Artists

FEED THE BEAT
July 28, 2016 12:15 pm

Going on tour is an integral part of being in a band. Traveling all day and playing music all night in different places all over is the dream. However being in a band is less glamorous as most people picture it and unfortunately not many bands make a lot of money from shows. Usually money made from shows goes to gas and eating, so most bands come home just breaking even.

Thankfully, the Taco Gods have you covered. Taco Bell, beloved by stoners and broke kids alike have a campaign called Feed The Beat, which offers touring bands free food (suddenly I wish my mom pushed guitar lessons on me instead of soccer).

According to their site:

Since 2006, Taco Bell and its Feed The Beat program has helped support more than 900 artists/bands. Along the way, we have helped fans discover new bands, and bands discover new fans. Feed the Beat support starts in the form of feeding touring musicians with $500 in Taco Bell gift cards – no strings attached.

Some artists that have been featured on the campaign include: Allison Weiss, Chris Farren, DREAMERS, Robert Delong, Superheaven, The So So Glos, The 1975, The Front Bottoms, Best Coast, Title Fight, Wavves and many more names.

The program is a great way to give back to people who give their all for their art. As someone who has toured with bands before, I’ve witnessed the hardships that bands can face while on the road.

Shout out to Taco Bell, your dedication to the arts doesn’t go unnoticed — I’ll forgive you for putting cheese on my bean burrito.

SPOTLIGHT ON: MUSICOVERY
October 28, 2015 8:55 am

In an internet radio world dominated by big players like Pandora, Sirius XM, Apple Music, Google Play and Spotify, the little guys have a lot to prove just to keep up.

Musicovery is an app that integrates mood-based listening with online radio. It does so in the Songza vein; however, in a much more simplified fashion. While Songza boasts twenty different moods, Musicovery selects the big four: “Energetic,” “Calm,” “Dark,” and “Positive.” The four moods are set up like a grid with the “Energetic” and “Calm” on the North and South poles and “Dark” and “Positive” on the West and East poles. The user selects an area on the grid and the service plays a song based on both where the selected area falls on the mood spectrum and additional genre preferences the user can select.

Sometimes less is more. Other times, less is just less.

While Musicovery’s inclusion of only four moods certainly lightens the workload of the listener, it does not provide the ultimate experience that a more complex service like Songza provides. The few mood choices make the listening experience haphazard and difficult to listen to if you are a listener who has specific taste. Additionally, Musicovery’s lack of activity-based customization reduces the overall efficacy of the platform. If a user isn’t feeling in a particular mood but is doing a particular activity, the user cannot utilize the platform. Finally, the abundant technological setbacks, like not having an app with iPhone compatibility and bugs on the desktop site, make the user experience a frustrating one.

Amidst the more negative analysis, there is a silver lining to Musicovery. I have never seen a more diverse and global approach to the online radio listening experience. Musicovery is a go-to for a listener with a wide range of musical interests spanning every genre and every country of origin. For a World Music lover like me, this app is a great destination for a more globally focused listening experience.

At the end of the day, Musicovery’s globally focused listening experience cannot compensate for its lack of mobile accessibility, glitches on the site, scarce mood options and lack of activity-based listening. While I would love to root for the little guy, I find myself sticking with the big guns like Songza (acquired by Google and integrated into Google Play) and Spotify… at least for now.

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CREATE CULTURE @ EMPIRE CONTROL ROOM & GARAGE
October 18, 2015 6:34 pm

Come and get your art on before Art Outside this Wednesday, 9pm Oct. 21st at Empire Control Room & Garage‘s eventGet loose before you jump into the festivities, meet some peeps, funk the night away and make some new friends for the fest. Don’t be a spectator of Art Outside, be a part of it. Create Culture is featuring their first ‘from beyond Texas’ visual artist; Apex Collective.

Art Outsides’ Featured Guest Artist Zach Jackson will be at the Control Room alongside the Collective with Jake Amazon and The Artwork of Stephen Kruse. Currently Jackson is working and living in Los Angeles, California creating. Lucky enough, we’ve got him to come out to Austin, TX and be apart of ASO again this year!  Last year, Jackson had incredible pieces. Watching him start on a blank canvas to what was created by Sunday evening is unforgettable. His pieces looked as if they were straight out of a sci-fi novel, with an incredibly futuristic and mechanical aesthetic. His work is undeniably one of a kind.

Music all night by Fractala, Funky JesusMetranohm and Fractal Dragon. There will be plenty going on with hooping, live art performances, healers, vending and artists. Tickets at the door 5$/18+ and 5$ suggested donation/21+.

Funky music, psychedelic art work and good times.
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL.

Tunetap: Destined for Greatness?
September 22, 2015 8:00 am

Tunetap is a site that allows users to discover local shows and petition for artists to create more shows. It also allows those artists to crowdfund for shows, and get to know their fans through statistics generated by the Tunetap site. By pre-selling tickets, artists can fund the shows themselves while proving to venues that they can and will bring an audience to their events.

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The idea for the site first became known in 2014, when Cornell University student Feifan Zhou entered the Johnson Shark Tank competition. The yearly competition awards a cash prize to Cornell students looking to open a startup, and Zhou and his team won $1500 to create Tunetap. Prior to the competition, Zhou and his colleagues produced their first show using Tunetap at Cornell just two months after launching. They generated a profit pre-selling tickets, when many shows don’t break even the first day.

The site is a little bit tricky to navigate. Before an account is created, the site features various explanations of what it can be used for. This is great, since there aren’t really other sites that provide the same service as Tunetap. However, once a user is logged in, all they see is a search bar above a list of artists that the user may or may not be familiar with. There’s a live chat feature at the bottom of the page, but when the user opens the chat window, they’re greeted with the message “We’ll be less available during holidays. If there’s no response, you can reach us at thetap@tunetap.com”. What holidays? It’s September. Unless they’re all taking off for Yom Kippur.

Users can search for artists to petition for shows, but they are limited to the artists who have created accounts with Tunetap. Searching for local events result in the user being brought to a white screen with a huge Tunetap logo on it and nothing else.

Tunetap is a great idea, but its creators won’t be able to realize that greatness until they can secure more artists to use the service and get the word out about what they can do for fans, venues, and promoters. I would bet they’re capable of it too; the company’s Instagram page, which hasn’t been updated in 2.5 months, and features only 47 posts, already has over 9,000 followers.

Tunetap could be something really great. Let’s see if they can put the time into making it that way.

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Learn to Fly with Cesena, Italy
July 30, 2015 11:45 pm

Today has been a big day because the people of Cesena, Italy made an epic video for the Foo Fighters1,000 very passionate Foo Fighter fans got together and performed ‘Learn To Fly’ in hopes of getting Dave Grohl’s attention and getting the band to perform in Italy. A total of 250 singers, 350 guitarists, 150 basists and 250 drummers. Insane! You have to check out all these Italians rocking their hearts out!

 

IS TIDAL WORTH THE MONEY?
May 18, 2015 9:42 am

“Streaming is the future of music”. This statement has been on the tongue of many in the music industry for a few years now, and it is becoming more prevalent with every passing day. This is the reason why companies like Spotify have come into the success that it sees now. Spotify is a music streaming service with a premium subscription for those who want to take their experience offline and ad-free. It is available in 58 global markets and has over 30 million songs. Every day, over 20,000 songs are added to that list, allowing users from around the world to have an endless selection filling their ears. Over 60 million people use Spotify and 20% of them, roughly 15 million, pay the subscription amount. Seems like an unstoppable juggernaut right? Not to the ears of American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur, Jay Z.

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Earlier this year Jay Z bought Aspiro, a Swedish/Norwegian public media company. He transformed the company into TIDAL, also known as TIDALHiFi, a subscription based music streaming service. Its goal is to surpass Spotify and all other companies to become the world leading music streaming service by offering higher definition sound quality, higher royalties to the artists, exclusive content, and in-depth playlists created by the artists themselves. The issue that many people have with using this amazing product is that it costs $19.99 a month. Below, we break down the list of features which could make this company either rise to glory or fall to ashes.

Sound Quality
TIDAL’s ground-breaking sound is the first thing that separates it from the competition. The program uses lossless data compression which allows the data to be perfectly reconstructed from the compressed data unlike the music that Spotify uses, only allowing reconstruction to a certain level. This is not to say Spotify’s program doesn’t play good music, it just does not hold the quality that TIDAL holds. However, unless a listener has a sharp ear for hearing differences between every instrument and beat used, it is not a recognizable or substantial difference. To those whose ears have picked up the difference, is it worth the price?

Higher Payout to Artists
There are no set numbers available to the public to display the amount that artists get paid for their songs on Spotify or TIDAL. The particulars are determined by the company, the artists, and their record labels. TIDAL has just two subscription tiers, and neither is free. The first, $9.99-per-month, grants access to standard definition audio quality already offered by sites like Spotify. The second, $19.99-per-month, pays for the audio quality given by the high definition lossless data compression. TIDAL claims that these prices are in place so that they can offer higher royalty rates to the artists, meaning, they can only pay their artists if people pay for the subscription. Will the inability to listen for free hinder your eagerness to join?

Exclusive Content
Three days ago, Jay Z performed his concert B-Sides and streamed it live exclusively for TIDAL subscribers. The demand was so great that he scheduled another show for both May 16th, and 17th. The site also includes videos that give a firsthand look at the training process for celebs like fighter Miguel Cotto, as well as the game-day prep for baseball player Robinson Cano. While this may persuade many to open their wallets for access, you can’t help but wonder how long it will take for the content to be leaked to free streaming sites.

B-Sides

Unfortunately for artists these days, very few things are exclusive for long. Take for example, Wu-Tang Clan’s $5 million LP, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. The album went on auction this year with one single copy and has a 88 year copyright before being sold commercially. It is very likely that the public will be able to hear it before the eighth decade, knowing how die-hard Wu-Tang Clan fans are. If such rare and expensive music doesn’t reach its goal for exclusivity, how would TIDAL convince itself to stay immune to the same hacks?

Playlists
Aside from the higher definition audio and the exclusive content, what really separates TIDAL from its competition is the quality of its playlists. A user can find a range from vastly broad to oddly specific groupings. For example there is something called Freak Scene: American Underground 1980-89 which creates a timeline between American punk and early indie rock, and another that is made up of albums with painter H.R. Giger artwork as their cover art. They also have playlists curated by mainstream artists such as The Dream. This allows people to connect with a musical history that they have never experienced before as well as enjoy the stuff that we all know and love.

The future of TIDAL’s success will come in time and in numbers. Right now, it’s success is dependent on your choice. Given enhanced sound, better financial support to artists, exclusive content, and unique playlists, will you offer up the monthly stipend for TIDAL? There are people who are raving for it, and people who are raging against it. What will you decide?