I love the service for discovering music, but the downside is that the content providers (I hate that term) hardly get paid…

Does Spotify Make Bands Money? – Feature – Metronome Review
Exec 1: “Our income from iTunes, Beatport, emusic, Amazon etc is pretty good.
The income from Spotify is MICROSCOPIC – LAUGHABLE – PATHETIC.
The fact that haven’t been sufficiently called out on this is a SCANDAL.
Spotify are old school monopoly capitalists masquerading as painfully hip young “edgy” entrepreneurs. Their game plan is to devalue music 10 – 20 fold and then swallow it up like Pacman.”

Exec 2: “I’d like to add: that as someone who deals regularly with royalty reporting from Spotify and several other digital partners that Spotify goes to GREAT lengths to simplify and make this process as transparent as possible to their right-holders.  The business model can be, as Mr. Ek points out, “slightly complex” and they have seemingly no interest in adding complexity. They are a great partner and a real asset to the entire space.”

Exec 3: “Far as I can tell, this is another scheme for for technology entrepreneurs to stuff their 401K’s and well paid salary for many years until the business falls apart. Then, based on their ability to raise money in the past, they will start up another company, raise millions and waste our time again. Cookie Marenco Blue Coast Records”

Friday in San Diego

I last checked in a week ago, from Seattle. On Saturday we played the Bend festival to an enthusiastic audience. On Sunday we performed in Portland – we liked the Alberta Rose theater and loved the neighborhood – and then we had a day off in Napa on Monday. Four us had the good fortune to dine with Michael Chiarello at his Bottega restaurant. I had not met Michael before, but I knew the evening was going to be special when he took away the menus and asked if we minded if he just cooked a few dishes for us. I love, love, love when a chef improvises. By that I don’t necessarily mean inventing new dishes on the spot, but creating a spontaneous “set list” – like I do when I perform solo. Michael then talked about the syncopation of a meal, the journey created by multiple courses, the accents, hitting different parts of the palette, and so on. We enjoyed fabulous food, great wines, a free-flowing conversation and returned to our hotel after more than four hours.

I joked with Houman about the ups and downs of touring… one day we perform in a club with a bad sound system and the next in a fabulous theater or performing arts center, one day we cannot find a decent meal in or around the venue and the next day we are invited to Tetsuya’s in Sydney or the Bottega in Napa! Touring is very interesting indeed. I love the ups and downs – they remind me of the seasons in general and the dramatic weather in Santa Fe.

After the sold-out Napa Opera House we performed at the Livermore PAC, which was also sold-out and where Houman and I decorated a guitar, to be auctioned off for the performing arts center. After the concert we drove south to San Juan Capistrano. In the early morning hours I was met by my friend Joe Mozdzen, and after our annual breakfast at the Ramos House we took a bunch of photos. This is one of the 60 we picked – out of hundreds. It’s a little different and quite intense. Too intense for an album cover, but perhaps a good choice for the inside. Joe captured many different expressions, some of which I will share in the coming days.

I am writing this in San Diego, where we arrived around 02:00 this morning. I was scheduled to do a phone-interview for San Antonio at 09:00 and having to choose between sleep or pre-interview coffee, picked sleep and had coffee afterwards – at Caffe Italia on India Street, of course.

Friday in Seattle

Friday in Seattle. We arrived on Wednesday afternoon. From our hotel I took a cab into the center, where I stay at a small apartment above the Triple Door. It can be noisy, and sometimes I am woken up by trash containers being moved at 3AM, but it’s right where I want to be, within walking distance of good coffee and food and everything else. Like Yoshi’s in San Francisco the Triple Door is run very well, has great food and a very nice stage and sound system. What’s not to like!

Yesterday was a classic Seattle Summer’s day, cold and drizzly – I enjoyed it. I think my body would prefer this Seattle climate over 115º temperatures and sunshine.

I finished reading “At Home” by Bill Bryson yesterday. I have to admit, things are getting better, though never quickly enough for me… what a generalization that is, but go ahead and read the book and you’ll know what I mean! Entertaining and educating, a winning combination.

What a fine quote:

Quote Vadis – Quotes, Inspiration, Wisdom
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

Check out this food van I saw in Seattle yesterday. (more mobile phone images here)

I find it interesting that the people who protest copyright enforcement the most are often people who make a living from speaking out against copyright enforcement… they travel around the world in style and are paid hefty sums for speaking/preaching on behalf of all things “open”, of “creative commons” and so on…

Twitter / @JPBarlow: Big Brother arrives as Com …
Big Brother arrives as Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Time-Warner, Cablevision on leash of RIAA & MPAA.

Mind you I haven’t yet studied this new initiative, called Big Brother in the above tweet, and will comment on it some other time.

And this had me baffled this morning…

Twitter / @Joi: Me: “Open will eventually …
Me: “Open will eventually overtake Apple’s closed ecosystem” – Spanish newspaper headline: “Apple is dead – Ito”

What is the statement based on, except that person’s hope or desire? What a foolish statement to make in an interview. And then I started thinking about what “open” is supposed to mean. The art I enjoy the most, both music and painting, is art that was created by one person, in a room, by him/herself, not by committee, not by a group. And what is “open” in relation to Android and Google? Perhaps it is just a way to gain more eyeballs for advertising and personal data mining. You won’t find me on Google+ for that very reason. Google already knows enough about me, I think.

Saturday in San Francisco

We are in San Francisco this weekend, for six performances at Yoshi’s. This afternoon I will also do a solo performance at the Fillmore Jazz Festival – at 2PM on the Fillmore street at Sutter street stage.

I have been watching Houman Orei play the traditional Persian Tonbak drum with us, a gorgeous instrument carved from a solid piece of Walnut wood. It has a lovely sound, darker than the bright Darbuka, which is also called Dumbek. The playing technique of the Tonbak involves mostly finger slapping, compared to, say, the palm slapping of a conga or djembe. These finger techniques are exactly the same as rasgueados, the strumming technique used in flamenco guitar music. Since the Tonbak is a very old Persian instrument, it seems likely that Moorish musicians in Spain played those, or similar drums. It seems logical to me that guitarists observed these drum techniques and copied them to enhance their rhythmic playing, especially in view of accompanying dancers.