Turn And Face The Strain

For the past couple of years, I’ve been telling anyone who will listen to me that it was only a matter of time before a major music artist would eschew the record labels and go out on their own (see here, last paragraph). Well, three hammers fell down this week and they’re all pretty big news.

  • Trent Reznor, the horribly overrated yet popular noisemaker behind Nine Inch Nails, posted this message to his black-wearing minions this week on his website:

    Hello everyone. I’ve waited a LONG time to be able to make the
    following announcement: as of right now Nine Inch Nails is a totally
    free agent, free of any recording contract with any label. I have
    been under recording contracts for 18 years and have watched the
    business radically mutate from one thing to something inherently very
    different and it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally have a
    direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate.
    Look for some announcements in the near future regarding 2008.
    Exciting times, indeed.

  • Madonna, whose latest personality is that of a quiet London mother writing children’s books, walked away from Warner Brothers to sign with concert kingpins Live Nation. For $120 million. It reeks of a traditional record label deal, yes, but Live Nation isn’t a record label, so this is big news. While it’s doubtful Madonna will try to establish a direct-to-consumer relationship like Trent Reznor will, this is notable – we’re talking about one of the best selling, iconic woman artists of all time here. Walking away from a record label. I like it.
  • Finally, we have perhaps the largest piece of news this week – Radiohead’s decision to make their new album available as a download and let users determine how much to pay. This means you can get it free if you want. Most people I know seem to have decided to pay between $5-10 for it. I have yet to run into someone who downloaded it for free.
  • Three pretty fascinating developments here. Record labels might not be dead, but the business is, thankfully, being turned on its head. It’s about damn time, too. Look for many more of these type news stories as time marches on. It’s a whole new world. Time will tell if the record labels want to remain in it. I kind of hope not.

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    Now playing: Arthur Alexander – Love’s Where Life Begins
    via FoxyTunes

    Facebook

    The rise of Facebook has been meteoric, even Google-esque. Of course, I have a profile. I have to, really, so I can stay on top of things for work and it’s also, believe it or not, a decent networking tool. Not as helpful as LinkedIn on the professional level, but still helpful. The fact that you can play Scrabble against your friends is also a nice cherry on top! I am hopelessly addicted to Scrabble.

    Anyway, there are rumors a-floatin’ that Microsoft is in talks with Facebook to take a 5% stake in the company. The 5% stake would value the total Facebook business at – get this – $10 billion dollars. Yes, with a “b.” To that, I say ohmygoddontdoit. Microsoft is in a very interesting position these days – they’re not cool anymore. That is the single biggest problem with that company. They can innovate as good or better than anyone. They’re just not cool. Facebook, be careful. Let’s also not forget how these sites aren’t just flavor of the month, they are more like flavor of the day! It wasn’t long ago we were all buzzing about Friendster and MySpace. The former is a ghost town and the latter is well on its way.

    So apparantly there’s been some kind of back-end upgrade to WordPress, the site that powers this blog. I had to do some downloading and some FTP’ing, along with some moving around of files that end in tags like “php” and all kinds of stuff I don’t know. It was scary, man. At one point, I went to my site and it was ALL white. At another point, I got onto my page and everything looked normal – except that it said “this blog has no posts.” After I cleaned my underwear, I calmly sat down and figured it all out, though, and we’re back up and running with an upgraded, fine-tuned new version of WordPress on the backend. You will see virtually no difference here, except for a new tagging system and I have the ability to drop a signature with the song that is currently playing on my computer (via the excellent FoxyTunes).

    So there.

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    Now playing: Johnny Society – Chinese Torture
    via FoxyTunes