Monday, February 28, 2011

You Can Be Your Own Spotlight

Just people doing what they do.

It's a pretty clear message, and I love it and believe it one hundred percent.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Arcade Fire by the Music Fan Numbers

My thoughts on their Grammys win, after a full day of mulling over it.

First, I believe they deserved it based on musical merit, no question. I'm glad they won, and think it was the right choice. Not one bit of this post is arguing that they shouldn't have won, just why I think they didn't win for the reason they should have.

Album sales and popular influence, they were far out of their league, and "Album of the Year" never specifies that it is necessarily the best album musically. You could argue that highest selling, most well known, most influential album should be the album of the year, and I feel that's usually how the Grammys chooses to define it. So why did they go for musicality this year?

Because indie is where the music world is at right now. Choosing an indie artist just took an award show that no one I knew cared about and made it today's most talked about subject by "music kids." They chose one of "our" bands. I think the music industry has realized that it's not the pop music eaters but the "indie" and "alternative" music kids who matter. I use matter loosely as I don't really mean this as praise. I mean it as money.

Take Lady Gaga, who sold millions of albums this year and probably should have been the Grammy pick. Her record was heard by everyone with a radio and almost everyone with an internet connection, TV, or mp3 player has seen one of her videos. Her album took the music world by storm.

Take the average Lady Gaga fan: they'll spend maybe $150 on a ticket to see her once a year, and another $50 on merch and CDs. Give them another estimated $50 of music purchases over the course of the year and you have a $250 fan.

Now take the average Arcade Fire fan: $50 on merch/CDs, $50 on a ticket. That's $100 for Arcade Fire. But the kind of person listening to Arcade fire isn't just going to Arcade Fire shows. They're also going to music festivals (say $200 for the year, low end), buying at least a CD a month for assorted bands ($150 low end) and going to local indie shows ($15 x 25 a year = $375). Throw in a couple more $50 tickets to see their favorite touring acts, and you're quickly approaching $1000 a year in music, per person, based on low estimates.

I know these people. I'm one of them. I had a thought to add up my music spendings last year, and realized I spent over $300 in December alone. I got scared and stopped counting.

So why do I think the music industry gave Arcade Fire a Grammy? Not because they deserved it (which they did) but because they realized where the money's at right now. They're betting that there are fewer than 1 million $250 fans and more than 250,000 $1000 fans. They're just figuring out how to get at us. Fingers crossed that they'll never succeed and that the indie musicians will keep getting our money, not the labels and executives.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Vices and Virtues, or I Write Sins Part Two?

This has been out for a while now and I've been listening to it every now and then but it didn't click until just right now.

Panic! at the Disco has always released the music that I needed when I needed it. From angry teenager dealing with a "therapeutic chain of events" to realizing that "things have changed" it was always right for the time. Maybe this one will be too.

Also, I love that "Nearly Witches" has reappeared. There was a 30 second demo of it on a mixtape that came out in 2008 and you can hear the crowd sing along for a few lines. It's really interesting that this version of Panic has been floating around for a while, that the split is something that had probably been building for a long while. I'd always guessed this song had been a clip from the abandoned album between AFYCSO and Pretty.Odd. but it seems I was wrong. This was Brendon all along, even through the paisley and flowers.

Also, the last time I saw them perform, Brendon spent the entire show looking angry. Live videos spent a while looking like he simultaneously wanted to murder the music. This seems less violent, which is a fantastic thing.

And this next one? It sounds like so much fun. And it sounds familiar, like another band, and I can't put my finger on it but I LOVE it.

"Let's Kill Tonight." And Ian is killing that guitar. I've always thought he was the only worthwhile thing about The Cab and he's one of the most amazing guitarists I've seen. Something about the guitars in the chorus from 0:58 to 1:02 remind me of a very specific classic rock song and I have spent the past 30min trying to figure it out and I can't get more than ten seconds of the song playing in my head and I've gone through The Who and Blue Oyster Cult and Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and Aerosmith and I can't find the song. It's driving me nuts.

(*EDIT* "November Rain" by Guns & Roses. My father with the save.)

But I like it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The White Stripes

The White Stripes are over. No new recordings, no live performances, done. The announcement is on their website and begins with:

The White Stripes would like to announce that today, February 2nd, 2011,
their band has officially ended and will make no further new recordings or perform live. The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any health issues as both Meg and Jack are feeling fine and in good health. It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve What is beautiful and special about
the band and have it stay that way.

I really wish I had had the chance to see them live. Their parting words:

The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.