Break out the ostentatious outfits because it’s that time of year again. Tonight is the music industry’s annual self-aggrandizement party which celebrates the most commercially successful artists by branding them as the year’s “Best.” This year, the Black Eyed Peas’ saccharine “I’ve Got a Feeling” and Taylor Swift’s “You Belong with me” both garnered nominations for “Record of the Year,”–a thought many music lovers might find hard to swallow. But the Grammy Awards aren’t only about handing out prizes to undeserving nominees; they are also about spectacle, and the ceremony tonight has what seems like an amazing one on the card. Tonight the organizers have planned a 3-D tribute to Michael Jackson that definitely sounds worth watching. Love them or hate them, the awards ceremony always provide memorable moments. The Village Voice is doing a live blog of the festivities, so check that out here.
It’s basic economics; when you charge less for a product, more people will buy it as long as everything else remains constant. Setting the price of music too high means more people will choose not to purchase it, and that more people will download it illegally. Setting the price too low means losing out on profit unnecessarily. It’s simple stuff that people who study economics in college learn at 8am while drawing pictures of the person in front of them in their notebooks.
Apparently, music execs spent too much time doodling and not enough time listening because according to a new study, the price of music has been set unnaturally high causing labels to lose out on consumer dollars. According to the study, conducted by the world renowned Wharton School of Business, the optimal price for music is somewhere between 60 and 70 cents per song, and labels would profit by lowering costs. Sometimes high prices cause consumers to associate value with an item which can drive sales, but in the case of recorded music people are already aware of its actual value- LOW! Check out more info on the study here.
Tom Windish is the founder of the Windish Agency, an independent booking company whose clients include Animal Collective, The Antlers and Hot Chip. Check out this interview with Windish, in which he discusses the state of the live music business, shares his personal philosophy, and describes the increased responsibility artists have in marketing themselves.
“Q: How has your role in developing artists changed over the 16 years you’ve been booking acts?
A: In many cases, the record company used to have a bigger role than it does now. These days, an artist is looking to develop their brand and market themselves more so than selling a record. And the live side of things is such a key component to helping an artist develop their brand.”
In the early to mid 00’s, Just Blaze’s Baseline Studios was the capital of Hip-hop. Blaze’s beats fueled the Roc-A-Fella roster at its apex with hits like Jay-Z’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” and Cam’ Ron’s “Oh Boy.” Now that era is over. Blaze closed Baseline yesterday, with a celebratory “funeral,” a bittersweet but fitting end for a studio that defined a decade in Hiphop. The Village Voice has a video of the festivities here.
Though the studio he called home is gone, Blaze will continue producing, including for rising star Jay Electronica. Blaze’s soulful production style invairably strikes a chord with listeners and rappers alike and has made him one of the most sought after producers in Hip-hop. Perhaps the best is yet to come.
Recent years have seen a resurgence in the previously discarded movie technique of 3-D films. 3-D movies were big in the 50’s but vanished from the public eye only to make a comeback in the 00’s with films like My Bloody Valentine and Avatar. Now Magnetic Fields mastermind Stephen Merritt hopes to revive another retro film style: silent films. Merritt will contribute a film score to a silent version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Merritt’s score will sync up his music with those of characters talking on screen. The project will debut at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre during the city’s annual film festival. Check out more information here.