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Kid Rock will take a “pay cut” this summer, or at least risk one, by structuring a deal that allows for a $20 ticket price across the board at amphitheaters, and working with promoter Live Nation to lower prices on everything from beer to parking to merchandise for every show in every city. Kid Rock and his Twisted Brown Trucker Band will tour with a combination of ZZ Top, Uncle Kracker and Kool & the Gang on various dates, beginning June 28 in Bristow, Va., through Sept. 15 in Tampa. The tour, promoted by Live Nation, includes three shows at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Kid Rock’s hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Tickets go on sale to the public in select markets beginning April 12th on LiveNation.com. Click here for dates.
This is a model Rock says he has been working on for a long time. “It’s always going to come down to price, but I think [from the fan’s perspective] it’s more the service charges, the fees, getting in there and not knowing what beers will cost, what they’ll hit you for parking,” he says. “Every little thing they nickel and dime you, and it’s not just music, it’s sports, it’s going to the movies. Artists demand so much money, and you have to set ticket prices at [a certain level]. Everyone’s fighting the system, and it’s really been all of our faults. We’re all fortunate to make as much money as we do, and I can surely take a pay cut and help out in these hard times.” Beyond just a deal structured based on volume, in effect, Rock says he is becoming a partner with Live Nation on the tour. “If people show up, I’ll get paid on that, and we’ll become partners: partners on beer, partners on parking, partners on my T-shirts, partners on everything, and we’ll take the money and split it at the end of the night,” he says. “And we pass those savings on to our fans, which is what we really need to be thinking about. Even if the volume comes out, we’re going to make less money, but I’ve got enough money to where it’s not going to kill my lifestyle. And who doesn’t want to play to a packed house every night?”
The shows will offer $4 12-oz. beers, value food packages, cheaper parking, and special $20 merchandise will be available. In a move geared toward fighting secondary market reselling, or “scalping,” Kid Rock will be releasing 1,000 tickets from each show directly to Platinum Tickets via Ticketmaster. “Rather than fight Ticketmaster, fight Live Nation, it’s about how do we get together, and be transparent with everything,” Rock says. “The scalpers have been a nightmare, as everybody knows, so we’re gonna scalp our own tickets. We’re gonna scalp 1,000 a night, and be transparent about it, let people know there’s a market that demands this, and when we see tickets out there being scalped, we’re going to under-cut their prices and send [fans] to a spot you can buy them and know you’re getting a real ticket and the money’s gonna go in our pocket.”
Rock says (where possible) the show will go paperless for the first 20 rows, and the first two rows won’t be sold prior to the event. “We’re gonna upgrade people we see around the venue, based on whatever we want to do,” he says. “You can pick out the hard core fans, I’m gonna send a few people around the venue to have conversations with people, get a feel for ‘em, and say, ‘hey, these people deserve to be up front.’” That’s not a bad job for the guys that are humpin’ amps every night or doing something like that, either.” Rock would like to see other artists structure similar deals. “I know managers and booking agents are gonna hate me,” he laughs. “[Live Nation CEO] Michael Rapino said, ‘you’re one of the only artists I have conversations with, none of the managers or booking agencies want me to talk to their artists.’”
There will still be a $5 service fee on tickets purchased at ticketmaster.com. “I’m not happy about that, that’s 25% of my ticket price, that’s ridiculous,” he says. “I think they should go to 10% a ticket across the board. But we were able to work out something with Walmart, where you can go in there and $20, buy a ticket, parking and everything. If you go to Walmart, try to go early and get tickets for $20, take a friend with you. Have your shopping list, have someone go shop, you wait in line and get tickets, kill two birds with one stone.” In the venue, $4 for 12 oz. at every stand, “if you look at what ballparks are selling beers for, that’s fair,” says Rock, adding that he also tries to keep his merchandise reasonably priced. “A few tours back, we were selling shirts for $35-$40—which everybody is—and I’m like, ‘this is highway robbery,’ especially after owning a t-shirt business here in Michigan, Made In Detroit and really knowing what the prices are for us to buy ‘em,” he says. “Understandably, you’ve got to pay somebody to hump ‘em around, and there are costs involved, but not to justify that. So I slashed our t-shirt prices to $20 and $25 and we made the same amount of per cap selling more shirts every night. I said, ‘why can’t we do this with beer in select markets?’ and Rapino tried it, and, lo and behold it worked. So that was the spark for saying, ‘let’s go all the way.’”
With ZZ Top, Kool & the Gang and Uncle Kracker joining Rock and band, the artist believes he’s offering great value. “I’ve been doing the math, if you buy ticket with service charge, that’s $25, you have three beers, you buy a t-shirt, you’re under $70 for a t-shirt, having a some beers, seeing a concert and parking,” he says. “I don’t think you can beat that. I think people will be pleasantly surprised. Who knows they may spend the same amount of money, but they’ll feel good about doing it.”
Everyone asks for songwriting tips. I recently bought a book about songwriting tips and it had some great advice. You know what the best songwriting tip is? It’s from an ad jingle…..just do it. Just write songs. I know it sounds simple, but the best thing you can do is just write. In fact writing songs is no greater than imitating what you hear. A really good songwriter is the person who is able to HEAR a great song and THEN imitate it. 90% of songs on the radio don’t qualify as ‘good’ songs. You must first understand what makes a good song. However, if you’re after the cash and not the credit then you’ll quickly learn to 1) give in and write mediocre songs (and be a GREAT salesman), 2) carefully balance musical greatness with commercial music, or 3) just become a great song writer. Of course you will always continue working on your songwriting technique as you grow. Consider taking various songwriting classes, attending songwriting workshops and songwriting camp.
Now that you know the greatest songwriting tip (just write songs), one question remains. How do you make money with music and songwriting?
Royalties are your songwriting money. You get paid from the use of your song. There are four types of royalties earned from songs - mechanical, performance, synchronization and print. The publisher of your song (whether it’s you or someone else) collects the mechanical, synchronization and print royalties, and the performing rights organizations such as BMI, ASCAP and SESAC (or SOCAN in Canada) distribute royalty checks for performances a few times a year.
Mechanical royalties are what you call the money you make from sales of physical records, tapes, CDs, DVD’s, etc. There is a fixed rate per song that you will get paid. For example, at the time of writing the rate is 8 cents. Let’s say you have one song on a CD and it sells 100,000 copies then you’ll make $8000. If you wrote 10 songs on that CD, you would have $80,000. Unless you self publish it is traditional to split that 50% with the publisher. So quickly learn about publishing and become your own publisher!
Now let’s say you wrote one song on an album that sold a million copies - $80,000 in mechanical royalties. Then they released a CD single of your song and it sold 100,000 copies (not to mention hit the airwaves for performance royalties - discussed below). The CD single contained the original version of the song plus 4 dance remixes. That’s 8 cents for every remix version of that song on every album sold - another 8 cents times by 5 versions = 40 cents x 100,000 copies = $40,000. You can see how this can add up fast. It’s compounded for each song you have on that album or single and this continues as long as the song is selling albums, years down the road. At the end of the year some merchandiser like Time Life does a ‘Best of 200x’ CD, advertises it all over television and in comes more money. Five years down the line someone covers your song, or it crosses over to country, or it winds up on a tv show or ad commercial. Big money my friend. It is to your advantage to work on your songwriting technique and introduce yourself into the songwriting market fast. Check out some of the recommended books found on this site.
Here’s another big one. This is a major source of money for any writer. This typically pertains to the money you will earn from radio airplay, television, jukeboxes, music services and live performances.
Radio and television stations pay yearly license fees to the performing rights organizations and are typically negotiated as a percentage of their advertising revenue. Performance royalties can include cable tv, concerts, health clubs, museums, airlines, music on hold, restaurants, trade shows, internet radio, and anyone else required to pay fees to play music.
So how do they know when your song is played? It varies based on the performing rights society. I used to work in radio and every three months we were asked to log every song we played for a certain period of time, usually one week. Luckily we were already computer generated so we just printed off the play list hour by hour, marked songs they were interested in, noted the song, artist and society responsible for the copyright, and then fill in by hand any information that got played manually, like request shows. The performing rights society then used this information as a ‘sampling’ of what was being played in similar markets. Then they apply statistical formulas to determine how much money each songwriter that was played during that period received. Keep in mind that this assumes what was played during that sampling week was the same thing played for the entire 3 month quarter!
Radio Airplay Secrets
As an artist, a good thing to do after writing your own songs, working on your songwriting technique, and getting a good understanding of the music business, is becoming friendly with the music directors at some radio stations, and make sure your song is getting played in regular rotation during a reporting period. It’s not unheard of for a nobody artist with two turntables and a microphone to get a $300 check from airplay at one college station during a reporting period. That money can buy a fancy new microphone…..and the publicity gained is probably enough to capture a few gigs. Multiply that by a few songs over time, a few radio stations, bigger markets that pay more fees to the performing rights societies, etc.
Live ‘in studio’ appearances for local radio shows during a reporting period is another great earner. Let’s say you know a DJ who features local bands. You’ve got a CD. Find out when the reporting period is and have him interview you during his 60 min show and play a few cuts off your CD. Maybe he will go on vacation and replay that interview tape during the next reporting period. Money in the bank.
As time goes on, there are systems being put into place that will capture each song played and therefore give a more accurate royalty payout for those artists that deserve it, instead of just those getting aired during the sampling period. In which case ANY airplay you get is as good as cash.
Synch royalties can be substantial but they are a little different from the others. Synch typically means licensing the right to record the music or songs in synch with the pictures of film or TV movies. How much you get for this is usually negotiated between the publisher and the producer of the flick.
If cranking out instrumental music is your thing then this may be a market for you to break into. Background music in a movie would be a good example (not necessarily film scoring). Unless you have a previously popular song there’s a good chance that you’ll work for a flat fee plus screen credit, foregoing the synch royalties for the chance to do it again.
Songwriting Craft and Business
Even if you only intend on being a singer or band member, by participating in songwriting and getting your name at least as a co-writer you will increase the money you make in music. If you are seeking a record deal this information will help you in negotiating rights to your music.
To delve further into how to get paid for songwriting, or other lucrative career options that we won’t go into here (like print music options, religious music or children’s music), I highly recommend you pick up a copy of The Craft and Business of Songwriting, Third Edition by John Braheny. That’s my songwriting tip to you. The book is FULL of great songwriting tips, and is split about 50/50 on songwriting technique and the business of songwriting. I don’t think any other book covers as much pertinent information to your songwriting success as this one. He also has some great stories and examples from his friends in the industry and from his time spent in the Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase. Although I have many music books on my shelf, this is the one that I refer to most and I recommend it as the book you both start and finish with.
Ok, we’ve all heard about this “poor man’s copyright” technique, right?
We’ll explain it once again, for those who have been living in caves, but before we do, you should know right off, IT DOES NOT WORK!
NO COURT HAS EVER ACCEPTED THIS METHOD AS LEGAL PROOF OF COPYRIGHT, so don’t waste your time. But here’s what it’s supposed to do (and why it doesn’t work).
The poor man’s copyright (not copywrite) is when you mail either a CD, or sheet music, or some other physical form of your music, to yourself (or a friend) by regular, or certified mail.
The concept sounds reasonable: A few days later, when you get your songs or music back in the mail, you DON’T open the envelope. You just hide it away somewhere, in a drawer, a safety deposit box, with your underwear, and just wait until someday when someone tries stealing your songs or music.
Then you whip out your sealed envelope, bring it to Court during your copyright infringement lawsuit, and let the Judge open it.
Then the Judge is supposed to think that the postmark on the envelope “proves” that the songs or music inside were in existence as of that date! So, assuming the bad guy who has stolen your music started playing your music after your postmarked date, the Judge is supposed to stand up and cheer, tell the jury you win your copyright case, award you millions in damages and you go home, record your song and win American Idol!
Only problem is… as we’ve already said, there are NO courts that have ever used a postmark from an envelope as proof in a copyright case!
Why doesn’t it work you ask? Plenty of reasons:
In fact, there are SO many ways to tamper or manipulate the postmarked envelope, or the supposed “copyrighted” music inside, that we couldn’t fit them all on just this one page. But here’s a few quick examples:
The most obvious way to “game” this method is to just mail yourself an empty envelope and just barely seal it (or don’t seal it at all). Then when you get it back with its postmark, you just store it until you want to steal someone’s song maybe years later.
Then you stick the words and music to someone else’s song into your empty envelope with the old postmark and seal it up REAL GOOD. And, presto, now you’ve got “proof” that you created that song way back when it was postmarked — since it’s “obviously” been in that “sealed” envelope all that time!
[And if you’re really clever, you could also save some old newspaper article, with a date the same as the postmark, and stick it in with your newly-sealed song years later…]
Or even if you didn’t try to cheat, how do you plan on verifying the security of the sealed envelope? Bringing in scientific experts to verify you haven’t played with the envelope seals? NO expert could testify to that (or when exactly the envelope was sealed or resealed)!
Or, how are you going to prove the postmark, or certified mail notice, is genuine? Find the post office person who stamped it? Yeh, right.
And then, of course, there’s the problem of BIAS. Who will testify in court about preparing the envelope, sealing it, mailing it, getting it delivered back to your address, who handled it, how it was never opened, etc. etc.? YOU? Your friends? Your relatives? Do you see the problem with that?
YOU (and your friends and relatives) are NOT independent, unbiased witnesses. You (and people connected with you) have an obvious stake in the outcome of any copyright case which involves YOU! Having someone who wants to win in court (or a friend) also be a witness in the same case is about the WORST thing you can do! Ask any lawyer… NO ONE WILL BELIEVE SUCH BIASED WITNESSES. When it comes to copyright issues, you always want unbiased, independent witnesses testifying!
As you can see, there are endless ways to cheat using this “poor man’s copyright” routine. So don’t waste your time since it won’t protect you or your songs.
For most composers, their songs are just too important to take such stupid chances leaving them unprotected with the farce known as the “poor man’s copyright.” Especially when you can get real protection so inexpensively, using an INDEPENDENT, UNBIASED, RELIABLE service, such as SongRegistration.com
Written By: Wray Herbert
I had the good fortune to come of age during the richest musical epoch — well, ever. The Grateful Dead, the Beatles, Dylan, Janis Joplin, Zappa. I could go on and on. The ’60s witnessed an unparalleled burst of musical creativity, ranging from Cream to CCR to Hendrix and to Neil Young and Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell. There is simply no match — not before nor since — for this outpouring of enduring song. And what’s more, nobody really disputes this.
Okay, okay. I wrote all those superlatives in part to provoke a reaction. There are people who dispute this claim, and indeed some are among my own friends and family. They say that ’60s music just seems incomparable to me because I was a young man when I encountered it. If I keep going back to Leonard Cohen and The Doors even today, they say, it’s only because those melodies were seared into my neurons when I was youthful and impressionable.
It’s hard to prove, one way or the other. But my critics do have some psychological science on their side. My musical preferences could be part of what scientists call the “reminiscence bump” — a peak in personal memories, of all kinds, that consistently comes in late adolescence and early adulthood. That is, we all remember more detail, more clearly, from this stage of our development. Since music is so emotional and personal and memorable, doesn’t it make sense that it would peak the same way?
That’s the question that Cornell University psychological scientist Carol Lynne Krumhansl set out to explore — or one of the questions. She wanted to see just how our early musical memories intersect with, and shape, our other autobiographical memories. She also wanted to see how music is transmitted from generation to generation, and to explore whether this pattern may have changed along with dramatic cultural shifts of the past half century.
A letter John Lennon wrote to Paul McCartney and his late wife Linda will be up for auction and is expected to sell for about $60,700 (£40,000), NME reports.
Written in 1971, in the wake of the Beatles’ break-up, the letter will be up for sale on May 30th as part of an online auction organized by Profiles in History. There’s no word on the actual contents of the letter.
Rejected Beatles Demo Tape Up for Auction
Last year, a draft of a 1971 letter Lennon wrote to Eric Clapton expressing his admiration for and a desire to collaborate with the guitarist was auctioned off (also by Profiles in History): “Eric, I know I can bring out something great, in fact greater in you that had been so far evident in your music,” Lennon wrote. “I hope to bring out the same kind of greatness in all of us, which I know will happen if/when we get together.”
Not all Lennon letters have sold at auction: Last year, another note to Paul and Linda – a six-page rant about the end of the Beatles and how he and Yoko Ono were treated – failed to sell at Christie’s in London after bids didn’t reach the £63,000 reserve price.
Several other items of Beatles memorabilia have been up for auction lately, including a custom-built VOX guitar played by both Lennon and George Harrison around the time of Magical Mystery Tour, signed photos of the group playing Shea Stadium, and an autographed copy of their classic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
One of the best ways to save money on musical instruments is to buy used. Amazon and eBay are your best bets for online shopping, and you can also check Craigslist. Just make sure you check the reseller rating and return policy of any seller on Amazon or eBay, and if you agree to pick up an item found on Craigslist, take a friend with you, and only meet in well-lit, public places.
You may also want to check local pawn shops. Many feature a decent variety of instruments, and you can haggle over price to ensure that you get a great deal. Just be sure to check their return policies, as many do not offer cash back under any circumstances. If you’re considering buying from a pawn shop, test the item thoroughly before taking it home.
Are you looking to expand your fan base, while keeping your existing fans interested and excited about your music? Could you use an easily-accessible page where you can list your band’s history of gigs, news, song releases, and everything else? Would you like to share more in-depth info with your fans than what you can post in a Facebook update or Tweet?
Many popular artists and bands keep a running, current blog page on their websites, and if you don’t already, you should consider starting up a blog page too! A blog can be an invaluable tool not just for your fans, but for you personally as an artist/band.
Your blog can include anything and everything about you as an artist, from your official updates, news and upcoming releases, to personal thoughts and statements you’d like to share with your fans and site visitors. A blog is also a great archival tool where both your fans and you can look back and check important past information, or just reminisce on your great experiences and history as an artist.
Our friends over at Music Think Tank recently posted a great article about why your band needs to blog. They list 4 great points about how having a blog page for yourself as an artist/band can really benefit you and your fan base.
1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Django Reinhardt
3. Jimmy Page
4. Steve Vai
6. Mark Knopfler
7. Gary Moore
8. David Gilmour
9. Kurt Cobain
10. Yngwie Malmsteen
11. Frank Zappa
12. George Harrison
13. Stevie Ray Vaughan
14. Chuck Berry
15. Alex Lifeson
16. Joe Satriani
17. Randy Rhoads
18. Eddie Van Halen
19. Jerry Garcia
20. Kirk Hammett
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A typical unbalanced cable (like a 1/4 instrument cable) has 2 conductors. The 1st conduction is the audio signal itself and the 2nd is a ground and often a shielding. The main difference comparing balanced vs unbalanced cables is a balanced cable has 1 additional conductor. The balanced cable will have 1 hot, 1 cold, and a ground/shielding conductor. The signal from both the hot and cold wire is combined, each out of phase with the other. The resulting signal is thus “balanced”.
Which is a bigger surprise? Guns N’Roses doing a Las Vegas residency or Axl Rose conducting interviews to promote it? Glass-half-full: the years have loosened up both Axl and his audience. Glass half empty: desperation.
Tonight was the opening evening of a 12-date residency for the reconstituted Gunners at the Hard Rock Hotel’s Joint, a venue of such financial pulling power that The Who will be there soon. In dubbing the show “Appetite For Democracy”, we were promised a “unique” setlist which brought together the best of the two disparate albums Appetite For Destruction and Chinese Democracy.
In honour of the two records, posters promoting the show around Vegas combined the cover art from each. And although the panties were airbrushed out of Appetite‘s famous ‘robot rapist’ painting, the picture caused controversy with the local council – right on cue for the first show.
Despite the promise of special cocktails and an unprecedented setlist, this three-hour marathon set is actually more like “Use Your Appetite For Democracy.” The highlights were, in my opinion, mostly from the 1991 simultaneous release of Use Your Illusion I and II.
Chinese Democracy, Welcome To The Jungle, It’s So Easy and Mr Brownstone shoot by, centrifugal force pulling fans who had chosen seats towards the GA floor area – where they are stopped smartly by security.
The highlight of the entire show is fifth, the lilting piano refrain of Estranged leaving fans staring into the distance and pondering some epic but doomed love affair Rose had two decades ago.
The best song on Democracy, Better, follows soon afterwards and is almost a tortured sequel, speaking as it does of a troubled heart and “the melody inside of me”. Later, You Could Be Mine is fearsome, while Rose isn’t giving up best live rendering of Civil War to the soaring Myles Kennedy without a fight.
This reviewer saw Guns on New Year’s at the same venue and there are precious few differences in either the set list or the staging – although the catwalks suspended from the ceiling are an eye-catching addition.
But here is where Rose can’t win. If he comes on late and plays a short show, punters feel gyped. If he comes on late and plays a long show, reviewers lampoon the flat spots. Tonight’s show goes for three hours. Guitarist Richard Fortus plays Blacklight Jesus Of Transylvania in the first solo spot of the night. Bassist Tommy Stinson later performs Motivation, guitarist Bumblefoot offers Glad To Be Here, keyboardist Dizzy Reed performs No Quarter and Rose warbles part of Another Brick In The Wall pt II.
Neil Young’s Don’t Bring Me Down is covered, with AC/DC’s Riff Raff an unfortunate omission before it’s restored for subsequent shows.
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Lady Gaga’s canceled Born This Way Ball – which was set to run 22 more nights at arenas through March 20th – will lead to nearly $30 million in refunds, according to estimates based on Pollstar data. And that’s not counting the huge potential income losses from merchandise, food, beer and parking sales. “It was definitely a blow,” says Bernie Punt, sales and marketing director for the Bryce Jordan Center at Pennsylvania State University, which had nearly sold out its 12,500 capacity for Gaga’s March 2nd gig. “Trust me, I’ve been hearing nothing for the past 48 hours of so many saddened fans that were looking forward to this. Everybody bought those tickets for Christmas or Hanukkah gifts.”
Gaga announced on Tuesday that she was forced to cancel all remaining dates on the tour due to a labral tear to her right hip, requiring surgery. Her world tour in 2012 had grossed $161.4 million, according to Pollstar, behind only Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Roger Waters and Coldplay; her early dates this year had consistently sold out between roughly 9,000 and 15,000 tickets at each U.S. arena. As pop-star injuries go, this wasn’t as devastating as Bono’s back surgery before a U2 tour in 2010 – but Gaga’s tour, at least so far, was completely canceled rather than postponed, so the revenue is gone.
“It’s such a huge disappointment,” says Alipa Patel, marketing and communications manager for Copps Coliseum, where Gaga canceled this weekend’s show in Hamilton, Ontario. “It’s pretty marquee for a city like Hamilton to get a Lady Gaga. We’ve had a lot of big names come through, like Bruce Springsteen and Elton John, but with Lady Gaga being so current, it was really something that was going to put us on the map.
As every week, the new radio programme is available on the website of TalentCast. This time the Song of the Week winner is Julie Lamb, a rock-based singer-songwriter from New Zealand.
Before focusing on her own music, Julie Lamb played in various bands, from Channeling Janis - a tribute band, to 10dd - an acapella band of 14 singing 10cc numbers.
Now, Julie Lamb performs with her own 12-piece band (Julie Lamb Originals Band - the Lambinators). Their sound is a fusion of rock, blues and jazz with a touch of progressive metal.
In July 2012, Julie Lamb released her second album “Trippin’ the Light”, which, as she says, “wrote itself… it was only helped a little bit”. The album received great reviews and was soon picked up by UK radio stations and blogs. “Trippin’ the Light Fantastic”, has become one of 20 songs chosen for “1st Renaissance”, a UK compilation for Reddragon Ltd.. Another song from the album, “Time Flies”, is about to become part of the compilation “Jack and Jill” in Australia. The songs “Undone” and “Time Flies” are played on US radio. On Reverbnation, Julie Lamb is currently on No. 1 in Wellington Rock Charts and in New Zealand Rock Charts. The album can be purchased on Julie’s website, Bandcamp or iTunes.
Julie Lamb has recently signed up on SellaBand to raise funds for music videos for two songs from the album: “Waterproof” and “Trippin’ the Light Fantastic”, this week’s winning song.
Can you imagine a major record company that only has a roster of 10 international superstars instead of 60 acts in various stages of development? It might not be so far-fetched.
Record companies are adept at doing three main things: getting songs on radio, effectively distributing records to countries around the world simultaneously, and marketing worldwide successful artists on a grand scale.
Increasingly, the music we listen to is stored on our computers or streamed from distantservers. As a result it’s now jumbled in with news, talk radio, and podcasts. Fortunately, a new generation of media hardware is bringing this sonic bounty to us. Here is a look at three very different networked audio players geared toward different needs, at different price levels and with varying degrees of complexity. If you’re looking for something simple, Logitech’s UE Smart Radio (US $180) is designed to be a stand-alone replacement for the traditional kitchen or desk radio. Its old-school front panel features a single speaker on the left and controls—including what looks like a large tuning knob—on the right. If not for the sharp 2.4-inch color screen and a few extra buttons, it could pass for a standard AM/FM radio.