The MTV Video Music Awards Show Bomb
September 14, 2012
"Most years the VMAs are a dizzy bash celebrating the hilarious highs and lows of pop music. Other years, like this one, they're barely a show at all."
-- From the article "MTV To Music: We Are Never Ever Ever Ever Getting Back Together" on Rolling Stone
If there was anybody out there still doubting MTV has nothing to do with music anymore, this year's VMA show should convince them once and for all.
MTV forgot about music a long time ago. This year, two of the biggest hits, Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" and Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know," hit big as viral videos before ever appearing on the network.
The audience that cares about music tuned out this year. BIG time.
MTV's Video Music Awards lost more than half its audience compared with the 2011 show, which drew a record 12.4 million viewers. This year's VMAs pulled in only 6.1 million and earned a 2.8 rating, far below 2011's 6.2. Ouch. BIG ouch.
Nobody (except maybe MTV programming execs) should be surprised by these numbers. After all, the network that gave the world such mental morons (excuse me for being so blunt here, but let's call a spade a spade and a moron a moron) as Snooki and her crew from "Jersey Shore," definitely (and obviously) has no desire to insert any real quality in their programs. Their current program slate could provide a host of skits for "Saturday Night Live."
Maybe, just maybe, the audience is growing up and realizes that watching too much MTV lowers one's IQ.
And you know you're in trouble when the leading music/media/counter-culture bible -- Rolling Stone -- titles an article "MTV To Music: We Are Never Ever Ever Ever Getting Back Together," and writes in the article "Thank you, Katy Perry. You saved the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards. This was one of those award shows where all the entertainment comes from close-ups of Katy Perry boredom faces ... the VMA trudge felt endless at two hours. Kevin Hart bombed Chelsea-style with his musings on "Twilight" and "Jersey Shore." (Wait, Snooki rhymes with "nookie"? Why didn't anyone ever mention this before?) You know it's a failure when your host can't bag as many cheap laughs as John Kerry doing Rocky IV jokes."
Read the rest on Rolling Stone here: http://tinyurl.com/c5nd6yt
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
THE FINE YOUNG CANNIBALIZATION OF THOSE TV TALENT SHOWS
Back in May of this year I wrote a commentary titled "Network TV Execs Still Don't Get It."
I wrote in that article, "I assume it was because of the success of "The Voice," some programming genius within NBC decided they should have the show on twice a year, and then thought "Let's bring it back for the Fall sweeps and put it up against Cowell's 'X-Factor'!" BIG MISTAKE. 'The Voice' running head-to-head against 'The X-Factor' will only accomplish one thing. It will cannibalize its ratings success. Even if 'The Voice' squeaks out a small win, NBC will have done nothing to let the show stand alone and grow, going up against the competition it currently faces."
That mistake wasn't BIG enough. Now NBC had decided to run 'The Voice' in Spring as well as in the Fall.
This from Billboard, "Obviously, NBC can't extend the National Football League season, but it can install 'The Voice' as the first singing competition with fall and spring editions. NBC won't officially say 'The Voice' is going to a full year, but several individuals connected to show say the plan for a spring edition is a go. Executive producer Mark Burnett says he's prepared to expand the show's run, even if it means losing some of the judges/coaches associated with the program. One insider expects two of the four current coaches to take a break after this fall's edition." ( http://tinyurl.com/8n34yd5 )
The season premiere of 'The Voice' was this past Monday and it was the top-rated show and led NBC to an overall win, but without the boost from the Super Bowl the show received for season 2, it also had its lowest-rated premiere.
From The Wrap, "The Voice' had a 4.2 rating and 11 share in the advertiser coveted 18-49 demographic Monday, and 12.3 million total viewers, according to preliminary numbers. It was down 37% in the demo from last season's time period premiere on Monday, Feb. 6th, when it scored a 6.7/17, and was down 13% from last season's Monday average of 4.8/13." ( http://tinyurl.com/94c3tck ) On Tuesday 'The Voice' at 8p had a 4.0/12 and 11.4 million total viewers, but was down 5% in the demo from Monday night's season premiere.
Simon Cowell's 'X Factor' debuted on Wednesday, and ran against an hour of NBC's 3-night 'The Voice' marathon. 'The 'X Factor' Season 2 premiere averaged 8.5 million viewers, down over 3.5 million from last year's premiere. 'The Voice' beat FOX's singing competition program by over 3 million viewers. But, "it was a somewhat Pyrrhic victory as 'The Voice' shed 18% from its Tuesday night episode, but both shows had been projected to lose about a rating point from going against each other. In the second hour when it didn't face 'The Voice', 'X Factor' on Wednesday spiked by 41% in 18-49. Overall, it averaged a 3.3/10 from 8-10p, tying 'Voice's' 8-9p performance for the top 18-49 spot on the night." ( http://tinyurl.com/9dwzcv6 )
"The Voice" and "X Factor" have yet to produce a winner who can sell records.
"American Idol" hasn't produced a major star since Carrie Underwood. Sure, Scotty McCreary, the season 10 winner, has a Platinum album and he's sold over a million singles, but is anybody talking about him or awaiting his next release? Last year's winner, Phillip Phillips, has sold over one million of his "Home" single. Again, is there anybody buzzing about his forthcoming album? A tour?
Yes, selling a million singles is something to be celebrated by any new artist(s) in today's marketplace. But "American Idol," "The Voice" and "X Factor" all were started to find "stars" that would sell lots of records for the long term. So far only Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood have done that.
The only judge connected with selling LOTS of records on these types of shows is Simon Cowell. Add up the sales of his current Platinum-plus global success story, One Direction, and the Platinum-plus global sales of Leona Lewis, Il Divo, etc., and he surpasses all the other judges. (Obviously, L.A. Reid has signed a bunch of hit acts as a label head.)
The only success story to come from "The Voice" isn't one that came from any contestants. It was the hit single by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera, "Moves Like Jagger." It might have been a hit single without "The Voice," but Adam Levine and Christina's weekly appearances on "The Voice" gave both of then (and the single) more exposure.
NBC has already cannibalized "The Voice's" ratings success, and airing it in the Spring will dilute it further. Neither "The Voice" or "X Factor" will be a huge "winner" as they go head to head at least one night a week from this point on. Both NBC and Fox will have to settle for less audience then what was possibly available had the two shows not aired against one another.
"American Idol" is undergoing changes as well. Steven Tyler and J-Lo are gone, in come Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj ... and "The Dawg" Randy Jackson returns.
The ratings for "Idol" were down last season, and my guess is they will drop again this year as audience fatigue from too many of these shows spreads.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
FOLLOW-UP: TEENS OPT FOR MUSIC ONLINE
In the August 17th issue, my commentary was titled 'Teenagers Opt For Music Online...This Is News?'
I referenced an article "YouTube is teens' No. 1 pick for music listening" by Dara Kerr, on CNET ( http://tinyurl.com/8awdgec ) for my commentary and opened with this quote from that article, "Gone are the days of teenagers buying albums and listening to them all the way through, as are the days of following beloved radio DJs and tuning in at the appropriate times. The new generation is opting for their own music curating by means of YouTube, according to a new study released by consumer research firm Nielsen." (You can also read the article 'Teens' first choice for music listening? YouTube' on CNN here: http://tinyurl.com/8cae364 )
This week, VEVO released its second quarter 2012 Music Video Viewership Report, and some of the data reinforces that online is where young people are going for music.
How about this statistic: "71% of users agree that they discover new music overall because of online music video availability."
Some of the other statistics: 40 billion music videos were watched globally in the last year (July 2011-June 2012), with 9.3 billion music videos watched during that time in the U.S, for an average of 103 million worldwide watched per day, 3 billion each month; Mobile traffic doubled with over 1.3 billion streams worldwide, with active users growing nearly 33% to 5 million, watching a monthly average of 15 videos, an increase of 11%; 78% of users agree that watching a song's music video has made them like that particular song or artist more, while 56% of users agree that they listen to more music overall because of online music video availability.
You can access the report here: http://tinyurl.com/9ttt4e7 )
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
THE APPLE iPHONE 5 ... AND APPLE CONSIDERS AN ONLINE RADIO SERVICE
Apple introduced its iPhone 5 this week, and it is expected to be another huge retail success. ( Read about the new iPhone here: http://tinyurl.com/9jjnt8e )
How big a success? Some analysts are expecting Apple's latest iPhone to actually enlarge the entire economy.
"The iPhone 5 ... could get credit for something Congress, the White House and Federal Reserve have struggled to do: boost the U.S. economy in a measurable way," The Wall Street Journal reports. Sales of the device could add between a quarter- and half-percentage point to annualized economic growth in the fourth quarter, according to J.P. Morgan's chief U.S. economist Michael Feroli. Read that story on the Wall Street Journal here: http://tinyurl.com/d9s9hzr
And the continued success of Apple's iPhones with the introduction of the new iPhone 5 could possibly disrupt the mobile industry, says another analyst who believes rival phone makers, PC vendors, wireless carriers, and parts suppliers all stand to be affected by the shock wave created by the new phone. Read that story on CNET here: http://tinyurl.com/9zw3zre
But the other Apple news that made media waves this past week is that Apple is reportedly in talks to license music for a radio service of its own, and could possibly take on Pandora and other ad-supported music streaming services.
"Several online music services ... have recently added Pandora-like custom radio features. But Apple's outsize presence in online-music sales and massive installed base ... could make it a much more serious threat." (Read that story on The Wall Street Journal here: http://tinyurl.com/dxll94l )
Also, while most such services operate under limited licenses that restrict what they can do with the music, "Apple is seeking direct licenses with record labels that would give the company more flexibility in using music," writes The New York Times. (Read that article here: http://tinyurl.com/9udyjgy )
And if that wasn't enough, Apple also decided they would update iTunes and add new features: http://tinyurl.com/8wvwdt8
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL -- A CHAT WITH GEORGE MARTIN: 'HE HAD YOU HOOKED ON THE BEATLES'
A great article in the Wall Street Journal about Sir George Martin, and the role he played as The Beatles chief producer.
Great insights as well. From the article, "Mr. Martin even played on a number of Beatles songs, including "In My Life" on "Rubber Soul." "I wrote a piano part that I couldn't perform fast enough. So I played the notes at half speed but an octave lower on the piano, recording at 15 inches per second. When I ran the tape back at 30 inches per second, the notes were at the right speed and in the correct octave. But the piano's personality also had changed, which is why it sounds like a harpsichord."
Read the whole article here: http://tinyurl.com/cfabp3d
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
SPOTIFY GETS READY FOR SOME UPGRADES
Sometime this fall, Spotify is reportedly planning to launch a browser-based version of its music streaming service, along with improvement to its mobile app.
Currently, the music streaming service's desktop app offers a specific section where they show off third-party applications that use the company's API, TechCrunch notes.
"Adding its app center to the mobile app would make a lot of sense for Spotify as it seeks to make its service more ubiquitous."
Read the rest here on TechCRunch: http://tinyurl.com/8z8wyuo
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
HERE COMES TABLETS FOR KIDS
Hoping to connect the youngest members of your household, Toys "R" Us plans to launch a tablet by late October.
Set to retail for $149.99, the Tabeo will run on the Android 4.0 operating system. It features a 7-inch touch screen, Wi-Fi access and a slew of other features, which, according to PCMag.com, essentially put it on par with "adult tablets." The device will also feature robust parental controls, as well as software and content just for kids.
Read the rest on PCMag here: http://tinyurl.com/9nw96aw
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
BEATLES SET TO RELEASE 'BEATLES STORIES'
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of their first single, "Love Me Do," the Beatles are releasing' Beatles Stories', a new documentary featuring heartfelt memories told by the group's fans.
In this exclusive preview clip on Rolling Stone, Graham Nash looks back on the first televised broadcast of "All You Need Is Love" in 1967. It happened spontaneously; the morning of the taping, Paul McCartney invited the folk great to swing by the EMI recording studio, and he joined Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Keith Moon and other rockers at the session.
Read more and watch the clip here: http://tinyurl.com/9kz9p26
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
NIELSEN REPORTS THE MAJORITY OF HOMES WITHOUT TV SIGNALS STILL HAVE TVs
In a report showing "how the nature of TV service is slowly changing," Nielsen said that "three-quarters of the estimated 5 million homes that don't get TV signals over the airways or through cable, satellite or telecommunications companies have televisions anyway," writes David Bauder.
"Many of these homes are satisfied to use their TVs for games or get programming through DVDs or services like Netflix or Apple TV."
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/9vxoa4b
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
FACEBOOK LOSING ITS YOUNGER USERS
Has Facebook lost its cool factor?
Evercore analyst Ken Sena thinks so, and has the numbers to back it up. Under the headline, "Accelerating U.S. traffic declines and younger demo exodus create fundamental concerns," Sena reports: "U.S. comScore data show [August] time spent down 12% pro forma ... y/y ... primarily attributed to age groups 12-17 and 18-24, which declined 42% and 25%, respectively."
Of course, as Business Insider notes, "The silver lining is called "Instagram" -- which Facebook recently bought, and, last time we checked, is still sufficiently cool.
Read more here on Business Insider: http://tinyurl.com/9opy56j
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* Google just established itself as the undisputed master of the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game with a new "bacon number" search Easter Egg. With Google Search, you no longer need to be a movie buff to win the game. Just type the actor's name and "bacon number" into the search bar, and Google will list the degrees of separation and the points of connection between each actor. Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/99vzx4z
* Motorola has nearly eliminated the frame around the display, fitting a 4.3-inch screen onto a phone that's roughly the size of the iPhone 4S: http://tinyurl.com/cc8b6au
* 3 items to NEVER buy refurbished. Make no mistake: some refurbished deals are just plain awesome. But others ... not so much. The CNET's king of the tech bargain explains how to save yourself a whole lot of time and money: http://tinyurl.com/8w2tzt3
* The long-awaited iPhone 5 wasn't the only thing Apple had up its sleeve this week. The company also released a refreshed line of iPods, including a revamped iPod Touch and a colorful array of new Nanos. The new iPod Nano is now very different from previous versions, being nearly 40 percent thinner with a larger 2.5-inch multitouch screen, and will be available in seven colors. Check them out here: http://tinyurl.com/8exmwdx
* If you have a Blackberry, it might be the last one you ever own. Some stores report zero BlackBerry sales in the last month, further hurting RIM's chances of turning things around. Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/cwe3sfh
Short News Items ...
Paul McCartney will return to North America for more dates on his "On The Run" tour. Shows confirmed thus far: Nov. 11th at Scottrade Center, St. Louis; Nov. 14th at Minute Maid Park, Houston; Nov. 25th at BC Place, Vancouver; Nov. 28th at Rexall Place, Edmonton
AND MACCA HONORED IN FRANCE:
Paul McCartney became an officer of France's Legion of Honour on Saturday, the Guardian reports. In a private ceremony at the élysée Palace in Paris, French president Francois Hollande presented the former Beatle with the award in appreciation for his contribution to music.
ZEPPELIN, AND OTHERS GET KENNEDY CENTER HONORS:
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the recipients this week. Letterman joins actor Dustin Hoffman, the rock band Led Zeppelin, blues great Buddy Guy, and ballerina Natalia Marakova as the 2012 Annual Kennedy Center Honorees.
AND ZEPPELIN SETS RELEASE DATE FOR CONCERT FILM/DVD:
'Celebration Day', a film documenting Led Zeppelin's London reunion performance in December 2007, will get a worldwide theatrical release on 1,500 screens in over 40 territories on Oct. 17. Tickets for the screenings are for sale on ledzeppelin.com. Four weeks later, on Nov. 19th, "Celebration Day" will be released in multiple video and audio formats from Swan Song/Atlantic.
HOLOGRAM TODAY, GONE TOMORROW:
The company that created the hologram of Tupac Shakur that performed at this year's Coachella festival has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after going public in November, CNN reports. The filing by Digital Domain Media came as no surprise: the company, which had warned of long-term debt and overhead difficulties, had seen its stock price drop from a peak of $9.20 per share in May to just 55 cents this week -- a decrease of 94%.
Simon & Schuster will release the belated follow-up to Clive Davis' bestseller 'Clive: Inside The Record Business' next February.
Mariah Carey was awarded the BMI Icon accolade during the publishing association's annual Urban Awards this past weekend at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Drake and Lil Wayne shared the Songwriter of the Year trophy, with seven songs to each of their names that ranked among the year's most-performed.
MORE "IDOL" MUSICAL CHAIRS:
Fox has pulled the plug on negotiations with Enrique Iglesias to fill a judge's seat on 'American Idol', according to a source close to the show. Who might they get to fill that seat? Randy Jackson might be coming back.
ELVIS BIBLE BRINGS BIG BUX AT AUCTION:
A bible that once belonged to Elvis Presley sold for £59,000 (about $94,000) at an auction in England on Saturday, the BBC reports. The final bid was more than double the expected sale price of £25,000.
GREEN DAY 2 HIT THE ROAD:
Green Day have announced North American tour dates for their upcoming album trilogy Â¡Uno!, Â¡Dos!, Â¡Tré! The band kicks off a seven-date initial run November 26th in Seattle, before returning to the road January 7th in Green Bay, WI, and wrapping up February 8th in Las Vegas.
BRIDGE SCHOOL ACTS ANNOUNCED:
This year's Bridge School Benefit will feature performances by Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Jack White, Guns N' Roses, The Flaming Lips, Sarah McLachlan, Foster The People, Lucinda Williams, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Ranger Band, k.d. Lang and the Siss Boom Bang and Gary Clark Jr.
Each new iPhone has sold as many units as all previous generations combined, and it isn't crazy to think exponential growth can continue for at least one more iteration, the Wall Street Journal speculates in an editorial on the eve of Apple's next product presentation.
CRAZY HORSE AT END OF OCTOBER:
Neil Young and Crazy Horse have given "Psychedelic Pill," their second album of 2012, an official release date of October 30th.
SEE YOU IN COURT, DEPT:
Muse ripped off the idea for the "Exogenesis" song suite on their 2009 album "Resistance," says a songwriter who claims in a lawsuit that he came up with the sci-fi rock opera concept, Courthouse News Service reports. In a suit filed in federal court in Manhattan, Charles Bollfrass seeks $3.5 million from Warner Music. Bollfrass claims he wrote a "cinematic science-fiction rock opera" called "Exogenesis" that he pitched to Muse and two other unnamed bands in 2005. Muse allegedly told him they weren't interested the following year.
SIMON CONCERT DVD/CD COMING:
On September 18th, Paul Simon releases a new two-CD, one-DVD package, "Paul Simon Live In New York City' via Hear Music and Concord Music Group.
CLAPTON ART AUCTION:
Eric Clapton is expected to earn $14-19 million when he puts an abstract piece by the German artist Gerhard Richter up for auction at Sotheby's next month, Reuters reports. Clapton bought the paining, titled "Abstraktes Bild (809-4)," back in 2001 for $3.4 million.
Dorothy McGuire Williamson, who with her sisters Phyllis and Christine formed the '50s vocal trio the McGuire Sisters, has died at her son's house near Phoenix, The Associated Press reports. She was 84.
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
"Before I was pushing, I put bronzer on and [false] eyelashes. I wanted to look pretty for him!"
-- Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, on how she prepared for new baby Lorenzo Dominic's arrival, to PEOPLE. (And you know that old cliché, "No matter how much make-up you put on a pig...")
"When I hear people say [what are you famous for?], I want to say, what are you talking about? I have a hit TV show. We've shot more episodes than 'I Love Lucy'! We've been on the air longer than 'The Andy Griffith Show'! I mean, these are iconic shows, so it blows my mind when people say that."
-- Kim Kardashian, in The Guardian. Sorry Kim, but 'The Andy Griffith Show' ran eight years (and on network TV), you've been on five. You might have had a few more episodes than 'I Love Lucy,' but the length of time a TV show runs is not proportionate to quality.
"These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history! If you think you've been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? For playing an electric guitar? As if that is in some kind of way equitable to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified."
-- Bob Dylan, talking about rock critics in Rolling Stone
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Number Of Users Who Actually Enjoy Facebook Down To 4
WASHINGTON-A comprehensive and groundbreaking new report released Monday by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project has found that only four users of Facebook derive pleasure of any kind from the popular social networking website.
According to the report, the remainder of the 950 million people registered with Facebook, despite using the site on a regular basis, take no joy in doing so, and in fact feel a profound sense of hopelessness and despair immediately upon logging in.
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
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