The New York Times has a look at the music industry in this recent editorial, on the release of Coldplays 'blockbuster' (via No Rock'n'roll Fun) ...
"Today new albums from Coldplay, the Black Eyed Peas and the White Stripes hit the stores. If you needed to be told that, then you are probably not part of the target audiences for these very popular bands. Just how big those audiences are is a matter of some concern in the music industry, which is showing unmistakable signs of languishing. Some sources report a drop of 15 percent of total sales since 2000; others say it is a 7 percent drop over the past year alone.
Record companies and retailers alike are hoping that today's sales are a blowout for all three albums - Norah Jones times three. That would be good for the weekly figures and the bottom line, but it would really do nothing to change the feeling that something is terribly wrong in the music business. The unease was palpable a month ago when the Warner Music Group went public, to a lukewarm response from Wall Street. Perhaps there was something about seeing Jimmy Page, guitar in hand, in the gallery above the trading floor that made even hardened traders queasy. But it was probably the performance of Warner Music - and the sector as a whole - that gave investors second thoughts.
The music industry loves to blame its problems on digital piracy, a case that has yet to be fully proved. The real problem is an addiction to blockbusters, and that is what today is all about - feeding the monster this industry has become. These days there are more musicians and bands than there have ever been, and there are still plenty of music-buying fans. Together, they are discovering alternative means of connecting with each other.
The big record companies continue to insist that the only route to profitability is blockbuster sales of a few titles, and the result is all too predictable - music that matters more for how it sells than how it sounds."
Growing up Goth.
Via Boing Boing: "Two high school girls in Livermore, California ran a social experiment on preppy retailer Abercrombie & Fitch and mall punk outfitter Hot Topic. Shannon Nichols, 18, is blonde, bubbly, and has perfect grades. So she dressed like a goth and applied for jobs at the stores. Nichols's friend, Sarah Adams, stuck with her preppy look and also sought employment at the shops. From Inside Bay Area:
"The most dramatic was how the Abercrombie employees treated Sarah in comparison to how they treated me," Nichols says. "As soon as she walked in, the cashier started talking to her and told her she could meet with the manager."
Adams explained that she had no retail experience, and really no job experience. That didn't matter, she was assured by a young man identifying himself as the store manager. In fact, she didn't even have to fill out a job application, she just needed to come to a group interview being held in the next two weeks.
Nichols experienced a far different response from store employees, who basically made it clear: Don't let the door hit you on your gothic backside on your way out.." Link.
Tze Ming Mok's roundup of the 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Banana' conference is well worth a read. Some of her highlights...
"Yuk King Tan talking quiet mellifluous iconoclasm, in front of a video of her artwork, which consisted of burning down art galleries. Stunning.
Mua Strickson-Pua, pointing out (and I keep saying this without anyone ever believing me) that Tana Umaga is Chinese.
The snippet of Roseanne Liang's documentary on her parents' ruling that she can only marry her Pakeha boyfriend if he asks for her hand in marriage in Mandarin (screening at the International Film Festival).
Mayor of Gisborne Meng Foon, in between talking a fair amount of assimilationist nonsense after the conference dinner, coming up with an absolute gem that I've been waiting a long time for someone to say: that Chinese people really need to chill out and relax."