In my now part-time day job as a professor at Birmingham City University, I wrote an article on the research centre’s blog, in which I referred to a new field of research that I’m helping develop. It bridges computer science, cultural studies, media theory, musicology, medicine, psychology, sociology and more. That probably takes a little explaining. Interdisciplinarity is not, in itself, a field of research.
Entries in technology (9)
While on the road, musicians appreciate tech that’s easy to carry around, while full of functionality. A tablet is of the utmost importance for file sharing performances with friends and family. With the right apps, it can be used for developing compositions and jotting down ideas as well. A traveling tablet should have at least one organizational app to help keep things straight. Traveling typically leads to great observations, ideas and encounters, and with today’s technology, they can be recorded and shared with those far away.
There are many tablet apps available to help a musician compose. The following each have their own strengths and specialties and come highly recommended:
Rock and roll embodied more than a genre or a lifestyle. It was a religion. One fervently practiced by those involved in the spectacle. Worshippers sought salvation from their ordinary lives and wanted to be a part of something bigger than themselves – a musical nirvana. Throughout the twentieth century, rock and roll evolved into a social movement; it broke down economic, racial, sexual, and social barriers. The raw immediacy of the music struck a chord with the dissonance sweeping the country. Rock and roll embraced new and different musicians who were unwilling to conform to prior musical standards.
The sixties and seventies ushered in the golden years of rock and roll. A time when The Beatles and The Rolling Stones set the groundwork for what defined rock and roll as not only a genre but also a lifestyle. The bigger than life reputations and music spawned an entire new class of musicians. Record companies were quick to capitalize on the new phenomenon. They spent lots of money to perpetuate the myth of rock and roll to the collective masses.
In response to the ASCAP/HITLAB announcement that basically endorses the use of algorithms to analyze the hit potential of songs, I thought I would weigh in on the subject.
Proceed with caution…
As someone that spent the better part of a year evaluating similar algorithms, technology, services, business models and patents connected to acoustic analysis and hit potential measurement, I can tell you that you should proceed with caution when making a purchase or career decision that involves the utilization of services that sell computer-based, hit-analysis technology.
It’s fascinating technology, however…
Generally speaking, the technology is reasonably accurate (my experience: 80% accurate, and often close enough to my expectations) when it comes to plotting a song relative to a cluster of preexisting hits and then rolling the plots into a meaningful score. However a high score doesn’t mean you have a hit on your hands, or that “hits” even matter anymore. Read on…
Here are some pros and cons to consider when evaluating services that use computers and algorithms to evaluate music:
Computer-based hit analyzing technology - the pros…
Targeting. If detailed reporting is offered, this technology should show you how close your song is to clusters of previously recorded hits. This information is useful for targeting listeners of similar sounding hit songs.
I remember as a kid in the late 1970s that where I lived there were three television stations & no cable or VCRs or home video games. My oldest brother is seven years older than me & the big thing with him & his friends was coming over to the house & playing whatever new vinyl record loud enough to rattle the paneling on the wall. It was a social event. New albums & a decent stereo were the center of the social world & what made you the coolest kid in school & my family’s house was a center for cool. Every new Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, or Kiss release meant a week of non-stop rocking.
A couple of years later my other brother hit high school, the center of things in teenage social events had shifted from music to a couple of things; the Atari gaming system & the VCR. This time around our family wasn’t at the center of a social circle & my brother spent most afternoons at some other family’s house. Until my dad broke down & got us the Atari & VCR so that thirty years later I can still close my eyes & pretend I’m playing Yars’ Revenge & still have dreams inspired by watching Dawn of the Dead when I was eight.
Lou Reed is an iconic rock star who’s bands and music changed the face of rock music decades ago - as Brian Eno said about The Velvet Underground.. “although few people bought the album, most of those who did were inspired to form their own band.” And it’s not because I begrudge Lou the chance to cash in on his brand by selling an iPhone app. No, it’s because the app is not a creative move for Reed, it doesn’t add a jot to his pantheon of work.
I recently had the chance to interview acclaimed musician, Zoë Keating. Zoë has been called a “one-woman orchestra,” layering her cello into unique and captivating works. She has worked with Imogen Heap, Mark Isham, The Dresden Dolls, Rasputina, DJ Shadow, and Paolo Nutini. Her self-produced album “One Cello x 16: Natoma” soared to #1 on the iTunes Classical charts and #2 on the Electronica charts. Continue reading to get a glimpse into the mind of one of today’s musical greats.
In part ii of my 1,000 true fans series I chose to interview my friend Matthew Ebel. I have known Matthew for a few years because he runs in the same geeky podcasting circles that I proudly run in. Matthew is the type of artist I refer to in my book as a “Builder” meaning Matthew is constantly pushing his career forward using not only musical innovation but also technology.
What I find most striking about this interview is the fact that Matthew makes 26.3% of his net income from just 40 hard- core fans.
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(Updated July 8, 2015)