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Music Industry RoundUp – April 12th, 2012

 

CrazyEye Music Services - Music Industry RoundUp

ARTIST EDITION

 

Finding the right manager

By, Bobby Borg

Peter Grant

Peter Grant

In the classic concert film The Song Remains the Same, there’s a famous scene where Led Zeppelin’s manager Peter Grant, a 270-pound former wrestler from East London, is backstage screaming at one of the promoters at Madison Square Garden. Needless to say, the promoter is backed in a corner and shaking in his boots! Many artists may think that an intimidating personal manager is exactly what they need. But…
Jeffrey Jampol, current manager of The Doors says, “The days of the Peter Grants in this business are over.” People in the music industry prefer to do business with nice guys. A manager must be able to nurture and maintain numerous relationships, while at the same time standing firm, being sensible, and demonstrating a strong knowledge of the business. (It’s a fine balance between ticking people off and not being a push-over.) If a manager walks into the record label and starts pounding desks, insisting that things get done his way, HE’S BOUND TO GET ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE!

So what are the most important qualities to look for in a manager? In addition to being powerful, well-connected, a good negotiator, enthusiastic, committed, and accessible, a good manager should be one who overall inspires your TRUST AND RESPECT.

This is from "Choosing the Right Manager" over at nimbit.com.

Bobby Borg is the author of “The Musician's Handbook: A Practical Guide to Understanding the Music Business” which is available now in a store near you.

 

Vocal Health Basics – How to Properly Care for Your Voice

by Keith Hatschek over at Disc Makers blog, Echoes

It seems that hardly a month goes by where a top singer isn’t forced to interrupt a tour, take a break, or undergo a medical procedure due to problems with their voice. Vocal health is often taken for granted, but once problems develop, they can stop a singer dead in his or her tracks, and in some cases require surgery and a lengthy post-surgery period of rest and recovery.

While we don’t normally think of singers as world-class athletes, some medical professionals are making the case that the demands put on one’s voice when singing one to three hours a night is as intense as those made by an Olympic marathon runner on his body. Additional factors such as nutrition, smoking, drug use, noisy environments, and proper voice training (or the lack of it) all play a role in a singer’s ability to hit the stage night after night and perform at their best.

Like many health-related issues, prevention is much easier and less expensive than having to undergo surgery, so it’s important to understand how to keep your voice in good health.

Superstars Losing Their Voices
During the last half of 2011, three major recording artists dropped out of circulation due to vocal health issues. Each developed a slightly different voice problem that required rest and eventually surgery.

Adele

Arguably, the most valuable voice in pop music at the moment, that of the talented British pop singer Adele, whose sophomore album 21 has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, was silenced when she was required to cancel seventeen US dates mid-tour and have laser surgery due to the condition of her vocal cords. While she is expected to make a full recovery, her condition is just one example of a high profile artist facing problems maintaining their vocal mechanism. Adele’s condition, reported in the press as two hemorrhages of the vocal cords (the terms vocal cords and vocal folds are often used interchangeably), was likely exacerbated by the stresses of touring.

 

You can find the rest of the "Vocal Health Basics" article at Echoes

 

Shredding is Great, But Know How to Play Melodies

by Ron Zabrocki, writer for Guitar World magazine.

 

Hi, gang! I'd like to preface this blog post with a statement:

This is being written from a studio player's point of view. I love shred. I love metal in every form. Some of my favorite guitarists are Greg Howe, Steve Vai, Guthrie Govan and Brent Mason.

Slow down. Melody is the key.

However, I've been noticing a trend amongst younger guitarists on YouTube and elsewhere; it's a distinct lack of melody. Speed, blazing technique, sweeps and taps are all fine and incredible and have my deepest respect. I know the hours of practice and dedication it takes to acquire these techniques. But in the studio world, the place where people hire you to play the way THEY want, these styles are rarely used.

I have asked many of my students to simply play "Happy Birthday" on guitar. MOST COULD NOT! It was a struggle from note to note. Here's something else I used to do in order to check how I was doing: (And this was wrong, I know, because I had no intention of joining ... but I did it anyway ... I was young and foolish and had an attitude.) I would audition for bands.

To learn how to play with more melody check out the rest of the article at Guitar World

 

Mixing tip: During the chorus, push the master fader.

 

Rick Rubin

Rick Rubin

Here’s a tip that I believe came from Rick Rubin.

We all know to push the elements in the chorus, right? It’s kind of a no-brainer. When mixing we usually bump the lead vocal, or whatever instrument is the main melody of the chorus, to separate it from the rest of the track and establish the hook. This is mixing 101. Well Mr. Rubin has gone one better…

The chorus is the money part of a song. Without a good hook in the chorus the listener won’t be inclined to stick around so now your “hit” song will would be just another song that they skip. Well Rick has a little trick up his sleeve that helps push the chorus even further…. He bumps the master fader!

You can finish reading about Rick's technique here on CrazyEye.com

 

Online Radio... Jumps 30 Percent in Past Year

A new study conducted by Arbitron Inc. and Edison Research entitled "The Infinite Dial 2012: Navigating Digital Platforms" found that the online weekly radio audience is now at an estimated 76 million Americans. The figure represents a more than 30% increase from a year ago and s 29% of the U.S. population.

"We've been tracking the usage of online radio in this series since 1998, and this year's increase in weekly usage is the largest year-over-year jump we've ever recorded. said Bill Rose, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Arbitron, in a statement. "The increased demand for online audio content, and the ever-expanding variety of that content, shows that online radio continues to be a resilient, adaptive media for the changing needs of today's consumer,"

The new data also shows that Americans increasingly own smartphones (three times as many in the last two years), use Apple products and engage in social media (especially adults aged 45 and older).

Other specific takeaways from the study can be found at Billboard.biz

Surround Sound Mixing – Part 4 of 5

This is a guest post by mix engineer, Unne Lilijeblad over at www.mix-engineer.com. This is the fourth article in a five part series about his experience with mixing in this still under utilized medium for listening to music. Recording and Mixing in Stereo. This week he talks about Mixing in Surround.

Unne Lilijeblad - Mix Engineer

Unne Lilijeblad - Mix Engineer

 

Mixing in Surround 
Now what about surround? Obviously, the panning of mono sources in a surround mixing environment works very similarly to the way it works in stereo. It gets more complex of course, as the panner has to divide signals between more speakers, and you now have a three dimensional sound field with both an x and a y-axel, rather than just a simple two dimensional field between left and right. The panning via delay technique works too of course, and naturally, the two can be combined.

Read More »

Mixing tip: Bump the chorus about +1.5db to +2.0db

Rick Rubin

Here's a tip that I believe came from Rick Rubin.

We all know to push the elements in the chorus, right? It's kind of a no-brainer. When mixing we usually bump the lead vocal or whatever instrument is the main melody of the chorus to separate it from the rest of the track and establish the hook. This is mixing 101. Well, Mr. Rubin has gone one better...

The chorus is the money part of a song. Without a good hook in the chorus the listener won't be inclined to stick around so now your "hit" song will be just another song that they skip. Rick has a little trick up his sleeve that helps push the chorus even further.... He bumps the master fader!

Yep, he performs the ultimate no-no while mixing - touching the master fader.  I was taught that the master fader is the last bastian of output from the console to the mix down medium. It needs to be set at zero and not touched - at all! As it happens, Rick Rubin doesn't pay attention to the rules of recording and has this little trick up his sleeve.

"When the chorus starts push the level on the master fader from +1.5 db to about +2.0 db and then bring it back down the for the next part."

Genius! Why is it that the simplest of changes to the norm produce such magnificent results? I ask because I tried this recently on a song I was mixing and it made a HUGE difference. The key is to leave enough headroom so that you feel the energy in the song, but don't hear more distortion in the mix.

If you do this with your mix already being slammed up to 0.0db your mastering engineer will not be happy with you at all. He may even consider you a hack. And no mix engineer wants that now, do they?

Surround Sound Mixing – Part 3 of 5

This is a guest post by mix engineer, Unne Lilijeblad over at www.mix-engineer.com. This is the third article in a five part series about his experience with mixing in this still under utilized medium for listening to music. In the last article Unne talked about the being disappointed with DVD audio discs. This week he talks about recording and mixing in stereo.

Unne Lilijeblad - Mix Engineer

Unne Lilijeblad - Mix Engineer

 

Recording and Mixing in Stereo
There are many different ways of creating a stereo mix. For example, when mixing multiple mono sources, such as recordings of an electric guitar, an electric bass, a saxophone and a vocalist, done with one microphone each, they can be panned across the stereo image through the use of the pan knobs found on all mixing consoles and in all DAW:s. The pan knob divides the signal between the two speakers. Turn the knob to the left and it will send more of the signal to the left speaker and less to the right, resulting in our ears interpreting the sound as if it originated somewhere to the left of center.

Another way to achieve a similar result is through the use of delay. With a real acoustic sound, such as someone clapping their hands in front of you, but a little to the left, the sound waves reach your left ear slightly before they reach your right since the distance from the source to the right ear is greater than the distance to the left. To achieve a similar effect while mixing in stereo, you can delay the signal being sent to the right speaker slightly, and the result will be that the listener “hears” the sound coming more from the left. There are limits to how much delay can be used though, because at a certain point, we start distinguishing the two signals as separate signals instead. This technique also always causes phase issues to some degree

Read More »

Just Sing The Damn Song!

This is a repost of an article written by Robin Hilton, producer and co-host for the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered. He brings up a question I've discussed many times with music colleagues.

"What's more important? The lyrics or the melody?"

Personally I'm a melody man. A song's melody is very important to me, but the vocal melody is what I really listen to - and hum. Others, like my wife, will know every lyric to every song she hears upon her first listen. I, on the other hand, will probably only get the lyrics to the chorus until I've heard the song about 5 times. Even then I'll probably only know the lyrics to the first verse.

Anyway, Robin gives us his insight and has a questions for the audience at the end of his piece. Enjoy!


by Robin Hilton

Angry little boy

Just Sing the Damn Song!

If you missed it, on our recent SXSW preview show, I revealed one of the secret ingredients you can add to a song to get Bob Boilen to love it: speak singing.

He's a total sucker for it. If an artist rattles off his or her lyrics in more of a spoken monotone than a sung melody (like Lou Reed), you can reel Bob in, hook, line and sinker.

Conversely, I can't think of anything that turns me off from a song faster. I don't want to mention any names, but let's just say albums by Leonard Cohen or the Joy Division or The Hold Steady aren't exactly the first records I reach for (all brilliant artists, just not my thing).

You can read the entire article over at npr.org.

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