Investment Tips for Music Lovers: Collect Vintage Instruments

stradivariusCollecting musical instruments and equipment for financial profit is a great way to combine business with pleasure. When it comes to investing in rare instruments of high quality, we’re talking about more than estimated value based on performance alone, as is the case when investing in stock options or general commodities. There’s the emotional attachment of the buyer to consider, as well.

A musical instrument carries a legacy and artistic value that speaks both to investors wallets and hearts, a fact that must be taken into account before one sets sail towards the market of musical collectible. The emotional angle can be a deterring factor for traditional investors, as it adds another potential pitfall, one that is devoid of financial reason and logic. The price of a vintage instrument is set by cultural trends that operate as much on a sentimental level as they appeal to economic prospects.

That being said, if you’re a lover of music and instruments, collecting them for profit is certainly an attractive possibility and a good way to diversify your investment portfolio. Valuable instruments rarely, if ever, lose their worth and have greater potential than most commodities for long-term market appreciation. The collector’s market for musical instruments is divided into separate sub-niches defined by different types of collectibles and countries of origin.

Vintage violins are the most popular instruments to invest in, particularly Italian violins. The financial crisis of 2008, triggered by the collapse of the US housing market, saw a significant increase in violin investments, making the prices go up dramatically. Before the crisis, a Gaurnerius violin would fetch a seller somewhere around half a million US dollar on auction. Today, that price would most likely be twice as much, if not more. A vintage Stradivarius, the most coveted of violins, won’t go for less than several millions. Market analysts are clearly seeing a rising trend of collectible instruments as alternative financial assets for private investors. Violins are currently in the forefront, but pianos are also becoming an attractive investment option.

As far as other instruments goes, market prices are generally more volatile and therefore represent more risk. Nevertheless, if you are able to purchase instruments with a great collector’s value, like a Gibson guitar previously owned by Elvis or John Lennon, you’ve got a great addition to your portfolio.

gibson acoustic guitar

As with any rare commodity, it’s vital to research the market first in order to make an informed and sensible decision when making a purchase for long-term profit. A good knowledge of the instrument in question, connections with reputable sellers and evaluation experts are also important, as isolated markets like regional auctions often misrepresent the average price on the international stage.

Investing in instruments is something that will bring you financial profits as well as satisfaction and joy over the years, provided that you approach the practice with a sense of composure and economic savoir-faire.

International Meinl Drum Festival 2016 Is Coming Soon: Get Your Tickets Now!

drummer's performance

The fourth installment of Meinl Drum Festival is on its way.

Following the successful events in Moscow, Russia in 2009 and the double whammy held in Mexico City, Mexico and Gothenburg, Sweden in 2011, this year’s international festival will take place in Warsaw, the capital of Poland.

The festival has garnered plenty of reputation lately, making crowd anticipation amongst drummers and fans exceedingly high. Starting out as a humble local event with the goal of letting upcoming and underground talents showcase their performances, Meinl Drum Festival has grown to a huge international event. Many of the world’s best drummers and percussionists are competing for one of the coveted spots in this year’s line-up.

One of the big challenges for the organizers is to beat last year’s ticket proceeds and voluntary donations that will go to charity and to promote the art of drumming in poor communities.

2015 brought in more than 20,000 Euros, with 10,000 going to the Danilo Perez Foundation in Panama. This charity organization works with musically gifted children and teenagers that are in risk of becoming criminal statistics. Panama is a developing nation where social structures and living conditions are often compromised. Young adults, who in most cases can’t afford attending musical schools, are taken under the foundation’s wing and offered a sponsored scholarship to hone their talents.

percussion instruments

The other half will go towards purchasing instruments that will be donated to Karoly Istvan Orphanage in Hungary. The orphanage has developed a groundbreaking educational program for physically and mentally handicapped youths where children get to partake in music therapy session as part of their medical treatment. Funds are always in short supply for Hungarian charities, making the 10,000 donation a welcome contribution to the orphanage’s annual budget. The goal of Meinl Drum Festival is to promote and inspire musical talent, and they are working closely with a number of associations, aiding them in their work to use music as a tool for social betterment and economic equality.

The charitable work wouldn’t be possible without the support from festival attendees and donors, which is why this year’s Meinl Festival will put extra focus on the current wars and political strife around the world, and how we can use music to bridge the gaps that separate people.

The exact date of the 2016 event is still not decided, and the coordinators are in the process of choosing a suitable venue as well as picking the final line-up. Stay tuned for more updates as more information is released.

international drum festival

The Evolution of the Airflare: From Coast to Coast to Global Domination

the end

The year was 1999 and the fifth installment of CrosOne’s Freestyle Session was taking place. This was a major milestone in the history of U.S. street dance events as it was the first Freestyle Session that featured a variety of crews from out of state. Chicago, Miami, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Seattle, Austin… Dancers from all over the country showed up for a chance at the title. Ironically, the biggest talking point happened in the first battle on stage. Newcomers Havik and K.O.R.O. (Knights of Rhythm Odyssey) had come together, travelling all the way from Houston, TX to compete. Their first opponents were more than just intimidating, they were outright terrifying. The combined forces of Stylelements Crew and Footwork Fanatix had brought their best of the best, all out for blood and glory. While the battle featured the perhaps best set in the entire event, courtesy of west coast legend Remind, it was 15-year old bboy Moy from Havik that won the entire crowd. During his second go-down, the young dancer did a full-on six rotations of airflares, an unprecedented accomplishment on tape. Curious George from United Bboys actually did seven, and with better form, in a later battle, but by then everyone was already talking about Moy. Not unsurprisingly, he was snatched up by Tribal Gear for their sponsored tour shortly after the event was done.

The history of the airflare dates back to the 80’s, with early variations being done by Icey Ice and European bboy Paolo from 010 BBoys. The move is basically an over-extended airswipe with the rotating motion of the horizontal airtrack. It was on the west coast that the move was first perfected in its primary form, with bboys like Ivan and Kujo, Charles and MegaMan from Soul Control being among the first ones to do them. Ivan did what would later become known as the airmills, calling them startracks. They were pure airflares, but with the exception of Ivan going straight down on his shoulders, rolling over in a windmill motion before pushing himself off the ground for another rotation. Kujo did them more in an airtrack fashion from a variety of floats, such as deadman ufos to airflare and back into deadmans. MegaMan did them straight into halos and out again, but it was Charles’ brother Pablo who was the first dancer to ever do a continuous airflare – multiple airflares from hand to hand in one set.

classic airflare

Later evolutions of the move came when power heads like Ruen and Caveman from L.A. Breakers started playing around with it. Caveman did his linked to his infamous cavemills – shoulder-hopping windmills/babymills, while Ruen was the first to do spider airflares, or hopping airflares with his legs in different positions. Boy from HaviKoro perfected the forearm airflares and was among the first to tamper with onehanded versions of the move, along with fellow Texan dancer Shorty from United BBoys. Other notable additions included Josh and Omar from Fiends 4 Rhythm, Kareem from Rock Force Crew and later on the Korean bboys, like Mute, Bruce Lee, Blond and The End. Then Europe, Russia and the rest of the world followed suit, and today the airflare is the staple of any powermover’s arsenal.

But it all started that faithful day at Freestyle Session when Pablo did two airflares in a row and everyone lost their frickin’ minds…

A List of the Most Memorable Battles to Go Down in Street Dance History

A great battle is like an awesome conversation between two opposing parties, with each side of the argument bringing exceptional skill and responses to the table. Akin to a sweet rap track, a dance battle is pure poetry at its best, but using physical motion instead of liquid swords. Today, we’re listing a few of the most memorable battles the world has ever seen.

5. Rock Force Crew vs the Family (Rematch) – 1999

After a controversial outcome at the Battle of the Year in Germany the previous year, which saw the Family being disqualified in the finals against Rock Force for being too physical against their opponents, the two crews met up in Rotterdam, Holland to settle the score once and for all. The Family, representing France brought some of the country’s finest bboys at the time, including Salah, Lamine, Ibrahim and Nono. Rock Force had their 2nd and 3rd generation lined up, consisting of Bionic Man, Reveal, Iron Monkey, Jeff, Vietnam, Miah and others. The most memorable parts of the battle was Bionic Man schooling Salah in true popping and Miah showing the French what west coast power was all about. While most spectators gave the win to the Family in ’98, Rock Force showed that their victory in Germany was not a fluke.

4. Lego & Megus vs Flipz & Cloud (Who Can Roast the Most) – 2000

What do you get when you combine the intricate footwork, flow and blowups of Flipside Kings and Boogie Brats? One of the most explosive duos ever put together. Toronto’s Megus and Miami’s Lego teamed up for the second WCRTM event, thrown by Bebe and Ground Zero Crew, and practically dominated the competition. That is, until they went up against Flipz and Cloud from Tampa’s Skill Methodz in the semifinals. The battle was mad heated, and went into several tiebreakers until the judges finally announced Lego and Megus as the winners. They eventually ended up winning the whole thing, basically destroying TellsOne and Indelible in the final battle.

3. Stylelements vs Rock Steady Crew (Bboy Summit) – 1996

When AsiaOne from Rock Steady’s LA chapter threw her annual event, Bboy Summit, and it was announced that the OGs from New York would be there, everyone got excited. Among these were the up and coming dancers in Stylelements from the Bay Area. Remind, Crumbs, Super Dave, Gonz, PoeOne and Boogie-T went into the cyphers, hungry for blood. It all started when Flomaster from RSC decided to go after Super Dave, with Remind instantly responding. Then all hell kicked off, with Ken Swift, Floor Rock, Mr. Wiggles, Easy Roc and Crazy Legs himself entering the fray. While there was no definite winner after the battle was concluded, Stylelements had made their mark, prompting Remind and Crumbs to be taken under RSC’s wing. They were later initiated into 7Gems and invited to be a part of Fabel’s Jam on the Groove tour.

2. Wicket and Flomaster vs Kmel and Wicked (Bboy Summit) – 1999

A true battle classic that will last in our memories forever! Kmel from Boogie Brats had already battled with Wicked’s Phaze II crew from Chicago in BOTY 98 and when Bboy Summit came up, he decided to go after all the big names in the room. He battled Ivan, Flomaster, Remind and Crumbs in the cyphers, which led to a stage battle between him and Wicked against Flomaster and his crewmate from Footwork Fanatix, Wicket. It was also a battle for names, as the similarities between Wicket and Wicked were a little too close for comfort at the time. Everyone was expecting to see a battle of power, as both Wicket and Wicked were predominantly power heads, and a battle of blowups between flipmaster/hollowback efficionado Kmel and the overall craziness of Flomaster. What few people knew was that Wicket had been in hard foundation training with Flomaster in Las Vegas, and decided to come at Wicked with pure footwork and clean, fresh moves. While the battle between Kmel and Flomaster was a tossup, everyone agreed that Wicked got more or less murdered by Wicket, despite bringing some impressive power moves that day. Wicket’s performance was so impressive that he was initiated into Rock Steady Crew at the same event.

  • 1. Rock Steady Crew vs New York City Breakers (Beat Street) – 1984

The one that started the whole globalization of breaking. Filmed at the Roxy as a part of the Beat Street movie, this battle will forever be legendary. It’s important to understand the background to this battle and the history of the two crews. While Rock Steady was formed the old school way, with crew members coming up together or being battled in or recruited from other neighborhoods, New York City Breakers were more of a professional all-star team put together solely for the purpose of shows and winning battles. Everyone knew that Rock Steady Crew had the originality and battle mentality on their side, while NYCB were more on the dynamic tip. What nobody expected, though, was how RSC came to completely dominate their rivals in the routines department. The footage in Beat Street only showcase a small part of the whole battle. Once the battle was over, the MC asked the crowd who they though won it all. The response was a deafening: “Rock Steady! Rock Steady! Rock Steady!”

Do you have any other nominees for the most memorable battles in history? Hit us up and let us know.

The First Major Sponsored Bboy Event: Lords of the Floor 2001

The year was 2001 and an abandoned airplane hangar in Seattle, WA had been repurposed to host the first major sponsored bboy event in the US. Courtesy of Red Bull and Bob the Balance from Seattle’s own Circle of Fire, the venue was transformed to a fully functioning dance floor with complete DJ booth and spectator stands where hundreds of dancers witnessed their favourite dynamic duos battle it out for the prestigious title of Lords of the Floor.

The event featured both an open bracket where everyone could enter, along with a specially invited line-up appropriately named the Great 8. Qualifications included past wins and trophies, but also underground street rep on the battle scene. Stylelements (Battle of the Year 97 Champions, Clash of the Titans 2000 Winners), Skill Methodz (Out for Fame Eastcoast/Midwest Champs and Out for Fame National Finalists), Circle of Fire (Battle of the Year 2000 US Representatives, Out for Fame National Finalists), HaviKoro (Freestyle Session 5 2nd Place, Out for Fame National Champions), LA Breakers (Freestyle Session 6 Winners) , Boogie Brats (longstanding underground reputation), Massive Monkees (Bboy Summit 2000 Champions, Freestyle Session 6 2nd Place), and Rythm Bugz (Battle of the Year 98 Champions, Out for Fame National Finalists) were all chosen as the teams to beat in the Great 8.

Battle highlights saw legendary Bay Area veterans Remind and Crumbs take out Lil John and Moy from HaviKoro in a tiebreaker. Moy and John did their thing, but the combined strengths of Remind and Crumbs, considered by many to be the best bboy duo in the history of the dance, proved too much in the end.

Massive Monkees’ Juse Boogie and Jeromeskee eliminated Iron Monkey and EJ from Rythm Bugz in the first round, and their crew mates Twixx and Lil Lazy got the W over Abstrak and Cloud from Skill Methodz in a debated decision from the judges of the day (Ken Swift, Ivan and Chuco). LA Breakers’ Caveman and Ronnie Ruen defeated Circle of Fire’s Free and Seth, and Boogie Brats (Kmel and Megus) took out both Orb (Circle of Fire) & Midus (Originality Stands Alone/West Coast Rockers) and Stuntman (Stylelements/Originality Stands Alone)/Rawbzilla (Originality Stands Alone/Sore Feet).

The semifinals pitted LA Breakers against Twixx and Lil Lazy, and Stylelements vs Boogie Brats, with LA Breakers and Boogie Brats advancing to the finals. Battle for 3rd was Stylelements to win in a landslide, frustrated after being defeated by their Bboy Summit cypher rivals, Boogie Brats.

The finals featured some great blow-ups and power moves from Ruen and Caveman (with Ruen pulling out his hopping airflares and insane 90s, and Cavemen his shoulder mills), and some of the best intricate footwork and flow from Megus mixed with Kmel’s flips and hollowbacks. In the end, the judges gave the trophy to LA Breakers, becoming the first Red Bull Bboy Champions in history.

Today, the world is fortunate to have a number of major events. But before there was Red Bull BC One, R16 and UDEF, there was only one – the infamous Lords of the Floor.

Great Battles, Beats & Cash Prices: A Review of Silverback Open 2015

silverback open 2015

Just last month, hundreds of dancers gathered in the Courtyard Marriot of Wayne, PA to go head to head in the biggest bboy event in the history of the dance. More than 400 talents from all over the world came together to compete for a total of $90,000 in cash, free gear and sponsored products in what has already become an epitome in what a major jam should look like, courtesy of UDEF.

The Silverback Open was the culmination of a 30+ event series across the country, all sanctioned by the Pro Breaking Tour organization, and featured the first of two world championships in 2015, with Freestyle Session being the second (November 7th and 8th).  The doors opened at 10 in the morning with 3 cyphers set up, each one sponsored by Monster Energy, UDEF and Silverback Events, giving each and everyone a chance to warm up and test their skills against competitors and judges alike before the prelim battles in the 1 on 1. Fans and fellow bboys got to get down with famous names such as Bebe from Miami’s Ground Zero Crew, Ronnie Ruen from Stylelements/Killafornia, Profo from Rock Force Crew/Floor Gangz, Charles from Soul Control/Climax and many others.

The 1v1 judges for the day were Poe One (Stylelements/Floor Rockers/Rock So Fresh/Aktuel Force/Mighty Zulu Kingz), Focus (Flow Mo), Ghost (Lionz of Zion), Free (Circle of Fire/Soul Shifters), Wicket (Renegades/Footwork Fanatix), Yan (All the Most), and Ken Swift (7 Gemz/Break Life). On the 1s and 2s, spinning their own original mixes were DJs Foxx Boogie, Fleg, Scream and Bles One. Nemesis from New York’s own Breaks Kru was MC’ing the event, together with Urban Action Figure Ivan (to everyone’s excitement).

The prices for the brackets and each individual battle were set up as follow: Everyone making it into the top 100 received $100, top 32 got $200 each, and top 16 $500, win or lose. If you were skilled enough to advance to the quarterfinals, you’d get $1,000, the semifinals paid $2,500, with the grand prize reserved for the finals; $7,500 for 2nd place and $15,000 to the winner. All who made it into the semis or beyond also received a paid trip to Freestyle Session World Finals in Los Angeles, CA, along with plenty of gear, including a portable Mackie sound system.

Competition was fierce, with many big names getting taken out in the first round. The defending champion, Thesis (Knuckleheads Cali/Massive Monkees) got eliminated in the top 32, as did a lot of other famous dancers, such as Lego (Flipside Kings), Keebz (Masters of Mayhem/Mind180), Moy (HaviKoro/Killafornia/Footwork Fanatix), El Nino (Floor Lords/Squadron), Ronnie (Full Force/Super Crew), and Morris (Fallen Kings/Rock Force). The finals came down to Issei (Found Nation) and Vicious Victor (MF Kidz/Squadron), with Victor taking the win in a very close and hype battle.

Second day featured the 3 on 3 crew battles, with an equally impressive roster: Hustle Kidz from Holland, Polskee Flavor from Poland, Eastside Bboys from Ukraine, HaviKoro from Houston, TX, Knucklehead Zoo from Las Vegas, NV, Body Carnival from Japan, Skill Methodz from Tampa Bay, FL, and 7 Commandoz from Korea.

Battles were increasingly heated, with Eastside Bboys (Robin, Kinder and Gimnast) almost being shut down after Robin shoved 7 Commandoz’s Hong10. The finals saw the Koreans from 7 Commandoz going at it with Kazuki Roc and sisters Ayumi and Narumi from Body Carnival, with 7 Commandoz finally taking the win. Big ups to Hong10 (Drifterz), Wing and Skim (Jinjo Crew) for taking home the title and first price in the most historical event in modern times.

If you want to watch the stream from the jam, simply check out the clip below:

Hunting Gold Bars for Sale with Notorious Break Beat DJ Afrika Islam

afrika islamFamous DJ Afrika Islam, son to even more famous DJ Afrika Bambaataa, is just like his father: an enormous success story with very humble beginnings. Starting his musical career in the poor boroughs of New York, this break beat maestro is currently travelling the globe on a daily basis. The so-called break is a great example of how something in its most basic musical form can capture millions of people. It all started when street DJs began extending the drum-heavy part of popular funk tracks by using dual turntables, switching between records to create a continuous loop of the tribal beat. Thus was the break beat born, which became the core of all subsequent hiphop music.

True to the culture’s essence of “being fresh”, Afrika Islam is mostly seen sporting extravagant outfits and heavy gold jewellery; chains and gold rings. Not only that, but you may also get the opportunity to witness him spin his favourite beats on his customized golden DJ rig, made from pure gold bars. Being a prominent member of the Universal Zulu Nation, Afrika Islam is a firm believer in the Illuminati, a worldwide group of secret power brokers who control global commerce and finance. If you ever get the chance to spend a few minutes with the DJ himself, he will tell you how the world is heading towards imminent economic collapse, engineered by the top bankers and their puppet politicians in the USA and Europe. This collapse is part of the final stages of their masterplan, said to bring down democracy as a world entity and establish the despotic rule of the Illuminati organization. Using his musical fame as a political outlet, Afrika Islam has one major advice to give his followers and extended family: find gold bars for sale and start investing.

physical gold investment

The reason is simple; gold is like a fixed currency that cannot be printed en masse like bonds and bills. Central banks and heavy investors across the world are currently buying up massive amounts of the global gold bar supply, supposedly to be used as a wealth insurance for when the economic shitstorm hits the fan. Unlike paper money, which is easily subjected to rapid inflation and market fluctuations, gold bars and precious metals are recession-proof, since their limited supply and historically high demand make them rare financial commodities that will see an increase in value in the case of another economic crisis. Afrika Islam and the Zulu Nation have always had an interest in hunting down gold bars for sale. Their interest in buying gold bars stems from their belief in gold as a means to resist coming financial oppression and upset the status quo, mainly due to their close ties to the African continent and its volatile history and cultural struggles. Taking your liquid funds and investing them in physical assets such as gold bars for sale will ensure your financial safety long after the dollar and euro go down in flames, and will continue to protect you from any future artificial market downturns.

investing in gold bars

While gold bars for sale have traditionally been a relatively conservative go-to alternative, more liberal private investors are catching on and are attempting to snatch up their own gold bar supply to strengthen their financial position in relation to big banks and creditors. Even small-time, regular folks would do well to start investing their funds in gold bars and precious metals. But they should get in on the action as soon as possible, because the available number of gold bars for sale is rapidly becoming more rare, meaning buying gold bars will becoming increasingly expensive . There’s still some time, as you currently don’t need millions of dollars to stock up on a decent supply of gold bars for sale. A sum of fifty to a hundred thousand will do great as an initial sum when purchasing gold bars as an investment. This will create a decent personal supply in gold bars that will turn your paper currency into a secure nest egg, safe from the clutches of the tax man and greedy politicians.

The best way to find gold bars for sale and turn them into a long-term wealth insurance policy is to simply setup an individual retirement account (IRA) backed by physical gold bars. Find a top-rated gold bar provider online that offers gold bars for sale, delivery and vault storage, and set up a personal gold investment account.  You can then start buying gold and other metals, and also put up your gold bars for sale at any time. Finding gold bars for sale on your own and learning how to diversify a precious metal portfolio can be daunting for beginners. Thankfully, most gold bar sellers and traders offer their clients a number of customized investment packages where the allocated funds will be put into not only gold bars, but other metals as well.

As your investment in gold bars for sale will grow in value over time, you can sell off parts of your gold bar supply and re-invest the acquired funds in other metals or commodities while still keeping your original gold purchase intact. A few simple bids in the right places could potentially net you a fortune in real assets that you can actually see and touch, not some flimsy pieces of paper that could be completely worthless tomorrow, since, unlike gold bars, they don’t have any inherent value or useful qualities.

invest 50k in precious metals

A 50,000 investment in gold bars will most likely be worth several hundred percent more in a decade, if you look at the historical rise in the metal’s price on the markets. And in the event of a market crash, your purchased gold bar supply will be one of the few benefactors that have the strength to go against the mainstream of economic tides. In these uncertain times, it’s more vital than ever to diversify your resources to mitigate risks, and hunting down gold bars for sale is a sure way to go, whether you’re interested in buying gold bars for a few thousand dollars or a million.

In the words of Afrika Islam: “Someone came to win…”

Would you rather be a future winner or loser in terms of financial security?

Think about it…

winner or loser

Them Sweet Beats