The Fame Monster Indeed
August 5, 2011
"I'd rather be a musician than a rock star."-- George Harrison
The above quote from George Harrison, was in response to the repeated questions from people who asked if he missed touring after The Beatles quit doing so in 1966
I originally used the quote back in May 2007, when I wrote a commentary about how some shows like MTV's 'Cribs' and others glorify the excesses that can accompany success as an artist, making some people just want to be rock stars, drive the fancy cars, have the big houses, and have a harem of bimbo babes, than be serious musicians. The following is from that commentary:
"There's nothing wrong with anybody wanting "the good life." What's wrong (in my opinion) is wanting that more than wanting to create some great music that lasts longer than the flares now appearing on the Billboard charts. You've all seen them. Just look at the names of some of the artists who debut in the Top 20 Album Chart weekly and see how many you know. See how many are there a week or two later. See how many are on the charts at all several weeks later. And then when they try and come back a year or two later it's "Oh, yeah ...I kinda' remember them."
"They appear on the late night talk-show circuit. One week it's Leno, the next Letterman, the next Jimmy Kimmel, then Jimmy Fallon, Conan, Lopez, Ferguson, et al. And they get on the shows with only 15 minutes of fame. (Andy Warhol was so right, wasn't he?) At one time, the artists appearing on late night network shows had a whole lot more talent and established success. Not so anymore. Some of the "artists" appearing on these shows make us wonder how they got on the show at all. But then, it's all about "the image" today and it's simply amazing how much marketing can do to hoodwink the people who book talent.
And let's face it, with the way groups come and go today (sometimes faster than Lindsay Lohan doing a u-turn back to rehab), the talent people at these shows aren't really reading the tea leaves. They just drink their Starbuck's and nod approval at what they think is "hot" this week.
Occasionally, we get to see some REAL talent on these shows. Lady GaGa changes it up on every show she appears on and sings her heart out (okay, sings her ass off) each and every time and totally engages her audience. Anytime Wilco is on any of these shows, I hold hope that maybe things might change for the better. But Wilco, and other groups made up of real musicians, are the exceptions. Most of the time it's back to us wondering again how the hell the groups got booked on the shows in the first place.
The "Fame Monster" of course has created the world we now live-in that consists of devouring each and every new group of the moment and putting them on display in as many places as possible before they even have a few real solid hits under their belt. How many bands have exploded with a monster single that caused an album to go Platinum while they played larger venues only to find little or no success with their next album? It's a long list and it keeps getting longer. (Track the names of all the bands and artists appearing on the shows I mentioned and a year later see how many are still around)
There's no one reason why this happens. But one BIG reason which I've mentioned too many times here is the complete loss of artist development from the label side to actually develop and grow a roster that can consist of artists who have consistent and long-term success. Some artists (like Lady GaGa) take control of their own artist development. So does Adele, Wilco, Arcade Fire, a great Indie band called The Features (and if you haven't heard them or seen them check them out on YouTube and elsewhere), and others.
I closed my commentary in 2007 with this, "I think it was Scott Shannon who coined the adage (and if it wasn't you Scott, tell me and I'll credit the proper person) in regard to artists' longevity: " It's not how heavy you are. It's how LONG you're heavy."
The problem today is there aren't that many long-term heavies.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
SIRIUS XM MIGHT BE SERIOUS ABOUT RAISING SUBSCRIPTION PRICES
From The New York Times comes an article that says Sirius XM reported good news on its quarterly earnings call, with increases in profits and subscriptions.
It will also be able to raise monthly subscription prices now that an FCC price freeze has expired.
Read the article on The New York Times here: http://tiny.cc/9z0ky
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
TV STATIONS SHOULD BE STREAMING CONTENT NOW
If TV stations don't start streaming their own content online and on mobile devices, they "could miss out on the future of television," writes Preston Padden on TV Newscheck
To that end, Padden provides suggestions on "how to fashion a business model and... secure the necessary rights."
He also discusses what NOT to do, debunking "two particularly unpersuasive legal arguments" about station/network/cable operator relationships. Read the article here: http://tiny.cc/7ze40
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
THE UK SEZ IT WILL LEGALIZE COPYING CDs
As part of an overhaul of its intellectual property regulations, the United Kingdom's government announced its intention to legalize copying CDs for personal use.
Consumers will be allowed to transfer a copy of legally purchased copyrighted material onto a computer, backup disc or portable device.
These and other changes were recommended in Digital Opportunity: A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth, which is commonly referred to as the Hargreaves Review.
Read the report here: http://tinyurl.com/6bxcerw
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
CNET'S 'AUDIOPHILIAC' STEVE GUTTENBERG REPORTS WHY WNYC'S 'SOUNDCHECK' IS SO GOOD
WNYC radio host John Schaefer delivers more than 10 hours of provocative music and talk every week.
From Guttenberg's article, "Musical genres featured on the show are as eclectic as they come, one day you might hear Adele, next time it might be Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, or The National, The Jazz Passengers, Jakob Dylan, or The Decemberists. Musicians are interviewed by Schaefer between tunes, and I have to say, the man sounds like a guy who's hosted an eclectic radio show for going on 30 years. He's a great interviewer."
Read the rest here: http://tiny.cc/5m2wy
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
UMG LAUNCHES DIGSTER.FM
Universal Music Group Distribution (UMGD), a division of Universal Music Group, has launched a fan-facing music playlist service called Digster.fm (http:digster.fm).
Digster.fm publishes playlists across a wide variety of musical genres and artists which fans can listen to through Spotify. Read the rest here: http://tiny.cc/npnfm
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
COCA-COLA PARTNERS WITH MUSICDEALERS.COM
Independent and new artists take note: Music licensing startup Musicdealers.com formalized its partnership with the Coca-Cola Company, including a guaranteed commitment by the beverage giant to use the services of Music Dealers to discover and license music from currently trending bands all over the world.
he deal marks a new business model in brand/music partnerships and provides a global platform for emerging artists to share their music with the world . Read more here: http://tiny.cc/1eo9l
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
APPLE IS NOW THE WORLD'S #1 SMARTPHONE COMPANY
Apple is now the world's No. 1 smartphone vendor, beating out both Nokia and Samsung, according to new findings from research firm Strategy Analytics.
And, as if that wasn't enough, Apple's $76 billion cash war chest is now greater than the U.S. government's current operating balance of $74 billion, the Financial Post reports. Read more on The Wall Street Journals" All Things Digital here: http://tiny.cc/4kfqc
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
NEW REPORT SEZ PANDORA BEATS AM&FM RADIO IN 18-34 YEAR OLD DEMOS IN TOP-5 MARKETS
Analyzing data from Edison Research and Arbitron, RAIN (the Radio and Internet Newsletter) found online service Pandora beating every single station in AQH (average quarter hour) numbers for the key demographic. In New York, Pandora tops Z100 and Hot97. In Los Angeles, it beats KISS-FM. The story was similar in Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas-Ft. Worth.
I'm sure the research findings will be argued with data from Arbitron ratings on terrestrial radio stations, but in the meantime you can read more here: http://tiny.cc/6df7x
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
APPLE READIES iTUNES REPLAY
Apple is "on the edge" of rolling out iTunes Replay, according to AppAdvice. The move would make it more likely that Apple is finally ready to let users stream movies and TV shows from the cloud rather than relying on downloaded files.
"In a nutshell, iTunes Replay is an extension to what Apple is already doing with iCloud and free re-downloads of previously purchased music," it writes. The report also claims that there could be additional rules that limit the number of times content can be downloaded, likely to require that users purchase another license if they abuse the system.
Read the rest here on AppAdvice: http://tiny.cc/9jj6u
JAY-Z & KANYE AT ODDS?:
From the New York Post comes this news: "A battle royal has broken out behind the scenes of Jay-Z and Kanye West's new album, "Watch the Throne." Sources say the rappers -- who call themselves The Throne and are releasing their expected blockbuster collaboration Aug. 8th on iTunes and four days later everywhere else -- are barely speaking to each other as they iron out the details of their upcoming tour. The sources say West wants flashy concerts with "next-level production," which would cost more than $400,000 per show. Jay-Z is said to be meticulous about costs and already has a larger, long-term advance from Live Nation that he has to pay back." With a whole lot of money being put on the table, my guess is whatever problems exist, they will all be ironed out.
KATY TIES MICHAEL JACKSON:
Katy Perry is the first artist to score five #1 hit singles from the same album on Billboard's Hot 100 chart since Michael Jackson's string of smashes from Bad in 1987. The singer's new hit "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)," has already earned this distinction on Billboard's pop songs chart, and will probably do the same on their Hot 100 single chart.
Kings of Leon have canceled the remainder of their summer tour three days after Caleb Followill abruptly bailed in the middle of the band's Dallas concert. According to a Kings' rep, Caleb has been "suffering from vocal issues and exhaustion," and the band have opted to scrap the tour rather than play subpar gigs for their fans.
Paul McCartney will headline the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London next July 27.
Music fans are now able to enjoy VEVO's exclusive music video premieres, live music events and originally produced series on popular web destinations, including ArtistDirect.com/Rogue Network (music news), Batanga (Hispanic music news), Gorilla Leak (indie music), MeFeedia (video recommendations) and Canadian TV properties Entertainment Tonight Canada and AUX.tv (Glassbox.tv).
NEW OLD HANK WILLIAMS:
The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams, a new collection of previously unheard songs by the Country great recorded by artists such as Bob Dylan, Jack White, Norah Jones and Levon Helm, will be released on October 4th.
FUN FEST LINEUP:
The sixth annual Fun Fun Fun Fest, to be held November 4th through 6th in Austin, TX, will include headliners Slayer, Danzig Legacy, Public Enemy, Major Lazer, Passion Pit, Odd Future, the Damned and Henry Rollins -- which fans learned this week by visiting the festival's "room" on popular new streaming music social network Turntable.fm.
WALMART & TICKETMASTER:
Walmart has announced a deal with Ticketmaster to sell tickets to events via in-store video screens. Ticketing kiosks are being built into several of the big box chain's store across the United States, which will allow customers to browse and purchase tickets for music, sports, theater and other events.
TONY BENNETT GIVES DUET SINGLE WITH AMY WINEHOUSE TO CHARITY:
Tony Bennett has confirmed that his recording of "Body and Soul" featuring Amy Winehouse will soon be released as a charity single. The collaboration, which was recorded earlier this year and is the final completed recording by the late singer, is also set to appear on Tony Bennett: Duets II, due out September 20th.
WELCOME TO HIS NIGHTMARE:
Alice Cooper has teamed up with Universal Studios Hollywood to create a new attraction that will debut at the theme park just in time to celebrate Halloween. Alice Cooper: Welcome to My Nightmare is a maze that Cooper says will be a "living horror movie within screaming distance of the sound stages where horror movies first began." The maze will include simulated guillotine decapitations, electric chairs, a giant snake and an insane asylum.
SHINS GO MAJOR LABEL:
Longtime Indie band The Shins have signed to Columbia Records, and will undertake a series of intimate club appearances, starting Aug. 8th in Eugene, OR, with dates in Portland, San Francisco, Toronto, Philadelphia, Boston and Pensacola, FL.
MASTADON ROCKS AND ENGAGES FANS:
From Digital Music News come word that hard rock band Mastodon have raided the digital toybox to include an augmented reality experience on their upcoming album, a feature that should entice fans to buy rather than pirate. The Reprise Records recording artist's new release The Hunter will debut Sept. 27th in a package in a package that includes an interactive augmented reality experience created by Los Angeles-based company Total Immersion. By using a camera on a computer and the album cover art, users can turn themselves into the sculpture that is pictured on the cover.
Eugene McDaniels, who was on the Billboard charts several times in the early 1960s, and who wrote "Feel Like Makin' Love," which Roberta Flack took to the top of the charts in 1974, died on Friday at his home in Kittery Point, Me. He was 76. He hit No. 3 in the spring of 1961 with "A Hundred Pounds of Clay" and No. 5 later that year with "Tower of Strength." He last hit the Top 40 with "Spanish Lace" in late 1962.
The Music Industry Past, Present & Future, And The Internet I answer questions on EconTalk
I did an interview about the industry and the Internet at EconTalk with host Russ Roberts. Russ is also a professor of economics at George Mason University, blogs at Cafe Hayek, and has written three novels that teach economics. He's also the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap video. (And if your understanding of the economic meltdown that occurred needs to be enlightened, this video will do it)
In the interview we talk about the evolution of the music industry, the impact of the digital revolution, and I give my reasons for believing in the virtues and potential of the Internet in enhancing the music industry. I point out, as I have many times here in the newsletter, that the internet allows numerous artists to make money from their music and it can enhance revenues from live performances by expanding an artist's base. We also discuss the challenges facing record companies and I suggest that the full potential of the Internet as a distribution channel has yet to be fully exploited. There's a lot of ground covered, but based on the comments already posted of those who have tuned in, they've enjoyed it.
Read more about it by clicking here.
Quotes of the week
"NIN fans, don't waste your money on this version of PHM that was just released ... it's a record label bullsh-t move repackaging the old version. Ignore please."
-- Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor tweet this week about the recent rerelease of the band's 1989 debut Pretty Hate Machine
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
In The Know: Should The Nation's Unemployed Be Buying New Apple Computers?
Panelists discuss how owning a top-of-the-line MacBook or an iPad 2 is actually essential to finding a new job.
Read the rest here and laugh: http://tiny.cc/gr5mx
The BlogsCheck out Jerry Del Colliano's (the founder of INSIDE RADIO) daily blog, by clicking here: http://www.insidemusicmedia.blogspot.com
Check out attorney Ray Beckerman's website at: http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com where he prints news about the RIAA's ongoing activities
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