February 11th, 2013
So I was lying on my couch Sunday reading a Kindle. I switched over to my Kindle Fire, and decided to pull up its Facebook app. In the background I was listening to my favorite album — some classic jazz to help me unwind for the night — when I spotted an announcement on Facebook from Amazon’s music page.
“Need some new tunes? Get current and past GRAMMY-nominated songs for $0.69 each.”
It seemed too good to be true, but within minutes I was sharing the news to all of my friends. (“Guess what happens when you go to tinyurl.com/GrammyMp3s ? Amazon’s discounted 73 past and present Grammy-winning songs to just 69 cents!”) Amazon’s discounted songs by some of the biggest names in music, including Beyonce, Dave Matthews, Bruce Springsteen, and John Mayer.
And then I discovered that Amazon had also discounted over 168 Grammy-nominated albums — some as low as $2.99.
There were discounts on several classic albums are on sale for just $2.99, including Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising, Carol King’s Tapestry, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and Billy Joel’s 52nd Street. But there were also discounts on more recent albums, like Wild Ones by Flo Rida, as well as two albums by Coldplay, two by Bonnie Raitt, and two by Kelly Clarkson. There were sales on digital music albums by everyone from Bob Dylan to Barbra Streisand, and even an album by Cannonball Adderly and MTV’s special “Tony Bennett Unplugged”. In 2004, at the age of 73, Ray Charles had recorded his final album, a new collection of duets with famous musicians called Genius Loves Company. Amazon’s discounted that album to just $3.99.
With 168 albums to choose from, it’s a great way to look back at the history of music as seen by the Grammy awards — all the way up to the present. (The Lumineers were nominated as “Best New Artist of 2012″ — and Amazon’s discounted also two of their songs to just 69 cents.) But I learned tonight that there was also a lot of excitement over the surprise upset win in an unusual Grammy category — “best spoken word album”. First lady Michelle Obama and former president Bill Clinton were competing against Janis Ian, a singer-songwriter who’s probably best known for her thoughtful 1975 song, “At Seventeen”. Other nominees included Ellen Degeneres and Rachel Maddow, but in the end, Janis Ian won the award for a heartfelt recording of her autobiography — Society’s Child.
And best of all, it’s available for the Kindle — both as an ebook, and as a Grammy award-winning audiobook. It’s available at both Amazon and at Audible.com, which describe her memoir as “a relentlessly honest account of the successes and failures – and the hopes and dreams – of an extraordinary life.” But just three ago, Janis Ian had one more story to tell. On her Facebook page, she shared the news that first lady Michelle Obama had just posted about her on Twitter — a message of congratulations. (Ian responded on Facebook: “OMG.”)
Once a year, the Grammy awards remind me of how many different artists there are who are trying to create some really great recordings. And it’s especially nice that this year, there’s a way to enjoy them on your Kindle!