Rhinofy-Anything Goes

The big hit was “I’m No Angel.”

That’s right, Gregg Allman was free of Phil Walden and Capricorn. He signed a deal with Epic and lo and behold, nearly a decade after his last solo work, when MTV ruled and it looked like the game had totally changed, he broke through once again.

Not that the “I’m No Angel” album wasn’t slick, wasn’t different from what came before. But for those who never gave up hope, the album delivered. It was far from a sell-out, we were eager to BUY IN!

I bought it upon release, because I’m a believer.

And the track that resonated, that I could not stop playing, was “Anything Goes.”

So a couple of years later, the Allmans have reformed and my friend Steve Massarsky, who rescued Dickey Betts from bad deals, invited me to the show at the Greek.

And I’m hanging with the band, trying to work up my nerve to talk to Gregg. This was back before I could miss an opportunity, back before I figured it best to respect their privacy, unless someone introduced me and they knew who I was.

But I sidled up to Gregg. And I’m in his shadow, he’s quite a tall dude. And being the fan I am, I tell him I love “Anything Goes.” I don’t want to testify about everybody’s cut, but mine. I tell Gregg I love it at the end, after the break, when Gregg yells ANYTHING GOES!

And Gregg leans down and tells me…

“I can’t hit that note every night.”

Now you’ve got to imagine this. I’ve caught his attention. Gregg’s towering above me in his Cuban heels. He starts to whisper in my ear. It’s very intimate. Like we’re old buddies sharing a story.

And the story is…

He can’t hit that note every night. But sometimes he’s sitting on the organ bench and as he reaches over to play a note his nut gets caught under his leg and he yells ANYTHING GOES!

That’s it. Albeit a ten second version of a two minute story. I mean I figure Gregg’s going to reveal a musical moment, something deep only a musician can fully understand, he’s going to drop some wisdom on me.

But then he finishes telling this over the line story and he pulls back his head and looks me straight in the eye. Was he trying to freak me out, push me away, or be a brother? I still don’t know.

But one thing’s for sure, I was out of my league. Not only was Gregg Allman a rock star who’d slept with seemingly anybody he wanted, made millions and done enough dope to kill people, he was COOL! And I wasn’t and am never gonna be.

What happens now nobody knows
Anything goes
Anything goes
Anything goes

That’s the privilege of being a rock star. Anything goes. The limits and boundaries that the rest of us respect and adhere to don’t apply. That’s why we wanted to get closer, that’s why we went to the show. They had charisma, and they knew how to play and write. And they did it themselves. Their truth was in their material.

And the truth is “Anything Goes” is a magical track. It still works. Check it out. And at 3:20, as Gregg yells ANYTHING GOES know that he believes it, that’s his philosophy. At least when he’s around ME!

Rhinofy-Anything Goes

Google Antitrust Case

It’s the beginning of the end. Once someone starts investigating you for the sins of the past, your future is screwed.

Google is in trouble. Because tech is like music, it’s all what have you done for me lately. Only in tech, you can’t tour profitably on your hits of yesteryear, you can’t tour at all, old products go straight into the landfill. And Google dominated in the past and in the future it’s got question marks. That’s right, we live in a mobile world, it will become even more obvious within the next three to four years. You’ll be carrying around a giant handset and your desktop will be gathering dust. In developing countries people don’t even have desktop computers. And Google’s money machine depends on desktop search, it doesn’t work on mobile, on mobile the app rules, Facebook is the king of mobile search, that’s why their stock is going up.

Google got greedy. That’s what’s wrong with American corporations. The American ethos is to make it to the top and then illegally keep others from challenging you. Well, illegally in the eyes of the European Commission, these companies usually get a pass in the U.S. But not Microsoft. And Microsoft has never recovered from its antitrust entanglements. Who cares about Explorer, Microsoft lost out on mobile, and we’ve already established mobile is everything. Hell, Microsoft now has to give away its cash cow Office for free on mobile, in the hopes of maintaining market share!

So Google isn’t content with all that AdWords money. It’s got to mess with the results themselves, direct people to its own shopping site. And the end user may not care, may not even be aware, but competitors are livid. If your wares don’t appear in the results, they might as well not appear at all.

And this is why the European Commission is coming down on Google. Google’s response? THEY DON’T DENY IT! They just say that other sites are available and have made inroads, like Expedia and eBay. And that’s utterly hilarious. That’s the modern era, admit fault but accept no blame.

And now Google is caught up in this rearguard skirmish that is preventing them from moving forward into mobile.

But mobile is next. The European Commission is investigating Android, to see if licensees are forced to install Google apps.

In other words, there’s no free lunch.

Facebook makes you cough up your data. And Google may allow you to use the Android OS, but they want all the profits. That’s why Samsung went into the dumper, it just can’t make any money! And low cost competitors are eating the underside of the market. The only one profiting is Google.

And Apple. Which lives in a walled garden.

But Apple got caught in the antitrust crosshairs. With the iBooks Store. Ever notice that the company has never recovered from this? Has never become a force in digital books? While Apple was fighting the government, Amazon created apps that allowed you to read Kindle books on your iPad and iPhone. Apple will never be able to gain significant ground. It may not have had the skills to begin with, but the antitrust case was a drag on their innovation and execution.

So what have we learned?

That corporations are not your friend. There’s this fiction in America that the way you get ahead as an artist is to throw in with the behemoth company. But the truth is your interests don’t align. And if you think the money is free, you don’t know that the corporation knows business better than you ever will and whatever they give you is a drop in the bucket to them.

And the average person on the street… He or she believes in the corporation because the artist has forfeited credibility by chasing the dollar, not realizing there’s no way in hell the artist can make as much money as the businessman. And the public lacks the knowledge and powers of analysis that will illuminate the ways the corporation is using them to their disadvantage. So we rely on the government to protect us. But “government” is a bad word in the United States, the lackeys of the corporations have branded it so. As a result, most corporate behavior proceeds unchecked, no matter how nefarious.

But not in Europe.

America is not number one. Not in quality of life or social mobility. It’s a fiction we tell ourselves to work harder to grab that elusive brass ring. The American Dream is just that, a fantasy that never comes true. Sure, a few people win, but this is akin to the lottery, which is truly just a tax on the poor.

We can’t handle the truth. That those with money and its attendant power abuse that power. It’s the story of energy, it’s the story of tech.

But tech is fast-moving, as stated above. Which means that Google might not be a household word five years from now. That it might join the scrapheap along with DEC, Compaq and Sun, all of which were purchased and subsumed into ever larger corporations, never mind the enterprises that failed.

So which side are you on? Are you a tool of the man or an independent thinker standing up for what’s right?

What we’ve got in music is tools. Isn’t that the story of ticketing? How the public just can’t get a good one? Because of pre-sales and holdbacks and so many shenanigans that prevent you from paying face price and sitting in a decent seat.

Expand that concept and you get big business. The subterfuge, the power games…

I wish there was someone to believe in.

But I guess John Lennon had it right, you can only believe in yourself.

Madonna Kisses Drake

It’s like having your aunt kiss you at the graduation party. You know, the creepy old one who wears too much makeup and winks at you when you’re in the kitchen… The one who’s unmarried and seems to want to sleep with no one so much as YOU!

I get it Madonna. There’s ageism in the music business. But you can’t complain about it if you don’t ACT your age. You’re acting like a twenty year old. With all these publicity stunts, getting the brain dead press to fawn over you, because you give them access.

You can’t have a hit. So damn what. Everybody knows Top Forty is for kids. Like Trix. And now, with the internet, you can appeal to a different demo. But not you! Once upon a time you were a leader, now you’re running after a train that has left the station when everybody else is taking Uber.

What, did you think Coachella was the VMAs? Famous for train-wreck moments? Didn’t we already establish the audience is the star today? And if you walked the premises, youngsters would say…eewww!

But you’re backstage, living your hundred million dollar lifestyle. You want nothing to do with the public but you want it to have everything to do with you. Want people to care, get down into the pit with them!

But you’ve got to start with great music.

You made it in the MTV era, where it was all about visuals. Hell, you pushed it to the limit with that sex book. But now, more than ever, it’s about music. Does anybody know what Milky Chance even looks like? You’ve got it backward.

Furthermore, publicity is empty without a core product. Just look at tech. Hyped stuff dies every day. Actually, in tech you lead with the product. Which has to be honest and fulfilling for the user.

And I’d comment about your plastic surgery but you’d tell me how hard it is to be a woman in this society.

I’ll counter with how hard it is to be ANYBODY in this society! Where income inequality reigns and everybody’s out for themself.

But the good thing about the connected world is you can connect with your brethren. Outsiders can bond. You used to be a champion for outsiders, now you’re just a champion for yourself.

And you’re creeping us out.

So you’ll get ink for a day. No one will care tomorrow. And if anybody remembers, they’ll laugh at you, as opposed to when you writhed on the stage with your Boy Toy belt and we couldn’t believe you were testing limits.

Everybody has a window, especially in pop. Them’s are the rules.

You had a longer run than most.

And if you truly want to have a hit, call up Max Martin.

Then again, that’s what Taylor Swift did, and she may block you.

But even Ms. Swift’s era is gonna end. Because those are the pop rules. She could have been forever in country, but in the mainstream spotlight, we churn ‘em out and burn ‘em out. We know too much about you and then we don’t want to know anything at all.

So be like the rest of the has-beens. Go on tour at inflated prices playing to those who knew you when.

And if you want to grow up, emulate Billy Joel. He’s let himself age, he’s gained weight and has no hair. And he’s honest and believable.

And he puts out no new music.

BECAUSE NO ONE CARES!

The Apple Scam

This only works if they get rid of CDs and files.

Here’s the skinny… Jimmy Iovine and the major labels are conspiring to get rid of free. Not only the free tier on Spotify, but YouTube too. Apple writes a check to the labels on 40 million subscribers for years, whether they reach that number or not, and everybody pays for music.

Or do they?

This is why the European Commission is investigating Apple.

Brilliant end run or delusional rearguard effort? A way to make a boatload of bucks or a road back to piracy?

Spotify kills piracy, that’s been proven.

Once upon a time there was piracy in the cable business. You could steal not only HBO, but the whole damn service. Because the cable could be split and the way they prevented you from getting premium channels was to mount filters in the chain, which anybody with a screwdriver could then remove and get HBO, Showtime and Cinemax, et al, for free. I knew almost no one paying full price, if at all, for cable in the eighties. But everybody pays now, because cable went DIGITAL!

You can’t steal it. The premium channels are scrambled. Maybe some superhacker along the lines of a young Steve Wozniak can figure it out, but mere mortals can’t, so everybody pays for cable, at least until recently, when the internet allowed you to cut the cord and you could sign up for standalone HBO.

Believe me, the content providers are up in arms. At least the cable companies are selling internet, which they just jack up the price for in order to meet their numbers. But when we go a la carte, and the game has begun, marginal channels will disappear, the cable companies will refuse to pay for them.

And people have been refusing to pay for music for fifteen years. All that hogwash that piracy increases sales, what a crock that was. But can we ever get people to pay again?

If we get rid of the aforementioned CDs and files. Renting an evanescent product, there’s no there there. But as long as there’s a CD, as long as there’s an iTunes Store file, piracy will reign.

Is the music business willing to kill the CD and file?

Of course not, because they’re not in the business of taking big risks. Shut down YouTube and people will just use BitTorrent or IM or hard drive/USB stick to swap, assuming they want it at all. That’s what’s ignored, the promotional value of all these services. Who’s gonna check it out if they have to pay for it?

A lot fewer people.

Some will stick with Pandora. Back in the pre-internet era most people did not buy music regularly, radio was enough. Is everybody going to sign up for a music subscription?

Certainly not if there are files to transfer. But what if there are no files? Who is going to capture a stream and then transfer it? It’s doable, but a huge pain in the ass. Convenience argues for payment.

And payment could be baked into a cable or cell phone bill, so it doesn’t feel like you’re paying.

Now you know why Jimmy wanted a lower price. He was right.

Is he right about killing piracy/getting everybody to pay?

First and foremost, he’s leveraging his industry relationships for exclusives. So you’ve got the Apple brand and the content and you can kill Spotify if it’s got no free tier.

This is about money. It’s got nothing to do with art. That insane Taylor Swift post about respecting art is b.s.

Jay Z is reacting to Apple with Tidal.

And we’re sitting home wondering if our whole world is gonna change.

Never underestimate the ability of fat cats to stack the deck, to put their thumb on the scale to their advantage. The recorded music business has lost half its revenue and it wants it back, and fast. Labels don’t care what artist hits, whether anybody hits, as long as they get paid.

This is their strategy.

You’ve been forewarned.