Monday, October 10, 2016

It's a Singles World

Heard Frank Ocean's name recently?

"Blonde" is absent from the Spotify "United States Top 50." Talk of the town for two weeks, his album is already in the rearview mirror. Which is why exclusives are bad for artists, you've got to get them while it's hot, hit 'em with the Hein, otherwise they're on to something new.

And that's the issue, more than albums or exclusives, it's about mindshare, noise in the channel... You drop your album on one day, and what are you going to do for the rest of the three hundred and sixty four? You've shot your wad, it's done, it's over, you're lost in an old paradigm, if you're about hits, and the business is solely about hits, that's what you've got to deliver, over and over and over again.

Better to release a track every other month. As long as you have the attendant publicity. Forget moribund radio, which moves so slowly, playing the same songs after they took the better part of a year to get added. On streaming services, the game is very fast. Your track goes on the chart and it's your responsibility to keep it there. Publicity will get you attention, quality will gain you staying power.

Now if you're building it on the road, which is nearly impossible, because no one will come see you if you don't have a hit, sure, drop an entire album, work it for a couple of years, try to get inside people's heads.

But if you've already made it...

That album will be scooped up by a small cadre of fans, assuming they're aware of it, but everybody else will ignore it. They're inundated with music.

Not that you don't need a body of work. Assuming someone discovers you, they need to be able to go deeper. So, best to build a presence, a trove of tracks online, but when it comes to new material...

If you've got something to say that's gonna take forty minutes, and it really shouldn't be longer, only country acts seem to know this, by all means give it a go, record an LP. But if you're just woodshedding and assembling tracks, don't. Or just post them on streaming services when they're ready, with little fanfare, save all the hoopla for the potential hits.

The sales charts don't fit the modern paradigm. Purchase is nearly irrelevant, listenership is everything. Imagine, for years we judged success by whether you could get newbies to buy your album. That's insane. What we want to know is whether people are listening to it! That's the only relevant metric.

And that's what the streaming charts are based upon. You might be able to influence getting added to a playlist, but you can't work the top list, no way.

So, change your way of thinking.

Don't try to come up with twelve tracks, try to come up with one track, which might require twelve attempts, but...

You're a songwriter, a musician, that's what you do, keep doing it.

But know we only want the cream of the crop. There's no use advertising anything but.

Forget the media married to the old ways. Reviewing long players, reprinting the SoundScan chart. That's for old people inured to old ways. So, you get a review, who cares if no one streams it! And we've already determined sales are a bad indicator.

It's the 1960s all over again. Tracks last a month or two. And then we're on to something new. The jammed up and jellied tight radio charts have been superseded. It's a more fluid market, and this is good for you.

And one track streamed a hundred million times is better than twelve tracks streamed one million times each. That's right, there's more money in one track, this is the opposite of the CD paradigm, where you get them to overpay for one good track so everybody can make money. Now, the money's only in the hit that breaks through.

And Frank Ocean's "Blonde" is not a complete stiff. Three tracks have about ten million streams. A couple are around seven. A bunch are at two or three...

But the Chainsmokers/Halsey cut at number one is getting 1,467, 471 streams A DAY! This cut "Closer" has been streamed on Spotify 388,511,078 times in its history, far in excess of "Blonde" in the aggregate.

Number two, the Weeknd's "Starboy," gets 1,327,357 streams a day and has 82,366,575 cumulative streams, and it was only released September 21st!

Then there's DJ Snake's album, "Encore," containing the big hit with Justin Bieber, "Let Me Love You," which has 797,743 daily streams and is sitting at number four on the chart and has a cume of 280,272,323 streams. Most of the other tracks, other than the single hits on "Encore," have a few million streams. Proving that most people don't want to hear the rest of the album, only the hits. So, why not just put out hits?

It's not easy to record a hit. But today, the great thing is if you fail, you can step right back up to bat. Your core is listening, if you achieve greatness they'll give you a push, get you going.

As for the rest of you...

The bar has just been raised. Now that everybody can play, most people go unheard, at least in any quantity. You can play by the new rules or bitch about the change, it's your choice.

But the public has spoken.

By: Bob Lefsetz

Monday, August 15, 2016

Healthy Relationship

Here are a few of those things that I've learned do seem to say something about the strength of your union:

You Speak Your Mind

Relationships thrive when couples can express themselves freely and honestly. That means no topic is off-limits, and you both feel heard. Consistent communication is vital to building a lasting life together.

You Have Your Own Space

Just because you’re in love doesn’t mean you have to spend every moment together. Taking time to pursue your own interests and friendships keeps your relationship fresh and gives you both the opportunity to grow as individuals—even while you’re growing as a couple.  

You Fight

Disagreements are normal, so if you aren’t fighting, chances are you’re holding back. But when people in healthy relationships fight, they fight productively and fairly. That means avoiding name-calling or put-downs. It also means striving to understand your partner instead of trying to score points. And when you’re wrong? You apologize.

You Like Yourself And Your Partner

Chances are your relationship won’t suddenly get better if you win the lottery, have a baby, or move into your dream house. So don’t base your partnership on the hope that it will change. You recognize that neither of you is perfect, and you accept and value each other for who you are right now—not who you might become.

You Make Decisions Jointly

You don’t call all the shots. Neither does your partner. From what movie to see to how many children to have, you make decisions together and listen to each other’s concerns and desires. Sure, this may mean you see Transformers on Saturday night. But on Sunday night, it’s your turn.

You Find Joy

Healthy relationships are full of laughter and fun. This doesn’t mean you’re giddy every hour of the day—or that she doesn’t drive you up the wall sometimes—but it does mean that your life together is mostly happy in sometimes simple ways. (Making dinner, laughing at the same things, finishing each others’ sentences…)

You Find Balance

Sometimes your partner needs to work longer hours while you play chauffeur and chief cook. Or you must devote time to an elderly parent while your spouse tackles the chores. That’s life. What matters is that, in the long run, your trade-offs seem fair.

You Treat Each Other With Kindness

Nothing is more important than treating the person you love with care, consideration, empathy, and appreciation. If you find yourself showing more respect to people you hardly know than you show your partner, take a step back and revisit your priorities.

You Trust Each Other

Healthy relationships are built on trust and a commitment to communication without reservations or secrets. Want to know how much you trust each other now? Take this quiz  

You Let Things Go

Your partner will annoy you. You will annoy him or her, too. You will say things you don’t mean. You will behave inconsiderately. The important thing is how you deal with all this. So he forgot to pick up milk for the second time? Tell him you’re disappointed, of course—then let it go.

You Are Intimate

Sex is an important part of healthy relationships, but it’s only one part, and it’s different than intimacy, which is less about physical satisfaction than about bonding, friendship, and familiarity. If you’re in a healthy relationship, you’ll feel connected—in and out of bed.

Your Relationship Is Your Safe Place

Your relationship should be a safety net—a stable place to come home to at the end of the day. That doesn’t mean you don’t fight—it just means that when things are hard, you’d rather see your partner than commiserate with coworkers at Happy Hour.

You Talk To Your Partner, Not To Other People

When you have issues and concerns, you share them with your partner, not your Facebook friends. You can use pals as a sounding board, of course, but not as a crutch to avoid hard conversations with your significant other.

You Say The Magic Words

 “I love you”, “Thank you,” and “I’m sorry.” 

By: Devon Corneal