Wednesday, August 31, 2005

DCeptette: When the levee breaks version

1. I got no sympathy for the record industry. All their bitching and moaning about how album sales are off. Who's to blame for that? They're to blame for that. Plain and simple. In making file-sharing the tried-in-absentia culprit, they've done nothing more than shoot off their face to spite their face. I know this full well. I was in Charlottesville in the years leading up to Remember Two Things. Labels were vainly courting Dave Matthews with low-ball offer after low-ball offer. They should have known they didn't have a chance when their A&R drones starting reporting back to the home office from points afield--the Southwest, the Rockies--with

the news that the kids already knew all the words to "Ants Marching." How dat happen? Bootlegs. That's how. Widespread and commonplace. Yeah--bands should fight against bootlegs...unless they want their careers to skyrocket, that is.

The final year that Original Napster roamed wild and free over the interwebs was the last great year of sales for the record industry. After it got shut down, industry profits nosedived. This was no coincidence. On March 21, 2000, N*Sync's sophomore album No Strings Attached dropped
and pretty much immediately broke its foot off

the ass of every major sales record of the preceding decade--despite having been leaked and widely traded on Napster in the month before its release date. This was no coincidence. But what's really compelling is that on October 3rd of the same year, another album that had been leaked and widely traded on Napster in the month preceding shot to number one on the sales chart right out of the gate. That record: the hyper-poppy and super-mainstream-accessible Kid A from Radiohead. Raise your hand if you thought Kid A had a shot at topping the charts.

That's right. I didn't expect to see any hands.

Again, this was no coincidence. And it should only be surprising to a very stupid person to learn that a study reported on by NME, illegal downloaders still outspend consumers who stick to legal downloading by nearly a 5 to 1 margin. Napster's original contention was that their free service actually helped consumers make informed choices regarding their musical investments--that the majority of users sampled via download, and then poured their hard earned dollars back into the music industry.

So there's a new name for pirates of MP3 booty: valued customers.

At every turn, the recording industry have fucked themselves in their own ass over digital music, and like good capitalists, have passed on their pain and liability onto us. And they're doing it again--but I think it's important for everyone to bear witness to the fact that this time the industry is going to flat-out screw the very subset of consumers it has spent so much time courting and convincing--the consumers who

they have labored to bring in from the cold world of digital piracy--the consumers who they have told are the REAL valued customers--the consumers who have reciprocated their kindness to the tune of $350 million: habitual users of the legal, pay-to-use service known as iTunes. is on the case, and, as you'd expect, their indictment is meticulous, serrated and damning. Read what they have to say. This is more corporate calumny, and everyone out there who uses iTunes should beseech Steve Jobs to stand his ground and be the thin red line between stupid, dinosaur businessmen who belong in the tarpits of modern capitalism and consumers who are tired of getting cornholed.

2. The only thing truly transcendental about Sally Jenkins' recent musings on Intelligent Design and sports is Jenkins' own transcendental stupidity. Intelligent Design is This Year's Model of non-thought, and much in the same way fascism and Leninism consumed the minds of its trendy defenders in the cognoscenti, you witness an ordinarily smart writer become so tangled up in pure bullshit that the paucity of intellect on the page is almost inhuman. If this was the first article of Jenkins' you'd ever read, you'd never know she was a sportswriter--it seems to have been written by someone who's as alienated from the world of athletes and athletics as the Eskimos are from the microbes on Mars. But while the deep and wide and vast reach of unadulterated inanity on display is depressing, what's truly disturbing is how this article parallel parks the Intelligent Design jalopy right next to ideas seem like they're buttressing the idea of a Master Race. Really--at this point in time, do we really need to inject Superman theory into this inane debate? Intelligent Design is the new nihilism. (Washington Post)

3. I was worried about all the people in the Gulf states who have been savaged by Katrina. After all, the relief efforts and reconstruction is going to be a strain on a group of states that would not even break even without the generosity of people who are willing to pay taxes from places like New York and Maryland. But then I realized that Mississippi's governor is Haley Barbour, who was one of the visionaries behind boxing up the nation's surplus and remitting it to the wealthiest two percent of Americans. Surely, in his hour of need, Barbour will be rescued by the chivalric members of the "have-more" set that he served so well. The thought fills me with such patriotic pride that I wonder if we could use stem cells to reanimate Frank Capra and have him re-edit It's a Wonderful Life so that George Bailey dies in utero. (Wonkette)

4. The ACC Basketball Season isn't anywhere near beginning, but even at this early date, I couldn't be more pleased! (Post)

5. Band Camp Public Schools takes french fries off the menu, because they aren't going to take any fucking chances with that John Roberts. (WTOP)

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