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.