Thursday, June 27, 2013
Listen to Al Bell Presents American Soul Music
Watch Al Bell Presents Soul TV
The three surviving members of Pink Floyd - Roger Waters, David Gilmour, and Nick Mason (right) - this week wrote a scathing op-ed for USA Today, accusing Pandora of attempting to con artists into a massive pay cut. At the heart of the issue is the Internet Radio Fairness Act, which failed to do much in the last Congress, largely because it was introduced too late in the session. But Pandora, which was a strong supporter of the legislation, is planning on introducing the proposed legislation again, objecting to the fact that it has to pay performance royalties when conventional radio broadcasters don't pay anything. Taking umbrage with Pandora's attempt to get artists to support the IRFA, Pink Floyd claimed the measure could result in an 85% pay cut, writing that "a musician could read this 'letter of support' a dozen times and hold it up to a funhouse mirror for good measure without realizing she was signing a call to cut her own royalties to pad Pandora's bottom line.'" In response, Pandora founder Tim Westergren countered in a blog post, "That is a lie manufactured by the Recording Industry Association of America and promoted by their hired guns to mislead and agitate the artist community. We have never, nor would we ever, advocate such a thing. The 85% sound bite preys upon the natural suspicions of the artist community, but it is simply untrue. And although we compete directly with AM/FM radio, which pays zero performance royalties, we have always supported fair compensation to artists." [Full story: Forbes]
Pandora Expects To Be In Over 100 Car Models This Year
Pandora this week announced it has had more than 2.5 million unique activations through its partnerships with 23 car companies. According to Chief Marketing Officer Simon Fleming-Wood, the company's internet radio service will become available in over 100 car models this year, and he projects that about a third of all new cars sold in the U.S. this year will have Pandora installed. Pandora currently has deals with major auto brands including Ford, Toyota, Honda, and various General Motors units, including Buick and Chevrolet, and plans to make its radio service available in Dodge, Infiniti, Jeep, Kia, and Ram brands in the near future. Approximately half of all radio listening takes place in automobiles, and Fleming-Wood referred to vehicles as "the traditional home of radio" - making them "a key battleground in the $15 billion local radio advertising market that Pandora is looking to capitalize on." [Full story: Wall Street Pit]
Microsoft To Launch Web-Based Xbox Music Next Week
As expected, Microsoft announced it is launching a web-based version of its streaming music service/digital store Xbox Music. The rebranded version of Zune, Xbox Music is is a digital music store that allows Windows and Xbox users to buy individual tracks or albums, as well as a streaming music service that offers a premium subscription (for a monthly fee) for on-demand streaming music that's similar to Spotify. Users can access the service from the Xbox Music Windows app, Xbox Live, Windows Phone 8 smartphones, Surface tablets, and now, the web. The web-based launch also will make the platform available on Android and iOS devices, although whether that also results in standalone apps remains to be seen. The Verge reports that the home screen of the Windows 8 app has been tweaked slightly, with "Collection" listed at the top of the sidebar and "Explore" placed directly underneath. It's been designed to reduce the number of clicks needed to dive into the user's existing tracks - those not streamed from Xbox Music itself - and replace any alternative music apps. Microsoft also is poking Pandora and Nokia Music+ in this version by allowing users to launch a new "station" based on a specific artist or music genre. [Full story: Venture Beat]
Lou Reed: MP3s Reduce Music To Lowest Common Denominator
"MP3s [are] a really miserable sounding thing...people don't understand what they are missing." That's the word from legendary rock musician Lou Reed (left), who told an audience at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity that commercial digital music on both aesthetic and financial grounds "sounds like s**t...it's been reduced to the lowest common denominator." Comparing his most recent royalty check of $2.60 to what he was paid playing in a bar at age 14, he said, "I understand young people were brought up on downloading, and Steve Jobs tried to make it into some kind of business which benefits Apple, but you get about a sixteenth of a penny (for each song). You used to make a record but they reduced the size of it and put it in this plastic that breaks immediately ... You realize they are really (messing) with you, so people didn't want to pay for anything. But meanwhile the musician doesn't get paid anything. Now making a record is kind of a promotional thing." [Full story: Spin]
Vadio Turns Radio Station Playlists Into Real-Time Video Feed
In the 34 years since The Buggles released the single "Video Killed The Radio Star," the phrase has become an overworked cliché, but a new company known as Vadio might actually have a platform that could "save" traditional AM/FM radio. The start-up company has developed a way to provide virtually any radio station a feed of music videos, complete with DVR-like catch-up functionality. The idea is quite simple: Vadio is partnering with radio stations to get real-time access to song titles as they air, and the digital player - which is embedded on the station's website or made available through mobile apps - then pulls in the music video for the song from Vevo or YouTube. The result is a curated list of music videos that mirrors what's playing on air (up to a point, since videos aren't necessarily the same length as a record), along with a list of videos that previously aired so users can go back and watch songs that played half an hour ago. The company has deals in place with a number of radio networks, and Virgin Radio signed up just last week. [Full story: Giga Om]
Al Bell Presents American Soul Music ... And American Soul TV
If you're into classic and contemporary Soul, R&B, Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Hip-Hop Soul, Rap Soul, and Neo-Soul, we invite you to listen to Al Bell Presents American Soul Music. Former Stax Records owner and Motown Records Group President Al Bell personally has programmed this awesome radio station online, presenting your favorites from the 1960s and '70s [and some '80s], a lot of the best new music that's being released today, and some real gems you haven't heard in a long, long time. Come to www.AlBellPresents.Com and hear it for yourself!
And now...join us for Al Bell Presents American Soul TV here.