Stuck In The Middle With You

The biggest story of the week is the insane profits at Goldman Sachs.  The number one person on this story is Matt Taibbi. 

Read the complete "Rolling Stone" article here

Read the latest update by Taibbi here

If you’d rather get your news from the "New York Times" instead of "Rolling Stone", Paul Krugman weighs in here

Or maybe you’re just sitting at home, in front of the big screen, anesthetized by vapid television while your future goes down the drain.

I’m very sorry those workers were killed erecting Madonna’s set, but what struck me is what music has become.  Do you really need such a large production?  Maybe Madonna does, so we don’t have to hear her sing…  But no wonder the concert business is in the shitter, and it is, people view music like a Broadway show, a one time a year overpriced event that overwhelms you visually and emotionally.  Used to be the music was enough, but not any longer.

And speaking of music, what about EMI hiring Blackstone in order to get out from under the crushing weight of the Citi debt?  If the record business were good, this wouldn’t be an issue.  Yes, at some point EMI will disappear, with some, if not all, of the assets going to Warner, but if this bothers you, why aren’t you incensed about Goldman Sachs?  Where are your priorities?

And why should you care about the number of major labels.  They transformed themselves years ago, into vehicles to overpromote the lowest common denominator.  Worked when MTV was king, but MTV is struggling now too.  So the labels are headed towards the cliff, with the pedal down, doing what they’ve always done.  Jettisoning workers and bands and doubling down on that which can be made ultra-successful overnight.  But despite all the hoopla, Michael Jackson only sold 1.1 million albums in the U.S. last week.

Michael Jackson, ain’t that a story.  They should have been like the Jews, put the guy in the ground immediately.  By time they had the memorial concert, it was already known that the guy O.D.’ed on anesthesia.  Every day that goes by Michael looks less like a hero and more like a victim…of his own insane delusions.  Want to know the turning point?  When he destroyed that car in the "Black or White" video…  Only someone completely out of touch could not foresee the negative repercussions.

Kind of like the newspapers, wanting to charge for access.  Even if you make the numbers work and you survive, you’re going to become irrelevant, eclipsed by someone who delivers the news for free, just like Craigslist delivers classifieds for free.  Someone more passionate about the story, who knows it from living it, who delineates it daily, maybe hourly, as opposed to reporters who ring up "experts" to find out what’s going on.  The concept of being a generalist?  That’s history.  Otherwise, the majors would be minting platinum stars every week, and they’re not.  The whole world’s gone niche.  We bury our heads in the sites that interest us, we don’t pay attention to that which we don’t care about just like we use the clicker to jump past not only commercials, but entire TV channels!  As for sites that are living off linking to those who do the legwork…their days are numbered.  The HuffPo will only be king if it does its own reporting.  Without the traditional news outlets, these aggregators are nothing.

And insiders believe it’s business as usual.  You wine and dine and pay off those you believe are in power and screw the great unwashed.  I’m not only referring to banking, but the music business.  Used to be you paid radio, you paid retail, but what to do in a world where they are no longer king?

As for the artists…  Why do we use that term?  Are they truly artists?  On one hand we’ve got Madonna and her wannabes.  Telling us we should care when we’re creeped out.  You injected your cheeks with fat after dieting yourself down to nothing, we can relate because..?  And McCartney can’t sell out stadiums, so he goes on Letterman to shill.  And neither can AC/DC.  But in the seventies, there were sold out stadium shows every summer.  Analyze all you want, but facts tell us people don’t want to go.

But the stock market is reviving!

But if you don’t know someone who’s out of work and down on their luck you’re a bazillionaire living on your own private island.  But those in power tell us to just stay calm, that everything’s all right.

But it’s not.  And those telling us not to worry have an investment in keeping us glued to the television set, spending our time and money other than in their business.  The whole world is like a fifties record label. We gave you a Cadillac!  Royalties?  You should be grateful to us!  Isn’t that what the major labels say? We have the power to make you a star so give us ALL your money?  Only the ignorant would make that deal.  Or those interested in potential fame and money more than music.

So, if you’ve got a brain, you’re completely flummoxed.  You can’t trust anybody.  It’s like John Lennon’s initial solo album has come to life.  All you can trust is yourself.  And Yoko.

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