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Ne-Yo & Nelly Furtado to Perform at 2016 NBA All-Star Game

Billboard.com - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 8:00am
Ne-Yo, Walk the Moon and Nelly Furtado will be adding another dosage of star power to the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto. Sting to...
Categories: Music Industry

Ice Cube and Son O'Shea Jackson Join Grammys Lineup: Exclusive

Billboard.com - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 6:30am
Straight Outta Compton principals Ice Cube and O’Shea Jackson Jr. are teaming up again -- this time as presenters at the Grammy Awards....
Categories: Music Industry

Prospecting Like a Pro

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 6:16am

Shotgun marketing has become less effective in a population that would prefer to opt in rather than opt out. That means up front research is more important than ever if you want to make the most of your time and money.

Where to Begin You could always buy an email or mailing list from a list service (there are several great ones out there), but if you can’t afford that investment, I have several stand-by resources you could try.

Step One: Be Aware of Who Does What Spend time online, spend time reading publications – especially industry publications – to see what marketers are doing. What brand, company or type of work gets you excited? For the most current peek into the industry, I love Agency Spy, which is a free service of AdWeek.

Step Two: Honest Assessment How would your work be compatible with the brands that you want to do work with? Is your sensibility and style a match? Is your level of production and professionalism appropriate to meet their expectations? You may need an objective opinion on whether you’re an appropriate match to that potential client, so consult with a trusted professional so you can make the best first impression

Step Three: Find Out Who Does the Work AgencyCompile.com is my favorite resource for finding out which agency works on a particular brand. It’s a wealth of information and better yet, it’s FREE. As with all resources, it’s only as good as the information that’s been provided to them, so you need to do further research to make sure the listings are current.

Step Four: Dig Deeper Once you find out who is doing the work, continue to research the company/agency/ people doing the work. In the case of an agency, go to the agency’s website and research not only the work they do for a particular client, but ALL their work. That will give you a sense of their aesthetic and if your work is compatible. Sometimes, all you want to know is who the agencies or design firms are for a certain location. Workbook.com is my go-to source for researching all things creative, and it’s ideal for finding potential clients both locally and nationally. The directory is robust and it’s FREE!

Step Five: Find the Entry Point There may be several entry points within an organization. You want to find  the one with the checkbook for the services you provide. Some companies have Art Buyers or Art Producers to coordinate purchases. In others, the Art Director or Creative Director make the purchases. Sometimes the Procurement department makes the purchases. The only way to know is to buy a list or to ask.

For years, Kat Dalager has been helping photographers discover gold by using the right tools. 

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Mark Ronson and Tame Impala's Kevin Parker Release Double-Header Video

Billboard.com - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 5:44am
Mark Ronson and Tame Impala's Kevin Parker are just so hot right now, it makes sense for them to get together again. Ronson, who has just...
Categories: Music Industry

Sia Shares Lyric Video for 'Cheap Thrills' Featuring Sean Paul: Watch

Billboard.com - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 5:02am
If you figured Sia wouldn’t appear in the lyric video for “Cheap Thrills,” you figured right.  The enigmatic Aussie...
Categories: Music Industry

Justin Bieber and Courtney Love Bond, Lady Gaga Fawns Over Beck: Behind the Scenes at Saint Laurent

Billboard.com - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 4:20am
Saint Laurent's splashy Feb. 10 show in Los Angeles was nothing if not a true Hollywood affair, as scores of stars arrived for the big...
Categories: Music Industry

Kelsea Ballerini, Chris Janson and More Star at Country's New Faces Showcase

Billboard.com - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 3:13am
Traditionally, the New Faces Show is one of the top moments of the week that is known as Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. The 2016 showcase, which...
Categories: Music Industry

How tough can it be? LensRentals looks at why it's so hard to make lenses

DPReview.com - Latest News - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 2:59am
Just check it and fix it, it can't be that hard. Can it?

Why can't you just make them better? It sounds like a reasonable question until you start unpacking exactly what it entails. This is exactly what Roger Cicala and company do in the latest LensRentals blog post. As usual with Cicala's posts, the closer he looks, the more complicated the question becomes. So why can't everyone just (repeatably and affordably) make lenses, you know... better?

With his usual critical (and somewhat wry) eye, Cicala looks at the importance and challenges of quality assurance (the processes to ensure you build things to standard) as well as quality control (checking that you've done so). This includes a look at the impacts of design tolerances, manufacturing tolerances, repeatability and the need to make products affordably-enough that people will be willing to buy them. And just what can you do with the ones that aren't quite right?

It's a long article but if you've ever wondered why they don't just check and fix every lens as the last step of the production line, or you've found yourself using the phrase 'you get what you pay for' and you'd like to understand why it's often true, it's well worth a read.

And, if you get a chance to read it all, we'd love to know whether you end up more impressed by Leica's ability to make expensive, mechanically simple, manual focus single-focal-length lenses really well or by the ability of the big brands to build collapsable, image stabilized kit zooms for next-to-nothing and have them work at all. Let us know in the comments.

Categories: Equipment

Paris' Bataclan Venue to Reopen After Deadly Terrorist Attacks

Billboard.com - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 1:50am
The owners of the Paris concert hall where 89 people were massacred by Islamic extremists say they are aiming to host music shows again before the...
Categories: Music Industry

The SongFarmer Album Completely Recorded on an iPhone

CyberGrass.com - Internet Blue Grass News - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 1:31am

The SongFarmer AlbumYes it’s true ... the SongFarmer album was completely recorded on an iPhone. An iPhone 6-plus, actually. As far as we know, this is the first national album release to be recorded this way. It’s an acoustic album recorded with the new Martin 0000-28s guitar and long neck Deering Vega Banjo.

“I wanted to re-create the feel of an early folk recording using 21st century technology,” says folksinger Michael Johnathon from his log cabin home in Kentucky.

Why an iPhone? Years ago it was the norm for an artist to spend $20,000 or more in a studio with great musicians, carefully laboring over each song, making each note and inflection perfect, making each song mix the best possible. Then taking the finished work to a mastering studio, refining every audio wave and EQ so the album will stand the test of time ... only to have most of your fans listen to the thing on a $9 set of ear buds while on a treadmill in a gym. It is part of the demise of the record industry.

“We are living among the first generation in human history that hear music as a flat screen, digital two-dimensional experience.” says Johnathon. “They don't even get to hold an album jacket anymore.”

HERE'S A PAINFUL FACT: few people listen to albums on stereo systems anymore (this is not a reference to LPs but to the entire recorded project, whatever format).There are exceptions, but the truth is most folks listen to music as crushed low res MP3 files on smart phones in crappy ear buds with little or no sonic quality to them. The general public has learned to listen to music on less-than-quality playback systems in noisy environments.

HERE'S A SECOND FACT: the public is being conditioned to hear only singles from an album. The MP3s are loaded into their phone and are played on shuffle ... one song at a time. Kind of a personal Pandora playback. It leaves visionary artists in a quandary ... the presentation of a concept album - full musical cycles like Pink Floyd's The Wall or the Beatles Sergeant Pepper - has become extinct.

HERE'S A THIRD FACT: music is as much visual as it is audible. As the idea of physical records die, so dies the majesty of the album cover. Holding the album jacket in your hand, reading the lyrics as the album played drew fans deep into the magical world being presented to them. The current two-dimensional music world is shallow by comparison. The problem is folks only know it if they knew it from before. Fans today don't have a clue of this because there is an entire generation of humanity who have grown up experiencing only the flat digital experience of music.

“Think of what is really happening,” Johnathon explains, “fans are emailed an MP3 of a band from a friend, Google the band, YouTube the band, iTunes the band then download the band. They've never even seen the band live. Who could have predicted just five short years ago that record store chains would collapse nationwide and Cracker Barrel would become one of the biggest retailers of CDs in America? And to make matters worse, fans have gotten used to getting music as free MP3s. It's gotten so wacky that new cars don't even have CD players in them anymore, just a USB port.”

“Think of what is really happening,” Johnathon explains, “fans are emailed an MP3 of a band from a friend, Google the band, YouTube the band, iTunes the band then download the band. They've never even seen the band live. Who could have predicted just five short years ago that record store chains would collapse nationwide and Cracker Barrel would become one of the biggest retailers of CDs in America? And to make matters worse, fans have gotten used to getting music as free MP3s. It's gotten so wacky that new cars don't even have CD players in them anymore, just a USB port.”

The SongFarmer album is actually a protest album in support of the recording artform. Like most artists, Michael Johnathon laments the loss of budgets and the ability to actually create art in a recording studio.

“Some of the most talented audio sculptors in the world, we call them engineers but they are actually artists, are losing their careers as the music industry changes and budgets decline,” says Johnathon. So, the SongFarmer album was recorded in the same format the public is being trained to listen on: a cell phone. “If that’s what you’re going to listen to it on, then that’s what I’ll record it on.”

Which, oddly enough, isn't all that bad. The iPhone as a recording platform far surpasses what the Beatles recorded Abby Road on. Using Ear Trumpet mics, the Apogee Quartet with a multi-track recording app for iPhones and his artist cabin as the studio, which has very beautiful acoustics and a natural reverb, Johnathon set about the task of creating the album.

“Heck ... since most folks will end up hearing the ding-dang thing for free I might as well record the ding-dang thing for free. It is a folk album, performed in single takes with just my Martin 0000-28s guitar and long neck Vega banjo. There is little-to-no editing involved.”

The technology is such that Johnathon could have recorded upwards of 32 tracks but because of the concept behind this particular project, the recording was kept very simple and acoustic. The album has a more important use as it will introduce the efforts of the WoodSongs Front Porch Association to media and radio stations around the world. The WFPA calls its members "Song Farmers," thus the album title.

Song samples and project information available now at www.SongFarmers.org

Categories: Music Industry

T.G. Sheppard Joins Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road in Latest Video

CyberGrass.com - Internet Blue Grass News - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 1:22am
T.G. Sheppard, Lorraine Jordan & Carolina RoadNashville, TN -- Bluegrass crowd favorites Lorraine Jordan & Carolina have turned a lot of heads with their latest project, Country Grass. The band continues to leave their mark on the genre with the latest video for "Do You Wanna Go to Heaven." The track features 21-time country chart-topper T.G. Sheppard on the classic song, which recently celebrated its 35th Anniversary since topping the country charts. The video for the new bluegrass version of the song premiered exclusively on The Boot.

"I've always loved bluegrass music," says Sheppard on the heels of releasing his latest critically acclaimed album, Legendary Friends & Country Duets. "I'm glad that this song turned out so well," he adds of the hit song, which is one of his biggest hits.

Country Grass is the latest trend in bluegrass music, where the award-winning Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road teamed up with some of the biggest names in classic country. The tracks were recorded with the original singers on lead, with Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road singing along, this time with invigorating bluegrass instrumentals. The star-studded project also features collaborations with Crystal Gayle, Lee Greenwood, The Kentucky Headhunters, John Conlee, Eddy Raven, and Marty Raybon in addition to the late Jim Ed Brown and Lynn Anderson.

There is no shortage of Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road, as the band embarks on a whirlwind tour later this year, with upcoming stops throughout North America (see dates below). They will be appearing at several bluegrass festivals, where fans can pick up their very own copy of Country Grass. They are also bringing back their popular hosted Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival December 7-10 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Categories: Music Industry

"Dig in the Dirt" Coming June 3rd from The Farm Hands

CyberGrass.com - Internet Blue Grass News - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 1:20am

Dig In The DirtGreenville, SC -- Award winning gospel quartet The Farm Hands have recorded a new album titled Dig in the Dirt, to be released on June 3rd, 2016. Their upcoming gospel bluegrass album features five of the 12 tunes penned by band members. Bandmember Daryl Mosley recently took home "Bluegrass Song Writer of the Year" at the latest SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards. The band's Dobro player, Tim Graves won "Dobro Performer of the Year." The band as a whole took home "Gospel Group of the Year" and "Vocal Group of the Year." Along with Graves and Mosley (bass), the band also includes Keith Tew on guitar, Bennie Boling on banjo. The fellas are joined on the album by guest fiddler Kimberly Bibb.

The Farm Hands are one of the most exciting and talked about band in Bluegrass Music. At the 2016 SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards, The Farm Hands collectively took home four awards. This followed up an incredible 2015 when they received one of the SPBGMA's highest honors, "Entertainer of the Year." Since their inception in 2010, they have received over 40 awards and nominations including 2014's "Album of The Year." Their YouTube videos, Facebook, and Twitter pages have thousands of followers.

They are one of the busiest touring bands in bluegrass, performing over 150 dates per year. For anyone who has seen them in concert, none of this comes as a surprise. The group features 4 award winning singers, musicians and songwriters, including two long time veterans of Nashville's Grand Ole Opry.

Categories: Music Industry

'American Idol' Kelly Clarkson to America: Vote for La'Porsha Renae

Billboard.com - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 12:03am
It's only the first night of the American Idol semi-finals, and Kelly Clarkson is already declaring a front runner. The original Idol winner took...
Categories: Music Industry

Arcade Fire Shares Video from David Bowie New Orleans Tribute Parade: Watch

Billboard.com - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 11:30pm
Arcade Fire has shared video of their New Orleans tribute to David Bowie.  The Canadian alternative rock outfit joined the ...
Categories: Music Industry

'American Idol' Recap: First Half of Farewell Season's Top 24 Take the Stage for Solos

Billboard.com - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 10:21pm
With the farewell season’s contestant pool narrowed to the top 24, American Idol entered the showcase round of the competition this week....
Categories: Music Industry

Travis Scott Thanks Kanye West for Putting 'Feed Back' Back on the Album

Billboard.com - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 9:48pm
Following Kanye West's revealing his new T.L.O.P. album track list, Travis Scott took to Twitter to thank the hip-hop icon for putting the...
Categories: Music Industry

Gwen Stefani Returning to 'The Voice' as Blake Shelton's Team Advisor

Billboard.com - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 9:03pm
Even though Gwen Stefani relinquished her red chair on The Voice to alumna Christina Aguilera, but the No Doubt singer is still going to be around...
Categories: Music Industry

'Straight Outta Compton' Team Takes Aim at N.W.A Ex-Manager's Lawsuit

Billboard.com - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 8:30pm
Raising the First Amendment flag, those behind the hit film Straight Outta Compton on Wednesday demanded that most of the claims...
Categories: Music Industry

Kanye West Reveals New Album Track List, Full Title

Billboard.com - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 8:13pm
Kanye West has been busy making a big impact on Twitter leading up to his new album release, which is slated for Friday.  Why Kanye West's...
Categories: Music Industry

Bruno Mars Choreographer & Dancer Phil Tayag Talks Bringing the Funk to Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show: Exclusive

Billboard.com - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 8:10pm
MTV junkies who binged on the dance competition show America's Best Dance Crew will remember the JabbaWockeeZ, who dominated the...
Categories: Music Industry