Blog Archive

Did Facebook Borrow Their Music Service Idea from Virgin?

September 25th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Thanks to Rupinder for the tip.  (I like news tips, by the way.  Send 'em to 

From The Register:

I saw Facebook's music service 3 years ago. Done properly

Three years ago I caught a glimpse of a new social network built around music. You could follow people, chat with them, and enjoy the same music stream in real time.

BMW’s New M5 Audio System Delivers More Than Music

September 25th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Part of the reason anyone buys a performance car is for the sound of the engine.  Legend has it that Ferrari begins designing a new model with the exhaust note.  They even (allegedly) employ musicians to find that perfect sound.  Then they work backwards.

I love the sound of a great engine.  I once waited on the street next to a Bugatti Veyron hoping that the owner would come out of the tony hotel and fire up that W-16.  In Singapore, I sat on a sidewalk waiting to hear what a Zonda sounded like in person.

But even I--an uber petrol head--have my limits

20 Things About Nirvana’s Nevermind on Its 20th Anniversary

September 24th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Yes, kids, it was twenty years ago today.  Were he alive, Kurt Cobain would be middle-aged.

1.  DGC didn't have much faith in the album's potential, shipping only 46,251 copies to stores.  Some estimates put Nevermind's worldwide sales as high as 30 million copies.

2.  Spencer Eldon, the baby on the front cover, is also 20 years old.  He was paid $200.  In exchange, he now has the most famous penis in rock.

3.  "Smells Like Teen Spirit" wasn't supposed to be the first single.  Label bosses wanted "Come As You Are."  A compromise had "Teen Spirit" released to the small alt-rock market and college stations.

The Wife Says: Supermarket Music Bugs Me

September 24th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

[Another rant from The Wife.  She says she has things to say.  Okay...]

So I’m in the supermarket buying pine nuts. Pesto sauce. And find myself humming along with the music wafting over the aisles of paprika and Pampers. REM's "Losing My Religion." In a supermarket. It’s happened before-Peter Gabriel. U2. The Who. The first time is really disconcerting, checking to see if you forgot to unplug the earbuds. Then it hits you. Hard. The music of your life is now background.

I Like This: Sunn 0)))

September 23rd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Warning to newbies:  unless you're into extreme drone music--and it takes a while to build up the necessary resistance--this will melt your brain.  This is Satan's chill-out music.

Sunn 0)))'s second album, ØØ Void from 2000 will finally be re-released on November 22nd.  

Be very, very careful before you click the link below.  Ask yourself:  "Can I really take it?"

Facebook Music: What’s Still Missing

September 23rd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

From Billboard:

First, some perspective: Even after yesterday's big Facebook F8 hullabaloo, people will still listen to and discover music without Facebook, as hard as that might be to believe right now, given all the attention paid to the social network's shift into media sharing, which suddenly made Twitter look like the stripped-down communications protocol it has always been.

But it would be folly to ignore the effects of Facebook's shift into "verbs" in addition to "nouns," as Mark "Sugar Mountain" Zuckerberg cleverly put it yesterday - by which he meant that Facebook can now track and share what you do, in addition to the things you like.

Canadian Singer Home After Time in a Chinese Prison

September 23rd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Here's a hint:  do NOT carry antique bullets in your luggage while passing through customs at Shanghai Airport.

That's the mistake Grant Cassell, singer for Vancouver's Behind Sapphire, made.  And of all days, he made it on Sunday, September 11.  And he was wearing military-style clothing.  And carrying everything not in a suitcase, but a duffel bag.  

The Chinese border people didn't care the vintage bullets were from World War 1.  All they knew is that this guy was attempting to carry illegal munitions into the People's Republic.

The Recommendation Project Part 11: A Tribute to Nirvana

September 23rd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Twenty years ago this week, Nirvana released Nevermind.  Exactly 46,251 copies were released to record stores, which was considered optimistic at best.  The hope was the record would sell between 100,000 and 200,000 units, pushing it into Sonic Youth territory.  It didn't quite work out that way.

Nevermind was the record that brought the underground to the mainstream and rock hasn't been the same since.

With that in mind, let's put together a playlist of covers of Nevermind songs.  I've started things off with a crazy version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from Los Straitjackets.  What else can you find?

“That Guy Sounds EXACTLY Like [Blank]!” A New Viral Trend?

September 23rd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Two videos don't make a trend, but I have to wonder if this is somethign that'll catch on.  

First, there's this Saskatchewan dude named Marc Martel who sings for a Christian group called downhere [sic].  Given his religious background (and his age), he probably doesn't believe in reincarnation--but it is possible that he's possessed by the spirit of Freddie Mercury.  Have a listen.

Got Time? Then Listen to the Flaming Lips’ New 6-Hour Song

September 23rd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

A couple of weeks ago, Wayne Coyne and the boys made fans an offer:  give us some money and we'll include your name in an epic composition--a musical toteboard, if you will.

Well, it's done.  The song is called "I Found This Star On the Ground" and it runs exactly six hours.  You can listen through the Soundcloud links (found after the jump) or you can fight to be one of just eleven owners of the physical box set which comes with a stoner toy called a "Strobo Trip."

Here's what Wayne told Rolling Stone:  

“I mean, I don’t know if you could play with it for six hours, but it’s kind of meant so that kids can like, take LSD and play with it. You know, that’s kind of our intention, so that people buy it at like a festival, and then go back to their parents’ and take some acid and play with it all night. So it’s a song you can play while you’re sitting at your computer, you plug it in and it plays all night.”

Don't you wish Wayne was your dad?

So What Does Facebook’s Music Plans Mean for Canada?

September 23rd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Not as much as it does for the US and Europe.  They get Spotify.  We don't. 

But that doesn't mean that Canadians are completely left out.  After all, we do get Rdio and Slacker and both are being integrated into Facebook.  

These companies, along with a few more (like iHeartRadio, Deezer and Vdeo), will offering link-ups with their apps which will allow you to share whatever you're listening to with your Facebook friends.  

Their choices will pop into your news feed, which means you'll be able to listen to what they're listening to without ever having to leave Facebook.  Yay.

The Wife Says: I Don’t Trust Instant

September 22nd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

[Yes, this is from my wife.  "Would you let me vent on your website once in a while?"  What, I was going to say no?]

I don’t trust instant. Not coffee. Not mashed potatoes, those ones that come in a box that you mix with water. And especially not fame.

I’m suspicious of instant fame. Of people who appear out of nowhere without paying their dues. That’s why I’ve never watched Idol and that’s why I won’t watch X Factor.

A Fan Remembers REM

September 22nd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

From Greggory [sic] via the inbox:

In 1996 I attended the signing party of a young, up and coming band from Columbia, MO called Colony. (They never went anywhere unfortunately...) They were signed to MCA and as a DJ who'd given them a lot of support at my station, I was invited. Jay Boberg was head of MCA at the time, and I got to meet him and was fortunate enough to be included in a group discussion of Jay, a lot of other MCA top brass at the time.

Being only 20 years old I wisely kept my mouth shut and just listened and absorbed what was going on around me, until every so often Jay or someone else would nod to me and say "What kind of phones do you get on ________?" or "How do you like so and so's new record?"

More on the Debate on the Future of Rock Radio

September 22nd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

The question is this:  how much of a future does traditional over-the-air rock radio have?

Consider the following:

  •  People under 25 have different expectations when it comes to accessing and listening to music.
  • Smartphones are quickly reaching critical mass.
  • And most importantly, cars--the last high ground for AM and FM radio--are getting more and more connected to the Internet.

As someone who loves radio, I believe that it can survive and thrive if it gets over its old way of delivering content and adapt to new media.

Here are three stories on the future of radio from today that are worth reading:

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