Industry News

Women Push for Equality, and Quality, in Country Music

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You would think in this day and age that there is equality amongst men and women in our society. Although we often do hear about women being paid less than men, women are still entitled to the same jobs as men. But in the world of country music, the opportunities and treatment might not be the same between the two genders. American radio personality Leslie Fram was the first to notice this probably that female country singers were facing in the country music industry. It all started about four years ago when she arrived in Nashville to lead the music strategy division of the television network “CMT.” She worked within the songwriter community and was impressed with the performance Brandy Clark gave at the little Bluebird Café. Clark is a Grammy nominated singer who has penned great hits for Kacey Musgraves and Miranda Lambert. That is why it was surprising that Brandy’s songs were not being played on country radio. Fram began looking into this and realized there was a decrease in the number of female country artists on country radio stations. This became an eye opener for her as well as many other women who started realizing what was going on.
This whole controversy started when a radio consultant named Keith Hill blamed the poor ratings of country radio stations on all the female country singers they were putting on. Hill came up with the idea to put fewer female artists on country stations in order to increase the ratings, since it is believed that country music is a male dominated genre. Now more women are pushing for equality in the country music industry. But music producers and radio networks insist that they are not discriminating against women. They are just going by the quality of the music and the response they get from country music fans. For some reason, people don’t seem to respond as well to female country music performers as they do to male performers. This is why women are not only pushing for equality, but they are working hard to produce better quality songs as well.
Right now there isn’t even one female performer in the Top 20 or Top 20 country music charts. Could this be because of gender discrimination or is it because of the poor quality of their music? Female performers insist it is prejudice towards their gender and they are currently seeking support to get their voices heard in the country music world.

Contract that Launched The Beatles Up for Sale

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The Beatles are a legendary British band whose music has captivated the world for about five decades now. Even though most of the original band members are dead, their recordings and media continue to get purchased by classic music lovers all over the world. That is why any memorabilia from The Beatles will sell for big money.
Later this month there will be an auction held at the Sotheby’s auction house in London. This auction will feature the original contract that went on to start the career of The Beatles. The contract has signatures by all four band members; John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. It also has the signature of Brian Epstein, who was their manager. The contract dates back to October 1st, 1962. This was just four days before their first hit single “Love Me Do” was released. At the time, McCartney and Harrison were under 21 years of age which meant they had to get their fathers to cosign on the contract.
Now if you are a diehard Beatles fan then you will certainly want to purchase this contract as a collector’s item. You may also just be a collector or world class pawn shop owner who is looking for some valuable music memorabilia to resell. Experts predict the contract will likely sell for about $760,000, which is around £500,000. Obviously, this price will only be affordable to extremely wealthy people who have the money to throw around. The average Beatles fan will not be able to afford this, but that is okay. This news about the contract is still very interesting to all Beatles fans around the world. When you look at the price it will be going for at the auction, it just proves how strongly people still love the Beatles.
The Beatles first played in Liverpool, England and eventually went on to be one of the top selling rock bands in music history. The founding member of the band, Paul McCartney, is still alive as well as the drummer Ringo Starr. You probably heard about John Lennon dying back in 1980 after being shot by a crazy fan. As for George Harrison, he died of cancer back in 2001. McCartney still makes solo appearances and plays for crowds everywhere. He is likely the reason why the Beatles still remain so relevant to this day. It will also help the price of the contract go up at the auction, which is being held on September 29th.

Ice Cube: Iggy Azalea makes ‘dope songs’

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Ice Cube seems to be a big fan of Iggy Azalea. Cube said in a recent interview with Daily Mail Australia that Azelea makes dope songs. His defense of her comes after rumors emerged about Azalea not writing her own music tracks. Like many rappers and artists in the music industry, Cube feels that the material coming out of the speaker is what makes a great song. The process of how a song gets made should be irrelevant. Besides, there is usually more than one person that contributes to a song anyways. There are people who write the lyrics and there are people who offer inspiration.

Back in the time of the Roman Empire, artists often had muses to help inspire their creativity. Legend has it that the original muses were the nine daughters of the goddess Mnemosyne and the god Zeus. Perhaps Iggy Azalea was the inspiration for someone else to write her song lyrics, and then she took the lyrics and performed them for her fans. Would that be so wrong? Ice Cube would say that the lyrics are not everything. It is how someone sounds to their fans, whether it’s in a concert or through the speakers of their music device. Music lovers aren’t certainly ones to criticize a singer for not writing their own lyrics. Heck, most fans don’t even care who wrote the lyrics. The aspect of every song that a person responds to is how it is being performed. For example, you could take Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Great Balls of Fire” and have five different people sing those lyrics. But chances are the best performance will be by Jerry Lee himself because of the way he sings the lyrics. That is what made him popular and it is what makes so many singers popular.

Music critics are often quick to be negative about young musicians and artists. Sometimes these artists let the criticism get to their heads, which causes depression. But when they have fellow musicians, like Ice Cube, in their corner then it tends to bring them out of their slump. From the looks of Azalea’s success, it doesn’t look like she is going anywhere. As long as people keep purchasing her songs and go to see her in concerts, there is no reason to think anything bad about her music. The people that care about who wrote the lyrics are not the ones purchasing her songs. This is a lesson that Azalea and all other singers in the industry should learn.

The Personal Touch: How Musicians Choose Their Festivals

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Have you ever wondered how musicians choose their music festivals? There are so many organizations that want famous musicians to play at their venues. For Sufjan Stevens, it took him eight years to finally respond to a request to play at the End of the Road festival in London. But what was unusual is that this request came in the form of a handwritten letter from the founders of the festival, Sofia Hagberg and Simon Taffe. This single sheet of paper was handwritten with a pen and was only 10 lines long. The letter is an invitation to Stevens for him to perform at the End of the Road festival. It also indicates that the festival is an intimate occasion set in the beautiful Victorian pleasure gardens, which have parrots and peacocks moving freely all around. Now eight years later he is ready to play there after giving the following response, “Better late than never.”
Stevens is not known for playing festivals, which is likely the reason why he didn’t initially respond to the letter. Many artists don’t play festivals because they feel their music will get lost amongst the large crowds and the variety of other bands playing at the same festival. There is no personal association with the festival like there is with concerts that are exclusive to one band. Of course, some bands don’t care about this and just consider festivals something to add to their touring schedule. For awhile, Stevens was thought to be this way but it looks like he is going to play the End of the Road festival after all.
Musicians are all different and that is a good thing. Sometimes their views and ways of doing things will change over time. It is just a part of getting older and realizing that their fans want to see them play anywhere. Stevens probably came to the conclusion that people would go to the festival just to see him, which would be a great honor for any musician who has people devoted to their music that much.
If there is a lesson to be learned from Stevens’ story with the festival, it is that festival operators and owners should not be afraid to ask musicians to play at their festival. It doesn’t matter how cynical you are about the musician because they will likely change their mind after enough time has passed. Either that or they could respond right away and accept your invitation. All you have to do is put forth the effort and ask them.

Apple to Shutter Beats Music on November 30th

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On November 30th, Beats Music will be closed for good. Apple acquired the music streaming service about 1 ½ years ago, but they have decided to shutter it. Now those who use iOS and Android are being encouraged to transfer their music preferences and picks to Apple Music. All you have to do is sign in to your existing Beats Music account and then choose to switch over to either a family or individual membership. The family membership costs $14.99 per month, while the individual membership is just $9.99 per month.

Users will get an even better streaming experience when they switch over to Apple Music. When you go to listen to your favorite music it will track the genre you like to listen to the most. Then it will recommend other songs to you in that same genre which you may like as well. Apple Music also features a 24/7 global radio station and announcements of new songs from your favorite singers and artists. Of course, this is only the beginning. There are additional features to Apple Music that have not even been announced yet.
Beats Music was originally purchased by Apple in May of 2014 for $3 billion. At first, rumors suggested that Beats Music would be rebranded into something else. But what reports seemed to indicate was that numerous engineers from Beats Music were transferred to work on Apple iTunes instead. Then in early 2015, Apple Music launched and quickly obtained 6.5 million paid memberships. This likely decided the leaders of Apple to direct all of their attention to Apple Music, while abandoning Beats Music all together.
Users will have a lot of assistance in switching over from Beats Music to Apple. There is an official help desk on Twitter devoted to assisting people on this issue. You can also check out the latest issue of PCMag, which features a review of the Apple Music app for the Apple iPhone. They also have an informational list entitled “25 Things to Know About Apple Music.”

There are other tech companies moving into the streaming service industry. YouTube has already created a music app of their own, which company representatives suggest is a newer experience than that of any other streaming app. This is likely due to the fact that YouTube has an endless supply of songs and music in their catalog. Some of these songs are original pieces hosted on the channels of the actual artists while others are new songs performed by independent artists who are looking to make a name for themselves.

The Burdens of ‘Bro-Country’, a Music Critic’s Term Gone Wild

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Former New York magazine music critic, Jody Rosen, had used a term he made up almost two years ago called “bro-country.” Rosen wasn’t trying to be creative or start some kind of music revolution by coining that term, but this seems to be what has happened two years later. Every country music fan in America now uses that term. Bro-country is supposed to refer to the music by average young American white men who are muscularly toned, tattooed and free spirits. When Rosen had first used the term, he was talking about the success of a country music duo group called Florida Georgia Line and their song Cruise. It was a song that represented a generational shift in the performers of country music. Rosen also mentioned performance artists Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan, who had graduated to country music’s A-list. In his opinion, their songs sounded more appropriate for frat houses instead of honky-tonk bars. They also happen to be young muscularly toned performers just like the duo of Florida Georgia Line. Duo groups like these represent bro-country music.
You can see the bro-country term in all the major magazines and newspapers now. Major media outlets like People, Time, Rolling Stone and U.S. Weekly are using bro-country as a casual term. But what they may not realize is that not all music fans understand what bro-country means, especially the older country music fans that are used to Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton songs. They might think of bro-country as some cross between rap music and country music. That is why there is a debate as to whether or not bro-country should still be used. Some feel that the term will eventually spread around the word-of-mouth and country music fans will pick up on what it means. Others say it is redefining country music in a more negative way and it should not be used. In fact, those opposed to the term think it is going to rub country music the wrong way. There have already been country songs with a similar production to that of hip-hop and R&B.
So what is the verdict? Should bro-country continue to be used? It seems like it is just a newer term that older fans are not accepting to while newer fans think it is cool. One thing is for sure though. Country music is still more popular than ever and it will continue to be popular, especially amongst Americans living in the south.

Happy 100th Les Paul: 5 Classic Albums with a Les Paul on the Cover

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The Gibson Les Paul is a very popular guitar amongst musicians. It has been on the market for over 60 years and used by so many iconic guitar players, such as Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Keith Urban, Muddy Waters and so many more musicians. But what is truly iconic is there have been five album covers with these legendary musicians with a Gibson Les Paul guitar in their hands. These album covers show how much love these legends truly have for this guitar.
If you look at the cover of 1975’s Blow By Blow featuring Jeff Beck, it features him playing on his electric guitar. There is no singing or anything going on there, except from the Gibson Les Paul electric guitar. This cover contained one of the earliest illustrations to feature the Les Paul. You will find plenty of other Les Paul cover examples from albums such as 1975’s Alive by Kiss, 1975’s Bob Marley and the Wailers Live, 1979’s Neil Young and Crazy Horse in Rust Never Sleeps, and 2013’s Skydog the Duane Allman Retrospective.
So why is the Gibson Les Paul popular amongst musicians? Many famous musicians claim they were inspired by the sounds produced from the instrument. Big rock bands, like Pearl Jam and Nirvana, were said to have been inspired by Neil Young’s guitar playing with the Les Paul. The instrument itself is a solid body electric guitar that was first introduced by the Gibson Guitar Corporation back in 1952. The man who created the Gibson Les Paul was actually named Les Paul. He was a songwriter, guitarist and inventor. Les Paul was born in 1915 and died in 2008, so he did live a pretty long life. But even though he is dead, people are still celebrating his 100th birthday by remembering five classic albums that featured the Les Paul guitar on their cover.
The very first Les Paul that was sold contained two P-90 pickups and complete gold finishing. In 1958, sunburst finishes were added with humbucking pickups. Over the next 50 years, the guitar would be redesigned repeatedly to accommodate the look and feel of certain musical genres. Musicians use Les Paul guitars with all kinds of musical genres, including blues, punk, reggae, jazz, soul, rock, heavy metal and more. The craftsmanship of the guitar is topnotch, which means you can expect to pay thousands of dollars if you want to purchase one.

Listen to the Newly-Unearthed Demo of Kurt Cobain’s Pre-Nirvana Band Fecal Matter

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Many people knew Kurt Cobain as the lead singer of the very successful 90s band “Nirvana.” But few people realize that Kurt Cobain’s original band was called “Fecal Matter.” There is even a demo tape of this band that just resurfaced on the internet. This supposedly was the demo tape that would eventually lead to the creation of Nirvana. The internet has seen a lot of rare media from Kurt Cobain’s past. There were alternate versions of popular Nirvana songs, such as “Come As You Are” and “Polly,” that have found their way onto YouTube. Now a 58 minute demo tape can be found on YouTube as well. This demo tape features Kurt Cobain when he was just 19-years-old performing with his friends. It was recorded onto an audio cassette inside someone’s house. Since it is an audio cassette, the sound quality is not perfect. You will hear a lot of acidic guitar riffs and fuzziness in the sounds. There are even sounds of coughing while Cobain is doing the vocals.

The significance of the demo tape is the sounds in the music that would later resemble the sounds in Nirvana’s “Bleach.” You can hear Cobain doing both the vocals and the guitar sounds in the demo tape. Dale Crover is believed to be on backup vocals, bass and drums. This demo tape is at least 30-years-old and has never been heard in its entirety until now. For anyone who is a fan of Nirvana’s music, this demo tape is like the holy grail of their existence. If it weren’t for this demo tape, Nirvana may never have existed to begin with. The story behind the demo tape is an interesting one. Legend has it that Cobain met up with another punk rocker Krist Novoselic, whose mother happened to own a beauty and hair salon. Novoselic invited Cobain to practice with him in a room upstairs in the hair salon. A few years went by and Cobain had the idea to form a band. He encouraged Novoselic to give him a copy of the demo tape they made and join together in a band called Nirvana. Novoselic was hesitant at first, but later agreed to give Cobain the tape and join Nirvana. This was how Nirvana got created. As for the demo leak, rumors suggest that former Nirvana band member Dave Grohl had something to do with that. This demo leak just happened to be around the same time that rare demos from his band “Foo Fighters” got released as well.

Foo Fighters Cancels All European After Grohl Injury

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The Foo Fighters European tour is going to be finished early after Dave Grohl broke his ankle recently. He was able to make it through his last concert with a broken ankle, but he won’t be able to finish the tour with it. The pain and the limping will be too unbearable for him to continue. As a result, the Foo Fighters had to cancel their recent European tour. Some people say they should have just gotten a replacement for the singer and continued the tour that way. But the fans probably wouldn’t have liked this because Dave Grohl is the frontman of the band. If he is not there then it would definitely be noticeable.
Dave Grohl broke his ankle because he fell onstage during a concert in Sweden. For a short period of time after the fall, he left the stage to get medical attention. But then he managed to find his way back on stage and finish the show with a bandaged leg. After the concert was over, an X-ray of the broken ankle was tweeted to the band’s followers on Twitter. Grohl did get surgery for the broken ankle, but his doctors were unable to predict a recovery time for it. The fact that Grohl had to cancel the rest of his tour had made him sad. He did release a statement thanking his fans for all their support and he apologized to them for the cancellation. These cancellations will mostly affect people who were going to see him in Belgium and the United Kingdom.
The Foo Fighters is a rock band that was form in Seattle, Washington back in 1994. Dave Grohl had been the drummer for Nirvana and formed the Foo Fighters as a one-man project after Kurt Cobain died. Kurt Cobain was the lead singer of his previous band “Nirvana.” So naturally, Grohl wanted to do something new and create his own band. The name “Foo Fighters” comes from the UFO sightings by Allied aircraft pilots during World War II. These UFOs were given the name Foo Fighters because no one knew what they were. The name stuck with the band quickly and became a household name for all music lovers around the country, and eventually around the world. The Foo Fighters will eventually go back on tour again after Dave Grohl’s ankle heals. Then fans of the band can look forward to the exciting return of the legendary frontman and his legendary band.