Category Archives: Music

Marketing and Music

For a long time, I wanted to work in the music industry, but as I networked my way closer to it, I quickly realized – and several people told me straight out – that if you're really passionate about music, the music industry isn't necessarily the best place to be.   Let's be honest – it is called the music "business" or "industry" for good reason.   So I've kept my interest in music personal – just being a fan – while turning marketing into my profession.  Considering the condition of the music business right now, it was probably a smart choice.

However, this means that I still find it interesting to learn about what is going on in the music industry and how music gets marketed.   This morning, a few good articles came across my inbox and thought I'd share and comment on them.

First is one called "The Art of the Gimmick" that is about the successful marketing that the band KISS has done over the years.   I really don't agree with her view that rock n' roll had become like a "pair of old shoes" in the late 60's.  Considering that the late 60's and early 70's is a period of robust creativity – The Who came out with "Tommy" in 1968 and "Who's Next" in 1971.   Rolling Stones had "Let it Bleed" in 1969 and "Sticky Fingers" in 1971.  There were also seminal albums from Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and on and on.  In fact, now that I really think about it, this blogger isn't even thinking right – the "old comfortable shoes" statement is just downright WRONG. 

But I understand what she was trying to set-up: how successful KISS was at creating a "hook" (probably a better name than "gimmick") and parlaying that into commercial success over four decades now.  I think you could easily make the argument that KISS has simply become a merchandise machine, really not focusing on the music at all.

But that was then, and this is now, and the music world has changed, especially on the business side of things.  Record store chains have closed, and sales are way down.  Things have moved online and music has become so easy to get that it has arguably lost some of its value.  But there are people out there trying to be creative in getting music into the hands of fans. 

First is this list of "10 Weird Ways to Distribute Music" from Wired magazine.  I haven't personally obtained any music in any of these interesting manners, but I'm sure it is just a matter of time.

Second is this very interesting article about Radiohead's manager working with two other partners to create a venture that is designed to help develop artists and bands by investing in them and guiding them to success.  Smart, I think – it gives the artist the capital they need to perform the functions that a traditional record label would have done if they could get signed, but can't because labels are only looking to work with the biggest sellers.  

The most intriguing part to me was the last sentence: "Meanwhile, EMI, a major label, is unbundling music services such as touring and merchandise and making them available to bands that are not signed to their label."  I did a visible double take after reading it.  This is a major label rethinking how it goes to market and realizing that the old model doesn't work, but there is still a demand for its services.  It is something to keep an eye on to see if it is successful or not.

Reflections on the Passing of Pop Royalty

I felt compelled to write something about the passing of Michael Jackson – after all, the name of this blog is "Pop Culture Gangster" and Michael was the "King of Pop."  However, since there has been about ten million articles and blogs already written on the topic, I knew I couldn't add much to the stories written about his accomplishments, his contributions to music and dance, and the tragic figure that he had become in what turned out to be the last years of his career and life.

What did intrigue me was the sheer volume of articles, stories, and overall outpouring of feelings about Michael Jackson as both an artist and a cultural icon.  I don't personally remember the passing away of John Lennon or Elvis Presley, so I really don't have a reference point for something like this – an artist who has global appeal and influence being taken away from their fans earlier than anyone would have thought. 

It made me wonder who else in the world of music might have such a big cultural impact with their passing – who else might get a slew of schedule-shifting television specials put together and broadcast within 48 hours of their death? 

As I developed a list in my head, I realized that most of the artists who come to mind were… well, older.  Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and/or Keith Richards all immediately come to mind.  Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys may also make the cut (or at least he should).

What's interesting about that list is that none of them had a debut album that came out after the 1975.  It is difficult to think of an artist whose initial recording was released in the last 30 years, endeared themselves to many millions of fans crossing over generations, and have maintained their cultural and artistic relevance.  The only artists that come to mind are Madonna, Prince and U2. 

One could argue that the lack of those major, global arena-packing stars is a sign that popular music's quality peaked sometime in the late 60's – early 70's and has declined since then.   It would make sense that in our hyper-connected world it would be easier for pop stars to become global megastars.  However, I don't think the quality of music has declined and believe that our connected age has ironically made it more difficult for a star to obtain that critical mass for "global domination." 

These two issues are actually intrinsically linked.  There is plenty of good music still being made out there – in fact, in the coming weeks, I hope to share my thoughts on a few artists that I"ve recently discovered which I think are making original, high quality music.  They are also artists who can easily make a respectable living monetarily while staying true to their artistic goals thanks to the new global village.  Big contracts with big record labels selling big numbers of albums isn't the only measure of success any more. 

With all the options available to both artists and fans to distribute and obtain music, it is easier to follow more bands – especially more obscure bands in small genres – that there isn't a need for people to gravitate towards a single band.  That diversity of music is good for music and art – but bad for mega-global superstars. 

The music industry is well aware that every time they lose an artist like Michael Jackson, they not only lose a great musician but a rare breed in today's world: an artist that can move millions of units quickly and easily, and reach across generations and demographics.  It is a great irony that as music has become more liberated, it also means that more people who are interested in the music have access to it, but it results in less people are interested in a singular sound or artist. 

That brings us back to Michael Jackson - an example of pure showmanship and talent that can impress anyone with ears and eyes willing to listen and look.  There is no doubt that he had both – in case you didn't know, he wrote some of his biggest hits himself, including "Bad," "Beat It," "Billie Jean," and "Smooth Criminal" all great pop classics.  He had an ear for an infectious hook, but he also often wrote surprisingly personal lyrics, not just light fluff. 

His influence is so far-reaching, it is difficult to gauge what would happen to him in today's age – would he reach the same levels of fame?  Would he be able to break through the cacophony of artists and genres available in stores and on line? 

The days of the global mega-star are probably numbered – as I said, most of the artists on that list are getting on in years.  Perhaps they will live well into their old age and when they pass there will be much mourning but not shock.  If they are taken away earlier than that, perhaps the world will stand in the solidarity that only comes from the horror of losing someone too soon.

Either way, the passing of Michael Jackson isn't just a loss of a great artist and performer, but is a step closer towards the end of an era in popular music that has existed since the first time Elvis Presley shook his hips on TV, one that could be replaced by a world where artists perform for smaller, more devout audiences.  We may not see a day again anytime soon when we all gather around the TV for a performance like Michael's on the Motown's 25th Anniversary Special, but hopefully we'll be able to gather around the iPod and hear his influence among many artists for many years to come.  

Two Things for the Foodies Out there, and One for the Music Fans

Three web sites that I recently learned about and wanted to share:

Livekick – First for the music fans… I'm always on the lookout for ways to track when your favorite artists are coming to town for a show, and this is another site that has joined the fray that already has Tourfilter, Sonic Living and others.

Drink A Better Brew – Pretty aggressive concept here.  Not only are they putting on beer and food pairing dinners that the public can join in, but if you can get 10 friends together, they will bring the party to your house.  Kinda like one of those Tupperware/jewelery/kitchen stuff/naughty things-type parties that the gals usually have, but geared towards beer geeks.

Foodzie – A shopping site for foodies.  Nothing is cheap, but there's some interesting things on there.  If someone tries Q tonic water, let me know if it is really worth almost $60/case!

In the meantime, hopefully I can find someplace to buy aged provolone.  I tried it for the first time this weekend and it is the first time I've had a cheese that is actually tangy in a good way.   Very rich, flavorfull and this biting tang at the end that made it almost refreshing.

Record Shop Day – Cool Idea! (I Think)

Even even I do have an iPod now and could never buy another CD for the rest of my life, I’m not about to give that up.  I still love the experience of getting a new CD, reading through the booklet and listening to the music with the book in hand, trying to figure out what the lyrics mean, and trying to figure out what the artist is saying in both the music and the artwork. 

Just as I still love that tactile experience, I still enjoy going to an actual record store and browsing around.  Sometimes I have a goal in mind – a particular album I want to get – and other times I just go in and see what catches my eye and ear, sometimes using a listening station if there is one available (why there aren’t more of these, I don’t know!).  The number of  independent music stores continue to dwindle.  In my area, Newbury Comics is the leading independent record shop, and I love them, but I still miss In Your Ear records on Thayer Street in Providence.

So when I heard about "National Record Day," I naturally got excited!  I went to the web site and immediately got a banner to put here on my blog:

While come over here to write this post up, I figured I should know what it is all about.  The site doesn’t really have much information for consumers on it; apparently all the indie shops are getting together to create an event at each of their stores on the same day and use their collective power to get freebies and more attention from the record labels. 

The irony here is kind of obvious – these are "indie" (that’s "independent" for you non-hipsters out there) stores (known for their fierce individualism), joining together, combining their power, to fight against mega-stores and discount stores that are stealing business from them.  Because those guys are big and put their power together to get more attention from the record labels. 


Of course, I realize that there is a greater good here, but I still find it a bit humorous.  I do hope that it gets people into a new local record store though, and maybe they will find some great music that they wouldn’t have found at their local Wal-Mart or Best Buy.  You don’t have to wait until April 19th to do it either – these stores are open between now and then, doncha know!?!?   

Thoughts In Concert

As indicated by my previous post, I recently saw Ryan Adams and the Cardinals perform live.  That same weekend I also saw another favorite band: Aerosmith.  While both rock concerts, they are vastly different styles and what made up the setlist for each band represented an interesting conflict of what to play in concert when it comes to established acts. 

Aerosmith has been around for much longer than Adams, so they have a larger catalog of songs to choose from, but with his prodigious output, Ryan Adams is no slacker either.

As a long time avid (one might say "hard-core") Aerosmith fan, I participate in the Aeroforce One fan club forums from time to time, and one of the on-going debates is about "deep tracks" vs "the popular stuff."  Those of us who are long time fans and have seen Aerosmith perform many times (I’ve lost track at this point – 11 or 12 I believe) would like to see them pull out a few deep tracks from a great album like Rocks or Toys in the Attic or Draw the Line, and not play songs like "Pink" or "Livin’ the the Edge" or "Cryin" (or "Crazy")… and just about any Aerosmith fan worth his Aero-wings would rather hear ANYTHING than "Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing." 

However, last year, Aerosmith cut their classic song "Dream On" from a night or two of the tour and a virtual brouhaha broke out.  Many of those who had heard the song performed live dozens of times were ambivalent at best about about it, many others who had seen Aerosmith for the first time felt disappointed and let down that they didn’t hear that classic song.  They may as well have left out "Walk This Way" and/or "Sweet Emotion." 

Then  you have Ryan Adams, who performed a set list two nights later that consisted of a few well-known songs (at least to his fans) but shunned other, more popular songs like "New York, New York" (his "breakthrough hit," if you will) and "Let It Ride," the first single off of his highly successful double album "Cold Roses."  As my first time seeing Ryan Adams live, I would have liked to hear those songs, along with a few others that are his "hits."  I have no complaints about the set list, but if you were a casual fan, you may have been a bit lost.

(Disclaimer: I’m not sure if there’s such as thing as a casual Ryan Adams fan.  The people in the audience were having some serious music geek conversations from what I heard, with people comparing their favorite songs and albums, Ryan or otherwise.)

On the other hand, I may have actually traded out "Sweet Emotion" at the Friday night Aerosmith show in order to hear "Kings and Queens" or "Combination" instead.  And I LOVE "Sweet Emotion" – it may be one of the most "essential" songs to hear performed live at least once in your life (along with "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath, "Jessica" by the Allman Brothers, "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple and "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns n’ Roses), but dammit, I’ve heard it performed live a dozen times, and there’s over 15 albums worth of material for them to choose from – break something a little deeper out.  Joe Perry and Steven Tyler launched into a slightly abbreviated and acoustic version of "Hangman Jury" from the Permanent Vacation tour that was phenomenal to hear for a change. 

At the same time, I can understand where  casual and/or first time Aerosmith concert attendee would be upset if they didn’t heard "Sweet Emotion," "Walk This Way," "Dream On" etc. etc. 

There probably isn’t a right answer to this – other than that bands with a big back catalog should satisfy the majority of the audience but throw at least a little bone to the long-time, hard-core fans that make up their most loyal following.  It could be considered a matter of artistic integrity, but just because a song is popular doesn’t make it bad, and just because it is a deep track doesn’t mean that it good – might be interesting to hear Aerosmith play "Cheese Cake" live, but I could live without it, thanks.

What’s the right mix of "popular" vs. "deep tracks"?  Is it dependent on the band?  Do younger, more contemporary acts have more of a right to perform deep tracks since they don’t have as many hits, or should older acts play more deep tracks since it is more likely that people have heard the hits many times over already?  And what about the hometown crowd factor?  I saw Aerosmith on their Boston "hometown" stop and they only difference between that show and any others so far on the tour was the addition of "Hangman," which wasn’t even a complete song.   Should bands play deeper songs from their catalog just because they are on home turf where you many have people who have been following them since the beginning?

I have one other concert-related rant that I would like to close with.  This has nothing to do with set lists or song selection, but rather with audience behavior.  The Ryan Adams show was a pretty mellow event, with most of the audience sitting and enjoying the music.  It’s not like it was proper like a classical concert, but it was very mellow.  By contrast, Aerosmith, as would be expected, was a high-energy show with much higher production values, both in the personal performances and the stage production. 

However, when it comes to whether to sit and listen or stand up and move to the music (dance, headbang, play air guitar, whatever), you need to follow the crowd.  There’s been a few times where I’ve been frustrated that I can stand and rock out to a favorite song from a band.  There have also been a few times where I’ve led the charge in a section to get up and rock out when a particularly great song is played.  But if I was faced with fellow audience members who didn’t want to stand, I’d take my lumps and sit down.  Friday night, every single person in the audience was sitting except for these four absolutely obnoxious people who insisted on standing.  And they weren’t even moving that much – they were occasionally playing some slight air guitar or swaying a bit, but other than that, the only thing they were accomplishing was blocking the view of the people behind them. 

When a fellow concertgoer (and fan presumably) asked them politely to sit down they responded with "no" which made me want to get up and slap them.  They weren’t affecting me directly, but it made me angry.  I want everyone to enjoy the show as I was, and for these four selfish individuals to just stand there, screwing it up for others, was brining inconsiderateness to a new level.

The rule is: you sit down when EVERYONE ELSE is sitting and you stand when EVERYONE ELSE is standing and if you really like a particular song, feel free to stand for a song, but be considerate… move off to the side if you can.  Everyone is there for the same purpose: to enjoy the concert.  Don’t be a jerk and do it at the expense of others.

Ryan Adams at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA

This review started to write itself before even leaving the venue – one of those times where there are so many moments of inspiration, the difficulty is not in coming up with something to write about, but rather, picking the right things to concentrate on.

Ryan Adams has been marked alternatively as a genius, nutcase and rip-off at varying times in his career.  I hesitate at the word "genius" as I believe that title can only bestowed with the vantage of elapsed time, but I will defend my opinion that he is one of the most talented singer/songwriters out there today, and one of the best to come along in a while.  I’m not a country music fan, but have become enamored with the alternative country rock that Adams often personifies. 

After following his career in recordings only, this past weekend afforded me the opportunity to see him live, in the cozy setting of the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA.  He went on about 40 minutes after the posted start time, but made up for it with a fantastic set consisting of both popular songs and deep tracks:

1. Goodnight Rose
2. Peaceful Valley
3. What Sin
4. Beautiful Sorta
5. Freeway To The Canyon
6. Mockingbird
7. Cold Roses
8. Off Broadway
9. I See Monsters
10. Wildflowers
11. Rescue Blues
12. Dear Chicago
13. Please Do Not Let Me Go
14. A Kiss Before I Go
15. Games
16. Dear John
17. Easy Plateau
18. Sweet Lil’ Gal (solo) (aborted)
19. Magnolia Mountain
20. Nightbirds
21. The End

Adam’s styles begs comparisons to many other artists, and I can’t resist the temptation – listening to his songs brings up a variety of similar sounding artists, from Bob Dylan to Jeff Buckley.  However, seeing him live, the most appropriate comparison would be Neil Young – not surprising given his country influences and emphasis on strong songwriting – but also the Grateful Dead, an association which I would NOT have made prior to the concert.

During songs like "Cold Roses," "Easy Plateau," and especially "Magnolia Mountain," the performances got stretched out into extended jams, often straying completely from the original melody, developing into new tunes.  Some of them – as in the case of "Magnolia Mountain" – went into a spacey, downright trippy vein, complete with a giant mirror ball reflecting specks of colored light as notes bounced around with equally energy.

I held some trepidation going into the concert – a friend whom I introduced to Ryan Adams in the last year recently saw him live and was left disappointed, seeing only a short set and very little interaction with the audience.  However, that was clearly an off night, as Adams was downright jovial, even though he was performing with the flu, something that became a running joke throughout the night ("this is the first time I’ve had the flu while sober – its cool" he quipped at one point), along with poking fun at his own temperament and trading jibes with the audience and band members.  In fact, at several points, Adams called for the audience to be a bit quieter ("less audience!") but kept his cool throughout, even when a fan replied with "less whining!"

However, the in-between song banter was secondary to the music, which was tight but exploratory, and most importantly, extremely satisfying.  There were a ton of songs that I wish he had played, but I also have no problem with what was played – there were songs that I love ("Nightbirds" and "Rescue Blues") but would have considered too much of a "deep track" to be played live.  But more on that in my next post… 

Sgt. Hetfield’s Motorbreath Pub Band by Beatallica

I wrote about Beatallica before, and have been anxiously awaiting the release of their first album ever since seeing them live in Chicago last spring.   I was able to get my copy yesterday, and encourage you to do the same. The name of the album is Sgt. Hetfield’s Motorbreath Pub Band and I can guarantee you a good time if you’re a music fan with varied tastes, a sense of humor and an appreciation for good muscianship.

That is what makes me so excited about the album – it isn’t just a novelty band or a big joke: these guys can play.  Play really well.  They are managing to combine the Beatles and Metallica, two bands that many musicians would be nervous to cover straight up, never mind mashing them up to create a new song.  The Beatles wrote incredibly catchy pop and rock songs with amazing melodies; Metallica wrote some of the most fast and complex heavy metal ever written.  Combining the two would seem difficult but the four guys in Beatallica – Jaymz Lennfield, Grg Hammetson, Kliff McBurtney, and Ringo Larz – make it seem easy, and dare I say, perfectly natural.

After just a day, I’m already enjoying the CD as a collection of original music, not as a novelty act that you share with friends and then let collect dust until you uncover it years later and say "what was I thinking!?!?"  This is seriously good music that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Good to the Fans, Good to the Music

As a big music fan, I look around at the state of the music industry and wonder what will happen.  I’ve been tracking the digital revolution of music since the late 90’s – I did a research paper back in college that looked at what effect the downloading of MP3s had on music purchases.  To get that accomplished, I had to trawl through Usenet groups to get enough people to take the survey. 

At that point, people were using it as a sampling mechanism.  They downloaded the free track(s), and if they liked it, they bought the album.  It seemed like a great opportunity for the music industry, but they were too busy resisting the inevitable change that technology was bringing.

About six month later, Napster came along and all hell broke loose, and all the lawyers and Lars Ulriches in the world couldn’t stop things.

So now that we enjoy music in a world filled with the instant gratification of downloads and access to a lot of free music (a good amount of which isn’t "supposed" to be free), what effect does that have on the art?  There’s been some studies that show that music has become commodified, but for the fans of a particular genre or artist, the value will always be there.  The challenge for the artist however, is to make a living in the new paradigm.

One thought that I’ve had for a while now is that more musicians would have smaller but more loyal followings, allowing them to carve out comfortable livings for themselves while maintaining their artistic integrity.  They may not sell a million albums each year but they will sell enough records and concert tickets be happy and allow them to keep creating the music that they want to make and the fans want to hear.  Ironically, digital technology is what allows an artist to talk with the fans and if they want, distribute the music to them directly.

Someone who embodies this "successful with a relatively small but rabid following while maintaining artistic integrity" ethos is Matt Nathanson.  If you’ve never heard of him, you’re not alone – I hadn’t either until a little over a year ago when my girlfriend asked me to to go one of his concerts with her.  Being the good boyfriend, I listened to some stuff, figured it wouldn’t be too bad, and went along for the ride.

I loved it.  I mean, I really loved the show.  Matt intersperses his heart-wrenching acoustic sing-alongs with some of the funniest* in-between song banter I’ve ever heard. 

Anyway, Matt is a great live performer.  I like him better solo acoustic, as the fans get nearly silent except for singing along to the song choruses and he has the ability to really talk with the audience.  He plays in small enough places where he can actually interact with the people on the other side of the lights. 

The last time we saw him was at a show at Babson College, just outside of Boston.  He was an opener for Third Eye Blind** so he played an abbreviated set and was faced with a less than attentive crowd.  While getting bored by Third Eye Blind and their generic heavy rock that was qualifying as "retro" for the college students and making me feel very old, we decided that we’d wait to try to meet Matt.  I was with Meghan, her sister Kaitlyn, and their cousin, Beth.  Meghan had met Matt, but neither Kaitlyn or Beth hadn’t, nor had I. 

After a good hour and a half of waiting around, we were almost giving up and I was trying to entertain myself by looking through the Babson Athletic Wall of Fame for anyone even remotely famous.   Suddenly, I heard a commotion behind me, and turned around to find Matt and the girls exchanging "Oh my gawds!"  I sauntered over so that I could meet him and tell him that I had become a fan. 

I wound up getting a man-hug (you know, one arm shaking hands, the other patting the back) and he noticed I was wearing an Aerosmith t-shirt.  Next thing I know, we’re in a good 5-minute long conversation about Aerosmith deep tracks and the Joe Perry Project that only the wonkiest of music geeks could even come close to appreciating.  At that point, Matt went from a musician I liked and respected, to someone I really wanted to just sit at a bar with and talk music over a couple of beers with.

We left the concert after getting autographs and chatting some more.  The walk back to the car was a loud one, as Kaitlyn and Beth called all relevant people in their lives and shared the good news – loudly.  I got some serious props for maintaining a conversation with Matt (we’re all on a first name basis now, of course) for longer than 30 seconds so that they could stare at him and his gorgeous hair or whatever. 

But he’s more than a pretty face – he’s a solid muscian with great songwriting chops and a true ability to entertain his audience at his live shows.  Matt has a new album coming out on August 14, 2007.  It may be a good chance to discover his music and support an artist making music the way he wants to.


*Well, INTENTIONALLY funniest – I’ve been to a fair number of heavy metal concerts where the crazed lead singer attempts to say something meaningful but ruins it by using the f-bomb to the point of hilarity.  Or listening to Ozzy say ANYTHING on stage is sadly funny as well.

**which was strange match indeed, and the whole night was stranger by the big "THIRD EYE BLIND" sign made out of lights that was behind the headlining band, but the letters were a little off, so it looked like it was "THIRDEY EBLIND" playing up there.  I don’t know about you, but I would go see a band called "Thirdey Eblind."

My New Part Time Job: Being a Music Fan

I like music.  I really do.  The music category is easily one of the largest categories of posts on this blog, and this summer I should attend my 150th concert.  I subscribe to several music magazines and have read and wrote about music for years now.

What has frustrated me in the last year however, is the growing complexity and effort needed to be a music fan, especially one who likes live music.  It is bad enough that ticket prices are so expensive, but trying to find out when and where a band is playing and trying to get tickets to that show is tougher than ever. 

Yes, I know I’m older and have more responsibilities than when I was 17 and all I had to worry about was catching my favorite band, but at this point, I have three ways of tracking artists, PLUS the stupid Ticketmaster emails (that come through with the listings for Seattle about once a quarter, which is really helpful when you’re living in Boston).

On top of that, scalpers have screwed up the entire ticket purchasing system so bad that you now have to consider, eBay, fan club pre-sales, and charity auctions.  The good news is that there are more ways to get tickets than ever before.  The bad news is that trying to deal with all the options will turn you into a neurotic nut job.  Which one has the better tickets?  Who has the best price?  How much are you willing to pay?

This all came up recently in my attempt to get tickets to the June 29th Ryan Adams show at the Somerville Theater.  Tickets went on sale at 10 a.m. so at 9:50 I logged into Ticketmaster and started checking every minute or so.  At 10:00 a.m. on the dot, they started the sale.  But I wasn’t able to buy two tickets.  So I kept trying, figuring the system was just too busy.  Eventually I tried buying just one ticket.  I got something in the back row of the theater.  I tried for 15 minutes, but the show eventually completely sold out and I couldn’t even get a solo ticket. 

In the middle of my conniption fit during this experience, it was pointed out to me that there was an special pre-sale offer going on through iTunes (I’m not giving you the link.  Go find it yourself).  This REALLY pissed me off, since in addition to all my live music information that I am spoon-fed daily, I also get my weekly iTunes update and hadn’t seen anything about the promotion until that point.  That, even though I have bought Ryan Adams music through iTunes and have all of his CDs ripped to my iTunes library.  My first reaction was an anger usually reserved for someone severely insulting your mother.   Turns out it is for his tour in the FALL, not the spring shows, including the one I was trying to buy that day.  But if you pre-order the CD on iTunes, you get a pre-sale code for tickets and some unreleased tracks.   

So now I’ve pre-ordered a CD that I’m going to buy a hard copy of anyway, just to get the pre-sale offer code so that when the tickets go on sale for the unscheduled show somewhere in the Boston area at some point this fall, I’ll be able to get tickets.

Right now, fighting bad weather while waiting for a random wristband sounds like good idea.  It took grit back then (OK, 10 years ago), but at least everyone had a fair chance.  You went to the Ticketmaster outlet at 10 a.m. on Saturday, you waited in line, they handed out numbered bracelets and you paid your money.  I would have never thought I’d be pining for those days!