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Posts from the Funny Peculiar Category

The first single from Renée Fleming’s rock covers album Dark Hope is out today, but according to Decca I’m not allowed to make fun of it yet. It’s like it’s Christmas morning and I’m not allowed to open any presents.

Luckily for them, I just stumbled upon this. 86 orchestral versions of rock songs and weird classical remixes for the low, low price of $11.99. Don’t say “cheap”. It’s “great value”.

The Times* asked a bunch of musicians and administrators in Britain how to go about making live music more appealing to the next generation of concert-goers. The responses range from visionary to downright retarded. John Gilhooly from the Wigmore Hall says there’s no need to tinker with a system that works, violinist Nicola Benedetti blames the lighting, and Gillian Moore from the South Bank Centre wonders when it stopped being ok to dance to ballet. Check it out.

* The English one. I can’t bring myself to call it “The Times Of London” because that isn’t what it has been called since 1788, when, need I remind you, Mozart was alive and the Americans were still working on a constitution that would make George Washington president and machine guns legal. Nobody need confuse it with the New York Times (est. 63 years later in 1851) because it is called something different.

Here’s an awesome but fairly creepy idea from Japan:

AKB48 is a girl group with 48 members. They’re terrible performers, but very successful. Why? Size confers a few advantages:

1) A band this big clearly doesn’t need everybody to show up for every gig. They can tour three places at once and still have somebody perform at their resident gig every day. (more…)

Don't buy Chris Anderson's new book

This weekend, I read Chris Anderson’s Free: The Future Of A Radical Price – a book about how there’s a whole economy based on free stuff on the Internet. It might be summarized thus:

“People don’t like paying for things”

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Please don’t call to pitch one of these. Somebody already thought of it, and we said no.

  1. We’ve noticed that a competitor’s compilation is selling well, so we spent five minutes creating an almost identical one, and although we are offering no promotional plan or marketing support, we’d like you devise and fund a major retail marketing campaign for it.
  2. Wagner for Relaxation
  3. You already have this product in stock, but we’ll be sending you a new copy with slightly different artwork. Can you promote it?
  4. The best-selling singles of Gustav Mahler
  5. You’ve had this record in stock since it was released three years ago, but our company took over distribution of the label last week. Customers will want to know that, right?
  6. Demand is inversely proportional to price, so if we make it free, everybody will want it. Then we’ll really be in business.
  7. The current financial climate has caused us to rethink the amount of music that constitutes “Every Piece Of Classical Music You’ll Ever Need”. To this end, we have created this 100-track addendum entitled “All The Other Pieces Of Classical Music You’ll Ever Need”.
  8. People really like Pachelbel’s Canon, but they don’t like his other music. Clearly, the problem here has to do with cover art.
  9. Classical Music for Fishing*
  10. The cover of this bad compilation album looks a bit like the poster for that movie that isn’t the sequel to the Da Vinci Code.

*Or any other pastime which, whilst not directly precluding the use of art music as an accompaniment, is certainly not an activity for which a specific program of music would be particularly suitable.

I work in a record shop, so sometimes labels let me know when one of their artists is going to have a major media mention. It’s so we can put their record somewhere prominent. It’s usually “We have a big NPR feature this weekend” or “Lang Lang is going to be on Oprah” or, once, “Bocelli is appearing on American Idol – is this a good enough reason for a sale?”.

Yesterday, somebody emailed to say that Stephen Fry had just twittered their artist’s name, and were we seeing an increase in sales?

I can’t help feeling as if the universe has changed in some fundamental way.

The most long-winded dramatic form meets a worthy nemesis with #operaplot – the twitter contest to write an operatic synopsis in fewer than 140 characters.

It isn’t the first time this has happened, but Twitter is just getting popular enough to be lame* and so naturally opera houses the world over are clamouring to be involved and are offering free tickets to the winner.

The judge is the fabulous Danielle De Niese**. The rules are here.

My favorite from the last competition? This contraction of the rambling storyline to Wagner’s epic Ring:

“Rhinemaidens lose the ring. It passes thru a few hands. Rhinemaidens reclaim it in a ring of fire. Lots of singing in between.”

* Not lame enough for me to be on it yet.
** Sorry boys, she’s taken***.
*** Because Lebrecht is a completely reliable source, obviously.

Until recently, I was kind of indifferent to Pat Metheny. He’s not a musician to whom I gave much thought. He called out Kenny G in a quite entertaining way, and I guess his music wasn’t unusually pretentious or self-indulgent compared with that of other white jazz musicians of the 70s, 80s and 90s. I was never into it, but it didn’t make me particularly angry either. But as I say, that was until recently.

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