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It’s A Rap

Sketch of a Courtroom- Creative Commons

Sketch of a Courtroom- Creative Commons

“It’s a rap” is a common phrase used when something is finished. “It’s a rap song” is my take on a recent New York Times opinion article that claims rap lyrics can be used on trail to convince a jury a man is guilty. The article talks about how some courts in the US have been using rap lyrics as evidence of a crime to prosecute rappers. Lawyers claim rap songs are confessions, especially when an artist talks about doing something like shooting someone then actually does it.

Something tells me there is a first amendment freedom of speech issue here. Can courts really do this?

Well, they have, and unfortunately there are a lot of misconceptions about rap. Some artists use an aggressive tone of voice and use language that they don’t always mean literally. Sometimes they use a choice word figuratively because it is another way of finishing a rhyming clause. That is a beauty and downfall of rap, utilizing figure of speech, word play, and synonyms.

These rapping tactics, however, also expose raps flaws. As a PR representative their is almost no way to truly defend your artist if they talk about brutal and gruesome scenes of violence other than saying, “chill, it’s just song.”

One of the best traits artists can have is to be transparent with their audience and fans. To a certain extent, when an artist sells his or her music it is because they sell their self well too.

If the artist is a company and the music they make is a product, you will only buy the product if you trust the company that manufactures it. In this case, if an artist has a PR representative and your artist decides to talk about killing someone, then that is the product your artist is selling and today it could potentially get your artist in major trouble with the US court of law. Then, it will be a rap for your artists career.

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Measuring Streaming Products Value To Consumers and Artists

Spotify- Creative Commons

Spotify- Creative Commons

Pandora- Creative Common

Pandora- Creative Common

A couple weeks ago, Circa, the iPhone app news source reported a story about iTunes sales decreasing. This is news, but if you have been playing attention to the technological world around you, it won’t come as a shock to say that music streaming sites like Spotify are taking over.

Most people I talk to now use an app like Pandora or Spotify. It is the easiest and most economical way to obtain a boat load of legal music instantly. Instead of people having to buy or illegally download their music off the internet, they can just pay $10 a month and have almost any song they want within seconds.

The advantages of this are obvious. To buy an album on iTunes costs roughly $10. If you listen to a brand new album in a month the service basically pays for itself. If you listen to two new albums, you have already saved $10. It’s a great plan and something that is working well. iTunes has realized that streaming music is now the future of distributing music to the public and has released its own streaming service called iTunes Radio. Heck there is even chatter of Beats By Dre creating its own streaming service. PR wise, these two companies are staying current with the times and keeping an eye on their competitors.

The disadvantages of steaming really only affect people like me who at times can be a “music snob.” I love the fact that I have a huge music library. It has been a hobby of mine to collect music since iTunes first arrived. With streaming, personal music libraries don’t really mean anything anymore. Nothing is personal about streaming. If fully embraced, gone will be the days where you could look through somebody’s iTunes and see what kind of music they really listen to. By looking through their music library, you were looking into their soul. You knew that they either paid for that music or at least took the time to download it- not just search for it through a streaming website.
Another disadvantage of steaming music is that music on these services must be granted by the service owners. If you just saw a live show of the sickest new local artist, you won’t be able to show your friends on a streaming website because that artists might be too new. These streaming websites regulate consumers to listen to already successful artists.

What can artists learn from the latest tactic to distribute their music? When measuring your level of success, you will know you have been marginally successful once your name has been featured on one of these streaming sites. Once you are on their you can see how many people you have reached.

Why The Super Bowl Halftime Show Is A Super PR Disaster.

Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show- Heavy.com

Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show- Heavy.com

Unless you were a Seahawks fan, the Super Bowl was one of, if not the most, boring Super Bowls in all of football history to watch because of the blow out. I was pleading for halftime to start so I could get my dosage of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and oh yeah…some guy named Bruno Mars that girls seem to really dig.

Bruno Mars did a great job. I’m not a huge fan of his music but I understood exactly what the producers of the halftime show were thinking when they booked him. The audience he attracts is mostly female. The audience the Super Bowl attracts is mostly male. Put one and one together and you have complementary acts on the same stage- something everyone can enjoy.

Then, the Red Hot Chili Peppers came on stage for one song and brought the energy to an all time performance high. Awesome right? No. Here is the real bummer. During their throw-back, kick-ass performance, the bass, guitar and drums were not plugged in. Yet, oddly enough, the Chili Peppers kept performing with their usual red hot flame. At the time of the performance nobody really noticed. However, these past couple days have seen a plethora of pictures from the halftime performance circulating around the internet showing the bands equipment not plugged in. Finally, Flea, the bassist of the RHCP, decided to talk about the issue in Rolling Stone magazine today. He admitted the only live sounds were the vocals and admitted the NFL said they couldn’t afford a botched halftime show.

You saw that right. The National Football League told the Red Hot Chili Peppers to play a recorded set. Let that sink in.

This isn’t the first time the NFL has had a Super Bowl halftime preconceived disaster. I was just starting to forget about the 2004 Super Bowl halftime “Bra-ha-ha” performance with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. (Skip to 4:oo)

In the end, the Super Bowl halftime show seems like great exposure for an artist. Super Bowl Sunday is an unofficial holiday in America. Television ratings are through the roof. In reality the halftime show is actually a super PR disaster for artists when the NFL makes the performers do something they normally wouldn’t do.

Why Award Shows Can Be The Ultimate Platform For PR

Ryan Lewis & Macklemore - Creative Commons

Ryan Lewis & Macklemore – Creative Commons

Sunday night was all about the Grammy’s. Right?

Wrong.

Before the show, the New York Times announced that that during Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ performance 34 weddings, gay and straight, would take place during the performance of the song “Same Love” that talks about the difficulties of being gay.

The buzz after the award show wasn’t about who took home what Grammy. It was related to the PR campaign that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis created and that the producers of the Grammy’s approved. They used the Grammy’s as a platform to raise awareness for equality. Raising awareness is constantly one of the main PR objectives of any PR campaign. Well the Grammy producers just nailed it.

They used one of the most recognized award shows on one of the most utilized media platforms to demonstrate one of the most debated political rights movements of our generation. What’s more, they had celebrity endorsements from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, guys who won four Grammy’s Sunday night. If these two weren’t in the spotlight before, they will be in the national spotlight for years to come furthering their brand awareness and cementing them as pro gay right hip-hop artists. That too is something that very few hip-hop artists believe in and can make claim.

All that is known is this: No matter what you think about Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, the Grammy’s, or gay marriage. This performance had to affect the audience in some way- it was that profound. The Grammy’s, known as a feel good award show with it’s live music and celebrity appeal, brought the audience into a sober mood to make a statement. Something like this had never been done before on national television, and that is what will make it stick in the back of everyone’s mind if they decide to watch the Grammy’s again next year.

Beats By Dre: Hate By Seattle

49ers star quarterback Colin Kaepernick appeared in the above Beats by Dre commercial during a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks.

Then all hell broke lose in Seattle. After the broadcast, Seattle media responded to fans calling for the boycott of Beats By Dre headphones.

I guess Dre didn’t realize the magnitude of the rivalry between the 49ers and Seahawks. Nor, did he realize that with this commercial he would lose an entire market in the Northwest at least only temporarily.

The problem isn’t the fact that Dr. Dre’s advertising team chose Kaepernick as the celebrity for the commercial, it is the fact that they depicted Seattle fans as angry hooligans and then had the song in the commercial sing, “I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man” to demonstrate the noise canceling ability of the headphones.

So, who cares? Why does it matter? Well, when taking sides in a rivalry, especially the 49ers-Seahawks rivalry which is gaining steam like a downhill train. Beats By Dre lost consumers it alienated. In this case, the Seattle fans. Furthermore, it shows that Beats By Dre hasn’t paid attention to current sporting events. Not staying up on current events is a PR no-no. The niners and hawks rivalry has made each cities fan base hate each other right down to every molecule in their body.

Both San Francisco and Seattle boast great music scenes and are nose deep in their technology.
So it doesn’t make sense that Beats By Dre would do something like this. Unfortunately, it did, and it knew it. That is why Beats By Dre came out with a new commercial just a couple days ago with Seattle star cornerback Richard Sherman to make up for its wrong doing.

Everyone knows two markets are better than one and with Sherman’s commercial Beats By Dre effectively regained its Seattle consumers.

The Overcast’s Convergence

Now that the overcast gods have let me start my own blog, before I continue, let me tell you a little about myself and why I am contributing to this blog. Music has always been deeply embedded in my life even though I didn’t realize until my freshman year of college. As a kid I was always surrounded by music, and I feel that my background is one of the main reasons why I love music so much and want to get into concert promoting. My father listened to big bands and jazz music, sprinkled with some classics like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. My mother, on the other hand, was all about salsa and Latin music such as Marc Anthony and Rey Ruiz. Although, these are only a couple to name of few, this is what they would most likely listen to on any given day. However, they both were diverse and had plenty of different types of music to choose from depending on their moods. This kept me open to any type of new music I could get my hands on. Additionally, my dad used to play classical piano which opened me up to Beethoven and Mozart. Weekends I spent with my mom were filled with her sprucing up the house and blasting salsa songs loud enough for the entire neighborhood to hear. She never liked cleaning but she always made it fun for herself by practicing her salsa moves to the beat which she would clean and move around the house. For instance, instead of simply just walking to dust a filthy surface, she would Meringue over to practice her moves, duster in hand, and make cleaning the house more enjoyable. Having my parents participate in activities involving music during these times definitely stimulated my growing love for music since it was constantly around me.

Growing up I was forced to play piano for three years. I was never as good as the other kids in my class, and since it was my parents decision to enroll me, I never got started on the right foot. I didn’t have a passion for it. After some time off, I decided to hop back on the musical train. This time on my own decision, and try learning the guitar. I played the guitar for about a year, but once again, it didn’t really stick with me. I had had enough of trying to learn instruments, but I had not had enough of music in general. I pumped up the volume like my parents had taught me to ever since I was a little kid…
One night during my freshman year in college I had a dream of promoting concerts at my own venue in San Francisco. (Yes literally a dream). It. All. Made. Sense! I have always been envious of people that could play an instrument. Raised as a businessman from my father, I didn’t feel like I had the genes needed to succeed. Concert promoting was the niche I had been searching for. It combines business and music into one. Ever since that day I have had that career goal in mind. After spending three years as an intern at a concert venue called the W.O.W. Hall, today, I channel this passion through my job as the regional music coordinator on the University of Oregon campus.

In short, this blog will be about everything music, which is my topic of interest. It’s purpose is to demonstrate my knowledge and show you my excitement for the music industry.