Off The Record: Pay To Play For My Heart

by Zack Zarrillo - Jun 24, 2014

Off The Record, a new podcast hosted by Jesse Cannon and Zack Zarrillo, is back this week with a new episode titled Pay To Play For My Heart.

This week’s episode focusses on legal-needs when forming a label or band, YouTube’s upcoming streaming service, and our thoughts on the Pay To Play model.

Please take a listen if you’re interested and make sure to check out the Off The Record website for show notes on the episode and for more information on how to keep up to date with us. Listen to the eight episode below! 

Read More

Off The Record: How To Control Your Leakage

by Zack Zarrillo - Jun 3, 2014

image

Off The Record, a new podcast hosted by Jesse Cannon and Zack Zarrillo, is back this week with a new episode titled How To Control Your Leakage.

This week’s episode focusses on what happens when albums leak, juggling more than one job to make your dreams become reality, and the undiscussed plus sides of the Beats by Apple deal.

Please take a listen if you’re interested and make sure to check out the Off The Record website for show notes on the episode and for more information on how to keep up to date with us. Listen to the fifth episode below! 

Read More

Off The Record: Keep Getting Them Checks

by Zack Zarrillo - May 27, 2014

image

Off The Record, a new podcast hosted by Jesse Cannon and Zack Zarrillo, is back this week with a new episode titled Keep Getting Them Checks.

This week’s episode focusses on college and the music industry, whether interning is worth it and how to make the most of it, and why blink-182 should go back on an indefinite hiatus (gasp). 

Please take a listen if you’re interested and make sure to check out the Off The Record website for show notes on the episode and for more information on how to keep up to date with us. Listen to the fourth episode below! 

Read More

Off The Record: ‘N Sync Running Down A Beach Naked

by Zack Zarrillo - May 13, 2014

image

Many of you listened to Off The Record, a new podcast hosted by Jesse Cannon and Zack Zarrillo, last week, and we appreciate that so much.

We’re back this week with a new episode titled ’N Sync Running Down A Beach Naked that focusses on pop-punk in reaction to 5 Seconds Of Summer, democratization of music, and a reported purchase of Beats by Apple. Please take a listen if you’re interested and make sure to check out the Off The Record website for show notes on the episode and for more information on how to keep up to date with us.

Follow the podcast on Twitter here, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here, and stream the second episode below!

Read More

Off The Record: A Ripoff Of A Taking Back Sunday Song

by Zack Zarrillo - May 6, 2014

image

Welcome to Off The Record, a new podcast hosted by Jesse Cannon and Zack Zarrillo that centers around music, music tech, and the music industry.

In the first episode, Jesse and I discuss how bands act when they’re blowing up (think: The Hotelier), who deserves credit for making emo cool again (see: Scott Heisel versus the world), Beats Music (watch: a commercial with Ellen?), and more. We’re very excited to get this off the ground, so please take a listen if you’re interested and make sure to check out the Off The Record website for show notes on the episode and for more information on how to keep up to date with us.

Follow the podcast on Twitter here, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here, and stream the first episode below!

Read More

Vinyl Is Not Always Superior To Digital, Whether You Like It Or Not

by Zack Zarrillo - Apr 17, 2014

image

Recently, Zack alerted me to a debate going around the tech-nerd podcast community about whether vinyl or CDs sound and was encouraged to share some of my thoughts on the subject. By the end of this, you may be sorry he asked.

Jesse Cannon is the author of Get More Fans: The DIY Guide To The New Music Business and the man behind Cannon Found Soundation.

Related Stories:
Is Vinyl Really Better Than CDs?

by Jesse Cannon, edited by Erik van Rheenen

First allow me to brag and tell you why I know what I am talking about (if you already believe me, please skip ahead). I’ve been an audio dork for 20 years, producing records for nearly that long. I formerly worked in the top indie mastering house in the country for years, where a $20,000 turntable that literally floats on air resides (you can see it if you master your record with the very wise and amazing Alan Douches, and he may even let you listen to it) and listened to music in that room with a tens of thousands of dollars acoustic treatment and a $100,000 of gear in it. I have heard vinyl as it should sound and how very few people have ever heard it.

I also have a pretty serious system of my own that clocks in around $10 thousand, between all of its elements. I have produced, engineered, mixed or mastered around 1,500 records and about a quarter of them I have heard go from pre-production demos to mixes to vinyl, as well as digital. Because of my job mastering hundreds of records a year (and overseeing their vinyl pressing), I have to do a lot of critical listening. I have gotten to compare tiny nuances, and am able to compare every part of the stage easily with calibrated nerddom that is beyond boring to get into. I routinely listen back to masters, then test presses, then vinyl cuts, and compare them to our original digital masters and mixes and make sure everything is coming out great.

So now that you may be convinced I have a clue, allow me to ruin your good time.

Vinyl Is Not Always Superior To Digital. Whether you like vinyl or not can come down to personal preference of sound. None of these characteristics is better or worse. In fact, some records may sound better to you on vinyl while some don’t. The fact is, vinyl does have specific characteristics, but the constant talk as if every record’s vinyl version is superior to its digital version is a load of bullshit. I have outlined a handful of factors of why your vinyl may or may not sound as good as your digital copy of a record. Also, before we get started - when I refer to digital, I refer to formats like CD, FLAC or high-quality lossless files, not low bitrate MP3s. They’re the worst sounding format in the history of music, and by no means am I defending poorly done digital. Also I am not here to discuss the ritual, commitment of vinyl or how great cover art looks. We all know that stuff rules. I am here to tell you something you probably don’t already know about vinyl.

Vinyl Got Popular Because Of Resolution. When CDs first came out, they sounded terrible compared to the way they have sounded for the last decade. The mastering was done poorly and no one had a clue how to optimize sound for this format. Today, anyone with good ears and the right software can make a great master on a laptop. Because of this initial inadequacy, along with the terrible quality of the first generation of mp3s, the notion that vinyl always sounds better than digital was solidified as “fact,” since it was always competing with a flawed digital format However, things are different today. With 30 years of optimization, 24bit/96khz recording capabilities and advanced analog to digital conversion methods, this competition isn’t as easy to win.

Read More

Jesse Cannon Updates ‘Get More Fans: The DIY Guide To The Music Business’

by Zack Zarrillo - Apr 10, 2014

image

Friend of the site Jesse Cannon has updated his Get More Fans: The DIY Guide To The Music Business book with more content to help guide you through the music industry. Buy the book here and check out the bonuses below after the jump. 

Read More

POZ Behind The Booth: Somos - Temple Of Plenty (Part II)

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 6, 2014

Somos will be releasing a great new albm called Temple Of Plenty on March 25th via Tiny Engines. Friend of the site Jesse Cannon, author of Get More Fans: The DIY Guide To The New Music Business and the man behind Cannon Found Soundation, happened to record the album. We thought it’d be a great idea to have Jesse write a two part Behind The Booth series on the recording of the record. Pre-order Temple Of Plenty here and read part two of Behind The Booth below!

From Jesse Cannon:

When it came time to get bass tones we had a big creative choice. Mike F. isn’t a big fan of modern punk, distorted bass tones and likes a more round classic bass tone ala Radiohead or an old Dub record. The problem with those tones is they don’t cut very well against super distorted guitars and I really wanted his bass to come through the mix and shine throughout the record since he was playing cool things. We ended up having him play our 72 P-Bass into a minimal amount of distortion to give the bass clarity in order to get a sound he would like as well as a sound that would let listeners hear his great bass work. 

Like most records, the vocals on Temple of Plenty were very important. Mike F. is a rare singer who isn’t obsessed with himself and instead a well-read college student who spends more time reading Karl Marx than Facebook and is one of the only people I have met who is farther left on the political spectrum than myself. Because he had very interesting and intelligent things to say we worked a lot on diction and making sure his lyrics could be heard and were phrased in a way that would make the most sense to a listener. On some records the lack of intelligibility on the vocals can work for character, but in order to have these great lyrics hit home, we both worked really hard on making sure his performances had both emotion and clear enunciation. In the mix, I then tried to use lots of different distortions, delays and reverbs to accentuate different moods. Adding distortions for more angry and frustrated lyrics and delays and reverbs for more self-reflective and emotional parts. 

Read More

POZ Behind The Booth: Somos - Temple Of Plenty (Part I)

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 4, 2014

image

Somos will be releasing a great new albm called Temple Of Plenty on March 25th via Tiny Engines. Friend of the site Jesse Cannon, author of Get More Fans: The DIY Guide To The New Music Business and the man behind Cannon Found Soundation, happened to record the album. We thought it’d be a great idea to have Jesse write a two part Behind The Booth series on the recording of the record. Pre-order Temple Of Plenty here and read part one of Behind The Booth below!

From Jesse Cannon:

When making a record I think it’s really important to have a plan about how to make a band sound unique and not like a copy of a copy. While most of the time that comes from the songwriting, the songs Somos had written already had a voice of their own, so it was my job to give them a sonic character all their own. What I do to formulate this sound is to talk to the band about their influences and what they like in the sound of other records. I also like to figure out if there are strong musicians or weak ones in the band and accent the good ones and diminish the less interesting parts of a band. In the case of Somos, this was really easy, the band not only had interesting influences they all are excellent musicians so my job became how to let all of them shine and shape all of their interesting influences into something awesome. This is the formula for a great record. 

I’d received some demos from the band months before we even started recording, so I was able to take notes and discuss song arrangements with the band. Since they are from Boston and I am down in NYC we Skyped twice to try to figure out equipment choices and talk about how we wanted the record to sound. When they arrived we started with drums and Mike S.(the drummer) is a huge Battles fan and wanted a real, open, natural room sound to the drums. Since we have a big live room at the studio this was easy, but not something we are often asked to do. I made sure to try to get a real, natural drum sound with lots of ghost notes and nuances. The opposite of the overly sampled sound on most punk records today. It also helped that Mike is an amazing drummer and with some small tweaks could play every song with a perfect, natural pocket and consistency in need of little editing and artificial enhancement. 

Read More

Jesse Cannon Teaching Free Online Class On Mixing

by Zack Zarrillo - Jan 29, 2014

Friend of the site Jesse Cannon will be hosting an online class on mixing in February, and its something you won’t want to miss out on. Check out details below after the jump.

Related Stories:
The State Of The Streaming Music Wars: Where Beats Music Fits In 
How We Get Rid Of The Plague That Is StubHub 

Read More

The State Of The Streaming Music Wars: Where Beats Music Fits In

by Zack Zarrillo - Jan 22, 2014

Jesse Cannon is the author of Get More Fans: The DIY Guide To The New Music Business and the man behind Cannon Found Soundation. Read up on his Perspective of Beats Music and let us know your thoughts below!

When the future of the music business is discussed, it’s often a discussion of what will happen with the collapse of the major labels and how artists are going to get paid. There is no fact that will determine this outcome more than the power struggle between the music streaming services, specifically Spotify, Rdio, Google, Apple, and the newly reincarnated MOG, which we now know as Beats Music (Beats by Dre bought MOG to launch this service and will end MOG’s service on 4/15). While all of these services — except Apple — have stepped into the game and made a streaming music service with an extensive library, the insiders of the music business have all been waiting for this one. Knowing that some of the deepest talents in the music business are a part of the service, it’s had every music business insider waiting for today’s launch.

Artist And User Friendly
The first thing to know about Beats Music is that it’s not about Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine, or Trent Reznor, like all the big publications will lead you to believe. CEO Ian Rogers — who I consider one of the smartest people in music business — helped to educate every musician to the right way of doing DIY during his time as CEO of Topspin Media, along with creating some of the best tools for music promotion musicians have today. This is a person who concerns himself greatly with the user and musicians alike. It shows in the service: the service has a fantastic feel as a music fan, and many of the functions feel better to me than any of the music services that have been out for years.

Yesterday, Spotify made big news by announcing that it would allow musicians to sell merch to their fans who listen on the service and charge no fee to the musicians who take advantage of it. What we saw today was a defensive move to counter many of Beats Music’s musician-friendly services, including the ability to sell merch and concert tickets to fans. Beats has also committed to “paying the same royalty rate to all content owners, major and indie alike.” If that wasn’t enough, Beats pledged to “allow artists to curate their own pages, and in general provide a friendly place where artists can make fans aware of T-shirts or concert tickets, and consumers can learn more about music and culture.” This can go a long way in helping musicians make money and continue to make the music you enjoy and the prominence of the “follow button” on every musicians page shows they are taking this seriously.

Format
I have long avoided Spotify for the cleanliness and ease-of-use of Rdio. Not only does it look far better than Spotify, it’s easy to find what I want and listen to it fast. I personally don’t need apps to play with or any of the extras Spotify has, like knowing that one of my friends listens to Macklemore every day. I just need music. If you are like me, then I cannot recommend Beats enough. Another secret weapon of the Beats team (who you aren’t hearing about) is Rob Sheridan, who has been Trent Reznor’s creative director for more than a decade and is responsible for all the amazing visuals you have seen from Nine Inch Nails over the years. The look, feel and ease of use supervised by him is, in my eyes, the best there is. Everything about this app works well and looks fantastic.

Read More

AbsolutePunk Podcast With Jesse Cannon, Zack Zarrillo

by Zack Zarrillo - Dec 13, 2013

I (Zack) recently joined our friends at AbsolutePunk to tape a new episode of their podcast with friend of the site Jesse Cannon. Jason, Jesse, and I discussed songs versus their production value, the music industry, trends, and so much more. It was an excellent conversation and we hope you’ll listen.

You can subscribe to their podcast via iTunes, or listen below! 

Read More

How We Get Rid Of The Plague That Is StubHub

by Zack Zarrillo - Nov 18, 2013

image

StubHub, Craigslist, and eBay, among other services, are all used to sell concert tickets for (typically) a much greater price than face value. Scalping has always existed, but the extent to which scalpers are charging fans to see their favorite bands only seems to grow. PropertyOfZack saw a large outburst of outrage from fans this past week as Brand New’s discography shows sold out in record time and had tickets being sold on StubHub for well over $200. Jesse Cannon, author of Get More Fans: The DIY Guide To The New Music Business and the man behind Cannon Found Soundation, has written a special Contributor Blog article for us with his view on why StubHub is a plague and how we, as a community of music lovers, need to do away with it. Read it, and let us know your thoughts below!

When tickets for Brand New’s “full album” shows went on sale this week, we saw what happens whenever a major show goes on sale: tickets sell out way too fast, and die-hard fans are left with the option to pay a dozen times the ticket price ($400 on a $35 ticket) for a ticket on StubHub, or hope they can find a generous soul who is selling tickets on Craigslist for a reasonable price. Almost as bad, manipulative assholes head to Craigslist, or wherever else, scalping the tickets for unreasonable prices. But what makes StubHub so appalling is it has built a profitable business model off a disgusting practice that profits off true music fans not being able to get tickets that low-life scalpers push to the front of ticket lines and snatch from true fans in in order to sell to them for exorbitant rates. Brand New won’t be the first or the thousandth act this occurs with, and this revolting pain in all of our lives will continue to happen unless music fans do something about it.

For the uninitiated, StubHub would lead you to believe that it is a noble organization that takes the dangers of buying fake tickets away from scalpers, (and to an extent, this is true) but the prices they demand are often far above the worst cases of scalping and unfairly employ “scalperbots” to edge true music fans out and cut the line. They’ve made a business of trying to paint a nice image out of a profession named after a Native American practice that meant death in the most horrible way possible. Which makes sense, since this is often what it feels like when you think of paying a dozen times a ticket’s face value to see your favorite band, just because some scalpers took the last few hundred tickets only to profit from your love of music. Fortunately, the public sees through this and with revolts led by high-profiles musicians, including LCD SoundsystemThe solution they found to beat StubHub left the service all the more humiliated and showed a way to beat their vile business model. In the circles I travel in, StubHub is thought of as the scum of the Earth, except to douchebags like Paris Hilton and other 1 Percent scum who see the site as a butler who brings them an easy way to cut the line in front of truer music fans.

When you’re a diehard fan of a musician, that doesn’t always mean you have $400 to give to eBay’s shareholders (who own StubHub) to see the concert you want. They’ve made a business model that preys on desperate fans, or, even worse, caters to rich assholes that get access instead of the fans who tried to get tickets but were squeezed out by scalperbots who got there first. To make matters worse, the musicians playing these shows receive no compensation and, if anything, are hurt by this practice, since fans then have less money to spend on music, merch, et cetera.

Below are some of my ideas on how we get rid of this plague and get to a more egalitarian ticketing system where fans are no longer robbed to see the groups they love. In the best-case scenario, fans can instead can help fund the bands they love. This is not a concrete plan, but instead are some early ideas that should be built upon and developed. I want to start a conversation where we all work together and solve a problem that makes our lives as music lovers worse.

Read More

Jesse Cannon Teaching Free DIY Mastering Course

by Zack Zarrillo - Nov 6, 2013

Our friend Jesse Cannon will be offering a two-day free online DIY mastering class on December 10th and 11th via creativeLIVE. Check out details below after the jump.

Read More

Why The Punk Community Should Stand Against Concert Cancelations Like Electric Zoo

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 5, 2013

The final day of the Electric Zoo Music Festival was cancelled this past weekend due to two drug-related deaths, and the news has reached major mainstream outlets. Jesse Cannon, author of Get More Fans: The DIY Guide To The New Music Business and the man behind Cannon Found Soundation, has written a special Contributor Blog article for us with his view of how this past weekend’s events could begin to leave major marks on our music scene and others as well. Read it, and let us know your thoughts, below!

I know PropertyOfZack is not where you go to hear about festivals where idiots like Steve Aoki serve up watered down remixes to what you might consider drug addled morons. But after local government insisted that Electric Zoo cancel their festival this weekend when two concert goers overdosed on a truly excessive amount of MDMA, I got to thinking that this is probably the beginning of a truly awful trend in music that I have also seen affect the punk scene. 

As a punk kid you’ve probably experienced the thoughts of those who don’t exist in our scene don’t understand the truth about our community. Adults see a bunch of weird looking kids hanging around and figure everyone is worshipping Satan while doing meth in order to listen to the screams that come out of your favorite singer. You know this to not be true and that even if some people are drunk or stoned at a show, the real high you are going for is the music. 

You go to shows for the music, the community, the friends you make and the release that it gives you. In fact, many people say this community is what has kept them going, kept them from committing suicide and taking drugs that outsiders think happen at these shows.

As a punk kid, you probably don’t think too highly of dance music culture, but let me tell you this: as someone who grew up as a punk rocker, I also spent my fair share of time in the dance music scene. As a teenager, while I was promoting shows for Dillinger Escape Plan, Saves The Day, and Kid Dynamite, I also spent my free nights going to underground dance shows. I have known both of these scenes well all of my life and while punk was always my first love, dance was my second home that gave me a community punk didn’t always fill.

While the sounds of Lifetime gave me a way to fill my teenage emotional voids, Refused an outlet for my frustrations with capitalism, and Rancid a way to express my anger, the dance sounds of Atari Teenage Riot entertained me with their innovation, Aphex Twin challenged my musical mind with what composition could include and Plastikman gave me a way to dance away my thoughts that a mosh pit never did. All of these groups gave me something different and none of them were seen by those on the outside the way I actually saw them being a part of it.

Read More