Friday, July 4, 2008

Jordan Croucher - Won't Let Go



It's 5:57 am here in Toronto and I haven't slept yet because I barely saw my beautiful girl Veronica at all yesterday - so being the man that I am I stayed awake so I could see her before she left for work.

As I'm waiting I came across a really dope track on Much Music by a local artist named Jordan Croucher. I'm not too familiar with his music, but I have seen him in several Classified videos and saw his name appear on a few tracks under that camp. I'm taking it that the video I just saw was for a new track titled "Won't Let Go". This is a really great track, I'm loving the production and he has a really nice tone to his singing voice.

Enjoy! Let me know what you guys think.

Respect

MrBlue

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Music Sampling Copyright Law


I found a great 2 part video on YouTube as I was searching Google to check the ranking for one of my keywords on INeedVinyl.com. I would really like to know where people stand regarding the issue of music sampling and copyright law. Some say it is an ethical issue, others say it is simply a matter of licensing, or lack thereof. Personally, hip hop production would be no where if it wasn't for the sampling of old rock, blues, jazz, and funk vinyl records in the late 70's - to be even more of an asshole, the music industry right now wouldn't be where it is without hip hop.

Hip Hop is considered the pop of the early 2000's. It is what sells cars, ipods, pizza, insurance, and hemorrhoid cream to the masses through mass syndicated broadcast. If there was no sampling, there would be no hip hop - some might argue this statement though.

Regardless, I feel that sampling is an art form in itself which requires an individual to rework and rearrange an original composition to make it their own. If an artist is selling 10's of thousands of units from a single that contains a sample which is not licensed, then by all means seek monetary compensation for the use of your works as an intellectual rights holder. But going after the independent musician who probably can't afford to pay the licensing fees involved with obtaining sampling rights is just silly.

All I know is that I would never sample a song that I didn't love, and respect. It is a sign of homage to the originators - which is why we want to sample your records in the first place! So ease off. If you would like to read an article with a more in depth discussion of the different elements involved with music sampling copyright law, click here.

Respect.

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Why You Should Stop Trying To Get Signed

In the music industry ten years ago if you were an artist, songwriter, or composer of some sorts your absolute main objectives would be fairly simple to jot down on paper, and they would look something like this:
  1. Write some songs
  2. Establish yourself locally by playing live
  3. Get with a good studio and record a kick-ass demo
  4. Shop that demo to as many radio stations and record labels as humanly possible
  5. Hope to get signed
In case you haven't noticed, times have changed significantly. I'm subscribed to the isound.com mailing list (which is very informative) and they recently sent out a link for an audio interview with some of the industries biggest shot callers, A&Rs, and producers discussing the current state of todays music industry. I forwarded the email to a few of my artists and colleagues as I knew I wouldn't have time to listen before I wanted to write another post. To no surprise my good friend Scarlem D sent me a text message saying he listened to the feed I sent him, and informed me that all the big wig label whores were talking about the same things that I've been talking to him about for the last few months - Unless you are specifically writing songs for the top 40 market, there is no point trying to get signed to a major record label.

Shocking? Not so much. If you were a band or artist in the 1960's one of your biggest challenges would be to get your music recorded. It was expensive, and the studio's were very picky especially if they had a reputation to maintain. If you weren't up to par musically, it didn't matter how much money you had they studio would not give you the time of day. It was simply not worth their time. Lets get back to 2008...

Every 15 year old with a part time job and a dream has a computer, sound card, condenser microphone, and some recording software. There is no longer a need for skill; simply load up some plug-ins and choose your favorite preset, and if you're having problems all you have to do is visit YouTube and type in "name of recording software" tutorials to get a one on one lesson. So long to the days of acoustically treated control rooms, sound floors with a sunlight ceiling, and a Studer 2 inch sitting in the corner waiting for the final dump.

So where am I going with this?

Because the act of getting your music recorded is now a self-taught art amongst bedroom studio aficionados, the competition is stiff which means the amount of aspiring artists in your local town and city are 1 in every 5. Everybody is trying to be a rockstar, get signed, or be the next Kanye West. Every other kid on your block has an album out, with a myspace page, and a mailing list. This is presenting a major challenge to the record labels (aside from physical sales vs digital) which has put them in a position where their main concern is to capitalize, but not oversaturate - and that can be quite the task. There once was a time where a record label would consider signing an artist to a development deal because they saw "potential". In the information age music industry you are looking at a 1 song digital download/ringtone deal - if your song does well, they might consider allowing you more of their time and money.

Its scary.

If you are fixed on getting signed and living your rockstar dreams I have two pieces of advice for you; Build a strong online fanbase via myspace, facebook, etc.. And target indie labels with major distribution. An independent label will allow you to grow, build your fanbase, get a website up, and even help you shop your album to a major label if you've got that "hit" everybody is looking for.

If you're a composer or producer of music, you have a nice alternative which is to compile your catalog of original music and shop around for a publishing deal (which is much easier compared to getting signed). For those of you who aren't clear on what exactly a publishing deal is, it is pretty much agreeing into relations with a company who will get your music placed in commercials, movies, video games on a contract basis. Imagine spending two hours making some lo-fi mood music and getting a $10,000 cheque for licensing it to a major cell phone company 3 months later so they can use it as background music for their fall advertising campaign.

So go ahead and get signed, chase that dream of yachts, bling bling, and parties at the Playboy Mansion. For those of you who are a little more realistic, stay tuned over the next little while as I will be going into further detail on getting signed to an independent record label, and music publishing for profit.

Respect.

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Record Labels In Toronto

Trying to find record labels in Toronto? I am a Toronto native, born and raised. I've performed in some of this cities finest venues and produced music for some amazing artists. Personally, I have more business relations with labels internationally then I do in my own city, but for one of the worlds best places for upcoming artists there's an apparent lack of record labels, right?

Wrong.

The problem with trying to find record labels in Toronto is that there are so many. Big, small, indie, major, this city has it all! I am feeling quite determined to build some sort of resource site with a comprehensive listing of record labels in Toronto. For the purpose of this post I will list off as many record labels as I can off the top of my head that have offices in Toronto. If there are any labels you would like me to add, please let me know!

ACOMA COMPANY
Box 62056 Victoria Terrace PO, Toronto M4A 2W1
E-mail : music@acoma-co.com


ALGORHYTHM MUSIC
Toronto
E-mail : info@algorhythm.com


ATTACK RECORDS & FILMWORKS
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 395, Toronto, Ontario
TEL : (1) 416 340 9111 / FAX : (1) 416 340 1941 / E-mail : attack@interlog.com


BHURR RECORDS
Toronto
TEL : (1) 416-489-7230 / E-mail : rcase@rcdmusic.com


BLACKSPIN PRODUCTIONS
Toronto, ONT
E-mail : kwade@sympatico.ca


BOREALIS COMPANY
67 Mowat Ave., Suite 233, Toronto, Ontario M6K 3E3
TEL : (1) 416-530-4288 / FAX : (1) 416-530-0461 / E-mail : info@borealisrecords.com


CBC RECORDS
P.O. Box 500, Station A, Toronto, ON M5W 1E6
TEL : (1) 416-205-3498 / FAX : (1) 416-205-2376 / E-mail : cbcrecords@toronto.cbc.ca


COMA
178 Brunswick Avenue, Toronto, ON M5S 2M5
TEL : (1) 416-515-7740 &( 1) 888-282-6874 / FAX : (1) 416-515-0960 / E-mail : coma@cpreal.com


DAHB MUSIC
Toronto
E-mail : dahbmusc@passport.ca


JAZZ INSPIRATION RECORDS
E-mail : abslegal@total.net


SHEEBA RECORDS
Suite 291, 238 Davenport Road, Toronto, Ontario M5R 1J6
TEL : (1) 416-921-1364 / FAX : (1) 416-921-0024 / E-mail : sib@sheeba.ca


SOLITUDES
250 Ferrand Drive, Suite 1100, Don Mills, Ontario, M3C 3G8
TEL : (1) 416-510-2800 / E-mail : solitudes@somersetent.com


I'm not sure of each labels genre, market, or whether they are accepting demo submissions. The best way to find that info out is to give them a call! I know some of you might prefer to hide behind the computer and send off an email hoping someone has the time to respond, but the reality is far from that. Record labels received hundreds of emails daily and if you are serious about making it in the music business you need to pop your "cold calling" cherry and get dialing! A few other labels I know personally who have offices in Toronto are Urbnet, Paperbag Records, Underground Operations, Universal Music Canada. Speaking of Universal, if you're looking to go straight for the major record labels in Toronto, visit www.overhear.com which is one of, if not the best resource for Canadian musicians.

I'm really serious about starting a resource website strictly for Toronto musicians. If you have any ideas AT ALL or would like to sit down and talk business regarding getting a site like this up and running, don't hesitate to contact me: mrblue.reviewsATyahoo.com.

Respect.

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Virgostratus LP Available Now!!!


World domination has begun. I don't know why I'm hearing some laughing in the front row? That statement is not a joke, but a fact. Yes my friends after a long awaited release, the Pyragon And MrBlue LP "Virgostratus" is officially available world wide.

For those of you (most of you) who don't know the history behind this album here is the story, cleverly narrated in third person:

It was September of 2006.

The immediate connection was evident between Pyragon and MrBlue... And at that exact time a prediction was manifested. Having encountered each other on the web, the hurdle of time and space presented its rebuttal from day one. To the average mind this proposal would seem ludicrous, but to Pyragon and MrBlue it was merely a single challenge...facing two Virgos.

The odds looked good from the jump off.

Over the next several months they spent countless hours exploiting every avenue of communication possible; Pyragon in D.C., and MrBlue in Toronto. With each phone call a new brick was set into the foundation, and with every lyric written or beat composed the message was becoming more and more vivid.

They met for a reason.

In July of 2007 the brotherhood was made official when Pyragon arrived in Toronto and for the next 5 days they lived and slept in Blue's studio. The experience was like two long lost brothers reuniting for a game of chess, and with the ease and grace that only veterans could possess, Virgostratus was born.

Checkmate.

If you would like to listen to and purchase a download copy of the Virgostratus LP please click on the title of this post, or the album cover posted above and you will be directed to the land of Pyragon And MrBlue.

Respect.

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bhon & Elaquent - Self I Am...

Word. Now you know that I would never recommend anything that is garbage, unless it was hot and steaming.

This is hot and steaming, but it's not garbage! It's "Self I Am" brought to you by Bhon & Elaquent. Now I have known eQ for at least a year and a half (seems like longer) and had the pleasure of metting him at Scarlem D's CD release party last July. I'll never forget the moment I saw this 6 foot something big black dude walk up in the spot and sit down, later on to realize that was Elaquent. Such a gentle, reserved soul trapped inside the body of a Patriots Linebacker. It was a sight to be seen. Back to the album.

Elaquent is one of those naturally gifted people when it comes to computers, music, and putting them together. He is completely self taught, and self inspired (being stuck in a dorm room most of the time). I don't know what it is about Guelph, but every god damn thing I hear coming from that city is retarded! Introspect being my first experience with this phenomena. Not too long ago eQ released his "In Colour" instrumental LP which was off the hook, and now which seems like 2 weeks later he has done it again with the collaborative genius of Bhon (Audio Ink) hailing from the sands of Nevada.

Man the internet is a beautiful thing...

Self I Am starts off with a sax infused, poetically driven intro featuring a piece written by Bhon on the "I am" topic. Cleverly arranged and great production choice from eQ. The ambiance walks through to the title track "Self I Am" which is a creative continuation of the introduction. Track by track this LP gets more dope with each word spit, and each kick dropped. Bhon's lyrics have matured since the first time I stumbled upon him on the net (via eQ) not to mention the recording quality of his delivery and takes. It's always comforting to hear emcee's progress, and bring the standards of quality beyond streaming and wma compression.

"Came a long way from West Indian sand and seas.." recites Solar C on the track "Worldwide". Solar C is another cat I stumbled upon randomly on Myspace, and we've had quite a few conversations on the phone just talking about life, music, and everything in between. Solar C is a beast on the mic, beats, and on the cuts and it was wise to bring his experience to the LP. I was waiting to hear some vocal arrangements and to my surprise the next track crept up with a melodic intro harmonized by songstress Shaunise.

The thing about this LP that I really like is the consistency carried throughout. Bhon dances up, down, and around the beats with his sharp, vibe-driven flow while eQ sits back and does what he does best. He is so steady it's not even funny. I'm not saying that he is limited with his beatmaking abilities, but more he is constant with his sound, choice of samples, and how he meshes them together. The bass is always prominent ("Steady Travellin" ridiculous bass!), there is always a swing factor with his tempo, and every single beat I have ever had the pleasure of hearing proves to satisfy the stereo range of my KRK's. I was about to reveal the sample in "Raise Up" and give kudos to a creative use of the track, but out of respect for eQ and all the rookies that don't know what I'm talking about, I will keep it to myself!

The album ends exactly how it started; Dope.

There is not much to be said except that if you think Hip Hop is dead, if you think the internet is a joke and that Myspace (to name one) is nothing but a community for social networking, spamming, and 15 year old whore's in training posting their untouched muffins up for every perv, pedophile, and politician to spank junk over, think again. Beneath all the hype, images of fame and fortune, corruption, and corrosion lies a community of creative creatures working, sweating, and grinding all in the name of utmost good faith. There are albums being released everyday from people who have never even met, collaborations coming together breaking borders and geographical stereotypes. Self I Am is a perfect example of this.

If you didn't notice the "Click For Free Download" text planted on the album cover above, please follow these instructions: Click On The Picture Above For A Free Download!

Respect.

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Sunday, April 13, 2008

INeedVinyl.com, Rare Vinyl Records, Build A Niche Store

It's been a while since I've visited my trusty ol' blog, and there is no excuse why it's been so long. Quite a few things have occurred in the last little while, one in particular I'm very proud of.

I have officially dove into the world of internet marketing and web publishing. Some of you might have noticed that there is a domain name now attached to this blog, www.mrbluereviews.com, which I purchased along with a few others from GoDaddy.com. The process of researching and purchasing domains is a lot easier than it may seem and I've realized the importance of having a domain in this day and age, because when it comes to the internet there are seemingly infinite sites, blogs, forums, etc... And this is why branding and identity are so much more important if you want people to find you.

I have a lot of close friends and family members who are DJ's by trade, and noticed that over 90% of them purchase their wax primarily from eBay. Not too surprising, right? Anyways, so over the last little while I've been becoming somewhat of an enthusiast myself (my collection is nothing close to the Fox Music Company Jazz Room shown above) but I have been regularly visiting a little record shop down the street from my office called Vortex Records. After doing some research on eBay I realized that there is a great demand for rare vinyl records. I started to notice the prices that some of the more valuable items were closing at, and it's ridiculous!!! The most expensive auction listed right now on eBay.ca with bidders is for a rare Madonna "Like A Virgin" LP in mint condition with an alternate custom hand painted cover by some artist. The current bid is $3779.92!!!! I'm sweating just thinking about that dollar value...

So I began researching the eBay affiliate game, and discovered a kick ass product called Build A Niche Store from one of their affiliates, Mark Hansen, at TheNicheStoreBuilder.com. BANs, as it is called, It is a site builder script that incorporates eBay RSS feeds along with some pretty cool optimization functions all backed by a wallop of information and support from their forum and community. For $97 bucks you get a lifetime, unlimited license, updates, support, did I mention it's unlimited!?!? You can use the script to build 10,000 sites if you want. The learning curve isn't too bad, and with blogs like TheNicheStoreBuilder.com and many others out there one could have a niche targeted site up in no time. Anyways, I'm not linking to BANs because this isn't a sales pitch but I did want to let everyone know that there are alternate ways to make income, especially as a struggling musician/artist, like myself.

Back to my reason for posting today... So I discovered that there is a huge market right now for vinyl and it seems to be on the incline. I went over to GoDaddy.com and started looking for a catchy .com to brand my BANs site and I managed to find INeedVinyl.com for $8. Pretty sweet. Another thing I discovered was that when I googled "Vinyl Records" and similar search terms all the top sites were ugly, outdated, and more targeted towards record collectors. There didn't seem to be an sites that were current, up to date, and targeting the very profitable market of people like myself; DJ's, Beatmakers, and Hippy burnouts aged 25-30 who love vinyl because its vinyl, and it sounds great!

I think you all know where I'm going with this, so keep an eye out in the next coming weeks for the official launch of INeedVinyl.com and if anybody has suggestions in regards to certain records they are trying to find or anything else regarding vinyl records, get at me!!

Respect.

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wax: Music's All Around Me



I got a phone call from my uncle this evening who was fixated on this video he saw on youtube. The video featured a Cali emcee/producer named Wax. Wax is not wack, on the contrary he's very ill. Let me take a minute to state how my day began...

My studio has been confined to a single room between the living area and the kitchen of my apartment. When I initially moved here I basically shoved all of my belongings into several boxes with minimal (if any) organization. Today Scarlem D, myself, and my girl renovated the studio from top to bottom. We took everything out, vacuumed, and put everything back. The end result is a cleaner, more creative space.

Back to Wax. I know very little about this chap from Cali other than the fact that he plays guitar, sings, rhymes, and does some entry level video editing. He has a mediocre youtube following with an ample amount of videos to feed the masses. So by the time my uncle hit me up on the phone I was exhausted, but always willing to hear great music.

This video is a perfect example of how thinking outside of the box will enable any creative soul with the ability to project music beyond their regular means. All I can say at this point is that I'm extremely inspired...

Fuck Wax, I'm gonna make 'nuff tracks... Respect Wax, but you know how it goes... You're good, but I know I can do better... Not to say that what he does is sub-par, but at the same time it promotes a conflict of interest... I also produce music, rhyme, sing, play several instruments, and can do some pretty good mediocre video editing....

Am I hating? A little bit... This cat is uber-talented. He makes me want to hit the ASR with 35 beats by the morning... He is doing what some people only dream of. But not me, I live this dream... and Wax is bringing the heat under my ass...

Big up Wax... One thing though, your mom says whats up.

Respect.

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Level 42 - Something About You


I was having lunch with my girlfriend in downtown Toronto today, and a song came on the radio that we both loved growing up. Now being a child born in the early 80's meant that we were infused with world class pop music, especially pop music from the UK. Our waitress came by to check up on the burger and rueben we ordered and I asked her "what song is this?" not realizing that she was clearly much younger than the two of us. Her reply was pretty simple, "I have no idea, sorry!"

I parted with my girl at the subway station as she needed to visit Forever 21 and satisfy her shopping urge, and I came back to our apartment and hit youtube. Not finding the original video, I then proceeded to google and found a guy had posted it on a blog.

Here it is for all you 80's babies and retro pop fiends. Level 42 "Something About You."

Respect.

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Dope Track. Toronto Hip Hop.

Yes Yes...

MrBlue here... New Track posted up titled "Feel The Breeze" by Scarlem D & MrBlue...

For those of you who don't know, the two of us have been working in the studio creatively together since 2004... Which resulted in D's "Compositions" LP, which was produced and mixed by MrBlue.

If you would like a free download with all the artwork, hit me up*******

"Feel The Breeze" was creatively put together in the span of 1 week... I came up with the structure, D paid a visit to the Basement Theory lab and crafted his efforts in the verse and synth arrangements.

We sat down yesterday and wrote it, then recorded and mixed it today.

Enjoy!

Respect

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pete Rock

My influence, my inspiration, and the reason why I decided to mess around with my uncle's ASR-10 almost a decade ago; Pete Rock. Without question one of the most talented and humble hip hop producers to this day. He created a style that has been duplicated by beatmakers and crate diggers across the globe.

Pete Rock first exploded onto the music scene in the late eighties as a DJ on New York radio station WBLS' "In Control with Marly Marl," which aired every Friday and Saturday night. With a solid fan base behind him, Pete decided he wanted to expand his musical talents, so in the early 90's Pete began producing. Not content with being a producer and DJ, Pete hooked up with long time friend and rapper CL Smooth in 1991.

With the release of the EP All Souled Out in 1991 and two full length albums Mecca & The Soul Brother in 1992 and Main Ingredient in 1994, Pete Rock & CL Smooth became a major force in the rap community. While riding high on their success, Pete Rock & CL Smooth shocked their fans and the music industry by deciding to go their separate ways in 1994.

While promoting an EP and two albums, Pete continued to work on his producing skills. Pete Rock gained production notoriety with the re-mix to Public Enemy's "Shut 'Em Down", in 1991-92. With fullproduction credits on Mic Geronimo-"Unstoppable", Common Sense-"The Bitch In You", Run DMC-"Down With The King", re-mix credits on Monica-"Before You Walk", Jamal-Fades "'Em All", Naughty By Nature-"Hip Hop Horray", EPMD/LL Cool J-"Rampage" and soundtrack credits for Menace To Society-"Death Becomes You", Who's The Man-"What's Next On The Menu" and Poetic Justice-"One In A Million", you would think that Pete Rock was satisfied. But, he wasn't.

In 1995 Chris LaMonica, National Director of Mix Shows at Loud Records hooked up with Pete who was now the DJ for Future Flavas with Marly Marl on Hot 97. From building a promotional relationship with Pete, Chris was able to bring the talent of Pete Rock to Loud, which resulted in the birth of a solo career.

The rest is definitely history...

Biography from www.sweetlyrics.com

Respect

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Music VS The 9-5 Grind

Alright, I'm going to keep this short and simple. A popular question amongst budding musicians, producers, beat makers, DJ's, and all other creative mammals is "How can I get anywhere with my music while I still have this 9-5 cubicle problem?"

A valid question, without a valid answer. There are many things one can do to free more time, and in turn have better means to be creative. I have struggled with holding jobs for as long as I can remember. It seems that after 3-6 months my boredom overpowers me to the point where I will either quit, or immediately start looking elsewhere for something "better" and more "satisfying" on a temporary basis.

A very important factor in balancing your day job and real job is to treat your art as a "job" with no exceptions. I dedicate a minimum of 1 hour per night, 6-10 hours on the weekends to work in the studio on whatever projects I currently have simmering. If you treat your art as a hobby then it will remain a hobby. If you treat your art as a job, and verbalize to your family and friends that this is a job than there is a better chance it eventually become exactly that.

One thing I am trying to do right now is make money from home via web publishing and internet marketing. Internet marketing takes minimal amount of money, and a butt-load of time, but once you have your niche markets and a handful of sites with passive and residual income you can eventually get to the point of only working a few hours a day, which in turn equals MORE TIME FOR MUSIC. I know, it seems far fetched but it really isn't. I recently met a chap my age from the states named Silvano who is trying to do the same thing. He is a hip hop fiend with a dream to make his living from home providing the world with relevant content relating to our mutual friends "boom" and "bap".

Since we share the same dream in a matter of speaking, we have formed a bond based on past experiences and future ideas. If you ever want to leave your 9-5 and chase a dream, you have better chances of surviving if you have a team or at least a handful of people with the same visions. Stay tuned as I will be getting more specific with certain steps individuals can take to free up more time. 4 Hour Work Week???? Thats coming later!

Respect

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Unemployed Musician

If I had $20 for every unemployed musician in Canada alone, I would be rich! And at this moment in time I am currently "unemployed" and I am a musician, so you do the math! It can be so frustrating when you have a passion, and you put sweat and tears into your craft but yet you have to work a day job. One can easily lose their focus and creative steam when having to spend 8 hours a day doing something that you have no interest in.

Through my struggles as a music producer I've learned that one of the most important factors that divide the "successful" and the "unsuccessful" is their ability to make something out of nothing. You must be an Alchemist!

When I am jobless I rarely take down-time, but rather immediately begin planning my next gig or business idea. This blog is one of my business ideas! I try my best to stay productive and most importantly, to stay positive. It is very easy to get down or discouraged when you have no idea when you next check is going to be. So here are a few tips that I've picked up over the years that help me keep focused, and get working as soon as possible:

-Keep making music! The last thing you want to do is take a break.

-Take an entire day to write down ideas and potential business models that you can begin to incorporate as soon as possible.

-Keep making music! I can't stress enough how important this is!

-Get emailing, and get on the phone! Update your press kit or demo and start getting them out to labels, managers, other artists, etc... There are so many directories on the internet, and also some services you can pay for either monthly or annually. musicSubmit a great place to start.

-Stay active on the internet. Visit forums like HipHopCanada.com and stay in touch with your community.

-Work on anything that you have been putting off. Call your artists and get them into the studio to record.

-Stay positive, and stay focused! I know it's hard when you have bills to pay and a wife or girlfriend that is on your case to get a job, but they mean well. Don't sell yourself short!

-Nothing happens by sitting around and waiting. In my first week of unemployment I would send out on average 30-50 resumes a week. Sometimes more!

-Visit MoneyInMusic.com, this site has great articles and great resources. I go there for ideas and inspiration.

Remember, it's not the end of the world if you lose you job, or aren't getting any gigs. Keep busy and keep your brain working, even if that means sacrificing a little sleep or a saturday night at the bar to throw peanuts at albino midgets. You have to make sacrifice and you have to keep your priorities in check. If you get out of the groove it will be 10 times as hard to get back in when your "groove" is needed. Good Luck!

Respect

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Izzy Battle. Dope Rapper Gone To Waste.

So who is this kid Izzy Battle?

I don't have the slightest idea to be honest. I was doing my daily Yahoo! home page surf (looking for anything relevant worth writing about) and I saw in the "Recommended Videos" section a track named "Talkin Bout" by D.C. rapper Izzy Battle. Naturally I clicked on the video, and to my surprise heard a potentially dope intro, with some funked out samples. Then I saw Jazzy Pha bounce across the screen, and I became suspicious. Does Soulja Boy have a rival pop-rap nemesis?

Needless to say, the end result is a potentially young, talented emcee gone to waste with cheap production, and a team of hooligans ready to squeeze him into the market and rinse him for every dollar they can get. He is 16 and hasn't the faintest idea of how powerful his music can be. He wants money, and more PS3 games, and to buy his mom a car (which is fine), but it is still sad to see and he looks like a smart kid too! I went to his myspace page and heard 4 tracks that were mediocre, at best.

Young Izzy? Nothing new...

I want to be a Rock Star! Don't we all? But in this day and age the music business is fast to pick up, and drop potential talent. Albums no longer release in stores due to the early "leaked" versions on the net 2-3 weeks in advance (which isn't always a bad thing). The amount of illegal downloads prior to a release could be a pin-point indication of how well their marketing campaign went, and how much "buzz" the album is getting. With the viral power of the web behind ANYTHING of an independent nature, an artist with a good concept of internet marketing, search engine optimization, and branding could successfully launch their own campaign on a very low monthly budget, and see "long-term" riches rather than "short-term" success.

One piece of advice for Izzy Battle: Go indie, find a good manager or lawyer, and a marketing guru to borrow ideas from. Within one year you could have a virtual team of viral-marketers spreading you and your music across the globe. You would have your own company, and be working for yourself, and your fans. Get with the times kid!

Respect

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Friday, February 1, 2008

Can Hip Hop Be Saved??

Well lets see. First we have Soulja Boy (rookie of the year) and his movement of 14 year old, wine-cooler sipping, quick to snap, spongebob backpack collecting tweens. His position held at the current moment is a valuable hint at the state of our Music Industry. But fear not fellow thesbians, for 2007 was also a big year for lyrically-driven Hip Hop heads as well. Talib Kweli and Common (Sense) individually graced our media outlets more frequently than the past 5 years of their careers combined. Kanye West had a best selling album while 50 cent was dragged down the red carpet grabbing Mr. West's coat tails. For all this I am thankful. 2008 is shaping up to be a promising year in the world of Hip Hop. Just within my direct circle of global collaboraters and partisans, lies promise of a year full of great lyrics, great beats, and great albums. I plan to be very busy this year as I'm sure we all do, but alas, there is a big issue though (you knew it was coming):

This world we exist in is becoming overly saturated with this art that we love. This culture is becoming contaminated by every Next Big Producer feat. MC xyz that has a bedroom studio and one shot at greatness. This is not a bad thing because music is positive in all forms, but it does present a challenge to some of the more credible acts looking to actually replace their income through music. At times like this it is vitally important to think outside of the Boom and Bap, and focus on what lies ahead. Focus on being unique, and fearless, rather than trying to keep up with the list of niche sub-genres that Hip Hop has broken down into.

Hip Hop is not dead. It is actually more alive than ever, being expoloited in every car commercial, kiddie programs (Hip Hop Harry), and law firm commercial across the planet. Hip Hop can be heard in 8 zillion languages worldwide, sharing infinite stories of low-income neighbourhoods and social reform (you there is more to talk about, right?). Hip Hop is very alive, and with humble sincerity I look forward to seeing all of you crack heads at the finish line!!!! Lets do this right.

Respect.

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Koch Entertainment Canada. Keeping Hip Hop Alive Up North?

I found an excellent post from one of Canada's Premier Hip Hop websites, HipHopCanada.com. For anyone who questions the future of Hip Hop in Canada, and how major labels will play a part in the greater scheme of things, check out this article. It's very informative and a must-read for any serious player trying to come up in the music business.

Respect

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Soulja Boy Truth

Alright.

It is now time for me to vent, and let off some much needed steam. SOULJA BOY, SOULJA BOY, SOULJA BOY... I will make this as painless as possible...

You see kids our friend Soulja Boy is nothing more than a symbol. This symbol is a representation of the music industry and it's current state of being. If I were to choose my three best statements to describe the music industry in 2008 they would be:
  1. Over Saturated
  2. Convenience Over Quality
  3. Quick Cash
Soulja Boy's success is a perfect example of targeting an over saturated market with an artist and image that encourages buyers to not think, just buy the record and join the party. He is a prime example of how the industry is desperately seeking any way to boost retail (CD, Merchandise, etc) sales while completely exploiting the new Web 2.0 world (youtube, myspace, blogger) just to make a quick buck. If that kid only knew how much money other people are making off of him, and how quick he will be disposed of when the hype is dead. But he is a naive child with a real life rags-to-riches story behind him, and the industry loves to prey on young, ambitious, semi-talented artists within this niche.

He has no clue that they own his house and his cars, and that the chain around his neck was purchased from his advance money (which is probably recoupable), and the best thing about it is that even if he knew this, he probably wouldn't care. All he knows is at this moment in time he is the shit, and he is going to enjoy the ride while he can.

His fan base is comprised of 11 year old kids from lower class America, with parents too busy to care what their kids listen to. When I was 11 my uncle sat me down and introduced me to vinyl; The Beatles, The Doors, James Brown, Quincy Jones. These were all artists whom I respected because my family made it a point to educated me on music, and why I should listen to the words and interpret the meaning for myself.

Modern day rap/urban music is similar to internet marketing. Artists/producers write songs based on keywords. They know for a fact that these 10 specific keywords will strike recognition with the market, and in turn generate a buzz which will convert to sales. It's all about one and two word catch phrases i.e. Crank That. These catch phrases resonate throughout the lower class communities with serious force. Now if you can attach something physical to that catch phrase, then your odds are even better. You have a catch phrase and a dance. TIME FOR THE BIG MONEY!

Anyways, I guess my point is that Soulja Boy can't make beats. His tracks are one dimensional, thoughtless, and ignorant. They promote stupidity as being cool, and even more they promote the ability to look dumb, sound dumb, and act dumb, while still selling records. It fucking blows my mind when I think about it. The parents of the kids who listen to Soulja Boy are just shy of being mentally challenged. They are letting some brainwashed, hand-in-ass-puppet of an artist guide their children through the world of music, and to be honest, I hate every single one of them, child and parent, for supporting the exploitation of something that is meant to be original, unique, and from the heart. Music would be in a much better state without them.

Respect,

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Monday, January 21, 2008

Music Books. Are They Worth Buying? Part Three

With the first two reviews I introduced The Assistant Engineers Hand Book, which relates to the world inside a pro-recording studio. Second, I reviewed the "Industry Bible" which is a proven resource when discussing anything legal or financial in todays Music Business.

I was sitting in my living room this afternoon, thinking about what other great books I still use, or still influence me today? Then I recall a moment about three weeks ago, when I was strolling through Indigo @ the Eaton Center doing some holiday shopping. I eventually sat down with a book, simply titled Audio Post Production In Your Project Studio. What intrigued me about this titled was the recollection of 4 years prior when I had just wrapped up doing location sound/scoring a Slasher/Horror indie short called "Booth" with a good friend of mine. We had such a stellar experience! The location sound was tedious, but the post process of editing, syncing, and then ultimately... in a two night whiskey binge... we scored the flick. Post audio presents a form of creativity through the stimulation and use of one's ears, as well as the visual, emotionless accompaniment of the motion picture. Writing music and creating sounds to be heard is one thing; composing that music to CAPTURE and SET the emotion and pace of a visual journey is another. This book helps bridge the two adventures into one. Audio Post Production In Your Project Studio presents the theories, experiences, and practices of 20 year Classical Music veteren, Casey Kim.

In a very straight forward, non-platform specific manner, she covers each and every area of the Post-Production process. What really kept me reading was the overall feel and focus on the "Project Studio"aspect of modern post. Over the last 10 years we have seen countless Big League post facilities loose clients and business to small, intimate, digital environments. Thats always good news for guys like myself! I forgot to mention that I read 200 of the 304 pages in this book under 3 hours! Let Soulja Boy crank that! For some reason I feel he'd have problems reading this blog :)

Respect.

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Music Books. Are They Worth Buying? Part Two

Since post number one I have been spending time reviewing some of my books from college (The Trebas Institute) and reviewing books online. Music Books Plus is one of the best resources for anything relating on the music business. They have a very extensive collection of Audio, Film, and Music focused books. They also have a pretty sweet affiliate program! Click here if your curious :)

Book number two of my Music Books blog series is All You Need To Know About The Music Business: 6th Edition. To put it plainly, you will not succeed in the music industry if you do not have your music business game perfected. This is something that takes time, and contrary to popular belief there are no shortcuts. It's who you know, THEN what you know. This book was written by Donald S. Passman, who is a veteran top dog music lawyer. In the music business, success strongly depends on knowing HOW to protect yourself and your intellectual property (your music). This book provides an in depth, detailed guide on all things legal and financial.

This latest edition was supposedly labeled as the "industry bible" by the Los Angeles Times. That's a pretty big statement, but after reading through the first few chapters I realized why a statement so bold could easily be attached to this essential guide on the business of music. Traditional topics are covered such as Royalties, Publishing, Advances, and Copyright Law. It also takes an in-depth look on the ever evolving world of digital media covering such topics as:
  • Music Downloads and Streaming
  • How Royalties are computed in the Digital Age
  • Industry Tactics to combat Piracy
This book will prove to be a "backpack" reader. You will find yourself carrying it around, needing to have access to it in a flash. If you are serious about making a living in the music industry, and competing with the overnight hype behind such artists as Soulja Boy (I can't believe I just mentioned his name) who infest the digital realm in this new Web 2.0 world, then you will want to have your backpack handy!

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Music Books. Are They Worth Buying?

I occasionally get asked by peers and professionals alike "I saw this book online about recording. Have you read it? Should I get it?"

I had the opportunity to get my degree in Recording Arts and Sound Engineering, so I did a fair bit of reading while I was in school, but I also did a fair bit of drinking. Needless to say I had to re-read a handful of books when I was re-introduced to the real world after graduating, so I've always found it difficult to recommend anything to anybody, especially if their intentions were unclear. So today I decided to re-visit some of my old literature from audio school and post a few books that I still use from time to time (there will be 3 or 4 separate posts over the next two days, so stay tuned!) If you have any questions, feel free to contact me! :)

Assistant Engineers Handbook is a book that I still pick up when In need of intellectual support. If you ever want to get a job in a recording studio (which can be a very cult like process) you must start off as an Intern, or Gopher, as it's widely known. After 6-12 months of making coffee, ordering pizza, answering phones, and fucking things up, you'll probably have picked up a thing or two about recording and how a studio is run. At this point you will be in a very strategic position to take on the roll as Assistant Engineer (which essentially means a lot of paper work and setting microphones up) , but there is a good chance you will get your own chair!

This book covers everything from studio etiquette, to filling out the different types of paperwork (includes diagrams), and everything in between. It was written with a very non-tech approach so even the average studio newbie would understand the terminology when reading. It's not a big book, around the 300 page mark, so you can have the advantage of going through it's contents easily when needing reference for those killer studio sessions you will be having!

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Pro Tools Myth

I figured since I have embarked into the world of blogging I should touch on a topic that causes crazy commotion amongst newbie Music Producers, Engineers, and Home Studio Enthusiasts; The inevitable question, "should I get Pro Tools?" I am certified on Pro Tools, so what I am about to say is not meant to knock any program, or question its credibility.

Its not WHAT YOU USE, but HOW you use it!

Here are some suggestions when going through the process of deciding on which software to use for recording:


  • Ask yourself "what will I be primarily using this software for?"
  • Your answer will allow you to narrow it down to a few categories; music creation, mixing, recording, editing, or mastering
  • Go on the web and Google "recording software reviews"
  • Visit each of the top 5 links, visit the product sites and read over the reviews
  • Most companies will offer "trial" or "lite" versions of their software, download trial versions for each product that interests you and PLAY AROUND!
  • Do not base your decision on how many plug-ins come with the program, or how cool the interface looks. Make your decision on how you feel when navigating, or performing certain commands. If one program makes sense to you, and you find it very easy to adapt to, USE THAT ONE
Whether it is Cubase, Sonar, Pro Tools, GarageBand, Logic, etc... Make sure you pick the program that feels right for you, and does what you need it to do. Forget what the magazines say, and forget what your buddy is doing down the street.

Feel free to comment. Thats all I have to say about that.

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Monday, January 14, 2008

Producer VS Beat Maker

OK so here's the deal...

during my years producing music and developing artists, I've come across individuals who make beats (regardless of their format/genre) and call themselves producers. the incorrect use of these titles are mainly caused by the whole "super producer" status of certain players in the industry i.e. puff daddy, timbaland, pharrell williams... during the late 90's the term "producer" became frequently attached to the individual who constructed the beat of the track. where it fails to connect is that the individual on the album credits listed as "producer" might not have even stepped foot in the studio during the recording of the track. they simply made the beat, licensed it to the artist, and possibly collect royalties depending on whether or not the deal was exclusive.

i want to clear the air. the "producer" of a song is not necessarily the individual who composed the song, but the individual who takes the artist, the song, the vision, and guides the artist through the recording process of the track, giving input on delivery of vocals etc.. the producer then plays a part in getting the album mixed/mastered, and even as far as getting the album pressed/packaged and distributed. the "composer" or "arranger" of a track is the beat maker...

long story short... if you are a beat maker, and have never worked with an artist in the studio, have never helped with the writing or recording of a song.. YOU ARE NOT A PRODUCER! you are a beat maker...Here is another great post on this topic I found at HipHopCanada.com. Check it out!

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory

Thursday, January 10, 2008

MrBlue Meets World...

yes yes yes... So I've finally come to terms with the need for a blog... So here I am! I go by the name of MrBlue. Who Is This Guy??? I'm a 26 year old Music Producer/Artist from Toronto. I have an extensive track list of projects I've worked on across the globe... AND I LOVE MUSIC. All genres, moods, forms... I love it all. I get asked often about my opinions on certain albums, types of music software, music books by artists that I work with.. They question is always the same "Blue, what do you think about this?" So I have decided to dedicate this blog to store my thoughts and reviews on anything relating to music.. Whether it is a topic that I am curious about, or something that one of you ask me about... I will be posting my thoughts (not that they matter!) to the world...

Respect.

MrBlue
www.myspace.com/basementtheory