It’s difficult to sing. Eight verses of really cruel stuff. But that’s exactly what [i] would say to Putin. And exactly what [I] would have done to him.
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Monday March 21, 2022
Oleksandra Zaritska, the only Ukrainian musician who made it to SXSW, performs at an "Austin Stands With Ukraine" show, March 19, 2022.
(Amanda Stronza/Getty Images)
quote of the day
It’s difficult to sing. Eight verses of really cruel stuff. But that’s exactly what [i] would say to Putin. And exactly what [I] would have done to him.
- Oleksandra Zaritska, through an interpreter; the Ukrainian musician finished her special Saturday set at SXSW by covering Bob Dylan's "Masters of War"
Good & Plentiful

If I hear one more person argue that we should embrace NFTs specifically because they can make music scarce and collectible and therefore people will pay top dollar for them like they do with rare vinyl, and if they then try to convince me that's a good thing, I'm going to scream. A loud, ugly digital scream. Not a warm, analog scream like you might hear on rare, expensive vinyl. A shrill, 99-cent MP3 kind of scream.

Questionable quote of the day from an Austin Chronicle roundup of NFT sightings at SXSW (worth a read, this caveat notwithstanding): "Scarcity is the reason record collectors pay handsomely for rare albums, and digital music lacks scarcity."


I mean, yes, sure, that is a thing that people do.

But the reason real, honest to god record collectors buy things isn't because they're rare. Record collectors buy things because they contain music. They're more apt to be excited about a 50-cent find in a cardboard box in a dusty basement—maybe an early '90s hip-hop album that fills a hole in their collection, or a '70s soul album they'd never seen before—than a $2,000 first pressing of which only five known copies exist. They want songs. They want drum breaks. They want sax solos. They want perfect grooves. Five cents, fifty dollars, doesn't matter. If they're a DJ and no one else has the record, that's cool, too. But not because it's crazy rare and impossible to find. In most cases, it's more about the fact that no one else has thought to look for it no matter how many copies are floating around.

(Nothing against that those crazy rare holy grails of record collecting. I read and loved AMANDA PETRUSICH's DO NOT SELL AT ANY PRICE. But that's not about pre-planned, calculated rarity. That's about the rarity created by time and place and circumstance and, often, bad luck. Organic rarity. Collectors are paying for that history, and for a chance to hear SKIP JAMES' voice in the exact medium where it was originally captured. Which is not, to the best of my knowledge, what any NFT peddlers and proselytizers were offering in Austin last week.)

There are lots of good things NFTs *can* do for musicians and fans. Almost all of which are about availability, not rarity. They promise new ways to connect musicians with fans. New ways to package songs and albums with artwork and experiences. New ways to quickly and reliably distribute royalties. Almost all of these promises are about creating access, not limiting it. Or, at least, they should be.

Quote of the day #2 from that Austin Chronicle story, from PUSSY RIOT's NADYA TOLOKONNIKOVA discussing another trending three-letter acronym. "I refer to Pussy Riot as one of the first DAOs. It’s basically the same thing, because it’s decentralized, it’s autonomous." She may have a point. Also, she and her bandmates have launched an actual DAO. UNICORNDAO plans to invest in female, non-binary, and LGBTQ+ artists and is "a feminist movement aiming to tackle patriarchy in Web3." And, not incidentally, it's about creating access.


NBC tonight launches AMERICAN SONG CONTEST, in which American states replace the European countries of EUROVISION and in which we find out which one of those states is sheltering the next "ZITTI E BUONI."

Rest in Peace

Keyboardist and synth programmer JOHN BARNES, best known for his work with Michael Jackson. He also played on and arranged the music for "We Are the World"... Russian conductor MICHAIL JUROWSKI, who was known as one of the great interpreters of Dmitri Shostakovich, a family friend... Up-and-coming Maryland rapper GOONEW and aspiring Miami rapper BABY CINO, the eighth and ninth (at least) rappers murdered in the US in 2022. It's March. Goonew, 24, was shot in a parking lot Friday afternoon in District Heights, Md., blocks away from where he was born. Cino, 20, was ambushed in broad daylight on Wednesday, minutes after posting bail on a gun charge at a Miami jail. Police said his killer fired at least 40 times.

- Matty Karas (@troubledoll), curator
cool it now
How Kevin Liles Built 300 Entertainment Into A $400 Million Business In Under 10 Years
By Dan Runcie and Kevin Liles
Kevin Liles didn't co-found 300 Entertainment just to sell it. He created it, first and foremost, to fill a void he saw in the music industry - a lack of talent development. Ten years after starting the 300 record label, it's safe to say Kevin and company filled that void.
Austin Chronicle
Three Music Writers Descend Into the NFT Craze at SXSW
By Kevin Curtin, Rachel Rascoe and Dan Gentile
One NFT-fatigued, one NFT-Curious, and NFT-skeptical.
The New Yorker
Classical Music's Iron Curtain
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Two musicologists discuss national identity in the performing arts and the politics of blacklisting sparked by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
SXSW Live Studio: Oleksandra "Sasha" Zaritska of Kazka
By Wajahat Ali and Oleksandra Zaritska
Ukrainian musician Oleksandra "Sasha" Zaritska of Kazka joins us in the studio to speak on her experiences of what is happening in her home country.
The Guardian
Kyiv calling: famous Clash anthem reborn as call to arms
By Vanessa Thorpe
Ukrainian punk band Beton win blessing of Clash’s remaining members to record new version of song to raise funds for support network.
Resident Advisor
How Much Does It Cost to Throw a Club Night?
By Michael Lawson
Promoters in Germany, Spain and the UK assess the various financial challenges involved in throwing parties and reveal their balance sheets.
How Swedish Producers Helped Transform Eurovision Into ‘American Song Contest’
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Christer Björkman and Anders Lenhoff on what to expect when the new series premieres on NBC.
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Can animating abuse in the new HBO documentary help detractors believe a survivor?
The Daily Beast
Diane Warren Wants to Taste Oscar Gold. And Frankly, She Deserves It.
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The songwriting legend is up for her 13th Oscar-with zero wins. She talks to Marlow Stern about penning hits, working with Beyonce and Gaga, and why “it’s a weird time for music.”
Los Angeles Times
After years of 'absolute hell,' Black pop legend New Edition finally enjoys a victory lap
By Keith Murphy
Now all in their 50s, the six members of New Edition have conquered their demons, worked out their differences and come together for an arena tour.
mr. telephone man
The New York Times
What Happened to One of Classical Music’s Most Popular Pieces?
By David Allen
César Franck’s only symphony was a pillar of the repertory for decades. But it’s now a rarity.
Music Business Worldwide
DSPs will lead music’s mainstream Web3 adoption, but fan-powered music communities will share the wealth
By Bruno Guez
Bruno Guez, CEO of Digital rights administration company Revelator, suggests that 2022 will be the year where DSPs/distributors back the adoption of Web3 and the incorporation NFTs and blockchain technology for rights and royalty payments.
UMG’s Metaverse Band KINGSHIP Has a New ‘Manager’ -- It’s Also a Bored Ape
By Marc Schneider
Celine Joshua’s 10:22PM label paid 125 ethereum tokens -- over $360,000 -- for Bored Ape #5537, now named Manager Noët All.
The Ringer
The Oral History of Odd Future’s Chaotic, Joyous 'Oldie' Video
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In March 2012, an XXL photo shoot for the most blog-famous act in rap spontaneously became the backdrop for a music video. Ten years later, Tyler, Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt, and others reflect on the viral clip and what it meant.
D Smoke on Life After ‘Rhythm and Flow,’ His First Grammys Experience, and Popping Up in ‘Bel-Air’
By Paul Thompson
The Inglewood rapper won Netflix's rap competition series and hasn't looked back since.
Culture Notes of an Honest Broker
The Case for Super Vinyl
By Ted Gioia
I share a mini-business-plan for revitalizing the music business, offering specific details and calculating the (huge) financial payback.
Tape Op
Suzanne Ciani: The Fourth Wave
By John Baccigaluppi and Beau Sorensen
Suzanne Ciani is one of my neighbors (who has become a good friend), so it's almost too easy for me to overlook how massive her contribution to music and record production is. That is also due in part to the fact that she is a very warm and open person, and is offhandedly modest about her life's work.
Rolling Stone
The 100 Best BTS Songs
By Charles Aaron, Riddhi Chakraborty, Divyansha Dongre...
From “Butter” to “Butterfly” and beyond, we count down the boundary-smashing Seoul septet’s finest moments so far.
How Two Bay Area Musicians Escaped Russia as Sanctions Came Down
By Nastia Voynovskaya
J.C. Smith and Jackie Gage, both from San Jose, were on tour in Russia when the war started.
what we're into
Music of the day
“Kyiv Calling”
"We live for resistance!" The Ukrainian punk band rewrote "London Calling" with permission from the surviving members of the Clash and recorded it this past Thursday and Friday in Lviv.
Video of the day
“The Torch”
Jim Farrell
Director Jim Farrell's Buddy Guy doc, in select theaters and on demand.
Music | Media
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