Category Archives: Opinion

How Can Musicians Make A Buck In The Digital Age?

45_rpm_disk_-War-_by_Wailing_Souls__Rankin_Trevor_1978-300x225With digital music stores like iTunes and Google Play taking a cut of the profits, not to mention popular websites like Soundcloud and Bandcamp—which allow users to stream music before they buy—it has become increasingly difficult for new musicians to make a buck.

While some major recording artists like U2 and Radiohead front-man Thom Yorke can give away their music for free, most musicians can’t stay afloat on just ticket sales and merchandise alone.

Assuming that a band releases a new single on iTunes for $1.29, Apple will collect a 30 percent cut—or approximately 40 cents, according to Rolling Stone magazine—leaving $.89 cents for the artist and its label. However, for independent musicians not collecting royalties from a major record company, this process is far from sustainable.

Weighing In With The Best Albums of 2013

After coming to the realization that I have not taken the time to write a Best Albums Of [insert year here] since I was the Lifestyles Editor of SUNY Westchester Community College’s campus publication, The Viking News, I figure it’s high time to give it another whirl. What the hell, right?

Unlike other lists, which simply regurgitate the same 10 pop albums, I chose to go a different route and separated my picks by genre. So without further ado, here are the Top albums of 2013.

Progressive Rock:

Queens of the Stone Age — Like Clockwork

Ok… While this one actual does show up on a few lists—coming in sixth on Rolling Stone’s top 50 albums—this Queens of the Stone Age LP was long overdue. After the success of their last album, Era Vulgaris, QOTSA decided to dig deep and explore their genre in a way that had not been done successful in quite some time.

Although the skill of crafting a quality concept-album seems a lot like a dead art form in these modern times… QOTSA still managed to pull it off.

But, what is perhaps most interesting about Like Clockwork, is that it is not simply a story told through the songs. Prior to its release, the band launched a series of music videos which focus on the tales protagonista crudely drawn comic book rebel with traits, both good and evil. Darker than Alan Moore’s landmark graphic novel, The Watchmen, the videos take the viewer on a journey of brute force and self-destruction in a way that only the Queens of the Stone Age can.

Phase II: New Title

A day into my new job as editor of The Farmingdale Observer and I am already exhausted.

Following a quick jaunt over to Mineola, my first day on the job opened with a bunch of “hi’s” and “howdy’s” to the friendly staff at Anton Community Newspapers. Thrown into the loop on what is a production day for some of the editors, I quickly felt as though all the butterflys in my belly floated away, as the normalcy of the newsroom environment returned.

After being shown around, I returned to my cubical to find a new HP laptop waiting for me at my computer. I felt almost like a kid on Christmas morning, as I pulled the laptop from its pouch.

O.k., so it’s not mine to keep, but it is convenient.

Looking to dive right in, I drove out to Farmingdale in the hopes of pulling multiple stories.

Unlike some of the areas I previously covered, in the Village of Farmingdale, all board work sessions are held before the meeting and are open to the public. This got me so excited, I almost wanted to call Robert Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government, to gloat.

Although the meeting lasted until 11 p.m., I feel as though I got two, potentially even three stories, out of my first village meeting.

And, while I seem to be in pretty good shape, I am still just getting my bearings… Not only at work but at my new pad in Rockville Centre.

More to Come

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Phase I addendum

After being debriefed by a customer service rep with National Grid, a Long Island gas and electric utility provider; I was told my service appointment (scheduled a day prior to my official move) was an “all-day appointment,” which meant it literally could be anytime, from as early as 10 a.m. to as late as 11 p.m.

Despite the fact I live 60+ miles away from Rockville Centre, I waited with my dad for three hours. Able to watch the TV but with no place to sit–since we have yet to move in any chairs–we waited. I fiddled with my iPad while my dad watched Comedy Central. We waited until 8 p.m. before a LIPA employee called.

Taking seconds to turn on the gas and test the stove, one would think gaining a new customer plus my pleading with the custimer service reps to not have to wait until 11 p.m., would warrant a speedier response than this.

But, I digress, with all the utilities up and running all thats left is for me to move the heck out!

Moving Day

Just got Verizon Fios installed this afternoon… Also waiting on National Grid to turn on the gas. Electricity is up and running and so is the water. The pink bathroom is still pink but, at least now it is clean.

Tomorrow the fun really begins as I move in my bed, tables and miscellaneous furniture.

My farewell column: The long, strange road ahead, and the one behind

By DANIEL OFFNER

daniel-offner

For those who say community beat reporting is a thankless occupation, one in which you work countless hours to write local stories each week hoping people in the community will care enough to pick up a copy of the newspaper and read them, the truth is, hyper-local news may be one of the most thank-filled occupations there is.

Any local issue, no matter how big or how small; how important or seemingly trivial it may be, if your words and your research are compelling, people will read you and, often, they will have something to say.

Serving as the beat reporter assigned to cover the Town/Village of Harrison for the past two years, I have been fortunate enough to work in such community; to meet new people who care so passionately for their town, their schools, their neighborhoods and, of course, their sports teams.

When I first joined the Hometown Media Group staff, I was but a novice, a rookie reporter straight out of college, diving headfirst into the real world. The intensity of such a leap felt overwhelming at first—I learned the frustration of waiting on phone calls while reporting on a strict deadline—but, somehow, someway I managed to persevere.

The post The long, strange road ahead, and the one behind appeared first on Hometown Media Group. 

It’s Just Like 2005 All Over Again

It has been a while since I last blogged but in light of recent events I felt this was more than necessary
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Dark days have fallen upon us yet again as NHL Comissioner Gary Bettman failed to agree to terms with players union. On Sept. 15 the collective bargaining agreement expired without a resolution thus cancelling the start of the 2012 – 2013 season.

Pro-hockey players are among the lowest paid professional athletes in the nation (with a few exceptions like Crosby and Ovechkin) so you know times are tough if even the NHL can’t afford it.

But, whether the lockout will delay or cancel the entire season is yet to be determined, leaving pro-hockey players displaced.

Despite recent efforts of political hopefuls looking to preserve the American job market, the lockout marks the latest of several high paying jobs being outsourced.

Returning to their countries of origin several players have agreed to terms with Czech, Russian, Swiss and Swedish leagues to play temporarily until the lockout is over. Among some of the players headed back to home-turf are recent stanley cup winner Anze Kopitar, Alexander Ovechkin, first round draft-pick Nail Yakupov, Jason Spezza, Jaromir Jagr, Thomas Plekanec and Pavel Datsyuk.

2012 Oscar Picks

With five weeks to go till the Feb. 26 broadcast, the buzz is flowing… and the question on everyone’s mind is who will win.

Here are some of my predictions for the 2012 oscars:

  • Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role: Jean Dujardin for The Artist
  • Best Picture: The Artist

Photo: Slate.com

 With its nostalgic black and white filming and its lack of spoken dialogue, this film could easy be mistaken with a lost work of Fritz Lang or Charlie Chaplin. A movie within a movie, the Artist looks on a motion picture celebrity who falls head over heals for a woman he jokingly pulled from the crowd. While the featured actors, Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo, aren’t the most well known (which I can guarantee you they will be after this film), the movie features a few scenes with well-known actors like John Goodman, James Cromwell, and Malcolm McDowell. Yes it is entirely silent… and sure maybe its no big production value, but it’s a classy well done movie that I recommend highly.

Start it Off

So this is my first blog post for my new website, DanielOffner.com… and I feel as though the best way to start things off is just by writing down some of my reactions to some recent headlines.

New York Times – Top Iran Leader is Warned by U.S. on Strait Threat

What this story boils down, like so many others coming out of the Middle East, is oil. Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, “where 15 million barrel of oil flow through every day.” In response the U.S. set up a “red line” that if crossed will provoke retaliation.

In the story by Elisabeth Bumiller, Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, they explain how analyst think this was just an attempt to drive up the price of oil. “Blocking the route for the vast majority of Iran’s petroleum exports – and for its food and consumer imports – would amount to economic suicide.”

Can they block the route, i suppose so. But when your nation is making millions of dollars in moving mass amounts of petroleum, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

What I think: This threat is bogus. No self respecting dictator would put it on himself to close down a waterway as important as this. I think that the U.S. response was quick to respond to this threat and that there wont be much, if any, retaliation needed.

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