The Grateful Dead Effect

I’m not sure you can trust the veracity of most blogs.  Little reporting, if any, is done and most tend to be biased in some fashion.  But make no mistake, the blogosphere is the ultimate cop.  When some politician or businessman tries to falsely spin a story or BURY a story there’s always some disgruntled person with a keyboard out to set the record straight.  And, as the record labels fail to realize, the Internet is conventional word of mouth on steroids.

In case you’re living under a rock, in an inane move, the Grateful Dead removed their live recordings from, where they were distributed for free.  You know the drill…  Wait a MINUTE!  Trading cassette tapes person to person is ONE thing, but on the Net you’re trading with everybody almost INSTANTLY!  We can’t have that!  How can we SELL the live shows if everybody can get them for free!  John Perry Barlow, sometime lyricist for the band and EFF honcho, just about committed suicide.  The band just didn’t GET IT!  Never mind that this is what sustained their multiple decade career, the free dissemination of their music.  But that Jerry-led touring revenue is gone.  You’ve got to make a buck in this world, fans be damned.

Only one problem…  The Net buzz/reaction was DEAFENING!  It was like people found out Jesus wasn’t God’s son.  It shook their belief in the band to the core.  The volume and vitriol ended up in long, prominently-placed articles in the "New York Times" and "Los Angeles Times".  And then, almost instantly, the band did a mea culpa.  They saw that one false move was going to eviscerate the career they had left.

It’s kind of like the Sony rootkit fiasco.  Used to be you had a run of defective vinyl records and nobody who didn’t purchase one KNEW!  And who gives a shit about music, really, when people all over the world are dying.

Well, it turns out MILLIONS of people care about music.  And even more so, their COMPUTERS!  This is an event that won’t be forgotten for decades.  Read the following article, especially the comments at the bottom: For Sony, a Pain in the Image

But, you say, that was an article written by the MAINSTREAM press.

But I ask you, how many teenagers have a subscription to "BusinessWeek"?  They never even used to see it.  Didn’t pick it up at the dentist’s office.  But now, it’s just a click away, adding fuel to the fire, its legitimate press imprimatur giving it added weight.

But the most shocking story passed about on the Web this week is the one about the war profiteer bat mitzvah.

Read the facts here: Not-so-Petty cash to rock bat mitzvah

Read the analysis here: 50 Cent, the War Profiteer and the $10 million Bat Mitzvah

But, most of all, be SURE to look at the pictures here: Exclusive Photos! Mitzvahpalooza!

I’ll be honest.  I’ll never look at Don Henley the same way again.  Now he’s just another musician to me.  Someone who will do anything for a buck.  I thought he had a conscience.  He’s always investigating issues and doing what’s right.  Writing editorials, testifying in Congress.  What the fuck was he doing HERE?

Make no mistake, the people appearing at this event are not Web-savvy.

But also, you must know their fans are.

Makes me ashamed of my generation.  That just because they’ve raped and pillaged and have ALL the money they believe the truth is what they say it is, and they can do whatever they want.

Oh, these performers have an excuse…  EVERYBODY DOES IT!

To quote my mother, and probably yours, if everybody jumped off a bridge would YOU?  Aren’t you supposed to weigh consequences in your mind and THEN make a decision?

Just because every movie actor with credibility made commercials in Japan years back does not mean everybody can do "privates" willy-nilly.  Hate to tell you, but these people’s careers are built on their fans BELIEVING in them.  Fuck with that belief, undermine credibility, and you’ve got….THE MODERN RECORD BUSINESS!

Maybe these acts did stuff this heinous in decades past.  But it was a different era, NOBODY KNEW!  Just because the press protected FDR’s inability to walk and JFK’s peccadilloes does that mean every politician in the future gets a pass on their personal life?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  It’s a different era.

These fucks have been revealed to be the tiny moneygrubbing pricks our parents always told us they were.  Or, they used to do the right thing, but they’ve become so inured to their lifestyles, need so much money to cover their overhead, that they’ll do anything for cash.

Neil Young won’t do anything for cash.  And it’s not just about singing for Bud, it’s about an artistic ethos.  Respecting the work.  Doing what’s right.  Putting the fans first.  Not rich assholes or corporations who will pay you today and forget you tomorrow.

This is a read-only blog. E-mail comments directly to Bob.