The Morning News' Andrew Womack's Top Albums of 2014, with help from youtube commenters. (mlyt + Spotify and Rdio playlists)
Ridley Scott's new film Exodus: Gods and Kings recasts the myth of Moses in typically grimdark swords-and-sandals fashion. It... ain't so good. Want something more artful? Look no further than The Prince of Egypt [alt], an underrated masterpiece of DreamWorks' traditional animation era. Directed by Brenda Chapman (a first for women in animation), scored to spectacular effect by Hans Zimmer and Stephen Schwartz, and voiced by, among others, Voldemort, Batman, and Professor X, the ambitious film features gorgeous, striking visuals and tastefully integrated CGI in nearly every scene. It also manages the improbable feat of maturing beyond cartoon clichés while humanizing the prophet's journey from carefree scion to noble (and remorseful) liberator without offending half the planet -- while still being quite a fun ride. Already seen it? Catch the making-of documentary, or click inside for more. [more inside]
Let’s change how streaming royalties are calculated, and save the full-length album while we’re at it
Like blasted pecs or a little rhinestone flag pin, esoteric taste in music is an indicator of values. Under the heel of the major-label system in the early ’90s, indie taste meant more than liking weird bands. To care about obscure bands was to reject the perceived conformity of popular culture, to demand a more nuanced reading of the human experience than Amy Grant’s “Baby Baby” and therefore to assert a certain kind of life. That assertion was central to my identity as a young adult, and I found that people who shared it were more likely to agree with me on seemingly unrelated issues. Like all aesthetics, taste in music is a worldview.
Where is the Drama takes any song input recognized by Spotify and analyses it to find the 30 seconds or so of highest drama, defined as the portion of the song with the largest increase in loudness. [more inside]
Who says you can't make money as a musician in the 21st century? Ann Arbor funk band Vulfpeck have figured out how to use Spotify royalties to fund their tour, enabling fans to attend shows for free. [more inside]
CBS-owned music site Last.fm have announced an end to streaming radio services. In a move widely attributed to the punishing costs of licensing, last.fm will now source music from Youtube and Spotify rather than from its own bespoke music database. Existing subscribers, particularly Canadians, are not best pleased. With Pandora stocks already in trouble due to licensing costs, what does this mean for the future of user-curated internet streaming radio? [more inside]
4 million songs on Spotify have never been played. Even once. Let's change that. According to the Bay Area-based founders of Forgotify, 20% of the songs listed on Spotify have never been played. Their website randomly selects unplayed songs and plays them through Spotify's interface. [more inside]
On The Media meets Matt Farley, who earns around $23k per year thanks to the 14,000 songs he has has composed, performed and uploaded to Spotify.
Spotify marks today's death of Winamp (previously) by releasing Spotiamp, a winamp-inspired player for Spotify Premium subscribers with a built-in shoutcast server and compatibility with Winamp visualization plugins. More info and downloads here
While traditional music venues offer their usual Best Albums (or whatever) of the Year round-ups, Spotify confers with a different set of experts of find out what songs and musicians were most important to 2013: You.
David Byrne on making a living from music. 'Many a fan (myself included) has said that "music saved my life", so there must be some incentive to keep that lifesaver available for future generations.'
With the momentous series finale of Breaking Bad just hours away, fans of the show are hungry for something, anything to wile away the time before the epic conclusion tonight. So why not kick back and chew the fat with your fellow MeFites with the help of a little tool I like to call "The Periodic Table of Breaking Bad." [more inside]
"The music industry is being taken over by the back door. And if we don't try and make it fair for new music producers and artists, then the art will suffer. Make no mistake. These are all the same old industry bods trying to get a stranglehold on the delivery system." [more inside]
Do you like music? Do you like entropy? Do you have Spotify? If so, then go here to listen to a song chosen completely at random. It might even be good!
Metallica ends Napster feud: "Metallica has announced its entire back catalogue is to be made available on music streaming service Spotify, ending a 12-year feud with Napster co-founder Sean Parker. Drummer Lars Ulrich appeared on stage with Mr Parker, a Spotify investor, to discuss their bitter legal battle that took place in 2000."
"It feels strange to be active and highly visible on the Web for 15 years but it was only when I joined Facebook that someone from elementary school or high school ever contacted me." In which on Ev Williams's platform, Mr Haughey compares his experiences of Facebook and Twitter. [more inside]
"...the ways in which musicians are screwed have changed qualitatively, from individualized swindles to systemic ones."
"The "Tugboat" 7" single, Galaxie 500's very first release, cost us $980.22 for 1,000 copies-- including shipping! (Naomi kept the receipts)-- or 98 cents each. I no longer remember what we sold them for, but obviously it was easy to turn at least a couple bucks' profit on each. Which means we earned more from every one of those 7"s we sold than from the song's recent 13,760 plays on Pandora and Spotify. Here's yet another way to look at it: Pressing 1,000 singles in 1988 gave us the earning potential of more than 13 million streams in 2012."Making Cents: Damon Krukowski of Galaxie 500 and Damon & Naomi breaks down the meager royalties currently being paid out to bands by streaming services and explains what the music business' headlong quest for capital means for artists today. [more inside]
"You know how annoying it is when you're sitting on the train with a magazine and the person sitting beside you starts reading over your shoulder? Welcome to every single moment of your future. Might as well get used to it. It's an experience we'll all be sharing." --Charlie Brooker on sharing, and why the world is doomed
"Two years after first announcing it, Spotify is finally coming to the US. The service will be launched later today, at 8 in the morning EST. The company has signed a deal with the fourth and final music label just hours before launch and the service will be virtually identical to the European one, except for the pricing which, while keeping the numbers, is switching pounds for dollars. " [more inside]
How much do music artsts earn online? A rather attractive yet sobering infographic showing how many units an artiste has to shift physically or online to earn the US monthly minimum wage.
Last year, Spotify made news as a revelation in music availability, by providing ad-supported free access or paid subscriptions to more than 6 million streaming songs. This year, Sweden is the home to another streaming media landmark, with Voddler. Currently limited to Sweden but with goals of reaching the world, the streaming video-on-demand provider was well-received, but initial movie selection did not impress all. That should change, as Voddler recently expanded the potential list of movies when they signed The Walt Disney Company Ltd and Paramount Pictures, netting access to the Disney assets and the Paramount library. A deal with Sony may be forthcoming. [more inside]