New Book Notes category
Posted by Glinda on November 5, 2015
I am adding a new category here on the blog.
Anyone who knows me is aware that I am an avid reader, particularly of e-books.
It seems like there has been an explosion in the number of musical biographies and memoirs that are available. From books like Patty Smith’s Just Kids or Keith Richard’s Gus and Me, we are seeing a plethora of really interesting works by artists. Since I have been buying and reading quite a few of them, I’d like to talk about some of those books in a new Book Notes category.
More to follow on the subject soon!
Skafish has a new BandCamp store
Posted by Glinda on July 20, 2015
We have great news for Skafish fans!
We are excited to announce that we have created a store on Bandcamp to sell ALL of the 829 and La Befana Records releases online. You can now buy digital downloads, CDs, collectible and autographed items directly from us. We also have other collectibles that we will be adding to the store soon.
Current collectible items include:
- Autographed CDs
- Special promotional CDs
- Autographed limited edition posters
- Autographed limited edition download cards
We chose Bandcamp because they have some great features. They are an artist friendly site and, although you are shopping through their storefront, you are purchasing DIRECTLY from us.
Bandcamp also has a feature to allow fans to pay more than the asking price in order to show their support for their favorite artists.
Bandcamp offers lossless formats for streaming as well as optional high-quality downloads. There is a free Bandcamp app for Android, iOS and Sonos for unlimited streaming access to your purchases.
Check out the new store at http://skafish.bandcamp.com
To all the Skafish fans: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT! We couldn’t move forward without you. 🙂
Profiling by music: Are rap lyrics a confession?
Posted by Glinda on November 9, 2014
This December, the Supreme Court is going to be considering Elonis v. United States, an online threat case where the accused claimed that the rants he posted on his FaceBook page were free speech and rap lyrics, not threats. The words were perceived to be threats against the man’s co-workers, law enforcement and the man’s estranged wife.
In this age where internet trolls, fueled by anonymity and internet bravado, post anything they want, a Supreme Court ruling could have serious implications for free speech. In the opinion of Elonis’s attorney, John P. Elwood:
[T]he case presents an opportunity for the court to reconsider its traditional jurisprudence about how to gauge the seriousness of a threat in the modern age.
“Communication online by email and social media has become commonplace, even as the norms and expectations for such communication remain unsettled,” the petition said. “The inherently impersonal nature of online communication makes such messages inherently susceptible to misinterpretation.”
Yet, according to an article by Brendan O’Connor in Noisey, there is more at stake here than just what we are allowed to post on Facebook. He is concerned about the effect of the ruling on “the relationship between the criminal justice system and hip-hop music.”
While the adversarial relationship between rappers and the law is fairly common knowledge, I had no idea until reading O’Connor’s article that rap lyrics played such a prominent role in criminal prosecutions:
Rap lyrics were entered as evidence as early as 1994, when prosecutors in California used Francisco Calderon Mora’s lyrics to establish his membership in the Southside F Troop street gang, vying for a sentencing enhancement. “Regardless of whether these lyrics were written before or after the killing, they were adequately authenticated as the work of Mora. As such, they demonstrated his membership in Southside, his loyalty to it, his familiarity with gang culture, and, inferentially, his motive and intent on the day of the killing,” Judge William Bedsworth wrote in the appellate court’s 1994 decision upholding the admissibility of Mora’s lyrics. “Nothing makes these rap lyrics inherently unreliable—at least no more unreliable than rap lyrics in general.” Bedsworth’s decision set the legal precedent for interpreting rap lyrics as non-fiction, rather than as a more metafictional, hybrid form. It is a decision that plays upon deep, racist biases—an inability to recognize a difference between the rapper as an artist and the rapper as a human being—and that re-inscribes those biases into the very text of our judicial system.
For prosecutors and jurors, rap lyrics have a particular sense of veracity that lyrics from other genres of music simply do not. In 1996, social psychologist Carrie Fried presented ordinary people (i.e., potential jurors) with lyrics from the Kingston Trio’s “Bad Man’s Blunder,” a 1960s folk song about a man who kills a police officer. To a third of her subjects, Fried attributed the lyrics to the Kingston Trio; to another third, she attributed the lyrics to a country singer; to the final third, she attributed them to a rapper. “When a violent lyrical passage is represented as a rap song, or associated with a Black singer, subjects find the lyrics objectionable, worry about the consequences of such lyrics, and support some form of government regulation,” Fried wrote. “If the same lyrical passage is presented as country or folk music, or is associated with a White artist, reactions to the lyrics are significantly less critical on all dimensions.” In 1999, Stuart Fischoff, another psychologist, found that not only were potential jurors inclined to believe that rap lyrics were intended to be interpreted as facts but that “authoring ‘gangsta rap’ lyrics vies with being charged with murder in terms of the impact of central trait properties in the person perception process.” That is to say, gangster rap was more offensive to potential jurors’ sensibilities than someone being charged with murder.
The article covers a lot more about the prejudice against rap in the legal system and I highly recommend reading the complete piece. It is pretty chilling and clearly shows that the issue goes deeper than just Elonis’ case. At the heart of this issue is how intent is perceived in an online context and whether this is a case of profiling by music.
From an artistic perspective, there are many reasons why someone might write a particular kind of lyrics. Those reasons vary from venting and self-expression to satire and parody. Sometimes artists write to call attention to a particular situation or a cause. To presume a particular intent because of the style of the expression or the race or ethnicity of of the performer is troublesome from a civil liberties perspective, to say the least. There is a strong historical connection between music and free speech, one that is vital for musicians to protect and stand up for.
Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “A novel is a confession to everything by a man who has done nothing.” We’ll see if that applies to rap songs as well…. I may never be able to view Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” in the same way again.
Image via Morguefile: http://mrg.bz/8XFq1J
Every Musical Guest from the Simpsons… in order
Posted by Glinda on August 27, 2014
Okay, admit it. We have all watched them, despite occasional rumors to the contrary. The Simpsons is the longest running sitcom in television history and a list of the pop culture reference based on the show would probably be a very long list. Can you say “Meh?”
The list of guest stars on the show reads like a Hollywood who’s who. They have also had a talented array of musical guests that also reads like a celebrity A-list (including the group Fall Out Boy which took its name from an episode of the show). To celebrate FXX’s 522 episode Simpson Marathon, Billboard Magazine has put together a list of every music guest from the Simpson show, in chronological order. It is a pretty amazing list that includes Johnny Cash, Lady Gaga, the B-52s and so many more.
It is a lovely bit of music trivia and worth checking out. 🙂
Image from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Simpsons#mediaviewer/File:Simpsons_FamilyPicture.png
Soundcloud: Read the fine print
Posted by Glinda on August 19, 2014
There is an interesting article on Hypebot that anyone who is using Soundcloud REALLY, REALLY needs to read. Most of us just roll our eyes and click accept when presented with the pages long Terms and Conditions (TOS) for a site we want to use. But when you are uploading and sharing your music, you need to be extra careful. That’s the digital equivalent of a contract you are signing when you click accept.
According to the article, the royalty-free license you are giving Soundcloud also covers publishing and third-party uploads. You might find that you are giving away a lot more rights than you bargained for.
Link to the original article at Hypebot.
PS: You can follow Skafish on Soundcloud here.
The Daily Spin: Industry News for 8-15-14
Posted by Glinda on August 15, 2014
Spotify begins rollout of expansion to Canada (Billboard) – Select potential Canadian users are getting invites to the new service.
91% of Music Fans Sample a Song on YouTube Before Buying It… (Digital Music News) – And this is why you have to have a video to sell a record…
26% Of All Potential Album Sales Happen BEFORE the Release Date… (Digital Music News) – Now, compare this to yesterday’s piece on a universal street date for albums.
How The iPhone 6 May Be The Start Of Apple’s ‘Back To Music’ Strategy (Music Industry Blog) – An interesting look at Apple’s future role in the music industry.
Availability (Lefsetz Letter) – There are so many areas where today’s book business intersects with the music industry. As always, Lefsetz call it like he sees it.
10 Biggest Album Release Flops Of 2014 (Hypebot) – Even TV music contest winners are not exempt here….
$5 digital albums for sale (Amazon) There’s some fun stuff here: a little something for everyone with albums from Sinatra to the Supremes to the Smashing Pumpkins for only $5.
🙂 This are the links and stories that caught my eye today….
Should we have a standard, global release day for music?
Posted by Glinda on August 14, 2014
There’s an interesting piece in Billboard that says that the recording industry is considering Friday as a worldwide release day for albums. Currently, Australia releases on Friday and the UK street date is Monday. In the US, albums, software, books and home video are all released on Tuesday.
The reason for the consolidation? Combating global piracy, of course. 🙂
According to Billboard, not everyone agrees with the idea of a Friday street date:
While sources say that digital music service providers like the Friday street date, not all physical merchants have given the change their blessing; some indie labels and indie merchants are opposed to having the global street date on Friday. They say they like the concept of having street dates early in the week because they feel it helps sell more CDs — devout customers of an artist will come in on Tuesday while others will come in on payday, which is usually at the end of the week. Yet, in the end, brick-and-mortar stores and indie labels may not have much say in picking which day of the week functions as the global street date.
If adopted, the new street date would probably begin in 2015.
While I am not sure about the plan that the labels are proposing, it is encouraging to see things moving in a more universal direction. We live in a global economy now, and it would be nice to see new releases available to all fans at the same time, no matter where they are in the world. What do you think?
Image via Morguefile: http://mrg.bz/U7RnGi
Your car is a music pirate
Posted by Glinda on July 30, 2014
Watch out! The major labels are coming after your cars for copyright infringement! Well, they are if you have one of the new Fords or General Motors cars that rip CDs onto an internal hard drive.
The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (AARC) has filed a class action lawsuit demanding millions of dollars.
According to Torrent Freak:
TorrentFreak obtained a copy of the complaint (pdf) which states that Ford’s “Jukebox” device and General Motor’s “Hard Drive Device” allow consumers to rip CDs onto an internal hard drive. According to the music group these devices fall under the Audio Home Recording Act and the car companies are therefore required to pay royalties.
Thus far, neither Ford nor General Motors has complied with any requirements of the Act. Both companies have sold cars with these devices for several years on a variety of models including the Lincoln MKS, Ford Taurus, Ford Explorer, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Volt, and GMC Terrain.
In addition to the two car companies, the lawsuit also targets their technology partners Denso and Clarion. Commenting on the dispute the AARC notes that a class action lawsuit was unavoidable.
[Link to the rest at Torrent Freak]
What’s next? Grounding the cars for bad behavior? What do you think?
(Classic car radio image via Morguefile: http://mrg.bz/kgvNWI )