Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New way to download music?


One day while I was browsing through the internet, there was a very interesting article that caught my eye.   Now you all know, being the artist that I am, downloading and sharing music isn't the greatest thing in the world but I respect everyone else that chooses to do so.   I know that an artist doesn't make much money from album sales, but for me it's more of giving respect to the artist because of the hard work they put into the album.  When an album is produced for an artist there is a lot of work put into it and the artist has plenty that he/she wants to show their fans.   If the fans don't buy the CD, then they never get what the artist intended for them to have.  Whether it be, pictures taken, credits in the album, or even the thank you section at the end of the CD insert.   You learn a lot about artists that way.


Anyway, what I'm trying to get to is a new type of marketing that Apple and EMI are getting involved in.   Of course most of us are familiar with downloading music onto ipods and we all know the cost of the download is .99.  What Apple plans to do is created a download that would be available for .99 which will be a restricted downloading, meaning it can't be copied or shared.   They will also create a another download that will cost $1.29 which will be a restricted-free downloading and it will have a better quality sound.  This second download can obviously be downloaded and shared.  Stopping right there for a second, I'm not too sure how I feel about that.  I take that as those that want to purchase the music for themselves only and pay a cheaper price because they aren't interested in copying are being cheated by getting a sound that has a no good quality, and those that want to share music get a better quality sound.   Is this fair?  I think that it will push everyone to pay the full $1.29, which I understand is a great way to pull in money.   It's business.  But I think that it's a forceful way to do business.  Apples knows that they have a tremendous customer base and they wanted to make a little extra money so why not be the first to feed into the music piracy frenzy.   HMMM!  Not trying to say that's what the goal was but it seems a little fishy to me.  I'm not totally sure of the plans that EMI Group plans to embark on but it will probably be just as enticing.   We will see how this restriction free downloading will work in the near future. 


Right now I also know that competitors of EMI Group and Apple are not feeding into the downloading frenzy.   They actually think that Apple's customers will only be even more confused with the whole restricted downloading process, but I guess only time will tell.  Below is a little from the article I found.   Read over it.  It's really interesting.  I would also like to know your thoughts and some of your solutions on what you would do if you were a music company as a competitor of Apple or EMI Group.  


Why Online Music Will Stay Locked Up
Louis Hau, 05.03.07, 6:00 AM ET


Just because the music industry has already been hit harder by digital piracy than other entertainment businesses doesn't mean it should give up the fight to protect its content, said Michael Nash, Warner's senior vice president of digital strategy and business development, speaking at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers annual convention.

"No intellectual property business is going to cross the digital divide without figuring out how to protect its content and to ensure that transactions are associated with the acquisition of content,'' Nash said. "The music industry simply has to solve the content security problem or risk the obsolescence of its business model.''

Thomas Hesse, president of global digital business and U.S. sales for Sony BMG, quipped that, "We don't want the whole world to be a college dorm. Because that's what a no-DRM world looks like--it's a world in which all product can just be cloned without limitation."

Straddling the middle ground was Universal Music Group, which has been mulling the possibility of dropping usage restrictions, according to Amanda Marks, Universal's executive vice president and general manager of digital distribution.

"It is a step that we would not take lightly," Marks said, adding that "if further tests prove that this provides us with a net positive sales result, by which I mean sales increase more than piracy, then we will try to work out a reasonable solution."

Meanwhile Apple's online music competitors are arguing that dropping DRM could actually make buying online music even more complicated than it already is.

            Please leave your comments.  I want to know what others think about this.


Monday, April 30, 2007

Rap Language

I found this article.  I would love to know what you guys think about it.
NEW YORK, New York (AP) -- Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons said Monday that the recording and broadcast industries should consistently ban racial and sexist epithets from all so-called clean versions of rap songs and the airwaves. Currently such epithets are prohibited in most clean versions, but record companies sometimes "arbitrarily" decide which offensive words to exclude and there's no uniform standard for deleting such words, Simmons said. The recommendations drew mixed reaction and come two weeks after some began carping anew about rap lyrics after radio personality Don Imus was fired by CBS Radio and NBC for referring to the players on the Rutgers university women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos. "Expressing concern about the "growing public outrage" over the use of such words in rap lyrics, Simmons said the words "bitch," "ho" and "nigger" should be considered "extreme curse words. "We recommend (they're) always out," Simmons, the pioneering entrepreneur who made millions of dollars as he helped shape hip-hop culture, said in an interview Monday. "This is a first step. It's a clear message and a consistency that we want the industry to accept for more corporate social responsibility. "Last week, Simmons called a private meeting of influential music industry executives to discuss the issue. However, no music executives were associated with Monday's announcement by Simmons' Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. Calls to Sony Music, Universal Music Group and Atlantic Records were not returned. The Recording Industry Association of America and Warner Music Group declined to comment.

Mixed reaction to Simmons

Bakari Kitwana, who has written about rap in books such as "Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop," said it was a step in the right direction. Kitwana said there needed to be uniformity in removing obscenities from music. He pointed out that in some songs curse words are replaced with clean words while, in others, epithets and curse words are merely covered up by silence, allowing listeners to still infer from context the edited words. "It shows that people in the industry are realizing that the pendulum is swinging and that there's a national conversation that they don't want to be on the wrong side of," Kitwana said of the recommendations. "This is further along than we could have expected them to go 10 years ago. But there has to be more. I think they can do more around the question of content. "Writer Joan Morgan said the announcement amounted to "absolutely nothing." She called the recommendations "short-sighted at best and disingenuous at worst." It was, she said, an "anemic, insufficient response" that failed to address homophobia and other issues in certain strains of hip-hop culture and rap music. Morgan, author of "When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down," said calling for the removal of the three epithets assumes "all of the violence, misogyny and sexism in hip-hop is only expressed in" those words. "It's says let's take the responsibility away from people creating the content and put it back on the corporations," said Morgan. The recommendations also included forums to foster dialogue among entertainers, hip-hop fans and executives and the creation of a mentoring program for entertainers. Another recommendation called for the establishment of a coalition of music, radio and television executives to advise those industries on "lyrical and visual standards. "The announcement cautioned against violating free-speech rights but said that freedom of expression comes with responsibility. "Our discussions are about the corporate social responsibility of the industry to voluntarily show respect to African-Americans and other people of color, African-American women and to all women in lyrics and images," read a joint statement from Simmons and Benjamin Chavis, the network's executive director.

My Thoughts

I think that this is a pretty interesting article and move that Russell Simmons is trying to make.  Will it work?   I'm not too sure.  Although, in the beginning rap didn't contain the derogatory language that is used now, I think that the foul language is just a way to express yourself.   Now as far as the name calling goes, I know that I don't take offense to it cause I don't consider my self a bitch, ho, or a nigger.  And in no way do I present myself as either of those names.   So in essence, I don't take offense to it.    I'm not sure how others feel but just let me know.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What Happened to Rythym and Blues?

As I was listening to the radio the other day, as I always do, I began to wonder why the radio didn't sound the way it used to sound.   My meaning of that is, where is all of the R&B music.  Now, I know that there is a much younger crowd listening to the radio and nowadays you have to cater to the taste of the mainstream crowd, but wow, I'm really missing the easy going songs that don't have rap in them.   It seems that the songs that are out now, even the slow ones, contain some kind of rap in it.  Sometimes I just want to hear someone singing without someone jumping in during the middle of the song rapping on something that doesn't have anything to do with the song.


I remember back in the day when R&B was the main music on the radio station.   You could turn the radio on and hear about 5 or 6 songs, with only people singing.  No small verse for a rap or a rap in the beginning to bring in the song.   Just pure singing. 


There is one song that I always laugh at when I think about how rap has to be incorporated into every song.   I must say that I  like the song when it came out and I still do to a certain extent, but the Lovers and Friends with Usher, Lil John and Ludacris.   It's cute but it's still hilarious.  I will say that it brought out the softer side of rap, but the song still could have been a hit without the rap.   Oh yeah, and that other song, Buddy, byt Musiq.  OK.  The whole rap in the beginning of the song I don't even listen to.   I think it's a whole bunch of irrelevant "stuff" that I have to listen to because the regular song isn't long enough to play on the radio.  Yep.   That's right.  A space filler.  It's ok on some songs but, like I said before, let's only do a few songs like that and get back to our R&B roots.   Let's start singing about love and life situations without talking about "I got bling bling this and I got bling bling that."  Actually, sometimes I like to be able to relax when I listen to the radio and not have to always listen to Foxy in order to do it.  


So anyway, let's see if we can support artists and their R&B endeavors.   Rap is cool but only to a certain degree.  In a few years, if we keep moving at this rate, the only thing on the radio will be rap, and we won't have any singing at all.  Shoot.  Singing just might get looked over as a talent.  Let's bring R&B back and support those artists.   I don't know about you but I'm tired of people yelling in my ears.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Who Needs to Judge?

For about the first three seasons I watched American Idol. But as time went by I began to be very disappointed in the show. As soon as the third season ended, I decided that I would never watch the show again. Why? I believe America has a corrupt view of what a singer really is. Hence, Jennifer, Paris, and some others.

I take a look at different competition shows like ?The Next Nashville Star, America?s Next Top Model, So You Think You can Dance?? and when they hold auditions for those shows, they aren?t letting just anyone through in order to get ratings for the show. They are basing their decisions on true talent. American Idol has taken the cake on allowing non-talented competitors into the competition and giving them the opportunity to audition in front of Paula, Randy, and Simon. One thing that a lot of people don?t know is that there is a series of auditions you go through before getting to the three and all of those people that you see auditioning in front of them have gotten through those rounds. There are so many talented people out there that don?t make it through so no one really knows that there are some out there with true talent.

I can remember the one year I tried out. Now I am not the one to brag about my singing talent but I am very confident in what I do. I tried out in D.C at the convention center, which I believe that there are a lot of talented people in the D.C. area. All I have to say is that there were a lot of talented, pissed off people leaving and expressing their concern when they were sent home because, ?We raised the bar this year and you don?t qualify?, was the only explanation they received.

Another issue I have with American Idol is the fact that they allow America to vote on who stays and who goes home. Problem, problem, problem. Are you serious? Obviously over half of the Americans out there can?t sing. So why would you allow them to vote on something that they know nothing about. I mean, come on. That?s just like a restaurant owner trying to tell a cardiologist how to do his job. If you know nothing about the profession, then don?t attempt to tell someone they aren?t capable of handling the job they have been trained to do. OK, yeah I will let up a little with the singing because you know if someone sounds like a squealing cat or not. It?s just that my main concern is allowing someone that sounds like a squealing cat get by.

In all, I really don?t watch the show anymore, unless I have nothing else better to do. And usually, I have something else better to do. And in essence, if you enjoy the show, think real hard on your reasons why. I?m pretty sure they aren?t because of all the great talent you experience every time it airs.

Sprint PCS Mail

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

What Talent?

What Talent?

Yeah. I know it's been a while since I've written. I've got to get on the ball. As I was thinking about what I would write about this time around, my mind began to wonder to the infamous topic of, where has rap music gone? In my opinion, back in the day rap music was full of lyrics that meant something and had an actual message. I tried to sit back and listen to the radio one day to see if I could find out if the rap from these days included a message. But as I was listening I couldn't help but laugh at the lyrics. They didn't make any sense. I heard lyrics like,

"This is why I'm hot

this is why I'm hot

this is why, this is why

This is why I'm hot.

I'm hot cause I'm fly

You ain't cause you not.

This is why, this is why,

This is why I'm hot."

OK. But I am so sorry, but that is just ridiculous. I have never in my life. Your only argument in telling someone that they are not hot is just because they aren't. That's just bull. And what's that other song talking about a two step. We don't need a song to tell us how to do the two step, how to lean back, or whatever else we naturally do. People are just making money off of silly lyrics and cool beats. I think we should take away some of he cool beats and see what some of these people have to offer. I say that if you can't freestyle without music and can't make about an interesting topic, then you have a problem. I'm not trying to call anybody out, but if you decide to take it personally, then that is your fault. All I am saying is that if you feel that you are in the category of people that need to work on their skills, don't argue about it. Just go out and rehearse as much as you need to in order to perfect your talent. I know that singers go through a lot of that. That's why, being a singer, I make sure that if someone asked me to write a song, sing acapella or whatever, I can do it. Without a problem.

And to all of the artists out there, keep on pushing. Someone is bound to recognize the raw talent out there. There really are very few of us out there.