Will the Music Industry Enjoy an “Adele Effect”?

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

When Forbes publishes its annual list of highest-earning musicians in December, Adele's name will surely be on it. Her astronomical album sales, even surpassing the standards of the pre-digital era, will be a large part of the story. Within its first seven weeks of release, 25 had sold 15 million ...

Will the Women of Country Music Flourish in 2016?

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Country music produced several big moneymaking superstars in 2015, but none of them were women. To wit: in December, Zack O'Malley Greenburg of Forbes published his annual list of the world's highest-paid musicians. Of the 30 names on the list, seven were country stars, and, boy, did they make some ...

The Reinvention of Justin Bieber

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Justin Bieber is back. The onetime scourge of western civilization has reestablished his musical relevance with his first-ever Number One single ("What Do You Mean?") on the Billboard Hot 100 and an album, Purpose, that was Number One on the Billboard charts until Adele's 25 juggernaut steamrolled the universe. On November ...

How Coachella Creates a Digital Community

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is the top music festival in the world, according to Billboard, grossing $67.2 million and attracting 180,000 people in 2013 over the course of two weekends. It's also an elite experience for the affluent, with an expensive admission fee and amenities that include ...

Why Every Year Is the Year of Miley Cyrus

Monday, January 13th, 2014

It's time for the Miley Cyrus bashers to wake up to a stark reality: Miley Cyrus ain't going away. Not in 2014. Not anytime soon. Why? Because when you peel away the layers of twerk-inspired controversy, Miley Cyrus is creating good pop music. And with a major North American tour ...

Thom Yorke: Crusader or Crybaby?

Friday, July 19th, 2013

I can't decide whether Thom Yorke is a petulant child, cynical operator, or a hero to artists. Maybe he's all three. On July 14, Yorke declared war on Spotify, removing from the popular streaming service his solo music and that of his experimental band Atoms for Peace.  On Twitter he and ...

Jay-Z Writes New Rules for Music Millionaires

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Jay-Z says he's writing new rules. But for whom? The multi-millionaire rapper created a firestorm of PR by launching an innovative deal with Samsung to distribute 1 million copies of his new Magna Carta Holy Grail album through a special app exclusively on Samsung phones before the album went on sale ...

The Innovative Sound of AM & Shawn Lee

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

The rock and pop music industry is alive and well. The business of music as we once knew it might be dead, but musicians continue to thrive and innovate -- if you'll let them. Case in point: today AM & Shawn Lee released La Musique Numerique, a striking blend of ...

The Making of a Star: Jermaine Dupri, Leah LaBelle, and “Sexify”

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Being sexy ain’t the same as being skanky. Just ask Leah LaBelle, who sings about all the ways she turns on a guy in her hook-filled song, “Sexify.” This song really moves with a hard beat, and the word play lives up to the title. “I just want some hanky-panky,” she ...

Madonna doesn’t need all your luvin’

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Wow. Madonna’s critics really have their knives out this week. But she might end up having the last laugh. As you might have heard, sales of her latest album, MDNA, suffered the biggest second-week drop in chart history.  Since the news broke, the highly regarded Lefsetz Letter has stated bluntly that ...