Sympathy for the Music Listeners

This is in regards to my previous post about how I was excited about this week’s Frontline, The Way the Music Died. Not only is it a bad idea to let your life become depraved to a point where the airing of a PBS newsmagazine is exciting, but the show itself wasn’t very good.

I don’t even follow the music business, and the show featured nothing new to me. It placed the blame for crappy music on the usual suspects: Clear Channel, record companies driven by quarterly profits instead of seeking out new talent, and the emphasis of style over substance promoted by MTV and virtually everywhere else.

To make the show even worse, it contained a fifteen minute infomercial for Velvet Revolver, the band who would’ve named themselves Spinal Tap if it wasn’t already taken. To Frontline’s credit, they did proceed to mention the ridiculousness of mashing together popular music from the past and trying to pass it off as something new and good. The worst crime of this segment was white guys in suits listening to CDs in an office while bobbing their heads. Every time a white guy does this, Satan pokes Elvis a litter harder with his devilish pitchfork. So stop it honkies!

There was also a fair bit of promotion for Sarah Hudson, niece and cousin to Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson, respectively. Her single seemed kind of bland, but at least she wasn’t manufactured from things that were popular when I was 14. She’s ten times better and more attractive than any of the current crop of brain dead morons representing the ladies on MTV, so I’ll give her a pass and not mention that her music is reminiscent of Letters to Cleo at the prom in 10 Things I Hate About You.

While I don’t like David Crosby’s music or facial hair preferences, he was hilarious in mocking the execs who thought Velvet Revolver (Gasp! I accidentally typed Velvet Underground. My apologies to the undead ghost of Lou Reed) would be a good idea. Rolling Stone’s Toure and Outkast’s manager, whose name I have forgotten, also made excellent points. The one I remember being the notion that music sucks so much today because the companies are still going after the hit single, and not the whole album, which feeds the beast of file sharing.

I won’t blather on about file-sharing. I think both sides are kind of right. Stealing is wrong, but so is artificially inflating your prices. It’s the same thing as what’s going on with the pharmaceutical companies. They’re claiming to be the victims of people going to Canada for drugs, while at the same time using unfair business practices.

I support the decent bands who’ve made more than just one ear worm or two. Those of you with real jobs get paid, and your boss probably doesn’t even like you, and has no respect for what you do. I don’t see why the musicians, and other artists (including us lowly cartoonists) whose work you enjoy shouldn’t be compensated, unless it’s being used to drill advertising into your brain. If that’s the case, then screw em. Ads suck and make children fat. Skip the middle man and buy your entertainment directly from the people who produce it.

Don’t forget to support comics as well. I always make a point to buy comedy CDs of the comics I like when I can afford it. The good ones are more talented than any bass player and they probably have the same costly addictions.

The whole purpose to this long-winded, self-indulgent post is to point out that I drew a cartoon about the failing music industry a while back. Hopefully I mentioned enough of the words and stuff mentioned in the Frontline episode that anyone looking for more info will be misdirected to this uninformed screed. I am an ass.