Results for Sony Music

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Victims of the Music Business

nellie This week Jim and Greg stick it to the man, or more specifically — record companies. They discuss the phenomenon of major labels pulling the plug on established artists. The most recent victim is Nellie McKay, whose album Pretty Little Head was denied release by Sony Music. McKay wanted to release one version, Sony wanted to release another, and after the“pretty little”singer told her label to take it or leave it, they left it. Of course, upon hearing the advance copy, our hosts can't necessarily blame them.

Whether you enjoy the music or not, McKay's situation does pose an interesting question of how much creative control an artist has while under major label contract. As Jim states:“As long as there have been major labels, there have been executives deciding that they know better than the artist.”What are some of the other lost albums that fell prey to the big bad record company? Jim and Greg list off some of their favorites, including:

The Butthole Surfers

During the early '90s when "alternative" music was achieving commercial success, The Butthole Surfers were signed to Capitol. When the alternative fad waned, their label no longer appreciated the band's weird aesthetic and refused to release their album After The Astronaut. The Buttholes sued Capitol and demanded early release from their contract. The record, however, remained under Capitol ownership. Fans needn't fret though; most of the material was re-recorded and released by Hollywood Records.

Wilco

The hometown favorite's album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, was delayed release by its label because it was more conceptual than it was pop. Conceptual, of course, is hard to sell, so Reprise Records asked Jeff Tweedy and his bandmates to go back into the studio and find a hit. Wilco decided to stand by its album, and bid farewell to Reprise. Normally it would take a lot of time and money to recover tapes made under a label's contract, but in this case, Reprise let Wilco take their music, rather than face a public relations nightmare. The album was eventually released in 2002 by a different Warner Music subsidiary and ended up being the biggest selling of their career. The story played out very nicely in life, in film, and most importantly, in print.

Fiona Apple

This singer's label woes were perhaps the most highly publicized of the bunch, but according to our experts, the often difficult artist needs to take some of the blame. Apple decided to work with producer Jon Brion for a third time, but felt she needed more time on this effort. Epic Records, not pleased with what they‘d been hearing all along, told Apple that they’d need to approve a track at a time. Or at least that's what she thought she heard. In a dramatic move, Apple stopped recording, leaving the album unfinished. Neither Epic nor Apple wanted to release the music, however some of the songs leaked, and the response was so overwhelming that Apple was inspired to start working again. This time, she joined up with producers Mike Elizondo and Brian Kehew, and Extraordinary Machine can be heard in not one, but two forms.

Go to episode 117
lists

Shelved Albums

On this week's show, Jim and Greg stick it to the man — or, more specifically, the record companies. They discuss the phenomenon of major labels pulling the plug on established artists. The most recent victim is Nellie McKay, whose album Pretty Little Head was denied release by Sony Music. McKay wanted to release one version, Sony wanted to release another, and after the“Pretty Little”singer told her label to take it or leave it, they left it. Of course, upon hearing the advance copy, our hosts can't necessarily blame them.

Whether you enjoy the music or not, McKay's situation does pose an interesting question of how much creative control an artist has while under major label contract. In Jim's words:“As long as there have been major labels, there have been executives deciding that they know better than the artist.”What are some of the other lost albums that fell prey to the big bad record company? Jim and Greg list off some of their favorites.

  • Butthole Surfers, After the Astronaut
  • Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
  • Brian Eno, My Squelchy Life
  • Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
  • The Velvet Underground, VU
Go to episode 10
news

Music News

First up in the news this week is a discussion with Dave Frey, manager of the band Cheap Trick. Jim and Greg talk to Frey about the recent lawsuit he and the Rockford natives recently filed against Sony BMG. Cheap Trick, along with the Allman Brothers Band, launched the suit contending that the label has underpaid artists for digital music transactions. Artists currently receive about 4.5 cents per 99-cent download, while the label can receive as much as 70 cents per transaction. Considering that hits like "Surrender" or "Ramblin' Man" were made and paid for decades ago, the split doesn‘t seem very equitable. The reason for this, Frey explains, is that many bands’ contracts were drafted long before digital technology emerged. In fact, CDs are still considered“new media”for Cheap Trick. Therefore, royalty deductions are made to account for outdated“breakages”and“containers.”But until Frey can discern what the container is for an MP3, and how it breaks, he stands by the suit, which is asking for $25 million on behalf of all Sony Music artists.

Fellow rocker Keith Richards has also been in the news. According to reports, the Rolling Stones guitarist suffered a concussion after falling from a palm tree. What he was doing climbing a palm tree is still unknown, but Richards seems to have emerged from this latest accident fairly intact. Jim and Greg muse that this is not the first time the notoriously hard-living Stone was put in harm's way: He has previously broken ribs, punctured a lung, infected a finger, and battled heroin addiction. It seems Greg is correct to compare Richards to a cockroach; nothing can take him out.

Go to episode 23

Music News

Hard to believe, but The Beatles are so old that some of their music is now entering public domain in Europe. While a law is in place to extend copyrights in the E.U. from 50 to 70 years, that won't go into effect until 2014. That means that as of New Year's Eve 2012, early tracks like "Love Me Do" are up for grabs. Early tracks by Bob Dylan, however, have recently been protected. In order to avoid its catalog going into public domain, Sony Music has taken advantage of the law's“use it or lose it”clause. They released a compilation aptly titled, The 50th Anniversary Collection: The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. 1. It's only available in certain European countries though, so American Dylan fans will have to be willing to pay big bucks on eBay.

This is typically the dry season for major album releases, but there have been a lot of buzzworthy singles. Jim and Greg run through some of the big ones. They never thought they'd utter the words "new David Bowie track," but we've got one called "Where Are We Now," with a Tony Visconti-produced album to follow. Then there's JT's new chart-topper "Suit and Tie." A couple of weeks ago Jim and Greg made a plea for the gentleman of Outkast to come back together, and now we have both Big Boi and Andre 3000 appearing on a remix of Frank Ocean's "Pink Matter." But, Andre is quick to squash any reunion rumors. Last, but not least, are the ladies of Destiny's Child. There's a new song called "Nuclear" and plans for the three to appear together during the Superbowl Halftime Show. Guess motherhood has made Beyonce nostalgic.

Go to episode 373

Music News

The Beatles remasters were a big success story for Apple Corp. In one week they sold more than 600,000 albums in the U.S. and had 13 of the 14 best-selling catalog albums. So the question is, are they worth it? Jim and Greg give their answers. The sound is improved, but the packaging isn‘t much to write home about. And, as Jim says, how many new Beatles formats should fans be expected to buy? Greg thinks the real gems are the Fab Four’s mono mixes, but those are only available as a separate and pricey box set. Jim and Greg think fans deserve a little more for their money.

Two rock lawsuits are making the news. First, The Ellen DeGeneres Show is being sued by some of the largest record companies for copyright infringement. As viewers know, Ellen frequently and enthusiastically dances during the show. Unfortunately for her she doesn‘t like any fair-use beats. Instead she’s boogied down to over 1,000 copyrighted pop songs without permission. As Jim notes, the ironies abound: Ellen has not only hosted the recording industry's biggest award show, The Grammys, but she's been tapped as a new judge on American Idol, who works in partnership with Sony Music, one of the plaintiffs.

Next is an update on a lawsuit Jim and Greg discussed earlier this year. Guitar shredder Joe Satriani sued Coldplay for ripping off his composition If I Could Fly, in their track Viva La Vida. The suit has been dropped, and while no financial details have been revealed, Coldplay doesn't have to admit to any guilt.

Jim CarrollFamed poet, spoken word artist and punk rocker Jim Carroll passed away last week at the age of 60. Carroll may be best known for his 1978 book The Basketball Diaries, which was adapted into a film of the same name. He was also very involved in the CBGB's punk scene of the 1970s, and under the encouragement of Patti Smith, transformed his poetry into music. To honor Carroll, Jim and Greg play People Who Died from his 1980 album Catholic Boy.

Go to episode 199

Music News

Last Friday a New York judge denied a motion proposed by singer-songwriter Kesha Rose Sebert–known widely as Kesha–that her 10-year contract with Sony Music be dismissed. Kesha claimed her producer, Lukasz“Dr. Luke”Gottwald physically, sexually and emotionally abused her, and she wished to record music outside her current label. Gottwald has denied these allegations. Upon the judge's ruling that the contract remain valid, scores of fans as well as music superstars took to social media to post the rallying cry #FreeKesha. Taylor Swift even donated $250,000 to Kesha“to help with any of her financial needs during this trying time.”The case is ongoing, and the fight is sure to be a difficult one for Kesha. The music industry has a long history of musicians on the losing end of battles to break free from their contracts.
Kesha

Gwen Stefani's Make Me Like You live music video that aired during the Grammy Awards is being regarded as a watershed moment in music marketing. In a four-minute commercial break sponsored by Target, which invested roughly $12 million into the performance. Stefani performed alongside 40 performers on 11 different sets, cycling through 7 separate costumes, all live. In the midst of live-TV-event-mania (e.g. Grease: Live, The Wiz Live!), it's possible this trend will carry over beyond Stefani's performance to the rest of the music world and future album promotions. Greg will be watching to see if this exposure does good things for Stefani's album, This is What the Truth Feels Like, when it drops March 18.

Go to episode 535