You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category.

A little history:

February 22, 1990: Pop sensations Fabrice Morvan and Rob Pilatus, a/k/a Milli Vanilli, who achieved international acclaim as a result of their Arista release, Girl You Know It’s True,  win the Grammy for “Best New Artist.”    Soon, the rumors began to swirl that Morvan and Pilatus were not actually singing on the records as had imagebeen reported in the press.  So intense were these rumors that on November 12 of that same year, Frank Farian, creator and producer of the Milli Vanilli project, confessed that Morvan and Pilatus did not actually sing on the records.  Four days later, Milli Vanilli’s Grammy was “withdrawn,” and Arista dropped them.  After the details emerged, the controversy spurned over 26 different lawsuits across the country under various consumer protection laws.

Early 1992: New Kids on the Block’s song If You Go Away peaks at #16 on Billboard as an associate producer on one of their earlier albums allege that the band lip-syncs to performances by Maurice Star, and that Star actually sang many of the parts on their albums.   As the story develops, the band cuts short their tour to appear on The Arsenio Hall Show to perform a medley of their hits.  During the subsequent interview, the band admits to using Star’s vocals as a backup track during their live performances, and admit that Star sang harmonies on some of their background vocals.   The band never recovered from the backlash, and their record sales steadily declined from that moment.

November 6, 2009: Hundreds of angry fans in Perth, Australia, walk out of Brittany Spears’ Circus concert when it becomes apparent that she is lip-syncing to her songs.  Consumer affairs groups in Australia are seeking legislation to require disclosures when a performer intends to employ lip-syncing in a live concert.  “Fans deserve to know what they were paying for,” says Consumer Affairs Minister Tony Robinson of the Victorian Legislative Assembly.

Fast forward to:

January 31, 2010: Taylor Swift wins four Grammys: Album of the Year and Best Country Album for Fearless, Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song for White Horse.  Swift, who is by all accounts an extremely talented songwriter, gave a stunningly weak vocal performance during her duet with Steve Nick’s that drew starkly negative reviews from professionals and amateur press and bloggers alike.  For example, Bob Lefsetz described her image performance as “dreadful” and opined that she may have single-handedly imperiled her career with this one performance.  The general consensus is that her Grammy performance is not an isolated incident.  Truth is, many professionals in Music City are aware of Swift’s inferior vocal talents – almost every conversation about Swift in this city includes one or more references to “auto-tune” technology.

The primary issue can be stated as follows: is there a significant difference between a digitally-created rendition of a vocal performance and using a superior vocal performance from an singer who is not marketable to front a more attractive and marketable duo, a/k/a Milli Vanilli or to using a backup track (even of your own vocal as in Spears’ case) to enhance your live performance.  Isn’t the former example simply a modern, technological replacement for the latter?  If so, then the question becomes why is today’s society not as outraged at Taylor Swift as past society was at Milli Vanilli, New Kids and Spears?

In his response to criticism of the Grammy performance, Scott Borchetta, president and CEO of Swift’s record label Big Machine Records, offers this explanation for this discrepancy:

Maybe she’s not the best technical singer, but she is the best emotional singer. Everybody gets up there and is technically perfect people don’t seem to want more of it. There’s not an artist in any other format that people want more of than they want of Taylor. I think (the critics) are missing the whole voice of a generation that is happening right in front of them. Maybe they are jealous or can’t understand that. . . .   No one is perfect on any given day. Maybe in that moment we didn’t have the best night, but in the same breath, maybe we did.

Borcetta gets no argument from almost anyone I know in the industry that perhaps Swift is not the best technical singer.  But I’m not sure the explanation that Swift is the “voice of a generation” does much to address the underlying issue: The Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance went to a singer who, even her label head admits, is not a great singer!  In her defense, Borchetta goes on to say “If you haven’t seen her live performance, you’re welcome to come out as my guest to a Taylor Swift show and experience the whole thing, because it’s amazing.”  But if the show’s audio is auto-tuned, how does this amazing experience differ from a Brittany Spears’ lip-synced performance, if at all?  How is different from New Kids on the Block using additional harmony tracks to enhance their live performance?  

Someone else once phrased it this way:

“It’s not about being authentic anymore, it’s about being entertaining.” 

Interestingly, this was a quote from Morvan of Milli Vanilli in a USA Today article in 2010.   Morvan goes on to say

“Twenty years later, what we were crucified for what you now see everywhere.”

He right, is he not?  Let’s be honest.  In America, at least, pop music has sporatically produced a certain amount of, shall we call it, “manufactured product” – performers who were either assembled, created or otherwise enhanced in order to manufacture entertainment value.  My first disillusionment with this came in the form of The Monkees when I discovered that they were a band “assembled” by Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider as an American “Beatles” alternative, i.e., as a means of capitalizing on the success of the Beatles.  In the past, however, it seemed that society had a greater tendency to reject these disingenuous creations.

As technologies become more and more sophisticated, this trend toward entertainment value over authenticity is easier to achieve without consumer awareness.  It used to be a little more difficult to go back and “overdub” a particular performance which was out of tune or offbeat, because the engineer had to physically rewind the tape, record the alternative part on a separate recording track, and then sync the new part into the old one.  A bit more time consuming.  Now, we have software which can independently correct not just the pitch, but an isolated note out of a chord which may be out of tune for one reason or another.  It’s a matter of moving the mouse over the note, highlighting it, and correcting it.  The proprietary technology allegedly used by Swift, Antares Audio Technologies’ “Auto Tune,” allows singers to perform perfectly tuned vocal tracks without the need of singing in tune.  Wow!   It reminds me of the digital amalgams created for Madden 2010 by EA Sports by placing diodes all over football players and digitally recording their movements:  while these digital characters bear a striking similarity to their analog counterparts, they are not real.  Neither are the digitally created vocal performances.

To resolve the issue, we need to answer the question, “what do we want from our performing artists, whether it be a live performance or a recorded one? “ For me, I think I prefer simple honesty.  Or, as Milli Vanilli ironically put it, “authenticity.”  I like to hear performers with technically superior skills performing the music they created.  I really don’t want to listen to a digitally enhanced vocal performance. So, I do agree with Borchetta that everyone is not perfect, and that many people prefer a live performance that has the feel of being non-technical.  After all, who can forget that off key guitar note at the end of the Allman Brother’s recording of Statesboro Blues (a note which they DO NOT replicate in a live performance), or some of John Bonham’s almost syncopated rhythms on Black Dog?   Those performances, though not perfect, were authentic performances by persons with superior, technical skills.  And this is precisely where I differ from Borchetta:  I personally think most people, while they don’t expect perfection,  do expect their celebrities to be technically superior, at least with regard to their advertised talents. 

Judging from prior examples such as Milli Vanilli and Brittany Spears, and the audiences’ reaction to those performers, people have an expectation that an artist will be able to actually perform the music that was marketed to them through the media.  In other words, most people expect their performers to be authentic.  

Now, maybe Borchetta is correct, that Swift is, in fact, an authentic person who can communicate well through her gift of songwriting – again that’s not the real issue.  The real issue is that Swift is portrayed as more than a songwriter, she is portrayed as the performer with the “Best Female Country Vocal Performance.”  This representation is the crux of the issue.  The fact is, Duane Allman, although he might hit an off key note once and awhile, was a technically superior guitarist.  John Bonham, even though that one performance might fade slightly off the beat for a brief moment, was a technically superior drummer.  And finally, Stevie Nicks is a technically superior vocalist.  Thus, when juxtaposed alongside Nicks – no matter how many tours she sells out and no matter how many millions of CDs she sells – it became apparent that Taylor Swift, while an amazingly-talented songwriter,  is not and will never be a technically superior vocalist.  

Not to worry, though, she will most certainly always be the slightly off-key voice of a younger generation of admirers.  Or will she.  Time will tell I suppose.  But lest we put too much stock in past success as an indicator of future fan support, don’t forget, Milli Vanilli’s record was also multi-platinum.

It’s been a while since my last blog entry, and I apologize to regular readers of Law on the Row.  I’ve been in transition mode, getting settled in  to my nlyndseyew offices downtown at 2nd Avenue North.  I was also invited by my good friend Mark Volman to teach a course at the Mike Curb School of Music in the Entertainment Industry Studies division and have been diving into that task.  It’s been a great year so far and I’ve made a lot of new friends. One of those friends is a student in my class, Lyndsey Highlander.  She is an amazing talent.  Lyndsey will be performing her music at 12th & Porter Lounge tomorrow evening, September 9th.  Doors open at 630 and music starts at 7pm.   In addition to Lyndsey, the line up includes a variety of genres, including artists Kesley Noffsinger, Russ Dickerson, Ashlyne HUff, and Marie Hines.   If you like country, soul, or pop- head on down and support some local artists and songwriters=[;l,!  The more friends, the better!

beckettb Barry Beckett, renowned Nashville producer and longtime musician, passed away last evening, further dampening, in conjunction with heavy downpours, the opening day of the 2009 CMA Music Festival.

Beckett was a fellow Aquarian, born February 4, 1943 in Birmingham, Alabama.  He was a noted keyboardist and musician, perhaps best known as a member of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section which created the “Muscle Shoals Sound” as part of the recording sessions produced by Rick Hall in the Fame Recording Studio.   

Beckett can be heard on various hits from the famous Stax Records (e.g., the Staple Singers‘ "I’ll Take You There”) as well as playing kDylaneyboards on my favorite Paul Simon tune,  the 1973 pop hit "Kodachrome."   As a A&R rep for Warner Nashville in themid 80’s and later as a producer, Beckett touched the careers of many notable artists, including Hank Williams, Jr., John Prine, Mary MacGregor, Alabama, Kenny Chesney, Bob Dylan (“Slow Train Coming”), Neal McCoy,  Glen Frey, Bob Seger, Delbert McClinton, Joan Baez, Dire Straits, Joe Cocker, Lorrie Morgan, Confederate Railroad, Phish.  A partial discography can be found here and here.

He was inducted into the Alabama Musicians’ Hall of Fame in 1995.  Among other things, Barry enjoyed building model railroad track layouts when not producing hit records.  He, and the music he continued to produce, will be severely missed in the Music Row community and well beyond.

Once upon a time, there was a shinny new device called the iPhone that tried to climb up the mammoth hill that is the sole domain of the business smartphone.  “I think I can, I think I can,” said the iPhone, and it tried and it tried, but alas, it could only make it up about half way, and then it sputtered and. . . .   The end of this story cannot be written.

Obviously, you probably figured out by now that I have fallen victim to the allure driven by the site of all of my business associates who were sporting shiny black and white, Zen-like devices with colorful icons.  Yes, I bought an iPhone.  And while this article may be a bit off topic for my music business oriented blog, anyone who knows me knows that I am a techie through and through and enjoy new gadgets and technologies more than most.  Many of my friends call me the guru for good reason.  So, here goes.

As a long time fan of Palm, you might wonder why I did not wait for the premier of the Palm Pre.  The simple reason is that Sprint service does not reach to my residential area.  That was also the reason that, in recent years, I migrated to Windows Mobile, which I grew to love almost as much as the Palm OS.  However, finally I was convinced to switch to the dark side and try it with Apple.

My relationship with my iPhone is what I describe as a “love hate” relationship.  Yes, there are many many things I really love about the iPhone.  I love the way it feels in your hand, almost like a smooth pebble plucked from a lake in the mountains of Japan.  As I said in the story above, very “Zen-like.”  After all, that is the Apple way isn’t it?

apple-iphone-keyboard At first I thought the soft keyboard would drive me crazy.  Surprisingly, I’m getting used to it and pretty efficient, although I still maintain that a hardware keyboard is much more efficient – something the Palm Pre does beautifully. 

For the most part, on the positive side, I really love the web browsing experience.  The websites that actually work (more on this later) come up beautifully and quickly.  And, as a tech person, I really like the fact that there are scores of programmers writting countless applications for the iPhone.  For the most part, the marketing is true, “there is an app for that.”  That’s sort of where the “hate” part of the relationship begins, in that shaded area between the “for the most part” and the remaining part of 100%!  That’s the part that keeps the iPhone from being a full-fledged business phone.

Recently, Apple has been pushing the idea that the iPhone is the ideal phone for business.  There are several flaws with the iPhone which, until remedied, will prevent its widespread infiltration into the lockhold that BlackBerry, Palm and Windows Mobile have on that sector of the market. 

So, what I’d like to address in this article is not the scores of more obvious deficiencies that have already been pointed out in the blogs and articles – no native voice dial, lack of full support for Bluetooth, no memory expansion, no cut and paste, no MMS, intolerable battery life, etc. – but the less obvious and definitely serious deficiencies that relate more specifically to a business person’s daily use of a smartphone.

First and foremost, and this has certainly been recognized by others, is  the lack of support for Javascript and Flash plug-ins in the built-in Safari browser.  If your websites relies on either of these, as my www.musicattorney.biz does, then what the iPhone visitor will see is a blue Lego-style brick with a question mark in the middle  (see the illustration).  What the hell is javathat?  Unforgiveable, that’s what it is.  There’s no other word for it.  And all simply because Apple doesn’t like to play nice with its competitors, particularly Adobe.  Shame on you Jobs.

Secondly, and this has always been one of my major beefs with Apple, the proprietary, i.e. closed, operating system.  Apple’s SDK, as one developer put it, “has more restrictions than Guantanamo.”  Developers require a certain level of integration with the OS in order to develop business-class applications to work around the inherent deficiencies in the native iPhone software.  But no – Apple is too proprietary for that.  This needs to change and quickly.

One perfect example of this is the calendar.  For some unknown reason, there is NO WEEK VIEW in the calendar.  No week view?  I don’t know about most business people, but for me, the week view is the “go-to” view of choice.  Yes, I know, there is a “list” view on the iPhone, but it’s not nearly the same thing.  To witness the difference for yourself, download the iPhone version of an old Windows Mobile classic, Pocket Informant and look at the week view in that software.  Ah, problem solved you might be thinking.  Just use the App!  Not so quickly:  Pocket Informant ONLY syncs with a Google calendar account.  Why, you ask?  That’s right, because Apple will not allow the programmers to access the base-level calendar on the iPhone and therefore the information in the iPhone’s calendar CANNOT be displayed in beautiful week view of Pocket Informant.  Yes, the week view is sort of a sore spot for me.  But is iconic, if you’ll allow me the pun, of the fallacy of the proprietary restraints Apple places on programmers.  There is absolutely no excuse.

phone While we’re on the subject of little annoyances, what’s up with dialing the damn iPhone?  There is no quick way to get to the dial pad.  Duh!!!  It is, first and foremost, supposed to be A PHONE.  Give us a quick way to access the dial pad!  When you press the pretty green telephone icon, you land on whatever segment of the program you happened to be on when you last opened it, whether it be voicemail or recent contacts.  You MIGHT get lucky and land on the dial pad.  But there’s a one in four shot that you have to press yet another icon to get to the dial pad to, dare I say it, actually make a phone call.   IT’S A PHONE!!!!

Since we’re on the subject, looking up contacts is probably a breeze for some MP3 stealing teenager with 25-50 contacts in their address book.  When they swipe their pimple-popping finger down the list I’m sure it flows beautifully for them.  I, on the other hand, like many other business people, have close to 2000 contacts in my database: not the same  “weeeee” experience with the finger-scrolling thingy!  There is simply no good way, on the native applications, to search for a contact and quickly dial them.  Fortunately, in this instance, there are several app for that developed by people who recognized this deficiency.

Now, getting back to the primary focus of the article, the third annoyance that prevents the iPhone from being a major contender in the business market is the lack of multitasking.  That’s right, multitasking.  The Palm Pre recognizes and addresses this need beautifully, as does the Blackberry Storm.  Both have methods by which you can easily and quickly switch between open programs seamlessly.  Not the iPhone.  With the iPhone, you must always return to the home screen in order to open a program (if you’re lucky enough to find it on the home screen). 

The home screen is designed, once again, for the casual and, dare I say it, younger user.  Each program is represented by a cute, colorful icon with neatly rounded edges.  Did I say cute?  The icon concept works great if you have only a few applications, but if you start to actually utilize the “there’s an app for that” concept and download more than a few pages worth of applications, you soon find that it’s difficult to locate the app you’re look for in any given moment (As an aside, you’ll Icons also find that you are limited to the number of applications you install on the iPhone – nine screens of 16 +4, i.e., 148 applications!).  Apple has some smart programmers, why not throw in some “categories” or “tabs” or some intelligent organizational method to use in sorting and filing the icons in manageable clusters?!  But no, that’s a little to complex for an Apple, I suppose – there’s absolutely NO file or icon management whatsoever.   

While we’re on the subject of wish lists and multitasking, why not allow me to have a “back” button that returns me to my previous program.  But no, if I want to look up someone’s phone number or address to include in a calendar event, for example, I have to hit the home key, thereby exiting the calendar, go find the contacts icon, press it, scroll through scores of contacts until I find the right one, then select that contact, memorize the information, exit the contacts program, find the calendar icon, press the calendar icon – OH MY FREEEEEKING *#*#*#!!!!!!  Isn’t Apple supposed to be the king of simplicity?  Somebody surely missed the boat on this one didn’t they?  It IS a simple concept – multitasking.  Apple didn’t get it.  Multitasking is one of the things that all successful business people have in common.

So, you might be wondering, if I am doing all this complaining, why do I still have and use the iPhone.  Well, actually as I said, there are many apps that do service many of my needs – an many that work around some of these issues.  For example, I utilize Freshbooks for invoicing with its iPhone app, I use SugarSync for file backup and access it with its iPhone app, I use Jott for dictating quick notes to myself and clients and it has a neat iPhone app, I use eReader for my literary needs, Transactions to get myself paid, Pandora to listen to music, Upvise for my shopping list needs, ReQall for my localized to do list, MyCast for weather, and My Banking online, etc. etc. You get the picture.  There are still many programs that fill many of my business needs. 

Oh, don’t get me wrong:  I could do ALL of these things on my old Samsung Blackjack with Windows Mobile.  But certainly the iPhone is, after all, the most recent iconic symbol of high technology and that is, after all, why I ultimately ended up with the iPhone.  And it does perform beautifully.

   I just hope that Apple has their act together enough to realize that their market is expanding, and in order to expand fully into the business sector, it might have to let go of some of its old methods of doing things.  Let the programmers in.  Let them design fixes to these flaws.  Let them develop an app for that!  Until then, in my opinion, the Blackberry Storms and Samsung Jacks of the world will continue to have a foothold in that precious business market that every smartphone desires to dominate.  Until then, Apple, repeat after me:  “I think I can, I think I can . . . .”

Once upon a time, there was a shinny new device called the iPhone that tried to climb up the mammoth hill that is the sole domain of the business smartphone.  “I think I can, I think I can,” said the iPhone, and it tried and it tried, but alas, it could only make it up about half way, and then it sputtered and. . . .   The end of this story cannot be written.

Obviously, you probably figured out by now that I have fallen victim to the allure driven by the site all of my business associates who were sporting shiny black and white, Zen-like devices which colorful icons.  Yes, I bought an iPhone.  And while this article may be a bit off topic for my music business oriented blog, anyone who knows me knows that I am a techie through and through and enjoy new gadgets and technologies more than most.  Many of my friends call me the guru for good reason.  So, here goes.

As a long time fan of Palm, you might wonder why I did not wait for the premier of the Palm Pre.  The simple reason is that Sprint service does not reach to my residential area.  That was also the reason that, in recent years, I migrated to Windows Mobile, which I grew to love almost as much as the Palm OS.  However, finally I was convinced to switch to the dark side and try it with Apple.

My relationship with my iPhone is what I describe as a “love hate” relationship.  Yes, there are many many things I really love about the iPhone.  I love the way it feels in your hand, almost like a smooth pebble plucked from a lake in the mountains of Japan.  As I said in the story above, very “Zen-like.”  After all, that is the Apple way isn’t it?

apple-iphone-keyboard At first I thought the soft keyboard would drive me crazy.  Surprisingly, I’m getting used to it and pretty efficient, although I still maintain that a hardware keyboard is much more efficient – something the Palm Pre does beautifully. 

For the most part, on the positive side, I really love the web browsing experience.  The websites that actually work (more on this later) come up beautifully and quickly.  And, as a tech person, I really like the fact that there are scores of programmers written countless applications for the iPhone.  For the most part, the marketing is true, “there is an app for that.”  That’s sort of where the “hate” part of the relationship begins, in that area between the “for the most part” and the remaining part of 100%!

Recently, Apple has been pushing the idea that the iPhone is the ideal phone for business.  There are several flaws with the iPhone which, until remedied, will prevent its widespread infiltration into the lockhold that BlackBerry, Palm and Windows Mobile have on that sector of the market. 

So, what I’d like to address in this article is not the scores of more obvious deficiencies that have already been pointed out in the blogs and articles – no native voice dial, lack of full support for Bluetooth, no memory expansion, no cut and paste, no MMS, etc. – but the less obvious and definitely serious deficiencies that relate more specifically to a business person’s daily use of a smartphone.

First and foremost, and this has certainly be recognized by others, is  the lack of support for Javascript and Flash plug-ins in the built-in Safari browser.  If your websites relies on either of these, and my www.musicattorney.biz does, then what the iPhone visitor will see is a blue Lego-style brick with a question mark in the middle.  See the illustration.  What the hell is javathat?  Unforgiveable.  There’s no other word for it.  And all simple because Apple doesn’t like to play nice with its competitors, particularly Adobe.

Secondly, and this has always been one of my major beefs with Apple, the proprietary, i.e. closed, operating system.  Apple’s SDK, as one developer put it, “has more restrictions than Guantanamo.”  Developers require a certain level of integration with the OS in order to develop business-class applications to work around the inherent deficiencies in the native software.  One perfect example of this is the calendar.  For some unknown reason, there is NO WEEK VIEW in the calendar.  No week view.  I don’t know about most business people, but for me, the week view is the go-to view.  Yes, I know, there is a “list” view – not the same thing.  To witness the difference for yourself, download the iPhone version of Pocket Informant and look at the week view.  Ah, problem solved you might think.  Just use the App.  Not so quick.  Pocket Informant only syncs with Google calendar.  Why, you ask?  That’s right, because Apple will not allow them to access the base-level calendar on the iPhone and therefore the information in the iPhone’s calendar CANNOT be displayed in beautiful week view of Pocket Informant.  Yes, the week view is a touchy subject for me.

phone While we’re on the subject of little annoyances, what’s up with dialing the damn iPhone?  There is no quick way to get to the dial pad.  Duh!@!!  It is, first and foremost, supposed to be a phone.  Give a quick way to access my dial pad.  When you press the pretty green telephone icon, you land on whatever button you happened to be on when you opened the program before, whether it be the voicemail or recent contacts.  You MIGHT get lucky and land on the dial pad.  But there’s a one in four shot that you have to press yet another icon to get to the dial pad to, dare I say it, actually make a phone call. 

Since we’re on the subject, looking up contacts is probably a breeze for someone with 25-50 contacts in their address book.  You swipe down the list and it flows beautifully.  I, like many other business people, have close to 2000 contacts in my database.  Not such a “weeeee” experience with the scrolling thing!  There is simply no good way, on the native applications, to search for a contact and quickly dial them.  Fortunately, in this instance, there is an app for that.

Now, getting back to the primary focus, the third annoyance that restricts the iPhone from being a major contender in the business market is the lack of multi-tasking.  That’s right, multi-tasking.  The Palm Pre recognizes and addresses this need beautifully, as does the Blackberry Storm.  With the iPhone, you must always return to the icon screen, which is, again, designed for the casual user.  The icon concept works great if you have only a few applications, but if you start to actually utilize the “there’s an app for that” concept, you quickly find that it’s difficult to find the app you’re look for.  YouIcons also will find, by the way, that you are limited to the number of applications you install on the iPhone – nine screens +4 only!  Apple has some smart programmers, why not throw in some “categories” or “tabs” or some intelligent organizational method!  No file or icon management whatsoever.  I don’t ask for much. 

While we’re on the wish list, why not allow me to have a “back” button, to return to my previous program.  But no, if I want to look up someone’s phone number or address to include in a calendar event, I have to hit the home key, thereby exiting the calendar, go find the contacts icon, press it, scroll through scores of contacts until I find the right one, then select that contact, memorize the information, exit the contacts program, find the calendar icon, press the calendar icon – OH MY FREEEEEKING *#*#*#!!!!!!  Isn’t Apple supposed to be the king of simplicity?  Somebody surely missed the boat on this one didn’t they?  It is a simple concept – multitasking.  Apple didn’t get it.

So, you might be wondering, why do I still have and use the iPhone.  Well, actually as I said there are many apps that do service many of my needs.  I utilize Freshbooks for invoicing, SugarSync for file backup and access, Jott for quick notes to myself, Google for directions, eReader for my literary needs, Transactions to get myself paid, Pandora to listen to music, Upvise for my shopping list needs, ReQall for my localized to do list, MyCast for weather, Banking online, etc. etc. You get the picture. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I could do ALL of these things on my old Samsung Blackjack with Windows Mobile.  But certainly the iPhone is, after all, the most recent iconic symbol of high technology.   I just hope that Apple has their act together enough to realize that their market is expanding, and in order to expand fully into the business sector, it might have to let go of some of its old methods of doing things.  Let the programmers in.  Let them design fixes to these flaws.  Let them develop an app for that!  Until then, in my opinion, the Blackberry Storms and Samsung Jacks of the world will continue to have a foothold in that precious business market that every smartphone desires to dominate.  Until then, Apple, repeat after me:  “I think I can, I think I can . . . .”

For the last several weeks, I have enjoyMalcolmed being a guest host on Malcolm West’s live radio program, Race Night.  It’s a weekly show that airs on WSM 650 AM from 7-9 p.m CST.  The show is broadcasted into over 37 states and, as Malcolm quips, two outhouses!  It reaches over 150,000 listeners. 

The show is very unique:  it consists primarily of Malcolm’s commentary and responses to callers regarding the evening’s NASCAR race.  However, interspersed in the NASCAR theme are musical elements, including special featured guests who are prominent songwriters, entertainers and music industry veterans.   I was introduced to the show by my good friend and banker, Lisa Harless of Regions Bank.SDC11109

Malcolm asked that I participate in the music industry portion of the evening to give an entertainment attorney’s perspective.  I’ve had the pleasure of participating in live interviews with Malcolm’s musical guests Jessica Miller, Buffalo Rome, Harold Bradley, Ray Walker and Karen Staley.  That’s Malcolm on the right in the photograph, together with Ray Walker, myself, and Kevin Anderson, the engineer and producer.

I can’t wait to see who will be on next week!  Join me and Malcolm for a fun evening of family entertainment next Sunday evening!

Rep. John Conyers, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee brought the Performance Rights Act (HR 848) up for markup this morniJohn Conyersng. 

HR 848 created no small amount of disagreement among radio broadcasters, minority broadcasters, trade unions and civil rights groups.  However, a group  of minority artists, including Duke Fakir of the Four Tops, Dionne Farris and Jon Secada, recently sent a letter indicating support for Rep. Conyers and this legislation.  The letters stated in part: 

As minority artists, we support a strong and vibrant local radio industry. We know that minority broadcasters play a vital role in our communities. And we support efforts to create accommodations in the legislation for small, minority-owned stations. But the creation of a fair performance right cannot be delayed further. We have already waited far too long. “Not now” is not an acceptable answer.

To address the concerns of minority broadcasters, Conyers offered the following amendments at today’s markup:

Affordable payment for small, rural, nonprofit, minority, religious and educational broadcasters

· Any station that makes less than $100,000 annually will pay only $500 annually for unlimited use of music

· Any station that makes less than $500,000 but more than $100,000 annually will pay only $2500 (half of the amount in introduced bill) annually for unlimited use of music

· Any station that makes less than $1,250,000 but more than $500,000 annually will pay only $5000 (the amount in introduced bill) annually for unlimited use of music

Relief for current economic situation

· No payment for 2 years by any station that makes less than $5,000,000 annually

· No payment for 1 year by any station that makes more than $5,000,000 annually

Parity for all radio services

· Establishes a “placeholder” standard to determine a fair rate for all radio services that will encourage negotiations between the stakeholders

Cannot hurt local communities

· Assures that this legislation cannot affect broadcasters public interest obligations to serve the local community

Assures consideration of relevant evidence

· Evidence relevant to small, noncommercial, minority, and religious broadcasters and religious and minority royalty recipients must be considered by the Copyright Royalty Judges

Other minority and civil rights groups that sent letters expressing support for the act included the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, Rhythm and Blues Foundation and the A. Phillip Randolph Institute.

The executive director of the musicFIRST Coalition, Jennifer Bendall, supported the committee’s decision:

“We applaud Chairman Conyers and Committee members for their work on the Performance Rights Act and for supporting artists, musicians and rights holders in their fight for fair compensation when their music is used by AM and FM radio stations.

The Performance Rights Act will bring fairness to artists, musicians and rights holders and one that’s fair to radio and its counterparts. It also includes accommodations for small and minority-owned broadcasters. musicFIRST looks forward to the next chapter and to Congress to ensure that U.S. artists and musicians receive the performance right they deserve.”

Now that HR 848 has cleared the committee, it will be brought in front of the entire House for debate and vote. 

My friend and colleague James H. Harris III was recently certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization.  Just over 300 Tennessee attorneys have completed the rigorous certification process established and required by the Tennessee Supreme  Court.

jamesh1 To be certified, Tennessee attorneys must met certain requirements, including a certain number of years of experience in their particular field of certification, demonstration of special education, passage of an examination, and recommendation from other judges and attorneys.

Tennessee attorneys are not required to be certified in a particular field in order to practice in that area, and in fact Tennessee does not have a certification process for every area of legal practice (entertainment law, for example, is excluded).  Currently, certification is only offered in the areas of Civil Trial, Criminal Trial, Bankruptcy, Malpractice, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Family Law and a few other areas. 

Another member of my association, Gail Bradford, is certified in the area of Estate Planning.

Congratulations Jim!

Free photos from Fotolia

I’d like to take this time to wish all the readers of my blog, Law on the Row a very happy and prosperous new year.  I hope and trust that everyone had a safe and happy holiday season.  Thanks for paying attention to my musings over the past few years!

Word is spreading on the Internet about PassAlong Networks, Inc.’s recent infusion of investment capital.  PassAlong is a digital music distribution and sharing service aptly headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee.  According to VentureWire, the company plans to close a $30 million funding round later this month.

PassAlong, also known as the Tennessee Pacific Group, LLC, was founded in 2002 by former Microsoft executive, Dave Jaworski and, Scott Lewis, an independent entrepreneurDave Jaworskier.  Mr. Jaworski’s blog, Can’t Stop the Music, can be found here.  The company raised $40 million in start up monies from angel investors – an unusually substantial amount from individual investors – and also raised another $10 million in investment capital in April 2007.

Music veteran Jeff Skillen recently went to work for the company as their VP of Entertainment Relations.

PassAlong has a patent pending on its media service engine architecture, which is designed to work across all operating systems and platforms and is device-independent.  It launched its first digital music download store on e-Bay in September 2004

The company has digital music catalog agreements with all four major record labels: Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, EMI, and Sony/BMG.  The PassAlong catalog includes nearly 3 million songs, including not only catalog from the majors, but also nearly 2 million independent songs in MP3 format.  Most of its music is either DRM or MP3, and the company became certified by Microsoft PlayforSure in December 2004.

The music-sharing services gets its name from the fact that it allows consumers to recommend music to friends with links to song clips sent through email and instant messaging services from AOL, MSN and Yahoo. PassAlong

PassAlong Network Inc.’s portfolio of other products, many of  which are interactive, includes:

StoreBlocks, an online platform of tools and templates for building digital music/media stores, including PassAlong’s library of songs from the four major labels and MP3 files from independent artists.  This system currently powers 120 digital music stores, including Proctor and Gamble’s Julie’s Jukebox;

OnTour, is an award-winning family of concert notification applications, widgets and websites;

freedomMP3, is a “non-DRM” solution, providing protection technology and media tracking services designed to safeguard artists’ rights without hindering consumer rights via interoperability;.

Skylocker is a media storage and market-management platform;

Speakerheart a subsidiary of PassAlong, is an exciting independent-artist publishing and promotion system; and

Connected Consumer, a series of platforms and services aimed at enhancing the connected consumer experience.

Look for this exciting company to go places on the web.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9 other followers

October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

a

If you get enjoyment and information from my blog, please donate by clicking the link below. Thank you.