Friday’s Fraudulent Fripperies

Bill Hicks

Well, it’s been an interesting week, hasn’t it. There have been some pretty major blow-ups in the blogosphere, posts taken down, people quitting, and some pretty angry tantrums. And fucking fair enough, too, quite frankly.

The weirdest thing about the whole situation is just how disjointed it all is. Ed received a takedown again yesterday for posting a Keane remix which was sent to him by a PR contact and hence, one has to assume, legitimate. That same PR person was baffled and not a little annoyed by the takedown notice, telling me this morning that:

“This is hugely frustrating. All the band/ management/ label wanted to do was to giveaway the CSS remix to a handful of blogs so that fans could get a wee thank you for making the album No.1.”

And as much as I don’t like Keane, this is a pretty decent thing to want to do – definitely how we would all want our favourite bands to be thinking.

What happened with Glasvegas has also baffled and annoyed Columbia UK, who knew nothing about it until the angry reactions were pointed out to them. It turns out it was nothing to do with them: Sony BMG in the States had been the ones wielding the flame thrower.

This pretty much sums up why I hate the major labels. Almost none of the individual people working for them will be stupid, but moving in large groups makes people stupid. None of us, as the saying goes, is as stupid as all of us. Or, from the rather splendid film Men in Black: “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.” While people on the internet have been innovating for them, the major labels have presumably not been standing still, and presumably they will have had some amazing ideas, but as soon as you have large meetings and committees and a legal department, A&R, management, publicity and global strategy all involved then innovation is killed stone dead.

Innovation seems to find it almost impossible to survive meetings. I know this because this is exactly what I see every day in Proper Job. Consequently the major labels, by virtue of their sheer size, are proving virtually impossible to move forwards in this respect.

Then the other side of it: the self-righteous bleating about illegal downloading when they themselves do not even have a coherent internal position on it. The right hand wants the remix out there and the left hand abhors mp3 blogs. Until such time as they know what they are thinking collectively and have an actual, consistent position, irrespective of its merits, they have no right threatening people and interfering with what the rest of the world is doing. Get your own fucking house in order before you start invading ours and destroying our work, you disgusting hypocrites.

There’s another side to this: the bands. Reading The Pop Cop I happened across this particular snippet, and Jason is pretty well connected within the music industry, so I think he is a credible source.

“it’s clear that many people don’t think Glasvegas themselves are immune from blame. In fact, we can tell you that the band have been made personally aware of the situation but have chosen not to comment on it.”

Which says one thing to me: fuck Glasvegas, fuck their careers and fuck their music. Let them rot. They were happy enough to enjoy all Ed’s hard work when they wanted him onside, but now things have changed and the minute this happens they snuggle up to the devil’s penis and lick it lovingly like the loyal lapdogs they are. Not an apology, not an explanation, not even a message of goodwill. They could easily have emailed Ed and simply expressed regret for what happened. They wouldn’t have had to condemn their label, which would have been brave, they could simply have grown a teeny tiny little bit of a fucking spine, or had some grace, or even simple manners. But they couldn’t muster even that, so fuck them. If that’s the particular flavour of jism they choose to swallow, may they fucking choke on it.

This week’s five were chosen by Dylan from Blueback Hotrod, official Toad photographer and all round bon vivant. They continue the theme of large corporations, which seems rather fitting, given the week we’ve just had. If you want to choose the five for next week, just pop me an email. As ever, please do take the chance to de-lurk and say hello. And after all the seriousness, wailing and gnashing of teeth, let’s take the chance to have some fun, eh.

1. Last major-label record bought (Not counting boutique subsiduaries – an act signed straight to one of the industry behemoths.)
2. Last item bought from IKEA
3. Average weekly spend in Tesco. (Or largest supermarket chain in your territory if not the UK)
4. Favourite brand of trainers (that’s sneakers, Americans).
5. Usual watering-hole – friendly local run in person by the landlord and host, or soul-less chain venue owned by an international leisure conglomerate?

What a fine and fitting selection of songs we have this week.

Bill Hicks – Satan Starmaker
Jeffrey Lewis – Don’t Let the Record Label Take You Out to Lunch
Hefner – The Greedy, Ugly People
David Cross – Women, Please Rinse Off Your Vagina And Anus!
The Wedding Present – Getting Nowhere Fast
And one more bonus, just because it’s so appropriate. The man was an unmitigated genius.
Bill Hicks – Fuck Only Artists

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