Lyor Goes To YouTube

The only problem is people HATE HIM!

Expecting Lyor Cohen to make peace with labels is like believing Roger Waters will get back together with David Gilmour for a concert in support of Israeli statehood.

This shows how out of touch YouTube is, I hope the ink isn’t dry.

As for Lyor himself…KUDOS! He crawled from the wreckage into a brand new car.

Every other majordomo has faded into the woodwork. From Yetnikoff to Mottola, take away their checkbook, their power-base, and they’re done. Lyor opened his label, the 300, and ultimately had a hit with Fetty Wap, but despite that hit, despite all the hogwash about establishing a new paradigm, using Twitter data, not much else materialized.

As for YouTube…

They don’t need any hand-holding, they don’t need anybody explaining their position, they just need to agree to one take-down notice and higher royalty payments, something Robert Kyncl and his team have repeatedly said they would not do.

This isn’t Spotify or Apple, with playlists and exclusives…

And if you think the music industry wants to deliver those to YouTube… You don’t know that YouTube is more hated than Lyor.

Lyor is known for loyalty. Like Pablo Escobar, his team would take a bullet for him. He’s a smart guy, but he’s street smart, and that doesn’t work in tech, it’s about the numbers, data doesn’t lie.

Come on, can you imagine Lyor in a meeting convincing a label head or a manager? Do you even know how this guy speaks? And he needs to sit atop the pedestal, humility is not in his bag of tricks.

This just proves that YouTube is clueless.

Daily Mix

This is a breakthrough.

The problem with Apple Music is it’s locked behind a paywall, and unlike Sirius there’s no amnesty, no free weekends, once your trial period is up you’re gone, forever, unless you want to pony up.

I know, I know, it’s hard to compete with a free tier. On YouTube and Spotify. But have you forgotten the deep dark ages wherein piracy ruled, when MP3s were de rigueur? Did you buy the iPhone 7 with 256 GB? Why? We used to need to cart all our music around with us, now it’s available on demand, and we can sync a modicum of playlists to the device for listening off the grid.

So, Daily Mix is a daily playlist. You can read about it here:

Rediscover Your Favorite Music with Daily Mix

Jimmy Iovine promises future miracles to Buzzfeed

Inside Apple Music’s Second Act

Spotify surprises us with anew feature available today, as Steve Jobs famously did at the end of almost every product introduction. You give us what we didn’t even know we wanted and we can test it out immediately, this is the instant gratification the internet was built on.

The internet was not built on hype. The internet was built on product. Marketing a website is a waste of time. You want to enable users who spread the word.

I can’t tell you exactly what Daily Mix is. But I just checked it out on my handset and…there are only fifteen tracks. Playlists need to get shorter, otherwise they’re incomprehensible, we’ve got to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Now upon launching the Spotify app I found six Daily Mixes. There’s only supposed to be one a day, but I guess I’m seeing the beta prototypes as well as today’s.

Daily Mix 1 has got all the old rockers. From the Stones to the Beatles to Zeppelin to Jackson Browne. All winners, it’s good to see what I’m familiar with.

But more satisfying is Daily Mix 2, which focuses on my country listening. It’s got Luke Bryan and Eric Church and Steven Tyler and Florida Georgia Line as well as some tracks I haven’t heard.

That’s the essence of Daily Mix. Some of what you already know mixed in with that which you don’t. It’s an evolving process. But it’s satisfying.

The goal is to get more people to listen to more music.

And Spotify has done this here.

And, for the canard that per stream payments are going down… OF COURSE THEY ARE!    Did you flunk math? There’s a pool of money that’s divided by listens, so the more people subscribe and the more people listen the less each stream is worth, if you’re concentrating on a penny rate (or fraction of a penny rate!) you’re doing it the old way, now it’s all about a percentage.

Spotify is running away with this game. By being married to the technology first and the art form second. Innovation always comes from outside, those who are not inured to the old ways. The company has some of the worst marketing known to man, but it’s the leader, as it should be.

iHeart has got no chance. Haven’t we learned in digital that there’s a first-mover advantage? The only way you can supersede the starter is by doing it grossly better, incremental improvement is not enough. And the only way you can win is if the leader lags, fails to innovate.

Innovate or die. That’s how Apple became the world’s most valuable company, that’s why it’s gonna flag in the future. You can only ride the old hits so long, and unlike a classic rock act, no one wants to listen to their old iPod.

This is good. Piracy has been eviscerated, people are inside the walled garden and subscribers and revenue are going up. One company will be the leader, and right now you should bet on Spotify. Forget all the hogwash about the fundamentals, the loss of cash, if they stopped investing right now they’d be profitable. But like internet hero Jeff Bezos they understand it’s a long game, you look to a far distant destination, when you’ve corralled the market and own it, and are making tons of money to boot.

Remember when people were afraid to buy things on the web?

Remember when humans used to curate Amazon recommendations?

Remember when Amazon stumbled on to Web Services, driving growth?

Never listen to the naysayers married to the past, it’s already in the rearview mirror. Bet on those risking, changing it up. And this applies in art too. The new and different ultimately rules. And now that streaming has won we can focus on the tunes. And the more we get the tunes in front of people the better chance they have to gain traction.

Sure, radio was great, banging the same few tunes over and over again.

But few got a chance to play back then.

Now, everybody can play, but there’s chaos.

Discover Weekly, Release Radar and now Daily Mix are steps to end that chaos, to make music listening and discovery comprehensible.

The rocket has left the launch pad.

And we’re all on board.

Partake of the riches.

And know that subscription revenue is only gonna go up.

Sometimes you’ve got to give it away for people to be convinced.

Some people will never pay.

But music is addictive, it’s the spice of life, and people show up for it, as opposed to so many other products.

YouTube is a lame free service based on video. Its Red application has no traction. This is what happens when you rest on your laurels.

Forget about stream-ripping.

Forget about YouTube.

Tell everybody how great Spotify is.

BECAUSE THEN YOU’RE GONNA MAKE MONEY!

All For The Hall

Joe Walsh played “Meadows.”

I had the world’s worst case of mononucleosis but despite the infection I decided to drive my BMW from Salt Lake City to Connecticut and I needed new tunes to get me through so I went down to Odyssey Music on State Street and bought six cassettes, including Joe Walsh’s new live album “You Can’t Argue With A Sick Mind,” made to get out of his ABC contract, and although it did include a live take of “Rocky Mountain Way” it was “Meadows” that stuck out, with its iconic riff and dynamics, I vividly remember driving over Vail Pass, seeing the snow in June, listening to “Meadows.”

So Joe’s sitting on stage, strumming his axe, telling a story, about living in Massachusetts and driving through a field and seeing an old stone wall and my heart starts to palpitate. This is what happens when you know what song the artist is gonna play, when it’s one of your favorites and you never expected it. Joe’s been on the road all summer, I missed his gig at the Forum, I took solace in the fact he played mostly hits, when the people pay they expect them, I wasn’t expecting “Meadows.”

It was the opening cut on the second side of “The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get.” That was forty-odd years ago. Does anybody remember? I still do.

Almost as good was “Indian Summer,” from the 1978 smash “But Seriously, Folks,” his solo album between Eagles albums, the one with “Life’s Been Good.” I know it by heart, I thought I’d never hear it played live again.

But that’s the power of Joe Walsh. Chris Stapleton said “Hell Freezes Over” was the best show he’d ever seen. Bar none. He’d saved up his money and went with his little brother…
Stapleton got the biggest reaction, the audience came to see him, he was primed. And when Chris reached down deep and wailed…it was a REVELATION! This is a star, hiding in plain sight, makes you a believer. And Chris stated that he cowrote “When The Stars Come Out” with Dan Wilson and when the show was done Kenny MacPherson introduced me to him, Dan Wilson, that is, you know the guy who wrote “Closing Time,” the guy who cowrites with Adele, I was nearly speechless, it’s not often you’re in the presence of genius, this is a smart guy, he went to Harvard, and that means something to my east coast sensibility, if you want to know some of the history read Jacob Slichter’s “So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star: How I Machine-Gunned a Roomful Of Record Executives and Other True Tales from a Drummer’s Life,” a rock star story written by someone with a brain who gives insight on what it’s like to make it and then descend into the abyss, but Dan survived, whew!

It was one of those L.A. nights.

When the stars come out to shine.

Hosted by Vince Gill, “All For The Hall” is a fundraiser for the Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s a guitar pull, with five musicians on stage, trading songs and licks, with no production, only the music and the stories.

And Vince’s story of being good friends with Arnold Palmer… Funny where music will take you.

And Vince played a new number about Merle Haggard that held my attention, that’s how you know something’s a winner, if it penetrates when you’ve never heard it before.

And Kacey Musgraves added levity. She’s a pistol. She talked about working in her parent’s print shop, badly. She sang a sad Christmas song from her yet to be released holiday LP and she finished with her breakthrough number “Merry Go ‘Round” after telling a great story about Miranda Lambert covering her “breakthrough” single, Kacey was saving it for herself, told Liz Rose, who was in attendance, that it broke her heart, but Liz said the money she was gonna make was gonna fill that hole, ha!

But the star of the show was…

James Taylor.

He opened with “Today Today Today” from his 2015 LP “Before This World,” which disappointed me, this was a bad sign, he was only gonna play new music, not the classics, not what I wanted to hear, boy was I wrong.

Meanwhile, “Today Today Today” was good because in the middle Vince started playing along, adding notes in his anti-Yngwie style, in other words it was what Vince left out that made it so good, in classic Lowell George style he was playing so little, but what he did was tasteful and added resonance.

But then James played “Something In The Way She Moves.”

Do you have the original version, from the Apple LP, it’ll blow your mind, it’s on Spotify, it starts with a musical interlude, one of the links that connected all the songs on that LP and then…

Funny how everybody can play the guitar but we all play it differently. James is picking the notes and I’m transported back to my bedroom on Farist Road in Fairfield, Connecticut, I played that record every day of the last two months of my senior year of high school as the weather got warmer and my mood got better.

Every now and then the things I lean on lose their meaning, this aging thing is putting me through the wringer, I love the future but I can’t believe the past is in the rearview mirror and then I hear JT play “Something In The Way She Moves” and it all connects, it’s one big continuum, I’m all right.

But then he played “You Can Close Your Eyes.”

Well the sun is surely sinking down
And the moon is slowly rising
And this old world must still be spinning ’round

I went to see James at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester. Me and about 75 other people who’d gotten the memo, he sat on a stool and played most of “Sweet Baby James.” It was months later that “Fire And Rain” broke through and ever since JT’s been out with a band, he’s turned into a crooner, it wasn’t quite the same until…

Tonight.

Tonight James Taylor was an American treasure. He survived drug abuse and the songs are still here and he can still play them. When he sang about the Berkshires being dream-like on account of that frosting I tingled. I’ve been living on the west coast for so long, but part of me is still in New England, I know that road from Stockbridge to Boston, I’ve left some blood on those tracks.

And it turns out “You’ve Got A Friend” was an answer song to “Fire And Rain,” you know he could not find a friend, Carole King wanted to provide one, James told the story, along with the making of “Two-Lane Blacktop,” he’s never seen it to this day, dating Joni Mitchell and playing a song that took less time to write than play.

That’s right, James Taylor and Joe Walsh duetted on “Steamroller,” Joe on his electric wringing out those notes that enthralled an entire generation.

It won’t be long before another day.

We gonna have a good time.

We’re gonna put on our tunes, smile as we eat up the miles, no one’s gonna take that time away, you can listen as long as you like.

Sometimes you’re brought back to where you once belonged, the thread back to why you do this is pulled tight, you understand most of life is trappings, but music is the essence, the center, the nougat.

Tonight was one of those nights.

All For The Hall – Spotify playlist

The Debate

I can’t remember a thing Hillary Clinton said.

We’ve seen this movie before, when Arnold Schwarzenegger ran against Gray Davis, the lovable Terminator/Twin against the career politician/policy wonk. It was no contest, Arnold won.

And we went on a misadventure wherein California’s steam was picked up by Texas, because it turns out a celebrity debater might not be a good politician.

But don’t tell the public that.

Hillary is inauthentic. She’s been scrutinized so long that she’s become gun-shy. She over-prepares and thinks with her head not her heart and the truth is we’re all human beings and we relate most to those who evidence their humanity.

Hillary was a smiling robot, I thought she was gonna recite the 39 Steps.

But the Donald…

He was not what he was supposed to be, a bloviating buffoon who was going to make ill-tempered comments about his opponent. We can debate whether he appeared Presidential, but he certainly appeared reasonable.

Unless you’re a Hillary supporter.

This is a game folks. Take off your blinders, cast aside your elite degree and get into the pit and try to see what’s truly going on.

Donald Trump is telling people things are bad and he’s gonna make them better, that he cares about you.

And how does he do this?

THROUGH EXAMPLES!

There was one personal story after another, about a friend, a business colleague, a reporter, Trump seemed like a real person living in the real world.

Hillary looked like someone who lived in a bunker, surrounded by handlers, who only deigned to come out because the nation required it.

I knew Hillary was in trouble from the beginning. When she started off in a measured tone, sans emotion, and then refused to bite back at the Donald.

He was leaving himself wide open. She could have gone on the attack.

But she was not employing a rope-a-dope strategy. She never barked back, she never went for the jugular, she just kept repeating her talking points over and over and over again. It made me wish she’d done NO preparation. This debate is not an academic exercise scored by professionals, no, this is a raucous fracas scored by the public and Trump won. Because he played his game. One hiding in plain sight that no one in Clinton’s camp seemed to be aware of. He walked all over his Republican competitors and now it appears he might walk over Hillary Clinton too.

Authenticity wins in the end. Relatability. We don’t want to know how the sausage is made, just if it tastes good. And if you give us a free beer we’ll let you screw us, it’s the American Way. Give in on the small stuff and pull the wool over our eyes on the big stuff. That’s how Trump got to where he is.

Trump said America is losing and he’s a businessman who can get better deals which will aid all Americans. He said jobs were flowing across our borders and Hillary…

Didn’t respond.

Trump left himself wide open. Why did the corporations leave? How many really did? At first he said hundreds, then he said THOUSANDS! And Hillary recited her plan, boilerplate that had my eyes rolling into the back of my head.

Over and over and over again, Trump made inane, inaccurate statements and rather than delve into them, Hillary whipped out wonkish statements about how the world really works and said she’s got experience and this is her plan.

OF COURSE SHE’S GOT THE EXPERIENCE! OF COURSE SHE’D BE A BETTER PRESIDENT! BUT FIRST SHE’S GOT TO WIN!

But she can’t.

She’s like an aging rocker who thinks he can still have hits in a world dominated by Kanye. A complainer with a modicum of talent who knows it’s about being in the public eye each and every day, about owning the dialogue, about biting back at the naysayers. Clinton’s playing by nineties rules. It’s like she still hasn’t gotten over Bill losing the governorship of Arkansas.

Which is why America is the story of the young eating the old. The know-nothings who don’t know any better. Experience kills. Ideas and motivation. Look at the music industry. Techies not only decimated it, they ended up owning it. Along with the taxi industry and businesses that could not previously be fathomed.

Hillary’s out of touch. She’s so focus-grouped that she’s lost her identity.

No, you didn’t want to sit home and bake cookies. OWN IT!

The hard core Trump supporters ARE deplorables. You speak the truth and then back away, letting the press have a field day, owning the story to your detriment.

The majority of our nation is poorly educated, can’t analyze a situation and can’t separate fact from fiction. You wonder why Trump’s a contender? They’d rather see theatre than truth. Trump gives them “Star Wars,” Hillary gives them “Bambi.”

You can’t let your competitors define you.

She smiled and was even-handed so she wouldn’t appear the shark she’s been labeled.

But what helped the African-Americans gain traction and pride? Owning the “N” word. Pushing back. And if you don’t think the blacks own youth culture you don’t have a Snapchat account, you’re probably on Facebook posting pictures of your high school reunion.

The final chapter has not been written. But today the polls have Trump about even. In order for Hillary to win, she must appeal to the undecided, of which there are very few. Forget you, forget me, we’ve already made up our minds. But, if for some reason you’re unsure…

Today Trump’s offense ran right through Hillary’s defense.

Despite the brouhaha about Matt Lauer letting him slide, Trump ran right over Lester Holt too.

If Hillary’s such a fighter, she needs to PUNCH!

And only losers believe the rules apply in a knife fight.

Sending us to your website to check facts, to read about Donald’s lies?

We’re right in front of you, can’t you close us here?

If Hillary were an act, she would not get a deal. Like a Berklee graduate who knows all the notes she’d be trumped by Lil Yachty.

I want Hillary Clinton to run my government.

But she’s got no idea about show business.

And never forget, politics is show business for ugly people.

And that applies to you too Donald.