JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE PERFORMS WITH 4 UNEMPLOYED DUDES
August 30, 2013
"Clowns are the pegs on which the circus is hung."
-- P.T. Barnum
That was the lead-in dummy headline this past Monday on Jay Leno's 'Tonight Show' Headlines segment.
Of course it was in reference to the MTV VMA Awards, and Justin Timberlake's "reuniting" with N'Sync during his mini-concert portion of the show. Yes, there they were for all of ... what? Ten minutes or so of fleeting nostalgic glory? (If you were an N'Sync fan, that is.) Justin disposed of them faster than someone who just drank some curdled milk and spit it out. What the hell, why focus on the past when you're making gargantuan money solo? (No, there's nothing wrong with that at all, but if you want to have your ex-compadres there to celebrate YOUR career, give them a little more time.)
I received almost a hundred e-mail from readers following the show, and they were all commenting on the show, and asking me what my thoughts were.
First, this reminder: "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.
And of course that is still the truth today in 2013. The network that gave us such gems as 'Jersey Shore,' 'Teen Mom,' etc. ad nauseum, hasn't been about music in years. But they don't care because they're raking in the big Madison Avenue ad dollars with the trash (yes, that's my opinion) they broadcast.
And let's face it, trash is big these days on TV. When 'Duck Dynasty' is the biggest thing on cable-TV, bringing in 11 million viewers a week, MTV has to try harder.
So, Miley Cyrus twerked and blew up the social media. (As well as those entertainment news shows that recycle Hollywood PR releases, and what the viewers already know from Facebook, Twitter, etc.) The old adage, "bad publicity is better than no publicity," was working overtime for Miley. And that's probably good for her since the quality of her music leaves a lot to be desired.
Yes, another year of celebrity worship come and gone on MTV, and my favorite quote came to mind again: "When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people becomes an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk: culture-death is a clear possibility." -- Neil Postman
That came to mind as did these Stephen Sondheim lyrics, "But where are the clowns? Quick, send in the clowns. Don't bother, they're here."
Yeah, I know, it's just MTV and the audience they cater to loves it all. What's the big deal, right?
Nothing. No big deal at all.
Just like the show itself.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
THE RECORD INDUSTRY BRACES AND WATCHES THE UPCOMING STREAMING "ARMS RACE"
As Apple prepares iTunes Radio for a September launch, the long-suffering music industry is hoping for a new kind of boom.
Competition for streaming-music customers is intensifying: "An arms race is afoot," says the president of RCA, home of Justin Timberlake and Pink. Read More
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
FROM BUZZFEED '35 MUSIC EXPERIENCES YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU'D MISS BUT YOU DO'
Thanks to Portland's DJ Clarence Duffy for sending this one in.
"Kids these days will never know the joy of going to the record store to buy music on an inferior medium from a man who hates you." ... and "Memorizing a list of songs under two minutes so you have something for the end of the mix tape" are on the list. Check it out. Read more
And thanks to Clarence for sending this one in as well, which goes along with the first one quite well: Top-10-Reasons-Why-the-Music-Industry-is-Failing
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
SOUNDEXCHANGE SUES SIRIUSXM OVER UNPAID ROYALTIES
SoundExchange, the DC-based non-profit that collects royalties for musicians from satellite radio firms, Internet radio services and cable music channels, said it has filed a suit against SiriusXM seeking to recover what it calls "massive underpayment" of digital royalties over a six-year period.
The organization said the satellite radio firm, which has major operations in DC, underpaid by "$50 to $100 million or more" by taking a number of impermissible deductions and exemptions in calculating its royalty payments from 2007-2012. Read more
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
10 TECHNOLOGIES IN THE FILM 'BACK TO THE FUTURE II' THAT ACTUALLY CAME TRUE
The film 'Back to the Future II' takes place mostly in the future of 2015.
With only two years left before the rest of us get to experience that future, it seems like a good time for an audit. Check out the things that are now a reality
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
MUSIC BIZ TRENDS & STRATEGIES
5 Reasons Hollywood Isn't Celebrating a Record Summer Box Office
Full story at TheWrap.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
FROM TECHNO PIONEER TO "NO LONGER RELEVANT'?
"Richie Hawtin is no longer ground-breaking. Now the quintessential superstar DJ, he tours relentlessly in his private jet alongside his entourage of similarly-dressed fixers, photographers, helpers and yes-men, appearing at bland 'festivals' between weekly appearances in the yawn clubbing Mecca of Ibiza. Here is a man maximizing income from his brand, his popularity peaking despite -- or because of -- a rigorously unchanged music style." (From Greg Swan's post on PerfectPorridge.com)
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS
* Lady Gaga's 'Applause' Hits No. 1 on Dance Chart
* Lady Gaga Teases 'ARTPOP' Track in Rehearsal Clip
* 6 Hit Songs You Won't Believe Are Insulting Celebrities
* Elton John Takes a 'Mexican Vacation'
* The VMA Performance Miley Cyrus Didn't Want You To See
* Pearl Jam Unleashes 'Mind Your Manners' Video: Watch
* Michael Jackson's Top 50 Billboard Hits
* Green Day's 'American Idiot' Documentary Due in October
* How Musicians Make Money from YouTube
* The Funniest Drummer in Indie Rock
* Vinyl is Back – Why 2013 is a Good Year to Break Out the Record Player
* Brace Yourselves for $50 Movie Tickets
* Don't buy a new laptop before you read this
* Elegant vision of a new iPhone and iWatch
* The miser's Jawbone Big Jambox
* Don't stop the music! Pandora ends 40-hour mobile limit
* The Zoom H6 high-resolution portable recorder
* Big screens, big batteries: Roundup of tabletop PCs
* Three sweet deals for TV cord-cutters
* A keyboard and mouse for a new generation
* Get 100GB of free cloud storage from SurDoc
Short News Items ...
PEARL JAM VID:
Pearl Jam take the title of their upcoming album 'Lightning Bolt' quite seriously in the new video for "Mind Your Manners," the LP's first single. The chaotic clip features the band in front of a screen projecting all kinds of disasters - lightning, bombs, environmental crises. Read More
MORE BEATLES AT THE BEEB MUSIC:
Beatles fans have discovered that a new anthology of previously unreleased recordings of the band from mid-1960s appearances on BBC radio is due out this fall, The Guardian reports. MCA Music in the Philippines, a division of Universal Music, is releasing 'On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2' in November. The new anthology comes as a result of the 2012 Listener's Archive campaign asking the public to donate home-recorded radio and television shows to the BBC, which didn't begin archiving its material until the late Seventies. The BBC will also be releasing a book, 'The Beatles – The Archives: 1962-1970,' by Beatles scholar Kevin Howlett in October. The volume will includes detailed accounts of the Beatles' BBC appearances during that time.
"NEW" MACCA MUSIC:
Paul McCartney's new song is called "New," as is his upcoming album. Produced by Mark Ronson, the track has a classic McCartney feel, with a sturdy beat and a buoyant melody. It's his first album of original material since 2007's 'Memory Almost Full.' Read More
LINDA RONSTADT DIAGNOSED WITH PARKINSON'S:
Linda Ronstadt revealed last Friday that she is suffering from Parkinson's disease, which has left her unable to sing. In an interview with AARP Magazine, the 67-year-old folk-rock veteran said that she had been diagnosed with the disease eight months ago. Ronstadt said that symptoms of Parkinson's, which affects the nervous system, began appearing eight years ago, though she initially attributed her ailments to a tick bite and side effects from shoulder surgery.
THE TAXMAN COMETH, WHETHER YOU'RE ALIVE OR NOT:
Though Michael Jackson's estate managed to pay off the star's massive personal debt (totaling nearly half-billion dollars) in November 2012, it's now being accused of undervaluing a number of Jackson's assets by hundreds of millions of dollars, reports Reuters. The IRS has handed the King of Pop's estate a $702 million bill for federal taxes and penalties.
NO BYRDS FLYING:
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the Byrds, and founding members Chris Hillman and David Crosby would love to reunite. But frontman Roger McGuinn remains staunchly opposed: "I'm happy with the Byrds as a good memory," he tells Rolling Stone.
PLAYING TO AN EMPTY HOUSE:
Did Brandy play to a stadium of 89,960 empty seats? That's what the Twitterverse is saying after reports the singer performed to just 40 people in a 90,000 capacity arena at the Mandela Sports and Culture Day in South Africa on Saturday. The R&B star was the surprise guest at the FNB stadium in Soweto -- the only problem was that noone knew she was playing. Tens of thousands of people had therefore left the arena before she arrived on stage. "Brandy [just] performed to an empty stadium. With the stadium lights on," tweeted South African musician, Kabomo. She sulked after two songs and walked off. ( Source )
HEY CHRIS, STFU:
Chris Brown has gone on yet another Twitter rant, and last week he added to his repertoire with a 140-character venting session about the additional community labor he's received as part of the terms of his probation.
IDIOT DOCUMENTARY COMING:
'Broadway Idiot,' the full-length documentary tracing the development of Green Day's 2004 album 'American Idiot' into a Broadway musical, is set for release this fall. The film will be released in theaters and available on video on demand, Variety reports.
VEVO NOW AVAILABLE ON APPLE TV:
VEVO is now available on Apple TV. Created in partnership with Apple, VEVO on Apple TV brings VEVO's library of 75,000 HD music videos, exclusive original programming and live concert performances to Apple TV viewers.
A day after announcing a new album, Eminem released the first single, "Berzerk." The tune has an old-school feel that evokes the late Eighties and especially the Beastie Boys, thanks to a simple beat and gnashing classic-rock guitar samples (Billy Squier's "The Stroke," in this case), and even what sounds like Ad-Rock saying "Kick it!" from "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)."
MADONNA "THE MATERIAL GIRL" FOR REAL:
Madonna's impressive MDNA tour, merchandise sales and investments in companies landed her atop Forbes list of the highest earning celebrities. The 55-year-old raked in $125 million between June 2012 and June 2013, boosted heavily by her tour, which grossed $305 million. Madonna's strong showing was enough to keep Steven Spielberg out of the top spot, and Simon Cowell, Howard Stern and '50 Shades of Grey' author E.L. James tied for third on Forbes' list with $95 million each.
JAMES BROWN BIOPIC HAS LEAD:
Chadwick Boseman is set to play James Brown in Universal Pictures' new biopic on the Godfather of Soul. The '42' star will join director Tate Taylor ('The Help') along with producers Brian Grazer and Mick Jagger, reports Deadline.
HERE'S SOME GOOD NEWS!
The upcoming season of 'American Idol' could be delayed if a third judge isn't found soon. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the first taping of the show's 13th season, which is set for next Tuesday, could be delayed following the unraveling of Dr. Luke's deal with Fox.
DEATH CAB REISSUE THEIR BEST:
Death Cab for Cutie are marking the 10th anniversary of 'Transatlanticism' with a reissue of their breakthrough album. To celebrate, the band will release a new vinyl pressing, along with a digital version, Pitchfork reports.
Renaissance public relations professional Norman Winter, who represented such artists as Elton John, Michael Jackson and Neil Diamond, passed away. Through the years, Norman Winter/Associates represented an array of corporate clients such as CBS Records Group (headed by Walter Yetnikoff), 20th Century Fox Records & Music Publishing (headed by Russ Regan), Polygram Records, Death Row Records, ASCAP, as well as a diverse range of pioneering artists and producers including Michael Jackson, Brenda Lee, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, AC/DC, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Wayne Newton, Paul Anka, Herb Alpert, and Phil Ramone, among others. Winter succumbed to complications of Lewy Body Disease in the early morning hours of August 22nd, 2013 at a Las Vegas area hospital. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Joy, daughters Jennifer and Elizabeth and brother Alfred.
Julie Harris, the celebrated star of Broadway and movies including 'East of Eden,' has died at 87. She died on Saturday at her home in West Chatham, Mass., of congestive heart failure.
Quotes of the week
"I could have people saying, this is going to damage your credibility as an artist or as a designer, and I say, you know, I don't care, I love this woman."
-- Kanye West, in an interview with Kris Jenner, about his love, Kim Kardashian. (Editor's note: Never in history have two people deserved each other more)
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Some Stupid Thing Making The Rounds Among Your Facebook Friends Today
SEEMS LIKE GODDAMN EVERYWHERE—According to a cursory glance at your Facebook feed, just about every goddamn friend you have is passing around and commenting on some stupid and inescapable new viral web thing.
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.
Smart Marketing Consulting Services
Smart Marketing Consulting Services has been in business sixteen years, and consults clients in the music, entertainment, attraction, media, and technology industry on branding, marketing, online exploitation, maximizing new media, and more.
"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