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Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Just as Internet seemed to be progressing in a bold, logical, forward-thinking direction, Apple's acquisition of Lala sadly puts the business model of online music back to square one.

It was good while it lasted. Maybe too good.


Before Lala, if you read a rave album review of a band you’ve never listened to, you were pretty much at the mercy of the critic. In a pre-Lala age, the only widely-accepted way you could listen to a buzz-worthy album was visit a site like LastFM or Pandora, type in the band’s name and cross your fingers that a song from the album would come up – and hope that track would not be one of those “30 second sampler” tracks. Even as beneficial as these sites are, if you clicked on a band’s “radio station,” you would probably hear one song from the band, then several songs by similar bands. As a result, listeners wind up waiting up to an hour before hearing another track by the band. So, in short, that left you waiting by the radio for a song to come on, just like how your parents used to listen to music.


Tagged as: lala, online music
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Friday, Apr 30, 2010
A "gut reaction" to four upcoming big releases.

May is shaping up to be a huge month not only for summer movies, but for music. Four bands that have released Album of the Year-quality albums are set to release new albums in the coming weeks. As a music geek, you may have looked forward to these types of “Super Tuesday” events when two or even three big releases dropped on the same day. However, the advent of streaming releases ahead of the release date has taken much of the luster out of these musical “Super Tuesdays”.


Almost a month before its May 17th release date, LCD Soundsystem is streaming This is Happening on their website. NPR is streaming the new Hold Steady and Broken Social Scene albums. And last week, The New York Times streamed The National’s High Violet.


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Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010
Retailers are producing musical compilations in the name of branding

There’s something about a compilation CD that excites this audiophile. I went into my local record shop to celebrate Record Store Day and asked if there were any new ones to buy. It’s always a great opportunity to explore and perhaps discover something unnoticed on the musical landscape. Of course, other retailers are now in the game too, from Starbucks to Pottery Barn, offering up their own versions in order to extend their influence in the name of branding. These companies are certainly known for carefully crafted musical soundtracks in store (I enjoy playing ‘name that tune’ while shopping) but now they want to follow you out the door.


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Friday, Apr 9, 2010
The American radio scene has expanded online with countless offerings for the listening worldwide.

In a CNN interview recently, David Byrne opens with a remark how he doesn’t listen to radio much anymore. A certified tastemaker as a solo artist after leading the Talking Heads, it seemed funny from a guy who posts his personal playlist on iTunes as Radio David Byrne. I’m a huge fan, but it was just not what I wanted to hear as I’m finding my best source of new music by listening to radio programs online.

I have always been on the musical hunt for something new and American radio has provided me with the soundtrack for every decade of my life. From WPLJ in the ‘70s, to WLIR in the ‘80s and WHFS in the ‘90s and beyond, I’ve tuned into radio frequencies for inspiration. However, right as WHFS was calling it a day, I heard that a station I loved listening to during trips to LA was accessible online. The music producer Nic Hardcourt’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” on KCRW was streaming over the internet with new tunes daily. The novel concept of listening live or on demand anytime meant radio could continue to be my salvation, feeding me upcoming bands with tunes for my own personal playlists. With some decent speakers attached to my laptop, I’ve been in new music heaven ever since. I even have copy of Nic’s book Music Lust signed by him during a New York City appearance a few years back, finally having a name for this attraction.


Tagged as: radio
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Tuesday, Mar 30, 2010
by Jon Bream / Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (MCT)

You winced — didn’t you? — when ABBA was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this month. Or were you cringing when the Hollies were welcomed into the hall?


We all have our opinions about who should be in the Hall of Fame. Here are mine about some of today’s big stars — those from the ‘90s and ‘00s who have released at least three albums — who have a shot at being inducted someday. (An act is eligible 25 years after the release of its first record.)


For starters, there’s no debate about Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Green Day and Radiohead. They are first-ballot shoo-ins.


Here’s an evaluation of others, in alphabetical order, rated from 0 to 100.


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