Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Raconteurs: The New Model? or just "Consolers of the Lonely"

Tuesday March 25th marked the release of the new album, "Consolers of the Lonely," by the Raconteurs.  This is one of the best album that I have heard in a while.  Before getting to the actual review of the album (which will be my next post) let me explain a bit about how it was released; almost by TOTAL SURPRISE!  

The Raconteurs

The typical model in the music industry necessitates several months between the completion of an album and it reaching record stores and listeners.  This is the average amount of time it takes Record Companies to organize the cover art, packaging, tour schedules, marketing and press releases for the completed product.  In some cases it even takes years and a different record company for the album to finally become available (ie. Wilco's landmark "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot").  This is all about to change.

For the second album by the Raconteurs this entire process took only 3 weeks.  Overachievers? ADHD? Maybe, but that says nothing about the fact that the album's finished mix was completed earlier this month, the announcement of it's release came via Myspace on March 17th, and the album was in stores Yesterday.  What does all this mean?  It means that entire business model of bloated Major Label Recording Companies might soon be a thing of the past.

In an online article from one of Britain's leading music magazines, NME, the President of XL Recordings, Ben Beardsley, was asked about accelerated time period of the delivery of this album.  His response was that a week was the minimum amount of time needed for record stores to order and stock the disc for it's March 25th release.  He went on to mention that the band had wanted the album to be in stores with no advance notice at all.  Some consumers have chalked all this up to a marketing ploy.  I cannot help but laugh at the idea that this is bigger news now as a result of the Raconteurs trying to avoid releasing any news entirely.

Other speculation, both in the industry and online, is that this rush method was a response to the frequent internet album leaks that occur as a result of delayed release dates.  The reasoning behind this is that the Raconteurs are a band of enough fame to potentially lose money as a result of listeners downloading the album early.  The band has publicly responded by saying that combating leaks was involved, but only in trying to cut down on the number of degraded-quality copies floating around.  If it sounds hard to believe that a band of such notoriety (the members include Jack White of the White Stripes, Brendan Benson of solo fame, and Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler who made up the rhythm section of the band The Greenhornes) would do this for anything but financial reasons, consider this: LISTEN to the album.

If you buy the album, or find a high-quality copy online, I am confident that you will realize that this is a band that is obsessed with sound and production, and that it should be no stretch to believe that the release corresponded to quality and not money issues.  Another thing to consider is that delivering the album to stores earlier does nothing to limit the overall number of copies that circulate on the internet.  As the music industry struggles to deal with this fact there are a another major warning sign as to a new model of artist/ consumer relations and album delivery.

Radiohead released their latest album "In Rainbows" on their website via a digital download that allowed people to fill in any purchase price from nothing to 200 euros.  This particular album was available in this format for a month and didn't finally appear in stores until a month and a half after the initial online release.  While Radiohead is the exception at this point, due to there massive fan base, it brings up some interesting questions about how soon after completion that consumers receive the album, in what it will appear, and how much it will cost.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The benefits of being a Multi-tasker

Today I was chided by a friend for my lack of recent blogs.  My response:  I have been busy being a Multi-tasker.  The proof?

Today while looking for jobs on Craigslist, I was also proving that I have too much free time on my hands.  "How so?" you ask.  Well, in my search for gainful employment I came across a post for [exit job search].  "Why's that important for me to know?" you ask.  Because this is an informative website that can teach you a whole lotta informational things.  For instance, I now know how to do Buddhist meditation while walking (how's that for a good use of your time?).

"Okay, so this website sounds informative," you say, "but what else makes it so special?"

Well, because this particular website is perfect for anyone who refuses to show weakness in public.  Sound intriguing?

Consider how it would look if you were in the "How-to" section of your local bookstore.  That's right (Insert you favorite sound effect for "epic failure").  With the help of this website, you can find all that same information, while avoiding any potential social awkwardness.  No one knows what you looked up; no one knows that you had to look it up.  Be informed without showing any effort.  That's Multi-tasking!  Also, all the info is in video format, which is great for those of you that don't know how-to read.

Want more?

In the interest of the upcoming weekend, I have compiled a few of the most informative "How-to" videos from the site.  NOTE: these are for those of you that don't consider your days off worthy of spending time in a library or going to church.  In a related "multi-tasking" note, by watching these online, you too can prove that the internet is useful for more than just porn and blogging.  Enjoy:

How to Get Laid (if this sounds a little too advanced for you, try this.  [P.S.  The "getting laid" link requires signing-in to the site;  I promise it is worth it]).

So you're almost sold, but not quite.  "Okay," you say, "but what's the lesson in this? and how can I can use the information to become a highly-functioning multi-tasker?"  Well, here it is:

Multi-tasking increases productivity, and nothing makes life satisfying like knowing that you are being as productive as possible, right?.  Right!  Now get out there, aspiring Multi-tasker, and do two things at once this weekend!  Put what you have just learned to good use AS you shovel down those bellinis and shots of jagermeister!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dada and the New Surrealists

This whole post refers to the first (digitally recorded) of many coincidences over the past few days and week.  All the details would be fairly boring to anyone but me and since I already know them all, I will spare ALL of you.  But so as not to be a telling jokes without punchlines - thank you, Mr. Kaufman - here are two highlights:

First, an amazing book that I am currently reading has revitalized my interest in "lit" as a whole, and not just because it could be construed as a large scale plot to make me feel better about smoking cigarettes and being rebellious.  Second, the fact that my first blog post was mentioned as cryptic (by the exact person, Rants and Giggles, who inadvertently helped me create this blog) and Dadaist at the exact moment that I am watching a movie about human misunderstanding, the humour that it causes, and how coincidences usually seem more meaningful when documented [though this is not confirmed at the "height of scholasticism," Wikipedia, or any other lesser psychological internet resource sites that I could find].  I should also mention that I impulse-rented the movie for no apparent reason based solely on the cover.  I consider that a victory for higher-level brain functions.

The movie was Being There and is totally amazing if you have the patience to sit through the introductory setup of a movie released in 1979.  They had car phones and television remotes back then!  I wouldn't have believed it without seeing it.  Plus there's an idiot-savant Peter Sellers, a simulated orgasm by Shirley MacLaine and several moments of hilarious racial humor by some random black lady.  HIGHly Recommended!

P.S. A character, who only the viewer knows to be a TV Addict, saying the line "I like to watch" in unrelated social situations has to be one of the better double-entendres that I have seen in a film in a while.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Eye and the Needle

Lovingly dedicated to the Camel with two humps (and not to the one with one).

Author's Note: I have no idea on what subjects I will be regularly posting (in short, the history of everything - or at least the tangential). I have no idea if I will be regularly posting. I have some rather significant bets - with myself - on this. But since most of the people that I keep in contact with around Seattle have recently given this a shot, I am willing to go against the grain (or some other such cliche) and give this a try as well. Call it anti-socialism.

Chapter One - The Edge of the Desert

I awoke from fitful sleep to the feeling of being on the verge of a rather cosmic, and potential dangerous, string of coincidences. I rubbed the sand out of my eyes and ...


Chapter Forty-one - Upon Finding the Mirage and Mi Rage

... and that is why all birds, no matter how sinewy, will one day end up baked in a pie with too much salt.

Epilogue: Now that I have made a lengthy and culturally significant contribution to blogging as a whole, I am off. I will be back to post again when I have nothing to say. Until then...