Deciphering Culture

Posts Tagged ‘Peter Gabriel

Short takes: Music industry trends in “recommendation & discovery”

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I spent a good portion of Monday at the latest edition of the SF Music Tech Summit. My name tag this time said “SF Weekly” instead of “Deciphering Culture” (I asked for dual identification) so a lot of people buttonholed me to get coverage for a new service. Not surprisingly, most of them fell into the “recommendation and discovery” segment although none of the pitches left me convinced of the efficacy of any of the new spins on the work of the established players. Also,  not surprisingly my blog post for SF Weekly’s All Shook Down blog focused on a SRO panel that featured some of the heavy hitters in R & D. The relevant excerpt below.

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S.F. MusicTech Summit: How Do Listeners Want to Discover New Music?
All Shook Down

  • by Jeffrey Callen on 5/10/11 @ 7:29 pm

….The standing-room-only “Recommendation & Discovery” panel offered one of the more interesting glimpses into the internal logic of the music industry machine. Chaired by Kevin Arnold of IODA (also creator of S.F.’s annual Noise Pop festival), the panel brought together some of the heavy hitters in the music search business, including MOGRovi CorporationThe Filter (a Peter Gabriel brainchild), and Slacker.

An interesting discussion on the nuts-and-bolts of music recommendation and discovery services offered some contradictory food for thought. Music consumers looking for recommendations “prefer a man-to-machine to a man-to-man relationship” (David Hyman of MOG), and if you focus on personalized user specs, you get information that is increasingly “granular” (David Roberts of The Filter). Yet R & D is a “human-centric task,” said Adam Powers of Rovi. Powers also asserted that when Rovi, a giant in the R&D world, was looking at other companies to acquire, it found 250 that thought they had R&D nailed. But from the number of R&D company reps in attendance at the SF Music Tech Summit, it seems that either that news hasn’t gotten out, or nobody’s actually nailed it.

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All Shook Down

  • by Jeffrey Callen on 5/10/11 @ 7:29 pm
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New book: Peter Gabriel, From Genesis to Growing Up

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Self promotion aside (although my chapter, “‘I need contact’ – rock ‘n’ roll ritual: Peter Gabriel’s Security tour, 1982–83” is quite good), this is an excellent collection on an influential figure in popular music. Out on Ashgate on December 23, 2010. From the publisher’s press release:

Ever since Peter Gabriel fronted progressive rock band Genesis, from the late 1960s until the mid 1970s, journalists and academics alike have noted the importance of Gabriel’s contribution to popular music. His influence became especially significant when he embarked on a solo career in the late 1970s. Gabriel secured his place in the annals of popular music history through his poignant recordings, innovative music videos, groundbreaking live performances, the establishment of WOMAD (the World of Music and Dance) and the Real World record label (as a forum for musicians from around the world to be heard, recorded and promoted) and for his political agenda (including links to a variety of political initiatives including the Artists Against Apartheid Project, Amnesty International and the Human Rights Now tour). In addition, Gabriel is known as a sensitive, articulate and critical performer whose music reflects an innate curiosity and deep intellectual commitment. This collection documents and critically explores the most central themes found in Gabriel’s work. These are divided into three important conceptual areas arising from Gabriel’s activity as a songwriter and recording artist, performer and activist: ‘Identity and Representation’, ‘Politics and Power’ and ‘Production and Performance’….

Rock ‘n’ Roll & Ritual (’80s Peter Gabriel)

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From the back of the concert hall, the five-person ensemble, four dressed in simple black clothing and one in simple white, proceeds through the crowd, playing drums. As they reach the stage, the synthesizer takes up the same rhythm and the band members pick up their instruments and don headsets. The singer, dressed in white, re-appears from the back of the stage, his face, now clear in the stage lights, in stark black and blue make-up that recalls, to some, a shaman from some non-specified culture and, to others, the image from his latest video.

That’s the intro to ““I need contact” (from Performance and Popular Music), a piece I wrote in 2006 for inclusion as a chapter in Performance and Popular Music: History, Place and Time, edited by Ian Inglis, a pop music scholar at Northumbria University in Britain.  The chapter analyzes Gabriel’s use of ritual in his live performances of material from the influential Security album and discusses the musical sources (and inspirations) Gabriel drew upon.It’s going to be reprinted in 2010 in Peter Gabriel: From Genesis to Growing Up (Michael Drewet, Sarah Hill & Kimi Kari, eds. – London: Ashgate Publishing) and I think it stands up pretty well. The use of ritual in secular popular culture, especially music, is a continuing interest of mine and a key element in my research on Moroccan alternative music. 2010.

Album cover from Peter Gabriel Plays Live

Gabriel has continued create interesting and sometimes innovative pop music (and hits) but, for me, none of it has the creative spark of his ’80s work after leaving Genesis.  The latest effort, the forthcoming Scratch My Back, is interesting in theory, featuring Gabriel covering a dozen songs written by other songwriters. The set list if intriguing but the instrumentation (an orchestra) plays into Gabriel’s worst musical instincts that haven’t had such free rein since his over-dramatic and sometimes treacly performances with Genesis on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and Selling England by the Pound. At least that’s my impression from hearing clips of the first three tracks — AND I hope I’m wrong. Check it out yourself at PeterGabriel.com.

Written by Jeffrey Callen

December 21, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Rock ‘n’ Roll & Ritual (’80s Peter Gabriel)

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“I need contact” (from Performance and Popular Music) — a nice piece I wrote in 2006 for Performance and Popular Music: History, Place and Time, (Ian Inglis, ed. – London: Ashgate Publishing). It’s going to be reprinted in Peter Gabriel: From Genesis to Growing Up (Michael Drewet, Sarah Hill & Kimi Kari, eds. – London: Ashgate Publishing) in 2010. The chapter analyzes Gabriel’s use of ritual in his live performances of material from the influential Security album and discusses the musical sources (and inspirations) Gabriel drew upon.

Album cover from Peter Gabriel Plays Live

Gabriel has continued create innovative music (and hits) but, for me, none of it has the creative spark of his ’80s work after leaving Genesis.  The latest effort, the forthcoming Scratch My Back, is interesting in theory, featuring Gabriel covering a dozen songs written by other songwriters. The set list if intriguing but the instrumentation (an orchestra) plays into Gabriel’s worst musical instincts that haven’t had such free rein since his over-dramatic and sometimes treacly performances with Genesis on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and Selling England by the Pound. At least that’s my impression from hearing clips of the first three tracks — AND I hope I’m wrong. Check it out yourself at PeterGabriel.com.

Written by Jeffrey Callen

December 17, 2009 at 4:32 pm

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