Here are the coolest gadgets from this year’s National Association of Music Merchants show

Here are the coolest gadgets from this year’s National Association of Music Merchants show
Warning: Music-and-tech porn ahead. I gotta get me to the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show in Anaheim one year because the stuff that’s on display is sick. The Verge has this whole story on the coolest gadgets from this year’s event that’s accompanied by this video.

There’s a whole conference devoted to the study and discussion of U2? Yes. Yes, there is.

Yes, there is. There’s a whole conference devoted to the study and discussion of U2? Yes.
Richard S. A Table in the Presence of My Enemies: Pop as “Songs of Descent”
Dr. U2 in Sarajevo: Then and Now
Ana Djordjevic
Ph.D. It’s called The U2 Conference: POPVision, a three-day conference at Queen’s University in Belfast and is devoted entirely to all things U2–or, as their mission statement says, “Exploring the music, work and influence of U2.”
I quote from the conference organizers:
Sessions are designed to appeal to academic and general audiences on the theme U2: POPVision. 1. Pop and the Prequels: A Case for the Necessity of These Pariahs
Dr. (Thanks to Larry for the link.) From “Discothèque” to Drop the Debt: How Pop and PopMart Set the Stage for Bono’s Embrace of Global Political Activism and Advocacy at the Turn of the 21st Century
Dr. Psalms of Experience: U2’s Pop and the Practice of Lament
Micheal Felker
Lead Pastor
Lakeside Church of Christ
Mansfield, Texas, USA
And there’s much, much more. We will discuss U2’s Pop era as well as the larger topic of popular music’s power to cast visions that shape, construct and complicate broader cultural conversations, in which U2’s visions have long been engaged. John’s College
Durham University, England
2. If you’re interested in attending, you can register here. Thierry Côté
Adjunct Professor
York University, Toronto, Canada
3. Christopher Endrinal
Assistant Professor of Music
Bower School of Music and the Arts, Florida Gulf Coast University
Fort Myers, Florida, USA
5. Briggs
Lecturer in Old Testament and Director of Biblical Studies
Cranmer Hall, St. Here’s a sample of the kinds of presentations that are planned. Candidate and Independent Scholar
University College, Cork, Ireland
4. The program can be found here and the list of confirmed speakers can be found here.

The music industry seems to be hurtling towards a serious come-to-Jesus #MeToo moment. About time.

Tristan Coopersmith is very brave and her experiences are being corroborated by other women–and men. Neil Portnow, the head of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences–i.e. While most #MeToo allegations and the #TimesUp movement have focused on the movie and TV industries, it’s only a matter of time before things blow up for the music industry, too. Meanwhile, Walk has retained Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer. He needs legal representation, but the optics of hiring Weinstein’s lawyer are…you know, weird. This is only going to get uglier. And it will be about time. His accuser has spoken out after being called a liar. Charlie Walk, the executive at Republic Records accused of sexual misconduct and harrassment, has been suspended by parent Universal Music Group. We need to watch carefully as things unfold. the people who run the Grammys–has backpedaled from his “women need to step up” comments…
…and has struck a task force designed to prevent another #GrammysSoMale…
…but not before female record executives started calling for his resignation…
…and 10,000 signatures were collected on a petition to have him ousted. But the stories need to come out. I’m working on a column for Global News on the subject for next weekend.
About time. The music industry seems to be hurtling towards a serious come-to-Jesus #MeToo moment.

Spotify is adding songwriter credits to its platform

Spotify is adding songwriter credits to its platform
Read more about the new features at Musically,com. It’s not exactly a full set of liner notes, but Spotify is going to start listening songwriter and producer credits. Information is being supplied to Spotify by the record labels themselves.   (I tried things out yesterday and nothing appeared for me. But it’s a start. Yet.)
Apparently, all you have to do is right-click on any track and select “Show Credits.” You’ll be given a series of options which will allow you to drill down for more. Music Ally screenshot

This is nice, but Spotify still has a long way to go when it comes to comprehensive metadata hygiene, something that musicians and publishers have long complained about. Don’t go looking for any of this information on your mobile app yet, but it will start appearing on your Spotify desktop any second now.

This why you don’t jump onstage in the middle of a punk show to take a selfie with the singer

This why you don’t jump onstage in the middle of a punk show to take a selfie with the singer
Unforgivable. @converge
A post shared by Kelen Capener (@kelenkeller) on Jan 24, 2018 at 12:00am PST

(Via The NME) Converge, a punk band from Massachusetts, faced an unwelcome stage invasion when a fan tried to take a selfie with singer Jacob Bannon in the middle of a set. What happened next is priceless.

Looking for an anti-Trump music video this weekend? Holy Fuck has it for you

Toronto’ Holy Fuck and Canadian duo Ft. And just to illustrate the differences between Canada and the US, this video was “produced with the financial assistance of MuchFACT, a division of Bell Media.” God, I love this country! Langley have this to add to the anti-Trump canon.
Looking for an anti-Trump music video this weekend? Holy Fuck has it for you

Friends of Spirit of the West singer John Mann come together for a tribute song. You should buy a copy. Here’s why.

Friends of Spirit of the West singer John Mann come together for a tribute song. You should buy a copy. Here’s why.
As John Mann, the singer for Spirit of the West, continues to live with early-onset dementia, his friends have come together to cover the classic SotW song “Home for a Rest” to raise money to assist in John’s care. A full 100% of the proceeds from this songs–that’s sales and streaming–will go to the John Mann Trust Fund.  More than $33,000 has been raised for John through a GoFundMe campaign. This recording was made during a benefit for John at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver in November 2017. This song should help even more. Among the fifty people participating in the live event was:

Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo
Sarah McLachlan
Alan Doyle (the guy who spearheaded the project)
Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies
Barney and Dustin Bentall
Colin James
Craig Northey and The Odds
Shari Ulrich
Jim Byrnes
Kendel Carson
Daniel Lapp
Spirit of the West with Cory Tetford
Shehab Illyas
Kris MacFarlane.

Someone tried to kidnap Lana Del Rey. (She’s okay.)

OPD Officers came in contact with Hunt at Hughey Avenue and Central Boulevard on Friday evening, one block from the Amway Center. Grant. 2, Orlando police received a tip about a possible kidnapping threat to singer Lana Del Rey (Elizabeth Woolridge Grant), who was scheduled to perform at the Amway Center that night. The threats were reportedly made by Michael Hunt, 43, of Riverview, Florida. When he was taken into custody, Hunt was in possession of tickets to the Lana Del Rey performance and a knife. (Via E! File this one under the heading of “What’s wrong with people?”
Friday night, police in Orlando arrested Michael Hunt “for aggravated stalking & attempted kidnapping w/a weapon. Hunt is still at the Orange County Jail and is being held on no bond. At no time was he able to make contact with Ms. OPD Detectives considered the information a credible threat, and took investigative measures to locate Hunt. News) After receiving a tip we deemed a credible threat, OPD got to him before he could get near singer Lana Del Rey last night at her show at Amway Center.”
Here’s the full press release:
On Friday, Feb.
(She’s okay.) Someone tried to kidnap Lana Del Rey.

The story of “Surfin’ Bird,” the most influential novelty song ever (and Peter Griffin’s favourite song)

The story of “Surfin’ Bird,” the most influential novelty song ever (and Peter Griffin’s favourite song)
But that was actually a cover of the original by The Rivingtons, which was definitely more doo-woppy and soulful. The band heard “Papa-oom-mow-mow” and “Bird’s the Word” performed by a Wisconsin cover band one night and decided to incorporate the tunes into their own set. It’s worth every reverb-soaked minute of surf music goodness. The album is mostly instrumental, fun and readily available on streaming services and online. It all began with a garage band from Minnesota called The Trashmen, whom—contrary to some accounts—were not Trash men themselves. The band then recorded the song, which became popular on local radio, eventually hitting the national charts. Was this for real? It was punk before there was any such thing as punk. Keep reading. “Surfin’ Bird” was a real hit single recorded in 1963 by The Trashmen. Tedium.com has the story of the most influential novelty song of all time. The name was based on a song they wrote as teens called “Trashmen Blues.”The band started playing both songs at local shows.   Even the Ramones covered it. If you’re not quite old enough, you might have been confused by this episode of Family Guy. The band’s drummer and singer, Steve Wahrer, decided to experiment with combining the two songs during a gig and “Surfin’ Bird” was the result. The band recorded a 12-song album named after their famous song.

Another blow to physical music media: All Best Buy stores will stop selling CDs later this year

Another blow to physical music media: All Best Buy stores will stop selling CDs later this year
So why is this a big deal? If this request is refused, it’s likely that Target will follow Best Buy’s lead. Because retailers like this can still certain titles from certain artists in tremendous numbers. While the CD won’t disappear anytime soon, it’s going to become a little harder to find one outside of a traditional record store. Without someone like Target in her corner, Tay-Tay’s going to have to rethink this whole strategy of withholding new music from streaming services in order to goose sales on higher-margin physical units. With CD sales falling in the US as well (only 89 million were sold last year, down from a staggering 800 million back in 2001), Best Buy has decided that they have better use for that floor space on all their stores. How big a deal is this? (Via Billboard)
 
  Target, another mass retailer that’s stuck with selling CDs through these tough times, is reported asking record labels to buy back any unsold inventory as they move to selling discs on consignment. I don’t expect that record labels will be all that concerned about this. By July 1, Best Buy will exit the CD-selling game entirely. For example, Target–which normally stocks just 100 titles–sold over 500,000 copies of Taylor Swift’s Reputation album. And that’s not all. At one time, Best Buy was the most powerful of all retailers when it came to selling CDs–bigger than even Walmart. They want to get out of the physical music game because they’re making so much more money from streaming now. They’d love to see the CD disappear, removing the annoyances of manufacturing, transportation, warehousing, distribution and dealing with all those pesky record stores and falling SoundScan numbers. And the company says that they’ll continue to stock a limited number of vinyl titles for at least the next two years. As far as we know, Best Buy will stick with DVDs, although that’s another format on life support. If trends in consumer behaviour continue, fewer than 10 million CDs will be sold in Canada in 2018 as streaming becomes the dominant way of accessing music.

The last pre-game word on Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl LII halftime show

The last pre-game word on Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl LII halftime show
Saturday night, she posted this. “Heck,” they’ve mused, “maybe the performers should pay us!”
But it wasn’t always this way. Here are my picks for the five greatest Super Bowl performances of all time. While certain expenses are covered, the league believes that the sheer exposure is priceless. Omarr Bajer, Prince’s half-brother, tweeted this on Saturday. 🚫 #PrinceHologram
— PRNFamily® (@PRNFamily) February 3, 2018

So will Prince make a zombie appearance in the form of a hologram? We’ve been talking about this for days, so let this be the last word on the matter before it actually starts. I mean, yeah, it’s kind of like that thing where my main objective is that he become a great person. 4. pic.twitter.com/W2ZsGkTFs2
— Janet Jackson (@JanetJackson) February 4, 2018

Damn.  
2. But when JT was asked about his son’s football future during an official press conference, he replied
Uh, he will never play football. It’s like, one thing at a time. Then again, this is the No Fun League. Bonus Fact: Pink may not be able to sing the national anthem. And given that NFL attendance and viewership has been dropping steadily since 2014, the league could have used something like this. Justin Timberlake told reporters “My son will never play football.”
Hey, totally get it. Fine. No, no. The biggest live TV event at which any artist can hope to appear is the Super Bowl halftime show, a 12-and-a-half minute slot with an audience of 100 million. The flu. 5. 3. I think I can hopefully offer him some advice on what to do and what not to do, so yeah, but right now we’re working on our manners. That’s a big deal in our house right now. Sometime around 8pm ET, Justin Timberlake will get his 12-and-a-half minutes in front of about 100 million people for the Super Bowl halftime show. It’s bad. Apparently, the room got really, really quiet. The gig is so coveted that the NFL steadfastly refuses to pay those selected to perform. And if he wants to get into the arts or sports, then yeah, I would fully support that. But the family isn’t happy about the idea of Prince being reanimated as a hologram for the occasion. There will be a tribute to Prince–but the Purple One’s family is not happy
It’s widely acknowledged that Prince’s 2007 halftime performance in the rain in Miami was the greatest musical Super Bowl moment of all time. It would be even cooler if she and JT were to allude to another wardrobe malfunction in some way. It’s a blood sport that destroys brains and ruins lives. Janet Jackson has squashed all hope that she might be a surprise guest during the performance. Given his love for Prince and that the game is being held in his hometown, JT thinks it’s only appropriate that his performance honour Prince in some way. 1. Read more about what I wrote for Global News here. Apparently not, after all. This would have been an audience-grabber for sure.

In case you missed Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl halftime performance, it was…meh

In case you missed Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl halftime performance, it was…meh
NBC? At least the game was exciting. But the effect was if not exploitive then certainly opportunistic. And then Janet herself said she wasn’t going it. Read reviews of JT’s thing here and here. There was also a rumour that because the game was in Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis that the Purple One was going to make a hologramic appearance. Some are characterizing Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl halftime performance as “underwhelming.” I’d go with “meh.”
Too bad, too, because if he had just listened to, I don’t know, EVERYBODY and brought Janet Jackson as a ringer tweaking us with the ol’ Nipplegate scandal in 2004, it would have been much more fun. But who really killed the idea? Because JT has a new album to plug and she doesn’t? He denied it was going to happen. They’re not good. Nope. His Princeness, as you shall see, did show up. The league?