Webb Divorce

Shameful.  Painful.  Terrible.  I’m glad that I was mostly off of Twitter and Facebook for Thursday while my corner of the Internet reacted.  I’m done with him.  I’ll forgive him eventually, but there’s nothing that says that I have to maintain a relationship with him.  Call me what you will for the public unfollow: I will not care.


I consider Derek Webb to be a friend.  Back when you needed things like fan sites, Bryan and I ran derekwebb.net to help him disseminate information.  Now in the Twitter era, musicians don’t need people like me to get the word out.  In a disintermediated world, I am the middle man that’s been cut out.

Twitter’s dangerous, though.  Sometimes you’ll say something and then … well, what happened, FV?

DW is exasperated by following Q.


Mr. Webb followed your humble correspondent for about a month, and as we’ve established that I’m a prolific tweeter myself, I understood his exasperation, but I was more than a bit surprised that Quest’s follow-up was a block.

So where has this gone since?  The Houston Chronicle has covered the matter fairly extensively, in light of possibly educating ? about why he should reconsider.  In fact, Jason Bellini appears to have tried to broker a truce to this little Internet rap feud, pointing Quest to the story.  His one answer: “Well”?

Then Derek took it the extra mile.

Will this work?  Is it shameless promotion on Derek’s part?  Is it something that Questlove will respond to?  Will he bring Webb on the show and unblock him publicly?  Will I drive to NYC if that happens?  We can only wait and see.

C’mon, Q.  What kind of taco did you have for lunch?  D, I had a bagel with egg, bacon, cheese, green pepper, onion, and roasted red peppers around 2:45 this afternoon.  I got a bit of a late start.

The Great CD Preservation Project, c. 2012

In one form or another, I’ve had an eye towards preserving my CD collection long term since 2003. ((Why am I writing this update? I referenced something the other day that referenced the original post. Holy nine years, Batman.)) Back then, my process was pretty complicated; now, it’s fairly simple. The principle is pretty simple: get the music off of the CDs while preserving their package and state. I’m okay with CDs only being played a handful of times, as I’m more interested in the packaging and getting all the bits.

Here’s the process:

  1. Scan the release into Delicious Library. This works for purchased CDs only, of course. Concert recordings don’t go in here, as I didn’t pay to take ownership of them. I put things into DL so I can loan them out and know who has what. Also, I have this as a record for insurance purposes.
  2. Check MusicBrainz for the release. Every so often, I have to go and add the release, but I’m an auto-editor.
  3. Rip the CD in Apple Lossless. I’d use FLAC for maximum interoperability, but Apple only uses their lossless format for iTunes, and as I use iTunes Match to move music onto my iDevices, I knuckle under and use their format. I don’t see it going away anytime soon, so I don’t feel like I’m investing time ripping into a format that I won’t use. When I compare this to the 3-4 different lossy encodings I used from 2003-2011, it’s not a big concern. ((That I kept moving the target was a big part of the problem.)) Now that I have two large HDD arrays, I really don’t worry about storage space.
  4. Run the rip/encode through MusicBrainz’s Picard tagger.
  5. Add in the highest-quality cover art I can find. I really should be making my own with the scanner I have, but I’m lame.

I’d put in lyrics—and I care about that in a theoretical way—but there’s little practical value in doing so.

That’s where I’m at these days. I don’t see this methodology changing much given that I’m using a stable lossless codec.

My Two Favorite Albums of 2011

I didn’t procure many albums this year, given my un(der)employment. Most of what I got was purchased when I was working a little or far more often when people bought stuff for me and/or gave me Amazon gift certificates. ((You know who you are. Thank you.)) Still, I don’t have a ton of new music this year. I only have two albums that I dearly love: Adele’s 21 and Josh Garrels’s Love & War & the Sea in Between, which I wrote about back in July. There’s not much for me to say about 21 that hasn’t been said better by others. I will say that “Someone Like You” makes me sad because of how co-dependent it is. “One and Only” is a killer torch song and is the best track for my money.

Given that you can still get L&W&tSiB for free, go spend $10 and get two great albums. Go on.

Continue reading My Two Favorite Albums of 2011

Giving Music Away Is Great; Now Let’s Tackle Findability

Derek Webb wrote on Wednesday of the benefits of giving music away. He is one of the principals at NoiseTrade, a service that does just that, so you would expect that he believes in the concept. Here is a choice quote from the link, which you really should read if you care about the business of music:

If someone buys my music on iTunes, Amazon, or in a record store (remember those?), let alone streams it on Spotify, it’s all short-term money. That might be the last interaction I have with that particular fan. But if I give that fan the same record for free in exchange for a connection (an e-mail and a zip code), I can make that same money, if not double or triple that amount, over time. And “over time” is key, since the ultimate career success is sustainability. Longevity. See, the reality is that out of a $10 iTunes album sale, I probably net around a dollar. So if I give that record away, and as a result am able to get that fan out to a concert (I can use their zip code to specifically promote my shows in their area), I make approximately $10 back, and twice that if they visit the merch table. I can sell them an older/newer album and make approximately $10 back. The point is, if I can find some organic way to creatively engage them in a paid follow-up transaction, I increase my revenue 10 times on any one of these interactions.

Continue reading Giving Music Away Is Great; Now Let’s Tackle Findability

Josh Garrels – Love & War & the Sea in Between

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Accompanied vocal music is about three things: the lyrics to be sung, the voice and intonation of the singer, and the instrumental music that accompanies the singer. At its best, the three elements are integrated into a taut line tying the spear that pierces your heart to the songwriter. Even when you have two of the three pieces involved, you can still have something powerful, but the three forces combined are overpowering.

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Musical tastes vary, but the beauty of having a platform for my voice is that I can make a statement. I’ve been fully consumed by three records so far this year, in order: The Avett Brothers’ I and Love and You, Adele’s 21, and Josh Garrels’s Love & War & the Sea in Between. The first two have gotten plenty of deserved publicity, but I wish to shed a little light on Garrels’s work. Fellow Whiskerino Joshua Neds-Fox pointed me to this record, and because I like a lot of the same things that he likes, I gave it a shot.

Continue reading Josh Garrels – Love & War & the Sea in Between

Andrew Osenga – Leonard the Lonely Astronaut

I don’t think that it’s any secret that I love Andrew Osenga‘s music. If you can get me in a conversation about music that gets past why I think Radiohead and Wilco are awesome, I’m generally going to tell you about this Andy guy. He writes things from the heart that also cut to the heart, which is what I look for in the music I support.

The above video pretty well encapsulates Andy’s goofy nature, his desire to make good record, and his love of cheeseball science fiction. Who raises money for a record and then records the thing inside a set-piece that’s designed to, well, be a spaceship? Andy. He mentions the theme of the record, and he and I have talked a bit more about where these songs will go. I am excited to see what comes of it.

If you’re the Kickstarting type, I’d encourage you to give his idea a look. I’m backing him, and not because he used to tell everyone that I put monkeys into space.

My iTunes Smart Playlists, c. 2011

Five years ago, I wrote about my iTunes Smart Playlists set. Since then, more than a few changes have happened to iTunes, including Genius playlists and the renaming of Party Shuffle to iTunes DJ. Amazingly, I’m still largely using the setup I had five years ago. Here’s what I have feeding everything:

I found the filter necessary for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, I didn’t want to hear stuff that I’d skipped over, and I didn’t want to hear crappy music. The Christmas genre rule gets removed between the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas, but otherwise it stays gone. As for comedy tracks, I’m wanting to listen to music when I use this playlist. I choose to listen to comedy albums beginning-to-end, anyway. ((If you’re curious: Caliendo, Leary, Engvall, and that Blue Collar Comedy stuff. It makes me laugh. I can’t help it.))

Here’s the source for the filter:

There’s been consolidation. The cutoff of “Rolling 3 Months…” is “of Adds”. I went from a rolling month to a rolling quarter purely because I wasn’t adding music to the library as often. The only thing I’m really missing here is the Randomizer list; writing this has me considering re-instituting it.

The Rolling 3 Months list isn’t worth taking a screenshot. The only filter on it is that the Rating must be non-zero.

Great But Forgotten:

The main change here is the definition of “forgotten” from a five days to 90. I often use this as an iTunes DJ source playlist. ((It was the source playlist while writing this.))

Heavy Rotation:

This playlist is the main reason I reset my iTunes play counts on New Year’s Day. The play count can get skewed if there’s an album you listen to a ton. I’ve also had an album end up Heavy Rotation purely because I had it playing in iTunes with the sound muted. ((I’ve taken to stopping iTunes rather than letting it play in the background and seeing Last.FM data. I don’t have a good answer as to why I was doing that before.)) Having a fresh start on the play count is a good thing. Heavy Rotation will tell you that I’ve spent a lot of time listening to Broken Bells and Radiohead this week.

Least Often Played:

The other thing that concerned me about resetting plays was that this playlist would become useless, but the Last Played data does stay intact. Very cool.

I don’t think 4-Star and 5-Star Albums require explanation.

Why I Built ISupportJenniferKnapp.com

So Jennifer Knapp is gay. Okay. No big deal to me. I’m still ambivalent on the whole “homosexuality is a sin” thing. That’s true: I go back and forth on it most every time I think about it.

What this fact doesn’t change for me is my respect for Jen and her music. I loved Kansas, and while her late stuff was merely okay for me, that record is still one of my favorites 12 years later. I also buy that life is messy, and that not loving someone because they’re sinful is so hypocritical, because I’m so sinful myself. The moment I figure life out and figure out how to Live Right, I won’t need Jesus anymore. Wesleyan arguments for earthly holiness to the contrary—never have held to those, folks; settle down—I just don’t see where it works.

And as my friend and fellow Jen Knapp fan, Derek Webb, said this morning:

careful not to make lack of sin a prerequisite for loving or befriending someone. you’ll be really lonely (& you’ll hate yourself)

Saying that “I Support Jennifer Knapp” doesn’t imply that I support everything that she does. But in a time where her coming out is going to have all sorts of Christians criticizing her and making her seem like less of a person, I wanted to say, “I think that you’re just as worthy of grace as I am.”

[Many thanks to Chris for the PHP hackery and to Derek and Hunter for the moral support.]

On Musiclogging and Reviewing

Okay, so obviously I’m back to listening to music more earnestly. [I would argue that this is a beneficial result of not being so damn depressed.] Would you like me to review the stuff I’m listening to? I used to do that back in the week-by-week format, but I found that format rather unwieldy and also quite demanding.

If I review stuff, it’ll be in the form of a weekly or monthly post that reviews whatever I’ve listened to in the last time period. It also won’t be long: I’m thinking 140-character reviews, a la Twitter. [In fact, I might just use Twitter to do it, and use Alex’s Twitter Tools to power doing it. Hmmm.]

This is only relevant for the subset of my audience that gives a rip about what I’m listening to, of course …

Update, 2124: Oh, hell … the longer I thought about it, the more it made sense to just do it. Welcome, @geofsnewmusic.