Derrick N Ashong and Soulfège

Sweet Remix

Download the Free mp3 of 'SweetRemix' via SoundCloud

 

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Love Rain Down - A Short Film "Love Rain Down" is a 2012 Official Entry in the Palm Beach International Film Festival

An animated film based on the song "Love Rain Down" from the album "AFropolitan" by Derrick N. Ashong (aka DNA) & Soulfège. The movie follows the tale of a little boy named "Johnny" who makes a trip to the legendary "Crossroads" of Robert Johnson fame, and stands down the Devil armed only with a song...


CALENDAR


Check out this Unite Against The War on Women video using our song "Fight On" Then DOWNLOAD the Free mp3 of 'Fight On' via SoundCloud

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Entries in million download campaign (12)

Friday
May182012

DNA and the MDC on Fast Company

We made Fast Company! Check it out

Derrick Ashong On Going Viral, Again and Again

 

BY Adam Bluestein | 05-17-2012 | 9:31 AM

Whether in the role of front man for world-music band Soulfege, hosting an award-winning TV show, or creating a better business model for independent artists, Derrick Ashong is just trying to communicate.

Friday
Mar092012

On the Charts Again!

 

For the second week in a row, our album AFropolitan is on the JazzWeek World Music Chart!  We debuted in the Top 50 last week & have held strong at 48 this week.  This is a pretty big deal for us, as this chart features the likes of Sean Paul, Hugh Masekela, Nneka, Jimmy Cliff, Thievery Corporation, Gregory Isaacs and more
 
Being one of the few truly Independent artists on the list, we have got to give much love to all of you for your support in getting us there.  We'd love to enlist you, in helping us march up the charts!  Here is a breakdown of some key stations that are spinning our record.  If you have five minutes, please call a station or two & request AFropolitan!  This will keep us on their minds & keep the record spinning.  Make a post on our Facebook page to let us know when you reach out to a station so we can all see our progress!
 
STATION INFO:
 
Station Location Call-in #
WUTC Chattanooga, TN (423) 265-9882
KUNI Des Moines, IA (515) 725-1700
KUNM Albuquerque, NM (505) 277-5615
KUVO Denver - Boulder, CO (303) 480-9272
KWNJ  Quad Cities (IA - IL) (319) 273-6400
WLNZ  East Lansing, MI  (517) 483-1000
WCSB  Cleveland, OH  (216) 687-3515
WMBR  Boston, MA  (617) 253-8810
 
Thanks again for helping to put the Million DOWNLOAD Campaign on the map. Onwards & Upwards!
 
D.N.A

 

THE MILLION DOWNLOAD CAMPAIGN

Wanna be down? DOWNLOAD!

 

 

Thursday
Mar012012

Million Download Campaign - Global Gangstas

 

 

Last week I wrote about how the Recording Industry has systematically targeted Black communities as a way of testing talent designed for marketing to a broader demographic.  In a nutshell, they promote artists who can develop "street cred" in the Black community but will be acceptable to White people.  This doesn't come from an understanding of a globalizing society where the classic walls of race, ethnicity etc that have historically divided us are finally crumbling in the face of transcendent, uplifting artistry. Rather, it plays upon an understanding that you can reduce your risk of investing in new talent if you focus on what's easy to sell (ie. sex & violence), and tough-looking Black dudes from the "hood" are impressive to rebellious suburban teens.
 
Thus Hip Hop has been transformed from the voice of urban youth rebelling against a system that didn't provide them the opportunity to learn to play instruments, much less respect their humanity and artistry - to a caricature of what White suburban kids think hardcore Ghetto youth must be like.
 
Sounds like a domestic problem, but it's not.  It goes way further  than the borders of the United States and the implications are far more insidious than some suburban kids patterning their rebellion on the actions of some fake gangstas.
 
A few years ago I was on a trip home to Ghana & had an experience that put a lot of this in a new perspective for me. I was walking along when a young bruh approached me & apparently prompted by my manner of speech or maybe the way I was dressed, rolls up and says "wassup my nigga" in a full Accra accent.  I was stunned. That isn't a word used in my home culture, and I couldn't remember ever having heard it there before.  In that moment it ight as well have started snowing in our equatorial hometown, it was that out-of-sorts.

Why would a young Ghanaian kid in Accra, address me using an American racial epithet? Maybe for the same reason why other dudes were walking around town wearing baggy jeans, timberlands & Triple Phat Geese, in the 90 degree heat. The cultural influence of Hip Hop has been pervasive worldwide. And for good reason - it's a music that lends itself to people literally "making it their own."

But what happens when the template for "what's cool," "what's authentic" and ultimately "what's 'Black'" is based on a stereotype manufactured for sale by a company looking to make a buck off the Black community? It sounds sinister, even hyperbolic, but the implications are real & they are serious. For years I'd travel around the world & the dominant image I'd see of young Black men would be of Gangsters & thugs. And so for young Black men, growing up in such a world the archetype of "authenticity" has actually been a stereotype marketed by industry executives who most likely, don't live anywhere near the "hood."
 
Sometimes keepin' it real goes wrong on a global scale. But the real gangstas aren't necessarily the ones you hear in rap songs. If you want to hear artists promoting something more than guns & girls, perhaps it's time to take the beef out of the streets and into the board rooms...
 
 
D.N.A
 

THE MILLION DOWNLOAD CAMPAIGN

Wanna be down? DOWNLOAD!

 

Wednesday
Feb292012

AFropolitan Hits the Charts!!

Big News! We just got word that after our first week of broadcast radio promotion, we've debuted in the Top 50 of the JazzWeek World Chart! This puts us in the company of artists like Hugh Masekela, Stephen Marley & Gregory Isaacs. We have no idea where the album will go from here, but we DO know that your support in spreading the good word has been invaluable.

SO, if you haven't already, please Download & Share the album. And, if you have 5 minutes today, give your local radio station a call & ask them to play the album "AFropolitan"!

There's some other cool stuff percolating as well, so we'll keep you posted on all n sundry. In the meantime, thanks a million for all your support. Together we will make history!

Peace & AFrobeats,
D.N.A

Monday
Feb132012

Million Download Campaign - Get Your Hands Out My Pocket

The Million DOWNLOAD Campaign

Last night I took a train back to NYC so I missed the first half of the Grammys. I got back in time to see some great performances, some wonderful tributes and a few compulsory "huh?" moments. All in all it was a great night for the music biz, though dampened by the recent loss of the great Whitney Houston, and slightly diminished by the under-appreciation for the impact of Don Cornelius (Chris Brown playing a tribute?? I hope I missed the "real tribute" early in the show, as I missed the Etta James one).

For me the success of Adele was a testament to why we all love music so much - ultimately behind all the flash, whiz-bang & poofs, genuine artistry will always have a place in this world.

 
It's for that reason that I'd like to take a moment to bomb on the Industry. In my two "Free As in Freedom" posts (Part I & Part II) I talk about how musicians are not typically well compensated for record sales. Mike Masnick over at TechDirt has got years of great reporting on some of these issues, including a reference to this article where beloved country artist Lyle Lovett explains how after 20 years and 4.6 million records sold, he's never made a dime from his record sales. I've shared a fair number of pieces on why this is so, so today I don't want to talk economics. I want to talk implications.
 
Ask yourself how a successful, globally renowned artist can work for the same label for two decades and never get paid a royalty on his records sold. Is it that no money was made from the music? Or is it that the artist was not able to participate in those returns? And why not? After all, the artist is the progenitor of this work, without their contribution it simply would not exist. They are the Alpha & Omega of their own little world of creation, which generates spiritual, creative and material value for those around them. The artist should be the first to get paid from the success of their creation, no?
 
NO, according to the Recording Industry. And that big "NO" comes with good reason. Artists don't just wake up, create & get famous. Someone has to put a LOT of money, knowledge, leverage and connections on the line in order to "break" an artist - to take them from unknown, to a household name in the time it takes you to say Katy Perry. Since the label is taking on so much risk, and typically an investment of millions in breaking a Top 40 Act, they should be entitled to earn their money back before anyone starts doling out profits.
 
Sounds like sound business & a fair deal - I put up the cash & infrastructure to make you famous, you pay me back before you start buying Bentleys. The only problem is, it doesn't work out to be a "fair deal." If you haven't already done so, it's worth taking a few minutes to read Courtney Love's decade old rant on the ills of the major label system. First, remember labels do not recoup their expenses based on revenue, but based on the 10% artist's royalty (eg. If I invest $1million, u don't get paid after I sell $1million worth of product, but after I sell $10million worth, at which point you will have a $0 balance. If I only sell $9million worth, u still owe me a $100K, because 10% of $9million is only $900K - $100K short of my initial $1million investment). In addition to this labels don't pay on all revenues, but rather on 85% of revenues, after reductions for arcane concepts like "free goods" & "breakage" (how exactly do these costs apply to digital files?).
 
Some of you who are partially in the know, may argue that artists can still make money off of their publishing, if they actually write their own music. True, except the labels dip into that as well with what is known as the controlled composition clause. In the end, many artists (like Lyle Lovett) wind up doing the yeoman's work of writing, recording, touring, repeat, while only sharing in a fraction of the benefit from their work. How long should an artist tour for? Last night Grammy chief Neil Portnow closed the evening with an acknowledgment of the excellent Music Cares program, which helps musicians in need. But why should so many musicians grow old & broke?
People think artists don't wind up with money, because they squander it with fast living. In some cases there may be truth to this. In all cases of artists signed to major labels, however, there is another truth. Someone is methodically screwing that artist out of the bulk of the wealth they generate. Why? Because they can. Musicians are not businessmen, we are artists. Take the average label executive and put him on stage next to his worst artist, and he or she will be blown out of the water. Likewise, put the average lead guitarist at a table with a label accountant or lawyer, and imagine what happens.
 
But can't artists hire their own lawyers & accountants? Yes. But lawyers & accountants make their money not from one artist, but from working with many. If you are 1 of 100 artists a lawyer works with, while there are only 4 major labels that he needs to negotiate with on behalf of all those artists, who do you think has the ultimate leverage in a negotiation - the artist...or the label?
 
This post is a long one, but I wanted to make sure you really get the gist of what we are doing here. The Million Download Campaign is not only about sharing music, it is about fundamentally altering the paradigm for how creators are treated & compensated. Yes, I'm giving my music away for free, just like 95% of the major label artists in the world. The difference is I am in control of my own destiny, I can partner with anyone I like, I can license my music to whomever I choose, and I own my brand, my name & likeness and most importantly, my music.
 
When someone tells you that the idea of "Open Source Music" doesn't make sense, you tell them to go look at a recording artist's ledger w/ their label, and then tell them to go to hell.  Trouble is, they probably won't go and someone else will make the same argument...again, and yet again, until someone fundamentally proves that it is possible to platform a band, based on "open" principles, and by leveraging the available technologies, make that band a household name and a profitable enterprise without stealing all the value in that band.
 
So if you want, you can say the Million Download Campaign is dedicated to the Lyle Lovett's of the world. The artists we grew up loving & admiring, but only a few of us realized how badly they were being screwed. With your help, we intend to illuminate another path, and prove that it's one worth taking. If you want to be on the side of artistry, creativity, freedom & fairness there is only one side to take in this debate.
 
This is a Revolution.  Saddle up.
 
D.N.A

 

THE MILLION DOWNLOAD CAMPAIGN

Wanna be down? DOWNLOAD!

 

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