wu_advisory_album

If the album business model is collapsing, the frantic rush to everything else is at least interesting.

Hip hop as a genre, of course, came from a deconstruction and reconstruction of the album, from the early evolution of DJ techniques and sampling. So, the fact that Wu Tang is skipping the conventional release altogether is new, but it’s also connected to history.

Sure, plenty of artists have gone for remix contests and the like. What’s different in Wu Tang’s case is that this time, the debut track “So Many Detailz” from their Parent Advisory will head straight to Blend as raw session files.

Instead of downloading stems, Blend provides would-be remixers with Avid Pro Tools, Ableton Live, and Apple Logic Pro session formats, the exposed ingredients of the tracks.

Blend is a site and collaboration platform, backed by funding from NYC VC/startup seed Betaworks. (Tumblr, Airbnb, Groupon, and Twitter all saw Betaworks funding – this is one hot Silicon Alley property.) Blend uses Dropbox as the back end in order to manage multiple people manipulating session files in a variety of popular DAWs. Pro Tools, Live, and Logic are your three choices here, but FL Studio, Maschine, and GarageBand are supported, too, with more promised. We looked at GitHub earlier today for notation, but that tool was built for code (and text) first. Blend applies a similar approach to the more-complex DAW project format. As with GitHub, individual users “pull” projects and contribute them back again with changes – ideal for the solo workflow.

The site has so far been popular with nerdy electronic music producers – not so much hip hop. Think Moby and Prefuse73; Mad Zach even released an entire EP as a collaborative project.

blend_newsfeed_homepage

But it seems Wu-Tang is hopeful that this is a new direction – both for opening up hip hop to new audiences, and reshaping the industry.

Wutang Parental Advisory is the specific project. To be clear, Wu-Tang Clan have a number of projects – they’re a collective. (Note the word “clan.”) Parental Advisory is headed up by Oliver Grant – an interesting choice, because apart from executive production credits for WTC, he has consistently been the one leading up business operations like clothes. (He’s also listed as a co-founder. If that surprises you, well, there were a whole lot of co-founders of WTC – not just the ones like RZA you know.)

Grant, aka Power, tells Blend that he hopes that their work will find new life: “you guys take it and spit it back on us,” he says. “We’re looking to be shocked, whether it’s EDM, or whatever version it is. It may be Switzerland, a guy who wouldn’t be on the hip hop sites, but he’s going to be on Blend, checking out what’s new.”

Here’s that track:

Clarification: I had the press information before I was able to grab the track, and here’s where I agree there is a significant disappointment. You’re just getting an a cappella. If Wu-Tang or any other artist wants to win over producers, they need to provide more materials than that. The idea that that’d be appealing to dance music producers is laughable. I regret that we weren’t clear on this in the original release.

Harsh words for the industry from Grant find their way straight into the press release: “Fools got stuck, the industry got caught up with Napster and iTunes, fighting that shit. It’s like yo, ya dummy, y’all should’ve embraced them,” he says. “Cause that’s what they did eventually ending up doing, after they cried and all that bullshit. And then you would have been making dollars from day one.”

Cappadonna’s track “Vegan” will also be on Blend:

More info on Blend:

https://blend.io

If you want to try this out for yourself – or put your own music on Blend – you can sign up for free, using our exclusive CDM VIP pass:

https://blend.io/vip/createdigitalmusic

  • charlesv

    Am I missing something? These seem like just acapellas dropped into an ableton project.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I was disappointed they didn’t provide more. I think they may not have understood how important that is to making Blend work. So if this doesn’t catch on, maybe they’ll get the message and try releasing more of a project.

      Side note, though, as I was thinking about this — if I were going to release on Blend, I’d actually need to start planning the project *when I started*. But now I have to look through Ableton sessions and see if there are any that’d work. I’d definitely have some housecleaning to do. ;)

      May be another story here…

  • Eric Kleptone

    And all you end up with is an acapella? Great looking site, but an acapella is NOT a “tune in hackable form”. We’ve been there for years already. HYPEd me once, more fool me…

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Yeah, I was disappointed about that when I found that – and I deserve getting dinged on this one. (I should know by now that if there’s any doubt, publishing slower is smarter.)

      Try some of the other projects, though, as they’re more significant – Mad Zach, Moby.

      So there’s a second story here – anyone from outside the electronic music production genre, hip hop Wu-Tang or otherwise, needs to be aware that to make this work, you need to give away more material, not just one vocal.

  • Adam Cahan

    Pretty sure this is not Wu Tang!

    This is the group “Wu Tang Parental Advisory.” Major clickbait name if there ever was one.

    None of those dudes rapping on “So Many Detailz are Clan members, or even, as far as I know, affiliates…..and the beat doesn’t sound like a RZA beat.

    And, since it turns out the post is covering some unknown rap crew shamelessly hyping themselves, I will flip that hype. When it comes to the Wu, I know of what I speak:

    https://soundcloud.com/zeroreference/botnet-overlordz-mixtape-1

    • Adam Cahan

      Peter correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like someone pulled a fast one on you here. I can’t find anything online about a new Wu album titled ‘Parental Advisory’ – only talk about Wu talking about selling a single copy of a new album to one person for $5 million.

    • Adam Cahan

      According to Pitchfork their next album is “A Better Tomorrow”, (supposedly) dropping this month: http://pitchfork.com/news/50288-wu-tang-clan-announce-new-album-a-better-tomorrow-out-in-july/ – no mention of “Parental Advisory.”

      Most importantly, “Wu Tang Parental Advisory”‘s rapping isn’t all that good.

    • Alex Kolundzija
    • Adam Cahan

      Yeah – that’s a Wu affiliate group.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      See above – heh, it’s been a while since any of us were closely tracking Wu-Tang and we forget just how many people are in the enterprise and how many side projects they start with confusing names.

      This is a Wu-Tang project. Power is actually an interesting character – childhood friend who then led up all these hugely successful business projects.

      In some ways, it’s more interesting that Power is the figure behind Wu-Wear and the like (both in the 90s and more recently), because it means he sniffs some sort of business opportunity in Blend, not just a creative one. Now, the jury is still out on the actual result — Blend may not do as well as the apparel. ;)

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I should add, both Power and Cruise (the producer here) are Wu-Tang members.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      No, I deserve to get criticized on this story. It’s not wrong; I just wasn’t providing enough information and the ways of the Wu-Tang get mighty complex.

      Power is the member who is associated with Wu-Tang Clan, and this is still under the larger Wu-Tang umbrella.

      So, it’s not click bait (either on my part or Blend.io) in that it’s how the project is identifying itself – remember, this is really how the Wu-Tang enterprises tend to operate. It is not however a Wu-Tang Clan album, which is why I never referred to it as such.

      But I should have provided more background on the actual artist project here, and didn’t, in my rush to get the story out in time with the news release. My intention wasn’t clickbait, but it wound up being sketchy journalism. Mea culpa.

  • http://www.christianmontoya.net Montoya

    Thanks for the coverage Peter! More details and quotes from Wu-Tang (Power & Cruise) on our blog: http://blog.blend.io/post/91971985173/a-new-generation-of-wu-tang-mcs-hacking-music

    And I recommend keeping an eye on the official Wu-Tang Twitter for more announcements re: Parental Advisory https://twitter.com/WuTangClan

  • anerandros

    is it wu-tang clan? the real thing? or not?

  • max

    #dropdropbox

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Yeah, wondered if anyone would bring that up… I can imagine some music developers dumping Dropbox over the hiring of former Sec. Rice.

    • anerandros

      Indeed. I’ve download a very large project and filled my dropbox. Not a smart choice, unless they (blend and dropbox) team up to to offer a _very_ convenient discount on dropbox space.

  • jake lester

    lol epic fail this isn’t wu tang

  • Alex Kolundzija

    From the official Wu Tang Clan site: http://wutangclan.com/2014/07/17/a-new-generation-of-wu-tang-mcs-hacking-music-distribution-on-blend/

    Thanks Peter for leading this unique story. Can’t wait to hear new tracks from producers who are already hacking on the vocal stems.

  • grumpycatspistol

    This is straight G A R B A G E and insulting to the Wu Tang name. No MM,Chef,RZA,Ghostface,I.D,U-God?? Is this the Wu related dude that cut his dick off?
    Disgraceful :(

  • Adam Cahan

    a) “The Wu Tang Clan” proper consists of: all the emcees named in David Chapelle’s “Racial Draft” TV skit, plus, sometimes, Cappadona.

    b) Any mention of Wu-Tang affiliates, Wu family, associates, etc, must be prefaced with a term such as “affiliate” to delineate them from the Clan proper.

    c) The terms “Wu Tang” and “The Wu” are often used as shorthand for “The Wu Tang Clan,” so they must be followed by one of the aforementioned terms (affiliate/related/etc) if referring to non-clan associates, otherwise they implicitly refer to the “Wu Tang Clan.” Refer to references to the Wu in Pitchfork, hip-hop blogs, etc, to see this standard best practice in action.