Runway Richy is a rapper to watch.
Broward County Florida up-and-comer Hollywood Rowe almost walked away from his dream of making a name for himself in music and he doesn’t want you to make the same mistake. His upcoming debut project, “Don’t Quit Your Day Dream” is intended to keep others inspired to follow their own dreams, no matter what they are.
Newly signed with Dollaz-N-Dealz Rowe had just about given up on a career in music when a friend passed his tunes over to label head AD. Now he is back on track and ready to go the distance to snatch his slice of the pie.
First on deck is “Take Over The World”, an ambition as dreamy as the track he raps it over. Rowe has come a long way since his early days of recording himself on Garageband. DQYDD drops April 28th.
Words by: Kyle Eustice
From The Source Magazine Issue #270 | 2016
Fitness tracking devices are the latest tools in law enforcement.
When a woman was arrested in Lancaster County, PA for making a false police report after her Fitbit revealed she had been walking around during the time she was allegedly raped, the case opened up a brand new lane for investigators.
The woman, who claimed she was sexually assaulted while asleep in her bed, had been wearing the fitness-tracking device throughout the day, tracking her every movement. Once she turned over the username and password for her Fitbit account to police, what they found contradicted her account of what happened that night.
Interestingly enough, it’s not the first time Fitbit data was used in court. In 2014, a Canadian woman used the data from her tracker in a personal injury lawsuit. In that case, the Fitbit wearer used the data to defend her request for compensation to illustrate she was clearly less active after a car accident.
Although it’s not required to hand over a fitness tracker to police if they ask, they can try to get a search warrant for it, just as they would for a car or cellphone. In the case of the Canadian woman, the lawyers are relying on an analytics company called Vivametrica, which compares individual data to data of the general population collected by Fitbits.
Vivametrica says they are also working with wearable tech companies and healthcare providers, seeking to “reimagine employee health and wellness programs.” With the criminal-tracking element added into the equation, however, it could be law enforcement’s latest tool for catching suspects, an exciting prospect for those sworn to protect the law.
Fitbits, or other similar fitness trackers, can provide details of a person’s activities when the crime occurred, including how many steps taken compared to the rest of the day or how the person’s heart was reacting at that particular moment.
The legal system already relies on a wide assortment of technological self-tracking devices as forms of evidence, such as GPS services, apps for tracking bike rides and even black boxes found in airplanes.
Pending further research, the shift toward fitness tracking data as a source of “truth” will undoubtedly make an impact in the legal system, but just as human acumen can be flawed, so can the information derived from these types of devices.
In the United States, the Fifth Amendment preserves the right against self-incrimination while the Sixth Amendment issues the right in criminal prosecutions “to be confronted with the witnesses” against the accused. Yet with wearable tracking tools, defining the witness is tricky. For now, it’s unclear how courts will handle the possibility of quantified self-incrimination, but in the meantime, police and lawyers have an innovative way of proving their case.
Words by: Kyle Eustice
From The Source Magazine Issue #270 | 2016
Solar panels are on the rise in inner city communities
With the cost of living consistently escalating it’s increasingly difficult for low-income families to survive, especially in expensive metropolitan areas. Cutting corners to meet the monthly budget is second nature to many families. Fortunately, there’s an eco-friendly way to decrease the monthly electric bill that may evade most: solar panels.
Invented in 1839 by Alexandre Edmond Becquerel, solar panels are designed to absorb the sun’s rays as a source of energy for generating electricity or heating, significantly reducing energy costs.
America is in the midst of a rooftop solar boom, with installation up 139,000% in the last decade. Renewable power and energy efficiency improvements could be life altering for inner-city residents and safer for the planet, as well.
In 2015, The White House said it is taking steps to add more solar panels on rooftops in poor, inner-city neighborhoods to cut electricity bills and fight climate change. Dozens of new initiatives were rolled out by the White House since the start of the year to signal President Obama’s commitment to act on climate change, despite Republican opposition.
In an interview with Ideas For Us, Erica Mackie, CEO of Grid Alternatives, a nonprofit organization that installs rooftop solar for low-income families, says providing low-income families with renewable energy and jobs makes “simple sense.”
“The vision is that we make a transition to clean energy, and we do it in a way that includes everyone,” Mackie says. “By everyone we mean everyone, not just certain portions of our society.”
There are, however, some giant roadblocks preventing solar panels from becoming a more common way to generate electricity. According to White House officials, nearly half of all US households are shut out of solar because they are renters or their properties are too small to install panels. Consequently, only about one percent of the electricity moving along America’s grid comes from solar.
Sadly, the inclusion of low-income communities in the transformation of US energy is far from guaranteed, even in the face of powerful political motivations for clean power.
But inner-city neighborhoods could receive more benefits than just lower electric bills by going solar. It has the added benefits of providing local jobs, boosts in property values and exposure to advanced technology, especially for children—crucial in the education of future generations. Furthermore, the more the industry scales up, the cheaper it gets, proving it’s not just for suburbanites and millionaires in search of an ego boost. Making it a way of life benefits not only the planet, but also those families struggling to stay above water. – Kyle Eustice
Social critique’s been in country’s heritage since Loretta Lynn gave thanks for the pill and Johnny Cash explained his sartorial taste for black. So consider Brad Paisley’s protest-song devotion part of his traditionalism, which continues with the title track of his 11th studio LP: a bullseye John Fogerty collaboration denouncing America’s shameful treatment of vets. “They ship you out to die for us, forget about you when you don’t,” the men holler, while guitar and pedal steel wail.
It’snot the only classic rock rewind on satisfyingly pro-forma Paisley set. “Driveof Shame” conjures latter-day Stones with new BFF Mick Jagger, whoprotests being kicked out of bed. Equally entertaining is “selfie#theinternetisforever,”a singalong punchline feed about Instagramming idiots that rhymes “tweetit,” “delete it” and “unsee it” in the interest of ahealthier media ecosystem. Timbaland drops by to sharpen beats (thebluegrass-charged “Grey Goose Chase”), and per usual, Paisley peelsoff fantastically hot-shit guitar solos (the bluesy “Contact High”).Also per usual, there’s filler, none too embarrassing – Paisley’s pro enoughthat even his apparent phone-ins are well-crafted. But over 16 tracks, you can’thelp but wish that one of country’s greatest would shoot consistently higherthan easy chuckles and sentimental homilies.
In her Fansplaining column, Brittany Spanos dives into what’s happening in fan culture on the Internet.
For most of the week — and even months — leading up to Saturday Night Live, Harry Styles went unseen. Outside of 30 Rock last week, where fans began lining up on Tuesday to nab standby tickets for the show on Saturday morning, they only had a slim chance of even attending the show that night. But what was most perplexing to those fans on the sidewalk was that they never got more than just a glimpse of his silhouette in an Escalade as it entered the parking garage for show rehearsals.
Styles makes a point to address his desire for mystery in his recent Rolling Stone cover story, an admirable goal for someone whose every move has been documented on Twitter, Tumblr and group chats around the world for years. His hotel information and flight times were plastered across accounts whenever he would tour with One Direction or even take a vacation. According to a few fans, he had put up decoy hotel reservations around Manhattan this time around, and not a single fan photo of him had been taken at a restaurant or bar or on the streets of New York City.
To be fair, Styles has always been more of a closed book about his relationships and private life than the rest of his bandmates. He’s spoken very little about his dating life, often using gender neutral pronouns in a move that has encouraged many fans to believe he is queer, at the very least. Conspiracies and opinions on his sexuality have been tossed around since he lived with bandmate Louis Tomlinson following The X-Factor, leading to fanfiction, art and the blurred lines between allyship/support with a dangerous desire for public and forced outing.
Honesty is, above all else, the most make-or-break aspect of any fandom. Fan reaction was positive to “Sign of the Times,” mostly because the sound they heard felt like a genuine expression of the Harry they’ve studied: a woke, Seventies-loving rock singer with no qualms about defying bro-y masculinity. Bathing in millennial-pink water on his album cover further encapsulated what they loved and desired from Styles as a beacon of pop’s gender-bending future, though he’s currently playing it much safer than David Bowie and Prince before him.
For the fans who had felt like he had dropped breadcrumbs when he was finally spotted in New York wearing a rainbow flag pin or the more feminine style direction of his album rollout, any mention of women and celebrity exes in his first interview as a solo artist felt like a betrayal. In the space of mystery, the fiction of Harry Styles had become canon. In many ways, this is one of the most difficult aspects of celebrity, in-depth profiles in the Internet fandom age in which the curated idea of an artist by their fans reigns supreme over an outsider’s perspective on time shared with them.
“I think negative fan reaction is a combination of expectations going into the piece that aren’t met and projections of what people think, or want him to address, such as his sexuality,” says 23-year-old fan Allyson Gross, who runs a forum for adult One Direction fans. “[There’s] dissatisfaction with what’s actually said that doesn’t align with those expectations or projections. Fandom reaction to profiles of their fan subjects is only ever half in response to what’s actually on the page.”
That being said, in some ways a new Styles was born over the last week. The fans outside of SNL were happy to show their support and create one of the show’s longest standby lines in recent history for the singer. For the more casual Directioner, Styles’ validation of his young female fans felt like a coup of post-Justin Timberlake image destruction for male pop stars who desperately want to shake their teen past and appeal to a broader, more adult audience. The charming and sweet Styles that fans had known for years – and helped make famous – finally reached beyond the communities made online, at concerts or even while sleeping on the streets to catch his first performance as a solo artist. For many, hearing new music from a pop star whose boy band’s discography they were most likely unfamiliar with gave a glimpse at a mature, rising star.
Styles could easily and safely tuck himself back away from the spotlight, engaging and relishing in his more mysterious, discrete lifestyle away. There’s a fandom fear there that what they hear from Styles ahead of the album could be less and less as he lets the music speak for itself. However, doing exactly that could be an iconic, unprecedented move for a massive celebrity about to launch a new career outside of what made them initially famous, a move that Styles may be most equipped to achieve.
Many artists may have conflicted feelings about cover songs, for although they can be fun to play and offer an easy way to connect with your audience, it can also be irritating when cover songs are all an audience wants, or when they get more attention than original compositions. Here we look at the best way to make cover songs work for you.
Guest post by Dave Kusek of DIY Musician
Free Webinar April 26th at 4PM EST
For a lot of musicians, there’s a bit of a love/hate relationship going on with cover songs. On one side of the equation, it’s fun and insightful to cover other people’s songs and, if you pick the right song, fans will really go crazy when they hear a classic tune.
On the other side covers can be downright frustrating. Especially in the early stages of a music career, venues want mostly cover sets, and the covers you release online can seem to get more attention than your originals. It can make you feel underappreciated, almost like the industry is pushing you into a cover band box. Tributes “R” Us.
To help you make the most of cover songs and turn them into tools that help you grow your audience and raise awareness for your originals – instead of being a big roadblock, Kevin Breuner from CD Baby and I are hosting a free cover song webinar on Wednesday, April 26 at 4PM EST. See the agenda below…
Here are some Cover Song Basics and best practices you can start using right now.
1. Make it Your Own
Best way to get people who hear your covers into your original music? Put your own unique spin on every song you cover. That means bending the songs stylistically to fit with the kind of music you play and write. Sometimes that will mean a few minor tweaks or just adding your own color. Sometimes it’s a total genre switch and completely different instrumentation.
Not only does this make you stand out from the multitude of cover songs flooding the internet and venues, it also makes the transition to your original music a lot smoother. In a way, listeners have already gotten a little taste of your original sound by listening to your cover rendition. They’ll have a much better sense of what you’re all about as an artist and will be much more comfortable when you move to the original song.
2. Subscribers Over Views
There’s this fascination with “viral” videos in the music industry. But a ton of views on a cover aren’t worth much on YouTube unless you can get in touch with those people again. We’ve seen a lot of musicians hit it with a crazy viral video only to release an original music video on deaf ears.
So instead of thinking, “How can I get 10,000 views,” get yourself in the mindset of, “How can I get as many viewers as possible to subscribe?” Setting up suggested videos or playlists on your YouTube channel can be a great way to get people to continue watching, which increases the chance they’ll actually subscribe.
This goes for your live shows too. If you are forced into doing cover sets, think about ways you can connect with those people again. Maybe it’s a contest where they have to follow you on Facebook to enter, or even a USB stick that you hand out for free with a recording of one of your original songs and your social media channels written out on it.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Call to Actions
And that leads us into the next point – utilizing call to actions. So what exactly is a call to action? It’s basically just you directly asking your viewers or listeners to take some further action. Maybe it’s watching another video, or subscribing to your channel, or entering your contest, or clicking the link in your description box.
If you’ve never done this before, it can definitely feel a little awkward and even pushy at first, but it’s been proven time and time again that directly asking people to do something increases the chance that they will.
If you’re releasing covers on YouTube, you can easily use “cards” to suggest other videos your viewers can watch next. As you upload your video, you’ll be able to add cards in the “Cards” tab across the top of the upload screen. Use cards to suggest other cover songs or even original songs when people reach the end of your videos.
If you’re doing a cover gig in a venue, it’s pretty easy to add little call to actions as you talk to the audience. Ask them to follow you on Facebook for more covers and originals, or to see photos that you posted from the show.
You could also ask them to visit a certain URL where they can get a few songs for free in exchange for an email address (give them a cover and an original to introduce them to your own music). If you’re really savvy, you could even give out little download cards so they don’t even have to memorize the URL.
As you can see, cover songs can be an extremely valuable part of your approach and can really help you grow your audience and get more fans.
Here are a few things you’ll learn during the webinar:
- WHY COVER SONGS? – Learn why covers are so powerful and how you can use them along side your original music to get more attention and grow your fanbase.
- WHAT CAN YOU COVER (LEGALLY)? – Stop worrying about whether you need a license for covers, or whether posting them will get you in trouble. Learn exactly what you can cover and how so you can jam on in peace.
- HOW TO LICENSE A COVER SONG? – Want to put your cover on YouTube? We’ll explain how that works. Want to release a cover on your album? We’ll show you how to do that too!
- USING COVERS TO ATTRACT ATTENTION? – We’re not all out to be cover bands. But you can (and should) still make use of covers in your sets! Learn how to use cover songs to get people interested in you and your original music.
- GET COVERS NOTICED ONLINE? – There’s A LOT of cover song out there online. Learn how to stand out and get your versions discovered, shared and noticed.
We’ll not only be expanding on some of the tips we presented in this post, we’ll also be breaking down copyright law so you know how to release cover songs legally – both online and on your albums.
We hope to see you there!
Dave Kusek is the founder of the New Artist Model, an online music business school for independent musicians, performers, recording artists, producers, managers, and songwriters. He is also the founder of Berklee Online, co-author of The Future of Music, and a member of the team who brought midi to the market.
While radio may have once been the means of making or breaking a hit, the onset of the streaming age means the playlist is now the primary avenue for listener discovery. Unsurprisingly, this has given rise to a new form of payola, with companies emerging that specialize in getting artists’ music on playlists…for a fee.
Guest post by Bobby Owsinski on Music 3.0
While radio airplay used to be the lifeblood of a hit (and in some cases still is), today it’s the playlist that really sets the tone for listener discovery. If a track is added to a popular list, its streams will spike and listeners will add it to their personal playlists, which sometimes adds a viral element that spreads to playlists on other networks as well. What’s more, hot playlists are now watched by radio programmers to see both what’s trending and what’s not.
Not surprisingly, pay-to-play has come to the digital age as a new form of payola now attempts to influence what consumers listen to. Playlist promotion, or “playola,” has become a big part of the promotional campaigns for many managers and labels. In fact, prices for playlist promotion can be as little as $100 to a small blogger with a modest following, to as much as $10,000 for a six-week campaign for a major playlist owner. A quick Google search will find dozens of promotion companies that specialize in getting your songs on playlists just about anywhere.
Just like in the old days of radio promotion, competition is now fierce for these playlist spots, so don’t be surprised if the prices continue to rise.
While the playlist culture has been great for music discovery for the listener, it turns out it hasn’t been that great for artist development. Where before listeners were getting to know the artist’s music via multiple songs on an album, that’s all changed as streaming has made the business more song-driven instead of artist-driven. As a result, songs tend to come and go faster, as do artists. The good news is that means there are are always spots open on a playlist for new songs. The bad news is that it’s more difficult for an artist to get long-term traction as a result. Check out this post to improve your chances of getting placed on a popular playlist.
All hail Gucci Mane.