The MTV Music Video Awards? Why?
May 25, 2012
"The people who watch it today, they don't refer to MTV as music television. They don't have the same emotional connection that, say, the people who are writing about [the logo change] do,"
-- MTV's head of marketing in 2010, Tina Exarhos
The announcement went out to all record labels this week that any music videos that have aired on any MTV branded channel between 12a (ET) on July 1st, 2011 and 11:59p (ET) on July 2nd, 2012, are eligible to be considered for a 2012 MTV Video Music Award. The VMAs are scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 9th.
CNET's audiophilliac, Steve Guttenberg, wrote this week in an article "MTV gave up on music ages ago, and only a handful of young bands make money selling records." (Read his article 'When Did Music Become Unimportant' here: http://tinyurl.com/c8faesv )
And this from TV.com's Tim Suretee back in February 2010, "MTV, which once upon a time stood for Music Television instead of Moronic Television, has finally decided to update its logo for the first time since ... well, ever. And while the change to the overall feel of the logo isn't drastic, it has removed one big part. The part that says "Music Television." ... Of course, we've known that MTV is no longer about music for quite some time now. Heck, the MTV Movie Awards started in 1992. (Do people born in the mid-'90s even know that the network once showed music videos?) But to see the company actually remove the "Music Television" bit is finally the admission we've been looking for that music has been as important to MTV in recent years as extreme sports is to Lifetime Television. Still, the execs aren't giving up yet on pretending there is still a music connection. MTV's press release states: "The [new] logo is part of MTV's re-invention to connect with today's millennial generation and bring them in as part of the channel."
And from the Los Angeles Times in February 2010, "Outside of its annual VMAs music video award show, and with the cancellation of "TRL," MTV has long abandoned music as a programming mainstay. For years, all eyes have been on genre-busting reality shows like "The Osbournes," "Newlyweds," "Jackass," "My Super Sweet 16" and "The Hills." The network is currently riding high with the docudrama "Teen Mom" and "Real World"-esque "Jersey Shore."
It's now two years later and counting, and MTV is still riding high with shows like "Jersey Shore," "16 and Pregnant," "I Just Want My Pants Back," "I Used To Be Fat," "The Pauly D Project," and other shows that certainly give credence to those who believe our nation's youth is dumbing down big-time.
Music has nothing to do with MTV anymore, other than providing an ancillary revenue stream to attract Madison Avenue ad dollars for the demographics that MTV attracts. There's nothing wrong with that; MTV is in business to make money, and they'll do so anyway possible. If it means putting on reality shows that must make anybody living anywhere outside of the U.S. who can see the show on satellite, believe the country has no future, what the hell.
But MTV has absolutely no interest in music, other than it being a commodity they can use to sell.
Why any artist or any label would care about winning an MTV Video Award today is beyond me. Then again, those cool awards would look nice on the shelf in any artist's home, right? But other than that, does anybody really care who wins a VMA? Who won last year? Did it dramatically increase sales at retail? Rhetorical question, no answer necessary.
MTV plays like a bunch of bad 'Saturday Night Live' skits far too often. But the worse it gets, the higher the ratings seem to go. (You can start singing the Who's "Teenage wasteland, it's only teenage wasteland, they're all wasted!" now.)
It would be great if one artist who won an award would have the courage to say, "Thanks to all my fans ... but are you guys seriously watching the trash on this channel?"
Ah, wouldn't that be great.
But, let's not forget. We're all in it for the money, right?
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
THE FACEBOOK STOCK THING
I received dozens and dozens of e-mails asking me if I was going to jump in on the Facebook IPO as soon as it launched, and how much would I buy if I did. I told everyone the same thing. "I'm not buying. I want to see a whole lot more in revenue generation and more models for growing the online business into other areas. I can wait."
I watched the events unfold on launch day, and as I watched, I was so happy I still had my Apple stock, and hadn't sold a single share to buy any Facebook. (Unlike Bono, who stood to make more than $1.5 billion in the initial public offering of Facebook stock)
Now, Facebook shareholders have sued the social network, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and a number of banks, alleging that crucial information was concealed ahead of Facebook's IPO. ( http://tinyurl.com/cqjdy4b )
As CNET writes in an article "Why Facebook's stock is tanking," "Reality has taken hold. The company's valuation is still out of whack, despite its massive user base." ( http://tinyurl.com/cby4pbm )
Days after the news broke, out came the inside story on why General Motors decided to stop spending ad money on Facebook.
"GM's decision followed Facebook officials' failure to convince top marketing executives at the U.S. automaker of the benefits of Facebook's paid ads at a meeting that took place in the past few weeks," reports Reuters, citing sources. Apparently, where Facebook officials really went wrong was by first focusing more on touting the social networking site's free pages.
"It kind of backfires on them in a funny way," a source told Reuters. In the end, GM dropped its Facebook ads because they were less effective than other options, such as Google's AdSense, sources say. Facebook's ads reportedly garner about half the clicks per page view, a measure of effectiveness, compared with the average website.
What's more, Facebook's ad prices were expected to rise after the company's IPO. GM officially announced its decision to drop Facebook paid ads on Tuesday in what Reuters calls, "the first highly visible crack in Facebook's strategy and illustrated doubts about its perceived advantage over traditional media."
You can read that article from Reuters here: http://tinyurl.com/bpwns2t
AND STILL MORE...
From his article "Why I Don't Have A Facebook Page," Bob Guccione Jr. (of SPIN fame) writes, "More than half of the people who access Facebook do so on mobile devices that the company ADMITS it makes little or no money on, and has no certainty its mobile strategies will work. The likelihood is they won't. A fundamental problem is the difficulty of delivering ads on small screens crowded with the content people are checking. We may one day have the technology to deliver ads on the head of a pin, but at a certain point you shrink a message beyond purposefulness. That is a flaw in the company's potential. ... But I think Facebook has already peaked. If you look away from the blinding magnesium-burning glow of the hype of how many users it has, you can see that a lot of people once obsessed with Facebook now use it less. To many it has receded to a service, useful for mass inquiries for recommendations, or learning about something you would have learned about some other way anyway, if it was important."
You can read the rest of that article here: http://tinyurl.com/7ap3gts
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
THE SUPREME COURT DECLINES REVIEW OF TENENBAUM CASE
From The Wrap, "The music industry's attack on illegal music downloaders just got a big boost from the Supreme Court. The court on Monday declined to review a $675,000 jury award against Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum, who downloaded a mere 30 songs."
In the same article, "Jennifer Pariser, RIAA senior vice president, litigation, told TheWrap that RIAA is not currently pursuing a litigation campaign against illegal downloaders but is instead working with Internet service providers who put subscribers on notice "when they're illegally downloading music." (You can read the article here: http://tinyurl.com/82vjd3a )
And now the realities despite the alleged victory for the labels and industry.
First: Good luck collecting the $675,000 from Mr. Tenenbaum. Perhaps if he makes monthly payments the RIAA will be able to collect the money in ... well, let's be honest, they are never going to collect all that money. Unless Mr. Tenenbaum hits the lottery, the RIAA has about as much chance of seeing that money as the banks do from all those people who are underwater big-time in their home mortgages.
Second: I wish the RIAA good luck in working with ISPs who make their money from subscribers who pay those monthly fees. Once the word gets out that any ISP is going to catch you downloading and possibly share that information with the RIAA, subscribers will flee in massive numbers. In essence, the ISPs cannot chew off too much from the hands that feed them. Sure, they'll send out letters. That will only alert those in the habit of downloading to do it another way. Those people who download music illegally will continue to do so despite all the spin the RIAA puts on it otherwise.
Third: Do I have to say it again? Sure, why not. All the RIAA's attorneys cannot ever detect off-line Intranets, "darknets" that fly under online detection, nor those people simply burning copies of songs on CDs to share and trade with friends.
Fourth: I'll ask the same question I've been asking now for years: Isn't it time the RIAA spent all the millions they get from labels on developing new ideas to generate new revenue streams for the labels and the artists they represent? If they had been doing this the last decade, perhaps just one idea might have generated more revenues for the industry than all the millions the RIAA has wasted on lawsuits. And again, if any reader wants to e-mail me all the RIAA has done to actually create such things, please do so.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
CHINESE COMPANY BUYS AMC THEATERS
From CNN,"China's Dalian Wanda Group and AMC Entertainment announced Monday a $2.6 billion deal to take over the U.S. theater group, forming the world's largest cinema chain, according to a new release on the deal.
The move is the latest in a raft of deals between U.S. entertainment companies and Chinese firms, linking the world's largest theater market with the world's fastest growing."
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
AMAZON IS CHANGING THE RULES FOR BOOKS AND MOVIES
The online retail giant is tapping its huge customer base and vast technical underpinnings to reshape the way books, movies, and television programs are made.
From CNET,"If you want a glimpse into the way Amazon sees your digital future, look no further than Jeff Ragsdale's new book, "Jeff, One Lonely Guy." Last October, after being dumped by a girlfriend and mired in depression, Ragsdale posted a flier around New York City on a whim that read, "If anyone wants to talk about anything, call me."
It listed his mobile phone number. Calls streamed in, by the dozens, then the hundreds, and now well into the tens of thousands.
Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/cfeuf3t
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
ONKYO WILL OFFER REAL DOLBY HD 5.1 MUSIC DOWNLOADS
Music-only surround formats have failed again and again; is Onkyo's new high-resolution download scheme doomed from the start?
Read the rest on CNET here: http://tinyurl.com/cubyzlp
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
WILL YOU WEAR A COMPUTER IN THE FUTURE?
There's no telling whether consumers will take to face computers, but that can't stop gadget makers from pushing such devices. "The rise of Internet-connected smartphones and advances in 'heads-up' displays are accelerating the development of all sorts of wearable augmented-reality devices," reports The Wall Street Journal. "Such gadgets have long faced skepticism because they were uncomfortable to wear, ugly and expensive, reserved only for corporations and military agencies."
Indeed, the best example the WSJ can find of face-computer adoption is Austrian eyeglasses designer Michael Pachleitner Group, which is giving its warehouse workers the new technology. Sure, each device costs $13,000, but, according to WSJ, the case offers a glimpse at the future of "augmented reality." As for broad consumer adoption, Google -- along with a set of smaller companies, including Lumus, Vuzix, Laster Technologies and Recon Instruments -- are pushing their own wearable gadgets.
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/89ej8ws
THE 'A-SIDE' - BETWEEN THE GROOVES
'AMERICAN IDOL' HAS 'JUMPED THE SHARK'
People really stopped talking about 'American Idol' after Simon Cowell left. (And let's face it, a whole bunch of people watched the show in its early years just to hear what Simon would say each week)
Well, let me rephrase that. They stopped talking about the show and the contestants, and started talking more about the new celebrity judges, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez.
What was J-LO wearing? What girl did Steven Tyler make goo-goo eyes at on each show? Jimmy Kimmel even had a regular segment in his monologue every week about Tyler's doing just that.
But, the real talk that once existed at water-coolers around the country, and on social media everywhere, cooled steadily. Maybe it was the proliferation of other singing competition shows, and the ratings for "Idol" got cannibalized. Or maybe people got tired of the love fest going on between the three judges for themselves and the contestants. Maybe it was a little of both. (In my opinion, a lot of the latter)
Whatever the case, "Idol" has seen its best days. The show had its lowest-rated season finale ever this Wednesday, sliding in total viewers and the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic from past finales.
"The 'Idol' finale delivered a 6.4 rating/18 share in the key demo - 22% lower than the previous low, the 8.2 in the demo for the season 9 finale. It was 30% lower than last season's finale, which had a 9.2 rating. Idol" had 21.5 million total viewers, the least ever for a season finale. The previous low was 23 million for the first season finale." ( http://tinyurl.com/d6zwqpu )
You know the show has to be in trouble when they drag out formal "Idol" finalists Fantasia Barrino (quick, name the last time you heard her name or a song of hers on the radio) and Jordin Sparks (quick, name the last time you heard her name or a song of hers on the radio) to perform, instead of the superstars and groups that used to fill the show's finale each year. On top of that they filled air-time with having former contestant Ace Young propose to former contestant Diana DeGarmo on the stage. (Name the last time you heard either of their names mentioned anywhere in the media)
Then we had the perfunctory J-LO performance (and she sure looked like she was lip-synching) so she can shake her big booty and pretend she's not 43. After all, the judges have to use the show to sell their stuff too, right?
And if you have to fill air-time, you could always have the finalists do what Randy Jackson said about a million times. They could "sing the phone book!" And they did just that. And it was, of course, not funny, but boring.
Oh yeah. We did get to finally see Aerosmith reunited. Steven Tyler put his arms around Joe Perry more times than the entire cast of "Friends" did with each other on their last episode. We got the message, Steven. You guys made up for the new album and upcoming tour. (The money was too much to ignore)
"Idol" was a great vehicle for the music industry to sell lots of music over the course of the past decade. I think the ability of the show to do that is long gone. But, the show did give us two true stars: Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson
Maybe Scotty McCreery (last year's winner) will become a genuine Country artist, but only time will tell. Sales success on one album doesn't guarantee a thing. Just ask Clay Aiken, Daughtry (who's first album sold four million and his second is only certified at one million), David Archuleta, David Cook, Fantasia, Jordin, et al.
Hey look, "Idol" has had its run. It was great fun for awhile. At its height, it was the best karaoke competition ever
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* Check out this video on CNN about a band that uses iPads for instruments: http://tinyurl.com/89h7427
* Amazingly loud and super-portable, The House of Marley Bag of Rhythm speaker is portable in an old-fashioned sense -- in that it comes in a bag, with handles: http://tinyurl.com/cqptxyp
* You can build a great stereo for $70 if you read about how CNET's Audiophiliac pairs bargain speakers with the tiny Lepai LP2020A+ stereo amp, and finds very respectable sound. http://tinyurl.com/7mm32q4
* Is Sony about to overtake Universal in market share? Read what the New York Post thinks about it here: http://tinyurl.com/d3h7ffg
Short News Items ...
JUST WHEN WE THOUGHT WE WERE DONE WITH HER:
Jennifer Lopez took to Twitter last week to refute reports circulating she would be leaving "American Idol."
OH NO, DO WE REALLY NEED ANOTHER SINGING COMPETITION SHOW?
VH1 is stepping into the reality music competition arena with '60-Minute Superstar', a new series in development.
How weak were record sales this past week? Take a look at this: For the first time, one "American Idol" replaces another at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart as Adam Lambert's "Trespassing" debuts with 77,000 sold according to Nielsen SoundScan. His arrival bumps last week's leader, Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away," down to No. 3. It's Lambert's first No. 1 album and is his second major label studio set. It follows 2009's "For Your Entertainment," which debuted and peaked at No. 3 with 198,000 sold in its first week. So, Lambert debuts at #1 and sells 121,000 less than he did a few years ago when he debuted at #3. Ouch.
CLASSICS ADDED TO LIBRARY OF CONGRESS:
Classic recordings by Prince, Donna Summer, the Grateful Dead, Bo Diddley, Booker T. and the M.G.s, Love and the Sugarhill Gang will soon be added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress, the New York Times reports.
SIR ELTON SICK:
Elton John has been hospitalized for a serious respiratory infection, TMZ reports. The singer checked into Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles early yesterday and underwent a series of tests. Doctors ordered John not to perform for a solid week, insisting that he needs complete rest and antibiotic treatment to prevent further damage to his body.
BIEBER READY TO HIT THE ROAD:
Justin Bieber has announced a North American tour in support of his upcoming album Believe. Bieber will embark on the "Believe" Tour on September 29th in Glendale, AZ before wrapping up on January 26th, 2013 in Miami.
ADELE TAKES A DOZEN BILLBOARD AWARDS:
Adele dominated the Billboard Music Awards lat Sunday night, winning 12 awards including top artist, top female artist and top album. Taylor Swift was presented with the Billboard Woman of the Year Award and Chris Brown was honored as R&B artist of the year. Lil Wayne won for male artist, and Wiz Khalifa took home the prize for top new artist.
AND SPEAKING OF THE BILLBOARD AWARDS:
The 2012 Billboard Music Awards slipped to tie its lowest ratings performance Sunday night. "The 2012 Billboard Music Awards" dipped 10% in the demo from last year's ceremony for a 2.7/7, tying 2006's low.
GOOD TO KNOW BONO'S A CAPITALIST:
Bono's investment group, Elevation Partners, stands to make more than $1.5 billion in the initial public offering of Facebook stock, NASDAQ reports. Elevation Partners bought 2.3% of the social network company for $90 million in 2009.
WOMACK ON THE MEND:
Soul legend Bobby Womack announced on Facebook that he has successfully undergone surgery for suspected colon cancer
ANY BETS ON HOW LONG THIS WILL LAST?
Gregg Allman, age 65, revealed in an interview on CNN this week that he is now engaged to a 24-year-old woman named Shannon. Allman confirmed the engagement in an interview with Piers Morgan, who questioned the Allman Brothers Band musician about the relationship on camera. Greg, you see, has been married seven times previously.
COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER OLDER THAN THOUGHT:
Loretta Lynn is three years older than she has led people to believe, an age change that undermines the story she told of being married at 13 in Coal Miner's Daughter, documents obtained by The Associated Press show. That makes her 80 years old, not 77, and it means she was married at 15, not 13.
MORE SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE:
ABC's "DWTS" finale was the most-watched show of the night this week in total viewers, with 17.5 million, and the season's highest-rated results show. But it was the show's lowest-rated finale on record in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic.
TIM GOES TO THE BIG MACHINE:
Big Machine Records (the label that has Taylor Swift) has signed Tim McGraw to a worldwide recording deal.
Michael Jackson's "Bad" album (the follow-up to "Thriller") will be reissued in a deluxe edition on September 18th to mark the record's 25th anniversary. The set, titled "Bad 25," will features three CDs, a DVD and two booklets. The DVD will include Jackson's personal video recording of his performance at Wembley Stadium in London on July 16th, 1988.
AUSTIN CITY CONCERT:
The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, the Black Keys and Jack White will headline the Austin City Limits Festival on October 12th-14th at Zilker Park in Austin, TX. The bill will also feature performances by Weezer, Florence and the Machine, the Avett Brothers, Gotye, Iggy and the Stooges, the Roots, Avicii, the Shins, the Civil Wars, Gary Clark Jr., M83, Steve Earle, the Old 97's, Tegan and Sara, Andrew Bird, A-Trak, the Afghan Whigs, Rufus Wainwright, Big K.R.I.T., Tennis, Black Lips, Kimbra, Alabama Shakes and Bassnectar.
Sony's Music Unlimited service is getting an iPhone/iPod touch app on Friday. The free app will add more devices with which subscribers can play the music they're paying to access.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg married his girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, on Saturday. (Was it her idea to wait until right after the IPO?)
Bee Gees co-founder Robin Gibb, after a battle with cancer of the colon and liver. He was 62.
Peter Jones, who played drums for Crowded House, died last Friday at the age of 45. Australia's Herald Sun newspaper reports that he had been suffering from brain cancer.
"Sweet Joe" Russell, who spent half a century harmonizing with the Persuasions, an influential vocal group widely regarded as the "kings of a cappella," has died. He was 72.
Eugene Polley, 96. In 1955, the longtime resident of suburban Downers Grove, Ill., invented the "Flash-Matic," the first wireless TV remote control, while he was an engineer for Zenith.
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
"Congratulations, Mark Zuckerberg! As a gift, I got you the names of all my friends, a list of my favorite movies, and some photos of me!"
-- Tim Carvel, head writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, tweeting congratulations to Mark Zuckerberg on his marriage to Priscilla Chan
"As usual, we bit off way more than we could chew when it came to scheduling. The band is winning, but our schedule has been sidelined for unnecessary roughness. We're gonna take a break and we're gonna come all the way back around, because this tour is gonna take about two years."
-- David Lee Roth, commenting about Van halen postponing some dates on their current tour.
"We have archives all the way back, and we've been talking about doing some retrospectives, going back and looking at some stuff that wasn't a hit from 'Hotel California' and from the early days - revisit 'Desperado' and stuff. There's also videos and interviews from the old days. It's real loose and we want to do it real bad. We haven't started yet, and we're saving it all for next year and taking this year off just to get ready. But I think if we can get it together, it'll be really good."
-- Joe Walsh, talking to Rolling Stone about the Eagles 40th Anniversary tour
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Quiet Temp Actually Very Untalented Singer-Songwriter
PITTSBURGH-Having established a reputation among the Flagstone Marketing staff as a quiet and reserved temporary worker, Kevin Bright completely shocked his coworkers this week when it was discovered that, outside the office, the mild-mannered 27-year-old is actually an embarrassingly unskilled singer-songwriter.
"I don't think Kevin's said more than five words to me in the month he's been here, so I was really surprised to find out he has this whole pitiful music hobby on the side," said account executive Sandra Hutchinson, 39, who was among several employees that happened by chance to attend one of the soft-spoken and largely forgettable temp's horrendous sets at a local coffee shop Tuesday. "But as it turns out, he's actually quite the shitty performer and plays his own unbearable songs at open mics around the city. Who knew?"
"He never let on he had such a lack of talent," Hutchinson added.
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
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"And the beat goes on, the beat goes on ... drums keep poundin' rhythm to the brain."
"Work is life, you know, and without it, there's nothing but fear and insecurity." -- John Lennon