I hang out at the intersection of

music and business

I live in L.A. My day job is being a founder and partner at Brandracket, one of West Coast's premier music supervision and licensing agencies. Now in our 15th year, we work with scores of brands, filmmakers, and game developers, and haggle daily with record labels and music publishers, including the Big Three majors and hundreds of established indies. I'm on the front line of The Music Industry every day, and I've seen some shit, I can tell you.  

 

In a previous life I was a full-time music journalist and editor, publishing and editing an internationally-distributed music magazine (SnackCake!), working as a staff editor at MTV News, and contributing to a variety of established outlets (see a few examples below). I've also worked as a radio DJ (KALX in Berkeley), label rep (Director of A&R @ Rhino/Warner Music), and semi-pro musician (Actionslacks, one of the original SF Noise Pop bands). See the full resume here

 

What sets me apart? I'm a skilled writer and editor who's also a successful music business entrepreneur. I've got 30 years of hard-won knowledge and insights, an unrelenting enthusiasm for watching trends, and a Rolodex of label, publisher, manager, agent, lawyer, artist and other contacts the size of a ferris wheel. I'd love to put it to work for you. (I don't really use a Rolodex.)   

I have a day job, so I'm not desperate for work. I won't hound you for assignments (unless they involve Queens of the Stone Age, the best living rock band). I'd love to be considered for the following :

 

  • Stories about the business of music - Music supervision & licensing (my forté), brands + music, streaming, new technologies, touring, legal disputes, publishing, you get the idea.

  • Profiles of legacy artists - Or anyone over 40 who's had life experiences and presumably gained some kind of wisdom/self-awareness. (I've interviewed enough clueless 23 year-olds for several lifetimes.)

  • Opinion pieces - I've seen it all in the last 30 years and I have many thoughts about where it's all going.

  • Anything interesting. Try me. I'm a news and culture junkie who loves food, travel, history and lots of other stuff. If you need deftly-arranged words on any of these topics, I got 'em.  

here are some things I've written

recent short-form stuff:

Blurbs from the "What We're Into" section of Brandracket.com

An appreciation of "Liar" by The Jesus Lizard

Blowing the dust off this one the other day (thanks, Spotify recommendation algorithm!), I was reminded that The Jesus Lizard were one of the most intense, dynamic and powerful bands that this country has ever produced - and that their 1992 album Liar is their zenith. These dudes used to absolutely slay live, with singer David Yow becoming literally unhinged as he crowd-surfed from the stage to the soundboard and back again, propelled by the pummeling rhythm section of David Sims and Mac McNeilly, and Duane Denison's steely, angular riffs. I saw them blow Meantime-era Helmet off the stage at San Francisco's Warfield Theater, using about 1/4 of the amps. (Let that linger for a moment: they blew Helmet off the stage.) Word is that this is the album that convinced Cobain he needed to enlist engineer (not producer, dammit!) Steve Albini to record In Utero, Nirvana's f-you to everyone who thought they'd gone soft. Next time you're feeling indignant, PO'd or just generally aggrieved, turn up the hi-fi and let Liar do the talking. (June, 2019)

Yep...Luna's "23 Minutes In Brussels" is still amazing

It's interesting that Luna frontman (and ex-Galaxy 500 co-founder) Dean Wareham hails from New Zealand, 'cause Luna damn near defined NYC slacker ennui in the 90s. Yes, they owed a massive debt to the Velvets, but always managed to steer clear of mimicry. Sorry to say I'd damn near forgotten them until this tune from 1995's Penthouse crept across my transom during a lie down on a recent camping trip. And OMG does it sound amazing on headphones. I always knew guitarist Sean Eden was the secret weapon of this band, but his lead work on this one is truly inspired (if I dare say a little Grateful Dead-like, ...and that's OK). Do yourself a favor and take 5 minutes in a darkened room with this one and some headphones. You're welcome. (March, 2019)

Patagonia's "Dirtbag" documentary about Fred Beckey

Fred Beckey is The Ramones of American mountaineers: pioneering, untamed and completely bad-ass. This outstanding 2017 Patagonia-produced doc lays it all out: how he and his little brother climbed the almost-impossible Mt. Waddington in British Columbia when they were 19 and 17, with some rope and a couple sandwiches; how he has the most first-ascents of any climber in American history; how he eschewed lucrative brand sponsorships and careerist BS to pursue his passion; how he climbed into his 90s (!). True, his singular focus seems at times insane, and he certainly burned some bridges, but such is the price of greatness. Next time you're in need of motivation, give this one a look. Fred would already be 10 steps ahead. (September, 2019)

older, mostly long-form stuff:

Creeping Toward Bethlehem

Dan Carr needs earplugs. Not because he plays bass in a rock band. And not because that band, San Francisco indie darling Creeper Lagoon, is currently ensconced in a Hollywood studio recording its debut album for DreamWorks Records. Dan Carr needs earplugs because, as he laments with a sigh, “Tomorrow is a gardening day.” Keep reading...

Singer Says Supergrass’ Latest LP Shows Growth, Not Maturity

Reports of Supergrass' newfound maturity have been greatly exaggerated. Listening closely to the lyrics of "Pumping on Your Stereo," the bouncy first single from the Brit-pop trio's self-titled third album, reveals that singer/guitarist Gaz Coombes and his bandmates, bassist Mick Quinn and drummer Danny Goffey, are actually singing "humping on your stereo." So much for maturity. Keep reading...

Review: Cobra Verde, "Nightlife"

In the annals of American rock, Cobra Verde will most likely be remembered as the band that Guided by Voices' Bob Pollard tapped to back him up on GBV's disappointing Mag Earwhig. That's a tremendous shame, because the Ohio based CV is a gem of a band, and with its fourth release, Nightlife, they prove it. Keep reading...

Baby, One More Time: Billy Bragg and Wilco further the legacy of Woody Guthrie

You’d think that Jay Bennett, multi-instrumentalist for eminent American rockers Wilco, would be all talked out about the Mermaid Avenue records, a collaboration with English singer/songwriter Billy Bragg that puts music to the words of American dust bowl troubadour Woody Guthrie. But as it turns out, Bennett’s barely discussed the project publicly at all. Keep reading...

Make It Hot: An interview with producer Dave Sardy

Dave Sardy is a rare bird in the world of rock production: A virtuoso on both sides of the glass. As the leader and producer of the groundbreaking New York post­-hardcore trio Barkmarket, he mined not only new depths of heaviness and lyrical potency, but also managed to capture some unbelievably vivid and powerful sounds on tape. Keep reading...

Every Day Is Saturday: The Rock Photos of Peter Ellenby (Introduction)

A pint in one hand and a camera in the other. That's my enduring mental image of Peter Ellenby. While he is many other things - ­a cutup, a gentleman, a loyal friend - he is the undisputed master of the one-handed flick 'n' click, a Pabst-fueled Pollock-esque technique perfected in the beer­-soaked expanse between stage and fans, usually under fire by very high-decibel levels. Keep reading...

hit me up

email: timscanlin [at] gmail.com

mobile: 310.428.1875

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