Saturday, November 22, 2008

Artist Spotlight: Tokio Hotel

Whether or not you've managed to catch Tokio Hotel's track "Monsoon" on the airwaves or rocked out to it via plastic guitar in the new release of Guitar Hero World Tour, you may be in for a surprise. Tokio Hotel is a German band found in 2001 by 12 year old identical twins, singer Bill Kaulitz and guitarist Tom Kaulitz. The band also features drummer Gustav Shafer and bassist Georg Listing and is Europe's answer to the Jonas Brothers. Bill's prepubescent vocals and wild "hair band" looks, along with the band's catchy tunes and suprisingly mature musicality has made them into a teen sensation in Germany, where they have sold nearly 5 million CDs and DVDs. Their first album, Schrei, was released in 2005 on Island Records and sold a half a million copies worldwide, while earning four top five singles in Germany and Austria. Two years later, the band released a second German album, Zimmer 483, along with an English album Scream. Together, the albums have sold over a million copies worldwide, charting in the top slots in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Canada before reaching the United States. Since then, the band has won best InterAct at the MTV Europe Music Awards and Best New Artist at the MTV Video Music Awards, beating out such greats as Metallica and Linkin Park.

The first hit single known in the U.S. as "Monsoon" is titled "Durch den Monsun" on the band's first album "Schrei." The original version of the track can be found on the U.S. album release of "Scream" along with the contemporary English version of the song. Notably, the original track is several keys higher, suiting Kaulitz' then pre-pubescent vocals. Kaulitz' voice has since deepened, though the members of Tokio Hotel have maintained the boyishness which has given them icon status among teens worldwide. Singer Kaulitz has even been immortalized in wax at the Madame Tussauds Berlin. At 19 years old, he is the youngest person featured in this museum.

Tokio Hotel has since returned to their studio in Hamburg, Germany, where they are working on a new album set to be released in both German and English in March or April of next year. Eager fans, however, can anticipate a behind-the-scenes DVD release "Tokio Hotel TV - Caught On Camera" to be released before the holidays.

For more, visit the bands official website.

Music video of the original: Durch Den Monsum ("Monsoon") by Tokio Hotel

Friday, October 10, 2008

MusicMaster Secret Singles Pick: Jack's Mannequin 'Spinning'

As a new feature, we'd like to bring you a "secret single" from a recent album release - one of those great radio-worthy gems that hasn't been mined yet for airplay, but really should be. For our first undiscovered potential hit, we'd like to consider a track from the long awaited 'Glass Passenger' album, just released by Jack's Mannequin.

Some months ago, we brought you a teaser of the new Jack's Mannequin album 'The Glass Passenger.' The album, which Alternative Press had called one of the most anticipated of the year, was finally released on September 30, 2008, and debuted at number 8 on the Billboard 200.

Band frontrunner Andrew McMahon has infused his uniquely soulful style into the album's tracks. In the three years it took McMahon to perfect the album, each song became richly layered with instrumentation and personalized with McMahon's poetic and emotionally charged lyrics. A highlight on the album is the song "Caves," which chronicles McMahon's battle with cancer. With voice ranging from raw-power to near-tearful, he sings of his darkest hours and eventual salvation.

Prior to the album release, the band put out the first two singles on an EP called The Ghost Overground: "Bloodshot" and "The Resolution," the latter of which peaked at number 1 on Billboards Hot Tracks. While the early EP release highlighted two tracks that could fit nicely into a mainstream radio playlist, we'd also like to take bets on "Spinning," a track that boasts the sort of catchy chorus and dance-worthy beats that have Top 40 audiences turning up the volume, bouncing in the drivers seat and banging a rhythm on the steering wheel. Admit it, we've all been there haven't we?

Check out the full-length 'Spinning' track below and tell us what you think!

Monday, August 18, 2008

When Software Was Actually Soft

Technology has come a long way in the past half a century. Today, MusicMaster comes to you on a thin piece of plastic which contains all the instructions needed for your hardware to work it's magic and bring you an interactive music programming environment. The programming language that we use to build MusicMaster gets translated into machine language that your microprocessor can understand. There, groups of binary numbers are manipulated. In binary language, 1's and 0's are the only letters of the alphabet, which when combined form words that physically change the circuitry of the computer to produce an effect. The process is quite complicated, but suffice it to say that "1" means a transistor should be on and "0" means off. An integrated circuit is made up of many transistors and working together, the combination of positive or negative electric pulse lead to things like Grand Theft Auto IV, Excel and - of course - MusicMaster.

But software wasn't always so abstract. In fact, back in the days when NASA engineers were programming the guidance computers for the first flights to the moon, software was a new concept. And to carry software to the moon on Apollo, engineers turned not to plastic discs and integrated circuits, but to a textile mill and a group of elderly women who were expert weavers! The Apollo programs were contained in ropes that were packed full of thin wires running in or out of magnetic cores (pictured at right). If a wire went through a particular code, it represented a "1" in binary, while a wire that went around the core reprensented a "0." Of course, a single wire could go through one core, skip two, go through one more, skip three, and so on. To build such a system, engineers essentially needed a weaving machine. At a texile manufacturing plant in Waltham, Massachusetts, older female workers - referred to as "little old ladies" or "LOLs" by the engineers, nimbly wove thousands of wires in and out of cores to create the ropes that made up the Apollo programs. To assist them, the United Shoe Machinery Company created a machine that held a rack of cores. The programmers inserted a paper tape with the code into a machine which controlled a needle eyehole which moved to the appropriate core given the instructions. The LOL would weave her wire through that core, and then the machine would reposition the cores so she could weave her wire back through the next appropriate core, and so on. Of course, this was not an easy process. It took many weeks to create the program ropes, and once they were done it was very hard to go back and make any changes in the code. Programmers had to be sure that their code was going to work for the mission, because up to four months prior to launch, no more changes could be made - no matter what.

Thankfully, it's much easier to write and manipulate code for software today. Over the years, MusicMaster has changed to meet users' needs in a changing world, and our users have enjoyed manipulating an interactive interface without needing to reweave wires. We're not at an age yet where computers will understand casual human speech ("Computer, locate Mr. Spock"), but while we can say that programmers today must still dedicate time to learning the "ropes" of their programming language, it's not in the literal sense of the word.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Clandestine Brodcast Makes Waves In Olympic Sized Swimming Pool

Today, on 08-08-08, the Olypmics began in Beijing, China. While millions around the world would tune in to watch the opening ceremony, viewers in China itself would fall victim to a last-minute government restrictions. Only those outdoor venues sanctioned by the government would broadcast the ceremony. This measure is only a part of a long-standing censorship in free media in China, sparked by fears that non-sanctioned or foreign reporters would broadcast anti-government content that would reach the ears of Chinese citizens and perhaps create dissidence. As a result of strict censorship, foreign correspondants in China have been hassled in the weeks leading up to the Olympics. Behind the Great Firewall of China, the government has taken back a promise to offer uncensored internet to foreign journalists in China, including blog-hosting sites used by both news corporations and individuals.

The censorship has incited a protest by a French group known as Radio Without Borders (or RSF for Radio Sans Frontieres). Using miniature antennas, RSF began a broadcast at 08:08 am local time in French, English and Mandarin, which was heard on 104.4 FM in different districts of Beijing. The twenty minute program featured RSF secretary general Robert Menard and several Chinese human rights activists urging the Chinese government to free imprisoned Chinese activists and private correspondants and stop jamming international frequencies. This program, according to the RSF, "is the first non-state radio station to have broadcast in China since the Communist Party took power in 1949. Only international Chinese-language radio stations broadcasting on the short wave would be able to break this news and information monopoly, but they are jammed by the authorities."

RSF has planned protests throughout the Olympic ceremony and urges individuals on its website to cyber-demonstrate. RSF's twenty minute broadcast may not have been enough to influence change, but it succeeded in it's mission to be an embarassment to the Chinese government just 12 hours before the opening ceremony. The broadcast said: “It's our way of saying to them: Despite everything you do, here are the voices of people you want to silence."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Listeners Talk Back About Morning Drive

Somewhere between 6 and 8am each weekday morning, nearly all of us are stumbling through a morning routine. The lucky ones among us are able to hop out of bed with enviable vigor to enjoy a quick workout and a bowl of Wheaties. The rest of us spend some time exercising our right to "snooze" and then perform some acrobatic combination of getting dressed, brushing teeth, and eating breakfast all while walking out to the car. As we pull out into the highway, however, the great majority of us then face the daunting task of the morning commute - and the even greater challenge of choosing a radio morning show that will have us walking into work wide-awake and well-informed. But for as many cars as there are pouring through the intersection through which we'd like to turn left, there are just as many preferences for the perfect morning show. How can a radio station tailor its morning content to deliver a fresh angle that'll satisfy the majority of the jam?

Here at MusicMaster, we wanted to find out what the word was on the streets. We surveyed individuals aged 18 to 60 and simply asked them what they like and don't like about their morning show of choice. Here's what they had to say...

- 37.5% of them noted that they wished their morning show featured more music. One individual pointed out: "I listen to FM radio. If I wanted a lot of talk I would switch to an AM talk morning show." Some of these respondants noted that while they do enjoy what the morning personalities have to offer, they would like to hear a few more songs in a row, rather than - as one put it - "all about what their kids did last night."

- To that point, 50% noted that they did not like it when the morning radio personalities went on about their personal lives. While these topics can add to the liveliness and humor of the program, many of the listeners found that if they did not relate, they weren't all that interested.

- Another 50% said they listen to the morning show specifically to hear news, weather and traffic. Some of these replied that they prefer news topics that are of general pop culture appeal or are offbeat, to give them "something to talk about with coworkers during lunch." While half of these respondants specifically listened to an AM news talk radio stations, the other half listened to FM radio. Yet many of these FM listeners noted that by listening to this brand of news, their "IQ lowers by several points" based on the topics covered and the comedic slant.

- Despite this, 37.5% wrote that they do appreciate the humor of the radio personalities. Some preferred it in small doses mixed in with the meat and potatoes, while others tuned into their morning station specifically for the humor. One listener wrote: "their conversation (however pointless it may be) keeps me engaged and awake during my drowsy commute" while another wrote: "I want something that will keep me up to date on news, sports, weather, traffic, and celebrities, but in a way that really gets me pumped for the day ahead."

In general, it seems that listeners who prefer hard core news will tune in to that brand of station, while the listeners who turn to their favorite FM stations - top 40, country, rock, urban, or whatever the case may be - are divided on whether or not they want talk or music. But nearly all of the listeners who got their news or entertainment from the personalities' discussions wished that this talk covered topics of broader interest and in a manner that was witty and engaging, rather than mindless and repetitive. After all, with triple Venti lattes churning in the stomachs of stressed out nine-to-fivers, it's not hard to find inane conversation and incessant guffaws to cause a bit of morning sickness.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

That's How They Do It In Dixie

As a style of music, Dixie is a form of jazz that developed in New Orleans in the early 20th century and spread to Chicago and New York City in the 1910’s. The style featured brass bands marches, ragtime, blues, and polyphonic improvisation of horns over a rhythm section featuring piano, guitar, drums, banjo, bass or tuba. With one instrument, typically a horn, playing variations on a melody, a ‘front line’ of other instruments would improvise around that melody. Standards from the Dixieland collection include “Basin Street Blues” and “When the Saints Go Marching In” and the work of Louis Armstrong’s All-Stars.

However, Dixie is also a cultural region of the southern U.S, typically including the eleven southern states that seceded from the Union to form the Confederacy in the time of the Civil War (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee). This area, in the minds of those living there, is the traditional “Old South.”

The unofficial anthem of the Confederacy during the Civil War was known as “Dixie” or “Dixie’s Land” and was written in 1859 by composer Daniel D. Emmett, who was actually from the North. Though this was the first official use of the name Dixie, the origin of the word is found elsewhere. There are, in fact, three popular theories:

1. The term refers to currency that was privately issued from banks in Louisiana. The ten dollar notes were labeled “Dix” from the French word for ten, and known as Dixie’s by the English speaking residents in and around New Orleans. The Cajun-speaking parts of Louisiana came to be known as “Dixieland” with the term later encompassing the entire South.

2. The word might also refer to Mr. Dixy, a perhaps mythical slave owner on Manhattan Island, where slavery was legal until 1827. As Dixy was so kind to his slaves, they longed to go back to “Dixy’s Land” upon being freed. This term, reflected in Emmett’s tune “Dixie’s Land” came to refer to a mythic place of happiness and material wealth. Whether or not Emmett brought the term to the south with his ballad or if it was already established is a matter of debate.

3.Some others believe that the term came from the Mason-Dixon line, a territorial boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania that divided the United States into the northern and southern states. Though it was established in the 1760’s, it became the demarcation between free states and slave states in 1820.

Whether you live in the south or have simply passed through, and whether you collect Dixieland Jazz or simply can hum a few bars of “When the Saints Go Marching In,” you’ve been exposed to this historically rich cultural bouquet. Whichever of the above theories is correct, we find it interesting to reflect on the history of the term. Which do you think holds the most weight?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Genius Workshop Date Change

Due to a scheduling conflict, we have moved the date of our next
MusicMaster Genius Workshop to Thursday, October 9, 2008.

If you are just a beginner, or looking to take your MusicMaster skill set to the next level, you should
mark your calender and plan to attend one of the upcoming regional MusicMaster "Genius" Workshops. We will cover a variety of basic and advanced topics in this full day session. The tuition of $495 includes the opening night reception and dinner, one night hotel, continental breakfast, and lunch. Space will be limited, and early registration is encouraged. Contact Mark Bolke at mark@mmwin for registration or additional details.

  • Chicago - Thursday October 9th, 2008
  • Dallas - Tuesday December 16th, 2008
  • Tampa - Tuesday January 13th, 2009
  • Boston - Tuesday March 19th, 2009
  • Los Angeles - Thursday April 16th, 2009

Learn more about this workshop in this article on our forums. (signup required)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Genius Workshop Schedule

If you are just a beginner, or looking to take your MusicMaster skill set to the next level, you may want to mark your calender and plan to attend one of the upcoming regional MusicMaster "Genius" Workshops. We will cover a variety of basic and advanced topics in this full day session. The tuition of $495 includes the opening night reception and dinner, one night hotel, continental breakfast, and lunch. Space will be limited, and early registration is encouraged. Contact Mark Bolke at mark@mmwin for registration or additional details.

* Chicago - Thursday October 2nd, 2008
* Dallas - Tuesday December 16th, 2008
* Tampa - Tuesday January 13th, 2009
* Boston - Tuesday March 19th, 2009
* Los Angeles - Thursday April 16th, 2009

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Australian Radio Pioneer Retires

If the push for online radio content and next year's introduction of digital radio has got you anticipating big change, you're in company with Paul Thompson, founder and CEO of DMG Radio Australia. Feeling that these events have created a "natural watershed to retire" the 65-year old CEO of DMG Radio Australia plans to step down to a non-executive chairman role in October, leaving control of the business to managing director Cathy O'Conner. Mr. Thompson states, "As radio transforms itself into a multi-platform medium, Cathy will be a CEO who ensures DMG's leadership role in this evolution." In keeping with the evolution, DMG is currently investing in digital media properties and creating a team responsible for providing content through station websites, including interactive advertisements and online promotions. DMG is also looking forward to the January 1, 2009 introduction of digital radio, which will allow broadcasts in higher-quality supplemented by content such as scrolling images and text.

Mr. Thompson's legacy includes building two national radio broadcasting networks, first as the founding CEO of the Austereo Group, which he managed for 15 years before it was sold to the Village Roadshow. In 1996, Mr. Thompson was approached by the British Daily Mail & General Trust Group (DMG) and asked to consolidate regional radio stations to form DMG Radio Australia, which was later sold for $193.5 million to the Macquarie Media Group (MMG). In 2002, Mr. Thompson was one of two inaugural inductees into the Commercial Radio Australia Hall of Fame.

DMG Radio Australia has established eight FM and one AM stations in Australia, including the Nova music stations in Syndney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth - top FM stations among the 18 to 39 crowd, Star 104.5 on the Central Coast, the Vega stations in Syndney and Melbourne - aimed at the 40+ baby boomer crowd, and Adelaide's number one talk station FIVEaa - DMG's first purchase. In the time since its inception, DMG has invested around $550 million in Metropolitan licenses and currently employs over 500 people. DMG's impact on Australian radio includes innovative strategies, such as increasing the impact of advertising by never playing more than two ads in a row. In addition, Mr. Thompson has aimed to counter the "standard" feel of radio by directing his programmers to play untested music in a broader variety, placing wildly differing genres back to back and eliminating the kind of radio that DMG stated "unfairly pigeonholed" its listeners.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Offbeat Genres: Countrypolitan

Countrypolitan, also known as the Nashville sound, is a genre of country music that came about in the late 50's in America. The style was characterized by crooning vocals, smooth strings, layers of keyboards and guitars, and backing vocal choirs. Whether or not you've heard the term "countrypolitan" used before, the style was created to bring country music to the mainstream. When Chet Atkins was asked to define the style, he jingled the change in his pocket and said, "It's the sound of money." The genre accomplished it goals by bringing pop elements to country music, replacing honky tonk as a dominant theme and favoring a wider audience. The movement was led by Chet Atkins, who headed the country division of RCA records. Countrypolitan music, officially termed in the late 60's, frequently crossed over to pop radio but also dominated the country charts through the 70s and 80s.

Early artists such as Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline paved the way for the Nashville sound, but as the style evolved to become even more pop-like to compete with the Bakersfield sound, artists such as Tammy Wynette, Glen Campbell, Charlie Rich and Charley Pride guided its course. A split in country music formed: country listeners supported the Bakersfield and outlaw country artists, while Countrypolitan artists introduced their version of country music to the pop crowd.

Recognizable country tracks such as "I Fall To Pieces" by Patsy Cline (1961), "The End of the World" by Skeeter Davis (1963) and "Make the World Go Away" by Eddy Arnold (1965) dominated during the days of the Nashville sound. Later music, officially termed Countrypolitan, included "Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley (1969), "(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden" by Lynn Andrerson (1971), and "Rhinestone Cowboy" by Glen Campbell (1975) as well as tracks by Charley Pride, Charley Rich, Conway Twitty and Ronnie Milsap. A group of backing musicians known as the "Nashville A-Team" personified the versatility of the Countrypolitan style, incorporating pop and jazz into their recordings. With an assortment of talented members such as Hank Garland, Floyd Cramer, Bob Moore, and Boots Randolph, this group performed backing instrumentation for Elvis Presley, Eddy Arnold, Chet Atkins, and many others.

While few artists of today can call themselves classically Countrypolitan, the music itself is finding its way to live on. In 1999, a group of industry leaders met at South by Southwest (a behemoth of a music convention in Austin, Texas), and discussed the promotion of a style of country music called Americana. This genre would give country music a way to showcase traditional music on the airwaves, bypassing the increasing shift by most country stations towards the more contemporary style mainstream listeners demand. What was once the 'new school' style of country has been overtaken by its own philosophy. Today's country music is becoming even more pop-oriented, with artists such as Jewel, Carrie Underwood, and Taylor Swift being featured on both pop and country stations. Today's split between country pop and Americana has turned the tables on Countrypolitan fans, and those who once demanded modernization are now chanting "out with the new, and in with the old!"

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"Camp Rock" Weekend Debut for Jonas Brothers

This weekend, Disney's original movie "Camp Rock" debuted to 8.9 million total viewers, becoming the network's number 2 most-watched original movie debut, second only to High School Musical 2. The film, which features musical performances from the Jonas Brothers, drew 3.5 million kids age 6-11 and 3.4 tweens age 9-14, which, according to Disney, outnumbered the recent American Idol season premiere and finale on Fox. Starring Joe Jonas as astray rock god Shane Grey and Demi Lovato as the talented yet uncertain Mitchie, "Camp Rock" tells the story of talented teens fighting for stardom at a prestigious summer camp for wannabe rockers. Musical numbers include the cast performance of "We Rock," as well as the Jonas Brothers' "Play My Music." Leads Joe Jonas and Lovato share the film's musical motif "This Is Me" in a duo remniscent of High School Musical's "Breaking Free" (performed by Zac Efron with Andrew Seeley and Vanessa Anne Hudgens). In February 2006, "Breaking Free" leapt from it's #86 Billboard Top 100 debut to #4 and spent 54 weeks on the charts. After the immediate success of "Camp Rock," we anticipate "This Is Me" becoming the next tweeniepop chart-stomper.

Also in the outlook for upcoming hits is the Jonas Brothers' new single, "Burnin' Up" from their soon-to-be-released CD "A Little Bit Longer." At the end of the film, the 'Jobros' premiered the music video for "Burnin' Up," which also features David Carradine and Disney star Selena Gomez. The album, to be released on August 12, 2008, will be the third for Nick, Kevin and Joe Jonas. "Burnin' Up" was officially released to radio stations on June 20.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Offbeat Genres: Swamp Pop

Pop, rock, country, classical, R&B and more: familiar genres, all with a defined set of characteristics and an undefined number of individual styles. Each of the forty songs on the Top 40 list might have been inspired from one of hundreds of different siblings in the same family, some original to the artist. With a veritable Baskin Robbins of musical genres to choose from, we thought you might like to try a few sample spoons. The first “offbeat genre” we’d like to bring you the history of Swamp Pop.

Swamp pop, created by young Cajuns and Creoles in the 1950’s and ‘60’s, is indigenous to the Acadiana region of southern Louisiana and part of nearby southeast Texas. It’s birth was influenced by New Orleans style R&B, country and western and traditional French Louisiana musical styles. The teens behind the style had grown up listening to and performing Cajun music and Creole (zydeco) as well as enjoying popular country and western hillbilly songs such as those by Hank Williams Sr. However, after discovering rock and roll and R&B artists like Elvis Presley and Fats Domino, the teens began to alter the traditional style. Rather than playing traditional folk instruments and singing in French, they began to sing in English (while later taking on Anglo-American stage names) and learned to play instruments such as the electric guitar and bass, saxophone and drum set. While many others in South Louisiana had emulated the New Orleans sound of Fats Domino and Earl King, the swampers were unique in integrating their own Cajun style into the music.

As the style grew, swamp pop artists gained a following by performing in local clubs and recording on local labels. Some swamp pop tunes also made it to larger national labels, including Nashville’s Excello. The music was then known as the Southern Louisiana Sound; the term swamp pop originated in the early ‘70’s, first used by British songwriters John Broven and Bill Millar after it’s gritty sound and the swamps surrounding Southern Louisiana. To this day, swamp pop has maintained an audience in southern Louisiana and southeast Texas, as well as a cult-like following in the UK, Northern Europe and Japan.

The swamp pop sound features a strong R&B backbeat, honky-tonk piano lines doubled by guitar and bluesy-bass progressions, and long-held whole notes on the horns. Many of the songs, with their emotional “scorned by love” lyrics are slow ballads, such as Cookie and the Cupcakes ‘Mathilda’ (1958), a song that is considered to be the anthem of swamp pop. Other songs are more upbeat, such Bobby Charles’ ‘See You Later Alligator’ (1955), which was covered by Bill Haley& His Comets. Despite the regionalized fan-base, some swamp pop songs did see the light of the U.S. national record charts, including Jimmy Clanton’s ‘Just A Dream’ (1958), Ron Bernard’s ‘This Should Go On Forever’ (1959), Joe Barry’s ‘I’m A Fool To Care’ (1960), and Dale and Grace’s ‘I’m Leaving It Up To You’ (1963). In fact, to date over 20 swap pop songs have appeared in the Billboard Hot 100, several of them reaching number 1, including Johnny Preston’s ‘Running Bear,’ (1959), Phil Phillips ‘Sea of Love, ’(1959).

Meanwhile, swamp pop’s influence can be heard in many other popular songs, including the Rolling Stones’ cover of Barbara Lynn’s ‘You’ll Lose A Good Thing,’ Elvis Presley’s remake of Johnny Ace’s ‘Pledging My Love’ the Beatles ‘Oh! Darling’ as well as the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Moreover, swamp pop influenced the musical styles of swamp blues and Tex-Mex, particularly the music of Freddy Fender, who is considered by those in southern Louisiana and Texas to be in the swamp pop fraternity.

Though swamp pop has declined since the British Invasion, the style has persisted in the hands of musicians such as Don Rich, Kenny Fife, Grace Broussard (formerly of Dale and Grace), and the “Ambassador to Swamp Pop,” Johnnie Allan. Recordings are available on both vintage albums and new compact discs, many of which can be found here, and the swamp pop festival is still a big to-do in parts of Southern Louisiana, particularly when put on in conjunction with a car show and the annual Swap Pop Beauty Queen pageant!

Cookie and The Cupcakes - ‘Matilda/Mathilda’

Bobby Charles – ‘See You Later Alligator’

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Rising Stars: Duffy

If Amy Winehouse doesn’t get out of rehab soon, she may find that her niche has been dominated by the up-and-coming artist known as Duffy. The Welsh born Aimee Ann Duffy has already taken the UK by storm, and like Winehouse, Leona Lewis, Joss Stone, and Natasha Beddingfield has become part of British Invasion 2.0,an influx of female artists with unique styles who are beginning to dominate American charts. Her debut album, Rockberry (Polydor), debuted in March of ’08 in the UK after her single, 'Mercy', shot straight to the leading position in downloaded music sales. By April, 'Rockferry' was at the top of the Pan-European Album chart and in May, the single ‘Mercy’ became a staple song on VH1 and a hit on Adult Contemporary radio. It was also featured in television show and movie soundtracks, including ER, Smallville, the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy and Sex and the City: The Movie. On May 10, Duffy released a remix of ‘Mercy’ featuring rap artist The Game. Just three days later, 'Rockferry' was released in the US and debuted at number 4. By the end of the week, ‘Mercy’ was at the number 27 position on the Billboard Top 100 and Duffy was on a billboard in Times Square.

Though her success in the US was an inevitable follow to her domination of the UK, Duffy’s past has been anything but predicable. She was raised in Nefyn, on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales, but moved to Pembrokeshire with her mother and sisters after her parents divorced. Duffy, however, felt closest to her father John; her interest in singing was inspired by his videotape of the 1960’s television rock show “Ready Steady Go!” Duffy began singing at the age of six and carried a notebook with her constantly, in which she scribbled lyrics. Due to the enormity of her voice, she was unable to blend in with her primary school choir and was asked to leave.

In 1998, Duffy was put in a safe house after police uncovered a plot by her stepfather’s ex-wife to hire a hitman to kill her stepfather. After having seen the way alcohol and drugs had influenced her stepfather’s ex-wife, Duffy made a decision to abstain from them. Throughout her teen years, Duffy sang in various local bands and competitions, coming in second on Wawffactor, a Welsh television show similar to American or Pop Idol. Duffy had expected that as a pop star, others would use her talent “as a vehicle for their vision” and not hers, but after she began to lose her passion for singing, she decided at the age 18 to make music for her own personal fulfillment. After graduating from high school and starting college at the University of Chester in England, she took a professor’s advice to “go on the dole, love, and become a singer.” She dropped out of school and took on odd jobs while recording a three song EP in 2004, and playing at various clubs. After being introduced to Rough Trade Records co-owner Jeanette Lee, Duffy moved to London and worked with Suede’s ex-guitarist Bernard Butler, who downloaded tracks by artists like Al Green, Beyonce, Phil Spector and Burt Bacharach onto her iPod to give her an “education in soul.” Together, they co-wrote music and helped create Duffy’s unique retro sound. In 2007, she was contracted to A&M Records.

Duffy soon gained immense popularity in Britain and Wales, performing on BBC2 television and coming in second in the annual BBC News poll known as Sound of 2008, a preview of up-and-coming hit-makers. She embarked on her first major tour, performing in the revered King Tuts venue in Glasgow. Wherever she has gone, she has met rave reviews, including remarks on her “unaffected personality and natural charm.”

With Bernard Butler and his musical partner David McAlmont forming the backbone of her band, Duffy released 'Rockferry' in March 3, 2008 on Polydor records. The record earned 2008 MOJO Awards nominations in the categories of Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Breakthrough Act. Her newest single, ‘Warwick Avenue’, hit the charts on June 2, 2008 and debuted at number 3.

At the age of 24, Duffy has already become an international sensation, combining throwbacks to 1960’s soul and jazz with a contemporary edge to appeal to the masses. Her music will resonate with young and old alike, as her voice has been compareded to both Dusty Springfield and Amy Winehouse. Indeed, Duffy’s voice may have been too big for the primary school choir, but the world wants more.

Official Music Video – ‘Mercy’ by Duffy

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Shave And A Haircut...

Bo Diddley, distinctive rock 'n roller and creator of the well-known "shave and a haircut, two bits" rhythm died Monday at the age of 79. He had struggled with poor health for months, having suffered both a stroke and a heart attack within the last year. Diddley will be remembered for his square guitar, dark glasses, black hat with eagle badge and, of course, his great contribution in the early days of rock 'n roll. As Rolling Stone magazine writes: "History belongs to the victors and in the annals of rock & roll, three men have emerged as winners: Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Bo Diddley, a holy trinity who were there at the start." In fact, Diddley claims that Alan Freed was talking about him when he introduced the term "rock and roll" into the culture, saying, "Here is a man with an original sound, who is going to rock and roll you right out of your seat." Prior to this, disc jockey's referred to Diddley's style as "Jungle Music."

Diddley was born as Ellas Bates on December 30, 1928 in McComb, Mississippi, but after being adopted by his mother's cousin he took on the name Ellis McDaniel. He told reporters that the moniker "Bo Diddley" was bestowed upon him by fellow children who grew up with him in Chicago, but others cite the name as having origins in the traditional blues instrument called a diddley bow. At the age of five, Diddley began to play the violin at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, an instrument he studied for twelve years and wrote two concertos on. For Christmas in 1940, his sister Lucille bought him his first guitar, a Harmony Acoustic. At the age of 10, he was entertaining passersby on street corners and by his teens, he was playing Chicago's Maxwell Street and developing his unique style Diddley had always been fascinated with the rhythms he heard in church music, but as he became frustrated with attempting to match them on the drums, he translated them for the guitar.

He formed his first band just before leaving school, a trio a named The Hipsters, later known as The Langley Avenue Jive Cats, after the Chicago street where he lived. After playing various Chicago clubs and streetcorners and joining with Jerome Green and Billy Boy Arnold, Diddley was able to cut two demos, "I'm A Man" and "Uncle John." At first, he was turned down by the labels, notably Vee-Jay. It was Leonard and Phil Chess of Chess Records who gave him his break, offering a recording session and suggesting that he change "Uncle John" to make it more personal. His first single, the much more personalized "Bo Diddley," was released in 1955; the B side "I'm A Man" was a humorous take on stereotypical male machismo.

Diddley's influence was vast. Buddy Holly borrowed the "bomp ba-bomp bomp bomp..." rhythm in his song, "Not Fade Away," which in 1964 became the first charting single in the US for the Rolling Stones. In the following year, the British band 'The Yardbirds' had a Top 20 hit in the U.S. with Diddley's "I'm A Man." Other artists, such as the Who, Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello took lessons from Diddley's style. Diddley, however, was displeased that others had copied his style, saying, "I don't have any idols I copied after, [but] they copied everything I did, upgraded it, messed it up."

Diddley's innovation's went beyond music composition, as he helped pioneer the electric guitar and rigged it for effects such as reverb and tremelo. E. Michael Harrington, professor of music theory and composition at Belmont University, said: "He treats it like a drum, very rhythmic." Furthermore, he pre-dates most artists on his use of psychedelic guitar sounds, wild stage shows complete with strut and bizarre guitar tricks, female musicians such as Lady Bo, and even rapping.

Despite being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, earning a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame and receiving a lifetime achievement award at the 1999 Grammy's, Diddley said, "it didn't put no figures in my checkbook." He was paid a flat rate rather than a royalty, and reported receiving very little of the money he made during his career, and as a result continued to tour and record music up until his recent stroke. Even in his later years, he continued to innovate, saying, "I ain't quit yet."

Saturday, May 31, 2008 "You Are The Record Company"

The advent of online communities has given people all over the world a new way to communicate. Combine this with reality television, and suddenly there's a whole new media market. No longer are publishing companies and record moguls deciding what forms of entertainment people will enjoy, and this is opening up the art world to vast new forms of expression.

The publishing industry has recently been challenged by the website WeBook ( which operates American Idol style. Weekend writers and serious novelists alike post their work for review online, hoping to gain enough readers, editors and fans to be invited into a "voting cycle" where they will step up onto the big stage. There, the selected list of highly rated books will be read and voted on by the cyber world and the book with the most votes will be published and marketed by WeBook.

For many years in the music industry, bands have been able to share their music. Facebook and for instance co-created "iLike" where bands who share their music on Garageband can also share it on Facebook. Other sites, like Purevolume and Fuzz offer free band pages, music hosting, and mp3 downloads. However, the same brilliant framework that has made Idol and WeBook a success, has been embraced by the German-born website "SellaBand" ( Here's how it works: Artists can join for free and and after creating a profile, can post up to 3 demo songs for the listeners to browse. When a listener finds a band he likes, he can pay $10 to purchase one or more shares (know as Parts) and thus become a "Believer." When 5,000 Parts have been contributed to the band by the Believers, Sellaband hooks the band up with an experienced A&R person and a top producer to record a studio album and release it to the world, whether through iTunes, Amazon, or a stack on a table at the band's next gig. Even if the band only has a few thousand die hard fans, together they can raise the remaining cash needed to reach the $50,000 dollar mark. Once the record is produced, all of the Believers receive a limited edition CD and the right to sell additional copies of the artist's CD and related merchandise on Sellaband, all in spirit of promoting the music. The investment depends on the band's success, but the payoff is incredible. Both the artist and the believers receive royalty on album sales and website advertisement, putting the artist and fans in business together to get the word about about the music.

At first, this all seems like a brilliant avenue for web inventors to make money, but Sellaband is not operated by your everyday debutante. Pim Betist, creator of Sellaband, has brough together Johan Vosmeijer and Dagmar Heijmans, two leading industry figures. Vosmeijer, an experienced music professional in Europe, has run the Epic label and Columbia for Sony Music in the Benelux, and recently launched Red Ink, a boutique label for SONY BMG. Heijmans has worked at EMI, Sony Music and Sony BMG as an industry expert. These individuals have the know-how to get bands in front of producers and managers that will launch them straight out of obscurity.

Radio does a service to bring us the artists we know and love. But with expanding platforms made possible by satellite and HD, there's a channel out there for every kind of music. As sites like Sellaband work towards removing the barriers between garage band and Top 40, one can only imagine the multitude of new styles and brands of music that can be heard on the 'airwaves'. Some people like "pop" and "jazz." Others like "deep cut classic rock," "vintage punk," "J-pop," and "merseybeat." What if we all had a little piece of the airwaves?

YouTube recently featured the music video to the song"Wood," a testament to the Sellaband process. The artist, "Second Person," recently released their album, "The Elements," after raising the necessary fanbase and funds through the site.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Notable "Unknowns" - Jack's Mannequin

MusicMaster is dedicated to more than just the business side of radio! We are also musicians, 'radio people' and avid music listeners in all genres. As music has recently become accessible directly from bands via the internet (on, and Myspace to name a few) it's getting harder for radio stations to keep up with what's on their listener's iPods. Part of what we'd like to share with you each week is our take on some of greatest 'unknown' artists that your listeners love, but who are not yet gracing the airwaves. For our entry, we'll start with the music of Andrew McMahon (bands Something Corporate & Jack's Mannequin).

Andrew McMahon began his life in music as the lead vocalist and pianist for the Orange County, California based piano-rock band Something Corporate. Andrew, however, had been playing piano since 1990, when he was just eight years old. The band’s name was a testament to their disdain for packaged industry driven artists, yet Something Corporate enjoyed enormous success among the pop-punk crowds. Their 2002 debut album on Drive-Thru Records (Leaving Through the Window) hit number 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and number 1 on the Billboard Alternative New Artists chart. Just one year later, their second full-length record, North, debuted at #24 on the Billboard 200.

In 2004, however, the band split up and its members went on to solo projects. McMahon’s project became Jack’s Mannequin, for which he wrote songs therapeutically. His songs, he stated, dealt with “coming home, and having home be way different than I had remembered it.” As the music took shape, McMahon paid out-of-pocket for production and eventually was offered a record deal with Maverick Records.

Shortly after, however, McMahon’s life took a tragic turn as he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 22. Many of his lyrics seemed, at that time, to have been almost prophetic. “Ben Franklin’s Kite,” written in 2000, begins, “Give me an answer, while this cancer eats me away.” The UK release of the Something Corporate album North featured a track called “Watch The Sky,” in which McMahon sang, “I will crawl. There’s things that are worth giving up I know, but I won’t let this get me, I will fight.” Incidentally, music website had orange wristbands made up reading “I will fight” which were sold to fans, raising over $20,000 to be donated to the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation.

On August 23, 2005, McMahon’s album “Everything In Transit” was released, debuting at #37 on the Billboard 200, with over 22,000 copies scanned within the first week. The occasion was memorable for McMahon in another way, however, as it was also the day that he received a stem cell transplant from his sister, Katie. As the treatment took hold, McMahon recovered and eventually reached remission, going on to play his first concert some 100 days after the transplant. He continued his involvement with cancer research, playing special concerts and tours to raise money and awareness. In July 2006, McMahon founded a non-profit charity, The Dear Jack Foundation, to raise funds for cancer research. McMahon’s struggle was recorded from the day of his diagnosis to his recovery for a documentary titled “Dear Jack” to be released in early 2008. The film was directed by Corey Moss and Josh Morrisroe, two former MTV News producers, but features personal footage shot by McMahon himself during his hospital stays. It is narrated by McMahon’s close friend and collaborator Tommy Lee.

Jack’s Mannequin began recording their second album, tentatively titled “The Glass Passenger” in summer 2007, under the label of Sire Records. In keeping with his tradition of making his music available for free via the internet, McMahon kept fans up to date in his blog with links to live performances of his new songs, including Caves and Suicide Blonde. As more and more information about the album was released, fan's eagerly awaited the release. In fact, McMahon was recently featured on the cover of Alternative Press’s ‘Most Anticipated Albums’ issue. Though the album was originally set to debut in April of 2008, McMahon has pushed the date to the end of August, as he is still finalizing the tracks. As with ‘Everything In Transit,’ many of the songs will be autobiographical. In an interview with, McMahon stated that he had been afraid of writing ‘the cancer record,’ though he did admit that he used the music as a means to get through his struggle. One of the prominent pieces of the new album is a song called ‘Caves,’ a seven minute three-movement symphonic song that McMahon describes was first heard in his head when he woke up in the middle of the night. He says, “I went to my piano and started writing it. It was kind of the first time that the words, as they related to what I had gone through, started emerging.” In the first verse, McMahon sings:

‘I'm caught,
somewhere in between,
and living a dream.
No peace,
just clicking machines,
In the quiet of calm, pazine.
The walls caved in on me.’

*Pazine is a drug used to treat nausea in chemotherapy patients

Caves-Live Performance

Throughout his career, McMahon has been steadfast in making music in his own terms. His fan base is monstrous, but largely unknown by those in the industry responsible for manufacturing the next big hit. One needs only to visit McMahon’s various web pages, including Facebook and MySpace, to see the massive support behind the piano-based Ben Folds-like sound of Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate. McMahon has played in Bamboozle, the Warped Tour and SXSW and will be heading out on tour with Paramore at the end of this summer (no dates official as of yet).

Anyone who is fortunate enough to see McMahon perform live will see that what sets him apart from many other alternative artists is the ostensible passion he pours in his music. McMahon plays keyboard while switching between two vocal mics, but often will end up pacing, standing on equipment, or lying flat on the stage. Even when playing to thousands of screaming fans, McMahon seems lost in the music, playing each phrase as if he were just discovering it. The ‘Glass Passenger’ is, indeed, one of the most anticipated albums of 2008, particularly on high school and college campuses. Fans, who have been with McMahon since his first Something Corporate demos to the awaited second Jack’s Mannequin release have proven to be nothing less than die hard. On July 9, 2006, Jack’s Mannequin fans at the ‘Summerfest’ music festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin waited for a performance outdoors through one of the most torrential storms of the year. As the afternoon and early evening acts on the U.S. Cellular stage had been cancelled, these fans stuck it out with the mere hope that the rain and hail would stop by the time McMahon was scheduled to play. In the end, after having crowded for hours under picnic tables and tarps torn down from the walls of nearby booths, the fans were rewarded as McMahon took the stage for a memorable night – both for them, and for him. As he announced, just moments before heading onstage, he had just taken the very last dose of his cancer treatment medication.

For more information, visit Jack’s or the MySpace page

The Mixed Tape video – From ‘Everything In Transit’

Dark Blue video – From ‘Everything In Transit’

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Linkin Park Featured in Busta Rhymes' New Single

In 2004, rock band Linkin Park joined with Jay-Z to produce the platinum mash-up “Collision Course,” which featured the Grammy winning track, “Numb/Encore.” Now, the platinum two-time Grammy-winning rock band will join Busta Rhymes’ on his new album, Blessed (Flipmode/Aftermath/Interscope) scheduled for release on June 17, 2008. The first single, “We Made It,” produced by Cool and Dre, features Linkin Park’s co-lead vocalists Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda. This music culture mash-up is not only a surefire way to double a fan base, but reflects the theme of the song; says Busta Rhymes of the track: “It ain't just about the 'hood, it ain't just about the suburbs, it's about everybody.”

Bennington and Shinoda were also featured in the song’s performance video, directed by Chris Robinson and shot in LA on April 15. Shinoda, who offered a verse to the song, is seen plunking away at a prop piano which had no strings and thus gave him no feedback during filming as to whether or not he was miming the right notes – that is until a working keyboard was brought on set and he learned that he’d been playing in the wrong key. Now, he muses, “People will be able to tell which takes were before they got a keyboard on set and I figured it out, and which ones were after.” Meanwhile, Bennington did his best to hide the red cast on his arm. During Linkin Park’s October 15, 2007 show in Melbourne, Australia, Bennington overshot a grand leaping entrance off a stepped platform and fell onto his outstretched hand, fracturing his wrist four songs into the set. He finished the concert before heading to the emergency room.

Blessed, Rhymes’ eighth studio album, received positive reviews during a rap press listening party, despite Rhymes’ reported outburst towards a few less enthusiastic reporters. In addition to Linkin Park, the album will also feature vocals and production from Eminem, P. Diddy, Dr. Dre, DJ Scratch, Mary J. Blige, Jamie Foxx, Akon, T.I., Ja Rule, Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Lil Kim, and T-Pain, amongst many others.

The “We Made It “ music video premiered on BET on Tuesday, April 29, the same day as the video for the album’s second single, "Don't Touch Me (Throw Da Water On 'Em). “We Made It” debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at #65 while “Don’t Touch Me” has reached #4 on the Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart as of this week.

Watch the “We Made It” video below or visit to check out Linkin Park TV’s “Making Of…” video.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Update On FCC ReRegulation Push

By now you must have heard the news: it’s known as the “Localism Report” and it’s an attempt by the FCC to bring back old regulations, which broadcasters believe will heavily tax their time and resources. One of the major changes is the reinstitution of the ascertainment policy, requiring stations to maintain demographic profiles of communities and consult neighborhood watch groups for input on playlist choices, ads, hosts and general content. In addition, the FCC is considering re-crafting procedural guidelines for processing license renewal applications similar to those in the 70's, and reenacting the main studio rule to eliminate remote studios and stop voicetracking. The push to re-instate these policies fails to recognize the fact that the media marketplace has changed over the past few decades, and that these regulations would burden local broadcast radio with rules and associated costs that would not affect their competitors in cable, satellite and internet broadcasting. Furthermore, the regulations are wholly unnecessary. Local broadcasters have a natural interest in the important issues within their communities due to the obvious marketplace incentives, not formal ascertainment requirements.

Yesterday, House Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Joe Barton and committee member Cliff Stearns sent a letter to the FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. The letter cited the 1984 Television Deregulation Order, wherein the FCC itself noted that formal ascertainment requirements were “neither necessary nor, in view of significant costs, appropriate.” Regarding the change to the “main studio rule” they cited the 1987 Radio and Television Main Studio Rule Order, in which the FCC first relaxed the ‘main studio rule,’ noting that advances in telecommunications and transportation deemed that it was no longer necessary for a studio to be located within the community in order to still be accessible to it’s listeners. This change, which was further reinforced in 1998, allowed broadcasters with multiple licenses in an area to co-locate main studios and combine resources. Changes to the ‘main studio rule’ at this point in time would be costly to those stations that have since relied on it, and would provide them no corresponding benefit. As for the push to reinstate the rule against ‘voicetracking,’ the protestors cite the 1995 FCC report that deemed the regulation superfluous on the basis of new technology. The FCC’s intent may be to increase the ‘personal’ nature of each station, but this is a decision that is best left in the hands of the licensees. Those who would choose to staff the studio 24-7 would do so only if the market incentives outweighed the associated costs.

The proposed rule changes not only ignore precedents set by the FCC itself and violate the First Amendment, but are ostensibly backwards. If the rules were originally eliminated due to modernization and expansion of the industry, then why reinstate them when radio has only moved forward since then? Apart from Barton and Stearns’ letter, 28 senators and 123 members of the House to date have sent similar letters to the FCC. The members of the House agreed that while the FCC was correct to aim for more and better local programming, they felt that federal mandates should not be the means of achieving that goal. Forcing broadcasters to air specific programming creates “clear constitutional concerns.” Furthermore, requiring licensees to form advisory boards to interact with their communities would weigh down the marketplace with more layers of bureaucracy and cost the broadcast industry millions of dollars, which would actually hurt their ability to serve local interests. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Who's Who At A-ware: Joe Knapp

It was 1983 when Joe Knapp’s first music log ran on WZZU/Milwaukee. Now, 25 years later, more than 2,500 broadcasters in radio, TV and the Internet use the MusicMaster founder/president’s music scheduling software. “From the Ohio Scientific and Radio Shack TRS-80 computers we started with to the software we have today, it’s been quite a journey,” Knapp says.

Joe was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1953. Throughout his childhood, Joe was fascinated with radio and music. His father, John Knapp, a radar operator for the Navy during World War II, showed him how to turn an old radio into a transmitter. Though the Knapp family struggled to make ends meet, John managed to buy his young son some used electronics textbooks, and then looked the other way when Joe, at 11 years old, built and ran an illegal radio station in his bedroom.

The FCC engineers, however, were not as forgiving and shut him down. Taking their suggestion, however, Joe brushed up on broadcasting law and passed the First Class license exam at 18 and quit his hamburger-flipping job to find work in radio. A year later, after working on mobile telephones for Ohio Bell, he landed his first radio job helping build WSUM-AM in suburban Parma, Ohio. When Joe started, it was just a muddy field. When the station signed on, he was behind the microphone doing evenings.

Joe’s radio career next took him to WBKC-AM in Chardon, Ohio where he became chief engineer and afternoon drive jock. Soon he had landed his dream job, at Malrite’s WMMS-FM/Cleveland, a station he’d been a fan of since they’d moved to album rock. He helped moved the Buzzard studios downtown, but left after the company transferred him to WZUU-AM-FM/Milwaukee. Joe’s next project was doing afternoons at crosstown WQFM, which included programming, production and promotions. After getting fired, he tried in vain to find another programming gig but ran out of money. After reconsidering the stability of engineering, Joe became chief engineer for Booth’s WZZP-FM/Cleveland. He tried going back to WMMS, but they sent me to Milwaukee to rebuild the WZUU studios, which is where he began work on his music scheduling program. Joe had been manually prescheduling WZUU’s music, a task that he thought was unnecessarily time-consuming. Knowing that computers would soon become essential radio components, Joe had been teaching himself computer programming. Now, he realized that music scheduling primarily involved decision-making, and that was what computers did best.

Another change in Joe’s life came when Malrite sent him to New York to help build WHTZ (Z100). Eventually, Carl Hirsh put him in charge of the project. At 3:30 a.m., Joe’s voice was the first heard on that station doing a station ID, followed by “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra. He was asked to stay on, but Joe and his wife decided that Milwaukee was a better place to raise kids.

Back in Milwaukee, Joe continued improving his software, which started on an Ohio Scientific Challenger 8P computer and was originally called Revolve. He sold a copy to WCXI-FM/Detroit, then began rewriting it for the Radio Shack TRS-80, then for the IBM PC. In 1985, he licensed it to Tapscan to sell with their software as MusicScan. In 1994, following a bitter legal dispute, that deal ended and Joe formed his own company, changing the program’s name to MusicMaster and later rewriting it for Microsoft Windows.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Why Do We Call It A ‘Radio’?

It’s a word you probably use at least once (if not a dozen) times a day, yet you may not have stopped to wonder where the radio got its name. In fact, when radio was born it was fitted with the clumsy moniker ‘wireless telegraphy.’ We’re lucky things have changed, or else our DJs would have a mouthful, ‘You’re on WOR - News Talk Wireless Telegraphy…’ (Not to mention they’d be spinning wax cylinders). And yet how, we wondered, did this fortunate change come about?

Radio is actually a prefix, which was first attached to the word radioconductor (AKA coherer), a device that is altered by and therefore can detect electromagnetic waves. The prefix is based on the Latin word ‘radius’ which means ‘beam of light or ray’, and the resulting English verb ‘radiate’ which not only means ‘to emit’ but refers to the spread of alpha, beta and gamma waves from decaying atoms. This process of ‘radiation’ creates electromagnetic waves, a certain frequency range of which are called ‘radio waves.’ These were first noticed by James Clerk Maxwell and later generated in the lab by Heinrich Hertz. It was the European scholars studying Hertz’s work who began to use the ‘radio’ prefix. In 1890, Edouard Branly called his coherer receiver a ‘radio-conducting tube.’ Just over a decade later, a 1903 issue of The Electrician, a London magazine, was filled with radio-related words, including ‘radio-telegrams,’ ‘radiograms,’ and ‘radiographic stations.’ As the terms gained wider popularity, the various endings were dropped, leaving behind the term ‘radio.’ The first reference to ‘a radio’ as a noun (as in that big wooden box in the corner or the small plastic box in your car’s center console bluetoothing to the stereo)…well, that was the work of an advertising man named Waldo Warren.

An early appearance of the truncated word ‘radio’ is found in an interesting editorial by LeeDeForest, from a 1907 edition of Electrical World. He warned that unless government strictly oversaw regulation of the airwaves, “Radio chaos will certainly be the result.” Despite DeForest’s dismal outlook, the practice of radio has expanded greatly in the past one hundred years – and so have the terms. Radio’s given name ‘wireless’ now refers to that magical internet stream that you try to mooch off your neighbors so you can watch YouTube for free, and ‘the radio’ is the device or chip that your computer uses to do so!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Eddy Arnold: May 15, 1918 - May 8, 2008

Today, the country world has lost a legend: Eddy Arnold, also known as “The Tennessee Plowboy,” died Thursday, May 8 in Franklin, Tennessee, just one week short of his 90th birthday. Richard Edward Arnold was born in Henderson, Tennessee, May 15, 1918. As a child, he lost both his father and the family farm, plunging his childhood into poverty. Though young Eddy left school to help out on the farm, he found time to play the fiddle at local clubs and dances. His first radio appearance, at a station in Jackson, was in 1936.

At the age of 18, Arnold left home to follow a passion for music. Though he initially struggled to gain recognition, he eventually landed a job as the lead male vocalist for the Pee Wee King band. By 1943, he had become a solo star on the Grand Ole Opry and was signed by RCA Victor. Soon, in December of ’44, he had cut his first record and two years later, found stardom with the hit “That’s How Much I Love You.” Under the management of Col. Tom Parker (who later went on to control the career of Elvis Presley), Arnold dominated the country charts. In 1947-48, 13 of the top 20 songs were his.

Throughout his life, Arnold always seemed to know how to take his career in the right direction. He successfully made the transition from radio to television, and in 1955 recorded pop versions of “Cattle Call” and “The Richest Man (In The World)” with the Hugo Winterhalter Orchestra to expand his fanbase beyond country. Along with country crooner Jim Reeves, Arnold continued to develop pop-sounding string arrangements of country songs, a style of music that would soon be known as the Nashville Sound. He was one of country’s first crossover stars.

In 1964, manager Jerry Purcell helped Arnold begin a “second career” which found even greater success and a more diverse audience than the first. The song “Make The World Go Away” had already been recorded by several artists, but Arnold’s version became an international hit. Through the 1960s, Arnold charted 16 straight hits, performed two concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York City, and appeared before the Hollywood crowd at the Coconut Grove. Arnold eventually left the RCA label and recorded four albums for MGM in the 1970s, producing one hit (“If The Whole World Stopped Lovin’”). However, he later returned to RCA to record the final chartbreakers of his career: the album Eddy and the hit sing “Cowboy.” Arnold’s final album (After All These Years) was released in 2005; Arnold was 87.

In his career, Arnold charted 145 songs and 28 number one hits, ranking only second to George Jones. Throughout his lifetime, he sold nearly 85 million albums. His great success seems to be due to a number of factors. From early on, Arnold stood out from other singers in the country world. His outfits never were adorned with quite as much “bling” and he avoided the nasal twang of his contemporaries. He also dropped many of the honky-tonk themes and performed a repertoire of love songs. Through his associations with excellent musicians such as Charles Grean, Bob Moore, Chet Atkins and steel guitarist Roy Wiggins, Arnold’s music was richly instrumented. But truly, the greatest source of Arnold’s success was his voice; throughout his life, Arnold worked hard to perfect his natural ‘instrument,’ developing a sound that was compared to the likes of Bing Crosby and Enrico Caruso.

Arnold was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966. In the following year, he was voted as the first Country Music Association’s Entertainer Of The Year, and received the Academy of Country Music’s Pioneer Award in 1985.

Eddy performed his final concert on May 16, 1999 (the day after his 81st birthday) at the Hotel Orleans in Las Vegas. On May 8, 2008, he passed away after battling a lengthy illness. His wife, the late Sally Gayhart, preceded him in death in March of 2008 following hip replacement surgery. Arnold is survived by his children, Dickie and Jo Ann as well as two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

And there are the numerous fans – three generations of them, in fact – who have been touched by Arnold’s rich voice, gracious personality and, of course, his timeless love songs.

Eddy Arnold - "Richest Man In All The World"

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New! MusicMaster Nexus Server

The MusicMaster Nexus Server gives third-party software products instant, real-time access to MusicMaster’s database and scheduling intelligence. Primarily designed as an automation interface, the Nexus Server can easily connect with other software systems, such as traffic and billing, research analysis, and web services.

With MusicMaster’s new Nexus Server, real-time access to your music scheduling data and scheduling rules becomes available directly through your automation system. Automation systems that are integrated with MusicMaster through the Nexus Server bring the power of MusicMaster from the PD or MD’s desk into the studio with a dynamic connection.

MusicMaster’s Nexus Server is an HTTP service application that can process requests from third-party systems across a local area network or the Internet, giving them access to MusicMaster’s music scheduling data and business intelligence. One Nexus Server can process requests for multiple MusicMaster databases.

“Radio and our other music providers, have been asking for this functionality for some time. What is unique about the MusicMaster Nexus Server is that it has been designed to integrate with any systems wishing to do so,” said Joe Knapp President A-Ware Software, Inc.

Got An Excuse?

Check out the Book of Excuses and find out what might be holding you back from embracing the future of music scheduling.