Author Archives: Alan Cross

Another List We Can Argue About

October 26th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Publishers love lists for two reasons:  (1) It invited the readership into an argument about the inclusion/ranking of whatever items constitute the list; and (2) it can be very good for cranking up page views on a website.

Time magazine's 100 Greatest Popular Songs list ticks off both boxes.  Once you get started, it's tough to stop clicking through all those pages.  That's great for traffic.  And there's plenty to argue about.

Assuming you've already taken a look at the list (if not, here's a second chance), here are a few thoughts from me.  Again, your mileage may vary and I encourage you to leave a comment ranting about whatever you'd like.


October 25th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Have you noticed that every once in a while, music seems to stop moving forward and ends up in a nostalgic period?  

This has been happening for decades.

Here’s Why You Might Want to Get on Google+. It’s About Music.

October 25th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Google has been promising to launch a music store to take on iTunes for more than a year now.  What's the delay?  Record company negotiations?  Server issues?  Software?  

Well, no.  It's starting to look like they're waiting for Google+ to reach a certain level of maturity so they can integrate their music service with social networking.  At least that's what the Wall Street Journal says.

Will the CD be Phased Out by the End of 2012?

October 25th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

That's what this article from Side Line Music Magazine opines.  

The major labels plan to abandon the CD-format by the end of 2012 (or even earlier) and replace it with download/stream only releases via iTunes and related music services. The only CD-formats that will be left over will be the limited edition ones, which will of course not be available for every artist. The distribution model for these remaining CD releases would be primarily Amazon which is already the biggest CD retailer worldwide anyhow.

Yes, the CD will eventually disappear--at least to the extent that vinyl "disappeared."  But by this time next year? I'm not so sure.  Here's why.

The Shatner Tour Diary: Day 5 (Winnipeg, Part 1)

October 25th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Here's a travel tip:  The Hotel MacDonald in Edmonton doesn't do laundry for guests on the weekend.  Travel tip #2:  Make sure the next stop on your tour involves a trip to your parents' place.  Tip #3:  Ask nicely and maybe mom will do your laundry.

It's the 25th of October and it still hasn't snowed in Winnipeg.  In fact, there's a suspicious number of trees that still have their leaves.  Global warming?  No.  I think the glow from getting the Jets back has permanently altered the climate.

The How Time Flies tour is officially half over.  Three more dates to go:  tonight in Winnipeg, next Thursday in Toronto and then the final show in The Shat's hometown of Montreal next Friday.  It's perhaps a good time to look at some of the reviews.

Great Book on Grunge

October 24th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

If you’re still into the grunge of the 90s, there’s a great new book by Mark Yarm called Everybody Loves Our Town.  

It’s an oral history featuring the contributions of and interviews with literally hundreds of people—musicians, writers, scenesters, studio owners, record industry types—who were part of whatever happened in the Pacific Northwest through the 80s and into the 90s.

Ever Hear of Deezer?

October 24th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Canada continues to get screwed in the online world.  No Spotify, no Pandora, no Hulu, no–well, you know what I

Music from the Inbox

October 24th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

I've been remiss in my music filtering duties.  But when you're on a tour bus with a bad Internet connection, it's tough to keep up.  Who knew that there were so many regions of this country where you still can't get a solid 3G connection?

Thankfully, Gilles Leblanc--the ROCKthusiast--has been able to help out.  Here's the latest round of recommendations.

The Wife Says: Occupy Wall Street

October 24th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger joined the Occupy Wall Street protest Friday night. Yeah, I didn’t know they were still alive, either.

It begs the question: outside of Tom Morello, where are all the other rockers? In the paleolithic era of rock (aka the 1960s), Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan would’ve been lousy with ‘em.

Now it’s celebs like Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon and Michael Moore. Kanye West showed up, wise enough not to be driving his half million dollar Mercedes Maybach.

The Shatner Tour Diary: Day 4 (Edmonton, Part 2)

October 24th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

When I've been invited backstage to interview a band, I've often seen big notices posted throughout the venue. They ususally go something like this:

Today is [DAY]

You are in [NAME OF CITY]

Load-in:  9am

Soundcheck:  3pm

Dinner:  5pm

Doors: 6:30pm

Opener:  8pm




Next stop:  [Name of next city on the tour/Distance]

I'd always thought that this was a little over the top.  I mean, you don't know what day it is?

Happy 10th Birthday, iPod!

October 23rd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Ten years ago today, in the fog that followed 9/11, Steve Jobs stood in front of an audience and unveiled the first generation iPod.  (I have a story about the weeks leading up to that.  Read it here.)

When Apple introduced iTunes in January 2001, it only worked with Macs.  Getting the music off a Mac and onto an MP3 player wasn't easy.

The iPod changed all that--and more, of course.  And not always for the better, too.

Don’t Worry About MC Hammer. He Seems to be Fine.

October 23rd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

This is a great where-are-they-now story.  MC Hammer has become something of a high-tech entrepreneur.  My buddy Strombo posted this:

Take a hike, Google. Later Yahoo! Sorry Bing. There's a new search engine revving up down the street, and it's powered by one of the most successful recording artists of the early 1990s: M.C. Hammer.

No joke.

At the annual Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco yesterday, the man who popularized Hammer pants pitched a search engine called WireDoo.

Read more about this new version of Hammertime here.

The Wife Says: Madonna’s Homeless Brother

October 23rd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Everybody’s picked up on a story from the Michigan Messenger about Madonna’s homeless brother. 55 year old Anthony Cicconi lives under a bridge in their home state.

Last job? Working at the family winery over a year ago. Last winter he suffered frostbite. His toes or something.

I am not a Madonna fan. She can’t sing. Can’t act. Can’t direct.  Fashion choices shoplifted from Hollywood icons.

But as a businesswoman, Madge kicks ass.

The Shatner Tour Diary: Day 4 (Edmonton, Part 1)

October 23rd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

The Shat is a machine.  Back in Regina, he and the charming Elizabeth had an 8am lobby call to catch a 9am flight to Edmonton via Calgary.  Once on the ground, it was straight to the hotel and straight into an afternoon of press.

I watched him for a while. He was gracious and funny and welcoming and totally involved in every one.  Never once did he wince at the same inevitable questions.  Never once did an interview feel rushed or hurried or done half-assed.

This went on for hours.  Amazing.  And this is the day after what I've begun to call The Beer Incident.  It may have taken me 24 hours to recover, but not Mr. Shatner.  When I told him painful it was to me, he shot me a look that said "What a rookie."

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