Popular Music in America: The Search for the First Rock ‘n’ Roll Record

I created this PowerPoint for HUM 125: Popular Music in America. It covers Chapter 9 in Michael Campbell’s textbook entitled Popular Music in America: The Beat Goes On. It contains links to listening examples and covers rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s, the search for the first rock ‘n’ roll record.

 

Slides for Popular Music in America

I created these slides for HUM 125, a humanities course at the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media. It focuses on popular music since 1950 in America. These slides go with the book by Michael Campbell entitled “Popular Music In America: The Beat Goes On”. There are listening links to all examples and much more. This particular set of slides covers chapter 1 in the book, which discusses style elements and active listening using Maybellene by Chuck Berry.

 

 

New Prince Six-Song EP Release – April 21, 2017

Prince fans, take heart. According to an article on HuffPo, a surprise new EP containing six unreleased tracks recorded between 2006 and 2008 will be released this Friday, April 21, 2017. It will be available on Apple Music, and the title track, “Deliverance” is already available to stream on a number of services.

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The producer, Ian Boxill has been working on this music over the last year and planned the release to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Prince’s Death. Paisley Park and Prince’s estate have filed a lawsuit claiming the producer is “trying to exploit one or more songs for his personal gain”.

We’ll see what happens. I’m just glad we have some new tunes from The Purple One!

When You Wish Upon A Star for Classical Guitar

I wanted to share an arrangement of “When You Wish Upon A Star”. I did this particular arrangement in roughly 2008, while working on my masters degree in music composition and theory at The University of Georgia.

It’s a tremolo arrangement, which seems to work nicely with this piece.

Since it’s still under copy write with Disney, I can’t sell copies, but feel free to download it and enjoy!

If you work it up and perform it somewhere in the future, please let me know at davidguitar4109@hotmail.com or dr.davidmitchell@aimm.edu

Click the link below to download it:
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Sing Your Melody to Make Your Melody Sing

Here’s a post from guest author Doug Hanvey. You can learn more about him at www.portlandpianolab.com.

Composing a melody by singing is a method that has been used by many of the greatest melodists. The reasons are obvious:

  • By singing it’s more likely that your melody will be generated from the deepest and most personal well of creativity within you. If you simply work out a melody with your fingers at the piano, you are less likely to be connecting with that innermost musical place.
  • Singing your melody helps you to better understand its structure (contour, climax etc.) in terms of the primal melodic instrument: the human voice.
  • Singing engages your body, and the body is the primal rhythm instrument. As a result, your melody is likely to be more rhythmically effective and interesting.
  • Melodies and even simple figures or motives that can be easily sung are more likely to be accessible to the average Joe and Jane. (This may be one reason why vocal forms are ubiquitous in both folk and popular music.) It’s especially useful to sing when composing a vocal melody.

Many (if not most) of the great composers did not write at an instrument. We may not know whether they sang their melodies as they composed, but it’s a good bet that they were “virtually” singing them by mentally hearing them.

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The same is also true of many if not most of the great popular songwriters. For example, musical theater composer Richard Rodgers, one of the greatest melodists of the 20th century, wrote his songs by singing the melody while playing chords on the piano. John Lennon and Paul McCartney composed their tunes by singing them while playing their guitars.

Many of the greatest jazz pianists, such as Bud Powell and Keith Jarrett, vocalize while improvising (same principle).

Convinced it’s worth a try? Follow these steps, one at a time, to engage your virtual or actual voice when composing a melody:

  1. First try hearing your melody inside your head (without actually singing it) and notate it without playing it on your instrument, if you can. This requires a pretty good musical ear, but that is easy enough to develop. By the way, don’t worry about the chords at first. It’s generally better – at least from a melodic perspective – to let the melody dictate the harmony rather than allowing harmonic demands to interfere with the organic nature of the melody.
  2. If the above feels too challenging, sing your melody out loud and notate it without playing it on your instrument.
  3. Finally, easiest – but last, because it’s tempting to get lost in your established compositional habits – sing your melody, then learn to play it on your instrument, then notate it.

SHOULD I STREAM MY MUSIC ONLINE?

This is the first in a series of blog posts covering topics related to music marketing. The slides in this post are from a presentation at the 2015 College Music Society Conference in Columbus, Mississippi. I was selected to present on this topic along with my fiancé, Jennifer Jones. Ms. Jones is a marketing expert and principle partner with Anderson Jones PR and Pinpoint Market Research.

Our presentation covered the online music landscape, creative case studies, the social media landscape, the new “publish or perish” model and questions to ask yourself as you design your marketing campaign.

This bog post will focus on the online music landscape, specifically, the pros and cons of online streaming.

The bottom line is online streaming is not profitable for musicians. The decision to stream your music online must be made with this in mind. Here is what the most popular services pay per stream:

The Streaming Business Model:

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These numbers represent an average paid by each service, which can be more or less depending on how many streams you receive per month. For example, Spotify, used by more than 50 million people, takes 30% off the top and divides the remaining 70% of their $10 per month subscription between everyone involved in the recording. They do this by dividing your streams by the total number of streams on their service each month. On average, this works out to be roughly .007 cents per stream. If your song streams 10,000 times you will receive $70 per month on average. This is divided among your band mates, the producer and your label, so you’ll receive enough to purchase a Happy Meal or two, which would be funny, if it wasn’t so sad.

This is why even major artists like Taylor Swift have removed their music from Spotify. According to Time Magazine, her estimated pay out for “Shake It Off” was roughly $280,000 to $390,000. Her total streams for this song were 46.3 million. If we use the high number of $390,000 and divide that by 46.3 million, the average pay out per stream was .0084 cents per stream. Not good, especially if you consider she must divide it between everyone involved in the recording.

By comparison, Michael Jackson sold an estimated 66 million copies of Thriller according to the New Yorker. Sources have estimated his income from this album was roughly $129 to $500 million. Admittedly, this was an album and not a single, but it does illustrate the fact that streaming pays a fraction of what record sales used to pay.

ENGAGEMENT VS. PROFIT

The upside to streaming is engagement with your fans. Streaming does offer the average, independent artist the ability to reach 50 million potential fans on Spotify alone. In a recent survey conducted by Pinpoint Market Research, 31% of millennials said they listen to music on streaming services and roughly 45% discover new music on streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, YouTube and Soundcloud (see the slide below). So, if your goal is to reach fans and drive engagement, streaming can help, but remember, you’re essentially giving away your music to get people to your shows and engage fans.

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WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?

Before you put your music on a streaming service, you should decide what your goals are. Do you want to profit from the recording itself or do you want to reach as many fans as possible and drive engagement? If profit is your goal, consider placing your music on streaming services that pay the most per stream, probably not Spotify, Pandora or YouTube. If Taylor Swift can’t make a significant profit on these services, you probably won’t either.

In my opinion, musicians should never give away their music. It lowers the bar for everyone in the industry. Instead of racing to streaming services, which pay the least, let’s streaming our music on services that pay musicians fairly. Maybe we can reverse the trend toward lower and lower profits, if we insist on fair payment for our life’s work. For example, 10,000 streams on Spotify will net you $70. 10,000 streams on Rhapsody at .69 cents per stream will net you $6,900, significantly better.

If you agree, comment at #fairpay4music. Please share, comment and tweet your thoughts. Follow this blog for more information in the coming weeks. Let’s make a difference.

Compensate Musicians Fairly: We Demand It Now! #FairPay4Music

Musicians, it’s time we started demanding just compensation for our life’s work! Another case of “musicians being asked to play for exposure” has come to my attention. Ex Cop, a punk duo featuring Amalie Bruun and Brian Harding, was asked by the McDonalds corporation to play at their SXSW stage “for the exposure only,” and with no compensation whatsoever. McD’s is a mega corporation with a net worth of $97 billion – that’s billion with a B – and they can’t scrape together just compensation for artists? This arrogance blows my mind. When did it become OK to rip off musicians? ex-cops-300x169 It’s not the first time this has happened. Bruno Mars wasn’t paid a dime when he performed at the 2014 Super Bowl. In fact, the NFL floated the idea of having HIM pay THEM to play in order to cover their cost for the multimillion dollar broadcast extravaganza. They suggested he compensate them in a number of creative and self-serving ways, including taking a percentage of his record sales and/or tour receipts. Musicians, we must unite through social media to call out corporations, bars, club owners and venues who attempt to take advantage of us. We can use the power of social media and the power of the purse to make a difference. Let’s take a page from the LGBTQ community and boycott businesses who treat musicians unfairly. I, for one, will not patronize McDonalds until they make a change. We are not powerless to demand to be treated fairly. The power of the purse will make a difference! Let’s also stop racing to the bottom with streaming services who pay fractions of a cent and rip off artists at every turn. Check out compensation models below in a slide taken from a presentation I recently gave with Anderson Jones PR on marketing your music online. (Click the image to view full presentation). Please use this as a guide to put your music on services that compensate you fairly. how-to-promote-your-music-online-a-social-media-guide-for-the-musician-10-1024 Let’s wise up and claim our power to make a difference! Let’s start a hashtag campaign to call attention to abuses in the industry. Tweet #fairpay4music if you agree.