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PlayNetwork Opens Regional Office In Columbus, Ohio

Office Will Service and Drive New Business Opportunities for Regional Clients Columbus, OH

December 11, 2012 PlayNetwork the leading innovator in branded entertainment, today announced that the company has opened a regional office in Columbus, OH. The new office reinforces PlayNetwork’s commitment to provide entertainment media and systems solutions for regionally based businesses. PlayNetwork continues to strengthen its business and recognizes its clients’ desire for greater regional and local availability of resources to support their marketing and brand objectives consistently.

To support PlayNetwork’s Midwest clients and develop new opportunities for them through the company’s growing number of service offerings, Steve Fodor has been named Senior Client Manager, Central Region. Steve fills the position recently held by Kelly Clark who has been with the company since 2006 driving sales, business development, and client management initiatives in the Central territory. Kelly has been named Regional Director of the Central Region, and will oversee strategic relationships with PlayNetwork’s new and existing clients.

“Our clients’ satisfaction is critical to our success and we need to effectively anticipate and meet their needs while providing them with new services that impact their business results,” said Craig Hubbell,

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Alex Cuba Brings His Latin-Funk-Jazz Fusion Sound to the PlayLive Stage

Alex Cuba

Cuban-born Alex Cuba is one of those rare singer-songwriters who sings both in English and in Spanish.  Having spent his youth in Artemisa, which was formally part of La Habana Province in Cuba, he started to play the guitar at the tender age of six under the tutelage of his father with a mix of Jazz fusion style and Cuban Soul.  In 1999 he moved to Canada and began making a name for himself playing alongside his twin brother in the duo The Puente’s Brothers while receiving his first acclaim with a Juno nomination.  This of course was the first of many more accolades to follow.

After going solo for the first time in 2004 with his brother helping out in songwriting duties he released his debut record “Humo de Tabaco” (Tabaco Smoke) that included local Canadian Ron Sexsmith as a collaborator.  With their song “Lo Mismo Que Yo” reaching #52 in the UK Singles Chart.  Having since released 3 more records while winning two Juno Awards for “Humo de Tabaco” and “Agua Del Pozo”, he finally gained recognition from the Latin Grammy’s in 2010 winning Best New Artist.

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Kris Orlowski – Local Indie Folk Artist Visits PlayNetwork

If you hang around the Seattle music scene long enough, you are bound to meet local singer-songwriter Kris Orlowski sooner than later. Much to our delight, he and his band recently passed through PlayNetwork  on our PlayLive stage for an intimate performance. It’s easy to see how he has firmly established himself as a familiar face in Seattle’s indie folk circles, and is very well positioned to expand into wider recognition regionally and beyond.

It’s been a joy to see firsthand people’s positive responses to hearing his music played overhead in places like Starbucks or at SeaTac airport. Kris really is a great example of how PlayNetwork connects with a great local musician and everybody benefits: the company, the artist, and the audience. Seeing social media posts from excited fans surprised to hear the music in unexpected places proves that PlayNetwork provides valuable exposure for artists and a valuable service for businesses and brands. And it makes Music Supervision a very fun job to do!

Kris’s most recent project, in collaboration with violinist Andrew Joslyn, is an EP titled “Pieces We Are” which will be released on October 13th. The release show at the Triple Door sold out very quickly,

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Dragonette Debuts New Album and Rocks Seattle’s Showbox

PlayLive is excited to present Dragonette, a three piece electro-pop act from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The band’s collaboration with Martin Solveig for the number one dance hit “Hello” helped push them into mainstream in 2010.

Dragonette’s third LP, titled Bodyparts, was released this week on 9/25/12. The album is a lot of fun with some huge beats, memorable melodies, a pop formula, and infectious hand claps.

Dragonette is playing at Showbox at the Market Friday night as part of Decibel Festival, headlining the Decadance showcase with Icona Pop and The Knocks.

Check out the official video for “Let it Go”! [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KsPIJK17uk?rel=0]

Shannon Cook, Music Supervisor PlayNetwork

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PlayLive! Gets Rocked By The Stone Foxes

As the week comes to a close, we reflect back on a week that began with a blistering set on the PlayLive stage by Bay Area rockers, The Stone Foxes

Somewhere between blues, rock and country you’ll find The Stone Foxes. This was the first I’d heard of this band and their set was the perfect pick me up for a Monday. The band’s four members (Shannon Koehler, Spence Koehler, Aaron Mort, Avi Vinocur) are long time friends and roommates, and the brotherhood (both literally and figuratively) and ‘knowing’ showed in their performance that was alternately taut and loose with each other.

It’s a bit unorthodox to see the drummer as lead singer, but it perfectly matched the intensity these guys brought to the stage, and when Shannon hopped out from behind the traps and belted out some worthy Chicago blues harp sounds, we knew we were in for a treat. The Stone Foxes are a sure fit for gritty rock and roll (listen to their song “King Bee” used in the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey commercial) and I recommend checking out their highly energetic live show…they had us all out of our seats and clapping wildly on a Monday morning… that’s no easy feat around here!

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PlayNetwork Announces Nicole Rikkinen as Vice President of Marketing

Rikkinen Joins Senior Management Team as PlayNetwork Continues To Strengthen Global Brand Redmond, Wash.

September 11, 2012 PlayNetwork, the leading innovator in branded entertainment, today announced the appointment of Nicole Rikkinen to Vice President of Marketing. Rikkinen brings nineteen years of experience in marketing including strong skills in global branding, digital marketing, social media, and demand generation.

“Rikkinen is a talented executive who brings a wealth of expertise and industry knowledge to our marketing programs, Over the last three years we’ve dramatically expanded our global reach and broadened our sales channels to accelerate growth.” said Lon Troxel, Executive Chairman and CEO of PlayNetwork. “Rikkinen will ensure these channels are highly targeted and that our creative positioning remains consistent worldwide. We are pleased to have her join PlayNetwork.”

Rikkinen has proven success in developing targeted business-to-business marketing strategies. Her experience in global branding, sales generation and market research will allow PlayNetwork to link the impact of our creative media to consumer behavior and the value that these services bring to our brand clients. “I am thrilled to be a part of the PlayNetwork team,” said Rikkinen. “Standing at the intersection of creativity and innovation is the opportunity of a lifetime.

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Gypsy Soul PlayLive Performance Kicks Off Labor Day Weekend!

WGypsy Soul - PlayLive hat better way to start the Labor Day Weekend than with some music? We’re much obliged to take that advice and are happy to welcome Gypsy Soul to the PlayLive  stage, tomorrow, Friday August 31st at 2:00pm.

Gypsy Soul is a California based Celtic soul band led by Cilette Swan and Roman Morykit that sings catchy folk based pop/rock songs.

Their music has aired all over the world and been featured in numerous television shows including Felicity, Roswell, and Providence.

The pair met in Scotland and formed a creative partnership that’s resulted in over ten CDs-including the latest, Grace and Tranquility.

They have been featured as critics Choice and Top Picks in numerous publications including the Seattle Post Intelligencer, LA Times, SF Examiner, Palo Alto Daily News, Bass Player, and Performing Songwriter.

In honor of their 11th CD they are offering a free download of their new song, “Where Did We Go Wrong” available here: http://www.gypsysoul.com/

Click below to view one of their live performances from the Triple Door in Seattle.

[youtube http://youtu.be/ORpkpqxA6kA]

If you’re in the Redmond area,

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NW Native Vicci Martinez takes the PlayLive Stage!

Tacoma, WA native Vicci Martinez was a singer and musician long before her successful run on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2011. Identifying primarily as a singer/songwriter creating and performing original material, she was admittedly a bit hesitant to jump into the reality TV arena at first. Not wanting to compromise her artistic integrity, Vicci reportedly passed up an early opportunity with American Idol before coming to terms with the realization that the exposure to a massive TV audience is actually a perfectly viable way to launch a career in today’s music industry.

Working closely with Cee Lo Green, Vicci was able to take full advantage of the television platform by ending the show in 3rd place overall. She recently cut her first single “Come Along” with her famous mentor featured on the track. Picking up tons of new fans, industry connections, and adding the weight of a Grammy-winning artist to her debut release on the Universal label (sorry Cee Lo, no pun intended), Vicci Martinez is living her dream. A talented singer and solid guitar player, she will be riding this wave of success for some time to come. Here is a recent video (just published) of a stripped down,

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Mates of State on the PlayLive Stage!

Last Friday we hosted an energetic set on the PlayLive stage by the fantastic indie pop duo, Mates of State. Not only have the Mates of State released seven excellent full-length albums over the course of their fourteen year career, a large majority of their creative output was done as a husband/wife team.

The couple, Kori and Jason met in Lawrence, Kansas where they both grew up. Originally playing together in a four-piece rock band, they soon left and headed for California, where they devoted their time to making music as a duo, and creating what would become the Mates of State. Eventually in 2001 the couple got married and had two daughters, Magnolia and June. Since having children, the Mates of States tours have become family affairs, and you can follow their life as family on the road, in Kori’s very entertaining blog titled “Band on the ‘Diaper’ Run”

In addition to being on the road with artists such as Death Cab For Cutie, Spoon, Jimmy Eat World, and Taking Back Sunday, the group has also had multiple Film and Television placements, including Ugly Betty, One Tree Hill, Chuck, Yo Gabba Gabba,

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Music Review: Katie Herzig on the PlayLive Stage 5/9

Katie Herzig’s recent performance at PlayNetwork lit up the PlayLive stage,  and many faces in the crowd, with her all-girl ensemble and catchy pop songs. No, she’s not taking a page from Jack White’s playbook; she reconvened with her full band later that night, adding the guys into the mix for their show at the legendary Crocodile in Seattle. We lucky PlayNetworkers were treated to a stripped down, intimate performance of songs from her 2011 full-length album The Waking Sleep and other past projects. Katie and crew played with precision and control, the two guitars and cello combining to create an even and balanced sound that complimented her hushed vocals very well.

Katie Herzig - PlayLiveHer onstage banter between songs was a highlight of the set. Katie recalled accepting the challenge when called upon to relieve Fergie on a project for a movie soundtrack. The song born of that endeavor is the playful and irreverent “Hey Na Na” and due to complications onstage resulting from a tube amp and stomp box not quite getting along, the song was performed precisely in that manner (sorry for the inside joke, guess you had to be there).

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Ramona Falls on the PlayLive Stage Today!

Brent Knopf has accrued a lot of overtime at his job. At least from my point of view… I’m thinking about how many hours a week I spend at the office (I’m paid hourly, they cap me at 40). So when I consider doubling my workweek, besides feeling exhausted, I feel amazed to hear Knopf assert in a recent OregonLive article that he spends 80 hours a week or more working on band projects. Even for a prolific and devoted artist, that level of involvement and intense dedication has the potential to result in a serious case of burnout. Apparently not so for Knopf. As one-third of Portland based Menomena, several years ago he decided to branch out with Ramona Falls (because one band is just never enough), a new side project he named after a waterfall near Mt. Hood. Now releasing their second album Prophet, the band is nearing the end of this summer’s West Coast run and will be hitting the road again soon after for 12 more dates in June.

PlayNetwork is quite happy to be bringing our first artist on the Barsuk label to the PlayLive stage. Unfortunately for Brent Knopf,

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Kore Ionz: Reggae Today! On the PlayLive Stage

With the weather being so incredible this past week, a few things come to mind: beaches, cold beer, and reggae. I can’t think of a better band to bless our stage this Wednesday than Kore Ionz. The band’s members seem to be a human melting pot from all walks of life, coming together for the love of reggae and music in general. With the reggae scene in the Northwest being small, Kore Ionz has built a surprisingly large local fan base, representing the genre to the fullest with uplifting melodies and world beats.

[youtube http://youtu.be/nCNOo4e0EwE]

They’ve taken their positive message off the stage as well, making regular appearances at fundraisers, schools, and juvenile detentions centers. The band even donated half the proceeds from their 2008 release Half-Hour Revolution to the Service Board, plus volunteering their time and expertise to Arts Corps (who PlayNetwork has also partnered up with), both Seattle nonprofit that supports youth programs. I, for one feel extremely lucky to live in a city where bands like Kore Ionz care and connect with the community in so many ways. Should be a fun show!

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Cinco de Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo…5th of May…what does this mean? To me, when I was a child, I just saw my family drinking margaritas and cervezas and having a good time on this date every year. I also thought this was Mexico’s Independence Day for many years, but it’s not. This date is actually important to the United States as well; and no, I’m not drinking right now. You see, Cinco de Mayo is the date when Mexican troops stormed and defeated Napoleon’s French invading army in the battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862.  Napoleon III and France wanted to invade and defeat Mexico so they could get to the vulnerable United States who was already weak from its own Civil War.

So now you say “Where does the music come into play?” Here is the best part. After Mexico defeated the French, many Mexican rancheros that fought in the war brought out their acoustic guitars and started singing and playing festive songs in a style that would later be known as Mariachi. For our clients on this holiday we’ve developed a Cinco de Mayo program that has a bit of everything that is festive from Mariachi, Rancheras, Cumbias,

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Horse Feathers Fly In For A PlayLive Performance

Horse Feathers is an indie/folk band born in Portland Oregon with a smooth and elegant sound.  Their albums could be strictly instrumental, stripped of vocals, and still be just as enjoyable. With spring upon us, their 2010 release Thistled Spring comes to mind. If I had to choose a soundtrack for the season this would be an excellent choice. The pianos and strings paired with Justin Ringle’s haunting voice in the title track remind me of the changing seasons. And that’s what Horse Feathers does for me, their music paints a picture and instills me with emotion. Their newest release “Cynic’s New Year” is a bit more upbeat than some of their previous work, but is just as melodic and layered. The track “Fit Against the Country” (listen here) is perhaps my favorite, with lyrics like “Nearly every day, we earn a lower wage/ To tell you what we’re made of, or a wage is what we’re paid/ It’s a hard country we’ve made.”, Ringle sings words of the common world, creating comfort and instant relatability.

Horse Feathers is an especially unique group, as they dont fit perfectly into any one genre,

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French Invasion…Housse de Racket Takes the PlayLive Stage!

Although today’s PlayLive guests, the French Indie Electro-Rock duo Housse de Racket were born and raised over 5000 thousand miles from our PlayLive stage, in a suburb of Chaville (France), the band member’s Pierre Leroux and Victor Le Masne developed and initial friendship over a T-shirt with Seattle ties.  Back in the 90’s the two teens who had previously snubbed each other in passing, sparked up a conversation when a Pearl Jam T-Shirt worn by one of the members, attracted the eye of the other. They began discussing Eddie Vedder, Kurt Cobain, and the Seattle music scene; a musical kinship which led to a friendship, and eventually a band.

Starting out as in-demand session musicians-for-hire with local bands such as Air and Phoenix, Housse de Racket were first brought to the fore as featured artists on a Maison compilation release; curated by French electronic label, Kitsune. The Maison series featured such artists as Bloc Party, Cut Copy, and Simian Mobile Disco, and also help break such bands as Two Door Cinema Club. In 2008 Housse de Racket released their debut album Forty Love, and embarked on a relentless world tour playing over 200 shows from Lisbon to Tokyo and Berlin to Beijing.

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A (Tour) Van Down By The River

Doing the tour thing from coast to coast in a van is a way of paying your dues in the music world of rock-n-roll.  Everyone from Elvis to the Rolling Stones has done it and I’m sure countless of musicians will continue the tradition in the future.  I remember in my early twenties riding along with a friend’s band doing the California stretch in a week playing in five towns and taking turns behind their trusted van only to stop for food, beer and the occasional bathroom stop (in my case, we used the old milk gallon trick).  Paste magazine has posted an article where nine bands ranging from Maps & Atlases to Cursive tell their stories of the joy on touring in a VAN!!!

Alex Espinosa – Associate Music Supervisor PlayNetwork

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Making An Impact At SXSW

With SXSW happening but once a year, flocks of musicians and bands make their trek to Austin, Texas for the one-off chance of making an impact on the thousands in attendance.  Once such act; La Vida Boheme who hails from Caracas, Venezuela made that impact at this year’s SXSW music festival two weeks ago.  Being dubbed as the next big thing in the Rock En Espanol movement with influences ranging from 80’s punk to Electronic Dance music, La Vida Boheme tore through their set at The Parish dressed all in white with blue and green paint splattered all over them.  Their latest release “Nuestra” on Nacional Records, received two Latin Grammy nominations for best rock album as well as one for best rock song for “Radio Capital”. Led by singer Henry D’Anthenay, these guys are making people take notice not only for their eclectic shows but also as a staying powerhouse in Latin music.  NPR Music put out their “Possibly Life-Changing Music Discoveries from SXSW 2012” and La Vida Boheme made that list with flying colors, no pun intended.

[youtube http://youtu.be/F9gb9SsO_O8]

Alex Espinosa – Associate Music Supervisor PlayNetwork

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PlayLive Shows This Week: The Front Bottoms & Lost in the Trees

Exciting news from the PlayLive Mainstage… we are gearing up for not one, but TWO excellent performances this week. We will be vacating our desks today and Tuesday to party with The Front Bottoms and Lost in the Trees. Man, work is such a bummer sometimes isn’t it?

THE FRONT BOTTOMS – Monday, March 26th

“We kinda thought we were a punk band but then we’d play on bills with real punk bands and we’d be like ‘Whoa, were not punks. What the hell are we?” – The Front Bottoms

With that quote from The Front Bottom’s drummer Mathew Uychich, it’s pretty clear that his band is simultaneously defying labels while searching for a defining identity. The fact that Mathew is also listed as the band’s official bullhorn player further supports that claim. The Front Bottoms have been tearing up the New Jersey (Bergen County, to be exact) DIY scene for some time now with their catchy brand of pop-punk. Their songs are irreverent, playful and above all thoroughly enjoyable.

Currently on tour with Say Anything, the internet has helped The Front Bottoms get their name out there.

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Your Worst Gig…

We’ve all been there. Anyone who has ever been in a band or involved in another form of live entertainment can tell you about “that one time” it all completely fell apart. Get on stage enough and you’re gonna screw it up bad sooner or later. Some have horror stories about bombing in front of hundreds of people, others will never forget the humiliation of playing to an empty room (I don’t mean that figuratively, I mean it was just you and the bartender, and he was out having a smoke for most of your set). And then there are the times when your equipment failed, or you forgot to bring the hard drive that had all of your beats and samples to the gig, or your drummer got wasted and passed out on stage after the second song. It’s all been done before, but that doesn’t make it any less painful when it happens to you. The only consolation is when it’s finally over and you think, “At least it will never get any worse than that… right?”

If you’ve ever performed in any capacity, or have been to a show where you felt awkward and embarrassed for whoever was onstage,

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Latin Music Discovery

Here’s a name to share with you: ‘Mati Zundel”. This artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina is on the ZZK label, who are starting to release intriguing new Latin releases that are based on Cumbia, Urbano and Electronica dub beats.  With Mati’s new release titled “Amazonico Gravitante”, the elements he mixes are something that are not normal in the Latin world; he mixes Cumbia, Urbano, Electronica and Latin Folk to create an artisanal sound that will hopefully have other’s following in his steps.

Here’s a video of the new single “Señor Montecostes”…disfruta!

[youtube http://youtu.be/NbUfQpF3PFA]

Alex Espinosa, Associate Music Supervisor PlayNetwork

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Eric Hutchinson Takes The Stage At PlayNetwork

Eric Hutchinson, acclaimed Singer/Songwriter will be gracing the PlayLive stage tomorrow (2/7)! Eric’s folk and jazz-inflected Pop-Rock is said to be somewhere between “Jeff Buckley and John Mayer”, and he’s been called, “one of the most talented singer-songwriters that Boston has to offer”, drawing comparisons to Jason Mraz, Stevie Wonder, Ben Folds, Cat Stevens, Paul Simon, and Billy Joel; many of which Eric cites as influences.

In 2004, Eric’s debut album That Could’ve Gone Better caught the attention of Maverick Records which had previously broken artists such as Alanis Morissette and Michelle Branch, but just as Eric’s major label debut was set to release, the label was shut down. Eric spent the better part of 2 years extracting himself from the contract before returning to his own label and releasing a tongue-in-cheek titled live EP Before I Sold Out, followed by his second studio album 2007’s Sounds Like This, which caught the attention of celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. After a single blog post by Hilton back in 2007, Sounds Like This reached the Top Ten most downloaded albums on the year on iTunes. (AllMusic) Eric also caught the attention of Darryl Hall (of Hall and Oates fame) who invited him for a session on “Live At Darryl’s House”.

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Jessie Baylin and The Watson Twins visit the PlayLive Stage This Thursday!

PlayNetwork is excited to welcome Nashville based singer/songwriter Jessie Baylin to our stage this Thursday! She will be joined by The Watson Twins, who contributed to Baylin’s new album and are currently supporting her on tour.

Jessie Baylin set out to make a record that sounded timeless and was clearly inspired her musical heroes, but with songs clearly rooted in the present. A truly committed artist, she wasn’t afraid to take the longer and harder road to achieve the best possible result. Baylin recorded her new album Little Spark on analog tape, forgoing the modern day luxuries of digital multi-tracking. Without the ability to punch in or easily make edits, this method of recording requires one perfect take from start to finish. In a recent NPR interview she admits the process “was really exhausting sometimes. But I think it makes a difference, because there’s a performance on there.”

All of us at PlayNetwork are looking forward to being treated to another performance, this time in person. Check out this video trailer featuring Jessie alongside the producers and musicians behind the album as they work through the recording process.

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Coachella_1

Coachella – a look back (and ahead)

  Every year around April, masses of music lovers from around the globe attend this 3-day festival which has grown immensely since its inception in 1999.  With over 25,000 people attending the inaugural event that had headliners Beck and Rage Against The Machine, this festival is now a haven for the up and coming artist, established acts or the ever recurrence of bands reuniting for that one off show for the festival.

Indio, CA and its surrounding neighbors of Palm Desert and Palm Springs has always been a location where retirees go to and relax in their Bermuda shorts and black socks or play some leisurely golf.  Since 1999 though, the Empire Polo Grounds, which is this huge oasis of irrigated lawn right smack in the middle of Indio has been the sight of the Coachella Music Festival (back then being called just Coachella).

With acts ranging from Roger Waters to Thievery Corporation, you’ll get everything here via the many music tents and stages situated all around the grounds.  In one tent, you may get M.I.A. performing to a hip hop crowd and then in another tent, you may here a spoken word performance by the legendary Leonard Cohen. 

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Remembering Etta James

Ladies and Gentlemen, Ms. Etta James

The Legendary Etta James

“At Last” is a song that will always remain buried in my memory as a song that not only makes me feel relaxed but also reminds me of my mother as I was growing up.  You see, before I knew who the Stones or the Beatles were, I would hear this song play on my mother’s old Crosley record player during the holidays and always knew she was baking cookies.

Miss Peaches or better known as Etta James has that effect on people. Back in 2000 Rolling Stone Magazine ranked her #62 in their list of 100 greatest artist of all time.  With her bluesy voice with a touch of gospel elements as well as her influence on so many singer/songwriters, she should be rated much better than #62.  She was loved by many and worshiped by others and her voice will live on forever.  Ms. Etta James passed away on January 20, 2012 at the tender age of 73.

[youtube http://youtu.be/ioQQ0nQ43HY]

Alex Espinosa – Music Coordinator PlayNetwork

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DoesYour Band Need Some Buzz? Try Making a Viral Video.

Ever feel like there are just so many bands out there making music nowadays?  You’re not wrong. In today’s Digital Age there are more groups than ever writing and recording music (which is a GOOD thing). But it does make it increasingly difficult for truly talented and gifted artists to differentiate themselves from the clutter of amateurs, unsigned acts, bedroom musicians and indie bands all vying to be heard and discovered. One proven method to stand out from the crowd and create some buzz is, of course, the ancient art of the viral video.  Perhaps the best known case of a band jumpstarting their career via a video short is the example of OK Go, whose video for “Here It Goes Again” features the band performing a delightful dance routine on treadmills (sound familiar? The video has been viewed upwards of 60million times, and you are probably responsible for at least 3 of those).

So you wanna make a viral video? Well, turns out it’s not so easy to dream up and produce an original, creative and endearing video idea with little to no budget that will garner millions of YouTube views and skyrocket your career into the stratosphere overnight.

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Best of 2011 – A Year in Hip-Hop: Changing Faces and DIY Success

Our last of the Best of 2011 series gives us Blake Kirpes’ picks for best in Hip-Hop (put the kids to bed…consider yourselves, warned).

“While people were busy watching the throne, ‘we’ stormed the castle” – Sage Francis

And storming the “castle” is exactly what the new faces of Hip-Hop did.  The sheer abundance of new artists, break–out albums, and future classics crammed into 2011, is something of which hip-hop has never seen. In 2011, the hip-hop scene burgeoned with fresh faces and break-outs boasting styles unlike any heard before. Diversity reigned supreme.

Das Racists and Danny Brown mixed personal and social consciousness with humor. Here’s a video from Das Racists for Michael Jackson.

[youtube http://youtu.be/nc__3nsfxwA]

Shabazz Palaces and Death Grips stretched the boundaries of the art form. Sims (Doomtree) and Tyler, the Creator (Oddfuture) released critically acclaimed solo projects alongside collaborations with their respective crews. Action Bronson put a fresh spin on an old sound, while the more established DJ Quik and The Roots turned out some of their most impressive work to date.

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How Do Musicians In Today’s World Approach Their Careers?

Here’s a great blog post by Chris Pandolfi, banjo player for The Infamous Stringdusters (one of the hottest up-and-coming bands on the forefront of the ongoing evolution of Bluegrass music). Chris talks about his band as you would any other business. You might be surprised to hear a musician discussing topics like sustainable growth, investments in infrastructure and personnel, raising capital through seed financing, supply chain management and strategic partnerships, but all of those things are mentioned here in one way or another. Of course, he doesn’t ignore the most important piece of the puzzle which is the end product itself: original music and its performance.

Just goes to show how musicians today are also independent business owners and brand managers, and perhaps now more than ever need to be well versed in both art and industry.

Gabriel Marowitz Associate Music Supervisor PlayNetwork

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Traci’s Top Eight for 2011

Our second to last post about our favorites in music from 2011 brings up PlayNetwork Music Supervisor, Traci Stetzer, who serves us something new, some old magic, and something to spread the word about as her favorites from 2011.

Top Eight of The Year (in no particular order)

*Foster The People/Torches www.fosterthepeople.com

This debut from the LA based trio is an amazing first showing; every track is superior. It’s my hope they don’t fall into the sophomore slump by placing all the best eggs into the first basket. But I have hope for them, they’re young, creative and even entrepreneurial, working alongside “The Do Good Bus” during their first US Tour.  “The Do Good Bus” is a Los Angeles-based volunteer organization designed to add an element of mystery and fun into volunteer work. The Do Good Bus has a simple premise, taking groups of do-gooders to sites around the city to perform services such as building houses and planting gardens. Where the fun factor comes in is that each day’s task and destination are unknown to the volunteers. You can find more information about them here: http://dogoodbus.com/

This was difficult to choose what video to share,

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Kickin’ Up Our Heels This Friday! Jim Lauderdale Comes To The PlayLive Stage.

Among Nashville’s “A” list of songwriters there is  2 time Grammy winner Jim Lauderdale who will be performing on our PlayLive stage this Friday. Jim recorded his first album in 1986, and has since released 19 studio albums. Among his accolades: 2010 Grammy nominee for “Could We Get Any Closer” / 2008 Grammy winner for the “Bluegrass Diaries” / 2002 Grammy winner for “Lost in the Lonseome Pines”.

In addition to his prolific recording career, Lauderdale has also held a tremendous influence on the Country music world and is the songwriter behind dozens of country music’s biggest hits including Patty Loveless’ ‘You Don’t Seem to Miss Me,’ Mark Chesnutt’s ‘Gonna Get a Life,’ Gary Allen‘s ‘Forever and a day,’ and several George Strait tunes, including ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends’.

Jim’s unique sense of melody and song writing ability has helped forge a sound that is truly his own.  Stuart Munro of the Boston Globe writes of Lauderdale who is equally known for his bluegrass talent, “…Add Lauderdale’s terrific musical stylings, the twangy expressiveness of his singing, and his backing ensemble’s crack playing, and what results is a classic bluegrass sound that is yet just a turn off-center.

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Who Said Don’t Look Back? More ‘Best In Music’ From 2011

Happy New Year world! We continue our look back at 2011 in music…

Alex Espinosa, our newest member on the Music Services team, gives us a look at his favorite albums from 2011 which includes a few Latin artists you may not have heard of. Disfruten!

The Black Keys – El Camino (Nonesuch) For having just two members as their core, this blues rock band from Akron, Ohio put the crunch in dirty blues rock.  Their seventh release titled “El Camino” was such a surprise to me from the start that I couldn’t wait until I heard every track.  With the first single “Lonely Boy” that has this guitar riff and analog synth sound at the start; I immediately wanted more.  El Camino delivers especially with my favorite on the album “Run Right Back”.  This song has not only sex appeal but that dirty, kick the dirt type of sound that gives the Keys a swagger like the days of Bowie and T-Rex. Listen to “Run Right Back” here

Hello Seahorse – Lejos, No Tan Lejos (Nacional Records) Mexico’s indie sensation, Hello Seahorse latest release titled “Lejos, No Tan Lejos” which translates to “Far,

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