MUSIC: NEXT STOP: ASIA

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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When one of the very very very few people you respect and with a globally proven track record writes to say, “The music industry has never been in such a mess”, one not only listens, there’s a certain sense of vindication- that what you have been saying and questioning for years isn’t just talk from Sleepy Hollow and how so many have allowed themselves to be bamboozled for so long that they’re utterly burnt out, desperately clutching at straws and believing this is taking them somewhere. Please.

Social media might be a nice place to show off that you’ve made yourself a nice salad and show some happy snaps from a holiday, but as platforms to market and sell music, especially if an unknown, please don’t embarrass yourself by uploading mawkish self-promotional jive on Facebook and Instagram even if you’re wearing a hibiscus behind your ear and wobbling trying to stay in tune. All this does is highlight the terminal deficiencies when it comes to having actual talent.

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WHY IT’S GOT TO BE MUCH MORE THAN SOME SONGS AND LOOKING AT THE CHINA ENTERTAINMENT MARKET WITH THOSE WHO REALLY KNOW IT

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Writing this with a repeat of Britain’s Got Talent flickering in the background and some random Spotify Playlist playing what could be described as “coffee shop music” while thinking about one particular well-known name dropping music blogger who is clueless about the world outside of America writing incessantly about embracing new technology and The New, but then goes on and on about the need for artists to tour and how touring gave the Grateful Dead their loyal Deadheads shows just how unfocused, hypocritical and confusing trying to make a career out of music has become. All the excitement and enthusiasm seems to have been sucked out and replaced with bland clutter and speaking in the vagaries of circles.

Trying to make a livelihood out of music today is almost an impossibility. Or so it seems. To those who’ve worked in music companies run as successful businesses by visionaries like Ahmet Ertegun and Chris Blackwell and grown up watching, and even getting to know, unknown artists become legends, it’s easy to come across being know-it-all windbags and dreadful bores in the process.

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WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? WHAT’S MUSIC SAYING TO YOU

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It probably started with Chris Cornell: Slowing down an uptempo song and giving it a new twist just as he did with his amazing version of “Billie Jean”.

Michael Jackson and producer Quincy Jones had given the world a slice of slick, danceable pop aided by a hugely important music video during those early days of MTV which helped enormously in breaking a black artist into the mainstream consciousness when Sony Chairman at the time- Walter Yetnikoff, below, played hardball with the new music channel: Put “Billie Jean” on Heavy Rotation or else you don’t get any other video by Sony artists- Springsteen, Journey, Billy Joel, Cindi Lauper etc etc.

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STOP PRESSING THE ‘LIKE’ BUTTON WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT IT

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It’s so easy to do this that one does it without thinking: Pressing that ‘like’ button on social media. We’ve all been guilty of it at one time or another, but it really must be reined in if we’re ever going to return to being selective about things and people. It’s very much part of trying to put the indiscriminate genie of social media back in the bottle and try to get our priorities right again. And stop talking emoji while at it.

We’ve been lost for far too long and the visual below really hit home with a mighty thud about dating, love, relationships, the lack of trust, the addiction to materialism and mainly a loss of focus and understanding of life’s priorities.

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THE LOWELL GEORGE JOURNEY OF LIFE AND LIGHT

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Sometimes things happen for a reason- not often, but when they’re special things that reset your thinking and help bring about some form of clarity, it’s no doubt coming from some higher power without tripping over that unforgiving ninth step.

The night before I had seen someone I had known for around a decade have a meltdown. It was the alcohol talking mixed with anger, frustration and desperation. When after years of trying and with still nothing to show for it and all those wasted years trying to be what you hoped to hell you’d be with nothing to show for it, something snaps.

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NO FREE MUSIC, NO FREE LUNCHES AND NO FREE PASSES

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Looking back to those surreal, weird and right out there days when firmly entrenched in the music industry with many of us making The Wolf of Wall Street look like pussies, there weren’t a helluva lot of executives who actually lived and loved and BREATHED the music, certainly not like pioneers of the industry like Sam Philips, Chris Blackwell, Berry Gordy Jr, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, David Geffen, Ahmet Ertegun, below, and the handful of others.

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TIME FOR A REALITY CHECK

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It’s about priorities- and finding them again and then, when they are found, the realisation that these are priorities to you and maybe not to everyone else. It’s about being more exclusive and with no need to run with the pack, especially those “met” in the sleepy hollow of the online world who suck you in and lead you down that rabbit hole of nothingness where many live or are stuck.

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THE CRANKINESS OF BEING EARNEST

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Once upon a Tomorrow Never Knows, many of us couldn’t wait to grow up, spread our wings, gain our independence and fly off to unknown lands where there were uncharted waters and adventures to be discovered and lived. We couldn’t wait. We took walks on the wild side. Some of us survived, a few fell through the cracks. We moved on and often took some bravely stupid steps.

We fell in love, we fell out of love, we stayed in love and got married. We had children and became domesticated. Domesticated. It’s a funny word. Often it means giving up and becoming what you promised yourself you’d never become. But you did, yes, you did, yes, you did and the penny finally dropped. There was the realisation that you had become everything you never thought you would be: Boring. But having made one’s bed, there was a need to lie in it at least for a while. Guilt pangs surfaced when wondering if this was just living a lie. Often it was- a lethal cocktail of falling in lust, thinking it was love until that train dropped you off at the right station. It was fun while it lasted, but it was just a U2 song.

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THE GRAMMYS: LET’S NOT MAKE A SONG AND DANCE ABOUT IT

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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The Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin etc simply didn’t have a role for a female in their lineup. Yoko and Linda might have had roles in the Beatles just before they finally made the breakup official, but the world was a very different place back in the day.

Not understanding the almost overnight need for women in music today to be recognised more in an archaic awards show like the Grammys, the peculiar thing is that this event has always been dismissed as being more about the past than the present- an old person’s club where winning a Grammy has never been something of great prestige. But in this year of hashtags, sudden memory recall and being angry just about everything there’s around until there’s really nothing more to vent celebrity angst upon, female artists are up in arms because the awards show has supposedly “snubbed” female artists. Really? I mean, really, really? How does Kendrick Lamar feel- and nothing against nice guy Bruno Mars- for not receiving the Grammy for Record Of The Year?

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IN SHORT SUPPLY: INSPIRATION AND IMAGINATION

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Watching the recent spate of awards shows supposedly to acknowledge and celebrate the arts- films, film makers, actresses, actors- please, Natalie Portman, note that actresses were mentioned before actors- musicians, music etc etc, what one has been exposed to is a Hollywood made chain reaction of politics, sermons, self righteous indignation, and hashtags. What the hell was Hillary Clinton doing appearing at the Grammys? There’s Bruno Mars and then there’s Hills reading from the book “Fire And Fury”? Enormously stupid move.

Instead of taking a break from #MeToo and #TimesUp, these award shows have become another platform to pummel the senses with speeches and sideshows that often ring hollow as it is more of the same- the same old crocodile tears on the same background, the . same old same old with no answers, no solutions, and no answers to And now what? Time’s up is a nice enough term for a hashtag, and the message behind it, but surely it must be more? How is this hashtag and rah rah speeches from celebrities going to achieve what everyone hopes they achieve?

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