Who are the world’s best-selling music artists?

I got into an argument with a friend today about how many records Nine Inch Nails have sold to date. He said they were not in the echelon of artists who sold the most mucho wax and plastic. I was surprised to discover he was totally correct. Wikipedia was my teacher as usual. Take a look at this chart:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_selling_music_artists

So besides the fact that Trent and co. are no where to be found on the list there were some interesting surprises. Does anyone know who Alla Pugacheva is? Apparently she is one of Russia’s biggest acts and sits with the the sales numbers of the Madonna, Cher, and Celine Dion. I was also happily surprised to see my fav band Depeche Mode high up on the list in the realm of Genesis, George Michael, Dolly Parton and even the Eagles. Who knew!

So looking at that list is there any band/artist you are shocked to see have sold so many records? Is there anyone you thought were super big time and they are not on the list?

photo credit: maol

Lala is a legal way to get your iTunes library online.

I have a zillion songs on my studio’s Apple Mac Pro. When I am at home or on the road I can’t listen to those songs. In the past there were services such as My.MP3.com that would let you put all your music in the cloud. However, they never went through the hoola hoops to get past the RIAA and were shut down. Today as I woke up every tech site I read was talking about Lala. Lala, with the blessing from the RIAA lets users have their entire music catalog in cloud. They are also a social network, music store, an iPhone app (yes you can listen to your catalog anywhere), and lastly a free music streaming service ala Last.fm.

“What’s impressive about Lala isn’t just the number of things it does, but how well it does them. I’ve been using it for a while, and it works exceptionally well. The browser-based interface for listening to your music mimics iTunes, and it’s easy to forget it’s Web-based: music starts with little or no delay, and keeps playing even if you browse around Lala or bop over to another browser tab or window.” – technologizer.com

The music you have currently sitting on your hard drive becomes available on Lala and in the cloud two ways. First, if Lala can recognize a song and Lala has it in it’s catalog it will “unlock it” for you without you having to upload your exact file. If on the other hand you have some obscure releases Lala doesn’t know about you will have to go through the upload process.

There is no advertising on the site and they offer two ways to purchase music. You can buy songs for about .79 beating even Amazon MP3 or you can pay .10 and get the permanent streaming right to the song. One thing I have to mention is so far Lala is US only.

So it looks good to me, my only worry is if I spend all my time getting my music on the service and they go out of business my time would be wasted. I also have to consider If Apple rolls their own type of iTunes in the cloud I would want to be with them for the easy integration.

Here’s a few articles that explain out the new Lala:

TechCrunch: Lala May Have Just Built The Next Revolution In Digital Music
Mashable: Lala’s New Business Model May Be Good, But I Don’t Like It
Cnet: New Lala.com may be (too) ahead of its time
Technologizer: Lala’s Spectacular New Music Service

Go take a look and tell me what you think: www.lala.com

Frank O’ The Mountain’s Ramapo Sessions

Today I found more obscure electronic music from the 80s I didn’t know about. Interestingly the artist “Frank O’ The Mountain” lived in Rockland County, NY where I grew up. He has a large amount of music on his website but what really has my interest are his two albums “The Ramapo College Sessions 1984-1985” and the “Casio Cassette Sesssions 1985-1987“. This is exactly the kind of music a hunt out and cherish. Something about the pure analog toys mixed to 4-tracks with vocals just has me, tape his and all!

“I took an electronic music class at Ramapo College in NJ. They had a Moog 12 modular synth, and two four track tape machines in a little room. This is where I started song writing and multi-track recording. I spent many hours there by myself experimenting with sound. All songs were monitored through headphones since the speakers were blown. Mastered to cassette tape, usually adding another live track and vocal during that stage. About 150 songs. 1984-1985.” – frankothemountain.com

One has to wonder if his name kept him from the big time. Besides his MySpace and website he also has a YouTube channel: click here. So my question is has anyone heard of him before? I like it… now where did I put my Stiff Stuff?

Visit Frank O’ The Mountain online:
www.frankothemountain.com

www.myspace.com/frankothemountainmusic

Related post: Apparently I can live in the 80s forever. Jeff and Jane.

A song about the singularity, solar power and space.

Here’s a screenshot and clip from a new song I am working on called “Into the Universe”. It’s not as dark as my usual stuff. If I can get it to a place I like it will be on my next album. The lyrics are from the point of view of a human who is half machine, sometime in the future. He tells how he used to be only organic and how he now runs on solar power and travels to other planets. The explanation is cheeky I know but that’s the magic of music because in song form I think it works.

The pads are Korg Legacy Wavestation. The vocoder is Prosoniq Orange Vocoder. The drums are Vermona DRM-1 MKIII. On my voice: TC Electronic VoiceModeler. Choir is my voice through a Digitech Talker Pedal. Bass is Linplug Albino 2

Keep in mind this is still in demo form…

Related post: Ray Kurzweil, the Singularity and the blind phone.

Get out to your local user group and meet people.

The above video is from the recent Ableton Live Users Group in LA. I used to go to Club Cubase run by Fadi Hayek in NYC quite often. Before I moved to Berlin I was able to go to one of the Ableton User Group meetings in NY. There’s something nice about meeting in person.

Owen Vallis is a producer/composer whose interests have involved him in everything from producing indie bands such as LA’s Rumspringa, building multi-touch interfaces with collaborator Jordan Hochenbaum, and performing live electronic music with artist Jeff Lufkin as the group Speakers. Born in Canada, Owen moved first to San Fransisco where he DJ’d and began composing music, and then later to Nashville where he began to produce. In 2005, Owen moved to Los Angeles to attend Cal-Art’s music tech program for his BFA. – www.learnabletonlive.com

For more info on LA meetings: myspace.com/abletonlosangeles

Part two and three of the above video are after the jump…

Continue reading →

Quick tip: When your not sure just Deactivate.

So your at a critical part of your song arrangement and your just not sure if a certain Clip belongs. You erase it and listen but you kinda miss what it added. Maybe you should just temporarily disable the clip and listen again tomorrow. This is easy in Ableton Live: Simply Command-Click or Right-Click the Clip and select “Deactivate Clip(s)” and viola the clip turns all white and you no longer hear it. For the unsure who are unable to commit this is a good option because you can always resurrect your part.

For more Ableton tips: click here

Five pro-audio video sites with original content.

Gone are the days when were starved to find any video (television) showing a synth or mixing console in action. YouTube and the myriad of other sharing sites such as Vimeo and Blip.tv are flooded with pro and amateur studio clips. By the way, if you were not following this blog last November be sure to read my post, “Make a super YouTube synthesizer channel“. It’s also worth noting that most companies these days have their own video channels on YouTube. Here’s a few: Ableton, Propellerhead Software, Curious Inventor and Moog.

Now did you know that there are a bunch of sites producing their own original content usually not found on YouTube?

Mix. I never bothered subscribing to Mix Magazine but it I flipped though hundreds of issues while drinking coffee at Barnes & Nobles. On their video page they have gear reviews, engineer videos and go backstage at concerts to get behind the scenes with the tech guys. Right now what’s up? Cakewalk SONAR 8, Mix Sound for Film Feature “Iron Man”, Interview: Producer Michael Wagener, Backstage With Mike Fechner. Good stuff no? link

Keyboardmag.tv. Keyboard was the first magazine I ever subscribed to. Suny Purchase in Westchester, NY has every single issue bound in yearly archives at their library. I remember spending hours looking a the original advertisements for Roland TB-303s and ARPs. Their “TV channel” has sections for lessons, artists, events and yep… gear reviews. What’s on this week? Miles Davis Gig, Sampling Tutorial, QNA; Reason 4.0 and Subtle Dynamics. link

EQmag.tv. EQ is the same crew as Keyboard but for the rest of the studio. They have a similar type of online TV “station”. What will you find on it today? Diffusing/Absorbing, Studio Ethics (I have to watch this one!), Fighting Phasing, Processing & Tracking. Are you even still reading Wire to the Ear? Good videos! link

Recordproduction.com. I’m just going to quote them: “Watch 158 leading record producers & recording engineers talking on camera!”. Yes indeed see what people making real hits have to say. Don’t rely on what some 14 year old is staying over at KVR! See producers such as: Simon Humphrey, Ken Scott, Trevor Horn, Andy Gill. It’s getting hard for me to finish this post… must. stop. watching. videos. link

IHR TV. These guys from Canada have heart. They started out as a podcast and now have been adding video slowly into the mix. It’s a bit beginner for me but there is always something new to learn. Earlier this year one of the guys fought cancer and did some podcasts from his hospital bed. Respect. So far they only have four videos up but let’s head over and give them some views. They deserve it. So what’s on tonight? Using Midi Drums, Podcast Audio Production and how to Rewire Pro-Tools and Logic. By they way they are always giving stuff away. link

The honorable mention goes to tv.sonicstate.com. It’s mostly user generated but you may not know about it. Did you?

If you know of some other cool places to get pro-audio vids let me know in the comments.

photo credits: Roo Reynolds and erikadotnet

Honda makes a musical groove road for the Civic.

Here’s a way to promote a new car: Create a road that forces your the tires play the William Tell Overture when driven over it. This is exactly what Honda did to promote the new Honda Civic. They called it the Civic Musical Road and it was laid down in Lancaster, California. Apparently for the song to play properly you had to drive 55 miles per hour and the grooves in the payment were cut specifically for Honda Civic tires.

“Half-inch-deep, 1-inch-wide grooves were notched into the road at specific intervals so that a vehicle traveling over them produces tones, said Ray Hunt, Lancaster’s capital engineering manager. – www.dailybreeze.com

Unfortunately, Honda miscalculated how remote the stretch of highway they chose was because residents started complaining that hearing the Bugs Bunny theme over and over was “driving” them insane. By the time you read this the road was paved over. That’s all folks!

For some photos and more info: click here

Event takes on Dynaudio and Genelec with Opal.

I always held Event monitors in high regard. My brother had a pair of nice sounding 20/20s and I’ve always lusted after the highly regarded ASP8′s. This past July in Las Vegas, Event announced their new flagship speaker the Opal. As with most active speakers with high powered amps these are not bargain priced (about $3000 for a pair). The claimed frequency response is 30 Hz to 10k Hz and they can handle 1,000 Watts. They incorporate a lot of new technology and some of it sounds like stuff you would find in a Audi R8 such as a carbon fiber speaker cone! As a 15 year+ Yamaha NS10M user I am pleased that the Opal’s entire HF unit (tweeter) can be rotated so the speaker can lay on it’s side.

“Many remarked on the clarity of the critical mid-bass regions, while the upper mids in the range of the crossover and the highs seemed nicely balanced. And there were plenty of comments on the well-defined imaging within the stereo soundstage.” – mixonline.com

Your studio is only as good as it’s weakest link. I always say spend your money on good sound treatment first and once you got that out of the way spend high on speakers. Try and find a dealer with a good return policy because speaker taste can be quite subjective.

Read the forum thread about the new Opals on Gearslutz: click here
Ty Ford’s Opal Road Trip: click here