ShadesOfSepia.com

I am the proud owner of 2 blogs. The first is called VintageNewscast. The primary purpose for this blog is to help my visitors rediscover rare & perhaps out of print classic music and film on digital format; the kinds of music & film that usually are NOT promoted in the digital realm! This includes most internet radio, “On Demand” audio/video streaming services, printed magazines and advertisements for DVD’s and Blu-Rays, and online entertainment (especially non-collector) stores. My blog is about cultural diversity! So, if you’re expecting to see only one type of music or movies here, this is NOT the blog site for you! :-) I am one of the very few multicultural bloggers of color to own one of the most diverse classic music/movie blogs in cyberspace. Here, you will see many genres of music and movies from 1995-ish and older. I also try to keep my fans/visitors informed as to the direction of music and film within digital technology. The second blog is called ShadesOfSepia. My goal there is to capture history, culture & our community through my camera lens. In essence ShadesOfSepia will serve as my photographic diary; telling stories of New York City with my camera; taking photographs all over; sharing subjects I find to have beauty, or of special quality. Creating an historical archive of the people of New York City. I also like to share my photographic art, mostly derived from my photo taking. I am attracted to many different types of photography, and I hope you enjoy my photographs. Please don't forget to bookmark both my sites. I think you will grow to enjoy and love them both; as I work hard to give you the best content not seen anywhere else. Thank you!
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I found this really old “Care Free Curl” ad from Jet magazine. I love this particular photo, ’cause for some reason this guy reminded me of classic actor, Clark Gable. I think it was in his eyes, the way they both looked at the camera, as if they knew they were sexy as hell. LOL Didn’t hurt that he had deep heavy eyebrows. In television back then, eyes like those were considered “Bed Room Eyes,” and practically guaranteed you a long lasting acting or modeling career.

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How many of you remember “The Spinners?” They’ve made a ton of hits, but one of my favorites that I used to love to listen too, was a song called “I’ll Be Around (1973).” The song peaked at number 3, on November 18th, 1973. “I’ll Be Around” stayed on the charts for about 15 weeks. Another favorite is “One Of A Kind Love Affair,” which was also released in 1973. This particular album has most, if not all of their memorable hits. Click the link here to listen on Spotify for FREE. Simply sign in with your Facebook account 🙂 .

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We all know that content creation is key to any web existence. Without really good, meaningful content, there isn’t really a reason for someone to frequently visit your site. When I think about all the major changes that are happening on social platforms, such as YouTube and (yes), even iTunes and Spotify, it leaves me kind of concerned for the kinds of information we’ll be seeing in the future. Well, let me explain, ’cause we all should be concerned about this. A lot of newspapers have lost a LOT of revenue due to the emergence of both personal blogs, and sites like Yahoo news. Suddenly people realize that they don’t have to pay for news anymore. When you think about it, indirectly it’s a good thing I guess, because it has somewhat forced a significant portion of our society to sort of “Go Green,” without any conscious effort. But, there are a few issues I’m seeing that we all need to have deeper discussions on. As digital technology continue to take over our lives, and although I don’t think paper will ever be obsolete, it will be almost non-existent in comparison to the last 3-4 decades or so (with the exception of mail order). Being able to physically pickup a newspaper somewhat gave me the comfort that whatever I’m reading comes from a legitimate establishment. Now, of course we all know that reading a newspaper doesn’t mean that articles are free from misinformation and or biases, but it can often give you the closest representation of what’s going on in the world, followed by pictorial images.

So, I say this to make people aware that there is a huge competition between the “big boy news,” and the little guys like us, the bloggers, the YouTubers, and the podcasters. Now, I’ve never been a conspiracy theorist, but I’m starting to notice a very serious pattern here. For instance, let’s start with podcasting. iTunes was the go to place to setup a podcasting stream. All of a sudden Apple took away the “Update Feed” feature when we uploaded a video. Then when you wanted to upload channel art, you now have to wait about 3+ weeks before iTunes would even read your XML file. Now, it’s almost impossible for your channel to get indexed inside the iTunes store, I couldn’t find any of the podcasters I used to listen too. Why? iTunes is pushing NPR, CNN, CBS, NBC, and other producer’s of major content. So in other words, Apple has deliberately abandoned small podcasters like you and me who have a right to our voices and opinions. iTunes has forsaken us. Let’s talk about YouTube. Ads were pulled from many videos because the “subject matter was inappropriate.” So, if a new mom wanted to talk about the issues of breast feeding her child in public, that would get flagged. Or if someone wanted to talk about ISIS, that would get flagged, or even taken down, regardless of the context of the video. All of this is happening via YouTube’s automated system. Many YouTubers are moving to other alternative platforms such as Patreon. I’m not sure how I feel about that, because you’ve got to have loyal, long-time followers to convince thousands of people to follow you a new platform just to see you. That’s a big risk. Well, only a big risk if you’re trying to get financial gains. I don’t think YouTube will be the way for YouTubers to make money anymore. Maybe they need to come up with a business model, in the same way the music industry did. Finally we have Spotify. In terms of podcasts, Spotify has chosen to manually hand pick who and what will pass through their system, which to me, is another iTunes. Sometimes I think this is all a systemic attempt to keep public opinion out, so that the “big boys” stay in control. Sounds like they are infringing on free speech if you ask me.

© VintageNewscast.com

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Hi guys! I got a new playlist for you. I decided that it would be an awesome idea to create a play list from TV shows! That’s a great source for music right? I watched the first episode from season 1 of “Beat Shazam” a while ago, and I absolutely hated it!! I was so disgusted by it I vowed never to give it a second chance. Well, after I got this idea from creating playlists inspired by TV shows, “Beat Shazam” would be the best show to start from (technically since they play a lot of classic music). So, I was trying to stomach another episode starting from episode 8, I have to tell you I barely made it. If it were not for me watching it to create this play list, I would have cut it of 20 minutes in. Although I think Jamie Foxx is doing an ok job as host; I think the problem is the contestants they find for the show. Well, let me just come out and say it, and not care what the hell people think, cause this is MY blog, and I can say what the hell I want on it. The show is exactly what I feared. So far, the little that I have watched, it put Black people to shame. When I watched the first episode, I was furious that two young Black college girls did not know Gladys Knight’s music. Now, I am not the kind of person that gives in to stereotypes, but f**k!! How could you be Black and not know who Gladys Knight is!!!!????

You know it’s funny, I remember growing up, my elders always used to complain about these TV shows, saying “They always have White people questions.” Now, we have a show that Both White and Black people can play together, and none of the Black people on the show knew any of the Black music! What’s your excuse now? Are you gonna drag out your “Black Lives Matter Card” now? I don’t think that’s going to work honey. Not this time. I don’t understand how Black parents aren’t embarrassed? Oh that’s right, it’s because the parents are still teenagers themselves!! What about the grandparents? They’re probably still in the clubs twerkin’. Oh well “let us pray,” cause you know that always works (by the way, I was being sarcastic).

It happened several more times in other episodes!! Even Jamie subtlety reacted to that a couple of times. I mean, the Black contestants are jumping up and down acting crazy, as if to say they are going to crush the game, and win some big money, and come to find out they’re dumb as hell. They don’t even get to the second stage half the time. BLACK FOLK I’M TELLING YOU, YOU MAY NOT LIKE WHAT I SAY, BUT WHAT I SAY IS THE TRUTH, WE HAVE LOST OUR BLACK MUSIC CULTURE! THAT SHIT IS GONE!! Most of your young kids don’t know anything, about any of our prolific musical artist of the past! Yet you preach knowing your history? Are you kidding me? Anyway, this is the last time I’m watching the show for real, I gave it enough chances, I just can’t. So, I managed to get some great music from episode 8, which included music from Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Alicia Keys, and Crystal Waters. Listen to the playlist here.

VintageNewscast.com

Hi guys, I’d like to draw your attention to an issue that no one appears to be talking about; the growing problem of what I call “Playlist Monopoly,” especially in regards to social media. What is “Playlist Monopoly” you ask? Well, as far as I see it, there are two entirely different issues that creates one problem. Let’s talk about the social media aspect of it, such as sites similar to Facebook (primarily I think). Groups that are dedicated to music streaming on social media, appear to be made up of mostly desperate artists looking to get followers. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand the “hustle” to make money for your work, however, I think this is the wrong way to go about it. First issue, lets talk about the content many of these artists are pushing. A lot of the content I see are predominantly badly written hip hop music, while also promoting porn on their album covers. Ninety nine percent of new hip hop circulating on social media would never be in my playlist. So, because we now have an open platform, meaning you no longer need a record label to produce and distribute your content, the quality of music has really gone down hill. Many of these people have had no training, or strong background in making music. In turn, it makes it harder for music lovers like us to find music we like, because new music now are so poorly produced. Quite honestly, I’ve heard hip hop from the Creative Commons platform that sounds better. Now, having said this, there is no emoji for “it sounds ok.” You either give it a thumbs up, or none at all. If I’m nice enough to give you a thumbs up, that’s not a queue for you to bombard me with “follow me and then I’ll follow you” messages. No one is going to make me feel obligated to follow your music, especially if I’m not feeling it. I’m the type of person that ALWAYS skim through profiles before I follow it. You must have something of value before I follow you.

Second issue is, the number of followers on a playlist. If a playlist has thousands and thousands of followers, some artists will even try to contact the playlist creator, and attempt to pay that person to have their music place in said playlists. Yes…. They do that. In fact, I’ve heard people offering to purchase the actual playlist. This is why I am always skeptical of playlist with 20,000+ followers, and over 2,000+ songs. That is a huge red flag people need to watch out for. This is not a playlist created out of love for music, it’s often times a playlist filled with garbage for the expressed purpose to promote. I really don’t understand this approach; what would make you logically think that an indivdual would listen to a singular playlist with several thousand songs? Who has time for that? Are you f**king nuts? It’s entirely possible that maybe some of you feel you just want to “help struggling artists out/give them support.” The problem with that is, the way many algorithms work on streaming services. If you thumbs up, like, save as an album/playlist/follow, or play enough of garbage, it’s going to effect the kinds of music your streaming service will try and help you find in the future (ie, playing radio, featured music, & suggestions, etc). Music discovery is one of the most important features of a true music service; it’s not just about how large their library is (one of the many things YouTube is not good at/designed for). Something that I strongly suggest that you consider. Don’t follow anybody’s playlist you don’t want to follow. It is better to cherry pic the songs you do like, and throw away the rest. Also, don’t listen to a significant amount of music from one particular genre if you don’t like it! If you do, it’s going to take a long time before your service’s algorithms recalculate/realign/readjust (whatever you want to call it) to the kinds of music you really do like. Remember (if you do save/follow) the smaller the playlist, the better. Not only that, you’re not spending hours sifting through a bunch of dead/expired songs, because the playlist is nothing but a dumping place, without any kind of maintenance.

In my opinion, rather than finding music on social media (playlists), I think it would be best to go someplace like Topsify or something like that. Or even personal blogs such as mine. Shit, even former president Obama has a playlist! LOL. There are actually plenty of playlists sites you can go to. Playlists sites consist of music fans (apposed to music promoters) who spend a lot of time and love putting together playlist they feel people would love. Therefor; you’re listening to the best of their taste in music, as well as adding culture to your musical heart. You’ll quickly notice a huge difference between the playlists on social media, and the playlists on private blogs and playlist sites made by fans, for fans. Doesn’t mean it’s not impossible to occasionally find garbage on playlist sites, but, your chances are far greater of finding quality music there.

If you see a playlist name that says “Best songs on the planet,” or “1,000 of the Internet’s biggest hits,” or something to that effect, don’t even bother. Trying to find even 80s playlists can be difficult, because if you’re cultural like I am, you’ll realize most if not all songs I already have. Don’t forget Shazam is a great resource to discovering music too.

© VintageNewscast.com

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I found this amazing remix of Luther’s old classic “Never Too Much (1981).” Believe it or not, I don’t recall ever hearing any house mixes of Luther’s music. Now that I think back, it’s kind of absurd, since I have been in the club scene in my late teens to mid 20s. Believe it or not, we had a lot of remixes even then. LOL. Then again, we were exposed to all kinds of music in the cubs. Then friends were always introducing us to new music in addition to that. Music was such a different experience 30 years ago, an experience that kids exposed to this new digital age will never know. Wow, looking at Luther’s side profile, I didn’t realize he was that big. I miss him a lot, the days of his music is over, pretty much.

I was browsing some google searches, and by accident I happened to discover that the famous amateur radio site, “Live3655” is back in business!! I wonder how this came about? If you recall, I’ve written an article awhile back concerning live365 closing its doors, because licensing fees have become far too expensive to stay in business. In their letter to the public, they talked about how they wanted to focus more on other business that they have, and moving away from streaming. Needless to say, like many millions of live365 fans out there, I was morning the loss of a great service along with them. Now, their back up with a new face and application design! I’m guessing they some how was able to negotiate a “better licensing deal.” For whom tho? I don’t know, because the new price structure for broadcasting has more than doubled since before they’ve made their closing public, and more than triple if you pick a plan without supported ads. However, one huge difference that we didn’t have before was unlimited listeners. Although their offering more, and the music offered by users (broadcasters) are still just as awesome, the new price structure has made the site somewhat elite, in my opinion. The average person will not be able to afford even the lowest price range. This could only mean one thing, they did not underestimate their loyal fans, fans who have a deep connection to music, and fans who want to support artists legally. Despite the site appearing to be somewhat for the “elite,” It seems that everyone has unlimited listening pleasure. Not sure if they still have the Live365 mobile app, if they do it’s probably a small fee to remove the commercials. Visit Live365 to check them out. Looks real nice.

UPDATE:

So, I downloaded the mobile app. I didn’t like it to be honest. It wasn’t immediately intuitive, and the player seemed to be separate from the application itself. It is free, but there doesn’t appear to be away for you to log in/sign up. So the site has indeed become elite for broadcaster’s, with the option for listeners to enjoy music for free (without limits, or dealing with “full stations”). You’ll probably find it easier to listen to music directly from their site. Be aware that there isn’t anywhere near as many broadcasters as there were before. As I’ve said because of the significant price increase, I’m sure it will take a while longer for more broadcasters to come on board.

© VintageNewscast.com

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