Streams

John Schaefer

John Schaefer appears in the following:

Super Fans

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Fusion of Fandom: the Parrothead Van

I’ve been thinking about this whole super fan thing. I like a lot of artists and bands – some I like a real lot. But I would never consider myself a ...

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Wal-Mart and Music

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart has become the 600-pound gorilla in the music business. It is the country’s single biggest seller of CDs (antique silvery round things that contain collections of songs – in the 20th century, it’s how we used to get our music before ...

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Musicians as product pitchmen

Monday, October 27, 2008

So Usher is designing and selling lingerie – for men. Opera star Renee Fleming helped design a new perfume, “La Voce by Renee Fleming,” unveiled on opening day of the current Met Opera season. Jennifer Lopez has a new line of clothing, as well as perfume; The RZA of Wu-Tang ...

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Tin Pan Alley

Thursday, October 23, 2008

So Tin Pan Alley is for sale, and people who haven’t thought about Tin Pan Alley in decades, and people who’ve walked past those buildings on West 28th Street for years without ever noticing them, are suddenly up in arms. When I read that the buildings were for sale – ...

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Janis Ian and Society's Children

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In the mid-70s, the song “At Seventeen” by Janis Ian was unavoidable. Since it wasn’t a song I liked, I never looked any further into what she’d done. If I had, I might’ve learned that almost ten years earlier, in the mid-60s, she’d had another hit song – a far ...

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Musicians and the Campaigns

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

From “Yes We Can”

I’m glad that so many musicians are getting involved in this presidential campaign, and gladder still that so many are supporting the same candidate I like. But I must confess to having mixed feelings. The idea of ...

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Music Videos: Cast Your Vote

Monday, October 20, 2008

No, I wasn’t watching when MTV famously launched its network with the Buggles’ version of the song “Video Killed the Radio Star.” But a friend who lived in south Jersey had cable (NYC was one of the last places on earth to be wired for cable), and I spent a ...

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"Doctor Atomic" and Modern Opera

Friday, October 17, 2008

Doctor Atomic

In the NY Times recently, Anthony Tommasini wrote about how he supports the idea of modern opera, of contemporary composers trying to extend and even reinvent the opera tradition for modern times and for modern America particularly. He also wrote ...

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The NEA's delicate balancing act

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It’s a happy coincidence that today, the opening of WNYC’s fundraising drive, brings Dana Gioia, the chairman of the NEA, to our studio. After all, WNYC and the NEA both survived tough times in the early 90s, when New York’s mayor wanted to get rid of one and political conservatives ...

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Music and the Economy

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

spare_change.jpgRecently, a reporter doing a story on music during hard times asked me if I agreed with the notion that music gets darker and moodier when the economy tanks. I thought of the Great Depression hit, “Brother Can You Spare A ...

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The Buena Vista Phenomenon

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Buena Vista Social Club, the group of elderly Cuban musicians who’d been rescued from obscurity and poverty by a record made almost by accident, has become such a phenomenon that it’s difficult to remember how it all happened. The World Circuit Recording, Ry Cooder’s trip to Cuba (he told us ...

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Reflections on Soundcheck's Songwriting Contest

Friday, October 10, 2008

It really did seem like a good idea at the time. Invite listeners to write lyrics, pick a winner out of the handful or couple of dozen entries, have a band perform the song in the studio… everyone has fun, no one gets hurt, everybody goes home happy.

That ...

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When hip hop cameos reach the point of diminishing returns

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I like the fact that mega-selling artists like Jay Z and Lil Wayne will apparently appear on anyone’s record, anywhere, anytime. It shows that these guys, even though they’ve “made it” and probably don’t need the additional work and exposure, still enjoy going into the studio and playing nicely with ...

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Living in a Sampled World

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

We live in a sampled world. Our dominant music genre, hip hop, is built on samples of earlier songs, often quick bursts of percussion or catchy hooks from former pop hits. Our blockbuster movies take captured video elements – visual samples, essentially – and manipulate them through both space and ...

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Lost in (My)Space

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Unpoc

So yesterday, I’m on the plane flying back from Paris, and since I’d already seen a couple of the English-language movies on offer, and didn’t feel like trying to make out the subtitles on the French films, I watched an indie Scottish flick called ...

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What's your favorite musical rivalry?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

One of the reasons we love sports is because it gives us something to argue about. It just wouldn’t have been as much fun growing up a Yankees fan in Queens if I hadn’t been growing up in a family of Mets fans. My brother Jerry and I would argue ...

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In Song, the Eyes Have It

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Two visual artists, Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, have created a project called Fleshmap as a visual representation of desire – an easily digested way of showing how humans approach one another’s bodies. The site has pages devoted to the sense of sight, or touch, and a page devoted ...

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Banning Alcohol at Concerts

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

So Van Morrison has banned booze at his UK concerts. The idea of banning alcohol at a concert makes about as much sense as banning beer at the ballpark. Look, no one wants to have to deal with drunken audience members – not the musicians, not the hall owners, and ...

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Philip Glass: The Perennial Lighting Rod

Monday, September 29, 2008

anonymous_color.jpgThe French have this great saying, entre chien et loup. Literally, “between a dog and a wolf,” but of course it’s much more poetic than that – it is used to describe that time of day when the light is fading ...

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Who's on Top Today?

Friday, September 26, 2008

So Metallica is atop the Billboard 200 chart. Sort of reminds me of the 70s and 80s, when the Billboard album charts regularly featured rock bands. Now? Not so much. Aside from heavy metal (Metallica at #1, Slipknot at #12), there is almost no rock music atop the Billboard charts. ...

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