American Music Awards 2015

Held on 22nd November 2015 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles California, the 43rd annual American Music Awards were hosted by the evergreen Jennifer Lopez and broadcasted on ABC. The big winner of the night turned out to be Taylor Swift, but it was also an important even for The Weeknd and One Direction who took away two awards each and Ariana Grande also managed to beat Taylor Swift in one category. A eulogy was presented by Jared Leto mourning the Parris attacks in the same month and he also presented an award to Celine Dion for her performance. Here is a list of the nominees and winners at this year’s American Music Awards for different categories as voted by the American public:

Artist of the Year

Maroon 5
The Weeknd
Taylor Swift
Ed Sheeran
One Direction (Winner)
Ariana Grande
Sam Smith
Luke Bryan
Meghan Trainor
Nicki Minaj

Song of the Year 

Ed Sheeran ‘Thinking Out Loud’
The Weeknd ‘Can’t feel my Face’
Taylor Swift ‘Blank Space’ (Winner)
Mark Rohnson Featuring Bruno Mars ‘Uptown Funk!’
Wiz Khalifa Featuring Charlie Puth ‘See You Again’

New Artist of the Year Presented by KOHL’S

Tove Lo
The Weeknd
Fetty Wap
Walk the Moon
Sam Hunt (Winner)

Collaboration of the Year Unleashed by T-Mobile 

Skrillex & Diplo Featuring Justin Bieber ‘Where Are Ü Now’ (Winner)
Wiz Khalifa Featuring Charlie Puth ‘See You Again’
Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars ‘Uptown Funk!’
Rihanna & Kanye West Featuring Paul McCartney ‘FourFiveSeconds’
Taylor Swift Featuring Kendrick Lamar ‘Bad Blood’

Favorite Duo or Group- Pop/Rock 

Walk the Moon
Maroon 5
One Direction (Winner)

Favorite Male Artist- Pop/Rock 

Ed Sheeran (Winner)
Nick Jonas
Sam Smith

Favorite Female Artist- Pop/Rock 

Meghan Trainor
Ariana Grande (Winner)
Taylor Swift

Favorite Album- Pop/Rock 

Taylor Swift 1989 (Winner) 
Sam Smith In the Lonely Hour
Ed Sheeran X

Favorite Duo or Group- Country 

Little Big Town
Zac Brown Band
Florida Georgia Line (Winner)

Favorite Album- Country 

Sam Hunt - Montevallo 
Florida Georgia Line - Anything Goes (Winner) 
Jason Aldean Old Boots, New Dirt

Favorite Male Artist- Country 

Luke Bryan (Winner)
Jason Aldean
Sam Hunt

Favorite Female Artist- Country 

Kelsea Ballerini
Carrie Underwood (Winner) 
Miranda Lambert

Favorite Album- Rap/ Hip-Hop 

Drake- If You’re Reading This It’s Too late
J. Cole- 2014 Forest Hills Drive
Nicki Minaj- The Pinkprint (Winner)

Favorite Artist- Rap/ Hip-Hop 

Nicki Minaj (Winner)
Fetty Wap

Favorite Album- Soul/R&B

Chris Brown X
The Weeknd- Beauty Behind the Madness (Winner)
D’Angelo and The Vanguard Black Messiah

Favorite Male Artist- Soul/R&B

Chris Brown
The Weeknd (Winner) 
Trey Songz

Favorite Female Artist- Soul/R&B

Rihanna (Winner) 
Mary J. Blige

Favorite Artist- Adult Contemporary 

Meghan Trainor
Ed Sheeran
Taylor Swift (Winner) 

Favorite Artist- Alternative Rock 

Fall Out Boy (Winner) 
Walk the Moon

Favorite Artist- Contemporary Inspirational 

Casting Crowns (Winner) 
Hillsong United

Favorite Artist- Latin

Ricky Martin
Enrique Iglesias (Winner) 
Romeo Santos

Top Soundtrack 

Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1
Fifty Shades of Grey
Pitch Perfect 2 (Winner) 

Favorite Artist- Electronic Dance Medium (EDM)

Calvin Harris (Winner) 
David Guetta

New Album and Tour Announced by James

James proudly made the announcement of a major headline tour to begin in 2016 and also a new album called Girl at The End of the World that will be released on 18th March on BMG Recordings. One of the most loved and creatively restless artists of the UK, James are renowned for their diverse and unique style that’s evident in their 13 studio albums. They aren’t just commercially successful with over 12 million album sales all over the world, but are also critically acclaimed. Originally, an agreement was signed in 1982 by the band with the iconic Factory Records. Since then, the band has successfully produced various hit singles including Come Home, Sit Down, Born of Frustration and She’s a Star.

After 32 years in the industry, the band has managed to come up with an album they say is their best ever work. The band will be teaming up with the legendary Brian Eno for the Girl At The End of the World, who will add his unique influence to their work and also with producer Max Dingel, known for White Lies and The Killer Muse. In their newest album, James have continued on with their deep connection to the dance floor with the simmering electronica and it is both euphoric and anthemic. The distinctive evocative and vocal lyrics of Tim Booth and the trademark songwriting of the band once again turns out to be one of Britain’s finest.

Tim Booth spoke up about making the new album and said that bands usually complain how difficult it is to make a second album, but the real challenge is the 14th one. He said that in the case of James, the entire process is a combination of dumb luck, improvisation, skill and intuition. He asserted that the outsider may see the process as chaos since there is ample room for pretty much everything, but chaos has worked well for them and their history gives them confidence that they will achieve the magic they are after.

Tim further said that most of their best lyrics come from typos and they couldn’t probably explain them. He added that this album was perhaps the most stressful and difficult one, but it was also the most rewarding. As far as the tour for the Girl At The End of the World is concerned, it will span the whole of UK, which will include a huge hometown show at the Manchester Arena. There will also be a 3 date takeover of London at the O2 Brixton Academy, O2 Forum Kentish Town and the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. The tickets for the tour will go on sale from November 20th, Friday.

Fans will be able to preorder the album from November 18th, Wednesday. The tracks of the upcoming Girl At the End of the World Album are listed below:

Dear John
Girl at the End of the World
Surfer’s Song
To my Surprise
Move Down South
Nothing but Love
Feet of Clay

French Authorities Order Motorhead to Postpone Paris Show

Motorhead’s Sunday night show in Paris was postponed on the weekend after the shut-down was ordered by the French authorities. Initially, after the terrorist attacks on Friday night at the Eagles of Death Metal show, Motorhead had planned to go ahead with their own show in Paris that was scheduled to be held at The Zenith. However, it was strongly advised by the police that it wasn’t a good idea to go ahead with the performance.

In a statement provided by Motorhead, they offered their condolences and apologies to the public and announced that their gig in Paris would be postponed until January. They said that they were trying to choose a suitable date and would provide details soon.

On Saturday, a statement was issued in which Motorhead express their horror at the terrorist attacks and thanked everyone who had asked about their safety. They assured the public that everyone at Motorcamp was doing well. They added that Paris was in a lockdown until the authorities could figure out what happened and they would share any further news.

They haven’t officially announced a return data for the show in January. Their next performance is on November 17th, 2015 in Dusseldorf, Germany. On Saturday night, U2 also had a show in Paris, which they cancelled and the Foo Fighters also cancelled all their remaining shows of the European tour. 

YouTube Adds Video Catalog for Bolstering Music App

The new music service by YouTube is planning to bury the competition; how? YouTube will use the massive video collection of the website for providing content on the app. On Wednesday, the YouTube Music Mobile App had been introduced by the newly named Alphabet Inc. less than a month after it had launched YouTube Red. The company is charging $9.99 a month for the new music service that can be used by customers for enjoying ad-free access to all services associated with YouTube. With this move, the digital video library will be competing with against a horde of other established music streaming services in the market.

According to executives at YouTube, they are in a very strong position and can win this battle successfully. Currently, the music streaming service market is headed by Spotify, which had about 20 million paid subscribers as of June. The number two spot was taken up by Apple Music, which was launched in June and as of October, it had reported approximately 6.5 million paid subscribers. Users can utilize the YouTube app without having to pay anything, but the only way they will be able to gain access to all its services and options is through the YouTube Red account.

Red users have the advantage of converting music videos that sap data into audio-only versions. This will enable them to listen to the audio of all videos available on YouTube and they can also use the background mode function for multitasking on different devices. They also have the option of downloading songs to a playlist within the app that can be used both online and offline. Apart from that, whether people use Red or not, customers can see stations that have been customized according to genres, titles, artists and songs. It is possible to find the complete album collection of each artist and see related items ranging from amateur covers to live performances.

A percentage of the subscriptions received from YouTube Red will also be provided to the artists on YouTube. Complete details weren’t given by YouTube, but the service said that majority of the revenue is paid to partners. In order to prevent the loss of users from the music streaming store Play, Google has decided to allow subscribers of both Google Play and YouTube Red to gain access to either website. The head of music products at YouTube and also the creator of the MOG music streaming service owned by Beats, T. Jay Fowler said that last year, a beta streaming service was launched for developing an improved Red model and a plan for using content in order to promote deeper engagement.

YouTube could gain an advantage over its competitors with a new virtual reality video format and unique amateur videos. However, according to some experts, all the bells and whistles may not exactly be appreciated by average users. It could be tricky for users to navigate all these features because the YouTube Red is separate from its music app and they have other apps as well. 

Music Stations Standing Strong Amidst Internet Radio

FM Music Stations like KEXP were supposed to go down with the rise of internet radio, but apparently someone forget to tell them so. KEXP is the little station that helped in jumpstarting the careers of some big music stars like Ryan Lewis, Macklemore and Lumineers. Last week, the morning D.J. at KEXP, John Richards walked through the gleaming new headquarters of the station, which aren’t very far from Space Needle. This is a project worth $15 million aimed at enhancing the evolution of the station into a music programmer for the modern age. The building will boast a record store, a café and a public performance space.

The booth from where the D.J.s will begin their broadcasting has been equipped with the latest microphones, electronic consoles and computer displays and an aquarium-like view of the booth can be seen from a soundproof window. This is a time when music fans can listen to almost any track they wish on the internet with the aid of services like Pandora, Spotify and various others. Some other options for listening to old music and discovering new sounds can be found through commercial and satellite radio. Despite this availability of music, there are some not-for-profit music stations such as KEXP that are doing quite well.

As a matter of fact, these music stations are reaping the benefits of the internet for reaching a global audience by enhancing their video programming and trying to become the top destination for music fans. The most important fact to note is that these stations are attempting to stand out through their music programming. Instead of using software, D.Js select the genre hopping mixes. The demand for human tour guides of the music world has increased because of the abundance of music and also the numerous methods of distribution.

This approach has proven to be effective as even Apple Inc. has incorporated it in its Apple Music Service via Beats 1. This is an internet-only live radio station headed by Zane Lowe, a former DJ at BBC radio. Another public radio station in South California called KCRW is becoming a tastemaker. The radio stations use their YouTube channel for expanding their audience by posting videos of sessions with musicians at music festivals and its studios. While the size of the audience of these stations isn’t as big as their digital rivals, they still have a lot of influential fans. 

Is Classical Music a Dying Art Form?

Imagine, for a minute, that it is evening time and you are about to head to a piano recital. Once there, you find your allocated seat. The room hushes as the pianist, wearing white tie and tails, enters the stage and heads towards the audience. With a gloomy expression, he casts a glance over the audience before sitting down, cracking his fingers, and launching into some sort of Beethoven sonata. People in the audience nod in approval, close their eyes and let the music flow over them. So far so good, although you may feel the night is a bit stiff and slightly presumptuous in its ‘poshness’.

And therein lays the issue. It is this that is causing classical music to be the smallest musical industry in the world. It is for that reason that people believe there is no place in contemporary music for these types of events and concerts.

Contemporary Music and Classical Music

Classical music, however, is not dead. In fact, it is seeing a brilliant revival that is leading to the classical becoming contemporary. This is something you can also experience at the Musicians Institute – Contemporary Music department. They will show you how there are musicians in this world, such as James Rhodes, who have found a way to update the beautiful sounds of classical music and make them more relevant in today’s society. Andre Rieux is another example of how classical music certainly has a place in today’s world.

Classical music has transcendent Mozart and Bach. It no longer is something for the elite only. In fact, new classical music is contemporary and young people are drawn to it. Consider, for instance, modern classical composer Ludovico Einaudi. He uses very simple techniques and harmonics. Compared to the great composers of hundreds of years ago, his style can best be compared to something that is taught to young children. But that is incredibly important! It is through works like Einaudi’s that young people will continue to love the classical art form. It is his work that is making classical contemporary.

Classical music isn’t snobby, nerdy or too posh for the everyday person. Rather, it is a form of music that is as much an art form like any other and one that has a clear place in our society. Being appreciative of music means being appreciative of all compositions, from Slayer’s death metal tracks to Joseph Haydn’s almost crazy compositions. Did you know, for instance, that many believe Haydn’s compositions have actually inspired modern jazz?

Many people feel that classical music no longer has a place in today’s society. In reality, however, classical music needs to be seen as a style, just like rock, blues, jazz, country and pop. And any style can be modern and contemporary. The likes of Mozart, Back, Beethoven and others will always be geniuses whose work will continue to influence the world today, just as Einstein will always influence the world of science, even if smarter people now exist.

Google’s Music Service Gets Podcasts

In order to expand its audience on the largest mobile platform in the world i.e. Android, Google has decided to make an addition to its music service in the form of podcasts. Audio producers are hoping that this move would be fruitful for Google Play Music because it comes amidst a surge of interest in the format that’s almost a decade old. Podcasts have long since been associated with Apple Inc. as the term itself is sourced from iPod. Serial, the breakout true crime drama released last year boosted the popularity of this format considerably and they have gained a lot of traction amongst listeners.

This has also inspired interest amongst advertisers as they are eager to reach their target audience who have gotten into the habit of listening to TV shows on their smartphones. The ubiquity of mobile phones has done wonders for this format, but the most dominant platform for podcasts still continues to be Apple even though the Android OS belonging to Google Inc. holds a greater share of the market. According to a listener survey that was conducted this year, 52% of the audience use their iPhones for listening to podcasts whereas about 26% use their Android phones.

Podcasts have been a part of the iTunes store for a long while and in fact, in 2012, the iPhone maker even launched a native app for them. As per industry executives, the launch of this app has aided in boosting the listernership on the iOS platform. In comparison, a native podcasting app hasn’t been installed on the Android platform, which could be why not a lot of people make use of it. In the opinion of some experts in the podcasting industry, the Android market is rather underserved, which explains the lack of podcast use on the platform.

Partnerships have been signed by Google with various podcast producers including HBO, Gimlet Media, PRX’s Radiotopia and Midroll’s Earwolf network. Podcast creators based on the US can now start uploading shows on Google Play Music from Tuesday onwards. Consumers will be able to access them in the next couple of months. Google Play Music service is also offered on the iPhone. It is also in the search engine giant’s plans to aid podcasters in not just getting in touch with existing users and fans, but also introduce new people to this format and assist them in finding new shows according to their interest and mood.

Podcasts will be recommended with the help of technology that Google acquired from Songza in 2014, which specializes in curated playlists. 

Phil Collins Returning to Music

After taking a break from the music industry for 13 years, Phil Collins announced that he would be making a return and will initiate new recording sessions from the next month. The multimillion-selling artist last released brand new music in 2002 with his album Testify. The only work he did after that was in 2010 when he released a Motown Covers album. However, in an interview given in the Rolling Stone, Collins said that he is no longer retired and is now ready to make music again.

It was in the mid-1970s that the drummer and singer first rose to fame with Genesis. Eventually, he was able to kick-off a successful solo career with several hits like In the Air Tonight and Against all Odds. He managed to sell about 150 million records all over the world. His solo albums will also be reissued before the release of the new material. Collins said that it would be silly not to make new music if people remember the old stuff and show interest in it. The singer had announced his decision to retire in 2011 in order to be a full-time father to his two sons.

This was after he was divorced for the third time in 2008 when he remained in Switzerland and his ex-wife, Orianne Cevey had taken their sons with her to Miami. In the interview, the singer said that he was left with a lot of time on his hands to think over what happened and there were moments of darkness when he drank too much. He said that he spent his time drinking and watching TV and it very nearly killed him. Now, he said that he hadn’t had a drink in three years. Furthermore, he also had to undergo surgery because in 2007, he suffered from nerve damage on the Genesis reunion tour because of which he was unable to play drums.

Collins said that he was keeping his sons in mind while planning the new tour. He stated that his 10 and 14 year old sons were interested in knowing what their father does as they were just babies when he was on the road last. Now, he said that they wanted to enjoy his music because they love it. When asked about another Genesis reunion, Phil Collins said that he wanted to do this first and see how this goes before thinking about anything else. 

Things You Need to Know about Karaoke Machines as a Music Lover

In the 1970s, when the first generation karaoke machines were launched in the market, music fans and wannabe singers all over the globe had a reason to celebrate. Avid, amateur singers greatly benefited from the Japanese invention as it provided them with full-orchestral music and they could also see the lyrics on-screen, which was immensely convenient. Today, karaoke remains one of the most popular music entertainment systems and it is fascinating to learn how the machines work and provide entertainment. Read on to know everything about karaoke machines.


The karaoke entertainment system enables just about anyone to perform in complete synchronization with pre-recorded music or a video. The best part about the machines is that they also display lyrics of the song on the screen not just in English, but in a variety of languages. You can hook these machines to a computer or a television set.


The translation of the word ‘karaoke’ is ‘empty orchestra’. Japanese words ‘kara’ (empty) and ‘oke’, which is the part of another Japanese word ‘okesutora’ (orchestra). Karaoke machines gained immense popularity all over Asia after they were invented and gradually spread out to other parts of the world including United States and other countries in the West.

Karaoke Components 

The simple and modern day karaoke systems comprise of some basic features, which include speakers, music players with either CD, DVD or computer compatibility, multiple microphone inputs, a cordless or wired microphone, voice pitch-altering capability and background music. Not only are the machines compatible with downloaded music, the state-of-the-art machines can also operate on other formats including VCD, DVD, laser disk or CD-G formats. You have the option of purchasing all components of the karaoke machine separately or can also buy an all-in-one single karaoke package if your budget allows. You can look at some of karaoke machine reviews and learn more about features of the best karaoke machines available.


There is an audio input and output in karaoke machines and they also comprise of an in-built system for altering the pitch and tone of the music that’s played. In this way, the system is able to make adjustments according to the vocal range of the singer and enables them to perform in a key they are comfortable with. Basically, the original singer’s pre-recorded track is suppressed by the karaoke machine. Only the background music and the video of the soundtrack continues to play. Therefore, whenever a singer wishes to perform with the help of a karaoke machine, they are provided with lyrics on-screen and they can sing in sync with music in the background.


There are a wide variety of benefits associated with karaoke machines. They are an interactive and exciting music medium, which provide assistance to amateur singers in perfecting their singing skills. They also create a music-filled vibrant ambience wherever they are used. However, the best perk of karaoke machines is their portability as they can be taken just about anywhere. It is also quite versatile because you can set up a karaoke machine easily in any part of the house and allow guests to join in the fun and singing. They can offer a high entertainment value to everyone. 

Newly Launched Aurous Facing Lawsuit

Just a few days after its launch, the ad-free music streaming app called Aurous is being sued by major music labels who are claiming that copyrights are ‘blatantly infringed’ by the software. A lawsuit was filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on behalf of various music labels including UMG, Warner Bros and Sony. The lawsuit alleges that the creators of Aurous are perfectly aware of the copyright infringement of their service and fully intend it to happen.

Peer-to-peer BitTorrent technology is used by Aurous for streaming music, not downloading it and has been compared with the illegal video streaming app called Popcorn Time for its polished and similar user interface. Andrew Sampson, the developer of the app claimed that the software is perfectly legal as tracks are collated via the public APIs from a variety of sources that include Spotify, YouTube and SoundCloud. However, according to the RIAA, the catalog of music of Aurous is sourced from various pirate sites, which include MP3Skull, Pleer and MP3WithMe. The latter site has been described by the industrial body as one that offers unauthorized downloads of songs from numerous top artists.

In a statement made to The Guardian, a spokesperson of the RIAA said that Aurous is an example of a business model that’s operating on the basis of copyright theft on a huge scale. It said that Aurous wasn’t legal or licensed just like Limewire, Grooveshark and Grokster and it wouldn’t be allowed to exploit the rights of creators. The creators behind the app remained defiant as they tweeted that they were being sued for 3 million when they hadn’t done anything, which simply proved that their idea was exceptional.

They also said that they weren’t ‘profiting’ from any illegal actions because their service is ad-free. Nonetheless, the RIAA won’t be deterred just because Aurous doesn’t sell advertising. It is noted by the lawsuit that Sampson and fellow developers are reaping a financial benefit from the copyright infringement in the form of an increasing customer base. The RIAA claims that the creators can choose to monetize the app later on with advertising or other methods that can generate revenue. 

Field Music’s First UK Trip in Four Years Announced

The Mercury-nominated duo announced their first tour of the UK in four years. Sunderland brothers David and Peter Brewis make up Field Music. The tour will be the first being undertaken by the band after 2012 and will go on from February to March 2016. The band has some other ongoing projects, which include the collaboration of Peter Brewis with Paul Smith, ‘Frozen by Sight’ of Maximo Park and also the side-project called SLUG.

It has also been announced that the tour dates have nothing to do with the release of ‘Music for Drifters’, the band’s instrumental album in July 2015. Members of the Field Music’s mailing list will get access to a limited pre-sale on September 30th from 9 a.m. As far as the general public is concerned, the tickets will become available to them from October 2nd from 9 a.m.

In 2012, the brothers had said that if they scored the Mercury prize that year, it would not be appreciated by the music industry and they would be ‘royally pissed off’. Their fourth studio album titled ‘Plumb’ had earned them the nomination in 2012, but the band said that their victory wouldn’t be fair to others. Peter Brewis said that it would be a great moment for them, but it wouldn’t make others happy if someone who hadn’t sold even half as many copies as that of other nominees was to take the prize. Other than Roller Trio and Sam Lee, Field Music had sold less copies of their album in the market. 

When You Learn The Guitar This Fall, Set Yourself Up For Success

Now that your summer holidays are officially over, you have no excuse. You can’t blame your slacking off on the warm days filled with sun by the beach. As September rolls in, you’re back with your nose to the grindstone at work, so why not follow suit back at home? There’s no better time than now to spend the cooling evenings inside working on your chord progressions. It’s time that you finally learned the guitar like you promised you would.

When you’re first starting out, routine is essential to learning your instrument, so set aside time for just you and your guitar. It doesn’t have to be as strict as the exact same hour of each day, but there should be some consistency in your habits. Practicing every day (for more than 20 minutes) will give you an edge and certainly make the chords come a lot easier to your clumsy fingers. While rote repetition will occupy your hands, don’t let your mind wander. You should be fully engaged (in what experts call deliberate practice) when you pick up your guitar, so it’s important to recognize when your routine is starting to get dull. If you find practice becoming a chore, you need to mix it up. Learning guitar is supposed to be fun! Intersperse theory with your favourite song or try playing with another guitarist for when solo practice is too boring.

In fact, finding more than just one other guitarist is a great idea. A musical community can be very encouraging when you’re just starting out. You don’t have to have plans to join a group and tour the country. Just by having other musicians around you, you can be inspired to learn new and challenging things you wouldn’t otherwise try on your own. Enthusiasm can be infectious, after all, and speaking with those who are excited about the guitar can help spur you on. Other guitarists (particularly those who know their stuff) are also great resources you can tap for when you have questions. If you don’t have friends who are musicians in your life, websites like Meet Ups make it easy to connect with like-minded locals in your neighbourhood. Do a little searching and you just might find that perfect group you didn’t know you were looking for.

Of course, if you’re a little online shy and hesitate to meet with strangers you’ve met on the internet, there are always other opportunities for the novice guitarist – the greatest of which is enrolling yourself in music lessons. Forget about contacting the local guitar teachers who inevitably put their ad for lessons on the lampposts around town, as there’s no way of checking their credentials. You can find legitimate pros who are skilled to guide you along your learning journey by visiting a trusted name in music. With so many locations open, it’s unlikely that you haven’t heard of them, but did you know that Long & McQuade offers guitar lessons in addition to being a major instrument store? It’s true, and by getting in touch with one of their experienced professionals, you’ll have the incredible resource ofan instructor who can teach you the tricks of their trade and answer any of your questions you have along the way. You’ll also have a solid source of all the music comings-and-goings in your town as only your instructor (a performing musician) would know.

So as the weather cools, turn your focus inside. Pull out your guitar, arrange private lessons, and start speaking to fellow guitarists. Once you equip yourself with a supportive community of musicians and participate in deliberate practice, your goal of learning the guitar will be easier to attain than you think.

Why I Chose a PRS Guitar

My parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said I wanted an electric guitar. I have only been playing guitar for about a year. I am really dedicated to practicing and I want to get better. That is the name of my game. Doubtful I will ever turn into a guitar god at this rate, but that was never really the goal. I just love it.

It was nice that they let me pick the guitar I wanted. We searched on craigslist and Ebay. I was interested in a '76 vintage Fender for a bit. We also looked in our local music shops. For months I waited to find a guitar that looked right for me, one that I really wanted. Cost played a role, too, so I had to be really careful to find exactly what I needed for a price that we could afford.

Besides the Fender, I already knew that Paul Reed Smith guitars were amazing. I'm a big fan of Santana and I figured that owning a PRS would be great. But, I knew I couldn't afford the full-custom experience. Yet.

Looking further, we found that we could get an SE edition for less because they are made in Korea instead of in the US. I didn't care too much about that; the PRS custom SE Guitars has SE HFS and SE vintage bass pickups. Choose Plus, they just look cool. They all do. You would think it would have been hard to just one and it kind of was.

I could have gone with any guitar but I wanted a guitar that I *wanted* to play. I didn't want to make it harder on myself than learning has to be. I wanted practice to be a joy. Each time I walk up to my PRS SE, it is like it jumps into my hands. I feel like I have learned so much more quickly because I actually got the guitar I wanted. I feel like it actually picked me.

The UK's Most Exciting Festivals

Summer is the main festival season in the United Kingdom and as the weather warms up a large number of festivals are held to celebrate. These festivals highlight the rich and diverse culture of the United Kingdom and are established to preserve the art, music and history of this part of the world.

Most festivals feature large stages where famous bands and solo artists from all over the world head to entertain the crowds. These festivals tend to attract thousands of people and the best way of keeping track of festival goers is with colourful and durable paper wristbands. Here is a selection of some of the biggest and brightest festivals that are held during UK festival season.

Glastonbury Festival

This is one of the most famous summer festivals in the UK and is typically held in the month of June. The Glastonbury Festival lasts for an epic five days and features dozens of world famous musical acts spanning genres such as rock, pop, metal, electronica and even jazz. In addition to getting their grove on, people who attend the Glastonbury Festival will be able to enjoy a range of alternative entertainment such as magic, comedy and independent film screenings and, which are staged in special tents that set up around the festival grounds.


Donington Park in the city of Leeds hosts this exciting music festival in the month of June. The three-day event focuses on rock and metal music and fans will be able to watch some of the biggest names in the business such as Motorhead, Iron Maiden and Korn strut their stuff on stage.


Victoria Park in London really comes alive in the middle of June to host a music festival that is all about connecting people. A large number of genres of music are represented at the festival and Lovebox also include a range of special activities that encourage people to meet and have fun together.

Lounge on the Farm

In the month of June Merton Farm in Canterbury hosts a vibrant music festival that includes some of the most popular bands and DJs from all over the UK. Despite its name, this festival is far from laidback and people who like to party will really be able to let their hair down and dance until they drop during this three-day event.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

An epic three weeks is set apart during August to celebrate the arts in Edinburgh. All forms of artistic expression are represented during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival such as comedy, music, art and drama. In addition to some of the biggest names around, up and coming artists are also encouraged to take to the stage and many comedians, poets, bands and other types of artists get a name for themselves by wowing the crowds during the festival.

BoomTown Fair

This festival is a celebration of alternative culture and festival goers are encouraged to dress up in their weirdest and wackiest outfits to really celebrate in style. BoomTown Fair features more than twenty main stages where a whole host of bands and other types of music acts can be seen. The action takes place in Winchester in Hampshire and also includes alternative acts such as fire juggling, circus acts, live art and much more, all enclosed in nine diverse city districts.

Green Man

The Green Man festival is held each year in Wales in the month of August and lasts for four fun filled days. This festival is a tribute to the rich culture of Wales and includes modern and folk music as well as poetry, comedy, literature, science and much more. Ten large stages are set up over the area and the stunning natural backdrop really helps to set the scene and put festival goers in the right frame of mind to enjoy the festivities.

Of course, this is just a small selection of the festivals that are held during the UK summer season. Other major events that are held at this time of year include Party in the Park in London, V Festival, Shambala and Creamfields. Many festivals last for several days and visitors are often able to camp in the festival grounds so that they can get the most out of the festival experience.

Author bio: This post was contributed by Chelsea from AA Wristbands, one of the leading providers of festival wristbands. 

Sister Sledge will Play for the Pope

At a special global gathering for the 2015 event of The World Meeting of Families, Sister Sledge, recognized as one of the most iconic and renowned female music groups of all time, will give a performance for the benefit of Pope Francis. The event will take place on the 26th September, 2015 in the culturally-rich US city of Philadelphia. The event will be first ever visit of Pope Francis to the United States of America.

Families all over the world will come together in Philadelphia for The World Meeting of Families event where a series of thought-provoking debates and special prayer-led activities will be performed. This event is held after every three years and ‘Love is our Mission: The Family Fully Alive’ is its theme. This is perfectly in line with the image and persona of Sister Sledge and also their defining message, which is ‘Nothing is Greater than Love’. The music group has stood by this belief throughout their career.

The group has gained international recognition due to various records that have won multiple awards such as ‘Lost in Music’, ‘We are Family’ and ‘Thinking of You’. During the Pope’s visit, a special and exclusive rendition of the song ‘We are Family’ will be performed by the group. Since the song was released, it has become the peace mantra worldwide and has been digitally downloaded 1 billion times. In a statement regarding their performance at the event, the group said that they were honored to have the opportunity to perform for Pope Francis.

They also said that The World Meeting of Families is a unique and special event that draws families from all over the globe in a bond of unity, solidarity and love. They said that they supported the ideals of Pope Francis concerning family, equality and human rights and were pleased that their hometown had been chosen by the religious icon for showing the world the significance of love, faith and family.

Sister Sledge has performed all over the world to capacity crowds and remain in the international spotlight. Currently, they are working on a new and exciting music campaign, which will empower and inspire people and communicate their passion about love and family. An array of performers will join Sister Sledge for performing at the event, which include Aretha Franklin, Juanes, Matt Maher, The Fray, Andrea Bocelli, Marie Miller, Jim Gaffgan and The Philadelphia Orchestra and host Mark Wahlberg. 

New Rolling Stones Album Confirmed by Keith Richards

Tuesday night, iHeart Radio was informed by Keith Richards that a recent group meeting had been conducted by the Rolling Stones in London and had made some concrete plans for recording a new album. The guitarist of the band gave a new interview in which he elaborated those plans. He said that a new album was looking closer than ever and they just had to decide the when and where. A spokesperson for the group wasn’t available for comment immediately.

The timing of the recording remains undecided at the moment. Richards said that it was probably going to be in February after the South American tour. He added that they would try to get into the studio in December before Christmas, but it wasn’t confirmed. An album containing new material haven’t been released by The Rolling Stones since A Bigger Bang, which was released in 2005. Mick Jagger, the band’s frontman had told Rolling Stone earlier this year that he wasn’t sure about a new album of the band.

He had asserted that a number of new songs had been written and they had also done demo. Jagger said that they would love to record, but nothing was certain. In 2012, after taking a break for 5 years, the band had reconvened for a 50th Anniversary tour. New tracks ‘One More Shot’ and ‘Doom and Gloom’ were recorded for the new GRRR! Compilation by the band, but they were dedicated to road work for the better part of their time. In July, they wrapped up their Zip Code tour of 15 shows in Quebec City.

Currently, Richard is promoting Crosseyed Heart, his upcoming solo album, which is scheduled for a launch on Friday. He hasn’t revealed any definite touring plans although he did say that he would support the album with his first solo tour after 1993.

Spotify Grows Even More Due to Apple Music

Before the launch of the Apple Music streaming service in June, there had been rumors circulating that Spotify’s dominance in the streaming market was over. However, it seems that instead of turning out to be a Spotify killer, Apple Music has created an even greater global market for Spotify as the service has added more customers since the expansion of the tech giant into music streaming.

Daniel Ek, the Chief Executive Officer said the idea that Apple Music would kill Spotify was overblown and he said that the London-based firm is witnessing even greater traction with music listeners than before, even though he refused to give specific numbers about the increase in customers. He said that they were setting new records on a weekly basis.

With 20 million paid subscribers, Spotify is the largest music streaming service in the world, which charges $9.99 from its subscribers in the US to give them access to as much music as they want. The same price will be charged by Apple Music from its customers eventually, when the free three-month trial offered by the company is over. Apple had held the position of the largest music retailer in the world. It reached here by using its iTunes service for selling individual songs online. However, music streaming is becoming the next big thing, which means that sales from downloads are at an all-time low.

As a matter of fact, it has been predicted by experts that revenue from music streaming would surpass sales from downloads next year. Spotify’s CEO said that partnerships of the service with wireless carriers is of the utmost importance for expanding its user base. Currently, the company has made 40 partnerships with wireless carriers all over the world and it is planning to add more to its arsenal for continuing its expansion.  

Miley Cyrus Hooking up with Comedian Dane Cook

It seems that Miley Cyrus may have finally found a good guy. It has come to light that comedian Dane Cook and the ‘Hands of Love’ singer are hooking up. The 22 year old singer has said that she finds ‘funny’ men appealing. She had been longtime pals with Jessica Simpson’s ex. They had an impromptu dance party in December 2013 at The Woods, a club in L.A. Also, in March when shots of her then-boyfriend Patrick Schwarzenegger came to light where he was doing shots off a bikini-clad girl while on spring break, she regrammed a post from the 43-year old Cook.

In April, she split up with the oldest son of Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger after dating him for five months. There have been rumors that the host of the 2015 VMAs was hooking up with Stella Maxwell, Victoria Secrets model, but she had denied any rumors about being in a relationship. On the other hand, she has been very upfront about her sexuality.

In June, she told Times magazine that different people bring out different feelings in her and as far as romantic relationships are concerned, she doesn’t want to be restricted by gender stereotypes. Previously, the singer had been engaged to Liam Hemsworth. 

7 Cinematography Techniques For Beginners

Cinematography is often considered the essence of filmmaking. It is said that although the actors give life to the characters and the director makes all the necessary decisions so as to make a worthy audio visual experience, they have to all work closely with the cinematographer to ensure that each shot is being taken from an appropriate angle, as this can make or break a movie.

Often, we see that some of the classics of today may have been very ordinary movies if it had not been for the brilliance of the cinematographer. This can be achieved even on a basic film, and converted to digital with 8mm conversion technology.

Cinematography, especially when it is taught in many of our prestigious film schools, is said to follow certain basic rules, beyond which, aspiring cinematographers are encouraged to experiment and innovate. With these basic rules in mind, one can begin to play with the camera, as an artist with his paintbrush.

Head Space and Nose Space

If the shot contains one or more people, the basic rule to consider is that there should be a considerable gap between the top of the person’s head and the top of the frame. This gap, known as headroom or headspace, can vary from shot to shot, depending on what feels right to the cinematographer. Another thing to be considered is nosespace or noseroom. This is the gap left in front of the face of the subject and shows, to a certain extent, where the subject is looking.

If these two rules are ignored then it leads to a lack in the aesthetic quality of the frame as well as the ease of viewing for the audience.

Rule of Thirds

A common cheat code, so to speak, in how to decide where to lay ones focus and how to build ones frame is the rule of thirds. Once a basic frame has been established in one’s mind, one should mentally divide that frame into three equal parts, horizontally and vertically, so that one has nine equal parts of the frame. The lines as well as the intersecting points will guide you in where to place the object in focus. This rule is especially useful when shooting landscape shots.


A three dimensional effect can be achieved even with a basic two dimensional camera with the Z-Axis rule. The Z axis rule requires that the cinematographer views the shot from three dimensions, the third one being depth, or, more simply, the dimension from the front left end of the shot to the back right end of it. Planning shots so as to maximise use of this mental line will give your shots a realistic effect.

180 Degree Rule

The 180 degree rule is usually helpful when choosing an angle to take the shot from. Cinematographers have a tendency to take multiple shots later decide as to the best one. This is a good practice, except that sometimes it can be confusing to remember which side to take the shot from and to maintain continuity. For example, if one shot shows a person going left to right, a shot taken from the opposite side will show them going right to left. TO avoid this, one can use the 180 degree rule, where one draws an invisible 180 degree diameter in one’s mind beyond which he does not go. This ensures that you do not stray into the opposite side of the frame and thus create confusion.

Pan and Tilt

Panning is one of the first techniques filmmakers began experimenting with. It is a simple shot, and is used to show the entire scenario/room etc. The camera is mounted on a tripod, at a certain level and moved from left to right or vice versa. Although an overused and abused shot, the most famous example of this is Steven Spielberg’s movies. The panning shot can be experimented with in terms of timing and the movements of the scenario shown as well as the subject of the camera.

Tilt shots are the same as the pan except vertical rather than horizontal. These can be used to show a tall figure, and are often used to establish the dominance of a figure, by placing the camera on a lower level and tilting upwards, thus making the subject seem large and intimidating.

Zoom/ Track-in

Zooming is common, even in our basic cell phone cameras, we all know of it as making the object larger so that it appears closer. However, zooming causes a severe compromise upon the quality of the video taken. Thus, zoom shots should not be too long and should be very smooth. Excellent examples of zoom shots are the movies Gladiator and Hannibal.

A long range variant of the zoom shot is the track in. This is when the cinematographer uses a dolly to literally move the camera closer to the subject. Incase of an uneven ground, a Steadicam can be used, however, this is not recommended. This ensures smooth shot and does not compromise upon quality.


This popular shot is usually taken when one wants to show things from one person’s perspective while still maintaining the third person perspective of the audience, thus giving them a sense of involvement with the onscreen action. Over the shoulder shots are usually taken during conversations or any kind of interaction between two or more people.

Perfect over the shoulder shots are difficult to take because a very specific portion of the shoulder has to be shown, out of focus. The person, people or things in front are in focus and thus concentrated upon.

Other than the above, there is much to be learnt from the world of filmmaking and cameras. Different kinds of shots, camera movements, angles and different equipment to enhance the filmmaking experience. However, the best cinematographers are the ones who have broken all the rules and made new and sometimes broken those too, simply to pull the audience into their movie and make them feel involved with the ongoing occurrences. Thus, instead of learning, it is best to teach oneself experiment and discover. 

Sam Smith Aiming for James Bond Number One

After months of rumors and speculation, it was confirmed on Tuesday by Sam Smith that he will sing for the theme of ‘Spectre’, the next James Bond movie. This will be the first time in 50 years that a male British solo artist has recorded the title song for a 007 movie. The track ‘’Writing’s On the Wall’ was co-written by the ‘Stay with Me’ singer with Jimmy Napes, fellow Grammy Award winner. Sam Smith collaborated with Jimmy Napes for his best-selling debut album titled ‘In the Lonely Hour’ in 2014.

Smith will be joining the likes of Shirley Bassey and Adele in performing the theme song of a Bond film. The singer said that he had recorded the song near the end of last year and had found it immensely difficult to keep it to himself. The 23-year-old said that it hadn’t been easy to keep the project under wraps as people had guessed that it was going to be him so he had to be really good at lying. He added that recording the song was a new high for him and he hadn’t expected it to happen.

There had been considerable speculation about who would sing the theme song for “Spectre”, which is likely to storm the music charts all over the globe, similar to Adele’s theme for ‘Skyfall’ which won an Oscar. Radiohead and Ellie Goulding had been the other contenders. As a matter of fact, bets had been suspended by a British bookmaker after someone had attempted to palce a 15,000 pounds wager on Radiohead. Tom Jones was the last solo British male to sing a Bond theme in 1965 called “Thunderball”.

Sam Smith didn’t say much about the song because he said that it would give away the story. The singer had undergone vocal cord surgery in the previous year and said it had been very challenging to perform.  

Taylor Swift Shares Sneak Peek of New Music Video

Your ‘Wildest Dreams’ are about to come true! Taylor Swift took to Instagram for sharing an eye-popping teaser of her upcoming music video and there is no denying that it looks dreamy. This song is the fifth single from the 1989 album of the pop singer and the video will make its debut on Sunday, August 30th, 2015 during the live MTV Video Music Awards pre-show, which is being hosted by Miley Cyrus this year.

A flurry of images are featured in the sneak peek, which begins with an eye opening for greeting viewers and include snippets of flying birds, running zebras and horses and even bi-planes. Along with them, you can also see a couple locked in and intimate and romantic embrace in the rain. The girl looks a lot like Swift herself while the guy reminds us of Scott Eastwood (Sorry, Calvin), model-turned-actor heartthrob. This year, Swift has about nine VMA nominations and most of her center around her start studded music video of Bad Blood.

The country singer’s current stint of five shows at the Staples Center in L.A. brought out a crowd of celebrities including Chris Rock, Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx, Mary J. Bilge, model Gigi Hadid, Mark Wahlberg and Friends star Matt LeBlanc. 

One Direction to Go in Different Directions

Image courtesy of julochka via Flickr

Couple of days ago, the sound of thousands of heart breaking and shattering into pieces could be heard all over the world as reports from a tabloid, The Sun, announced that British boy band One Direction would be taking a ‘break’. It is a moment that every fan dreads, but it remains inevitable as it has happened to the likes of Spice Girls, Take That and The Beatles. The band are set to go on a hiatus in March, but it is not necessarily a permanent split as the promise of lucrative reunion tours often draws back band members.

The teen idol sensations, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson, are set to part ways for a year in March 2016 as they wish to focus on solo projects. A source close to the band told the Sun that they have been together for five years, which is quite long for a boy band. Therefore, they need some time to work on their own thing and there is absolutely no bad blood between the four. It is not a permanent split as they intend to get back together and all of them are 100% behind the decision. The fifth album of the band will have no tour.

This means that their last full concert, at least for now, will be on 31st October at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena. The millions of fans will get the opportunity to see their favorite singers in a string of performances and TV spots, which are already penciled in for the year and will go ahead in March. The boys will take a break during the holiday season, but they will come together in February for finishing their professional commitments for the record label. An unnamed source said that this had been the plan and was going to happen ‘with or without’ Zayn Malik who left the group in March.

The source said that they would have wanted him to stay with the band, but this hiatus was going to happen either way. It is believed that the decision of taking a break and not touring was made last weekend in London. It would give band members the opportunity of taking their money-spinning careers on completely different paths and the talks regarding this journey would begin soon. According to the stores, Hollywood has shown ‘a lot of interest’ in Harry Styles whereas Tomlinson might take up on the role of judge on the X Factor next year.

All of the members have a huge number of options at their disposal. Payne may want to work on his producing, songwriting and DJ skills instead of taking up a solo career. In March, after Malik’s departure, there had been rumors about the band splitting up, which had been quashed by the other members. After the shocking announcement, they had vowed to go on as a four-piece as Malik wanted to live as a ‘normal’ 22-year-old. When the flood of reports hinted at their breakup, Payne took to Twitter for thanking their devoted fans who had stood up for them and not considered them as finished.

Bradford-born Zayn Malik is rumored to be working on his solo album with Naughty Boy, the acclaimed music producer, who has worked with several renowned artists including Leona Lewis, Cheryl Cole and Emeli Sande. The band emerged in X Factor’s 2010 series and it has topped charts worldwide since then. The four band members are said to be worth £25 million each. A spokesperson of the band was questioned about the matter, but refused to comment on the ongoing speculation about the band’s future. 

Musicians Start Using Revloud And Exploit This New Tool to Earn Millions

On the early march of 2015, 651 musicians from the South East Asia region were privately invited to revloud close launch. To those who don't know what revloud is, it is a monetization tool especially for musicians. With revloud, musicians can monetize the song that they released on the internet. For each download, they can earn from as low as $0.05 to staggering $30 USD beating VEVO that only caters to established musicians.

Among those invited, a few found a way to exploit the system and earn millions simply by uploading song by other established artists. One of the top downloaded songs on revloud with 100,000+ download was SIA-Chandelier generating over 1 million USD in revenue. Like the domino effect, some of the musicians have been uploading famous tracks and generating figures ranging from 10,000 USD to 100,000 USD.

Revloud management team has to work over time to detect all the illegally uploaded song on revloud and ban all the user  breaching it term and condition told Revloud founder.

"We have to work extra hour to detect those who has breached our term and condition and delete all those illegally uploaded song. Revenue generated from the song will be refund to the advertiser. " - Ananta, Revloud

After the closed beta period, Revloud expected to come back on Aug 2015. To experience Revloud interested musician can just simply visit

Genres of Music and Piercings

Most of us think of heavy metal and punk bands as the music genres that would display piercings. However, piercing has hit the mainstream and there are definitely all music genres displaying various types of piercings. There are even those wearing gauges and other decorations to display their unique style. The difference is that when a celebrity makes a new trend, you can guarantee that others will follow suit.


When we think about country music, we think of cowboy hats and boots and big pickup trucks. But there are several country stars that rock piercings. Jason Aldean is one country star who has his ears pierced, multiple times. Brantley Gilbert is another singer who also has pierced ears, in a pretty decent gauge. The whole band, Parmalee, has their ears pierced as well. Kelly Clarkson also has ear piercing and a nose stud.


Pop singers are also known for their piercings. Britney Spears had her ears, nose, and belly button pierced. Kesha has a nose ring that she wears to flaunt her unique style. Janet Jackson had quite a few piercings, including her nipples, belly button, ears, septum, and apparently her lady parts. Lady Gaga flashed her pierced lady parts by accident and showed us what she likes pierced. Pink has her nose and nipples pierced with rings. One of the singers from 5 seconds of summer, Luke Hemmings, has his lip pierced with a ring. His bandmate, Michael Clifford, has his ears and eyebrow pierced. Miley Cyrus has her ears pierced multiple times and her nose too. Demi Lovato has her nose pierced with a cute stud. Christina Aguilera had a nose piercing and a labret stud below her bottom lip.

R & B

Beyonce, who is the queen of R & B at the moment, is a celebrity with ear piercings and a belly button piercing. Lil’ Kim had her nose and her belly button pierced back in the day. Rihanna has her nipples pierced and has displayed them on the cover of a magazine. Fergie has her eyebrow pierced with a barbell piercing. Jordin Sparks has her septum pierced with a ring and a stud in her nose. Travie McCoy has a septum piercing and pretty large gauge plugs. Lenny Kravitz has several cartilage ear piercings and a nose ring.


Now, we get to the rockers, that we expect to see piercings on and they don’t disappoint. Dave Navarro from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, has matching ear and nipple piercings with the captive bead rings. Tommy Lee, from Motley Crue, has an eyebrow piercing and ear plugs.

All of these genres have piercings and show their own personal style, regardless of the type of music they sing. All of the music may be different, but their love for piercings and personal style may be the one they share in common along with the love of music. Find your own personal style and determine the piercing that is meant for you to show to the world or keep hidden if need be.