im excited to say that i have an essay — a long take on Avicii’s new LP, the “Wake Me Up” music video — in the new issue of maura magazine, my first maura magazine contribution since it because available to those without smartphones. if you subscribe, read it here (and read other awesome articles from this week’s issue here). if you don’t, content yourself to gazing longingly at the above #cameraphone screenshot, and start saving pennies. maybe read this drake review i wrote for emusic.
1:29 pm • 25 September 2013
BMI, as Broadcast Music is known, will announce on Monday that it had $944 million in revenue for the year that ended in June. That is 5 percent more than it collected the year before, and a new high for the organization… BMI paid $814 million in royalties, the first time its annual distributions have exceeded $800 million. Since 2003, BMI’s revenue has increased about 50 percent.
BMI, which was founded in 1939, collected $57 million in its most recent year from digital services, which include not only Pandora and Spotify but also Hulu, Netflix and other online outlets. As recently as 2009, such services represented just 2 percent of BMI’s domestic revenue, but in its latest fiscal year they were 9 percent…
Last week, a federal judge in a case between Ascap and Pandora ruled that publishers could not keep some rights within Ascap but withhold others. That decision did not directly affect BMI. But it raised concerns that the societies — already threatened by the trend of rights withdrawal by publishers — could be in even greater danger if they are seen as standing in the way of publishers getting the highest rates they can.
11:59 am • 23 September 2013 • 1 note
five for blogging (from a boltbus in new jersey edition)
Billy Currington feat. Willie Nelson - “Hard to Be a Hippy”: I’ve now listened to the Billy Currington album three, maybe four times, and I’ve yet to come come to a conclusion regarding either how bad it is or how it manages to be so bad. “Hard to Be a Hippy,” for example, is in theory kind of interesting—picture Merle’s “Wish a Buck Was Still Silver” where the singer longs for the old days because there were more hippies—but upon actualization, completely terrible. Willie, at least, manages to mumble out a little sense:
Used to be just walking down the street would make the people stop and stare
Now all the cowboys and the preppies, the rednecks, the yuppies have long hair
In other words, it’s hard to be a hippy because everyone thinks that they’re a hippy, even Billy fucking Currington. Aforementioned conclusions might go unresolved.
[Somewhat related: Last time I did one of these, I mentioned how few female singers (one, iirc) had made the country top 20, and while it’s nice to see other people are noticing, I found the linked article pretty disappointing. The author nails the paradox—and if you’re a critic, it (namely, that female artists having so much trouble succeeding in a format targeted largely toward women) is a pretty interesting paradox—but instead of investigating it further—and there are literally dozens of people he could interview—he just kind of declaims it, toots the Kacey Musgraves horn, and clicks publish. Where art thou PPMs? This, though, is excellent.]
Pet Shop Boys - “Vocal”: "We have one more song, one that kind of sums it all up," said Neil Tennant, closing the PSB at Beacon Theater night two, and while I expected "Love is a Bourgeois Concept," "Vocal" is what we got, not the dance-iest song in their set, but certainly the most EDM. The Stuart Price/Jacques Lu Cont opening set, though, was just about all EDM, played (surreally, hilariously) to a crowd of seat 50 somethings, some of whom would pump their fists if a beat happened to drop.
Katy Perry - “Roar”: Katy Perry for Sara Bareilles fans, just as much as “Brave” is Sara Bareilles for Katy Perry fans. I wrote this before I learned that some radio stations had tried to pull a controversy from it, but here we are. I like both about equally.
Rihanna - “Diamonds”: I swear, I’ve spent the last 8 or whatever months starting Unapolgetic at “Pour It Up,” liking this song and loving “Phresh Out the Runway” but not needing to hear them again, and then on Wednesday I was walking back from a credit union where (I learned) only federal agents could deposit checks, guarding some freelancer paper and regretting the fact that, with Hogrock Nikes on my feet and gauze on my finger I looked a lot of things but “fresh as hell” wasn’t any of them, and I started the album here and nearly lost my mind. It’s amazing, the stupid things people were saying about this album—Rihanna is self-destructive, Rihanna is setting a bad example—when the first words anyone heard from it were “find light in a beautiful sea / i chose to be happy.” I felt somewhat vindicated hearing MikeQ play “Jump” last weekend—I’ve been solo jamming to that one for a while, and now that I think about it I even mentioned it in a 2012 year-end essay that was regrettably deaded. Even the Sara Bareilles songs are good.
Miley Cyrus - “We Can’t Stop”: Since around June 19, the question has been why early 20s teenpop stars need to incorporate/appropriate elements of black culture in order to break from their earlier identities, but I wonder if this is a case where the question almost precludes the answer, or at least one of them. What I mean is (deep breath) because (white) teenpop itself has heavily favored a blue-eyed/deracinated take on soul, r&b, and even hip-hop at least since Maurice Starr and NKOTB inaugurated the last quarter century of it by jacking what would eventually be called new jack swing rhythms for “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” perhaps we should think of this move less as a break from that earlier identity and more as an intensification of it. Maybe there’s a difference, maybe there isn’t.
This still doesn’t explain why this incorporation/appropriation happens, but if we wanted we could come up with theories, the most obvious being that in need of a cred boost, these stars (and the people producing them) make the mistake of associating “authenticity” with “otherness”—ironically the same mistake that many of their critics then reproduce.
Either way, one of the stranger aspects of the performance and ensuing backlash (which, I realize, no one really cares about anymore, but this bus ride is barely closer to its destination, so…) is the feeling of deja vu invoked by the But what does father think?? angle, since it repeats fairly closely one of the key plot points of Hannah Montana: The Movie. There, Billy Ray Cyrus plays a version of himself named “Robby Ray Stewart” (who at one point sings a Billy Ray Cyrus song) who eventually tires of his superstar daughter Miley Stewart (the Miley Cyrus character, who, if youre not familiar, plays music under the name Hannah Montana) worsening public behavior and reprimands her accordingly. There’s even an award show in New York involved! Summarizes wiki:
[Robby] tells [Miley] that Hannah is going out of control and Miley needs to gain perspective and remember who she truly is. Instead of leaving for the World Music Awards in New York on a private jet, the Stewarts land in Crowley Corners, Tennessee, their hometown, for Miley’s grandmother Ruby’s (Margo Martindale) birthday. Miley is angry at her father for the switch but Robby points out that this is the life she could’ve been leading if she was not famous.
9:39 pm • 22 September 2013 • 1 note
[NYPD’s Operation Crew Cut] seeks to exploit the online postings of suspected members and their digital connections to build criminal conspiracy cases against whole groups that might otherwise take years of painstaking undercover work to penetrate. Facebook, officers like to say now, is the most reliable informer…
Officers follow crew members on Twitter and Instagram, or friend them on Facebook, pretending to be young women to get around privacy settings that limit what can be seen. They listen to the lyrical taunts of local rap artists, some affiliated with crews, and watch YouTube for clues to past trouble and future conflicts. Party announcements posted to social media draw particular attention: officers scour the invitation lists, some of which explicitly include members of opposing crews, beseeching them to “leave the beef at home,” said Assistant Commissioner Kevin O’Connor, who heads a police unit focused on social media and youth gangs.
— “Frisking Tactic Yields to a Focus on Youth Gangs,” A1/A29
10:47 am • 19 September 2013