dark times, indeed. But as the smoke began to clear from the rubble file sharing had created, a hero emerged from the ashes: the digital mixtape.
We all know mixtapes are nothing new to rap; but combining them with the exposure and accessibility of the Internet was the radioactive spider bite needed to create the hero rap had been waiting for.
Though the business side of the industry is still trying to figure itself out, the digital mixtape has saved rap with Economics 101: greater competition yields greater products. The digital mixtape has opened up competition by leveling the playing field for all amateurs while simultaneously forcing professionals to produce more music and keep their skills fresh.
The fight to remain relevant has never been a harder battle; however, this struggle is what’s causing artists to advance their game at a rate never known before. Recently "rehabilitated" artist, Lil' Wayne, is a testament to this new system in place. Wayne's mixtapes won him respect as a solo artist making the release of a solo album inevitable. However, the pressure to maintain short-attention-spanned fans between albums kept him in the studio night after night in order to keep up with the demand for more mixtape material all the while setting aside the best songs for his albums. After a few years of this process, Wayne’s skills on the mic had evolved in such a way that he was able to create an album that many claim resurrected rap: Tha Carter III.
Cue the young child on the side walk- "Thank you, Digital Mixtape! You saved us!” (Or rap, anyway).
Rap amateurs are no longer competing with the best in their area to become worthy of a label. Up-and-comers now need to produce content of higher quality than ever to separate themselves from every other kid with a couple tracks on his MySpace page. This process is breeding the best to be stars and, hopefully, will end the creation of Nick Cannon-esk one hit wonders. The success of Drake is proof that the Internet insures a rookie can have overnight success if they have skills worthy of the fame. With just three digital mixtapes to his name, Drake secured his spot in rap history. This is a feat that, until now, no artist or fan would’ve ever believed possible. As a result, the significance of mixtapes for amateur rappers has changed forever.
All that said, I plan on using this forum to review mixtapes, discuss the digitally enhanced Darwinism occurring in rap today and track the evolution of the modern day rap artist .

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Taylor Swift - another instance of new vs. traditional media

NPR wrote about Taylor Swift's album, Speak Now, which came out this week. Another interesting example of new vs. traditional media. Not sure it tells us anything new, but what is really interesting to me is how the commenters in this article do some Taylor Swift bashing and bemoaning of the downhill trend of culture (at least at the time of this posting) if Taylor Swift is the beacon of light for the recording industry.

The article states that the traditional distribution apparatus of the recording industry still dominates ("59%. That's the proportion of Swift's sales that came from "mass merchandise" outlets like Wal-Mart and Target.") At the end of the day, though, sales are still dropping. What the article doesn't really address is why. Is it piracy? Or is it because things are moving toward the cloud and streaming (which is a topic that comes up again and again for PMP)?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Something Fresh From '96!

Raymond Roker made this awesome mix tape - back when tapes were really tapes - Nothing Really Matters, inspired by artists from Queen to the Fugees. As the label notes, "Executed Ten Stories High Dec. 96 in Lost Angels." Interview and streaming/downloadable A & B sides courtesy of Hit it.

A Brief History of Raymond Roker and URB

Monday, March 8, 2010


Read Josh Kun's unsettling article on narcocorridos in this March 5th New York Times article. These hugely popular Mexican songs -- which celebrate drug trafficking and its brutal violence -- provide a lucrative, if uneasy, living for the singers and bands who perform them. Then check out the video for "El Más Bravo de los Bravos" ("The Most Vicious of the Vicious"):

Sunday, March 7, 2010

UNDER THE COVERS: I Think It's Going to Rain Today

UNDER THE COVERS is a series of quick posts featuring various versions of the same song. No time for comments. Just listen!