Monday, December 11, 2017
I know that you Millennials will never understand this, but worrying about the Russians, and what the Russians might do was a huge preoccupation for young people during the early 1980s. It was weird living in a world where we we were constantly that our crazy President would get us into a nuclear war with a hostile country.
But, of course, given that “nuclear paranoia songs from the 1980s” is definitely one of the larger sub-genres of Certain Songs please forgive me as I discuss this anachronistic song that was at least a minor hit during the early KFSR days.
In fact, we were so flooded with Cold War paranoia songs that it was probably the “Produced by John Cale” stamped in massive letters on the front of the single that made it stand out at first, but of course there was a reason that Cale produced it: it was pretty awesome.
I’d like to feed the children
Find a cure for disease
And plant a lot of trees
I’d like to help the sick
Give money to students
Hospitals and galleries
Those lyrics are spoken in a slightly distorted deadpan, over a phased out stop-and-start guitar riff that would be almost bouncy if it was didn’t feel so ominous, especially when they went into the chorus and the guitar started freaking out.
I’m afraid of the Russians
I can’t sleep at night
So afraid of the Russians
Afraid we’ve got to fight
“So Afraid of The Russians,” was of course, darkly funny: sure the lyrics described a guy who wanted to do a whole bunch of great things, but his fear and paranoia kept him from even bothering, but in the back of your mind, you wondered if he was just using his fear of the Russians as an excuse.
Nowadays, of course, the threat to the U.S. by the Russians is so minimal that there is even a TV show about that period, called The Americans. Most people haven’t seen it, but it’s kind of a Hogan’s Heroes look at the misadventures of a pair of wacky Russian sleeper agents. It’s hilarious, and a satiric reminder that back then, the existential threat to the U.S. from the Russians was a real thing, as pointed out when the song gives us the laundry list of threats that the Russians proposed.
They’ve got ships at sea
They’ve got missles in the air
Tanks on the border of Europe
And spies everywhere
And as vocalist Tom Lyon repeat “spies everywhere,” with both the guitars and drums syncopated for emphasis, there’s a phone call to John Cale, whose Welsh accent is satisfactorily foreign and scary enough to be a Russian spy, and all you can think is “man, I’m glad that whole thing is over!”
“So Afraid of the Russians”
Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.
Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)
Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page
William Ray “Bill” Hearn, who led the Nashville-based market-leading Capitol Christian Music Group (CCMG) as its Chairman & CEO, passed away yesterday (December 10) aged 58 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Hearn was instrumental in the formation and leadership of CCMG, having played a leading role in the sale and successful transition of family-owned Sparrow Records – founded by his father, Billy Ray Hearn – to EMI Music in 1992.
Through multiple acquisitions, Hearn evolved Sparrow into EMI Christian Music Group where he was appointed CEO in 1996. The company was renamed Capitol Christian Music Group 2013.
Over the past 20 years, the widely-respected Hearn grew CCMG into the world’s leading Christian Music company and market leader in recorded music and music publishing.
The company now operates several divisions, including CCMG Label Group (Sparrow Records, ForeFront Records, sixstepsrecords, Hillsong, Jesus Culture), Motown Gospel and CCMG Publishing (including Brentwood-Benson Music Publications). CCMG owned labels are home to artists Chris Tomlin, Amy Grant, TobyMac, Tasha Cobbs, Jeremy Camp, Hillsong United, Matt Redman, Mandisa, Tye Tribbett, Crowder, Passion Band, Kari Jobe and many others.
CCMG Publishing, in addition to representing most of the CCMG labels’ premier artist/writers, represents many of the other leading writers in Christian/Gospel including Ben Glover, David Garcia, Kirk Franklin, Mark Hall, Brenton Brown and many more.
CCMG is a division of Capitol Music Group (CMG), led by Chairman and CEO Steve Barnett, which is a wholly owned division within Universal Music Group (UMG), the global leader in music-based entertainment.
Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, said, “Bill Hearn led Capitol Christian Music Group like the family business it is: with his unique passionate and mission-driven leadership.
“Anyone who has walked through the doors there knows that it overflows with a special spirit that emanated from Bill himself. That spirit and the people of CCMG are among Bill’s great legacies. We are privileged to have known Bill, and especially blessed to call him a colleague and friend.”
Capitol Music Group (CMG) Chairman Steve Barnett said, “The Capitol Music Group family has lost one of its most valued members. We are all extremely saddened at the news of Bill’s passing, and extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.
“Bill was more than a colleague; he was a friend to all of us and a dedicated leader and mentor for so many within our company. His remarkable accomplishments and contributions to music will forever remain an important part of CMG’s legacy, and, most important, we will forever remember his generous spirit and sense of humanity in our hearts.”
Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) Chairman & CEO Jody Gerson stated, “We are so fortunate to have spent the past few years becoming close with Bill. A wonderful partner to UMPG, his ability to run his company was second to none and he did it with the utmost integrity and skill.
“Above all else, Bill will be remembered as a tremendous human being and friend to everyone that knew him. Our thoughts are with his loved ones and all of the CCMG family.”
Among his numerous accomplishments, Hearn received the TJ Martell Foundation’s Frances Preston Lifetime Music Industry Achievement Award in 2015 for his contribution to the music industry.
He won Grammy Awards in 1995 and 2006 for his role as Compilation Producer for Amazing Grace, A Country Salute To Gospel and Oh Happy Day: A Gospel Music Celebration, respectively. He was honored with The Recording Academy’s President’s Merit Award in 2006.
Artists with whom Hearn has been associated with in his company-leading roles have earned more than 200 Gold, Platinum and Multi-platinum album and video certifications, as well as 40 Grammy Awards, 40 Stellar Awards and 235 Dove Awards (sponsored by the Gospel Music Association).
The Hearn Family Charitable Foundation actively supported the Nashville Symphony, Music Health Alliance, Nashville Food Project, Nashville Rep Theatre, Thistle Farms/Magdalene, Compassion International and Healing Waters. Hearn was a past National Chairman, National Board and Executive Committee Member of the T.J. Martell Foundation.
He served as President of the Gospel Music Trust Fund, was a past National Trustee, Nashville chapter Vice President and board member of The Recording Academy.
Hearn is survived by his wife, Charmion Gustke Hearn, two sisters, a niece and nephew.Music Business Worldwide
Nowadays, movie buffs and videophiles find it hard to imagine a good viewing experience without UHD content, but disc rippers and pirates have remained on the sidelines for a long time.
Protected with strong AACS 2.0 encryption, UHD Blu-ray discs have long been one of the last bastions movie pirates had yet to breach.
This year there have been some major developments on this front, as full copies of UHD discs started to leak online. While it remained unclear how these were ripped, it was a definite milestone.
Just a few months ago another breakthrough came when a Russian company released a Windows tool called DeUHD that could rip UHD Blu-ray discs. Again, the method for obtaining the keys was not revealed.
Now there’s another setback for AACS LA, the licensing outfit founded by Warner Bros, Disney, Microsoft, Intel, and others. On various platforms around the Internet, copies of 72 AACS 2.0 keys are being shared.
The first mention we can find was posted a few days ago in a ten-year-old forum thread in the Doom9 forums. Since then it has been replicated a few times, without much fanfare.
The keys in question are confirmed to work and allow people to rip UHD Blu-ray discs of movies with freely available software such as MakeMKV. They are also different from the DeUHD list, so there are more people who know how to get them.
The full list of leaked keys includes movies such as Deadpool, Hancock, Passengers, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and The Martian. Some movies have multiple keys, likely as a result of different disc releases.
The leaked keys are also relevant for another reason. Ten years ago, a hacker leaked the AACS cryptographic key “09 F9” online which prompted the MPAA and AACS LA to issue DMCA takedown requests to sites where it surfaced.
This escalated into a censorship debate when Digg started removing articles that referenced the leak, triggering a massive backlash.
Thus fas the response to the AACS 2.0 leaks has been pretty tame, but it’s still early days. A user who posted the leaked keys on MyCe has already removed them due to possible copyright problems, so it’s definitely still a touchy subject.
The question that remains now is how the hacker managed to secure the keys, and if AACS 2.0 has been permanently breached.
The title of the (somewhat cheeky) Washington Post piece said it all: “We can’t take any more of 2017, so we’ve turned to the Hallmark Channel in desperation.”
Most radio broadcasters seem to think that Christmas is about Christmas music, but it’s not. And while Christmas is ultimately about the birth of Christ, that’s not the meaning I’m talking about either.
Christmas is a time of hope, of kindness, of togetherness, of love, and of nostalgia.
And in an era of political divisions so broad and so deep, an era when politics is everything and everything is political, an era when crass name-calling and sexual harassment and pedophilia are as near as every single newscast and every other tweet, Christmas is an emotional oasis, a shining destination that reminds us of what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.”
And nobody understands that better than Hallmark:
We would typically be the first person to mock the idea of the Hallmark Channel, but there is something specific about this December: It’s crap. The news stinks, current events stink — turning on the television, in general, stinks. Another beloved icon revealed to be a sexual predator? Nope — let’s watch Hallmark. Another North Korean missile, now deemed capable of hitting the United States? Nope — Hallmark. The president is retweeting fake video clips of — NOPE, LA LA LA LA. HALLMARK. HALLMARK. HALLMARK. “It’s like, Hallmark or Prozac?” offers Julie Miner, an adjunct professor of public health at George Mason University and one of the many people who, for reasons they cannot fully explain, are watching a truckload of Hallmark this season. “Like, I don’t want to take anti-depressants, but at this point in 2017, it’s that or its Hallmark.”
In my own research I have seen firsthand the appetite for something positive, something meaningful, something nurturing and uplifting. And this appetite is particularly strong among Women 25-54, the very people gravitating to Christmas music every holiday season and the very demo so important in every radio ad buy. My research shows that listeners are hungry for an alternative to what passes for current events.
“The Christmas Train” — with a plot that is vaguely “Murder on the Orient Express,” if one replaces “murder” with “festive spirit” — reached 4.9 million viewers when it aired the Saturday after Thanksgiving weekend, the most-watched cable program in the country that day. Meanwhile, the actual “Murder on the Orient Express,” a feature film starring two Oscar winners and several nominees, recently made $10.7 million on its opening day in theaters. Impressive — but divide by roughly $10 a movie ticket, and that means there were five times as many people watching Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Dermot Mulroney poke around a mystical polar express on Hallmark as there were multiplex-goers watching Johnny Depp and Dame Judi Dench.
If you believe that Christmas is just about “Christmas music” rather than why your audience wants to hear that Christmas music, then you are missing the point.
Not surprisingly, some Christian music stations (which I am proud to call clients) understand this better than most, because many of the central tenets of Christmas (even the secular ones) are woven into their brands all year long (just as they are with Hallmark). This season offers an opportunity to surface those strengths in fresh ways.
This is not about a snappy new tagline that will solve all your problems in some quaint 1980’s Ries & Trout-style. It’s about a roster of strategies and tactics designed to make people actually feel better in a world of fighting and arguing and hate and battling talking heads and juvenile behavior and powerful men exploiting others for sex. Some of us are trying to raise children in this environment, and this general assholery makes our jobs harder than they already are.
Where is the relief? Where is the promise of something brighter and better? Where is the positive alternative?
From the Post:
Watching Hallmark in December this year feels like a metaphor for all of the good citizenship questions we’ve been asking ourselves: Must we watch yet more CNN guests debate the tax bill? Must we have yet another fight on Facebook about Roy Moore? Must we always remain alert, in case the country just curls up and dies? Should we be watching a climate-change documentary instead? Or is there time in the middle of all of that to just . . . watch Hallmark? [It’s] the kindness. How the channel is just a steady stream of people doing kind things for each other and being nice…that seems, right now, almost like a fantasy.
Ultimately, what’s more important than playing the “most Christmas music station” or being the “official Christmas station” or – God forbid – simply being “#1 for Christmas” is to understand why any of this matters to the people at the other end of the speakers or earbuds.
We need some kindness. We need an environment to raise our children happy and healthy. We need to know that everything will be all right. We need to remember the smell of the fresh cookies and grandma’s house all those years ago when we first heard the holiday tunes which are now evergreen.
As one of Hallmark’s stars put it: “You just get tired of the bad news, you know? You just want something that feels genuine, and heartwarming, and loving.”
Yes, you do.
Happy Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa.
Just plain Happy.
Apple has acquired Shazam, the company confirmed on Monday. The deal for the music and audio recognition app is reported to be worth $400 million. Shazam had been valued as high as $1 billion, had previously raised $143 million from investors including Kleiner Perkins and music groups Sony, Universal and Access Industries, which also owns Warner Music.
In a statement released today, Apple confirmed that it has acquired Shazam:
“We are thrilled that Shazam and its talented team will be joining Apple. Since the launch of the App Store, Shazam has consistently ranked as one of the most popular apps for iOS. Today, it’s used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, across multiple platforms. Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users. We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today’s agreement.”
While wildly popular, Shazam has struggled with revenue; and recently Google added its own audio recognition solution into some of its free products. Kleiner Perkins also invested in Shazam competitor SoundHound. It's unclear exactly how Apple might use Shazam's technology, though it could be used to strengthen Siri, which some analysts say has lagged behind Google and Amazon's Alexa audio recognition solutions. '
It's also not hard to imagine that the often used Save To Spotify feature within the Shazam app will go away forever.
That trend continued last week when French anti-piracy group ALPA teamed up with police in the Bordeaux region to raid and arrest the founder and administrator of piracy service ARTV.
According to the anti-piracy group, the ARTV.watch website first appeared during April 2017 but quickly grew to become a significant source of streaming TV piracy. Every month the site had around 150,000 visitors and in less than eight months amassed 800,000 registered users.
“Artv.watch was a public site offering live access to 176 free and paid French TV channels that are members of ALPA: Canal + Group, M6 Group, TF1 Group, France Télévision Group, Paramount, Disney, and FOX. Other thematic and sports channels were broadcast,” an ALPA statement reads.
This significant offering was reportedly lucrative for the site’s operator. While probably best taken with a grain of salt, ALPA estimates the site generated around 3,000 euros per month from advertising revenue. That’s a decent amount for anyone but even more so when one learns that ARTV’s former operator is just 16 years old.
“ARTV.WATCH it’s over. ARTV is now closed for legal reasons. Thank you for your understanding! The site was indeed illegal,” a notice on the site now reads.
“Thank you all for this experience that I have acquired in this project. And thanks to you who have believed in me.”
Closure formalities aside, ARTV’s founder also has a message for anyone else considering launching a similar platform.
“Notice to anyone wanting to do a site of the same kind, I strongly advise against it. On the criminal side, the punishment can go up to three years of imprisonment and a 300,000 euro fine. If [individual] complaints of channels (or productions) are filed against you, it will be more complicated to determine,” ARTV’s owner warns.
ALPA says that in addition to closing down the site, ARTV’s owner also deactivated the site’s Android app, which had been available for download on Google Play. The anti-piracy group adds that this action against IPTV and live streaming was a first in France.
For anyone who speaks French, the 16-year-old has published a video on YouTube talking about his predicament.