The Coachella Backlash

Watch this:

You may never go on TikTok, you may not even have an account, but the target demo does, you know, the impressionable youngsters with disposable income. They don’t bother with Instagram, they never had a Facebook account, as far as the mainstream media goes…that’s something oldsters argue about, if anything important happens, that they need to know, they’ve got their own special sources, many of which the mainstream is unfamiliar with, and if they were they’d spam them and kill them.

So Coachella happened last weekend. And will repeat this coming weekend. Did you miss anything?

With my immune condition I’m not ready to join in with 125,000 maskless attendees in the desert. Then again, can you believe the hoopla over removing masks on planes? One Trump judge says no and it’s like the messiah has returned. Sacrifice, the Golden Rule, doesn’t exist in America anymore.

Anyway, we’re talking about Coachella.

What do we know about Coachella? It was a financial failure that was rescued by AEG. It was ahead of the audience, it was too hip for the average American, it was out there, it was where reputations were made, where acts were broken, like Daft Punk. They were far from household names when they blew up Coachella, the hoi polloi didn’t get clued in until years later, when the act had a hit single.

And EDM/dance music, whatever you want to call it. That burgeoned first at Coachella. I’m not saying there weren’t parties, raves elsewhere, but it was Coachella that demonstrated the huge demand for this music, the Sahara tent often outdraws the main stage.

And because Coachella was cutting edge word started to spread, and you know what happens then…YOU’VE GOT TO BE THERE!

First it was only locals, it became a rite of passage for Southern California youth. Then it blew up worldwide, it became the largest grossing festival in the world. And then…

Tickets sold out without even a lineup being announced.

Yes, you’ve got it, the festival became bigger than the acts.

But then, over nearly twenty years, the generations changed. Coachella was built on indie rock, it was the “other.” But then the “other” disappeared. A younger generation which was not anti-internet, that gave away the music and was happy to do it, took over the mainstream music business. Oldsters have been crying in their beer ever since. Finding unending scapegoats along the way. From Shawn Fanning and Napster to Daniel Ek and Spotify… Funny how they’re both from the younger demo, they got it when the boomers running the music business did not.

And with so many acts in the marketplace, it became a world of winners and losers. This has got nothing to do with streaming outlets or major labels, it has to do with the audience. The audience split. There were those who liked the mainstream, and the legacy acts, and those who wore music as a badge of honor, and were into the more obscure. And a huge gulf exists between these two poles. This is the issue, not Spotify.

So, younger generations are not burdened by legacy systems. They never owned CDs, they never watched MTV, furthermore they came of age when the audience became the star.

Yes, this has been going on for twenty years, but social media amplified it in the last ten. Heroes were torn from their pedestals and average human beings gained traction as influencers. To the point where if you’re not getting hate then you must not be too popular. Everybody thinks they’re equal in America now, and everybody thinks they’ve got an opinion that deserves to be heard, so if you’re banking on your past accomplishments, good luck.

So Coachella had to pivot. It was obvious to everybody in the business. Just like the Super Bowl had to move from classic rockers to more contemporary artists, so did Coachella.

And the audience was fine with this. After all, this was the music they listened to, it was the only music that got consensus. The paragon being Beyonce, who gave a one time performance that became legendary. A paradigm that cannot be repeated, just like Radiohead’s “In Rainbows.” You were either there or you weren’t.

But over time everybody could participate, there was a Netflix special. No one needs to have FOMO anymore. Actually, I was discussing Coachella with a friend of mine and he said he had JOMO, the “joy” of missing out.

So what we’ve got here is a whole new audience with different mores served by the establishment.

And what does the establishment do best? HYPE ITSELF! The establishment gloms on to a story and beats it to death. Coachella was everywhere the past week. And despite YouTube bragging that it broadcast the festival, numbers are always anemic for the stream, because it’s all about BEING THERE!

And it used to be about being there and consuming the music, now it’s about showing off, posting to social media, raising your image amongst your peers. Sure, you’ll see a few acts, but you’re not going to rave about them as much as you are about your experience at the festival, and who wore what, who won the influencer game.

Sure, there are headliners with fan bases. But today’s fan bases are thinner than ever. Yet more dedicated. So yes, you’ve got an army which lives for the headliner and their music, but the rest of the audience shrugs…they might know the hits, they might want to tell people they saw the act, but there’s a good chance they were talking to their friends during the performance anyway. Yes, unless you’re right up close you can have a conversation, outside you can’t feel the music, except for surround sound dance, but…

Baby boomers were individualists. It was about excelling.

Forget Gen-X, it’s a lost generation which will tell you its thunder was stolen by the boomers.

Millennials? It was all about being a member of the group.


Well, we know that it’s pissed that nobody in power is listening to them. They’re concerned about climate change, they want a more egalitarian society, but they’ve got no power and nothing changes yet they are the ones who are going to have to live with the consequences of the old guard’s inactions and actions.

So what this breeds is outliers, leaders. And we haven’t had that spirit here for a very long time.

Everybody over the age of 25 has sold out. It’s commercialism 24/7. And they rationalize this by saying everybody else does it. It’s mine for me and screw everybody else. Meanwhile, have you noticed how rich and fabulous I am?

Then again, the older generations, just like the musical acts, have a huge division between the haves and the have-nots, the rich and the poor, whereas amongst Generation Z…. You can be a star even though you’re never on TV, never in the news and only post on social media. You can reach more people than those who are featured in those outlets.

So Mandy Lee, aka “oldloserinbrooklyn,” the creator of the TikTok clip linked to above, has 335.7k followers, and 12.8 million likes. That’s more attention than most of the undercard at Coachella!

As for this clip, it’s got 191.1k likes, and 3771 comments.

And what does this clip say?

Coachella is where follower poseurs go to create content for social media. It’s all a capitalist venture propped up by the attendees.

And this is absolutely correct. You won’t see it in the straight news, no, in the straight news it’s all hosannas, Coachella was wonderful, let me tell you about the performances, the outfits, the parties. Yes, you weren’t cool enough to get into these parties that are off-site and take place during the show itself. I never got that, aren’t you there to go to the festival?

So Coachella has become commercialized. Sure, AEG has capitalized, with VIP tickets and expensive food and drink, but it’s been amplified times a zillion by the usual suspects, the same ones doing nothing about climate change, the same ones dismissing Gen-Z completely, unless it’s concerned with how to milk more money from these kids.

So oldloserinbrooklyn is speaking the truth. It’s a rare thing. We don’t see it in D.C. and we don’t see it in the entertainment business, that’s for sure. It’s all smoke and mirrors, lies, trying to coerce you into doing something that will benefit the purveyor.

Truth resonates. What did John Lennon say, “Give me some truth”?

So is this a harbinger of a change, a pivot.

I’m not saying Coachella is going to tank, then again nothing lasts forever, and the purveyors are always the last to know, like with the aforementioned Napster and TikTok. Even Mark Zuckerberg couldn’t see the power of TikTok until it was too late!

Coachella has been taken over by its audience. Sure, they expect a bill of famous talent, but that’s not why they go, they go to see and be seen, to mingle, to be a star themselves, to spread their brand.

Come on, you can’t read the “news” without seeing pictures of Olivia Jade and her bikini, with her take on the school admissions scandal. She’s only a hero to the brain dead, she should STFU and go back to college, any place that will take her, because being famous for nothing is a tough row to hoe. And not everybody can be a cosmetics magnate. Olivia Jade is a follower.

And it wasn’t only her. Vanessa Hudgens, actually now an oldster herself, Kylie Jenner, Hailey Baldwin…their Coachella pictures are everywhere. Interestingly, there are more pictures of these “celebrities” than there are of the acts!

It’s empty.

And it appears that some people know it. Ergo the backlash.

Younger generations are sick of being corralled by corporations. And believe me, music is corporate. Sure, some are sheep, but it’s cool not to be a sheep. And we haven’t had that spirit since…

The baby boomers.

Gen-Z is the baby boomers’ kids’ kids. Yes, their grandkids. Time has gone by, a lot of it. And change is a-brewing.

But nobody in power sees this, adjusts for it, plans for it. All we hear from labels is if something blows up online we’ll sign it and amplify it and promoters tell us they’ll book it. Pushing the envelope, creating something? That’s been left to the hoi polloi.

The same ones who paraded at Coachella.

They have the power. And they have the bucks.

And they’re sick and tired of being pandered too, being sold the same old dreck at expensive prices. Coachella is just their parents’ festival rejiggered for them. There’s nothing cutting edge, it’s just a party they want to attend.

But not everybody.

This is another problem with music. Those who control it came of age in the seventies and eighties, when music literally drove the culture. It was all top-down. Now it’s bottom-up, and that’s hard to corral and control.

Evidence of the music being secondary is the parties at Coachella, hell, there was Revolve, the new Fyre Festival, they weren’t selling music, they were selling exclusivity. You don’t need music to bring this generation together.

So now what is Coachella to do?

It merged with the mainstream. The concept of breaking new, out there acts, is passé. Its mission is history. It’s just a party for youngsters and those who want to be youngsters. The talent is like booking a clown for a birthday party. Or the band at a bar mitzvah or wedding. Yes, you need the entertainment, the music, but that’s not what people remember. The entertainment is the penumbra.

Yes, the music has become secondary.

And not only at Coachella. If you don’t respect the music itself, if you’re not willing to test limits, if you sell out, you lose all respect. Coachella and the record labels used to be leaders, now they’re followers. The audience is the leader.

And to innovate you have to take risk. And no one involved in legacy media wants to. On some level it’s like the last twenty years never happened. In the music business it’s the same as it ever was.

But there’s nothing close to the Talking Heads.

Unless it’s David Byrne wowing audiences on Broadway by presenting a show that reinvents what a rock concert is, containing dancing and multiple instruments and…

Then again, David Byrne is an artist.

Most of the people plying the stage at Coachella?


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