MUZOOKA GOES OPEN BETA – HEADLINES WITH NEW WEB, IOS AND ANDROID APPS

 

Good news: Today, you finally have something more interesting to say than “eh, not much” when someone asks you “what’s up?”

We’re proud to announce that Muzooka version 2.1 (codename “CODA”) is now available on the web and for IOS and Android devices. That’s right! Muzooka is now open to all –musicians, artists, band, music lovers, you’re all welcome to join the new social music experience that is Muzooka!

Team Muzooka spent thousands of hours tweaking the interface, overhauling the code and improving the user experience. And there’s more to come this Summer. More features, more ways to discover new music, more ways for artists to interact with fans, and better opportunities to be discovered by industry pros.

If you are already familiar with Muzooka, you’ll be pleased to know that everything you love about the experience of using our website is now available on-the-go for IOS and Android devices

If you’re not already familiar with Muzooka, it’s a social platform connecting people who love music with the artists who create it and the producers, engineers and technicians who make it all happen. We bring in tons of new, rising, undiscovered artists and songs, help fans and industry professionals find them, and give everyone involved lots of ways to interact, communicate, collaborate and share their discoveries with others.

We feel the current version provides an excellent opportunity for many more people to get on board for the wild ride we have planned for the community.

The Features

  • Flood your on-the-go ears with new music custom tailored to your taste: Search and select from our list of music tags to better filter and customize your musical billboard. A flawless mix of “something new” and “you’re sure to love it” = the perfect mobile music player.
  • Hot, New, and Top Billboards: Stay on top of the latest Hot, New and Top tracks just by opening the app, making it easy and simple to know who and what is trending in real-time.
  • Vote and make a difference: Get heard and make a difference in an artists career. Vote up tracks you love from the convenience of the app, helping to support the bands you love and getting them in front of the best in the business.
  • Create and listen to playlists: Easily create new playlists on-the-go and stream all your favorite discoveries -for free! Subscribe to playlists created by other Muzooka members, as well as our industry professionals like David Foster, Walter Afanasieff, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, and more.
  • Easy sharing: Get bragging about discovering the next new jam your friends are going to love by sharing through Facebook and Twitter. Share your new found favorite tracks, playlists, and artists with ease.
  • Super simple interface: Beautifully designed app showcases songs and album art, while making it super simple, intuitive and fun to find new songs. Trust us: You’ll know how to use this app.

Muzooka is now in open beta, available on the web at www.muzooka.com, and on iOS, and Android devices. New features and improvements are rolling out this Summer 2014. Did we mention sign up is FREE? Like, actually free. Not fake free where you have to give us your credit card number, social security number, and first born child in order to get a 5 minute free trial. It’s all the way, super free.

Go download the apps right now! 

For iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), DOWNLOAD HERE!

For Android (Android 2.3 and higher), DOWNLOAD HERE!

PETER DISTEFANO RELEASES NEW ALBUM “LOVE IS THE DRUG” WITH MUZOOKA

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Gaze Upon Peter DiStefano – His New Drug

At Muzooka, one of our goals (“addictions” really) is to give our members every possible opportunity to discover new music before anyone else. It’s pretty much what we wake up thinking about in the morning, what we bore our significant others talking about over dinner, and what we fall asleep mulling over.

So naturally, we were psyched when the exceedingly wonderful and talented Peter DiStefano decided to do an exclusive launch of his album on Muzooka!

As founding member and lead guitarist of critically acclaimed alternative rock band Porno for Pyros,

Peter’s talent and music smarts is beyond measure. He’s lent his talents to numerous projects including the Shrek films (betcha didn’t know that!) Did we mention he’s invincible? He survived cancer and the 90s alt-rock scene. And he’s still going strong - there’s no stopping Peter, which is why he’s a very respected member of the music industry, and we’re lucky to have him.

Muzic Mondays

Every Monday, starting today and continuing for the next 4 weeks, we’re going to leak two tracks from the soon-to-be-your-favorite album, Love Is The Drug. Peter’s legendary guitar rifts match hard pumping house in his latest incarnation and we’re rolling it out to you!

This week’s songs are “Blood VS Pete” and “Elizabeth I”. Take our word for it (we’re a tough crowd) – this entire album rocks in a way that doesn’t make us hesitate to use “rock” as a descriptor even though that stopped being trendy, like, 20 years ago. There’s no better way to put it. We haven’t been able to stop listening to them.

You can hear for yourself by visiting Peter’s Muzooka profile (you should probably go ahead and follow him while you’re there. He’s kinda the best person ever.)

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Two more next Monday!

Music first. We mean it.

What happens when artists decide they’re done with big labels? A lot of things (and they’re all pretty awesome.) 

Last month, we talked about 50 Cent’s decision to break ties with his long-time label Shady/Interscope in favor of putting out future music independently. The story wasn’t anomalous. Artists parting ways with their big labels to run their own show isn’t a new occurrence, but it is certainly happening with greatly increased frequency – and more outspoken defense – in the last few years.

So why are so many heavy hitters leaving their label homes after sometimes decades of a seemingly harmonious relationship? As with most things in the music industry, it comes down to issues of control and ownership. This is how the equation usually works: labels give artists support in terms of development, recording, marketing, touring, and distribution (so, like, everything) and in return, the label gets to make money off of them and have varying degrees of control over aspects of their career and rights to their music (if this sounds vague, it’s because the specifics vary wildly. Sorry. It’s not a science.)

But what happens when an artist has been around long enough that they no longer feel they need the support of a major label? What happens when they feel, for any number of reasons, that they are giving more than they’re getting? Factor in that the introduction of the internet has given artists the ability to connect with fans and share/sell music with an ease and accessibility that was previously inconceivable – why do established artists stay with big labels at all?

The answer: more of them aren’t. Let’s be clear: there’s nothing wrong with being on a label. In fact, finding a label that gets you and with whom you have a positive, mutually beneficial relationship is probably the single greatest advantage and comfort you can have as an artist. A lot of bands, despite knowing they could feasibly manage their entire careers and put out their music on their own, simply don’t want to deal with it. And ya know, respect. Seriously. But increasingly, more artists are interested in taking more control over their music (not to mention their brand) – and this is how they’re going about it:

Starting their own label

After the 2004 release of Pressure Chief, Cake left Columbia to found their own label, Upbeat Records. Their statement about the move pretty much summed up the sentiments of other artists – Jack White, Wilco, Oasis – in terms of their own reasons for peacing out from the big label world to start their own thing:

“The music business is sort of in collapse right now, so it struck us that we didn’t want to be tied to the sinking ship. Also, our culture was so markedly different than the culture that we found ourselves having to interact with at a major label.”

Oh, and also labels take a lot of money and retain a hell of a lot of control over a band’s music. So maybe Radiohead spoke for a lot of artists too when they explained their not-so-friendly departure from EMI:

“What we wanted was some control over our [master recordings] and how it was used in the future by them. That seemed reasonable to us, and we cared about it a great deal. Mr. Hands was not interested. So, neither were we.”

Foregoing any label at all

Of course, you could opt to not have a record label (your own or anyone else’s) behind your release at all. This is a strategy rarely employed by more successful artists – they generally need more in terms of marketing and distribution than they could (or would want to) manage on their own. But considering the easy expansive reach of the internet, what’s to keep a band from dropping an album on their own site, saying “Here you go, world!”, selling downloads, keeping all the money, and retaining total control over the rights to their music? Nothing, to be honest. Radiohead does it.

And that’s really the key to giving the middle finger to labels – you pretty much have to be on Radiohead’s level – both in terms of experience, know-how, and audience – to make completely label-less album releases work for you. Gaining those things, for better or worse, usually requires years – decades even – in the industry, during which time, being under the guidance of a strong, well-established label is still an artist’s best bet for learning how to professionally craft and release an album.

Ultimately, that’s why we see hugely successful artists severing decades-long label relationships; they didn’t want to sacrifice success for control, but as soon as they had the weight and savvy to stand on their own without sacrificing too much professional standing, they struck out. For any music lover, it’s pretty amazing for a few reasons:

1)   Look, we’re not saying that all big labels are evil (we would never. They hear everything) but there is hardly a creative person or music lover in the world who doesn’t get a little jolt of excitement when we see someone give a jolly “fuck you” to the notion that anyone should get to own their music other than them. It’s pretty satisfying.

2)   From a more intellectual standpoint (let’s all pretend we’re mature adults now), artists having totally successful careers while either mostly or entirely circumventing the major labels is causing those labels to take a look at themselves, how they’re functioning, and how to stay relevant in an industry that seems poised to evolve past them – and fast.

Which brings us to the third option of modern artist/label relationships…

Hiring labels to work for them

When 50 Cent announced the end of his ties to Shady/Interscope, the label took the moment to publicize a change of their own: they are now home to an “artist services” division which, in short, allows artists who are not officially signed to the label to pick and choose individual services – like marketing, PR, production, etc. – that were previously only available their signed artists.

Again, we’ll go in the Way Back Machine to last month and revisit why this idea is extra rad for everyone:

“Well, not only does it mean that independent artists have more options and access to the best tools to launch their careers to the next level, but they get to do it outside the confines of a traditional recording contract. In the old arrangement, artists would frequently struggle with their labels when it came to making creative and professional decisions; that was the headache you had to endure if you wanted the strength of a big label behind you. In a system where labels are opening up individual bits and pieces of their services for hire to anyone willing to pay for them, it keeps the artist squarely in the driver’s seat of their own careers – which, more and more, is where artists want to be.

Artists aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit from this kind of relationship. Labels, while still wielding an inarguable amount of strength within the music industry, aren’t blind to the fact that the internet and social media are giving artists the potential to build entire careers on their own. After years of frustration with the relative rarity of scoring a big recording contract, artists have overwhelmingly embraced the opportunity to develop their careers on their own. And a lot of them are succeeding. By opening up their services to these artists, artists get the help they need to elevate their work, and record labels find a way to stay relevant in an industry climate that is increasingly looking to cut them out of the process.”

Lenny Kravitz, who was signed to Virgin Records for over 20 years before launching his own Roxie Records, just announced that he’s availing himself of help on the release of his next album from Kobalt Label Services, a company that operates like the aforementioned new division of Shady/Interscope. With the release of “Strut” (I cannot with that name, by the way), Kravitz is more or less embodying the journey from major label artists to…whatever super famous music people are turning into when they choose some mighty powerful combination of releasing music on their own labels accentuated and bolstered by the inclusion of outside services with big guns. He’s that. And we’re guessing he won’t be (even nearly) the last. 

Who Needs Coachella When You Have The Internet Playlist

If any of you are out there nursing sore hearts over not being able to attend midriff ground zero Coachella, don’t fret. Why stand in the middle of the desert smelling like teen overdoses when you have all the music you could want in the cool, climate-controlled, scene kid-free comfort of your own home? 

For the record, we love live shows. Love them. Live for them. But festivals are kind of a lot to handle, ya know? So we did you a solid and put together a playlist of all the best bands that you didn’t see over the past two weekends. You’re welcome. Enjoy not having a sunburn/chlamydia. 

HAIM

Foxygen

James Vincent McMorrow

Lana Del Rey

Little Dragon

Neko Case

Sleigh Bells

Solange

The Head and the Heart

The Naked And Famous

The Replacements

Ty Segall

Washed Out

Wye Oak

Austra

Beck

Bombay Bicycle Club

City And Color

Daughter

This Week’s Top Music News Links!

Hmm…a lot of headlines about “saving the music industry” lately. That’s pretty telling. Oh well, moving on…

Moogfest celebrates its 10th year. (The Guardian)

Record Store Day is here! The weirdest releases this year. (Flavorwire)

Samsung’s “free and ad-free” music service will soon be neither of those things. (The Next Web)

New Prince album! New Prince album! (Rolling Stone)

STOP EVERYTHING: Beyonce and Jay Z are (probably) touring together. (Billboard)

Jared Leto’s new music documentary calls for greater transparency from labels. In related news, not everything Jared Leto says is insane. (Noise11)

Can streaming really save the music industry? (Forbes)

How the new Wu-Tang album is challenging how the music industry operates. (The Guardian)

In this world, there are certain people you can mess with and certain people you can’t mess with. And then there are people who, should you choose to mess with them, you will spend the rest of your days cowering in fear and shame under a table, eating your own hair, hugging your knees, rocking back and forth, and mumbling inaudibly about what you’ve done wrong. The last type of person is basically only Bette Midler. So if you’ve been unable to find anyone who works at Pandora lately, check under the desks.

(But seriously – how many times can these “plays-to-pays” ratios be shocking before we just realize that the model being used by Pandora and companies like them goes beyond not working for artists, and borders on exploiting them?)

Tax Day Playlist: Baby, I Got Your Money

Tomorrow is the most loathed day of the year in the US: April 15th, aka, Tax Day, aka, ugghhhhh. Listen, there’s nothing I can say here to take the edge off the fact that a lot of you are about to owe the government an uncomfortable amount of money. As a freelancer, I salute you. To those of you actually getting money back, drinks are on you.

Either way, if you haven’t done your taxes by this point, you’ve got a long night and a longer wait at the post office tomorrow. So here’s a money-themed playlist good enough to make you forget how much taxes and pollen are ruining your April.

“Got Your Money” by ODB

“Money Make Her Smile” by Bruno Mars

“Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money

“Money Honey” by Lady Gaga

“No Money” by Kings Of Leon

“Money Trees” by Kendrick Lamar

“Love Money Party” by Miley Cyrus

“Money” by Pink Floyd

“Money Maker” by Ludacris

“Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits

“Not Just Money” by Frank Ocean

“Throw This Money On You” by R. Kelly

End Of The World Playlist

Between Fukushima, a possible mega El Nino, and Yellowstone’s impending eruption, I’m increasingly convinced that the end of the world is not only coming, it’s basically already taking directions from Siri on how to get to us. So whatever – I’m done fighting it. In fact, I think it’s time to start planning our End Of The World parties now.

Food: glazed donuts dipped in ranch dressing (time to not GAF, babies.)

Attire: Prom dresses or nothing at all.

Booze: Whatever you got to sedate the panic.

Music: All of the following.

*Obviously, “1999” by Prince should be on here but he’s got his songs on super YouTube lockdown. Respect. Annoying, but respect.

It’s early in California and Peter DiStefano is about to jump on a plane to Argentina to perform at Lollapalooza, continuing his tradition of performing at every one since the festival’s inception. It’s not a terribly surprising record – DiStefano is an internationally known guitarist, songwriter, producer and composer. In 1993, as a guitarist he joined Jane’s Addiction vocalist (and Lollapalooza co-founder) Perry Farrell drummer Stephen Perkins, and bassist Martyn LeNoble to form the alternative-rock band, Porno for Pyros.

His life, as he will generously tell you, only got more interesting from there: In 1997, Perry and Stephen became involved with a Jane’s Addiction reunion tour, putting Porno for Pyros on hold. Meanwhile, Pete conquered drug and alcohol addictions and beat life threatening cancer. During these challenging personal times, he continued to play guitar and produce music with Rambient, Hellride, Venice Underground, and toured with Bauhaus singer Peter Murphy.

In the years since, DiStefano has continued touring with numerous bands, including his own Lance Herbstrong, as well as starting a music studio in Santa Monica, CA, composing film scores, and producing other artists.

In other words, he’s a busy guy. And now he’s bringing his music – and industry experience – to Muzooka.

How did you come to be hooked up with Muzooka?

I was introduced to it by a friend who said “You have to meet these guys”, so we met up in Hollywood and got a vibe for each other. It seemed to me that unlike the racket that is SoundCloud, Muzooka reminded me of something like Bandcamp but with a whole social thing. So I felt like it’s a cool place to do my sonic art. I’m really trying to push the boundaries with creative music, and Muzooka seems like the best place to do that.

Why is that?

Because everyone else – iTunes, etc. – doesn’t care about the artist and Muzooka does.

You’ve been in the industry for so long, and have worked on a lot of different sides of it – give us a brief layout of what you have in the works right now.

Just finished doing a song for [upcoming film] The Equalizer. My band Lance Herbstrong is getting really big, so that’s really exciting. And my solo album will be out this summer. I’m producing a lot of artists these days – which is another reason I was so drawn to Muzooka. I want to get all the artists I’m producing on there.

What are things that have changed in the industry over the course of your career?

When I started out, you had to either know someone who owned a recording studio and had people who knew how to run the tape machine and big boards and everything – you had to have a lot of money to even get it. And it was a close, tight thing. And now it’s wide open. It’s better to be a musician now than it was then.

Why do you think that is?

You’ve got a better chance at being heard and sharing your music. In those days, it was about impressing a record label and getting signed. Now, you can keep trying over and over. Back then, you had one chance. And you couldn’t do anything yourself. You had to have a cassette, you had to mail it to people. It was so much harder to get your music in front of anyone.

But on the other side, as easy as it is to share your music online, it’s even harder to actually get heard because there’s just such an overwhelming amount of content being pushed through the same channels. Is that what keeps record labels viable? Just having that added weight to promote music?

The actual record business of selling plastic…you’re shooting for Target and Wal-Mart. That’s to get a spot on the shelf, and traditional radio airplay, and to get on shows. Like Warner Brothers might own channel 5 and if The Voice is on channel 5, then Warner Brothers might put their artists on there. Or American Idol is on ABC, and ABC is owned by Disney, and Disney owns certain record labels, so those artists might get on there. It’s stuff like that.

But that’s obviously not the path that all (or even most) artists are taking.

No, definitely not. And the record deal isn’t enough anymore. Labels get these people on a bus, opening up for someone else. They need merchandise, and shows, and way more than an actual record. They call them “360 deals” now because everyone is downloading their music now. No one is selling plastic. So the labels are doing a lot more.

Do you think the internet has distracted artists from the importance of actually getting out and playing as many shows as possible?

Now there’s radio, internet, TV, movies, video games – it’s just getting it out there. But the traditional practice of getting up in front of a crowd is everything. If they hear something amazing, they’ll think “That’s what I saw.” Mike Watts says “records are just a flier for the gig.” What’s real, what’s alive, is your gig. The record is so people can listen to music when you’re not around.  

15 Best Songs From “How I Met Your Mother”

Of all the things that How I Met Your Motherdoes (did? *tear*) so well, selecting the perfect song for the moment is certainly near the top of the list. Paring down the impressively long list of songs from the course of the 9 seasons to just 15 of the best is a challenging – and admittedly subjective – task. Here are my picks. We would love to hear yours. (But if you say Chumbawumba, you’re blacklisted. I think we can all agree that’s fair.)

Try A Little Tenderness – Otis Redding

Inside of Love – Nada Surf

Souvenir – Billy Joel

If You See Her, Say Hello – Bob Dylan

Cherry Pie – Warrant

Two Weeks – Grizzly Bear

Beach Comber – Real Estate

Spit On A Stranger – Pavement

Forever – The Explorers Club

Soul Meets Body – Death Cab For Cutie

Off The Record – My Morning Jacket

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers

Love Song – Haunt

Better – Regina Spektor

Thirteen – Big Star