The Cover Of Rolling Stone Ain't What It Used To Be
July 7, 2015
"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, I 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, from 'Life The Movie'
I have that quote at the bottom of every issue of the newsletter, but this week had to put it on top again.
If there was ever any doubt that Rolling Stone sold out years ago, putting Kim Kardashian the cover says it all.
Rolling Stone, like MTV, was once about MUSIC. It gave most of that up when it realized there was more as revenue available in the broader pop-culture landscape.
Kim Kardashian on the cover? Oh … wait a minute. I forgot. She's married to that "genius" Kanye West.
So, there's the music connection. (If you actually consider what Kanye West does as music. Perhaps some of you saw the following post from me on Facebook (Thanks Janis Ian for the original post) this past week: "WARNING: If you get sent an attachment that says it is a recording of Kanye West singing 'Bohemian Rhapsody' do NOT open it … It is Kanye West singing 'Bohemian Rhapsody')
Kim Kardashian has been ridiculed for a long time by almost every comedian on TV and elsewhere. It's easy to make fun of her because she herself (like hubby Kanye) say incredibly dumb things. Just Googe "dumb Kim Kardashian quotes" and sort through the 400,000+ results.
R.I.P. Rolling Stone magazine's cultural relevance, June 2015.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
A BIG HOMER SIMPSON "DUH!"
Digital music is now the main source of revenue for the majority of independent labels in Merlin, a rights agency for 20,000 indie labels. And consumers who pay $10 a month tend to stream a lot of music. Read more
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
PRINCE AT IT AGAIN
He loves the Internet. He hates the Internet. He's on it with his music. He's off it with his music.
It's been like that forever with Prince, so this really shouldn't surprise anyone.
After Taylor Swift revived a public debate over payments to artists by streaming-music services, Prince is the next high-profile musician to pull his catalog off some web venues. Prince won't stream music 4 U: Artist drops Spotify, Rdio
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
FACEBOOK WANTS TO MAKE NICE WITH LABELS
Facebook has always left the music business to others, but that may be about to change.
With video viewing on Facebook exploding, the online giant announced that it would start paying creators and began secret talks with the record labels. Facebook Starts Paying Video Creators, Is In Talks With Record Labels
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
THE YIN AND YANG OF APPLE'S MUSIC SERVICE
From Mark Mulligan, "Finally Apple is in the streaming game. Other than to say that it looks like Apple has made a big first step towards making streaming 'ready for primetime' and to becoming a music platform I'm not going to add to the list of reviews and first impressions, there are plenty of good ones like Walt Mossberg's. Instead I'm going to run through a few of the likely milestones and unintended consequences that we could see over the coming months."
Unintended Consequences, Milestones Will Follow Apple Music Launch [Mark Mulligan]
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
SEVEN HOLDOUTS ON STREAMING
Apple Music may be poised to add 100 million paid streaming subscribers, but there are still a number of major artists who you won't find on Apple, Spotify or any other streaming service.
Can any music service attract a mainstream audience without them? 7 Major Artists You Still Can't Stream On Spotify, Apple Music Or Anywhere Else
BETWEEN THE GROOVES
These Are The TV Channels People Would Actually Pay For:
Variety reports "The great unbundling of TV has begun, with HBO and Showtime offering their content via stand-alone subscriptions, and Sony announcing that it will soon offer consumers the ability to select individual channels for its PlayStation Vue TV subscription service. But which channels would consumers actually pay for if they could pick and choose?" Read more.
Here's how Apple Music compares to Spotify, Tidal, and other streaming services:
The Verge reports "The biggest differentiator remains Spotify's free, ad-supported tier on desktop and mobile. It's something that no one else can match, and it makes Spotify the obvious starting place to go if you're thinking about trying out streaming music for the first time. Of course, Apple is hoping that its three-month free trial can change that, especially since its service is built right into every new iPhone." Read more.
Disney Bans Selfie Sticks:
The Mouse has spoken. The Walt Disney Company has banned selfie sticks at all its parks, including Disney World in Orlando, the company announced over the weekend. The Orlando Sentinel first reported the news. Read the whole story
At least she admits it:
Selena Gomez said in a Billboard magazine article, "I Knew 'I Wouldn't Be Greatest Singer in the World"
Tidal is still great, except for all the nonsense:
The Verge reports "Then, yes, you know the story: a bunch of extremely high-profile musicians held a tone-deaf VIP event in New York City to re-launch it. The "artists first" message delivered by Jay Z and his friends hasn't resonated with consumers, perhaps because it was delivered by a dozen or so multi-millionaires and there certainly hasn't been a mass exodus from Spotify precipitated by dumb Madonna videos." Read more.
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS & NEWS
Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductees Cyndi Lauper, Nate Ruess & More Share Stories Behind Their Hits
Rolling Stones Announce 2016 Tour... Museum Style
Rolling Stones Unearth Rare Memorabilia for New Exhibit
Bruce Springsteen Jams With Brian Wilson in New Jersey: Watch
Rihanna Is First Artist to Cross RIAA's 100 Million Song Certifications
Rare Pressing of Bob Dylan's 'Blood on the Tracks' Found
Taylor Swift's '1989' and Mark Ronson's 'Uptown Funk!' Top Nielsen's Mid-Year Charts
Pandora Is Out Of Tune With Songwriters, Says CD Baby Founder Derek Sivers
Apple Music's Beats 1 Radio Unveils Expanded Celebrity DJ Lineup
Taylor Swift to Stream '1989' on Apple Music
Grateful Dead Announce Box Sets of Final Concerts
Listen up, Apple: People who stream really dig indie music
iTunes users hit stumbling blocks with arrival of Apple Music
What's new in iTunes 12.2?
9 things you should try first with Apple Music
Best tech under $50
Stunning clarity: Noble Savant in-ear headphones
Short News Items ...
HALF-A-CENTURY AGO … WHEW:
It was 50 years ago that Bob Dylan walked into Columbia Records in New York and recorded a little number called "Like a Rolling Stone." The song that transformed the singer from folkie to rock god remains the single greatest song of all time. Read More
Jimmy Page launched the final round of Led Zeppelin reissues today in London, shutting the door on the band's vaults. "As far as the studio side of things [goes], this is it," he said at a press conference that revealed deluxe editions of the band's last three albums. Read More
James Horner, the Academy Award-winning film composer responsible for the unforgettable scores from films like Titanic, Braveheart and Avatar, died in a plane crash outside Santa Barbara, California. He was 61. While early reports stated that a single-engine plane owned by the composer had crashed into a remote area, it was later confirmed that Horner was piloting the plane and was the crash's lone fatality. 'Titanic,' 'Avatar' Composer James Horner Dead at 61
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Comic Book Fans Adamant That Human Torch Be Played By Actor Whose Body Actually Engulfed In FlamesoOSTORYOo
WASHINGTON—Expressing their frustration with the casting for the new Fantastic Four film, comic book fans across the country were reportedly adamant Monday that the superhero the Human Torch should be played by an actor who is actually engulfed in flames. "They should have stayed true to the original comics and selected an actor whose entire body is on fire," said longtime Fantastic Four fan Barry Reich. Read the rest and laugh
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
"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