Blog Archive

A Mandated FM Chip in MP3 Players? Never Gonna Happen

November 17th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Most people aren't aware--and nor do they care--that US broadcasters have been pushing for an FM radio chip to be included in every MP3 player-like device sold in the country.  And yes, that includes all cell phones.

The problem is consumers don't seem to be interested.  The whole reason we carry our music with us is so we can program things for ourselves.  And now that more cloud-based services are coming online, we'll soon be able to take more of our content with us with more ease than ever before.

Read what consultant Mark Ramsay says in his blog today:


Achtung Baby Tribute Album Now Available on iTunes with Proceeds to Charity

November 17th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Ǎhk-to͝ong Bāy-Bi Covered What started as a special 25th anniversary adjunct for Britian's Q magazine has now become available to everything through iTunes.  

Good thing, too, because there are some big names doing some clever covers on this record.  

(It's really quite good.  My favourite is NIN's version of "Zoo Station."  Trent actually mellows the song.)  From

All proceeds will benefit Concern Worldwide's work in famine-stricken areas of East Africa. (The album will be available on iTunes in the UK on November 28th.)

The Importance of Songs in TV Commercials

November 17th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Twenty-five years ago, it was unthinkable to allow for one of your songs to be used in a TV commercial.

You were branded a sellout and as someone who would corrupt art just for the sake of a few dollars.  But that attitude began to change about a dozen years ago when people realized two things:

(1) The amount of money you could make licensing a song to a TV commercial could be staggering—or at least enough to help your band with a year’s worth of expenses; and (2) Songs in commercials equaled higher music sales.

So About This Google Music Thing…

November 16th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Okay, so it's a year late and Google has to play catch-up to Apple--who, after all, only have an EIGHT YEAR head start.  But at least they're in the music game.

Google Music launched today, something that Android users--folks locked out of using iTunes properly--have been looking forward to.  Android is already that #1 mobile operating system, so will this increase its lead?  

I'll tell you one thing:  if I'm a record label, I'm pleased to see Google Music launched because I'd be thinking that iTunes is getting way too big and way too powerful.

Here's an early summary from TechCrunch as of 6pm ET (the press conference was at 5pm ET, so it's early.)

Rage’s Zack de la Rocha’s Poem for Occupy Wall Street

November 16th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Well, of course he's on the side of the OWS people.  Here's his tribute to them.  Now if we could only get the rest of Rage to help him commit this to music...

The beginning spills through city veins 
Into the arteries 
And under powers poison clouds 
We move like the shadows 
Through the alley ways 
Through nightmares bought and sold as dreams 
Through barren factories 
Through boarded schools 
Through rotting fields 
Through the burning doors of the past 
Through imaginations exploding 
To break the curfews in our minds


Female Musicians Never Get Laid

November 16th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

How's that for a headline?  It's the title of a store in Nerve featuring Los Campesinos! bass player, the very fetching Ellen Los Campesinos.

Neko Case recently claimed via Twitter that "Ladies in bands don't get ANY action," and as a female musician with a frustrated libido, I can sympathize. I've been playing bass in a touring band for five years, and I've had intimate relations on the road four times. (I class intimate relations as third-base-plus, but even if I counted kissing and over-the-clothes fumbling, it would still be a pretty low number.) I'm lucky enough to be in a job where I get to tour the world and meet interesting people, but in my experience, musicians —especially females — get a lot less then you'd imagine.


I Like This: Anagram

November 16th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Another tip from the mysterious Lonley Vagabond.  He describes it as “Joy Division + saxophone.”  He’s right.  Click the image

M for Montreal 2011 Preview, Part 3

November 16th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

I'm off to Montreal this afternoon for the sixth edition of the M for Montreal Festival, a fun event that starts tonight and extend through the early morning hours of Sunday.  There will be lots of bands to see and I promise to report back over the next few days.  

Meanwhile, here's more of my preview.  Once you're done, you can go back and see part 1 and part 2.

Weekly Music Sales Report: 16 November 2011

November 16th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

The holiday shopping season is definitely here.  Sales are up 16% over last week, keeping pacing 1% ahead of 2010 even though physical album sales are down 8% from last year.  That's offset by digital album sales (up 9%) and digital track tracks (up 41%).  

If this keeps up, the Canadian recording industry might just have their first up year in a while.  That's good.

You can tell it's getting close to the holidays when the #1 album in the land is all about Christmas.  Michael Buble's Christmas sold a staggering 32,000 copies last week, which is an 8% jump.  In just three weeks, this thing has gone platinum and beyond, selling 100,000 units.

Biography Apps: The New Thing for Musicians?

November 16th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Musicians are always looking for new ways to engage their fans in meaningful ways.  Both Sting and Pink Floyd have just released what could best be described as "biography apps," which allow users a little bit of interaction whenever they want it.

In Sting's case, his iPad app features interviews, handwritten notes, lyrics, biographical notes and concerts from his career.  If judged by the size of the app (442 MB), it seems to be pretty comprehensive.

Pink Floyd's app is called This Day in Pink Floyd and delivers pretty much what you might expect:  a day-by-day breakdown of Floyd history including news, trivia and song notes.  It promises new content every day and costs $2.99.

Paul Simonon: Undercover Operative for Greenpeace

November 16th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

It was the Guardian who blew his cover.  Actually, the ex-Clash bass player and sometime Gorillaz member who came in from the cold.  

Clash bassist Paul Simonon has revealed he was arrested earlier this year, while working as an undercover Greenpeace activist on board one of their ships. Simonon spent several weeks on the MV Esperanza, masquerading as a cook.

Simonon was one of 18 activists arrested in June, after the Esperanza launched speedboats at the Leiv Eriksson oil rig off the coast of Greenland.

U2’s Biggest B-Side

November 16th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

The most popular non-album track U2 ever recorded was “The Sweetest Thing”—and there’s a story that goes along with it.  

Bono wrote the song in 1987 as a way to make up to his wife after he forgot her birthday.  It was his suck-up present.  He wanted to include it on
The Joshua Tree album, but it was too late.  The album and the artwork were done and there was no way to sneak it onto the record.  

No matter.  It ended up as a B-side for the single version of “Where the Streets Have No Name”—which is where it stayed.

I Like This: 1977

November 15th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

The Seaforth EP will be 1977‘s follow-up to Nineteen Seventy-Seven, a debut record that netted the band a Juno nomination.

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