Friday, 26 June 2009

Black or white, rest in Peace Michael Jackson.

In 9 hours the UK will wake up to a world changing news item. Yes world changing. For years he has been a rag doll, or voodoo doll for the popular media. Stick a needle in the idea of paedophilia and it was Michael Jackson who felt the pain.

I hope those people that did thrust that pin are now biting their lips and wringing their hands, because if justice works then Michael was proven not guilty and should therefore be mourned and loved as any other good person. But he should also be mourned as a genius, and king, a god, a creator, a legend, an innovator and a million other words that he deserves.

He showed us in his own unique and dysfunctional way that racism is absurd, poverty unjust and politics merely the means to an end. He defied not only colour but age, money, sanity, and class. He questioned our morals positively and negatively. He changed music forever, the industry for years. He reinvented choreography, music videos and the idea of pop idols. He was a great man, like all great men: flawed, but ultimately still great.

Without meaning to end this post on a severe example of bathos, I will fight anyone that says differently.

Rest in peace Michael.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Music Cluedo: It was Jonny Blog, in his bedroom, with his Wii Fit.

I have just read an excellent piece on the guardian website about the decline of sales in the music industry( and have to agree with Charles Arthur whole heartedly. I think that the increase in games sales does indeed relate to the decrease in music, and that we have obviously found a more fulfilling (read economical) way to spend our money. That is not to say that people no longer love music, but that we can download the individual tracks we want (illegally or legally) and then spend the money we save on computer games (or DVDs). Add to that the drop in price for albums and you put more money in the pocket of an entertainment-whore of a consumer.

It's not so much the music business but the musicians who have shot themselves in the foot. For years mainstream bands have released woeful albums of the back of decent singles through the combination of laziness, cockiness and lack of real talent in the first place. Now that the consumer doesn't have to buy the whole album to get the good tracks musicians shouldn't be left wondering why their album sales have dropped off. The truth is that illegally downloaded tracks don't themselves represent a "lost sale" because if people had to pay for these extra tracks, they wouldn't download them. These albums that were knocked of in 3 months, all sounding the same and being slightly less catchy carbon copies of the "single" tracks have stopped selling (just look at the Kaiser Chiefs. Oh wait, you cant, they've disappeared).

Lack of "artistic endevour", so evident in other entertainment industries, has cost the major labels dearly. Notice how smaller, less MOR bands have been making waves recently as their heads show above the ocean of mediocrity, selling and gigging as well as ever. Changes in the industry (downloads, increase in festival numbers/sizes, music channels, youtube etc) have in fact helped the least commerical bands get their sound out. The music industry's thirst for money has been its biggest commercial mistake, and speed over quality has smashed them over the head with a wii fit in the living room.