Tuesday, July 26, 2005

You know, I’m not really that familiar with that Eliot Spitzer guy or his political positions. But with enough of the proper evidence to encourage me, I’d be tempted to start a grassroots presidential campaign for the Spitzer ’08 ticket.

After all, anyone who could make a major recording conglomerate roll over and pee themselves in admitting that they paid off radio stations in merchandise and trips and such in order to get their shitty music on the air has already earned my vote. Spitzer did exactly that, in performing his duties as the State of New York’s Attorney General. Not to mention the fact that, to add insult to injury, Sony BMG has to kick down a 10 million dollar fine for good measure. This well-earned legal spanking provides glorious proof of what countless others and myself have known all along, and in this example, the letters in Sony “BMG” obviously stand for “Bribe Me Good.”

Hopefully, we’ll get to see the other majors get smacked soon enough, since Sony is just copping to tactics that are more or less undertaken by the rest of the monstrosity known as the recording industry. Will this take a big permanent bite out of Payola, smiting it for the salvation of generations of listeners to come? Nah, I doubt it. But it’s still fun to watch ‘em squirm.

I’ve got a lovely proposition for the offending parties: now, Eliot (can I call you Eliot?), listen carefully. When the shit starts really hitting the fan, and the labels start getting cold feet like so many Young Republicans after re-introduction of the draft, and wanting to back away from scrutiny, here’s a suggestion re: what to do with the revenue from fines. Instead of paying out for "music appreciation programs" (where they could just give away their CDs and write it off at retail,) make them donate the cold hard cash to a relief effort in Africa being staged right now by the World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations.

Hell, the money generated by just two fines (assuming it equals or surpasses Sony’s total, which from two corporations would add to over 20 million dollars) would fund emergency rations heading out to the most vulnerable 1.2 million starving people in Niger right now. Plus it would shed some much-needed light upon a dire situation that the major news outlets, in their all encompassing wisdom and journalistic integrity, have more or less chosen to ignore. After all, it’s MUCH more important to keep a live camera trained on a pond in Aruba being drained for the possible remains of a missing Bama blonde than to inform the world that there’s people disintegrating by the millions in some Third World country. I guess that they feel that the viewing public prefers to see images of Black people as well fed, oversexed minstrels and athletes and not in various later stages of malnutrition. That may not be the kind the reality TV that sells Pepsi and Chryslers. Because obviously, if people give money to charity, that’s at least a bit less change blown on consumer goods, and golly, we wouldn’t want THAT to happen, would we?

But I digress. It sure is lovely to see a karmic payback to the major labels for the shit they’ve pulled. One of the emails presented by Spitzer has a station manager who allegedly (snicker snicker) took stuff from Sony BMG as saying, “I’m a whore this week. What can I say?”

Not much more, I’m sure. And it couldn’t have been said better. Really. And truly.

Here's a fun story from Hong Kong on the Sony BMG settlement.

Here is a link to the United Nations World Food Programme website.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


(Note: Here's some writing from what I titled the "Cheesy Promo Insert" mailed out with media copies of my 2001 CD, Never. Instead of the typical "(insert artist here) is a gifted and talented prodigy whose music is reminiscent of (insert famous people here)", there's some notes on what makes me "tick" as a musician. At least one writer needed his diaper changed after reading it, and tried to "git back at me real good" with a pathetic attempt to undermine my statements. Most folks seemed to appreciate what I was saying, so here's the original rant for posterity's sake.)

Here's my basic philosophy. Music is played for enjoyment, not profit. I enjoy what I write and record. Elitists and haters can suck my ass.

I envision a future where musicians, visual artists, and anyone creative can participate in a world free of monopolistically imposed limitations, overly pasteurized cultural standards, and financially inspired works. I would love to be able to know that somebody can go out in the vicinity of their town here in America and find entertainment and information being distributed and presented in an honest and genuine manner, with people more obsessed with the heart, guts and soul of the stuff shared than the dumb-ass bottom line of the profit margin. I would like to see people help each other when it's really real and not because their egos need a good jerk-off or they expect something in return. Likewise, I'd like to see less folks sitting around consuming and THINKING about creating something they can share with the world, rather than what they can get for the least amount of exchange.

Fuck using the famed description for television- it's the music industry that has become the true vast wasteland. Consider the terminology itself- "music industry", "entertainment industry"; what if someone started using the term "art industry"? It would be quickly reduced to describe the likes of Velvet Elvises, Big Eyed Cats In Alleyways, and Dogs Playing Poker. Why isn't the same cynicism used to dismiss the hacks and quick-buck scammers who stink up today's airwaves and record store racks? One could argue that people buy the shit, so obviously they prefer and enjoy the shit. But really- prefer it in comparison to what? Enjoy it, or convince themselves that they enjoy it because some media Gestapo figure told them to?

Don't like my music? Fine. Create something that speaks out of YOU. I can respect that. But don't put me beneath some disposable boy group, trend-mongering hanger-on, or theory-drunk soul-killing "real" musician. You're only bullshitting and being unfair to YOURSELF.