I what sounds like a disastrous and irrational decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a previous verdict and awarded $5.3 million to the Gaye family.  Two judges sided with the Gaye family, while one judge wrote an important and scathing dissent, supporting the defendants Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams.

Dissenting Judge Jacqueline Nguyen offered a harsh dissent, saying that the songs resemble each other only in style not substance and that the decision was detrimental to the future of artists and creativity.

"The majority allows the Gayes to accomplish what no one has before: copyright a musical style," Nguyen wrote. "'Blurred Lines' and 'Got to Give It Up' are not objectively similar. They differ in melody, harmony, and rhythm. Yet by refusing to compare the two works, the majority establishes a dangerous precedent that strikes a devastating blow to future musicians and composers everywhere."

You can find similarities in style between many pop songs. Most rock songs have essentially the same drum beat. Most pop music uses the same four chords and often the same chord progressions.  "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give it Up" have similarities, but I have never thought they sounded the same and the fact is that the Williams/Thicke song differs in more ways from the Gaye song than they are alike.  It's a good thing that one judge saw that, but I think this ruling is going to make these types of lawsuits more common. That's good for lawyers, but not songwriters.

It's hard to image Renee Zellweger playing Judy Garland but it's going to happen.  As you can see from the picture in this article from Variety she's getting the look right.  And you know she can sing if you saw her in Chicago, which earned her an Oscar nomination.  But can anybody, except maybe the best drag queens, sing like Judy Garland?

It's going to be interesting.

Justin Timberlake, U2 and Taylor Swift are having trouble selling their music and will have to rely on touring if they want to keep bringing in the big bucks.

Record Sales Plunge as Top Artists– Justin Timberlake, U2, even Taylor Swift– Sell Fractions of Previous Numbers

I recently damaged a pair of Klipsch Image One headphones but I found a way to repair them. This video shows how I did it.

The LANDR blog has an interesting article on how to start your song by first building a percussion track and then adding an effective bassline.

It's pretty basic stuff but they have several important pointers to help you write an effective bass track while avoiding clashing frequencies that muddy the low end of your song, and choosing the right notes so that they stand out in your mix and complement your song.

The article is somewhat focused on the Ableton DAW software, but much of it applies to composing any bassline, even if you're not using a DAW.

They also link to some pages with Free VST Plugins for bass and synth.  Free VST Plugins are always fun to play around with and can also help to generate new ideas for your songs.

Elton John recently got angry during performance and stormed off stage.  He explained that he always has a group of fans come on stage at a certain part of the show and it's a "lovely" part of the show.

On this particular evening one fan was touching the piano keys and leaning over the piano to take pictures which Elton felt was disruptive and rude. So he left the stage until the fan, or maybe the whole group of them were removed from the stage.

Rudeness has unfortunately become an epidemic in our culture, perhaps because of too much reality TV, or more likely because we've lost respect for each individual's right to control their life and space as much as possible.

To read more about Elton's explanation of his actions go here.

I have this problem and I'm sure many other songwriters do as well.  What do I write about?

I've long been an admirer of Joni Mitchell and one of the things that I love about her work is her ability to tell stories by creating vivid pictures with her lyrics.  

This article from the Reverbnation Blog give some tips on finding subject matter for you songs.  Here are the four tips.  Go to the article to read the details.

  1. Write a fictional story and develop characters
  2. Make music about your family
  3. Find something interesting in your daily routine
  4. Write about your struggle

Joni often used an entire song as metaphor.  I'm thinking of Electricity (For the Roses) or You Turn Me On I'm a Radio (For the Roses).  There are too many others to mention, it was such a big part of her songwriting talent.

Of course, Joni wasn't the only songwriter who did this. But it makes for a great song that stays interesting and thought-provoking for decades to come.

As Spotify prepares to go public, there's no obvious solution to its shaky business model

This article on CNBC raises important questions about Spotify's ability to survive in the long term.  Although it is by far the most popular streaming service, it has never turned a profit.  And given how little they pay musicians and songwriters, how can they not make a profit.

As the most popular and celebrated music streaming platform, the company has its share of boosters. Still, as it prepares to join public markets, albeit in a somewhat unusual form, it faces the same problem other internet companies have faced before — a balance sheet that's deeply in the red, and a business model that doesn't show an obvious way to profitability.

Perhaps just as important, it will be going up against deep pocketed competitors like Apple Music and Amazon Music, both of which can afford to operate music services forever without making a dime.

When I look at traffic stats for my website, I can't tell if real people are visiting or if it's all bots.

If you're a real person, I'd love to hear from you in a comment or through the contact form.  It would also be great to get your feedback about your experience on my site.

So much social media is driven by bots and fake user accounts.  My site could be a place where real people meet and talk about our shared interest in music or anything else we choose.

So say hello in the comments or the contact form so that I'll know you're for real.

Bandcamp had another great year in 2017.  Vinyl sales were up 54%, CDs were up 18%, digital tracks were up 33% and cassettes were up 41%.  Those are amazing numbers!

I'm proud to have my work on Bandcamp.

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