Music industry

Robin Thicke and Pharrell Depositions Highlight Blurred Lines of Pop Songwriting

Just when it looked as though Chris Brown would win “pop star wang of the week,” Robin Thicke re-emerged via formerly sealed deposition from his ongoing copyright infringement lawsuit with Marvin Gaye’s estate over “Blurred Lines.” Back in April, Thicke and co-writer/producer Pharrell Williams gave “incredibly hostile” depositions regarding the No. 1 hit’s similarities to Marvin Gaye’s 1977 classic “Got to Give It Up.” Transcripts of their legal questioning have now surfaced, thanks to a new ruling from a judge just as the Gaye family filed a summary motion paper. In addition to revealing a Vicodin addiction at the height of Thicke’s fame, the depositions shed light on a common trend in pop music: Frankenstein songwriting. … Read More

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U2’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ iTunes Release Was About Relevance, Not Altruism

In 2014, it takes Apple and U2 to pull off a musical monoculture that rivals both Beyoncé’s 2013 sneak attack and Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want In Rainbows launch. The tech giants and the world-dominating rockers continued their decade-long business collaboration in a big way yesterday during the launch of Apple Watch, Apple Pay, and two different versions of the iPhone 6. Unbeknownst to the masses, Apple released U2’s unannounced but highly anticipated new album, Songs of Innocence, straight into the music library of every iTunes user worldwide. “This will be the largest album release in history. Over a half-billion people own it. Right now,” Apple CEO Tim Cook announced, before Bono and co. closed out the presentation at Apple’s Cupertino, California campus with the album’s opening track, “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone).” … Read More

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A Guide to All the Gratuitous Product Placement in Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” Video

Nicki Minaj and her team deserve a Clio Award for the ad they just made for asses. But the “Anaconda” video also serves as an advertisement for many other products, some of them officially linked with Minaj and others that may signal new deals. Let’s delve in. … Read More

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Musicians Drinking the Spotify Haterade: The Collected Complaints

Since Spotify’s stateside introduction three years ago, musicians  have expressed their disdain for the streaming service and its laughably low royalty rates (between $0.006 and $0.0084 per stream). A number of artists, mostly those in the privileged positions of having already established a fanbase, have pulled their music from the service, or in the case of legacy artists, blocked it from ever being streamed there. Spotify, in addition to other streaming music services like Pandora, led David Byrne to suggest that, “The inevitable result would seem to be that the internet will suck the creative content out of the whole world until nothing is left.” The Talking Heads leader is far from the only open opponent of streaming. Let’s take a look at a few others with harsh words for Spotify, a service that claims to have paid out a billion dollars in royalties but still draws constant ire. … Read More

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Robin Thicke’s Creepster Trolling Isn’t Selling Albums Anymore

Good news, Robin Thicke haters: you are even less alone than you thought. Today’s SoundScan numbers show that Thicke’s Paula sold 23,754 copies in its opening week, coming in at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 album chart — and that’s 23,224 more than his UK sales of a mere 530 copies opening week. … Read More

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What YouTube’s Indie Label Ban Actually Means for Music Fans

YouTube is sparring with a handful of independent record labels over licensing deals regarding the Google-owned video site’s forthcoming subscription service, the side effect of which will see a handful of indie artists’ music removed from YouTube imminently. Up until yesterday, when this news made the rounds in sensationalized form on tech blogs, there had been relatively little discussion of an issue that might have a dramatic effect on both labels and consumers. So what’s going on? … Read More

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Don Henley Doesn’t Get It

I would like to preface this article by pointing out that historically speaking, Don Henley is a wang.… Read More

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Dear Pixies, Stop Milking It

As far as ads go, the new iPhone ad featuring a cover of the Pixies’ “Gigantic” is pretty charming. The laundry list of all the things featured in the commercial could rival a Stefon skit, and among them is a band of “alternative” teenagers trepidatiously tackling “Gigantic” as “alternative” teenagers have done for the last 20-odd years. The purpose is to sell $300 phones to “creatives,” but it’s not a half-bad representation of what the Pixies have come to mean in the 23 years since their last album: a badge of honor that reads, “I’m ‘alternative’ in a kinda obvious way, but at least the music is really fucking good.” It’s slightly less cool than liking The Replacements, slightly more cool than liking the ’90s bands who ripped off the Pixies in one way or another (Nirvana, Weezer, Radiohead). … Read More

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