Friday, October 19, 2007

The Week That Was (10/14 - 10/19)

HOMERIC? Behold, an epic poem by Horus Kemwer on last week's news that former Vice President and Oscar winner Al Gore had won the Nobel Peace Prize:
And he raised conflict and strife across 7 continents and 7 seas,
And he called upon the Third World to suffer for the sins of the First,
And he aggrandized himself at the expense of accuracy,
And he demonstrated the most profound hypocrisy,
. . . himself committing the sins for which he faulted others,
And he cried "Wolf!" - and then he cried again,
And Hollywood finally heard him, and its cretinous denizens,
Uneducated, Ignorant, and Gullible, but endowed by fame with Supernatural Power,
Called upon their Dark Gods, and themselves followed his hypocritical path,
Themselves they flew in private jets to lecture their betters on the sin of Emissions,
And there was confusion and delusion and panic across the land,
And each man was weighed heavy by his guilt,
But only the Rich were exonerated, paying for the privilege to pollute with free conscience,
And class differences grew as a new mark of status arose,
And He, in his majesty, was rewarded for spreading ignorance and fear,
And crowned as all great conmen eventually are crowned:
The Prince of Peace.
- horus kemwer, "the ' peace prize'," Against the Modern World, 10/14/07.

FUTURE MUSIC: "Unlike the average college student or high school student, I firmly believe in continuing to pay for music despite the proliferation of locations where you can get pirated music. It boils down less to a healthy respect for the law and RIAA than a faint hope that musicians will actually get some cut from their label." - The League, "In Rainbows - What do you think?," The League of Melbotis, 10/18/07. We are, I believe, well past the dichotomy of legal versus illegal music. iTunes has been in business for a number of years and its record successes (no pun intended) illustrate that consumers will purchase music legally when it is offered in an easy and convenient way. What the lingering debate over these issues reveals, however, is that the record industry and its sycophants will go out of their way to defend what is wholly and fully an outdated business model. Rather than leap into the era of digital music and boldly experiment with new marketing techniques, the record industry, and its thugs at the RIAA, continue to employ last century thinking to justify their way of life. What Radiohead, and its experiment with In Rainbows, prove is that an artist, particularly a successful one, no longer needs a record label or its distribution and publicity arms. This realization is frightful to executives who have made themselves and their employers fortunes over the years by deducting such expenses and taking percentages from album sales from artists. Certainly, if a record label provides publicity and resources to an artist, particularly a struggling new artist who does not otherwise have them, it should be reimbursed for its troubles. However, the model has become so ingrained that record companies must sell many millions of copies of popular soulless drek in order to sustain its operations and support of less popular, but far more creative, acts. It's a vicious cycle, and at the end of the day, the company cares not whether the albums it sells are of any redeeming social merit so long as they sell. I question not the capitalist component of that arrangement but the quality of music released thereunder. Hopefully, with In Rainbows and the inevitable copycats, we will begin to see artists take their careers into their own hands and rely less on the traditional model of music distribution which has prevailed for the past six decades. It may be naive to believe that in the face of such trends the record companies will rely less on suing its fans and more on providing them with good product at reasonable prices, but time will tell.

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