Licensing music for my new song–should I do it?

Microphone / Licensing TracksA couple of young performers I know—a singer and and a rapper—recently exposed me to the concept of licensing music tracks from a producer. I’m not talking about royalty-free music or beats, for which you pay a flat fee. No, these fully-realized tracks are governed by narrow limitations where the producer has complete control and the artist almost none. I want to talk about how these are usually a terrible idea for recording artists. Continue reading →

The complete list of witch songs – with the top 13

Witch songs imageThis is a list of witch songs. That is, songs about witches. You’ll find these songs in just about every genre from jazz to rock to soul to Broadway to rap, decade after decade, proving the enduring power of the imagery. Especially as a metaphor for the enchantment of love. Often the lure is tinged with danger. Or at least mystery. I’ve selected thirteen of the best, most enchanting tunes for the first part of the list. In the second part you’ll find a compilation of additional songs. While many more songs reference witches in passing (like “Sister Janet” by Tori Amos), this list focuses on witches as the main subject of the song. And for the most part, these are the original recordings, not covers. Continue reading →

Making music from art with the Vessel Orchestra

Vessel orchestra at the Met BreuerWe are a musically inventive species, fascinated by sound. For millennia, we have explored every conceivable item as an instrument to create music. Rocks. Fire. Water. Wind. Roads. Plants. Vegetables. Stalactites. Bowls. Radio waves. Now we have the Vessel Orchestra. Artist Oliver Beer has created his own jug band at the Met Breuer comprising objects from the museum’s collection. He assembled thirty-two sculptures, utilitarian containers, and decorative objects ranging from ancient Persia to modern America. Continue reading →

Odd instruments to shock and amuse

Odd instrument comprised of singing stonesFor millennia, humans have used every conceivable item as an instrument to create music. We bang on things, blow on things, pluck things, affix electrodes and microphones. We use natural objects, found objects, deconstructed objects, repurposed objects. Is there anything we haven’t thought of? Here is a partial list of interesting sources from fire to roads that we’ve used to create unique, odd instruments. Continue reading →