Author Archives: Alan Cross

Top Ten Things That Will Kill the CD

September 15th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

That was one of the topics discussed here at transmitCHINA, the thinktank music conference.  We even went through an exercise to determine what industry/social/economic factors might lead to the end of manufacturing CDs and DVDs.  That included:

Ten Years of the iPod

September 15th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Next month will mark the tenth anniversary of the introduction of the iPod.  A site called has this look

transmitCHINA, Day 2

September 15th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

[STILL SOMEWHERE NORTH OF BEIJING] - I'm dealing with two big walls today.  The first, the actual Great Wall of China, is just up that ridge.  It's possible to walk twenty minutes up a path for a breathtaking view.  That's cool.

The second wall is the Great Firewall of China, which can make accessing certain non-Chinese areas of the Internet slow and frustrating.  Just getting this site to launch to add entries is terribly frustrating.  And don't even bother launching a Google search.  That's not cool--unless, of course, you're part of the Communist Party. In which case, this kind of thing is keeping you in a job.

But back to this thinktank music conference:  there were a series of roundtable discussions and speakers on day two.  Here are some quick highlights for me:

Want to Mix Your Album at Abbey Road? Okay…

September 15th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

From Clash Music

"Abbey Road is one of the most iconic studios in the world. A tourist attraction in its own right, the studio has housed recordings by everyone from Glenn Miller's Army Band to The Beatles to Radiohead.

"Now your group could benefit from their technology. Abbey Road has long run a mixing service, adding the final piece in the puzzle for countless groups across the globe.

"Adapting to a shifting environment, Abbey Road are now launching an online mixing service."

The Rise of “Capture Culture” in Music

September 15th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

That's what some are calling this new trend in music apps.  Here's what Billboard has to say on the subject:

For decades, the question, "What song is playing?" plagued music fans. If a DJ failed to announce an artist's name or the song's title, fans were left to their own devices to figure it out (usually singing, humming and/or reciting misremembered lyrics to bemused friends or annoyed record-store clerks). Often, people accepted the music playing through the speakers in TV shows, movies, and bars as background ambience, because they lacked a means to identify a song and discover the artist behind it.

Weekly Music Sales Report – 14 September 2011

September 14th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Last week was good.  VERY good.  This week?  Not so much.

Overall album sales tanked by 22% from last week, but given that it was back-to-school, back-to-work and back-to-all-that-is-not-summer, it wasn't unexpected.  Year-to-date sales remain equal to 2010.  There's a bunch of other numbers I could throw at you, but that's all we really need to know.

Battleground: The Car

September 14th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

I've been harping on about how the next big shift in listening habits is going to come in the car.  As soon as infotainment systems get a little more user-friendly and as more people start plugging their smartphones into their dashboards, things are going to get really, really weird for traditional radio.  And I maintain that it won't be a gradual thing.  As soon as the stars align, radio will go over a cliff.

And let's you think I'm on the only one, check out what Fred Jacobs has in his blog today.

transmitCHINA, Day 1

September 14th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

[SOMEWHERE NORTH OF BEIJING] - No one shoud ever attempt a transpacific flight without some kind of super-heavy-duty sleeping pills, especially if you're in economy.  In fact, if airlines want to save money on catering and booze, they should simply hand out the meds as passengers take their seat, just like those Versace-clad flight attendents did to Bruce Willis in The Fifth Element.  

A Case of Plagiarism? Or Just an Unfortunate Sonic Coincidence?

September 13th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

How many times have you heard a song and said "hey, that song sounds just like something I heard last month”. Or "wait a second---that guitar riff really sounds familiar. Doesn’t that guy realize that someone has already used those chords in another song years ago?”

Life Is a Highway: Canadian Pop Music in the ’90s

September 13th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

It was the decade marked by hit songs from Canadian performers like Sloan, The Tragically Hip, Barenaked Ladies - to name a few. It was the 1990s, and it’s celebrated in the new, two-part documentary Life Is a Highway: Canadian Pop Music in the ’90s.

Florence and the Machine’s “Ceremonials” an Exercise in Big Soul and Big Drums

September 12th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Florence and the Machine's set up at Abbey Road May 2011Florence Welch is on the phone and she sounds far more self-assured than the woman I first talked to almost three years ago.  The relentless touring behind her debut album, Lungs, hasn't seem to hurt her a bit.

Florence and the Machine's second album--due October 31 in the UK and Europe and November 1 in North America--will be called Ceremonials.

A Song About 9/11

September 12th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Yesterday, I posted an entry asking why there haven’t been more songs about 9/11.  Today comes word that Ariel Pink’s

I Like This: Hyacca

September 12th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Straight out of Fukuoka Japan comes this post-punk New Wave-ish group called Hyacca.  Their debut record is called Sashitai.  And

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