Category Archives: radio

I should have known when I bought into the dream

Now that Duran Duran is back in the studio to record again, I’ll admit that I’m taking a second and third glance at some of my music news subscriptions.  In the past couple of days, I’ve read a few things that have me wondering what the world (the music world) will be like when #DD14 is released.  

Yesterday, Apple announced that yes – not only will we have the iPod, the iPad and iPhones, but we will soon have iRadio as well. It is a part of the iOS7 update that will be coming to your Apple device soon. As a current Spotify user, I must admit that I was at least a little curious as to what iRadio will have to offer. I like the idea that it seems to be completely integrated into the OS, and that it will likely be as intuitive as the other Apple products I own. Truth be told – we’re an Apple family for the most part (My son refuses to get on board – which isn’t surprising when you understand that he is a programmer/gamer and believes in open source). iRadio is different from Spotify because it is free (it is ad-supported and “free” for everyone…see below though!!) and the content comes directly from the iTunes store. I like that I could be listening, hear something I like and then buy it with one-click. There are 200 stations that Apple will curate, as well as the option for custom stations that “learn” as you go in much the same way as Pandora. The official press release from Apple also talks about doing pre-release streaming of albums (I like that idea) as well as other special events like the iTunes Festival in the UK (again, I like!) The service is also Siri-compatible…if I can get this to work in my car with my iPhone, I will never have to listen to FM radio again….and I very much like that idea. As I said above, iRadio is free. However, if you wish to listen ad-free, you can do that. How? You can become an iTunes iMatch user. (Is your head spinning yet?) iMatch users will have all of their iTunes content, including CD’s that you have imported on your own into iTunes, stored in iCloud, so iRadio can take all of that incredibly useful information about you and create even more personalized content.  Good luck with that. The cost? $24.99 a year. Right now, I believe I’m paying $9.99 a month for Spotify – I have the premium version – and I’ll be honest, $24.99 sounds like a deal in comparison, clouds or not.
The real question is – how could something like this benefit Duran Duran?  I’m sure you all remember that AYNIN was released purely as an iTunes exclusive, and it shot to #1 – albeit briefly – as a result.  I suppose that the optimistic part of me believes that this could very well be to the band’s benefit, if they so chose to work with Apple again. I’m seeing an exclusive download, iRadio promotion, maybe streaming prior to release (I personally love that idea because I’m impatient and can’t wait to hear their new music…something tells me I am not alone), and who knows – maybe streaming concerts could be next.  
I have no doubt there are plenty of naysayers out there. Not everyone loves Apple, and I understand some of the concerns and sentiments. I’m always amazed by some of the complaints because the fact is, I’m not very technologically minded myself and yet I have almost never had a single problem with any of my Apple equipment. In fact – I just replaced the hard drive, internal battery AND gave this laptop extra memory because I adore the product so much. Even so, I know my fellow Duranie well enough to hear the arguments being formulated as I type. All I am saying is that this could be a great opportunity for the band, if not to break into new age demographics, then to quite possibly reach listeners who might not take the time to wander onto Amazon or into a music store (are there any out there???) on their own. iRadio will reach many new users that have never once used Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody or any of the newer radio products…and I must admit that I will be watching closely to see how this affects both internet AND FM radio. (My guess is that FM radio will continue it’s very sad downward slide from here, and I’m really not sure about Pandora – I can’t see how that service will NOT be affected somehow though, but I’ve been wrong before!)
What do you think?  I have a few links to share:

Comment below, I’d love to read what others are thinking!
-R

John Taylor, this Wahwah is for YOU!

One of the things that John Taylor spent a bit of his time doing before he left for the Pacific Rim (and Dubai – is that really considered Pacific Rim??), was sharing some new music links via his Facebook page.  Out of all of the things John has done, aside from just chatting with fans on Twitter, I really appreciated the links the most.  Truth be told – I actually liked them even more than his somewhat unscheduled impromptu twitter chats because I caught a very small glimpse into what he might be listening when he’s not playing with the band.  I really like finding new music to listen to, and yet I’m going to be honest – I don’t make the time.  I really should, and as a result I feel very behind a lot of the time.  Where do I get most of my “new finds”?? Embarrassingly enough, I hear them on the radio.  The radio.  Out of that one sentence you’ve learned two things about me: 1. I’m WAY behind, musically – probably for the first time in my entire life, actually.  2. I still listen to radio. (it’s true.  I still keep hoping I’ll hear something good – and occasionally I do.  It’s rare, but sometimes I do.)  All of that nonsense aside, I really enjoyed a lot of what John shared (including the album art by Christian Marclay), which was why when I saw news of a brand new app called “WahWah”….I felt inclined to share!

All of the techno-mumbo-jumbo aside, Wahwah.fm is an app that turns your phone into an internet radio station.  It scans your phone for music and then you’re able to choose what you’d like to broadcast.  Click “play” and presto – you’re live for all to hear, Duranie or otherwise.  What a great way to share what you’re listening to, and quite honestly – it’s yet another excellent way to reach fans and connect.  Not that you’re horrible at that, but this is another way of talking without really “talking”.  Not a bad plan for a man on the go.  What fan wouldn’t want to hear what their favorite member of Duran Duran has playing?

Of course, it’s not just artists that can use wahwah.  Anybody can download the app and use it, and another thing that I really like – you can get off a plane, step out of a car, turn on the app and know relatively quickly what other users are around you (and listening to based on a real-time live feed), and amazingly – you get a snapshot of what the local music scene is like.  How cool is that?  It also appears that privacy settings can be used so that you are able to manipulate what can and cannot be seen (such as your location) by other area users.  I like that as well.

My opinion?  This app may end up being a huge step forward in the music industry.  While at one time we had to call radio stations and request songs – now we can broadcast them ourselves, and users around the world can see what we’re broadcasting and choose to listen.

The “small” downside is that at least for the moment, you need an iphone…so John, that Blackberry has got to go.  (yeah, yeah – I know all about how the Blackberry keyboard is better. I had to get over that too, and I still curse at my husband for the autocorrect.  No, he’s not responsible for that, but the touch chip??  Yep.)  However, my guess is that an Android app will likely be forthcoming – there’s just too large of an audience out there to ignore in favor of only using iPhone.

That nasty licensing stuff?  Royalties??  I don’t know.  I’d imagine the suits are going to be busy playing tug-o-war with this one for a while. In the meantime – I think I’m in the group that says promotion is promotion, and if “everyone” is getting music for free anyway – why not be the one who is broadcasting?

-R

Read more:

Hypebot
Gizmodo

Billboard embraces the digital revolution! Now, will it make a difference?

Go on any Duran Duran message board and I’ll bet you’ll find at least one thread talking about chart figures.  Duran fans cannot seem to get past the bands absence on the Top 20.  Or the Top 40.  Or even the Top 100 at times. Naturally this leads to discussions of all kinds, going from the somewhat obvious “Why aren’t they on the charts?” to the more obscure but still ever-popular “Why isn’t this band being promoted properly?!?“.

What I don’t necessarily see being discussed often is Billboard charts do not include figures for Spotify and Rhapsody, among a few others.  Granted, Spotify and Rhapsody are subscription based services – and users do not necessarily own the albums or songs they are hearing when using those services.    However, one could reasonable debate that point by saying that when we listen to radio – a FREE service unless you’re talking satellite radio – users do not own those albums or songs either, and yet radio figures have been used in Billboard charting for years.

Well, discuss no more!  Today, Billboard announced the inclusion of Spotify & Rhapsody figures in their charting.  Here’s the blurb from Hypebot below:

Billboard Magazine‘s Hot 100 chart is finally joining the digital revolution with the addition of digital music services like Spotify and Rdio to the radio airplay and digital song sales that currently define it.  Editorial Director Bill Werde, told the Wall Street Journal that the magazine had waited to update its charts because music streaming services “have only recently hit a critical mass”.  A full list of the services added to the chart:
  • Spotify
  • Rhapsdy
  • Rdio
  • Slacker
  • Cricket’s Muve Music
  • MOG
Still missing is, at the very least, music on Youtube.

Personally I think that streaming services hit critical mass a while back and Billboard is just extremely slow to react to major industry changes.  I picture them, along with most everyone else in the industry – label and artist alike – being dragged kicking and screaming into the new reality.  That said, it’s a welcome change and a good beginning to an overhaul from the last century to the one we’ve been in for the past ten years.  
Until Billboard starts including YouTube music figures though, it would seem as though the chart definitions will continue to be lacking.  It seems to me as someone who is admittedly “Just a Fan”, that until Billboard and similar start giving proper credit to services such as YouTube, and stop relying so much on land based radio play lists for these charts (does anyone really listen???), we’re still not going to be getting the full picture.  Let’s be honest – radio playlists are based on whatever the programmers (who once again are hamsters kept in a very dark basement in New York City) decide.  Artists who want radio time know how to get it. (and if you want to talk payola with me and how it’s illegal….I’ve got a bridge to sell you in the California desert!)  Spotify, Rhapsody, the other services mentioned and even YouTube are slightly different animals because, oddly enough, the consumer – that would be you and I – decide what we LIKE and WANT to listen to.  According to what I’m reading, that is what will be tracked (in addition of those nasty NYC hamsters spinning their wheels!) What a concept!   
Will this change a single thing?  Time will tell.  
-R

You mean that band is still around? Really?

This morning I was in Target, picking up the usual: milk and that sort of thing.  I was in line – a very long line I might add, and my cell phone rang.  My ringers are personalized depending upon who is calling, and this person has a DD ringtone assigned to them.  (Those calls get answered first, especially when it’s Amanda’s ringtone I hear!  Other calls, such as the ones with just a regular ring, typically get ignored, and I’m not even kidding.  All of my kids school numbers – as in the office number for their schools – are assigned to Reach Up for the Sunrise because the chorus is so loud it nearly makes me jump out of my skin…so I know to pick up immediately!)  Anyway, after the call, a woman behind me asked if my ring tone was Duran Duran, to which I smiled and said “Yes”.  That’s when she said “I loved them back in the 80’s, but they aren’t even together anymore.”  Well, my eyes about bugged out of my head at this point, and I took the time in line to correct her.  She was shocked, and even more so when I explained that they have several albums out that she should really look into getting!  (Her fascination ended at The Wedding Album. *sigh*)

I don’t know about anyone else, but this happens to me quite a bit, and mainly because of my ringtones!  I’m pleased to help out the band with their grass roots marketing, but also completely annoyed that people have been living under a rock for the past 20 years.  I have many friends from high school who have found me on Facebook, and one of the first questions they ask me, obviously after scrutinizing some of my pictures and things, is whether or not I’m still a Duran Duran fan.  Some are nice about it, but a lot of them try to tease me by saying “What? You’re still into them?  Aren’t they dead yet?”  (Yes, people REALLY say that…)  After which I take a deep cleansing breath and attempt to answer their questions as nicely as possible.  Sometimes, I even succeed.

After my excursion to Target, I came home, knowing that I needed to blog and that I didn’t really have much of a topic in mind.  That’s happening a lot lately.  I’ve got tons of book ideas, but the blog is tougher right now.  There’s not a ton of Duran news, and what news I do have doesn’t really affect me to the point where I have an urge to write.  It’s either feast or famine sometimes.  Anyway, I hopped onto Twitter to see if something would get my creative juices flowing, and I saw the #questionsIhateanswering topic trending for Los Angeles.  My answer?  The topic of this blog.

It’s not even that I hate answering the question,  it’s that it is even a question at all.  I can’t help but be frustrated that such a fantastic album like All You Need is Now has gotten so little notice from the general public, and what’s more – I’m completely annoyed with my fellow 30 and 40 somethings out there that they haven’t stayed more in touch with music in general.  It’s sad that once we hit the age of 30, 35 or 40 we stop paying attention to what’s out there.  Granted, I’m preaching to the choir here, but it’s no wonder that our demographic no longer seems to matter to anyone but ourselves, and that’s incredibly sad.

One person commented back to my rantings on Twitter that she’s over it.  She just loves the band for what they give us (I’m totally paraphrasing here, my apologies), and the rest of it just doesn’t matter.  Most days, I would agree.  Today…I’m missing that mark.

-R