Saturday, June 30, 2007

Cultural Effluvia

Message on the Money (1) | Message on the Money (2)

Apparently, it is a federal crime to deface U.S. Currency, but don't let that dissuade you from using it as a billboard to forward your personal/political agenda....

This is a five-dollar bill I got as change a few days ago. The "message" reads:

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More Bad News for The Business

Fresh on the heels of today's blistering Rolling Stone article forecasting the (well deserved) demise of the major record labels, DiscoverFinancial brings the cheery news that consumers, in the face of higher energy prices, prefer to cut discretionary spending (read: entertainment = music) before they'll change their driving habits. From the article:

According to the new survey conducted as part of the Discover® Spending Confidence Monitorsm, 80 percent of Americans find their car very important in their everyday lives. This may explain why car owners are ready to sacrifice non-essential items in their lives rather than their cars if gas prices increase $1.

Cutbacks Would Most Likely Affect Vacations, Entertainment Spending, Major Purchases

According to the survey:

  • 70 percent of car owners said they will cut back on entertainment spending if gas prices were to increase a dollar,
  • 66 percent said they will change their vacation plans, and
  • 64 percent said they will postpone a major purchase
Seventy percent.

So here's today's takeaway meditation for commercial creatives: what do we do to attract people to our shows and products in spite of the rising cost for them to do so?

Photo by Matt Heap.

Free Advice

This user sent me a friend invite on YouTube a month ago or so, and I finally watched it tonight. This is some really good (free) consulting and basics to think about for musician websites (and for that matter, just about any digital media producer.) Thank you, Michelle, for sending.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Dearth Postage

Buried in the studio right now, getting a couple of projects wrapped, and getting a few more things added to my own catalog.

In lieu of a really insightful or well thought blog post, here's a few interesting videos of unique music interfaces I've found on YouTube. If you know of more, leave a comment.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Detroit Free Press: 40 Years of Respect.

A handful of short videos and slideshows on the history of Aretha Franklin's "Respect."

Required viewing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Long way down.

Amazing photo by SF Emporer.

Got me thinking about the litany of emotional states an artist experiences before we share a new creation. From this perspective, we seem to be stepping into the unknown, seeing only a mortal plunge beneath us, yet still faithful we can find a footing, or better yet: soar.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Of the things I've learned....

Photo by carf.

It's about relationships.

From one perspective, it's about an individual's relationship with "the business" at large. All of us have to construct some kind of basic premise about the industry so we can begin to negotiate a course that doesn't overwhelm and suffocate us. "The Business" is in many ways, a behemoth.

When I was younger (and in many ways, naive), "The Business" looked suspiciously like a series of (seemingly irrational) annointings. It seemed as if a gilded hand would descend from the Brass Ether, bestowing one with the blessings of cultural relevance. Of course, this was the perspective of someone clearly on the outside of the system trying to make sense of it.

And it made no sense. So you can imagine my frustration as I was continually unsuccessful at seeking and receiving this sought-after call to Valhalla.

Perhaps you can imagine how tiring it must be to have a person like that around - someone who's (naive) relationship with The Business has them constantly seeking approval (and by proxy, endorsement). Another person's insecurities can become a burdensome drain on your energy. It can fray your personal relationships.

The Business is relationships.

At a personal level, it's about who knows you, and within that amazingly tiny circle, those who trust you. At a macro level, it's your relationship with the business at large that will greatly influence your relationships with individuals within The Business.

Back to my story: I had to recognize that my initial (and naive) perception of The Business was wrong- it's not a "gilded hands annointing people with cultural worth" scenario. I then had to change my relationship with The Business at large. The truth is, it's the personal relationships that come first, and most importantly, the referrals that come with those relationships.

Because it's who you know, who knows you, and who trusts you.

It's about relationships.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

EMU 0404 USB dropout

See my update below.

I'm having an issue on one of my DAW systems with "dropout", an issue where my audio device will momentarily glitch. I've observed my Emu 0404 USB dropping S/PDIF sync with my Yamaha M08, and I think it's related in some way. The sync cable between the keyboard and the Emu seems solid, and it doesn't seem cyclical enough to correspond with some system event (ala USB device sniffing), but it's getting downright annoying. Happens in all audio applications, so it's not a buffer/config issue related to a single app.

I've already resolved one issue related to power (FSM blesses TrippLite, ramen!), but continue to have these occasional hiccups.

Any thoughts or theories are welcome in comments.

UPDATE: 06/10/08: One year later, I can tell you what the problem is: I have an AC power problem in my studio. Apparently, several of the wall outlets are wired on the same circuit as light and ceiling fan switches throughout the adjoining apartments. When one of my neighbors turns on their bathroom fan, the resulting A/C line noise causes a momentary burp on the EMU 0404 unit, causing dropout.