Music Consumption Up 14 Percent In 2015


“Nielsen Music’s 2015 U.S. mid-year report, released Thursday, shows a 14% increase in music consumption over the first six months of last year. What’s driving the increase? For one thing, on-demand streaming, which nearly doubled year over year, rising 92%.”

Curtis Student Wins Top Tchaikovsky Violin Prize


“Yu-Chien “Benny” Tseng won the silver medal, second prize, in the Moscow competition, whose results were announced Wednesday. No gold award was given this year, which is not unusual. The Taipei-born violinist came to Curtis in 2008, and the following summer, at age 14, played Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Center.”

So This Is The End Of iTunes

“Apple still makes billions per year on iTunes downloads. But Spotify, Pandora, and other startups have eroded that business, first with their free streaming services and more recently with a paid subscription model. It’s been clear for a while now that streaming is the music industry’s future: iTunes Store sales dropped an alarming 14 percent in 2014 while revenue in the streaming sector jumped 28 percent. So Apple had a choice: Hold fast to a fading business model, or hasten the transition by getting out in front of it. It made the only sensible call.”

The Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto We All Know And Love? Turns Out It’s Not The Version The Composer Intended


“You can hear the differences immediately. Those massive chords we’re all so used to at the start of the piano part? They’re supposed to be arpeggiated as lyrical, harp-like consecrations of the harmony, not bashed out like military hammer-blows, and they were marked to be played at a lower dynamic than they are in the Siloti version, and they’re also an octave lower.”

Why Do Songwriters Use The Same Titles Over And Over Again?


Copyright law doesn’t stop songwriters picking song titles that have already been used, unless that title has acquired a “secondary meaning”. So, if you decided to publish a song called “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, a court would probably rule that you were trying to cause deliberate confusion.

The Day Columbia Records Dumped Four Of The Jazz Greats


“There are different versions of how Ornette Coleman, Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and Charles Mingus were let go by Columbia, over the years tending to crystallize in a single-day narrative that’s sometimes been referred to as “Bad Day at Black Rock,” a nickname for Columbia’s midtown Manhattan headquarters that also evoked a noir film of the 1950s.”

The New Concert Companion Is An App


“Before the music begins, app users can read background information about the piece. When the music starts, a sequence of brief annotations begins, cued by an operator in the hall who follows the musical score. The annotations alert listeners to when an important theme in the work is coming up, for example, or describe important subtexts to the music.”

How Video Game Music Has Changed Our Pop Music


“We are accustomed to thinking about pop music in terms of its most familiar metadata: songs and albums, scenes and artists. But what about all the other, seemingly incidental music that gets lodged in our heads, from commercial jingles to sitcom soundtracks? Could it be that the largely unknown Kondo, Nintendo’s first dedicated sound designer, was one of the great innovative forces of our time?”

Royal Opera House Audience Boos Rape Scene In “William Tell”


“We thought maybe that would be the end of it, although I had been forewarned by a notice about the production containing nudity, and sure enough, suddenly she was starkers on a very long table. They were all pawing her and then the heckling from the crowd started. There was a lot of booing during that, then it subsided.”

Indie Musicians Hope Apple Music Changes The Streaming Biz (As In Make It Profitable)

Woman standing in a room of white microphones.

“The belief is that the revenue for indie artists on Apple Music—even if it’s minuscule per stream—may mean more bucks overall than what they get from streaming competitors. And with Apple Music’s new social network, Connect, indie artists may finally have the definitive place to interact directly with their fans—like Myspace a decade ago, but with way more weight behind it.”

Nina Simone’s Music Is More Relevant Than Ever


“For Simone, who lived next door to Malcolm X in Mt. Vernon, New York, and whose first interaction with Martin Luther King, Jr. involved a heated declaration that her activism was on the ‘by any means necessary’ part of the scale, the tune bore none of the turn-the-other-cheek wholesomeness of other protest songs. ‘Mississippi Goddam’ was also an upshot of Simone’s time spent in the care of intellectual co-conspirators like Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin, and Stokely Carmichael.”

How Ticket Reselling Is Killing Live Music (And There’s Nothing We Can Do About It)


“Defenders of the ticket resale market will tell you ticket resale is a simple extension of the free market; that the resale market is the best way to learn the true value of a ticket (as opposed to the perceived one asked by promoters, venues and artists); and that if artists don’t like resale (and many don’t), they should set higher prices (in fact, certain top artists, defenders correctly point out, work a percentage of resale profits into their contracts).”

Richmond Symphony And Its (Literal) Big Tent


“‘The reason we’re excited about the big tent is because it allows us to go out into the community for audiences that may not traditionally go downtown for concerts,’ Dodson said. ‘We wanted to make this as much of a community project as possible.'”

Conlon Nancarrow – Music Too Complicated For Humans To Play


“Nancarrow explored the limits of the player piano with staggering imagination and persistence, diligently punching piano rolls by hand and often with the aid of a magnifying glass. He lived in obscurity and near-isolation for many years before his work was championed by prominent composers such as the Hungarian experimentalist György Ligeti, who claimed that Nancarrow was the most important composer of the late twentieth century.”

The Relationship Between Music And Technology Hasn’t Always Been So Obvious


“One of the most sweeping changes wrought by audio recording and broadcasting technology was that, for the first time ever, music was no longer, by necessity, a visual as well as an aural experience. Music had always been only heard in live performance—which meant the listener was there, looking as well as hearing. (Even exceptions—Vivaldi’s female choristers singing behind a screen or Wagner’s enclosed pit orchestra or the like—were more like unusual variations of the visual context.) But with recordings and radio, the visual portion of musical performance disappeared. All one had was the sound. The technology decoupled eye and ear.”

Berklee and Boston Conservatory Merge


“The schools said Thursday that they have agreed to explore a merger, a union they say could create a national powerhouse in performing arts education, with rich programs in music, theater, and dance. Governing boards for the two schools have approved plans to pursue the potential merger, which could occur as soon as 2016.”

Sony (And Other Major Recording Labels) Own A Piece Of Spotify. Is This A Conflict Of Interest That Hurts Artists?


“Having equity in Spotify might be smart, but if the money doesn’t trickle down from labels to profit participants, is it legal? The amended suit states that Sony has motive in making Spotify a more valuable company by giving it favorable royalty arrangement. By doing so, Sony’s own investment position is bigger, and any cash-outs won’t have to be shared with artists.”

Blue Note Jazz To Expand To China


“Jazz has long had a substantial consumer base in Asia, especially Japan. Blue Note Tokyo opened more than 25 years ago, joined later by Blue Note clubs in Osaka and Nagoya. But given the potential development of a new audience in China, this expansion could radically change the picture for jazz in the region — as well as reap benefits for touring musicians and the Blue Note brand.”