Old School Music For Today

Without a doubt, the music industry is changing rapidly, live streaming music, videos, mp3 download capabilities, radio air play, blog publications, podcast and even vinyl is back. Who knows; will cassette tapes and eight track tapes resurface again? The key to all of this is having a sound that moves you. As many recording artist today, sample other artist of yester-year, there are still a few old school originators who still got the funk; groove and music that truly touches the soul. Today’s music needs to have a sound that will paint a beautiful picture and set an atmosphere of love, hope, and good times.

Not too many recording artist has what it takes to get a sound from yesterday and to make it today’s groove to get you bobbing your head and patting your feet to the beat. Music is something you need to feel that resonates in your soul to move you to want to respond with a smile, a dance, a time to reflect on the good times and even times that were not so good. It is something that frees you up and allows you a time to unwind after a long days work.

Funky guitar rhythms’, followed by electric lead guitar solos, bouncing bass lines, smooth piano melodies, synthesizer keyboards, horny-horn arrangements and drums all contribute to a sound that is danceable. Then when you add modern-day voice-box, also called talk-box, whether done on the keyboard or guitar, as long as what’s being said is clear and understandable, along with a good beat; then this type of sound is accepted by most music lovers around the world.

“Let Me Play It” is a demonstration of a former funk master who inspired Varges Thomas and a host of many other musicians’ who continues to carry the torch. This is the sound that the late Roger Troutman left with the world. Varges spent numerous hours with one of the world’s best musician who shared some of his tricks and tips with producing records. Undoubtedly noticeable, “let me play it” has all the evidence of a student taught well by his mentor.

As you listen to this old school music with today’s sound; the results are remarkable. Take time to unwind, listen to a groove that will move you to the dance floor and have a bounce in your steps. Whether on the dance floor, at home, the clubs, while riding in your car, or any other place you may be; the rhythm and beat of the funk is here to stay.

Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music Review

I just recently finished reading the book, Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music. I’m kind of mad at myself for waiting so long to read it. It’s been in the “to read” pile for a long time and I just got around to reading it. It’s a fantastic look at the evolution of music over the past 20 years or so. From the rise of indie bands like Death Cab for Cutie and Bright Eyes, to Prince’s record label, to mp3’s and the “pay what you want” model introduced by Radiohead and NineInch Nail’s Trent Reznor.

I can’t honestly say that I remember much about my 7th grade history class. I couldn’t even tell you my teacher’s name, let alone what we “learned” that year. The one thing that I do remember is that there was a banner hanging above the chalk board. It read, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

If you are going to be a musician today, then you need to understand how the music industry has changed so that you can try to figure out where it’s headed. Sure it’s great to know about the writers in Tin Pan Alley from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s; it’s important to understand radio’s role in the emergence of popular music and how payola controlled that; it’s important to know that the first video ever aired on MTV was The Buggle’s “Video Killed The Radio Star” (seriously think about that for a minute).

In the last 20 years, the music industry has changed more than it has in nearly its entire existence. Or, certainly in this century. The current music industry that we operate in is still changing at a rapid pace. There’s speculation on the extinction of CD’s within 2-3 years, there’s been a major resurgence in vinyl (who saw that coming?!), the major record labels as we knew them may cease to exist within 5 years, mp3’s and file sharing are now a good thing and a major source of world-wide distribution (what?!).

Greg Kott’s “Ripped” is one of the most fascinating books on current music history I’ve ever read. He jumps right in with the first chapter about the major consolidation that all of the big 5 (at that time there were 5 major record labels, as opposed to the 2 1/2 there are now). This was a huge shift in the record industry at the time. It scared a lot of artists and put a lot of people out of work.

Greg does a great job in detailing the consolidation of the majors, the rise of indie bands, the fight against and for sampling on hip-hip records and new mashup records and artists, Prince’s record label and his do-it-yourself approach, the rise of mp3’s and the fall of Napster and the “pay what you want” model that Radiohead started with “In Rainbows,” that Trent Renzor “improved” upon.

I don’t want to give too much away, because I want you to be able to enjoy this book. It isan enjoyable book. It discusses in detail the many things that have happened over the past two decades that have changed the face of the music industry dramatically.

You can read each chapter as a vignette about each band or person or aspect of the industry. But when taken as a whole, “Ripped” reads more like a cautionary tale with a hopeful ending.

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Top 5 Myths About The Music Business

If you are involved in the entertainment business then you’ve probably heard a few tall tales. The following is a list of some of the top myths about the music business.

1. People in the music business will help you out of the kindness of their hearts.

Facts:

The music business is called the music business for a reason. It is a business that just so happens to sell music. Businesses are in business to make money. They are not in business to make ART, however they will sell it. You may find a handful of good Samaritans willing to help for free but generally speaking if helping does not benefit the other party, they won’t help.

“People (not counting loved ones) will help you if they think your art will make them money. They will not help you if they think your art will not make them money.” -David Naggar, Esq. from¬† The Music Business Explained In Plain English-

2. Since the economic decline people aren’t buying music anymore

Facts:

People are buying music, but they aren’t buying it in the same way they used to. Sales of CDs may be down but the sale of single tracks is up! If you are still an unbeliever just check iTunes sales records. Reportedly, Apple has sold 10 billion and counting!

3. Music superstars have and are making tons of money.

This is one of the biggest myths in the entertainment business. When you see a Sean Kingston or Lady Gaga on television you may think that they are living the good life, but really the amount of money he/she brings home is really dependent on the terms of their contractual obligations as well as their money management skills. Simply put, if you spend more than you make you are bound to go broke sooner or later.

Need examples:

MC Hammer

Marvin Gaye

Michael Jackson

Willie Nelson

Toni Braxton

Billy Joel

George Clinton

Isaac Hayes

Jerry Lee Lewis

Ron Isley

Need anymore? The list goes on.

The fact of the matter is that all of these artists have seen the highs and lows of the music business. Micheal Jackson, the “King of Pop”, even had his money woes. No “superstar” is exempt. Good money management skills are needed in order to maintain a “superstar” lifestyle.

4. You can become an overnight celebrity in the music business.

This is one of the most common myths about the music business. People believe that you can sign a record deal and then all of sudden you are magically on magazine covers and receiving Grammy awards. All of this talk is nonsense. At the end of the day it takes a decent amount of leg work, dedication, passion, perseverance, and strong networking relationships to achieve “success” in the music business. NO ONE HAS BECOME SUCCESSFUL OVERNIGHT however, some people have achieved their goals faster than others. Artists such as Wiz Khalifa, Kanye West, and Eminem spent years building their reputation and brands to become the people they are today. This is why working smarter and not harder is essential in the music business.

5. Talent Trumps Work Ethic

In today’s music business, talent still counts but work ethic counts for more. An extraordinarily talented person with average work ethic will generally not do as well as someone with extraordinary work ethic and average talent.

A strong work ethic, more often than not, means that you can be consistent which is of the utmost importance in the music business.

Why?

One word. Marketing. Being able to consistently deliver high quality to the consumer is paramount.  This is where work ethic trumps talent. A person that is able to consistently deliver a satisfactory product to the consumer is, in the words of Charlie Sheen, WINNING! Because of our increasingly shortened attention spans, having someone or something consistently in our faces helps in branding the product, service, or person. Ultimately, this results in people getting paid!