Eminem Overtakes George Straight As No. 2 Best Selling Male Artist Of All-Time

“Life is true to form; Records are made to be broken – Mark Spitz”

Eminem just passed George Strait as the No. 2 best selling male music artist of all-time. It took Eminem 18 years to achieve that feat. His total sales across all albums now sits at 44.91 million, overtaking country musician George Strait‘s 44.89 million to become the second-best-selling male artist. However, it is important to note that Strait’s career predates the inception of SoundScan data.

Garth Brooks is the top selling male artist having sold 69.52 million to date.

It’s fascinating to see a hip hop and rapper artist surpass a country legend. I wonder how long it will take Eminem to pass Garth Brooks and become No. 1.

Eminem is certain to add to the 44.91 million units sold as he is scheduled to appear on a Monster Tour with Rhianna for three stadium dates in Detroit, MI (Comerica Park), Pasadena, CA (Rose Bowl) and East Rutherford, NJ (MetLife Stadium) this August.


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Beats Music – Reading The Tea Leaves

I sip my freshly brewed tea anticipating the pattern of the tea leaves I will find in the bottom of my cup. I contemplate what will occur in the next rounds of competition in cloud music.

I am not concerned about Spotify and its ecosystem. Rumors of Spotify’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Spotify is very practical as it has a fluid model. It is a well architected cloud music platform with an open set of APIs. It is still very much the darling of the music hackathon global audience. Spotify’s effective use of The Echo Nest music back-end is superior to the “pay” model cloud music, look-alike/similar features crowd (amazon cloud player, X-Box music, Rdio, Google Play and Pandora).

The next shoe to drop could be Apple iRadio as early as the World Wide Developer Conference June 10-14. Apple may not announce iRadio the much rumored streaming subscription iCloud music service if they can’t secure revised licensing deals with Sony Music, Warner Music Group, and BMG. (See the latest MacRumors Web article “Difficult Negotiations May Prevent ‘iRadio’ Launch at WWDC“)

Taking a fresh sip I focus next on Beats Music, the brainchild of music industry visionaries Jimmy Iovine and Trent Reznor. Beats Music has acquired MOG Music  and appears to be architecting it to the vision of Trent, Jimmy and Dr. Dre. I wrote about this project when it was codenamed “Daisy” late last year.

There has been significant traction in the Beats Music company formation since that blog post. I have dug around in Google and LinkedIn to get a sense of what is transpiring.

Beats Music requires a well-articulated, open cloud music architecture to distinguish its offering from the present cloud music vendors, which I call the Round 1 players. I am curious how Beats Music will re-engineer the MOG distributed music service to meet that goal. Based upon the software engineering talent I see Beats Music attempting to hire they have their design and development work cut out for them.

I foresee Beats Music harnessing Beats Audio with renewed purpose on the Android and Windows Phone devices. I can’t visualize how the Apple IOS Beats Music dev team can get synchronicity with the lack of a similar Beats Audio chassis in the iPhone. I do recall that Tech Crunch mentioned that a meeting took place in March of this year that strongly hints at Apple and Beats Music partnering later this year (It’s a great hedge their bet play with i Radio don’t you think?)

The Music of Our Heart will continue to watch the Cloud Music skies for more definitive plans and announcements from Beats Music and Apple.

Oh and don’t forget when it comes to 100% high-resolution audio in the clouds we also have Neil Young’s PONO solution pending too. Could that be why Warner Music Group is dragging its feet with Apple? One never knows 😉 (Mind you that last comment was purely speculative on my part…)

Special Mention

Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre have warmed the cockles of the music of our heart with their $70 million endowment to the University of Southern California.

The duo’s gift will set up the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, an environment for those rare undergraduate students whose interests span fields such as marketing, business entrepreneurship, computer science and engineering, audio and visual design, and the arts. The program will prepare them to become a new generation of inspired innovators.

I Googled this announcement after reading the NY Times article from May 14, “Two Music Minds Seek a Different Kind of Mogul“.

The Beats Music ecosystem is establishing very firm academic roots. If you couple that with the investment funding that Beats Music has secured (Forbes: Blavatnik’s Investment In Beats’ Music Service Signals Major Change) I see this initiative as a very serious cloud music innovation play in the months and years ahead.

Intelligent Digital Music Curation + Discovery = Daisy (Trent Reznor and Beats By Dr. Dre)

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Joni Mitchell, Both Sides, Now © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

The music of our heart steadfastly believes in the next “desired” future state of cloud based digital music. There are some exciting technologies “under construction” above and around us, floating our way.

I reported on Neil Young‘s PONO solution awhile back on this music blog. I see a similar order of magnitude. if not something larger or uniquely designed emerging from Beats Electronics. Inc.

One such solution receiving a huge degree of “buzz” factor is the intelligent music curation and discovery music cloud service, code-named “Daisy” from the collaborative brain trust of Trent Reznor,  Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine and others at  Beats Electronics, Inc.

I have sorted through the multitude of music articles about “Daisy” published in the past 48 hours to discern what’s this all about?

“Daisy”, according to Mr. Reznor, Chief Creative Officer for Beats Electronics Inc. will create a recommendation platform where “the machine and the human would collide more intimately”.

The music service “uses mathematics to offer suggestions to the listener… [but also] would present choices based partly on suggestions made by connoisseurs,” describing it as “like having your own guy when you go into the record store, who knows what you like but can also point you down some paths you wouldn’t necessarily have encountered.”

How’s this different from everything else out there? “Here’s sixteen million licensed pieces of music (Mog states) but you’re not stumbling into anything. What’s missing is a service that adds a layer of intelligent curation,” explained Reznor. “Think of how many emotional ties you have with songs from your past.”

I love that phrase “intelligent curation” now I want to know how that technology will be software engineered and implemented. An example of intelligent curation is The Browser, which is creating a 21st century library of Writing Worth Reading.

Trent Reznor posted on Facebook on October 16: Some of you may have read that I have begun working with Beats By Dre. For the past year I have indeed been involved with Dre, Jimmy Iovine, Luke Wood, and the rest of the team on a number of very interesting projects that will start to emerge next year. I have wanted to experiment and focus my energy and creativity in some different directions, and Beats has afforded me that very opportunity. The process has challenged and fascinated and as much as I’d like to tell you about the things we’ve dreamed up… I just can’t.
Not yet…
(I can tell you it’s probably not what you’re expecting!)

Origin: The company has “very big plans,” for Mog, the streaming service it purchased earlier this year, hinting that it relates to how people consume and discover music. Most streaming services need consumers to program their music experience themselves and consumers can’t be expected to do that, which would seem to suggest a greater emphasis on music discovery and recommendations, possibly including a radio function.

David Byrne and Trent Reznor

Speaking of intelligent conversations centering upon the state of digital music, David Byrne and Trent Reznor recently got together in Los Angeles as part of David Byrne’s book tour for How Music Works.

Both artists shared the stance that the current landscape is not about label deals vs DIY marketing but about choosing the right path and the right deals for the artist in question. Here is a YouTube of that conversation.

Conversely after founding his own record label in 2008 and releasing music independently, Trent Reznor has reverted back to the majors for help in releasing his latest project through Columbia Records, How To Destroy Angels, “Ice Age” pointing out that “complete independent releasing has its great points, but also comes with shortcomings.”

Beats by dr. dre – Daily Post 2011 – Post #7

Monster Cable has introduced  a series of phenomenal headphones and earbuds. They offer a serious, direct challenge to Bose and Sennheiser, who have long been considered the “gold standard” for headphone product engineering excellence. It is the type of challenge that benefits music consumers, producers, and artists vastly.

I recently auditioned Beats by dr. dre. One of my students, Jordan Devin brought them into class for me to sample and experience. I have to say that Beats by dr. dre, over-ear model is a superior listening product. I tested the beatspro high performance professional headphones. I was very impressed with the results. I first attached them to my Apple iPhone 3Gs and listened to an ALAC edition of Pat Metheny‘s Orchestrion recording. I have been listening to this recording since its first day inception and I readily admit I heard nuances of Pat’s music I had never heard before.  I have witnessed Pat Metheny in concert performing Orchestrion and  I still was picking up on subtlety’s of the sound that had not yet reached my ears 🙂

I then connected the beatspro headphones to my Dell computer, running Windows 7 and Apple’s iTunes. I sampled The Beatles remastered and re-engineered “Come Together” from Abbey Road. Again I heard aspects of that recording that were being newly introduced to my ears. These are some amazing headphones, let me tell you.

Yes the price tag is steep, $449.95 but the value is undeniable. If you think of the design team who architected and engineered these products you understand what you are getting. dr. dre is the pinnacle of hip-hop sound production. I trust dr. dre instinctually and his sense of audio sound is striking. Jimmy Iovine has been a force of change and influence in the music indutry. Jimmy was very disillusioned with what the record companies were dishing out with inferior sound via MP3 (64 kb). He said it was like putting music through a blender and trying to appreciate its results. dr. dre, Jimmy Iovine and Monster Cable have arrived at a fantastic series of sound products.

dr. dre’s beatspro headphones are now on my want list. Thanks, Jordan for putting me on to this superior solution. It gives my music listening a whole new level of meaning and interpretation!