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« Nerdwatch | Main | Summer plan »

Jul 06, 2010


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Steve Harrison

"Playing electric guitar your whole life does something to you. I'm convinced all that electricity racing through my body made me keep my hair."

Dammit. I always find out these things when it's already too late...

Jim Langer

Funny, I have always credited staying acoustic and classical.


Dear Prince,

You were completely over 20 years ago. Kthxbai.

The Internet

Jim Langer

I am reading a very prophetic book at the moment, called "Technopoly", written in 1994. Neil Postman, same guy who gave us "Amusing Ourselves to Death". He notes the regularity with which new ways of communication and other technologies no only introduce new words into the lexicon, but also change the meanings of old words, and hence our collective ideas about reality and what is "normal".

One of the most stirring hypotheses he presents is that what educators and business leaders all think is "high performing" in individuals may well shift completely away from the linear, logic-based "print culture" (with many nods to McLuhan) right through the emotional appeal and simultaneity of TV/electronic media culture to the "egocentric" world of the computer. My own observation is how little conversation is usually traded online, and how much mere reinforced statement of one's own perspective. If the medium ever reaches its potential, we have to hope we can all be open to changing our minds, too, perhaps by smaller degrees, rather than a full 180.

Your blog, Ed, gives me some hope. Mr. Guarino and I continue to find some agreement, too.

Joe Killian

Giving away CDs for free in a tabloid newspaper while an entire generation of new musicians uses the Internet to subvert the huge record company dynamic at which he always chaffed.


sean coon

actually, prince was paid a bundle by said newspaper to "give away" his new album. he did the same thing a few years back. super smart. he recoups all his costs and makes his profit upfront sans the hassle.

i also don't believe that new musicians are "using the internet to subvert the huge record industry dynamic." shit, new musicians have enough on their minds to just pay the rent, write good material, keep the bass player from quitting, touring with no cash, making posters, etc. they're simply doing what they can (DYI) instead of waiting to be hand chosen and told what they can do. and percentage wise, the vast majority of them fail, just like before. and if a major actually knocked on 95% of their door? -- they'd open it up just like it was 1985, but with the willingness to sign a 360 deal.

record company suffrage has less to do with a targeted, spirited revolution of musicians than it does with a runaway technology sweeping away their control levers by exposing their BS business model to the masses.


Sorry to the naysayers, but Prince is still more talented than 95% of the crap out there today. But quality no longer sells records. In fact, nothing really sells records anymore. Prince probably figures his music is going to end up on the internet anyway so why let anyone else profit from it.

Of course His Royal Badness probably just doesn't care anyway. He doesn't need the money and can afford to stand on principle.

Joe Killian

I'm not a musician myself, so I can't speak to how hard it is out there for them, though I can imagine.

But I do know, just anecdotally, of three good friends all in different bands or music projects all of whom have had a pretty exciting level of success using the net to promote and distribute. A friend of mine from Tennessee recently financed a cross-county tour ending at SXSW entirely online, got people to the gigs using social networking and the band's website, distributed his band's record online and ended up having one of the tunes discovered by a television producer and used in a series....did it all online.

"We're not even looking for a record deal," he said. "We can't see the point."

Then there's this and this and this. And this.

I have no doubt Prince is going to make money, or at least avoid losing it, while continuing to make money on tour whether people care to listen to his new stuff or not.

But I've got to wonder...if he insists that you can't download his stuff anywhere, doesn't even have a website through which you could buy the new stuff and insists on just giving it away in English tabloids, tries to prevent people from even watching videos on YouTube, how are new Prince fans born?

Jim Langer


Michele Forrest

SH: Hair is overrated. Shaved heads for dudes = almost always the right choice.

All: Did anybody see anything in that article about what's in now? I must have missed it, and I so hate being behind a trend.

P.S. to Prince: Never change.

sean coon

joe, bands are definitely out there using the internet, i just see them as new age DIY capitalists (connectors), rather than anti-establishment provocateurs, though i'm sure there's overlap between the two at times.

as for a band like the dresden dolls... while they're not necessarily a household name band per se, amanda palmer has the type of relationship with her numerous fans to pull off such a twitter score. how about 99% of the other bands out there? some might get a couple of chuckles from a few following fans, and maybe a few t-shirts sold. some might get a few more if they're like her -- she "gets it" in how she curates relationships with people who relate to her music.

but to get to that level of recognition and success, it first takes a lot of work (on the music, mostly) and then some lucky breaks. then, at that point of success, nice sized flash mob paydays might become opportunities. if $11k was so easy to come by, believe me, you'd read a ton more stories about it. i'm not trying to be a downer, just a realist.

while prince is being a bit of a luddite, i think it's rather punk of him to operate as if the intertube has been shut down. he's just focusing on the art and being his eccentric self. and you know what? he's in the very top of the 1% who can do such a thing. so fuck it, you know?


The rest of that quote is wisdom...

"They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you."

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