Keeping It Alive

Anxiety. Man I tell you it’s something else. The feeling and just utter urgency that comes with it can drive one crazy and desperate. The cure for any feeling of unease in any person, especially if no harm is being done, is to medicate. Music is how I medicate. Listening to it, seeing a concert, writing a song, making a beat, etc. It’s all medicinal. It’s the best drug in the world.

Now enough of the sentimental and sorta sappy intro. Time to discuss some things. So 2014 has one more month left and the year was alright. Yes. That’s it. Just alright. Nothing very very mind blowing but damn. Compared to 2014, which in my opinion was a very strong year for music, this year was ok. Now with that being said, there have been some gems and at the time of writing this I still have yet to hear a few of the albums released late last month and this early November. There were a few exceptions though. I heard Logic’s debut, Slipknot’s .5 The Gray Chapter and Jessie Ware’s Tough Love and they were all very excellent and impressive.

Award Season will soon be approaching for music and film and the American Music Awards will be  airing tomorrow on ABC (November 23rd 2014), and its gonna launch the season if you will for the rest that will follow. If I’m not mistaken, the show is being set up where fans tweet and or text a #hashtag (see what I did there, no? forget it lol) of their favorite artist and or group and that’s how the winners are decided. I gotta look more into it because I might be missing some other details but it’s something like that. Things like this are important for fans and the music business in general, simply because the fans are the driving force. Which brings me to my next point.

About in the middle of last month, there was a report on several online music news outlets and sites such as Forbes, Billboard  and the Wall Street Journal, that in this year, the year 2014, the year with the 20 and the 14, that not one album, NOT ONE CD went platinum. Or gold either. No artist or band. For the first time in years, several notable people in the business, music journalists and fans too, were like “ wait a minute” “Really”? “WTF”?! Even if you don’t care or didn’t pay attention to the news, it was still startling to hear. Then two weeks after that sad/bad news, someone came to save the day.

Taylor Swift’s loyal fanbase is unquestioned and extremely devoted. There are several other artists with fanbases who go super hard too but what happened with Taylor’s recent album was defiant and definitive. Taylor Swift’s fifth studio album, 1989, Sold a whopping 1,287,000 copies. It was recorded and reported as the biggest sales week for an artist since 2002 and the artist who did it at that time was Eminem with The blockbuster The Eminem Show. An impressive feat when two weeks prior everyone was worried. Profoundly amazing.

So of course after such good news, there comes the critics and skeptics who had something to say. “Is the music good”?” “only teens buy music” “who cares”?. All of these responses were invalid. The fans spoke loud and clear and people do still buy music. This is an important moment for the music business. You don’t have to like Swift’s music but its massively impressive and it should be respected off the strength of significance.

Now that wasn’t the only news about the superstar this past week. A day after Billboard reported the charting of 1989 it was also reported that Taylor Swift and her label were removing all of her music from the very popular music streaming site/service Spotify. In a statement that read “If I had streamed the new album, it’s impossible to try to speculate what would have happened. But all I can say is that music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment. And I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music. And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free. I wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal this summer that basically portrayed my views on this. I try to stay really open-minded about things, because I do think it’s important to be a part of progress. But I think it’s really still up for debate whether this is actual progress, or whether this is taking the word “music” out of the music industry. Also, a lot of people were suggesting to me that I try putting new music on Spotify with “Shake It Off,” and so I was open-minded about it. I thought, “I will try this; I’ll see how it feels.” It didn’t feel right to me. I felt like I was saying to my fans, “If you create music someday, if you create a painting someday, someone can just walk into a museum, take it off the wall, rip off a corner off it, and it’s theirs now and they don’t have to pay for it.” I didn’t like the perception that it was putting forth. And so I decided to change the way I was doing things.

 

Those are very strong words and ones that sparked debate with fans and industry figures alike. We can all agree on this at least, the business is changing but there are still business models of it that need to be preserved if that makes sense.

Is it better music that needs to be released for fans to buy music or do fans just simply need to pay for the music? This can be discussed for days and I will speak on it more next month.

Speaking of next month, the Grammys will be announced on December 5th and I am extremely curious to know what and who will be nominated because while the nomination period for the 2015 ceremony was awesome, the 2014 year was alright and could have been a bit better in my honest opinion. Oh well though. The music must and will go on.

Working on new music also and I will touch on that as well. Apply Pressure is an instrumental EP of very electronica and trap inspired music, and there is another project I’m soooo excited about. What can I say about the project, it is industrial music influenced and the sounds are of Nine Inch Nails, Filter, Ministry and Aphex Twin. Working on an EP and an album. That’s all I can say for now. Project name, album titles, song titles and actual music will be revealed soon for this project. Happy Thanksgiving to you all! See you in December!

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