Wednesday, 4 December 2013

American Music Awards 2013: Fans the real winners

The American Music Awards 2013 was held last Sunday at Nokia Theater and it was very easy figuring out who are the real w9inners were.

“This is about the fans tonight,” Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds said as the band collected for favorite alternative rock artist.

Winners naming Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake and One Direction who brought home several  trophies during the night knew whom they owed it to.

It was the fans that received the most impassioned gratitude amongst pop stars, there were even no academy thanked but still label brass and glam squads got shout outs and of course God was acknowledge.

Award buddies such as the American Music Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards and the Billboard Music Awards to rely on the public to choose the night’s winners as a counter to the prestigious industry inclusiveness of the Grammys, this has a long been tradition for the awards shows.

Apiece of the declared telecasts has morphed into painfully unsurprising ordeal in the past years.

While it is still driven by the fans, shows aspiring to grip the age of social engagement have incorporated digital social engagement — Tweeter, YouTube/Veve views, Facebook — to dictate nominations — and winners.

And as a result the process has taken away what’s left of the element of surprise.

The madness that rang out among the audience at just the announcement of names like that of One Direction, Timberlake, Miley Cyrus and Swift, hurriedly predicted the night.

Taking home four trophies was Swift winning big.  Timberlake and One Direction both performed and also awarded multiple wins.  Every appearance they drove panic to the teenage girls in the audience.

The boys of One Direction fawned over those fans who probably spent hours logging their votes online and through Twitter, and on Sunday they were rewarded but Swift, Rihanna and Miley Cyrus were their heroines while Timberlake still pulled heartstrings.

But finally that rampant fandom sucks the joy out of these shindigs.

“I cannot thank you enough. This validates that if you voted for this that we are heartbroken the same way and we fall in love the same way and we are happy the same way,” Swift said as she won artist of the year. “If you decided on something as wonderful as this, we are pretty much in this together, aren’t we?” Well played.

Monday, 25 November 2013

MusicGarage Relocates

New Building Is a “Musicians Resource Center”

Once more, the air conditioning went kaput at the MusicGarage’s previous location on 1700 South in the middle of July this year, the sweltering heat was enough to make program founder/director Steve Auerbach seek out some new digs due to the blazing-hot glory of summer that made a major bummer

The MusicGarage now is located at 250 W. 1300 South, it began in 2009 as an after-school program housed in a 12-foot-by-12-foot room at the Utah Arts Alliance, and it is just west of the 1300 South Trax station.  “This place had more lint in the ducts than you can ever imagine,” Auerbach says.  Its prior use as an appliance-repair store might seem like a far cry from anything music-related, but with its spacious layout and convenient location, it’s perfect for the big plans he has in mind for the space.

Describing it as a multifunction, multipurpose music venue and “musicians resource center,” Auerbach says the newly renovated 190-capacity, 2,700-square-foot building features a full sound system, a digital light system, a stage, a production/green room and several other rooms than can be divided into areas for local teachers to hold individual music lessons.  The whole space can also be rented out for private events like the bar service is available by request or to those who needs a spot to host a wedding reception or wanting to shoot a high-quality video of a live performance by their band without a crowd of strangers jostling the camera.

Auerbach says he’d also like to open the stage to more than just music acts, including comedy, theater and spoken-word performances, as well as feature local art in the foyer—complete with gallery-style track lighting.

Regardless of all the changes and despite the fact that the MusicGarage is still a music-education program at its core it is devoted to providing accessiblehigh-quality, creativity-nurturing musical instruction through a sliding-scale fee system and scholarship fund. Each and every genres of music are taught, and the group sessions endorse collaboration.  At the same time as MusicGarage is popular for teaching kids, adults are also welcome to come and learn.  Auerbach opens to start next year, future classes like the adult jam session and the rock & roll choir, which will start in January and be open to all ages.

To celebrate the grand opening of the new building, a private party/concert was held at the MusicGarage on Friday, Nov. 22, featuring local bands Minx and Cavedoll and MusicGarage graduate bands The Departure and Cosmic Aeroplane.

Auerbach says the MusicGarage is essential to the students’ musical development, and gives the kids “a place where they can fit in, a place where they can belong. And all of this becomes like sacred ground for them.”

Sunday, 23 June 2013

With Samsung, Jay-Z’s business continues to boom

Another sign of how musicians are finding new ways to push, sell and promote their music, Jay-Z partnered with Samsung for his new album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail”.  Jay-Z, a multiplatinum performer who famously rapped "I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man", continues to leverage his enduring popularity into a successful brand.
On July 4, just three days before the album's official release date, Jay-Z will give his new album to 1 million users of Galaxy mobile phones.  During the three-minute commercial in the NBA Finals, the 43-year-old broke the news about his twelfth album
Details about the Samsung-Jay-Z deal, announced Sunday, weren't made public as both parties did not allow interviews.
While music industry is at a time when album sales are low and the digital market has taken the lead in the music industry, Jay-Z's partnership is just another way of artists’ promotions.
President of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) Jim Donio said top level acts like Jay-Z and Taylor Swift have the power to launch new albums in spectacular ways with various partners.
"For an artist whose album release is an event in itself ... they carry with them a much wider profile in the marketplace that they speak to, so their audience and all the things that they do affords these unique opportunities," he said.
Taylor Swift, one of the top sellers in music, had her second platinum-debut week with "Red" last year. Her partnerships for the album included Target, Walgreens and Papa John's (you could order a pizza and a Swift album at the same time).
"Even if you didn't purchase the CD, her face was still on the pizza box," Donio said.
Jay-Z's latest partnership is one of his many business deals. Roc Nation agency, the one who manage Jay-Z’s agency as well as Rihanna, Shakira and other musicians, recently expanded into the sports world, and he now is helping the careers of New York Yankee Robinson Cano, New York Jets rookie Geno Smith and others.  Jay-Z has launched fashion lines, has a string of 40/40 nightclubs, was also the president of Def Jam and owned part of 1 percent of the Brooklyn Nets.
Samsung likely partnered with him on his new album because Jay-Z is still a consistent hit maker and a superstar who transcends music.  Samsung has chipped away at Apple's share of the mobile market with its Galaxy phones, and companies are depending more on music to attract new customers.
Will the 1 million downloads count toward first-week sales of the album, giving it elite status of debuting with platinum sales, an accomplishment few artists have achieved? That was one of the many questions about the Samsung deal still unanswered.  Billboard tracks album sales and chart information for the industry.  They did not return emails seeking comment.  Samsung apparently bought the albums though it's uncertain what the price-point was.
Monday, Jay-Z made it clear what he felt the trade publication should do.
"If 1 Million records get SOLD and billboard doesn't report it, did it happen? Ha," Jay-Z tweeted, adding: "Platinum!!!"
Donio said he thinks more deals like Samsung-Jay-Z are on the horizon.
"The record labels that are putting out the music and partnering with a variety of types of commerce outlets are going to look at just anything and everything that may work with that particular artist and that particular album release," he said

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Black Hawk Mines Music: Hip hop star Lauryn Hill gets three months for tax evasion

Last Monday, U.S. magistrate judge sentenced Grammy-winning hip hop artist Lauryn Hill to three months in prison, three months in home confinement and a $60,000 fine for federal tax evasion.


Last year Lauryn Hill pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to file tax returns on more than $1.8 million of income between 2005 and 2007 and faced up to three years in prison.

Hill has credited her failure to pay taxes to years of pressure she practiced as a recording star all at the same time with raising six children, causing her to go underground and shut away from the public eye.

On the eve of her scheduled sentencing, Hill paid $504,000 in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service and another $420,000 to the state of New Jersey, her attorney told the court. She still owes another $285,000 in interest and penalties.

"When the government is asking for 36 months and the judge gives three months, I think the judge gave a fair and reasonable sentence," Hill's attorney Nathan Hochman told reporters.

Thirty months to the maximum of 36 months was asked by the prosecutors for a sentence.

Hill's lack of a criminal record, her six children and her repayment of the back taxes as mitigating factors in the sentence, cited U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo.

Hill, native of South Orange, New Jersey, must report on or before July 8.  Her attorney asked the court to assign her a facility close to home.  Part of one year of supervised probation is the three months of home confinement following the prison stay.

Hill told the court she pulled away from society because her life was in crisis, received veiled threats and was blacklisted because she did not conform to the norms of the music industry.

"I was being perceived as a cash cow, not a person," Hill said.

Just this Friday, a new single by Hill, her first in several years, called "Neurotic Society," was posted on iTunes.

"Here is a link to a piece that I was 'required' to release immediately, by virtue of the impending legal deadline," her Tumblr social media page said on Saturday.

She signed a new contract with Sony Worldwide Entertainment and was working on her first album of new material in more than a decade, her lawyers attest.

Hill's seminal 1998 solo album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" won the singer five Grammy awards.  She was a former member of the Fugees rap trio.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Music Effects to Prenatal Babies

According to Baby Center, the true effect of music on prenatal development remains unknown.  A loosely-controlled preliminary study in the “Music Educators Journal” in 1985 found that babies exposed to music before birth had longer attention spans than expected for their age and imitated adult sounds better.  One more small study in 1997 in “Pre- & Peri-Natal Psychology Journal” looked at babies enrolled in a program called FirstStart, which exposed unborn babies to musical stimulation. These babies demonstrated better motor skills, language development and cognitive skills from birth to six months comparing to the control group of babies.  On the other hand, since these studies were minute and have not been recurring, the query of whether and how much music influences unborn babies stays under investigation.

Babies can hear sounds from the outside world as early as when they are still in the womb.  Music is one type of noise that gets a lot of attention.  According to preliminary researches it appears to indicate that your unborn child might enjoy and benefit slightly from a daily dose of music although the jury is still out on the true impact of prenatal exposure to Mozart and Bach.

More or less at 17 weeks gestation a baby can start to hear sounds, normally just about the condition when the mother starts on feeling the first tiny flutters of movement and prior to the baby’s sex is clearly identifiable.  At the time when the baby is on his 26 weeks, his heartbeat will rate rapidly in response to sounds, including music that comes from outside the womb. Babies have been observed breathing simultaneously with the music, signifying consciousness of the beat happening during 33 weeks gestation and by 38 weeks, a baby in the womb responds in a different way to different types of music, showing different rates of fetal movement

Back in 1991, a study concerning six pregnant women and a broader follow-up study in 1993 both examined at whether babies could be familiar with music they had heard in the womb after birth.  Music includes: Classical piano music, vocal music and rock music were all played through headphones on the mother’s belly.  Babies who heard music in the womb reacted with more awareness and physical actions during six weeks after birth, demonstrating that they have known the music they had heard in the womb. According to the BBC, this recognition of prenatal music experiences might actually last 12 months or more after birth. Letting babies listen to familiar music after birth might aid to calm a restless child who identifies the tune.

Mothers should remember that if they want to expose their unborn baby to music should not turn the volume up too loud.  The too loud music could over stimulate the fetus or even damage the developing ear.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Black Hawk Mines Music: Rocker Jack White's Nashville store offer do-it-yourself records

Last Saturday, Rock musician Jack White celebrated Record Store Day by giving customers a opportunity to record their own voices on vinyl on a vintage machine at his record shop near downtown Nashville.

Voice-O-Graph, a record booth from 1947 was used by White, who has embraced vinyl over digital both as an artist and as the head of Third Man Records in Nashville to treat their costumers.

"We'll have the record booth open and available for people to come in, sing a song and get a copy of it on record," Third Man Records executive Ben Blackwell said in an interview on Wednesday.

"It's a refurbished 1947 Voice-O-Graph record booth," Blackwell said. "As far as we can tell, it will be the only functioning record booth open to the public in the world."

Every third Saturday of each April Record Store Day is marked internationally that aims to encourage people to visit independent record stores.

Third Man Records will be staging in-house performances by some of the music label's artists adding up to the recording booth in the store's "Novelties Lounge".

Blackwell said record booths were popular in the 1940s and 1950s and could be found in public places, like train stations, along with photo booths.

"They were used as a way to record an audio postcard and send it to someone you love or to go in and sing a little song so you can hear what your voice sounds like," he said.

The Voice-O-Graph is about the size of a telephone booth.  The idea is fans will pay a fee to produce their own record.

"Just think of it as a blank vinyl record and when you are singing, it is making the grooves into the record," Blackwell said.

White's Third Man Records has been recognized for experimenting with vinyl, having in the previous few months added a record lathe that allows live acts performing in the Blue Room.  The Blue Room is the company concert venue, to be recorded directly to discs.

The contemporary music fan has "never been faced with the technology to put their voice and their thoughts on a record" and take it home Blackwell said.

"Jack has been looking for a long time for one of these machines," Blackwell said. "After years and years and years he finally crossed paths with one. It was a no-brainer to get it up and running for our Novelties Lounge."

The booth will remain after Record Store Day, and he expects it to be a popular attraction to the store, which sells exclusively Third Man recordings - albums by various artists as well as by White and his three group configurations: The White Stripes, Dead Weather and The Raconteurs Blackwell added.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Black Hawk Mines Music: How Music Benefits the Brain

Persons with no musical background were not only visibly more skilled after completing two weeks of regular exercise on a piano keyboard, their brains also changed measurably according to the studies by the University Hospital San Raffaele (Milan, Italy), presented at the 22nd Meeting of the European Neurological Society (ENS) in Prague.

The study also endow with evidence that even a diminutive episode of ambidextrous exercise directs to improved organization and more objective action between the left and right brain hemisphere.  The training also leads to better reactions to the nerve impulses in the fingers musculature.

In addition, the musical stimuli also provoked a structural rebuilding of gray matter in those brain regions that are implicated in harmonized movement.  The study exposed that the harder the task was, the better.

The brains 'neuroplasticity' a process in which the brain automatically reconstructs itself in response to a given task so that its internal structure and organization are best suited to a demand, scientists have only just researched about this.  Neuroplasticity works by automatically establishing enhanced interconnection of regularly used areas of the brain, at the same time as resources are wan down from those not oftenly used.

As two studies demonstrated Practicing music radically and efficiently speed up self-optimization of definite brain activities.

Researchers requested 12 musically inexpert accomplices to inishf ten 35-minute practice sessions on an electronic piano keyboard within a two-week period, in the first study.  They scrutinized the participants' hand movement method before and after the training was done, demeanor neurophysiological tests by means of a 32-channel EEG (electroencephalogram) and a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

All participants achieved a dramatic increase in their motor skills dramatically through training, yet the most surprising result was the harmonization in which both hands were able to perform, the results revealed.

"Our results show that two-handed exercise training among right-handers is associated with a significant improvement in the dexterity of the left hand. Ten days of a competently controlled exercise training can apparently suffice to trigger changes in cortical plasticity similar to results reported for professional musicians," declared by Dr Elise Houdayer from the University Hospital San Raffaele in Milan.

Prof Massimo Filippi at the Neuroimaging Research Unit le the second study at Milan's San Raffaele Hospital, 45 musically inexperienced participants who were divided into 3 dissimilar groups.  Every participants were ask to use their right hand for playing a specific succession of notes on a computer-modified keyboard, at the same time as subsequent the rhythm of a metronome for 30 minutes per exercise session.  The study stage concerned ten sessions throughout a two-week period.

The results were: One group was only able to listen to the metronome, whilst the second group listened to another piece of music with the same rhythm as the metronome. The third group was given the most complicated task of performing the given task whilst listening to music with a faster pace than the metronome.  All participants underwent agility and brain tests using the latest imaging techniques prior to the study and at study end.

The findings revealed an improved dexterity in all three groups, and although there was no impact observed on "white matter" architecture of the brain following the exercises, the team did notice substantial changes in gray matter volume in brain regions, which are vital for coordinating movement. The findings also showed that the brain's gray mass changed to an even greater extent in those who performed the most complicated task (Group 3).

Prof. Filippi concluded: "Musical stimulation during exercise training thus improves motor performance and affects the structural plasticity of the gray matter."

Dr. Rocca added: "The complexity of the task is also associated with different pattern of cortical activations as measured with functional MRI."