Can’t remember the last time I watched a music video and instantly had to replay it once it was over. You’ve probably seen this by now, but if you haven’t, correct that immediately!
New Beck song! ‘Nuff said, right?
So, this is fun: a hearing test to see how old your ears are. Make sure you listen with headphones, and bump up the quality to 1080p. Otherwise, you’ll mistake YouTube’s standard compression for your ears being 50 years old. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything…
Breaking Bad re-imagined as a middle school musical.
New music from TV on the Radio.
Paul Thomas Anderson directs Fiona Apple in the video for her song “Hot Knife.” Great stuff.
The AV Club has the video for “Walk Us Uptown,” the first cut from the forthcoming Wise Up Ghost album. I’m pretty excited for it: the record is a collaboration between Elvis Costello and The Roots.
Sasha Frere-Jones writes about streaming music and its effect on new music / young musicians for The New Yorker:
The issue beneath all the complaints about micropayments is fundamental: What are recordings now? Are they an artistic expression that musicians cannot be compensated for but will create simply out of need? Are they promotional tools? What seems clear is that streaming arrangements, like those made with Spotify, are institutionalizing a marginal role for the recordings that were once major income streams for working musicians—which may explain the artist Damon Krukowski’s opinion that music should simply be given away, circumventing this entire system.
The piece was born out of Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich’s recent announcement that they pulled their music off Spotify. But it also explores Krukowski’s argument mentioned above — namely, that music should be given away if only to strip corporations of their ability to profit from it.
I should probably write an update to this post, as my current music streaming service of choice is no service at all. I came to the realization that the musicians in this piece do: if I’m going to pay money for music, why pay it to parties not involved in the actual creation of it? A typical Spotify user who listens to streamed music in his or her car is paying money for (1) the smartphone, (2) the smartphone’s data, (3) the Spotify service, and (4) the ability to use that service on their phone. The artists get pennies despite all of the money changing hands.
Krukowski’s extreme solution actually makes a lot of sense to me. If I were to track how much money I’ve spent on music in my entire life, the peak would come in my early 20s — during and immediately after college, when free music (at least in my life) was at its peak. Why? Well, I wanted to own music I loved. I wanted to see good music live. And sometimes I’d even buy some ancillary product — like a print, or a shirt — because I had such a good time, or loved the way it looked.
As unlikely as it sounds, I think free music would generate more music business — at least the type of business that is likely to benefit the musicians themselves.
Ian Cohen review Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail for Pitchfork:
Jay-Z rapping about the incomprehensible awesomeness of his life is nothing new, and the corporate synergy is hardly a novelty: The Black Album doubled as a retirement party, Kingdom Come was launched by a Budweiser commercial, American Gangster coincided with a Hollywood blockbuster of the same name, and, in hindsight, Blueprint 3 was made with full knowledge that Jay-Z would be Coachella’s first hip-hop headliner. He’s a businessman and a business, man. After all, while Samsung shelled out seven figures for exclusive access to the Jay-Z brand, Shawn Carter was the guy signing the contract and cashing the check. But the best of those joint ventures seemed determined to reach a new audience and create a connection. The weirdly distant and safe Magna Carta Holy Grail abides by the tried and true business principle that the customer is always right: you just have to remember who the customer is here.
At The Talkhouse, Lou Reed writes about Yeezus:
And it works. It works because it’s beautiful — you either like it or you don’t — there’s no reason why it’s beautiful. I don’t know any musician who sits down and thinks about this. He feels it, and either it moves you too, or it doesn’t, and that’s that. You can analyze it all you want.