Monday, July 28, 2014

Music Industry Revenue Continues to Decline Making It More Difficult for Musicians Make a Living

The decline in CD sales continued during the first six months of 2014 falling to 19.6%. The future of CDs, or perhaps I should say the end of commercially successful CDs, may be close. CD sales have been in a down-spin for several years and were it not for the sales of a few blockbuster super-stars, the numbers would have been far worse.

The decline in sales of CDs is understandable due to the effect of the vast availability of music streaming, on-demand audio and video streams.

On the other hand, these new venues are a positive opportunity for the music industry. However, the amount of royalties finding its way back to artists is small. Only truly super-star performers receive substantial financially return.

For most professional musicians, the only bright spot is in the low-cost and ease available today to self-publish their music. The growth in self-published CDs has been increasing due to serious reductions in costs and ease of production.  Artists can be financial successful with  a limited number of sales of self-published CDs. The key element is the need to get the CD noticed by the public. Live performances, of course, are a great way to sell these CDs. But how can artists get their CDs noticed by the music loving audience that can't hear them live? One answer would be to use public relations firms that do promotions for self-published CDs. Another avenue is to send their CDs to music blogs like "Music Man Blog" and try to get them reviewed. A review from a music blog would expose the artist to a totally new audience.

A positive for the first six months of 2014 was a 40% increase in sales of vinyl LPs. Total sales came in at 4 million units. Small in terms of units but very profitable for the artists that published them. If vinyl LP's can rise from the dead, maybe CDs can do the same in the near future.


Monday, July 14, 2014

CD Review: "Absinthe" The Music of Billy Strayhorn From Joe LoCascio and Woody Witt

Billy Strayhorn is well known to any lover of Classic American music. He is remembered by many for his collaborations with Duke Ellington which at times tend to put him in the shadow of "The Duke".  However, many music historians credit Strayhorn for much of the inspiration that Ellington turned into some of the greatest American songs ever recorded. Joe LoCascio, a marvelously talented Pianist, did extensive research into some of the lesser known songs in the Billy Strayhorn songbook and selected 9 of his gems! There is genius in song writing and Billy Strayhorn is certainly in that class. Even the lesser known songs stand up perfectly to the test of time. They are brilliantly written and sound new even more than 50 years after Strayhorn wrote them.

Joining Joe LoCascio on this CD is the very talented Saxophonist Woody Witt. Woody plays Tenor, Alto and Soprano Saxophones on this beautiful CD and the chemistry between Woody and Joe is remarkable. The level of improvisation from both of these world-class musicians is thrilling. Even better is that they improvise with a closeness you would only expect from brothers. The result is they have given life to the Strayhorn masterpieces they have chosen for this CD. The music is new, soft and sensitive. Exactly what you would expect from the brilliant song writing of Billy Strayhorn. The CD was mixed and mastered by Blue Bamboo Music. Chris Cortez was the executive producer and did wonderful job overseeing the recording and mix of this CD.

This CD is really good, and I highly recommend that you pick up a copy.

     Song List
1. My Little Brown Book
2. Charpoy
3. A Flower is a Lovesome Thing
4. Rain Check
5. Chelsea Bridge
6. Lotus Blossom
7. Isfahan
8. Absinthe
9. Daydream

I have attached a video from Facebook of Joe and Woody playing the first cut from the album, "My Little Brown Book".


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Exceptional Musicians Name Their Top 10 Songs, Chapter 7: Judy Wolman

Judy Wolman

Judy Wolman is one of the most-well liked people in the music industry.  She is not only a caring person, she is also one of the best pianist playing today.  Judy is a women of remarkable talents and is the Founder and Artistic Director of  "Sing! Sing! Sing!", a non-profit organization that features a small group of rehearsed singers who joyfully ease the audience into singing "All the songs you love to sing".  Audiences love the experience!  Everyone is given lyric sheets and each song is introduced with a brief and entertaining commentary.  Judy is a classically trained pianist with a degree in Music from Washington University in St. Louis and has taught vocal music and music appreciation in public and private schools.  After she moved to Los Angeles, she joined the Gregg Smith Singers, a professional, classical choral group and spent 10 years touring and recording with them.  Judy has sung in films and television including "Empire of the Sun", "Jurassic Park" and "The Incredible Hulk". 

Judy has a deep love for the songs in the "Great American Songbook". She always plays them with complete love and inspiration.

                          Judy Wolman's Top 10 Favorite no particular order

1.  "Here's That Rainy Day"
2.  "Where Or When"
3.  "Embraceable You"
4.  "All The Things You Are"
5.  "My Shining Hour"
6.  "Young and Foolish"
7.  "I Can't Get Started"
8.  "You Must Believe in Spring"
9.  "Someone To Watch Over Me'
10."Body and Soul"

CD Review: Clairdee Releases Her Forth CD, "A Love Letter to Lina"

San Francisco based Vocalist Clairdee has admired and been a fan of Lena Horne since she was four years old.  Clairdee was not just in...