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Can’t Get Enough of Butch Walker

ButchWalkerAfter welcoming Dangerbird Records to The Orchard family, I think we can speak for the whole team when we say we were very excited to work with the label’s extensive and acclaimed catalog, starting with the multi-talented Butch Walker.

As soon as we heard Butch’s Afraid Of Ghosts was to be our first release with Dangerbird, we digital retail marketing folk jumped to promote it to our accounts. As a singer/songwriter titan deeply rooted into Rock and Roll’s rich soil, Butch really lets his music speak for itself, weaving intimate stories of love, loss and life into a unique tapestry of lyrical imagery. This recipe resulted in a massive amount of coverage of the album its first week in stores, and ultimately a spot at #1 on Billboard’s Top New Artist Albums chart.

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Congrats To Our 2015 Grammy Awards Winners!

RickyKejWouterKellermanGrammysLast night, all music-lovers and creators — well, almost — watched one of the year’s biggest events in music: The 57th Annual Grammy Awards. Some of us were lucky enough to attend in person — here’s lookin’ at you Colleen and Laura, our COO and Latin American Regional Manager who doubles as Chair of the Latin Grammys — while the rest of us watched from our living rooms (or if you’re like me, treadmills).

Of course, at The Orchard, we were rooting for our slew of nominated artists, many of whom didn’t actually get air time last night (there’s a whole score of wins that get awarded pre-prime time!), but who still deserve the highest praise for their accomplishments.

Speaking of, we tip our hats to our four big winners:

Anne Sofie von Otter for her album Douce France [naïve classique], who snagged the Grammy for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

Wouter Kellerman & Ricky Kej for their album Winds of Samsara [Raveolution Studios], which took the title of Best New Age Album

Ziggy Marley for Fly Rasta [V2 Records Benelux], which brought home the award for Best Reggae Album

Partch for Harry Partch: Plectra and Percussion Dances, which won Best Classical Compendium

The whole night was full of epic performances, important messages and cringe-worthy moments but honestly, would we expect any less? Check out the full list of winners on the Grammy website, browse through photos and fashion, or just read a nice good recap courtesy of the NY Times.

The Holidays Are For Box Sets: Finding the Future Through the Past

MachineHead_BloodstoneDiamonds“I wish I could have seen The Cure back then,” my friend Xio said to me the other day. “When I was 13 in 1996, my diary was full of crush notes to Robert Smith.” Xio went on to see The Cure a couple of times, and Depeche Mode too. Of course today, both bands have achieved a legendary status, enough to justify multiple box sets of singles, rarities, remixes, live performances and such. And right now, the holiday gift giving season is the time for the latest avalanche of super deluxe box sets in the physical realm.

With so much of our business moving to digital and especially streaming, you’d think the days of these pricey coffee table heavyweight packages would be over. But as art objects in and of themselves, box sets bring an immersive fan experience that is qualitatively different than streaming some of those same tracks on Spotify. They are an excuse to celebrate our inner geekdom and obsessiveness to the smallest details. Like Jimmy Page’s more prominent acoustic guitar in the Sunset Sound Mix of “Stairway To Heaven” on Led Zeppelin’s just reissued/remastered IV Deluxe (aka ZOSO), or the instrumental versions of some of your Zep classics on I-IV before Robert Plant added his vocals. Really? I never heard John Paul Jones’ keyboard part in there before! Or the improved stereo imaging and fine sonic detail in Bruce Springsteen’s classic The River, just issued this week (as part of The Album Collection 1973-1984.)

But it’s not just a question of sharper bass with more low frequencies or a kick drums that you can feel in your chest vs. fairly HQ 320 kbps MP3s that are easy to purchase. Let’s face it, no one reads 20 page liner notes by veteran Rock writers like David Fricke or Greil Marcus online about all the minutiae involving The Velvet Underground Super Deluxe with its 3 different mixes of the same album or Bob Dylan & The Band Basement Tapes Complete with multiple versions of the same song in different tempos or styles. It’s a different listening experience sitting at home on a Saturday afternoon reading the book while the music plays than rocking some tunes on your smartphone on a bus or a subway on your way to work. Something vinyl lovers have long known as well.

As the physical realm continues to adapt to the realities of the modern niche market place, box sets are where record labels can recoup on long-term investments and trend setting cult artists can finally grab some of the mainstream attention they’ve long deserved. Like British Invasion-influenced Pop masters Big Star finally getting their due with multiple box sets, reissues and a fine documentary, “Nothing Can Hurt Me,” after years of only being acknowledged by fellow musicians and indie trailblazers like The Replacements. Today, the simple act of physically compiling brings streaming attention to the new classics, such that Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson and company can play their college radio “underground hits” to packed stadium sing alongs decades later, as many of us witnessed in Forest Hills, NY this past summer.

In the last few years we’ve seen a wide range of large box sets from icons like The ClashWoody Guthrie, Johnny Cash and even Judas Priest. The real question is who are today’s musical heroes that will be compiled in the years ahead? Will LCD Soundsystem ever merit a reissue like Underworld’s 5 CD Super Deluxe Dubnobasswithmyheadman including live rehearsals by an Electronica group in the act of composition? Are Machine Head destined to become the next Judas Priest or Metallica? Or will they be this generation’s Diamond Head spearheading the mostly under the radar NWOBHM (that’s new wave of British Heavy Metal) and thereby influencing every major Thrash/Speed Metal act in their wake? Will Eminem and Jay Z ever be anthologized like James Brown was on the 4 Funk-filled Star Time CDs? And can the Foo Fighters, Maroon 5 and even Nickelback transcend their mass appeal to reach Journey’s guilty pleasures God-like status for stadium anthems? “Don’t Stop Believin’…”

Get Your Fix of Sufi & Ghazal Music on Spotify

Sufi_Ghazal_SpotifyCoverThe Orchard and Times Music have engaged in an unprecedented campaign to actively showcase and promote Sufi & Ghazal music from the Indian subcontinent.

Servicing a huge demand for these two genres in the US and UK, Times Music has put together their Top 100 Sufi & Ghazal songs, thereby offering their listeners the very best of both genres from within their repertoire.

If you don’t know, Sufi music is the devotional music of the Sufis, inspired by the works of Sufi poets like Rumi, Hafiz, Bulleh Shah and Khwaja Ghulam Farid. It’s not just about entertainment, but rather about spirituality. Its powerful lyrics talk about achieving divinity by spreading love and harmony. A Ghazal is a poetic expression of pain from loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. Ghazals have proved to be capable of a variety of expressions around these central themes, traditionally invoking melancholy, love, longing and metaphysical questions. Ghazals are often sung by Iranian, Afghan, Pakistani and Indian musicians. This playlist features world renowned artists like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, The Sabri Brothers, Ghulam Ali, Mehdi Hassan and many more…

“Sufi, Fusion and Ghazal are today’s most progressive forms of music from the Indian subcontinent and Times Music has witnessed a surge of listeners in these genres from the US / UK markets over the last couple of years,” shares Mandar Thakur, COO of Times Music. “Times Music is quite excited to present this amazing collection of Sufi and Ghazal music to consumers through this unique opportunity via The Orchard and Spotify.”

The campaign for this special playlist is running now through the end of the month of August. During that time, you might find the playlist on some of Times Music‘s high-profile online properties, like the Times of India E-Paper and IndiaTimes.com, and if you’re a Spotify freemium user, look out for the cool audio and visual ads we’ve put together to promote the playlist.

Of course, it will be available for your ears long after the promotion ends and will be updated regularly by the label, so be sure to follow it to stay in the loop! And now, for your listening pleasure:

10 Quick Pinterest Tips

pinterestlogoYou’ve surely heard of Pinterest by now, right? Just in case, Pinterest is a growing network which allows you to easily share content by “pinning” images found online (think of it as a pretty bookmark) to a “board.” These can be shared through a link or by following the creator, and boards and pins can be viewed publicly and are consistently (well, the good ones!) updated. The platform lends itself to visually sharing information simply.

Here are 10 Pinterest facts and tips you should know:

#1 – Pinterest is one of the primary ways people share stuff online. Coming in third to Facebook and Twitter, but topping email, Pinterest’s sharing stats are growing the fastest. Time to stop ignoring it and sign up!

PNGConsumerTrends

#2 – Tag users you are pinning from. Simply posting “@” before the person’s username will tag them. This is great way to engage with fans and influencers as they can see you are posting their content.

#3 — It’s all about the visual. Post your content, whether that’s gifs made from stills from your upcoming video, artwork, behind-the-scenes photos, etc. Avoid black & white or blurry pins.

#4
 — Get verified. Verifying your website on Pinterest lets people know that you own it. Doing this also gives you access to analytics.

#5 Review your analytics. See site metrics such as pins, repins, impressions, clicks and reach. Check out Pinterest’s Web Analytics Walkthrough video.

#6 — Partner with media sites. Do you make a mean veggie lasagna, have a crafty hobby or great personal style? Look into ways you can partner with blogs or sites where you could “guest pin” on one of their boards to cross promote.

#7 – Collaborate with your team. You can add users to a specific board where they can add/upload pins. That way you’re covered when your WiFi isn’t working in the van while you are driving through South Dakota on tour and you really need that fan submission contest board updated. Pinterest makes it easy to be collaborative with your team.

#8  Map it out. When creating a board, you have an option to add a map which allows you to upload a pin from a specific place or city. This can be a great way for fans to follow you on tour and see where you visited while on the road.

Pinterestmap

#9 – Showcase your promotional campaigns. Did you launch a contest where fans can submit their art or photos? Compile the best entries to a board to inspire more fans to get involved and current entrants to re-pin their photo or art.

#10 — Oh, How Pinteresting! Last, but certainly not least, read Pinterest’s blog. They showcase interesting pins, hacks and users that may provide you with some pinspiration.

Bonus: Pinterest has added a new search tool to let users add specific filters to their original search term. Read more on Guided Search.

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About The Orchard

The Orchard is a pioneering music, video and film distribution company and top-ranked Multi Channel Network operating in more than 25 global markets. Founded in 1997, we empower businesses and creators in the entertainment industry.

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