I have just released a 2-disc album called Major Betty Blues Backing Tracks.  It contains 12 bar blues backing tracks in all the major keys, at both 90 bpm and 110 bpm.

They are great for practice and improvisation and a fun way to learn the 1, 4, and 5 chords in all the major keys.  You can also practice/improvise on the scales and build your confidence and ability to voice chords in all the inversions.

The album is available in all the usual online stores  like Amazon, iTunes, cdbaby and Bandcamp.  It is also available on all major streaming platforms and YouTube.

A sample track has been uploaded to the music page on this site.

I have just released a 12-bar-blues backing track for musicians to practice and play along with.  It's in the key of E, using major chords E, A, and B.  It will soon be available on streaming.  It is currently available on CDbaby.com and Bandcamp. This track is 100 BPM.  There will be a 80 BPM version very soon.

 

Sir Elton John, a true giant and pioneer in the music industry, wishes people would write better songs.

I wish the same thing but I think that listeners drive the market more than he's acknowledging.  If people listened to better music and paid for it, the songwriters would certainly write more of it.

So the first step is to stop dumbing down the population.  And unfortunately pop culture is one of the most potent forces in dumbing down the population.

Sadly, writing smart, challenging music, can drive an audience away in record time in today's world.  It's not like it was in the 60's when Sir Elton came of musical age.

So just Stop It!

See SPOT run.

Spotify opened at $165.90 using a direct listing model, which is different from most IPOs. There were no banks underwriting the offering. The stock closed down from the high at $149.01, more than 10% below the opening price.

Insiders can also trade the stock like anybody else because there is no lockout window as with most IPOs.  That means that the early investors could sell their shares today to members of the public who choose to disregard the fact that Spotify has never turned a profit.  Last year they lost almost $500 million.

It is concerning that they lose money when they pay musicians so little per stream. How will they make a profit when forced to raise their rates?

"Autumn Leaves" (1956) is classic film that I recently saw for the first time.  It stars Joan Crawford and Cliff Robertson.

Robertson who was 23 at the time and starring in one of his first films, plays a mentally unstable young man who falls in love with a lonely older woman. He gives a strong confident performance, often in very intimate scenes against Crawford, who was 52 and a big star at the time.

The film also features Lorne Greene, who went on to star in TV's hit "Bonanza."

There are a number of references to music in the story.

This was my favorite scene.  I'm surprised they were able to get this dialogue and some of the more sexually charged scenes through the censorship of the time. 

Here's an interesting article from the LANDR blog.

I'm sure that many of the things discussed in the article will be familiar if you're working on creating music. I know it was all very familiar to me and I highly recommend reading it.

Perfectionism really is an illusion and also very subjective. It has paralyzed me in many aspects of my life, not just music.  It's always very liberating to let go of it. 

I what sounds like a disastrous and irrational decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a previous verdict and awarded $5.3 million to the Gaye family.  Two judges sided with the Gaye family, while one judge wrote an important and scathing dissent, supporting the defendants Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams.

Dissenting Judge Jacqueline Nguyen offered a harsh dissent, saying that the songs resemble each other only in style not substance and that the decision was detrimental to the future of artists and creativity.

"The majority allows the Gayes to accomplish what no one has before: copyright a musical style," Nguyen wrote. "'Blurred Lines' and 'Got to Give It Up' are not objectively similar. They differ in melody, harmony, and rhythm. Yet by refusing to compare the two works, the majority establishes a dangerous precedent that strikes a devastating blow to future musicians and composers everywhere."

You can find similarities in style between many pop songs. Most rock songs have essentially the same drum beat. Most pop music uses the same four chords and often the same chord progressions.  "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give it Up" have similarities, but I have never thought they sounded the same and the fact is that the Williams/Thicke song differs in more ways from the Gaye song than they are alike.  It's a good thing that one judge saw that, but I think this ruling is going to make these types of lawsuits more common. That's good for lawyers, but not songwriters.

It's hard to image Renee Zellweger playing Judy Garland but it's going to happen.  As you can see from the picture in this article from Variety she's getting the look right.  And you know she can sing if you saw her in Chicago, which earned her an Oscar nomination.  But can anybody, except maybe the best drag queens, sing like Judy Garland?

It's going to be interesting.

Justin Timberlake, U2 and Taylor Swift are having trouble selling their music and will have to rely on touring if they want to keep bringing in the big bucks.

Record Sales Plunge as Top Artists– Justin Timberlake, U2, even Taylor Swift– Sell Fractions of Previous Numbers

I recently damaged a pair of Klipsch Image One headphones but I found a way to repair them. This video shows how I did it.

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