Bye-Bye, 'American Idol' Pie
May 10, 2013
"That's why I can't watch American Idol ... it is like karaoke without the booze."
-- Tracy Morgan
When it's OVER, it's OVER.
As soon as they announced Nicki Minaj as a judge on "American Idol," I knew the show would collapse. Whoever chose Ms. Minaj didn't do a whole lot of research into her "like-ability" numbers, because had they done so, they would have discovered that despite all the media hype, and under all Nicki's wigs, there's just not that much substance.
The show did collapse, and it did so BIG-time. When ratings sink so dramatically, it means advertising revenues drop, and that BIG piece of the revenue pie on the pie-charts of the walls at every network starts to get smaller. When that happens, network execs get very nervous and take action. And take action they have.
All four judges currently on "Idol" are going bye-bye, and despite Fox's best efforts to revive the show, it jumped the shark and will never regain the ratings needed to make it the BIG event show it once was. This week "The Voice" beats "Idol" in head-to-head competition. (Details at TheWrap)
Back in May of 2012 I wrote a commentary titled 'Network TV Execs Still Don't Get It.'
I wrote in that article the following:
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'!"
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."
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.
"The Voice" and "X Factor" have yet to produce a winner who can sell records.
NBC has already cannibalized "The Voice" ratings success, and airing it in the spring will dilute it further.
"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.
And of course, that's exactly what happened.
A great vehicle to once launch talent and sell lots of records is now gone. (Indeed, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and others have sold millions.)
Maybe it's back to basics and those artists who want to make music should follow this advice from Billy Joel, "Don't make music for some vast, unseen audience or market or ratings share or even for something as tangible as money. Though it's crucial to make a living, that shouldn't be your inspiration. Do it for yourself."
That's what Wilco does, Arcade Fire does, The Features do (check them out, they are one of this country's best bands), and so many others do as well.
And I know the music being made by Wilco, et al, will be around a whole lot longer than any winner on any TV talent show,
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
YOUTUBE GETS READY TO CHARGE FOR SOME CONTENT
Uh-oh, here it comes.
Rumored for months, YouTube's paid content service is expected to debut as soon as this week.
"A paid content platform could give the Google-owned video site another revenue stream while allowing channel operators to finance different content production," CNet writes. At launch, the a la carte service could encompass up to 50 video channels, and charge as little as $2 per month per channel.
And read more at TheWrap
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
APPLE TAKES A BIG LEAP ON FORTUNE 500
The iPhone and iPad maker is now in sixth place, jumping from its previous rank of 17 last year.
And Facebook cracks the Fortune 500 for the first time.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
SPOTIFY BUYS TUNIGO
CNET reports that Spotify has acquired Tunigo, a Swedish company that owns a music discovery app.
Tunigo helps people find music by providing playlists selected by its own editorial staff combined with songs from its own users. Read more
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
THE DOORS GET AN APP, AND IT'S LOADED WITH GOODIES
Jac Holzman, the 81-year-old founder of Elektra Records, has long been known as an early adapter of new technology in the record business.
Now he's ready to bring the Doors into the digital age with a comprehensive iPad app that tells the band's brief, strange history.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
MORE BAD NEWS FOR NEWSPAPER PERSONNEL
Things in the newspaper business are bad and getting worse. This week, it was really bad for personnel working at newspapers in "The Big Apple."
First, the two top editors at alt-weekly Village Voice have resigned rather than "lay off or drastically reduce the role of five employees on the 20-person staff," writes David Carr in The New York Times.
At the New York Post, management is offering voluntary buyouts to qualified newsroom employees to achieve a 10% staff reduction, though the paper says it could institute layoffs if not enough employees take the deal, according to Capital New York.
And the New York Daily News has already cut about 15 staffers from its payroll, including veterans Albor Ruiz and Joanna Molloy.
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* A pair of guys who actually want to take credit for writing Justin Bieber's "Somebody to Love" are seeking big bucks. Full story at TheWrap
* Check out NARM's new infographic, which gives bands, record labels, physical and digital music retailers and other interested parties a crash course in search engine optimization.
Short News Items ...
Bostonians Aerosmith and James Taylor will lead a benefit show in their native city on May 30th at the TD Garden. Carole King and Massachusetts rockers the J. Geils Band are also set for "Boston Strong: An Evening of Support and Celebration," which will help raise money for the One Fund Boston, a charity set up by Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick and Boston mayor Thomas Menino to support those affected by the April 15th marathon bombings. Other artists include the New Kids on the Block and Boston, fellow Massachusetts bands Godsmack and Extreme, Jimmy Buffett and Jason Aldean. Comedians Dane Cook and Steven Wright, who were both born in nearby Cambridge, will also perform.
Palmetto Playground – a small park tucked beneath a highway on-ramp in Brooklyn, just blocks from the late Beastie Boy Adam "MCA" Yauch's childhood home – was renamed Adam Yauch Park on Friday to mark the one-year anniversary of his passing on May 4th.
PEPSI SEZ "BUH-BYE" TO LIL' WAYNE:
PepsiCo is ending its relationship with rapper Lil Wayne over what the company calls an "offensive reference to a revered civil rights icon" -- 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was killed nearly 60 years ago. The rap superstar, featured in the song "Karate Chop" by Future, says: "Beat that p---- up like Emmett Till."
THE BEATLES TO BROADWAY:
The Beatles musical 'Let It Be' will head to New York this summer for a run on Broadway. The production, which tracks the band's early days, swift rise to stardom and dizzying heights of popularity, will see a limited engagement at St. James Theatre, according to The New York Times. The cast and creative and design teams have yet to be announced.
MADONNA DOES GOOD:
Madonna sold an abstract painting for $7 million this week to help fund girls' education projects worldwide. The singer sold Fernand Léger's 1921 work "Trois Femmes à la Table Rouge" to an unidentified buyer at Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art sale in New York, according to the auction house's website.
NOT EVEN AN EX-PRESIDENT COULD DO IT:
Even a former president couldn't bring Led Zeppelin back together: Rolling Stone reports that Bill Clinton approached the rockers about reuniting for the "12-12-12" Hurricane Sandy benefit last year, but group turned down the request.
HITTING THE ROAD THIS FALL:
Justin Timberlake will hit the road this fall, kicking off "The 20/20 Experience World Tour" on October 31st at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Timberlake has dates set through next February, with the last show currently scheduled for February 10th at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
Singer Lauryn Hill's failure to pay federal income taxes for three years has earned her a three-month prison sentence. Hill pleaded guilty last year to three counts of failing to file tax returns on more than $1.8 million between 2005 and 2007. She appeared Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, for sentencing. Hill must also pay penalties and taxes still owed, a $60,000 fine, serve a year on probation and possibly three months of home confinement.
AUSTIN CITY LINEUP:
Austin City Limits' two-weekend debut will have plenty of music to go around. The Texas festival, which will run Oct. 4th-6th and 11th-13th, will see headlining performances from Depeche Mode, the Cure, Muse, Kings of Leon, Atoms for Peace, Lionel Richie, Phoenix and Wilco.
CIRQUE DO JACKSON:
This month, the timeless tracks of Michael Jackson will come to life in Michael Jackson One, a new theater production at Mandalay Bay by Cirque du Soleil that is written and directed by veteran concert director Jamie King, whose client list includes Spears, Dion, Madonna, Rihanna and Christina Aguilera.
STONES STUFF STILL COMING:
A recording of the Rolling Stones October 17th, 1973 show at Brussels, Belgium's Forest Hills Arena – featuring the band ripping through new tracks like "Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)" and "Dancing With Mr. D" – circulated among fans for years before being released as part of Google Music's Stones Archive series in 2011. The set is now physically available as the 'Brussels Affair' box set, a high-end package that includes the show on 180-gram vinyl, a limited-edition book of photos by tour photographer Michael Putland with words by Nick Kent (and, in some cases, a signature by Mick Jagger), a tour lithograph and even a tongue-and-lips-styled watch.
CARRIE REPLACES FAITH:
Carrie Underwood has assumed the title of "Sunday Night Football's" resident Country-music singer. Underwood has been tapped to replace Faith Hill as the singer of the opening theme song, "Waiting All Day for Sunday Night," NBC said Tuesday.
REALITY SHOW FATIGUE:
ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" dipped to a series low for performance shows Monday night, while NBC scored a ratings win despite "The Voice" dropping to tie a cycle low, according to preliminary numbers. More details at TheWrap.
HEAVY METAL HIT WANTED:
The lead singer of the metal band As I Lay Dying was arrested Tuesday and charged with attempting to hire a hit man, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said. Authorities said Tim Lambesis tried to contract an undercover detective to kill his estranged wife. He is charged with solicitation of another to commit murder.
JA RULE RELEASED:
Rapper Ja Rule has been released from prison and will remain under house arrest until July 28th as he finishes a two-year sentence for tax evasion and possessing a semiautomatic handgun, the BBC reports.
Pioneering DJ, producer and remixer Peter Rauhofer died Tuesday after a long battle with brain cancer, according to a note from friend and manager Angelo Russo posted on Rauhofer's Facebook page. He was 48. The New York-via-Austria DJ is best known for his dance remixes of songs by Madonna, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Rihanna and even Yoko Ono. He also started the tribal house label Star 69. In 1999, under the name Club 69, he won the Grammy for Remixer of the Year for his reworking of Cher's "Believe."
Quotes of the week
"Steve Jobs told me, 'Follow your passion -- if it's something you want, use your own money.'"
-- Doug Morris, the chairman and CEO of Sony Music, telling the New York Post it was Steve Jobs who helped convince him to invest his own money in his Broadway hit, 'Motown: The Musical'
"On Monday, Martha Stewart announced that she is dating and desperately looking for a man. So she signed up on Match.com. In her biography, Martha says she likes surprises, but not from the Securities and Exchange Commission. She's been taking dating tips from the CEO of Match.com. And I thought, 'Wait a minute. That's insider dating.'"
-- David Letterman
"This dude is the herpes of music. Once you think it's gone, it comes back."
-- Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, commenting on Psy, on his Instagram account. The Green Day singer also added a series of hashtags: #herpes, #flarup and #pleasegoaway.
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Heartbroken Chris Brown Always Thought Rihanna Was Woman He'd Beat To Death
LOS ANGELES—After revealing yesterday that he had recently split up with longtime girlfriend Rihanna, a heartbroken Chris Brown tearfully told reporters that he always thought the 25-year-old singer was going to be the woman he'd beat to death one day.
"Despite all the ups and downs, I was so sure Rihanna was the one I'd take by the throat one day and fatally assault, "Brown said.
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
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.
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"And the beat goes on, the beat goes on ... drums keep poundin' rhythm to the brain."
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