Friday 29 April 2016

What we're listening to. Prince, 'Sign o the times'

It was actually 1984's album 'Purple Rain' that brought Prince to everyone's attention but 'Sign O the Times' was his masterpiece. 

The other Albums that run it close are 'Parade', 'Purple Rain', 'Dirty Mind', 'Around the world in a day', 'Lovesexy' and '1999'. Not bad to have that many contenders for greatness....out of 37 studio albums.

His greatest song in Streamabout's heads anyway, was, 'The most beautiful girl in the world'. You'll hear it here, later but it's from 'The Gold Experience'.

It was his uncanny ability to bring so many music styles - funk, rock, soul, jazz, gospel, disco - together, that made him unique. His own mastery of studio techniques and instruments brought greatness and no more so, than the one song a day he was supposed to have written. 

Explicit, sexual fantasies in lyrics, famously got him attention too. 

His live shows were stunning (we saw him live) with the Superbowl 2007 show well talked about still and sometimes in local clubs after long 'official' headline shows. 

Born in Minneapolis 1958, his father played in a jazz trio and his mother was a vocalist although they separated when he was 10.

He was shy, not a great fan of interviews and in 1987 released this epic double album 'Sign o the times'. 

It's very diverse and 'U got the look' actually features 70's disco diva, Sheena Easton. He nearly single handedly, arranged and recorded all of the music often referred to as 'minimalist'.

In 1989 'Time Out' called it the greatest Album of all time but it's at 93 on 'Rolling Stone' 500 best ever. 

If you want to get to know Prince, this is a great place to start and gives you a real sense of his genius because that's what it was. 

Rest in Peace.

Previous "listen to's" you'll also find on this blog.......Daft Punk 'Random Access Memories'; Amy Winehouse 'Back to Black';Police 'Outlandos D'Amour'; Michael Jackson Off the Wall; Carole King Tapestry; Beatles Red Album; Sex Pistols Never mind the Bollocks; Sam Cooke Live at Harlem Square; The Doors LA Woman; Thin Lizzy Live & Dangerous; Kendrick Lamarr Butterfly; Aretha Franklin Amazing Grace; Clapton 461; Massive Attack Blue Lines; The Clash London Calling; Chris Isaak At The Filmore; Bob Dylan Street Legal; Bad Company Straight Shooter; Jackson Browne Love is Strange; Lou Reed Transformer; Steely Dan AJA; Stones Black+Blue; Stephen Bishop Careless; Nils Lofgren Night after Night; Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells; Neil Young Harvest; Led Zep 4; David Bowie David Live; Van Morrison It's too late to stop now; Wings Band on the run; Rod Stewart Atlantic Crossing; Ryan Adams Heartbreaker; Santana Essential; Bob Dylan Desire; Roxy Music For your pleasure; Bob Marley Legend; Stephen Fretwell Magpie; James Taylor Sweet Baby James; Deep Purple Machine Head; Springsteen Darkness on the edge of town; Leon Bridges Coming Home; Eagles Hotel California; Jungle; Aretha Soul Queen; Neil Young After the Goldrush + Harvest; Zappa Overnite Sensation; Fleetwood Mac Rumours; Keith Jarrett Koln Concert; Doobies Southbound; Stevie Earle I feel Alright; Tom Waits Closing Time; Pink Floyd Dark Side; Van Morrison Moondance; Eric Church Caught in the Act; Randy Newman Little Criminals; Elton John Madman across the water; Patti Smith Horses; Doobies Captain and Me; Steely Dan Can't Buy a Thrill.

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Apple Sales Fall. It's still all good.

Iphone Sales have fallen for the first time ever and with that, Apple's Revenues have fallen too for the first time.

Sales of a staggering 50 Billion+ for 3 months ending in March were -13% on last years comparable. Talk about being a victim of your own success. 

Revenues from services (Itunes, Apps etc) were +20%. Apple watch performance was unclear but seemingly 'good'.

Iphone sales which generally accounts for 65% of Apple's Revenue, were down in the quarter from 61 million to 51 million and Ipad/Mac sales were also down ....but slow downs in Ipad sales is becoming a trend. 

It seems that 'the Mac premium' is not being paid by consumers as easily anymore and of course, IPhone has to reach saturation at some point.

Phone upgrades too, are less attractive as the OS remains 'more or less' the same and where do you go after Iphone6? Added to that, publicity about the FBI and Tax issues, have a negative affect.

A profit of 10.5 Billion usd is down -23% but of course, just keeps adding to he massive Apple cashpile. Enough cash that it could have bailed out Ireland in the recent downfall for example. Apple is stronger than a lot of countries.

However, it's a significant drop and a significant moment with the company also suffering from a lack of innovation with no new brilliant products on the horizon.

But what a company. The trail blazer, the cash king and still generating sales of 50 Billion usd in a quarter...what's not to like?

But where do you go now? Rebuild trust in the Apple brand with an extensive marketing campaign that shows the value in Apple products and generates usage of the services. 

Watch for it.

Tuesday 26 April 2016

USA Today publishers try to buy Newspaper Group for 815 Million.

Gannett, publishers of 'USA Today' have made a bid to buy Tribune Publishing (LA Times, Chicago Tribune etc) for 815 million usd in cash. That's a 63% premium on Tribune's stock price and they'll take on the debts estimated at 350 million usd.

The consolidation of both publishers (read - the job losses) would estimate savings of 50 million usd a year and of course, probably bring a bigger, better group. Certainly a stronger one in these fickle Newspaper times.

The offer was unsolicited and by all reports, not well received by Tribune Publishing. 

Yet on paper, it looks like a lifeline.....interesting. 

Monday 25 April 2016

Ad Blockers Blocking illegal?

The Ad blocker problem rumbles on...

One of the clear (and clever) ways for Publishers to deal with Ad blocking is to not let readers who are using them, to see any content. 

The argument goes, that the content has to be paid for and Advertising is the way that does that. So if you block the Ads (using an Ad Blocker), there's no way of paying for the content.

So Publishers automatically detect you have an Ad blocker and deny you access. It follows the legal action against 'Brave', already featured on this Blog so is part of the story.

However, it might now seem that the very detection by publishers of Ad blocking is illegal because it's being done without permissions.

There's talk of a letter from The EU which outlines that privacy is the main issue and readers must give consent to have their Ad blocker well, blocked.

200 million people are using Ad blockers and Publishers are really suffering. This is another problem on top of that problem for them. Now that it's found it's way into the 'privacy community' and activists, will only add to it.

But remember! Video is not Ad blocked!