BALTIMORE — The defense rested its case in the trial of Officer William G. Porter early Friday afternoon. Testimony resumed Friday morning with Porter’s defense calling several people who know Porter well to testify to his character, including his mother. Helena Porter, the officer’s mother, took the stand and said her son was “the peacemaker in…
Cover Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)
What Do You Think?
You Might also like
By L.E. Kalikow
To cope with Internet overload, we allow algorithms to sift through and feed us bits and pieces to match our tastes while cosmetically enhanced anchormen (and anchorwomen) spoon up headlines to the tune of tone-deaf sponsors. All this through a multi-tasking world, where a generation pays half attention to work while constantly checking their Facebook pages and tweeting when they go to the bathroom. How does this affect the arts- and more specifically music?
Let’s go back a bit
As a struggling recording artist in the 60’s and 70’s, my ultimate goal was to release an album. Not just a collection of songs, but a unified creation with a theme and purpose. In those years I’d turn out the lights, turn up the amplifier, and sit in the dark for hours, listening to full albums by The Beatles, The Stones, Billy Joel, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, and Jethro Tull (to name only a few). Each with a distinctive voice and sound, cuts carefully sequenced to take me on a journey, from beginning to end.
We needed radio to sell albums, so often edited down to three minutes, the ‘lead single’ had to have a ‘hook;’ a repeated melodic line or lyric to entice the teenage album buyer.
As technology moved vinyl to tape to CD, the ‘album’ remained, but underwent significant changes.
The Disco explosion of the 70’s replaced lyrics and melodies with beats and production, as artists became interchangeable tools of celebrity producers and DJs. To capitalize on this trend, major record companies began to hire multiple ‘name’ producers to work on a single album, and the ‘concept album’ gave way to a collection of often disjointed productions, lacking continuity or artistic integrity.
Analog vs Digital
There was also a subliminal change taking place. When listening to a vinyl album or taped music, you’re actually listening to ‘analog’ sound waves being produced. With a CD, the sound waves are ‘digitized’ or broken up into pieces that your brain then puts together, much like looking at a bunch of colored dots up close, then standing back until you discover they make a picture.
Friends like producer/engineer Rob Fraboni (Dylan, The Band, The Stones, Clapton, etc.) also contend that digital music has an adverse effect on the human body as opposed to analog. Like the difference you feel under the warmth of an incandescent light bulb, as opposed to a flickering fluorescent. Perhaps this explains why I can’t sit and listen to a CD like I once did a vinyl album.
Napster, the beginning of the end
When record companies began suing their own customers for peer-to-peer downloading, the graffiti was on the wall. Like the industrial revolution before, the digital age wiped out the multi-billion dollar record business we once thought recession proof and timeless. But the music didn’t die, it simply morphed into another dimension as the infrastructure built to filter, foster, package, market and sell it disappeared.
Now music exists in an unfiltered internet ocean requiring navigational tools like Spotify and Pandora. And the vestiges of past record companies, co-opted into entertainment conglomerates, now create brands instead of artists, with commercials, soundtracks, and albums produced, not for the music, but to sell the brand.
Reaction vs emotion
And ‘lead singles’ are also still being created. However, no longer 3 minute radio songs , but often just a string of repeating ‘hooks’ designed to catch the attention of the multi-tasking millennial, epitomized by Pharrell’s “Happy.”
As the art of songwriting becomes less important, so do the songs. This is not to say that some ‘brand artists’ like Adelle, Ed Sheeran or Taylor Swift, aren’t fine songwriters. It’s just that, based on the current system, the odds are probably against developing such equally talented songwriter/artists in the future.
So, what’s next?
In the ‘80s, with the bestseller “Megatrends,” later reprieved in the 90’s with “High Tech/High Touch,” author John Naisbitt theorized that in a world of high tech, people would begin to long for personal, human contact.
And at a recent music business convention, I couldn’t help but notice everyone so intent on their mobile phones, no one made eye contact. (No wonder “The Walking Dead” is so popular on TV). Could there be a reaction to this high tech alienation? A few trends indicate maybe so.
First, the amazing increase in vinyl record sales. And it’s not just to Baby Boomers… Last year Millennials pushed vinyl sales to a 26 year high.
Perhaps, along with the novelty factor, some of these kids might actually start to hear (and feel) the difference.
And secondly, sales figures for acoustic guitars last year increased for the 5th consecutive year, topping 1.2 million units sold.
This is not to suggest mobile devices will be discarded by new generation of hippies. But we may well see a push-back against corporate branding to more organically grown artists, perhaps even producing analog music in favor of digital downloads.
And don’t be surprised at a proliferation of small local venues where musicians gather to perform and where the audience actually turns off their phones.
And if one pops up in my neighborhood, you can bet I’ll be sitting in the front row.
or maybe up there playing my Martin D28.
For over 35 years, L.E. Kalikow served as President of Music Business Reference, Inc., as well as a singer/songwriter under production agreements with Chess Records in Chicago and both Capitol and Columbia Records in New York, and as a staff writer for Beechwood Music at 1650 Broadway. He performed as the opening act for artists such as Richie Havens, Eric Anderson, Van Morrison and Jefferson Airplane, among others.
Sex, No Drugs & Rock ’N’ Roll (Memoirs of a Music Junkie) is available for purchase on Amazon and other online retailers on February 10, 2016. The companion Soundtrack Album is also available on iTunes.
Cover Photo Credit: Xavier Badosa/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 1,174
What Do You Think?
Before Dylan Ifergane was an internationally renowned fashion designer, he coordinated some of the largest and most exclusive house parties, art expositions and warehouse mini-festivals in South Florida.
All before his 22nd birthday. At 21-years-old, Ifergane is the lead designer and founder of Scandal fashion house.
“I consider my designs a marriage of high-end style, effortless chic, and real-life wearability.”
In the last four years, over 500,000 of Ifergane’s Italian-made designs have been worn and bought. Working with brands like Nordstrom and Macy’s, Scandal was listed as one of the top 100 growing fashion companies in the U.S., winning multiple design awards, prompting Ifergane’s hopes to open up Scandal franchises in California, Texas and Florida.
“Scandal and my designs are a mixture of what sells and what I love,” Ifergane said. “I consider my designs a marriage of high-end style, effortless chic, and real-life wearability.”
At the start of his career, Ifergane rented out venues in Miami, throwing lavish parties–his last party hosting boasting over four thousand attendees. His presence left an impact in the city, and he began receiving offers from a few nightclubs in the area.
Ifergane was part of the senior staff founders of Miami nightclub ‘Amnesia’, now known as STORY. As Ifergane got involved with the upper echelons of the nightclub industry, He began talent buying for almost every major night club in Europe. Talent buying is the business of booking artists for nightclubs who would otherwise not have the connection to do so. Ifergane booked the likes of David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia, growing personal relationships with some of the most talented musicians worldwide. Soon, his network expanded to the fashion world.
“I quickly realized that many of the fashion pieces that dazzled on the runway were completely unwearable, and that ready-to-wear versions often sacrificed their original artistic edge in favor of ‘fast fashion’ mass appeal.”Ifergane said.
As of now, Scandal has been sold to 750 stores internationally, branching out in international markets of Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and Korea. Ifergane recently returned to his home in Los Angeles from attending New York Fashion Week. At NYFW, Scandal showcased on runways alongside top tier designers like Givenchy, to more accessible brands like Free People.
Ifergane said he didn’t expect Scandal to reach the international acclaim it has today.
“ I started this thinking it was going to stay a one or two-year project,” Ifergane said. “I thought I would’ve failed because I opened up during recession, which was the worst possible moment because people were cutting back on things that weren’t necessities. I was quite surprised that it took off so quickly.”
Ifergane relayed advice for up and coming fashion designers trying to break into the industry.
“Be careful with who you share things with,” Ifergane said. “We live in a predatory world in which people hunt for anything you give them. Be extremely careful, work hard. In a over-saturated industry like fashion, make sure you aim at making your designs and overall concept as unique and diverse as possible, and target a clientele that would wear your designs.”
You can learn more by visiting www.SHOPSCANDAL.COM
Photos: Dylan Ifergane
Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? Send it to us- email@example.com. (We can keep your identity hidden.)Post Views: 1,927
What Do You Think?
Johannesburg (dpa) – The US Department of State recommended on Sunday that its citizens in Burundi leave the country as soon as possible after an outbreak of violence in the past days left at least 87 people dead. Armed groups operate in Burundi and gunfire and grenade attacks occur with frequency, a statement from the department… Read MorePost Views: 478
What Do You Think?