Radio Confidential Podcast

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Bob Lefsetz On Mediocricy

Another brilliant article from Bob Lefsetz. In his blog he wrote about the mediocrity of artist quality that seems to be running rampant these days. How true that the artists days seem to have less and less actual talent. Mr. Lefsetz says "In the dash for cash, it's all about shooting low, to the sweet spot, where most people live, so the purveyors can make money". I absolutely agree. Sounds like a very selfish thing to sell out for the quick buck. But clearly these artists aren't being selfish, because they are producing the quickest work that they think the majority will buy. True selfishness would be an artist that will only create and produce music that they want, not what the masses want. True art is an individual using a medium to express an idea. Its time to let selfishness back into mainstream music.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

2011 Billboard Music Awards

So tonight's the big night, the annual Billboard Music Awards are back again. Slim pickings for this years top artist award if you want my opinion. Chances are Gaga will take the top spot, leaving Bieber alone with his line of nail polish wondering what went wrong. But he might still have a chance at male artist of the year, unless going through puberty is a requirement, in that case Gaga might win there too. But in all honesty I think that the awards to look out for tonight will be the digital categories, top digital download, top streaming song, and top digital media artist. With the majority of these artists fans' belonging to generation web, I am curious to see which artists have best marketed themselves for the web. Gaga does have over 32 million Facebook fans so she must be doing something right.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

GooGoo for Gaga

With Canada enjoying a long weekend, happy that the world has survived another threatening doomsday prediction, Lady Gaga is getting ready to launch her album Born This Way on May 23rd. Gaga being the marketing genius that she is has already sold over 1 million copies of the single off that album. What a better time to release it than at the unofficial beginning of summer long weekends. Available for pre-order for $8.99 this album is going to be one of the 2011 summer hits. I myself will be picking up a copy just to see what all the fuss is about, but seeing the artwork for the soon to be released album I am not holding my breath. I understand in the digital age we are in that artwork is becoming less relevant, but honestly Gaga. A motorcycle doing a wheelie, with your head on the front handle bars like some old Cadillac with cattle horns mounted on the grill? For all the credit I give you about being a marketing genius and such, I can not for the life of me figure out what you were thinking. Maybe I will save myself the money and the eye sore and just download it.

Be sure to tune in to our Podcast for discussions on the new music industry.

Home Recording Studios

So you want to build a home studio? Many people have been in your shoes, as one can tell from the endless sites dedicated to the does and don'ts of home studies. Page after page of people who have spent a fortune setting up their basement studios to find out that their needs could have been met at a fraction of the price. So where does one start? Well first things first, do you plan on developing an income with your studio? It is very possible depending on the work you plan on specializing in that a home studio will be perfect for your needs. If you plan on doing voice-over work or any dialogue for film/t.v than a small home studio would be perfect. All you'll really need is a small isolation booth for dialogue, a DAW and a few different mics. But if you plan on recording an eight piece band, chances are you'll want a dedicated space for your studio separate from your home, neighbors might not appreciate a rugged looking punk band coming and going at all hours of the night.

I've made a list of things to take into consideration before you make an investment. This list is more of a guideline for deciding if your goals can be met by a home studio or not.

1. Will you be exclusively recording your own music/audio, or will you be renting the space out?

2. What will your studio specialize in? (demos, genre, ADR, electronic music..ect)

3. How large a space do you need for the studio? (1-2 iso booths? 1 control rooom, storage?)

4.How many inputs will you require? (if 96 inputs are required, do you have the space?)

5. Are there zoning bylaws preventing you from running a business, or creating too much noise?

6. Is the power in your home capable of handling your requirements?

7. How much will the isolation of your space cost? (is it a detached home?)

8. Is there adequate parking for clients?

9. Is the space accessible for bringing gear in and out of? (basement, stairs ect)

10. Are you close to your target demographic? (rural, suburb, city)

11. Do you own or rent your home?

I hope these questions will help you in your decision, there is a long list of things to take into consideration before investing time and money. These questions merely scratch the surface of what you should be asking yourself when looking into creating a home studio. I recommend you take the time and do the research, honestly answering questions like these. If you do the preparation you can save yourself a big headache in the future. As I mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of sites dedicated to home recording, not all of them are reliable, but its a good place to see where others ran into problems along the way.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Gaga Machine

 Watch out Oprah, is the new sheriff in town. Lady Gaga recently bumped Oprah out of the top spot in Forbes Magazines Celebrity Power list, earning an incredible 90million dollars in 2011. The list is calculated by earnings, media exposure and social media dominance. Oprah had held the number one position for four consecutive years before this, showing a shift in pop culture. Lady Gaga didn't do it alone though, with the help of her 32 million Facebook Fans (almost the entire population of Canada) , her single "Born this way" sold 1 million copies within five days! She has 12 million more Facebook fans than President Obama, now imagine a country ran by Gaga.....yeah kinda scary eh?! With her new album being released shortly, time will tell if she can keep her viral success going. But Gaga isn't the only one climbing the Forbes Power charts, Justin Bieber has moved into the number.3 slot closely followed by U2. Not surprisingly, musicians hold 6 out of the 10 top spots on the 2011 Forbes Celebrity Power List.
Truly this is a sign of the ages, as social media can make or break a musicians career.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Hearing Loss

 As I ride the streetcar across town everyday, I can hear everything from the latest Lady Gaga hit to the new dubstep song blaring from ear buds of young students, middle age business men and even the occasional TTC driver. With Ipods and mp3 players being the most common form of medium for listening to music these days, hearing loss is on the rise. An Ipod at half volume is around 95 d.b, which is just a little quieter than an impact gun used at your local auto repair shop. One or two hours of constant listening at full volume on your Ipod and you have sustained permanent damage. The average busy city street corner can reach volumes of 85-100 d.b. We are living in a culture of loud, being constantly bombarded by ear piercing noises. The boomer generation started to lose their hearing faster than they should have due to decades of concerts, and it seems that their children are at a greater risk. When one starts to lose hearing its usually the mid range that goes first, the treble that helps us understand consonants.

So for anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in the music industry, the protection of your money makers is essential. No one wants to have their record mixed by someone who can't hear how horrible it sounds. Or hire a session musician who can't tell he's constantly out of tune.  If an engineer can't hear 500-700hz than he is comparable to a surgeon with the shakes. Many professional performers will have their hearing tested twice a year, and sometimes have custom ear protection made specifically to conform to their ears. But why bother you ask? Well once you lose a certain frequency than its gone, but without the knowledge of what range you have sustained damage in, than you cannot tell if the problem lies with the musician or yourself. With recording technology becoming affordable to the vast majority of enthusiasts, many are deciding to record demos themselves, never letting the music pass a professional engineer before promoting it. If they have major hearing damage (as a huge number of musicians do) than the quality of the demo will be sub par. Possibly ruining the only chance they might of had.

I'm not here to preach, I'm simply stating the obvious. If someone has epilepsy, they are not allowed to drive an automobile until they are cleared by a doctor. The same should be said for audio engineers. If you have a dream to work in the industry, do yourself a favour and check your hearing. Maybe you'll save yourself a lot of time and money and realize that you should be doing it as a hobby. The bottom line is we live in a very noisy world, and our senses deserve to be protected. So buy a cheap pair of ear plugs, throw 'em in your pocket before you go and see your favorite death metal band play this weekend!