Michael Nelson

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VNYL Sliding: Why The “Netflix For Vinyl” Service Is Such A Mess

When VNYL launched its Kickstarter campaign on December 22, 2014, the goal was to obtain $10,000 in funding. When the campaign ended 17 days later, on January 9, 2015, the project’s organizers had nearly quadrupled that goal, amassing $36,000 total.

That money came in part thanks to countless news organizations who jumped o… More »

By: Michael Nelson / May 13, 2015 - 1:50 pm


Britpop may be two decades-plus behind us, but here in 2015, there’s a small wave of young, non-British bands making music that draws directly from the genre’s peak moment. A couple weeks ago, when Blur played Music Hall Of Williamsburg, the opening act was a quartet called Honduras, whose floppy-haired frontman employed an English accent… More »

By: Michael Nelson / May 11, 2015 - 11:13 am

Vennart – “Operate” (Stereogum Premiere)

Soon after the demise of Britpop, the United Kingdom produced a wave of excellent guitar bands that had trouble finding traction in the States; bands that combined elements of post-rock, indie rock, emo, and prog to create dizzying sonic towers of fury and sadness. (Frustratingly although unsurprisingly, the one band operating in this mode that… More »

By: Michael Nelson / May 7, 2015 - 11:59 am

Cult Leader – “You Are Not My Blood” (Mark Kozelek & Desertshore Cover) (Stereogum Premiere)

Sun Kil Moon/Red House Painters mastermind Mark Kozelek makes gentle, delicate, sensitive music that has perhaps counterintuitively found a devoted fanbase among metalheads. As I mentioned in an essay I wrote last year, my own obsession with Kozelek’s music came after hearing Type O Negative frontman Peter Steele (RIP) wax enthusiastic about Red House Painters. More »

By: Michael Nelson / May 6, 2015 - 9:58 am

Envy – “Blue Moonlight”


 … More »

By: Michael Nelson / May 4, 2015 - 3:34 pm

Comments from michael

Thanks man! I hope so; I would like to do a TIDAL follow-up.
+9 |
May 20, 2015 on Jack White Answers Lots Of Questions About Tidal
There are so many factors, I'm not even sure you could guess accurately. Here's a TIDAL-related example: According to Rolling Stone, Arcade Fire's The Suburbs cost $500,000 to make. In an earlier interview with the New York Times, though, those costs were broken down a little bit:
The band took its time recording The Suburbs, working and reworking songs for much of a year in homes and studios, using 24-track tape. "I'd hate to take a guess at the budget," [Win] Butler said, but he added that part of the cost was equipment the band would continue to use, including a 1940s mixing console with vacuum tubes.
However, also per the aforementioned RS article, Arcade Fire spent $1.6 million making Reflektor. Who even knows how that money was spent? Presumably some of the equipment they bought while making The Suburbs was still usable, and Win Butler said the castle where they recorded it was rented to them "cheap." Maybe James Murphy charged them a fortune. In any case, Butler initially thought $500k was ostentatious enough to make him "hate to take a guess at the budget" (and then he went out and spent three times that much for the next album), so I'd say that $200k is probably on the high end for most bands who aren't budgeting for the purchase (not rental) of vintage equipment, 24-track tape, and a year of re-working their material on and off in the studio. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/the-unforgettable-fire-can-arcade-fire-be-the-worlds-biggest-band-20140116 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/arts/music/01arcade.html
+6 |
May 20, 2015 on Jack White Answers Lots Of Questions About Tidal
Yeah exactly. "TIDAL is going to help a lot of artists out. I'm talking about the punk band that has 50k hits on Youtube and doesn't see a dime." OK so the last few Screaming Females videos posted on YouTube have averaged about 50k plays each. How, specifically, will TIDAL "help" Screaming Females?
+11 |
May 20, 2015 on Jack White Answers Lots Of Questions About Tidal
I was gonna sit here and frustratedly break down this whole Q&A but it's taking too long and it's not appropriate for the comments section anyway. I'll chime in on this one though: I think TIDAL is a noble cause, I don't understand the backlash that it's getting. Jack: There's a lot of misinformation about music in the last decade, people know that it costs a lot of money to make a super hero movie, but they don't know that it costs millions to make a country album too. TRUTH: Talk about "misinformation." It does not cost "millions" to make a country record. In 2011, NPR did a great report breaking down these numbers, and they concluded it costs about $78,000 to record a Rihanna song. (They did allow that it costs roughly $1M in rollout to make that song a "hit," though.) http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2011/07/05/137530847/how-much-does-it-cost-to-make-a-hit-song That's a fucking RIHANNA song. For her to record a 13-song entire album at $78,000 per song, it would cost $1,014,000. About a million. Not "millions." FOR RIHANNA. You want some context for that? Here's a quote from that story:
"It's like an all-star game," says Ray Daniels, who was at the writing camp for Rihanna ... The writing camp for Rihanna's album "had to cost at least 200 grand," Daniels says. "It was at least forty guys out there. I was shocked at how much money they were spending! But, guess what? They got the whole album out of that one camp."
That's not at all the norm. Nobody is spending "millions" to make a record. Here’s a breakdown for non-Rihanna-level artists: http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/2015/03/how-much-cost-to-record-album/
+21 |
May 20, 2015 on Jack White Answers Lots Of Questions About Tidal
This is ridiculous. It really sounds like he has absolutely no idea what he's talking about.
+19 |
May 20, 2015 on Jack White Answers Lots Of Questions About Tidal
"South Town Girls" really the best song to close out any playlist.
+8 |
May 20, 2015 on Spotify Expands Into Video, News, Fitness, Playlist Curation
Taking it as a given that I don't know if ANY of this is true -- whether you talked to him, whether he said that, whether he was being sincere, and/or how he would define "personal collection" -- there's something really hilarious in the abstract idea that some guy would start a record-curation club with his insanely massive personal collection, get covered in Billboard and Rolling Stone pre-launch -- "IS THIS THE FUTURE OF HOW WE WILL LISTEN TO MUSIC?" -- and then as soon as it rolls out ... like, it just turns out he has the worst, weirdest taste ever. "You didn't like that Henry Mancini Great Race soundtrack? You're nuts! It KILLED me to part with that thing ... What do you mean 'Uriah Heep isn't dinner music'? I used to play that during dinner with my wife, at dinner parties with guests, I mean, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one ... Well I'm sorry you didn't get any Nick Drake records or the Smiths records or Sleater-Kinney records but what can I say? I don't have that kind of stuff in my personal collection. Why? Because I have TASTE." Again, nobody ever said anything to me about VNYL stock drawing exclusively from one man's "personal collection," so I'm not suggesting any of the above is true, it's just cracking me up to imagine such a scenario.
+7 |
May 15, 2015 on VNYL Sliding: Why The “Netflix For Vinyl” Service Is Such A Mess
I can say with confidence that commenter was not Nick Alt; that commenter is a real VNYL customer who's apparently satisfied with the service. I tried to represent that point of view in the story -- there is truly no accounting for taste. I personally share Vincent Chang's outlook: "I think almost every record in the world is amazing or horrible; it all depends on what we are listening for." That said, IMO "curation" is an inaccurate description of the service provided by VNYL. Curation, to me, is like: If you said to me, "Hey I really liked the new At The Gates record and I've been getting into Swedish melodic death metal. What should I listen to next?" I might recommend Entombed or In Flames or the Crown or Disfear or Tribulation. I would alter those recommendations depending on what you knew already about Swedish melodic death metal, and/or what it was that you liked specifically about the Swedish melodic death metal you'd already heard. I would not hand you a used copy of Def Leppard's Pyromania and say, "Listen to this." Not because you wouldn't potentially like Pyromania, not because I don't like Pyromania, but because Pyromania is almost entirely irrelevant in this context. But that's a question of semantics. I suppose there is a chance VNYL staff have a reasonable familiarity with, and genuine fondness for, the records they're curating. Maybe Sid is a huge Michael Quatro fan; maybe he honestly thinks any fan of Spiritualized and LCD Soundsystem needs to hear Lionel Richie's first solo record. Music is so strange and subjective it's impossible to say.
+1 |
May 15, 2015 on VNYL Sliding: Why The “Netflix For Vinyl” Service Is Such A Mess
Customer review, #danceparty:
+4 |
May 15, 2015 on VNYL Sliding: Why The “Netflix For Vinyl” Service Is Such A Mess
The best show. Related: Adam Lambert was a guest judge on Drag Race! Paula Abdul was too!
+6 |
May 14, 2015 on The Week In Pop: American Idol Changed TV, But Music? Not So Much