All posts tagged: iTunes

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You’re Dead to Us…Blockbuster Greatest Hits Albums

In which we look at once common curiosities of pop culture that don’t exist anymore, be it because of changing tastes, the fragmentation of culture, or merely the fickle nature of fads.  In the ‘50s and early ‘60s, the singles market and the albums market were two separate entities and rarely did they meet. Logically, singles (or 45s) were cheap, and directed at teenagers, because teenagers don’t have much money. Albums cost more, and directed at adults. That’s why Elvis Presley had #1 hit after #1 hit, while Harry Belafonte and Broadway cast albums dominated the album chart. Today, singles essentially serve as a taste of an album – they’re promotional tools. Like the single you heard on the radio, or YouTube, or Spotify? Then you’ll love the rest of the album, which will have that leadoff single on it. That wasn’t a universal in the middle of the 20th century. An artist released singles, and then they released albums of completely different material. In 1958, some evil genius at Columbia Records had a brilliant …

Popdose Roundtable: Century Media Pulls Its Catalog from Spotify. Does It Matter?

Dave Steed: Indie label Century Media has pulled its catalog from Spotify. First of many? Or first one I’ve heard of of many that have already done it? Chris Holmes: So now Spotify is the bogeyman killing record sales? Zack Dennis: I’m not sure how the finances work out necessarily, but this seems to make about as much sense as them demanding that the radio not play their music anymore. Matt Springer: This portion especially is SO PAINFULLY WRONG: Physical sales are dropping drastically in all countries where Spotify is active. Artists are depending on their income from selling music and it is our job to support them to do so. Since the artists need to sell their music to continue their creativity, Spotify is a problem for them. This is about survival, nothing less and it is time that fans and consumers realize that for artists it is essential to sell music to keep their heads above water. The only artists left who are sensibly “depending on their income from selling music” are selling …

Fixing a Hole: The Beatles’ Imaginary Post-1970 Albums, Part 13

Part 13: Private Salt’s Accompanied Spades Unexclusive Solo (2001) What does the title mean?  If it isn’t already obvious, my idea for this album name came from the impression that I think Flaming Pie would have left – that the Beatles were playing it safe, and although they were still a great band, they had lost their ‘edge.’  Sean Lennon notwithstanding, they would have been seen as an ‘old person’s band’ by this point, and they just didn’t have another Sergeant Pepper in them.  One critic may have even said “What the Beatles are doing now is the complete opposite of Sergeant Pepper.” Get it? So the Beatles’ penultimate album was a wild stab at connecting with a younger audience.  Not that they don’t still sound like the Beatles, of course, but with certain tracks, they are breaking away from the conventional structures they are known for and in a way virtually invented.  I like to compare this album to Rockestra from 1980 – it has a kitchen sink feel to it, and is different …

Fixing a Hole: The Beatles’ Imaginary Post-1970 Albums, Part 12

Part 12: Flaming Pie (1997) This is where we officially get into the Beatles’ modern era.  By this point, the Fabs are a band which fully admits to being less cutting edge than they used to be, but still can write some quality tunes, and releases a new album and goes on tour every five years or so when they feel like it and need money to pay for their luxury yachts. I can’t help but be reminded of an interview I heard with Genesis after they released We Can’t Dance, with Phil Collins explaining that they were drawing the line between what they saw as a passing fad and their own music, which they felt would better stand the test of time, or at the very least appeal to the more ‘sophisticated’ crowd. That doesn’t mean they don’t try to keep up with the times, though.  Thanks in part to the influx of either Sean Lennon or a John Lennon who doesn’t want to be a old fogey, the new singer-songwriter ethos makes its …

CD Review: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, “The Live Anthology” (Deluxe Edition)

On a warm evening at the end of June of 1981, the dimly lit stage at the Los Angeles Forum illuminated to reveal a musical band of brothers, each armed with their respective instrument for the evening of music that was ahead. With the roar of the crowd welcoming Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers to the stage, Petty immediately engaged the hungry crowd with a bit of call and response, enveloped by the instrumental din of the Heartbreakers tuning up in the background. The band will be onstage for nearly five hours on this particular evening, a longer set than normal, for sure. But then again, The Live Anthology is no ordinary show for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Beginnings: Following the release of Runnin’ Down a Dream, the excellent Peter Bogdanovich documentary in 2007, Reprise Records (Petty’s record label) wanted to put out a live album. The initial plans were to release a standard double CD live package, but as the band dug into the idea, they realized that two CDs simply wouldn’t cut …

21st Century Digital Boy: Hulu, “Star Trek,” “Idol” Loss, and “Jon & Kate”

Jon & Kate Plus … Date?: Can’t help but start with the worst first. If there’s one thing that’s certain in the world of entertainment, it’s the love of a good old-fashioned scandal. Only this time, really not that surprising or scandalous — it’s just too bad. Pure as baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet, the reality TV version of Eight Is Enough, the Gosselins from TLC’s Jon & Kate Plus 8, are now embroiled in a “cheating” hullabaloo of sorts. For those not yet in the loop on this one, husband Jon was apparently caught partying late with a woman who wasn’t his wife and (shock!) that’s set off a firestorm of public opinion. It was a bad judgment call that’s awakened all the perfect parents out in TV land, all of whom now feel free to psychoanalyze the real human beings in this delicate situation. The Gosselins’ site doesn’t say much, but the blog Gosselins Without Pity (ouch!) is hot to trot (natch) about this story. The bottom line? Look, having eight kids so …

Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’80s, Part 30

You know, I don’t rant in public too often (yeah, right), but I’ve been getting really annoyed with iTunes and my iPod lately, so I think it’s time I let it out. You see, I love my iPod. It still goes down as one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I bought my 80-gigabyte iPod in May of last year, and close to 9,000 songs later I have no idea what I’d do without it. It gets me through my workday, it allows me to listen to metal without my wife running away, and it helps me write these Bottom Feeders posts. However, I’m getting really pissed off at the technology. Now, I’m the first person to admit I’m not the savviest when it comes to trinkets of the electronic nature. So everything I say here could have some solution that I just haven’t located yet. But I find it hard to believe the answers to the following problems are still out there. The biggest problem is the iTunes interface. Every now and then …

Dw. Dunphy On… The End of the Album

Okay, this is how I think it’s going to go down: before the end of the year, a major player in the music industry will announce that it’ll no longer sign bands to make albums. It’ll institute ten-song deals versus three albums, the product to be delivered over a two-year period versus a contract tying up five to ten years. Each of the ten songs are to be considered singles, radio-ready, with at least a 65 percent probability of hit status, otherwise the band in question is liable to be dropped for fulfillment issues. If the losses are great, breach-of-contract litigation is not out of the question. Sound ridiculous? Or does it sound like the obvious conclusion for an industry that continues to lose money and customer patronage, seeking to cut away anything that doesn’t promote profit — album tracks that may appeal to a creative sense but can’t be capitalized upon, extra production costs inherent in those tracks, and design, packaging, and promotion of a product the public only wants 10 percent of. Witness …

Sugar Water: Robert’s Rules of Order

I didn’t mean to take a three-week vacation from writing Sugar Water, but here I am with my first post for the month of April, which is already on its way out the door. But did you see that interview I did earlier this month? And those record reviews? And that Chart Attack! I wrote while Jason Hare’s in detox (again)? Those things didn’t write themselves, you know. (Or at least that’s what the computer program that actually did write them told me over and over again, but then I reminded the computer program that it doesn’t have emotions and shouldn’t be complaining.) I was also out of town last weekend, and I was in detox myself the weekend before that, but not because I have a drinking problem like Jason does — my problem is that I swallowed some toxic waste (again). I also did my part for Record Store Day yesterday by going to Laurie’s Planet of Sound in Chicago and buying Office’s A Night at the Ritz and David Cross’s It’s Not …

Dw. Dunphy On…Vinyl

My mom, God rest her soul, hit the nail on the head. She always used to ask me, “Why must you do everything ass-backwards?” She had a point. Shoes went on before pants, finalizing efforts always preceded initializing efforts, and have you ever seen me get out of the backseat of a car? It’s like some horrid recreation of a breach birth. So in this modern age, you can put a shiny, silver disc into the face of your car’s dashboard and hear wonderful sound. You can put a machine the size of a candy bar into your pants pocket and a headset the size of dental floss with tiny tumors into your ears and hear wonderful sound. Me? I like records.