The Inside Story of Wayne’s World’s Most Unintentionally Complicated Gag

Scott Meslow, writing at GQ:

It’s one of many throwaways, when Wayne pops into a music shop to try out a guitar. He starts to jam, but barely get off a few notes before the clerk grabs the neck of the guitar and points to a sign hanging nearby: NO STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN. “No ‘Stairway’! Denied” says Wayne as he turns to the camera. […]

It was only later that I discovered the movie originally included a much more recognizable version of the song—but only in the original cut. At some point after the U.S. release, Warner Music Group and Led Zeppelin refused the rights to even the first few notes of “Stairway” for broadcast, video, or foreign release, resulting in the hasty, patchy edit. “With ‘Stairway to Heaven’ we were told that we could only use two notes before we’d have to pay $100,000, so to sell that he’s gonna play ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in two notes is pretty difficult,” said director Penelope Spheeris.

This article is from 2007, but I had never heard this story before.

Live Nation Wants Artists to Take Pay Cuts

Rolling Stone:

Most of the new policies shift financial burdens to artists: For example, the company wants to decrease the monetary guarantees promised to artists before an event by 20% across the board. Live Nation also says that if a concert is cancelled due to poor ticket sales, it will give artists 25% of the guarantee (as opposed to the 100% that promoters are currently expected to pay). Moreover, if an artist cancels a performance in breach of the agreement, the artist will pay the promoter two times the artist’s fee — a type of penalty that, as Billboard notes, is unheard of in the live music industry.

“We are fully aware of the significance of these changes, and we did not make these changes without serious consideration,” Live Nation wrote. The company did not respond to request for comment.

Maybe the CEO didn’t need to be making three million a year.

The Science and Politics of Masks in the Covid-19 Pandemic

Science

Robert Wachter, writing on Medium:

Why is masking so difficult to maintain among the public? In Asia, face masks are now seen as a normal accessory. In the U.S., they’re still seen as awkward and stigmatizing. Historically, they have been a sign of illness or danger. This aversion, plus the fact that the benefit of masks mostly accrues to others, is why we need to make mask-wearing mandatory as long as SARS-CoV-2 is active in our communities, at least in closed spaces (as San Francisco has done).

One of the most common questions is whether it is necessary to wear a mask when walking or exercising outside. Empiric and simulation studies have shown that there is practically zero risk of viral spread when one is outdoors and keeping a distance of greater than six feet from others. I personally don’t wear a mask when walking the dog (but I do keep one with me just in case I encounter someone at close range). But I always wear a mask inside, or if an encounter within six feet is likely.

How Phoebe Bridgers Made ‘Punisher’

Phoebe Bridgers

Angie Martoccio, writing for Rolling Stone:

“Halloween” is a twisted holiday song, where she playfully sings, “But I count on you to tell me the truth/When you’ve been drinking and you’re wearing a mask,” backed by an upright bass and subtle synths. Her vocals sail through the octaves, producing a chilling effect. “I love how sad it is to throw depression into a holiday,” she says. “I don’t want to do Christmas, because that’s overdone. But I had a voice memo on my phone, because I was trying to get stuff to sample on Halloween one year where I was totally by myself, and it’s children laughing in the background. It’s just so fucked up and weird to me.”

MusicSmart Puts the Spotlight on Music Credits

Apps

Federico Viticci, writing at MacStories, about the new app MusicSmart:

Here’s the amazing part – the “aha” moment that brought back the same feelings I had as a kid when reading through liner notes: in the Tracks section, you can tap any of the listed songs to view detailed credits for the selected song. These go beyond the standard “written by” credits you see in Apple Music: MusicSmart lists engineers (including mixing, mastering, and assistant engineers), producers, and even the name of the label and studio where the song was mastered. But there’s more: MusicSmart can show you the names of all the artists credited for the creation of a song even if they’re not core members of a band, including backing vocalists, percussionists, keyboard players, saxophonists – you name it.

I’ve been playing around with this app for the last couple of weeks and it’s a really nice addition for those that want to dive deeper into the credits of a song. In past I’d be listening to something and often wonder who was playing one of the backing instruments, or trying to figure out if the strings were real or fake, and end up Googling around and hoping I could find the information or a photo of the album credits. This is much nicer.

Read More “MusicSmart Puts the Spotlight on Music Credits”

The Streaming Model During a Pandemic

Money

Mark Mulligan:

This model worked fine when live and merch were booming because more than three times as many monetised fans meant three times more opportunity for selling tickets and t-shirts. This of course is the ‘exposure’ argument streaming services are fond of, which works until it does not. Now that live and merch have collapsed, as the trope goes ‘exposure does not pay the rent’. The previously interconnected, interdependent model has become decoupled.

Stuart Dredge:

All of this is being driven by streaming (and particularly by paid streaming subscriptions), yet this growth is accompanied by a resurgence in unrest from the musicians whose work has made that growth possible. Many are worried that streaming royalties aren’t providing a sustainable income.

The contrast between these fears and the rosy industry figures is sharpened now, during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the live music industry having shut down entirely in many countries, with an anticipated hit to public performance royalties to come.

I’ve seen a lot of interesting articles popping up about how the current model for the music industry was (kinda) working … right up until live shows were removed from the equation. I’m afraid we’re going to see quite a few smaller to mid-sized bands just not return after all of this is over.

Read More “The Streaming Model During a Pandemic”

Event Safety Alliance Releases Reopening Safety Guide for Venues

Billboard:

So Adelman and Worek, the operations director, spent the past month crowd-sourcing more than 400 tour promoters, managers, Ticketmaster employees, caterers and Irish-fair organizers and released a 29-page guide on Monday. Given contradictory, confusing and evolving state stay-at-home restrictions — bars in Kansas are allowed to open as of May 18 at half capacity, while live concerts resume in Branson, Missouri, this coming Friday — organizers of the non-profit concert-business group decided to add expertise and clarity.

Streaming Follows a Trail Paved by Thieves and Pirates

Nick Heer:

But, most of all, legitimate services will struggle to replace the community that grew naturally within What.cd. It was a place willed into existence by people who truly love music, not something that labels constructed to attract customers, and it was held together by that community. Some digital music services have tried to create similar connections — Apple Music and Spotify users can share their playlists, and iTunes users of the past could do the same with iMixes. Apple, in particular, has tried a little too hard on two separate occasions to turn music into a social network, with little success.

Make no mistake: I understand the legal and ethical ramifications of torrent trackers and file sharing. I would vastly prefer to pay artists — and it’s just the right thing to do. It was merely a perk that What.cd was free, but I do not see that as its defining characteristic. If it were a legitimate streaming service, but was otherwise exactly the same, I would have paid many times the amount of my current Apple Music monthly subscription. That’s how good it was.

I thought this was a really well written, and thought provoking, piece on current music streaming services and where they succeed and fail compared to the piracy platforms that came before.

MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund Depleted

Billboard

Billboard:

MusiCares announced Thursday (April 30) that its COVID-19 Relief Fund is depleted and that it has been forced to stop accepting new applications.

“Unfortunately, until we can raise more money for our COVID-19 Relief Fund, we can no longer accept new applications from those seeking assistance. While our goal is always to provide support to everyone in need, we are currently bound by the funds available,” the Foundation said in a statement.

Patreon Lays Off 13% of Workforce

Megan Rose Dickey, writing at TechCrunch:

“It is unclear how long this economic uncertainty will last and therefore, to prepare accordingly, we have made the difficult decision to part ways with 13% of Patreon’s workforce,” a Patreon spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch. “This decision was not made lightly and consisted of several other factors beyond the financial ones.”

Apple Music Starts $50 Million COVID-19 Advance Fund for Indie Labels

Rolling Stone:

Apple Music is the latest company to offer industry relief amid the coronavirus pandemic. It told independent record labels Tuesday that it is launching a $50 million advance royalty fund to make sure their artists get paid.

According to a letter sent to the labels and obtained by Rolling Stone, independent labels that earn at least $10,000 in quarterly Apple Music earnings will qualify for the royalty advances. To qualify, the indie labels must have a direct Apple Music distribution deal.