Posts Tagged ‘Billboard’
“When Johnson started singing, he seemed like a guy who could have sprung from the head of Zeus in full armor”*…
Eric Clapton once described Robert Johnson as, “the most important blues singer that ever lived”. The recordings that Johnson made between 1936 and 1937, collected in two volumes entitled King of the Delta Blues Singers, not only mark the apogee of the blues form, they stand among the most influential recordings of all time…
And now, nearly 50 years after Columbia first packaged his work as King of the Delta Blues, we discover that we’ve been listening to these immortal songs at the wrong speed all along. Either the recordings were accidentally speeded up when first committed to 78, or else they were deliberately speeded up to make them sound more exciting. Whatever, the common consensus among musicologists is that we’ve been listening to Johnson at least 20% too fast. Numerous bloggers have helpfully slowed down Johnson’s best-known work and provided samples so that, for the first time, we can hear Johnson as he intended to be heard…
* Bob Dylan
As we make our deals with the Devil, we might recall that it was on this date in 1936 that Billboard magazine published the first pop music chart– the “Music Popularity Chart”– based on record sales. A listing of the ten most popular records, it became a weekly feature in 1940. It fluctuated in size from ten to 30 records until 1955, when Billboard introduced its first Top 100 chart. The “Hot 100” chart, now recognized as the definitive singles chart in the US, was first published on August 4th, 1958.
From the cornucopia that is Network Awesome:
Buckminster Fuller – Everything I Know
In 1975 Buckminster Fuller gave a series of lectures concerning his entire life’s work. These lectures span 42 hours and examine all of Fuller’s major inventions and discoveries.
During the last two weeks of January 1975 Buckminster Fuller gave an extraordinary series of lectures concerning his entire life’s work. These thinking out loud lectures span 42 hours and examine in depth all of Fuller’s major inventions and discoveries from the 1927 Dymaxion house, car and bathroom, through the Wichita House, geodesic domes, and tensegrity structures, as well as the contents of Synergetics. Autobiographical in parts, Fuller recounts his own personal history in the context of the history of science and industrialization. The stories behind his Dymaxion car, geodesic domes, World Game and integration of science and humanism are lucidly communicated with continuous reference to his synergetic geometry. Permeating the entire series is his unique comprehensive design approach to solving the problems of the world. Some of the topics Fuller covered in this wide ranging discourse include: architecture, design, philosophy, education, mathematics, geometry, cartography, economics, history, structure, industry, housing and engineering…
Network Awesome is featuring one part of the series starting each Wednesday, here (and in their archive). Or readers can turn to YouTube. In either case, the pieces are bite-sized… and well worth the watching.
As we endeavor to “think outside the dome,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1974– as Fuller was agreeing to do the lectures featured above– that Paul Anka hit #1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 with “(You’re) Having My Baby.”
In an infographic!
click the image above, or here, to enlarge
As we insist that the bartender reach for the top shelf, we might recall that it was on this date in 1964 that the Beatles’ stranglehold on the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 was broken. From the leap of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” to #1 in early February, the Fab Four held the pinnacle for three and a half solid months– longer than any popular artist before or since. Over the course of those months, the they scored three consecutive #1 singles (also a record); held all five spots in the top five in early April (another record); and had a total of 14 songs in the Hot 100 in mid-April (yet another record). But on this date in 1964, they were pushed off the peak by an unlikely challenger: 63-year-old Louis Armstrong and “Hello, Dolly!”
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’
– Bob Dylan
Rebecca Black’s “Friday” has become a runaway sensation. As Kevin Rutherford, a columnist for Billboard, explained, “Black’s video for ‘Friday’ is one of those rare occurrences where even the most seasoned critics of Internet culture don’t know where to begin. From the singing straight out of Auto-Tuned hell to lyrics such as ‘Tomorrow is Saturday / And Sunday comes afterwards / I don’t want this weekend to end’ and a hilariously bad rap about passing school buses, ‘Friday’ is something that simply must be seen and heard to be fully appreciated.”
And “seen and heard” it has been, closing in on 34 million YouTube views at this writing– not counting the scores of parodies floating across the web.
Music industry exec Jay Frank captures the impact of a performance that has been called “bizarre,” “inept,” and “hilariously dreadful” with a set of a simple comparisons that illustrate the upending of the music business:
WINNER: REBECCA BLACK
As she’s shown on her Good Morning America interview, she is making lemons out of lemonades. Make no bones about it, this song is selling (reached Top 20 on iTunes) and is going to be a valuable copyright for years to come.
LOSER: EVERY SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST BAND
At my SxSW panel on Saturday, I did the math. If you combined every view of “Friday” and its parody videos, approximately 62 Million minutes were spent on this song. That’s presuming that, on average, the viewers only watched half the video. In the meantime, if the approximately 15,000 SxSW attendees watched 12 hours of music a day for all 5 days, that would only add up to 54 Million minutes spent watching music. All hopes of fame from Austin got upstaged by a 13 year old.
Their ability for anyone to upload anything produces overnight successes like this. This attracts even more people to their platform. Also, this firmly makes them a broadcaster, probably more than any previous video. 21 million views in a week? That’s more than nearly EVERY show on TV (cable or broadcast) receives in a week INCLUDING the DVR play. The fact that they have also successfully conquered with mobile apps and IPTV just increases their reach.
The music industry’s supposed white knight got upstaged in a big way. Turns out quality (of the song or HD transmission) doesn’t matter. The viewer goes to what they want to see. Also, Rebecca Black got more views in 9 days of “Friday” than Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” did in 3x the days. Lady Gaga’s a huge star. Her new video got massive blog pickup like “Friday.” It was also hugely promoted as an “exclusive” on the Vevo site. If “Friday” can beat all that, something is wrong with Vevo and there’s some explainin’ to do.
WINNER: NEW CHART METHODOLOGY
In Austin, I discussed with Eric Charland of Ultimate Chart about how high Rebecca Black will debut next week. With the numbers she’s had, it’s painfully obvious that this dominated the entire conversation. Quality of the song was irrelevant. Since it wasn’t in heavy rotation on pop radio, it likely won’t be at #1 on their chart, but it’ll properly debut high. This will give Ultimate Chart even more credibility on truly leading in identifying a song’s true popularity.
LOSER: THE ALBUM CHART
When the Soundscan Top 200 album chart is released on Wednesday, Adele will be battling a new album by Rise Against. Nothing against either artist, but this week the battle was Rebecca Black vs. everything else. If you use Google search as a gauge, there’s just no competition. The album chart has been irrelevant for quite some time. It no longer reflects our time. This should end the discussion and let’s focus on singles where the business IS rather than albums where the business WAS.
[TotH to Bob Lefsetz]
As we recall that unit sales of the best selling album of 2010 wouldn’t have made the Top Ten in 2000, we might recall that it was on this date in 1973 that U.S. Immigration authorities ordered John Lennon to leave the US within 60 days… thus beginning Lennon’s fight to acquire permanent residency, which he received in July of 1976.
John Lennon’s Green Card (source)
With thanks to reader MKM, “The ‘Great Chinese State Circus,’ performing a section of “Swan Lake”:
As we marvel at miraculous muscle control, we might recall that it was on this date that Mary Mark and the Funky Bunch hit #1 on the Billboard chart, The once and future Mark Wahlberg broke through with a cover of Brian Wilson’s “Good Vibrations.”
Mark, in the Identity with which he wasn’t Bo(u)rn(e)… (source)
From the always-amusing 11 Points (“Because Top Ten Lists Are For Cowards”), “11 Amazing Fake Harry Potter Books Written In China“…
From Harry Potter and the Leopard Walk-Up-To Dragon (cover above)…
…the author took the text of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and replaced the character names with names from the Harry Potter universe. Except for Gandalf — he remains and joins forces with the Potter crew. Here’s a passage, full on [SIC] in advance:
“There was a hobbit, who didn’t even know how to return home. He lived in a hole in the ground, and didn’t know where he came from or where he was going to. He even didn’t know why he had become a hobbit. This was Hogwartz School of Witchcraft and Wizardry 5th year apprentice Harry Potter.”
…through Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Harry Potter…
I couldn’t find a translation of this book (or a picture of its cover) but the title just kills me — smashing together two completely unrelated, but popular, Western book series to produce (I’m guessing) a non-sequitur mess. It would be like the bootleggers making a movie called “Avatar: The Hangover” or a TV show called “Laverne and Shirley and Jon and Kate”.
… to Harry Potter and Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters…
This is an interesting literary move — they just carbon copied the plot of the first real “Harry Potter” book… but moved the voice to Harry’s first-person perspective. That’s some deep “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern” stuff right there.
“This was a secret I had cherished in my heart for seven days. It scratched my heart and made it itch, and I decided not to tell anyone of it. But when I saw Hedwig, my owl, jumping outside my window, I knew it was the call from Hogwarts for me.
I would ride on my favorite flying broom, together with Hedwig and my magic wand, go-go-go, night clouds in the urban sky would cover my trails, and the meteor you saw in the sky was my traipsing manteau.”
The other eight Harrys, along with some absolutely stunning cover art– including the jacket for Harry Potter and Beaker and Burn, onto which Harry welcomes (for no explicable reason) Flick, the star of Pixar’s A Bug’s Life— at “11 Amazing Fake Harry Potter Books Written In China.”
Readers might note that cultural appropriation of this sort has long (and storied) precedent. Jim Fallows quotes a wonderful passage from “”Wild Bird Hickcock and His Friends,” an essay by James Thurber– a fan of French pulp-novel versions of American Westerns:
There were, in my lost and lamented collection, a hundred other fine things, which I have forgotten, but there is one that will forever remain with me. It occurred in a book in which, as I remember it, Billy the Kid, alias Billy the Boy, was the central figure. At any rate, two strangers had turned up in a small Western town and their actions had aroused the suspicions of a group of respectable citizens, who forthwith called on the sheriff to complain about the newcomers. The sheriff listened gravely for a while, got up and buckled on his gun belt, and said, “Alors, je vais demander ses cartes d’identité!” There are few things, in any literature, that have ever given me a greater thrill than coming across that line.
As we realize that we too are free to mash up, say, Dostoyevsky, we might recall that it was on this date in 1954 that Bill Haley & His Comets released “Rock Around the Clock”, the first rock and roll record to reach number one on the Billboard charts.