When gigs start again, there are two options. Either people are discouraged by real life, or it’s a total burst of hedonism, and live shows will be happening in insane conditions of people wanting to touch and be touched.
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Monday - March 08, 2021
Your turn: Aaliyah at the Apollo Theater, Harlem, Nov. 4, 1995.
(David Corio/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
quote of the day
When gigs start again, there are two options. Either people are discouraged by real life, or it’s a total burst of hedonism, and live shows will be happening in insane conditions of people wanting to touch and be touched.
Chris, Christine and the Queens
Token of Non-Appreciation

Show me this works and I'll believe NFTs really, truly work: Put an album up for sale as an NFT, straight up, with no bonus content, no scarcity, no exclusivity. A simple $9.99 token available anytime to anyone who wants it. Why would anyone do that?, you ask. For the same reason anyone would sell an MP3s on BANDCAMP or ITUNES, I'll answer, with the bonus that everyone, from the artist to the songwriters to anyone else who needs to get paid, can get paid instantaneously, no waiting weeks or months, no need to ever wonder if the numbers are being reported accurately, no need to worry about someone pirating the music, and if someone wants to resell it at a discount (because that's the only way you can resell something that's readily available) or at a markup (because maybe one day you'll put it out of print), the artist can get a cut of the resale either way. I get the fun of auctions and the allure of exclusivity and the dream of seven-figure transactions, and there's a place for all of that of course. Maybe you, too, can live in the Zamundan royal palace one day. Go for it. But if you're telling me NFTs are important because they're a way to authenticate ownership and control distribution and streamline payments, then show me they can do that without raising the price of an album from $9.99 to $9,999.99 and without creating one more experience your average fan can never have. (Also, if your goal is to cut out the middlepeople between artists and fans, OK, maybe, I guess, but this objection from writer/podcaster CHAL RAVENS strikes me especially hard in this year of isolation and separation. What exactly is it we're trying to cut out?) Anyway, that's how my nonfungible dreams work. Until then: MusicSET: "Nonfungible Tokencore: Music's Strange and Potentially Lucrative New Format."

The Circle Game

The GRAMMYS are six days away and we finally have an idea what they're going to look like and who's performing (including BTS, BAD BUNNY, RODDY RICCH, HARRY STYLES, MICKEY GUYTON and BILLIE EILISH). Rolling Stone reports that first-time producer BEN WINSTON "challenges viewers to try and guess which sets are pre-recorded; he designed them to be difficult to tell." Which seems a tiny bit weird for a show that's always sought to celebrate the craft and authenticity of life performance. Tell us what's live and what's MEMOREX. We can handle it. And we maybe we actually want to see how everyone's being safely socially distanced from each other. (And for God's sake, Grammy, don't make me play the MILLI VANILLI card because I still believe it them and if I have to, I will.)

Rest in Peace

MICHAEL STANLEY, the heart of Cleveland rock and roll. "Like the city of Cleveland itself, he never let go. He kept rocking, kept playing shows, kept writing songs"... BHASKAR MENON, who ran CAPITOL RECORDS in the 1970s and EMI MUSIC WORLDWIDE in the 1980s... Houston rapper CHUCKY TRILL, the fourth person murdered in a shooting on an Atlanta interstate in 2021... Mariachi performer and teacher GABRIEL B. ZAVALA... TONY HENDRA, aka SPINAL TAP manager IAN FAITH, who knew how to make a sandwich with miniature bread and understood that Boston isn't really a college town.

Matty Karas (@troubledoll), curator
From Blackpink to Top Execs: Women in Music Who Have Made an Impact in Global Entertainment
by Mark Sutherland and Jem Aswad
We at Variety salute them, and their accomplishments, in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8.
The Guardian
'Magic happens, often': Christine and the Queens, Haim, Nile Rodgers and more on the joy of live music
by Kathryn Bromwich, Jude Rogers and Killian Fox
Musicians on the thrill of playing live - and what we can expect when gigs return.
REDEF MusicSET: Nonfungible Tokencore: Music's Strange and Potentially Lucrative New Format
by Matty Karas
Are NFTs here to save the music industry or are they this year's credit default swaps? Could they be both? Who's selling, who's buying and what the hell are they?
The Washington Post
Country singer Brooke Eden was told to hide her relationship to keep her career. She’s done staying quiet
by Emily Yahr
Country singer Brooke Eden was in the whirlwind early stages of her career in 2015, intensely focused on preparing for an extensive tour of radio stations across the country, when something completely unexpected happened: She fell in love.
The New York Times
She Was a Star of New Palestinian Music. Then She Played Beside the Mosque.
by Patrick Kingsley
Sama' Abdulhadi helped build the Palestinian electronic music scene. Now she is at the center of a debate about Palestinian cultural identity.
How Bandcamp Fridays Have Helped Artists Earn Over $44 Million During the Pandemic
by Andre Gee
Since Bandcamp Fridays began in March 2020, Bandcamp has been waiving their revenue share on the first Friday of each month, helping artists during the pandemic.
As High as the First Time: An Interview With the Best Rock Band of the 21st Century
by Mike Conklin
Speaking with Craig Finn and Franz Nicolay on the occasion of the band's eight full-length, "Open Door Policy."
Michael Stanley, 1949-2021: An Appreciation of Rock’s Ultimate Local Hero
by Holly Gleason
Like a secret handshake, you can still measure the rock and Midwestern bonafides of people, especially those who grew up in Ohio and surrounding states in the '70s and '80s by whether they knew the Michael Stanley Band.
Audio streaming: the missing millions
by David Karlin
With audio streaming growing apace, why are so many artists complaining of earning a pittance from their recordings? In a three article series, we lead you through the commercial and copyright jungle and propose some ways forward.
On My Om
Is Tidal worth Jack?
by Om Malik
Christmas came in March for Tidal, the increasingly irrelevant, money-losing music streaming service, and Jay-Z misadventure.
V Magazine
Doja Cat’s New Dimension
by Dania Curvy
The shapeshifting new star opens up to SZA about her stratospheric rise, breaking barriers, and embracing divine femininity on her new album "Planet Her."
The Seattle Times
When COVID-19 closed Seattle music venues, Sir Mix-A-Lot rolled up his sleeves (and opened his wallet)
by Michael Rietmulder
With more than 30 years of club-rocking experience, Mix is no stranger to working a crowd, and those skills translate to the Zoom room. In semiprivate Green Room Sessions run by Keep Music Live, and other virtual fundraisers, Mix serves as charismatic host, prompting would-be donors to open their wallets by promising to match their donations.
The Bitter Southerner
The Radical Queerness of Dolly Parton
by Cory Albertson
With her unapologetic confidence, Dolly Parton helped a young journalist find the freedom to be his full self.
SIX60 Rocks 125,000 At Six Stadium Shows
by Christie Eliezer
On a warm Wellington, New Zealand, summer evening, on Feb. 13, 2021, rock band Six60’s lead singer Matiu Walters stood before a sell-out crowd of 32,000 at Sky Stadium and yelled “Haere Mai [‘welcome’ in the indigenous Maori language] Wellington! Welcome to the biggest show on earth!”
The Guardian
Tame Impala Sound System review – a fantastic return to the joys of live music
by Dom Alessio
It’s a new format but a familiar pleasure as the reimagined Tame Impala deliver a thumping set to a packed house.
The New York Times
My Music Muscles Were Going Weak
by Adam Schatz
I turned to Randy Newman to help me through this pandemic.
The Associated Press
Old vs. new school: the best rap album debate at the Grammys
by Jonathan Landrum Jr.
Lil Baby, Roddy Ricch, Megan Thee Stallion and DaBaby have blazed the Billboard charts, but Grammy voters gave the young hip-hop stars the cold shoulder in the best rap album category, instead, surprisingly nominating the genre's more matured voices like Nas and Jay Electronica.
Tons of K-pop artists have been purged from Spotify. It’s part of a much bigger problem
by Aja Romano
Artists such as IU, Epik High, Seventeen, Loona, and many more were affected by a distributor dispute.
The Ringer
The Making of Dave Chappelle’s Iconic ‘Block Party’
by Danny Schwartz
Collaborators, musicians, and attendees reflect on the legendary concert film, released 15 years ago this week.
The Independent
Poly Styrene, Billie Eilish and Britney: How fame wreaks havoc on the mental health of women
by Fiona Sturges
Three recent documentaries chart singers who came of age in the public eye and had their every movement scrutinised, writes Fiona Sturges. But both the Spears and Styrene docs show how the next act can unfold when a young woman in the glare of fame isn’t looked after.
what we’re into
Music of the day
"Pay Your Way in Pain"
St. Vincent
Video of the day
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Don Whiteside
"It's my job to do what I'm asked to do by the creative element of this band." RIP Tony Hendra.
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