Archive for July, 2007

Must Have Free Apps

// July 30th, 2007 // Comments Off // Technology

While running a record label and a production company I have become very aware of money. The lack of it coming in or the joy of making a good living at what I do… depends on what day it is. I have had to find ways to run a business without all the costs that most business’s do. So I thought I’d share some apps that I have found to be very helpful. The best part is these are open source, meaning… Free!

  1. The first app is called Open Office. This isn’t just one app, it’s basically Microsoft Office. It features the same programs just different names. There is a word processor, a spreadsheet program, presentation making software, database managment software and drawing software. It has all the same functions of Office except very stable and has an export to PDF option. Here’s one of the coolest things about it… It runs great on a Mac computer. It will read all other office documents and can save them the same so they are compatible with others who have MS Office. The one program not included is Outlook. No matter, all computer systems have email programs on them already. Check it out, it took all of 10 mins to get it installed and running.
  2. Cyberduck is an opensource FTP/SFTP program. This program is great for uploading and downloading large files such as audio and video. When working with artists, writers or producers across the country this is by far the fastest way to share your files via your FTP server (don’t have an FTP server? Need one? Let me know, I can help with that). This FTP program is for Macs only… sorry. Need one for the PC world? Check out SmartFTP.
  3. To me this is a given… but a lot of people still use the “generic” browser that comes with your computer. Do yourself a favor and check out Firefox. A lot of the cool features that IE explorer and safari have are coming from Firefox. It’s free and easy to use. Make sure you read about the plugins and themes this can greatly enhance your Firefox love. This app is available free for Mac and PC.
  4. This is another must have especially if you have a lot of important files. iBackup. It does what it says, it backs stuff up. You can schedule backups of specific folders, files, preferences or your entire system. Don’t forget to download the plugins at the bottom of the download page.
  5. So you need to design a webpage… NVU is a complete web authoring software to help you design your next site. It too is free… and the features and ease of use rival that of Microsoft Frontpage and Macormedia Dreamweaver. If you aren’t designing sites and just need a program to keep your site updated this one is ideal. NVU is also available for Mac and PC.
  6. Although Youtube and Google have solved the problem with incompatible video viewing, there are still those files with bad codecs or codecs that can’t be found. VLC is a small player that can play almost anything you throw at it. However it does not play Windows Media Files, but you can get a mac version of Windows Media Player if you really want to.

So if you are starting a business or just need some cool apps for your “slow” days these will keep you busy. I have found them all very useful and definitely a favorite of my wallet.

Enjoy!

Weight Loss Challenge : Week 7ish

// July 27th, 2007 // Comments Off // life

Well it’s been a few weeks since I wrote about my weight loss challenge. Not because I wasn’t doing it, but I wasn’t doing anything but eating right and going hardcore to drop this weight. I thought I’d post an update.

As of this morning I was down to 178. That’s 29 pounds! I did start doing some pushups and situps, and also started playing the Wii. Yes, the Wii. I’ve been playing the mini games it came with and after 30-45 mins I am worn out. I’m not saying don’t exercise, but the Wii is getting more use than a stationary bike!

Wii

At this rate I could be @ 170 in a week or so, then the real challenge starts to keep it off. We are heading to Charleston, SC next week to hit the beach for a few days and I may actually take my shirt off at the beach. We’ll see about that. :)

Thanks for reading… and don’t forget to check out the Duke Diet.

My chart if you want to see…..

Weight Loss Chart

Totally Free Music Tuesdays : Alt / Pop

// July 24th, 2007 // Comments Off // Totally Free Music!

Those of you old enough to remember “They Might Be Giants”, will be happy to know their new album is out and surfing the alternative wave. Here’s a track off the new album.

The Else
Download “Take Out The Trash” (mp3)
from “The Else”
by They Might Be Giants
TMB Productions

More On This Album

OK, so I’m going way pop on you with this one… Holtz. Not sure I’m a fan yet, I feel like I’m listening to Rick Springfield as the lead singer of The Fray. You decide.

Leaving New York
Download “Fall In Love With Me” (mp3)
from “Leaving New York”
by Holtz
All Star Rising

More On This Album

The Changing Business of Music

// July 23rd, 2007 // Comments Off // Music & Entertainment

A good article addressing the change in the music business.  It’s interesting that it took so long for music to become a “real” part of movies, cable TV, mobile phones, and video games.  The music business is becoming more an entertainment business looking for every way to exploit their artists.  It would seem odd to me though if you were signed by a label that was your management, promoter, booking agent and record distributor.  Do the words conflict of interest come to mind?

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A change of tune
Jul 5th 2007
From The Economist print edition

Faced with shrinking profits, record labels are touting a new approach
Get article background

IT HAS become a familiar refrain. For years record labels, citing tumbling CD sales blamed on internet piracy, have decried the decline of the music industry. The reality is rather more subtle, as Edgar Bronfman, the chairman of Warner Music, a big record company, pointed out last month. “The music industry is growing,” he told an investor conference in New York. “The record industry is not growing.”

Indeed. Seven years ago musicians derived two-thirds of their income, via record labels, from pre-recorded music, with the other one-third coming from concert tours, merchandise and endorsements, according to the Music Managers Forum, a trade group in London. But today those proportions have been reversed—cutting the labels off from the industry’s biggest and fastest-growing sources of revenue. Concert-ticket sales in North America alone increased from $1.7 billion in 2000 to over $3.1 billion last year, according to Pollstar, a trade magazine.

Frustrated record companies have responded by trying to get their artists to spend more time promoting records and less time touring and endorsing products, says Jeanne Meyer of EMI, another big record label. “Sometimes you’ve got a tug of war going on,” she says. Yet the more labels spend on marketing pre-recorded music, the more they raise their artists’ profiles and boost their other, more lucrative, sources of income. Pre-recorded music, no longer the main cash cow, increasingly serves merely as a marketing tool for T-shirts and concert tickets. The best seats for The Police’s world tour this summer cost over $900; the group’s entire catalogue on CD costs less than $100.

Record labels have come up with a remedy: the “360° contract”. Instead of settling for a cut of CD sales, they increasingly offer artists broader contracts that encompass live music, merchandise and endorsement deals. Such deals, also known as multiple-rights or all-rights contracts, are particularly important in regions with rampant CD piracy, such as Africa, Asia and Latin America. “The market has made it necessary—we’ve got to look for something else,” says Manuel Cuevas, an industry executive in Mexico City. His company, the Mexican subsidiary of a major label, decided earlier this year to adopt the 360° model. “It’s a discussion you have with every new artist now,” says EMI‘s Ms Meyer.

Although record labels like the idea, artists are unsurprisingly less keen. Few established artists have accepted 360° deals, though the labels trumpet the exceptions, including Robbie Williams, the Pussycat Dolls and Korn. It is more profitable, the artists say, to stick with artist-management agencies, which have traditionally handled the job of cultivating careers beyond the realm of recordings.

Management agencies are also considered to have more respect for their artists’ interests. Record labels, for example, have been criticised for obtaining rights to the names of artists and bands for use in internet addresses. Some clauses stipulate that name ownership applies even after contracts expire or artists die. This can prevent musicians from launching websites to promote tours, sell merchandise, and communicate with fans as they see fit. “Record companies don’t exactly give many artists the warm, fuzzy feeling,” says Gary Bongiovanni, the editor of Pollstar.

Musicians with small fan bases and little business experience are much more receptive to the idea of 360° deals. There is no shortage of aspiring artists, and some will become big names. Juha Ruusunen, the founder of TWU, a small management agency for heavy-metal bands based in Jyväskylä, Finland, says European labels have begun to sign up new talent with 360° contracts. As record labels move more aggressively into the artist-management field, Mr Ruusunen worries that his agency might struggle to compete.

Building a roster of 360° talent, one deal at a time, is slow going. It is quicker for labels to buy artist-management agencies. Last month Universal Music made a £104m ($205m) offer for Sanctuary, a struggling British label with a management arm that represents musicians including Elton John and Robert Plant. Sanctuary also owns two other artist-management companies and runs Bravado, a merchandising operation. Sanctuary’s shareholders will decide whether to accept Universal’s offer, which is considered generous, this month.

For its part Warner Music has expressed interest in Front Line Management, one of America’s biggest agencies. And last month Warner announced the formation of Brand Asset Group, an artist-management joint venture with Violator Management, a firm that negotiates roles for rappers in films, advertisements, video games and TV programmes, and licenses their names and images to promote drinks, books and clothes. (Its clients include 50 Cent, Diddy and Busta Rhymes.)

The shift away from recorded music is due in part to the recognition that touring and merchandise are more lucrative. But it may also be a consequence of internet piracy, as free downloads give music fans more money to spend on other things. Jwana Godinho, the director of Música no Coração, a concert promoter in Lisbon, thinks many music lovers have a “mental budget” that they are prepared to spend on music, and have switched their spending from CDs to tickets and merchandise.

The logical conclusion is for artists to give away their music as a promotional tool. Some are doing just that. This week Prince announced that his new album, “Planet Earth”, will be given away in Britain for free with the Mail on Sunday, a national newspaper, on July 15th. (For years Prince has made far more money from live performances than from album sales; he was the industry’s top earner in 2004.) Outraged British music retailers were quick to condemn the idea. As far as the record industry is concerned, it is madness. But for the music industry, it could well be the shape of things to come.

Make Your Own Ringtones!

// July 23rd, 2007 // Comments Off // Technology

So you have a huge collection of mp3 that you have bought legally.  Now the phone company wants you to buy the song again and make it a ringtone for double the cost of the original song!  Check out the links below to create your own ringtones.

Enjoy….

Totally Free Music Tuesday : Jazz Jazz Jazz

// July 17th, 2007 // Comments Off // Totally Free Music!

I know it’s late, but it’s still Tuesday. Thank you for the reminder emails! It’s all good, I like free music too. Here’s a couple of tracks, kind of random but cool vibe. My buddy Steve King has a jazz album coming out in a few weeks that is smoking and it’s been stuck in my head for a few weeks so I thought I hit you all with a bit of Jazz.

The first track really feels like Morphine, which was my ringback tone for a while (Buena a great track from Morphine), the one where everyone wanted to know “Who was that?”. Now you know.

Predator or Prey

Download “The Crippled Dance” (mp3)
from “Predator or Prey”
by Larval
Ropeadope Digital

 

More On This Album

 

This is a bit more traditional Jazz, but feels great! Enjoy!

 

Live at Jazz Standard Volume 2
Download “Mugshot” (mp3)
from “Live at Jazz Standard Volume 2″
by Russell Malone
MAXJAZZ

 

More On This Album

I'm A Huge Fan…

// July 11th, 2007 // Comments Off // Music & Entertainment

I have a few bands that I absolutely love and have loved for a long time. One of those being Tonic. I still ranked them the best acoustic live show I’ve EVER seen…. if you were at that Exit/In show many years ago, you know what I mean. It still rocks my face. The drum set from Toy’s R’ Us was amazing. Really.

Emerson Hart

With that said, Emerson Hart moved to Nashville some time ago and many of my friends have had the chance to hang with him… I’m always hearing about it, never there. Oh well. His solo album is coming out next Tues, and I know I’m a bit early with this… but you gotta check it out. I’ll remind you guys next Tues. If the first single is any preface of what’s going to be on the album, Tonic fans will appreciate it greatly. His voice is still distinct and raspy, yet clean and rough… good stuff. Lyrics fall right in line with classic Tonic. Check out his first single “If You’re Gonna Leave”. I can’t wait until next Tues… will post again for sure once I get this in my ipod.

Here’s a link to the single:
Emerson Hart - If You're Gonna Leave - Single

Totally Free Music Tuesdays : Funky Emo'd

// July 10th, 2007 // Comments Off // Totally Free Music!

I had to really dig to find some decent tracks this week… Where is all the great music hiding????

Check this first track out, funky / R&B / rock… all rolled into one. The band is called The Spectaculars and the track is from a compilation called “For Callum”.

For Callum

Download “Dopasetic” (mp3)
from “For Callum”
by The Spectaculars
Catlick Records

More On This Album

The second track is from a rock/emo group called Panima. This EP came out a few months ago, but the track was pretty good.
Panima EP

Download “Wake Up” (mp3)
from “Panima EP”
by Panima
Intravenous Records

More On This Album

Emma Videos

// July 9th, 2007 // Comments Off // Funny, life

This first video is why no baby food company is going to call us for a commercial.

In this second one, Emma is crawling… she figured that out the day before and realized she could go after cats. The weird part of this video is I actually say, “go git ‘er Emma.” Before the redneck Jason comes out, that would be interpreted as go get her Emma… I didn’t know I knew the word “Git” and “‘Er”. Nice.

Week 3 Is Done – Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'

// July 6th, 2007 // Comments Off // life

So I’m heading out of town in a few hours, but wanted to give you guys a quick update on the Duke Diet. It’s going great! I’ve hit 189, that’s 18 pounds in 3 weeks… I’ve set a goal to get to 187, and the reward is a big cheeseburger from Hardee’s (Carl Jr.’s for you west coasters). I’ve been pretty discipline. I’ve indulged very little, but when I have, I’ve been smart about it. I Had a piece of cake for Renee’s birthday a week or so ago, a small helping of banana pudding on July 4th and maybe a few glasses of wine since I started. Oh yeah, I’ve had fish burritos from Garcia’s probably 5 times.. it’s cool though, very low cal. Wheat shell, grilled fish, cabbage, and a sauce… it’s amazing!!!!!!!

Here’s the chart! I’m officially endorsing the Duke Diet. The meals have been great and I’m losing weight and getting a healthy mindset at the same time. Check it out @ dukediet.com

week 3