American Express must have thrown down seven figures plus to book Jay-Z into the pristine Moody Theater in the Austin W complex but it managed to monopolize the buzz — at least for the hmoment — at SXSW Interactive. Jay-Z performed for just under two hours, doing 24 songs (full-length as opposed to the medley format favored on the Watch the Throne tour) cherry-picked from his deep repertoire. Amex flew in Jay and likely a planeload of entourage for this one-off event. I was fortunate to get a spot up close and snapped a ton of photos (only a few of which were worth posting).
SXSW seems to have a dearth of hip-hop on its schedule and this event was not an official part of the conference itself (though it got plenty of love as Amex is a SXSW sponsor). But let’s not kid ourselves, Jay-Z may be the greatest rapper alive but he’s every bit as much of a pop star today as he is hip-hop. The show was also simulcast within the W, on a big screen on Red River and on YouTube (watch on demand here). Photos, video and setlist below.
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Continue reading “Up Front with Jay-Z at Austin City Limits Live”
I took photos and interviewed several bands at FYF Fest earlier this month at Los Angeles State Historic Park. These interviews and photos originally appeared in LAist.
Click photos to embiggen / view as slideshow or click here to view all the photos on a single page.
Continue reading “Photos & Interviews from FYF Fest 2011: Dead Milkmen, Fool’s Gold, Future Islands, Explosions in the Sky, OFF! and More”
I’ve been extremely fortunate to have access to Spotify for a couple years now and for the past several months have been paying for the premium service. Now… I can FINALLY stop biting my tongue (or making friends jealous): Spotify opened for business in the U.S. last week! Hit me up with an email if you’d like an invite for the free, ad-supported version. Or go ahead and sign up here if you’re ready to dive in (can’t go wrong trying it out for a month) at $4.99 or $9.99/month for the fully featured desktop streaming or fully-featured mobile syncing respectively.
Read more below — a republishing of the article I wrote for LAist on July 13, the eve of Spotify’s U.S. launch — or read any of my previous posts on the service.
Continue reading “Spotify Streaming Music Service Now Available in the U.S.”
Strong sales of new releases from the top ladies in song and multiple reissues of classic albums made the first half of 2011 the best 6 months for album sales since 2004, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The one percent increase in sales is little more than a tiny bright spot for an industry which has gone into a tailspin over the past decade. The major labels failed to capitalize on emerging digital distribution models early on and do not look to be in a position to recover any time soon.
Continue reading “Album Sales Up for First Time in 7 Years”